2v2v2 Team Co-Op Game
This is how it began!! Xerecs (Billy), L0rdgingerbread (Spencer), and Gazerbeam543 (Peter) all flew up from Los Angeles to join the PNW Pirates (generally myself, Witch (Dan), and Kyky (Kyle) along with John and Cutty) for an epic Pirates CSG Weekend Marathon! I would call it the Pirates playing event of the year for 2022 so far, and never before have I heard of multiple players flying from one location to another pretty much exclusively to play this great game. Huge thanks to everyone who came out, and especially the LA crew who had to spend a lot more and make detailed plans to make it all work. We played most of the games at Mox Boarding House in Bellevue.
We planned everything out in great detail through our messenger group (ask me to add you if you’re interested in playing anywhere near Seattle!), from build totals to game ideas to house rules and a game schedule based on timing and availability. This is the house rule document we use for coordination, with these additional house rules specifically for this weekend marathon where we had about 6 people voting on house rules instead of the usual 3-4.
-Lord Mycron legal, but has Limit and Ransom in addition to his regular abilities.
-Custom game pieces are allowed if all players agree to their legality.
-Three islands placed per player.
-Each player can place 3 pieces of terrain during setup (in the same order as islands, per usual), with a maximum of 1 massive terrain and 1 medium terrain per player. (Picture – Massive=7 in top 2 rows; Medium=7 in bottom row)
-Storm terrain and mysterious islands legal for the 80 point game.
-The last player in the turn order chooses their home island location first, followed by the second to last player until the first player chooses their home island last.
-Each player must contribute an equal number of coins of any value or type in order to have 4 coins per wild island. (8 coins per player due to 2 wild islands per player)
-Gold bonuses will be applied permanently to the coin in question (ex: a 7 becomes an 8 ). The added value stays with the coin, and the coin can be “used” normally for the purposes of home island raiding, fort building, etc.
Time to get into the actual report! We rolled d6’s to start – whoever got the same result as another would be paired on a team. We didn’t want to do it in advance of the meetup because teams might resemble one 80 point fleet, and because there was already enough pre-game prep that went into each fleet and game planning. The teams were as follows: Witch with L0rdgingerbread, A7XfanBen with Xerecs, Gazerbeam543 with Kyky. Apologies in advance if there is any confusion from the weekend’s reports because I switch between usernames and first names, and if various fleets are incomplete because I can’t recall all the details of who played what.
The fleets, in player order. By some luck miracle the teams were already arranged around the table in the order we wanted so nobody had to move around – Team 1 Player A, then Team 2 Player A, etc, so that there was always two players in between each teammate turn.
Witch (teammate: L0rdgingerbread)
Custom Queen Anne’s Revenge + custom Blackbeard, Lucky the Parrot, helmsman, explorer, oarsman
Devil Ray + helmsman
Princess + The Hag of Tortuga, helmsman, oarsman
A7XfanBen (teammate: Xerecs)
Raven’s Neck + Hammersmith, The Hag of Tortuga, Lucky the Parrot, explorer, oarsmen x2
Longshanks + helmsman, explorer, oarsmen x3
Bloody Jewel + helmsman, explorers x2, oarsmen x2
UT’s: Altar of the Loa, Pandora’s Box, Castaway, Maps of Alexandria, Marksman’s Map, abandoned oarsman, abandoned shipwright, Wine
Gazerbeam543 (teammate: Kyky) Fleet name: Faster Without Cargo
Intrepid + Commodore Matthew Perry, Tribal cheiftain, captain, helmsman
French Native Canoes
L0rdgingerbread (teammate: Witch)
HMS Dover + 4 crew
Sea Crane + Zheng Li Kwan
Winds of Vengeance + crew
Xerecs (teammate: A7XfanBen)
Neptune’s Hoard + Hammersmith, SM El Fantasma, oarsman
Intermediaro + stinkpot shot
Kyky (teammate: Gazerbeam543)
Revenant + 5 generic crew
Pandora + The Hag of Tortuga, 2 generic crew
Xerecs and I were hyped to finally work together after SOO many games played, with nearly 100 contests on VASSAL and various games this year in LA. It remained to be seen if various fleets had any synergies, but that was part of the fun we had to figure out as we went along.
Here is the ocean! For home islands, Billy and Spencer are at the upper left. The middle from left to right is Kyle, Peter and me. Dan is at the upper right.
Witch took the first actions of the epic weekend and we were off!
And immediately UT’s deal crushing blows! Pandora’s Box and Plague nearly ruin the Raven’s Neck for good, but I yanked in an Altar of the Loa to control Gazerbeam’s fleet!! O_O The Trepassey lost her mast to a whirlpool, the canoes were flung towards the doom of a massive sargasso sea which promised to never let them escape, and the Intrepid lost most of her masts after being flung through a whirlpool and straight onto a reef. I got lucky on the island in general, finding Turtles as well, right next to my home island. It was a grand display of aggression and gimmick chaos, also serving as a wake up call that it was now game on. XD My strategy was working well, as it had been my intention to use the Box to bring in a second Altar since I couldn’t count on finding the “primary” one with so many wild islands to explore. Luckily I triggered the Box right away and was able to set up the epic combo on turn 1.
We would soon get rid of the extra turtle (coin proxy), but the 10 turtles had very little distance to swim in order to net 10 gold for Xerecs and I. Now the question was: would the public location of the Altar trigger a chain reaction where players might race to it in order to control the turn of the player after them?
On the second round the Bloody Jewel sacrificed her other two spare crew to the Altar, giving me another turn of control over Peter’s fleet. The Intrepid was moved back through a whirlpool towards the Plague-ridden Longshanks, as I hoped to capture the schooner. The Longshanks had captured the Trepassey on my turn, giving the English sloop the Plague. Plague would limit how much I could control the next fleet via the Altar, as I was planning to sac crew from the Longshanks for additional turns of control. Three of the French native canoes were moved into the sargasso sea of doom, meaning they would be tangled and stuck for the rest of the game!
Spencer was snagging some gold in the northwest:
Woelf’s clarification on the spying abilities was a bit shocking to me, as I had always played it as once per round on the controlling player’s turn. Thanks to Witch and others for bringing up the wording, as we would play it correctly the rest of the weekend with spying able to happen on every player’s turn. This makes them even more viable and I could see the 2 point spyers being worth it as a result. There was a funny moment on the first turn where Witch used his Lucky the Parrot to spy one of my crew, which was Lucky the Parrot. “Pieces of Eight!” XD
As the turtles arrive home, the Bloody Jewel looks for gold while the Raven’s Neck is sent through whirlpools to try and dump her Plague in one. Xerecs and Witch have gotten some coins home, while Kyle’s ships head towards Spencer’s gold runners. The Longshanks was sunk near the center, dooming my plan to use the Intrepid and Trepassey as prizes. Gazerbeam is relieved to finally take a turn with his fleet, moving his remaining 2 canoes over a reef in search of gold.
The whited-out coin is a Plague proxy, and you can see what I was dealing with on the Raven’s Neck. If I could eliminate that UT on a “bad” whirlpool roll, I could transfer her coins to the Bloody Jewel without danger (the latter still carrying her valuable helmsman) and avoid the Rats penalty on the regular coins aboard RN. Nemo’s Plans (a gift from Xerecs via Pandora’s Box) was nice to have, though we should have coordinated better on which UT we would each contribute. I was somewhat hell-bent on the Altar to pull off my gimmick strategy lol.
Maps of Alexandria was found, revealing the southeast island (at the bottom right) to be rather valuable at 12 total gold with a Cross of Coronado too.
It also revealed the location of my “original” Altar of the Loa, dormant on an island in the southwest. Xerecs and I were constantly using the spying ability throughout the game and sharing information with each other to game plan, and did consider revealing the Altar location (before the Maps were found) to the team of Gazerbeam/Kyky in case they would be able to use it to control Spencer or Witch’s turn(s). At this point there was a LOT going on, both in terms of team strategy and inter-team politics. So much that I can’t remember half of it haha! Definitely a fun time, and getting a bit tense as the endgame approached….
Kyle’s Revenant back to full strength. Wine could throw a wrench into the plans of any team trying to end the game sooner rather than later…
From the east looking west. Peter’s Intrepid has made the harrowing journey home to repair. Dan and Spencer look like the favorites to win, though Xerecs and I might have enough gold to at least contest it.
The Bloody Jewel got the RN’s coins home after I finally rolled badly enough in a whirlpool to toss Plague overboard. The BJ had also found two other face down coins of note… two abandoned crew. O_O I told Xerecs this, as it meant the BJ could use the Altar for another turn of control over Peter’s fleet. This was a secret worth keeping, as I don’t think others in the game anticipated both of the coins on the BJ not unloaded to home to be essentially crew that I could sac at the Altar. This was another way to gamify the Altar that I had intended during my fleet construction when thinking about UT’s – include at least 2 abandoned crew so if you run out of normal crew, you can find more to keep the mind control going. XD This was also my intent with Castaway (to bring in a recruiter crew who gets flipped for a second crew, then sac both), which backfired when Spencer found it and brought in SM Genny Gallows for +2 gold to some of his coins. XD
Peter was able to get some revenge, with the Intrepid dismasting the Raven’s Neck, but only after missing horribly the turn prior (his luck was horrific in this game, so not a fun start to the weekend. Though being the player to my left was random and not my intent, as I hadn’t thought about who would be a potential “Altar victim” before the game started).
Xerecs’ Neptune’s Hoard (NH) took 2 masts off HMS Dover. SM Fantasma (aboard the NH) has designs on Witch’s HI, which is currently protected by the Devil Ray and Princess but not the dangerous QAR. With the unfortunate constraint of time ticking down toward when the game had to end, I had some ideas for the endgame. However, my worst fears were realized when Kyle sent his Revenant in the direction of the 12 gold in the southeast. I think we had 45 minutes or less left in the game at this point, and I saw building a durable fort on that island as the best play Xerecs and I could make to contest Dan and Spencer’s combined gold total.
The Intrepid sunk the Raven’s Neck, bringing me down to just the Bloody Jewel. She went to the Altar island, but at this point Peter’s fleet was too weak to gain much advantage by controlling it for a turn. We would need other help, so I planned things out with Xerecs, knowing that the gold swing on HMS Dover (2 coins and I think 7 gold) or the NH raiding Dan’s HI would not be as much as a fort control play for the 12 in the southeast. Xerecs made a clutch move by surfacing Intermediaro to blast and pin Dan’s QAR, taking advantage of the Sea Monster-Captain house rule with some equipment while also stealing back a coin the QAR stole from his HI. The squid fought well and eventually the QAR was sunk! This was a big move that helped Xerecs and I, as it took an HI Raider out of the game and meant she also couldn’t interfere with our fort plans. Luckily the Revenant was too slow to dock at the SE island.
To some extent, my “deke” of keeping both abandoned crew face down on the Bloody Jewel paid off. The Revenant came for the BJ, but was only able to dismast her! Then I flipped the abandoned shipwright to put a mast back up. I sacced two crew for a final turn of control over Peter’s fleet, but the Intrepid and Ebat needed extra actions through the whirlpool to do anything about the Revenant, which they didn’t have. The real key was that this BJ distraction allowed Xerecs’ weakened NH (from combat with the Dover) to round earth to the southeast and build The Devil’s Maw on the island with gold from Xerecs’ HI! As part of her explore action, the NH dumped the 3 she had acquired recently into the fort, knowing it would be better protected in the fort. Indeed, the last round was upon us, and even though the NH was dismasted and (I think) sunk, the fort was left intact, meaning all the gold in it would count for Xerecs and I.
Unfortunately the game ended with a time constraint though there was still gold in play/etc. Spencer had also been clutch at the end, picking up a coin near the giant iceberg with the Winds of Vengeance. It was time to count!
- Dan and Spencer: 46 gold (6 units in play)
- Ben and Billy: 46 gold (2 units in play) (including 22 gold on my HI, 1 on Billy’s HI, 2 on Intermediaro, and I believe 21 in The Devil’s Maw)
- Peter and Kyle: 8 gold
O_O Holy cow what a finish!!! O_O Incredibly against all odds the gold scores were a high-scoring TIE at 46, leaving it up to the tiebreaker of most units in play! Dan and Spencer got that one easily and thus are the winners of this Team Co-Op Game!
Truly an unbelievable game. It kills me to write this out because of how many things could have gone just slightly differently to give Xerecs and I the win. XD That said, we played our heart out as a team in the endgame and I think we did things optimally in the final hour of the game. If we had coordinated better and Barbary Banner was placed on the RN instead of Nemo’s Plans, that 5 gold would have been enough. But my Castaway UT gave Spencer Genny Gallows, whose bonuses made enough of a difference for their team to win. I should try to agonize less over what-ifs and care less about winning haha. Unfortunately Peter and Kyle had to play from behind at the outset largely due to the Altar play; “everything that can go wrong will go wrong” as Gore Verbinski said about filming the PotC movies. I will say I’m a bit less likely to use the Altar in future multiplayer games, both because you are limited in who you can control (only the next player in the turn order) and because wrecking Peter’s fleet didn’t do enough to win the game for Xerecs and I. Congrats to all on a game well played and a wild start to the big weekend.