4×150 in Redmond WA!
In this fun night of pirating, I met up with former Wizkids employees and players from both Washington and California! We played the evening of September 9th, though this is being published on Talk Like a Pirate Day 2023. We met at Uncle’s Games in Redmond, with not a single table at Mox Boarding House Bellevue available due to what looked like multiple tournaments happening on a busy Saturday.
As usual, we used the Seattle house rules. Phillip rolled to go first, followed by Xerecs, Chris, then me. Here are quick snapshots of the fleets in play order.
Phillip went with an all-Junk Cursed fleet. Among others, Guichuan had OE Davy Jones and Divine Dragon had OE Fantasma.
Xerecs and Chris happened to bring fleets with similar strategies. Xerecs had Intermediario, Behemoth, and Seleucis along with the San Cristobal, Le Superbe, and Paradox. Paradox carried multiple chieftains, with Xerecs bringing in 15 native canoes! That included the Cursed canoes, along with the unreleased sets of English and French canoes from Return to Savage Shores.
Chris also had Intermediario, Behemoth, and Seleucis! However, his supporting cast was different, composed of Pequod, L’Intrepide, Gog-Cloctoth, El Toro (OE), the 2 masted Nightmare, and 10 native canoes!
After enjoying the success of the kraken cancelling in Tampa after Gasparilla, I wanted to try them in an even larger game, knowing that a ton of crew would likely be in play. However, Behemoth’s copy ability would allow me to have not two but THREE sources of kraken cancelling, making it quite likely that I would be able to shut down crew every turn. O_O
The Kraken (24)
Frontier + OE Montana Mays, RotF Gus Schultz, Wayne Nolan, helmsman, oarsman (29)
Plague of the South + helmsman, explorer (13)
Le Bon Marin + helmsman, oarsman (9)
Banshee’s Cry + Jonah, Captain Davy Jones, navigator (12)
Le Coeur du Lion + Princess Arii Auraa, Capitaine Baudouin Deleflote (11)
Bloody Jewel + Calypso (12)
UT’s: Curse of Davy Jones, Jack’s Piece of Eight
The Plague of the South was a fun combination of some cool stuff I’ve gotten from friends – the deckplate was made by Gazerbeam543 (who features in some of my 2022 battle reports), while the model was 3D printed by PirateCaptainAndrew.
I also got to meet Jason Mical for the first time! He was one of the primary flavor text writers for the game, and you can learn more about that in the podcast we did together. Mike Mulvihill was there too!!
Mike also brought along Seth Johnson, who mostly worked on other Wizkids games back in the day but did a little bit of flavor text and playtesting for Pirates. A full pirate crew!
The former Wizkids folks stayed to watch a few rounds and then headed to dinner. The four of us were ready to set sail! There was a fun little prize pool for the winner too – Xerecs’ brother JW Darkhurst put up a Crimson Coast pack as a reward, while Jason put up a Bloody Throne + Scrye the Explorer pack!
The San Cristobal wipes out some hostile canoes as Xerecs’ canoes round earth towards his home island (HI):
Fleets headed out, but the kraken cancelling slowed them down.
Both Xerecs and Chris would be using Seleucis as a kind of “monster Mycron”, often giving the squid’s move action to Intermediario or Behemoth.
8 of Xerecs’ canoes are in fog. Kray-kin surrounds Sea Rat, while Plague of the South and Le Bon Marin explore nearby islands. Frontier gets a double action via Deleflote to go through a whirlpool, load gold with her free action hoist explore, then return home via whirlpool.
I had found both UT’s I contributed, but between the krakens and 3 of my ships already carrying gold, I knew I would be a big target.
Rules gaffe on my part: I’m still getting used to how the krakens and their cancelling works, so I forgot that although you can select which players’ turns you roll for the cancelling on, if it works (on a 5 or 6), it still cancels the abilities of ALL crew in play, regardless of player. Kraken cancelling hit on the very first turn (Phillip), which affected all the Jonah-type abilities in play, meaning that ships overloaded on crew/equipment would have to toss people overboard to make setups legal. As a result, by the time this picture was taken, Deleflote and Captain Davy Jones should have already been out of the game (they would soon be tossed). Sorry! However, I don’t think this affected the results much if at all, partly because of what happened next. Next time I make a kraken fleet, I will make sure that no ships are overloaded with Jonah/Auraa/Robinson/etc helping out. 🙂 The early-game crew chaos also affected Xerecs’ fleet, since Paradox had to toss chieftains which restricted his ability to move canoes throughout the rest of the game.
Phillip’s crew are able to function on round 2, allowing Divine Dragon to go nuts! She sinks the Frontier (revived with Gus Schultz’s Eternal) and dismasts the Plague of the South. This took out 3 coins when the Frontier’s treasure was removed from the game.
On the next turn, although Plague of the South wasn’t able to reach home, Frontier got her gold home via hoisting it to land. Kray-kin sank the Sea Rat.
Long shot of the ocean:
This was a game filled with tentacles. 3 Behemoths, 2 krakens, and additional squids. At some points, this area of the map looked like a sea creature party!
Delusion gets some gold home as the west settles down:
The Kraken was able to chain over and eliminate one of Xerecs’ gold-carrying canoes. San Cristobal heads home for repairs. As expected with this many points in play and still only 8 coins contributed per player, the loot was drying up quick. The Pequod had some of the last available coins in play, prompting me to get Kray-kin back in action. To the right of them, I believe that’s my Behemoth that has been nearly killed after surfacing to sink a canoe carrying a coin. As the endgame began, it became more and more worth it to risk big assets in an attempt to influence the gold race. Ships and crew became more disposable as the gold dwindled. Remarkably, there were no home island raiders in play, meaning that gold was safe once on HI’s.
Phillip was eager to get into more fights with The Cursed, sending the Guichuan and Divine Dragon further and further east in search of targets. He got one of his main wishes, killing Kray-kin! With a perfect 5 roll, Fear cancelled the beast’s Kraken keyword, allowing Guichuan to send it to the depths! DD has captured Pequod, but they will face further challenges if The Cursed want to get any of her coins home.
A Behemoth rams the Guichuan head on!
Between Sunken Treasure and numerous coins getting +1 to their value by his Spanish canoes, Chris was looking like the clear favorite to win.
Carnage intensifies as Chris and Phillip go at it. Guichuan loses masts to El Toro and Behemoth, while Intermediario rams the Divine Dragon.
From very early in the game, Xerecs still controlled one of the last coins in play – one coin on a Cursed canoe.
The Cursed were eventually crushed, with Guichuan going into a fog bank and Divine Dragon dismasted.
Intermediario had stolen a coin or two from the DD, prompting The Kraken to surround the squid! A tentacle battle!
More shots ring out, with my creatures taking injuries:
As we approached the end of the game, Xerecs massed nearly his entire fleet in the far west in anticipation of escorting his final coin home from the canoe-heavy fog bank.
With little else to fight over, the area quickly became popular again. Gog-Clocthoth has rammed San Cristobal, while other ships and creatures begin flocking to the scene.
The middle area is a confusing debris field.
With his heavy escort providing cover, Xerecs was finally able to get the double action he needed to yank the coin from the canoe and get it home!
- Chris: 40 gold
- A7XfanBen: 21
- Xerecs (Billy): 19
- Phillip: 7
That concludes the 4×150 game! It was an interesting game, with some good lessons for the future.
-Krakens should probably not share fleets with ships that use point reducers for crew overstuffing.
-I think with build totals this high, the game could use maybe some additional coins in play, or possibly more islands. No players were close to being eliminated, and various ships didn’t really see as much usage or play interaction as one might like. However, both of those things would make the game take longer, something that players could discuss in house rules well in advance of the game.
-The game’s results felt static throughout the game – this was probably partly a fluke and partly because there were no HI raiders in play. However, it felt like only the first third or so of the game mattered – I think the standings were basically static for the entire second half of the game, with limited chances for each player to move up or down in the gold race. I think 100 or 120 might be a good upper limit for games where the setup is mostly standard (3 islands per player and 8 coins per player). Once you get to 150, it’s a lot of points for maybe not enough gold. The longer length of the game could be mitigated by limiting the player count (ex: 2 or 3×150 with more gold), or changing up the parameters a bit. (ex: 4×120 with 5 or 6 coins per island, or 4 coins per island but 4 islands per player instead of 3)
I actually haven’t done much game theory thinking about point totals compared to islands/gold in play and the ratios for each. However, this game got me thinking about it and I’ll probably try to do more analysis of that kind of thing in the future. (for reference, 4×100 is a personal favorite of mine, so perhaps it’s a good guide for the ratio of points in play to gold available. Similar ratios would be 5×80, 6×60, 3×150, etc.)
We also had a few rules questions that Woelf answered.
I did record a few combat situations, though just a little bit of raw footage.
Lastly, please consider supporting my efforts with this game by buying through my eBay affiliate links whenever you would normally buy Pirates CSG stuff from eBay. Purchases made through the links will give me a small commission which helps out the website and the things I do to help keep this game alive! Thank you!