6 Fleets, 150 Points – September 2019
Here it is! After planning the details of this game since perhaps April or May of 2019, it is finally complete.
Comment below if you liked it! I would love to hear what you thought of the fleet setups, the gameplay, the crazy moments, the strategic decisions, the house rules, who you were rooting for (if any fleet in particular) and the results!
Points in play + gold for the win! The winner of the game will be the fleet with the most total points in play AND gold combined into one grand score. (game ends when all gold is unloaded to HI’s or only one fleet remains)
Gold multiplier: coins are worth 5x their printed value, shiny gold backed coins are worth 50 gold each. 900 total gold in play excluding UT’s that can have a gold value. Should be a balance between gold and points in play (900 for each at the start of play).
I’m using my Basic Rules; no ram damage is the main thing to keep in mind.
Waterfall: Uneven tables at different heights. Waterfall into bay. Can only go down onto lower ocean, not back up unless Turbine/Submarine/sea creature. Ships on edge of waterfall have Extended Range for shots crossing over waterfall with their normal range. Ships can brave the waterfall going down into the bay, but must roll a d6. On a 1-3, they lose one cargo. On a 4-6, they get +L to their base move after their other move segments are resolved.
Giant Turtle Rules: Functions like a great turtle from SS. Ships can dock at grassy areas on turtle and build forts on it. Giant Turtle’s movement can be controlled by building a fort on it. At that point, the turtle can be moved S in any direction the controlling fleet chooses once per turn (like a ship). Fort cannons can fire at any time during the turn.
The linked fleets (Golden Cranes and Crew Recyclers) are two I’ve been waiting and wanting to use for a long time. Of course, anticipation and excitement was just as high for the (somewhat) newly created fleets as well. Game pieces can be found in the Master Spreadsheet and customs from Pirates of the Epic Seas (4th sheet).
In the order of play
(60) Guichaun + The Headhunter, Sammy the Skull (F&S version) Grim the Savage (Viking version), Cavendish, helmsman, stinkpot specialist, Bianco’s Haulers, oarsman
(77) Delusion + Davy Jones (OE), El Fantasma (OE), Captain Nemo, Christian Fiore, Ibrahan Ozat, Sir Edmund, helmsman, oarsman
(13) Sea Rat + helmsman, explorer
Here we see my original monster setup on the Delusion, which totals a massive 77 points, nearly the maximum you can ever spend on a single ship and crew. With a canceller and potentially multiple sources of guaranteed extra actions, the Delusion could be dangerous even if inaccurate. The Guichuan setup is just wild and similar to one I used to sheer perfection in this game. The Sea Rat filled out the points while giving them some gold running insurance and a second HI raider.
This is a fleet I have been very excited to use, as evidenced by the massive description I wrote for it. However, the lack of defenses and firepower could give them problems in such a chaotic environment full of huge threats.
3. English Mercenaries
(60) Eighth Wonder (30) + Frederick Xernias (11), Apprentice of Xernias (4), Larkon Presyl (6; Parley,+1 cargo), Jozeran Danklidge (6; shipwright+HI Raider), Xavier Gedry (3; This ship gets +1 to her cannon rolls when carrying gold.)
(28) HMS Gallows + Thomas Gunn, CRGO (0LR reroller) oarsman, exploding shot, fire shot, stinkpot shot, double shot
(31) Elthelfleda + chieftain, helmsman, oarsman
-English native canoes from RtSS
(14) King’s Ghost (10) + captain, oarsman
(13) -towing Gibraltar flotilla + First Mate Ismail, Exploding Shot
(4) HMS Ramsgate
This fleet is unique in that it contains game pieces from a custom set, Return to Savage Shores, and an Unreleased ship from Spanish Main! 😀 I wanted to use some customs in a game, and went a little crazy with non-standard stuff! This makes another fleet with an HI-raiding 10 master, and another fleet that had a flotilla assigned crew.
Here are the non-standard game pieces for reference: (points-masts-cargo-base move-cannons-ability)
Eighth Wonder (proxied by the Shui Xian) 30 10 7 L 4L-4L-3L-3L-3L-3L-3L-3L-4L-4L Link: Frederick Xernias A: Mercenary. Junk. Dories. If this ship eliminates 5 or more masts this turn, you may give her an extra action.
Frederick Xernias (Link: Eighth Wonder) 11 points A: Ex-Patriot. Captain. This ship ignores the first hit she takes each turn as long as she has all of her masts. One of this ship’s treasures is worth +1 gold when unloaded at your home island.
Apprentice of Xernias (Link: Frederick Xernias) 4 points A: Helmsman. Once per turn, if this ship is touching another ship, reveal all treasure aboard the other ship. This ship can take as much unique treasure from the other ship as she can carry, even those that otherwise can’t be removed.
Larkon Presyl 6 points A: Ex-Patriot. Parley. This ship gets +1 cargo spaces. This crew takes up no cargo space.
Jozeran Danklidge 6 points A: Ex-Patriot. Shipwright. HI Raider.
Xavier Gedry 3 points A: Ex-Patriot. This ship gets +1 to her cannon rolls when carrying gold.
Elthelfleda (proxied with the Alexandria) 16 4 4 S+L 3S-4L-3S-4L Galley. This ship can move and shoot using the same move action. This ship gets +1 to her boarding rolls. She gets +2 instead if her opponent is a sea monster.
Native Canoes (proxied with the Spanish canoes) 12 1 1 L+S 3S Native Canoe. Give this ship a move action but do not move her. Instead, roll a d6. On a result of 5 or 6, you may repair one mast on ships within S of any native canoes.
King’s Ghost (proxied by the Newport) 10 1 2 L+L 1L Eternal. This ship may use the effects of any equipment with “shot” in the name.
HMS Ramsgate (proxied by HMS Meresman) 4 2 2 S+S 1S-1S This ship cannot carry crew.
(41) Celtic Fury + Eileen Brigid O’Brien (SS), Duncan Rousseau, captain, helmsman, oarsman
(46) Ultimate Saber Attack Combo + oarsman (Bonny Peel, Commander Steven Decatur, Jordan Dumas (OE), helmsman)
(26) Pluton + Leander Arnaud, Godiva (0LR reroller), captain, helmsman, oarsman
(22) Le Descharges + Guy LaPlante (F&S), helmsman
(15) Renard à Ailes + captain, oarsman
Renard à Ailes (proxied with the Sea Serpent) 11 2 3 S+S+S 2S-2S A: Junk. Once per turn as part of a move action, this ship can randomly take one treasure from any ship up to S away from her.
I love this basic and “cheap” 10 master combo (SAT w/Reroll + Parley) to go along with a mostly French fleet. The Saber is beyond fun and probably my favorite switchblade due to the sheer number of combos you can create with her. Overall this fleet is based on boarding. Mostly to steal gold, but also crew with Bonny Peel. The Renard is definitely one of the coolest ships from RtSS, and fit perfectly with the theme.
5. Jade Vikings
(60) Baochuan + Zheng He (AA+S-Exploring), Ms. Cheng, Dragon Eyes, Zheng Li Kwan, Sensei Xu, helmsman, oarsmen x4
(32) Asgard + Shayna Deux, Sigurd Andersen, helmsman, oarsman
(28) Muninn + Ethan the Farseeker, captain, helmsman, oarsman
(30) Naegling + Olof Linstrom, captain, helmsman, oarsman
This fleet is the definition of concentrated firepower. 28 captained shots across 4 ships, 29 counting the Marine. A pair of AA crew (both with reroll!) could help them a lot with some luck. The main concern was the dependency on the Baochuan for gold collection – if the giant gets taken down early, the Vikings would probably struggle to stay relevant. However, in a game where points in play matter as much as gold, this fleet looked extremely intimidating.
This fleet has roots from way back in my gimmick games of 2012. It would probably be better in deathmatches, and really is a strange kind of gimmick fleet, but wanting to use this fleet was one of the reasons I decided on the 150 point build total in the first place. I picked the fleets before deciding to use the points in play house rule, so unfortunately this fleet’s strategy of killing as many enemy crew as possible could be a detriment. However, they had some serious firepower available along with the only game piece (A Fearsome Creature) that could climb the waterfall.
Here is the map and setup! The west half of the ocean is called “Great Turtle Bay”, while the east is the upper part and slightly smaller. (due to the size of the silky blue sheet and wanting to have 3 fleets of deckplates on one of the tables)
The amount of gold varied by location. The Giant Turtle had the most coins with 10. 11 locations held 5 coins each – the 3 remaining wild islands in the west, the 2 shipwrecks (Duke and Sultan), the gold island in the east, and each of the 5 beaches on the big island in the east. 3 shipwrecks at Shipwreck Cove held 2 coins apiece. This totalled 71 coins worth 900 total gold – with the multiplier and special coins of course, but not including any UT’s that could produce a gold value.
The shiny gold backed coins are worth 50 apiece. I tweaked the distribution to my liking to have the points in play equal to the gold points in play.
Choosing HI (home island) locations was an interesting process. Although the Crew Recyclers picked their home island first, they didn’t end up with an advantageous position, because everyone wanted to stay away from them! They need to capture enemy ships for points to win, since they have nearly no cargo available with all their (literally) killer combos. They chose a great turtle in the southwest, thinking other fleets would want to prioritize the Giant Turtle.
Overall it was interesting to see the locations picked because 41 of the 71 coins were located in the west, yet 4/6 fleets picked home islands in the east. This was due to a variety of reasons – the Crew Recyclers immediately showed up in the southwest, and everyone wanted to avoid getting attacked by such a dangerous foe. Even with round earth and whirlpools, the waterfall presented an intimidating challenge. Starting on the upper level meant you could go down easily without having to worry about having to go UP. Finally, the volume of reefs in the west made the fleets with 10 masters understandably nervous, since reefs and 10 masters don’t mix!
Will these two fleets have an easier time in great turtle bay due to less competition?
Going last, the Crew Recyclers also got to choose the initial wind direction. They picked north, as it would benefit at least their first turn or two.
Tall ships loom in the background above the bay:
The semi-“expanded” Shipwreck Cove, with plenty of loot to be found for those who dare:
Between the silky material of the blue fabric and the logistics of having two tables side by side at different heights, some slight movement of the waters would be inevitable. However, this seemed to only enhance the realism of the game, as waves and water movements could be seen instead of a permanently flat surface (also fitting given I actually had wind in the game).
The Cursed got things started with a BANG! 😀
After that walloping, the Golden Cranes fleet got a tiny measure of revenge by knocking a mast off the Delusion with the remaining canoe. The Frontier took off to the north via round earth, while part of the fleet hid in the fog to avoid the dual 10 master threat.
The Monarca had a great turn, using the wind, Mycron, and her ability to grab a bunch of coins and start heading back home all in one turn! The Peacock sailed out to escort her.
However, the Rum would slow her down next turn….
The English Mercenaries immediately split their fleet into 3. The Eighth Wonder would accompany the canoes and try to drain the Giant Turtle. The small ships headed to the reefs, as they would be immune or nearly immune to damage from Shipwreck Cove. The 4 masters headed north, eyeing the great turtle in the southwest corner via round earth.
The French liked their chances – the Cursed looked to be completely vacating the northeast, and the French could potentially have a lot of gold from 3 different beaches on the 5 beach island. The wind slowed them down a bit, but they had gold runners heading to the right places….
OR SO THEY THOUGHT. O_O
With a favorable wind blowing north, the Jade Vikings pounce and CRUSH the Celtic Fury!!
The Asgard prepares to explore a beach next turn as tons of carnage quickly piles up in the far east. One dismasting of a 10 master can create a huge debris field and maneuvering difficulties.
The Crew Recyclers end the round. Most of their ships sail northwest; the Royal James heads north. She has one of the only open cargo spaces in the fleet and intends to explore the Duke shipwreck.
Here is the second turn by The Cursed!
The Sea Rat explores new waters:
The Maui’s Fishhook is the next to brave the waterfall!
The immense Guichuan looms above:
What a wild sight! The Frontier balances on Ocean’s Edge, with not quite enough movement left to take the plunge!
The hoist fleet is totally scattered by the invasion of the Cursed 10 masters. The Buscador hides in the fog, with Mycron assisting the Sea Serpent to tow the Monarca into a smokepot specialist-created fog bank. They roll to successfully scuttle the Peacock.
The Cursed want both ships, so the wrath of Davy Jones’ Delusion is not likely to be over soon.
The English native canoes explore the Giant Turtle! Marines had no effect, and the canoes didn’t have enough individual cargo to load the Sunken Treasure. However, it looked like a huge haul for the English Mercenaries if they could get it home.
The Elthelfleda and Gallows round earth to the southwest, where they see the Crew Recyclers trying to sail around the Giant Turtle….
The Eighth Wonder has docked at the Giant Turtle to load up the Sunken Treasure and some coins the canoes didn’t have room for! Frederick Xernias will ensure the canoes get their gold home safely.
How confident should Xernias be? Lots of firepower potentially headed his way….
To the east!
The Pluton and Renard team up to dismast the Muninn! The Saber cannot quite into the action, but docks nearby at the French HI to be ready for combat next turn.
The Celtic Fury explores, giving her Power Cannons and Ammunition for exploding shot! Of course, with no cannons she won’t be able to use the UT’s anytime soon.
Here I explain the situation and play part of the Jade Viking turn!
The loaded Baochuan becomes even more crowded, with multiple named crew captures and a coin joining the full crew complement.
The Muninn escapes sinking by rowing through the whirlpool, and the Asgard drains the Celtic Fury of coins!
As expected the Crew Recyclers clash with the English!
The Armada couldn’t quite get the SAT from Castro and Vaccaro (the 4 result), which likely spared the Gallows. However, the two shots that connected knocked out half of the Gallows’ equipment arsenal along with two masts of course.
The Cristal attacks the Eighth Wonder by herself! But Larkon Presyl is flipped to Parley away one of the EW’s new coins! Between Parley, ignoring the first hit, and sheer durability, the EW is likely to be a very tough customer in this game.
The Crew Recycling fleet has completely split up, with the Flying Dutchman heading north to try and attack the English canoes. A Fearsome Creature eyes some vulnerable prey to the east, while the Royal James reaches the Duke shipwreck.
The end of the round sees considerable carnage piling up. Three 10 masters are absolutely wreaking havoc in the east.
The west is more calm, but fights have begun to break out.
With the first shift, the wind started blowing to the east!
As usual, the Cursed got the round started with some action!
Davy Jones rolls a 6 to force the Sea Serpent and Monarca out of the fog bank! This meant they couldn’t hide in the fog indefinitely with the smokepot-reverse captain strategy. Davy Jones was ready to hunt….
The Cursed take advantage! The Delusion captures the Peacock, while the Guichuan sails over (with some help from the wind) to dismast the Sea Serpent and steal all the gold from the Monarca with The Headhunter’s ability! O_O
The Rum would slow down the Guichuan for a turn, but the Cursed had no immediate threats to worry about.
The Maui’s Fishhook finds an interesting mix of coins after braving the waterfall:
Such a uniquely pretty ship with her silver crane reflecting off the water:
The MF went into a whirlpool and popped out of a nearby one.
The Sea Rat’s explorer fell overboard and drowned in the waterfall descent. This allowed the Frontier to reach over and grab coins from the Sultan shipwreck right in front of the Cursed! Jail would slow her down (helmsman and other crew back to HI), while the Curse of Davy Jones was tossed since it didn’t apply to any game pieces in play. Keep in mind that the two coins are worth 75 total gold!
It’s a bit of a comeback turn for Golden Cranes, as all three hoists explore on the same turn! The Buscador finds Necklace of the Sky along with some decent loot.
An extra action from Lord Mycron’s Patagonia allows the Frontier to explore a Flying Dutchman shipwreck with two more coins!
I love the aesthetic of Shipwreck Cove. In the background you can see the English reaching the far side of the area.
Even with Xavier Gedry giving +1 to cannon rolls with gold aboard, the Eighth Wonder only goes 3 for 8 against the Cristal del Obispo! The Spaniard’s ability allowed her to only lose 2 masts, meaning the Crew Recyclers were still in the fight against the junk. Of course, Parley meant the Mercenaries could do pretty much whatever they wanted for the time being.
Here comes HMS Gallows! In a highly anticipated attack, she did her job well. Exploding shot set the Rosal aflame, while the second shot was VERY unique: stinkpot shot used against a flotilla. O_O Sounds like a once in a Pirates CSG career moment! The Armada carried SAT with reroll, and the English wanted to ensure they wouldn’t be receiving 8 cargo-wrecking shots from the flotilla on the Crew Recyclers’ turn. The stinkpot shut down the crew, limiting the flotilla’s effectiveness. (orange 5 represents the stinkpot hit so I remember not to use the crew on their turn)
One of my favorite pictures from the game – lots of red, orange, and yellow:
The Elthelfleda attacked next, going 2 for 4 to cripple El Rosal:
TIME FOR CHAOS!
The Saber goes ballistic with a suicidal double switchblade assault!!
The Renard and Pluton tried to soften the Baochuan up a bit before the Saber’s crazy boarding attempt. They took off a few masts.
The Saber shoots 3 for 3 against the Baochuan!! However, both the Baochuan AND Asgard roll 6’s to defeat both of the Saber’s boarding parties!! O_O Commander Steven Decatur’s Crew Protect means the Saber doesn’t lose any crew, saving Jordan Dumas and company for the time being. The boarding party against the Baochuan was especially dramatic and a battle of the Gold Capturers: the Baochuan narrowly prevailed 11-10 to deny Bonny Peel from capturing Dragon Eyes!! (worth 10 gold!)
This is why you play!! One 10 master dismasted, carnage everywhere, and a blaze of glory switchblade suicide against two powerful opponents, all in a cramped area at Ocean’s Edge!!! 😀 O_O
This is a big reason why switchblades are one of my favorite ship types despite their lack of historicity – super fun and always creating incredible gameplay moments!
Seen from another angle, the Baochuan’s huge bulk almost completely obscures the attack. Can anyone compete with the Baochuan’s power in this game?
The French knew they were up against a superior foe once the Celtic Fury got beat up. Jordan Dumas is known for being a bit crazy, and his wild side showed through in a desperate moment to try and stave off the Jade Viking invasion.
An incredible sight:
A loaded up switchblade is one of the most fun ships to do a “blaze of glory” attack with. Cannons, blades, extra actions, captures, and chaos!!
In a savage counterattack, the Jade Vikings SINK the Celtic Fury AND the Saber!!! 3 masts combined are also knocked down on the Renard and Pluton. The Naegling dealt huge damage, ensuring the incredible Saber combo would not hurt anyone else in this game. It was a bit sad to see the switchblade and a 10 master go so early in the game, but it really proved the might of the Jade Vikings.
The Baochuan got an AA to move and shoot, but could barely hit the Pluton, keeping her alive! Some of the debris has floated over into the deckplate area, showing just how much devastation is quickly accumulating.
An amazing shot: the Celtic Fury’s green stern upside down as she sinks below the waves, with the Jade Vikings triumphant right near the French home island.
Wow. Time for another fleet!
The Royal James explores the Duke shipwreck! Turtles and Relics are two of the best UT’s, but the schooner may find a hard time giving Enemy of the State to an ally to unload one of the 2’s. There are almost no open cargo spaces in the Crew Recycling fleet, and the Flying Dutchman needs to keep her Eternal active.
The flames aboard El Rosal spread towards the bow, dooming the vessel. Alfonzo de Castilla takes the ship into the Gallows, but to no avail. (notice the unrealistic reflective “canvas” sail XD)
The Armada flotilla takes two masts and two crew off the Elthelfleda. At least one was snagged by the Crew Recyclers (Captain Davy Jones and Wraith).
The Cristal del Obispo tries to fire at the Eighth Wonder, netting her fleet another coin via Parley. The Flying Dutchman cannot catch the English native canoes and turns east with the wind.
After another round, here is the map:
The Delusion captures the Sea Serpent and begins towing her away. Davy Jones thought about turning the ship ghostly to assault the Descharges (top of picture), but it would be risky and unnecessary.
The Rattlesnake of the Golden Cranes fleet finds some nice coins by the waterfall. Trees repairs her missing mast, but she looks to be in trouble… the Crew Recyclers are approaching.
The Maui’s Fishhook raids the home island of the Crew Recyclers! Grim the Savage only has room for one coin, but the Golden Cranes fleet is desperate for anything with their fleet trashed and scattered.
The Buscador uses Necklace of the Sky to dock at the southwestern island! She used the second part of the Hoist ability to explore the island, finding good coins. Lost was ineffective even with a 5 roll, because almost all parts of the map were within S of other islands and terrain, including all of the 10 master locations at the time of the UT discovery. Golden Cranes placed a fog bank near their HI and some reefs in the east, trying to make the waterfall and Cursed HI waters more treacherous.
The King’s Ghost finds some UT’s at Shipwreck Cove, while HMS Ramsgate looks to explore it next turn. The abandoned shipwright might be a target of The Cursed if the Delusion ever needs it….
Now able to ignore the burning Rosal, the English 4 masters team up to sink the dangerous Armada. The English are mildly annoyed that the Buscador took gold from the great turtle that they had planned to explore before the Crew Recyclers forced their hand.
After some weird back and forth (Parley and bad shooting), the Eighth Wonder finally gets the better of the Cristal del Obispo.
The Pluton and Renard were able to row into the eastern whirlpool to escape the Jade Vikings’ wrath. However, the Descharges was captured in a nice move by the Asgard! This brings Neptune’s Trident into the Jade Viking fleet, making them even more dangerous.
A Fearsome Creature surrounds the Rattlesnake!
The Crew Recyclers have a plan to get some gold – the Flying Dutchman will cut off the Frontier before she can enter the whirlpool. The Frontier is slowed and loaded – she lost her helmsman to the Jail UT but now has plenty of gold aboard.
Really love everything about this picture.
As usual, Golden Cranes faces yet more trouble, this time from the Crew Recyclers:
A dramatic shift in the wind!! A 6 was rolled and now the wind blew west!
The wind shift changes the plans of the Cursed!! The Crew Recyclers aren’t the only fleet with designs on the Frontier! She is a golden egg just waiting to be snatched! XD
Here comes the Delusion!
The captured crew of the Sea Serpent (including Wayne Nolan) get a wild view as the Delusion ghosts through a reef and down the waterfall! O_O
How fitting – Davy Jones goes over the Ocean’s Edge! 😀
Sir Edmund’s view from the main topmast of the Guichuan:
And here she is! In an epic display of power, the Delusion dismasts the Frontier, with Christian Fiore cancelling the ship’s Secret Hold ability to steal Poseidon’s Breath!!
The truly All-Powerful Davy Jones and his ship will likely throw a wrench into the Crew Recyclers’ plans.
The shift in the wind also benefits the Golden Cranes fleet – the MF gets home via a whirlpool and Mycron.
Another vulnerable hoist! The Buscador is dismasted by the English!
HMS Ramsgate finds two UT’s at the northern end of Shipwreck Cove. I decided to toss Bad Maps because moving Shipwreck Cove didn’t make much sense thematically (not an island) or logistically (moving it 2L would cause bizarre over and underlaps and more issues than I had time for).
The Eighth Wonder captures the Cristal del Obispo! The native canoes have deposited their 5 coins and head north.
Tension rises in the center! The Frontier gets a successful scuttle roll from the Golden Cranes fleet. Even though she’ll almost definitely be captured before it happens next turn, it still creates some urgency for the fleets vying for her riches. The Royal James captures the Sea Rat from the Cursed and the Flying Dutchman turns towards the Delusion.
Potions and Brews couldn’t save the Rattlesnake from A Fearsome Creature’s wrath!
Another shift in the wind, as a 4 brought it back to its original heading!
The Delusion struts her stuff again. Here she snags the Frontier and dismasts the Flying Dutchman, as OE Davy Jones takes out his movie doppelganger.
Finally a game where the Delusion can really shine! She seems unstoppable!
And the other Cursed 10 master is still healthy! Finally fully recovered from the Rum, the Guichuan’s large crew complement is doing a good job towing the potentially valuable Monarca back home.
The Maui’s Fishhook recaptures the Peacock for Golden Cranes, while the French and Jade Vikings regroup and repair.
Christian Fiore is the only canceller in play, and unsurprisingly got to make some tough decisions in this game. Here he deferred cancelling the FD’s oarsman, allowing her to move away so he could cancel the Royal James’ captain to prevent any damage to the Delusion and her crew. (RJ has cargo wrecking via Chevalle AND crew killing, so 2 hits could eliminate 2 masts and 3 crew) Especially with the kraken lurking, it was still an intriguing situation. It would be interesting to see if the Delusion could recapture the Sea Rat and capture the FD while simultaneously denying the RJ and kraken.
The action after a day of play. The Buscador has been captured, furthering the expansion of the English Mercenary fleet. The English native canoes have round earthed to the south, looking to cut off the Turtles swimming home for the Crew Recyclers.
The east is quiet now, but the sheer volume of HI raiders and gold still in play will likely end that soon.
Another shift in the wind!
Game video of Cursed turn!
The MF grabbed the last coin from the tiny beach of the 5 beach island, heading home with the Peacock in tow.
The Eighth Wonder unloaded a coin with Dories, passing the captured Cristal to the King’s Ghost so she could be towed home and repaired. The Gallows is towing the Buscador home. (didn’t want to leave her in the south and forget)
The Baochuan unloads her gold captures and a coin, with the Asgard close behind. The Naegling is towing the Descharges home, while the Muninn goes out to grab a derelict or two from the Golden Cranes fleet.
Game video: big Cursed turn and aftermath!
A big party for the English Mercenaries! Nearly their entire fleet converges at home in a coincidence I see as fairly common in games. The Elthelfleda and Ramsgate will transfer Necklace of the Sky and Protection from Davy Jones to the Eighth Wonder, making her a huge teleportation threat. The Spanish captures start repairing and this fleet is definitely one of the favorites to win right now!
The native canoes get busy, killing three turtles and trapping them before they can reach their new home island!
Save the wee turtles? The Crew Recyclers will not be able to….
However, they are able to frustrate The Cursed a bit. The Sea Rat is sunk by A Fearsome Creature. The Royal James goes over a reef, trying to wreck the Frontier to force the Delusion to brave a reef to get her gold! However, the attempt barely fails with a 3 roll.
Game video: overview of first 2 rounds of the day
Yet another wind shift and it’s back to blowing northwards!
The Cursed were not able to have their ideal solution to the Crew Recycler problem, but the Delusion blasted A Fearsome Creature out of the game on 7 for 8 shooting (!) and successfully rolled to scuttle the Flying Dutchman.
Although her first shoot action was one of my best ever while using a 10 master (and the POLAR opposite of my Delusion’s early failures back in 2012), the Delusion couldn’t keep the luck going. She went 1/6 against the Royal James to not even dismast the ship. Still 8/14 overall on the turn was still more accurate than her cannon ranks (3’s and 4’s). Ibrahan Ozat S-boarded the RJ so Captain Nemo could capture Capitaine Chevalle.
The Guichuan strikes! She round earths to dock at the Golden Cranes HI, stealing all of their coins!
The MF would like to dock home her coins, but she knows that Grim the Savage will just steal them next turn! And Bianco’s Haulers allow the Guichuan to not be shot at while docked, so the Guichuan can just sit there as long as The Headhunter wants! Truly a nightmarish combo to face!
English Mercenaries in a big gearing up phase:
The poor turtles have no hope against 5 fast canoes….
In the east, plenty of movement and repairing. The Muninn captures the Sea Serpent, who had been previously captured by The Cursed.
The wind continues to shift just about every turn, going back to the west now!
The Delusion finally puts an end to the shenanigans in the center, ghosting over Shipwreck Cove and cancelling the RJ’s oarsman to capture the vessel. Crew Recycling 2.0 is the first fleet eliminated!!
The Monarca is taking advantage of the wind and goes over the falls. The Cursed want her to tow the Frontier home on the last leg of the trip, since the Delusion can’t dock with her Ex-Patriot crew aboard.
With the Maui’s Fishhook simply hiding out in the fog, the Guichuan finally turns for home. The Headhunter plans to return soon if the MF dumps her haul. In the background, you can see the Flying Dutchman start repairing.
All the turtles are gone, and it’s possible that the Crew Recyclers will finish with a total grand score of 0. The clustered English Mercenaries may be able to create some serious late game chaos, but they’re worried they might lose a potential lead in the points+gold race if any of their large ships get captured.
The French have mounted an admirable comeback. The Renard finds high value coins at the 5 beach island that the Pluton intended to explore early in the game.
The Asgard explores another beach on the island, finding a lot of gold as well:
Here we go again! The Vikings just won’t take it easy on the French, with the Naegling dismasting the Pluton right after she finished repairing!
The 6 signals a dramatic shift in the wind!
With an AA and wind help, the Asgard and Baochuan were able to get all 5 coins from the southeastern beach, potentially catapulting them into the lead. In the northwest, the English Mercenaries look to be assembling a large squadron for a potentially wild whirlpool raid. The Cursed are still trying to get the Frontier home, and should soon have a healthy Flying Dutchman to join the Guichuan and Delusion. Right now it looks like a tossup between The Cursed, English Mercenaries, and Jade Vikings. Neither of the other two remaining fleets have much of a chance, though their gold may play a big role in the final standings, especially if it gets stolen. The amount of HI raiders in play (Grim the Savage x2, Jozeran Danklidge, Wine) could extend the endgame period considerably, or the game could end suddenly if all gold is on HI’s at any point.
Game video: overview of Day 2!
The wind continues to shift, now blowing to the south!
Seeing that the King’s Ghost (with Gibraltar flotilla) will catch the Monarca if the latter takes over towing duties of the Frontier, Davy Jones simply uses an extra action to take the Frontier home himself. The Delusion’s second action of the turn was used to S-board the Renard, with Captain Nemo stealing her captain. The 1 result represents French futility on their own turn later in the round – the Renard missed on both 2S shots. The Guichuan has unloaded stolen loot from the Golden Cranes HI.
The English Mercenaries get a bit more aggressive, sinking the captured Royal James to deny her points and gold from The Cursed. At this point in the game, sinking hard-to-capture ships or logistical nightmares (RJ had oarsman and Enemy of the State aboard) became a reasonable option to pursue. The Monarca and Ramsgate both want the final coin from the Duke shipwreck.
The Eighth Wonder uses Danklidge to steal the lone coin on the Crew Recyclers’ HI! This means that fleet will indeed finish the game with a score of 0.
The ever-growing Jade Viking fleet is the complete opposite – lots of points and lots of gold. The Sea Serpent begins repairing as the Peacock is towed home and the Descharges sails out – all captured ships. Grabbing the Sea Serpent netted them 5 gold – the JV’s are happy to have Wayne Nolan’s Ransom payout of 5 rather than a reroller worth 0 in the final scores count.
Lady Kamaile (aboard the MF) of Golden Cranes hardly knows what to do – if Grim the Savage steals Cursed gold, the Guichuan can just steal it back. If they go after the Jade Vikings’ gold, the MF will probably be captured or sunk before she can get back home.
Another round begins, and the wind is back to blowing east!
The Cursed are doing some serious transfers of valuables. Knowing the King’s Ghost and Gibraltar would make short work of her, the Monarca returns home to tow the Frontier to safety.
Everything is being moved to the Guichuan due to her important status as the home island hoarder and the ship that could net the Cursed a bunch more gold in a short period of time. Besides, it seemed as if some of them were overkill on the other ships – Neptune’s Figurehead isn’t needed on the Frontier and won’t work on the Delusion due to Ex-Patriot, while the Delusion also gave away Relics because she has canceller Christian Fiore. Between all the stuff she’s carrying the Guichuan is nearly unshootable (Relics and Bianco’s Haulers), unsinkable (Neptune’s Figurehead), and unboardable (Ghost Ship). With a favorable wind, AA’s and Poseidon’s Breath, she might even be uncatchable too! O_O
Here’s something I forgot about since the setup phase! The Maui’s Fishhook rolled a 1 coming out of the fog, smashing into a rock to lose and mast and stay lose in the fog! XD
Unbelievable!! Lord Mycron gives the MF another action, but she rolls a 1 again to smash into the same rock and lose another mast! O_O After all the misfortune that befell the Golden Cranes fleet in this game, this seems like icing on the cake for their opponents. They are literally just beating themselves up at this point!
(Also reminds me of the Black Mamba’s horrid performance in my 2015 Economy Edition game where she rolled 1’s to dismast herself with her ability – here the MF cannot even roll a 2-6 to escape a simple fog bank, nearly getting dismasted in the process.)
The King’s Ghost with Gibraltar has been a loyal sidekick for the Ramsgate in this game. Having chased off La Monarca, they can now explore the Duke shipwreck in peace.
All four of these ships (not the 10) have gone from damaged to healthy! The English Mercenaries are ready to rock, but they are understandably hesitant due to the factors at play. Since points in play matter so much to the final score, they don’t want to lose anything in a daring whirlpool raid. In addition, the other fleets with the most gold (Cursed and Jade Vikings) have plenty of firepower of their own, with plenty of it right around their HI’s.
The Jade Vikings are approaching one of the ultimate luxuries in any Pirates CSG game – having more ships than they know what to do with. The Descharges and Baochuan are headed north, looking to take the final 2 coins from the 5 beach island. The only question is whether they’ll take them from the beach, the Renard, or another ship….
Taking advantage of the shifting wind, the Muninn round earths to the west and eliminates 4 of the 5 English native canoes! In a weird way this wasn’t a big deal. The canoes’ point cost of 12 is represented by the tribal chieftain, who is alive and well on the Elthelfleda. There is almost no gold left in play for the canoes to get, and their ability is unlikely to have much effect with a (currently) completely healthy fleet. However, the Jade Vikings wanted to eliminate as many threats and contingencies as possible, and the canoes were ripe for destruction.
A 6 reverses the wind direction! This would be an ominous sign, and one of extreme luck for one of the favorites….
A nice turn for The Cursed! The Delusion S boards the Renard to steal her oarsman with Captain Nemo, then sinks her! The Monarca docks home the Frontier with an AA, netting the Cursed a lot of gold! The Flying Dutchman finishes repairing, and the Guichuan heads north to raid the Golden Cranes HI and take back the gold that the MF stole.
I will admit my Delusion setup has some funny flaws – with Davy Jones rolling 1-4 so often for an extra action, Fantasma doesn’t even need to sacrifice Nemo’s captures that often.
The Ramsgate braves the reef that claimed the Duke, while the Eighth Wonder turns around and uses Dories to deposit the 2 from the Crew Recyclers’ HI. The final canoe flees into the fog, but where have some of those large ships in the northwest gone?
Through a whirlpool to emerge in a northeast! The captured Spanish ships are sent to steal gold from the vulnerable French home island, as the English Mercenaries suddenly remembered that HI raider Fernando Sanchez was still aboard the Buscador!
The English Mercenaries were trying to hedge their bets, sending a few ships to a relatively peaceful area to grab some lightly defended gold without risking their entire squadron. If things went wrong, the Gallows, Elthelfleda, AND Eighth Wonder were ready to arrive in the same area next turn. This part of the game is where the EM’s lack of extra actions and/or AA’s started to look like a weakness compared to the Cursed and Jade Vikings.
Now it was the Jade Viking turn. That 6 represents that they got BOTH AA’s, from Sigurd and Zheng He. O_O I also see a little something in the bottom right hand corner…. and the wind was blowing west. O_O
I must have been thinking about their options and possibilities for a good 15 minutes before deciding what their optimal choice was!
Here are the notes I took to figure things out, although I considered even more stuff than this:
Epic JV turn w/ both AA’s: Baochuan and others have TONS of options. Baochuan can attack Delusion and then try to Sac OR use an AA – either way, Delusion in big trouble. Fiore has no idea who/what to cancel – Captain (won’t get shot up as much on the first action), Gold Capture (save Davy Jones from being captured by Dragon Eyes), Sac (JV’s would need to use an AA on Baochuan). Should probably cancel captain because Delusion will sink since Eternal doesn’t work with the Ex-Patriots aboard.
Baochuan can also whirl to smash EM’s in the northwest, but not enough firepower in one action to cripple the Eighth Wonder enough to make it worthwhile. Can also whirl to hit Cristal+Buscador, but that could let the Delusion off the hook (though Descharges can hit Delusion a little with an AA).
In the end, it seems optimal to focus all firepower on one area – Baochuan leads the attack on the Delusion and uses Neptune’s Trident with the inevitable second action, whether it comes from Sac or an AA. Muninn gets an AA to whirl to the northeast and blast Buscador. Descharges assists the Baochuan against the Delusion.
And off I went! XD
When it was all said and done, the Delusion and Cristal del Obispo each had one mast remaining. Davy Jones was captured by Dragon Eyes (talk about a showdown!), and the Buscador was sunk (28 points out of play!).
The second 10 master to be absolutely mauled by the Jade Vikings in this game!
Suddenly the game has changed. The Delusion has gone from being one of the biggest threats with All-Powerful and a canceller, to a wimpy opponent that must run to avoid being sunk. The English Mercenaries suffer a large blow, and their arguably half-hearted offensive has backfired. The Jade Vikings already looked like a favorite – now it will be embarrassing if they lose!
The JV’s are also doing a fine job with captures.
Counting the Buscador, the Jade Vikings knocked out 14 masts this turn, even with mediocre shooting. If the Delusion and Cristal had been sunk as well with 4 more total hits, the game would probably be out of reach for the other fleets.
Always an epic sight full of carnage as a 10 master meets her match.
Can the Cursed recover to have a chance at winning?
The Jade Vikings have really been incredible this game, and now the Cursed and English Mercenaries are even more intimidated by them.
Time to flee! Saccing the Renard’s oarsman, Fantasma turns the Delusion ghostly and takes advantage of the wind (still blowing west) to reach the fog bank near the Cursed home island.
The Guichuan still round earths to approach the Golden Cranes HI – the Cursed want to pull off at least one more heist before the game ends, especially since the gold they’re eyeing was theirs. The MF pulls in to dock and repair – Bianco’s Haulers prevents the Guichuan from being shot at while docked. This means the MF basically can’t defend her gold, which is a horrible feeling for Lady Kamaile as she is forced to watch the Cursed take everything and get away with it. Such a brutal combo.
The English Mercenaries are feeling more timid than ever, like a shamed dog with its tail between its legs. The Gallows and Elthelfleda get on either side of the damaged Cristal so she can make it home to repair. Frederick Xernias considers the locations and risks of one more HI raid….
And now the Jade Vikings officially have more ships than they feel they need. The Peacock finishes repairing as the Asgard stands guard (Asguardian? as guardian…) over their HI. The Naegling heads west, unsure if she will try to intervene near the Golden Cranes HI, take the whirlpool somewhere, or neither.
The Cursed hold steady at their HI, with the Monarca and Flying Dutchman not receiving actions. If they sail out, the Baochuan may be able to move L+S+S+L+S+S between the wind and a Sac action. They also want to be ready to assist the Guichuan in case she needs support getting home with stolen loot. The Frontier repairs, while the Delusion just hides in the fog. The Cursed may keep the Delusion in the fog indefinitely because they want all of her points to count towards victory. (if she had any gold aboard, she’d be forced out)
The Pluton is keeping the French fleet alive. Both Leander Arnaud and Godiva both simply feel lucky to have avoided the blast from Neptune’s Trident.
The Descharges looks to explore the final gold location for the JV’s. The Sea Serpent is coming out to escort her home, having nothing better to do. Dragon Eyes wants to drop the captured Davy Jones off at home before the Baochuan potentially gets involved in a major attack to seal their victory.
The Ramsgate has taken the final coin from the Duke, which draws the attention of the Muninn – she is back in the west.
As Day 3 came to a close, I wondered… Should Guichuan raid HI of Golden Cranes or try for the JV HI? (especially considering Relics and Poseidon’s Breath) The latter would be insanely risky, but the UT’s could help the Guichuan achieve glory….
Day 4 Begins with Amazement!
With that, the Guichuan has all NINE of her cargo spaces filled with treasure! O_O
The captured Descharges loads the final coins from a beach! Now the Jade Vikings control both Rules of Thor AND Loki!
The Naegling catches the Flying Dutchman sailing off the Cursed home island and deals major damage!
The Sea Serpent and Baochuan head for home, while the Asgard and Peacock look to track and intercept the Guichuan on her potentially short journey home via round earth. The Asgard’s crew are beyond frustrated – imagine having a 10 master docked in your home port that is loaded with gold they stole from you, and you can’t shoot at it!!
But they should have stayed home!! The Guichuan gets going, turning ghostly and then blasting the Asgard and Peacock!! The loss of the Asgard is a big blow to the Jade Vikings, who lose an AA, 32 points, and a capable gunship.
The Flying Dutchman returns home to repair, shooting a mast off the Naegling, who is joined in the blockade by the Muninn. The Frontier and Monarca are standing pat, awaiting the arrival of the Guichuan and trying not to be captured or sunk.
Seeing an opportunity to cause a headache for the Cursed, the Muninn uses an AA to round earth, tow the Peacock (partially trying to block the Guichuan, although the latter has Ghost Ship), and shoot at the Guichuan to get her Relics! This leaves the Guichuan “wide open”….
Here they come again! The Baochuan surges through a whirlpool and round earths with Sac to come broadside to the Guichuan!!
The Baochuan connects 6 times, taking the Guichuan down to 3 masts!!
The red d6 is to mark that the Guichuan’s broken mast towards the stern is out as well.
The first two 10 masters released are duking it out on Ocean’s Edge:
Knowing that an AA and/or southerly wind could be combined with Ghost Ship to get the Guichuan nearly home, the Jade Vikings have taken the fight right to them. They intend to beat up and block the Guichuan as much as possible in an attempt to get their gold back. The problem is, The Headhunter is holding on to Neptune’s Figurehead – the UT makes him fearless. If the Jade Vikings sink the Guichuan, a ton of JV gold goes to the sea bottom while the Guichuan simply returns to her HI fully docked.
Le Pluton has sailed out to attack Le Descharges, as the French try to get a few more coins. However, a tied boarding party means Leander Arnaud can’t hoard any gold.
Complicating matters for The Cursed is the Maui’s Fishhook – with HI Hoarder Grim the Savage still alive and well, the MF poses a serious threat to the Cursed gold pile. It feels like there are a lot of different ways this endgame could go….
The Guichuan must escape! The Headhunter and Sammy the Skull turn her ghostly and hide in a fog bank, which is nearly due north of the Cursed HI. Fear will slightly slow the Baochuan on her turn.
The Cursed must stop the MF from raiding their HI again! The FD slams into her, but cannot massacre the crew. The Frontier redocks in an attempt to block the MF’s path to docking. The Delusion is nearly frozen – if she exits the fog even for one turn, multiple fleets are likely to do everything they can to sink her, which won’t be so difficult without Relics and the 7-9 extra masts she had earlier.
The English Mercenaries have been a bit of a “dark horse” winner candidate for a while now – here the Ramsgate unloads the coin from the Duke shipwreck (the last “wild” coin west of the waterfall) as the Cristal repairs.
Their other ships arrive in the northeast! The Eighth Wonder has Protection from Davy Jones to avoid whirlpool damage, while both English 4 masters roll high to avoid penalties. The English Mercenaries are hoping to seize this opportunity to raid at least one of the eastern HI’s (likely French, maybe Jade Viking) without getting into too much trouble as the Cursed and JV’s fight like mad just to the west.
The Pluton S-boards the Descharges before sinking her, netting Leander Arnaud and the French a 4 and Runes of Thor! This gives the French some revenge against the JV’s, denying them a capture and her 22 points of value.
Only one French ship still floating… she has done a fine job getting back into action after multiple maulings.
A bizarre change of heart! Showing the ever-changing nature of this game, the Jade Vikings send the captured Sea Serpent into a fog bank with her smokepot specialist-reverse captain combo, trying to block the English Mercenaries from messing with the Pluton! The JV’s are in fierce competition with both the Cursed AND the EM’s in this endgame. Giving the EM’s an easy capture and extra gold is not going to help the JV’s have the highest score in the end.
Dragon Eyes unloads a valuable capture – Davy Jones. An AA gets the Baochuan right back out towards teh action.
Much jockeying for position:
A dramatic turn of events as the wind shifts 180 degrees to the east!
The Guichuan also rolls a 6 to emerge from her fog bank! She turns ghostly…
… and joins the Delusion in the fog bank just off the Cursed home island!
Captain Davy Jones of the Flying Dutchman scares the crew aboard the Naegling, which will slow her this round. Then the FD again tries to kill the MF’s crew, but fails once more. The Frontier manages to knock a mast off the MF.
The situation has become an emergency for the Cursed. If the MF steals some coins from the Cursed HI, she has a combination of Secret Hold and nearby whirlpools and fog banks aiding her. In addition, the nearby JV’s could capture or sink her, making it difficult or impossible to get the gold back. El Fantasma decides he must act, taking the Delusion out of the fog at last and straight for the Maui’s Fishhook! The boarding party is an epic fail as one shot misses and Ibrahan Ozat and Sir Edmund are killed!! O_O (Eddie was sacced to no avail)
In an even more embarrassing display of utter futility, the MF rolls two 1’s in a row on 2L shots against the Delusion! (Mycron giving a second action) Christian Fiore cancelled Grim the Savage, or else the MF would have raided the HI.
I finally use the ability of the English native canoe! She gets a 6 to help the Cristal repair faster.
The Eighth Wonder steals a coin from the French home island right before the Pluton unloads some more gold!
The Jade Vikings are starting to encircle the Cursed home island… although they are slowed by the wind shift, they are determined to get revenge on the Guichuan and possibly even capture the MF after she loads Cursed gold.
The Guichuan gets a 5 out of her fog bank and wants to unload her HUGE haul ASAP! The FD simply rows out of the way, ducking into the fog bank to avoid being an obstacle.
She cannot make it through! With the fog bank on her port side and the starboard bow clipping the MF’s stern flag, the Guichuan is stuck! Activating Ghost Ship will prevent her from docking, along with the perfectly executed trick they need right now….
Things were getting desperate AND complicated!! The Guichuan had technically rammed the MF, as the Cursed wanted to kill the “other” Grim the Savage before the MF could dock at the Cursed HI. Or simply knock him out with some stink. However, the Jade Vikings saw the way the Cursed were thinking, and knew they HAD to act (if the Guichuan gets her gold home AND their other coins are safe from the MF, the game is quite likely out of reach). Zheng He flips Runes of Loki to force the Guichuan’s stinkpot specialist to miss, leaving Grim the Savage uncancelled!
However, the Guichuan easily wins the boarding party, and The Headhunter takes great delight in massacring and beheading the entire crew of the MF!!!
(only the American oarsman was “recycled”)
Now it was time for the key moment! The Frontier reached over and grabbed 8 of the Guichuan’s 9 coins with her hoist!!
Two of the coolest ships in the game working together!!
The Frontier redocks to simultaneously unload the HUGE haul of gold and block the Naegling from getting to the Guichuan!
Pretty great turn by the Cursed right? Most of the loot home safe with the MF neutralized! (and ripe for capture…)
ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? WHAT THE HELL IS THAT!?
La Monarca, the uncrewed gold runner with two 5S cannons, gets a pair of 6’s to dismast the mighty Naegling!!!!
WHAT A TURN!!
Things got serious real quick for the English Mercenaries. They were considering trying to end the game. At this point the only coins in play were the final coin on the Guichuan (about to be unloaded by her or the Frontier) and the stolen 7 on the Eighth Wonder. With the wind blowing east, the EW could potentially even round earth this turn and use Dories to possibly unload the final non-Cursed coin. However, the English Mercenaries realized that they probably didn’t have more combined gold+points than the Cursed.
This is another period of the game where I sat for a solid 10+ minutes trying to figure out what to do. The simple thing would be to end the game and have everyone count, but the EM’s would likely lose to the Cursed and maybe even the JV’s as well. Every other option carried a LOT of risk. If the EW stole another coin from the French HI, the Pluton and possibly Baochuan could attack her right afterwards. In the end, only one option seemed good enough to win the EM’s the game – steal at least one of the two 50 gold coins from the Cursed HI. If the EW could use her considerable supporting cast perfectly, she might be able to add 50 gold to the 35 (7×5 multiplier) she already carried, which might be enough to beat the Cursed. Of course, the journey there could eliminate a ton of the points in play, especially for the English Mercenaries.
Frederick Xernias decided the English Mercenaries had to go for it and not settle for what would likely be second place. The Eighth Wonder uses Necklace of the Sky to dock at a beach, putting her in position to raid the Cursed HI next turn!
Could this trigger a large war? The EM ships remaining in the west head to round earth their way to aid their fleetmates.
The French were pissed again. XD Leander Arnaud really hates the Jade Vikings and the English Mercenaries. He takes the Pluton into the Elthelfleda, blasting off two masts and killing the tribal chieftain in a boarding party! (so the EM’s were already down 12 points from deciding to stick it out – see how hard the decision making can be in the endgame? (especially when points in play count just as gold does))
Another turn for the Sea Serpent! The Jade Vikings had to switch sides again, this time away from the French. The EM’s now had the only non-Cursed HI raider in the game (Jozeran Danklidge on the EW), and the JV’s need more gold and points to win. If they could team with the EM’s just long enough for the EW to grab some Cursed gold, the Baochuan could try to steal it at the end. A devious plan by the JV’s, but one that was their only hope at this late stage of the game. The Guichuan’s double HI hoard completely smashed their chance of winning (which looked extremely high at the end of Day 3), so any plot against the Cursed seemed like a great idea. The Sea Serpent knocks a mast off the Pluton so the English can better assist the EW.
Their movements are hampered by the wind, but the Muninn and Baochuan move to assist the EW. The Muninn wants to block the Guichuan from blasting the EW, and maybe snag the MF in the process.
“Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” – Gore Verbinski
A time of impromptu alliances! With the Pluton about to be blasted apart by HMS Gallows, the French decide to lend the Cursed a hand against the hated JV’s and EM’s. (the Delusion did hit the Renard, but the French don’t have as much reason to hate the Cursed) Leander Arnaud plays Runes of Thor to change The Headhunter’s AA roll to a successful 6!
Side note: That Neptune’s Figurehead UT loomed VERY large here in the late game. It was effectively a trump card for the Cursed, because if a fleet sank the Guichuan, she would simply reappear at the Cursed HI with all TEN masts up again. With the Guichuan and the game action right near the Cursed HI already, nobody wanted to sink the Guichuan and deal with her at full strength again. Therefore, almost everybody was scared to sink the Guichuan since she would immediately come back stronger in the exact same battle area where nobody could afford to face her. In addition, the fleets were afraid that if the Guichuan came back with 10 masts in an instant, The Headhunter would feel confident in trying yet ANOTHER home island hoarding expedition, which would just further increase the Cursed gold reserves.
The Frontier uses her hoist to grab the final coin from the Guichuan, while the Monarca captures the Naegling!
The Guichuan shoots at the Muninn to get Relics back as the ships meet again. The Flying Dutchman emerges from the fog to capture the MF, while the Frontier deposits the Guichuan’s final coin from her epic double home island hoard turn.
Weirdly enough, the AA from Runes of Thor was only used on the Monarca to capture the Peacock. This is because the Guichuan’s turn was over due to the Relics, and the Cursed didn’t have anything better to do. It’s possible that both the JV’s and French held onto their Runes of Loki/Thor too long, or simply didn’t use them optimally. Of course, it seemed like the right time to use them while playing.
Things are looking pretty crowded… how the hell is the EW going to raid the Cursed HI?? XD
HMS Gallows blasts Le Pluton, killing Godiva (1 gold for the EM’s) and eliminating the French from the game!
This is where things got… weird. I was becoming frustrated by how long the potentially irrelevant endgame was taking, and the English Mercenaries were starting to consider a “surrender” on every one of their turns. Part of the problem is that the EW had to spend a turn exploring the beach to unload Necklace of the Sky in order to use the effect properly (something I didn’t know until this year, but it does make it less OP which is good).
Unable to reach the Guichuan, the Baochuan captures the Monarca. The JV’s know they have only an outside shot at winning now, and will try to capitalize on easy opportunities to add points to their fleet.
With only one coin technically left in play, almost all ships are concentrated in the northeast.
The Eighth Wonder has help, but it might be too late to the party to be effective…
A pretty neat sight to see, with 4 10 masters remaining for this interesting endgame situation. At the top you can just make out the rest of the EM ships preparing to round earth towards the action.
The wind shifts and blows north!
The Cursed score a coup??
The Flying Dutchman docks home the Maui’s Fishhook, and naturally the Cursed put her in a position to block the Muninn and EW’s movements. The Guichuan FINALLY docks home after her arduous journey, with 3 masts and all of her crew intact. She docks to block in the Muninn and EW as well….
At this point the EW is really running out of options, and Frederick Xernias begins to regret his decision to raid the Cursed HI. The ship has almost nowhere to maneuver, and getting out alive could prove impossible even if the Muninn doesn’t turn on him….
The King’s Ghost is the first of the reinforcements to arrive in the northeast, but the EM’s are still considering a kind of forfeit deal.
Time to play! The Eighth Wonder tries but cannot make it through! She can pin herself on the MF or wreck her starboard side on the rocks!
What a disaster!! The Cursed have effectively boxed in the new allies, and the ships cannot be shot at while at their home island of course!
The MF lost a mast (possibly a mistake on my part, though it wouldn’t matter in the end), and the Muninn captured her but only after losing 2 masts to the Guichuan’s 2L guns! The Naegling and Flying Dutchman were repairing, while the Frontier went out to grab the Peacock.
With no good targets to shoot at, the Baochuan has round earthed to tow the Monarca home. Things only got weirder and more convoluted from here….
The English Mercenaries are becoming very frustrated!! A northerly wind only makes their problems worse! The Eighth Wonder sinks the Maui’s Fishhook and docks at the Cursed home island where she steals one of the coins worth 50 gold!!! Annoyed by the mediocre help coming from the “ally” Jade Vikings, First Mate Ismail leads the gunners of the Gibraltar flotilla to sink the Sea Serpent! The EM reinforcements are here, and they are willing to take control by sheer force and brutality. Frederick Xernias just wants to get his gold and go home.
The magic of Ghost Ship!! An AA allows the Guichuan to swing around to the other side of the EW, knocking off 2 masts (black d6) with the help of the Naegling! (the Guichuan’s cannon accuracy fell apart here at the end of the game) The orange d6 on the EW marks that her crew have been hit by the Guichuan’s stinkpot specialist!! This is hugely important in slowing the ship, as it cancels a ton of abilities with such a loaded crew complement.
The shootout continues! The EW sinks the Muninn, as the EM/JV alliance has not panned out the way either side would have liked. Poor accuracy by competent gunners means that three EM game pieces are needed to dismast the Frontier.
The Baochuan is back! Dragon Eyes captures The Inquisitor! (also going 5 for 8 to nearly dismast the Cristal)
The wind shifts to the east:
Here we go again! The Cursed are absolutely having a ball with this game. The Guichuan stops being ghostly so she can dock at her home island and become immune to cannon fire again. She hits the EW a few times, and the FD follows with a few hits of her own. The 5 represents that 5 masts are down on the EW, leaving her at only half strength. Captain Davy Jones and Griffin prepare a deadly boarding party to massacre the crew of the EW (!) if they can get lucky….
Frederick Xernias demands an end to the madness!! He seeks a truce! With his flagship still struggling to move anywhere and near-invincible Cursed ships surrounding him (FD has Eternal-Ghost Ship-Massacre and a bunch of expendable crew, and Guichuan has Neptune’s Figurehead, Fear, stinkpot specialist, etc, both right at their HI), Xernias knows he is out of viable options to increase the English Mercenary total point score. In addition, his reinforcements may be further weakened by what would remain of the Baochuan, who still has Sac.
This was a bizarre and extremely rare case of a “strategic forfeit”, where surrendering was the best option for the fleet in question. The terms were simple: the Cursed would get back their stolen 50 coin, but the English Mercenaries would get to keep the 7 (worth 35 gold) on the EW that they had stolen from the French. Then the game would simply end. It’s very likely the EW would be sunk by the Cursed soon afterwards, or her fleet decimated by the combination of the Cursed and Baochuan. (plus, if the FD did succeed at that boarding party, the EW would lose all 30 points of her crew and be too slow to make it home with her stolen gold)
The Jade Vikings were not necessarily happy with the decision, but they didn’t control either of the coins in question and they were too far behind for me to really consider their opinion heavily at this point. XD (plus they didn’t have any HI raiders, so they couldn’t just snag a coin on their turn to keep the game alive)
Wow!! With that the game was finally over.
The Final Scores
In first place are The Cursed!!
1. Cursed: 647 total points; 460 gold, 187 points in play
2. English Mercenaries: 448 total points; 281 gold, 167 points in play
3. Jade Vikings: 148 total points; 82 gold (55 from coins, 27 from crew captures), 66 points in play (score goes up to 155 total if including The Inquisitor capture aboard Baochuan)
4. French: 50 total points; 50 gold, 0 points in play
5. Golden Cranes: 22 total points; 0 gold, 22 points in play
6. Crew Recyclers: 0
I highly recommend trying out the points in play and wind house rules!
What a memorable experience! This game was pretty wild. I enjoyed using the points in play + gold house rule. The scores are really crazy and lopsided, but I’m fine that they weren’t close – mostly to avoid controversy from the weird ending. The final few hours of the game were extremely strange. At the end of Day 3 it looked like the Jade Vikings would win. However, the Guichuan’s ridiculous double home island hoard epic raid proved to be the play of the game. The Cursed got very lucky with UT’s and different timing and location things.
I ran a few calculations to see if the English Mercenaries made the right decision, and it does look like they would have just ended up poorer if the game had continued. In a best case scenario, the EM’s would have gotten both the 50 gold coin back home from the Cursed along with capturing the Frontier and Peacock. The Cursed would end up with 597 (647-50), while the EM’s would finish with 527 (448+50 (coin)+17 (Frontier)+12 (Peacock w/equipment)). So the Cursed would still win by 70 gold!
The Cursed did so many things right. Capturing ships with consistency (Monarca, Flying Dutchman, Frontier, and many others) ensured that their points in play number stayed high, yet also provided them with logistical support in a tense and stressful endgame. The FD and Frontier held down the fort as they say, providing great support around the HI that allowed the Guichuan’s massive haul to be unloaded as threats were dealt with. The Delusion snagged both of those ships in her waterfall trip to the west, so her role cannot be ignored. She was a huge star in the first half+ of the game. Once she was crippled by the Baochuan, it was time for the Guichuan to shine brighter than ever. Grim the Savage teamed with Bianco’s Haulers for an international stealing party for the ages, raking in a TON of gold. I think the Guichuan may have stolen 6 coins from the Golden Cranes fleet and another 6 from the JV’s home island. If someone had been stupid enough to sink her and trigger Neptune’s Figurehead, there’s a solid chance she would have sunk the Eighth Wonder at the end or even gone after the French or EM HI’s for more booty.
The Golden Cranes fleet went second, but finished second to last. They didn’t have any defenses or firepower that were required to hang with the big boys in this brutal game. I think they could fare better in a 2 player game, a game with less big threats flying around, or a game by the normal rules where gold is the only win condition. Once the Cursed unleashed devastation, their fleet scattered and then got picked off around the map.
The English Mercenaries played very well and dominated most of the west, and eventually even some of the east as well. They lacked an extra action capability that allowed the Jade Vikings to dominate and allowed the Cursed to win. With some different crew choices or less tough customers in the endgame (FD and Guichuan cornered the EW), they may have emerged victorious. A nice showing by some of my customs along with the RtSS and Unreleased pieces. They had a a fine line to walk between being too passive and too aggressive, and wound up in 2nd place after two somewhat unsuccessful initiatives into the east.
The French were mostly crushed early by the aggressive Jade Vikings, but recovered nicely to finish first among the “has-beens”. They survived with just two ships for quite a while, and the Pluton’s valiant efforts will not soon be forgotten. I was very happy to see her in action a lot, as she is one of my sentimental favorites. Who knows how differently the game would have turned out if O’Brien had piloted the Celtic Fury to attack the Eighth Wonder very early in the game….
The Jade Vikings were a powerhouse from Turn 1. Without a doubt the most intimidating fleet for most of the game, all 4 of their powerful ships wreaked havoc. They were outsmarted by a super-Guichuan who took a lot of their riches and lived to tell the tale. The wheels completely came off at the end as their longships were sunk and captured. Some very impressive crew captures by Dragon Eyes (including Davy Jones himself) could not make up the difference, and the JV’s were disappointed to finish the game with far less points in play than when they started. A triumphant first three days of the game was wrecked by a horrible day 4.
The Crew Recyclers did not look like a fleet that would do well, so it’s not surprising to see them in last with 0 gold or points. They ended up with a tough HI location and their strategy was not exactly appropriate for this game (again, house rules determined after fleet selection of course). Splitting up their fleet around the bay area resulted in total annihilation. Still, it was nice to cross this fleet off my “bucket list” of fleets I want to use in games.
Please comment below what you thought of this game! 😀