The chaos continued, with more and more ships being sunk/dismasted. The Amercs continued to fight off the combined forces (though not actually allies) of the French and Spanish, but they were overwhelmed. The USS Stephens sunk, while the Amercs managed to use the nearby whirlpool to warp to the deserted southwest area, although they were only able to get four ships there, the Divine Dragon, the Nautilus, the Boston, and the cursed junk Clear Wind.
In the southeast corner, the English appeared to be losing the battle, having their HMS Gargantuan sunk and other ships dead in the water, derelict. The French were attacking the Amercs with everything they had, losing one Valois, both Bonapartes, and some masts. The Spanish continued to press from the opposite direction, and the Amercs would have lost the battle…
Now for the moment of truth! The two Spanish Concepcions, loaded with gold after exploring the last island, in the deserted northwest corner of the sea, had the last treasure on board. They didn’t have helmsman (I only have two for the Spanish), and so were sailing at only L speed. The Dragon and her Amerc comrades were possibly within striking range, and knowing that they wouldn’t win anyway, decided to cause some last-minute end-of-game chaos! The Dragon raced towards them as the Spanish approached their home island. The Spanish fleet directly to the east turned around and headed towards the approaching Amercs to try to intercept them before reaching the Spanish treasure galleons. Davy Jones suddenly loomed very large. The Dragon rolled a one and a four on consecutive turns, allowing the Dragon to catch the treasure ships just before they reached their home island (not making this up, they were literally within L of it!). The Dragon had been fully repaired from her battles earlier in the game and made short work of the Spanish ships, sinking both in one turn! The treasure is not divided between the two players in a multiplayer game with 4+ players, so it was removed from the game.
Now it was time to count the treasure. This was very dramatic, and between the first three fleets, very close as well. The final count:
1. Pirates: 48
2. Spanish: 45
3. English: 43
4. French: 28
5. Amercursedcorsairebels: 9
After I finished the final count (disappointed that the Pirates, of all nations, won, and because I came in close, but still only third), I realized just how important it was that the Divine Dragon had sunk both Spanish Concepcions. Guess how much treasure was on them: 11! This would have been enough if they had made it back to their home island, but instead it was removed, allowing the Pirates to win by a tiny margin of three. Now the what-ifs start: If the Dragon had been sunk back when she was in trouble, being hit by the Santa Ana with El Acorazado not far away. If the Spanish had put a helmsman on even just one of the Concepcions, she probably would have made it back. If the HMS Granville had gotten more than one hit on the Dragon not long before she went through the whirlpool (this is significant because the Granville has crew-killing built in, so she could’ve eliminated another crew on the next turn).
Alas, it was not the Spaniards’ day; the Pirates are once again victorious. They were fighting the English on the other side of the ocean when the Dragon interfered, which appears controversial. The Pirates and Amercs apparently never made a deal for an alliance, but they may have made a secret one, as they never fired on each other and the Amercs appeared to have helped the Pirates win. We will never know, this is just speculation. Maybe it was on purpose, but it does seem like Davy Jones to want to go out with a bang rather than just running perpetually from his adversaries. In cahoots, or not? On that note, I say goodbye to the biggest game I have played of Pirates, which included many great moments, excitement, and a mysterious ending that will puzzle us all…
P.S.: I am going on vacation tomorrow, so this will be it for a little while. Thanks for reading!