Dragon Slaughter – A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Dragon Slaughter

A Fitting Finale

12/30/2022

I met up with Witch, Phillip and Chris at The Game Shelf in Kent WA for our final games of 2022!  The first game would be the main one, with a build total of 100 points.  We used these house rules and all game pieces can be found in the Master Spreadsheet.  It would be the “Washington finale” for my friend Witch (for now), as he is moving to Portland Oregon in the new year.

I was hyped to use one of my “scariest” or most potent gimmick fleet ideas – one I developed from a fleet I used last December.  The idea was to abuse not one, not two, but all THREE of the Mycron-type named crew, with the “American Mycron” crew of George Washington LeBeaux (GWL) from Return to Savage Shores (RtSS) with the three sea dragons that exist.  It really is a perfect storm of “dragon slaughter” – three dragons, and three essential named crew to allow ALL of them to be given two actions every turn.  O_O  I knew the fleet wasn’t likely to be very effective at winning since I had 88 points invested in the grand combo, but I had been looking forward to trying it out for months.

Three Headed Dragon Fleet (100 point version) “Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon Fleet”
(55) Dragons: Angelica, Shal-Bala, Raptor Maw
(10) Patagonia + Robinson, Lord Mycron
(13) Le Coeur du Lion + Princess Arii Auraa, Capitaine Baudouin Deleflote, Didier Vidal (look for cancellers/etc.)
(12) Banshee’s Cry + Jonah, Anamaria, RtSS GWL
(10) Dragon + Lucky the Parrot, helmsman, explorer
UT’s: Missionary, Wolves, Curse of Davy Jones, Enemy of the State, Bloody Gold, Savage Natives, Scurvy, Monkey’s Paw

Normally I would use Annapolis with GWL for the final “home ship”, but I don’t have the Annapolis in my WA collection and BC would make for a better gold runner if I needed her to snag some.  The two spyer crew were specifically included to look for cancellers, as cancellers can completely nullify dragons by cancelling the Sea Dragon keyword which prevents them from moving at all.  Dragon is a nice gold runner that kept things very on-theme, but made for a few confusing moments during the game.  The UT’s were all negative, as my main goal was dragon slaughter.  It was my first time using both Bloody Gold and Savage Natives, the LE versions of the RotF UT’s Blood Money and Cursed Natives that have the negative abilities of the latter but without the faction biases (and therefore can hurt everyone).  The scariest part about this fleet was that I could basically sic the dragons on a single target out of nowhere and there was very little they could do about it.  In a full-scale assault, I could put 12 shots on a single target with guaranteed first-strike advantage.  O_O   Add in their abilities, and those shots might eliminate up to 4 cargo and 1 crew as well.  I’ve also been rewatching The Hobbit movies lately, so it was even more thematic!

It also brought back fun memories from childhood.  😀  In reality, I knew the “dragon slaughter” theme was likely a double entendre, as there might be dragon slaughter at some point, but the dragons were also very likely to get slaughtered. This became even more evident after seeing the opposing fleets.  XD  They can be quite fragile and of course cannot repair.

The night before the game I thought of something new to me – leaving crew on the home island during the first round or until you need them to avoid spyers like Lucky the Parrot being able to see them (especially on opponent turns when you go last).

Witch went first with the Jade Rebellion (dice represent quantity of crew per ship):

Chris came with BOTH Savage Shores 10 masters:

Phillip came with an impressive Pirate fleet:

Wizkids Pirates CSG fleet

I was actually ecstatic to go last, as it meant I placed the final terrain and picked my home island (HI) first.  I put a fog bank right next to the island I wanted, which the “home ships” would duck into early in the game to basically guarantee that I preserved my ability to give double actions to the dragons for as long as the dragons survived.  My “Blue Eyes Ultimate Smaug” trio set up in intimidating fashion, but these 10 masters would be a LOT to handle.

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

I quickly got to work spying 2 crew on every player’s turn, revealing this on the Zeus: Captain Blackheart, OE Calico Cat, Tia Dalma, explorer, firepot specialist, helmsman, oarsman x2. Within the first few rounds I also spotted a captain on the DHII, explorer on Cassandra, and (for Chris’ fleet) MI Eileen Brigid O’Brien and shipwright on the Celtic Fury, and Lawrence, SS Shap’ng Tsai and explorer x2 on the Shui Xian.  There were also two copies of Christian Fiore in play, on Witch’s Virtuous Wind and the Celtic Fury.  Basically, four cancellers that could all individually freeze any of my dragons in place if they got too close.  The spyers were really paying dividends, but they were revealing some nastiness the dragons might not be able to contend with.

At least they had a target in the first round!  The Neptune’s Hoard was sailing separate from her Pirate counterparts, and therefore got a taste of the dragon slaughter – dismasted with all her crew killed!!  O_O

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

However, the Dragon (ship) found Wolves on the island closest to my HI, meaning it would be quite difficult for me to get much gold at all.  The Virtuous Wind only went 1/3 against the Celtic Fury in the southwest corner, and was followed by an unsuccessful attack by the Grand Mountain, whose captain was cancelled by Christian Fiore.  The dragons fly back home to allow all three of my home ships to duck into the fog bank for protection.  The Dragon is looking to capture the Neptune’s Hoard and give me another gold runner.  The Noble Swan and Antelope have explored.

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Shui Xian comes through the whirlpool and dismasts the Dragon!  Captain Nemo captures the ship’s helmsman!

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

More dragon slaughter as Angelica gets a move+shoot double action to sink the Tiger’s Breath!  I had used spyers to see her carrying a 7 and 4, which was likely to get “plussed” to a total of 17 gold with the Pirate Sea Crane at Witch’s HI (who I had also spied, finding Genny Gallows aboard).  The TB was one of the most isolated targets this round, and I just couldn’t let her get home with all that.  Shal-Bala and Raptor Maw teamed up to sink the Noble Swan, eliminating even more gold from the game!

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Gold runners are having a horrific time so far today!

The “actual” dragon slaughter begins – Grand Mountain gets an EA from Count Gustov to take three segments off Angelica!

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

The dragons regrouped in the southeast, near a wild island my Banshee’s Cry might try to grab gold from (especially now that Angelica was so weak that it might not need as much support from GWL/etc).  Shui Xian captured the Dragon and towed her to Mercenary home waters in the northwest.  I was reluctant to pursue them because Celtic Fury was very nearby due to round earth, but even more because I didn’t want to expend the dragons in a futile attack on a 10 master.  At this point I had 9 “cannons” left between the three dragons, which is obviously less than a healthy 10 master, and my historically poor shooting luck made me want to conserve assets.  I also have found it disheartening to lose combat assets early in a large multiplayer game, as opposed to keeping them safe long-term and being able to exert more influence over the endgame.  There were also some rumors of an anti-dragon collaboration, and I wanted to get some gold if at all possible.  So, the dragons could just guard the SE island until the BC could arrive.  Celtic Fury has explored the SW island, allowing the Grand Mountain to regroup with the VW and repair with a shipwright.

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Fleets regrouping:

The Banshee’s Cry dumps Anamaria and GWL on my HI as Raptor Maw escorts her to the southeast via round earth.  Phillip has begun repairing the Neptune’s Hoard at his HI, but Cassandra finds a second copy of the Wolves UT in the north.

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

This was not a fight I liked my chances in….

Pirates CSG Raptor Maw sea dragon

I decided to chance it with Banshee’s Cry, knowing she wouldn’t make it.  I was very curious about the coins on the island.  My negative UT’s struck again, as Bloody Gold prevented the ship from loading either coin worth value.  Zeus dismasted her afterwards.

With a swoop and a slam, the partially repaired Neptune’s Hoard is sunk by Shal-Bala and Angelica!  More dragon slaughter!  The endgame was near, and it was time to go all out.

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

However, before Phillip can get any revenge, Chris and Witch appear on the scene!  The Celtic Fury carries Yeshaji Angria, and looks to raid Phillip’s HI!  The Shui Xian sails over round earth to make a threatening display!  The Grand Mountain and VW appear in the SE corner, making a massive climax likely inevitable!!  O_O  There’s something that can overshadow a three headed dragon triple threat – three cancelling 10 masters!

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

DHII shot 1/4 against the dragons, with the Zeus sinking the Antelope and crippling the Celtic Fury!

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Shal-Bala and Angelica are given actions to swoop attack the DHII and then fly back to my HI.  The DHII got swooped!  Another Pirate ship dismasted.

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

The captured Dragon then rammed the Zeus and blew her up with the Explosives UT!!  O_O

Angria had designs on Pirate gold, but they are dashed as the dragons rush to the scene!  The CF is dismasted as the dragon slaughter continues!

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

The Jades capture my Banshee’s Cry, but Bloody Gold demands a hefty sacrifice to give up either of the island’s coins.  A combination of cannon fire, dragon fire, and explosive fire has brought total wreckage to Pirate home waters.

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Rather than risking a dicey trip home with gold unlikely to win the game, Witch goes the bloodthirsty route and slams the Shui Xian, taking her down to 3 masts standing after Lawrence and the VW’s Fiore cancel each other out.  The carnage continues to mount!

The dragons continue swooping, this time dismasting the Cassandra and eliminating Phillip from active contention.  Angelica sinks the Celtic Fury and the Mercenary HI raider threat of Yeshaji Angria.  Shui Xian docks at the SE island.

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Grand Mountain attacks the dragons, killing Shal-Bala and injuring Raptor Maw:

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Shui Xian sacrificed Captain Nemo and Lawrence at the Bloody Gold island to load both of its coins (5 and 4), then took the whirlpool back home to the northwest.  However, the dragons coveted the gold with a deep sickness, and couldn’t let it fall into human hands.  Angelica and Raptor Maw used the last of their strength to fly over and dismast the ship with another swoop+fire attack!  Dragon slaughter yet again!

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

With both Phillip and Chris out of the game, the “half or more” endgame condition was triggered!

  1. Phillip: 23 gold
  2. Chris: 14
  3. Ben: 0 (4 units in play)
  4. Witch: 0 (2 units in play)

Wow!  An interesting game with an unsurprising ending, as Phillip had snagged the Spices UT and some other treasures early in the game.  Despite being a target of the dragons throughout, he managed to pull off a victory.  Chris had a very intimidating fleet and was in the running the whole time, but dragon slaughter proved to be too much as they dismasted the CF before she could HI raid, and sank the SX before she could return gold home.  If the “bloody 9” had gotten home, I think Chris would win a 23-23 tie based on units in play.

Although I wanted to get some gold, my own negative UT’s (Wolves and Bloody Gold) fittingly spoiled that goal.  However, I was extremely happy with how I was able to utilize the dragons, crushing various gold runners and sinking some ships.  I was very happy with how long they all lasted too, with all three influencing the endgame and finishing the game with two (barely) alive.  Someday I might try a 150+ point fleet that can more competitively utilize this gimmick idea!

Game 2

We had time for a second game at 40 points.  I didn’t have a second fleet ready, but it was easy to scale down to one multi-action dragon with similar gold runners. Phillip went first with the Zeus the cheapest Pirate ships in the game (BC, Rover, Mermaid, Jolly Mon), while I went second with this:

Raptor Maw
Patagonia + Robinson, Lord Mycron
Dragon + helmsman, explorer
Banshee’s Cry + explorer, oarsman

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Witch went third with HMS Granville, HMS Hyena, and the Mermaid.  Chris went last with the Speedy Return and American native canoes.  The setup was tighter overall, with heavy terrain clustered around the middle archipelago of close islands.

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Phillip was sick of dragons and rammed the Patagonia with the Zeus, winning the boarding party to kill Lord Mycron!  Raptor Maw swoops to eliminate two masts while the Dragon shoots off a third.  Patagonia and Banshee’s Cry flee into the fog bank.

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

What a scene!

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

The Mermaid found Wolves near the middle as fleets scattered for treasure:

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Zeus scares off the Raptor Maw who flies to the south by my gold runners.  The canoes load up, finding 9 gold via Sunken Treasure.

The Zeus whirls into the south and sacs, but only goes 2/7 against Raptor Maw!  My forces flee to avoid the hulking behemoth, living to fight another day.  Chris gets some gold home and becomes the early favorite to win.

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Zeus sacs again to chase down the Speedy Return, who engages to no avail, missing all shots!

The Dragon returns home 11 gold for me as the Patagonia captures the Jolly Mon after the latter rammed her mast off.  At the left, Witch has eliminated the Wolves via Trevor van Tyne (“TvTyne” as I like to call him), allowing the Hyena to load the island’s gold.  Blackheart tries to blast the Speedy Return, but is cancelled by DNT.

Speedy Return dismasts Witch’s Mermaid, my Banshee’s Cry loads the Mines UT, and in some bizarre setback of horrific luck, Zeus finds the Ghostly Encounter UT and Phillip rolls four 1’s in six rolls to eliminate nearly all of the ship’s crew!!  O_O  (including Captain Blackheart and the helmsman, completely crippling the ship)

The Speedy Return went after my Banshee’s Cry and did dismast her, but at the cost of her 3S cannon when the Mines exploded (it’s a trap!). My Banshee’s Cry still had her oarsman, but could not reach the safety of the huge fog bank and settled for the whirlpool instead, which unfortunately killed the oarsman and left her derelict in the northeast.  Dragon speeds east with the help of SM Calico Cat, who the Dragon found (via the Castaway UT) earlier in the game.  Raptor Maw guards her the best it can.  In the northwest, Zeus has loaded gold but is harassed by the American canoes on her long journey home.  Granville and Speedy Return engage each other in a lengthy fight, but neither is very successful between inept gunners and the Speedy Return’s defenses.  (Speedy Return was a powerhouse in this game, with an impressive setup of DNT, OE Montana Mays for SAT+Crew Protect, Wayne Nolan for Reroll, plus Captain Charles Richard, helmsman and chieftain.)

My ships (including the captured Jolly Mon) scrounge around for gold scraps as the action continues in the west, with both Speedy Return and Granville taking some damage.

With an SAT from Mays, the Speedy Return zoomed over to take a mast off the Dragon and got within S of Raptor Maw to cancel the Sea Dragon keyword, effectively dooming the beast.  The crippled Zeus arrives in home waters via the whirlpool.

Sea dragons and cancellers don’t mix!

With the help of Calico Cat, I believe I was able to board the Zeus 3 times in the last 2 rounds to try and steal her treasure, but couldn’t win any of them, allowing the Zeus to dock home her gold (including Ghostly Encounter, which was only worth 2 gold after it took a huge toll on Phillip’s flagship).

  1. Witch: 30 gold
  2. Chris: 29
  3. Phillip: 19
  4. Ben: 15

It was a fitting end for Witch in likely his last Washington game while living here, pulling off another super tight multiplayer win.  He did get extremely good coins, but Powder Pete also made a difference aboard HMS Hyena, showing once again that gold bonus abilities are incredibly good.

With that we bid him farewell for now and look back on a great year of playing the game against a multitude of amazing opponents.  2022 had by far my most plays since 2017 – thank you to all who indulged in this great game with me this year!  With that I turn my attention to other projects and ambitions, but I will be back on the seas playing again at some point….

Tactical Games against Witch – December 28th, 2022

A Trio of Tactical Games

12/28/2022

I played a trio of tactical games against Witch, a formidable opponent and good friend.  He will soon be moving to Portland Oregon, so we decided to have a few 1v1 games after a memorable year of playing together.  The build totals would increase each game: 40, 60, 80.  We use these house rules with a couple mentioned exceptions, and all game pieces can be found in the Master Spreadsheet.  The fleets for each game are listed in the order of play.

For the 40 point game, we agreed to use standard treasure rules with each player contributing 8 coins worth 15 gold – mostly because it was possibly the only time we’d ever face each other in a 1v1 40 point game (as close as we would get to standard).

English Pirates (Witch)
HMS Dauntless + Commodore Peregrine Stern, Dr. Clark Lewis, Brother Virgil, Countess Diana Doone (SM version), helmsman, oarsman
Banshee’s Cry + Lucky the Parrot (proxied by Lightning)
Mermaid

Fleet for Pirates CSG: English Pirates (Witch)

Guide Grim to the Goodies (Ben)
Cassandra + FN Grim the Savage, RotF Crimson Angel (common version), helmsman
Morocco + helmsman, explorer
Le Coeur de Lion + Jules de Cissey, captain, helmsman
Coins: 2×7,1
Terrain: Fog!

This is actually a dumbed-down version of the original fleet I made which I still haven’t finished.  In a competitive or standard environment the Coeur and her crew would be swapped for things like Hidden Cove or more gold runners/etc.  The idea is to “guide Grim” by spotting up to 4 coins per round with the Cassandra and Morocco’s abilities.  Through a filtered search of the various game pieces, I found that Cassandra is one of the most optimal ships to carry Grim the Savage in a small game – very high cargo, decent speed, proper faction that only needs one cargo space to bring him aboard with the “Free Ride” ability, and a cap of at least 11 points so a helmsman can fit as well.  This version of the Coeur is obviously inferior overall compared to the “du” version, but she’s one of my favorite French ships and packs a decent punch.

Guide Grim to the Goodies

I knew I wanted places to run in the case of a Grim hoard, so I placed 3 fog banks for my terrain.

Tactical Games of Pirates CSG

Witch had a spyer of his own, using Lucky the Parrot to spot the various crew in my fleet.  Dauntless used an early EA from Stern to snag a couple coins from the middle island, with the reef a joke to Dr. Clark Lewis’ navigation expertise.  Mermaid and Morocco have deposited gold, while the Cassandra round earths towards the Banshee’s Cry (BC).

Tactical Games against Witch - December 28th, 2022

At the top left there is a 0 coin on that NW island.  Morocco has checked out some leftovers from the Endeavour and found a pair of 2’s, which would bring me to 10 total.  I explore the SE island with Cassandra, finding Kharmic Idol (Witch wanted to knock out any UT’s I contributed, but I put in none tonight!) and three more 2’s.  This alerted me to the fact that I should win with 16 gold if I could just get Cassandra back safely.  As a result, the Coeur went on a heroic mission to sacrifice herself for the cause, blasting a mast off the Dauntless and blocking her path south as much as possible.

Tactical Games against Witch - December 28th, 2022

Jules de Cissey was killed in action to give Witch 1 gold, but the victory was completed soon afterwards.

  1. Ben: 16 gold
  2. Witch: 15

Game 2 featured some “D-tier” ships, as we had both agreed to a game between rather silly fleets.  We had also agreed to not use our normal gold house rule, instead opting to try out Redgoat’s realistic gold doubloons that he gave to me back in August 2022.  They were chosen randomly, with no UT’s present.

Spanish (Witch)
Napolitana + Capitán Alarico Castro, Castro’s Loyalists, RotF Luis Zuan, helmsman, oarsman
El Duque + helmsman, explorer
El Minnow + Fernando Sanchez, oarsman
Picador + Duque Alfonzo de Castilla, Duque Marcus Vaccaro

This was a pretty bizarre fleet that really shocked me with the placements of Alfonzo and Fernando.

This was a pretty bizarre fleet that really shocked me with the placements of Alfonzo and Fernando.

“Island of Misfit Toys” (Ben)
Burning Man + captain, helmsman
Asp + Bonny Peel, helmsman, oarsman
HMS Bletchley
Le Colibri + helmsman, explorer
Terrain: Reefs!

My fleet is listed in the order I chose the ships, though realistically the Asp was the flagship. Burning Man is just a terrible LE that I will have a hard time justifying in any other kind of game. Her and Asp are some ships I’ve been wanting to try out though, with Asp being the lesser half of the RV SR ships as Star of Siam gets all the attention. Her 11 point cap was perfect for a basic Bonny Peel setup, with the +1 to boards hopefully helping the ship capture some crew. Bletchley and Colibri are very ineffective gold runners I had convenient, so they were included to have a bit of a 1 master and L-immunity theme. A bit of a random name for the fleet, but fitting for the Christmas season. I also want to get back into the habit of naming my fleets more often, as it makes them a bit more fun to wield and can get into some fun lore and flavor experiments.

"Island of Misfit Toys" fleet

One of many amazing gifts from Redgoat – as close to real pieces of eight as I’m likely to use in this game!  They have a pretty authentic feel to them, and make satisfying clink sounds.

Redgoat PDXYAR real gold coins

Various ships scattered for gold:

Tactical Games against Witch - December 28th, 2022

I had a rather expensive fleet (SR, DJC LE and two rares), but would it be remotely effective?

Tactical Games against Witch - December 28th, 2022

Picador shows no fear but gets slammed by my gunships in the west!  She loses a mast, but more importantly Bonny Peel captures the Duque Alfonzo de Castilla in the boarding party!

Colibri and Bletchley return to the “reefed” island for additional loot, but to my surprise Fernando Sanchez has been hiding out on El Minnow!  O_O  He steals a 5 from my HI!  Napolitana stands guard while Duque ferries coins from the northeast.

Tactical Games against Witch - December 28th, 2022

I was going hard on Picador to not only capture both of her crew for a total payout of 10 gold via Bonny Peel, but to capture the ship as well.  Burning Man was wise to try and stay clear of Napolitana’s impressive striking range in the case of an SAT.

It took a bit of time but Bonny Peel had both her captures along with the Burning Man taking Picador as a prize.  Napolitana has rammed the Bletchley, but the latter just repairs the mast on my turn.

I was relieved when Asp and Burning Man docked at home a few turns later, netting me 10 gold from the Gold Capture/Ransom payouts.  However, of the 10 actual gold I had unloaded from coins, Fernando Sanchez had already stolen half.  With no HI raider of my own, I had some catching up to do in the gold race, and might have to rely on a fort if the Minnow’s L-immunity and turtle shell panels proved to be too much against my meager firepower.

With an SAT from Castro, Napolitana zoomed all the way down the ocean from the north and rammed Colibri derelict.  However, I made sure to scare her off on my turn, with Bletchley ramming a mast off and building Paradis de la Mer.

Tactical Games against Witch - December 28th, 2022

However, this prompts Witch to build a fort of his own – Fortaleza Dorada.  In a game with such small-scale firepower, the forts represented huge challenges and made it increasingly unlikely that the game would end with the “all gold unloaded to HI’s” condition.  I partly felt the need to build the fort to deter El Minnow, who still came back for more and stole a 1 before getting rammed (unsuccessfully) by the captured Picador.  One oddity I thought of when building Paradis was that I only had 5 (unspectacular) ships in my fleet, but they were each from a faction that have forts available to them, meaning I could build any one of the 10 forts in the game.  I thought about building a second fort after potentially ferrying some gold back to my HI, but decided it was too risky against the Napolitana since then my fleet would have to be split defending two forts instead of just one.

I was tentatively hoping to suicide my fleet while the Duque was carrying gold home from Fortaleza, as it looked increasingly unlikely that I would be able to win with gold long-term.  However, I still had 5 ships and some of them were 1 masters that would probably need enemy help in order to derelict/etc.  Picador shoots 2/2 to smash the Minnow’s turtle panels.  I turned the rest of my fleet around, knowing that even a full-scale assault on Fortaleza was unlikely to succeed with such crappy cannons (and some unable to hit the fort due to its L-immunity).

My extreme ineptitude with ramming and boarding the Minnow continued, as various 1’s were rolled much to Spanish amusement.

With even the Minnow’s stolen 1 looking like a lost cause, I decide to play for a gold count as fast as possible.  Asp gets dismasted by Napolitana, while Bletchley heads to Fortaleza to face her 3S cannons.  The Minnow saga continues, with me choosing to eliminate a crew (Witch chose Fernando Sanchez) partly to see what he would do with the choice between him and the oarsman.

Duque got her coins from Fortaleza home, likely dooming my game.  I managed to capture the Minnow (recapturing my 1 coin) but lost the Asp and Colibri to the Napolitana.

Witch played into my desire to end the game ASAP more than I thought he would, eliminating my fleet from active contention, but it was in vain!

  1. Witch: 36 gold
  2. Ben: 26

The Spanish had acquired some valuable loot, which was plenty enough to overcome Bonny Peel’s early game gold captures.  Each fleet ended with a fort in play, and I believe that no gold was lost to the depths in this game.  Witch had won the misfit match!

Game 3 featured the highest build total (80 points) and probably the most competitive fleets.

Spanish Treasure Galleons (Ben)
CC La Santa Ana + LE Dominic Freda, helmsman, oarsman
Concepcion + SM Castro, Duque Marcus Vaccaro, RotF Luis Zuan, helmsman, explorer, oarsman
Acorazado + Sebastián Rojo (RtSS), captain, helmsman, shipwright, oarsmen x3
Coins: all 0’s!
Terrain: Fog + whirlpools

I’ve been wanting to use a fleet with all 0 coins for a while, as this year I finally have enough (minimum eight) to use exclusively 0’s.  I’ve thought about doing it in a multiplayer game, but 1v1 provides the best opportunity to influence the total amount of gold in play, which I was trying to minimize here.  The 4 masted galleons would use their +2 bonuses on as many coins as possible, while the legendary Battleship would stand guard and ruin any foes with a potential “surprise Sac”, an ability unavailable to the Spanish in regular expansions.

Spanish Treasure Galleons (Ben)

French (Witch)
La Corse (DJC version proxied by Le Bourbon) + Amiral Louis Cartier, Mademoiselle Josephine Godiva, captain, helmsman, shipwright, oarsman
La Lyon + CC Lenoir, captain, helmsman, oarsman
La Dijon + helmsman, explorer
L’Intrepide + Maurice Aristide
Carcharodon (custom version for 8 points with no Massacre ability)

Pirates CSG French fleet

There is also a whirlpool just southeast of the French HI which isn’t visible in some of the pictures but played a large role in the early game positioning meta.

Santa Ana found a strange island just south of my HI: Cannibals, Wine, and two 0’s.  The Cannibals ate her oarsman, but the Wine could come in handy.  Of course, the 0’s were no issue for Dominic Freda, who later unloaded one of them for 2 total gold. I made a gaffe with the Santa Ana by taking both 0’s initially, later re-exploring the island to dump one of them because I really wanted to +2 every coin I brought home (or at least all the 0’s because they’d be worthless without it).  Castro was fully in league with me tonight, as he must have been sick in the prior game while serving Captain Witch.  He came out of the the gate in this game on fire, as I may have gotten the first 4-5 SAT’s in a row with him here (with help from Duque Marcus Vaccaro rerolling of course).  The first SAT helped the Concepcion speed out to the SW island and back with a 4, which was turned into a 6.  The other coins on that island were 4,4,0, making it a prime target of my efforts in the early game.  In the southeast, the Intrepide is about to find the Wolves UT, as Witch’s UT inclusions backfired a bit.  Of course, he did have Dijon to trade it away.  The French gunships round earth to the west, though they are still close to the eastern whirlpool and therefore a threat to anything near my HI that isn’t docked.

Castro got another SAT and I had to ponder my options for a bit.  Eventually I settled on zipping to the south via round earth to load both of the 4’s in the southwest (free transfer to dump the explorer at home before moving), hoping Witch wouldn’t get an EA for La Corse.  He did though!  La Corse rounded the island, shooting and ramming to take off 3 of the Concepcion’s 4 masts and steal one of the 4’s!

However, my luck held strong as I gleefully sped into the giant fog bank, then used an SAT and rolled a perfect 2 in order to emerge next to my HI and dock home a 4 for 6 gold!  Santa Ana had been busy too, just at a far slower pace.  La Dijon had traded a coin away from the NW island earlier in the game, putting what must have been something undesirable on the island just south of my HI.  Fearing Plague, I dumped Santa Ana’s two remaining crew (Freda and helmsman) and went back to explore the island.  It was just a 0, so I had been wrong about finding a negative UT.  Having no reason to load the coin and bring it home only to unload it for no value, Santa Ana wasted turns simply going back home, loading up her crew, and ferrying the coin home.  She was doing her job… just extremely cautiously.  XD

The French are now trying to maximize their own bonuses, as coins are individually transferred to the Intrepide so Aristide can up their values by 2 each.  The Dijon has flung the Wolves to the NW island, giving the French access to the other coins in the southeast!  With both players knowing the value of being cagey, neither fleet is willing to risk a double action attack through the whirlpool to interrupt each other’s progress.

The guarded and cagey strategies continued on both sides – I know Witch too well to get into a hasty fight with him and lose, and he’s way too good of a player to make simple mistakes that open the door for me.  At one point he had the last “non-Wolves” gold in play about to return to his HI, at which point he was assuming the game would end, with neither player having a musketeer or Marine.  However… the only revealed crew on the Acorazado at this point was the helmsman.  Rojo had been lying in wait the whole game, and I wanted to get as many other coins “plussed” as I could before risking my entire fleet on the Wolf-hunting gamble.  This late in the game though, the time seemed right.  Acorazado slowly sailed behind the Santa Ana, who by now had done a large crew swap with the Concepcion, leaving the Concepcion with just a helmsman and explorer as the Santa Ana took aboard Castro, Vaccaro and Zuan to optimize her for a late-game Wine raid.

Rojo is finally flipped, the Wolves are killed in one shot, and the Santa Ana loads the final coin!

The problem now was that I had no clue who had more gold, so I needed to make victory more likely by not just getting the 0 (+2) home, but using the Wine effectively to do a dramatic flip in the gold scores.  This seemed very risky and difficult to pull off with the French still fluttering around their HI.  Santa Ana transferred the “final” coin to the Concepcion for safekeeping, with the latter immediately sailing into the huge fog bank that helped her earlier.  Welcome to Pirates with Ben (in fog)!  XD

The French then seemingly charged my HI, which allowed the Santa Ana (with yet another SAT from Castro!) to whirl to the French HI and exchange the Wine for a 7!  Acorazado followed for protection.

Tactical Games against Witch - December 28th, 2022

Cartier failed to give La Corse an EA on the French turn and the French couldn’t reach the Cassandra effectively.  I believe Castro then got another SAT and sped home with the 7, with the Concepcion emerging from fog to up my score by an additional 2 gold.  From the coins I saw on the French HI, I knew it was essential to steal with the Wine.  The game was over, though we had a brief fight afterwards just for kicks since almost no combat occurred during this game.  Acorazado had her captain cancelled by Lenoir (aboard the Lyon!  I was leaning more towards Corse) but sacced with Rojo to deal just 2 hits.  The French would have sunk her partly due to a pin from Carcharodon, but it didn’t matter.

  1. Ben: 27 gold
  2. Witch: 16

The game was far closer than the scores suggest.  Before the Wine and the final 0 (+2 via Concepcion) were resolved, Witch was winning 23-18.  It could have been 23-20 in Witch’s favor if the Concepcion had simply come home.  Once I had the 7 on the Santa Ana and saw Witch’s score drop to 16 (against my minimum of 18), I knew I was likely to win since I would try to sink the 7 if I couldn’t return it home.  Witch had been worried all game that an HI raider was on the Acorazado.  I was worried that Lyon had a double action crew as well, or that the F&S version of Lenoir was on the Corse (either way Acorazado wouldn’t be able to fight both at the same time without a canceller of her own).

This was a pretty interesting game that saw both players extremely cagey and cautious, each of us knowing that the other had some nasty facedown crew ready to wreak havoc if a full-scale fight occurred.  Perhaps it’s fitting that we won’t be able to play each other much more in 1v1 games, as I think this result is somewhat inevitable between such evenly matched players.  It arguably comes down to the simple luck involved, which was completely on my side in this game.  I would estimate Castro’s SAT worked something like 10/13 times, while my fog exit locations avoided the big reef and even Witch’s UT’s didn’t help him at all.  Cannibals was inconsequential, Wine won me the game, and crazy enough I randomly had a Marine ready for Wolves even though I didn’t contribute it and there were no other ways to eliminate them.

Thanks for reading about these tactical games full of gold and crew intrigue!  The PNW Pirates will be playing our final game of the year on Friday 12/30 – an epic 100 point multiplayer match!

Santa Slaughter – Christmas Evil! (December 18th, 2022)

Santa Slaughter – Christmas Evil

12/18/2022

For years I have wanted to play a holiday themed game in December using the Sleigh and Captain Whitebeard.  I’ve never liked the game pieces because they’re broken and illegal to use, but it’s been on my bucket list for long enough and I finally acquired them a year or two ago.  However, in addition to the house rules normally in effect, this game would feature some more:

-Sink the Sleigh, 25 gold is put on your HI and can’t be removed from it. Eliminate Whitebeard (separate from sinking), and receive 10 gold that also can’t be removed.
-Sleigh starts with 10 random non-UT’s. Each non-Whitebeard fleet can contribute a UT or two but the rest of the gold was random to save time.

Without further ado here are the fleets in the order of play! All game pieces can be found in the Master Spreadsheet.

Cursed
Behemoth
Sea Rat + helmsman, explorer, oarsman
Nightmare + helmsman, oarsman

Americans
Jarvis + BC DNT (canceller), RotF Ralph David, captain
USS Maryland + DJC George Washington LeBeaux, Wayne Nolan, helmsman

English
Cygnet + RotF Hermione Gold, BC Bratley (canceller), oarsman
HMS Rye + explorer
-towing Gibraltar

Pirates
Wicked Wench + F&S Hammersmith, oarsman
Red Curse + Tia Dalma, MI “Cannonball” Gallows, captain, helmsman

Whitebeard’s Raiders
Sleigh + Captain Whitebeard

Captain Whitebeard had the unfortunate distinction of rolling poorly and would go last, which got the other factions excited about what could happen with all of them doing their best to hinder the Sleigh throughout the first round.  There was a massive amount of factions scheming together and trying to come up with ways to best the Sleigh and Santa.  However, each faction had their own goals of winning in mind as well, so not every ship or crew choice was solely with “Santa Slaughter” in mind.  I did take some inspiration from Xerecs’ game in December 2020.

The Cursed aimed to copy the “Ho Ho Ho” ability with Behemoth to freeze the Sleigh in place, but had a couple gold runners including a home island raider.  There was some HI raider prevalence, because the factions anticipated that as soon as the Sleigh got an action, Whitebeard would redock the Sleigh to unload his 10 coins for a 1st turn windfall.  Talk about unfair!  XD  As a result, some HI raiders found their way into the fleets in anticipation of stealing from Santa’s hoard after he gets taken out.  The Pirates went with a pair, but still made sure they had a canceller as well.  The English were the most hardcore about taking down Whitebeard, stacking their fleet with two cancellers, a ship that can’t be hit by the Sleigh’s L-range cannons, and a flotilla to pour in a heavy fire.  They looked intimidating but started the game with only 1 cargo space open.  With the Cursed opting not to include one of their L-movers, the Americans nearly felt obligated to include GWL as a way to move the Sleigh away from her home island.  Wayne Nolan would be there to assist, likely making the Maryland a camped out support ship in the early game.  After those 16 points were spent, they had just enough to add a nice combo – the Jarvis can’t be hit by L range guns, has a canceller to cancel the Sleigh’s defenses, and Eternal to boot.

Here is the setup at the end of island and terrain placement.  The 4 factions who don’t call the North Pole home all teamed up and collaborated – islands close together to minimize the Sleigh’s base move and cannon range, with whirlpools peppering the map so the various cancellers and L-immune ships could reach the Sleigh as early in the game as possible to try and force a decisive group action to take down Santa. Whitebeard placed 3 fog banks, seeing the odds stacked against him.  Knowing he would pick his home island (HI) first, he put a couple near an island in the southeast but they were quickly covered with terrain from the other factions.

Fleet area:

Whitebeard chose his HI to be near the undisturbed fog bank (which he placed as the last terrain of course), but was quickly seeing Pirate and English flags very close by.  With Santa surrounded so quickly in the setup process, the Americans and Cursed felt a little more freedom to branch out and surreptitiously give themselves a better chance in the long term gold race.  There was a lot of fear and anticipation around what Whitebeard was capable of, so each decision felt like a potential mistake – would all four factions have to surround him to give themselves a chance?

Santa Slaughter Pirates CSG game

Some closeups of the fleets in play order!

Cursed ships

The Sleigh in all her glory!  How would she perform in her first game for me?  I definitely anticipate this being a rare occurrence, though maybe I’ll try to bring her out every other holiday season or something.

Sleigh ship Pirates CSG with Captain Whitebeard Wizkids Pirates 2005 holiday promo

The Cursed got things started by copying the Rye’s cancel ability and whirling into position off Whitebeard’s HI.

Then the Maryland flipped GWL and rolled for L moving!  The first roll wasn’t enough but Wayne Nolan bailed him out with a 6!  The Sleigh is moved L away from her home island, straight towards the waiting cannons of the English!!  O_O

Santa Slaughter - Christmas Evil! (December 18th, 2022)

SANTA SLAUGHTER!!

With Bratley and the Rye canceling the Sleigh’s defenses, the Cygnet and Gibraltar shoot a combined 5/8 (coming down to the last shot!) to sink the Sleigh and Captain Whitebeard!!

Santa Slaughter - Christmas Evil! (December 18th, 2022)

The English thought about trying to capture the Sleigh, but figured Behemoth would cause problems for them if they attempted it.  Besides, they now had 25 gold permanently on their HI and the Sleigh went down with 21 gold on her, less than what fleets were expecting.

With that, the game had been reset on the very first round.  Although the English now had a decided advantage in the gold race, it was basically a regular 4 fleet game from then onwards.  At the right, both Pirate ships and Cursed gold runners have docked at wild islands.

Santa Slaughter - Christmas Evil! (December 18th, 2022)

The second round featured the Pirates getting scared, but for good reason.  The submerged Behemoth whirled near their HI, with Canceller copied for pretty much every round of the entire game.  In this case, Red Curse had no explorer and would likely have her helmsman cancelled to prevent her from returning with gold from a wild island even if she didn’t get hit first.  Complicating matters was the Cygnet sailing north, who also had a canceller aboard not to mention S+S+S speed with some firepower. The Red Curse simply returned home, hoping the Wicked Wench would find good treasures on her island. The Jarvis explored, finding a 6 for the Americans while HMS Rye heads north in the west.  The Sea Rat docked home a nice haul of 13 gold for the Cursed on three coins.

GWL strikes again!  However, this time it is far less consequential (compared to being instrumental in the English sinking of the Sleigh), with the Nightmare being pulled away from the Cursed HI so the Jarvis can shoot her.  The Jarvis only goes 1/3.  The Sea Rat is taking the safe fog route to the “terrain island” down south, while Behemoth heads east to make sure the Jarvis knows her place.

Santa Slaughter - Christmas Evil! (December 18th, 2022)

Sea Rat finds some goodies!  The gold is boring, but the UT’s could be huge – Cursed Conch essentially gives the Cursed a Mycron, which they’d love to put on the Nightmare as she is less valuable than the Sea Rat.  Runes of Odin is probably not the only rune in play… although they were included with the goal of taking down the Sleigh with an Odin Missile, perhaps the combo can still be pivotal….

Wicked Wench did indeed find an incredible island – Runes of Magic,+6,6,2!  She returns the 14 gold as the Red Curse comes over to grab the rune.  The Pirates and Cursed don’t know that the other has half of the epic rune combo, but they’d both like to have them entirely within their control….

Santa Slaughter - Christmas Evil! (December 18th, 2022)

The Rye found some good coins in the northwest, returning one of them home.  She also dumped her explorer to open up her other cargo space, as she anticipates making trips back to that same island to slowly drain it.  Cygnet explored the island Red Curse originally wanted, but is full and can’t take any coins, turning west for a possible American threat.  The Pirates see that door open and send both of their ships west, happy to finally have their home waters free of big threats.  Behemoth has chased away the Jarvis and the Nightmare repairs from the attack.  With L-moving options fewer than on the first turn or two, the Maryland drops GWL to open up a cargo space and search for treasure.

Whoa!  The Cygnet turns around to go back east, and is joined by the Rye and Gibraltar as conflict looks imminent!  The English want to protect the gold on that island the Pirates have headed back to, and build Ramsgate on it right in front of the Pirates’ faces!

English build Ramsgate

With the islands so close together, Ramsgate’s L+L cannon is able to blanket the Pirate HI.  However, unbeknownst to them, the Cursed and Pirates were hastily making a deal….

ODIN STRIKES AGAIN!!  An icy Odin Missile descends from the heavens and blows up the Cygnet!!  One big play followed by another!  At the beginning of the Pirate turn, the Cursed agreed to flip Runes of Odin to bring in the iceberg, then the Red Curse flipped Runes of Magic to move it into the Cygnet.  The English had gotten out to an early lead and were still looking very strong, so the other factions certainly felt the need to knock them down a peg or two.

Odin Missile hits Cygnet

Then the big Pirate gunships close in on the fort, but only hit thrice in eight tries!

Almost like Pirates of the Caribbean, with a “future Black Pearl” firing on an English fortification:

Sailors on the Rye look on in horror as their flagship is sunk by an unholy iceberg and their new fort is smashed by cannonade:

The Americans may have a slightly wonky fleet, but they came to play! Premeasuring that the Sea Rat can dock at their HI and steal their 6, DNT (still facedown) orders the construction of Thompson’s Island now that the Jarvis has explored the far southeastern island.  Knowing that Behemoth now has a range of at least L+L with the Nightmare giving her actions to Behemoth via the Cursed Conch, the Maryland has moved over an island to distance herself and has explored as well, loading a 4 and the Wine UT.  This means that 3 out of the 4 remaining fleets have HI raiding capability.

Well-trained English gunners ring true again as Gibraltar and Ramsgate go a combined 5/6 to sink the Red Curse!!  (Tia Dalma and Rye cancelling each other out)

English sink Pirate ship the Red Curse

With just one ship left and no way to give it extra actions, Hammersmith (on the Wicked Wench) realized the Pirates were basically screwed.  Since it’s not the ship being given the move action, a flotilla can shoot immediately after exiting a whirlpool.  Therefore, even if the Wicked Wench (WW) whirled towards home, the English could follow and blast her.  They could stick it out and fight the English, but Wicked Wench could not get enough cannons in range to sink Gibraltar without Hammersmith’s captain ability being cancelled by the Rye.  It seemed as though the best option was to whirl to the southeast and overlap the fog bank upon exit, getting sucked in automatically.  WW lost a mast in the process but lived to see more rounds.

With no gold to steal from the American HI, Sea Rat settles for some leftovers the Jarvis found.

The Rye returned home with the best coins from the Ramsgate island, which happened to be a pair of 6’s!  This increased their HI gold score to 38, even more than the Cursed may have been anticipating.  The Cursed made a public announcement that they had equal to or less than the amount the English had before the Rye’s dropoff (26), in the aims of getting some allies to fight or steal from the English with.  They were telling the truth, though they had exactly 26 gold lol.  Because of this, the Cursed and Pirates agreed to team up once again.  The Cursed promised not to loose Behemoth on the Wicked Wench and even assist the WW in destruction of the Ramsgate fort if the WW could raid the English HI and thereby decrease their gold score.  At the right, the Sea Rat, Jarvis and Maryland have all returned home with some coins.

The Americans were included on the anti-English coalition talks, and they did agree to be a part of it… but they weren’t exactly eager to get into a brawl with the Rye and Gibraltar.  Besides, they had more local gold to secure!  USS Maryland found Turtles on the last island to be explored!  I finally have 10 copies of the UT (made by Woelf for the Fire and Steel set), and can play it as originally designed!  (the UT was supposed to be printed with 10 turtle coins, but something changed before the set was printed – I’m thinking that a designer realized that the “game in every pack” would be a bit confusing if someone had only turtles for coins!)

Turtles Unique Treasure from Fire and Steel Wizkids Pirates of the Cursed Seas pocketmodel game (UT designed by Woelf)

Jarvis also gathering gold:

Top down view looking west showing ship movements:

Wicked Wench and Behemoth team up to destroy Ramsgate!  With the coalition building momentum and the English looking weaker, DNT and Ralph David (both still facedown!) agree to pilot the Jarvis over round earth to assist as well. Maryland has actually L moved the WW closer to the English HI, a rare instance of the ability being used to “help” an opponent.  All three captained ships now in play are all in opposition to the Rye and Gibraltar, who had ducked into a fog bank for safety to see how things play out.  Things were rapidly becoming more complicated as the endgame approached, so much so that I had to pause and think about the “geopolitical situation” a few times, despite the fact that only a handful of ships remained in play.  The English were hoping that WW would raid the English HI, get unlucky on the random coins taken (the coins being 6,6,4,4,2), and then get immediately set upon by the Jarvis and/or Behemoth, with the Rye and Gibraltar possibly able to clean up the scraps and recoup some gold.  However, there was a much different option – triggering the “half or more” players eliminated endgame condition.  If the Cursed or Americans backed out of the coalition and sank or captured the WW, 2/5 original fleets would be out, needing just one more to trigger the end of the game.  Rye could drop Gibraltar’s tow in the fog bank (making it lost forever and removing it as a unit of play that can be given future actions), ram the iceberg to derelict herself, then scuttle (needing a 5-6 though) and hope to sink next round.

For a few reasons, the English decided to simply return home and attack.  This was because as soon as the WW raided 3 coins from the English HI, that gold swing alone might lose the English the game, especially if the gold fell into the hands of the Cursed long term.  By attacking the WW directly, the English were also hoping to speed up the endgame by potentially eliminating the Pirates themselves, though it would take an additional turn since Gibraltar’s 4 shots could only dismast the WW and not sink it.

The Rye has returned!  Gibraltar shoots 3/4 against WW!

The Wicked Wench has just enough movement (L+S) to dock at the English HI for a raid, but her helmsman is cancelled by the Rye!

The Cursed knew better than to finish off the WW, loosing Behemoth on the English with a double action to sink the flotilla and dismast the Rye!

The coalition stays strong as Jarvis moves in to capture the Rye and the English are eliminated!!  O_O   The English plan backfired, as all three members of the coalition needed to eliminate the English specifically and none of their own in order to keep their chances of winning the game alive.  With the English HI gold up for grabs, things were about to get interesting.  The coalition has been a success, but now the members will inevitably turn on each other.  Complicating the situation is the “half or more” endgame rule – all three factions now have the same goal of threading the needle between making sure they have enough gold to win, before potentially eliminating any one of the three remaining fleets in play.

HMS Rye captured

Due to the positioning of two ships ramming the Rye last turn, Wicked Wench has no place to dock and raid the English HI!  Hammersmith simply turns for home to repair, or to hinder the Sea Rat, who was sneakily making progress on the former Ramsgate gold.  DNT is finally forced to reveal himself to cancel Behemoth, further complicating the situation overall since the Americans now have 2 cancellers in the area with the addition of HMS Rye.

Maryland drops GWL at the American HI for the second time and makes a beeline for the Cursed HI with Wine aboard!  (note that all the turtles have swam ashore 🙂 )

Behemoth sinks the Jarvis, but Ralph David reveals himself to save the ship from a watery doom!  Behemoth sank the Rye soon afterwards.

Ralph David Eternal crew Rise of the Fiends Americans

Perhaps Behemoth sinking the Jarvis could be a small blessing in disguise, as the ship repairs at the American HI and is on the Maryland’s route back home if she can transport the stolen 6 safely!

Not a chance!  The Cursed Conch and the whirlpools have given the Cursed impressive striking power, as Behemoth whirls into the area and dismasts the Maryland!  The white straw on the Maryland is a reminder to myself that the Americans rolled well to scuttle her, but the Cursed will make sure they get their 6 back.  Sea Rat whirls home to avoid the WW but loses a mast during transit.

The Cursed expected to keep the Nightmare in fog the rest of the game to keep giving Behemoth double actions, but since Behemoth can’t tow, the Nightmare would be more valuable this turn.  She emerged to capture the Maryland, with Sea Rat docking home more than 6 gold on her own I believe.  But the Jarvis sailed over and sank the Maryland – down goes the 6 coin!  In hindsight perhaps Behemoth should have stayed on the surface and moved southeast to block lines of fire from the Jarvis, but then Behemoth may have lost 2 segments to Jarvis and I think Jarvis had an angle of attack around the south part of the fog bank to get at least one cannon in range of the Maryland through that route.

As Wicked Wench repairs, Behemoth dismasts the Jarvis and leaves her there to struggle with scuttle rolls!  I’m pretty sure the derelict Jarvis with Eternal Ralph David aboard does not trigger the “half or more” endgame condition because the Jarvis can be given future actions (such as repairing, and then moving/etc) once she is scuttled successfully.  The Sea Rat repairs her mizzenmast, as her crew prepare for an important mission… the WW is not the only HI raider left in play….

The climactic moment that many factions thought would come sooner in the game!  Wicked Wench and Sea Rat converge on the English HI looking for loot!

But Behemoth gives the Cursed a huge advantage!  It takes WW down to 1 mast standing, purposely not dismasting the ship or sinking it.  Dismasting WW could backfire if her remaining facedown crew is not an oarsman (it is, but the Cursed can’t know that, another aspect of playing solo) and causes the ship to be a derelict too soon, while sinking WW would surely end the game before the Cursed are comfortable with such an outcome.  Sea Rat raids the English HI, only getting a 2 on the first coin.  With Behemoth copying DNT for Canceller once again (the only one left in play, and luckily for the Cursed, now faceup with the Rye sunk!), the Cursed shut down the WW’s HI Hoard ability!!  O_O  Access denied!!

Love how you can see a mast from the Jarvis under Behemoth’s translucent parts

At this point the Jarvis was failing all her scuttle rolls, effectively removing the Americans from having agency in the fight over English treasure.  Sick of being on the wrong end of the Cursed, the Pirates and Americans team up!  At this point they would actually rather have the English win than be bested by the Cursed at the end, so they try to eliminate the WW.  WW loses her mast to a whirlpool on her way to be sunk by the Thompson’s Island fort!  However, the Cursed go next and see right through this plan, with Behemoth whirling to the area and being given an extra action via the Cursed Conch (on Nightmare) to knock two flags off the fort!  The fort’s remaining three cannons boom, but they all miss!!!  O_O  The WW is still alive!

The Wicked Wench rows into the whirlpool to try and eliminate her oarsman, but rolls to avoid doing so!

That gave the Cursed another turn to redock at the English HI with the Sea Rat, who eventually was able to steal both 6’s from the English HI for a whopping 14 total gold!  On the round of her third consecutive theft, WW finally tossed her oarsman in a whirlpool, thus finally ending the game as the round ended and the Cursed would be up next.

The Cursed played a masterful game, dominating the endgame and finishing as the only fleet with masts up – their fleet nearly intact!

  1. Cursed: 46 gold (14 on Sea Rat stolen from English HI)
  2. Americans: 35 (25 on HI, 10 in Thompson’s Island)
  3. English: 32
  4. Pirates: 14
  5. Whitebeard’s Raiders: 0

Wow, what a game!  In a contest that could have been dominated by the theme of Whitebeard’s Christmas, an early Santa slaughter allowed the other 4 factions to shine instead, making for a mostly normal multiplayer game.  The sheer volume of HI raiders and cancellers that Santa provoked in the fleet building process had a big impact on the game, but in the end the Cursed were able to prevail.  Cursed Conch helped turn Behemoth into a dominant force, though the beast also benefited greatly from being able to copy an enemy canceller on pretty much every round of the game.  Sea Rat did the heavy lifting in the gold race, eventually being the only ship to successfully HI raid (Maryland was sunk) to give the Cursed another multiplayer win.  The Americans were really in it, playing the dark horse from start to finish.  The English got out to a huge lead early and only relinquished it after being eliminated by a 3-faction coalition.  The Pirates always felt like they were on the verge of something big, but were consistently spoiled by the English and Cursed.

Interesting to note that the scores are the same as the play order. I think the game would have been quite different if Wayne Nolan’s reroll hadn’t bailed out GWL on the first round to yank Santa into harm’s way.  Here he didn’t stand a chance!

Gaming in Seattle – 5 players, 60 points! (December 9th, 2022)

Gaming in Seattle – 5×60

12/9/2022

This report is a summary of a 5 player, 6o point game played at Oasis Tea Zone in Seattle Washington as part of a U-District Board Game Meetup.  We use these house rules, and game pieces can be found in the Master Spreadsheet.  Chris went first with the Jade Rebellion, Phillip second with the Spanish, myself third with The Cursed, Kyle fourth with a mixed fleet, and Witch fifth with the Americans.  There is bias towards my own position/view on the game.

Due to the table shapes, the ocean was a long rectangle:

Gaming in Seattle - 5 players, 60 points! (December 9th, 2022)

The Baochuan gets the first action of the game:

This was my Cursed fleet:
Behemoth
Shaihulud
Pyre + Sargasso Nightmare, RtSS Papa Doc, helmsman
Coins: Plague, Missionary, Wolves, Odin’s Revenge, Curse of Davy Jones, three 1’s

I made sure to pick up some “goodies” on my trip to New York.  🙂  I grabbed some things from my original play collection, including my named crew+UT tin, along with Behemoth and a few other things.  It was nice to be able to contribute Odin’s Revenge and to be able to use an expensive beast like Behemoth.  I was changing my mind and going with a Spanish fleet before the game, but decided to stick with my original plan when I saw Kyle and Phillip (the players on either side of me) pull out Spanish ships as well (to avoid having so many from the same faction).  I believe this was the first time I maliciously targeted a specific player in a multiplayer game, and will likely be the last.  Witch has won a shockingly disproportionate amount of multiplayer games in recent months (a testament to how good a player he is), so much so that I’ve been feeling the need to “intervene” and try to give the other players a better chance in one of the 4+ player games.  This also felt like the best time to do it since it was Chris’ first game with us and Phillip hadn’t won in our group games yet.  In addition, it was a bit of an experiment – would it even work?  Or would Witch still come away victorious?  I had also been wanting to use an L booster with multiple sea monsters, specifically on a submerged submarine with cancelling so as to make the L booster as immune as possible.  With the recent reunion with Behemoth, all the stars were aligned for me to play a simple attack strategy, something I do once in a great while to change things up.  However, I do have less fun with it than trying to win normally and this was no exception.

Odin’s Revenge strikes early!  However, the timing makes it mostly irrelevant, as most players simply spend the first round repairing at home.

Odin's Revenge Unique Treasure

At the right, an island is missing as it’s been yanked away by Bad Maps.  Witch was using a custom American 1 master proxied by the Seminole: 1 cargo, L+L speed, 5S cannon, ability: “Once per turn, this ship may look at one face down cargo on any ship.”

The Providence avoids reef damage with Dr. Clark Lewis to explore a nearby wild island.  My speedy submerged forces round earth into American waters.

The Baochuan whirls to the other side of the map:

The custom Seminole finds Wolves near the round earth boundary, further restricting Witch’s access to treasure.  I had stayed off his HI for a turn or two before getting bored and round earthing towards some wild islands.  The Americans seemed scared to leave their HI with the Cursed so close.  My combos were fully revealed by this point, with Sargasso Nightmare increasing Shaihulud’s speed to S+L+L and Behemoth to L+L.  Combine that with their abilities and it was a frightening trio.  Behemoth could copy Shaihulud’s ability to shoot at submerged submarines to target USS Mercury, or copy RtSS Papa Doc to cancel any defensive abilities.  Both monsters have all rank-2 cannons and they could surface, move quickly, then shoot (with our house rule) and ram.  At one point I copied the spyer ability to see the final crew on the Mercury (11 points of which had been revealed, so still 5 available for canceller DNT), but it was just an oarsman.  Commodore Peregrine Stern and Wayne Nolan weren’t having much luck generating EA’s for the Mercury thus far.  With the Jades heading east, the competition for gold was elsewhere…

Gaming in Seattle - 5 players, 60 points! (December 9th, 2022)

The Baochuan was on a tear, S-exploring islands and stacking up coins in her legendary cargo hold.  Phillip and Kyle were doing solid in the gold game but it was becoming apparent that Chris might run away with the game if the Baochuan returned home with all her loot, especially since he also controlled what appeared to be the only HI raider in play (Virtuous Wind).

Gaming in Seattle - 5 players, 60 points! (December 9th, 2022)

Shaihulud trades one of its segments to eat the custom Seminole’s rigging.  The Americans stay at home to avoid getting slammed by the Cursed.

Gaming in Seattle - 5 players, 60 points! (December 9th, 2022)

The Baochuan returned through the whirlpool, meaning she was nearly home!  The Tiger’s Eye had taken off some masts but the Jades looked poised for a huge windfall if they could make it through one more round.  Behemoth and Pyre moved towards the 10 master, but I kept canceller copied (through Papa Doc) in case I would need it for defense.  I could have copied Helmsman to get closer to theoretical cancelling range, but then I wouldn’t have the cancel ability in the first place.  Important to note: “-A copied ability remains in effect until the beginning of your next turn.”  This is part of why I was so hesitant to copy anything other than canceller, because I would have to spend the other 4 player turns wondering if Behemoth might get cancelled to the surface, or if I would regret not copying it for some other reason.  What I didn’t bother disclosing was that I wasn’t really after the Baochuan – I would have much rather fought the Americans.  Plus, by this point there was open discussion about teaming up to take down the Baochuan (as is right since the other players wanted to win), which is exactly what happened to me in the 7×120 game in October.  I didn’t want an exact repeat of that (with the people teaming up to take down the Bao nearly the same), so I was not really wanting to pin the Baochuan with Behemoth anyway.

With some delicate maneuvering, Chris just barely manages to get the Baochuan home while staying outside of Behemoth’s cancelling range (Behemoth still submerged).  This was partly due to making sure to measure the cancelling range of S with the physical white segment on the card, compared to using the full length of the card.  This is something I plan to bring up more consistently – I see too many players using full card lengths for measuring purposes when S and L are actually a bit shorter than that.  As all players know, that can make the difference between being able to dock at home, take an extra shot, be in range of a canceller, etc.  AKA, sometimes the difference between winning and losing.  In addition, lately I’ve seen a lot of unofficial measuring devices such as sticks/straws/etc.  Those are fine but should be made exact so as to not be longer or shorter than the official segments.  For that reason and being more old school with the game than many current players, I will probably always default to using a card in general, though the straws/etc can be extremely useful for premeasuring.

With the endgame upon us, the Americans begin to leave their house at last.  The Tiger’s Eye follows the Baochuan through the whirlpool.

Le Bon Marin headed home with two coins.  El Rosal’s crew has been killed by the Plague (given to her by another Spanish ship in Phillip’s fleet), while the Virtuous Wind had bad luck with that fog bank, rolling a 4 two out of three times to emerge straight onto a sargasso sea where she got stuck once.

Shaihulud surfaced and avoided reef damage to attack the submerged (and therefore undocked) USS Mercury, landing one hit that was ignored due to the sub’s ability.  The Mercury surfaced to return fire and kill the beast!  The Providence rammed the Tiger’s Eye, with a desperate endgame likely given the main hoard of treasure was (likely) safe in Jade hands.

The Providence whirled to some action in the east, but Behemoth copied Commodore Stern, got an EA, and followed the Providence and sank her!  The Tartessos, Tiger’s Eye and USS Maryland are caught up in a skirmish over some gold that is unlikely to affect the outcome by much.

The Pyre came through the whirlpool in order to give the Sargasso Nightmare’s +L boost to Behemoth, who sank the Bon Marin and her 3 total gold.  This left Behemoth exposed to USS Mercury, and in the endgame Stern was catching fire with EA’s, one of which was used here to help the sub kill Behemoth.

That’s the last picture I have for the game, but more events occurred.  Chris was masterfully raiding Phillip and Kyle’s HI’s for extra gold with the Virtuous Wind, then transferring the coins to the (mostly) repaired Baochuan for safekeeping.  USS Mercury had loaded up the Frond of Fisaga earlier in the game and was nearly able to use it at the perfect time.  However, the sub was still out of range to do something meaningful about the final gold remaining in play.  The Jades got it home and it was over!

  1. Chris (Jade Rebellion): 62 gold
  2. Phillip (Spanish): 18
  3. Dan (Americans): 9
  4. Kyle (mixed): 1
  5. Ben (Cursed): 0

Chris is off to a great start with our PNW Pirates group, finishing with more than twice as much gold as all other fleets combined!

With that, I’ll probably take a break from Team Chaos/Lawful Evil for at least a game.  XD

2×60 on VASSAL – December 7th, 2022

2×60 on VASSAL

12/7/2022

This game was Kyle’s first on the VASSAL module!  We set up for a 2×60 game using our regular Seattle Pirates house rules.  All game pieces can be found in the Master Spreadsheet.  He went first with the French:

Le Superbe + Capitaine Arathiel, Jules de Cissey, helmsman, explorer, oarsmen x2
Tepant + captain, helmsman
Le Bon Marin + helmsman
Le Pique + captain
Marianne + Maurice Aristide

I followed with an English fleet from RtSS:
Elthelfleda + Captain Nemo, helmsman, oarsman (got this idea from Ochobrazo2298’s game)
HMS Halcyon + RotF HGold, RotF Trevor van Tyne, 0LR+5 Bratley, cannoneer, oarsman, grape shot
HMS Goodfellow + helmsman, explorer, oarsman
Coins: Weapons, Seastar, Dead Man’s Chest (PotC version), English Royal Decree, four 5’s

The setup:

2x60 Pirates CSG on the VASSAL module

Both fleets headed out for gold, with the Superbe exploring first and the Pique preparing to grab a coin from her.

2x60 Pirates CSG on the VASSAL module

Elthelfleda and Goodfellow loaded some solid coins including the Seastar UT, but a French blockade looked to be brewing.

2x60 Pirates CSG on the VASSAL module

Knowing I had a good amount of “extra firepower” available on the Halcyon in the form of musketeer+cannoneer+grape shot, I charged for home after seeing she would be in range of the Tepant.  She went 4/4 to dismast the Eternal Frenchman!  I went straight for home with my other ships as well to put as much pressure on the Superbe as I could, forcing her to make potentially tough decisions on what to shoot at.

2x60 Pirates CSG on the VASSAL module

However, I had been too aggressive with the Goodfellow and wrongly guessed that an action generator on the Superbe would have already been revealed.  Capitaine Arathiel took the helm and piloted the Superbe to a game-changing attack, sinking HMS Goodfellow and her 10 gold (+Dead Man’s Chest UT) and then taking the Halcyon down to 1 mast!  Great maneuvering by Kyle ensured she stayed out of the range of any potential canceller on the Halcyon.  On my turn I weighed various options, with perhaps docking the Halcyon at home being the smartest.  However, this would allow Kyle to scuttle the Tepant while I tried to get gold from the Mercenary Elthelfleda to my HI via the Halcyon, and letting the Superbe run wild.  He was also amassing good gold through Maurice Aristide, so my chances were dwindling.  Halcyon continued the fight, taking a mast off the Superbe and using grape shot to whittle down her sac options a bit.  Elthelfleda headed straight for Tepant, knowing it was the key to getting some gold home and/or staying alive in the game.

Superbe sank the Halcyon, then sacced her helmsman to ram the Elthelfleda and take her down to 1 mast remaining! (and stealing her 5)  With Mercenary again preventing the E from docking at home, I used Seastar unsuccessfully and then captured the Tepant, who explored the E to grab her oarsman in anticipation of getting home on my next turn.

The Tepant was able to get home rowing S+S (avoiding a sinking at the hands of the Pique sniping at her), but at the cost of losing the Elthelfleda to the Superbe.  In the meantime the Bon Marin was transferring another coin to Marianne, who upped its value by 2 with Aristide.  The game was all but over.

At this point it was worth counting up the gold on Kyle’s HI and the gold remaining in play.  It revealed that I could only hope to ever get 4 gold by some miracle, while Kyle already had way more than that on his HI!

  1. Kyle: 17 gold
  2. Ben: 0

A lopsided 2×60 game but a good introduction to VASSAL!  Kudos to Kyle and his effective French fleet, using pieces synergistically and saccing to devastate the English position at the opportune moment!

Americans vs. Pirates at 60 Points – November 30th, 2022

Americans vs. Pirates

11/30/2022

I played against a friend in another game heavy on learning and introducing new game mechanics/keywords/etc.  We mostly used these house rules, and all the game pieces can be found in the Master Spreadsheet or Tilorfire27’s database.

I rolled to go first with the Americans:
USS Constitution + captain, helmsman, tribal chieftain
Destiny + Wayne Nolan, Brent Rice, captain, chain shot
Hessian + helmsman, shipwright, oarsman
American Native Canoes
UT’s: Weapons, Enemy of the State, Power Cannons, Marines

My opponent fielded the Pirates for the first time:
Raven’s Neck + captain, helmsman
Mystic + captain, helmsman, oarsman
Skipping Stone + captain, helmsman
Bonny Kate

This was the setup!

Americans vs. Pirates

My goal early on was to keep my canoes at a safe distance so they could get an island’s gold home, likely via round earth.

On turn 2 I sent the Destiny into action for the first time!  That’s right, this was my first time using her!  However, it was abysmal.  Even with the help of Brent Rice and Wayne Nolan motivating the gunners, she went 0/4 (not even at sniping range) – the Skipping Stone didn’t even need to attempt rolls from the Catamaran keyword to ignore any hits!

Americans vs. Pirates at 60 Points - November 30th, 2022

The “canoe island” held 2 of my 4 UT’s, with Marines doing nothing and the regular coins being a 3 and 2.  The Constitution touched the native canoe that loaded Power Cannons, in preparation to explore next turn.

Americans vs. Pirates at 60 Points - November 30th, 2022

The Skipping Stone slams the Destiny, taking out 2 masts and killing Brent Rice in a boarding party!  Raven’s Neck has explored the central island while the Mystic docks in the east.  My opponent was spying two coins every round of turns, and thus had a good idea of what coins the Hessian might find soon.

Americans vs. Pirates at 60 Points - November 30th, 2022

Canceller to the rescue!  I redocked the Hessian in order to get within S of the Skipping Stone, cancelling the Catamaran keyword.  Then the Destiny reversed her luck, getting consecutive 6’s with her shot and ram to dismast the vessel!  She also won the boarding party to eliminate the Stone’s captain.  I had also considered just exploring with the Hessian, but with the Raven’s Neck having found Weapons in the center, we both knew Enemy of the State would be on the Hessian’s island.  The Destiny likely wouldn’t have done any damage to the Skipping Stone if I hadn’t cancelled Catamaran, so it was better to redock and hope for a reversal of fortune, which I was happy to get.

Hessian cancels Catamaran keyword of Skipping Stone (Wizkids Pirates CSG)

After another round, the Americans have whittled the Pirate fleet down to 2 ships!  The Constitution used Power Cannons to sink the Mystic, while the Destiny captured the Skipping Stone and began towing her towards the newly built American fort, Thompson’s Island!  The Hessian finally explored, finding Enemy of the State + 7,4,1, while a single canoe docking a 3 coin at my HI was enough to build the fort.  Forts were available to the Pirates this game as well, just not as optimal to build.

Americans vs. Pirates at 60 Points - November 30th, 2022

The Hessian also dumped her shipwright, but neither oncoming ship would likely need it if they simply repaired at the fort.

I briefly considered dumping the Hessian’s gold in the fort and just protecting it until the Pirates would be eliminated, but then remembered how much I love the special ability of the American native canoes.  The Hessian headed for home as the canoes sprung into action, moving the 7 coin all the way to my HI where it was docked by a canoe already headed home!  The Skipping Stone was repairing, anticipating a conflict with her old fleetmate the Raven’s Neck.

Americans vs. Pirates at 60 Points - November 30th, 2022

The Bonny Kate has loaded the coin the Mystic didn’t have room for, but is threatened by the approaching Constitution.

Americans vs. Pirates at 60 Points - November 30th, 2022

The Hessian couldn’t dock at home due to Enemy of the State, but the canoes solved that issue quickly, yanking her last two coins off to put another 5 gold on my HI. The Raven’s Neck was approaching, while the Bonny Kate and Constitution went west.

The RN rams the Hessian but her captain gets cancelled.  The Hessian loses her mast and helmsman in the ensuing chaos, but is able to row away on my next turn as more capable vessels take over the battlefield.  One canoe snags the negative UT as a free action while others in range of the RN start blasting away, hitting 1/2.  Destiny hits 2/2 (without Brent Rice!) and the Skipping Stone rams to make the RN derelict.

Pirates CSG battle in action

Constitution continues to pressure the Bonny Kate, but can’t quite get in range.

Americans vs. Pirates at 60 Points - November 30th, 2022

Raven’s Neck is captured but the Bonny Kate gets her coin home.  At this point we decided it was practical to call it, because it was extremely unlikely the Bonny Kate would have even gotten a shot in against Thompson’s Island, much less destroy it by herself and get the 3 in it all the way home.

Americans vs. Pirates at 60 Points - November 30th, 2022

  1. Americans: 17 gold
  2. Pirates: 9

A solid game that featured plenty of abilities, UT’s, a few turns of decisive momentum swings and good strategy talk throughout!  A few oddities occurred, especially the Destiny shooting far better without Brent Rice aboard.  Power Cannons were meant for the Destiny, but the Constitution certainly made perfect use of them, sinking 10 gold from the Mystic.  Stay tuned for more adventures!

A Pair of 3 Player Games in Tacoma Washington (November 26th, 2022)

Pair of 3 Player Games

11/26/2022

I met up with Witch and Phillip for some 60 point action in Tacoma Washington!  We ended up with a pair of 3 player games, though the second would be short and sweet due to venue hours.  Terracrux Games is a great place to play with plenty of table space.  We used our house rules.

I went first in Game 1, followed by Phillip (Pirates) and then Witch (English Pirates).  I tried out a French fleet that used a trio of my favorite French 3 masters.

Le Descharges + Capitaine Gaston de St. Croix, Madame LaFontaine, captain, helmsman, oarsman
Le Triton + helmsman, explorer
La Bonne Chance + captain, oarsman
-towing Mont Blanc
UT’s: Abandoned captain, shipwright, oarsman, Knights of Malta Banner, four 5’s
Terrain: Whirlpool x2, big fog bank

Le Triton was just in range of docking at an island south of me on the first turn.  I wanted to hit that one before Phillip’s gold runners could potentially hit it, especially since his 5 masters were unlikely to brave the reefs to attack me.  The island was a gold mine, with treasure values of 7,5,5,4 for a whopping 21 gold.  Due to the importance of getting all 4 coins home, Descharges came over with an SAT from Gaston to grab the final coin.  Bonne Chance sailed SSE for flexible positioning.  Phillip’s turn has begun with La Victoire looking to round earth to the southeast soon.

Pair of 3 Player Games in Tacoma Washington (November 26th, 2022)

Witch sails out some of his ships, exploring with HMS Hyena.  His Rover uses Lucky the Parrot to spy on some crew.  I am very happy to dock all 4 coins at my HI without interference.

Phillip quickly showed his bold and aggressive play style (Witch and I’s first time playing with him), with both 5 masters sailing into action.  The Revenant sacced with Captain Blackheart to blast 2 masts off HMS Granville, while the Victoire (led by Capitaine Arathiel) blasted 2 masts off La Bonne Chance to the south.  However, retribution was coming, as the Revenant was crippled by HMS Dauntless (with Mercer aboard for a 3rd Sac crew!) after Lucky the Parrot timely spotted Tia Dalma (canceller) face down on the Revenant.  Phillip had doubled up on cancellers, with Lenoir aboard La Victoire cancelling the Mont Blanc’s flotilla keyword, preventing it from shooting through itself and the Victoire only losing 1 mast as a result.  I sent Le Descharges towards the whirlpool in an attempt to steal gold from Phillip’s Bloody Jewel, but she got stuck in the sargasso sea.

Captain Blackheart goes for blood, saccing to sink the Mermaid with a pair of 2L shots that pass through the Dauntless with the help of the Revenant’s ability.

Revenant dismasts Mermaid

Likely to be slammed next turn regardless, Phillip’s Banshee’s Cry rams the Granville but rolls a 1!  At the top right, HMS Dauntless makes the Revenant a derelict.  The Descharges gets free from the seaweed, while Bonne Chance and Mont Blanc emerge from fog to shoot poorly at the Victoire after the latter loaded up some gold from the southeast island.

Pair of 3 Player Games in Tacoma Washington (November 26th, 2022)

Victoire turns around and beats up the Bonne Chance and Mont Blanc before saccing to turn for home.  Witch sinks the Revenant with the Dauntless.

Pair of 3 Player Games in Tacoma Washington (November 26th, 2022)

HMS Granville dismasted the Banshee’s Cry and docked at the northwestern island.  Le Descharges rolled a 3 to emerge from the huge fog bank and got her SAT.  She went nuts and sank the Hyena and Granville!  However, this opened the area for Witch to get revenge, with Mercer saccing so the Dauntless could sail over and dismast the Descharges, who rowed into the fog.  Triton is headed northeast for more coins but gets stuck in the sargasso.  I flipped the oarsman on Bonne Chance, who is slowly rowing home with the flotilla – which is actually not legal, which I didn’t realize until writing this report.  Because flotillas don’t allow any abilities of the ship or its crew that affect its base move to function, Oarsman will not allow a ship to tow a flotilla (The Pirate Code also confirms this under Flotilla).  Still learning after 500+ games!

After some repairs, La Victoire gets into a battle with HMS Dauntless!  The Bloody Jewel joins in with her abandoned captain but misses both shots.

Le Triton barreling down on my home island with a pair of 1 coins:

Le Triton Pirates of the Crimson Coast

The Bloody Jewel had sunk a homeward bound Descharges, which is why LaFontaine’s 1-gold Ransom payout has appeared on Phillip’s HI.

La Victoire emerges victorious and captures the Dauntless!  However, the Bonne Chance can contest the final coin in play.

La Victoire finishes the task she started earlier in the game, sinking both the Bonne Chance and Mont Blanc (thankfully before she could shoot anything else, as the flotilla should have been sitting in the southeast).  However, Le Triton has sped over to get in on the action, ramming a mast off the Bloody Jewel since she can’t quite make it to the island to load the coin!

I believe La Victoire then sacced Thomas Gunn (acquired from the captured Dauntless) to dismast the Triton, eliminating me from active play.  Witch had his Rover go through a few whirlpools to see if she could lose her mast to remove himself from contention so that the final coin wouldn’t count if Phillip hadn’t loaded it onto one of his ships (since at that point half or more players wouldn’t be able to give future move actions), but consistently rolled high to keep the Rover intact.  Phillip got the coin home and the game was over!

  1. Witch: 25 gold
  2. Ben: 25
  3. Phillip: 16

O_O  Another ludicrously close game, continuing the recent trend!  Witch and I both had 1 unit left in play for the default tiebreaker.  However, although my Triton could theoretically explore again for me at some point in the game, Witch’s Rover was fully capable of being given a move action had the game continued any longer.  Therefore the future action was more available to his ship than mine, and he also would win the masts standing tiebreaker 1-0.  I would have to rely on the points in play tiebreaker, at which point I would have won 12-2 (Triton still had her helmsman aboard).  However, I think it makes more sense to continue down the units in play default tiebreaker rabbit hole rather than going to other options.  If the Triton was capable of movement with 1 mast standing I would have argued harder for the points in play tiebreaker to apply.  This might be the first game I’ve played that was decided by a second tiebreaker – definitely a rarity as even when the gold scores are tied, the units in play usually seals the deal without having to look at which units are capable of which actions, or how many masts they have/etc.

 

Game 2

We only had about 45 minutes for a second game, so we decided on 1 wild island, with each player putting 4 coins of their choice on it.  Phillip rolled to go first, followed by Witch and I.  Phillip went with a Cursed fleet, Witch brought out some American Pirates, and I stuck with the French but swapped a few UT’s.  In hindsight, I should have done different UT’s based on going last, but it would certainly make things interesting.

Pair of 3 Player Games in Tacoma Washington (November 26th, 2022)

Phillip’s fleet looked intimidating, with both the Divine Dragon and Executioner. (Grinder was given the first action – no Ex-Patriot crew)

Witch’s fleet had Providence, President, Maryland, Rover and Mermaid.

I placed the last terrain so I was able to put a non-reefed fog bank near my HI.  Facing a likely attack from the Executioner on round 2, I hid all my ships to make sure they’d have a chance to do something.  (Witch thinks it should be renamed “Pirates with Ben in Fog” lol)

Grinder was the first to explore, getting the Eye of Insanity and Neptune’s Trident!  O_O   The Executioner had OE Fantasma onboard, and took a couple coins before saccing for home.  The Descharges emerged from the fog bank with an SAT from Gaston, getting in shooting (but not ramming) range of the Grinder, dismasting her with a big broadside.  I was able to finagle the Bonne Chance into position where her last S move segment flipped the ship around to get a few of Mont Blanc’s cannons in range, but of course I missed with both.  Le Triton explored the island to see the final 5 coins, which were all 1’s!  This left no doubt in my mind that it was Phillip’s game to lose, and it was likely that Witch and I would have to team up to have any chance at stopping him.

Pair of 3 Player Games in Tacoma Washington (November 26th, 2022)

In a huge move, Phillip turned the gold-laden Executioner around to blast the Descharges!  The Grinder used Neptune’s Trident to devastate the Bonne Chance and Providence, also hitting the Mermaid and Mont Blanc!  (asking in the rules thread if the flotilla should have been affected or not)

Pair of 3 Player Games in Tacoma Washington (November 26th, 2022)

Due to the speed of play that was the last picture I took, but here’s a video some Cursed vs. American action shortly afterwards:

Much ramming and boarding happened in the desperate endgame as time ticked down.  Eventually the Executioner actually lost both of her valuable 5’s, with the Triton stealing one after dumping her crew on the island.  The Triton was dismasted but the Descharges explored to take 7 of her 8 gold, but was later sunk.  The Bonne Chance was dismasted but ended up with a 5 she shouldn’t have been able to steal, with the Triton’s helmsman already filling her lone cargo space.  Witch grabbed the final two 1’s from the island with the Providence, getting them home.  The Maryland stole a 3 from the Grinder, and eventually got it home after stealing it back from the Divine Dragon.  The Executioner continued sinking ships as the chaos continued, as Phillip was bent on taking souls.  This knocked the total gold in play to a minimum, though the Cursed had squandered their advantage by being so bloodthirsty.  In the end, Witch won as usual!

  1. Witch: 5 gold
  2. Phillip: 2
  3. Ben: 0

A fun pair of 3 player games on a cold night!  Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more action!

A7XfanBen, Witch and Phillip at Terracrux Games in Tacoma WA

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

My 500th Game!

11/18/2022

After about 11.5 years of consistently playing Pirates CSG, I found myself realizing that my 500th game was upon me! (3 BR’s will be posted in the future) I knew I wanted to make #500 special, and decided to do a solo effort since I knew my idea was likely to take 8+ hours, not something I wanted to burden my group with.  It would be a 6 fleet game with each of the Big 6 factions, where gold on home islands could be used to purchase new game pieces from outside the game and add them to the fleet, the main rule seen in campaign/cumulative games.  However, unlike those games where usually the last fleet afloat or points in play decides the winner, the endgame rules for this game would be completely standard!  “Gold wins the game!” (as the PDXYAR group would say)

For the most part I used the Seattle Pirates house rules, with the following exceptions:
-All-Powerful functions as normal
-Lord Mycron is not banned
-Each fleet can only place up to 1 oversized terrain.
-10 coins per island (random treasure coins and random UT’s)
-Pure faction fleets. Gold can be used to purchase any game pieces from any minor faction (Jade Rebellion/Barbary Corsair/Viking/Mercenary), but each of the Big 6 must stay within their own faction for launches (ex: Pirates can only purchase Pirate and minor faction stuff, not English/etc).

The build total was 40 points.  Here are the fleets in the order of play!

English
HMS Nautilus + RotF Thomas Gunn, Bratley (0LR+5)
Edinburgh Trader + RotF Hermione Gold, explorer
HMS Hermes + helmsman
The English focused on good speeds and an armed gold runner/hybrid in the Trader.

Spanish
El Cristal del Obispo + Inquisitor Sebastian Blanco, Alejandro Malaspina, captain, helmsman, tribal chieftain, oarsman
Santa Teresa + Contessa Anita Amore
Spanish Native Canoes
The Spanish wanted to use Malaspina on the first turn so the canoes could redock and grab coins without having to wait a turn when exploring normally. The Cristal was overloaded, so a rare appearance from Blanco helped make the setup legal.

French
Le Gaule + Jules de Cissey, F&S Lenoir, captain, helmsman
St. Joan + explorer, oarsman, towing Mont Blanc
The French were guns-heavy, looking like one of the most intimidating fleets.

Pirates
Panda + Captain Blackheart, The Hag of Tortuga, helmsman, oarsman x2
Barnacle + helmsman, explorer
Zephyr
Fancy
I went with a “classic pirates” fleet where their ships were small and fast, more similar to true Age of Sail historical pirates. They had multiple treasure running options backed by a nasty Panda killing machine.

Americans
USS Stephens + helmsman, explorer, oarsman
USS Lamon + Commodore Matthew Perry, Captain Montana Mays, helmsman
The Americans looked as aggressive as the French, but only had 2 cargo spaces open for gold.

Cursed
Lechim Namod
Loa’s Justice + Sargasso Nightmare, helmsman, explorer, oarsman
Nightmare + helmsman, explorer, oarsman
+oarsman on HI
The Cursed came in at a disadvantage with no 0LR+5 available, and indeed the only fleet to not utilize one. However, Lechim Namod looked to benefit from having Captain as part of the Sea Monster keyword, and was supported by an L booster on one of the two gold runners.

The map with only islands placed:

Setup notes: English and French place islands farther due to higher speeds in their fleets. Cursed want as close as possible resulting in crowded middle. English and Pirates reef the crap out of the tight archipelago in the middle, due to faster speeds (+Hermes ignoring terrain) and small ships respectively. French add some reefs while Spanish and Cursed go mostly for fog. Americans place all three whirlpools. The Cursed wanted MI’s to take effect but none of the other factions did, and they were eventually outrolled (so no MI effects would happen).  I ended up using 30 random UT’s out of the 120 total coins.

The full setup!  😀

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The big reef chain in the middle would likely split capital ship combat into the north and south, potentially making the terrain area a haven for small gold runners looking to stay safe.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Pirates wanted their small ships near the reefs that could barely hurt any of them.  The Cursed picked first and ended up lucky that nobody chose super close to them.  The Spanish chose their HI based on where they thought their canoes could be as close to home as possible, and where they anticipated the English going.  The English picked last but liked their round earth options.  The French and Americans wanted to keep their 5 masters away from the reefs, but close to some nearby wild islands.  Overall each faction ended up pretty happy with their HI result as the game began.

Here’s a video of the first half of the first round of turns!

The Pirates went next, with the Barnacle finding Missionary, which took out both her crew.  They immediately thought about getting the Explosives to the Zephyr, as she had the fastest base move yet lowest cargo of the Pirate sloops, making her an ideal suicide bomber.  The Fancy would join her in snagging coins, while the Zephyr headed east instead of west having seen the St. Joan (with dangerous flotilla in tow) make landfall at the island she originally wanted.

Barnacle sloop explores

The Stephens explores, using Jailhouse Dog to eliminate the Plague UT and save her crew!  The 5-4 off the island show they are the coins loaded by the Stephens, while the rest are left on the island (face up so you can see what else is on it).  Overall a solid island for the Americans, and I think the only wild island in this game with no 1 coins on it.

The Lamon’s activities were captured on camera!

The Nightmare explored to find some nice goodies, but Message in a Bottle would yank her away from the gold!

It docked her at the “Pirate wild island” that the Barnacle and Fancy had plundered, but she avoided reef damage.  The Loa’s Justice (LJ) was off to a better start, loading 14 gold and the Eye of Insanity! O_O  (perfect for the Cursed since they could potentially hire Davy Jones/etc and use the Eye to essentially create a duplicate)  Lechim Namod (LN) laid in wait, aiming to protect the LJ from harm.

A happy beginning for our fleets today!  XD

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

HMS Hermes explores!  O_O  It appears to be a lucrative island, with the Cursed Conch potentially allowing the English to control LN….

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Cristal heads home while escorting the gold-laden canoes, S-exploring the sargasso-like island on the way there.  The Santa Teresa is stuck with Anita Amore aboard and has no room for treasure, so heads home to stay safe in case the Panda tries to go crazy on the Pirate turn.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The French were next!

The Pirates followed and the carnage spread to the north!!

The Pirates launched the Raven’s Neck with a captain and helmsman for 17 total gold!

The first launch of the game!  Time will tell if launching vs. saving is more pragmatic in this tight balance of gold budgeting.

On the American turn the Lamon got another SAT and continued north, this time harassing the English.  However, the ram failed and the Edinburgh Trader defended herself well to win the boarding party!  For this game I generally used the white GF9 tokens for the English, black for the Pirates, and then faction pennants for the other wild island markers.

The 9 gold brought back by the Stephens is the perfect amount for the Americans to expand their fleet and dramatically increase their gold running capability!  The Corsair galley Queen of Sheba is hired, with a helmsman and explorer aboard to make her one of the better runners in play.

The Cursed consider saving for a larger purchase later on, but decide to quickly spend the LJ’s entire haul of 14 gold on the Sea Rat with generic crew.  LN has slunk away into the fog bank, hoping to avoid Lenoir’s Gaule for the rest of the game unless the Cursed can get some canceller support via RtSS Papa Doc.  The Nightmare has explored the middle island.

The Trader’s 12 gold is used to hire Lawrence and launch HMS Trepassey!  The English see Lawrence as a necessary counter to both Lenoir and the Lamon.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Santa Teresa returns to the S-explored island to actually explore it and finds a game changer: Kharmic Idol!  She would have loaded the 3 UT’s in the row underneath it, but the Idol wipes out all face up UT’s in play.  The elimination of the Cursed Conch and Eye of Insanity put a damper on nefarious English and Cursed plans.  In reality I think the Idol would have also eliminated the turtles, if so a big mistake there.  The canoes return home, with their bonuses turning 3’s into 4’s.

The Cristal could get maybe 1 cannon in range of the Panda, so Malaspina decides to return home instead.  The Spanish build Fortaleza Dorada with their HI gold!  Their strategy is to use the fort to protect gold that the canoes will ferry one by one, getting as many +1’s as possible in an attempt to make up for losing their other 3 canoes.  The fort will also provide protection for the canoes, as even the Cristal may not be enough with an additional Pirate gunship (Raven’s Neck) now in close proximity to the Spanish.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Marksman’s Map eliminated by Kharmic Idol had been on the St. Joan, which the French had used to spy Wolves on the island the Gaule would later dock at.  This was part of the French plan – since Wolves would prevent other negative UT’s from affecting the Gaule and her valuable crew, the French felt comfortable exploring the island just to see what else was on it.  It was a true hoard, with 22 total gold along with Relics and Rum!

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The French decide to make the gold even more inaccessible, building Paradis de la Mer with the St. Joan’s pair of coins! (a 3 and 2)  This is a big move on the part of the French and a decent gamble – the French are putting their eggs in one basket, with 27 total gold in the fort.  Part of the French reasoning is that even if Paradis gets destroyed, the French will try to quickly rebuild it – their strategy is to just hold the fort until the end of the game, not bothering to try and kill the Wolves to get any gold off of it.  With the Gaule ready to protect the fort and LN injured, it looks like a viable strategy against a relatively weak Cursed neighbor.  If the French can put some nearby gold into the fort as well, it could become a game-winning kingpin, although risking the all or nothing approach which may see them go from first to last if the fort gets destroyed right before the gold count.

This wide shot shows various other happenings.  Clockwise from top left: Lamon rams a mast off Trepassey then uses SAT to go southeast, the Pirates gather in fog banks with severely anti-Spanish plans, the Nightmare returns home with a little gold while other Cursed ships hide in fog, Americans head for more gold, HMS Nautilus picks up the Cross of Coronado UT, and St. Joan prepares to repair now that she is home safe.

The Pirate plan is to blow up the Cristal del Obispo using the Zephyr’s Explosives!  Following that, they hope that a pincer attack with the Panda and Raven’s Neck could cripple their fort and/or remaining ships.

At the bottom, notice the Trader and HMS Nautilus linking up via round earth to explore the northeast corner… a journey that eventually would have major implications for some factions….

Warily eyeing the Pirates, the Spanish play it safe and take the Santa Teresa home, keep the canoes docked, and put the Cristal in a fog bank.

With the Cursed turn immediately after America’s, a peace agreement was made.  The Americans and Cursed would not fight each other over that island, agreeing to share the gold.  It was a bit uneasy given the firepower each escort had, but this was understandable.  The Sea Rat and LN came out of the fog, with the Sea Rat grabbing 3 coins.

Further north, the Cursed gold runners resume normal gathering operations after premeasuring the Gaule’s movement potential.

Fleet deckplate area showing each ship’s cargo arrangements:

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

Similar to other factions on recent turns, the English play it safe.  The Trader could reach the island off the Gaule’s bow, but instead goes west to explore the island the Spanish canoes started at.  This does allow HMS Nautilus to fully catch up with the Trader, and she has the better cannons of the two.  The Trader loads a 2 and the Mines UT.  At the top right, you can see the Hermes and Trepassey docked at wild islands in the distance.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Pirates have been using the Raven’s Neck to spy on various coins throughout the map, and have spotted quite the coin on the island the Trader nearly went for… the Altar of the Loa.  O_O  They quickly begin scheming on how they can use their knowledge as power, wondering if they should tell the English.  The Spanish are next in the turn order after the English, and thus would be controlled by the English if the latter made a sacrifice at the Altar.  This could benefit the Pirates, as they are ready to strike Spain hard and have designs on the treasure in Fortaleza Dorada.  Upon this discovery I spent a good 5-10 minutes considering the possibilities and ramifications, even just for the Pirates as they are the only one privy to the information as of now.  A huge potential weapon that could destabilize the entire game as soon as it’s revealed!

Pirates spy the Altar of the Loa

Interestingly enough the French also spied on that island’s coins with the Marksman’s Map, but only saw 5 of the 10 which didn’t include the Altar.

The French tried to pull a fast one on the Cursed!

The rest of the round was uneventful, with all four Cursed ships getting or going home and the Zephyr changing fog banks to be closer to her target (the Cristal).

What an island!  The Edinburgh Trader heads south to explore, knowing that Lawrence will cancel Lenoir on the Gaule to allow HMS Nautilus to broadside the French 5 master.  The Trader finds a whopping 5 UT’s, with the Altar being the most consequential.

It was definitely a good time for another video!  Until writing the report right now I didn’t realize I accidentally cheated with the English briefly, as the Trader can’t normally carry 12 points of crew.  However, I think there was a legal way to do it without affecting any part of the rest of the game (ex: drop the Castaway oarsman for the explorer per the free transfer rules).

The English build Ramsgate!!  This was a “coup” of sorts, as it would deny all other fleets from using the Altar, as you cannot dock at an island that has an enemy fort on it.  In addition, it brought much more firepower to bear on the Gaule, who was now facing up to 11 English cannons in the area instead of 6.  Things were getting interesting!

English build Ramsgate fort

The Spanish kowtowed to English demands to “stop being wussies”, moving most of their fleet towards Fortaleza’s gold.  The canoes couldn’t quite make it (1-2mm away), but the Cristal dumped Malaspina to make room for a 4 that she intended to ferry back to the Spanish HI.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The French return fire!!

A brilliant final move segment by the St. Joan to get all of the Mont Blanc’s cannons in range of the Nautilus, coupled with 6/8 shooting overall, smash up the strong English position at the Ramsgate-Altar island.

HMS Nautilus dismasted

Here is the long-awaited Pirate combat turn!

Not as epic as the Pirates were hoping for, but still crippling to the Spanish fleet!

Pirates blast Spanish

A rare view from the northeast: USS Stephens has loaded Barbary Banner from the Queen of Sheba, the Lamon has rammed the Santa Teresa derelict, and the Sea Rat has returned home with gold as the Loa’s Justice repairs.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The French thorn in the English side was growing.  If only the Spanish could be eliminated faster, the next player in the turn order after the English would be the French, which would have been perfect for the English.  However, for now it would simply be ugly.  The English figured they needed to save the Nautilus, and thus the Trader took her under tow while combining with the fort to cripple the Gaule.  In addition, Hermione Gold knew she had Mines hidden on the Trader, which could be used to eliminate the Gaule’s final mast.  However, it would be another turn sitting in range of Mont Blanc, and another turn not using the Altar of the Loa.

English vs. French situation

Having accumulated various coins from different wild islands with the Hermes and Trepassey, the English decide to go all-in on spending and launch HMS Hyena with a complement of 5 generic crew for their entire coffer of 17 gold!  O_O   It will be interesting to see if this cripples the English long-term gold game and costs them a potential win, or if the firepower and sacrificial crew destined to die at the Altar will provide them the means needed to dictate enough of the endgame to ruin other fleets and control the outcome.  The English also bought the ship to provide a third ship with which to fight the French and any other Altar hopefuls, with the trio of Gaule-Lenoir-Mont Blanc providing heavy opposition for the English thus far.

HMS Hyena launched

As soon as the Gaule started moving on the French turn, the Mines UT was revealed, causing the ship to lose her final mast at the end of the action.  However, Mont Blanc shot 2/4 to beat up the Trader.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

With the Gaule now derelict and likely in range of Ramsgate’s L+L range cannon, the St. Joan comes over to assist, towing the flagship and warping her behind the fog bank.  At the upper right, the Cristal has repaired a mast at Fortaleza Dorada, with one canoe fleeing into fog and another loading a coin from the fort to try and deny the Pirates from ever having it.  (Santa Teresa repairs)

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

Unsurprisingly, the Pirates take control of the situation.  The Raven’s Neck sinks the canoe with gold on it and re-dismasts the Cristal, allowing the Zephyr to capture her (one of the Panda’s hits had taken out the oarsman).  The Panda has no good sac fodder left and a dangerous path home to pick up new hires, so Captain Blackheart takes her southeast to shoot at the Nightmare over a reef, dismasting the vessel!  The cargo wrecking also forced the Cursed to make some hard choices with their cargo, choosing to eliminate the Nightmare’s helmsman and a 2 while keeping her oarsman and the other 2. (this way the Nightmare could row into the fog bank on the Cursed turn, then eventually get home and use the 2 to get another helmsman)

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

With the Stephens in range of the Fancy, the Pirates duck the latter into the huge fog bank in search of safer treasures.  The Sea Rat has lost her oarsman to a whirlpool as she goes north in search of loot.  The Americans are bringing home more gold.  They have an inkling that they will have to destroy Paradis to win the game, and thus send the Lamon east to potentially meet up with the Stephens where the Gaule is now.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

Hermione Gold and Thomas Gunn are extremely relieved to see the arrival of English reinforcements.  The Hyena and Hermes are on the scene.  Hyena brings needed firepower and Altar fuel, while the Hermes will start ferrying some gold from Ramsgate back to the English HI.  The English already anticipate needing to build another fort on the Altar island with gold from their HI if Ramsgate is destroyed.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Spanish get some measure of revenge, sinking the Zephyr and captured Cristal!  The fort also hits the Raven’s Neck, which is actually the only real threat the Pirates have against the fort.  The Panda only has L-range guns, and the RN only has a pair of 3S’s that can hit Fortaleza, so the Pirates may need to launch another gunship if they hope to take the fort’s gold.

O_O   Mont Blanc shoots 4/4 to sink the Trader and take Ramsgate down to 1 flag standing!  HGold and Lawrence go do with the ship, a devastating blow for the English.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Fight for Fortaleza ends with the Panda and RN moving on to safer objectives.  Seeing the RN and Barnacle approaching and not wanting to lose their HI raiding gold runner, the Cursed turn the Sea Rat around, go back into the whirlpool, and return home, desperate to conserve their assets.  They’ve played a guarded game, unwilling to lose any units while slowly gathering gold from nearby islands.  The Spanish send their final canoe through a whirlpool to the southwest in search of some leftover “English gold”, but the Fancy emerges from the megafog in hot pursuit.  The Pirates plan for the Panda to return home and restock sac fodder for just 2 gold, while the RN and Barnacle will get the coins the Sea Rat was headed for.  In the meantime, the Queen of Sheba is helping the Americans mount a comeback in the gold race.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

HMS Nautilus repairs at Ramsgate, whose last cannon cannot do anything against the Mont Blanc as it takes two hits from the same shoot action to eliminate the flag (and a third hit overall to sink the flotilla).  HMS Hyena docks at the fort with crew to spare at the Altar, but the English are in an agonizingly terrible position.  They can only control the Spanish through the Altar right now, who are the weakest faction in play by far.  So weak in fact, that the English sacrificing two 1 point generic crew wouldn’t even be worth it, as they could only move around a canoe and the Santa Teresa. Much more appealing is taking control of the French, who the English would control if the Spanish were to be eliminated.  Thus, the English engage in talks with the Pirates to potentially team up and eliminate the Spanish.  The Pirates generally respond that they would like the Spanish out anyway, if the Fancy can hit the last canoe and the Santa Teresa can be captured for a 5 gold Ransom payout.  In the end the English are simply frustrated, as controlling the Spanish feels like a waste since they must spend valuable gold and continually ferry sacrifices to the island in order to use the Altar to eventually, someday get at the French.

In the meantime, the Hermes grabs coins to the north.  However, the Lamon is coming….

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

Mont Blanc destroys Ramsgate!  The French had unknowingly positioned the flotilla in the perfect spot where all of her cannons were in range of the fort, while only the L+L cannon was in range of the flotilla!  Some of the flotilla’s cannons were also sometimes in range of English ships docked there (hence the Trader sinking), meaning the French had accidentally stumbled into a perfect zone control situation where they were slowly crippling English plans!  In addition, the flotilla and Paradis served as a kind of “block zone” against the nearby Cursed HI to the west, making Cursed access to the Altar harder.  Plus, Lechim Namod was still missing two tentacles, making the Cursed scared to take on Paradis.

The St. Joan arrives home with the Gaule, who is repairing. At the lower left, a mini-conflict is brewing as three ships have designs on the low-value coins the Hermes originally saw.  At the top right, the Lamon has rammed a mast off the Hyena.  The English still look like a threat to win if they can control the endgame through the Altar and firepower, so the Americans are enjoying harassing them while waiting for the opportune moment to strike Paradis. (although it could be now with the Gaule repairing, the Stephens is simply too far away)  The Nightmare repairs and “restocks” her helmsman as the entire Cursed fleet happens to be at home.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

A round of relative peace finally ensues, with plenty of low-value gold scraps to go around.  The English surge south, having made a weak agreement to attack Paradis with the Cursed on the following round.  St. Joan has returned to the area via round earth, but it remains to be seen if she will ferry gold from the Altar island to Paradis, use the Altar, take Mont Blanc under tow again, or none of the above….  The Lamon shadows the English movements, further complicating the situation as the submarine is extremely dangerous to both the English and French forces.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Pirates then made an announcement: at the conclusion of this round, the Cursed have a total of 27 gold on their home island.  The Raven’s Neck had used her ability to spy every coin on the Cursed HI, and the Pirates were telling the truth.  This worried the Americans most, who I know had 22-25 at the time and suspected the French to be ahead of them.  Factions made some grumbling about capturing the Sea Rat to use her HI raider ability, but no coalition was formed.

The English started off the next round with a ram, as the gold-laden Trepassey dismasts the Fancy.  The English saw this as necessary, as they had premeasured that the Fancy would be able to ram the Trepassey on her way home before the latter could arrive with gold.  Basically, a game of don’t become derelict first. (neither ship has any crew; Trepassey won the board)

In a very frustrating round of shooting, HMS Nautilus and HMS Hyena both hit 1/2 to not damage Mont Blanc at all!  Ruining an opportunity to cripple the English for good, the flotilla misses all four shots on the English gunships to not do any damage as well!  O_O

The Panda finally gets home and loads up two new oarsmen as fresh sac fodder for Blackheart. At the right, Lamon has rammed another mast off the Hyena, making it even harder for the English to defeat Mont Blanc.  The Cursed think about sending the Sea Rat to raid the American HI while the Stephens is away, but the nearby Gaule on the west side of that whirlpool makes it too scary.

More disaster for the English as Mont Blanc dismasts the Nautilus and the Hyena is dismasted by the Lamon!  The Stephens is transferring a coin to the Queen of Sheba so she can continue east soon to potentially interfere with French or Cursed operations.  The Spanish are camping out the Santa Teresa in a fog bank next to their HI in order to stay alive in the game.  They are rooting for whoever can beat up the Pirates and potentially control them through the Altar (which would be the French as they go before the Pirates in the turn order).  Basically, since the English will control the French if the Spanish are eliminated (bad for the French and therefore the Spanish), the Spanish are both anti-Pirate and anti-English.  More of these interfactional dynamics were present than I can remember, especially due to the presence of the Altar, which shifted how some factions played based on who went before them in the turn order (and could control them), and who went after (and could be controlled).

By this point the Pirates were spying on the coins in Paradis, and decided to remind everyone that Wolves had been found on the island, making it impossible to get the gold without a Marine or musketeer even after plowing through Paradis.  The Americans had kinda forgot about the Wolves, and this would alter their endgame strategy a bit, not wanting to buy anything given how tight the final gold count was looking.

The English experienced a golden homecoming, with the Hyena zooming home on oar power through Jack’s Compass to dock home a 2, the Hermes arriving on the same turn, and the Trepassey not far behind with 4 more gold along with the prize Fancy in tow.  However, considerable English expenditures earlier in the game meant they were facing an uphill battle here towards the end, a battle they were certainly not winning as their purchases got hammered by the French and USS Lamon.

The Pirates were getting desperate as well, with Fortaleza Dorada somewhat likely to win a fight against the Raven’s Neck but the Pirates too poor to launch an effective support gunship with S-range cannons to assist the RN (plus, launching a ship at this point might singlehandedly take a fleet out of the running).  The Pirates decided to up their chances by hiring SM Calico Cat to lead the RN.

At the top center, the Pirates look to be round earthing the Panda towards the Spanish canoe (trying to get her 1 home, +1 it and use the 2 to launch El Raton lol), but potentially also towards the American ships in the south.  Montana Mays redirects the Lamon northwestwards to intercept, leaving the Altar island abandoned for the first time in many hours of gameplay.  The Cursed are nearly done gathering nearby gold, which will bring their total to at least 30.  Le Gaule has finished repairing, an ominous sight.

It was time for an important French turn!

A massive French move that likely dooms any chances the Pirates had of making up ground in the standings!

With that, the Stephens had an easy target.  Finally the big ship was able to loose a broadside, dismasting the Panda.  At the top of the frame, the Cursed have sent the Sea Rat through the same whirlpool as earlier, but this time with their sights set on the now-abandoned Pirate HI….

USS Stephens dismasts the Panda

The Cursed absolutely refuse to take the bait of capturing the Barnacle, as LN’s tentacle will be in range of Paradis’ L-range guns if the squid surfaces to ram the Barnacle derelict.  At the top right, the Hermes returns to the northeast to scrounge for scraps.  USS Lamon turns around again and heads southeast, with a pair of goals: stop the St. Joan from putting more gold in Paradis, and sacrifice crew at the Altar to take control of the Cursed if truly necessary.

The Gaule dismasts the Raven’s Neck!

St. Joan scurries towards Paradis with a couple coins as the fort dismasts the Barnacle:

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Panda is able to row into the huge fog bank, hoping to return to the Pirate HI soon.  The Stephens turns her wrath to the final Spanish canoe, easily sinking it and taking another 1 gold out of the game.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

With one of their final two units out of play, the Spanish decide to finally suicide.  In an attempt to help the French win (knowing there’s not enough in Fortaleza to win and Santa Teresa can’t unload Anita Amore to get more), Anita Amore pilots the Santa Teresa into a whirlpool, emerging right next to the French home island with the teleportation knocking off the sloop’s lone mast.  The Spanish have been eliminated!  Anita hopes to be captured by Lenoir, who can bring the vessel home for a 5 gold Ransom payout.  However, the French also want the Raven’s Neck so they can use her and Calico Cat to hopefully capture the Sea Rat and steal gold to secure a win.  The Spanish have cared little about the outcome for many rounds, having been effectively eliminated a while ago.  They didn’t tell the French about this plan, doing it on a whim.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

Immediately after the French turn where the Gaule captures the Raven’s Neck, the Panda swoops in from the fog and captures the Santa Teresa!  This is an embarrassment for the Spanish and the Contessa, who are now in the hands of the despised Pirates!  O_O

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Sea Rat raided the Pirate HI for a coin!  However, this made the Pirates feel extremely stupid, as they could have spent all their gold last turn on new game pieces to deny the Sea Rat any coins as soon as they saw her approach through the whirlpool.  The Pirates are aggravated and annoyed, and know they have just about no shot at winning now.  So they go “full troll” and spend their 8 gold on cheese ships – Rover, Mermaid, and Banshee’s Cry + oarsman.  Making the situation even sillier is the Pirate desperation to block the Sea Rat from accessing the whirlpool on the Cursed turn – the Panda sacs her helmsman to move out of French waters and back home, with the Hag of Tortuga making sure both ships touched the whirlpool in an alignment that maximized blocking it off from the Sea Rat.  XD   Compounding the ridiculous situation, I believe Captain Blackheart died in the whirlpool travel while Contessa Anita Amore survived.  The French have ruined the Pirates’ endgame schemes, and now they will play spoiler in any way possible.

Pirates launch 3 ships

However, the Sea Rat is able to escape with her Pirate 1 coin into the nearby fog bank.  At the top left, the Hyena has finished repairing to full strength.  The Americans are getting desperate now too, as the St. Joan has deposited her pair of coins from the Altar island into Paradis.  The Stephens round earths to the north, considering an attack on Fortaleza Dorada or simply heading towards the Altar island where the endgame may be decided.

Some interesting developments: HMS Hyena heads for the Altar, the Hermes and Trepassey bring back a couple more 1’s for the English, Gaule gets the RN home to start repairs, the St. Joan retows the Mont Blanc only to be dismasted by a Lamon ram, the Nightmare appears to have designs on the Altar (first Cursed movement towards it), and the Sea Rat returns to Cursed home waters with her stolen coin.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The beginning of the next round saw HMS Hyena dock at the Altar island and sacrifice two crew!  With the Spanish eliminated, the English could at long last control the French fleet!!  O_O  (in hindsight this is not legal, but certainly a worthy topic for a rules debate especially if the player potentially being skipped has no fort (or other unit not capable of movement) in play)

This is the point in the game where the reefings began, and perhaps where the “true endgame” commenced.  It was already devolving into silly and strange shenanigans, and now it would ignite in newly bizarre ways.  Le Gaule was tossed into a whirlpool and thrown onto a reef in the north, but she only lost 1 mast.  The RN wasn’t in range of a reef but was sailed north towards one, with the Hyena’s captain acting as puppetmaster at the Altar of the Loa.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The English use the Mont Blanc to sink the Nightmare!  Bow to the power of the Loa!

Feeling the desperation mounting, the Lamon surfaces, docks at the Altar island, and the Americans sacrifice Montana Mays and a helmsman to the Loa!!  O_O   What has come over these factions??  Are the loa possessing their spirits?

Americans use the Altar of the Loa

The Sea Rat and Lechim Namod are sent through the whirlpool!  The Sea Rat suffers no damage, but LN is nearly killed as her sagging underbelly is ground into powder on the sharp coral reefs.  The Panda returns the Santa Teresa home to the Pirate HI, where the latter repairs immediately as Anita Amore becomes a permanent capture in a dark grimy dungeon where Blackheart kept his sac fodder.  The last of that fodder is the Panda’s oarsman, which gets transferred to the Banshee’s Cry (BC), a ship that already had one.  That means she has two oarsmen aboard… enough for a sacrifice at the Altar….

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

By now ships were almost literally piling up at the only reefable whirlpool, with likely no space left to place any more ships there in sabotage attempts.  The endgame was spiraling out of control, with both the Cursed and French being okay with it ending as soon as possible.

The Loa’s Justice sails out to greet Paradis on her own, hoping the guns will send her to the depths.  The 5 on the Barnacle means the Pirates have successfully scuttled her.

Seizing an opportunity for yet another scrap of pitiful coinage, the English ram the Lamon with the Hyena, triggering the ship’s ability to kill off Commodore Matthew Perry and net themselves another 1 gold.  The Hermes has taken up Altar duties and I think it was time for another English turn of control over the French!

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

Le Gaule dismasts the Sea Rat.  The Cursed did not mind this at all, but the English wanted themselves or the Pirates to steal the Sea Rat and use it themselves to steal coins from at least one of the front runners.  The Pirates have mixed success on their turn trying to kill the ship’s oarsman.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Americans see the game flash before their eyes: the Lamon can load two coins now that her cargo hold is completely empty, and the Stephens can increase the value of Barbary Banner by blasting away at the various English ships in the area!  Perhaps the American comeback story is not yet complete?  The Stephens also had designs on using the Altar, but the Cursed are already quite weak now and the Stephens can be more useful simply knocking off masts to make Barbary Banner more valuable.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Hyena rams to steal a coin from the Lamon.  The loa party continues as the Fancy arrives on the scene with fresh sacrifices!  She sacs her oarsmen to let the English take control of the French yet again!!  XD  And the English rebuild Ramsgate to deny the Americans (and Cursed) from using the Altar, simultaneously “claiming” the island’s remaining gold for the approaching gold count!  O_O

By now things were getting so desperate and short on actions that there wasn’t even much to do with some of the Altar plays.  However, the Gaule was moved onto a reef where she lost her remaining masts, while the Raven’s Neck suffered no damage.

The Panda avoids a shipwreck herself and captures the Gaule!  O_O   LN has shot off the Rover’s mast but the Sea Rat is still under attack.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Stephens gets to work, taking out three masts between the Hermes and Fancy!  Each mast eliminated gets them 1 gold via Barbary Banner, getting them closer to a potential winning score.  Can they do it?

However, the Lamon is sunk before she can submerge! (I believe by the Mont Blanc)

USS Stephens goes crazy

The Sea Rat is able to row into the whirlpool for home.

The English sink the St. Joan with Ramsgate, and HMS Trepassey arrives on the scene with fresh crew!  O_O   In what may have been a fourth consecutive turn of control, the English take over what remains of the French fleet, using Mont Blanc to sink the Loa’s Justice!

The Stephens uses one of the last actions of the game to shoot at the English again!  However, it is a major disappointment, as she goes 1/4 to hit the Hyena.

The Cursed are ready to count and dump the Sea Rat’s oarsman on their HI in an attempt to end the game since the ship is derelict (though still capable of future move actions via the oarsman or repairing, so not a proper sabotage).  However, it was over, as I was way past my planned “hard stop end time” of 10pm.  It was 1am and I was having trouble making proper decisions for the fleets.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

It was time to count!  Here are the counts in play order!

English: 24 gold

Spanish: 14 gold

French: 32 gold

Pirates: 10 gold

Pirate fleet ransom captures for 10 total gold

Americans: 32 gold

The Cursed: 33 gold

O_O  The Cursed win one of the closest games of all time!!  O_O

  1. Cursed: 33 gold
  2. French: 32 (3 units in play – Paradis de la Mer, Mont Blanc, Raven’s Neck)
  3. Americans: 32 (1 unit in play – USS Stephens)
  4. English: 24
  5. Spanish: 14
  6. Pirates: 10

What a ludicrous game and finish!  Unfortunately it comes with an asterisk as the game was not played to true completion, but I still went way past the “time deadline” (at which point I believe the Cursed still would have won).  This mirrors the insanely close results of the recent PNW Weekend Marathon of multiplayer games, making me realize even more than ever before that winning this game is a bit of a crapshoot (for better or worse).  It’s quite likely that any single die roll falling differently in various circumstances throughout the game could have changed the outcome.  Not to mention the “French implosion” – if the Gaule had captured the Santa Teresa that turn instead of the Raven’s Neck, the French could have brought Anita back for 5 gold, plenty enough to win with 37 (perhaps the Panda could have rammed the ST to kill Anita and deny such a result, but Lenoir’s cancelling would have helped by cancelling helmsman or Sac).  The Americans were ONE hit away from victory – if one more shot had hit the Hyena on that final shoot action, Barbary Banner would have been worth 7 gold instead of 6, tying them with the Cursed at 33 and likely winning additional tiebreakers (I think LN was killed by a shot from a Pirate sloop during the last round, leaving both the Americans and Cursed with one unit each – at which point the Americans would win the points in play AND masts standing tiebreakers with the healthy Stephens vs. derelict Sea Rat).

The Cursed won by playing a very guarded and cagey game, being about as safe as I’ve ever seen them play as a faction.  Their sole launch helped them acquire more gold, and they needed every bit of it to win.  The Sea Rat’s HI raid against the Pirates even netted them the 1 coin that made the difference, as without that they would have lost both tiebreakers in a 32-32-32 count.  The Cursed benefited heavily from the setup, which was something they helped to engineer.  The close islands near their HI helped with quick gold runs back and forth, while the terrain nearby made their HI and gold running operations less accessible to some of the nasty gunships wreaking havoc towards the outskirts of the map.  They got a bit lucky choosing a home island first and not having anyone really encroach upon that area with other HI placements.

The Spanish get the last laugh against the Pirates, beating them despite being eliminated before the long and crazy endgame really got going.  The Pirates felt the need to “spend to protect” their gold after the Sea Rat threatened all of it, but still avoided a shutout when the Panda went crazy with kidnappings in the final rounds of the game (going from 0 gold to 10 gold after snagging two Ransom crew).

The English finished with a better score than I anticipated, having spent 29 gold across two separate turns on Lawrence, the Trepassey, and Hyena with crew.  They must have spent at least 4 additional gold towards the end on “Altar Fuel” in the form of cheap sacrifices.  They were way too excited to buy things, and probably could have been in very good position to win if they hadn’t blown a lot of their money.  However, their purchases did help to keep them alive and net them some gold, but not enough at the end.  It’s fitting (and relieving) they didn’t contend directly for the victory, as their turtles (and 10 of the gold used on the Hyena launch) should have been axed by Kharmic Idol.

This was a wild experience for me, and generally “worthy” of being my 500th game despite various frustrations (and tiredness towards the end).  I’m so used to saving being a terrible strategy in campaign games where gold can be used to purchase game pieces, so it was hard to shake that mindset even though I knew that most gold would take it going into the game.  Although the win comes with various “what if” asterisks, the Cursed played a masterful game of correctly managing their money, not making enemies, protecting their gold, and snagging low values over the long endgame to come away with enough to win.

For posterity and my own future reference if I play more games with this house rule, a few lessons:
-The factions that spent more did worse (English and Pirates).
-The factions that bought gunships did worse (English and Pirates).
-The factions that bought gold runners did better (Cursed and Americans)
-It’s hard to know when a game like this will end, so it’s better to conserve gold and make sure you’re consistently in the running than spend early on and have to make up a large differential in a desperate and chaotic endgame where most of the “readily available” coins are 1’s and 2’s.
-If I play with this house rule again I want to have a longer timeline. I played for about 11 hours straight and it wasn’t enough. I probably needed at least another hour to reach a proper endgame condition, which was likely going to be half or more fleets unable to give future move actions (the Cursed had almost taken themselves out, and any more reefings of the Raven’s Neck likely would have eliminated the French). This was at a mere 40 point build total, so to finish a game like this properly I’d probably go down to 4-5 fleets if using the same build total. If using a higher build total (even 50 or 60), I’d cap it at an absolute max of 4 fleets.  Although you could manipulate it by putting less gold out there, less total gold in play disincentivizes purchases even more, and we already saw the big spenders come in 4th and 6th in this game.
-I enjoyed it a lot and recommend trying this style of play at least once! (purchases legal but regular endgame conditions)

Thanks for reading and please comment below your thoughts on the game! 😀

“Pure Standard” – A Return to Normalcy with 1v1 at 40 points (October 30th, 2022)

“Pure Standard” – A Return to Normalcy

1v1 40

10/30/2022

For the first time in YEARS I played a game with NO house rules of any kind.  Captain Vendari and I met on the VASSAL module for a “pure standard” game.  No ban list, no house rules, nothing beyond what Wizkids intended this great game to be.  Due to the prevalence of house rules and ban lists in modern game groups that play Pirates CSG, I have even been calling this “hyperstandard” in my head, though in reality it’s basically just “regular Pirates”.

Vendari rolled to go first. These were the fleets: (all game pieces found in the Master Spreadsheet)

Captain Vendari
San Cristobal + Victor de Alva (F&S version), Luis Zuan (F&S version; Helmsman ability), silver explorer
Bloody Jewel + helmsman, silver explorer
Le Coeur du Lion + Vicomte Jules de Cissey, navigator
UT’s: Kharmic Idol

A7XfanBen
Black Swan + Captain Jack Sparrow (common 058 version), Bianco’s Haulers, helmsman, explorer, oarsman
Patagonia + Robinson, Lord Mycron, Administrator Scott Bratley
Le Coeur du Lion + oarsmen x2 (1 Pirate, 1 French)
Oarsmen x2 on home island (1 Pirate, 1 French)
Events: Hidden Cove, Raft
UT’s: Jailhouse Dog, Relics

With his 0LR+5 Vendari brought in both crew on the Bloody Jewel. I anticipated seeing at least one face down event in his fleet, but once I saw none in his complete fleet as Player 2 I realized I could save the 2 points I was anticipating for Favor of the Gods. My 5 extra points went towards my events and the HI oarsmen, as I figured the Coeur would need more crew to fling out to CJS.

As Player 2 I placed the final island, putting it on the western side.  This was to preserve the southeastern island as likely the worst HI location.  We didn’t dive too deep into the strategic meta around island placement, but we certainly talked about it as we set the map up.  Vendari also won the roll to determine how many terrain pieces each player would place – he voted 6, I voted 2.  He placed 3 whirlpools and 3 reefs, while I added 5 fog banks and 1 sargasso sea.  I chose for Vendari to start in the SE corner while he chose for me to start in the NW corner.  We were ready to play some old-fashioned normal Pirates!

Victor de Alva was revealed, and Vendari got his EA roll to zip the San Cristobal out towards the center island at S+S+L+S+S+S+L+S speed.  The Bloody Jewel headed west as the Coeur generated a trade current.

Pure Standard game of Pirates CSG on the VASSAL module

The UPS machine began revving up.  I flipped Hidden Cove to start my turn, and the middle island was the closest.  I was wary of Nemesio Diaz on the SC being able to cancel one of my important abilities, but decided to chance it and dock near the SC anyway, knowing that I could force a decisive action very early if there was no canceller.  (in hindsight, in a hyper competitive environment I would have studied Vendari’s face down crew setups and total points before taking my turn, which would have shown that the final crew on the SC could not have been more than a 3 point crew)  The Black Swan used her first action to redock with cannons in range of the SC.  I flipped CJS and shot before exploring, since exploring first could reveal bad UT’s that might mess up the shooting.  The Black Swan hit 2/3 (definitely above my average with 3S cannons) and then explored, finding some low value coins on the island.  I think it was a regular 2 and the rest silver – 2,1,1.  CJS flipped the silver 2 to the Coeur, who was given an explore action targeting my HI to unload it.

With Mycron giving the Patagonia’s action away, the Black Swan then redocked again to fire her port broadside, hitting the San Cristobal 1/3 to take her down to 2 masts standing.  CJS flung another coin to the Coeur, but she would have to wait until the next turn to unload it.  The Black Swan also loaded one of the 1’s, as I would rather get boarded for it (and possibly only lose my explorer since the loser chooses everything for boarding parties) than have the SC just explore the island and take it.

Pirates CSG 1v1 40 point standard game

Vendari got another EA from de Alva, and docked at the island next to the Black Swan.  However, I was ready to reveal my “trap card”, with Bianco’s Haulers preventing the Black Swan from being shot at while docked!  It was still a decent turn for the SC however, as she was able to use the silver explorer to grab the island’s final coin, then use the EA to sail away to the west.  The Bloody Jewel scurried home with treasure after finding both Relics and Kharmic Idol on the southwestern island.

With no canceller or oarsman on the San Cristobal, I had to take her.  The Black Swan got another Mycron assist to blast the San Cristobal, ramming at the bow as well.  The SC was dismasted, and both players declined to board.

Pure Standard rules for Pirates CSG game on Vassal

The Bloody Jewel returned home with a 3 and a silver 1 that generated an extra 1 gold from the silver explorer’s bonus.

On my turn the Black Swan started towing the SC, then used both actions to dock at the western island where I explored and flipped home a silver 4 to the Coeur who unloaded it.  I then built Paradis de la Mer because it would allow the SC to repair, and because Vendari’s fleet was now likely too weak to be able to contest the gold in Paradis at any point in the future.  (a safer play than some fort builds, so a no-brainer in this case)  The following turn I got de Alva’s EA (quite the generous guy today!) to repair 2 masts on the SC.  However, at this point Vendari decided to forfeit, seeing no path forward for him to win given the momentum swing and how hard it would be to get any more coins home.

  1. A7XfanBen: 13 gold
  2. Captain Vendari: 5

Although the game was shorter than I anticipated, it was nice to get back to a regular game of Pirates.  It’s been so long since I played with all events being legal and things like the normal boarding rules where the winner has no agency to choose.  I think it’s a good idea to do this once in a while, both to satisfy my desire to play competitively and as a way of going old school or back to the roots of the game that Wizkids put out.  After all the house rule craziness in recent years, it’s almost a way to “detox” from a bit of “house rule fatigue”.  Nothing against house rules to say the least, just kind of a fun experiment to do once in a while, both to actually play (not just theorize) in a competitive meta and almost as a tribute to Wizkids’ original creation.

Wild Game with Storms and Mysterious Islands – 4×80 Weekend Marathon Finale (October 16th, 2022)

Wild Game with Storms and Mysterious Islands

10/16/2022

With the big weekend winding down on a late Sunday night after our “points climax” in the 7×120 game, I brought the LA crew back to Mox Boarding House in Bellevue to join Kyle for the last game in our time together.  As usual, some house rules were used along with these:
-Storm terrain and mysterious islands legal for the 80 point game.
-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)
-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.

Emphasis added!  Prior to the weekend’s start, the players voted to allow both Storm terrain (pioneered by Xerecs and his brothers in the always-epic Century of Economy campaign games) and mysterious islands.  Both of those are some really crazy elements that usually make for a wild game.  They are quite luck-based and therefore best for a casual, almost silly wild game where it’s best to go in with extremely low expectations.

Storms are a Custom terrain piece. At the end of a round of turns, a d6 is rolled. Match the result to the number printed on any Storms in play. Roll the d6 again. Match the result to the number printed around the edge of the Storm and move the Storm L in a straight line in that direction. If two or more Storms collide or move into contact with one another, they merge and move as one Storm. If any part of a game piece touches a Storm, it is immediately placed inside of it. Roll a d6, the result is the number of masts, segments, flags or damage points removed from the game piece. If the result is more than the number of remaining masts, segments, flags or damage points, the game piece is eliminated from the game. If a storm spends more than three rounds over a body of land, it is removed from the game.

Here are the fleets used!

Xerecs (some customs used; Customs Database for more info)
Marhi (proxied by Mobilis)
Intermediaro
Kanoka + Gelu, Pohatu, Onua, oarsman (proxied by Constitution)
HMS Antelope + Robinson, Lord Mycron

A7XfanBen: “GodCrab”
Raninoidea + RotF Crimson Angel, RotF Hermione Gold, LE Griffin, Gentleman Jocard, RotF Gus Schultz
Calim + exploding shot
Coeur du Lion + Jean Desailly, Princess Auraa, Jules de Cissey
Banshee’s Cry + helmsman, oarsman
Rover + helmsman
El Algeciras + helmsman, oarsman

Godcrab fleet Pirates CSG

Kyky
Marie Antoinette + crew
Pandora + crew
Terror + crew
Beast’s Belly + crew
Marianne

L0rdgingerbread
Hai Peng + crew
HMS Lady Provost + crew
Lady Newport + crew
Polaris + crew
Banshee’s Cry

I had some very specific shenanigans in mind and contributed 3 mysterious islands along with some storms which made for a dangerous map (though less busy due to less players).

Wild Game with Storms and Mysterious Islands - 4x80 Weekend Marathon Finale (October 16th, 2022)

For reference, these are the 3 mysterious islands I contributed:

Ships scattered everywhere as the mysterious islands quickly began to take their toll. Raninoidea and the Lady Provost took damage upon docking.  I made sure to make my giant crab Eternal, so any casualties incurred as a result of MI “farming” would not be truly fatal.

Wild Game with Storms and Mysterious Islands - 4x80 Weekend Marathon Finale (October 16th, 2022)

Things quickly got nuts!

The Hai Peng getting essentially auto-eliminated via Pandora’s Box + Lost was just the start.  I had multiple ships docked at some mysterious islands, ready to mind control for maximum chaos.  In this case the cheap ships added to my fleet at the end were not for competitive gold running, but a different kind of “cheese” – mysterious island farmers.  XD    Xerecs closes in on my Banshee’s Cry, with Intermediaro giving some coins to the submerged Marhi.

Another Lost UT was found, bringing more terrain into the game.  However, it was ineffective timing because most ships were docked or in a position where the “S away from other terrain and islands” prevented terrain from being placed directly underneath ships.  Kyle round earthed the Terror and Beast’s Belly to the east, while in the center Xerecs had designs on Cissey’s Ransom keyword.  The Coeur was rammed, but repaired on my next turn.  Calim pinned the Kanoka, but exploding shot backfired to leave the squid headless!  (I’ve been rolling exclusively 1’s with equipment lately…)

Wild Game with Storms and Mysterious Islands - 4x80 Weekend Marathon Finale (October 16th, 2022)

After many turns of redocking to mind control opposing ships, I finally had the Rover actually explore the gold-laden island her and Raninoidea were stationed at.  Bad Maps yanked the island eastwards, dooming the attached Rover in a storm.  Spencer is almost out of ships already with all of my storm and mind control efforts, but the Lady Newport has some gold aboard.

Wild Game with Storms and Mysterious Islands - 4x80 Weekend Marathon Finale (October 16th, 2022)

Unfortunately I don’t have more pictures from this game, but it was a total nightmare for anyone taking it seriously haha.  Storms and MI’s continued to play a big role, eliminating more and more ships until Kyle and Spencer were nearly out of it.  At one point I was able to yank Intermediaro into a storm as well.  Raninoidea was “killed” but returned home via Eternal to repair an arm before heading back out for the endgame phase.  Xerecs had gold-captured Jean Desailly from the Coeur in addition to Cissey for a nice payout of 11 total gold.  Towards the last round I was trying to salvage a weird/flukey second place finish by capturing the Lady Newport and her 10 gold, but Xerecs sank the derelict with the Kanoka after Raninoidea captured it.  Soon afterwards 2 of the 4 players had been eliminated, triggering the “half or more” endgame condition!

  1. Xerecs: 33 gold
  2. L0rdgingerbread: 6
  3. Kyky: 5
  4. A7XfanBen: 0

Xerecs got the win in this wild game a day before his birthday on the 17th, in perfect time to win a prize that Gazerbeam543 had announced before the game – a set of laminated deckplates for various Return to Savage Shores game pieces!

Thus concludes the 2022 Pirates CSG Weekend Marathon in the Pacific Northwest!  😀  Thanks again to all who played, and especially to Xerecs, L0rdgingerbread and Gazerbeam543 for flying up from LA to make it an epic weekend of pure pirating!!  😀

Thank you for reading! If you want to play Pirates you know where I’m at!  🙂