Games with Witch – 60 Points and a Sealed Pack Game! (April 9th, 2022)

Games with Witch – 60 Points and a Sealed Pack Game!

April 9th, 2022

I played some additional games with Witch/Dan (current Discord username: The Witch King) at Zulu’s Board Game Cafe (highly recommended!) in Bothell Washington!  We had agreed on a 60 point build total for the first game, using my Basic Rules and round earth.  The ban list included all events, the DJC Le Bonaparte, Nubian Prince, Blood Money and Cursed Natives.  Proxies were allowed.

He went first with a fleet consisting of the Black Pearl, Greed’s Hammer, Mermaid, and Bilge (proxied by a 1 masted sloop).  I followed with an English fleet:
HMS Interceptor + HGold (RotF version), Sir Christopher Myngs, CRGO (BC version), Sir Watkins Defoe, smokepot specialist
HMS Lady Provost + helmsman, explorer, oarsman
HMS Lord Kenyon + captain, helmsman

Games with Witch at Zulu's Board Game Cafe in Bothell Washington

I had been inspired by a recent discussion at the ever-active Discord server, where Infin8Ouroboros and others were discussing a tactic where you combine the Ghost Ship keyword or the ability to ignore terrain with a bit of a loophole in the overlap rules. First you move to attack a target, shooting a smokepot with one of the cannons.  The ship then gets a second action, moving to overlap the smokebank while still shooting at targets (since it ignores terrain when given a move action).  Then since the terrain effects are applied once the move action ends and the piece is overlapping the terrain, the ship gets sucked into the fog bank and therefore into safety!!  O_O   Once I read about this combo I knew I had to try it, and nicely enough our game was scheduled for only around a week later.  It was time to try something different!  The Lady P (LP) would serve as my main gold runner with a side of HI raiding, while HMS Lord Kenyon was the final addition but would hopefully provide strong backup to either ship that needed it, a durable little hybrid capable of various tasks.

60 point English fleet for Pirates CSG

Both fleets had fog banks conveniently close to their HI’s, which would play a large role in the positioning aspect of the game.  The LP has loaded gold, while the Greed’s Hammer has already unloaded 2 coins +2 via Mycron’s wizardry (on the proxied Bilge).

The LP needs to stay safe in the fog on the way home, while a potential duel between flagships looms….

Alas, the dance continued, with the Lord Kenyon hiding in fog while my other ships docked at the home island.  The LP and Greed’s Hammer are making both fleets richer but Witch and I knew that the standoff would have to explode in order for the game to ever end.

I was able to pull off the combo!  However, I didn’t even need the smokepot specialist, as the Interceptor already had a fog bank to “stumble” into on her way to sinking the Greed’s Hammer!  She got Myngs’ SAT to zoom over and hit the GH, using her second action to sink the ship while overlapping fog, becoming safe at the end of her second move action!  The LP enters the same fog bank as the Black Pearl, eyeing the riches on Witch’s home island.

There was a bit of position reversal, with the Black Pearl and my English ships in opposite positions from earlier in the game.

The Interceptor sank the Mermaid. The Black Pearl returned near home.  After weighing some different options, I decided it would be prudent to build a fort.  The westernmost island was close to Witch’s HI due to round earth, and a fort would allow for the LP to drop off gold on her route home. In addition, I wanted to see if I could get Witch to overplay the BP and risk her against my massed fleet all in one spot. Not to mention that forts can be really good for home island raiders because the available gold keeps the game alive for more raids to potentially occur.  😀   All three ships docked at the island west of my HI, with the LP surrounded as Ramsgate was constructed.

English build Ramsgate fort in Pirates CSG game

Soon afterwards, I was able to do a little fancy maneuvering with the smokepot combo, having the Interceptor speed out ahead of the LP and drop a smokebank. The LP sailed into it for safety (on her way west towards the final unexplored wild island), with the Interceptor right behind her with SAT.

Although the Mycron-boosted Black Pearl was looming via round earth, I wanted to make a play at the final wild island. The LP and Interceptor docked there, with the Interceptor spewing smoke to block one of the BP’s routes of attack.

Sure enough the BP came around the other side of the island, dismasting the LP but crucially missing two shots that kept the HI raider afloat!

The LP ducked through a whirlpool, with the Lord Kenyon waiting to protect her in home waters on the other side.  The Interceptor took on the Black Pearl in a 2003 movie-showdown redux!  However, Witch flipped Tia Dalma to cancel Hermione Gold’s Captain ability, meaning the Interceptor was powerless to attack!

Finally a very predictable round was played, with the LP docking home her 4 additional coins as the Black Pearl sank the Interceptor! (true to form)

The LP repairs both her masts as the Black Pearl returns home as well.  Both fleets set up in fog banks and another dance has begun!  XD

Now we did a count for gold, to make sure it was even relevant for me to try and raid Witch’s home island.  Incredibly, we both had 22 gold (including 4 in my Ramsgate).  We would play on, with the Lady Provost and Lord Kenyon moving north to the fog bank next to Witch’s HI.  From there they emerged, with the LP stealing a 3 and the LK trying to block the BP a bit (LK revealed her captain to shoot but was cancelled).

The Black Pearl got two actions via Mycron, dismasting the LP and stealing the 3 back, while also taking a mast off the Lord Kenyon.  In a split second of excitement I realized I had a quick and easy path to potential victory – with the 3 coin on the Black Pearl, if I could end the game now with a suicide of the Lord Kenyon, I would win 22-19 because the 3 was not back on Witch’s home island yet!  I immediately sent the LK through a whirlpool hoping for a bad roll, but a 4 (under my Basic Rules) meant she was safe!

The BP unloaded the 3, meaning I was basically playing for a “tie” at this point with the score back at 22-22.  It took a couple more attempts, but eventually the Lord Kenyon lost her final mast to a whirlpool roll, ending the game.  Though the gold score was knotted at 22 apiece, Witch won the game based on the tiebreaker of most points in play!  (and would have also won based on any other tiebreaker such as most units in play/masts standing/etc.)

This was a really incredible game that saw the introduction (for me) of a new fog bank smoke attack combo, lots of maneuvering as is typical when strategists like Witch and I meet up, and a close and dramatic finish that could not have been closer!!  😀

 

Sealed Pack Game

We had also agreed to play a sealed pack game, with me supplying the packs for a nominal fee of about $1/pack.  We each opened 1 pack of SM, RV and OE.  It would be a 40 point game.  If either of us didn’t like our pulls enough, we would each receive one more pack of OE for 4 total, but we ended up being content with what the 3 gave us.  The only exception was the first pack I opened – the first SM pack was a mispack with a pair of Le Duque card 2/2’s with no deckplate, so I exchanged it for a new pack of SM.

Witch went first with:
Black Swan + helmsman, explorer, oarsman
HMS Birkenhead + shipwright
Treachery + Genny’s Red Rampage

From my packs I selected:
El Leon + captain, helmsman, firepot specialist
Saratoga + musketeer
Royal Fortune

We only used the terrain from the packs, so 2 reefs and 2 whirlpools were placed.

Going first didn’t prove to be very helpful for Witch, as I pounced at the end of round 1.  The Leon set the Black Swan ablaze!

Indeed, I had a plan for the Saratoga as well.  She looked like she was going to explore, but once two enemy ships were within range of her broadside, a musketeer emerged from belowdecks and helped eliminate masts from the Birkenhead!  The latter was dismasted, but got her mainmast back up via the shipwright.

However, I had won the battle, with the Leon re-dismasting the Birkenhead to allow the Saratoga to capture her, while also setting the Treachery alight!  Meanwhile the Royal Fortune loads 2 coins.

The Black Swan managed to extinguish her flames when docking home some gold, and the Treachery managed to put out her blazes as well.  However, I had established some board control, with a centrally located HI frequented by the Saratoga (about to repair) and Royal Fortune while the Leon pursued intimidation tactics in the east where the Treachery had fled to temporary safety.  The Birkenhead was busy repairing with her shipwright.  I now had 4 ships to Witch’s 2, forcing him to play down in numbers again like last game.

The Black Swan loaded 2 coins from the southwestern island while the Royal Fortune emptied the southeastern one.  Although I’ve seen it dismantled in the past, a blockade strategy by my own fleet was beginning to take shape….

However, a full blockade became unnecessary, with the Black Swan attempting some kind of run towards home without round earthing.  The Birkenhead got out of the Leon’s way, allowing the latter to bombard the Black Swan with another firepot!  The Royal Fortune stole a coin and Witch’s Pirates were looking rough.

The Saratoga came over to observe the slaughter, with the game becoming more lopsided by the turn now.

The Black Swan was sunk by the Leon, with the Treachery not enough to overcome the combat capabilities of my fleet.

Scores:

  1. A7XfanBen: 24 gold
  2. Witch: 6

Though not as good as the first game, it was nice to return to sealed pack play and change things up a bit.  Thanks to Witch for being an awesome opponent and player!  We are the perfect match for playing each other since we’re both so strategic and deliberate.  Many turns took far longer than they might for other people, but it’s because we care about considering all the options and making sure we’re playing as optimally as possible.  It’s awesome!

In addition, we did a little real-time trading and purchasing, as I FINALLY got the Tasmanian Devil (Mysterious Islands SE ship) for $30 and gave Witch an RV Executioner that he wanted!  My luck was better than usual tonight, and I’d like to attribute it to my HMS Victory gun deck shirt I was wearing.  XD  These games with Witch were really fun. Thanks for reading!

A7XfanBen and Witch at Zulu's Board Game Cafe in Bothell WA

Two 3 Player 120 Point Games in Los Angeles (February 12th, 2022)

Two 3 Player 120 Point Games in Los Angeles

February 12th, 2022

Ahoy there!  I met up with JW Darkhurst and Gazerbeam543 at Gazerbeam’s house in LA for the final two games of my time in SoCal!

The setup was quite simple – round earth rules, no terrain, with a build total of 120 points.

I went with Calypso on the Floating Stone once again, this time with the Divine Dragon as the primary gunship. The Frontier would be the main gold hauler, but the inclusion of the Coleoptera (a gold version produced by Vulkan) and Slipstream promised to change things up a bit.

Gazerbeam’s fleet was led by HMS Endeavour, with other fine ships accompanying her to include the Neptune’s Hoard, Virtuous Wind and Algeciras.

JW’s fleet had another Frontier along with a trio of large competitive vessels: Enterprise, San Cristobal, and 025 Black Pearl.

We were all loaded with plenty of face down crew!

Calypso’s roll didn’t kick in on round 1 so I kept my non-submergeable ships docked at the home island.

Gazerbeam’s fleet was quickly revealed to be heavily reliant on Sac, with the Neptune’s Hoard and Virtuous Wind easily exploring wild islands because of it.  JW’s fleet splits up, with the San Cristobal shadowing the NH.

Seeing an opportunity to potentially capture a second Frontier, El Fantasma sacs an oarsman to send the Divine Dragon into battle.  She dismasts the Black Pearl but uses all her firepower to do so!

Negative UT’s have been a real thorn in my side lately and I’ve gotten pretty sick of it.  In this case Jail warped the Frontier’s somewhat impressive crew complement to my home island, while Maps of Hades could prove annoying if the rolls went poorly.  The submerged Coleoptera is mostly sitting there as a deterrent.

In the meantime, Calypso creates a whirlpool, but the Slipstream is too slow to reach it.  This was partly due to a fleet building error on my part where I had to dump the Slipstream’s helmsman last minute due to exceeding the point limit of the ship.

With help from a double action and LE Griffin, the Endeavour sails over and blasts the Frontier, dismasting her!  In an attempt to salvage the situation, the gold is unloaded back to the island and into a newly built Paradis de la Mer.

The Black Pearl was able to row home to safety, but the San Cristobal bore the brunt of the Divine Dragon’s next attack.  However, JW’s Frontier was free to grab some cargo from the SC.  The Virtuous Wind has Plague aboard and it looks like she will team up with the Algeciras+Diablo combo to harass some enemies.

The San Cristobal also had a helmsman and oarsman just like the Black Pearl, and so was able to quickly row home to safety.  The Enterprise gets an EA to blast away at the Divine Dragon, hitting consistently to cripple the junk.

The Divine Dragon sacs to reach a whirlpool that carries her nearly all the way home.  The Slipstream rammed the Virtuous Wind, giving the submarine the Plague. The Endeavour is not willing to assault Paradis de la Mer, at least not alone.  The fog banks are actually trade currents created by a navigator on my Coeur du Lion.

Lots of repairs were carried out at home islands late in the game, but we called it soon afterwards.

Scores:

  1. Gazerbeam: 24 gold
  2. A7XfanBen: 14
  3. JW Darkhurst: 11

 

We agreed to play a second game with the same fleets. However, the setup was changed substantially, with a new cardboard “castle” of sorts being placed in the center of the map. It could only be docked at where the black marks are (the westernmost area), and it contained a little extra gold. We added terrain with the stipulation that it had to be placed in chains of at least 3 terrain each. This led to some long strings.

120 point Pirates CSG game with castle

Such a pretty game!

As could be expected by now, Gazerbeam and I quickly came to blows battling over the center island’s contested beach. The Cassandra was blasted apart, but I knew HMS Endeavour would come calling soon enough.

At the upper right, Gazerbeam’s gold runners have sacced to wild islands. At the lower right, JW pairs the SC and BP while the Enterprise may try to sail around the castle on her own.  Up top, notice the Coleoptera has round earthed near Gazerbeam’s home island….

Gazerbeam brought many guns to bear on my forces, sinking HMS Lady Provost and damaging both the Divine Dragon and Frontier. I scooted home to repair, disappointed that he was able to extricate the Cassandra from the chaos.  Various details have been forgotten in these recent reports, as battle reports written on the same day as the game is played is much more optimal than trying to describe things weeks later.

My plan is revealed as the Captain Villanueva surfaces the Coleoptera to steal a coin from Gazerbeam’s home island! He’d like to stay and take another next turn, but this is likely suicide with the Neptune’s Hoard docked only a few yards away. Instead, Lord Mycron sacrifices the Patagonia’s action to send the Coleoptera back through the whirlpool she came from, upon which she is near Calypso’s initial whirlpool by my HI and within hoisting range for the Frontier to take and then deposit the stolen loot onto my HI all in one turn!

The Endeavour continued sailing, going south to dismast JW’s Black Pearl.  The latter gets home as she did last game, with the San Cristobal also escaping.  Up top, the Enterprise may be looking to crush the Neptune’s Hoard, but possibly just missed her chance.

A battlefield developed around JW’s home island, with the Frontier coming through a new whirlpool that allowed canceller DNT to cancel Lawrence on the Endeavour!  The Divine Dragon was next, with Fantasma saccing an oarsman to blast away at the Endeavour and finally sink the legendary flagship for good!

Alas, it was too late, as Gazerbeam had earned another victory!

Scores:

  1. Gazerbeam: 32 gold
  2. JW Darkhurst: 15
  3. A7XfanBen: 5

4 Player 60 Point game in LA using Points in Play!  (January 30th, 2022)

4 Player 60 Point game in LA using Points in Play!

January 30th, 2022

Ahoy again!  Just one day after meeting up with 3 other players in Los Angeles for a pair of games, I picked up Xerecs and Gingerninja for a game at Gazerbeam’s house!

We sat down for a 60 point game using the points in play house rule where total points in play would be added to gold for a total score.

Here in LA there be pirates!!  XD

Los Angeles Pirates

I went with a similar fleet from the day before, with the Wicked Wench, Star of Siam, and Philadelphia reprising their roles while the Longshanks replaced HMS Hound for a more optimal crew setup on the Wicked Wench. (no English in my fleet meant I could use F&S Hammersmith on the WW)  Gingerninja opted for the Fetu from RtSS, the White Rose, and two smaller ships.  The 025 Black Pearl (Gazerbeam) and RV Neptune’s Hoard (Xerecs) were also present.  Crazy enough, I was the only player not using the Bloody Jewel in this game!

My Star of Siam and Longshanks worked on draining an island, but the Black Pearl approaches.  At the upper right, Xerecs starts a UPS combo with the Neptune’s Hoard carrying the common version of Captain Jack Sparrow.

With my fleet speeding home to unload, the Black Pearl finds a new target in the Neptune’s Hoard.  The latter is sunk!  Some ships make moves on gold in the southeast, while at the upper left you can see the Fetu busy hoisting treasure aboard.

I built a fort on said southeastern island, but it was quickly smashed up and made abandoned! However, my fleet descended on the scene, with the Wicked Wench and Philadelphia looking to team up and capture a Longshanks.

Gingerninja was in the middle of some gold running for the ages when the Black Pearl suddenly got involved! However, luckily for him the Fetu survived the broadside with a mast standing!

The Fetu may have escaped for now, but the White Rose is slammed on her way home:

The Philadelphia warps home the second Longshanks of my fleet, with a pair of Bloody Jewels docked at the top of the picture.

From left to right: Gingerninja’s Bloody Jewel takes the White Rose under tow; the Black Pearl flees into fog after losing a second mast; the Philadelphia docks at the same island Le Pique is at; (top of frame) my original Longshanks round earths to dismast a target gold runner.

Just had to admire the Star of Siam a bit – it was great to use the physical ship after so many years of wanting her!

Gingerninja gets the White Rose home, with a fat stack of gold piling up….

After what I think was a ram and then an explore action on the next turn, the Philadelphia has robbed Gingerninja of his Le Pique!  This was another frustrating time for me with dice rolling, as the Wicked Wench couldn’t get the roll needed to whirl-steal from Gingerninja’s home island in one turn. Even if I got lucky it would be risky. At the top of the frame, the Longshanks needs to eliminate the one master’s oarsman to capture her, but help is on the way in the form of a Bloody Jewel and the Black Pearl….

Repairs occur as the Wicked Wench basically waits for a good roll that will allow her to move and HI hoard coming out of a whirlpool.

The Longshanks and Star of Siam return to home waters as I consolidate my fleet:

Or not!  They round earth to the northwest, where the Wicked Wench has finally arrived!  However, in a very smart move, Gingerninja has positioned the Fetu and Bloody Jewel perfectly so that the WW cannot move out of the whirlpool and dock at his home island to steal gold.  Frustrated, I move the Wicked Wench into the fog bank nearby.  Gazerbeam has retained his one masted French ship and repairs the Black Pearl.

At this point the players voted to call the game, although there was still gold in my abandoned fort.

Scores:

  1. A7XfanBen: 100 combined points+gold
  2. Gingerninja: 94
  3. Gazerbeam543: 66
  4. Xerecs: 39

I was happy to finally win a game, though it comes with the asterisk of not knowing exactly how a true endgame would have played out with the fort gold.  In the end my capture of Gingerninja’s Pique made the difference, as he would have won 99-95 if he had retained it.  The Black Pearl wrecked Xerecs’ plans very early, putting him in a hole that was too hard to climb out of.  Gingerninja and Gazerbeam played good games and overall it was another successful day of pirating!

Los Angeles Pirates CSG players

A Pair of Games: 4 Players, 60 Points in LA!  (January 29th, 2022)

A Pair of Games: 4 Players, 60 Points in LA!

January 29th, 2022

I met up with Gazerbeam543, JW Darkhurst, and Xerecs at Gazerbeam’s house in Los Angeles!  We played a game utilizing the points in play endgame condition: whoever has the most points in play PLUS gold at the end of the game wins.  This includes forts, ships, crew, equipment, etc.  We also used round earth rules.

My fleet was based on a home island hoarder, a ship-stealer (partly because of the points in play house rule), and two gold runners.

Gazerbeam set sail with the French, led by Le Superbe with Lady Roimata on board.  The custom crew card is from some impressive photoshop and printing skills! (the crew underneath her not shown are also on the Superbe)

Xerecs was going multi-faction, with Intermediaro, a varied crew setup on the Grand Barnacle, the only Pirate submarine in the game, and the Devil Ray!  O_O

JW Darkhurst went Pirate pure and had the most ships of any fleet in play.

(In hindsight these pictures and therefore battle report will be rather first-person focused) I was very cautious in the beginning of the game not to lose my main assets too early. I wanted time to allow the Wicked Wench to make off with a big hoard, with the Philadelphia likely staying close to steal any ships that the WW could dismast.

HMS Hound built Ramsgate on an island in between the home islands of myself and Gazerbeam, potentially fueling yet further fighting between the two of us. The Philadelphia hid in fog while the Wicked Wench eyed JW’s Treasure.  I sort of agreed that JW Darkhurst could have that middle island’s gold if he didn’t attack me with the Treasure, but I haven’t been in the mood to play nice lately.  It is a game called Pirates after all!  XD  I blame it on excessive experience and boredom with straitlaced in-person gamesmanship.  XD (for better or worse…)

Icebergs were a threatening presence throughout, though worrying about them proved mostly unnecessary.

In the northeast, Intermediaro has used its one-of-a-kind ability to place treasure on the Coleoptera, who speeds home to give it to the Grand Barnacle.  However, the French seem to be on their way….

Le Superbe strikes, revealing canceller Lenoir to blast away at Intermediaro!  This could put a serious dent in Xerecs’ gold-gathering plans, as the squid scrambles for safety in a fog bank.

In the meantime, the Wicked Wench has grabbed all 4 coins from the middle island, though unfortunately she had to drop a crew in order to make the gold fit.  Once it did, Captain Jack Sparrow’s ability was triggered… giving her a move action!  O_O  That’s right, I was using the Rare version of Captain Jack Sparrow, not the Common one which is far more powerful.  Overall though I didn’t think through the setup perfectly, as I had to swap Hostile: England Hammersmith for a regular captain+helmsman combo, which forced a crew off to make things fit.  Perhaps I got a little too desperate to use CJS’ ability.

The Philadelphia has picked up the Wicked Wench’s captain:

Will round earth introduce new possibilities to this matchup?

At the top of the frame, Gazerbeam continues gathering gold as the Superbe continues sailing east. The Wicked Wench is nearly home with her loot.

JW Darkhurst had decided not to attack with the Treasure, leaving the Wicked Wench and Philadelphia to return home peacefully.

With Le Superbe looming north of them, JW’s fleet regroups as the square rigged ships sail home with gold aboard.

Gazerbeam’s small gold runners have unloaded gold to his home island.  My entire fleet is pointed towards his, with the Wicked Wench possibly looking to steal multiple coins and deposit them in Ramsgate if needed.  However, Xerecs’ Coleoptera submarine has whirled into the area, potentially complicating the situation….

The return of the Superbe to home waters deters any would-be home island hoarding, as the prospect of getting cancelled and blown to bits is too risky for me to make a strong move on Gazerbeam’s HI. During this round most of the ships happened to be very close to their respective home islands. Xerecs was able to add gold bonuses to the coin that the Coleoptera gave to the Grand Barnacle.

Le Superbe assaults Ramsgate!  Part of the reason I built the fort was to hopefully extend the game beyond its natural end point, as gold in forts is “available” per the endgame rules.  🙂  This may frustrate opponents but is the perfect storm for a fleet with home island raiding, as it keeps the game alive so late-game raids can potentially be carried out (not to mention having the fort as a potential dropoff spot for stolen loot as mentioned above). Ramsgate lost all but its extended range cannon in the attack!

It was now my turn to strike, with the Wicked Wench and HMS Hound taking out 3 masts on Le Superbe.  Whether due to home island placements or just coincidence, it seems that Gazerbeam and I are destined to be rivals lol.

As expected, JW Darkhurst plays it safe as more gold arrives at his home island.

At this point, Ramsgate was the only thing keeping the game alive.  The other players didn’t want to play it out to the end as per the official rules, so the game was called early with me retaining the fort’s gold. I kind of agreed to let the game end under protest as I figured I needed to keep the game alive longer so the Wicked Wench could have an opportunity to steal someone’s gold to give me the win.

Scores:

  1. JW Darkhurst: 96 total points+gold in play
  2. A7XfanBen: 92
  3. Gazerbeam543: 82
  4. Xerecs: 80

With that, JW Darkhurst has a win!  He collected the most gold and that was enough to pull out the win. It remains to be seen what would have happened if things had been played to full completion, as this becomes one of those “what if” or asterisk games.

 

Game 2: Co-op/Teams!

For the second game of the day, we did something we had been discussing via discord for a while: having two teams face off!  I had heard of the “co-op” idea various times in the past, but had never tried it before. With 4 players total, it was the perfect opportunity for a 2v2 game.

Each player would have their own independent 80 point fleet and associated home island. However, when an endgame condition was met, a combined gold score for each team of 2 players would be compared against each other (no points in play house rule for this game). Players could drop off gold at their teammates’ home islands and forts, but they could still be shot at while docked at a teammates’ home island.

We rolled dice to determine teams – I think it was based on matching d6 rolls. If you roll the same as someone else, you’re on a team with them.  Ironically, Gazerbeam and I ended up together against the brothers Xerecs and JW Darkhurst.

The fleets used were somewhat similar, but with some notable changes. I used the additional points to include a Deliverance setup, while Calypso laid face down on the Floating Stone to maximize my range and attack potential.

Gazerbeam included a Sac setup on the Virtuous Wind:

Xerecs swapped some crew on the Grand Barnacle, notably adding two tribal chieftains to his fleet (the other on HMS Antelope) for a whopping 10 native canoes!

One set of native canoes was proxied by turtle ships since we didn’t have enough.

JW Darkhurst swapped Pirates for a mostly Franco-Spanish fleet with a lot of cargo capacity:

The team dynamic was pretty incredible. I made sure to have a private conversation with Gazerbeam as play started to make sure we were on the same page. The amount of planning and variables can be rather immense, especially when trying to coordinate which ships are going to which islands, who to potentially attack, where to place Calypso’s whirlpools, etc. Crucially, Calypso missed her initial rolls even with help from LaFontaine, so my fleet kind of just flitted about on turn 1.  The exception was the Star of Siam, which I was using for the first time today after missing out on the Revolution Super Rares for many years.

Soon afterwards conflict has erupted! The Wicked Wench used a whirlpool from Calypso to blast two masts off the Santa Isabel of JW’s fleet, but the Deliverance couldn’t get an extra action coming out of a different whirlpool. She was trying to hit the native canoes, one of which has loaded gold via Intermediaro’s handy ability.

In the northeast, the English native canoes have unloaded some gold at Xerecs’ HI. At the lower right, the Virtuous Wind has round earthed to grab some gold.  Le Superbe has dismasted the Raven in the center.

It quickly became apparent to me that throwing the Wicked Wench into action was a bonehead move on my part, as L’Ange de la Mer moved in for a dismasting. However, my ally Gazerbeam had a solid turn; although the Superbe didn’t get Roimata’s SAT, she captured the Raven and the Intrepide built Paradis de la Mer. The Santa Isabel has unloaded a bunch of gold +2 at JW’s home island.

Missing her SAT roll once again, the Deliverance abandons her anti-canoe mission to focus on rescuing the Wicked Wench. Gazerbeam and Xerecs have respectively unloaded and loaded a hefty amount of treasure.

In a devastating blow for me, the Wicked Wench is sunk by JW’s L’Ange. The Deliverance hits her 3 times for some measure of revenge, while the Superbe docks the captured Raven at Paradis, allowing the schooner to repair.

Elements of Xerecs’ fleet have appeared in the west:

As the available gold dwindles down, the Virtuous Wind and her home island raiding ability become a target.  Xerecs closes in, but help for Gazerbeam’s Virtuous Wind appears to be on the way in the form of the Deliverance.  The center of the map has become peaceful again.

The Virtuous Wind docks home gold, but the game is very much up in the air.  The existence of Paradis de la Mer means that the game should continue even if all other gold is unloaded to home islands.

At this point Calypso has created nearly a full ring of whirlpools around my home island, but as time goes on there are less and less good spots for other whirlpools within L of wild islands, simply because so many have already been placed.  In the northwest, conflict has inevitably broken out between the alliances, with both sides taking damage on various ships.  In the south (at right), JW’s fleet has established a fort as well.

At this point we had a discussion and came to a decision to reveal what gold we had to see how much more of the game was worth playing out.  It was extremely close and we needed to continue!

Gazerbeam and I were victorious in the battle of the northwest, with the Grand Barnacle sunk, Le Triton captured by the Deliverance, and Virtuous Wind still alive!  Xerecs’ fleet has been heavily mauled but his teammate and brother JW Darkhurst still has many healthy ships left.

However, things were getting a little late for me and once again the other players weren’t clamoring to continue the game despite fort gold being available. The game was called to an end, with the team of Gazerbeam/A7XfanBen prevailing over Xerecs/JW Darkhurst by a score of 42-41!!  O_O

What a game!  The team dynamic is certainly a wild game-changer and affects a huge amount of decisions you make as you play the game.  It’s extremely interesting to watch how players interact with each other and how many private/side conversations people have with their teammates. The extra co-op strategizing can delay the game a little bit but is fascinating to participate in. There are many new aspects of playing with a partner that I learned about that I’d never thought about before. Sometimes an ally will almost “spill the beans” whether by accident or innocently, which can affect how you communicate with the other players. Of course, bluffing and deception could also be present in the way teammates interact with the opposing team. There are also times when a teammate (like me lol) wants to have a strategic discussion that the other players can’t hear, but your temmate may think it’s unnecessary. Overall it was a really cool, fun and enlightening experience that I want to experiment with more in the future.  The additional dynamic of having family members be on a team together (or against each other) is neat because they know each other’s play styles so well, but are used to only competing against each other.

I had some of my worst-ever SAT/EA luck in this game, with the Deliverance only getting it maybe once or twice all game despite having reroll. It really made things awkward when my main ship couldn’t do much.  I felt like a bad teammate and Gazerbeam did most of the heavy lifting in terms of gold.  Given the shenanigans that happened and our inability to crush any native canoes early in the game I was almost shocked we came away with a victory, though of course it comes with an asterisk with two forts still in play at the end.  However, we likely would have held on for the win given our firepower advantage. (especially once our 5 masters were back to full strength and the VW could potentially raid one of the brothers’ HI’s to increase the differential)

I have to hand it to Xerecs lately as he’s been coming with very unique fleets and fun builds.  In the past I’ve seen him wield a lot of power-gamer type fleets, but this year I’ve been really happy to see some super cool combos and more unique ideas in his fleets!

Los Angeles California Gaming – 6 Players, 60 Points! (January 22nd, 2022)

Los Angeles California Gaming – 6 Players, 60 Points!

January 22nd, 2022

Following our 100 point escapade, we somewhat miraculously all had time to play another game!  This time the build total was 60 points.  To speed things up so we could finish, only 6 wild islands were used with no terrain present.

Gingerninja went first:

 

Followed by Gazerbeam543:

 

Xerecs:

 

JW Darkhurst:

 

A7XfanBen:

 

Projekt355:

 

 

Gazerbeam and I coincidentally continued our conflict from the prior game, with El Neptuno sniping masts off the Franklin:

 

HMS Ram has been dismasted at her home island by the Chum Maker!

 

I was disappointed to not find much gold worth values on the wild island the Buscador hoisted from. However, I was certainly happy to find Power Cannons, which I hoped to put on the Neptuno for 4L range.

 

Alas, it was a game of continued conflicts. Projekt355’s Black Pearl savaged the Buscador and sank the Armada flotilla.  Gingerninja’s advantage of going first was paying off handsomely as he explored 3 different islands.

 

The Buscador rows for home as El Neptuno cuts down masts on the Black Pearl:

 

The Spanish eventually prevailed, but not before the Buscador was sunk by the BP. Gazerbeam’s fleet repairs in the northwest as more brotherly battles break out between the Bowens.

 

The Chum Maker’s reign of terror continues as the Star of Siam is dismasted!

 

The Spanish-Pirate war continued as it often has in games I’ve been involved in, with El Neptuno now battling the Akua Lapu before both sides retreated to repair. In the foreground, I saw Gingerninja as the obvious winner unless drastic measures were taken, but the Rosario’s bum rush was quickly stifled with a firepot from L’Heros.

 

The accumulation continues at one island paradise… not so much for the others!

 

The game was already winding down. El Neptuno sailed out to do something about it, but was outnumbered.

 

I managed to snag the Intrepide but the game ended shortly thereafter.

 

Scores:

Gingerninja: 20 gold

JW Darkhurst: 12

Gazerbeam543: 8

Xerecs/Projekt355/A7XfanBen: 0

 

The Bowen Brothers and I enjoyed a good meal at Daglas after the heavy day of pirating!

6 Players, 100 Points in Los Angeles! January 22nd, 2022

6 Players, 100 Points in Los Angeles!

January 22nd, 2022

After lots of messaging with friends and fellow players on the Discord server, I was able to coordinate a meetup with a whopping 6 different players!  While in San Diego on Navy business I knew there might be good opportunities to drive up to LA for Pirates CSG and EDM events.  This was the culmination of a decent amount of planning, as various house rules had to be agreed on, a venue was eventually chosen, and in this case it worked out perfectly with 6 people from the online community meeting up to play a big in-person game of Pirates CSG!  😀

The game was played between myself, Xerecs, JW Darkhurst, Gingerninja (those three are all brothers who live together), Gazerbeam543, and projekt355.  We met up at Fire and Dice games in Winnetka California, near where the Bowen brothers live and in the valley northwest of LA.  We each came with a prepared 100 point fleet, which promised some absolute mayhem in a game of historic proportions.  I cannot think of a larger meet up (in terms of total players or total points in play for a game) that the online community has organized so far.  It was great to meet everyone and I highly recommend trying to play Pirates with these great people if you are in LA!

 

Here were the fleets!

Gazerbeam543

 

Xerecs

 

JW Darkhurst

 

A7XfanBen

 

projekt355

 

Gingerninja

 

Here is the setup! We used the Gale Force Nine islands, a moderate amount of terrain, and round earth rules.  Simply for ease of reporting the events of the game and reading about them, the top of the ocean here is north, right is east, etc.

It was no surprise to see four 10 masters, including two Zeuses and the Fortaleza from RtSS. Not to mention the other big players such as HMS GT, San Cristobal, and Neptune’s Hoard.

 

Gazerbeam went first and we were off to the races!  JW moved his San Cristobal near a whirlpool that was within striking distance of my Zeus, which happened to be a 3D printed glow in the dark Zeus that Vulkan made for me. I revealed Calypso on the Floating Stone, whose whirlpools could give my fleet a lot of striking distance and attack options around the sea.  I was tempted to take on the SC to potentially capture her eventually using my strategy of Commander Temple on HMS Oxford, but I was extremely worried that Gazerbeam’s Zeus would come through the whirlpool near his home island and slam my Zeus on the next round.  It turned into a huge regret of mine, but I decided to go after Gazerbeam’s Zeus. I knew from experience and reading Xerecs’ CoEC campaign game battle reports that JW is more passive than the average player, and I didn’t know what kind of gameplay Gazerbeam would be up to.  Hoping the SC wouldn’t warp through a whirlpool to tag team my Zeus with assistance from Gazerbeam’s Zeus, I put all my cards on the table on Turn 1.  The Zeus went through a whirlpool, emerged by Gazerbeam’s home island (HI), received an extra action from Lord Mycron on the Patagonia, and revealed Grim the Savage!!!  O_O  That’s right, Grimm them bois!!  XD  The Zeus loaded up the gold that Gazerbeam had already put on his home island from his turn, and then proceeded to shoot a miserable and game-changingly bad 2 for 10 (I think all cannons were in range) against Gazerbeam’s Zeus!  O_O  This was a huge momentous event in the first round that would affect various parts of the rest of the game.  I misjudged how aggressive Gazerbeam would be and overestimated how much damage I could do to his Zeus with my 3S cannons.  I can’t trust my cannon luck!

 

The first round home island hoard and Zeus civil war was certainly the story of the first round, but barely anything had happened in the game so far.  You can see various ships searching for gold.

 

The Baochuan and Fortaleza have round earthed:

 

Retaliation!  Gazerbeam’s Zeus fires on mine, using two actions to dismast her twin!!

 

I quickly realized I would need to play pretty aggressively to make up for likely losing my Zeus, so HMS Oxford zoomed over to dismast the Rocinante.  The 3 represents how many masts are missing from the hoist.

 

At the upper left, Xerecs’ fleet is concentrated in the northwest corner. In the middle, my Longshanks has explored an island, but the Fortaleza and Algeciras (with flotilla in tow) lurk to the north. JW’s fleet has established a perimeter around the exploratory actions of HMS London.

 

The Baochuan is headed towards gold with the Neptune’s Hoard observing from ocean’s edge.

 

Xerecs strikes!  HMS Grand Temple and HMS Swallow pulverize Gingerninja’s Buscador.

 

My worst fears had been realized, with Gazerbeam capturing my Zeus. He was now in possession of both, with mine having Home Island Hoard on it to boot! (via Grim the Savage)

 

I was able to pull off a tactic I quite enjoy, warping home the Rocinante via Commander Temple on the Oxford. It was a homecoming party, with the Longshanks docking home gold this turn as well. I believe the Oxford was given an extra action via Mycron, which she used to dismast the Algeciras.

 

A view looking from north to south. The Neptune’s Hoard has whirlpooled towards the center.

 

With a double action, HMS Oxford snags the Algeciras and sinks the Diablo flotilla!

 

The Baochuan has walloped the Black Pearl in the northwest, with Xerecs’ remaining two ships ducking into a fog bank to the south.  Gazerbeam’s fleet regroups at his home island, with various repairs occurring and about to commence.

 

The southwest gets even more testy, with JW’s Thomas Jefferson arriving on the scene where a derelict and gold-laden Buscador lays derelict.

 

Both Zeuses repair, while the Baochuan carries a bunch of gold. In the south, the Oxford and Longshanks have dismasted Gazerbeam’s San Jose.

 

But it proves to be a costly move!  The Zeus arrives through the whirlpool and is given an extra action to sink the Oxford and eliminate a mast from the Longshanks!  Other ships explore nearby….

 

The War of the Brothers continues!  The Baochuan had become quite a target, and now JW Darkhurst decided to get in on the action!  The San Cristobal and HMS GT made short work of the 10 master, making her a ripe prize.

 

The Longshanks barely escapes her encounter with the Zeus, losing a second mast to a whirlpool on her way home.

 

At the left, you can see my desperation kicking in as Gazerbeam appears the clear leader in the gold race. The Algeciras rams the Neptune’s Hoard to no avail.  I made some attempts to rally the other players against Gazerbeam, but it didn’t work. The Zeus tows the San Jose through a whirlpool while La Dijon arrives back at the HI. The Buscador repairs at Gingerninja’s home island, but his Baochuan is approached by the Fortaleza…

 

… who captures the original 10 master!

 

A unique and fascinating sight!

 

This is where Gazerbeam was able to seal the deal.  He used my Zeus to hoard from Gingerninja’s home island, netting him yet more gold as the Buscador and Fortaleza struggle to stop the bleeding.  The Algeciras rams HMS Ram at her HI, but killing Mycron won’t do enough to stop the momentum now.  Calypso is unloaded to my HI, as more whirlpools are not needed at this point.

 

At the top right, this does create an opportunity for Gingerninja to reclaim his Baochuan and her gold:

 

The San Jose did have the Wine UT aboard which was possibly worth fighting for, but the Rocinante failed to steal it after whirling over the Gazerbeam’s HI. The Longshanks rams a mast off the Dijon as the final gold in play dwindles down.  In a smart move, Gazerbeam unloads Grim the Savage to his HI to prevent someone from potentially keeping the game alive if they managed to capture his weaker Zeus.

 

JW is happy to dismast the captured Zeus with HMS London, while I scrounge for any gold I can find via the Longshanks.

 

Gingerninja managed a small miracle by not permanently losing either the Buscador or Baochuan, but their crews’ hopes at riches have been dashed by the carnage of play….

 

The game ended here.

 

Final Scores

Gazerbeam: 53 gold

A7XfanBen: 27

JW Darkhurst: 22

Craig: 13

Gingerninja: 4

Xerecs: 0

 

Although a bit lopsided, it was still a memorable game. I came away quite frustrated with myself for losing my main asset and strategy ploy in the first 2 rounds, but had to be somewhat content with getting second place after such a horrific fiasco.  Gazerbeam made the right plays throughout, earning him an impressive win in a game against 5 other players with 600+ total points involved.  Craig had some poor luck and was hit pretty hard by my HMS Oxford.  The Bowen brothers got entangled in a civil war that distracted them from Gazerbeam’s running away with the game.  Overall it was a really cool experience to play with so many people from the online community at once, and to do it in such a large game!  😀

6 players in Los Angeles for Pirates CSG games

100 Point Game vs. Witch – December 21st, 2021

100 Point Game vs. Witch

December 21st, 2021

I met up with Witch of the Discord server at Around the Table in Lynnwood WA!  We played a 100 point game using round earth rules, 5 coins per island, and a custom Queen Anne’s Revenge in his fleet.  The custom QAR is 18 points, 5 masts, 5 cargo, S+S speed, all 2S cannons, and has abilities of Fear and “If this ship wins a boarding party, she may be given an extra action”.

I rolled to go first, and we placed 6 total islands with no terrain.  I went with a Spanish American fleet consisting of the Independence (my first time using her!), Frontier, Buscador, San Leandro and Diablo.  He chose all Pirate with the QAR, SCS Lady’s Scorn, Minerva, Raven and Coral.

100 point game vs. Witch in Lynnwood WA

On the first turn I split my hoists to load as much gold as possible.

With the help of Bruce Grey, the Calico Cat’s Lady’s Scorn blasted the Frontier, dismasting her!

Check out Tilorfire27’s Etsy store if you want the tokens he makes! (affiliate link)

Knowing I had a pretty solid defensive setup on the Independence (OE Montana Mays for SAT and Crew Protect, Eternal Ralph David, and an oarsman), I sailed her out to combat the Pirate threat.  She dismasted the Lady’s Scorn but the QAR was left intact.  Unable to reach home at her rowing speed of S+S, the Frontier heads north to dock at the island she already explored with her hoist crane.  The Buscador can’t dock at home either, but touches the island with her crane to unload her gold.

At the end of my turn I built Thompson’s Island at the island the Frontier was docked at.

The carnage continues!  The QAR dismasts the Independence!  She also rams and boards, with Blackbeard capturing Montana Mays for a potential 7 gold payout!  To the right of them you can see the Lady’s Scorn has boarded the Frontier to steal a coin.

Off the southern coast of my HI, the Minerva has been spoiled by Nemesio Diaz, whose reveal cancels the Minerva’s captain and protects the Buscador from harm!

At the right, the San Leandro has docked at the most remote wild island; the Coral has round earthed to an area even further east but is hesitant to approach due to the Diablo flotilla.  At the upper left, the Raven has unloaded 3 coins at Witch’s home island.

My next turn saw the salvage work begin.  The Independence ran for the safety of the home island, hoping to not get boarded by Blackbeard again.  The fort did its part to help out, hitting 3/5 to smash up the QAR.  The Frontier had a rather unique turn.  I flipped Nikos Chelios (!?) to steal a coin back from the Lady’s Scorn (in hindsight, the Frontier has Secret Hold so this wouldn’t have happened. I also forgot to have the Frontier start the game S away from her home island, but it likely wouldn’t have mattered).  Then the hoist used her crane to unload ALL the island’s gold BACK to the island!  This was to protect it in the fort, since the Frontier might sink any turn now.  However, she finally was able to use her actual action for the turn to repair a mast.

The Buscador has repositioned to dock at my HI for safety and prepare to help the San Leandro secure some eastern loot.

Now it was Witch’s turn to repair and regroup, with the early game conflict severely weakening both fleets.  The Minerva and Lady’s Scorn round earthed to switch places, with the Minerva sinking the Frontier!  The fort shot her mizzenmast off as slight payback.  The QAR leaves the bloody waters behind, sailing west towards the Raven who has taken the last two coins off the southwestern island.  At right, the Coral has explored the eastern island.  She cannot be shot at while docked, but the San Leandro rammed her derelict.  With that situation under control, the Buscador has again repositioned, with Nemesio’s sights now on the Lady’s Scorn – if he could cancel her oarsman, I could capture the ship.

The Independence and QAR will take considerable time to repair to adequate strength, potentially leaving the mid-phase part of the game up to the other ships.  The Buscador is primed and ready, getting into position to cancel the LS’s oarsman two turns in a row so she can stop her and then capture her.  At the right, the Coral exchanged her explorer for an extra coin but is then captured by the San Leandro.

The Buscador captured the Lady’s Scorn.  With the Minerva lurking I wanted to protect the prize.  Thinking about the odds I decided to sail the Independence out half-repaired, taking the Minerva down to one mast.

I had a slight conundrum in the east, where the San Leandro was towing the captured Coral at just S speed.  Diablo could provide decent cover fire against the Raven, but I really didn’t want the Raven stealing any gold from either of the ships.

Big developments!  The Lady’s Scorn returned to my home island on oar power, freeing the Buscador to sail south and construct Fortaleza Dorada on the southern island!  I agonized over whether to build the fort there or in the east to try and secure the San Leandro and Coral’s gold.  In the end the San Leandro broke for home, knowing that the Coral didn’t have very high value coins and there was 8 total on the San Leandro.  The Independence has bested the Minerva, setting me up for my third prize of the game.  However, the dangerous QAR has sailed out….

Aagh!  Frustration for both players as plans are foiled.  The QAR slams into the Buscador, but Witch’s luck fails him with the ship going 1/4 between shooting and ramming!  However, Blackbeard was looming, and I had decided to have Nemesio Diaz cancel his gold capture ability instead of the Captain ability.  I believe the Buscador won the boarding party, resulting in Genny’s Red Rampage being eliminated from the QAR.  Witch did maneuver the QAR to be out of the fort’s cannon ranges.  My frustration simply came from realizing that at this point I was very unlikey to be able to use a combo I really wanted to pull off this game.

Witch also maneuvered smartly in the east, with the Raven ramming the Coral to steal a coin while remaining out of Diablo’s range.

Desperate to escape the QAR, Nemesio sails the Buscador around the earth to dock at Thompson’s Island.  At my home island, the LS repairs, the Independence captures the Minerva, and the San Leandro unloads her treasure.

At this point the Buscador’s other face down named crew was obvious because I had to disclose a link on the ship earlier in the game to Witch when the Buscador first loaded gold.  Once Nemesio Diaz was flipped, it was easy to figure out that Fernando Sanchez was the linked crew.  I was really hoping to steal a coin from Witch’s home island, one of many “sneaky” combos or face down crew I had purposely included in my fleet this game.

Both players were deliberating on many of their actions by now.  It was turning into a classic chess match of a game, with things quite possibly coming down to the wire, or final coin(s).  Knowing that Diaz would likely cancel Blackbeard’s gold capturing efforts on every turn, Witch had the QAR sink the Buscador!  I was sad not to use Fernando Sanchez, but also since both hoists were now in the locker.  However, I had new ships to play with – both the Lady’s Scorn and Minerva are repairing at my home island.  The Raven sprints for home with a stolen coin, while the San Leandro heads back out to resume towing duties – either of the Diablo flotilla or the Coral.

With the Raven docking home, the Coral now contained the only non-fort available gold in play.  Both players looked to repair their forces to full strength.  We were entering the endgame.

Some turns later and all ships have been fully repaired.  I believe Witch’s strategy was generally to use Blackbeard to capture Calico Cat (6 point crew aboard the Lady’s Scorn and now the most valuable in my fleet), then use the QAR’s “extra action after winning a boarding party” ability to inflict enough damage on any ships in the vicinity to be able to return home safely, hoping that gold would turn the tide.  I would mainly be looking to get the Coral’s final gold home safely and use my numbers advantage to protect both forts.

This is when the cat and mouse “chess match” really amped up.  Seeing the QAR move even a partial action towards Thompson’s Island prompted me to surge my forces northwest, ready to protect the 3 gold in the fort at almost all costs.

This is when capturing the Lady’s Scorn came in very handy.  With Calico Cat’s link and only a helmsman and oarsman for other crew, the LS had 4 open cargo spaces.  Under protection from the rest of my many cannons, she docked at Thompson’s Island and loaded all but one coin that the Frontier had re-deposited there earlier in the game.  Lots of premeasuring was now taking place pretty much every round, with Witch ensuring that I couldn’t get the jump with any of my ships and me making sure the Lady’s Scorn stayed out of the QAR’s total range (which was close to 4S since she still had grapple shot aboard which paired nicely with Blackbeard’s gold capture).

With her impressive escort force the LS gets the coins home, leaving the Minerva to load the final coin I could take from Thompson’s Island.  The Raven round earths back to the east where the Coral is, making me wonder if I should have split my forces slightly.

We added Fortaleza’s fort base to it since Witch was premeasuring a potential attack on the fort, and the base is considered part of the fort for drawing lines of fire to it.  Even though now it looks like the fort is on a glacier sliding off the island.

The Raven got away with stealing another coin from the Coral!  It was a 1 and I was just hoping it wouldn’t make a difference.  I still surged my ships east to make sure she didn’t take the Coral’s final coin, and because I knew I wanted every cannon I could get in a potential fort battle climax, and the Coral has a 2L and the ability to not be shot at while docked. (making her truly perfect to use at Thompson’s Island, which gets a +1 cannon bonus when a friendly ship is docked there)

The premeasuring and maneuvering metagame continued, while I got the Coral home and repaired her.  At this point 3 out of my 5 sailing ships were from Witch’s fleet.  The Raven docked home her stolen coin, leaving the gold in forts the last available.

The chess game was grinding along.  Even if the QAR didn’t make a feint towards Fortaleza Dorada, I pointed some ships there since it had 5 gold in it compared to the 3 in Thompson’s Island.

It was clear neither player was willing to budge.  Witch told me he wasn’t going to botch any opportunity I gave him to capture crew with Blackbeard or give him an opening.  I said I was going to do everything possible to win, which at this point mainly meant keeping all the gold in both forts in my possession.  I knew I had an overall firepower advantage and that he had to make a move to try something. We admitted that things would likely continue, with ungodly amounts of premeasuring and jockeying for position happening over potentially another hour or more. (the game lasted around 3 hours total)  However, I said we could at least pre-count and reveal what gold we had on our home islands, especially to make sure that the fort gold even mattered to fight over in the first place.

We totaled it up, and sure enough Witch was winning 23-21 based on home islands alone.  This meant I could win 29-23 as long as I kept all the fort gold.  In hindsight, theoretically we could have tied 26-26 in a crazy scenario if he got TI’s 3 gold and I held on to Fortaleza Dorada.

I wasn’t going to split my fleet or give him an opening to take advantage of Blackbeard, so Witch went for the attack on Thompson’s Island.  The QAR hit 4/5 to cripple the fort, but then my fleet was inevitably on her.  After the Coral docked to give the fort +1 to cannon rolls, Thompson’s Island, the Minerva and Diablo blasted away some masts while I finally revealed the San Leandro’s crew to be a captain.  The Lady’s Scorn and Independence were headed to the fight when it ended.  Although the QAR shot back with her remaining two masts, the final blows were dealt and she sank.  Witch had decided to keep the Raven out of the scene and conceded, as I would have sank her in her attempts to smash either fort.

With that it was over! The count was simple as it was identical to how we counted just before the final battle.

  1. Ben: 29 gold
  2. Witch: 23

What an awesome game!  Witch is a GREAT person to play against, and I really love and respect his style of not giving in and continuing to strategize every round.  Rarely do I meet someone who will engage in the kind of tactical and strategic “chess match” on the same level and to the same degree as I do.  This is why I love Pirates!  😀

Here is my entire fleet.  I really wanted to try new setups and use fun named crew.  Chelios on the Frontier is almost bizarre but could potentially work pretty well. The Buscador benefited from Diaz though I really wanted to pull off a raid with Sanchez.  I used the Independence for the first time, and she has just enough cargo and point cap space to add the crew required for a nasty Eternal setup.  I never got to reveal Ralph David!  However, she was ready to fight, with SAT+Reroll, Crew Protect to force an opponent to sink her or cancel something, Eternal, and oarsman to prevent dereliction and therefore capture.  The San Leandro and Diablo filled out the points, gave me some additional firepower, and evened out the Spanish American alliance numbers in the fleet.

12/21 100 point fleet
(25) Frontier + Nikos Chelios, helmsman, oarsman
(27) Buscador + Nemesio Diaz, Fernando Sanchez (link), helmsman, oarsman
(28) Independence + OE Montana Mays, Wayne Nolan, Ralph David (RotF), captain, helmsman, oarsman
(20) San Leandro + captain, towing Diablo

Thanks for reading!

4 Player 100 Point Game at Mox Boarding House Bellevue! (December 19th, 2021)

4 Player 100 Point Game at Mox Boarding House Bellevue!

December 19th, 2021

This was a 4 Player 100 Point Game at Mox Boarding House Bellevue with FOUR members of the Pirates CSG online community!  I met up with Witch, Luke and BuffBabyBandit for a memorable time!

Scores:

1. Ben: 36 gold
2. Luke: 6
3. Cutty: 0
(5 on Dan’s home island from earlier in the game)

With forts included:
1. Ben: 70 gold
2. Luke: 13

If Luke managed to destroy both forts and get all their gold while retaining his own fort, he would have won 47-36.

A Pair of Games with fellow Pirates in Tacoma Washington!

A Pair of Games in Tacoma Washington

December 11th, 2021

I met up with Luke (for the second time) and Cutty (for the first time) at Terracrux Games in Tacoma Washington!  It was convenient to “dress for the occasion”, as I wore my Pirates with Ben hoodie and a shirt that has a picture of one of HMS Victory’s gun decks on it.

The first game would use a 40 point build total, round earth rules and Luke’s gorgeous custom islands! Cutty opted for a fleet using the Soleil Royal, HMS Nautilus and Banshee’s Cry.

A Pair of Games of Pirates CSG in Tacoma Washington December 2021

I was excited to use my newest ship, which arrived in the mail during a port visit in Pearl Harbor Hawaii!  The Gale Force Nine is mine!

Gale Force Nine ship Pirates CSG

Luke went with the Spanish, using the Santo Columba and Valeroso.

This aquarium decoration would only allow smaller/shorter ships to pass through safely:

This gives me a new idea… perhaps large ships can go through, but lose any masts that would normally prevent passage?  Imagine the carnage during an escape attempt!

I quickly revealed my plan, with Calypso being flipped on turn 1!  She was aboard the Gale Force Nine (GF9) along with OE Griffin to help reroll her ability, but alas I somehow had no whirlpools in my traveling collection tin.  Luckily Luke bailed me out with some SM islands, which are blank white on the backside and we proxied them for whirlpools.  The flaw in my small-scale Calypso fleet design became immediately evident, with the Lightning losing her only mast to the whirlpool. With the GF9 setup coming in at 30 points total (she also had a helmsman and oarsman), I had 10 points for gold runners and chose to run the Lightning and Rattlesnake without any crew.

Calypso creates whirlpool

The rest of my fleet arrives on the scene!  The Rattlesnake lost a mast, with the GF9 coming into the area in order to protect the runners from the Santo Columba.

In the meantime, the Soleil Royal round earthed and the Banshee’s Cry found land.

Combat erupts!  The Santo Columba docked within striking distance of the GF9, and I couldn’t resist.  Likely with a bit of help from Griffin, the pirate gunners shot well, blasting away 3 masts from the Spaniard.  The wounded Rattlesnake docked at Luke’s picturesque island.

Pirates CSG combat in action

The pennant used as an explored marker shows that the Rattlesnake’s American explorers found no presence of the Pelegostos here….

Pirates of the Spanish Main explored island

The Rattlesnake found Neptune’s Figurehead among the loot:

The Santo Columba ducked into a fog bank for safety.  The Soleil explored the island she found, loading up all 4 coins from it.  The Rattlesnake took the whirlpool home while the GF9 started towing the Lightning.  However, a newcomer has arrived via round earth…

… but without a captain, HMS Nautilus cannot be effective! The GF9 drops the Lightning and pounces, dismasting the schooner.

On the other side of the map, the Banshee’s Cry has unloaded gold for Cutty but is shadowed by the Valeroso.

Playing this game brings me so much joy!

Pirates Constructible Strategy Game

The Rattlesnake warped through the same whirlpools in search of more treasure. The GF9 captured the Nautilus.  Soon she would drop that tow as well to shoot at the Valeroso!  Once more I was unusually lucky with shooting, dismasting another 3 master!

Valeroso ship dismasted

Soon afterwards the Rattlesnake loaded the final coins in play, which led to Cutty sailing his ships towards my home island in a likely blockade attempt.

Indeed, the Rattlesnake was now the center of attention!  Her slow speed would likely be an issue, with three enemy ships now converging on her location.

The Banshee’s Cry successfully rammed and boarded the Rattlesnake, eliminating her final mast and allowing Cutty to steal Neptune’s Figurehead!  However, this left the Rattlesnake’s abandoned oarsman safe in the brig, with his rowing expertise paying off next turn as he rowed the ship through a whirlpool and into home waters!  The GF9 escorted her back.  This was effectively game over since no extra actions would be available to Cutty or Luke’s ships to be able to do anything about the Rattlesnake rowing home on my next turn.

With that, we totaled up the treasure:

  1. Cutty: 24 gold
  2. Ben: 17
  3. Luke: 0

Congrats to Cutty on the victory!

 

Game 2

For the second game, we agreed to use more competitive fleets, a 50 point build total, and flat earth rules.  No terrain was placed, and the islands were placed at the standard 3L-6L distances.  We used the Spanish Main GF9 islands I had brought along to make things slightly more “official”.  They ended up being rather far apart, which I was quietly happy about.

A Pair of Games at Terracrux in Tacoma

I kept the Rattlesnake, but swapped the GF9 for the OE Deliverance and the Lightning for Enfant Terrible.

Ocean's Edge Deliverance OE 022

Cutty’s fleet was similar but added the Executioner from RV:

Luke turned pirate and sailed out with the RotF Lady’s Scorn along with the Panda and Bloody Jewel from RV.  On the first turn I flipped Calypso to create a pair of whirlpools!  She was now aboard the Deliverance and up to her old tricks.  Alas, the Rattlesnake once again lost her mainmast while in transit to a wild island.

In a fleet building decision I nearly didn’t make, I had decided to forego a helmsman on the Deliverance in favor of Le Requin for some potential SAT shenanigans.  He came through at the perfect time, allowing the Deliverance to move through Calypso’s first whirlpool, then use a second action to move from the second whirlpool and dismast the Lady’s Scorn!  Based on Luke’s crew setup aboard the Scorn, I decided not to try and sink the Eternal ship, thinking there actually wasn’t an oarsman aboard.  The Deliverance docked to protect the Rattlesnake, whose crew of helmsman and explorer were busy exploring the island.

Deliverance dismasts Lady's Scorn

The Enfant Terrible docked at and explored another island, and my strategy was working – use Calypso to essentially bypass the wide distances between islands, and cut off the other player’s advantages of going before me in the turn order.

My hunch was correct: no oarsman was aboard the Lady’s Scorn, allowing Griffin’s Deliverance to capture the mighty prize on my next turn. The Rattlesnake has just escaped to home waters via the whirlpool, while the Enfant can’t quite make it.  However, the latter was quite fine with me, as I purposely put the whirlpool within L of the wild island closer to the other player’s fleets, knowing I would need to get that gold home quicker than the island further away. In addition, the Enfant has L-immunity, which could help her survive any potential attacks that resulted from her being near the center of the map for longer.

In the meantime, an extremely ugly development was occurring: Luke played the mermaids event against Cutty’s Soleil Royal, freezing the 5 master for 3 turns!  It’s been so many years since I played a game with mermaids available that I forgot to even mention it as a potential ban list item despite the “competitive” agreement we came to before building fleets for this one.  I would try not to let it sour my mood; I was grateful (and surprised) it wasn’t played against me.  Cutty’s gold runners continued towards the lone unexplored wild island, but HMS Nautilus hung back as Luke’s 2 masters luffed up to the port side of Le Soleil Royal.

At this point I was starting to get comfortable in the “driver’s seat” with the other two players likely squabbling over pittances. 😜  The Enfant arrived in home waters with additional gold, while a successful scuttle attempt on the Lady’s Scorn allowed her to warp home via Eternal and quickly start repairs.

The mermaids situation turned into a chain-ramming melee, with three of four ships pinned at left in this picture.  Various shots and boarding parties were exchanged with mixed results.  The Deliverance was free to terrorize as Griffin, Calypso, and Le Requin saw fit.

Receiving Le Requin’s SAT, the Deliverance could have tried to dismast the Soleil or corner the Banshee’s Cry (now getting gold). However, Luke’s Panda was headed towards the island the Rattlesnake had explored, with the latter en route to her old haunt.  In the end I had to shoot at the mermaiding player, and so the Deliverance sunk the Panda!  Cutty dismasted the Bloody Jewel with HMS Nautilus, eliminating Luke from the game.

Deliverance dismasts Panda because mermaids

The remaining fleets regroup:

The Lady’s Scorn (with 3 masts repaired) got Crimson Angel’s SAT to warp into the center and broadside the Soleil. The Deliverance finished her off but needed all her cannons to do so, leaving HMS Nautilus with 2 masts.

The Pirates finished off HMS Nautilus on the next turn. Soon after the game was called because it was apparent that the last two coins in play wouldn’t affect the outcome.

Pirate dominance in Pirates Constructible Strategy Game

Scores:

  1. Ben: 34 gold
  2. Cutty: 8
  3. Luke: 0

This was a neat game where I benefited greatly from island placement and good dice luck (both with Calypso and shooting).  Indeed, overall I had one of my best days at the cannons in physical games in quite some time.

I had a great time with Cutty and Luke and look forward to playing with both of them again!  Thanks for reading and please let us know if you’re in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) area!  😀

Game with Luke at Mox Boarding House in Seattle! (September 19th, 2021)

Game with Luke at Mox Boarding House in Seattle

September 19th, 2021 (Talk Like a Pirate Day)

I met up with new Pirates CSG player Luke in Seattle, coincidentally on Talk Like a Pirate Day!  We played at Mox Boarding House Seattle, the sister location of the venue I visited with Tiffany O’Brien the day before.

We went with a 60 point build total, round earth, and generally my Basic Rules, with the exception that rams could still cause damage and terrain was literally tossed onto the map and played where it landed.

I went first with this Anglo-French fleet:
La Belle Etoile + captain, helmsman, oarsman
La Belle Poule + helmsman
Maui’s Fishhook + LE Griffin, captain, helmsman

He followed with this mixed fleet.

Mox had a nice playmat lying around that worked well as a unique ocean I’ve never played on before.  More of a snowy/icy look than water, but certainly good enough for us!  Luke included his nice custom made island along with a few rocks.

Game with Luke at Mox Boarding House Seattle 2021

Luke Menzie custom island for Pirates CSG

The Maui’s Fishhook (MF) flew out at L+S+S and grabbed some coins with her shiny crane:

Luke’s fleet sailed out, but the Belles would reach wild islands first.  I docked the Belle Etoile at an angle where she could shoot all three cannons at the Santa Isabel, but true to form my characteristically terrible cannon luck continued, shooting 1/3 and only eliminating a minor crew from the Isabel.

This left the Belle Etoile open to attack, and the Spanish pounced, dismasting the ship!

La Santa Isabel dismasts La Belle Etoile

A different angle showing my ships coming home with gold:

The Belle Etoile tried to sneak away on oar power:

The Maui’s Fishhook caught the Pride sailing off my home island, and eliminated two masts!  While the Santa Isabel was busy grabbing gold, the Belle Etoile escaped into a fog bank.

The Pride did a hit and run on the Belle Poule on her escape attempt, but the MF caught and dismasted her.

Overhead shot showing the MF capturing the Pride, while Luke’s ships gather gold at home and abroad (Courageux at top of frame).

I wanted the center island’s gold more than a derelict Pride, so the MF dropped the tow and hoisted more booty aboard.

The Belle Etoile took up towing duties, but the similarly speedy Santa Isabel was ready to strike!  She sank the Belle Etoile shortly afterwards.

Pirates Constructible Strategy Game on Talk Like a Pirate Day

The Santa Isabel also sunk the other Belle (Poule).  The MF grabbed (now friendly but probably not voluntarily obliging) Calico Cat off the captured Pride, with Griffin (English LE version, not the one still on the Pride!) looking to throw her overboard as insurance policy against potential whirlpool damages.  Only now is it occurring to me how strange this situation was thematically, especially with Calico Cat’s history with the English, Griffin’s backstory and two versions in play in the same fleet, etc.  O_O

However, the Santa Isabel turned around and blasted two masts off the MF!  At the upper right, you can see the final coin in play, which is all that stood between us and the final gold count.

The MF did manage to whirl towards the coin, but there was too much ocean and game left…

This is where Luke’s luck abruptly ran out, going a combined 0 for 5 on his turn! (Santa Isabel and Coeur missed 4 shots and the Courageux failed her ram attempt)

Maui's Fishhook lives

The Maui’s Fishhook lives!  She used her unique ship ability to nab the final coin, but it wasn’t likely to survive with it in her secret hold.

Pirates CSG game with Luke on TLAPD 2021

Luke sank the MF and the game ended!

  1. Luke: 24 gold
  2. Ben: 20 gold

We had a great time and some interesting Pirates CSG discussions.  I highly recommend Mox Boarding House (both WA locations) and hope to meet more Pirates CSG players and fans there!  😀

After the game we did a really cool impromptu trade!  Luke gave me an Isle of Fire from Savage Shores (my first one I believe!) so I returned the favor by giving him a sealed pack of Revolution!  He opened it on the spot and found a neat pack including his first fort (Ramsgate), first event (Divers), and favorite ship! (Le Courageux)

We noticed a sliding part above the table which made me think about potential waterfall ideas, or something thematically opposite of the Bowen sub-ocean….

As an aside, I seem to keep going first, but keep losing all the time (5 straight losses now).  They have been mostly casual games, but something needs to change perhaps….