A series of tests for my HMS Grand Temple fleet – February 18th, 2012

This was long overdue. I have also posted this with the fleet at MT.

I finally tested this fleet against some “tougher” deathmatch fleets I came up with using stuff from my collection. The fleets opposing the HMS Grand Temple fleet were specifically designed to beat the GT fleet in particular. Each of the three fleets would face the Temple fleet in a three-game set (with each game being played out regardless of the winner of the first two games).

The first fleet of the three:
Le Bonaparte (DJC): 16 points
Capitaine Gaston de St. Croix: 5
Jordan Dumas: 6
Christian Fiore: 6 (yes I know this is illegal, I essentially took out the Ex-Patriot keyword to bring the point cost to 5, or you could say I used him as a proxy for Monsieur LeNoir, the French canceler)
Longshanks: 6
“Cannonball” Gallows: 0 (+5)
Captain: 3
Helmsman: 2
Fire Shot: 1

The strategy would be to combine the abilities of Le Bonaparte (cannot be shot at by ships within S) and Fiore’s canceler by engaging the Temple at close range. The Longshanks would support her, possibly dealing with the Meresman if she got in the way.
This strategy worked mostly because the Temple was not able to maneuver perfectly (at least not more than once in the three games) so that she could shoot all four of her L-range guns while staying more than S away from the Bonaparte. The Bonaparte would close in, and with the help of the SAT from Croix, successfully sink the Temple, who would be almost powerless against the canceler. The Longshanks and the Meresman fought some in these games, but almost canceled each other out.
This fleet beat the GT fleet two out of three times, with the only exception coming when the GT had perfect positioning so that her L-range guns were brought to bear and dismasted the Bonaparte.
(1-2)

The second fleet:
Soleil Royal: 13
Vicomte Jules de Cissey: 0 (+5)
Captain: 3
Helmsman: 2
Fire Shot: 1
Santa Teresa: 9
Nemesio Diaz: 5
Snipe: 6
Christian Fiore: 6

Both the Santa Teresa and Snipe are one-masted sloops from SM with immunity to L-range guns. They would try to sail on either side of the Soleil Royal, who would then move in for the kill after the two cancelers stripped the Temple (and the Meresman) down. The two sloops were basically immune to cannon fire (L-range immunity + canceled captains if enemy within S), but the huge weakness of this strategy was quickly apparent: one ram had a good chance of dismasting a sloop, making the all-important cancelers stationary.
The GT fleet won two of the three games against this fleet, one by ramming the cancelers out of action (then the Temple would circle around the trio with 6S movement to sink the Soleil Royal), and one by a stroke of luck, when the Meresman used her ship’s ability of doubled cannon range to take out the Snipe (with a ‘sniping’ ability ).
(2-1)

The third and final test:
El Acorazado: 21
Capitan Alarico Castro: 3
Luis Zuan: 7
Joaquin Vega: 4
Nemesio Diaz: 5
Helmsman: 2
El Algeciras: 3
Contessa Anita Amore: 0 (+5)

This fleet was to let the GT come to “The Battleship”, and then let her despair against the nearly impenetrable walls of defense around the Spanish gunship (3 hits for first mast, 2 for the rest, essentially can only fire from L-range b/c canceler would take out GT’s ship ability, taking out the captain ability as well). El Algeciras was only there to provide cargo space for Amore, and try her best to hold off the Meresman (who didn’t factor in anyway). This fleet was the most impressive in battle and also the most intimidating. I was not surprised when the Spanish won all three times. The GT was only able to knock out four masts total over the three games, and then she fell to El Acorazado’s improved guns (Zuan has world-hater). I honestly think this particular fleet would always beat the GT fleet, too much to get through, even with the immense fire power of the GT with her crew.
(0-3)

Therefore, my HMS Grand Temple fleet now has a record of 18-6, still very impressive  . A combination of cancelers and S or L immunities appear to be the way to go against her, but the easiest way to beat her is with the legendary El Acorazado.

January 15th, 2012 – An oddity, and a short cumulative game

I had a snow day today, and decided to have a little game .

Four players, 100 point fleets. The fleets were:
English: HMS Titan, HMS Grand Temple, Aberdeen Baron, HMS Hyena, HMS Lady Provost.
French/Cursed: Le Gaule, Le Descharges, La Dijon, Divine Dragon, Fallen Angel, Death’s Anchor.
Spanish: La Joya del Sol, La Santa Ana (SCS), Asesino de la Nave, Monte Cristo, Alquimista, San Jose.
Pirates: Sea Nymph, Longshanks, Muerta de la Corona, Selkie, HMS Rickets, Recreant, Windjammer, Raven.

The game was one of the oddest I’ve ever played. The focus would be on my new forts (Puerto Blanco, Paradis de la Mer, Dead Man’s Point, and Fort Brompton), or at least it was supposed to be. All of these forts except for Fort Brompton were built, along with my other old fort, St. Pierre, but none of them had a chance to fire or be fired on. The game was almost all treasure-running. The only action was between the English and the French/Cursed. The Titan dismasted the Divine Dragon and took out two masts on the Descharges, but was soon thereafter sunk by the Death’s Anchor. The English got their revenge by sinking the Le Gaule with the Grand Temple, but not before the Lady Provost was sunk by the Hyena (captured by the French earlier in the game). The Grand Temple then sunk the Hyena.

The Spanish had the best time with gold-running. El San Jose brought some home, but the real load was from La Joya del Sol, who brought home a 3, a 5, a 6, and a 7 with her big cargo hold.

The final gold count for this quick game:
Spanish: 30
French/Cursed: 19
Pirates: 19
English: 11

I may play another game, but to make it more interesting, I may require that fleets bring home gold from their forts (other than the gold used to pay for them), and I may have the wild islands in the center.

Currently listening to ‘Two Hornpipes’ from the Dead Man’s Chest soundtrack.

Additional Comment:

Over the last two days I have played a four player 100-point game where players use the gold they bring back to their home islands to buy and launch new ships and crew.

The participants were the same as the game above, with a few small changes to the French and Pirate fleets.

The game constituted of mostly gold-running, and the Spanish were quickly eliminated, finding themselves between the English and French/Cursed. The French only had one good gold ship (La Dijon), and they used her haul to build Paradis de la Mer.

The Pirates and English built their forts as well, Dead Man’s Point and Fort Brompton, respectively. The English and Pirates had home islands on opposite sides of the sea, and so were free to accumulate treasure and build their fleets in relative peace. The French were all but eliminated when their two gunships (Le Gaule and Divine Dragon) were taken out in quick succession by the HMS Grand Temple, HMS Apollo, and HMS Dover.

The English put together a scattered expedition of ships to go east to attack the Pirates’ home island, but these plans were foiled when the Pirates tried to end the game quickly, sensing they didn’t have the firepower to match up in a fleet action (it was looking like the Harbinger, Revenant, Ballista, Muerta de la Corona, and Lady’s Scorn vs the Titan, Grand Temple, Dover, Apollo, Nautilus, Auckland, Cygnet, and two captured Spanish galleons, Joya del Sol and Santo Columba, with the Lady Provost lurking by the Pirates’ HI waiting to steal gold).

After short skirmishes, desperate treasure-running, and a few well-placed UT’s, the final French/Cursed ship (Fallen Angel) was finally rammed and dismasted, triggering an endgame condition with two of the original four players not able to give any of their ships future actions.

The gold was tallied up, and the English came out on top, with slightly more gold coins than the Pirates, but with coins with much greater values (at least two sevens and a handful of fives):
1. English: 170 gold
2. Pirates: 126
3. Spanish: 37
4. French: 19

December 31st, 2011 – Seven player 100 point game

I played the seven-player 80-point game yesterday but don’t remember all of the details. The Aberdeen Baron again proved her worth and the English won again!

Today I used mostly the same fleets (only the Cursed went for a complete makeover), but upped the points to 100. To mix things up, I broke the rules and strung together terrain to make sure they would be used. In the middle of the play area I strung together around a dozen Sargasso Seas in a long S. I surrounded one island with Fog Banks, another with Reefs/Sargasso Seas, and another with Reefs/Fog Banks. The terrain would finally be used.

The Cursed and Americans came in wanting to cause as much destruction as possible. The other factions went for a balanced approach, with the French and Pirates going for a stealing gold/capturing crew combo, and the Merccorsairs, Spanish, and English looking to grab gold and escort it home. Many of these strategies were wrecked in the first few turns. The Grim Reaper used Wraith to eliminate the Darkhawk II’s complement of crew (Calico Cat (SM), Coconut, Helmsman) and taking out three of her masts. The Xiamen’s Claws quickly swept in and sunk the Cursed menace, but she was sunk soon thereafter, with Bonny Peel going down with her and ruining the Pirate strategy (although they still had three ships and Angelica). The Americans had a brief change of heart and started to gold-run with their gunships, but then realized they would never win in this way. The Raven went away to a far-off island, while the Divine Dragon (making a return with Davy Jones in command) towed the Death’s Anchor towards the much coveted treasure island (with 8 treasure on it) in the northwest corner, following the Executioner, who had ROTF Fantasma on board (Fear, Eternal, SAT).

The English picked their harbour last, and so had the worst time trying to get treasure. The Spanish Joya del Sol used SAT from Capitan Alarico Castro to leap ahead of her companions, and began to overtake the three Corsair galleys in the race to the northwest island. Following her were the San Pedro, Cristal del Obispo, Monte Cristo, and Algeciras. The other Spanish ship, the Alquimista, managed to get through the ring of fog banks and grab the treasure on the easternmost wild island. The HMS Victoria captured the tiny Coeur du Lion (French 1-master) before joining the HMS Lord Walpole outside the fog banks, waiting for the Alquimista to emerge and pounce on her. The Aberdeen Baron and HMS Hyena sailed towards the treasure island in the northwest, but were surprised by the previously friendly Frenchmen, who suddenly opened fire with the Descharges, Vengeance, and Mercure! The good guns of this trio, shooting before the English could get away, reduced the Baron to one mast (she would later be captured), and sunk the Hyena.

A meeting between the Mercenary Forward and Cursed Executioner (both w/4 masts) left the Executioner a burning hulk, and was then sunk, but she returned to the Cursed HI with Fantasma’s Eternal. The Forward then turned her wrath on the Joya del Sol, taking out three masts and leaving the other to fire, to be sunk later in the turn by the Jade Sea Serpent, who had Osvaldo de Deus Celemente on board. The French then singled out and captured the Corsair galley Carthage, but neglected to tow her home, leaving her to her own oar power.

I can’t remember all of the details, but now there commenced a sort of war against the treasure runners, with gunships abandoning their own treasure runners to attack others. The American 5-master Blackwatch did a particularly large amount of damage.

The San Pedro was eventually able to penetrate the weeds around the northwesternmost island and return home with the treasure. The Spanish were able to team up and sink the Divine Dragon at this point. The Monte Cristo knocked down one mast, and then the San Pedro got a lucky die roll at the mysterious island nearby (the northwest one surrounded by terrain). The 5-6 effect let the Spanish move an enemy ship using her base move. The Spanish used this to throw the Dragon onto a reef, where she rolled a 1 and promptly lost four masts, leaving her easy picking for the Cristal del Obispo, who finished her off.

Meanwhile the Pirate ships Recreant and Ladron sunk the American ships USS Quigley and Swamp Fox. The Cristal del Obispo killed Angelica after a failed swoop attack. The English managed to capture the Spanish Alquimista, but then she was sunk by the Blackwatch, who also sunk the Sea Tiger, Coeur du Lion, and HMS Lady Provost. I finally got my revenge on her by sinking her with the Victoria, but she returned to her home island with Ralph David’s Eternal.

The L’Heros tried to take treasure from the Americans’ home island, but she was captured by the Cursed, then the Americans, and eventually sunk by the Blackwatch, who then captured the Executioner (Blackwatch was causing chaos all over the sea!). The Pirate ship Raven was captured by the French, but in doing so, the French ships were badly damaged by the other Pirate ships trying to recapture the Raven, the Recreant and Ladron. As a result, the HMS Lord Walpole easily sunk the captured Raven and the ship towing her, the Descharges (Le Mercure had already been dismasted; she was later scuttled).

The English took away the Carthage from the French, but with the French capturing the Aberdeen Baron and the Lady Provost at the bottom of the sea, the Carthage would bring home the only gold the English could muster, their efforts doomed by the French and the Blackwatch. The Spanish repaired from their travels to the treasure island in the northwest, then went out and dismasted the Victoria, leaving her to be captured by the Algiers.

At this point it became obvious that either the French or Spanish would win. Most of the treasure had been sent to the bottom, but the Spanish entered the whirlpools and returned to the treasure island to seal their victory. The Cristal went derelict from a combo of reefs and a vicious mysterious island roll, but managed to salvage another coin, while the French Dijon appeared and did her best gunship impression, scoring two hits to dismast the damaged San Pedro. Alas, it would not be enough. The newly repaired (as a result of the UT Trees) Victoria appeared and dismasted the Dijon, and this ended the game, with four of seven players unable to give any of their ships any future move actions. The Cursed, French, Pirates, and Spanish had been beat up. The Americans only had a damaged Blackwatch and a captured derelict, the Executioner. The Mercorsairs only had the Victoria and the Algiers, and the English only had the poor Carthage, struggling to get home on just S movement (at least her treasure counted!).

The treasure was counted, and sure enough, the Spaniards won, with 23 gold. The French came in second, with 13, and the English in third with 8. The Americans and Mercorsairs had 3 gold each, and the Cursed and Pirates had none at all.

A very enjoyable game today, but probably my last big game for a long time (school starts again Tuesday).

Happy New Year! 

December 29th, 2011 – Short HFS + Beginning of 7 fleet game series

A new Historical Fantasy Scenario

Finally, I was able to get my ships out again. Christmas break, so ten days off for me. I have recently acquired an additional 143 ships from three Fairfield boxes, trades on MT, and a DJC booster box, bringing the total to 524 (see Collections thread for details). I put together all of them except for my ROTF SR pack on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and today was able to start a new historical fantasy scenario. As usual, 5 masts, or 20 points worth of treasure, got each faction started. A new development occurred before the start, however. The Cursed had had enough of the Amercursedcorsairebel alliance (Americans, Mercenaries, Cursed, Corsairs, and Rebels combined because they aren’t big enough to be on their own for lack of ships), and defected in a relatively peaceful split, going to the Pirates, who reluctantly agreed, not wanting to be allied with the Cursed, but realizing that it might be necessary to regain the numerical advantage (my new acquisitions put Pirates at 118 ships, while the English took the numbers lead, with 128). The French are now at 75 ships total, the Spanish at 96, and the Cursed at 37. Therefore, the new alliance of the Cursed Pirates gives them 155.

I placed 18 islands, and a handful of fog banks, reefs, and sargasso seas. To change things up, I switched the harbours around. The French are now where the Spanish used to be, in the north. The Spanish are where the Pirates used to be, in the south. The Pirates are where the French used to be, in the southeast, essentially rotating the factions anticlockwise. The Amercs and English stayed put, the Amercs in the northeast and the English in the far west as usual.

All of the fleets started with five one-masters and set them out to gather treasure. The luck of the draw favoured the French, Spanish, and the Cursed Pirates, who had more islands close to their harbour, and also enjoyed finding treasure coins with greater point values than usual. These three factions grew more quickly than the English and Amercs, who weren’t as aggressive as normal. Gold was brought back, counted, and spent as dozens of ships were launched and sent out to find gold in the first handful of “turns” (not using game rules, just going in an order based on harbour locations).

The Spanish and Cursed Pirates soon encountered a problem. Right in between their two harbours (which are somewhat close) is an island that would inevitably be fought over. Sure enough, the Spanish got there first, but the Cursed Pirates got there as they were hauling the gold out to their ships, and you can bet the Cursed Pirates weren’t very happy about the Spaniards taking gold that they thought was rightfully theirs! The Nosso Lar fired on the Spanish galley Sol, and the fight was on! This small frigates-only skirmish didn’t last long, but had enormous consequences, as both sides quickly declared war on each other. Ships raced back to their harbours, new ships were launched, and the new additions set sail for the opponents’ harbour. Since then, the action has been very confused and chaotic, with new ships entering the battle every few hours.

The Spanish are having a hard time so far with the numerical superiority of the Cursed Pirates, but the small number of ships in the Amerc fleet have now attacked the allies from the north after witnessing a Pirate ship-of-the-line (SOL) fire on a Spanish frigate. The Cursed Pirates are in the process of flooding the rapidly expanding battle area with more and more ships. The Spanish are being surrounded on the east, south, and north, while the sea monsters of the alliance recently rose from the depths to sink Spanish ship at their rear, in the west! The battle goes badly for the Spanish, but they have recently made a cry for help to the French, who accepted, eager to help their old allies. Just before this happened, the Amercs chanced upon the new French harbour and these two nations signed an alliance.

It appears as though the Cursed Pirates will now have to fight three factions, but since they are not coordinated in their movements, the Cursed Pirates might just be able to overpower them. Meanwhile, the English have built some ships, but are unaware of the conflict across the sea, and seemingly content for the moment. There is no end in sight for the massive battle between the Cursed Pirates vs the Spanish (as well as the Amercs and eventually the French), so there is much progress to be made.

It was great to get everything back out again, and I hope everyone had a good Christmas! 

Additional Comment:

I am already done with this newest historical fantasy scenario. The Spanish were beaten badly in most areas of the battle, but the Cursed Pirates lost heavily as well. In the north, the frigate battle grew in size as the Amercs entered the fray. This battle the Cursed Pirates would have lost in time, if not for the dismal situation back at the Spanish harbour. The Cursed Pirates had an overwhelming numerical advantage over the Spanish ships stationed at their harbour, and the Spanish fled to the north, getting out just in time. The Cursed Pirates ransacked the harbour, as the Spanish met up with their new allies, the French, in the north. They were then joined by the Amercs and began sailing east, to try to then go south to attack the enemies’ harbour while their forces were divided between there and the Spanish harbour. This did not work, however, as a few stray Pirate ships sighted the large fleet sailing east, and alerted the admirals of this new development. All the Cursed Pirate ships at the Spanish harbour turned to go back to their own harbour, and the nine sea monsters of the Cursed Pirates appeared in front of the allied fleet. Correctly assuming the Cursed Pirates would know they were coming, the allies turned back. The two navies now retreated to their own harbours, and decided to make peace. Only the English didn’t participate in this short but intense war.

Additional Comment:

Today I started a seven-player 40-point game. I tried to use mostly my new stuff, especially in terms of ships, and I am using 20 islands (half mysterious) and 21 terrain. The combatants: English (HMS Victoria and Aberdeen Baron), French (Conquerant, Aquilon), Spanish (Cristal del Obispo and San Pedro), Pirate (Lady’s Scorn, Belladonna, and Lightning), Americans (Blackwatch and Argo), Cursed (Poor Adams, Fallen Angel, and Death’s Anchor), and Mercenary/Corsairs (Forward, Algiers, and Griffin).

The action began, and the English began sailing northwest towards a treasure island. The French, with the Conquerant moving 6S (S+S with helmsman and EA w/reroll) became separated. They realized they were playing more for fun because they had no gold ship(s), so they wanted to create chaos (more of a fun fleet to try out my only Bombardier). The beautiful Cristal del Obispo escorted the San Pedro to the nearest wild island. Then the Pirates departed, followed by the Americans, Cursed, and Mercorsairs, who immediately ran into bad luck-the Algiers was hit by an iceberg, leaving her with two masts.

Three actions quickly developed: The Lady’s Scorn took out two masts on the Forward, but the Forward retaliated with her Fire Shot equipment, scoring a fire mast and another splintered gaff mast. Next turn, the Scorn took out the remaining two masts on the Forward, but now has two fire masts and only her mainmast to guide her.

Meanwhile, just to the north, the Conquerant missed with her flamestrike cannon, but hit with her others, taking out the remaining two masts on the Algiers and one on the Griffin. The galleys fled for home and plan to rescue the Forward. The problem for the French was that the Conquerant was in the way of the English, and so the next turn the HMS Victoria promptly sunk the new ship to get her out of the way.

To the south, it looked as though the Blackwatch and Cristal del Obispo would be content to escort their treasure ships to islands and back home, but the feisty Americans became restless (and reckless, perhaps?). The Blackwatch moved closer to the Spanish ships, but was burned badly. With the help of a helmsman, the Cristal moved S+S+S and took out three masts on the Blackwatch. The Blackwatch has 2L guns with world-hater (TWOS HIT), however, along with EA from Commander Stephen Decatur. The die roll gave the big American gunships two shoot actions, and the guns hit three of four times, taking out three masts on the Cristal, so now both ships have two masts remaining.

To the west, the Cursed one-master Fallen Angel is towing the Death’s Anchor, using it to dismast the American Argo (now with no help because the Blackwatch is too far away), who has been captured by the Poor Adams.

The Lady’s Scorn was able to return home safely and remove her fire masts, sinking the Forward on the way by. The HMS Victoria sunk the Aquilon after finishing the Conquerant, so she single-handedly took out the French fleet. Then the Victoria moved on and sunk both the damaged Barbary galleys, the Algiers and the Griffin.

The duel between the five-masters Cristal del Obispo vs Blackwatch ended with the Blackwatch sinking the Spaniard with her more effective guns. This left the Blackwatch with only one mast, which was quickly eliminated by the Death’s Anchor, and then she was captured by the Poor Adams. The Cursed wanted to tow their new ships (Argo was captured as well) home and repair them and set them loose, but were alarmed to realize the Pirates’ strategy. The Belladonna snuck up on the Spanish harbour and used her ability to take all of the Spaniards’ gold! The San Pedro tried to stop her, but she was rammed and boarded by the swift Lightning. As the San Pedro limped back home to her now-empty harbour, the Cursed appeared to the west of the Pirates looking for a fight just as the newly repaired Lady’s Scorn sailed in from her short battle with the Victoria, who she almost dismasted with four hits. The battle was on, with the Belladonna ramming and boarding the Fallen Angel, taking out her one mast and shipwright she planned to use to repair it. The Lady’s Scorn then missed with all four of her guns!  That’s why it pays to pay for world-haters. The Cursed retaliated as Pirate morale sunk. The Poor Adams sunk the Lady’s Scorn over the next few turns as the Death’s Anchor dismasted both the Lightning and the Belladonna.

Sadly, this brought the action to a close, with four of seven (more than half) fleets now unable to give any possible future actions to their ships (French and Mercorsairs sunk, Pirates sunk and derelict, both American ships captured by the Cursed). Time to count treasure. What wasn’t as exciting as the battles was the superb performance of the English five-master Aberdeen Baron, hauling in coins worth 18 gold, as much as the next two fleets combined! With a large cargo hold, built-in explorer, and the help of a helmsman, this ship was lucky to be unscarred after all the carnage. The Spanish came in second, the San Pedro bringing in gold after the Pirates stole her first runs’ worth. The Pirates came in third with gold aboard the derelict Belladonna. The Cursed came in fourth with two coins aboard the captured Argo. The French, Americans, and Mercorsairs came in dead last with a comination of bad luck and bad strategy. Finally the English won , soon I may start a similar game but with double the fleet sizes (80 points).

August 31st, 2011 – End of cumulative game + HMS Grand Temple

I finished my cumulative game today. Simply put, the Amercursedcorsairebels, with the duo of gunships, Enterprise and Divine Dragon, took over the game. First they came after me. They sunk the Dover, Bolingbroke, Nautilus, and Alexander within two turns. Meanwhile, the Spanish Titan El Toro sunk my HMS Lady Provost and my captured Raven. I was quickly out of it, with all my ships sunk. The duo then took out the Toro, who was to the south. In the north, the Spanish had bought a Musketeer, and put him on La Ebro (MI) to take out Wolves so the last treasures could be loaded. The Amercs, not interested in treasure, would have no part of this. They sunk all six ships (a mix of Spanish and Pirate) that were clustered around the island. In the short one-sided battle, the Spanish managed to dismast the Enterprise with El Alquimista. The Dragon took over and dismasted the Pirate Treachery and sunk the Spanish Santa Ana (CC). That decided it! The two gunships worked together to dominate the sea and sunk everybody in sight. Based on my winning condition of most points in play when any endgame condition is met, the Amercs won easily. They totaled 84 points. The Pirates had captured La San Jose, and she was being towed by the derelict Treachery, and they also had some unspent gold on their HI (4 gold), so the Pirates actually came in second with 17. The Spanish had no ships in play, but had two gold left on their HI. They came in third. Bringing up the rear, with absolutely no gold or ships, was me.

The game ended earlier than I thought (the last cumulative game took me a week), and it was somewhat good, although of course I was disappointed. Now I am going to try to make good 40 point fleets utilizing good gunships (deathmatch, but not necessarily). The first one has HMS Grand Temple  with OE Calico Cat and OE Griffin + a helmsman, as well as HMS Meresman with captain and helmsman. This fleet just matched up against a fleet I mentioned earlier, a fleet with the Enterprise, Ladron, and Recreant. The British won all three times.

Additional Comment:

The last few days I have not played so much, but used the fleet with HMS Grand Temple and HMS Meresman to great effect (Temple seems to be proving me wrong). The 3-game sweep of that first fleet featuring the Enterprise, Recreant, and Ladron was followed by many others. I faced a fleet with the Longshanks, Recreant, and Silverback, and won all three. I faced a fleet with the Harbinger and Sea Nymph, and won all three. I faced another fleet, with ships I just can’t remember, and won all three. Lastly, I faced my swarm fleet (10 ships for 40 points), and won quite easily all three times. This brings my fleets record to an impressive 15-0. I think I will submit it at MT, although nobody will see it. It appears to me that I was losing the Temple in the huge (500 point) games/cumulative games because she got ganged up on before she could do much damage. Now she is facing only a few ships at a time, and can swoop in at 6S, with the small support of the Meresman coming behind her (World-hater from OE Cat lets me dismast any ship in one broadside, the key to that is this: TWOS HIT!).

August 24th, 2011 – Smaller adventures

I have been playing more “standard” (40-point) games lately since I got back. I created a fleet using the Asesino de la Nave. I also created a 40 point fleet using two SAT crew on gold-runners that went 4-4 (.500) against other 40 point fleets. Another fleet, one with the Enterprise and two supporting ships (Recreant and Ladron) was able to cream this fleet twice in a row though, which puzzled me . Then I made a 40 point “swarm” fleet that utilized ten different ships of various nationalities. This fleet performed well, winning two games, including a four-player multiplayer game. I’ve played many individual games over the last few days, so I can’t remember all the details. Yesterday I played a 100 point four-player game, and the Spanish won.

Today I started a cumulative game, where I use the treasure found to buy new ships and crew. I did this before, but on a much larger scale. This time I put much less treasure on the islands (12 per island instead of huge stacks that take forever to lug back to the HI). Four fleets, starting with the standard 40 points. I am for the most part using the standard multiplayer rules, but there will not be treasure left at the HI’s, as it will be spent to launch new ships. Instead, the end of the game will be determined by the amount of points in play when any one endgame condition is met (last treasure unloaded/sunk, 2+ players with no move actions). The points from all the ships and crew (and any treasure still left on ships) will be added up to determine the winner. The participants: English (me), Pirates, Spanish, and Amercursedcorsairebels.

Each fleet started off with just gold-running in mind. The Amercs, lacking the ships/crew to do this, encountered problems, with the Enterprise exploring an island only to discover the UT Wolves (treasure can’t be loaded until eliminated, only by Musketeer/Marine). I used the HMS Hyena and Lady Provost to buy the HMS Dover and HMS Nautilus early on. The Pirates had even worse luck than the Amercs, and appear to be almost out of the running already. The galley ship Griffin docked at a Mysterious island and rolled a 6. “Move an enemy ship using this ship’s base move.” Uh-oh! The Amercs then placed the nearby Darkhawk II broadside to the Enterprise, and promptly three of the Darkhawk’s four masts went by the board! Fearing more damage, the Darkhawk limped home after this most lamentable of circumstances, and the Pirates were again on the wrong side of Lady Luck when the Cursed Blade lost a mast to an iceberg. The Spanish, farthest away (to the east), were able to quickly accumulate enough gold to launch the Alquimista, the San Jose, the Algesiras, the Ebro, and in a big surprise, also bought El Toro, my one Titan. They also discovered the Cursed Conch, which would become important later on.

The game progressed rather quickly, and the Amercs splurged on their fourth ship, the Divine Dragon. They bought OE Davy Jones and a cursed captain to beef her up. Sound familiar? This is the same way she was set up in the 500-point game. The Pirates made the mistake of trying to catch the Enterprise (quickened by a helmsman and the occasional extra action), and they were burned. The Enterprise reached the Amerc HI just as the Divine Dragon loaded on Davy Jones and a captain, and the Pirates were suddenly up against two of the most powerful ships I have. The Cursed Blade and the one-master Lightning were dismasted, and the Darkhawk II, with many crew on board, sunk (and this was after she fully repaired!). This put the exclamation point on a dismal day for the Pirates… although it was about time they had one!

I launched the other six-masted junk in my collection, the HMS Grand Temple, and she used Protection from Davy Jones UT to warp across the game area to the Spanish fleet, and sunk the Joya del Sol, the best treasure ship the Spaniards had, in one shoot action. The Spanish didn’t like this, however, and I paid the price. Thinking El Toro was a safe distance away, I forgot she had a captain and the Santa Ana, docked at the home island of the Spanish, had the UT Cursed Conch. 2L was still too far away to reach my flagship, though. Then the Spanish revealed their secret weapon, Screw Engine (the ship can move twice in one turn) which would be the key to yet another HMS Grand Temple disaster (maybe I should be more careful with her, or maybe I overrate her and think she won’t be sunk early on, idk). The Toro, with the help of two UT’s, was able to swoop down on my beautiful flagship, and with the Titan keyword, pin her with the ram attempt (which wasn’t successful, she would’ve had to roll a 7!). I couldn’t escape, and help was too far away, so the battle was on! The Toro still had her captain, and the shoot action took out half my masts (the usually unreliable 3-rank guns hit 3/4 times!?). Then I somehow managed to roll a three and two twos with my next broadside. Where’s Hermione Gold when you need her!? Incredibly frustrating. The Toro made short work of my remaining masts, and as of now the Temple is sitting there derelict, waiting to be sunk. The rest of my fleet has been doing good, though, and I think I am in the lead as far as points in play, especially after capturing the Pirate schooner, Raven (Pirates couldn’t catch a single break today).

I originally believed the Spanish were my biggest competition, but now, in addition to them, the Amercs are looking somewhat intimidating, with two big gunships capable of teaming up to sink multiple ships in one turn. They are not too far away from my HI, so I will have to keep an eye on them.

August 12th, 2011 – Finale of first 2500 point game

The chaos continued, with more and more ships being sunk/dismasted. The Amercs continued to fight off the combined forces (though not actually allies) of the French and Spanish, but they were overwhelmed. The USS Stephens sunk, while the Amercs managed to use the nearby whirlpool to warp to the deserted southwest area, although they were only able to get four ships there, the Divine Dragon, the Nautilus, the Boston, and the cursed junk Clear Wind.

In the southeast corner, the English appeared to be losing the battle, having their HMS Gargantuan sunk and other ships dead in the water, derelict. The French were attacking the Amercs with everything they had, losing one Valois, both Bonapartes, and some masts. The Spanish continued to press from the opposite direction, and the Amercs would have lost the battle…

Now for the moment of truth! The two Spanish Concepcions, loaded with gold after exploring the last island, in the deserted northwest corner of the sea, had the last treasure on board. They didn’t have helmsman (I only have two for the Spanish), and so were sailing at only L speed. The Dragon and her Amerc comrades were possibly within striking range, and knowing that they wouldn’t win anyway, decided to cause some last-minute end-of-game chaos! The Dragon raced towards them as the Spanish approached their home island. The Spanish fleet directly to the east turned around and headed towards the approaching Amercs to try to intercept them before reaching the Spanish treasure galleons. Davy Jones suddenly loomed very large. The Dragon rolled a one and a four on consecutive turns, allowing the Dragon to catch the treasure ships just before they reached their home island (not making this up, they were literally within L of it!). The Dragon had been fully repaired from her battles earlier in the game and made short work of the Spanish ships, sinking both in one turn!  The treasure is not divided between the two players in a multiplayer game with 4+ players, so it was removed from the game.

Now it was time to count the treasure. This was very dramatic, and between the first three fleets, very close as well. The final count:
1. Pirates: 48
2. Spanish: 45
3. English: 43
4. French: 28
5. Amercursedcorsairebels: 9

After I finished the final count (disappointed that the Pirates, of all nations, won, and because I came in close, but still only third), I realized just how important it was that the Divine Dragon had sunk both Spanish Concepcions. Guess how much treasure was on them: 11! This would have been enough if they had made it back to their home island, but instead it was removed, allowing the Pirates to win by a tiny margin of three. Now the what-ifs start: If the Dragon had been sunk back when she was in trouble, being hit by the Santa Ana with El Acorazado not far away. If the Spanish had put a helmsman on even just one of the Concepcions, she probably would have made it back. If the HMS Granville had gotten more than one hit on the Dragon not long before she went through the whirlpool (this is significant because the Granville has crew-killing built in, so she could’ve eliminated another crew on the next turn).

Alas, it was not the Spaniards’ day; the Pirates are once again victorious. They were fighting the English on the other side of the ocean when the Dragon interfered, which appears controversial. The Pirates and Amercs apparently never made a deal for an alliance, but they may have made a secret one, as they never fired on each other and the Amercs appeared to have helped the Pirates win. We will never know, this is just speculation. Maybe it was on purpose, but it does seem like Davy Jones to want to go out with a bang rather than just running perpetually from his adversaries. In cahoots, or not?  On that note, I say goodbye to the biggest game I have played of Pirates, which included many great moments, excitement, and a mysterious ending that will puzzle us all…

P.S.: I am going on vacation tomorrow, so this will be it for a little while. Thanks for reading!

August 11th, 2011

The Divine Dragon decided to use the Screw Engine and extra action from DJ to escape to her home island. There she was able to fully repair, but not before the captured Cursed Blade rammed her and used her ability to steal the UT Protection from Davy Jones. The Lechim Namod finally entered the fray to try to protect the Dragon from being hit before reaching her home island, and managed to dismast the crew-killing HMS Granville.

Some other Amerc ships returned home for repairs, among them the Congress and Clear Wind. The Santa Molina managed to use Broadsides Attack to sink the powerful Acorazado, and then the Amercs used the Congress’s last mast and the Concord to sink the SCS Santa Ana, which was the only other ship the Spanish had with extra action/SAT capabilities. Now they are in trouble, as the huge French fleet is now sailing for the remaining Amerc ships from the east, while the Spanish are coming at them and engaging them to the west. The Enterprise was cornered by a dozen or so Spanish ships, and decided to go out with a bang, sinking the colorful La Sirviente before being sunk in turn by L’Aguila and the Selkie (captured). The USS Stephens, back at the home island of the Amercs, used Commander Stephen Decatur to get extra actions two turns in a row so she could repair her two remaining masts, then she went and rammed the Cursed Blade, trying to reacquire Protection from Davy Jones. This she did, easily winning the boarding roll and then dismasting the Blade with her built-in captain ability. The only problem is that the Blade can (I think) use her ability next turn to take the UT right back, as she is still touching the Stephens, then have the nearest English ship take it away (maybe I’m overrating UT’s, but they are fun to use).

Meanwhile, those same Englishmen were busy chasing the Pirates, who seem to be getting the better of the battle so far, sinking the HMS Titan before she could wreak havoc. The Titan still managed to dismast two medium-size Pirate ships after being damaged, though . The Pirates are fleeing far to the southeast, but they have reached the French harbour and will soon be at Ocean’s Edge .

The French are going after the Amercs with almost all the ships they have, but the stragglers that were towing damaged ships away from the icebergs of the Frozen North were sunk unexpectedly by the Enterprise.

The Spanish are also going after the Amercs, but from a different direction, creating a trap from which it is unlikely that the Amercs will emerge victorious. Despite the Jarvis and Louisiana sunk, and Santa Molina and Bosun’s Bane being dismasted, the Amercs pressed on, and the Swamp Fox used captain/Broadsides Attack to eliminate one of the giant crabs, El Toro.

These are just the highlights, many other ships have been sunk, and many more will go down in the near future!

August 10th, 2011

I’ve played a few more turns, and I, as the English, was able to capture the Cursed Blade (with Captain Mission, Lucky the Parrot, and a captain aboard), after she came through a whirlpool looking to steal UT’s from my HMS Lord Walpole. The English also formed an alliance with the Spanish, and now the fleets are collaborating on what to do next. The Spanish seem content to help me get back the Sea Tiger (I want her back for Commander Temple, who is still on board). It’s possible I might go after the Divine Dragon with Davy Jones on board, but this would be difficult. The Amercursedcorsairebels have not been hostile towards anybody(besides with Davy Jones), but seem to be biding their time doing almost nothing. The Nautilus went through a whirlpool to escape the French Rocher Noir (can shoot at submerged ships within S of her), but didn’t have to lose any masts due to her finding of the UT Protection from Davy Jones earlier in the game.

Meanwhile, the Pirate ships damaged from their battle with the English are back at their HI and repairing, while some ships recently brought back some treasure.

The French are about to capture the derelict L’Aguila, who, along with the Alquimista, went in the opposite direction of the Spanish fleet, heading east for gold. Now they are both in trouble! Earlier in the game the French captured the Amercs’ Dark Pact, Bashaw Folly, and USS Quigley, and seem to be developing an effective strategy of hunting in wolf packs of ships that close in on enemy targets who have been separated from the main fleet. They are doing this because I don’t have very many French crew, so instead they have mostly empty ships (37 in the fleet to start), and want to make up for lack of crew by having the largest fleet by a decent margin.

The French and Amercs are the only factions lacking gold right now, but there should be some coming in soon for the French. The Enterprise just passed by some of the Pirate fleet without firing on them, so either a non-aggression pact or alliance may come to fruition between the Pirates and Amercs. It remains to be seen what the goals of the Amercs are, but the English/Spanish are planning to go on the attack as soon as they can repair their damaged gunships and formulate a plan of action (or a plan of extra actions, haha). 

BTW: the icebergs actually were a factor today, taking down 4-5 masts in three turns.

Additional Comment:

Today I got through four more turns.

The English finished repairing their damaged ships and set out to punish the Pirates. They also managed to capture a Longshanks that was out looking for treasure alone. The English got there first, however, and now have some impressive UT’s: Dry Powder, Mines, and Marksman’s Map, although they also have Albatross, so he’s been limiting the number of extra actions ships get (-1 to die rolls made for the ship).

The Pirates are almost done repairing, and the Pandora was able to bring in some more treasure. The Black Diamond and Muerta de la Corona were out raidng the Spanish, but on their way back were surrounded by these same determined Spaniards. The Spanish sunk both ships, but the Pirates were able to put their valuable crew (OE Jack Hawkins and a helmsman, among others) on a few Darkhawk II’s that were nearby. They then proceeded to run away! I don’t have Captain Jack Sparrow, but it seemed like he was in charge, as the Pirates quickly fled from any contact with the Spanish gunships, including the loaded Acorazado.

The French completed the dismasting and capturing of the Alquimista and L’Aguila and began towing them back. The French lost some masts in the process, but not from the Spanish, but icebergs! The die rolls for the icebergs were very effective today, taking out three masts on La Vengeance and both masts on the L’Amazone. The rest of the French fleet slowly turned to the south, seeing a couple of Pirate ships separated from the main group, but the Pirates quickly thought better of it. The highlight today for the French was the building of my only fort, St. Pierre!

The Amercs continued to baffle their opponents, first reversing direction after heading due west the day before, turning back to the east where they came from. Even more surprisingly, they turned down the Pirates’ offer of having an alliance. Then they turned to the southwest to avoid coming into contact with the French. They didn’t see how close the Spanish were to them, and disaster struck (albeit a small one). I, as the British, wanted to capture the Divine Dragon with Davy Jones as her captain, and my allies the Spanish shared the same goal. The normal action for the Divine Dragon was used to explore the Nautilus (finally at the surface) to take the UT’s Protection from Davy Jones and Screw Engine. Davy Jones used another six to move the powerful Acorazado out of striking distance, but allowing the Santa Ana (SCS) to move in and pummel her! The other Spanish ships were too far away to assist, but nonetheless turned toward the sight of the Divine Dragon finally seeming mortal. The Santa Ana’s die rolls were some of the most dramatic yet, the Spanish pausing after each one to yell and celebrate. Out of four possible hits, the Santa Ana scored three, including a firepot, so now the Dragon is on fire and has three masts remaining.

The problem for the allies is that the Dragon has many possible escape routes, and has the entire Amerc fleet nearby. She can dock at the nearby island and use the UT there, Trees, to repair. Or she can use the Screw Engine/extra action to get back to her home island (probably about 8S away) before taking more damage, then repair and sit there until the enemy moves far enough away. The third alternative is to go use the whirlpool to teleport to the remote northwest part of the sea, while not taking more damage due to Protection from Davy Jones. She will not fight because she only has three cannons left, doesn’t have the reverse captain keyword available, and the Acorazado is near with a crew-killer on board. Whatever Davy Jones chooses, it is sure to cause difficult decisions for the rest of the ships involved in the skirmish: whether or not to follow the Dragon through the whirlpool (on both the Spanish and Amerc sides), and if the Spanish want a large-scale battle with the Amercs, having already gotten involved with the Pirates.

The very near future has the possibility of changing the game immensely for the duration, and we will see what exciting developments unfold! 

August 6th, 2011: First 6 or so turns of 2500 point game.

Today I started the much anticipated five way 500 point game (the 2500 is in total between the fleets).

The 20 islands and 21 pieces of terrain were placed, home islands chosen, treasure buried, and dies rolled. I, as the English went first, followed by the Pirates, French, Amercursedcorsairebels, and Spanish, in that order. The Leicester, HMS Grand Temple, and HMS Titan used extra actions/SAT’s to get a jump start. The Pirates set out, and had a balanced strategy that included collecting, stealing, and sinking the gold (not surprising, eh?). The French had their own corner, and had the most ships since I don’t have very many crew for them. The Amercs set out not sure of their strategy but knowing they could create havoc with their best ships (Divine Dragon, Enterprise, and USS Stephens). The Spanish were going to try to avoid conflict while providing their treasure ships with adequate cover.

Turn one passed almost without incident. During the Amercs’ turn, they revealed the All Powerful Davy Jones! Obviously the Pirates were quite ignorant of the fact that the Cursed would use him, placing two of their best gunships, the decked out Harbinger and the similarly loaded Prussian Crown, both five-masters, right next to each other! Now I know that what happens next is technically illegal, but I like to keep my games full of surprises! The Amercs rolled a six! (FYI: The OE Davy Jones has guaranteed extra action capabilities, 1-4 is for the ship he is on, 5 for any friendly ship, 6 for any enemy ship) Arguably the most feared man (?) on the sea gave his order, and the Prussian Crown began firing on her own ship, the Harbinger!!!!!  Behold the incredible power and almost limitless possibilities of DAVY JONES!

At the beginning of the second turn, I rolled for my SAT with the HMS Leicester, and got a 6. I also had Myngs and the Gentleman for reroll on board (I know triple actions are also frowned upon, but you’ll see how badly I got paid back!), so I decided to go take on the Harbinger. Using my helmsman, I put my gunship right in the narrow space between the Harbinger and Prussian Crown, the Harbinger already missing three masts. Then I let the dice do their thing, and when it was all said and done both five masters had been sunk!!!!! The Leicester’s superb ability of eliminating two masts per hit let me hit the Harbinger twice, sinking her, then turn to the Prussian Crown, and with the help of Sir Christopher Myngs, sink her, too!

The revenge the Pirates exacted on me was very painful. The Revenant came up and dismasted my Leicester with one broadside! Then I tried to get the Leicester out of there, but accidentally ended up in a horribly undesirable fight! A complete disaster, the Leicester sunk without any crew being saved. The Titan was forced to stop and fight, and was able to dismast the Revenant before the Titan was dismasted by the Broken Key. Even worse for my morale, my HMS Grand Temple, newly built (out of the 151 ships participating in the game, she was the most highly anticipated) and decked out with Calico Cat, Griffin and helmsman, was sunk by a combination of Pirate ships, including the underrated Xiamen’s Claws. I thought I was going to lose all three of my best gunships before getting any treasure/captured ships, but through a small miracle I was able to extricate the HMS Titan from the action through my version of chain-towing (I checked on the Rules thread of MT, this is legal). I used one ship to tow the Titan, placing her at the stern of the nearest ship, then releasing her, then towing her and placing her behind the next ship, and so on down the line till she was out of harms way. I lost the HMS Concorde in the process, but that was a small price to pay for the salvaged ship, probably paid thirty plus points with the crew I had on the Titan.

Both the Pirates and I were happy to disengage and lick our wounds as we headed back to our respective home islands, the Pirates managing to capture the Sea Tiger with Commander Temple on board in the process. Meanwhile, I had signed an imaginary non-aggression pact with the nearby Spaniards, as we were both feeling like being nice and sharing the few nearby islands. The Pirates were doing some simple treasure running with their Darkhawk II’s, and they are trying CCMike’s idea of using a crew (Genny Gallows here) to add +2 to every treasure. Another 6+ ships and the two sea monsters, Seleucis and Teach, tried unsuccessfully to get to the battle with the British, the Britons already sailing away. It was not a large scale battle, but the Broken Key was also sunk.

The French slowly made their way away from their corner to the southeast and started to gather gold. The Soleil Royal possessed the only extra action crew in the fleet, and pounced on the Cursed ship Dark Pact, dismasting her before she could use Wraith to eliminate all the French crew, but then fell into a similar situation as the Leicester. She was isolated and didn’t have access to backup in time before she was also sunk, by the USS Stephens. The Amercs weren’t interested in a full-scale fight, so they let the French eventually capture the Dark Pact, Bashaw Folly and USS Quigley while letting the rest of their ships get away. The Divine Dragon continued to create havoc with Davy Jones as the HMS Bretwalda lost three masts after being fired on by fellow English ship HMS Granville.

The Amercs and Spanish didn’t do too much, although the Spanish got some treasure while the Amercs encountered problems. The Nautilus had Captain Nemo, Luc Savard, and a helmsman on board when she docked at a mysterious island. She rolled for effect just fine, but upon turning over the treasure, found the UT Missionary! Goodbye crew!(16 points worth, too) The new terrain I got, icebergs and whirlpools, didn’t play a role so far, but I expect that to change.

Overall, a very satisfying start (albeit a sad one) to my very anticipated game! I will be away tomorrow but will hopefully play some turns Sunday. I think things through, so moving more than two dozen ships per faction takes a while. Great time I had!