For the second 80 point game, the setup would feature another variation in island placement. The two home islands were connected, forming one bigger island (though they still acted as separate home islands). The four wild islands were in a half-moon design about 4L to the north. Instead of having their bows touch the HI’s, the ships in both fleets were in line abreast on either side of the combined home island. Just to make things even more interesting, each fleet started on the side opposite their HI, in the hope that the fleets would be forced to cross paths if they didn’t do so intentionally . The ships sailed out and the game was under way!
The Frontier found a handful of gold and Homing Beacon on one of the middle wild islands, looking to use the UT to quickly return home and then still have time to go back out again and get more gold before the game ended. However, the Pirates sailed the Obago right up next to the American HI, blocking the straight-line path the Frontier needed to dock.
As in the previous game, the Royal Rover went after the Bartlett and her valuable crew, Captain Montana Mays. Without a helmsman or a high die roll from Mays, the Bartlett was easy to catch moving at just L speed. The Rover dismasted the Bartlett with her cannons and ramming power, but failed at the critical moment, losing the boarding party by rolling a 1 while the Bartlett rolled a 6 and eliminated the Pirate helmsman.
In the meantime, the Frontier was coming home at her regular S+S+S speed since she couldn’t get a clear path for Homing Beacon. The Pirates were able to surround her with the Queen Anne’s Revenge, Swift, and Obago. Unfortunately for the Pirates, their gun rolls didn’t go to their liking, going just 2 for 8 despite having all guns at rank-3 or better.
The Americans looked to strike back next turn, with the powerful Mercury coming to the surface for the first time. The Mercury (three 2L guns with a musketeer on board) managed to miss all four shots against the Queen Anne’s Revenge, but the Frontier had the chance to dock, bringing in 14 gold for the Americans, leaving them 2 gold shy of yet another impressive victory.
The Nene Nui would soon feel the wrath of the Pirates. She had enough gold on her to win, but the fact that she had to travel the extra distance to dock at the more distant American HI spelled her imminent doom. The Queen Anne’s Revenge sailed up and dismasted her with one broadside.
The Pirates were now in a dominant position, and they were eager to finish the job. To the west, the Royal Rover sunk the Bartlett, while the Obago sunk the Frontier. On the next turn, the Royal Rover sunk the Nene Nui as well, leaving the Americans with only the now-submerged Mercury as their last hope.
The Mercury, with the protection of being underwater (the Pirates had no way to counter a submarine), took off for a wild island in search of a final treasure coin to bring home. However, the Mercury had completely forgotten that the Queen Anne’s Revenge had the HI-raiding ability, and not only that, but the Swift had found the Wine UT (exchange Wine for a treasure of your choice from an enemy HI) earlier in the game. This gave the Pirates a golden opportunity to steal enough gold from the Americans to tip the balance in their favour, while they waited for the Mercury to get back. After a few turns of feverish plundering, the gold turned 13-4 in favour of the Pirates.
As the Mercury came home, the Obago and Royal Rover lined up stem to stern and blocked off the American home island. Here’s where I messed up . I forgot that subs could move underneath other ships while they’re submerged, as long as they aren’t overlapping at the end of any move actions. This presented an odd situation where the Obago and Royal Rover both moved to block the Mercury after each turn that she moved. The interesting thing is that the Mercury, being a 3 masted sub, has a relatively long game piece, which probably would have overlapped underneath one of the Pirate ships’ hulls, but only since she would run into her home island. As a result, the game may have had a slightly different ending if I had played the rules correctly (I should have looked at the Code like I usually do), but the Pirates would probably still have won. As I played it, the Mercury was unable to dock, while the Revenge stole a 3 from the Americans to give the Pirates a 16-4 win. I won’t replay the game or situation, since the Pirates probably would have won anyway, not to mention the fact that they had played a better game up to that point (they would have sunk the Frontier way back if not for my terrible gun rolls!).
The unique setup where the home islands were connected to each other can give way to a potential stalemate situation. Even if the Mercury had docked normally and brought back her coin, the gold game would have been around even at that point (the Pirates having already stolen some gold as soon as the Mercury headed out to the wild island). The Mercury could have stayed at her HI and shot at the Obago and Royal Rover without fear of return fire. But the Queen Anne’s Revenge could have done the same thing, so whoever moved from their HI first would potentially lose, effecting a stalemate. I’ve never had to call a draw in Pirates, so I guess it would have to come down to the number of points remaining in each fleet. Although, now that I think about it, the Mercury could have submerged and then rammed the other Pirate ships until they were derelict, but even that wouldn’t do much good. A very fun and interesting game either way! I’ll play the third 80 point game tomorrow to determine who wins this series!
Edit: Now that I’ve checked on the Rules thread, I forgot that subs can’t dock at islands (even their HI) while submerged, so the Mercury would not have been able to return home anyway.