Pirates of the Caribbean Tribute Celebration game!

Originally posted to Miniature Trading on May 24th, 2017

This was a special game to celebrate the 5th (and possibly final) Pirates of the Caribbean movie being released this week, Dead Men Tell No Tales. It’s a PotC tribute game, with tons of ships and characters from all 4 movies represented.

Here are the participants. They each have special victory conditions, as they’re fighting for separate goals. This makes it a tiny bit like an RPG (role playing game), and should make for an interesting experience. (crew abilities found here)

English:
HMS Endeavour + Lord Cutler Beckett, Mercer
HMS Dauntless + Admiral James Norrington, Governor Weatherby Swann
HMS Interceptor + Mullroy, Murtog
Edinburgh Trader

At 86 total points, the English fleet is out for pirate blood. They will not stop until all pirates have been defeated.
Goal to achieve victory: Eliminate all Pirate ships and crew.
Pirates of the Caribbean Tribute

Captain Jack Sparrow:
Black Pearl + Captain Jack Sparrow, Joshamee Gibbs, Cotton, Marty, Pintel and Ragetti

Somehow the crew fit into the point and cargo limits of the ship due to the links! Jack is up to his usual tricks – staying alive by whatever means necessary. He’s got his full crew aboard to help him, which should make the Pearl a force to be reckoned with.
Goal to achieve victory: Be alive at the end of the game.

Davy Jones’ Cursed:
Flying Dutchman + Captain Davy Jones, Bootstrap Bill Turner, Jimmy Legs, Palafico
The Kraken

Davy Jones is out for more souls, with Jack Sparrow in particular on his hit list. However, he has a target on his back, and wants to live forever. This fleet functions as part of the Cursed faction.
Goal to achieve victory: Be alive at the end of the game. (bonus points for capturing as many enemy crew as possible, and for keeping enemies from finding the chest OR its key)

Hector Barbossa:
Hai Peng + Captain Barbossa, Cursed Crew 1, Cursed Crew 2

Barbossa is wise, and has a lot on his mind. He’d love to get the Pearl back from Jack, but avoiding the English and Davy Jones while doing so will be difficult.
Goal to achieve victory: Capture the Black Pearl. (bonus points for staying alive)

Blackbeard:
Queen Anne’s Revenge + Blackbeard

Blackbeard is the odd one out here, as the only standout from On Stranger Tides. However, his historical record speaks for itself.
Goal to achieve victory: Survive, eliminate other Pirate rivals (especially Jack and Barbossa), and end up with the most gold whether through coins or captured crew. (his ability lets you unload captured crew for gold worth their point cost)

Anamaria:
Jolly Mon + Anamaria (obviously illegal due to her point cost, but I’m also negating the Jolly Mon’s ability because she would weigh less than Jack, especially with all his gear lol)

Anamaria is still annoyed with Jack for not having gotten her ship back. She had to pay for the Jolly Mon to be raised from the bottom of Port Royal, and now demands payment AND another ship from Jack.
Goal to achieve victory: Receive gold AND a captured ship from Jack Sparrow. (can be any amount of gold and any ship in play, with bonus points for HMS Interceptor)

The Brethren Court:
Empress + Captain Sao Feng, Lian and Park, Tia Dalma
Ranger + Gentleman Jocard
Centurion + Captain Villanueva
Seref + Ammand the Corsair
Fancy + Capitaine Chevalle
Otter + Sri Sumbhajee
Ningpo + Mistress Ching

At 101 points, the Brethren Court’s fleet is the only thing capable of directly standing up to the Royal Navy in the Caribbean. Sao Feng has gotten the real Calypso aboard his ship, and intends to release her to combat both Davy Jones, the Royal Navy, and possibly Blackbeard as well. To do this they must get Ragetti’s wooden eyeball (Barbossa’s piece of eight) and Jack’s piece of eight, both of which start the game on the Black Pearl (though they may not realize this).
Goal to achieve victory: Release Calypso, defeat the Royal Navy, and be the last fleet standing.

It’s possible that more than one participant will achieve victory, at which point various tiebreakers may be used.

Now onto the house rules and other variables (forgot to use a few others I originally planned on):
Wind rules
-The Flying Dutchman can submerge. When submerged she follows the rules for submarines, except that she gets +L to her base move and cannot ram.
-Will and Elizabeth Turner will be in the Port Royal jail to start the game. This is where the Royal Navy will sail from. By docking at the port and being given an explore action, any Pirates (not the English or Cursed) can free them and use them if desired.
-Some crew have multiple versions; if that crew is on a ship, either version can be used on that turn.
-The undamaged Empress is standing in for the damaged version, which is the version I’m using stats for.
-Any UT’s can be loaded face down. No UT’s take up cargo space.

Custom UT rules:
Jack’s Compass: Lets you look at all face down treasures on islands and ships. (points to thing you want most)
Dead Man’s Chest and Davy Jones’ Key: If both are on the same ship, you can either kill Davy Jones outright or command the Flying Dutchman and the Kraken. (the latter of which could make you a huge target)
Curse of the Black Spot: Automatically makes this ship a target of the Kraken. (target changes if the Kraken already had a target)
Aztec Medallion: This ship’s crew cannot be eliminated.
Letter of Marque: English ships cannot attack this ship in any way.

Here is the setup. Port Royal is at the upper left, which is the northwest corner of the map. Isla de Muerta is at the top, and you can see that the Black Pearl is starting the game inside a fog bank nearby. Blackbeard has entered the area from the northeast, while Shipwreck Cove holds the Brethren Court’s fleet in the far east. Barbossa has emerged in the southeast. That small island near the center represents Isla Cruces, and Davy Jones and his Kraken are to the south of it. The big sandbar represents the one from At World’s End in the “Parlay” scene. Anamaria is on the Jolly Mon in the southwest.

The English, with the Dauntless anchored in a position similar to the outset of Curse of the Black Pearl. Three 4L and two 4S cannons occupy the fort, which fire in fixed lines of sight (no rotating their line of fire like normal cannons). The Turner couple is in jail.

Scenes from…
The Curse of the Black Pearl:

Dead Man’s Chest:

At World’s End:

World’s End! Ocean’s Edge! This game actually features a waterfall cliff.

A few turns in, and the Interceptor has explored the Sandbar, with Cannibals killing Murtog.

This looks familiar…

… ironically enough, Jack Sparrow has gotten the Curse of the Black Spot! The Kraken is after him! He also picks up Rum (which his whole gets drunk on), a Spyglass, and the key to Davy Jones’ chest. (NOT just a drawring of a key!)

Blackbeard aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge has found both Plunder and Smuggled Goods, which will be worth 6 gold combined if he can unload them.

The Edinburgh Trader is the only English ship not to venture into southern waters, but the Flying Dutchman lurks underwater nearby. Barbossa is after the Black Pearl, and would rather not use his Jailhouse Dog to eliminate Jack’s Black Spot, hoping the Kraken can damage the Pearl but leave her intact so Barbossa can capture it.

However, the Brethren Court have other plans, which include taking Barbossa’s and Jack’s pieces of eight to release Calypso!

Barbossa tried to tell Sao Feng that his piece of eight was Ragetti’s wooden eyeball, currently aboard the Black Pearl with Jack. But Sao Feng didn’t trust him! The Empress gets the weather gauge and rams the Hai Peng! However, Sao Feng’s boarding party is repulsed, with Park taking the hit. The Centurion also rammed, taking out one of Barbossa’s cursed crew. Unfortunately Captain Villanueva, one of the Pirate Lords, died in the ensuing boarding chaos. This made Sao Feng come to his senses, and he agreed to not attack the Hai Peng any longer as long as Barbossa was telling the truth. (as a side note, Sao Feng has collected the pieces of eight from the 7 Pirate Lords in his fleet, so he need be the only one alive to release Calypso if he acquired all 9 pieces)

I forgot to take pictures for a while. The Black Pearl used her great speed and some occasional wind gusts to avoid the Kraken and Flying Dutchman. Jack decided to rescue Will and Elizabeth from the Port Royal jail, with no English threats guarding the harbor. However, this put him into a corner, surrounded by Port Royal on one side and Davy Jones and his pet on the other! Jack temporarily accepted his fate, letting the Kraken engulf the Pearl. He planned to fight his way out since he couldn’t run any longer.

Barbossa, Blackbeard, and the Brethren Court head northwest to seek out Jack and the Black Pearl, who were starting a brutal fight against the Kraken! The Seref was attacked earlier in the game by the Dauntless, and here she is being escorted by the Otter back to Shipwreck Cove where she can repair. Unbeknownst to the Brethren, Blackbeard deposited his stash of Plunder and Smuggled Goods in part of the town of Shipwreck, netting him 6 gold. Tia Dalma’s canceller ability halted the Dauntless and Admiral Norrington, so the English have sailed back south. Anamaria was headed to Port Royal to pick up Will and Elizabeth for their assistance, but strong and constantly shifting winds made her journey difficult. By the time she had nearly reached the harbor in this picture, Jack already had them aboard the Pearl.

This looks familiar! Ever the savvy pirate, Jack intentionally let the Kraken take the Black Pearl near Port Royal, who had a cannon in range of the beast.

Devastation: after a fierce fight, the Black Pearl is gone. The Kraken is mortally wounded and has taken damage from the Empress, who used Tia Dalma to cancel the Kraken keyword. All hell has broken loose, as the Royal Navy contingent engages the Brethren Court. Blackbeard has left the scene to pursue Barbossa and the vulnerable Otter with Sumbhajee aboard. However, Barbossa is using the Hai Peng’s speed to full advantage, racing towards the ocean’s edge/world’s end. Anamaria spots him and looks to join, eager to do anything but join the melee up north.

With a timely AA from Beckett, the Royal Navy unleashes English gunnery! The Fancy, Ningpo, and Centurion are quickly dismasted, leaving the Ranger with no support. Even the Interceptor and Edinburgh Trader are available, having no better things to do.

In another unintentional irony, Barbossa steers the Hai Peng off the edge of the world and over the waterfall! Anamaria follows him in desperation on the Jolly Mon!

In the chaotic aftermath of the main battle, the Royal Navy continues to reign supreme. The Flying Dutchman finally was able to get at Sao Feng in the Empress, which sank. Davy Jones then turned his attention to the Dauntless, with Jimmy Legs saccing Lian to provide a move+shoot. It went horribly, and the Dauntless took advantage by blasting off 3 of the FD’s masts. The severely weakened Kraken has surrounded the Edinburgh Trader (again), but the Endeavour and Interceptor are healthy, the latter having captured the Ranger and Gentleman Jocard for the fun of it.

Here’s a cool sea-level view near a rocky outcropping, showing the Kraken in a familiar place and the Dutchman’s gunports. Especially with the Endeavour looming, you can tell the battle is going in favor of the English.

After a turn in Davy Jones’ Locker, Barbossa has succeeded in rescuing Jack and his motley crew from the depths!!

Here is the Black Pearl setup with everyone on board!

The English were able to kill the Kraken and capture the Flying Dutchman.

Knowing they must team up with each other to stand a chance against the Royal Navy, the Pirates band together and fight! A shift in the wind gives the English the weather gauge! The Black Pearl is quickly dismasted, while Blackbeard’s ship loses two masts. The partially repaired Seref arrives on the scene, but the Otter has already been dismasted. The Edinburgh Trader engages the Empress.

Despite the QAR sinking and having just two ships left, the Pirates put up a good fight.

In the end the Royal Navy emerges victorious, having accomplished their goal of ridding the Caribbean of piracy!
Pirates of the Caribbean Tribute

The English definitely benefited from being out of the action during the middle of the game, and basically all the pirates wanted something from Jack, which led to infighting. The themed strategies were fun to watch play out.

This was a fun game that showcased a ton of aspects from Pirates of the Caribbean. I hope you enjoyed reading about it, and I hope my videos will improve over time. I also recorded my first few videos for Instagram, where you can hear the background music I had on and even glimpse a few moments that the pictures don’t show.

The Jades can use Calypso too! A good game – May 4th, 2018

Another game was played between A7XfanBen and JohnLock

I went first with The Jades can use Calypso too! JohnLock followed with a Pirate fleet comprising some of the best ships in the game, including the Banshee’s Cry and Hai Peng. 

Once again we had 10 wild islands with 3 coins apiece, and flat earth rules. 

The Pirates took off for 4 different islands, but the Virtuous Wind had already scoured one of them. I purposely went for islands farther from home, knowing I could probably get close gold later. Calypso got into action early, allowing the Tiger’s Breath to explore an island in the south that would have taken longer to get to. 

Here I wanted to try raiding the Pirate home island, but Calypso and Cheng couldn’t come up with a whirlpool in the north. The Virtuous Wind instead headed northeast. 

Seeing both Pirate gunships (Hai Peng and Carrion Crow carried captains) away from the Pirate HI, I decided it was time for the VW’s raid. Throughout this game, both of us had dismal luck with whirlpool travel, and Protection from Davy Jones wasn’t found until the end. 

Having found the Jade UT earlier, I was taking a big risk going to the Pirate HI instead of just going home with the 7 the VW had. Risking both the UT and the 7, the VW only robbed a 1 coin. 

Though the Pirate brigade did turn for their robbed home island afterwards, I decided to “ride out and meet them”. 

Smile

 The Hai Peng had 3 coins aboard, and I figured the VW could win the fight. The Hades’ Flame and Carrion Crow have warped to the southeast, losing masts. 

The Hai Peng rammed the VW instead of docking at the home island, taking off a mast but being dismasted in return by the Wind. This was my golden opportunity to cash in and tow the HP home for a bunch of gold. 

Using a little-known rule, from Page 10 of the Reference Diagrams I confirmed that I could capture and tow the Hai Peng with the Virtuous Wind since the HP was derelict and her bow was already in contact with the VW. The VW moved S to enter a new whirlpool Calypso had created (Clutch Calypso! XD), warping back to the Jade HI in a jiffy! 

Both fleets maxed out their gold scores at the end, specifically the Jades with you guessed it, Jade. XD The VW used the UT to double her old 7 coin into 14 gold after the Tiger’s Paw took the stolen 1. The TP then gave the 1 back to let the VW double that coin too. Good thing, since unfortunately I would need it…. 

In very improbable fashion, the scores end up tied at 58-58!!!! 

The Jades won on both tiebreakers: they led the Pirates in points in play (my favorite tiebreaker, and something that should have been a standard rule) 55-21, and led in masts standing 7-5. 

I’m very happy with how my new fleet performed in its first game, essentially winning against a fleet using some of the best Pirate ships out there. We both made some mistakes; the Hai Peng ramming the Virtuous Wind instead of docking home her gold led to the Jades capturing the infamous junk, while I should have been more conservative actually, since going for the HI raid only resulted in 1 more gold. If the VW had been successful in doubling both the 7 and the 4 from the island northeast of the Jade HI (Carrion Crow eventually got the 4 for the Pirates), the Jade profit would have been 22 instead of 15. However, then I probably wouldn’t have captured the HP, who netted 12 gold from her 3 coins. So many moments, decisions, and strategic moves that matter in the end – one of the reasons I love Pirates so much! 

Overall though, a very fun, close, and strategic game that came down to the… rope? XD See you next time!!

Conclusion of tournament + HMS GT and Altar of the Loa fleet – February 22nd, 2013

Battle Report with earlier tournament results

The Pirates took the first two games of the final series, beating the English.

For the third game, I decided to mix things up to see just how good the Pirates are. The English were automatically the first player, and they made the Pirates’ HI next to their own.

On the first turn, the London and Hound (towing Gibraltar) moved towards the Pirates. The Star of Siam and Banshee’s Cry went off to get treasure as usual (as did the Aberdeen Baron). Normally the Neptune’s Hoard goes to a wild island on the first turn (and she can get there because of the sacced action), but it was obvious that the English would be able to fire upon her after she docked. Instead, she moved and shot at the London, using the extra action to eliminate all 4 of the London’s masts.

After the Hound (who didn’t have a captain) moved it into position, the Gibraltar shot at the Hoard and took out 3 of her 4 masts. By this point, the Aberdeen Baron was returning home with 8 gold, 2 of them from Smuggled Goods. The Star of Siam had grabbed some gold for the Pirates, and the Banshee’s Cry used it to build Dead Man’s Point on the middle island, which she had just explored. Afterwards, the Cry used Screw Engine to move to the last wild island, the only one yet to be explored.

The Hound wanted to finish off the Neptune’s Hoard, but the Hoard still had plenty of crew left to sac. She zoomed away to assist the Cry in emptying the final wild island. The Hound used to the Gibraltar to destroy Dead Man’s Point, and the gold left over was soon picked up by the Aberdeen Baron.

The Neptune’s Hoard sacced all of her crew (other than Captain Blackheart) to get home in just a few turns, staying out of range of the Extended Range guns of the Gibraltar. The Star of Siam also sacced the rest of her crew to pick up the last two gold coins from the island she had explored earlier.

Since she didn’t have any sac crew, the Banshee’s Cry was stuck moving at L+L+S speed (so slow! Conclusion of tournament) to get home, with both Barbary Banner (worth 5 gold) and another coin aboard.

Now things got a little crazy: this was the best part of the tournament. The Hound had just finished destroying Dead Man’s Point, but the fort had got off a shot, which took out 1 of the Hound’s 2 masts. The Hound and Gibraltar would be able to cut off the Cry before she got back home. However, the Hoard took Don Pedro Gilbert (the sac crew for the Star of Siam) away from the Star, and sacced him (a sac crew saccing another sac crew since there weren’t any others left) to move within range of the Hound, and she also moved so that she blocked the Hound. With her final mast, the Hoard dismasted the Hound, and the Cry was safe to run home. However, the Aberdeen Baron had the gold from the middle island, and was also racing home. In the end, the Banshee’s Cry was able to get home first (only because of her helmsman, however), giving the Pirates the narrow victory!

The Pirates’ Norvegia fleet proved to be the best of the bunch, winning even in the face of tough odds. They have won the tournament, but I think I’ll test the fleet against my HMS Grand Temple fleet.

Additional Comment:

The HMS Grand Temple fleet beat this fleet in all three games. The GT was able to crush the treasure runners before they got back home. The devastating UT’s helped a bunch, but the English still won the third game despite not using the UT’s.

Additional Comment:

Today the Altar of the Loa fleet went against another 60 point fleet. The fleet consisted of HMS London, HMS Victor towing the Tower flotilla, the Bonnie Liz, the Bloody Jewel, and Le Bon Marin. For the Pirate fleet, Becalmed and Divers were used in place of Mermaids and Favour of the Gods, since they should be banned (and I don’t have them).

The first game went according to plan for the Pirates, who were able to get to an MI, and set up the Altar of the Loa system. Becalmed was used to delay the enemy ships while the White Rose raced to the island. The Pirate navigator on board the Rover helped the slower ships get there quckly. Once there, the Pirate ships began saccing crew to control the other fleet, and moved their ships into firing range of the Pirates, who picked them off easily. Due to Becalmed, the other fleet wasn’t able to give actions to their ships on any turn. 

The second game was much more competitive, and fun. Since the Pirates went second, Becalmed was only able to affect 2 of the 5 enemy ships. When the Pirates got to the MI, they rolled a 2, which forced them to move all of the island’s treasure to another wild island. Since the MI requires a replacement treasure to be present, the island was a dud for AotL. Of course, they picked the closest island around, but the Bloody Jewel got there first. She picked up some treasure, and then sacced both her helmsman and her explorer to take over the Pirates’ turn. This seriously hampered the strategy of the Pirates, as their tactics were being used against them! However, the Bloody Jewel only had those two crew, so the Pirates were able to take their turn normally in the next round. By this point, Le Bon Marin and the Bonnie Liz had returned home with a total of 12 gold, and sailed back out for more.

Now the Mermaid (of the Pirate fleet) docked at the island with AotL, and rolled a 2, forcing the UT to the center island, where things got heated. The Darkhawk II hit the Victor and sacced some crew so that the other fleet wouldn’t have their turn. The Banshee’s Cry grabbed the last coin on the island, and the White Rose managed to sink the London, Bonnie Liz, Bloody Jewel, and Bon Marin all in quick succession, since they were dead in the water and the Rose was able to get off 8 shots per turn. The Bon Marin went down with 2 gold aboard, which brought the gold total to 13 for her fleet, needing just 2 more to win (since a 2 was replaced with AotL). The Victor was blasted by the Rose as the Cry took home the gold. In the end, the Pirates won with 15 gold, winning by the slimmest of margins.

The Pirates went second in the third game, and again things deteriorated when the MI roll landed with a 2. The White Rose used Havana Black to sac an oarsman and dismast the London and cripple the Victor, while the Darkhawk helped out with a hit on the London. I’m not entirely sure of all the details from the last game, but somehow the Pirates managed to squeak out another victory. Things looked bad for them at first, but once they got ahold of AotL, they were able to dominate the game.

So, “The Pirate’s Way” fleet is currently 3-0 through 3 games, and it’s a very interesting way to play. I would recommend trying it out; it’s very fun. The fleet is not unbeatable, but it has a lot of things going for it.

Circle of Blood with 3 players – August 21st, 2017

Circle of Blood with 3 players

The first game of the planned VASSAL weekend was a 3 player Circle of Blood game between myself, repkosai, and wifey!

Repkosai went first with a diverse fleet, followed by yours truly with my ship stealing fleet (its first game!), and then wifey with a fast Pirate fleet. Thanks to Rizz for making such a cool game setup; it would be my second go-round at CoB, and the first experience for repkosai and wifey.

With an odd number of players, we had to improvise the last chunk of picking fleet locations, which is why repkosai’s HMS Gibraltar is in the middle of the play area between the hostile forts.
Circle of Blood

This shows the first of two major coups (“a notable or successful stroke or move”; feat, master stroke) by a7xfanben’s ship stealers in the early part of this game. Looking back at the first picture, the Banshee’s Cry moved towards the SE island, and was pursued by the Harbinger to the north. Because of the unique home island rules (the first island you explore becomes your home island), there was considerable strategy in essentially being able to choose a location. With some intimidating Pirates to the north (repkosai’s Black Pearl crushed the Raven and Neptune’s Hoard in a single turn, with the Revenant also lurking), I wanted a location far from them.

In a very important die roll that allowed the move to work, I rolled a 6 with Preble to get an AA (Admiral’s Action). The Electric Eel (of wifey’s fleet) had docked at the SW island, with my El Dorado also headed there. I had other options, such as exploring the SE island with the Hound or trying to get an island in the NW area. After some strategic thinking, I made my choice, trusting the Harbinger to not roll a bunch of 1’s in a row lol.

El Dorado used her action to dock at the SW island. She then used the AA to explore it, making it my home island. Suddenly the Electric Eel was caught docked at an enemy home island, with no chance left to explore. The Harbinger surged forward, ramming the Banshee’s Cry but taking care not to sink the ship, simply dismasting her with a shot. Then Havana Black sacced an oarsman to EXPLORE the Cry, triggering the Harbinger’s ability. To complete the coup, the Harbinger warped to her new home with the BC, suddenly docking right next to the flabbergasted crew of the Electric Eel! The ship stealers were living up to their name, going from not having a home island to capturing a ship, getting it home, and simultaneously denying another ship from that island’s gold!

Clockwise from the top: repkosai has sunk the Raven and Neptune’s Hoard, putting wifey in a major predicament. In the SE, the Hound has explored the SE island while the Star of Siam makes the southern island wifey’s HI. The Harbinger knocks two masts off the fleeing Eel, while El Dorado looks to transfer Weapons to the flagship. The northwest is a scene of considerable delay, with the Windjammer finding Rum and the New Orleans finding Natives.

Repkosai’s fleet gets gold while my ship stealers continue to bother wifey’s fleet. The Harbinger dismasts the Eel, leaving her carcass to the less-important El Dorado while the Harbinger gets ready to make full sail towards the south. The Hound is hounding the Star of Siam, ramming a mast off but failing to hit with cannons. The Europa is slow without a helmsman but lurks to the west of the Hound, which would soon become important….

Another major coup! (Sorry if it sounds like I’m tooting my own horn too much, but honestly these two moves are some of my favorite that I’ve pulled off in a Pirates game) You may be wondering where the Star of Siam went. Well, she was snagged like the Banshee’s Cry.

Once again, the situation was more complicated than a simple picture can show. The super-fast Black Pearl was bearing down on the southern tier of the sea, likely in support of HMS Gibraltar raiding wifey’s unprotected home island (repkosai has made some great plays of his own this game). The Hound’s captain was worried about the BP, but reckoned that he still needed to pursue the SoS, who had picked up a certain Calico Cat who had been “cast away” for some reason. Wink Now, I will admit that I got lucky once more, but it was perfect timing for the second time too. The Hound had caught the SoS at the SE island and knocked off her final mast. The SoS lost Calico Cat in a boarding party but rowed a bit to the south at S+S. To mitigate the Hound’s fear of the Black Pearl arriving imminently from the north, the Harbinger was sailing at full speed towards the general area of interest.

The Hound captured the SoS, towing her so the ship would be as far from the Black Pearl as possible. The luck occurred with the Europa getting an extra action from her built-in ability! I was originally going to move the Europa 4S and get her on the starboard side, to protect her from a potentially hostile Black Pearl. The Europa could not reach the SoS with her first action, and therefore couldn’t teleport her home with the second since she would need the second just to reach the SoS. Then I suddenly realized that because the SoS could move S+S but was still technically derelict, the Hound could tow her and then immediately release her, upon which the SoS turned around and moved S+S towards the Europa! This saved the Europa valuable movement. The Europa was then able to reach the SoS with her first action, and explore the derelict with her second action, using Commander Temple to warp both ships home!

This second coup of the game for me was triply effective – it made the Hound less of a target, it got the SoS and Europa out of harms’ way (the Black Pearl), and it gave me another capable gold runner in my fleet. All in all one of my favorite moves I’ve pulled off in this game, showing how important it is to consider all options and really think through how you want to tow or “untow” things to your greatest benefit.

However, for all my bragging, repkosai had gained a steady lead in the gold race, and many of my ships with treasure on them were far from home. Here, the Philadelphia and New Orleans are finally getting sails unfurled after their encounter with the Natives. The BC has explored the western island, while HMS Gibraltar raids wifey’s HI for a 7 coin (which I saw with the Hound’s spying ability). The Electric Eel and Star of Siam repair at their new HI, while the Dorado and Europa follow the Harbinger to support her potential intervention in the southern theater. With the Hound in a bad spot on the ocean anyway, I decided to have her redock at the SE island just to build Ramsgate, which could serve to not only deter the Black Pearl from coming after the Hound, but also to potentially protect my gold from being stolen off my HI by the Gibraltar.

Here the Harbinger is about to dismast the Windjammer.

The Windjammer was captured, eliminating wifey from the game and giving my fleet yet another captured ship.

Here you can see all 10 of the ships in my fleet, in a rare instance of them being relatively close to one another.

Each fleet was busy wrecking forts on the sides their HI’s were on. The northwest island (with Natives) looked like a potential future hotspot.

The last forts are finished off and the two imposing fleets are about as close as they had been all game.

My fleet masses near the northern whirlpool, anticipating a conflict.

However, a somewhat unfortunate situation played out, with each fleet inevitably being content with getting local gold. My fleet got the last of the native gold, while repkosai’s Morning Star grabbed the final coins from the northern island.

Repkosai’s fleet made a move towards the ships I had getting gold from Ramsgate in the southeast, but the distances and lack of whirlpools prevented a major encounter. Soon afterwards the Europa made a surprise attack, using an EA to burst through the eastern whirlpool and ram the valuable HMS Gibraltar! Thomas Gunn was lost in the boarding party, and the Gibraltar scurried home for repairs, the rest of her fleet covering her stern.

At this point it is worth noting that all gold (except for Ramsgate) had been unloaded to home islands. However, the game was quite “live” as both fleets had a HI raider: HMS Gibraltar for repkosai and a captured (no surprise there!) Electric Eel in my fleet. In addition, the gold race was a complete mystery but we both knew that it was likely very close. With that, the endgame was decided: it would be a raiding challenge, with neither side wanting to completely vacate their HI in fear of the other player making a move towards it.

Repkosai conceded that he didn’t think he would be able to pull off a successful HI raid without TGunn aboard the Gibraltar along with his numerical disadvantage. Thus he formed a protective barrier around his HI with all of his ships, and waited it out. This let me formulate any strategy I wanted, and of course I thought of a many plans. I decided to round earth part of my fleet, with the Electric Eel as the most important ship. Other ships headed to meet up with them in the northeast near repkosai’s HI.

With infinite time to orchestrate what I wanted, I set things up to perfection. With my ships in position, my plan was sprung. Two forts were built, to provide places for repairing and any gun assistance in case of a chase. The Harbinger hid in the fog, ready to pop out and start the assault!

The Harbinger tore into the Gibraltar and Revenant. I made sure to target the Gibraltar, so I could possibly capture another HI raider and gain a decided advantage, simultaneously securing my own gold for the duration. I managed to capture the Gibraltar with the Windjammer, but couldn’t get an extra action to the Dorado to warp her home.

Repkosai’s counterattack was devastating, with the Black Pearl sinking the Harbinger and Gibraltar with a double action! This denied me from using the Gibraltar, and took out my flagship as well. The Yankee rammed the Windjammer, while the Morning Star attempted to stop the Electric Eel from raiding the HI.

I managed to dismast the Black Pearl with a combination of ships, and then used a lucky AA from Preble to capture the ship with the Dorado! This netted me another capture, but it was doubtful the BP could be used in time to affect the results.

Captain Jack Sparrow: “I’m going after the Black Pearl…. I know where it’s going to be, and I’m going to take it.”

The Electric Eel was continually foiled by the MS, Yankee, and Revenant until she was dismasted, which ended the game!

After the gold count:

1. a7xfanben: 85 gold
2. repkosai: 81
3. wifey: 0 (she had 7 or 8 before it was stolen)

What an amazing conclusion to a fun game! In the end, wifey’s captured Rum (worth 5 gold) made the difference in a way, since it got my score from 80 to 85! Very high scores, and very close as well. I must admit being very happy about the victory, since I played one of my favorite games ever in the early going, and certainly felt deserving of the win after the plays I made.

Another successful Circle of Blood game, and it’s a great scenario that I would recommend. As far as potential changes for us, I would say that making the islands a bit closer together and/or adding more whirlpools could help. Also, the forts were easy to eliminate, so they should probably have at least 6 3L cannons instead of 4.

Thanks for reading! This was played over the course of three different sessions on VASSAL. We’ll be back with more sometime, and until then, may your swords stay sharp!

Check out the video footage of this game!

Testing a gimmick fleet – June 27th, 2017

Played another game on VASSAL with repkosai! You can check out the video if you’d like.

I went first with a recent fleet of mine. To fill out the last 5 points I added the Paradox with an explorer.

Repkosai followed with a Spanish fleet:
El Acorazado + captain
Morning Star + Capitan Alarico Castro, helmsman
El Leon + captain

The setup featured 6 wild islands with 3 coins apiece, and flat earth rules.

Calypso was successful on the first turn, and the Paradox used a trade current to reach the first whirlpool and pop out of the second near the southwestern wild island. The Akua Lapu didn’t want to risk a lot of masts or crew via whirlpools, and needed to wait in order to use Grim’s ability, so she wasn’t in a hurry to do anything for the first part of the game. I must admit that the 5 extra points helped, since it allowed me to have a dedicated gold runner. The Paradox is very slow without a helmsman, but between trade currents and the whirlpools being placed close to wild islands, she wouldn’t need a lot of speed to move all over the map.
Testing a gimmick fleet

The Spanish set out, and the Paradox has an eventful trip already. She found an abandoned helmsman in the south, but also Barrel o’ Monkeys and a 6 coin. The monkeys took the 6 for themselves, which left the Paradox with no gold. Thus, she used another of Calypso’s whirlpools to emerge near another wild island, losing a mast in the process.

Risking negative UT’s, the bored Akua Lapu looks to explore in the northeast. The Paradox gets 3 coins from an island but one will be left behind due to the greedy monkeys.

Here, the Morning Star has emptied an island for the Spanish, while their gunships head northwest towards the Pirates. The Paradox unloads, while the Akua Lapu loads up 3 coins.

The AL gets the SAT from Calico Cat, allowing the AL to dock home for a Pirate windfall! You can see the strange situation around the Pirate HI, with two sargasso seas, a bunch of whirlpools, and a few trade currents, all near a corner of the map.

Much excitement! After some rules issues, the Paradox is forced south from using some faulty Bad Maps! However, the Spanish weren’t completely fortunate: Calypso finally rolled to place another whirlpool, and luckily for me Calico Cat also rolled successfully. The Akua Lapu took off for the Spanish home island!

Grim the Savage led a raiding party, and the Pirates took all of the Spanish loot!! The gimmick was complete, though the AL still had to make it home in one piece and unload the gold. Speaking of unloading gold, the Paradox did just that, further increasing the Spanish treasure deficit. At this point everything in my fleet was working perfectly, as even the slow Paradox was turned into an awesome gold runner between the whirlpools and her explorer.

Calypso placed another whirlpool, allowing the AL to scoot around the fog bank and be whisked back to friendly waters. The Morning Star unloaded another island worth of gold, and the Leon was approaching the Pirate home island and managed to hit the AL.

Another windfall! The Akua Lapu docks home the stolen gold, and the game was turning into a blowout. I decided I had enough whirlpools and trade currents to execute any late-game strategies and maneuvers I might need, so the Coeur and Banshee’s Cry got to do some sight-seeing.

However, the Morning Star would have none of it! She rammed the Coeur out of action and stole the 6 that the monkeys had originally stolen from the Paradox. The Leon arrived through a whirlpool, but the attack naturally triggered a Pirate response, with the Paradox and Akua Lapu arriving shortly thereafter. In hindsight, the AL could have just raided the unprotected Spanish home island a second time, but instead there was some fun combat.

Disaster for the Spanish! The Leon sank the Coeur, but the Morning Star boarded the Paradox (when she had 3 masts remaining after the AL shot off 2 of them) and lost the 6 coin! The Paradox took full advantage, speeding away through the whirlpool. The AL got another SAT from Cat and blasted two masts off the MS before turning east in anticipation of another HI raid!

The MS and Leon exchange crew so the Leon has Castro, captain, and helmsman. The Paradox docks home the 6 coin she originally found on the second turn, while the Banshee’s Cry prepared to sacrifice herself to defend the AL.

Race for the Spanish home island! The Leon gets an SAT from Castro, but now the Paradox is ready to assist the AL too.

The AL raided the Spanish home island of the last two coins in the game, but Castro got an SAT to allow the Leon to shoot twice. Furthering Spanish woes, both shots missed, which allowed the AL to escape via whirlpool after yet another SAT from Cat. The Pirates had escaped, and more gold was unloaded to end the game!

In a huge blowout, the Pirates defeat the Spanish 55-0! This is one of the only games I’ve ever played where a fleet gets every single coin in the treasure distribution. No gold was sunk, and the Pirates collected and stole the rest for a massive victory. This game made me want to use Calypso more, and it’s also one of the best gimmick games/fleets I’ve seen.

We both learned a lot from this game: I learned how effective Calypso can be by not always needing helmsmen on slower gold runners, as the Paradox was just as valuable a ship as the Akua Lapu. Repkosai learned the opposite – speed wins games, as the Acorazado was way too slow to have any impact on the game. We also learned some rules situations; though I was surprised by the answers and we played them wrong, it wouldn’t have affected the final outcome since the Pirates were so dominant in this game. Thanks for reading! More adventures await!

8 fleet game after VASSAL Tournament #1 – September 2016

8 fleet game after VASSAL Tournament #1

September 22nd, 2016 

This is the 8 fleet game played with the fleets used in VASSAL Tournament #1.

Here is the setup for the 8 fleet multiplayer game!
8 fleet game

And here is the turn order:

Fleets controlled by a7xfanben:
1. Vassal La dominación española
2. American Pirates
3. UPS v. 5.0: Zeus style
4. Extra Action Gold Runners

Fleets controlled by xerecs:
5. The “Dread Galley” Speed Fleet
6. Barbary Untouchables V 2.0
7. dakmor’s swarm fleet
8. Xerecs’ HMS GT fleet

September 24th, 2016

Xerecs and I have begun the 8 fleet multiplayer game!

Here is the setup once again:

And here is the turn order:

Fleets controlled by a7xfanben:
1. Vassal La dominación española
2. American Pirates
3. UPS v. 5.0: Zeus style
4. Extra Action Gold Runners

Fleets controlled by xerecs:
5. The “Dread Galley” Speed Fleet
6. Barbary Untouchables V 2.0
7. dakmor’s swarm fleet
8. Xerecs’ HMS GT fleet

The American Pirates (AP’s) used Hidden Cove on the Amity to put her at a wild island in the center of the map. She found the turtles UT on the first turn! My other fleets also got off to fast starts, with the Zeus building Dead Man’s Point on an island for UPS 5, while both the Star of Siam and Joya del Sol got extra actions for the EA Gold Runners fleet.

Xerecs’ fleets sail out! The swarm fleet began to split up, but the Intrepide was shot at by the Algeciras of the EA gold runner fleet. There were 3 different Algeciras’ in this game, as well as multiple copies of the Banshee’s Cry and the Hag of Tortuga. HMS Grand Temple has struck! Using a whirlpool, the GT ambushed the Joya del Sol (of the EA gold runner fleet, not volt’s fleet), dismasting her and capturing Castro with Bonny Peel! Despite the Amity finding Missionary, the AP’s were off to the fastest start, with 8 gold aboard the Amity and essentially 10 more swimming home in the form of sea turtles. The Roanoke looked to empty that same center island, but there was a long way to go….

Another turn by Xerecs, and more carnage! The Star of Siam was set upon by swarmers, while the Banshee’s Cry rammed the Tiger’s Eye in the northeast! The other Star of Siam (of the Dread Galley speed fleet) found Monkey’s Paw and Runes of Death, and decided to leave the island’s gold to the Tiger’s Eye and Algiers. At the lower right, some swarmers have round earthed to the southeast, but they may have to deal with the wrath of volt’s loaded Santo Columba. In the far north, the Longshanks of the GT fleet has found more turtles, while the GT herself stole another crew from the derelict Joya del Sol!

Volt’s fleet finally had an eventful turn. The Algeciras hopped through a whirlpool to the northeast, where she would try to either stop the Longshanks or the turtles. Both the AP and GT fleets looked very good, with turtles found close to their HI’s in addition to regular gold making its way home. However, any fleet taking on the AP’s would have to contend with the Roanoke, so the Algeciras went north. In the meantime, the Joya del Sol docked at the southeastern island, confident that the Santo Columba could hold off the swarmers. The SC smashed the Lezard and Venture, but more ships were coming.

Speaking of the AP’s, the Amity returned home with valuable loot. A situation was brewing in the center, and a familiar one at that: the Roanoke vs. the Zeus! In a rematch of the final round of Tournament 1, the AP’s and UPS 5 were about to clash! The Roanoke loaded the final two coins from the center island and maneuvered to defend her turtles. The Zeus, having deposited a nice cache of coins, now sailed out to cause mayhem for the other fleets. Seeing the AP’s about to get rich, and just to the west, it was an easy choice. The Zeus loaded up the oarsmen remaining on the HI, and sailed to war. After a sac action, both of her guns in range hit! The Coeur du Lion rammed the Roanoke and another mast fell! In a quick attack UPS 5 had left the Roanoke crippled, and essentially unable to launch a counterattack (the Roanoke would be able to hit the Zeus at most 4 times with a double action, which would still leave the Zeus with 6 masts). The EA gold runner fleet was in shambles, but the Star of Siam managed to get an EA from Gallows to dock home a few coins.

Bonny Peel on the GT managed to capture the entire crew complement of the Joya del Sol, which would make for an impressive gold haul. The Barbary Untouchables fleet was starting to make some waves: the Tiger’s Eye docked at the northwestern island for gold, while the Nubian Prince sailed out of a whirlpool to emerge right next to the Zeus! Her immunity to ships within S meant the Zeus was relatively powerless against her, but in a game with this many fleets and whirlpools, UPS 5 would have no trouble finding an alternative target…. In a way, the NP’s arrival may have saved the Roanoke and some of the AP’s turtles, which could eventually have implications in the final gold count.

In the far north, the Pique managed a successful ram and board against the Longshanks, but was quickly dismasted for the effort. As for the Dread Galleys, the Tiger’s Eye had escaped via round earth, while the Star of Siam was almost home to eliminate the dreaded Runes of Death. The Algiers took up exploring duties, and was promptly set upon by the same brave Banshee’s Cry! At the lower right, the swarmers are successful against the Santo Columba, taking her down to 2 masts.

Volt’s fleet had a rough turn at the beginning of the next round, with the Santo Columba failing miserably against the Carrion Crow and Coeur du Lion. Making things worse, the Joya del Sol found Natives and mediocre gold values. The AP’s frantically tried to make the right decisions, with the Roanoke returning home both to deposit gold and to repair. With no obvious sac options left and both of the Amity’s crew eliminated due to Missionary, the Roanoke’s offensive capability was limited. The Bandido, after making a trip to the same island the Dread Galleys explored, was incredibly able to grab two of the last three coins from the island! Many turns ago I intended to use her to ram the Banshee’s Cry if she loaded gold. Once the Dread Galleys showed up, I figured there wouldn’t be gold left to take once the Bandido was finally able to explore. Instead, circumstances left the Bandido unharmed and (now) full with treasure! It wasn’t all perfect for the AP’s, as the Coeur eliminated a turtle. However, they breathed a sigh of relief to have the Zeus off their backs…

That’s right, the Zeus is loose! Wanting no part of the extremely obnoxious Nubian Prince, Captain Jack Sparrow saw a golden opportunity. The Zeus used a whirlpool to emerge right next to the HMS Grand Temple! Using Skrew Engine, the Zeus was able to move a second time and rip off 8 shots, 6 of which found their mark! Suddenly the GT was a mastless hulk! A rematch of the first series of the first round of T1! I decided to not sink the GT, hoping to tow her home with her vast riches of captured crew. In hindsight, even though things would soon go terribly wrong, perhaps getting the GT’s gold was the only hope UPS 5 had of winning this game?

In a brilliant move, Xerecs used the Banshee’s Cry to tow the derelict Joya del Sol out of the GT’s path! With an SAT from Myngs the GT was able to go through the whirlpool at S+S (helmsman and oarsman) and safely dock home 13 gold worth of captured crew!! I sat there in utter shock and anger, kicking myself for my mistake. I was naive enough to think the BC was going to explore, and I think I told myself that the BC in question belonged to the swarm fleet, not the GT fleet (wanting to believe it). Alas, I had made a huge mistake, and I was afraid it would cost one of my fleets the game. With 13 gold already on their HI and a full “fleet” of 10 turtles not far from reaching that HI, the GT fleet was the most obvious target for the Zeus. The AP fleet was also rich, but their turtles were essentially already safe (with no way to block them) and the Roanoke and Amity already home with gold. The GT fleet had 10 turtles 2 or 3 turns from home, in addition to a damaged Longshanks with gold aboard. The Zeus went through the same whirlpool as the GT, with a uniquely angry Captain Jack Sparrow aboard.

In the meantime, the swarmers grabbed gold and the Roanoke (barely) dismasted the Coeur du Lion of the UPS 5 fleet. The AP’s had fantastic luck with gold (finding turtles and NOT finding Wolves, Natives, or Runes of Death, etc), but terrible luck with cannons. The Roanoke had to sac her helmsman just to end the Coeur’s threat to the turtles, which effectively took the Roanoke out of the game, with just L speed at this point. The AP’s were also lucky not to have their gold runners attacked in any way – the Bandido was about to return with gold, while the Amity had gone through a whirlpool towards the northwestern island, which was less volatile than the other WI’s with gold on them. In the east, the Dread Galleys have unloaded gold, volt’s Algeciras has unsuccessfully attacked the Longshanks, and the Santo Columba and swarmers have fought to a stalemate of sorts, with neither side having much of anything left at the end of that battle.

After another turn by Xerecs, more gold has been loaded and unloaded. The Nubian Prince follows the Zeus, but without the help of extra actions there will be no chain shotting today! In the southeast, the Santo Columba has fallen to the swarm ships, but the Joya is finally ready to set sail after spending two full turns docked at the island (one to explore, another to wait after Natives affected her helmsman).

In the northwest, the Star of Siam and Amity race to a wild island. The AP’s have a sudden influx of gold, taking in 9 turtles and 2 coins from the Bandido in one turn! The hardships of the Roanoke have not been in vain, for the AP’s look like the fleet to beat! (so far heh) As expected, things are going to get messy in the far northeast. The Zeus got busy, eliminating two turtles with a double action. The GT was repairing, while the Nubian Prince didn’t have the speed to catch the Zeus.

After another turn, exciting developments unfold! Volt’s Joya del Sol is almost home with gold, though her comrades (the Santo Columba and Algeciras) have sank beneath the waves. The Tiger’s Eye of the Untouchables fleet has docked home an impressive haul, while the swarm fleet has some gold of their own on its way to their HI. The Zeus eliminated two more turtles with another double action, but even more importantly she sank the Longshanks with a whopping 10 gold aboard!! That could prove important later on, though there wasn’t anything the GT fleet could do about it. The final action of the night was a major stroke of luck on the part of the EA gold runners, the winners of my historic 12 fleet game from early 2015. The Star of Siam had used Runes of Speed the turn before to dock at the northwestern island ahead of the Amity. Since neither ship had explorers, this meant the SoS would explore first. The AP’s go right before the EA fleet in the turn order, and the Amity rammed the final mast off the SoS. The EA fleet’s only remaining ship was the SoS, so the pressure was on her alone. Gallows gave her an EA, meaning she could explore and slowly begin to row away. The Star then explored, finding a few low-value coins, but also a very well-timed UT: TREES! The UT meant the SoS had both masts fully repaired! Anticipating a base move of only S, suddenly the Star of Siam was back in action with Trees! With her second action the Star sped into a fog bank, where she patiently waits… as this was the last turn of the night! Stay tuned for more, because this is a very interesting, exciting, close game! We are nearing the end, but perhaps more twists await?

September 27th, 2016

Last night saw a ton of Pirates action! Not only did CG2 continue, but the 8 fleet game as well! It was a bit crazy playing two games at once, and this battle report skims over some of the details that I cannot remember.

In the southwest, the Star of Siam (SoS) has escaped through a whirlpool:

The northeast became very chaotic. The Zeus finally was able to move again, and I had to sac her helmsman just to get her out of the Nubian Prince’s range. In the far northeast, the Dread Galleys have gold, which attracts the Amity to the area. The Grand Temple has repaired and is sailing once more.

The Bandido predictably finds Wolves on one of the northwestern islands, meaning that island is essentially irrelevant. Ships continue to flock to the east: the Zeus is slowly trying to get into position to protect the Dead Man’s Point fort, which is about to come under attack by both a Tiger’s Eye and the Roanoke. The fort holds gold, which is becoming quite scarce indeed. The Joya has whirlpooled to the southeast, where the Dread Galleys are round earthing their way home. The swarm fleet is also concentrated in the east at this point, and there’s sure to be some desperate battles for low-value coins!

The Amity boards the Jolly Mon of UPS 5, killing that Hag of Tortuga to net another gold for the AP’s! The Nubian Prince hit the Zeus with chainshot again, while the Grand Temple moved southwest. The Roanoke damaged the fort, inadvertently getting in the way of the Tiger’s Eye lol. But in the far south, things were even more exciting! The Joya del Sol (of volt’s fleet) stole a coin from the Dread Galleys, and then the Star of Siam from EA gold runners came through a whirlpool with an EA and rammed the Star of Siam of the Dread Galley fleet! Battle of the Stars! XD

Ships began scattering. The Joya and SoS whirlpooled near home in order to dock their stolen loot. The GT appeared in the southwest, Bonny Peel intent on capturing the swarm fleet’s Hag of Tortuga. The Nubian Prince held the Zeus in place with chain shot while hitting with her regular cannons, a trend that would continue for 3 straight turns! The Dread Galleys had already run into trouble with having their gold stolen, and they weren’t done yet. The AP’s and swarmers were the next to pick on them.

The Joya and SoS have docked home their gold, while the Amity managed to steal a coin. The fort is no more! The Roanoke managed to dismast the Coeur on the same turn, but the swarmers had a plan…. In the far west, the unthinkable happened: the mighty Grand Temple rolled a 1 when ramming the Jolly Mon, meaning that she would be pinned as long as the JM didn’t move away!! Bonny Peel captured the Hag of Tortuga, but the swarmers had a perfect opportunity to deny the GT fleet her 5 gold payout in addition to keeping the other swarm ships safe from the big gunship.

The Coeur explored with her last gasp, and the Banshee’s Cry moved in right beside her to take the gold formerly held in the fort! In the meantime, the Roanoke had come under attack from other swarm ships! With gold aboard the BC and the GT pinned, things looked great for the swarm fleet. The Nubian Prince has knocked the Zeus down to just one mast, but UPS 5 would have a few more fireworks in them…

At this point, Xerecs did something I may never fully understand, but here’s his explanation after I asked him about it through email:

xerecs wrote:
The swarm thought and figured that the gt would go after ships with crew on them, like the Zeus or NP. The swarm has a mentality of meat shields for their few remaining runners, also they know that the gt wont bother with them since now that the hag is gone, the gt has no more business with them.


All eyes turned to the southeast. The Roanoke was in major trouble, while the Tiger’s Eye of the Untouchables fleet had loaded the final coin from the island that had Dead Man’s Point on it. It was a congregation of survivors, and things were about to get even more interesting!

That’s right, UPS 5 has captured the Roanoke! In a last-ditch effort to deny the Roanoke’s gold (or 10 gold payout from her two crew if Bonny Peel captured them) via towing her back home or scuttling her, the Zeus made a big move. Even crazier was the other parts of UPS 5’s turn. Unfortunately I had to sacrifice Captain Jack Sparrow to get the Zeus into position, something that is extremely rare. But then the Jolly Mon won a boarding party to steal a coin from the Tiger’s Eye! It was an improbable turn, but the winner of T1 was too weak to sustain these brief advantages.

Utter confusion in the southeast. Many rams and boards were happening at this time, some of them likely irrelevant. The whole process of boarding, stealing a coin, and then the other ship stealing the coin back began in earnest. What I do know is that UPS 5 successfully rolled to scuttle the Roanoke, while the Zeus got into position to block the GT, who surprisingly didn’t blow the nearby Raton to smithereens.

More chaos! The Dread Galleys captured the Roanoke, but the Roanoke had her coin stolen by the TE of the Untouchables fleet! The GT captured Don Pedro Gilbert, leaving the Zeus (and UPS 5 as a fleet) with no crew! The Banshee’s Cry looked like she would escape, though not before the SoS would steal one of her coins! The Amity then stole it from the SoS, who lost Gallows in trying to get it back! The game was just plain messy!

This shows more rams and boards, and general combat. XD Who will win this epic battle!?

September 30th, 2016

The 8 fleet game has finally concluded!

The Roanoke was sunk!! This denied Bonny Peel from getting her crew, and also gave the Untouchables fleet 1 gold from drowning Commodore Perry. In the southwest, the Joya has turned around – I forgot that the Banshee’s Cry was carrying a helmsman, so the sloop was able to dock home her gold without getting attacked. In the north, the Amity has escaped the mess in the southeast and looks to dock home her stolen gold.

A few turns later, and the action has shifted! The Tiger’s Eye of the Untouchables fleet has both of the last few coins in play, making her a magnet to be mauled by the other fleets! The Dread Galley TE and volt’s Joya each steal a coin, making themselves the new targets. Bonny Peel unloads some captured crew for the GT fleet, while the Jolly Mon tows the Zeus for UPS 5.

The ensuing chaos results in the Untouchables’ TE stealing her coin back from the Joya. The Star of Siam of the EA gold runners fleet was sunk, eliminating them from the game.

However, that same TE is captured by the swarm fleet’s Banshee’s Cry after losing a mast to a whirlpool! The lost mast meant the TE couldn’t get home on oar power at one third her normal speed. The Dread Galley TE docked home her coin for the speed fleet. The Amity has been scuttled, eliminating the AP’s from the active game. Volt’s Joya has also been sunk, eliminating his fleet from contention. Most of the days’ action concerned Xerecs’ fleets, for I came into the day with exactly one functioning ship in each of my four fleets. By the end of the game I could only do stuff with the Jolly Mon of UPS 5!

Numerous galleys sailed through the whirlpool to try and catch the Banshee’s Cry, but she was too quick. Using the captured TE’s action to give herself the coin, the BC was able to dock home the final coin! This ended the game, after which the GT fleet docked home Bonny Peel’s final two captured crew.

The gold was counted up, and the American Pirates have won the 8 fleet multiplayer game!!

Final scores:
1. American Pirates: 31 gold
2. Xerecs’ HMS GT fleet: 28 gold
3. UPS 5: 15 gold
4. Barbary Untouchables 2: 14 gold
5. EA Gold Runners: 13 gold
6, 7, 8: Volt’s FC fleet, Dread Galley speed fleet, dakmor’s swarm fleet: 12 gold

Shocked

An incredible game! The final scores were extremely close – a group of two elites at the top, followed by a pack of SIX fleets all within THREE gold of each other!! We couldn’t have asked for a better game – it was just about perfect. Not only did every single fleet get some gold (a rarity for a game with this many fleets), but the last 3 fleets all tied with 12, so no fleet stands out as getting “last” place! The game also featured lots of twists, turns, decisions, and exciting moments. Early UT luck was predictably a major factor, but things evened out in the long haul, especially as ramming and boarding became a major tactic.

The ending avoided controversy by a hair. If the Grand Temple had docked home Bonny Peel’s captured crew before the Banshee’s Cry had docked, the GT fleet would have won with 35 gold! However, after woelf’s answer in the Rules thread, nothing is in doubt. If the GT fleet had won, they would have advanced to Tournament #2! Alas, the AP’s were already in T2 after making it past the first round of T1, and thus simply further prove themselves as one of the more competitive fleets out there. I personally find it fitting that the GT fleet didn’t win, because the AP fleet easily could have won by a larger margin. After the swarm fleet’s (another fleet controlled by Xerecs) Jolly Mon “unpinned” the previously trapped Grand Temple at the swarmers’ HI, the GT went on to capture numerous crew, and indeed, eventually enough to win if another turn had passed. Therefore the questionable decision was almost enough to have the GT fleet win but only with the help of the swarm fleet. Nothing against Xerecs, but perhaps a lesson in playing all the fleets equally in multiplayer games, a bit of “karma” if you will. Smile

It was now time to hand out some awards! Xerecs and I did this on a whim; it may become a tradition depending upon the game(s) played. It usually won’t be worth doing for standard 40 point games, but in a series of games (such as these tournaments) or a multiplayer game it’s more applicable.

MVS (Most Valuable Ship): Amity (of the AP fleet)
The Amity was a workhorse from the beginning, being one of the first ships to explore. Both of her crew were killed by the Missionary UT on the first turn, but somehow she survived almost the entire game. She brought back 8 gold on her first trip, discovering valuable turtles at the same island. Only 1 turtle was killed, resulting in a net of 17 gold from one wild island, which turned out to be higher than the totals of almost all the other fleets! The Amity then went on different raiding missions, and I believe two were successful. Either way, you could say she truly made the difference, for one of those raids brought home a 2 coin, while another killed UPS 5’s Hag of Tortuga for 1 gold, resulting in the difference of 3 gold in her fleet’s 31-28 margin of victory!
Honorable mentions: Roanoke, Banshee’s Cry, HMS GT, etc.

MVC (Most Valuable Crew): Bonny Peel (of the GT fleet)
Bonny managed to capture a whopping 30 points’ worth of crew, although 7 gold was left aboard when the game ended. 13 gold came from the EA runners’ Joya del Sol, whose entire crew complement was ransomed off. She then went on to terrorize other fleets, stealing the swarm’s Hag of Tortuga (which could have been the last crew she swiped), Don Pedro Gilbert of UPS 5, and the last two crew of the Nubian Prince (captain and Murat Rais for the unloaded 7). In the end, the GT fleet didn’t actually have any gold on their home island – they had 23 gold from crew captures and 5 turtles! This is made all the more amazing by the fact that it’s exactly the same amount of gold that Dragon Eyes captured in my epic game from last fall! However, Bonny Peel captured crew worth 30 gold in the game overall, which can stand as a record! (they are tied at 23 each for most captured crew unloaded in a single game)

With that, the AP’s improve to 9-7 overall. In terms of fleet records, Xerecs and I have agreed to only count games as losses if less than 4 players/fleets are involved. Therefore, in games with 4 or more fleets, the winning fleet is credited with a win (of course), but the other fleets aren’t charged with a loss. I think 3 fleets is a reasonable cutoff; once you have 4 or more players the chances of winning the game really decrease, and obviously 8 fleets is quite a large game.

It’s also nice to see some parity in the scores; my fleets were 1 and 3, Xerecs’ 2 and 4, etc. I collected 71 total gold against Xerecs’ 66 total gold, but Xerecs had all his fleets active at the end while I only had the Jolly Mon from UPS 5.

It was a memorable game, and now that it’s over, we look to VASSAL Tournament #2! This is the big one – the fleet that wins T2 will be declared the best fleet of all time!! 16 fleets will be participating, in the same elimination style bracket as T1. We are in the process of choosing our fleets and setting up the bracket. Tournament 2 will soon begin!

VASSAL Tournament #1

September 5th, 2016

VASSAL Tournament #1

Welcome to the first VASSAL tournament! Xerecs and I have agreed to play not one, but two tournaments on the VASSAL module! The purpose of the tournaments is to determine which fleet is the best of all-time! Very Happy

Tournament 1 (T1) acts as a play-in round. The top 4 fleets from T1 (not just the winner) will advance to Tournament 2 (T2). There will be 8 fleets participating in T1, while T2 will have a whopping 16 fleets! Each matchup consists of 2 fleets facing each other in 1v1 competition in a 3-game series. The fleet that wins the series advances to the next round. To save time, if a fleet wins the first 2 games of a series, the third game of the series will likely not be played. If you’d like to join the tournament, just let us know.

Fleet selection: In a spreadsheet, I have documented the records of various fleets I’ve played in the past. Based on these records, some fleets get a “bye” of sorts and are automatically placed in T2. You can check out the current standings in this thread. The fleets for T1 were selected by myself and Xerecs. They are the fleets we considered the most competitive of the other fleets available, and/or they were fleets we really wanted to give a shot to, for a chance to enter the grand Tournament #2.

I’ve done this tournament idea in the past, but it’s time for competitive play to return! The previous tournament saw Norvegia victorious, but the fleet was then swept 3-0 by my HMS GT fleet immediately afterwards in exhibition play. Therefore, my original HMS GT fleet will head into T2 as a #1 seed. The rest of the seeding process will be based on records and possibly other criteria such as vote scores on MT or margins of victory in past games.

These games are being played under most of the “standard” game rules (8 coins per player worth 15 gold, 6 islands, etc). However, there will be a few house rules:
-Xerecs and I are changing the turn order after the first game of each series. The fleet that went second in the first game will go first in the second game. This is to ensure maximum fairness so one die roll doesn’t effectively decide a series. (though Game 3’s will still feature regular rolls)
-We will play until there is a clear winner. This will often be the “more than half the starting gold” rule, but there may be exceptions.

Here is the bracket for Tournament #1! I am playing as UPS 5, dakmor’s swarm fleet, EA Gold Runners, and American Pirates. Xerecs is playing as his own GT fleet, Volt’s VASSAL fleet challenge fleet, Barbary Untouchables 2, and the Dread Galley speed fleet. I placed my fleets in the bracket in no particular order. We then assigned numbers to the fleets, for example, UPS 5 got a 1 because it would be the first series of the first round. Xerecs then rolled dice to determine the matchups, and the bracket was set up! For future rounds, if one person controls both fleets, they pick which one they want for that round, and the other person gets the other fleet. The matchups certainly looked interesting on paper, with a giant matchup headlining the first series!

VASSAL Tournament #1

UPS v. 5.0: Zeus style

Xerecs’ HMS GT fleet

(It’s highly recommended that you check out the fleets beforehand to have context going into the games)

The first game was underway! I rolled to go first, and quickly sacced an oarsman to get the Zeus to a wild island. Trading away a bad UT, we immediately began to run into rules questions lol. This picture shows the Zeus at a second wild island; two coins have already been tossed home via Captain Jack Sparrow (CJS). The Longshanks had her crew eliminated by a missionary, but it prevented some natives from freezing the ship. So far, Xerecs’ bad UT’s were hurting him, and Don Pedro Gilbert’s treasure trading ability ensured the Zeus would be reasonably safe from harm at most islands.
VASSAL Tournament #1

The Longshanks and Zeus returned home with gold, while the Banshee’s Cry (BC) was dismasted by the Coeur du Lion. The Zeus was running out of oarsmen to sacrifice, but UPS 5 already had a major lead in the gold game.

The Grand Temple got an SAT from Myngs and blasted the Zeus! However, the Zeus and her crew were annoyed to find Natives on the island, trading it away for another coin. Eager for the game to end, it was time to fire. ZEUS SMAAAASH!! Saccing the explorer, the Zeus dismasted the GT! A few more shenanigans followed, but UPS 5 was the obvious victor. The final score of the first game of T1: 18-3.

The second game was about to begin!

In extremely similar fashion, the Zeus traded away Wolves to an island close to the Longshanks and BC! The second game was a near-repeat of the first.

The Grand Temple made a move for the Hag of Tortuga, and captured her! The Zeus emerged from a fog bank to simultaneously dock at her HI and shoot at the GT, hitting only 5/16 in a double action. This wasn’t all that surprising given her 3S cannons and my generally poor luck with shoot actions. The BC and Longshanks reached the far islands, while the GT had the mast she needed to get home.

This led to an interesting situation – the Zeus blockading the BC and LS in a fog bank, while the GT repaired. The Jolly Mon, with no Ransom crew around, sailed off in search of treasure. However, all she found was Natives, meaning that the gold on ships was essentially the only gold left in the game. Theoretically the Zeus could have explored the other island and traded away the Wolves for the Natives (making the gold accessible), but there was no reason for me to do that with a fully repaired HMS GT charging the Zeus while she sat immobile due to the Natives. In addition, I already had the gold advantage once again.

Thus we began playing cat and mouse. The LS was shadowed by the Zeus, while the Jolly Mon and Coeur came up to support the 10 master. I had realized something: since I wasn’t going to be trading away any more gold home for oarsmen on the Coeur, there was no reason not to send the Coeur out to meet the Zeus and just give her the oarsman manually. This would give the Zeus two oarsmen, which might allow her enough actions to catch all three enemy ships.

I quickly tired of the maneuvering, and decided to force the action. The Jolly Mon rammed the Longshanks, who stayed in place and fired. This allowed my plan to work, with the Zeus dismasting the Longshanks and stealing her coin (I wanted the extra gold before sinking the LS). The Coeur came alongside the Zeus and was ready to transfer the final oarsman.

The GT got an SAT and attacked the Zeus. Incredibly, she missed all 6 times!! This allowed the Zeus to sink her with a double shoot, also sinking the LS. The BC was all alone in the fog.

I managed to corner the BC near my home island. Docking the Zeus to deposit my last coin (stolen from the LS), I then shot at the BC and sank her! This ended the game, with UPS 5 winning 15-5! This was the fleet’s second win in as many games, winning the pair by a combined score of 33-8. UPS 5 advances to Round 2 and therefore also to a spot in Tournament #2!

The second series featured more awesome fleets:

dakmor’s swarm fleet

Vassal La dominación española

Once again I rolled to go first, and the swarm fleet was off!

The BC reached the northeastern island, and things got silly in a hurry. She found 3 3’s (the highest treasure value in the distribution for these two fleets) as well as the Turtles UT. Xerecs’ bad luck was apparently going to continue, as my fleets consistently found better UT’s and values.

The Santo Columba began blasting her way through the swarm, but it was already too late. To add insult to injury, the Intrepide had found 8 more gold on her island, while the Lezard and Mermaid found Skrew Engine and Runes of Speed on their island.

The UT’s were flipped and the BC also returned home, netting me 15 gold in one turn. 10 turtles weren’t far behind, and just to make things even more lopsided, my tiny ships rammed effectively, taking the Santo Columba down to 2 masts.

The Santo Columba eliminated a turtle, but then the Intrepide docked home and the game ended. The swarm fleet had won a massively lopsided game 23-5. They look to advance to T2 with another win, a game that will hopefully be played soon.

The bad luck experienced by Xerecs on this night was beyond comprehension. Luck wasn’t the only reason he lost all three games, but it was truly hard to believe, especially the GT going 0/6 and the completely perfect treasure distribution that the swarm fleet got lucky with.

After three games, here are the standings! For future reference, the top fleet will have the first score (ex: if volt’s fleet had just won the latest game 10-5, it would say 5-10 instead of 23-5.)

Which fleet will face the formidable UPS 5? And which fleets of the other 4 will advance? Stay tuned to find out!

September 6th, 2016

The tournament has continued!

Here’s the setup for the second game of the second matchup.

dakmor’s swarm fleet

Vassal La dominación española

Once again the swarm fleet found Turtles! This made the swarm even harder to deal with – in addition to 11 ships (Jolly Mon sitting at home), the Spanish had to deal with 10 turtles as well!

A pileup emerged in the center, with the swarmers putting their best gunships (Intrepide, Carrion Crow, Venture) alongside the Santo Columba.

The Santo Columba was victorious and eliminated almost the entire swarm fleet! At this point we simulated the rest of the game since the Spanish would keep the Jolly Mon afloat in order to get the remaining gold. The Spanish won the game 25-15!

That set the stage for the first game 3 of the tournament! The stakes were high, with the loser facing elimination.

The home islands happened to reverse from the previous game.

The Banshee’s Cry was sent west with the Mermaid to get gold from an island that I expected to be contested. The Intrepide, Pique, and Lezard all headed south. I put together the best battle squadron I could (Carrion Crow, Venture, Algeciras, Rover) and sailed them straight towards the Santo Columba. The Coeur and Raton would act as block ships or potential “tugboats”.

The BC and Mermaid loaded gold, but the Mermaid was sunk and the BC dismasted! (both by the Santo Columba) I decided to try and trap the SC and prevent her from towing the BC (who had 8 gold aboard), and proceeded to eliminate 3 of her 4 masts in a series of rams and shots. Countessa Amore was killed in a boarding attack, netting the swarmers 1 gold. In the east, the Pique headed home with gold while the Intrepide and Lezard lagged behind to protect the turtles. That’s right, for the third game in a row, the swarm fleet had found the Turtles UT! However, I had also stashed Grease Barrels away on the Intrepide, hoping to make her a surprise ramming threat if needed…

The Joya del Sol was busy filling her cargo hold, while the Algeciras sailed in and capture the BC. In a complex series of maneuvers I managed to extricate one of my derelicts out of the way so that another ship could tow the Santo Columba. I then utilized a small chain tow with the Intrepide to move the SC farther from the Algeciras. You can see how crowded the area was, and 10 turtles just to the east only made it busier.

The Algeciras attacked, but my prize was safe: the Santo Columba! Guess what saved her? The Grease Barrels! I flipped the UT aboard the Intrepide to allow her to dock home before the Algeciras potentially could have sunk the SC on the following turn. An SAT got the SC repairing quickly, and now the swarmers had access to the very weapon that caused their demise in the previous game, and the only huge threat between the two fleets combined.

Turtles began reaching safety, while the Algeciras re-towed the BC. The SC fully repaired, and the Intrepide set sail again.

I figured I could catch the Joya del Sol with the Santo Columba, but I forgot about the other UT’s: Skrew Engine and Runes of Speed. The Joya had both aboard, meaning she could move 12S in two turns to get home. The Algeciras swapped her captain (Luis Zuan) for a coin on the BC, hoping to salvage some value from the prize, knowing that she wouldn’t make it home at S speed while towing the BC. I moved to recapture the BC. At this point I had a very good idea of what Xerecs had on the Joya, since I had explored two islands and knew what values were present on the BC. It was possible that the score would end up 20-19!

Things went according to plan for a turn, surprisingly enough! I captured the BC, Xerecs got the Joya home, and the SC fought with the Algeciras.

The SC used S boarding to steal the coin from the Algeciras, but the Joya stole it back! The SC managed to retrieve it, and sped away from the scene. The BC was towed back while that was happening, and the game ended.

Dakmor’s swarm fleet wins 22-17 in a fantastic finale! They advance to Round 2, where they will face UPS 5!

The third matchup:

Barbary Untouchables V 2.0 (commanded by Xerecs)

Extra Action Gold Runners

We changed the setup once again but made sure to keep it fair and standard. Also: this game hasn’t concluded yet!

The Star of Siam got an extra action early, and I found turtles for the fourth game in a row. The Algeciras hid from the Nubian Prince, while the Joya and Tiger’s Eye headed east.

The Star of Siam ducked into a fog bank as well, knowing she could get home when receiving an extra action. The Tiger’s Eye turned south but the Joya got an EA to get there first and explore.

As I had planned, a lot of things started happening at once. The Star came out of the fog and docked home gold. The Algeciras emerged as well and scored a hit on the Nubian Prince, while the turtles and Joya del Sol raced home.

The Algeciras was quickly dismasted, while the Star of Siam tried to block the Nubian Prince from sailing over the turtles.

Just like the Star of Siam, the Joya hid in a fog bank until she could get home, this time with a UT. The Nubian Prince dismasted the Star, who fled into a fog bank. The Joya rammed the NP, taking out a second mast. The Tiger’s Eye had filled up with gold.

Who will win the first game of this series and take an advantage into the second game?

September 10th, 2016

The games have continued!

Barbary Untouchables V 2.0 (commanded by Xerecs)

Extra Action Gold Runners

The first game of the third series came to a quick end, with the EA gold runners fleet victorious 22-13!

The Corsairs went first to start the second game:

The Nubian Prince dismasted the Algeciras, but once again I had found turtles!

Then I tried to make it look like my ships were heading northeast to contest the Tiger’s Eye at a wild island. It worked, as the Nubian Prince turned northeast. The Joya then got an EA at the perfect time and slipped past the Prince. The Star of Siam sacrificed herself and partially blocked the Prince. The turtles continued to swim home.

The Nubian Prince missed the Joya del Sol with a chainshot, and the game was effectively over.

EA Gold Runners wins the game 24-13! They capture the series and move on to round 2, and by extension Tournament 2!

Now it was time for the final matchup of round 1:

The “Dread Galley” Speed Fleet (commanded by Xerecs)

American Pirates

The setup was changed a bit, and we were ready to play! Unfortunately this game wasn’t able to be played to completion, but we got off to an interesting start.

The Amity got gold home quickly with some help from Hidden Cove, while Captain Blackheart sacced some an oarsman to fire at the Algiers.

The Star of Siam lost a mast to a reef and another to the Bandido with a ram. The Roanoke proceeded to get another double action and sink both ships!

This game should conclude very soon, and Round 2 of Tournament 1 is approaching…

September 11th, 2016

Tournament 1 continues once more!

The Roanoke was unable to hit the Tiger’s Eye, giving the galley another chance to explore. Knowing the general gold situation, I had the Roanoke grab the final coin (at the island the Amity is docked at) rather than pursue the Eye.

The American Pirates prevailed 15-13!

The second game of the series began:

The Roanoke engages:

The galleys congregated in the south, and the Roanoke stalked them. The Amity and Bandido made short work of a wild island.

Things got interesting in a hurry. The Amity rammed a mast off the Tiger’s Eye and stole a coin, while the Roanoke went after the others, who were far from home. With a double action the Algiers was dismasted, but the Star of Siam escaped unscathed.

The Tiger’s Eye made a mistake trying to cross a Sargasso Sea, and became tangled. The Amity grabbed a coin, while the Star of Siam fled for home. Blackheart wanted more crew for his sacrifices, and sailed southwest to pick up the crew that the Dread Galleys had left off.

At this point the game began to tip in my favor. The Bandido rammed a mast off the Tiger’s Eye and robbed a treasure, while the Amity took a short detour and rammed the TE derelict. This left her stuck in the Sargasso with no easy way out. In the east, the Roanoke sank the Algiers and a bunch of coins!

In the end the American Pirates won 14-9! They advance to Round 2 of Tournament #1 and qualify for Tournament #2!

Round 2 of Tournament 1

With that, it was time for the second round, the semifinals!

UPS v. 5.0: Zeus style

dakmor’s swarm fleet (commanded by Xerecs)

It was truly an odd matchup – essentially one ship (the Zeus) versus 11 ships!

The Zeus set up Dead Man’s Point on an island, and sailed back home with the rest of the island’s gold. The Banshee’s Cry quickly unloaded an island by herself with the help of some UT’s. The main question was whether or not the Zeus could catch the enemy gold runners before they docked home some gold.

The swarm fleet killed the Hag of Tortuga in a boarding action for an extra gold, while the Zeus picked up the oarsmen that would normally be loaded onto the Coeur du Lion. Captain Jack was ready for battle!

There were 4 swarm ships with gold aboard, and the Zeus quickly dispatched two of them. The Intrepide was tougher to get to, with the Rover in the way.

The Zeus dismasted the Intrepide and Lezard! This left towing as the only option for the swarmers. Chain towing helped a bit, but in the end the Zeus was too fast (with double actions each turn due to saccing) and had too many cannons. Both ships were sunk, and UPS 5 won the game 10-7!

Here is the tournament bracket, completely updated through the end of Round 1! My fleets proved their worth, and now two of them must face each other in the second series of Round 2. In the meantime, the winner of the current matchup will soon be decided!

September 12th, 2016

UPS v. 5.0: Zeus style

dakmor’s swarm fleet (commanded by Xerecs)

Looking for a second sweep in as many rounds, UPS 5 started game 2 of the series in the northwest while the swarm fleet started in the east.

After returning 10 gold to her home island, the Zeus battled her way to another 5 gold. However, she couldn’t catch any of the swarming gold runners, and the game ended in a 15-15 tie!

The series went to a game 3, though the series was still 1-0 in favor of UPS 5. I made a mistake and put Xerecs and the swarm fleet near the middle of the sea. This would give them access to 3 of the 4 wild islands.

As the swarmers scattered, the Zeus scooped up all the oarsmen she could carry and headed towards the swarm fleet’s home island. I knew I’d have to move quickly to sink a bunch of gold before it got back.

Both Hags of Tortuga were killed to net us 1 gold apiece, while the Zeus sank the Intrepide and 3 coins!

The Zeus rammed the Pique and stole both of her coins, which was only possible after saccing some oarsmen to unintentionally free up cargo space! However, the Mermaid and Lezard still posed threats. The Coeur and Jolly Mon joined the Zeus, and it was once again time for the Zeus to take center stage.

Shots of little consequence were fired, as the Zeus maneuvered into position. The Mermaid would be able to dock, but could only carry a single coin.

This picture doesn’t do justice how close the end of the game was. The Algeciras blocked the Zeus, but I managed to go 2/4 and sink the ship with the Zeus’ first action! This proved decisive, as it allowed the Zeus to sail north and get some cannons in range of the Lezard. Guns boomed once more, and the Lezard sank quickly. The game was effectively over, with the Zeus returning home and the swarm fleet largely eliminated.

UPS 5 wins the third game 13-7! The fleet now advances to the finals of Tournament #1, and looks to secure a high seed in Tournament #2 as well as further increasing its winning streak. UPS 5 is now 4-0 through two series.

Dakmor’s swarm fleet put up a good fight, losing the series by a combined score of just 38-29 when the tie game is included. It will be interesting to see what the swarm fleet has in store for Tournament 2 as well as the 8 fleet multiplayer game. That’s right, there will be a multiplayer game after the conclusion of Tournament 1! All 8 fleets will be participating. It’s largely an experiment, but the stakes could not be higher for the fleets that were eliminated in Round 1 and therefore will not advance to Round 2. The fleet that wins the multiplayer game will automatically advance to Tournament 2! This is a form of second chance – if one of the “underdog” fleets (now that they’ve lost in Round 1) manages to pull off a win against all 7 other fleets, they get into T2 with the win! Of course, if one of the 4 fleets that has already advanced to T2 wins the 8 fleet game, it will have no effect on T2 (other than a possible seeding tiebreaker or something), but it will be interesting to see who wins regardless. My EA gold runners fleet is still under .500 at 8-9 overall, but perhaps their greatest claim to fame is that they won that massive 12 fleet game in January 2015 as the conclusion of that “era” of competitive play (my previous “era” would be when Norvegia won a tournament in 2013, and this new era is the current one and will be the most comprehensive). Winning a huge multiplayer game definitely gives a fleet some bragging rights. And yes, we are planning to do a 16 fleet game at the conclusion of T2 using every single fleet from that tournament. Of course, that’s a long way off right now…

And with that, the second semifinal matchup is next! As I was the victor in advancing both of the fleets, I get to pick which one I control for the series. I love both fleets, but I’ve chosen EA gold runners because it’s one of my oldest fleets, I still believe in it even though its record isn’t fantastic, and because I prefer not to use events (the American Pirates fleet has Hidden Cove). We may not be able to continue for a few days, but we’ll be back! Very Happy

September 16th, 2016

The second matchup of the semifinals!

Extra Action Gold Runners

American Pirates (commanded by Xerecs)

In the first game of the series, I got lucky and found most of the UT’s, including the turtles.

The Joya escaped to the southwestern island…

But was soon cornered by the Roanoke!

The AP’s managed to subdue the EA gold runners, but the gold was more important. I had found 11 gold, while 9 turtles reached safety. The final score was 20-19 in favor of the EA fleet!

The AP’s went first in the second game, and the home islands were close together.

The EA runners took care of the northern islands while the AP’s headed west. Xerecs had a new strategy, sending the Amity to the farther island after Hidden Coving her out. It was at the southwestern island that Xerecs finally found the Turtles UT!

I had a bunch of gold, but knew that I needed to eliminate some turtles or steal from the Amity to win. The Joya and Algeciras headed south to intercept the AP’s, while the Star of Siam headed west to pick up a 2.

Unsurprisingly the Roanoke was able to sac my fleet to pieces, and the AP’s won 20-18 in another extremely close game!

Game 3!

Xerecs found the turtles again, which meant I would be facing an uphill battle to win the game.

The Algeciras hit 2/2 to damage the Roanoke, while the Joya del Sol is heading west to pick up Skrew Engine. As in the last game, the Amity is sailing to the far island to get the best coins, leaving the Roanoke and Bandido to pick up the scraps.

The Amity picked up high value coins, and I sent the Joya in pursuit. However, the Roanoke had repaired with Trees at the northwestern island, and she gave chase. Realizing that I had a chance to eliminate some turtles (and knowing that they should be the priority since they would get home before the Amity), I suddenly sent all my ships towards the AP home island. The Joya got an extra action, while the damaged Algeciras and Star of Siam also sped north. (The Algeciras had rammed the Bandido derelict when the Roanoke repaired)

The Algeciras and Joya began eliminating turtles while also blocking the home island off from the remaining turtles. The SoS didn’t receive an extra action from Gallows, and the Roanoke and Amity were coming.

The Roanoke used a double action to sink the Algeciras and damage the Joya! Knowing how much gold I had and how many turtles had gotten home safely, I realized that I could win the game if I got the final 3 gold on the southwestern island. The Joya sailed at great speed for the island, while the Star of Siam would try to intercept the Amity.

In a surprise to me, the Amity rammed the Joya and took out a mast! With only one mast remaining the Joya reached the island and loaded the final two coins.

This is where it got ugly. The Amity caught the Joya and rammed her again. Rolling two consecutive 1’s, she didn’t eliminate the Joya’s final mast and the Joya managed to steal a coin! There was some confusion over how we played the boarding rules. From now on, as I usually play, the winner of the boarding party gets to choose whether they eliminate a crew or take a treasure. If they take a treasure, they can choose which coin they take (since it’s more realistic). If they eliminate a crew, the loser picks which crew is eliminated (since it’s more balanced). Under these rules, the EA gold runners fleet won the game 24-12. However, then we went back (by undoing everything) and played it again from the same boarding action. This time, the American Pirates won 20-16. As a result, we effectively called Game 3 a tie (!)… which meant that we now had to play a historic Game 4 to decide the winner of the series!

Unfortunately the fourth game was a complete blowout. Hidden Cove was used on the Roanoke, who sank the Joya and dismasted the Algeciras. I found the turtles, but it was already too late. The AP’s win 25-5 and advance to the final round!

Tournament 1, Final Round: UPS 5 vs. American Pirates

This will be played soon; Xerecs and I decided to swap fleets. I will control the AP fleet like I did in the first round and Xerecs will have his first opportunity to control UPS 5.

September 18th, 2016

The final round of Tournament 1!

UPS 5 (commanded by Xerecs)

American Pirates

CJS aboard the Zeus made a mistake in putting the home island of the AP fleet right in the middle of the new setup. This would allow them to hit three of the four wild islands relatively easily.

I was able to make separate trips to the 3 islands while the Zeus returned home the other island for UPS 5.

After the Roanoke and Bandido got home, it was clear that the AP’s were victorious! Their 16-9 win meant that UPS 5 is no longer undefeated!

The second game featured different home islands:

The AP’s went with a different strategy, using Hidden Cove on the Amity, who then began sailing even further west. Once again I wanted to hit more than half the wild islands, sending the Roanoke to the middle and the Bandido west. The Roanoke managed a couple hits on the Zeus with a double action.

The Zeus is loose! The 10 master nearly dismasted the Roanoke while also sending home a coin via CJS.

The Roanoke repairs as the other ships bring in gold:

The Amity grabs the final coins from the southwestern island, while the Roanoke heads to grab the final coin in the far west. The Coeur, now empty, looks to get gold in the north. The Bandido is now an expendable block ship, but the Zeus turns south…

A few turns of mayhem! The Zeus managed to catch the Amity with some sac actions, taking off a mast. However, her other 2 guns in range missed, allowing the Amity to dock home valuable coins. Knowing the Zeus could probably blockade my home island effectively, and seeing the vulnerable Coeur more than a turn away from docking at her HI, I decided to change course and send the Roanoke northeast! She got there just in time, blocking the Coeur. Her guns missed the little ship, and the Zeus turned around.

Knowing a victory was within reach, I managed to play the end of the game quite effectively. The Roanoke sank the Coeur with gold aboard, then turned around to ram and board the Jolly Mon, eliminating the Hag of Tortuga for an additional 1 gold. These differentials would turn out to be important… I wasn’t worried about the 1 on the Roanoke at this point, having prioritized sinking the Coeur. The Bandido appeared just off the bow of the Zeus, hindering her movement. The Amity was sailing up as well, but the game was over. The AP fleet wins 16-13!

For various reasons, I wanted to play at least one more game despite the AP fleet winning two games in a row. We swapped fleets, and T1 continued.

This game featured an explosive start! The Roanoke used Hidden Cove to appear at the middle island right next to the Zeus! With a double action from Blackheart the Roanoke went 6/10 to damage the behemoth! However, with a double action of her own, the Zeus responded by dismasting the Roanoke! The Amity and Bandido had hardly begun sailing, and the flagships had already lost 11 masts between them!

The Roanoke tried to escape at 4S speed via a combination of helmsman, oarsman, and sac action, but it wasn’t quite enough – the Zeus sank her! This was a big deal, for it meant that the Zeus and her firepower was essentially unobstructed for the rest of the game. However, the fierce battle in the center had cost UPS 5 valuable time.

After a few more turns, things have become peaceful. The Zeus unloaded gold and picked up the remaining sacrificial oarsmen. The Amity and Bandido headed home with gold. I opted not to repair the Zeus because it would cost me too much time (even if I just repaired 1 or 2 masts), and with 4 3S cannons at the bow of the ship and no captains remaining in the enemy fleet (not to mention potential sac actions), the Zeus could dictate any battle she found herself in.

The Amity headed for the northeastern island, but the Zeus scared her off. The Zeus claimed the gold on that island, while the AP fleet finished off the rest of the gold. UPS 5 was victorious 19-12! (one extra gold from sinking Perry aboard the Roanoke)

After this third game, it was even less clear which fleet is superior. As a result, at least one more game will be played, hopefully in a matter of hours!

September 19th, 2016

The last day of play in Tournament #1!

UPS 5

American Pirates (commanded by Xerecs)

With the AP fleet up in the series 2-1 heading into Game 4, they had a chance to win glory as the winner of a competitive tournament!

Early in the game the Zeus managed to catch the Roanoke and take her down to one mast!

UPS 5 had the Coeur grab some coins, while the Zeus followed the Amity:

The Amity was sunk and UPS 5 remained in control of the game. They ended up winning 18-12 to even the series at 2 games apiece!

The setup for Game 5, with the HI’s close together:

This game was short and without combat. Faced with a choice between trying to catch one or both of the AP runners (Bandido and Amity) or simply emptying a second island, I made the wrong move. The northeastern island happened to have both of the 1’s in the treasure distribution, which meant it was too late to salvage the game. The AP’s won a close 16-14 victory!

With the American Pirates up in the series once more (3-2), we decided to swap fleets again: Xerecs took over for UPS 5 while I regained the AP fleet (just like the first 2 games of the series, which in hindsight is funny given the 2-3-2 nature of the series and the similarities to playoffs in the NBA and MLB heh).

Game 6!!

I used Hidden Cove to fling the Amity as far as possible, but it wasn’t enough. I expected Xerecs to turn the Zeus home to dock the gold, but instead he went after the Amity, sinking her easily. This destroyed my game, and it was a quick win for UPS 5 afterwards. The final score was essentially 12-0 (12-4 if counting the 4 gold on the Bandido).

Now the series was tied 3-3, which meant… you guessed it…

Game 7! The final series of the first tournament was coming to an epic conclusion!

Open fire! I knew I had to strike, but the Roanoke’s guns weren’t good enough. After Hidden Coving to the middle island, she went 4/10 in a double action.

After having some trouble maneuvering, the Zeus only managed two hits of her own! This gave the AP’s another chance, which was also squandered. The Roanoke went a whopping 0/6 with 3L cannons, and the game was effectively decided. The Zeus blasted the Roanoke to pieces, and the Amity and Bandido couldn’t get enough gold to make up the difference! Don Pedro Gilbert’s treasure swapping also helped the UPS fleet in this final game, but the Roanoke’s own abysmal shooting was the primary cause of the quick demise. UPS 5 wins Game 7 by a score of 17-14!

UPS v. 5.0: Zeus style has won VASSAL Tournament #1!

It was a fitting end, for the Universal Pirate Shipping strategy pioneered by darrin is simply one of the best (if not the best) ways to win this game. It was fitting on a personal level as well – one of my fleets won the tournament, but Xerecs controlled it for the final game (and 4 of the 7 games in the final series), so we’re both champions! Very Happy

The final bracket. For the gold scores, the first number is the gold total of the upper fleet.

Looking back on the first VASSAL tournament, it was a great experience. The first round saw 3 sweeps in 4 series, with all 3 of my fleets advancing. It wasn’t nearly so lopsided after that, with the final two series being especially interesting. EA Gold Runners is almost like the dark horse of the tournament, having barely missed a trip to the finals. The final round was a bit of a mess, but it turned into a rather epic 7-game series in which UPS 5 prevailed 4-3.

Here are the current records of the fleets involved in T1 after its conclusion:
UPS 5: 8-3
American Pirates: 8-7
EA Gold Runners: 9-11
Volt’s VASSAL FC fleet: 2-3
dakmor’s swarm fleet: 2-3
Xerecs’ GT fleet, Barbary Untouchables 2, Dread Galley speed fleet: 0-2

Of course, the last two rounds were mostly for bragging rights and seeding for VASSAL Tournament #2, which is the real deal – whichever fleet wins that tournament will hold the current status of the best fleet ever! The four fleets that advanced to Round 2 (UPS 5, dakmor’s swarm fleet, EA Gold Runners, and American Pirates) have advanced to Tournament #2, where they will compete against absolutely brutal fleets. Before T1 even started I picked 6 fleets to have a “bye” into T2, which includes 4 fleets based around the UPS strategy. The other two are my HMS Grand Temple fleet and the classic Norvegia fleet. It will be something to behold…

BUT! First we play the 8 fleet multiplayer game with all the fleets from T1! As I explained previously, if a fleet that didn’t advance to Round 2 of T1 wins the multiplayer game, they automatically advance to T2! The stakes could not be higher for the fleets that got swept in T1, as well as Volt’s FC fleet.

Coming soon: a picture of the setup for the multiplayer game, with all 16 islands and 8 fleets. We’ve also established the turn order, so we’re ready to begin, probably sometime next weekend. In the meantime, thanks for reading about Tournament 1, and as always, just hop on the module if you’d like to join us on VASSAL! (and let us know if you’d like to play fleets in Tournament 2!)

Water World – at 200 points! September 2nd, 2016

VASSAL Game 17 
9/2/2016

Xerecs and I have played a 200 point game of Water World!

I went first with this fleet while Xerecs used this fleet. When creating my fleet, I was quite inspired by some of the ideas I presented here. With 200 points at my disposal, any combo was possible, even that monster one with the Guichuan. I’ll admit this report is a bit biased towards my perspective on things, but that’s entirely because this was one of the best games I’ve ever played. (as in, I played it really well, not that the game itself was that exceptional) Hopefully it won’t sound too conceited haha!

My strategy going into the game was as follows. The whole premise of the fleet was to basically sail the Guichuan up to the enemy fort, flip Grim to steal all the gold (or at least 7 coins anyway), and then be immune to cannon fire with the Haulers. Then, after stealing all the gold from said fort, proceed to sink it to add insult to injury! The Oxford is the sidekick to the Guichuan, chosen for her speed (able to keep up with a Guichuan going 4S per turn with Mycron’s help) and ability. The canoes provide transfer backup if needed. Honestly, the rest of the fleet was just created as a distraction. Realistically, the only thing that can distract an opponent from the Guichuan is another 10 master. Thus, the Celtic Fury. I chose her because France has some crew with the Parley ability, and using Parley as offense is another thing I’ve been wanting to test further. Roimata’s captain/SAT was the perfect complement to Lenoir’s reroll, while a stinkpot specialist was added to fill out the points and provide some insurance against tough foes. The support gunships are other distractions – with this many points available the Constitution was a support gunship! The Black Coral was added for another RtSS piece, and I thought she could be a backup gold runner, with Secret Hold being extra-useful in the Water World scenario. The Mercure is a ship I’d like to use more often, and was the perfect fiery pest to fill out points with.

I wondered to myself if this grand plan was even plausible. Somehow, it worked.

6 wild islands, 8 coins per island, round earth rules.
Water World

The canoes explored, and the first island sank beneath the waves. I was hesitant to make my strategy obvious early on, but knew I needed to strike Xerecs’ fort when he was least expecting it, preferably early in the game soon after some gold had been unloaded there. The Celtic Fury was to be a distraction, and a suicidal one if need be. She and the Mercure headed straight for the enemy 10 masters, with the Constitution not far behind. The San Cristobal grabbed a bunch of gold but also found Scurvy.

The Frontier grabbed the SC’s gold with her hoist, and I began to maneuver the Guichuan and Oxford into position in anticipation of Xerecs unloading gold at his home fort. After the Black Pearl was distracted by Natives at a northern wild island, the Celtic Fury moved to strike. With Lenoir still face down, I actually gave Mycron’s action to a native canoe in order to get some gold in my fort. I wanted Parley ready in case the Zeus was able to strike first with an SAT from Crimson Angel.

Xerecs was able to drain two islands completely, meaning that half of the wild islands were already gone. This worried me, since I didn’t know if the Guichuan’s potential haul would even be enough to tip the treasure game in my favor, especially if the heist didn’t go as planned.

I nearly attacked the Black Pearl since she was a sitting duck with the Natives UT affecting her for 3 turns, but decided not to risk it. Tia Dalma aboard the Zeus could easily cancel Lenoir’s Parley, leaving the Celtic Fury open to a devastating broadside. The Constitution was coming, but she wouldn’t arrive in time. At the bottom of the frame, I decided to not explore with the Black Coral since I knew some of the negative UT’s I put into the mix, and to provide support for the Guichuan from the west if needed.

Xerecs moved the Zeus west a bit, allowing the Celtic Fury to SAT into position. However, she only knocked one mast off the Pearl, being careful to stay out of Tia Dalma’s cancelling range. The Mercure ducked into a fog bank to hide from the Zeus, while the Constitution arrived on the scene. In the meantime my canoes had finished unloading gold, while the San Cristobal did the same on the opposite side of the sea. With the Celtic Fury getting some action going in the north, the distraction was in place. The Guichuan and Oxford turned their bows west, towards Xerecs’ fort accessible via round earth.

The Zeus sped north, while the Baochuan took over against the Celtic Fury. However, I flipped Lenoir to Parley my way out of the situation! The random coin chosen from my home fort was a 1, and the Celtic Fury was safe!

The Celtic Fury responds with a thunderous broadside, crippling the Baochuan! The Constitution and Mercure team up and sail north, possibly to pursue the Zeus. At this point the game was in a relatively flexible state, but I knew one thing for sure: I was going for it. The Guichuan and Oxford round earthed their way to the east, where the San Cristobal was the only ship guarding the home fort. In the meantime, the Black Coral attacked the Joya del Sol, who was headed north with an abandoned musketeer to take out the Wolves that were found on the same island with the Natives.

Attack! The Celtic Fury dismasts the Baochuan, while the Constitution and Mercure team up to take the Black Pearl down to 1 mast. The Morning Star went through a whirlpool and aimed her bow at my home fort, which funny enough, I had left unguarded! I interpreted this as a potential raid, but my ships weren’t close enough to deter it. However, the Guichuan was ready to strike, while the San Cristobal sailed away from danger.

The Frontier discovered a mess of UT’s at a middle island, which sent the hoist into a whirlpool. The Morning Star turned south, alleviating my fears for a moment. However, the Zeus was on her way to my home fort. Uh oh. The Joya escaped into a fog bank, while the Black Pearl joined the Zeus with her high speed and an EA from Calico Cat. I was a bit worried, but my excitement level was also very high, as the game was about to hit its climax.

Chaos! The Guichuan raids the home island! Grim steals everything! Bianco’s Haulers is also flipped, and I realized something. Originally I planned to dock, steal as much gold as possible, and then sink the fort all in one turn. However, with the Haulers available, I could purposely stay docked while not sinking the fort, meaning the Guichuan couldn’t be shot at until I sailed away or sank the fort. It worked to perfection – the Guichuan damaged the fort on the approach and while docking, getting a lot of help from the Junk keyword. Once the loot was loaded, it was the Oxford’s turn. She blasted the final cannons off the fort while simultaneously firing at the still-dangerous San Cristobal. However, I was just getting started. The native canoes round earthed to the east, and the full extent of my plan became clear – the canoes could use their transfer ability to grab gold from the Guichuan and then scatter! This was a variation on my Golden Cranes idea.

With the Joya in the fog, the Black Coral turned her attention to a new opponent: the Frontier. She hit once, but it was a good example of the Black Coral being my ultimate utility ship in this fleet. To the north, the Constitution began sailing back to my home fort, desperate to get there before the Zeus did. The Mercure stayed in the northeast, and nearly sunk the Baochuan (which in hindsight is what I probably should have done haha). What about the Celtic Fury? Well, I knew I’d need her for home defense, so I sent her through a whirlpool to intercept the Zeus. With an SAT from Roimata she was able to dismast the Morning Star after teleporting! All in all, this turn saw me dismast one ship, damage two others, and steal 6 coins all at once!

Knowing full well that Parley would be cancelled, the Celtic Fury had to make a stand – she was only in the fleet to be a distraction anyway. She positioned herself right between the oncoming ships and her home fort. The Constitution was going to be late, similar to the earlier battle. The Joya emerged from the fog to kill the Wolves, but was set aflame by the Mercure. The grand plan was nearly complete! The Guichuan began sailing for home with her stolen gold, while the Oxford easily sank the remains of Xerecs’ home fort, leaving the Black Coral utility player to deal with the weakened San Cristobal (making the SC the 3rd ship the Black Coral engaged during this game).

Here the Zeus has blasted the Celtic Fury to pieces! 8 shots hit their mark, and a second 10 master was ruined.

For trivia reasons I wanted to do what could have been the first inter-world (?) gold transfer: using the canoe’s ability to transfer a coin from a canoe in the west to a canoe in the east. It didn’t quite happen, partly because I was in a rush to get home. Predictably, the Celtic Fury hit with a regular cannon but not with her stinkpot specialist, which could have given the Zeus some big problems if it had hit. In other news, the Black Coral missed the San Cristobal all three times while the Mercure captured the Baochuan! Knowing how unlikely it would be to tow her home and use her, I was mostly after the Baochuan for Zheng He’s admiral ability, which would give me two along with the Headhunter. At this point I wasn’t worried about the gold remaining on islands – I knew I had enough to win between the gold in my fort and the gold coming home from the Guichuan’s heist. The last thing I wanted was the game to end since the islands had disappeared, because I knew I had an inferior gold fleet.

The Zeus sinks the Celtic Fury! The showdown is at hand! (and the Black Coral finally dismasts the San Cristobal heh)

The Zeus reaches my fort and blasts away! She hits 6 times in 9 shots – if all 9 had hit, my fort would have sunk. Alas, the odds were not in Xerecs’ favor at this point. I returned fire with my fort, the Constitution, and the Guichuan, who was just able to get some guns in range. The ending was rather bizarre, with two 10 masters fighting with a floating fort in between them. The canoes had just docked home some gold from the heist. To add to the strange finale, Lord Mycron’s ship (the Patagonia) was actually in the Guichuan’s way of getting more cannons in range, but the Patagonia couldn’t move out of the way since that would mean Mycron wouldn’t give his action to the Guichuan and the Guichuan wouldn’t have any guns in range in the first place!! The Mercure abandoned the Baochuan in the fog (I just wanted her for Zheng He’s ability, which I never rolled a 6 with haha), going after the Frontier. The Black Coral sank the San Cristobal.

I docked home my stolen loot and sank the Zeus and Frontier to end the game! To make things even more strange, the gold I originally had in my home fort was gone! The Guichuan’s heist totaled 22 gold, but in reality the final score was about 35-0. I had won the game in a complete shutout despite the big build total. I only lost one ship, the Celtic Fury (plus one canoe haha). I had captured or destroyed Xerecs’ entire fleet.I was also happy because I was intimidated when I saw the enemy fleet – the Zeus and San Cristobal (by some people’s accounts the 2 best gunships in the game), along with the Baochuan and some of the best gold runners in the game. However, with some negative UT’s, effective crew placement, and brilliantly executed gimmick strategy, I was able to pull off the victory!

I have to admit, this is one of the best performances I’ve ever had. There aren’t many games that go this well – almost my entire gameplan worked to a T. It was truly a perfect game.