Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge – October 1st, 2016

These battle reports concern the following:
Fleet Challenge: Sink The Battleship

4 competitors would face the Spanish Main version of El Acorazado in this setup to determine the winner of the Sink the Battleship fleet challenge!

First up: The Dread… (Xerecs)

The Acorazado maneuvered to get the first shot, and took out three masts.

Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge - October 1st, 2016

The Dreadnought returned fire twice with all cannons but missed a few times! This left the Acorazado with two masts, which was enough to sink the Dreadnought with an SAT. The Patagonia was also eliminated, and Xerecs was out of the challenge!

Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge - October 1st, 2016

Next up: Allies in Fire (Volt)

Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge - October 1st, 2016

The Acorazado maneuvered, staying close to her home island and waiting for a chance to strike.

She struck the Victor, since I believed the Victor’s Exploding Shot to be the most dangerous weapon that I could not cancel or deal with. The Fortune had to come within S to shoot firepots, and so the Victor was sunk.

Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge - October 1st, 2016

Volt’s fleet struck hard afterwards, and there was simply too much to cancel. I decided to cancel the Fortune’s captain if she came within S range, but in the meantime the Glorious Treasure and Maryland eliminated masts. The Battleship was soon ablaze!

The Acorazado didn’t get Castro’s SAT, so she had to stand and fight. Dismasting the Glorious Treasure and Coeur was the best I could do.

Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge - October 1st, 2016

The smaller ships closed in and dismasted the Acorazado! Volt’s fleet has beaten the ship in 4 turns!

The third challenger: Gonna Sink You!

Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge - October 1st, 2016

With no extra action or canceller capabilities, it was difficult for the smaller ships to get the first shot. The Acorazado struck with a double action, and purposely shot a mast off each of the two masters, meaning that their guns would be completely useless for the rest of the battle.

Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge - October 1st, 2016

The ships had no choice but to ram. All 4 rams failed, and the Acorazado quickly destroyed the fleet and claimed a second victory in three games!

Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge - October 1st, 2016

The final test for the Acorazado: Cheeseland VS The Battleship

Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge - October 1st, 2016

The Swallow made sure to stay out of the Acorazado’s range.

Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge - October 1st, 2016

The Acorazado simply sailed away from the Swallow, looking to frustrate the English and leave her vulnerable. The Swallow took the bait, but not only because Griffin and Lawrence were frustrated – they knew that Thomas Gunn’s fleet had already beaten the Acorazado in 4 turns, and time was running out. They had to make a move in order to make El Cazador victorious. Sailing up to the Acorazado on the third turn, they loosed a Broadsides Attack and missed with a 1!

The Acorazado only hit 3 times after failing to get the SAT from Castro. This opened the door for the English, who could tie Volt’s fleet if they sank the Battleship this turn. Turn 4 proved to be the climactic (or anticlimactic) one: the Swallow hit with her first broadside (a 4), but missed with her second on a 3!

Turn 5 wasn’t necessary, but the Acorazado finished off the Swallow just to prove a point. Not only did the Acorazado win 3 out of the 4 games with a considerable point disadvantage, she had also sunk or dismasted 3/5 of Volt’s fleet in her only loss!

@El Cazador: I forgot to copy and paste the chat transcript for the final game before I closed VASSAL. What’s funny is that I forgot about the Swallow’s strategy at first: before undoing the turn, I had the Swallow sail up and broadside the Acorazado on the very first turn (with her second action, after the Acorazado had gone first). However, that BA roll was a hilarious 1. Looks like the Swallow needs some more gunnery practice!

Volt has sank The Battleship and won the Fleet Challenge!! Congratulations! Now it’s up to you to determine the next challenge. Thanks again to all who entered.

10/3/2016

The Acorazado faced another English fleet (created by El Cazador) in a deathmatch. This one tried to utilize the Gargantuan’s reverse captain ability, L-range guns, and double cannon bonus (via TGunn the Elder and Griffin) when combined with Mycron on the Patagonia. The Victor served as support with more L-range firepower.

The Acorazado decided to chance an early attack, and hit 2/2 against the Victor.

The Victor rammed a mast off the Acorazado, who had a new strategy: eliminate Lord Mycron. However, the Gargantuan caught her and was able to blast some masts off. Eventually the Battleship fell to the English.
Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge - October 1st, 2016
Thanks for reading!  Do you think you can Sink The Battleship?  Feel free to post any fleets below that you think would be victorious!

VASSAL Pirates – Game 16 on August 26th, 2016

VASSAL Game 16
8/26/2016

VASSAL Game 16 – a7xfanben vs. xerecs

With the World game in limbo until Xerecs can get a computer upgrade or something, we decided to play a “regular” game. However, we wanted it to be special and memorable. Each of us would control two 80 point fleets, which would function independently (so effectively 4 “players”).

The order of play:

Fleet 1 (Xerecs)
HMS Apollo + Thomas Gunn
Black Pearl + Griffin, Calico Cat, “Cannonball” Gallows, helmsman
Tiger’s Eye + helmsman, explorer
Hai Peng + Captain Jack Sparrow, explorer

French Mercenaries (a7xfanben)
Le Gaule + Captain Nemo, Lenoir, captain, helmsman
Tenfold* + Zedekiah*, helmsman, oarsman
Le Triton + captain

*Both customs courtesy of El_Cazador
Tenfold
Type: 3-mast hoist
Nation: Mercenary
Points: 22
Masts: 3
Cargo: 5
Move: S+S
Cannons: 4L,3S,3S
Link: Zedekiah
Mercenary, Hostile: Caesar, Hoist, Turbine. Two hits from the same shoot action are required to eliminate one of this ship’s masts. This ship ignores the first hit she takes each turn if she has all of her masts.

Flavor: Zedekiah’s ironclad ship has been in the employ of several nations, most recently the French. His hope is to repurchase the ancient land of the Jews with the lucrative profits he makes from shipping. As he is fond of saying, if you hire him, your investment will repay tenfold.

Zedekiah
Type: Crew
Nation: Mercenary
Points: 8
Link: Tenfold
Ex-Patriot, Hostile: Barbary Corsairs, Cursed, Pirate, Viking; Captain. One of this ship’s treasures is worth +2 gold when unloaded at your home island.

Flavor: Zedekiah has had run-ins with all the worst on the seas yet always comes out ahead. He captains his ship well but prefers to play the tunes of his people on his clarinet.

Fleet 2 (Xerecs)
San Cristobal + Victor de Alva, Duque Marcus Vaccaro, helmsman
HMS Morning Star + Hermione Gold, Lawrence, Sir Christopher Myngs
La Santa Isabel + Dominic Freda, helmsman
Longshanks + explorer

Mind Control (a7xfanben)
+ additional ships
Banshee’s Cry + helmsman, explorer
Mermaid
English Letter of Marque x2: one on the Kentucky, one on the Cyclone (the nationality was determined at random by die rolls – it just happened to come up English both times)

Xerecs created a great map, with 8 total islands. The home islands were selected in reverse play order, and the wild islands were towards the edges. Round earth rules were in effect, and my Mind Control fleet made sure there was plenty of terrain around.

Play begins! The effects of the mind controllers were felt immediately: GWL on the Kentucky rolled to move any ship L! The San Cristobal was the closest big ship to a reef, and incredibly she rolled two 1’s in a row (with Vaccaro’s reroll) to lose 4 of her 5 masts! The brainwashed Americans aboard the Kentucky exclaimed with glee, and Davy Jones offered a rare smile. In the meantime, Fleet 1 was the only fleet that didn’t appear to scatter on the first turn.

VASSAL Pirates - Game 16 on August 26th, 2016

Early on the next turn, the Tenfold was the first ship to reach an island! Using her hoist to explore, she found an alarming cache of UT’s! First, Plague eliminated her three crew. Then, she rolled a 3 for Lost! Reefs appeared under the Divine Dragon, Apollo, and Morning Star! Just like the San Cristobal, the Dragon rolled a 1 to lose all but one of her masts! The English 5 masters were more fortunate, losing 1 mast between the two of them.

VASSAL Pirates - Game 16 on August 26th, 2016

The San Cristobal and Divine Dragon returned home to repair. Especially with a severe loss in durability, Davy Jones knew that Captain Nemo aboard the Gaule was sailing for him.

The next ship to explore was the Banshee’s Cry, and what a haul she found! Maps of Hades backfired, being found by the mind controllers themselves. Ammunition was turned into a Spanish Letter of Marque in exchange for marooning the explorer on the island, in anticipation of a possible attack by the approaching Santa Isabel. However, two UT’s proved to be even more interesting: Maps of Alexandria and Nemo’s Plans. The Maps revealed all treasure on the other two wild islands! In the northeast, it showed that both Runes of Odin and Runes of Magic were on the same island, which could give the ship exploring the island the opportunity to play both at the same time and eliminate any one ship in the game virtually at will! The mind controllers were very excited, because the Mermaid and Rover were already headed towards that island. If they could get both Runes on the ship with Nemo’s Plans, nothing would be able to stop them!

The northwestern island had an interesting mix of UT’s, including Bad Maps (lots of maps in this game haha). This forced Fleet 1 to make a decision – would they explore the island and get wrenched around by the French Mercenaries, and if so, which ship would do the deed?

VASSAL Pirates - Game 16 on August 26th, 2016

In the end, the Tiger’s Eye and Black Pearl continued west while the Hai Peng explored the wild island. The French Mercenaries moved it south, while the Hai Peng was saddled with some other UT’s, including Nemo’s Charts, Runes of Thor, and Weapons. The mysterious island also took a mast from the Hai Peng.

The French Mercs were next. The Tenfold headed home, with the Triton’s captain putting his ship between the Tenfold and the enemy ships. A battle was imminent. To the northeast, the Gaule just barely managed to S-board the Kentucky! The Gaule won the boarding party, and Nemo captured GWL! Now the mind controllers could possibly have their strategy used against them!

The mind controllers made a nice strategy decision with Nemo’s Plans. Knowing they didn’t want the Plans to be on a ship with Maps of Hades (the Banshee’s Cry, which could get wrenched around by Fleet 2), they had the Cyclone use her ability. The ability specifically allows the Cyclone to take unique treasures that otherwise can’t be removed, namely the Plans. Now the mind controllers had Nemo’s Plans aboard a more durable ship, which also had an English Letter of Marque aboard, and which wasn’t near enemy gunships. To complete the plan, the Mermaid and Rover docked at the northeastern island and prepared to explore. However, the round earth rules would soon prove problematic, and even the best-laid plans go wrong…

VASSAL Pirates - Game 16 on August 26th, 2016

Fleet 1 attacks! The Black Pearl uses the Runes of Thor (aboard the Hai Peng) to force an extra action from Calico Cat, which allows the ship to get in range of both the Rover and Mermaid! The Rover is quickly sunk, while Griffin’s reroll is used to dismast the Mermaid. The mind controllers’ fragile fleet was crumbling, and things were about to get worse…

Captain Nemo captures Davy Jones!! The Divine Dragon had little choice but to repair on the previous turn, but it wasn’t enough against Le Gaule, who was actually able to use her +1 to boarding rolls against the Cursed ability. This left the mind controllers with no crew essential to their strategy.

Combat also erupted in the south. The Triton positioned herself between the Morning Star and Longshanks, but her captain was cancelled by Lawrence. The Tenfold took matters into her own hands, ramming the Morning Star! This gave the English the Plague, and Lawrence paid the price for his cancelling. All the crew died, but now the Tenfold was pinned to a larger ship.

VASSAL Pirates - Game 16 on August 26th, 2016

Fleet 2 quickly retaliated, sinking the Triton. The San Cristobal fully repaired, and the Santa Isabel sailed home with gold. The mind controllers had an eventful turn. The Kentucky and Divine Dragon combined to go 3/4 to weaken the Gaule. The Banshee’s Cry was able to emerge from a fog bank (previously hiding from the Gaule) and dock home gold, also transferring the Spanish Letter of Marque to the Divine Dragon. The Cyclone, seeing the now-dismal situation in the northeast, simply picked up a 1 from the nearby island. The Mermaid had one clear choice. She couldn’t pick up the abandoned shipwright to repair, since she can’t carry crew. In addition, the Black Pearl could easily sink her on the next turn regardless. Therefore, picking up regular gold wasn’t a good option either. She decided to put as much of the Rune combo into play as possible, without having a second ship to assist her. She explored the island, loading Runes of Odin. Then the UT was flipped, and a big wall of icy death appeared off the stern of the San Cristobal, still docked at Fleet 2’s home island!

VASSAL Pirates - Game 16 on August 26th, 2016

The ball was now in Xerecs’ court: the Tiger’s Eye sailed to the northeastern island and explored it. The ship loaded 4 regular treasures and a unique treasure, but not Runes of Magic. Xerecs had an opportunity to eliminate a fully-loaded San Cristobal (!) from the game. He didn’t take it.

VASSAL Pirates - Game 16 on August 26th, 2016

The chaos continued. Lenoir, having no place for Captain Nemo to dock, decided on a dual mission: engage the Black Pearl on the way to pick up the abandoned shipwright. The BP lost 2 masts, but the Gaule didn’t S-board. The Longshanks and Morning Star began wearing down the Tenfold, and things were not looking good for the French Mercenaries. The San Cristobal escaped the deadly iceberg, but the Santa Isabel did not. The Mermaid, surprised to be afloat after the Black Pearl turned south, re-explored the northeastern island to load and use Runes of Magic, and the iceberg sank the Santa Isabel with lots of gold aboard! The Cyclone headed home with gold, the Kentucky finally departed her HI, the Divine Dragon continued repairing, and the Banshee’s Cry finally rolled badly for Maps of Hades and was forced onto a sargasso sea.

VASSAL Pirates - Game 16 on August 26th, 2016

The San Cristobal dismasts the Hai Peng!

VASSAL Pirates - Game 16 on August 26th, 2016

The SC is then dismasted by the Apollo! The BC makes it to the northwestern island. The mind controllers have captured the Black Pearl, and the Divine Dragon seeks revenge on the French!

The Gaule prevails with Lenoir’s cancelling, and cripples the Divine Dragon.

The Cyclone somehow makes it home with the Black Pearl, but the Dragon is sunk. Fleet 1 unloads a ton of gold all at once!

The BC slips by the Gaule after winning a boarding action! The Gaule rolled a 1 when S-boarding to lose 6-4! Unfortunately, the BC can’t quite make it into the fog.

VASSAL Pirates - Game 16 on August 26th, 2016

The Gaule somehow can’t sink the BC on her next turn, allowing the Black Pearl to get in range. However, the Pearl only hits once. The Gaule then sank the BC with 6 gold aboard! In the meantime, the Tiger’s Eye and Cyclone gathered gold while the Apollo and Morning Star fought in the south.

The Black Pearl sank the Gaule but could only delay the Tiger’s Eye so long with MI effects. Fleet 1 further proved their dominance, with the Apollo eliminating the remnants of Fleet 2.

VASSAL Pirates - Game 16 on August 26th, 2016

In the end there could be only one winner!

VASSAL Pirates - Game 16 on August 26th, 2016

The final tally:
Fleet 1: 26 gold
Mind Control: 15
Fleet 2: 3
French Mercenaries: 0

This was a good game that saw a lot of interesting UT interactions and some rules questions. My Mind Control fleet continues to prove its worth in multiplayer games, coming in second after a string of victories a few years ago. Despite losing their controllers, they were able to salvage a decent game. In the end, it came as no surprise that a fleet with the Tiger’s Eye and Hai Peng would emerge victorious, and Xerecs has his third win on VASSAL!

Our next endeavour could be even crazier: a 200 point game of Water World!

One Virtual Game, One Physical Game – August 25th, 2016

8/25/2016

I played two games tonight, in rapid succession. The first was against Xerecs, the second against my friend John.

Xerecs and I decided to pit our Keyword fleets against each other!

a7xfanben – Keywords everywhere

Xerecs – Hoist the Keywords!

VASSAL game

My swarm fleet immediately scattered, with the Dervish losing a mast to a whirlpool.

One Virtual Game, One Physical Game - August 25th, 2016

The Dervish was quickly picked apart by her opponents, but the Akua Lapu found Plague! In the meantime, the swarmers had already cleaned off two islands.

The Plague was given to the Dervish, who had no crew to eliminate. The Strongarm (from Return to Savage Shores) then took care of the Plague by sinking the galley.

I anticipated a race-battle to the southwestern island, but Xerecs took the Strongarm through the whirlpool towards my home island. Both fleets unloaded some considerable loot.

One Virtual Game, One Physical Game - August 25th, 2016

After divvying up the wealth among my three ships at the southwestern island, I decided to scatter my units once more! The Grinder headed for the whirlpool, while the Glorious Treasure and Lightning headed for home together. I then went after the Strongarm with the ships that weren’t carrying gold, in an effort to distract and block the hoist. This purpose was achieved with canoes, the Sea Tiger, and the Libellule.

One Virtual Game, One Physical Game - August 25th, 2016

The end of the game was rushed, with the Strongarm sinking the Lightning and the 1 gold she carried. The Akua Lapu sailed through the whirlpool, and managed to position the Doombox flotilla so it could smash the Glorious Treasure. Luckily for me, one of the shots missed, allowing the Glorious Treasure to dock home on the next turn. This late-game skirmish also saw a few canoes sink, while the Grinder was damaged. In the end, the swarm fleet was victorious by a score of 28-10!

The second game featured two 60 point fleets. I was in the mood for something a bit wacky, and ended up going first.

French Vikings:
Grand Vainqueur + Jules Arnaud, captain, helmsman
Carcharodon
Grendel + captain

Anglo-Americans:
Grampus + captain, helmsman, firepot specialist
HMS Henry VIII + captain
Pequod + explorer
HMS Dunlap

One Virtual Game, One Physical Game - August 25th, 2016

(I did not mean for it to look like the shark is breathing fire lol)

The Anglo-Americans attacked on their first turn, dealing damage to the Grand Vainqueur. The French retaliated, setting the Grampus alight while Carcharodon missed taking a bite out of the Henry VIII’s deck.

One Virtual Game, One Physical Game - August 25th, 2016
One Virtual Game, One Physical Game - August 25th, 2016

The fighting schooners teamed up to dismast the Grand Vainqueur! It’s worth noting that both the GV and Grampus were set alight, but both extinguished the flames with their next actions.

One Virtual Game, One Physical Game - August 25th, 2016

The Grendel was the first to reach the beaches, but things looked grim for the French Vikings. However, the shark proved to be a slippery devil, avoiding hits by the Grampus and Henry VIII.

Indeed, the two gunships combined to miss 7 times in a row, making it almost a fair fight!

Carcharodon is wounded, but he allows the Grendel to slip by with gold. If not for all the misses, it’s unlikely I would have brought back any gold in this game.

The shark is finally killed, and the Grendel sets off on a suicide mission.

One Virtual Game, One Physical Game - August 25th, 2016

By necessity the Anglo-Americans keep the lone Viking alive, but she’s not a threat and the Pequod and Dunlap return home with enough gold to win the game without sailing back for another trip! The Anglo-Americans defeat the French Vikings 23-15!

One Virtual Game, One Physical Game - August 25th, 2016

Back in Action! 2 Players, 40 Points on August 24th, 2016

With the fall approaching I’ve started playing with my regular play partner once again! Our first game back was a simple affair, played on the sidelines of a super-casual game night. This led to some interruptions (which may lead to new players though heh) and the game being quite short. I was excited to make a fleet with some of the stuff I haven’t used before, and came up with a combo I like. (After Volt’s recent report I almost went with Terrox but this was only a 40 point game and the other Cursed stuff in my current traveling collection is less than inspiring lol)

He went first with a mixed fleet:
HMS Dunlap
Pequod
USS Oregon + captain

Pirates:
Grand Barnacle + Calypso, Coconut
El Ballista + Hammersmith, fire shot
Mermaid

The Grand Barnacle and Mermaid are two of the newest additions to my fleet, and I never use Calypso as much as I’d like to heh. John went with a gold-oriented fleet with plenty of open cargo spaces and durability, while I wanted to use the Ballista as a fast suicide attacker to distract from the Calypso gimmick.

Pirate fleet docked at home
Back in Action! 2 Players, 40 Points on August 24th, 2016
The Ballista quickly set upon the slow Oregon, while Calypso didn’t need the monkey’s reroll to set up some whirlpools.
Back in Action! 2 Players, 40 Points on August 24th, 2016

The Ballista went 0/4 on her second volley and then was pummeled by the Oregon and Dunlap. The Pequod and Mermaid are almost back with gold, but the Grand Barnacle has the best haul.

Back in Action! 2 Players, 40 Points on August 24th, 2016

The Pirates made it back, and I ceded the rest of the gold in play. Luckily it worked, with the Pirates winning 23-22! (A narrow margin of victory, and almost the same score as Volt’s 3-way tie at 22 haha)

Back in Action! 2 Players, 40 Points on August 24th, 2016

It was good to get back to some good ol’ pirating, and we look forward to more adventures in the near future!

Historical Fantasy Scenario Flashback Battle

Historical Fantasy Scenario Flashback Battle

This is not a regular battle report. Instead, it’s a “flashback” of sorts. I finally got around to doing a Historical Fantasy Scenario (HFS) battle, the first since 2011. I didn’t have time for a full HFS, but this report will give you an idea of what they were like, back in the day. It’s also rather steeped in nostalgia and my personal collection of ships, but that gives it even more of a historical touch.

It was a classic matchup: the English versus the Franco-Spanish. However, certainly not a reenactment of Trafalgar, though that’s something I hope to do someday.

The fleets were as follows:

English: 22 ships of the line and 6 frigates (28 ships total)

Franco-Spanish (FS): 29 ships of the line and 8 frigates (37 ships total)

(65 ships total; considering that some of my HFS battles involved over 200 ships, imagine this battle but three times its size!)

Going back to my Historical Fantasy Scenarios, square rigged ships with 4 or 5 masts were considered 3 decked ships of the line, meaning they generally carried at least 90 guns. For flavor purposes I would count the number of cannons the ship has (based on the actual artwork), and then pile on as many cannons as possible, even where it became unrealistic. This helped the numbers simulate reality more often, and helped me have a lot of SOL’s (ships of the line). In this battle, the English had nine 3 deckers compared to thirteen in the allied fleet.

Both fleets headed towards each other in double lines of battle, with the frigates at the northern end of the lines. The wind was blowing due south. Of course, being the first HFS action since 2011, and quite possibly the last-ever HFS-style battle, this was no ordinary contest, as the particular ships would prove…

Historical Fantasy Scenario

The original French flagship, La Magnifique. The leader of the French in dozens and dozens of battles, and the first 5 master I ever owned. The first true battleship, she has been preserved in her original form, when I put the masts in backwards. Her mainmast isn’t broken, but merely loose from the time she was constructed. A true legend in her time, La Magnifique has been brought out of retirement to fight once more!

The exact opposite: France’s newest flagship! Le Dauphin Royal was launched just days ago, and a new generation of French sailors eagerly set sail upon the majestic battleship.

The Magnifique and Dauphin Royal headed the two columns of the combined fleet, but directly astern were many of France’s best ships. Here you can see the intimidating but beautiful Ville de Paris and Superbe in the foreground, while behind them the Argonauta was the only Spanish 5 master available for the day’s action.

This shows the rest of the FS fleet, which is quite impressive.

The backs of the main columns, with the 2 deckers eager to form lines of their own or join one of the main columns.

The French frigate squadron, with the ultra-fast Le Mercure in the lead. The Mercure shared the title of “fastest ship afloat” with the pirate schooner Raven back in the old days. Off her starboard quarter sails Le Republicain, a ship whose gun crews are among the best in the French fleet. Behind them are mostly newer arrivals, eager to prove themselves in such a rare opportunity that this was.

One last look at the French for the time being:

Her Majesty’s Navy: 28 of England’s finest warships, out to defend their dominion, which is the world’s oceans. Unlike the French, their strongest column is the one to windward.

Heading the English line: HMS Titan and HMS Dreadnought. The third ship is one the allies didn’t want to see: HMS Gargantuan. Back in 2010 and 2011, times of extremely frequent and intense warfare, the two Gargantuans often dominated the seas as England’s flagships. With her sister ship in drydock and this Gargantuan demoted from the front of the line, she holds a somewhat less powerful position than she did in her glory days. However, she still commands immense respect, especially from those newbies in the allied fleet who would be unwise enough to forget the tales of past conflicts.

England’s frigate squadron. While small back then too, it was never the reason for England’s victories at sea.

A sight the allies dreaded even more than HMS Gargantuan – my first two English ships EVER! Similar to the Magnifique and Gargantuan, HMS Lord Walpole and HMS Birkenhead have been involved in countless battles, and these two have almost always been on the winning side, often teaming up to surround and pulverize larger ships. Probably no two ships in my collection have dealt as much damage as this duo.

Is there a prettier sight to be seen? (other than this in real life haha)

It’s time for WAR!

Some of the French 2 deckers begin to join the lines, while the Spanish 3 deckers disobey orders and fail to join the windward column:

The English lines of battle are in accordance with their battle plan, but will their numerical inferiority doom them?

Open fire! Battle is joined! The Titan and Magnifique exchange furious broadsides, with the Magnifique losing her jib.

The Dauphin Royal fires her cannons for the first time as the Titan comes under fire from both sides. Just beyond them, the frigate battle has begun. The Mercure got ahead of herself and overestimated the speed of her fleetmates, and lost her foremast to a well-placed shot from the Saint James, who then rammed the French schooner at full speed.

England’s flagship has already lost two masts, but she moves on to face Le Superbe:

The Dreadnought punishes the Dauphin as some of the French ship’s shots miss high due to an ill-timed wave.

The Magnifique and Gargantuan meet yet again, but this French admiral has heard the horror stories of past wars and looks to break off the engagement. Up north, the arrival of the other French frigates has signalled a shift in that theater of the battle.

The powerful Republicain comes to the aid of Le Mercure while the Bonifacio dismasts the Minerva.

That swell in the middle of the battle has disrupted things for a moment, but both fleets are in no mood to surrender to the weather!

As per the English strategy, HMS Titan steers away from the allied windward column. The Argonauta and Gaule are afraid of hitting their French comrades in the leeward column, especially when aiming for the rigging, and many gun crews hold their fire temporarily.

In the English leeward column, the Orkney and Burma are slow to get into action. At the upper right and behind the Gargantuan sails HMS Success, a critical part of many English victories. They were especially important when I had 3 of them, but the other two have since been traded to other admirals!

With the Magnifique out in front of the rest of the French column, and the slow Ville de Paris lumbering behind, the captain of the Gargantuan saw his chance. Seizing the initiative, he went with the wind and took his ship out of the line, breaking the French line in the process. The Gargantuan raked the Ville de Paris by the bows, wrecking two of her masts.

With the Titan off fighting the Superbe and the Gargantuan sailing south, the Dreadnought was fighting the southernmost allied 3 deckers by herself. The English roped and grappled their ship to the Dauphin Royal, lashing the two ships together. This caused panic aboard the Argonauta, who soon crashed into the Dauphin’s starboard quarter! The force of the collision carried the Argonauta into the Dreadnought as well.

Here the French have a numbers advantage, but the inexperienced Spanish contingent and fears of friendly fire have led to a stalemate in these early stages of the battle.

The Magnifique lets loose an angry broadside, quickly crippling the Oxley. The next ship in the English leeward column is HMS Concorde, which has one of the fastest-firing crews in the English fleet.

With surprising speed, the Lord Walpole and Birkenhead arrive in the action! The Lord Walpole gives a thunderous broadside to the Delacroix, while the Birkenhead follows.

The middle of the battlefield, where despite the high losses in crew the capital ships are faring relatively well.

The Lord Walpole’s captain was overly aggressive, and tried to go inside the French line. His ship was nearly quick enough for the maneuver, but the Neptune’s jib caught in his rigging! A line was severed, but the Neptune was already colliding with the Lord Walpole’s stern, causing a bit of damage and heeling the ship out of the water.

In the center, the Superbe and Titan have become locked together in an epic duel. At the right, a line of 6 ships deep dominates the battle, with the line alternating French-English at 3 ships each. HMS Success and La Gaule are the latest entrants.

The frigate battle was not going well for the English:

In a rare instance of French seamanship, the Magnifique broke part of the English line to rake two ships at once, causing devastation! At this point she was by far the most easterly allied ship, having basically reached the end of the English formation.

Some of the smaller French SOL’s are set upon by larger English ships:

As chaotic as the battle was getting, a lot of ships had yet to enter the action!

With this overhead shot, you can see that it’s still roughly a line-of-battle affair, but the sheer carnage is threatening to turn things into a pell-mell action.

The battle continues to shift slightly to the south, partly due to the wind.

At the lower right, the Provence would soon become the first allied ship to surrender, while the Intrepide has suffered a double broadside from the Cheshire and 3 decked Burma.

The Lord Walpole has rounded the Neptune only to encounter the L’Heros, while the Birkenhead continues against the Neptune. At the right, the Orkney and Burma have made short work of the Delacroix.

A huge broadside from L’Hercule brings down the King Edward’s mainmast:

The exhausted crew of the Dauphin Royal finally broke free of the Dreadnought, only to run into raking fire from the fresh HMS Leicester!

Only three English frigates still have masts standing, as the French have outmaneuvered and outgunned them from the start. It may have helped that there weren’t any Spanish frigates, as many Spanish SOL’s have yet to enter the main battle or have caused complications for the allies.

Many allied ships have turned southeast in an attempt to join battle, but it may be too late for some of them.

The Magnifique has finally broken free of the fighting to give her crew a short rest, but what she sees is not pleasant: superior English gun crews have led to their dominance in the southern area, while the central area features many shattered French capital ships. As the English columns moved south to crush the French, the Spanish ships with the weather gauge found it difficult to enter the battle, between the logjam in the center and the frigate battle to the north.

The Lord Walpole and Birkenhead sight the Magnifique to the east, and make a beeline towards the flagship, confident in their gun crews.

3 deckers from both sides engage. The Scipion fires upon the Titan, which is now aflame.

The other Spanish 3 deckers finally enter the battle, and the Success is dismasted.

The Concorde duels with the Ville de Paris. Behind them you can see the Hercule and Leicester beating each other to pieces in an evenly matched fight. The fresh HMS Victoria has engaged the battered Dauphin Royal.

The frigate battle is already over! The Saint James was outnumbered 3 to 1, and couldn’t make up the difference. The large crew of the Bonifacio took care of the Patagonia, while the other French frigates surrounded their English counterparts.

War at sea:

Here is generally where the battle reached its peak:

History repeats itself! The battle for the ages: La Magnifique vs HMS Lord Walpole and HMS Birkenhead.

The Ville de Paris was winning her battle against the Concorde, but here the Ajax has begun to fire upon her starboard quarter. At the left, two English 64’s surround a Spanish 3 decker.

Utter devastation. The Hercule and Leicester have dismasted each other but continue to fight. The Dauphin Royal is close to striking her clors to the Victoria. Behind them, the Argonauta has dismasted a small English SOL before being set ablaze by the fresh Belle of Exeter. At the top of the frame, the Dreadnought is slowly winning a battle of attrition against La Gaule, while the French frigates regroup after the English frigates surrender.

The Saint James was in no condition to be taken as a prize, and the French sunk her.

Overeager to get into battle, the Auguste rams one of her allies!

The center of the battle has become very densely packed, with La Valois as the latest entrant. Her and her sister ships are veterans of many battles, but that may not help her against the sheer firepower of HMS King Edward. At the right, the Titan has lost her final mast to Le Superbe, but refuses to surrender.

At the southern edge of the battle, the English have captured 3 French SOL’s.

One of my first four ships ever, the Asesino de la Nave makes the showdown a battle of the classics! The Birkenhead lies derelict, but the Magnifique has been shot to pieces and has half of her crew killed or wounded.

The English continue to clean up in the south, capturing two more French ships. Just north of them, La Toulouse has been dismasted by the mighty HMS Gargantuan. At the right, HMS Victoria delivers a broadside through the stern galleries of the Matthias Vospero.

Carnage in the center:

An ominous sight: the fire aboard the Argonauta spreads, and she drifts south with the wind, crashing into the stern of the Dauphin Royal.

Total carnage!

The entire battlefield, showing the scope of the conflict:

Soon afterwards, ships begin surrendering.

The Argonauta exploded! When the fire reached her powder magazine the big 3 decker blew up, with the force of the explosion capsizing the Dauphin Royal and Hercule and moving the Leicester. The Lord Walpole and Ville de Paris were set aflame by the burning debris.

HMS Success is the first English SOL to surrender, while the English force the Neptune and Delacroix to finally strike their colors.

One of my favorite pictures of the battle, showing the action at mast-level and the beautiful shimmering ocean water.

The end is near…

In a scene of unimaginable carnage of death, the Titan and Superbe refuse to surrender, though their rates of fire have decreased significantly from the battle’s start.

Completely exhausted, both sides retire:

The Magnifique finally surrendered, as did some other French ships.

The Spanish, having had trouble geting into the battle early on, still have some ships with all their masts standing, but the new allied commander has ordered a retreat.

A final look at the debris, carnage, and what may be my last-ever HFS battle:

The English were victorious! They had captured 12 enemy ships, and sunk 3 of them. The Franco-Spanish allies had captured the entire English frigate squadron as well as one ship of the line, while sinking the Saint James, for a total of 6 ships captured and 1 ship sunk. The English had lost 50 masts in the day’s action, while the Franco-Spanish lost 74 masts. At the close of the battle, the English had 17 seaworthy ships (ships with at least one mast still standing), compared to 21 in the allied fleet. However, only 13 of those 21 were ships of the line, and almost none of them 3 deckers, while the English had all 17 ships of the line and a morale advantage. The English had a superior strategy, hitting the French leeward column very hard while delaying the windward column and the Spanish reserve from coming up to help. They also used superior gunnery to prevail. The allies were not entirely coordinated in their efforts, and the insubordination and general lack of ambition in the Spanish fleet was partially to blame in their loss.

I hope this gives you a better idea of how Historical Fantasy Scenarios were done. Of course, collecting gold, launching ships, expanding harbors, and avoiding battle were all major parts of HFS’s, but the battles were the most memorable part. I would say that this battle size was about average for an HFS, though sometimes the number of masts lost was greater or less depending upon the nature of the battle. Of course, this battle pales in comparison to this one, which may be the biggest battle I’ve ever done. That battle featured around 200 ships and almost exactly twice as many fallen masts, so you can begin to imagine the carnage.

First Game Ever for Player in Singapore! July 5th, 2016

I played a game on 7/5/2016 with Aaron in Singapore. It was his first game of Pirates ever! 

He used woelf’s Spanish SM fleet while I used my recent SM English fleet. He wanted a quick and simple game since it was his first game, so we used two wild islands and no terrain.

The English kept their ships together, and the Bolingbroke hit the Joya del Sol.
First Game Ever for Player in Singapore!  July 5th, 2016

Both English ships had lost some crew, but the Dover and Bolingbroke had enough firepower to keep the Joya at bay while crippling the Asesino de la Nave.

First Game Ever for Player in Singapore!  July 5th, 2016

The Asesino managed to hit the Dover, but in the end English guns won the day!

First Game Ever for Player in Singapore!  July 5th, 2016

Hard Fought 3 Player Game – July 3rd, 2016

3 players, 40 points

The fleets went in this order:

Americans:
USS Atlanta + captain, helmsman, oarsman, fire shot, grapple shot
Speedy Return + helmsman, oarsman
+ captain on home island

French:
La Bonne Chance + captain
Le Bonaparte + helmsman, explorer
Enfant Terrible + explorer

English Pirates:
Harbinger + captain
HMS Comet + oarsman
HMS Lucy’s Luck + explorer

I purposely used two new ships I had traded for earlier in the year.

American fleet at home

The single wild island featured three beaches with 6 coins apiece.

USS Atlanta
Atlanta and Speedy Return of Pirates CSG
Hard Fought 3 Player Game - July 3rd, 2016

The Americans set out!

The French aren’t willing to sit around, and immediately begin a conflict! Both of the Speedy Return’s outriggers lay in ruins.

Hard Fought 3 Player Game - July 3rd, 2016

The Americans have something to say about that! The Atlanta turns to starboard and sinks the Bonne Chance with a tremendous broadside!

Hard Fought 3 Player Game - July 3rd, 2016

The Atlanta then turned her wrath on the Pirates, hitting the Harbinger twice at sniping range, including a lucky fire shot hit!

Atlanta sets Harbinger ablaze

Destruction early in the game:

USS Atlanta

The Harbinger managed to put out her fire, but the French weren’t done with the Americans just yet, with the Bonaparte shooting a mast off the Speedy Return.

Hard Fought 3 Player Game - July 3rd, 2016

The Atlanta tried to hit the Harbinger at extra-long range once again, but this time both of her equipment backfired! The Atlanta’s own guns had set her aflame.

fire shot backfires

The Atlanta’s fire spread, a concerning sign. However, she wanted to prevent the English Pirates from getting all the gold they had aboard ships. The Harbinger was dismasted, while the Lucy’s Luck had her only mast rammed off.

Hard Fought 3 Player Game - July 3rd, 2016

The Speedy Return and Enfant Terrible returned home with gold, although the Speedy Return had one of her coins stolen by the Bonaparte during their skirmish at the wild island. The Atlanta captured the Harbinger.

Hard Fought 3 Player Game - July 3rd, 2016

Hoping they could return to the derelict Harbinger, the Americans decided to save their own ship rather than risk her burning to the waterline. Their decision was made easier because the Atlanta had stolen a 7 from the Lucy’s Luck. The Speedy Return headed out to resume the war on France.

American ship on fire

The Lucy’s Luck and Atlanta returned home to repair, with the Atlanta barely making it back in time (her fourth mast was consumed by fire). The Speedy Return engaged the Bonaparte to no avail.

Hard Fought 3 Player Game - July 3rd, 2016

HMS Comet had initially run away from the Atlanta with round earth rules in mind, but she turned back to the Harbinger, looking to transfer her oarsman to the Pirate flagship.

Hard Fought 3 Player Game - July 3rd, 2016

The Americans were having a tough time in this middle part of the game, with the Atlanta out of action following her fire mishap. The Speedy Return was outgunned by the Bonaparte, so she fled north to look for gold. The Comet completed her crew transfer while the Lucy’s Luck sailed back out.

Hard Fought 3 Player Game - July 3rd, 2016

A handful of turns later, and the Speedy Return dismasts the Lucy’s Luck with a ram, but only after she had sunk the Enfant Terrible! The Bonaparte approaches for revenge, but the Atlanta is back in the area and ready to fight once more. In the meantime, the Comet and Harbinger returned home with gold for the English Pirates.

The Bonaparte and Lucy’s Luck grabbed some of the last coins, and the Speedy Return and Atlanta headed to intercept the Bonaparte via round earth.

Hard Fought 3 Player Game - July 3rd, 2016

Late game carnage! The Atlanta dismasted the Bonaparte, allowing the Speedy Return to capture the Frenchman and eliminate the French from active play. However, the English Pirates weren’t done, with the Harbinger having repaired a couple masts. She hit twice to sink the Speedy Return after making the round earth trip herself! The Comet approached off the Atlanta’s starboard side.

Hard Fought 3 Player Game - July 3rd, 2016

The Atlanta proved that she was the most dominant ship in these waters, dismasting the Harbinger for the second time and sinking her once and for all. The Comet was outgunned, and the American flagship had the situation under control.

USS Atlanta reigns supreme

The final confrontation: HMS Lucy’s Luck vs. USS Atlanta! Alas, the Lucy’s Luck couldn’t quite block the American ship, so the captured Bonaparte and her 3 coins were docked safely.

Hard Fought 3 Player Game - July 3rd, 2016

However, all 3 coins were 1’s, which didn’t help the Americans much.

end of game (Pirates CSG)

The final gold count:
1. English Pirates: 16 gold
1. French: 16 gold
3. Americans: 15 gold

!

The final scores were as close as they could possibly be! What a finish to a great game. This game was memorable for something I don’t see all that often – the game was truly played to completion. All coins were unloaded at home islands, all ships were in combat in some way, and all fleets played major roles in the game. You can’t ask for much more in a relatively short game of Pirates! (Normally a short game would have decided the tie, but it didn’t happen; the English Pirates win the tiebreakers of most masts standing and most points in play.)

2 VASSAL Games – June 20th, 2016

Myself and Christian Kahn were just on VASSAL!

I rolled to go first in both games.

My fleet for the Mathias01 challenge

C.K.
Divine Dragon + El Fantasma, firepot specialist
Locker + helmsman, firepot specialist

The Locker and Cazador del Pirata got busy gathering gold, while the Divine Dragon headed straight for the Resolucion. The Locker loaded more gold than she could handle, but it was C.K.’s first game in around 8 years, so I let it slide.

2 VASSAL Games - June 20th, 2016

The Resolucion and Divine Dragon duke it out. I sent the Cazador del Pirata into a fog bank in order to attack the Dragon’s port side.

2 VASSAL Games - June 20th, 2016

The Locker returned home, but her comrade was struggling against the combined power of the Spanish guns.

2 VASSAL Games - June 20th, 2016

The Resolucion captures the Dragon, and the Locker’s crew vow revenge.

2 VASSAL Games - June 20th, 2016

The Locker heads for some gold, with the Cazador shadowing her.

2 VASSAL Games - June 20th, 2016

The Locker surfaces to explore, which allows the Cazador to score a hit while the still-damaged Resolucion and Divine Dragon prepare to take up a chase.

2 VASSAL Games - June 20th, 2016

The Locker submerged and avoided the Spanish for a few turns, but eventually Nemesio Diaz cancelled her to the surface and she was blasted to pieces! The Spanish defeat the Cursed 16-8.

2 VASSAL Games - June 20th, 2016

For the second game the build total was increased to 60.

Clones of the Barbary Coast

C.K.
Divine Dragon + El Fantasma, Sammy the Skull
Locker + Edward Low helmsman, firepot specialist
Lizard’s Sting + cannoneer, firepot specialist

https://pirateswithben.com/clones-of-the-barbary-coast/

My strategy was to engage the Divine Dragon with my two primary gunships, the Gallows and Queen of Sheba. The gold runners split up and headed towards 3 of the 4 wild islands.

2 VASSAL Games - June 20th, 2016

The Divine Dragon was quickly crippled, as my luck was above average today. However, the Corsairs nearly lost the Gallows in the process.

2 VASSAL Games - June 20th, 2016

Some Corsairs are headed home with loot, while the Cursed are still distracted by the Queen of Sheba, who is set aflame by the Lizard’s Sting.

2 VASSAL Games - June 20th, 2016

The Griffin captures the Divine Dragon, but the Queen of Sheba burns to the waterline. While all of that is going on, the Gallows returns home to repair as the Corsairs begin to pile up gold.

2 VASSAL Games - June 20th, 2016

The Corsairs used Fantasma’s Fear to slow down the Lizard’s Sting, which allowed the Griffin to escape. With an advantage in the gold game, the Corsairs weren’t concerned with keeping the Divine Dragon.

2 VASSAL Games - June 20th, 2016

As the Corsairs regroup and repair, the Lizard’s Sting takes back the Divine Dragon. The Cursed don’t want to lose her twice in as many games!

The Gallows heads out for another raid, this time hurting the Locker. However, she is once again dismasted!

The Corsairs are able to gather ALL of the gold on the map, and emerge with a whopping 40-0 victory!

These 2 VASSAL games were fun, and both of us were extremely happy to see Christian playing again. Like a lot of new or inexperienced players, he went for the “cool” and combative stuff, which is fun. I personally was happy to see two of my past challenge fleets do quite well.

As always, looking forward to more!!

Current VASSAL standings:
1. a7xfanben: 8 wins in 13 games
2. Ownage98: 2 wins in 2 games
3. Xerecs: 2 wins in 9 games
4. El Cazador: 1 win in 2 games
4. Captain Vendari: 1 win in 2 games
6. Volt: 0 wins in 1 game
7. C.K.: 0 wins in 2 games

A7XfanBen vs. Captain Vendari – June 16th, 2016

A7XfanBen vs. Captain Vendari

Captain Vendari
Lady’s Scorn + Calico Cat, “Cannonball” Gallows, captain, helmsman, oarsman
San Pedro + fire shot
El Algeciras + captain

A7XfanBen
Large Fry – Spanish Swarm

The Morning Star hides from the Lady’s Scorn:

A7XfanBen vs. Captain Vendari - June 16th, 2016

The MS comes out and tries to distract the Scorn, while the San Cristobal and Neptuno head towards the enemy gold runners!

A7XfanBen vs. Captain Vendari - June 16th, 2016

The Algeciras was dismasted, but the Lady’s Scorn predictably won her battle against the Morning Star.

A7XfanBen vs. Captain Vendari - June 16th, 2016

At this point, it looked like my game to lose. However, luck made that happen. The Scorn damaged the SC, who did no damage whatsoever in return. On the next turn, the Scorn used an EA to cripple both ships. After the San Pedro was sunk, Vendari used her gold to build Fortaleza Dorada, sealing his victory!  You can also check out his BR of the game.

A7XfanBen vs. Captain Vendari - June 16th, 2016

Current VASSAL standings:
1. a7xfanben: 6 wins in 11 games
2. Ownage98: 2 wins in 2 games
3. Xerecs: 2 wins in 9 games
4. El Cazador: 1 win in 2 games
4. Captain Vendari: 1 win in 2 games
6. Volt: 0 wins in 1 game

Davy Jones’ Curse 10th Anniversary Game! May 31st, 2016

Today (5/31/2016) is the 10th anniversary of the release of Davy Jones’ Curse!

Xerecs and I played a game on the VASSAL module to commemorate the occasion (though it was played about a week in advance).

The game had a 60 point build total, and only game pieces from DJC were allowed.

Xerecs played as the Cursed, I as the Americans.

Cursed:
Executioner + El Fantasma, captain, helmsman, oarsman
Spilled Salt + explorer, oarsman
Fiddler’s Green + explorer

Americans:
Paul Revere + captain, helmsman, oarsman
Swamp Fox + captain, helmsman
Saratoga + captain
Brandywine

The Americans got the first shot, blasting two masts off the Executioner.

The Executioner and Paul Revere duked it out, with the Paul Revere finally winning the battle. However, she was severely damaged from the encounter. The Brandywine and Spilled Salt explored for their respective fleets, while the Swamp Fox missed a Broadsides Attack against the Spilled Salt. The Fiddler’s Green has turned north.

Davy Jones' Curse 10th Anniversary Game!  May 31st, 2016

The Cursed gained a bit of momentum, with the Fiddler’s Green holding up the Paul Revere while the Spilled Salt hit twice on the Swamp Fox, who missed another BA.

Davy Jones' Curse 10th Anniversary Game!  May 31st, 2016

The Swamp Fox finally hit with a Broadsides Attack! Combined with a successful ram, and the Spilled Salt was derelict. The Fiddler’s Green had sunk the Paul Revere and dismasted the Swamp Fox with a ram, but the Cursed were running out of options. The Brandywine had unloaded gold for the Americans and was headed towards the battle area.

Davy Jones' Curse 10th Anniversary Game!  May 31st, 2016

The Saratoga finally got into action and sunk the Spilled Salt! This left the Cursed with no gold on their home island or ships, and the Saratoga and Brandywine were still in the way.

Davy Jones' Curse 10th Anniversary Game!  May 31st, 2016

After a short battle the Americans won the game 10-0!

Americans win DJC 10th anniversary game

My favorite part of this Davy Jones’ Curse game was that every ship was able to play a combat role – no ships were left unnoticed.