+All forts available to these factions (but mainly Paradis de la Mer, The Devil’s Maw, and Dead Man’s Point)
The Zeus gets Coved to an island on the first turn, and sacs to redock twice, sending coins to the Bonnie Liz and Sea Crane. They redock, giving each coin +3 to its value, transferring freely in between actions. The Zeus sacs each turn and continues sending coins home, changing islands when necessary. There are plenty of oarsmen to feed the treasure loop, so the Zeus shouldn’t run out of sac fodder for a while. If the Zeus is compromised, the Bonnie Liz and Sea Crane are both very capable gold runners ready to sail out whenever needed. If enemy home island raiders become a problem, Paradis might be built to send gold to a wild island if the Zeus can’t deal with the raiders.
If you want, comment below your thoughts on the fleet and rate it on a 1-5 scale!
The idea for this fleet came to me when a game for the 10th anniversary of the Facebook group was discussed. Xerecs led the setup process, with a build total of 70 points. I immediately thought of an idea – use the extra 30 points to “enhance” my powerful and competitive UPS 5 fleet. (which did rather well in VASSAL Tournament #1)
It’s a fun concept I actually haven’t really played around with much – take an existing uber-competitive UPS fleet build, and scale it up to non-standard build totals. I do find 70 points to be a fun build total, so let’s see how much better UPS 5 can be with some extra points available. Just the thought of “enhancing” any UPS fleet is scary…. O_O XD
As a side note, all credit goes to darrin for (as far as I know) creating the UPS fleet strategy – his fleets can still be seen via links in the T2 bracket.
I quickly started realizing I could combine existing elements of prior UPS fleets and integrate them into UPS 5. However, the original idea was to start with UPS 5 and enhance it from there with the extra points, so I came back around to that. For the next iteration, see Bonus Zeus. XD All game pieces found in the Master Spreadsheet.
Zeus + Captain Jack Sparrow (058 Common version), “Don” Pedro Gilbert, Tia Dalma, helmsman, explorer, oarsman
Le Coeur du Lion + 2 oarsmen
Jolly Mon + The Hag of Tortuga
Sol + helmsman, explorer
Banshee’s Cry + Genny Gallows (SM version)
4 oarsmen on the home island (1 or 2 being Spanish)
+All forts available to these factions (but mainly Paradis de la Mer, The Devil’s Maw, Fortaleza Dorada, Dead Man’s Point and St. Pierre)
Tia Dalma climbs aboard the Zeus to provide cancelling protection. This will help to ensure the Zeus is protected while CJS does his dirty work, in addition to making it more likely that the Zeus would get a first strike advantage against any opponent.
This is where it gets fun. The UPS strategy has been beaten to death by myself and darrin, so I won’t go into the extreme details. However, with the additions there are now TWO ships teleporting coins home, and two ships waiting at home to unload the goodies for instant gratification. XD
The Zeus might still sac out to the nearest wild island, but Hidden Cove allows for supreme flexibility and options. The Sol doesn’t have great speed or a source of extra actions (for a build total of 80, add the Patagonia+Robinson+Mycron combo for 10 points), so she is likely to get Coved out. In that situation, both ships should be able to teleport coins home on the first turn.
The Coeur was the unloader in UPS 5, but in this fleet the Banshee’s Cry is the primary unloader. The BC isn’t even a regular gold runner or the star of the fleet as she usually is, she’s just a home island receiver barge! XD Here the free transfer of crew to and from your home island gets abused – par for the course among UPS fleets lol. When the Zeus or Sol explores, the BC starts with an oarsman aboard. The oarsman is flipped for a coin. Then Genny Gallows boards the BC as a free action. Then the BC redocks and unloads the coin, giving it +2 to its value! XD
This fleet might still be susceptible to a fleet that has at least one (preferably two) hard hitting gunship, especially something with good L range cannons like HMS Grand Temple that could start messing with the Zeus (maybe via Capitaine Chevalle) without having to deal with Tia Dalma. But given the powerful presence of the Sol and BC, those ships might allow the Zeus to just handle combat on her own. If the Zeus went ham on an enemy gunship, it could spell trouble for any adversaries – between Sac and cancelling, the Zeus is a pretty nasty foe. There’s also the potential for the Zeus to sac for L+S+L+S speed and chase down an enemy runner late in the game, boarding with Hoard to steal a win. However, with two sources of the CJS ability, a +2 bonus applied to multiple coins, and the BC as gold running backup, I don’t think this fleet will have a lot of trouble winning games.
If you want, comment below your thoughts on the fleet and rate it on a 1-5 scale!
Given how difficult it is to make a very small fleet (just 40 points) that can effectively and efficiently shut down enemy crew, it was hard NOT to look at the best options for a faction right from the start. I considered a Spanish killing fleet, but decided against it because it would be rather fragile and I’ve already used the combo I was thinking about. Capturing is fun but the low build total would likely limit that strategy to one ship, or two lackluster ones. I like Switchblades for this sort of idea, but then I’d only have one ship. (and some of my favorite Switchblade combos are more than 40 points)
My thoughts shifted to the Americans and the amazing USS Kettering. With built-in cancelling and plenty of firepower, she would be good right from the get-go. Add in some flair, and a very capable gunship emerges. Perry allows me to exceed the regular build limit with generic crew for the second ship, while Mays links (all American ships) to give the ship 4 cargo spaces, allowing himself to come aboard. A helmsman would be nice, but I really wanted another crew targeting ability, hence the Stinkpot Shot. Mays’ SAT gives the fleet the element of explosive attack power and additional speed, not to mention the nice Crew Protect ability. I didn’t really want to use that ability in this challenge since it’s kinda gamey and a fun-ruiner, but my original build came to only 38 points before adding Perry, so between Mays linking and his awesome SAT ability, there weren’t many other options (since most of the other high priced American crew don’t link to all of their ships, and I had already maxed out both cargo holds). All told, the Kettering will move up to S+L+S+L with 12 3L shots, one of which could shut down an entire ship’s complement of crew if it hits, with guaranteed cancelling even if the stinkpot shot backfires.
The second ship was relatively easy after I did a search for American ships that move S+L. USS Hudson has long been a favorite of mine and other players, for good reasons. She is not all that different from the Kettering – rank-3 cannons, S+L speed, and great bang for your buck. The handy crew killing ability built into the Hudson was the clincher. She’s got the standard captain and helmsman to make her rather quick, and of course some stinky stuff to blast enemies with as well. Her ideal first attack would be using her speed to get the first strike, and then using stinkpot shot right away to disable the enemy ship’s crew AND kill one of them with a single shot.
Edit (12/10/2018 ): Added the Frontier with 3 points of crew with the increased build total and announcement of gold in play. Easy option for 20 extra points of great gold running – S+S+S speed on a hoist with 7 cargo open.
Either ship’s first strike could be so devastating that an enemy could have a difficult time recovering. Overall I think the speed, crew protect/cancelling, and firepower (essentially 10 cannons total) could make up for any 1 rolls on stinkpot shots.
Checking out the rarities of all-valuable helmsmen crew, I saw both Hammersmith and “Bootstrap Bill” Turner in the Pirate corner. Thus, I assumed nearly everyone would just use the Pirates after a glut of Spanish entries in my Uncommon Fleet Challenge. I thought about going Pirate but decided against such an easy path.
English are my favorite faction and they have Thomas Gunn , so let me NOT use them. I did consider minor factions very briefly, but I didn’t want to do a typical overdone Grand Path/Grand Temple setup just to stay competitive.
Well, the French have a ton of great rare ships and crew, and plenty of players on MT hate them, so let’s give the French the love they deserve in this game. Such a fantastic faction to play.
It was pretty typical for the largest and smallest ships to be Rare in Pirates CSG, so it comes as no surprise that we see a 5 master and two 1 masters in the fleet.
Le Superbe is the big bad gunship, fitting a whopping 5 abilities (Captain, S-Board, SAT, Reroll, +1 against English) into just two cargo spaces from her crew complement. With a base move under S+L, I knew it was imperative to get some extra actions with regularity, hence the SAT with reroll combo feeling almost required. Originally I had Jordan Dumas paired with St. Croix, but then realized that I should have a “free” reroller instead and therefore switching Dumas with Surcouf. I’m not a big fan of S-Board, but in my mind I’m almost getting it for 1 point here (instead of 4) considering the original setup paid the full 3 for reroll. Besides, Dumas and the trio of Captain/S-Boarders are the only Rare French named captains. If for some reason there was a Pirate Letter of Marque, I would have used that due to the nature of this challenge, but in this case the English one makes a lot of sense too – Thomas Gunn is somewhat likely to appear, and it fits perfectly with the classic Anglo-French bias presented by history and St. Croix’s secondary ability. The Superbe does have 2 cargo spaces left in case she wants to raid an enemy ship, or pick up predetermined (already seen) “safe” coins from an island I’ve previously explored.
Here is a cropped “action shot” of Le Superbe sailing the Sea of Karkuda in Command the Oceans during 2017.
Sure the Bon Marin is overplayed, but I felt it was justified knowing the challenge and members involved. One of the best gold runners in the game, completely awesome even with no crew.
Le Pique was the final ship “added” (see below), to make the fleet even more competitive and add a second great gold runner. Her and the Bon Marin will simply get as much gold as possible.
The UT’s are nasty but useful since both gold runners are running without crew. Second copy of Natives is one from RtSS:
Tiki of the Volcano
Eliminate all but one crew from this ship. If there is a Tribal Chieftain on this ship, you must eliminate only one crew from this ship.
Originally I had La Delacroix as the 5 master, but was able to cut a point and increase cargo by switching to the Superbe. I love the Delacroix and switching back wouldn’t hurt the fleet too much.
I also had the Jeux instead of the Pique, but realized I probably wouldn’t win if the fleet wasn’t optimized for competitiveness. Oh well I guess. I wanted to use the Ébat from Return to Savage Shores at one point, but that would cost me both the Bon Marin and Pique/Jeux (though I could have used Ebat with Le Coeur du Lion , I am slightly more sick of the Coeur than the Bon Marin haha). Basically just a more expensive version of the Jeux, which I couldn’t afford in this case.
Originally published to Miniature Trading on June 13th, 2018
I know the Corsairs are often better at just running gold with their plethora of cheap and great cargo ships, but sometimes it’s fun to surprise your opponents. In which case, you’d have to NOT use the Tiger’s Eye , which has become one of the most overused ships in the entire game.
Here we’ve got a “Barbary Bite” fleet where all three ships have captains, and all three are ready for hybrid use. They will probably scatter to get gold, with each ship capable of defending itself or going out of their way to raid enemy gold runners for extra loot. (using the Galley keyword to not be pinned in the process, and maybe even using it to turn into an opponent’s ship)
Simple and straightforward, it’s not going to be the best Corsair fleet at 40 points, but it’s flexible with high cargo and accurate guns.
Originally published to Miniature Trading on June 13th, 2018
Though not particularly similar to my successful American Pirates fleet, I thought of another idea where I could combine the two factions. I do like this faction combination, since it seems somewhat appropriate given the state of the US back in the Age of Sail.
Designed for 50 point games with gold, the fleet is not incredible but it has some serious gunnery potential.
The Atlanta is the flagship and the only American ship, with cannons essentially firing at 2L or 4L+L with Brent Rice assisting belowdecks. Perry helps the fleet stay a little more competitive.
The Selkie is one of my favorite Pirate ships and one I still think is underrated. With Isandro Ramirez piloting her, the firepower is impressive at 2L-1L-2L/4L+L. Equipped to be a hybrid, the Selkie has two cargo spaces open and will likely escort at least one of the treasure runners and possibly pick up some scraps herself. Or, she could team up with the Atlanta to provide a barrage of 8 L+L shots hitting 1/3 of the time.
It would be nice to have a captain on the Fancy, but she’s got the Widowmaker flotilla for deterrence. It’s not a combo that’s likely to hold up for long or hit very often, but 5 total cannons shooting at doubled ranges with S+L speed and 2 cargo for 11 points isn’t bad. She may need to be bailed out by one of the proper gunships in order to get home safely.
The Carrion Crow fills out the points and adds another ship that will try to get gold. Being slow and lacking great cargo, the Crow will just try to empty the nearest island. Her 2S armament could come in handy, though the other ships will be relied upon for the heavy lifting.
The UT’s are designed to maximize the gimmick of extended ranges. For example, an opponent finding Monkey’s Paw would mean I could hit at L+L without even having to roll a 5/6! Targeting Scope is like the same thing but in reverse. Ammunition could turn Exploding Shot into a naval mortar/bombard, though cargo/point space is an issue on both of the main ships.
Power Cannons is where things can get really crazy:
quote from The Pirate Code:
-This ability changes the ship’s printed cannon ranges to 2L.
–Abilities that double the range of a ship’s cannons may double this range to 4L.
Also consider proxying Eye of Maru to get even longer range.
At 50 points, there are three ships capable of getting some gold, a plethora of extra-range guns, and high accuracy at L range from the main ships. This isn’t meant to be very competitive, but it should be fun while still remaining reasonably capable.
Aguila is the flagship and main hybrid. Corazon is not really a “hybrid” but will try to get a coin somewhere with her open cargo space. She can also escort the Picador, which is the main gold runner.
I know this is not an optimal fleet even given the restrictions, but after 400+ games how can I not be sick of joya joya joya. All the ships have space for gold, and all have rowing potential. Mostly just made as a demo for the video.
He set up a tightly packed arrangement of islands, with 3 coins per wild island.
The action got started on the first turn, with the Corazon del Mar knocking a mast off the Victor!
The battle only intensified, with the Raven’s Neck and Aguila trading blows. Inable to perform at his best (I didn’t get the SAT roll XD), Capitan Castro piloted the Aguila the short trip home, knocking a mast off the Raven’s Neck on the way to safety. The Corazon and Victor traded hits before the Corazon moved in for the decisive blow by getting broadside and hitting 2/3!
With the Raven’s Neck gathering gold at an island and the Victor with only 1 mast standing, the Spanish decided it was time to strike with maximum force! The Corazon del Mar sailed over to the Raven’s Neck and improbably hit 3/3 to dismast the ship! This was a devastating blow to their cause, but it only got worse. With no need to capture the Raven’s Neck right away or finish her off, L’Aguila sailed over to the Victor and promptly sunk her! This was a weird and unlikely case where the fleet with the advantage was able to switch targets in a 2v2 setting.
With the Raven’s Neck captured and brought back to Spanish waters, and the Peacock the only ship opposing the Spaniards, the game was all but over. Some coins were unloaded, and the Spanish had won a 10-5 victory!
Not bad! I even forgot Castro’s SAT roll on every turn but one, so this fleet has some potential.
Lyon and Triton function as hybrids – both have abilities that can aid them in stealing gold from enemy runners. Neither has great accuracy, but the cargo and speed available make this more of a gold-centric fleet. The Bon Marin was used to fill out the points and provide a dedicated treasure runner.
Originally published to Miniature Trading on December 27th, 2017
Got this idea during the 12th episode of the podcast.
The perfectly costed Tiger’s Paw allows the use of Pirate crew, providing a niche use for one of the game’s lesser ships. Calypso comes aboard, with Ms. Cheng providing a “free” reroll for the ability to maximize the number of whirlpools put in play. Ms. Cheng would be linked to the captain of the Virtuous Wind, since it does not say that the crew have to be on the same ship. The TP will sit at home and create as many lanes as possible to provide opportunities for the other ships. The Turtle Ship keyword should provide insurance against ramming and boarding, making it a relatively safe place for Calypso.
I originally had the East Wind with a captain and oarsman as the main gunship, but then I didn’t have enough points to add the Sea Crane AND the Tiger’s Breath. Well, at that point, why not substitute for the best Jade Rebel ship in the game, the Virtuous Wind? She has a hybrid complement of crew, with 3 spaces left open for treasure. She will be tasked with a big workload – protect Calypso and the Tiger’s Breath, grab gold from islands (including enemy home islands), and fight the best enemy warship if necessary. What I like about the whirlpool exploration strategy is that you don’t need as much speed: since the whirlpools are placed within L of wild islands, you don’t need much speed from there (just S can work depending on the length of the ship’s hull measured out from the whirlpool) to reach the wild island. Hence the explorers instead of helmsmen (my usual preference) on the gold runners. By placing a whirlpool L away from a wild island and as close as possible to an enemy HI, it could be very easy to allow the Virtuous Wind to steal gold. However, as soon as Calypso is revealed, your opponent will know this.
The Tiger’s Breath completes the unintentional “tiger” theme of this fleet, but more importantly gives a true gold runner. The Tiger’s Breath will go into a whirlpool and out of the other on one turn, and then move to dock and explore an island on the next turn. The oarsman was transferred to the TB so she can get home even with bad whirl rolls on the way there and on the way back.
UT’s are pretty basic – I’m counting on the speedy whirlpool travel to allow me to find Jade, and Marksman’s Map could determine where future whirlpools are placed (and help me to know if I should bother raiding an enemy HI). The Protection will make the journeys less treacherous, since a couple bad rolls could really mess with the crew setups and even dismast the Tiger’s Breath.
One weakness would be fellow HI raiders – they can raid easily with all the whirlpools near the Tiger’s Paw, and could use the same whirlpools to make fast getaways.
I definitely want to test this fleet out at some point, since I think it has the potential to get some gold quickly. I was surprised by how effective the concept worked in this game.
A different kind of land combat in Command the Oceans
Originally published to Miniature Trading on November 26th, 2017
This is just my latest gimmick fleet, at a level so impractical you probably have no reason to look at it. However, if you want to see a thought exercise in how to make Pirates a land-based game, read on. XD
As of this writing I still don’t have any Great Turtles, but they are islands that can MOVE. This is truly incredible, and opens up strategic possibilities that have not gotten as much attention as I would have thought (easier HI raiding, messing with enemy trade routes, etc). In this fleet, the purpose is to move at least one Great Turtle into position so a fort’s cannons can hit an enemy fort or marine.
quote from The Pirate Code:
-Mysterious Island abilities (including Great Turtles) are ignored if a fort is present on the island.
-The number of times a Great Turtle may be moved in a single turn is limited only by the number of move actions available to ships in your fleet.
Unfortunately, we cannot build a fort and then make it mobile. However, there are other things to be done in the way of optimizing this “strategy”.
This whole idea of land combat is quite silly and even stupid if you really think about it. The goal is just to have land combat, not even to win the game. It’s also dependent on your opponent using at least one fort or marine, preferably a fort. If you ever actually use this fleet, try to convince your opponent that it’s “International Build a Fort Day”. XD
Bad Maps is key here. I have included Pandora’s Box so another copy of Bad Maps can be introduced to the game. Hopefully your opponent will find the Box, so you can choose where the second island is sent. Try to have the islands close together, but possibly with one just outside L range of the other. Also keep in mind that the Great Turtles cannot be moved once a fort is built on them. Therefore, use actions to get the turtle into position, and then dock a ship at the turtle later in the turn so you can build a fort on it before your opponent can move it out of position.
Since moving the Great Turtles requires move actions, a swarm fleet would be best for the actual ship choices. The Swiftsure carries a Marine, in case we can have Marine vs. Marine combat on two separate islands, or even Marine vs. Fort. XD The Swiftsure also brings into play Ramsgate, my favorite fort and one that is essential to this concept. Build Ramsgate on the island that is more than L but less than 2L away from a different wild island that has an enemy fort on it. Then, use the fort’s L+L range cannon to blast away at their fort, which doesn’t have the range to reach Ramsgate! XD
This fleet has the cargo and speed to actually get some gold, but the quantity of ships should help you get islands into the right position for land combat to occur. The Algeciras and Treachery are simply escorts so the fleet isn’t blown out of the water as easily. The Jolly Mon is PERFECT for this fleet and the Great Turtles in general, since the ship won’t be moving away from the HI anyway, and allows for 4 extra points via the Hag. The Coeur was included so Paradis could be added – imagine a Spanish player building El Puerto Blanco , and then they get Pandora’s Box and you use Bad Maps to move an island next to the fort, and then build Paradis to wreck it! XD Or, once your opponent has built their own Paradis, build Fortaleza Dorada next to it, which is immune to the L-range guns!
Maps of Alexandria will help to show which islands are worth hitting for the other UT’s. The Figurehead was added since this fleet has many fragile ships and the two gunships aren’t likely to sink any enemy ships, so it’s almost all upside. Necklace of the Sky is an underrated UT that could be key in certain odd situations with this fleet. It could be flipped after your opponent moves an island via Bad Maps or one of the Turtles, in case you needed to build a fort on an island real quick or to prevent an ugly situation.
What ideas do you have for land combat in Pirates CSG?