Circle of Blood
From the Corsairs of Douglas County website:
|Players design 100 pt fleets, mixed nations allowed. The privateer for the battle sets up islands in a pattern along the lines of this…|
White-neutral sea monsters
Red/Yellow-starting positions of ships (in this case yellow was Player 1 and red was Player 2)
(No forts were available, or else they would go on the middle four islands)
|Now for the good stuff. Place 4 randomly selected gold coins, and 1 randomly grabbed UT on each island. No one has a home island at this time. The first island each player explores will become their new home island; all gold on that island is automatically theirs, as is the UT, apply the UT effect if applicable.
After both players take a turn, then the creatures get a turn. Each time the creatures get a turn, roll a d6 for each creature still alive, compare this number to a fog bank in play, the creature will move its full move in the direction rolled. If it encounters an island, iceberg, reef, or Sargasso Sea, it will stop moving until its next turn (ignore fogbanks for creature movement). At the beginning of a creatures turn, if ANY ship is within any attack range for the creature (this is checked before movement), instead of moving it will attack that ship (or the closest ship if more than one is in range). It will continue to attack this ship until either; 1 it is out of range, 2 it is destroyed, or 3 another ship moves closer.
Since the gold is a randomly selected amount, there is no “half way” rule for ending the game, it will continue until there is no gold left, or only one player remains (this puts HI raiders at a premium). Another variant we do here is throw four NPC forts out on the islands marked in orange.
USS Concordia + Montana Mays, Ralph David, Diamond Nelson Turner, helmsman, shipwright, oarsman
Peacock + captain, chainshot specialist
Pawtucket + helmsman, explorer
Flying Fish + explorer
Philadelphia + explorer
Harlequin + explorer
L’Ange de la Mer + captain, helmsman
El Rosal + Luis Zuan, Exploding Shot
St. Denis + captain
El Cervantes + Capitan Alarico Castro, Duque Marcus Vaccaro, helmsman
Le Coeur de Lion + Aramis, captain, helmsman (just realized it was 8 points but it’s only 1 point over)
The fleets started sailing. The Franco-Spanish (hereafter referred to as FS, not to be confused with F&S) explored first by marking their home island (HI) with El Cervantes. Other FS ships quickly docked at islands in the outermost ring, all of which were mysterious in this game.
The FS set up shop in the east, while the Philadelphia explored an island in the northwest which became the HI of the Americans. After the first turn the sea monsters and icebergs began moving! A house rule was quickly instituted which let the sea monsters stay submerged until they were in range of an enemy ship or would have to surface to ram.
As more ships docked and loaded gold, one mysterious island effect that is borderline “broken” in a game of this size captured all attention. The Peacock rolled to move 2 coins from EVERY other wild island to the island that she was docked at, creating a mother lode of gold on a northern island.
On her next turn, the Peacock explored, only to find a ton of UT’s that had been transferred via the MI effect! This slowed the game down as everything was resolved. Holy Water and Metal Hull made the Peacock borderline invincible, but trouble was brewing for the poor little ship. Natives were transferred to the island, making the huge amount of gold somewhat harder to access. Pandora’s Box was the real killer (literally), spawning an outbreak of the Plague, killing all of the ship’s crew (the Peacock grabbed some Wine from the box to numb the pain). In order for the Castaway to actually have effect it was ruled that he came aboard the ship to captain it (literally the crew was a captain) after the Plague had already struck. After it was all said and done, the ship was stuck for two turns from Natives and could only move S. I guess the captain saved himself from the Plague by drinking of mixture of Holy Water and Wine!
In the meantime, a shark introduced himself to the Philadelphia, who would soon run in the other direction.
The FS soon had a crowded HI, with ships coming and going with new gold. Despite their fighting crew the Ange de la Mer and Rosal managed to contribute to the findings.
An iceberg and the Teach began consistently moving northwest, directly towards the American HI. This was an ominous sign and unbeknownst to the players, a foreshadowing one as well. In addition, the Leviathan seemed to enjoy the bright new lines of the dangerous Concordia.
Tragedy soon struck in the form of a huge lightning storm. Odin’s Revenge (a gift from trox I might add) toppled a mast from every ship in play, leaving the Harlequin derelict and all alone in the southernmost part of the sea. The FS were still around their HI and therefore didn’t lose much momentum at all, quickly repairing the ships already docked at their HI. In terms of percentage of masts lost this also benefited the FS more because the Pawtucket was the only American ship other than the big Concordia that had more than 2 masts.
The Flying Fish made her way home via whirlpool as the Philadelphia came home to repair her foresail. The Pawtucket used round earth rules to get home more quickly. Once again the Teach and Leviathan moved directly towards American ships.
The FS experienced a little bad luck of their own, with the Lion being smashed by a hostile iceberg just off their HI. As with Odin’s Revenge, however, the FS were able to repair quickly without much time lost. The St. Denis came in for repairs as well, bringing even more gold to their HI.
The Peacock was finally able to get moving due to Jailhouse Dog eliminating Metal Hull, restoring her to her full S+S+S speed. She darted out of the way of Slarg Gubbit, eager to get revenge on the FS and give them some of their own medicine in the form of the plague!
However, the Peacock’s plan was quickly foiled via MI farming. The Rosal rolled a 6 to slam the Peacock into a nearby iceberg, taking out her second mast and leaving her dead in the water. With Plague still aboard it was unlikely that any ship would want to go near her.
The American player (who happened to be me, lol) was running into a lot of difficulties around his home island. Teach and Leviathan were seemingly on a mission to sink his entire fleet! An iceberg was also nearby, giving the Americans a handful of bad luck just as they began to bring in some gold. As soon as she repaired and set back out again the Philadelphia was rammed by the Teach, although since she had already left her explorer at home the Teach didn’t get to eat any poor Americans. The Concordia purposely positioned herself right next to the Leviathan, losing two masts in the process. Montana Mays knew the strength and relative invincibility of his ship (with DNT even aboard to cancel the Leviathan’s stinkpot-esque breath attack that could shut down Eternal and make the ship vulnerable), and therefore he wasn’t afraid to lose a few masts if he could still win the battle.
The FS soon tried their hand at more luck with MI farming, but they soon learned their lesson and got burned, with the St. Denis losing all four of her masts to the same MI.
As the St. Denis and Philadelphia limped home to their respective HI’s, the Concordia shot the Leviathan to pieces, leaving only the head of tail of the great beast. Leviathan shot back and dismasted the Concordia, although the Concordia would still be able to fire with all of her cannons. Earlier in the game the Harlequin had found Albatross, which was soon transferred to the Concordia and rendered her mediocre guns even less effective.
No wonder the Concordia can still shoot when derelict! American blood and steel take on nature’s most terrible creature:
The Concordia docked at her HI, giving her immunity to the annoying Leviathan, shooting off the tail in the process. The Teach continued to harass the American HI, even moving around the island to chase the poor Philadelphia. The damaged Pawtucket and Flying Fish shot at her from their HI but missed again and again. The bad luck experienced by the Americans in this game was borderline unprecedented. To make matters worse, two icebergs blocked their path to the southeast, which you can just see in the next picture on the far right.
As the Pawtucket repaired, the sea monsters finally gave the Americans a break, letting the Flying Fish and Philadelphia sail in opposite directions. The Flying Fish headed off without crew (due to Natives) to the rich northern island. The Philadelphia was sunk by the L’Ange de la Mer, who was headed home with gold from that northern island. The Rosal and Cervantes looked to capitalize on the Americans’ weaknesses, but the partially repaired Concordia loomed just out of range. In the relatively deserted south, the Lion captured the Harlequin and began the long journey home at S+S.
Both factions were content to run gold for the time being as the Concordia guarded the northern island. The Americans had the advantage of their HI being closer to this major island, but it would be interesting to see if that advantage could turn the tables on their history of bad luck and how it affected their early game. Speaking of which, the FS were nearly intact outside of Odin’s Revenge and enjoyed considerable wealth flowing in from neighboring wild islands.
Due to space constraints during setup, the sea monsters’ deckplates were placed next to the FS fleet’s deckplates, which made the admirals think that this coincidence had affected the minds of the sea monsters, as they had only attacked the Americans.
The Leviathan used the round earth rules to ram and board the Mer. Both rolls failed, and the serpent was quickly eliminated by the French flagship.
While the shark and sea serpent were harassing the Americans, the two squids (Slarg Gubbit and Lusca, where did those names come from?) were busy moving back and forth aimlessly. Gubbit got in the way of the Americans a few times but didn’t directly attack them. Eventually they seemed to grow fond of each other and moved directly together. After a few turns of mating they headed off in opposite directions, desperate for human blood.
A few turns later:
Since Montana Mays protected his crew from elimination, the Concordia began towing the Peacock, handing off Plague to the already dangerous American flagship. The American shipwright went the opposite way, coming aboard the Peacock in order to get her sailing again. The Flying Fish was busy making trips to the northern island, but the Pawtucket wanted no part of the Natives. Earlier in the game the Pawtucket’s helmsman became linked to Manawa no Kowhatu, giving her Eternal and Fear.
As the Lion returned home with the captured Harlequin, a similar situation occurred for the second time (the first being around the time of Odin’s Revenge), with almost the entire FS fleet crowding around their HI as ships came in for various reasons.
This brief period of peace allowed the Pawtucket, Concordia, and Peacock to sail east as the Flying Fish continued to take gold from the northern island. Both fleets had considerable gold, with less than a dozen still on wild islands.
As the FS fleet spread out once again, the Americans knew they’d have to do some fancy maneuvering to gain the upper hand with a numbers disadvantage. The Peacock sailed south with Wine, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. The Concordia and Pawtucket sailed north, with the Concordia eyeing the Mer with Plague aboard (Luis Zuan had been killed aboard the Rosal earlier in the game via a UT). The Pawtucket was quickly sunk by the Armada and Mer, although the Mer moved into perfect positioning in the process.
The Concordia unloaded her deadly Plague, killing the Mer’s captain and helmsman. She also had a very successful shoot action, rolling 4/5 to dismast the schooner!
The St. Denis took advantage of her L-range guns and moved to avoid the range of DNT, sinking the Concordia! This placed her alongside the Pawtucket to repair. (via Eternal)
The Rosal let go of the Armada and grabbed gold from the northern island. With the Concordia gone the Lion and Harlequin also moved into the area.
With the FS HI deserted, the Peacock seized her chance and intended to exchange Wine for any treasure she wanted. However, her captain (from the Castaway UT) had forgotten about the shipwright she inherited from the Concordia, which meant that she had no space with which to load the gold! (The treasure you exchange for Wine still takes up cargo space) Perhaps he had gotten drunk with the Wine! XD
The St. Denis dismasted and captured the Peacock, who would have been hit anyway once Wine was off the ship. The endgame was nearing, with the northern theater holding all of the tension.
The Concordia and Cervantes were the only ships in the area capable of putting up a fight. The Cervantes SAT’d away as the Concordia sunk the Mer. At this point the game was called since there were only 5 coins left on the once-rich northern island and both players knew they were all 1’s.
Both players counted up their treasure, with the FS getting the majority of the 5’s and 6’s. The Franco-Spanish beat the Americans by a score of 67-41!
The scenario worked well for the most part. The sea monsters could perhaps move based on different icebergs/fog banks that are facing different directions so a roll of 1 doesn’t always move them north. Also, with so many wild islands (10 after the HI’s are explored) the game could revolve around gold running a little bit too much.
This was a great game that saw some interesting new UT’s such as Castaway and Odin’s Revenge. The Americans suffered from bad luck with icebergs, sea monsters, and shoot actions early on while the Franco-Spanish benefited from finding a handful of high-value coins. The late-game UT ploys by the Americans failed to overcome the difference, as the superior Franco-Spanish gold running and powerful escort ships won the day!