The Carnage Continues to Mount
This report is for the rest of Turn 73 and all of Turn 74!
She will head straight for the whirlpool and into the Sea of Karkuda. You may have noticed that the Cristal del Obispo loaded Alejandro Malaspina and both Spanish infantry units, though the Cristal has been used as a cargo ship in this game….
Down it goes with a splash! With that, the Spanish have established a true foothold in the northeastern corner of the Castle. They have surprised everyone in play by their courage and determination, and if the Americans cannot hold the other parts of the Castle, they may actually lose the battle!
The Neptune retreats as the Dauphin Royal fully enters the fray. You can see that the recently launched cohort of French blockade runners have reached the battle area, and they make an immediate impact. Right now the American strategy is to get Lenoir within cancelling range of the Concordia, either to cancel the ship’s ability (cannons cannot be eliminated) or Gus Schultz’s Eternal if the French can land a final hit on the ship.
A few French reinforcements: both ships were launched from The Flat, while the Bonaparte heads west after being ordered to break off from whirlpool blockade duty. The Atalante adds a fourth ship to the fresh French vessels.
The American turn begins with utter failure! The 1 is just a reminder for me to mention how many bad rolls the Americans got in the southern part of the battle. The Mohican and Atlanta were horribly ineffective.
The Americans don’t have enough backup ships coming up in reserve to properly support resistance in the northwest area. The Nene-nui tries to block and save the Americans time, while the Swamp Fox misses a Broadsides Attack with a 1. Reinforcements are coming, as you can see the Blackwatch, Adventurous, and Jackson. The Kettering puts out her fire but Commander Steven Decatur retreats for repairs, knowing the extreme value of his ship.
The French have at least 4 gunships headed to reinforce each section of the battle (far south, Castle/Flat, and northwest), but the Americans have no reinforcements going to the Castle right now. They can launch there, but the Pirates and Spanish are the only factions with current high-value resource flow.
Cleaning up now that the English have gone. In a very timely effort, the Black Pearl had Tia Dalma aboard to cancel the oarsman aboard the Belle of Exeter, allowing the Cutlass to capture her! If this hadn’t happened, the Pirates would have had to sink the Belle (requiring considerable effort at 6 hits total), eliminate her crew one by one via boarding parties to capture her (likely losing some of their own crew in the process), or let her escape and get shot at by 4 cannons (musketeer aboard) in the meantime. With Tia Dalma’s arrival, the Pirates snag a nice prize and deny her further usage to the English.
The Revenge manages to keep the fires at bay (barely), and she should be able to put them out next turn! However, she could easily roll a 1 or 2 before moving, which could require a Pirate rescue attempt.
… with more arriving from the northern area. The Rum Runner returns to the Sultan shipwreck to load gold, though the Pirates should really send a smaller ship out there due to the reef damage to larger ships.
This was the risk the Cursed were willing to take on: sending any ship deep into enemy territory runs the risk of that ship getting completely annihilated by the counterattack. No less than eight JR ships fired upon the Guichuan this turn, with the Grand Wind getting 7 shots in (between her SAT and reroll). The Virtuous Wind, Sea Wind (2’s hit with 3 friendly ships within S!), and Majestic (cheerleader ability) were quite useful, but despite rolling well the Jades couldn’t get that final cannon in range (Silent Death was close but not quite there) to dismast the ship. Of course, as we’ll see, the Guichuan wasn’t in that much danger anyway….
The Jades didn’t do so well in the other theaters of the battle, missing the Pyre completely and failing to dismast the weakened Pale Moon. The Whydah is set aflame, but it will be difficult for the Jades to extract the captured/recaptured ships (Hrothgar, Executioner, Scorpion).
Various Jade and Corsair ships turn around: between the ice, fog, and general stalemate situation, the Jade Rebels have not been able to penetrate the Roost as they had hoped to by now. Some progress has been made in the west and northeast areas of the battle, but it has been incredibly slow and bloody progress.
Case in point: the Meshud manages to set the Knight’s Errant aflame, but the Grand Mountain and Sultan’s Sword go about 1/5 combined. Those two are pinned by the sea monsters, who could completely stop the Jade advance in its tracks.
The Jade turn begins with the Guichuan predictably escaping! After the ship turned ghostly, Davy Jones copied the sac ability and killed his explorer, allowing the Guichuan to move into a fog bank. From there DJ can copy the fog hopper ability again to get home. Although the trip was actually kind of a failure (the Jades didn’t lose any ships or crew, while the Cursed flagship will be out of action for 9+ turns), the Cursed were happy to only use one of their two “secret weapon” UT’s… Davy Jones had been prepared to use Necklace of the Sky in an emergency to get out of the predicament, but still has it at his disposal for a future opportune moment….
One of the Guichuan’s biggest masts fell atop the quarterdecks of the Jade cargo ships, with it balancing in most improbable fashion! XD The Guichuan did roll for Fear on the way out, with the terror affecting three Jade ships.
Almost every Cursed ship in the western battle area has been utterly shot to pieces. The Pyre is the healthiest thing they’ve got over there, with the Poor Adams and Whydah (both with just one mast remaining lol) covering the retreats of the Hrothgar, Executioner, Flying Dutchman, Fallen Angel, and Jikininki. That’s right, two severely damaged ships trying to form a line of battle so the numerous mastless ships beyond cannot be captured or sunk on the next Jade turn. XD Indeed, the western part of this giant battle has been one of the most intense exchanges of cannon shots in naval history. As is usual for this war, neither side has really gained the advantage. The factions have simply blasted each other to pieces.
If you stared at the last picture long enough, you may have noticed the submerged Locker making her way underneath the wreckage:
LOL! The sub can barely make it through the dense forest of masts and spars, which have been cut down by cannon balls and shrapnel.
Burning wildly, the Flying Dutchman struggles to make it home. The Fire Djinn lived up to her namesake in this battle, though she has now joined the Hrunting hiding in the fog. The (nearly dismasted) Pale Moon is towing the Executioner, while the Hrothgar and Fallen Angel (towing the Jikininki) attempt to reach the Roost on oar power. The Spilled Salt has fled into the fog, and while the Monkey’s Paw is still healthy, she rolls a silly four 1’s in a row to miss all Jade/Corsair ships in range. XD
You may be wondering why Brachyura is just sitting there. Well, the Donar and Ivory Star are immune to L-range guns (and therefore crab claws XD), so the Grim Reaper and Death’s Anchor are called upon to do the job instead. The Grim Reaper has a great debut broadside, setting the IS aflame. 4 ships repair at the Roost, while Namazu’s wave attack is delayed by the partial retreat of the Jade ships the beast was targeting.
The Knight’s Errant burns to the waterline, opening up a hole in the Cursed defense. However, the Grand Mountain and Sultan’s Sword lose 3 masts between them to the sea monsters, with Calim and Calypsos not even in action yet.
The Monkey’s Paw is continuing to prove herself… as one of the worst ships I’ve ever owned. On all 3L guns, her shooting percentage in this game may be under 33%, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was just a paltry ~20%. Like I said, on this turn she rolled four 1’s in a row to miss all her shots.
A fruitful alliance: the Corazon Dorado tows the Harlequin to the Harbor, where the French have invited the Spanish to repair. The Santa Ana rows there, while the Profeta makes her way to the Castle battle. I really like how this picture shows the different hull colorings and artwork, particularly in the top/top left areas of the photo.
A devastating French attack! The Dauphin Royal gets Gaston’s AA, dismasting the Hudson. The Coeur de Lion knocks the final mast off the Intrepid, while at least three ships get in shots against the Concordia. The Mercure dealt the firepot hit, while the Soleil Royal landed about 3 hits of her own (Montana Mays prevented crew elimination however).
The French blockade runners have done well so far, but of course the 5 masters are the ones doing the really heavy lifting. The “Royal” ships (Dauphin and Soleil) really pulverized the Hudson and Concordia. However, the Julius Caesar and chaos of battle prevented Lenoir from getting in range of the Concordia.
Splintered wood and shredded sails surround the stunned sailors, who have never seen such an intense fight. (and neither have I, at least I don’t think in a regular game (aka non-HFS))Check out the Moulin Rouge coming out of the water – she’s just trying to sail over debris and her bow is struggling to keep pace! XD
At the left, the Mont Blanc is lucky to escape with her oars, while the Scipion shoots at the Horizon and Concordia. I took this shot specifically to show the Scipion and Horizon – they’re at such an angle that you could completely miss them in the other pictures! Both are just underneath the northwestern corner of the Castle, and it’s quite difficult to give them actions on the turns.
Unable to sail in the right direction just yet, the Descharges, Intrepide, and Atalante simply scatter, desperate to make room for the Neptune (saved from the fires!), Hercule, and Congress (captured). The Republicain also saved herself from being burnt, while the Superbe slowly makes her way to The Flat with the captured Buffalo. The Ville de Paris is fully repaired, while Le Bonaparte makes her way to the northwestern area.
At the left, French reinforcements have nearly reached the battle. From left to right is an unintentional line of battle: the Cleopatre, Orient, Courageux, Versailles, Vercingetorix, Grand Vainqueur (triple V! XD), and Saber make their way to the battle! The steady stream of fresh gunships is exactly what France needs to hold strong near The Flat and prevent American gunships from rounding the Castle (the reason the French restarted this war in the first place, remember) and attacking the Spanish from the north. Near the lighthouse is an impressive group of vessels and characters: Amiral Cartier and Jordan Dumas make the Delacroix one of the most feared ships on the sea, while the Santa Ana carries Duque Vaccaro, the Spanish admiral. The GV and Saber combine with the Aube to make a truly impressive presence near the island, even if it’s not in danger and some of the ships are damaged.
Following in American footsteps, the French shoot horribly at the southern edge of the ocean! This area seems to be the opposite of “the spot”; cannons continually miss, and perhaps Fish Island is just bad luck for gunners. XD On this particular turn the French went 1/5. With that battle almost completely devoid of “progress” (a side gaining territory or at least ships on both sides getting damaged to force replacements to come in), the Marie Antoinette and La Gaule have gone into the fog.
After spending a whole turn just to load one batch of pearls, the Sunrise Fire gets a mast shot off by the Lache du Calvados. L’Ange de la Mer is ready to intercept the Sunrise Fire on the other side of shipwreck cove if the Pirates try to escape. Other French gunships are technically stationed in the area (to blockade the Mercs, patrol the waterways, and watch for further Cursed whirlpool incursions), but you can see some of them slowly sailing towards the Battle for the Castle. The French are indeed quite mighty in this game, capable of sustaining a huge battle area that stretches almost the entire length (not “width”) of the ocean while still keeping up considerable ships in reserve to patrol their home waters. Oh, and their Harbor is getting back in the swing of things and valuable luxuries are being unloaded.
Could a French-submarine showdown be imminent?? The Rocher Noir and Espadon make their way towards the sub hideout. However, the stalemate between these two factions is likely to continue, since the Mobilis can cancel the Rocher Noir’s sub-hunting ability. Oh well! XD
At the top of the picture, the Duc d’Enghien is taken off whirlpool blockade duty due to her speed that she can use to reach the battle area faster. Slower and less accurate ships can blockade the whirlpool; more valuable ships are sent to expand French territory and win the War against America.
Cargo ships are not able to dock in their normal places, but within 3-5 more turns the French Harbor will be just about back to normal. Of course, it will never be the same again, since the French will now have a permanent guard fleet on duty. They learned their lesson after the Cursed attack. It remains to be seen if the French plan to rebuild the destroyed dock. They probably will, but the Harbor will have to get a lot less crowded for that to even be possible logistically. It’s not just about the battles! XD Winning this historically large game is going to take serious logistical and administrative expertise!
(earlier) Case in point: two ships you’d probably NEVER use as gunships, here launched at The Flat with full crew complements. The French have a few more gunships left, but may save them a bit unless a more serious need arises. With 5 cannons, the French are just hoping the St. Denis can land a hit or two per turn, with S-boarding a solid option with so many non-vital crew on board. The Colibri may just guard The Flat, but it could just so happen that the most unlikeliest of ships could land a key firepot hit… you never know!
The American turn begins with Preble sailing desperately for home! The President is nearly engulfed by the flames!
I like how the flash reflects off the final fire mast, making it almost look like a minor explosion or something.
Preble barely reaches home safely! It’s a dual meaning here: the President barely had enough wind in her sails (aka move segment distance) to get home, AND there was barely enough space to dock! The American HI is overly crowded right now, with a ton of ships repairing or about to start repairing. The Roanoke couldn’t dock, and the James Madison or Louisiana may be delayed next turn. The Americans may have to compromise between unloading resources and repairing their gunships: there is a need for gunships in the battle, but it would take a few turns for a gunship to move away from the HI for a cargo ship to dock and then to move back to repair. However, the resources could provide a more immediate boost than the long-term repair efforts, especially if the Americans launch a few gunships at the Castle.
The Philadelphia has warped the Jarvis home, but a more interesting development is clearly present: the Pirate captures have begun sailing out! With some of them fully repaired, the Americans have assigned the Pirate gunships to the War on France. With only a handful of useful American gunships left in my collection, there’s not much reason to trade the ships in for American counterparts. As the game has ballooned to a previously unimaginable size, the Americans, French, Jades, and Cursed have all depleted most of their roster of ships to use. This is something I almost never expected to see in a physical game, but it’s really cool to see and experience. Just WOW! XD Anyway, the trade-in rule was almost mandatory earlier in the game, as it was a mark of “good sportsmanship” between the factions. However, with tons of bad blood pouring into the seas from the wounds of battle, and with multiple factions literally running out of ships to launch (and with the game’s end still about a month off!), trading in has become not only impractical, but nearly impossible for certain factions. The Americans will deny the Pirates further usage of the captured ships, though trade-ins may still occur of course.
Needed in both areas, the captain of the Blackwatch has chosen to take his ship east towards the hottest action in the entire game right now. You read that right: the action around “the spot” has definitely become the most intense area of warfare in the whole game, with the previous high being the western area of the JR-Cursed battle.
With the Julius Caesar fleeing into a fog bank, the Americans temporarily struggle to fill her spot in the battle area. The Lamon does her best, with the Saratoga and Septem Maria firing off some shots.
The Americans do about average here, but leave the French in a good position for next turn: you can see damage counters on the French 2 masters, which means they were one hit away from losing a mast, but will return fire with both cannons next turn.
The Springfield has towed the Hudson, while the Belois and Soleil Royal lose a mast each. The Concordia puts out her fire, but is struggling to essentially carry the American hopes in the area by herself. This picture really shows the wreckage, with more pictures coming later. XD
It just keeps going and going! The Carolina unloads infantry units, replacing those unloaded by the Colonial Trader not long ago. The Montezuma looks to take the Carolina’s shortcut underneath the Castle ramparts, where her ability (shoot through ships) could be great in the very tight eastern area of the battle.
The Bartlett tows the Sioux. In the background, the Overton, Boston, Intrepid and Julius Caesar are all in various states of severe damage, trying to find their way home through the reefs and fog. American cargo ships are flocking south, due to the lack of textiles on the SW beach of the big island and the battle nearly spilling over deep into American waters.
The Mohican goes 2/3 to finally knock a mast off the Toulouse, while the American guard at the Castle sees significant turnover for the first time in many turns. The New Orleans has rowed to the Castle for repairs, while the Speedy Return and Saratoga depart, having finished repairs.
American operations in the Sea of Karkuda. They have really been struggling lately, losing ground at the Castle to the Spanish and barely hitting anything at the extremes of the battlefield (deep south and far northwest). Their best bet right now is the middle area, but that’s mainly due to the sheer intensity of the epic stalemate and some timely fire hits.
The Lamon goes over various spars and masts on her way to shoot at the French. The Septem Maria and Concordia are partially heeled over. These aren’t stormy waters! The vast amount of debris has simply led to some ships being tipped to the side as they struggle to sail in a straight line amid the devastation:
Masts on top of masts. With some of the ships that are repairing, I cannot retrieve their masts due to them being buried. O_O XD As a result, for a few ships (like the Charlemagne already) I will do a “reverse damage counter” system, where a tiny die represents how many masts that ship has repaired in addition to what is actually standing. Of course, once the ships are ready to sail out again, this will result in a “doomsday” scenario (I’m being very melodramatic here XD) where I have to remove most of the ships from the area just to get at the piles of masts below. XD
I truly believe that these pictures cannot do the situation full justice. The carnage is just insane. Even crazier, there is almost no end in sight. O_O Both sides have considerable reinforcements arriving shortly, not to mention future launches. The mountain of debris at “the spot” will have to be cleaned up eventually, but it will grow to even larger sizes before this battle finally ends….
The graveyard for Turn 74, though the Hastings was technically sunk earlier. It was one of the bloodiest turns yet, and the Granada, Wycliffe, and Wiglaf are some of my favorite ships from those factions. I was especially sad to see the Granada go, after her remarkable performances in the Experimental cumulative game, VASSAL Campaign Game 1, and now here in Command the Oceans.
A few stats from today:
-I counted 33 deckplates of sunken ships so far, but the number is actually higher. Lately I’ve been putting the deckplates in a tin instead of back in the binders – this is because there are so many launches that the binders have been considerably thinned out, so I don’t know where each deckplate goes! XD The game’s size will require me to redo the binders after the game, but I don’t mind that since I had just enough “new” ship deckplates to integrate anyway.
-I counted around 32 ships in the current Franco-Spanish vs. American battle, but that is for ships currently involved. Combined with ships that are repairing, fleeing, or sunk, and the number would easily exceed 50.
Of those two MASSIVE wars/battles going on right now, I would say the Cursed and the Franco-Spanish have slight advantages. The Cursed are especially fragile, and with serious American reinforcements steadily arriving through repaired ships, either battle could certainly turn the other way.
With those days of destruction behind me, I look forward to the (somewhat minor) milestone Turn 75! Of course, more destruction is imminent.