Command the Oceans – Reaching the endgame (11/30/2017)

I finished Turn 75 and ALL of Turn 76!!

The French defend their food island from the Mercenaries, but the Lyon docks to find that no more bananas are around!

The Marie Antoinette is the latest ship to block off the Americans from retaking the northeastern corner of the Castle. The Flamberge docks at Fish Island, but no textiles are found!

The fog banks along the eastern wall of the Castle have made the battle very cramped and almost akin to a stalemate between small squadrons of ships.

However, the most intense battle in the game continues as usual! The Concordia is dismasted, while the Saratoga and Springfield also suffer heavy damage.

The Blackwatch has almost arrived, but the Ville de Paris and Dauphin Royal are both pretty healthy.

Seven French ships repair at The Flat, with more joining them soon.

Many French ships have yet to enter the battle; here you can see the Saber among others making their way west. La Gaule and L’Aube are still in fog banks near the Castle.

Le Gaule sets the Jackson on fire, while the Auguste continues to surprise with solid accuracy, doing further damage to the Swamp Fox. Le Bonaparte and La Toussaint L’Ouverture are ready to back up when needed.

Three gunships make their way west, while three more head to The Flat for repairs.

The Harbor is now as orderly and organized as it was before the Cursed attack:

Now showing the American turn, La Toulouse is set aflame. The Battle for the Castle is still going as slow as ever.

Ruby Island and Luck Island run out of resources at the same time!!

A busy American HI situation, with many ships coming and going every turn.

The Jackson extinguishes her fire but cannot do damage to the Gaule. The Swamp Fox hits a Broadsides Attack on the Auguste, but the Americans get even better news: reinforcements are coming! The Seminole has brought 5 gunships with her, and captured Pirate ships will also arrive soon.

A grim picture of the war, as the Lamon burns:

The Ville de Paris is surrounded on all sides by carnage and death. The Lamon is putting up a ton of smoke, while the Concordia hits a whopping 6 for 6 (with a musketeer) to dismast the Mercure. The Ville herself is hit a handful of times, losing two masts.

The Concordia hit the Soleil Royal 3 times, taking that ship down to 2 masts.

The hulks of the Concordia, Lamon, and Mercure are partially obscured by smoke and wreckage:

The Blackwatch and Grampus have not been able to make an impact yet.

The Sea of Karkuda. Crazy enough, not even this gigantic 3-faction battle is taking up all the resources of the two major factions (yet). The French and Americans have about 15 combined gunships blockading the whirlpools, and the French have additional gunships that are patrolling the southeast part of the ocean.

Turn 76 marks a resource change! After a huge 8-turn wait that saw no random changes throughout, it was time for a regularly scheduled change. The result was truly momentous. A 5 for value meant that food and metals were the top two resources, with luxuries and spices crashing hard. Even more important was the duration: a whopping 10 turns, the longest of the game so far! With each turn taking about a full day to complete, this change was a big deal to all of the factions. Many factions have been sitting on considerable stores of resources during the last 8 turns, so this turn would undoubtedly see some major cashing in.

The Fleur de la Mort may literally be the highlight of this picture, but the Celtic Fury is busy getting more Pirate infantry to the top of the Tunnel.

Three more units arrive, with the first two from last turn making their way around the island.

Ahoy!

An closeup shot of the Tunnel’s top, showing the grassy areas and the huge boulders lying around.

In the background, the Roost and Shal-Bala’s wingspan make for an intimidating sight.

After the Victoire and Harbinger roll for exit locations, the fog at the western end of the Tunnel lifts! This is an intriguing development, as it makes the Tunnel more obvious and inviting for the Jades and Cursed….

Cashing in metals for around 275 gold, the Pirates spend a chunk of it on some gunships they’ve been waiting to launch for a while. The Black Swan may be their final 5 master launched, while those three in the middle are three of my favorite Pirate ships. In fact, I like all 5 of these quite a bit. Smile

Dead Man’s Point is even more crowded than usual, with ships repairing from the brief fights against the English and Jades and 5 new ships entering the game.

Jade ships repair and regroup.

You may have noticed that more fog has lifted! When the Grand Temple used her SAT to emerge from two different fog banks (separate move actions), the fog disappeared when she departed the bank! We’ll see if this weather change has any implications for the future gameplay.

The Hangman’s Joke is shot at by the Wicked Kareen, but avoids taking damage with another Cursed UT weapon: Relics!

The Monkey’s Paw and Locker take slight damage, but the Jade Corsairs have almost no firepower left in this area of the battle (5-6 total masts standing).

The Leviathan gets hit with a triple-team, but some Cursed help will be coming soon….

The Virtuous Wind docks at the wild island, but it has no more resources left to give! With the Silent Death leaving a fog bank, more fog is gone. As of now there is a surprisingly large amount of empty ocean space between the front line and the Jade HI.

In possibly a surprise to both you and the Cursed, the Jades press their attack!! Despite Namazu’s presence and the launching of the Loki’s Revenge, the Jades advance essentially into the Roost! The Jackal’s Teeth has knocked a mast off the LR before the latter can even take an action in the game.

The Death’s Anchor is set aflame by the Divan’s Punishment! I know this is illegal, but flotillas have been a bit OP in this game (my own fault, especially since I’m allowing duplicates) so flotillas can be set on fire.

The Terror of Gibraltar finally gets in action. She has terrible cannons, but manages a hit on the Loki’s Revenge.

Flooding the area! The Donar repairs, while the Griffin, Splendor, and Nubian Prince all arrive on the scene. It seems unlikely that the Jades will be able to win this Battle for the Roost (a sub-battle of the current one) with the ships pictured here, but they’ve been waiting and wanting to do this for a long time. Ever since the captain of the Divine Wind told the story of that fateful expedition, the Jade Rebels have wanted to exterminate the Cursed.

The beauty of a campaign game – two months later, the Jades get some revenge!

An incredible effort by the allies in the northern part of the battle! The three Corsair/Viking ships on the right went 5/5 against the Sea Monkey, setting her on fire. The Desert Wind got in action, knocking a mast off the Rook’s Folly. At this point the Cursed have officially lost control of their lumber island.

More empty ocean in the western half of Allost than we’ve seen in a LONG time. A strong Jade push northwards and lifting fog has left a gap…

… but the battle rages on.

An extreme rarity because you have to house rule it to even make it work.

A burning pillar of fire!

The Cursed wanted to be able to use Relics again, so they shot at the Wicked Kareen with the Locker before shooting with the Death’s Anchor flotilla in the background. In the foreground, the Needle has fog hopped back into the fray. The Monkey’s Paw continues to increase her shooting percentage to a more reasonable level, dismasting the Scorpion and Queen of Sheba.

The Madness sets fire to the Tiger’s Eye, possibly dooming the great Corsair ship!

I like how these low-level shots really show the destruction:

The Banshee’s Wail dismasted the Gallows, with the Poor Adams coming out of the fog to capture the ship. Top right: the Whydah looks to repair at a super-crowded Roost. Top left: Terrox is looming, though there aren’t many Corsair ships left in the area that are worth attacking.

Talk about crowded! The Pale Moon will have trouble repairing herself and her towed ally, the Executioner. Making matters worse for the Cursed, they may now have more gunships needing repairs than healthy ones.

Here you can see seven Cursed ships repairing:

A really cool view of the Roost, showing a “cutaway” of the structure. Things are busy but peaceful on the west side, but you can see the first Corsair ship penetrating the main gate.

The Sickle is fully repaired and back in action, dismasting the Donar (again) but losing her smokepot specialist in a failed switchblade attack.

One of the best pictures of a Switchblade in action!

Unsurprisingly, the Cursed were able to dismast the Jackal’s Teeth. However, it took a lot of shots to do it, with the Loki’s Revenge going 4/8 with a sac action and the Bloody Blade going 2/4 (with a cannoneer) to finish off the third mast.

The Cursed bought those 3L ladders and extra infantry for a reason!!

The ladder extends down through a little-shown (if shown at all) hole in the Roost:

What horrors await those willing to climb to the top… ?

Cursed troops descend from above!!

A long distance scaled by the giant ladder:

A long way down…

The infantry unit boarding follows the same rules from Shal-Bala’s earlier swooping strike. In this way the Jackal’s Teeth lost two of her four crew.

The Terror of Gibraltar was set aflame by the Guinee:

Calypsos pins the Meshud, while Fear affects the ships with green dice on them.

There are three distinct areas of this giant battle:

In the west, the Cursed have gained the upper hand and look to clean up the last pockets of Jade rebellion. (pun intended)

In the center, the Jades have caught the Cursed a little off guard, but the Cursed are finally getting some proper support by the main gate of the Roost. (LR, Guinee, Bloody Blade, and now three Death’s Anchor flotillas since the one that burned just got relaunched)

In the northeast, the Jade advance has actually smashed Cursed trade. However, the squids have limited how many ships can get through to the far north, while also dismasting their prey.

It’s official! The Spanish plan to leave the Caribbean for good!!! After sending most of their gunships to the Sea of Karkuda by whirlpool travel, this turn marks the total, absolute change of mindset for the Spanish in this game. They intend to vacate their home island and set up shop at the Castle, trusting that they will capture it by throwing their full might against it and combining their firepower with that of France to oust the hated Americans. It’s about as risky a move they could make, but perhaps a needed one since they’re by far the weakest of the main 7 factions. The San Francisco has loaded their two UT’s, and all Spanish ships are now making their way towards the whirlpool.

With Paradise Island not even producing luxuries, the Spanish don’t have much reason to stay in the Caribbean. Normally the cargo ships with luxuries aboard would at least cash them in at the HI and use the gold for a launch, but in this case luxuries have dropped to 2 gold apiece for the next 10 turns. By that time all of the ships can be in Karkuda, and the Spanish anticipate having full control of the Castle before then.

In the meantime, the captain of HMS Resistance has been meeting with Admiral Thomas Gunn on board the Lord Algernon to discuss the apparent Spanish exodus. If that becomes a reality, the English will have the Caribbean all to themselves! However, the War against Piracy is heavy on the minds of these Englishmen, with revenge as their motivation. The English are not currently in battle with any other faction, which is why I consider them the “dark horse” candidate once again… the Pirates are not in battle now either, but they have made themselves an enemy of literally every faction in the game besides the Spanish (who are allied with the French, who hate the Pirates).

Spanish activity in Karkuda. More fog has lifted near the Castle, while the Profeta and Resolucion will be the next ships to reach the battle area.

The Lache dismasts the Sunrise Fire again, with the Felicite landing an extra hit so the Pirates have to repair hull damage next turn and not just pop a mast back up, therefore allowing the French to capture the ship next turn.

A (finally) peaceful Harbor, with the French spending a bunch of gold on crew to outfit their cargo ships as gunships.

The French still have a bunch of gunships sailing around, but many of the patrol ships are slowly making their way towards the battle in case they are needed there.

If that final fog bank by the Castle disappears, it will allow the Franco-Spanish and the Americans to have a more all-out battle.

The battle from the northeast… you may have noticed a change…

The Concordia has been captured! Lenoir of the Dauphin Royal got close enough to cancel the ship’s oarsman, at which point the ship was truly a derelict and the Orient captured her. This is another momentum shift in this long and arduous battle, making up for the French loss of La Charlemagne.

The Saratoga and Minuteman take additional damage, but many of the capital ships are repairing (or in the case of Le Superbe, trying to repair) at The Flat.

A cool viewpoint showing that the French have more gunships near the battle area that aren’t engaged than the Americans.

A rather grand shot of the spectacle! XD

The Americans are still doing pretty well at the Castle, but more Spaniards are coming….

At the right I see 9 French gunships that are healthy and ready for battle. The French could loose the Concordia back on the Americans since she can fire when dismasted, but they will probably repair her at The Flat.

One of the best combat photos I’ll ever take. The damaged Ville de Paris is shrouded by smoke caused by her own firepot specialist, with friend (Mercure) and foe (Saratoga) alike dismasted around her. Masts and debris litter the battlefield to the point where only small patches of seawater can been seen. An American artillery cannon has been shooting for many turns now from the Castle ramparts, but winning this battle will require a herculean effort.

Truly awe-inspiring:

The Gaule blasts apart the Jackson and sends the ship to a fiery doom!

At the top, the Bonaparte and Descharges are going around the big island in an attempt to surprise the Americans from the northwest.

Once again the natural obstructions (in this case islands rather than fog) make for a severe bottleneck of the battle area. It just so happens this battle is being fought along a territorial border with many things in between, from the island at the left down to Fish Island.

The Auguste dismasted the Swamp Fox, so the Americans will need to find replacements for them to keep up the defensive front.

The Soleil Royal and Mercure will have a tough time even maneuvering to The Flat for repairs.

The War for Karkuda rages on:

The Atlanta and Mohican set the Montreal and Toulouse aflame! The DJC Saratoga adds to the fires on the Monte Cristo, who is now doomed!

Continuing the red-hot American resistance, the Marie Antoinette begins to burn.

With the Lamon gone, a gap opens up at the battle in the center. However, no American gunships are able to fill it yet, a testament to the very gradual French advance.

However, the Blackwatch is finally in action! She hits the Ville de Paris with stinkpot shot, denying her the use of many abilities next turn! (including EA and firepot specialist)

The Moulin Rouge finally lost a mast, as the Springfield tows the Hudson out of harm’s way. Kikowa (aboard the Philadelphia) hopes to warp the Hudson home next turn.

The Providence unloads her infantry at the lumber island, though it too has stopped producing resources. The troops will give the Americans a (likely temporary…) vantage point and platform from which to add musket volleys into the mix of chaos.

Continuing the American success this turn (especially with fire), the Adventurous and Paladin replace the American derelicts and turn the Gaule into a blaze!

The Jackson was scuttled due to her fire, while the Swamp Fox was towed out of the way by the Seminole, an American cheerleader like the Springfield and Hannah. The Lenox has replaced the Swamp Fox to fight the Auguste, backed up by the Niagara.

American logistics at this late stage of the game. With no more resources to gather, the Rattlesnake, Argo, Louisiana and James Madison head to the Castle for crew since the home island is too crowded for more ships to dock. The Constitution, Ghost Walker, Vermont, and Appalachian head north to inject life into the American resistance.

Between that picture and this one, you can see that the Americans still have a very real shot at winning this war. Four Pirate prizes look to back up the American line, showing that the conflict will not end anytime soon. Some canoes stay put to avoid getting in the way, while others head towards the hottest action.

The American home island, where 14 ships are in various stages of the repair process. The Bellevue carries the final metals from Luck Island, while you may have noticed a few new ships that were just launched…

The Americans have cashed in their metals and textiles for a big windfall! Spending 158 of 336 gold, they launch some ships they’ve been waiting on for quite some time. The Thomas Jefferson is one of my absolute favorite American ships, and you can probably guess that it’s the canceller version of DNT. The others are crewed great as well, with the Eagan and Mercury ready to dish out serious punishment. The Hessian is arguably the toughest little 1 master in the game from a combat standpoint: in a game with no ram damage, she becomes even more obnoxious. The canceller ability is key, but 4 cargo spaces and 9 points of cap space allows you to go crazy with crew and equipment. Here she has a captain, helmsman, shipwright, oarsman, and grape shot to be a little devil to the French.

The Hessian, Mercury, Cheyenne, and (relaunched) Minuteman are launched from the Castle, while the Carolina received a captain and oarsman while docked there.

Now for some grand pictures to show the Sea of Karkuda in its bloody glory.

Even from high above, notice the density of those battle areas! O_O

Five fires burn at the Spanish area of the battle… with none of them on American ships.

The lighthouse has gotten some French gunships to the battle area faster, but it was more useful when their resource system was still in full swing (aka before the Cursed attack).

The Americans didn’t really have room (anywhere) to launch much more stuff, but they wouldn’t have anyway. That’s because they’re saving some gold for an experimental purchase….

At the hottest battle area, I think there may be more masts floating in the water than there are masts standing on the ships that are engaged! O_O

A rare view above the western edge of the sea, showing American waters.

The Frontier has loaded infantry units and is likely taking them to the Castle.

A very rare shot looking due east. I love how it shows the custom terrain and structures I’ve made, as well as the relationship between The Flat and the Castle: control one, and you’ll likely be brought into conflict with whoever controls the other.

The Sea of Karkuda:

With that, another report is finished. Soon, the game will be finished. However, that will not be the case unless I make some extreme changes. You have already seen the start of this, with most islands running out of resources when ships dock at them, and with fog lifting to reveal more of the ocean to all the factions. A change of season perhaps. XD

It was always my intent to play this game to true completion, which would mean that the last fleet afloat is the winner. With an ending date goal of 12/20 in mind, I clearly cannot make that happen at the current pace, with over 9,000 points in play and about 3 weeks to go. I didn’t want to change the rules, but I’d rather do that than finish the game with a point count and with a ton of stuff unresolved (wars, storylines, alliances, etc). The following changes will be instituted NOW, at the beginning of Turn 77:

-Back to regular combat rules. Ships do not have to be hit twice to lose a mast, and do not have to be hit twice as many times as they originally had masts to sink.

This will massively speed things up. Ships will sink left and right, at a frenetic pace that will likely far outstrip Economy Edition (when more than 10 ships would sometimes sink on a turn). The weeks-long battles that have been going on will finally be decided, and wars will be fought to a satisfying conclusion rather than stopped artificially when “time is up”.

I am still worried that I will not be able to truly finish the game by around December 20th, but I will do my best. More rules will likely be necessary. Here are the main ones I am thinking about:

-No more launches (likely to be instituted on Turn 80)
-No more repairing, in any way, ever. O_O

These are both likely to take effect, especially the first one (which I’m basically planning on at this point). Thus, this latest resource change will likely be the last outside of any random changes in the next few turns. It’s a fitting end though, since the change allowed most factions to cash in major stores of resources, and lasts for a long enough time (10 turns) that resources and launches will be irrelevant by the time the next change would occur.

As I said, I’m not happy to have to do this, but this thing has to stop at some point. XD I’d much rather have a real conclusion by changing all sorts of rules than have to suddenly stop when a ton of stuff is happening all around the oceans.

Thanks for reading!

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