Command the Oceans – Almost any faction’s game (12/14/2017)

The Cursed finally play one of their secret weapons!

Necklace of the Sky teleports the Delusion to the Pirate gold island, behind Pirate lines!!

The Seref, Empress, and Lady Newport were sunk outright after Davy Jones copied Deleflote to give the Delusion 2 actions and 20 shots. The Revenge is doomed after a firepot hit.

The Revenant is nearly dismasted and the Sea Nymph burns:

Cursed scorpion ships enter the fray, with the Delight and others sunk.

The Guichuan is joined by the Mist Walker, Hangman’s Joke, Pestilence, and Namazu as a sort of “mini super squadron” of concentrated power. The Apollo and Shui Xian only make it even more powerful, though by accident.

The English officially get involved against the Pirates!! Seeking revenge for past losses, the English announce their entrance into the battle just as the Jades were faltering to the point of extinction. The Apollo has sunk El Dorado and the Sister’s Rage.

HMS Victoria gets some cannons in range and sinks the Revenant! With that, Calico Cat and Griffin are dead, and the Pirate trio of “super 5 masters” for this game (Harbinger, Revenant, Victoire) is no more. (though they did incredible damage when they finally saw action)

Unlike the Cursed and Jades, the Cursed and the English are actually working together quite well! Using the Eye to see what the Delusion did in the east, the Cursed informed the English of the rare opening at the southern whirlpool. HMS Lord Kettering was the first English ship on the scene, and the English are ready to get revenge at the site of that horrific loss earlier in the game!

After the LK’s shooting and the emergence of a Gibraltar flotilla towed by the Half Moon, the Dragon’s Breath and Cacao lie derelict! The Cumberland also arrives, but with just one mast and no crew left, she won’t be able to make an impact on the battle.

This strategically brilliant invasion of Pirate home waters has bolstered English morale and shows that the Cursed and English can set aside any differences they might have in order to fight a superior common enemy.

The Tunnel entrance has quite the logjam, while more English ships will gradually arrive at the battlefields for many more turns.

Pirate lines are holding strong, but they have lost a lot of ships.

An English squadron numbering 14 ships has nearly reached the reef barrier in the south, where they will try to overwhelm the Pirates stationed there. 4 damaged Cursed ships will assist them, although lately they’ve been taking aim at the final few Jade ships in the area.

Will the English leave the Caribbean for good? Commodore Owen plans to guard the HI aboard HMS Caradoc and provide AA’s, but most or all of the other English ships will head to Allost.

Progress being made at the Battle for the Castle:

When the Jaguar and Resolucion sink, they will be replaced by other Franco-Spanish ships. The FS are working together pretty well now, though there is some lingering annoyance on the French side after so many Spanish arrivals have blocked the sea routes westward for French gunships traveling that way.

The Americans sink a few French ships on their turn, with wreckage in the foreground and background. This battle is more pell-mell than any of the others right now, but there are still defined areas.

Champ wrecks the St. Denis, but can the two American sea monsters and the Jarvis hold the area against all five French ships?

The few American guns remaining in this area barely manage ANY hits on this turn. The Thomas Jefferson was sunk by a combined effort from the French.

The Kettering is sunk! With the Soleil Royal likely sinking soon, the Hercule would become the French flagship.

One of my favorite shots from this report, with the French trying to expose as much of their broadside to the weakened Americans as possible:

The carnage and horror of the Castle has resulted in most French ships steering clear of the area.

The French ships lost in the dual disaster are mostly sunk, but the Saber has not disappeared entirely yet.

The Adventurous towed the Minuteman over to sink the pesky Vercingetorix, with the southwest Castle area as deserted as it’s been since the start of play.

Finally! For the first time a whirlpool guard squadron pulls off duty. However, this is not a good thing for the Americans, as these ships run home as a “last stand” squadron. O_O

In the background, some of the French ships are askew due to sailing over such dense wreckage:

With just a slight break near the island in the bottom right, there is nearly a solid block of pure debris and wreckage from the Castle “alley” to the big island in the northwest:

The Pirates sink the Lord Kettering and take 5 masts off the Delusion!

The Pirates sink the Cursed scorpions and deal major damage overall! It was an abysmal day at the cannons for the Cursed, though the Pirates and English both shot quite well.

With the top 5 Pirate gunships gone (trio of 5 masters plus the Celtic Fury and Crusher), the Pirates now have to plug the Tunnel entrance with lesser gunships.

On the Cursed turn, Devereaux turned the Delusion ghostly and sailed her through the whirlpool! After receiving an action from Davy Jones/Deleflote, she managed to do some damage on the other side. The Meropis blocks the Accused from getting to the nearby Guichuan on the Pirate turn.

The Cursed have their two 10 masters back in one place again after the Delusion took a short detour to allow the English to invade through the southern whirlpool. However, the Delusion is on half strength, and the Cursed have nearly run out of random gunships to throw at the Pirate lines. The Mystic is set aflame as the Cursed 10 masters reunite!

The Pirates lose masts as the Jades and Cursed begin to enter the Tunnel:

The Shui Xian finally fires her cannons! Sinking two ships, she signals how much of a disadvantage the Pirates will face in the near future: the anti-Pirate factions have three 10 masters between them, while the English now have more 5 masted capital ships than the Pirates.

The Pirates will let the English and Cursed brave the reefs down south. Even though only one of the ships has more than 3 masts, the English have sent a considerable force to this area. My “dark horse” candidate to win will finally be able to flex her full might.

The Apollo takes care of the Proud Tortoise and Coleoptera:

Clearing away Pirate defenders at the Tunnel:

Finally: the Battle for the Tunnel!

Something the Pirates should be scared of. From the top right to the bottom left: HMS Endeavour, Auckland, Gibraltar flotilla, Gallows, Titan, Dauntless, Orkney, Leicester. O_O At the bottom right you can see the opposite, as the Cursed are a shell of their former selves (Flying Dutchman and Divine Dragon limping along with one mast each).

For the first time in ages, the western part of Allost is remarkably empty.

A bit of an awkward situation in the south: the Akua Lapu went from the northern whirlpool to the southern whirlpool with an SAT to shoot at the Delusion, who has now done the opposite. The English would love to strike this area more definitively, but their ships are either headed to battle already or a turn or two away from reaching the Caribbean whirlpool. For now, the Gibraltar flotillas will have to protect the support ships.

Love this view:

Looking down the Pirate line of ships heading through the Tunnel towards the battle. With rumors going around that most of their leaders have been killed in intense combat with the Cursed hordes, confidence among the Pirate sailors has hit a new low. Confirmation that the best English warships ever built are sailing straight for the battle has not helped matters in the slightest. The crews of the ships in this picture have the worst experience of all. They enter the Tunnel to cheering comrades on the nice side of the Sea of Allost, with assurances that the Pirate troops atop the Tunnel are maiming anyone who dare enter Mission’s Kingdom. However, the cheering is quickly drowned out once they get inside the Tunnel, where the sounds of cannon fire, screaming, and death fill the air and reverberate along the entire length of it. The intense and frightening darkness in the middle is currently the last peaceful thing the Pirates experience before suddenly entering one of the biggest battles ever, with ships of not one, not two, but three (at this point) different flags firing at them from all angles in a dreadful scene.

The graveyard for the day, just for the Sea of Allost. O_O

The French and Americans are running out of ships at this area of the battlefield, so the Spanish stand a reasonable chance of retaking their beloved Castle.

Chaos!

Indeed, the Spanish stand to make a tidy profit (in the final standings, not in gold) from this war, which they accidentally reignited by declaring war on the Americans and starting the Battle for the Castle.

The Eroica’s SAT played the key role in Champ’s death, though the Jarvis is surviving the assault due to her ability alone.

The French continue to just blast their way through the Americans, with only a few ships standing in the way of an actual home island attack.

Both sides are utterly exhausted, with the Hercule, Orient, and Minuteman among the only true veteran French gunships in this area. It’s truly incredible that the Soleil Royal and Crete Argentee have survived this long.

The winner of this war is inevitable, but has anybody really won here? I have been surprised by how big a toll this war has taken on the French, who may not have the strength to compete with the winner of the war in Allost even if they prevail here. However, their Spanish allies may have something to say about that….

The debris field is huge, but the actual number of ships engaged now may not number even two dozen.

The full graveyard for the day’s action, with the Pirates and Americans looking like the biggest losers.

With that, only a few days of play remain. The Pirates and French still appear to be the favorites I suppose, but things feel very NOT clear-cut at all. In bizarre fashion, the Spanish actually have a “path to victory”, although that opportunity has officially left the Jades at this point. It will be interesting to see what happens; even if the game has a “lame” victor, the game’s legacy has already been etched by its epicness over time.

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