Command the Oceans – BIG day of Pirating! (9/13/2017)

Today I was able to play a whopping 10 turns!! Naturally this will be one of the longer reports.

The day of play started with the first resource change of the game! A 3 was rolled, meaning that textiles were the most valuable resource and completely tanking and metals and fish markets. These values would hold for 7 turns, another average duration roll after 8 turns for the first roll.

Mission sails by Pistol Island in the Crusher:

An overhead view of Mission’s kingdom. Their resources have changed, with textiles now being more valuable than metals.

The Jade Rebels launch another ship, the Sea Serpent. She is tasked with finding new islands in an exploratory mission. Crewed with a cannoneer and smokepot specialist, she can use her reverse captain ability to duck into a smokebank if she gets into trouble.

The English approach Diamond Rock again. They already consider the island theirs, and want to make that clear to any who sail Caribbean waters. To the left, the Ebro uses her ability to take a shortcut home over the sargasso sea.

In the Sea of Karkuda, France’s newest ship, Le Lyon, loads fish from the wild island.

Another turn begins, and it’s a profitable one for the Pirates! Mission gets an extra action, allowing the Crusher to dock at and explore a golden island! First used in my Economy Edition game but no longer within the Lagoon, this island will feature replenishing gold stores once more. You can see part of the haul Mission got, which also included the Jade UT.

With 3 spaces already occupied by crew, this unfortunately meant that the Crusher couldn’t load any actual gold coins, but Mission certainly had plans on what to do with the other UT’s.

Wow! The Jade Rebellion spends some gold to purchase the Grand Dynasty, the first ship in the South China Seas set and unofficial flagship of their faction.

The growing Jade Rebellion fleet. Their textiles spiked to 6 in value with the resource change, so they’ll be drowning in gold in no time with an island so close to their HI. XD

The English dock all three of their ships at Diamond Rock, and true to their objective, unload all three army units there as well! Now Peter Sharpe has some company, and can breathe a sigh of relief. He won’t have to defend the lone beach all by himself anymore.

Remember that while shooting at ships, the infantry act as a 3S cannon that can only eliminate crew, and the artillery acts as a regular 2L cannon fired from the shore. Pretty good firepower to defend a small beachhead with, especially if the Spanish are the first to contest it as the Spaniards are off to a bit of a slow start.

Speaking of the Spanish, there they are! All three ships make their way home from Paradise Island.

Yes the Americans are still sailing about! In fact they are doing quite well for themselves, having launched the Bellevue with a chieftain and helmsman along with a set of their incredible native canoes.

Mission gets another EA and is able to explore the outbound Cassandra, transferring Smuggled Goods, Jade, and Plunder from the Crusher. Mission hopes to return to the gold island and plunder it himself, while the Cassandra can maximize resource profits back home with the other runners up north.

The Grand Wind loads up on textiles, while the Sea Serpent’s crew say goodbye for the time being.

The Virtuous Wind is busy running textiles with the Grand Wind and Sea Snake, but the Grand Dynasty is tasked with defending the home island and investigating the fog to the east of it.

The English depart from Diamond Rock, promising Peter Sharpe and the troops stationed there that they’ll be back with more ships AND supplies before long….

Already a well-defended position, the English have staked a claim on one of my new favorite custom islands.

The Spanish bring back a somewhat meager supply of gold from Paradise, but use it to purchase the Armada flotilla. It’s assigned to the Ebro, as Alejandro Malaspina has a plan. With the metals on Paradise being virtually worthless all of a sudden, the San Estaban can once more sail east in an attempt to find new lands. In the meantime, the new flotilla can provide adequate defense for the two sloops in case the English come too close.

The Soleil Royal sailed past some fog, but now she’s found another island! It looks hospitable, with much greenery.

The Bonhomme Richard and Bellevue go for safety in numbers, wondering what they’ll find north of their home island.

The Cassandra takes off for the textiles island, as it’s now the most valuable resource the Pirates have access to.

After cashing in two more loads of textiles, the Jade Rebels launch the Sea Duck and Sea Tiger:

A new area found by the exploring Sea Serpent… what happened here?? The air became a bit colder, and almost clammy, when the crew aboard the Sea Serpent glimpsed the first icebergs. However, it was clear that something had gone very wrong here… there were ships embedded in the ice, as if the ships had crashed headlong into them without warning. The “icewrecks” (instead of shipwrecks), as the crew called them, appeared to be in a bad state of disrepair, with masts snapped off violently at the base.

You can see how the Sea Serpent has only gone a little bit beyond JR territory, but already is in a seemingly different world. With textiles valuable through both resource rolls, the JR’s have simply had no reason to venture very far past their home island in any direction.

Almost immediately afterwards, and one of the icebergs heads straight for the Sea Serpent!! The crew cannot change course fast enough and the ship is hit! Luckily it wasn’t a fatal blow, as the Sea Serpent only lost her mizzenmast in the collision. However, the crew remain puzzled by the development, as it seemed as though the “icewreck” had a mind of its own and knew they were there….

Heeled over to starboard from the sudden impact, the crew of the Sea Serpent were startled for a brief moment.

The Magdalena finally returns home, just as the San Estaban sets out to finish her original mission. More determined than ever, a few rocks and reefs won’t stop her crew this time!

The Spanish hope that Armada is enough of a deterrent for any potential foes.

The canoes have redocked and loaded up a ton of luxuries, and are now headed home where the Argo is piling up the spices:

In the meantime, the Bellevue and Bonhomme Richard approach a new island!

A rare northern view of the Pirate Kingdom, showing the Smiling Jim at an entrance and the other Pirate resource gatherers collecting as many textiles as possible before the resources change again.

The Grand Dynasty sails east of the JR home island, but simply finds a dense wall of fog as reported by Warlord Cavendish aboard the Grand Wind. The Noble Swan joins her, but she has been tasked solely with HI defense.

The waters directly west of the JR HI are busy, with ships coming and going for textiles:

In an impressive display of courage, the crew of the Sea Serpent soldier on despite missing a mast:

Field day for the English! They manage to put 3 new ships in the water: HMS Burma, HMS Durham, and HMS King John. They also repeat their earlier purchase of army units, hiring two more infantry and one more artillery unit.

The English are becoming an impressive faction:

The English home island, with a nice spiral leading to the top:

Here you can see what’s on board the new ships. Gunn has a wacky plan for the Burma’s grapple shot….

In a brilliant afternoon sun, the Ebro leads the Spanish back to Paradise Island.

Back in the Sea of Karkuda, the Soleil Royal explores the new island. A round lake surrounds a ring island with a pond on it. However, in a disappointment for the French, more food is found! Not only is the fish resource not currently valuable, but France now has two nearby islands with the same resource, which can be bad since they will not always be able to rely on it.

Luxuries are worth a decent 4 gold apiece right now, but with 10 tokens coming in all at once due to the canoes, the Americans consider cashing in a no-brainer. The Roanoke and Louisiana make their entrances, along with their first army unit.

The cautious Brent Rice decides to dock with the Bellevue to confront any hidden dangers at the new island head-on.

A grand view of the Grand Dynasty, whose crew is puzzled by the prevalence of fog east of the JR HI.

In an early-game mass exodus, the English leave their home island in force. The Burma carries the new artillery cannon after her captain takes up temporary residence in Thomas Gunn’s flagship, the Viceroy. He enjoys his stay in Gunn’s company, but is eager to return to command his own vessel.

Similar to the JR Sea Serpent, the King John is tasked with exploring areas unfamiliar to the current fleet.

The Apollo has a dual mission: shadow the King John in the case of needed backup, but grab textiles from Diamond Rock if all seems safe. The Half Moon is headed straight for the rock along with the rest of the English fleet.

The San Estaban sails around the rocks that had previously stopped her! She avoids a sargasso sea, and passes what looks like a somewhat active volcano on her trip through the Caribbean. But will she find anything valuable?

Note: this was a rock I painted a long time ago, possibly before I got into Pirates. It’s a perfect and easy addition to my game here!

The Wasp is the latest American ship:

The Bellevue and Bonhomme Richard explore the beach without difficulties and are happy to find food! This makes fish a popular resource in the Sea of Karkuda, with the French finding it on both of the islands they’ve explored. The Louisiana and Roanoke are headed for a different beach however.

This was a fun shot to get. Looking north, you can see the new Pirate launchings in the dual archways. The Crusher and Cassandra docked home on the same turn, giving the Pirates a minor windfall. The Golden Medusa is launched with the Widowmaker flotilla in the south, while the far ship facing north is the Fool’s Gold, a ship that is very new to my collection. I also like how the picture shows the weathered but weedy look of the rock the kingdom was made out of.

Ah yes – the Pirates also purchased their first army units, but have no current plans to use them yet other than for harbor defense.

Predictably rich with valuable textiles coming in almost every turn, the Jade Rebels continue their launching run, this time buying the Admiral Yi and Hansan Island turtle ships.

South of Diamond Rock, the King John finds a barrier of reefs and a big rock:

From the mizzenmast of HMS Apollo, a beautiful view of the Caribbean.

Diamond Rock is about to get crowded, but not all the ships sailing there intend to dock. At this point you are welcome to view a little “introductory”/tour video of Diamond Rock.

… the Spanish do not find land! Instead they come upon what looks to be a shipwreck…

And it is! Similar to the golden island in the Sea of Allost, the Duke shipwreck was originally created for my 2015 Economy Edition game, but is such a great piece that it can be reused quite a lot. You can hear a little bit more about the backstory in another short video.

Karkudian waters:

The Americans dock at a gold-laden beach, but will they find anything interesting?

After 7 turns, it was time for another resource change!! I rolled all three dice at once, with a 5 coming up for value just like the initial roll! The values of the first 8 turns of the game would now hold for the next 9 turns. The factions who were originally well-off in terms of resources would be happy once more. This hurt the English and Jade Rebels slightly, but textiles were still worth 4 gold apiece. The French were overjoyed, since their food was worth 6 again and they weren’t hurt by having two islands producing the same resource.

The Fool’s Hope sets out for the first time ever, accompanied by the Cassandra as they pass the Smiling Jim and Doombox:

With metals worth 5 again, the Golden Medusa knows where she’s going: Pistol Island. However, Mission is getting a bit of goldlust and sets a course for the golden island.

Not even spending all the gold they take in, the Jades launch two more ships. The Sea Wind will be a crewless resource runner, while the Divine Wind is outfitted to be a patrolling warship.

The Jade Rebels off to a strong start:

Back in the Caribbean, Gunn’s plan becomes clear! While on their way to Diamond Rock, the crew of the Burma managed to rig a cannon to fire at a dramatic upward angle. They loaded a grapple shot inside, and shot the cannon towards the cave halfway up the rock! The first part of the plan worked, as the shot hooked onto part of the rock and no one was injured in the process. The crew had managed to somehow line a pulley system with the grappling hook, and now attached a hook to the cable in order to fasten the cannon below the line and begin hauling it up after the cable was also secured aboard the Burma.

Here the English try to rig a cannon into a cave on Diamond Rock. What a scene.

(as a bemused Mickey watches from afar)

The crew of the Viceroy cheer while the Durham and Half Moon load up on textiles:

Oh no!! Disaster for the English! The cable wasn’t strong enough for the 24 pounder cannon, and the line broke, sending the valuable artillery piece into the sea!! With a resounding splash, the English plan had failed. Gunn frowned, but was still determined to try other methods. He knew the potential long-term strategic value of dominating the rock, and began formulating other plans to make up for this embarrassment.

A view from the mainmast of the King John: HMS Apollo has glimpsed the volcano, while the Burma’s crew are lucky the falling cannon didn’t take anyone overboard in the accident.

The French use stores of food to get three of their best runners: the Bon Marin, Coeur du Lion, and Vengeance.

The Americans do some spending of their own, going the opposite route with some lesser-used ships. The Minuteman is assigned to patrol/guard duty, though similar to the Grand Dynasty she will be doing some local exploring to scout the area. The Colonial Trader will simply make trips to Luck Island at L speed but with 5 spaces available. She joins the Argo, and the Americans are planning to stockpile their spices until they skyrocket in value at some point in the potentially distant future.

The Roanoke’s crew explored the new beach at the big island up north, but were disappointed to find just 9 gold and no resources there. Annoyed, the Louisiana docked at the fishy beach instead, loading up before the trip home.

An impressive sight: almost all the Jade Rebellion ships sailing in the same direction. Why the almost part? The Sea Serpent still isn’t back, and Warlord Cavendish is getting worried. He has assigned a squadron of ships (the Divine Wind, Admiral Yi, and Hansan Island) to go west and find the lost ship. Cavendish fears that the Sea of Allost may be living up to its name after all….

In the Caribbean, the Apollo has nearly taken over exploring duties from the King John, who hurries to rejoin her after being disappointed not to find anything interesting in the area south of the English HI. With a relatively minor failure in the books, the English regroup and head home with most of their other ships. The Burma will need to reacquire a new cannon to implement a different plan Gunn has, while Gunn himself has the Viceroy load some textiles before joining the others.

After avoiding reef damages, the San Estaban explores the Duke shipwreck! What an intriguing haul she got. The top row indicates what the San Estaban loaded, as she only had one open cargo space with a captain and helmsman aboard. It remains to be seen just how useful some of those UT’s will be in the Caribbean, but only time will tell….

After the Soleil Royal and Marianne dock, the French can cash in and spend again. This time the Triton, Amazone, and Jeux are introduced. In a span of two turns France has tripled the size of her fleet from 3 ships to 9!

The helmsman is for the returning Lyon. Note the nice dock height and how it interacts with the main deck of the Soleil Royal. The other types of cardboard I have are higher but look good as well.

Gold rush? The Jade Rebellion manages to dock FIVE runners at one island:

Part of the English plan is revealed!! No those are not train tracks, but LADDERS! These are special units, considered equipment, that cost 1 gold per L of ladder length. Here the English have spent 3 gold to purchase 1L and 2L lengths of ladder, which they can cut as needed to the desired end length. They are generally rope ladders that wouldn’t look like they do here, but rather they’d be crumpled up to fit aboard ships. The English also purchase a new artillery unit, an oarsman, and a flotilla. An odd launching turn overall: four different types of stuff, but no actual ships!

A unique view here, with the Apollo venturing further south as the King John rounds the reef and spots a tall stone pillar. The crew aboard the Apollo see a strange swirling mass of water near them but dare not go closer.

Finally, at long last, the Spanish launch a new ship! L’Aguila is ready to set sail, and provides a needed cargo and firepower boost to the Spanish cause. She is only crewed with a helmsman for now, since they really need more money. The firepot specialist is hired to complete the crew complement aboard the San Estaban. Malaspina is content to sit in port, especially since his lack of presence on the Magdalena allows the latter to bring in more metals.

The Americans get gold and launch the President with Commodore Edward Preble aboard! This gives them a rerolling Admiral’s Action, just like the French elsewhere in Karkuda. The Minuteman is at the right, but has only encountered a wall of terrain so far, mostly reefs but with a bit of fog. The canoes have altered course to maximize profit, heading for the food beach in the north. Infantry units are loaded aboard the Roanoke and Louisiana.

The Americans have done great lately, and it shows with their growing fleet.

With such a big day of turns and so much new stuff introduced, I thought it was a good time to do the first point count. (hopefully I’ll remember to count ships as well next time) In the order of play:

Pirates: 104 points
Jade Rebellion: 153
English: 117
Spanish: 55
French: 100
Americans: 163
Total: 692 points

The Spanish are the only faction really struggling, but at least they have a new ship now. The JR and English have done well but each suffered a setback in the day’s action, while the Americans have climbed into the lead and look to be very profitable in the long term.

 

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