Command the Oceans – Turn 44 (9/22/2017)

With some frustration over the exact same resource change happening again, I have decided to implement a system Xerecs and I may also use at some point in the World game.

-Players may agree to change the resource system. Instead of simply rolling a d6 for values and two d6 for duration, other options may be added for more randomness.
Example: A round of turns begins with the d6 roll. A 1 is rolled (on a 2-6 the resources stay the same, until a 1 is rolled on some other turn). Since a 1 was rolled, roll again. If the second roll is a 2-6 (anything other than a 1), the resources only change value for that turn. On the next turn, they revert back to whatever they were on the previous round, or a different system is once again agreed upon by all players (such as starting over with regular EE rolls, or using the system described in this example). However, if the second roll is a 1, the current EE rolls are disregarded, and new rolls are made (both for values and duration).

This has begun on Turn 44, and as long as I remember to do it at the beginning of each round, it will probably remain that way. For the first roll, I got a 2, which meant that nothing would happen.

Only one turn was played today, but it was definitely a good one!

The Pirates use ladders so recently hired shipwrights can descend to the ships waiting below the ledge! (The Deliverance and Feathered Hat have them as well)

With a fort upgrade worth 250 gold aboard, the Eagle makes all sail for Dead Man’s Point, northwest of the Pirate Kingdom. Mission himself has joined the escort force, which now also includes the Golden Medusa and Queen of Cups.

Speaking of DMP, the fort has a new visitor: the Flying Fish, an American schooner captured in the brief battle. The Fool’s Hope and Recreant will repair there as well, while the Accused rejoins the Lady’s Scorn on patrol duty near the whirlpool.

The Pirates spend 51 gold on 5 small ships! Not quite satisfied with their resource fleet after all, the Hades’ Flame, Bloody Jewel, and Coral will help in the gathering of riches. The Tejon and Carrion Crow are hired for island and perimeter defense.

The Grand Path docks home the Beowulf, while 4 other ships carry out repairs. For this game I am letting turtle ships repair their shell panels.

Clearly the battle has ended. The Jades form up in a defensive line to protect their territory and shield the damaged ships. The line is weaker at the left with small ships, but becomes stronger as you go east with various 3 masted longships still healthy.

The Cursed now have 6 cargo ships running gold from their northern island, while the Nightmare (4 masted DJC version) and Abomination set sail for the first time.

With some difficulty the Cursed resolve most of their logjam out west. The Jikininki guards the new Loa’s Justice while ships sail to and fro, with some going to the Roost for repairs.

This is the general situation in front of the Roost. The fog hopping squadron has been joined by the icewrecks in the fog, who are afraid of sinking or getting broken up by the Polaris and Beowulf. Submerged sea monsters surge forward, though Tsuro uses its action for the turn to roll for its L-mover ability (unsuccessful). The Sickle has officially sunk the Grand Dynasty, eliminating a Jade 6 master from the game. To the left of the Sickle, the Banshee’s Wail has docked home the captured Grand Temple, though she has been moved to the area behind the Roost since she will take a long time to repair.

The English have gotten their artillery unit in position! They are ready to fire it for the first time!

Since the cannons on the ships can hit things L distance away with gunports just above sea level, I knew I would have to do something about higher altitude firing in this game. With the summit of Diamond Rock around L+L up in the air, projectiles fired from the summit would of course have a much greater range than cannons fired from the gun deck of a ship (just like the real Diamond Rock in the Napoleonic Wars). Therefore I have made some custom measuring sticks for this game, and you already saw the S+S one. However, with the summit of Diamond Rock being one of the highest points of any terrain piece ever, I have given any artillery placed there L+L+L range!!

The English fire off a shot from the summit! It sails over the entire defensive wall of Spanish ships and lands a bit short of El Rafael, who is nearly off the map! XD In this case the English would have hit if there was anything there, but I’m still working on the realism of having shots fired from high altitudes. The English may experiment a bit with smaller powder charges, which could enable them to “bomb” things within L+L of Diamond Rock, or go with the full charge and have a wide swath of firing range!

Another view of the impressive firing range. At the upper left, you can see the “edge” of the Caribbean, and how the cannon could potentially limit Spanish activity to that route on the outside of the Sargasso Seas if ships within the range can be hit.

While the English were gleefully testing out their new weapon, their workers got busy at the HI. Three ships were launched: HMS Royal, Ark Royal, and Antelope. The first two are meant for war with Spain! The Antelope will gather textiles for now.

The English are gearing up for an attack on the Spanish! With their artillery at Diamond Rock terrorizing the Spanish fleet and potentially forcing them to sail new sea routes, the English see it as a great time to take advantage of metals being so worthless. The Durham and Gibraltar flotilla are being joined by HMS Lord Algernon and HMS Victor, with the new ships arriving soon as well.

Welcome to the summit! Keep in mind that due to the army unit rules (they must be given move actions to get into position), the English would have to expend an action on the cannon to give it a new line of fire. However, as of now they like how it’s aimed straight to the northwest, directly at Spanish trade!

The view from the English camp at the summit:

Spanish cargo ships are in trouble! The Spanish continue to suffer at the hands of the English.

Looking down from the top of Diamond Rock at the stunned Spanish fleet below:

Spain answers! With 28 gold coming in from Paradise Island, the Spanish spend it all on a new flagship: the Santa Ana! With the capture of the San Estaban, the Spanish have been leaderless lately. Now they will be led by Duque Marcus Vaccaro. He is usually a 0LR reroller crew, but for this game I have modified those crew to function as normal 3 point rerollers with no other abilities.

The Spanish are ready to fight! The Santa Ana is also crewed with a captain, helmsman, firepot specialist, cannoneer, and oarsman.

A new man-of-war is about to set sail. She carries the hopes of Spain with her.

The French explore the wild island east of their Harbor, finding yet more textiles! Textiles has been the most found resource in the game, as well as the most valuable on average.

The French don’t want a war, but are forced to retaliate against the deceitful Americans! The Dauphin Royal lets loose the first French cannon shots of the game, felling the Concord’s mizzenmast.

Immobilized by the Concord’s chainshot specialist, the Vengeance shoots 1/3 against the Congress. The French are angry that the Americans not only betrayed their alliance, but also captured one of their best cargo ships, Le Bon Marin.

The French weren’t in a position to do much damage, but many more ships are coming! The Americans may have picked a bad time to attack the French, as the French just launched 3 new gunships. The Possession, Gaule, and Felicite are speeding towards the battle area. With some help from the lighthouse, the St. Michel nearly reaches an American ship, showing that France is willing to risk some of her cargo ships to provide assistance in the battle.

After some deliberation, the Americans decide to stick it out! This was a big decision, as all three attacking ships could have made it out of the area relatively easily. However, between Preble’s aggressive orders and the possibility of help coming soon, the captain of the Congress leaves his squadron at The Flat and doubles down on the gunnery! The Concord is unable to hit the Vengeance with chainshot this time around, but she and the Congress dole out major damage. Lenoir (aboard the Dauphin Royal) prevents the Concord from moving and shooting, while you may have noticed that the Minuteman is absent….

Since the captain of the Congress sent her to go get help! Knowing how serious Preble was about The Flat and Karkuda in general, and also noting the change in American imperialist attitude recently, the captain of the Congress knew that fleeing was not an option. The Minuteman sped off to the northern whirlpool of the Sea of Karkuda.

Ugh! The Minuteman rolls a 2 to emerge from the northern whirlpool in the Sea of Allost! This is not what the Americans wanted, to say the least. The Minuteman was attempting to come out of the southwestern Karkuda whirlpool near the American HI. Not only was this the wrong whirlpool, but the Pirates lurked nearby, and may see it as another attacking squadron coming through!

Suddenly realizing the seriousness of the situation, the captain of the Delaware decides that if the Minuteman was unable to reach home, there would be no saving the Congress, Concord, and likely the Delaware as well. With a desperate “hard a starboard!” maneuver, the captain swung his ship around to the west, and hastily ran up a signal!! Having not given the President a move action yet*, Preble just managed to see the signal in time! (you can see that the ships barely have a clear line of sight to one another, and could barely “see” each other since I am using vague but important relative distance criteria in this game to make the size more realistic)

*Timing of actions can matter a LOT in CG’s, and it’s often best to do combat first during a turn. However, thinking things through can make a big difference, and contributes to how long these games take! It’s almost always far more strategic than regular small games.

Preble relayed the signal, and Brent Rice spurred the crew of the Bonhomme Richard into action! The Richard was already on whirlpool patrol duty, watching for hostile Pirates, and therefore could easily sail into the southwestern whirlpool. However, needing a 4 to emerge from the northern one since the Americans haven’t traveled there yet, Brent Rice got a 5 to spin out of the same whirlpool! XD

Fearing the worst for his eastern squadron, Preble demanded that more gunships try to reach the southwestern whirlpool. They would attempt to emerge from the northern one and reinforce the Americans fighting the French. The only other ship that could was the newly launched USS Paladin!

O_O Ohh boy!! The Paladin rolls a 1 to emerge from the southeastern whirlpool in the Sea of Allost!! This whirlpool was previously unknown to the Americans, and is a BIG deal. Now they can travel without rolling for location between their HI and this whirlpool, which is closer to the Pirate Kingdom than the whirlpool Ralph David has used twice now. The Paladin loses her mainmast on the voyage, but her crew almost immediately sight various Pirate ships, and know that they’re onto something important, not seeing the various reefs to the south that Ralph David had described in his tale. To the north, they also notice a huge hulking black object in the distance…. (though they can’t quite make out what it is)

The Wasp is alone in the beautiful shimmering waters of the far northwest corner of Karkuda. On a beach that previously held a bit of gold, her crew is surprised to find metal!

Commodore Preble reaches home and immediately begins issuing orders! The Americans are motivated and ready to dominate! However, now they’re a bit worried about the disappearance of the Minuteman and Paladin, not to mention their small squadron by The Flat.

A logjam at the opening of the reefs. Preble himself experienced this on the previous turn, and would have launched a ship with more exploding shot to destroy more reefs if he had the gold. However, the fight at The Flat was of more immediate importance.

And thus, two more American gunships are built to combat the French! The Franklin is just about their most accurate vessel, and carries some firepots to light ships up during battle. The Peacock is a swift, agile, and deadly vessel, who also carries a firepot specialist. (both have the mandatory captain of course, but I’ve been neglecting to mention that because every gunship launched will have one, and 95% of gunships launched will also have a helmsman)

With the Americans on the move and desperate for an empire, another turn comes to a close. It was an entertaining one, and I really enjoyed testing range from the top of Diamond Rock for the first time and the operations of the Americans.

With a good amount of turns passing since the last point count, and various launchings happening frequently, I decided to do another point count! This was done for deckplates only, so any army units, ladders/cables, and forts in play were not counted here.

9/22 ship and point count, in the order of play:

Pirates: 33 ships, 507 points
Jade Rebellion: 28 ships, 482 points
Cursed: 40 ships, 697 points
English: 24 ships, 367 points
Spanish: 14 ships, 167 points
French: 21 ships, 309 points
Americans: 25 ships, 418 points
Total: 185 ships, 2,947 points

O_O_O_O_O_O_O_O

In a complete surprise to me, I have already passed my Economy Edition game record (2,846 points) of the biggest physical game in Pirates CSG history!!!! O_O Shocked

Wow! I wanted to make this game bigger than my EE game from 2015, but I definitely didn’t expect it to get this big after only about 2 weeks of play. To be fair, my EE game reach only 100 points less in 11 less turns (last point count done on Turn 33 in EE), but that was with 5 factions on one ocean about the size of the Sea of Karkuda and oftentimes smaller distances between islands. Although, my EE game likely reached between 3,100 and 3,200 points soon afterwards. Either way, the next record up would be VASSAL Campaign Game 1, which is the biggest game of all time at 3,516 total points, though it likely reached 3,700 soon afterwards. O_O

By ocean:
Sea of Allost: 101 ships, 1,686 points
Caribbean: 38 ships, 534 points
Sea of Karkuda: 46 ships, 727 points

I do find it interesting that the Sea of Allost has a whopping 1,686 of the points in play (57%), although it is the only ocean with 3 factions on it. With another megalaunch of 200+ gold, the Cursed have climbed into the points lead, as they did in the first point count. We already knew the English had a decided advantage over the Spanish in the Caribbean, but with over 2,000 points sailing around the other two oceans, perhaps Spain will call for help at some point? Either way, I am looking forward to more exciting turns and will do another point count sometime, possibly after a big resource change if food spikes in value (meaning the French and Americans would both have a ship-ton of gold to spend lol).

As I said with the previous report, the ill-timed and unexpected heat wave will almost definitely prevent me from playing more than a turn a day for the next 7 or so days. However, with the game about to reach 3,000 total points in size, it’s also getting to the point where the length of a round alone can prevent me from playing multiple turns in a day.

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