Command the Oceans – Big developments and big battles! (9/29/2017)

Here is the report for Turns 52 and 53!

Here we start in the Sea of Karkuda instead of the Sea of Allost, as the Pirates are in combat with the Americans! The Fool’s Hope surges forward and rams Preble’s own ship, the President!! However, the fires aboard threaten to consume the ship.

It really is a true Pirate invasion! No less than 5 new ships emerge from the whirlpool, with 4 gunships and the Rum Runner, who has HI raider Villanueva aboard.

The Accused survives! Due to how powerful fire has been in this game (too powerful in many circumstances), I have made a custom rule where a ship can extinguish all its fires if it rolls a 4-6 after the regular whirlpool damage roll (basically ships that are burning roll an extra time when going through a whirlpool, but this roll can only help them and not hurt them). The Recreant doesn’t put out her fire, but she also avoids losing her final mast, and it’s possible that the Pirates will be able to repair both ships! In the meantime, even more Pirate ships approach the whirlpool, looking to absolutely flood the American area with piracy!

Havana Black turns the Deliverance ghostly to sail through English ships!! The Deliverance uses her first action to dismast the Honu Iki (directly smashing English trade!), but misses with her other shots.

The Otter and Madagascar use their handy shipwrights to repair, while the Sunrise Fire discovers the Duke shipwreck! The Pirates are annoyed at seeing the wreck of a fellow pirate ship, and get angry when they assume the English are responsible.

The booming of cannons! The Deliverance uses a sac action to ghost through the Wycliffe and shoot at her from the southern side, hitting 4/5 to take off two masts. The Feathered Hat and Dragon’s Breath surround the Resolution and dismast her!

I know it’s a bit silly with a giant Mickey Mouse watching over the events lol, but I like taking sea level shots like this sometimes. I like how the gold from the Duke shipwreck leads straight to the last coin residing there. A bunch of masts are in the distance, and the giant Diamond Rock completely obscures Paradise Island.

Captain Mission has wanted to explore west of the Pirates’ Kingdom area for some time now, and he finally gets a squadron ready for the task! Not far west of the Gold island, the squadron discovers what they had seen from a distance in the past: a huge WALL of fog!!

What could lie beyond? It looks dark and intimidating.

Well, I could only keep this a secret for so long! The mass of fog hides one of the creations I’m MOST excited about….

Calico Cat got her extra action, and the Revenant bravely sails into the fog!

With the Revenant almost completely disappearing from view, Mission aboard the Crusher is now about as unsure as he’s been all game!

The Pirates purchase an artillery unit to be stationed at Dead Man’s Point, and also launch a new ship. The Lady’s Scorn (RotF version) will be Jean Lafitte’s new ship. He has captained the Grand Barnacle for a while now, but transferring him to the LS will give him a built-in reroll for his AA ability in addition to freeing a cargo space on the Grand Barnacle. The home island raiders have departed the island, while the 2 masted gunships are on general patrol duty.

The Hrunting completes her repairs, while the Grand Path gets home to put out her fire mast and do some repairs of her own. At the edges of the picture you can see other Viking ships coming in for repairs: the Naegling, Grendel, and Huginn.

The Beowulf rams and absolutely CRUSHES an iceberg and splits it cleanly in half! The shipwreck that was the driving force behind it immediately falls into the water and begins sinking. The icebreakers’ shots against the Serpent’s Fang tell, dismasting her and making a statement!

The Polaris destroys an iceberg, and the western half of Allost is looking a lot cleaner of late. At the right, the Grand Mountain is burning badly and turns around for eventual repairs.

Not backing down from the fight, Jade turtle ships again engage the Monkey’s Paw in swarm fashion! I believe this is the third time in three major battles between the two factions where this has happened: the Monkey’s Paw fighting nearly alone against a host of JR turtle ships.

The Naegling and Hrothgar are in need of major repairs, and the Glorious Treasure will join them:

The Monkey’s Paw rolls very effectively for Fear, which will cause minor trouble for the Dragon’s Talon and Proud Tortoise. The MP then moves south and combines with Silver Coffin to blast panels off the Floating Stone.

The Cursed island that has produced gold all game has finally run out! Luckily for the Cursed, just a turn later they find textiles! (that face down coin is the Trees UT)

Broken Horn Island now produces lumber instead of luxuries!

I forgot to mention it last report, but the Cursed finally finished repairing the captured Grand Temple and Divine Wind! They used the trade-in rules to get rid of those ships and get new Cursed ships! The GT has turned into the Divine Dragon, my original Cursed flagship and a veteran of MANY great games, as those of you who have read some of my oldest reports would know. She is in great condition and joined by the Hades’ Realm, another great Cursed gunship. Combine those with the Sickle, Madness, and Hellfire (the latter two being repaired just recently) and the Cursed have a strong presence at the main entrance to the Roost. At the right, the derelict Serpent’s Fang was able to put out her fire from earlier and rows into a fog bank.

Back to the Caribbean!

HMS Apollo misses both of her shots, but the Metal Dragon and Wycliffe team up to eliminate masts from the Deliverance and set the ship aflame!

Braving a reef (where a roll of 3 or lower would wreck the ship!), the Resolution rows towards the English home island, knowing she could be sunk or captured if she didn’t take the risk. Beyond her, the Caradoc and Plantagenet are ready to provide support next turn, daring the Pirates to come across the reef in the meantime.

To counter the sudden Pirate threat, the English mobilize their reserve gunships that were stationed south of Diamond Rock. The Burma, King John, and Guy Fawkes answer the call, while the Duke of York continues to stand guard against the Spanish. At the upper right, the Lady Provost has taken the Honu Iki under tow while the Cheshire loads spices.

Back at the First Battle of Paradise Island, the Serapis is doomed to her fires! However, the Santa Ana is pummeled by the Granville and Lord Algernon, losing two more masts and her cannoneer!

In the shadow of Diamond Rock, war rages on. The Granada is damaged, but the English aren’t able to cripple the larger Cristal and Voz de Dios.

From the guns atop Diamond Rock, you can see that the English warships have raked the bows of the Spanish:

An effective Spanish counterattack! The Cristal gets stuck in the sargasso sea while maneuvering for a better position, but the Victor takes damage and the Malton and Lord Kettering are hit as well. The Extremadura had a nice turn, docking at the fort to eliminate her fire mast while simultaneously shooting to dismast the Ark Royal. At the lower right, the Royal has lost her final mast. Notice the Santa Ana scurrying away! She got an extra action and decided the damage she could do with 2 shots was not nearly worth being sunk or captured. The Spanish are desperate not to give up on Fortaleza Dorada, but they made the right move here to try and preserve one of their best ships. Notice that the Spanish cargo ships have stopped towing the flotillas – in another nice move, the Spanish leave the very expendable flotillas near the fort to preserve some firepower there and cover the damaged ships’ retreat.

Looks like 3 on 3 at this point, but those flotillas are pouring a heavy fire into the Victor!

Back to the Sea of Karkuda!

What’s that!? One of the doors to Nemo’s sub hideout is opening!

And another opens on the other side!

The Mercenaries are here!!

Nemo has officially gone rogue to start his own Mercenary faction! He was given 30 gold to start a fleet, just like the other factions at the start of the game. With it he commissioned the Mobilis with linked crew Eileen Brigid O’Brien and a helmsman, and the Devil Ray with a helmsman.

The Mobilis discovers a brand-new island!! This is Fish Island, named for the distinctive shape of the shell, not the resource. XD Especially if you look at the island upside-down, it could look like a fish jumping out of the water with a fin, tail, mouth, and eye!

Nemo accompanies the Devil Ray in the Nautilus:

The French are up next in the turn order, as the Mercenaries will go first of the (now) three factions in the Sea of Karkuda. Guy LaPlante was hired for diplomacy, not war, and sends the Possession through the northern whirlpool! In a potentially chaotic result, the ship takes damage and emerges from the southwestern whirlpool of the same ocean! Uh-oh!!

French army units are moving north across The Flat, where a ton of French ships are headed. Just outside the Harbor wall, the Westminster is rowing away from the whirlpool? I wonder where she’s heading? One thing is for sure: her crew don’t know if the Pirates are still swarming around the Caribbean whirlpool, so the crew don’t want to risk a potentially fatal return trip.

The mass departure from the French Harbor continues. At the upper right, an important crew swap has taken place. Admiral Gaston de St. Croix has left the Soleil Royal to board the Bourbon, a ship with built-in reroll perfect for his AA ability. The Soleil retains Duncan Rousseau and a helmsman, but receives more fighting crew as well. Gaston is still the supreme French commander (at least for now), but he will lead from afar and trust his senior officers aboard the capital ships to lead in any battles.

And now we go right into the thick of the fight! This is the hottest and most crowded action in the game right now. Back at the American whirlpool and home island, the Pirates and Americans have become locked in a death struggle. The Saratoga and United States pulverize the Fool’s Hope from both sides, toppling her final two masts. The Pirates are fine with that, since Eternal will warp the ship home once she succumbs to the flames. The Lady’s Scorn has two fires of her own burning as well after another devastating broadside from Brent Rice’s Bonhomme Richard.

Ralph David shoots at his former ship (the Flying Fish) aboard the Constitution. At the right, the Rum Runner uses Parley to avoid being shot at by the Paladin.

In a not-so-surprising move, the Brandywine sails up and fires point-blank into the Possession!! Guy LaPlante is knocked over by a blast, which sets the ship aflame! American-French tension has been rising recently, and all American captains have been told to engage French ships as they see fit.

The Americans spend even more gold, which may put them at over 500 gold spent over 3 turns. The Saratoga, Hannah, Vermont, and Septem Maria are launched to help out against the Pirates and possibly against the French eventually as well. Preble is shaken by his near-death experience with the Fool’s Hope, but this only makes him more focused and determined to win!

Due to the schooners repairing and the battle just to the south, only one canoe from the new set can dock.

The American Armada just keeps coming! O_O

….

Turn 53 marked the need for new resource rolls!! After 4 turns of chaos and bloodshed, what result would dictate the next stage of the game??

A 5 is rolled for value and duration! This means that food is once again the most valuable resource, just as it was on the monumental Turn 50 and at various points early in the game. The Sea of Karkuda is already becoming extremely crowded, and with food readily available to the French and sometimes the Americans, that is not likely to change anytime soon! This change hurt the English the most, but all the other factions have decent resources available with the new values.

Seeing 4+ fresh English gunships approaching from the northwest, and new launches coming out from the northeast, Havana Black decides to pull his whirlpool squadron out of the Caribbean for a break! The Pirates announced their presence to the English in grand style, and did some big damage to the Honu Iki, Wycliffe, and Resolution. However, this squadron is mostly exploratory, and isn’t meant to be lost on one expedition. Therefore, they are retreating for now so they can repair and decide on their next mission. (Mission has given Black full control of the squadron, so he can do as he wants with it) It looks like the right move, since the Sunrise Fire was the only ship of the 6 not to lose a mast to the whirlpool on the return trip! The Deliverance put out her fire with a regular 5-6 roll before the return trip, so no worries there.

At the top, those infantry units were recently unloaded at the gold island by the Paradox.

Oh my god. The Pirates send 5 more ships to the American whirlpool! It’s an utter logjam!! XD

Here the flash illuminates the battlefield, which is becoming crowded to the point of madness. If you’re confused, I’ll try to make some sense of it. Directly northwest of the whirlpool, the Pirates have an impromptu “line of battle” with the Lady’s Scorn, Ballista, Delight, and Jape. The Centurion is accidentally trapped between the Delight and Ballista by coincidence, but at least it shields her from enemy fire haha. At the bottom, three Pirate 4 masters have emerged right at the edge of the Sea of Karkuda. On the right, notice that the Rum Runner has disappeared! Villanueva wanted to rob the American HI, but after seeing the ridiculous logjam and the plethora of American gunships in the area, decided to back out! It was certainly the right thing to do, because without Ghost Ship and extra actions, there is NO WAY any Pirate ship is about to dock at the American HI lol. At the bottom right, LaPlante mistakenly finds himself on the edge of the battle, temporarily making it three factions in the area. All this while the Roanoke and Bellevue try to load metals from Luck Island on the left! XD

You can see the Rum Runner is damaged from the whirlpool, but the Recreant has put out her fire mast and will survive just like the Accused! I was very happy about those two gunships staying alive, since there have been so many of my favorite ships lost to fire already. I will admit that my soft spot for the Accused was what partially led to the whirlpool house rule where fire masts can be extinguished on a 4-6, but it does apply to all factions and all whirlpools, and makes sense given how well water puts out fire of course. North of the damaged ships are the HI raiders; I hope they’re not going to try to rob the Americans! XD

The Fool’s Hope burns to the waterline but her Eternal keyword kicks in, returning her to the bowels of Mission’s Kingdom!

O_O

THE FOG LIFTS!!!!

Introducing: The Tunnel!

I will be doing a proper introduction of the Tunnel once a faction fully understands it and can see the whole breadth of the structure. For now, you see what the Pirates see, as usual! XD

Calico Cat aboard the Revenant leads the Pirates into the Tunnel. Mission himself follows, awestruck at the immense natural structure:

Looking skywards from the masts of the Crusher:

The darkness inside the Tunnel. O_O

More on that later!! XD

The Jades rejoice as their food becomes valuable!

Launching for the first time in quite a while, the Jades get three new Viking ships: the Wiglaf (who gets +1 to cannon rolls against the Cursed!), Wodin, and Fenrir.

A broad shot of the Cursed area. They are gathering gunships under the Roost and running resources as normal. The Monkey’s Paw shoots to dismast the Floating Stone, but the battle is mostly over. Inconclusive as usual, it was a slight Jade morale victory more than anything else. Both sides lost some stuff, as the Cursed lost 3 sea monsters but the Jades lost the Muninn, Sea Phoenix, and Sea Lion. Both sides are completely exhausted and spent after 3 full-scale battles in the war. Not much of anything has been achieved by either side! XD Again though, I don’t mind that since naval warfare in the Age of Sail was often similar. Right now it’s just two factions beating the carp out of each other without regard for much else. XD

The shocked and stunned English are suddenly in peaceful waters south of Diamond Rock. Saddened and confused by the Pirate attack, they will now begin the long process of repairing, regrouping, and reestablishing trade routes, although not a ton of ships were affected by the raid. The English definitely plan to have an official “whirlpool defense squadron” stationed near the whirlpool to prevent future disasters.

Paradise no more! A messy scene of death and despair, as Fortaleza Dorada burns. In fact, it will continue to burn. The Resistance and Lord Algernon teamed up to eliminate the fort’s final flag after the fire spread again, and the garrison stationed there is simply charred corpses. The rules for a burnt fort will work slightly different than for ships: the fort goes out of play on the faction’s next “next” turn, as in two turns after having only fires. However, it will burn to the ground at the beginning of that turn, rather than when the faction chooses as in the case of the automatic scuttling by fire masts rule. The 6 on the Ark Royal shows that the English have scuttled that ship, but she is Eternal and will return to their home island, though all her crew were killed by Armada and the ship was nearly sunk by gunfire alone. Truly the horrors of war in this picture!

The battle continues, with absolutely CRUSHING blows dealt by the Spanish! The Malton and Lord Kettering were largely ineffective for the English, and the Spanish fought back hard. The Victor was sunk (!) by the flotillas, while the three Spanish gunships hit very often to cripple the LK and dismast the Malton. At the top right, the Spanish have even scored a coup, capturing the Ark Royal (who was about to return home via Eternal scuttling) with the Extremadura!

The First Battle of Paradise Island is likely almost over. The English dominated in the far north, nearly dismasting the Santa Ana and destroying the fort by fire. However, the Spanish have done extremely well southwest of the fort in the most recent 2 turns, turning the tide a bit and really showing the English that they won’t be easy to defeat or eliminate.

With the metals from Paradise Island still quite valuable, the Spanish are able to launch 3 new gunships. The Acorazado (OE version), Ebro and Serpiente join the fleet. The Spanish are saving the SM Acorazado for a later time in the game, assuming the OE version will be sunk or captured and assuming the Spanish will not be eliminated anytime soon. The Acorazado is one of the best Spanish ships for Master Gunner Rogelio Vazquez, who comes aboard (as he did in my EE game) to turn all 5 of the ship’s S-range cannons to L-range! The Santa Catalina gets a new helmsman while the Alquimista and Santa Ana join her for repairs. At the right, more Spanish success! HMS Royal was captured by the Corazon del Mar and chained towed by the Profeta, giving the Spanish a potentially powerful gunship!

The guns atop Diamond Rock have damaged the Corazon del Mar, but the Spanish have won a very important victory in the second phase of this First Battle of Paradise Island.

The Mercenaries have signaled their arrival! All three submarines surface to dock at the wild islands:

The Felicite, Delacroix and Ville de Paris arrive at The Flat, while the Amazone unloads another infantry unit.

The Americans started their turn with their battle against the Pirates, but logistical difficulties meant that they needed to advance their entire chain of ships north of their home island to even allow the canoes to dock and other ships to move out! XD So I’ll do this part first haha.

ATTACK!! Surging forward, and maneuvering to stay out of Lenoir’s cancelling range, the Intrepid kicks off the Second Fight at The Flat!! Her cannons are effective as the Dauphin Royal is set aflame and one of the French infantry units is blasted into the ocean! Lenoir is thrown into the air by the explosion aboard the Dauphin, with his back slamming into a wall and various Frenchmen dying in the attack.

The Americans declare war on the French!! Hardly a surprise, but here we go! The Cleveland inflicts a hit on the Dauphin while the Grampus surges forward! A ton of American ships behind follow suit!

And it’s on! The Albany and Seattle round the north cape of The Flat, with the latter blasting apart an artillery unit. The Delaware, Peacock, Franklin, and Yankee are all present as well! LaPlante can’t seem to escape the warfare, as the Possession leaves one whirlpool of death to emerge at the beginning of another major battle!

O_O Literally like an assembly line of firepower and soldiers, the American war machine is in full operation!!

The Americans have a continuous double (sometimes triple!) line of warships going all the way from their home island to The Flat:

The Americans declare war on the Pirates!!

The carnage mounts in the southwest! The Rickets proves difficult to hit, but the Lady’s Scorn, Ballista, and Claret are pulverized. The Americans do some neat maneuvering so the Hudson, Destiny, Overton, and Appalachian can all get shots in. At the upper left, the cargo ships get out of the way. From this scene, I counted a maximum of 25 ships involved in the battle.

A forest of masts on the battlefield, though it threatens to become more of a forest fire! XD

With 3 or 4 ships blasting away at the Lady’s Scorn, Preble is finally able to repair the President. At the right, the Ballista was quite effective against the Bonhomme Richard earlier, but now the Americans get revenge.

Speaking of the Bonhomme, she moved on to fight the Jape. The Paladin was very effective against the Claret, who has taken direct hits to her hull from the Hudson and Destiny. The ship has lost most of her crew and is now burning out of control. At the left, notice the Centurion still perfectly intact, shielded by Pirate ships but also unable to shoot as a result!

With LaPlante’s Possession fleeing, the bloodthirsty captain of the Brandywine moves on to attack the Bruja instead. When they came through the whirlpool, these newest Pirate ships rolled pretty well for damage, keeping them healthy unlike the exploratory whirlpool squadron that took major damage on their trip home.

After a lot of complex maneuvering, the canoes are finally able to dock! The Americans spend their last chunk of gold on two additional Minuteman flotillas, which will guard their HI and Preble himself for the time being. In fact, those were my other two duplicate American flotillas, so all 3 that I own are shown here.

So to recap, in the order of play:
-Pirates discover The Tunnel
-JR-Cursed war sees a THIRD battle mostly conclude, indecisive once again
-Pirates pull whirlpool squadron out of Caribbean after doing major damage to some English ships
-English win first part of battle around Paradise Island, but Spanish have decisively won the second part and look to have a major victory (Fortaleza Dorada lost, but the Serapis and Victor were sunk and the Ark Royal and Royal captured, though getting the AR home will be difficult). Plus, the resource change favors the Spanish for now.
-The Mercenaries officially arrive!
-On the same turn, the Americans make dual declarations of war against France and the Pirates. They have instigated another Fight at The Flat, and are fighting an intense action against the Pirates near their HI and whirlpool.
-HEAVY warfare in the Caribbean and the Sea of Karkuda!

With turns taking such a long time to complete, the likelihood of playing partial turns increases. For example, finishing operations of a turn in ANY one of the three oceans feels like a decent accomplishment right now lol. Another point count is coming….

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