Command the Oceans – The end at last

THE FINAL REPORT

12/15/2017

Turn 85

The Pirates sink the Beowulf, and the Jade Rebellion has been eliminated!!

The Shui Xian comes under fire from three different Pirate ships:

The Delusion sinks!! Devereaux, the Cursed Admiral, is no more. Command passes to the Headhunter aboard the Guichuan. The Crocodile suffers heavy damage and begins to burn.

The dense Pirate fleet is impressive, but what’s about to hit them is an accidentally combined elite task force bent on their elimination.

The Anglo-Cursed squadron of about 18 ships is almost upon the smaller Pirate squadron in the south!

Love the contrast of sails in this one – you can actually see the skull on the Deliverance’s sails for once, while the Black Swan, Victoria, and SX stand out as usual.

Angelica swoops on the Tunnel and unleashes a torrent of fire!!!

Flying up and over the Pirate stronghold, Angelica blasts the troops below with red-hot flame!

Another flamethrower attack:

The hastily built fortress is set aflame:

Two infantry units of the five stationed there are killed by the fire.

Miraculously, most of the Pirate troops at the other end of the Tunnel survived the attack.

However, they have lost a few infantry units and will have to extinguish the blazes that threaten to take out the small amount of foliage and grass atop the Tunnel:

Seeing the fort go up in smoke, the Pirate infantry on the eastern end of the Tunnel had just enough time to raise their muskets and unleash a volley of their own! Angelica suffered a large wound. Between that and the energy expended during the flamethrower attack (blasting most of the Tunnel’s top with fire, not just in one place – a flying mobile flamethrower! XD), Angelica did not have the strength to fly back to the Roost or somewhere else for safety.

Angelica lands in one of the most calm areas of Mission’s Kingdom, but will still face cannon fire on the Pirate turn.

Now it was Shal-Bala’s turn!!

Following up the flamethrower attack with a “troop drop”, Shal-Bala dumps a ladder with 4 Cursed infantry units on the Tunnel!! If you can’t beat them from the land or sea, beat them from the air!! XD

This dual attack by the dragons threatens Pirate control of the Tunnel itself:

The dragons were the only way any faction could get at the Pirates on the Tunnel without hoisting their own ladders up to the top, so this was a great and innovative move by the Cursed. The aerial bombardment serves as a nice counter to how dominant the Pirates have been at this island.

The Shui Xian sinks the ships attacking her, while the Victoria pulverizes the Deliverance:

The English and Cursed go over the reefs and attack! The Raven and Pride are sunk, while the Splinter takes heavy damage.

Partly due to the Jade wrecks, it will be a slow process to get this squadron into Pirate territory.

My first English 5 master in a scene reminiscent of her glory days!

This game has been a classic that I will reference and link to for the rest of my pirating career. The veteran warship has still got it! XD

With a BANG, the Guichuan, Apollo, and Endeavour show their might on the battlefield!! O_O

Things don’t look good for the Pirates in this area, with the Titan and Namazu lurking behind the colossal giants:

Carnage and chaos all over, from the Tunnel’s top to the waters of Allost:

The Pirates are suffering perhaps more than one could have expected:

Some English ships have sunk here, but they’re replaced by the Granville and Burma. Flotillas enjoy a distinct advantage in whirlpool travel: not only are they immune to damage since they don’t have masts, but their action is given independently of the towing ship, allowing them to shoot as soon as they exit the whirlpool.

The Flying Fish sinks a ship as the Americans prepare for their final stand against the French.

The French may not be nearly as strong as they were at the outset of this war, but the Americans have only a handful of ships left at this point. L’Hercule represents the height of French power now, with 5 cannons (Marine included) firing regardless of how many masts are standing on the ship.

The pitiful beast He’e is no match for mobile French firepower. The Jarvis has stuck around with her L-immunity, but former fleetmate the Pequod will finish her off soon.

I like this perspective: through the rubble and devastation the French tricolor still flies proudly from various warships sailing by the mess.

Indeed, France has more than enough strength to outlast the Americans. However, what about after that? Will they be able to defeat other factions?

The Americans have some fight left in them at the Castle, where continual Spanish reinforcements have augmented the French fleet.

Turn 86

A shocking development!! The Pirates’ Widowmaker flotilla, after sitting in this spot as a guard post for much of the game, hits 3 times with rank-4 accuracy to kill Angelica!!

The Pirates pound away at the Shui Xian and Victoria, taking them down to 4 masts combined.

Down south, the Pirate counterattack leaves the Gargantuan seriously hurting. However, this is just the natural progression of battle at this point – the lead ship will be sunk inevitably, and will be inevitably replaced by others in the group. Whoever has the most cannons and the best gun crews will win the day.

The Pirates concentrate their firepower on the Gibraltar flotilla at this whirlpool, and they do manage to eliminate it. However, the Granville and Burma are unscathed as a result.

Terrible shooting by the Pirates sees the English take almost no damage. The Guichuan should only have one mast here; I thought she would be sunk this turn so I didn’t want to take out the masts for no reason.

LAND COMBAT!!! Finally, after a near-miss on The Flat, we finally see some land warfare!

Army units engage! The Pirates lose a unit to the Cursed, who bring most of their new force atop the Tunnel to bear on the Pirates on the eastern side.

One Cursed unit goes west towards the fort, where they will likely be no match for the Pirate garrison stationed there.

Finally! Something the Cursed have been planning for ages pans out! Behemoth copies Namazu’s ability for a surprise tidal wave attack on the Pirates!!

However, it was a DOUBLE WAVE ATTACK!! That’s right, Davy Jones copied Deleflote to give the action of the Fiddler’s Green to Behemoth, allowing the creature to unleash two huge waves! Three ships are sunk outright, and Beastie’s strength is cut in half!

Scarily enough, that’s not all the Cursed have to offer here either, with Namazu himself lurking behind the Guichuan. Even after this second Cursed 10 master goes to the depths, the Juggernaut and Death’s Anchor will provide an 8-cannon “dreadnought” of sorts as a replacement.

Looking down the path of destruction:

Action at the west Tunnel entrance, where the Cursed and English are duking it out with the Pirates:

The Victoria and Black Swan will not survive this engagement:

Always love these tough shots inside the Tunnel itself. The flash is basically on the fire in a perfect irony, with the Victoria’s main royal sail a weird shade of blue. In the foreground, Pirate ships rush to the scene. In the dense background, various ships wait their turn to fight, with part of the Shui Xian’s broadside visible.

A more realistic perspective, with the horrors of war inside the Tunnel augmented by its darkness:

The English force their way through the Pirates!

Bad news for the Pirates and big news for the English: HMS Lord Algernon is here!! O_O Admiral Thomas Gunn’s flagship from the Caribbean, the Lord Algernon gives the English a morale boost in the area in addition to an obvious firepower upgrade.

What kind of havoc can my favorite ship wreak?

Pure incredible firepower. The Endeavour, Apollo, and Titan mostly got additional actions, and unleashed devastating broadsides that have sunk the remaining Pirate ships west of the reef barrier.

The English 5’s are tearing through the Pirate lines with ease. The flood of Royal Navy vessels is just beginning, and the Pirates may be hard-pressed to beat back them and the Cursed at the same time.

Meanwhile, HMS Caradoc is the only ship left in the Caribbean.

From the American perspective, facing down the French flood that has sunk the Flying Fish:

The Americans are at a severe disadvantage:

The Royal Louis and captured Minuteman are sunk, while the Valley Forge tows another Minuteman flotilla up from the south.

Still fighting strong against the Franco-Spanish:

Turn 87

Some of the big bad Pirate hybrids are getting into action against the English after receiving captain crew at the kingdom.

At the Battle for the Tunnel, both sides lose infantry units. The Cursed lose 2 to the Pirates’ 1. The Cursed unit trying to infiltrate the fort was caught, while Pirate units look to defend the artillery positions.

SHAL-BALA HAS SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT THAT!!

(these pictures all depict things happening very fast, faster than anyone can take in the development)

Shal-Bala swoops on the Tunnel!!

THIS TIME THE PIRATE TROOPS ARE READY!!! Their muskets are pointed to the sky, and a large volley of musket balls goes up!! Some of the shots connect and hit Shal-Bala in the eyes and vital organs!! O_O

The dragon nosedives into the Tunnel and flips!

End over end, scattering troops and knocking soldiers great distances!!

Ailing and unable to take off into the sky, Shal-Bala crashes into the eastern end of the Tunnel!!

Shal-Bala goes off the end of the Tunnel, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake!!

A bizarre sight. The dragon’s momentum into the opening at the eastern end of the Tunnel ripped the wings from its body, leaving them literally hanging off the edge while Shal-Bala hurtled into the Sea of Allost waiting below. O_O

Shal-Bala is no more. Many of the Pirate troops atop the Tunnel died in the attack; you can see some of them got thrown down the same tunnel they climbed up to get to the top!

More of the English horde comes across the reef barrier. The Bonnie Liz and Silver Dagger are trying to head them off, but won’t be able to stem the tide at all.

A tribute to how much faster the pace of combat is with the regular rules. The Guichuan has sunk, in addition to the Pirate ships that had been harassing her. The Titan suffers heavy damage but is quickly replaced by the Leicester.

The change in combat rules has also had a dramatic effect on how much debris accumulates on the oceans:

The Shui Xian battles as the Pirates sink the Victoria:

Shal-Bala’s failed swooping strike evokes recent memories of the rigged bridge in Karkuda. A plan designed to benefit one faction has dramatically hurt both them and their target.

Some Pirate army units actually got knocked off the southern edge of the Tunnel, falling the long distance to the reefs and rocks below. The impact at the eastern end knocked the 2L bridge over, which has fallen into the ocean and will likely not be usable again for the Pirates.

The artillery position at the eastern end opening bore the greatest brunt of the impact:

In the background you can glimpse a chunk of the interior stairway the Pirates built, as well as one of the infantry units that fell down that tunnel after being killed by the rolling dragon.

The Martinette and others clean up against the Americans, sinking the Roanoke and getting close to having an open route to the American HI from the south.

Pitched battle erupts at the American HI! The Hercule is dismasted but takes USS Emerald with her. The Eroica is sunk by artillery fire from the island. Those units will be instrumental if the Americans are to somehow survive. At this point they would need a dramatic intervention from the Sea of Allost to stay alive.

The amount of carnage has now eclipsed the volume of fighting actually going on:

A different view, with the destroyed Castle extension sort of the “last gasp” of American defiance before this inevitable final stand.

American waters have finally been broached by the French:

Turn 88

The English form up and advance! The Grand Barnacle and Darkhawk II are ruined, with the Shadow next.

With the exception of a few stragglers, the English have made it over the reef barrier with mostly minimal damage.

A FINAL STANDOFF!! XD The last surviving infantry units on the Tunnel meet in an epic clash.

The Tunnel has been devastated. Above, ON, inside, below, you name it. Death everywhere.

The Pirates sink the Endeavour and Apollo! However, their numbers are looking inferior to the Anglo-Cursed force headed their way.

The Pirates are using the reefs to their best advantage, trying to goad the English ships into going over them. The smaller Pirate gunships have taken the minimal risk in passing over them but miss the Titan.

The Ranger has finally sunk as the Battle for the Tunnel kind of just peters out here at the end. The top has been just about nullified, while a small handful of severely damaged ships weakly fight each other underneath.

The Pirates have a few more reinforcements, but the Amity and Hades’ Flame aren’t exactly ships you want on the front lines of a battle.

O_O The immense pile of sunken ships grows with every turn.

A mountain of ships that reminds me of Shipwreck Cove from At World’s End:

Taller than the kingdom!

I didn’t actually want to do this at the end, but the finish was so rushed and I ran out of other places to put things that I almost had to.

With the Frontier and others finally sunk, the Franco-Spanish have won the Battle for the Castle!!!!

The French have also sunk the final American ships! Now only William Eaton’s army stands in the way of Franco-Spanish dominance in Karkuda. He has trained his troops well, but they are no match for the armada that now tightens the noose around the island….

The assault has begun:

Moving on from the unspeakable destruction near the Castle, the French are far from home but have maintained guard posts at various key points (whirlpools, Harbor, Flat) within their waters.

This ocean is starting to look decidedly empty compared to a few weeks ago….

This ocean features an impressive graveyard, but nothing on the scale of the War for Allost. (which however has been fought more suddenly with the combat rule changes affecting it nearly from the start)

12/16/2017

Turn 89

The Pirates try to block the English but fail to do much damage:

The Titan and Leicester are sunk, but the upcoming Anglo-Cursed advance is sure to be fast and furious. The Diamond Strike is Calypso’s newest bodyguard to protect the Stoneheart, and they flee the area to return to the kingdom.

As the giant Shui Xian finally slips beneath the waves, the Pirate fort atop the Tunnel is fully engulfed by flames! This marks the official end of Piratical activities on the Tunnel.

OR NOT!!! The lone survivor of the land warfare has defeated the Cursed unit to reclaim sole possession of the Tunnel for Pirates!

However, all of their comrades are dead, and the chances of getting back to the kingdom is slim.

The English blast their way through and advance towards Mission’s Pirate Kingdom itself!! O_O

The English and Cursed armada is confident they can take down the greatest faction in this game and the game overall.

Even the Nancy Nox is fighting now, in a classic shot that I like.

THE SPANISH HAVE RETAKEN THE CASTLE!!!!

The Spanish are busy regrouping and celebrating, but the French have better things to do, hastily sailing west to make sure their comrades are alive and properly supported in the attempt to knock the Americans from the game.

The French in the south needn’t worry, for the French have nearly done it! The Americans are down to their last two army units.

Turn 90

One of my favorite shots from the endgame, showing the English fleet sailing towards the unprotected kingdom belonging to the late Captain Mission.

Once mighty, the Pirates have fallen to this.

Soon Dead Man’s Point will be overrun by the Anglo-Cursed horde. The Pirates have mostly abandoned it in an attempt to save their home island.

The few Spanish troops left in play can now swarm over the Castle ramparts that their ancestors once built:

The French open fire again, and the Americans have been eliminated!!!!

After a valiant effort, the Americans have fallen to the combined strength of France and Spain.

The influx of French ships from the south shows that the Americans had no chance:

The Franco-Spanish have prevailed!! Of course, now the question everybody is wondering: what’s next?

It certainly wasn’t easy, as the unprecedented debris field shows how the Americans took a huge percentage of the French fleet with them to the depths.

Turn 91

The English converge on the Pirates!

Now the Sea of Allost looks decidedly empty, with the east having all of the action.

The Cursed make quick work of Dead Man’s Point, but some Pirate army units remain.

The Coral defiantly resists:

The Coral is a ship from my original collection of 49 ships from 2005-2006, but I built this new version of her to replace the original whose mast broke some years ago. I have to admit she’s an underrated ship, though that’s inevitable considering the competition within her own set.

Depending on who you’re rooting for, a sad scene. The Pirates have lost their fort and the upgrade associated with it that costed them 250 gold (that gold was not going to go on the island even if the game could continue longer and/or if the combat rules hadn’t changed).

The Spanish are now going to fortify and protect their precious Castle from any potential invaders. The French are fine with this, as they want their considerably powerful (at THIS point in the game!) ally to stay in their ocean and wait for enemies to approach them.

The French head home! The French will try to implement a plan similar to that of the Spaniards, regrouping at the Harbor in preparation for the final battle(s?).

Can anyone contest the Franco-Spanish?

Turn 92

The Stoneheart is dismasted and captured by the English!! One of the only ships to be captured in this late stage of the game where repairs are impossible, the English want the Cursed to be able to copy Calypso with Davy Jones, who is still aboard the Fiddler’s Green….

The inevitable. The Pirates are scrubbed off their formerly glorious island, and the Anglo-Cursed are strengthening from acquaintances to actual allies…. !

The Spanish have set up small ships with flotillas along their newly minted eastern border, while some other ships go south to protect that bottleneck. A few ships are protecting the northern approach to the Castle, while others are docked at the walls.

The army units are getting into optimal positions atop the ramparts:

It will take many turns for the French invasion fleet to return home to the Harbor, even more for the ships that have to come up from the south and round the Castle extension in order to go east due to the immense destruction in the “alley of death”.

The French are making all speed towards home:

It will be interesting to see if The Flat plays a role in the upcoming conclusion. The French have stationed a few ships at it, but Paradis de la Mer and the 11 (!) army units on it may be enough to deter any invaders.

The Musarde broke off earlier to be the first ship back home, where 4 other French ships are stationed. Both whirlpools are still heavily guarded by squadrons.

Turn 93

The English formation breaks up, but the Pirates have nearly been eliminated!

The forces converging on the Pirates from the north are about equal between English and Cursed.

The Cursed have won the Battle for the Tunnel!!!!

The Serpent’s Fang will be the first ship to emerge from the darkness, and the Cursed are coming out of this War for Allost a bit stronger than most people could anticipate….

Another head-on shot, with the impressive French ships (Seattle was captured) making their way over the supreme wreckage caused by them and their comrades just north of the Castle areas. Sailors (aboard the Pluton) and soldiers (Spanish infantry) alike salute the arrival of France’s finest!

Turn 94

THE PIRATES HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED!!!!!!!!!! O_O

After assembling the largest fleet of all-time, the Pirates have fallen to a loose coalition of Jade Rebels, Cursed, and Englishmen. Their fall was swift and somewhat shocking, but various factors played a role in their demise.

The Pirates in the fort have already surrendered, knowing they don’t stand a chance against the overwhelming superiority of the invaders.

On the doorstep of Mission’s Kingdom, the Anglo-Cursed have conquered the Pirates:

Cursed reinforcements are coming:

Here come the French!

Turn 95

Under joint command from Davy Jones and Admiral Thomas Gunn, the fort is demolished.

At long last, the Pirates have been ousted! At this point, the most powerful faction in the Sea of Allost may not be one that started the game in the ocean (the English).

It’s less impressive when viewed from this high above, but the sea is now an ocean of debris and death.

The first direct friction between the Cursed and the Franco-Spanish! Tsuro moves the Cristal del Obispo L onto a reef:

The first French ships are nearly home, but it is a long assembly line to refortify the Harbor.

Somehow, someway, the Soleil Royal has survived. She was the first French flagship of the game, before Gaston moved his flag to the Bourbon and Lenoir took over active command of the battle fleet aboard the Dauphin Royal. The ship is nearly mastless, but sails on regardless.

Turn 96 (getting harder to keep count, I lost track eventually… oh well)

Officially acting as allies, the English and Cursed collaborate! Davy Jones copies Calypso again to create a new whirlpool!!! O_O

The Cursed are wasting no time!! The second whirlpool is placed L away from the lighthouse island in the Sea of Karkuda, right in front of the Harbor!!! A submerged Namazu swims through the whirlpool (Cursed stuff doesn’t take damage remember), while the Grinder allows the Death’s Anchor flotilla to sink the Hercule and her 5 functioning cannons!

Losing the Hercule was inevitable with no masts left, but the French certainly did not expect this surprise attack so soon after they finished off the Americans. The Cursed have the Eye, but the Franco-Spanish have no idea what’s been going on in the Sea of Allost. They are surprised that the Pirates may have been completely defeated.

Five Cursed ships appear at the southwestern whirlpool near the former American HI!

Having almost no business in Karkuda so far in the game, the Cursed have now invaded in two different spots on the same turn.

The Sea of Allost is emptying out! But where did some of those ships go?

English ships arrive via DJ/Calypso’s new whirlpool!! The Tower flotilla sinks a French ship guarding the old whirlpool used to invade the Harbor so long ago!

With this new blockage, perhaps the French won’t return to the Harbor after all!

The Dauntless and three other English ships arrive at the southern whirlpool!

The Spanish take their turn, fighting the Cursed for the first time! The Cristal knocks two masts off the Boneyard:

The French fight back! Some English ships are sunk immediately, with most of the ships docked in the Harbor coming out to assist. The Seattle misses the Tower flotilla completely, but the French take out the Grinder and Death’s Anchor. In a cool move of naval “musical chairs”, the French rotate the guard squadron around the old whirlpool to allow the Belle Etoile to join the squadron to seal off the whirlpool once more. The French don’t want more invaders to come through, but it looks like an inevitable development.

The Felicite lights up HMS Forge, but the Hibernia and Tower will provide powerful firepower for the English next turn.

Turn 97

Namazu’s final attack is a dramatic suicide blast!! Literally a “last gasp”, the serpent issues a final tidal wave of destruction before dying. Sinking 4 French ships and taking 6 masts total off the Corse, Lyon, and Lurker Dessous, Namazu and its ability is no more in this game.

Davy Jones copies Deleflote to give the Juggernaut two actions through the whirlpool! This was part of the Cursed strategy to open up a third whirlpool in the Sea of Karkuda. It worked, with the Nox sinking and paving the way for the Nosso Lar and another Death’s Anchor flotilla.

The Cristal is sunk as the Hades’ Realm and Serpent’s Fang arrive:

No English ships remain in the Sea of Allost! They have taken the plunge and gone to Karkuda!

Here some of them are. They will try to provide a jolt to the Anglo-Cursed efforts to halt the French.

HMS Lord Algernon has arrived!

Suddenly the Sea of Karkuda is becoming quite crowded once again:

The Second War for Karkuda is just beginning!

The French rip into the English, sinking the Forge and Gallows!

Various ships come off whirlpool duty to assist the emergency situation at the Harbor.

Turn 98

At this point, it is clear that the Anglo-French alliance was not very strong. The English took it more seriously than the French, but have now broken the pact in order to align with the Cursed against the Franco-Spanish.

With multiple declarations of war occurring recently, it is now the English/Cursed vs. the French/Spanish!!

Terrox surrounds a ship immediately after arriving via the whirlpool, but the English and Cursed are lacking numbers here.

Despite many ships having damage, the French fleet looks strong relative to the others.

The Santa Ana is finally sunk as the Spanish come under attack at the southern part of the Castle.

Cursed reinforcements from the Tunnel finally arrive! The Corse and Musarde are dismasted.

I think what happened here was the Orkney got an AA and went 4/4, with the French electing to scuttle immediately so their next ships could advance to hit the Orkney.

The French are starting to dominate their home waters, but they cannot advance into the Harbor as they had planned.

Turn 99

The Cheshire gets involved, and it will be interesting to see if the Spanish can hold the Castle against the invaders.

In order to provide more immediate support in the southwest, the Spanish defensive line has moved west of Fish Island.

O_O The Fiddler’s Green and Stoneheart are the only ships left in the Sea of Allost!

(The troops on the Jade HI would have starved to death by now, or could be easily picked off by the last faction sailing)

Another Battle for the Castle:

TURN 100

Very Happy Very happy to get here, as my other campaign games did not have turn counts in the triple digits that I know of (CotE 2013 was 62, EE 2015 was 45, and I didn’t keep count for other games, though CG1 likely reached 100 turns).

Terrox managed to beat Le Lyon and now surrounds the Floating Stone. Even as French strength around the Harbor grows, the Cursed are starting to infiltrate it.

The late stage of the endgame has been a bit of a “flotilla fight”, and this area looks no different. Unlike the first Cursed invasion of the Harbor, there are now almost no French ships inside the Harbor that can protect the French army units and even the docks themselves.

I took these pictures to highlight the Serpent’s Fang, whose devastating gun crews hit 7/8 this turn! (Davy Jones on the FG is now copying Deleflote instead of Calypso to give actions to a Cursed ship each turn that can make the biggest impact on the battle)

Turn 101?

The Bonne Chance is sunk, and the Cursed begin their assault!! The flotillas will be extra valuable here, with their range an asset against the army units on the docks.

Squalo is about to wreak havoc! XD

Two Cursed flotillas are sunk as the French try to defend their home. That whirlpool and Terrox have really been a thorn to the French lately, since it’s right in the path their ships would take to enter the Harbor. The constant arrivals from Allost and the lighthouse island have forced some ships to go around to the south for a better way in.

Turn 102 (just trying to keep track at this point, not likely to be off by more than 1 or 2)

As if on cue, the kraken surrounds another ship!

The Pequod puts an end to Terrox. The French have caught up to the Dark Pact and sunk the Nightmare and its flotilla.

Turn 103
With most of the Cursed ships sunk by the Spanish, the 4 English gunships left in play are ready to rumble! There was a pretty intense bottleneck at the southwestern edge of the Castle for a few turns, but now the English can fight the Spanish once more! Of course, this time it’s in Karkuda instead of the Caribbean. Still, it’s cool to see the game “come full circle”! XD At this point the factions mostly just see each other as obstacles to victory, with less hatred than the previous wars fought recently (French vs. Cursed is the matchup with the most animosity at this point). In fact, we weren’t too far off from seeing an “imperial alliance” of France, Spain, and England, and we likely would have if the Americans had been defeated earlier and the French went off to fight the Pirates.

The Dauntless loses two masts as the Spanish are forced to break formation to combat the threat.

After taking out just 3 army units at the Harbor, the Cursed invasion is over! The French can now concentrate their forces to the south.

The entire French fleet is now headed southwest to fight the English and what remains of the Cursed…

… which isn’t much. Tsuro is being given double actions via the Fiddler’s Green, but the Cursed only have those two ships left. Including the Caradoc in the Caribbean, the English only have 6 ships left. From this picture I see 8 Spanish ships and 22 French ones.

AND THUS THE REASON FOR THE TURN!!!!! The Spanish turn their guns to the north and declare war on the French!!!!

With basically a 30 on 8 fight in terms of pure ship count, it is clear that the Franco-Spanish would win. However, between the French having the most ships in play and the Spanish bearing the brunt of the English assault, the Spanish realized they would not win if they let the French overrun them after the Anglo-Cursed were finished off. Thus, a tipping of the scale. Now it will be a more fair fight, with the English/Cursed/Spanish fleet of 16 total ships against the 22 of France.

Also, despite their bloody past, the English and Spanish have been on relatively cordial terms ever since the revelation (by the French) that the Castle in Karkuda was being taken by the Americans. After a brief and forced renewal of their conflict, they have made up and can now focus their combined efforts against the French.

THE FINAL SHOWDOWN!!!!

(That was Turn 104 I believe)

Turn 105
HMS Caradoc arrives from the Caribbean!

In similarly surprising fashion, the Fiddler’s Green appears with Davy Jones himself at the helm! He copied EA to shoot at the Rocher Noir, but only hit once.

The Spanish prepare to defend their Castle from the north this time!

Turn 106
The French attack!! Wasting no time, the French start sinking Spanish ships to get revenge against the betrayers.

Turn 107
The Pluton is sunk, and the Santo Columba sets the Sabre on fire!

The Dauntless is the first English ship to fight the French. The allies have an ace in the hole with the Lord Algernon, which is easily the most powerful ship in play right now. The French have better quantity and their best ship is La Possession. Both sides have 2 flotillas.

Turn 108?
The Santo Columba and Dauntless are sunk, but the French lose a couple 3 masters. The Spanish have been mostly unable to slow the French onslaught.

Turn 109
Tsuro is finished off. Up north, the Rocher Noir and Favori managed to defeat the Fiddler’s Green after a long battle of misses, meaning the Cursed have been eliminated!!!! Only three factions remain, the most imperial factions: England, France, and Spain.

The Magdalena started retowing the Armada flotilla just to flip it into a better firing position. The English are down to their last three ships.

Turn 110
The English make some waves, sinking both French flotillas as the Lord Algernon enters the fray!

Only a handful of ships left in play!!

The Cheshire and Magdalena are sunk, and the French team up to take the Lord Algernon down to one mast!!

Guy LaPlante has been promoted to high Admiral out of necessity! No longer just a diplomat, he is now in command of the French fleet! XD The Possession vs. the Lord Algernon is the final clash of capital ships in this game.

Turn 111
HMS Lord Algernon is sunk! Admiral Thomas Gunn goes down with her, passing command of the English “fleet” to Commodore Owen. The last Armada flotilla is proving to be a tough sink for the French.

Turn 112
The Caradoc is the last hope for the English, and teams with the flotilla to smash the Possession down to a single mast!

The Cleveland sinks the flotilla (eliminating the Spanish from the game!!), while the French gang up on the Caradoc. The Martinette has a great shoot action, and the English are eliminated!!!!

THE FRENCH COMMAND THE OCEANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IT IS FINALLY OVER!! After more than 3 months of play and over 100 turns, Command the Oceans has ended!!!!!! Finally. Whew. Huzzah!!

Congratulations to the French!!!! This is their first victory in any of my campaign games, ending the longest drought for any of the “Big 4” factions. It was about time they won a CG of mine, and here they’ve done it on the grandest stage of them all. Easily the most epic physical campaign game ever, and quite possibly the most epic overall.

There is a BIG write-up below concerning my thoughts on the game and how each faction did. But first, to conclude this final report we can look back at the unrivaled, unprecedented level of devastation seen in this game.

The immense mountain of sunken ships in Allost:


You can almost see all the way through both tunnels:

A desolate wasteland:

Even if the Caradoc had stayed in the Caribbean, the French would have taken her out at the English HI and would have just enough firepower to blockade or take out Diamond Rock. (if we even pretend those troops are still alive)

The Sea of Karkuda has a wide swath of debris where one of the bloodiest wars was fought:

Now for some closeups of the carnage, so I can look back on it and see the proof of how insane this game was.

With the Castle complex removed so you can see the entire scope of the destruction:

I am actually saving some of the bigger chunks of wreckage as a memento. I have this fantasy that if Pirates were incredibly popular I could auction off some pieces on eBay lol. XD

The HUGE cleanup commences! These are all the masts from the Sea of Karkuda, in one giant pile. O_O

Thank you so much for reading about this game. Below is a reflection on the game that serves to wrap things up. The French have The Command of the Oceans!

 

Reflection post

Command the Oceans has finally ended, but the legacy of the game will continue for a long time. It represents my finest effort to date in my long history of playing campaign games going back to 2011. Never before have I done a physical game that lasted this long. Never before had I experienced a game so large it became unmanageable. Never before had I played the same game of Pirates CSG in two different rooms, on three different oceans. It was truly epic.

An analysis of the factions and their gameplay, in the order of play:

Pirates
Captain Mission’s Pirate Kingdom was both a blessing and a curse. It gave the Pirates a supreme defensive lair to hide out in, but it made launching extremely difficult. Purchasing a fort upgrade at Dead Man’s Point allowed them to become the biggest fleet ever seen in a game. After two disastrous whirlpool expeditions against the Americans, the Pirates developed an isolationist policy to not go anywhere. Focusing on home defense and the Tunnel, they set themselves up well for long-term success. Only by the efforts of 3 different factions were they finally defeated. I think the Pirates’ biggest mistake was making enemies. They inevitably were drawn into conflict with the Americans through Ralph David’s anti-Pirate zeal, but wasted a lot of ships in the whirlpool expeditions when it was clear that David could not take down the Pirates with his own expeditions. The Jade Rebels wanted help in their war against the Cursed, but the Pirates shied away from that. The Pirates had a strong alliance with the other top faction in the game, the French. However, the Deal with the Devil undid all that when the Cursed revealed the big secret to the French. The Cursed made themselves an enemy of the Pirates more than vice versa, but overall the Deal did not go remotely as planned. A foolhardy attack on the English by the regular (exploratory) whirlpool squadron earned the Pirates a underestimated enemy, and who proved to be their undoing in the end. With the whole O’Brien/Celtic Fury situation, even the Mercenaries didn’t like the Pirates. The Pirates made themselves the most hated faction in the game, and combined that with looking like a heavy favorite to win which was eventually their undoing. The Pirates wanted to use Calypso to create whirlpools behind Anglo-Cursed lines, but they were losing ships too quickly to devote such a force to that end and also were fearful of whirlpool disasters in general after their failed attacks on the Americans.

Jade Rebellion
Sailing into an ocean filled with Cursed and Pirates, the Jade Rebels didn’t know what they were up against. They had a fantastic early game, perfectly timing the resource changes at their sole wild island to the point of unfairness. Exploring deeper into the Sea of Allost, they discovered the Cursed. These two great rivals became embroiled in a war that completely defined the JR game. Jade hatred of the Cursed and their wretched dragons was so intense it blinded them when they had an opportunity to escape when the Pirate threat became so severe that the Cursed wanted to break off the conflict (albeit temporarily, in a perfect world). The Pirate-Cursed crossfire was far too much for the depleted Jade fleet to handle, and the various privateer help was less helpful than expected. Realistically though, the Jade Rebels did reasonably well in a bloody game where they were outnumbered by superior factions.

Cursed
The Cursed were a secret to the reader for quite a while, though there were some clear hints along the way as the Jades encountered strange things. Once fully revealed, the Cursed were a force to be reckoned with, although they struggled for a WHILE to defeat the Jades decisively in battle. Only at the end of their long war were they finally able to prevail. The Cursed then went after the Pirates, trying to dominate the Sea of Allost with the English. This was accomplished, but attention immediately had to move to the Sea of Karkuda, where the powerful Franco-Spanish alliance was busy entrenching themselves (or trying to) at the Harbor and Castle. Overall the Cursed finished ahead of both the Pirates and Americans, a testament to their generally wise gameplay. They didn’t make as many enemies as they usually do, which made for alliance opportunities and only one fleet (JR’s) coming after them relentlessly. The Cursed saw the Deal for what it was, with the Pirates trying to pit the Cursed and French against each other while the Pirates focused on the Americans. The Cursed turned the tables on the Pirates and didn’t bother losing their entire squadron to the French, indeed saving most of the ships from certain capture. The powerful Jade battle fleet whittled down Cursed numbers significantly, to the point where the Cursed were unable to take on France for very long at the end. The final battle saw the elimination of all but one faction, with the Cursed predictably being the first one out. I will say the Cursed used their advantages to a high degree, launching whirlpool attacks, throwing icewrecks around, copying and exploiting Namazu, and instilling fear and terror with the dragon duo. Overall an incredible game for the Cursed faction, both thematically and in terms of the final result.

English
Dominating the Caribbean via Diamond Rock through the first part of the game, the English suffered the unfortunate distinction of being the top dog of their ocean but paling in comparison to the giants of the larger oceans. Starting a feud with the Spanish, the Caribbean war took up most of their time and resources for quite a while. The English (and Spanish!) caught a break when the Americans unknowingly invaded the former Spanish Castle in Karkuda, which took the Spanish out of the Caribbean entirely and allowed the English to regroup and even relax a bit. However, Havana Black’s whirlpool squadron raid was heavy on the minds of the English, and they eventually sailed their entire fleet into the Sea of Allost to exterminate the Pirates. Improbably, they were successful, with their multi-action capital ships sinking a huge number of Pirate ships north of the Tunnel. With the help of the Cursed (and Jades a tiny bit) they took down the game’s strongest faction and came to dominate their second ocean of the game. However, the Second War for Karkuda saw them come up just short against the French. There is a possibility that if the English had convinced the Spanish to sway over to the Anglo-Cursed side earlier, that the French may have been defeated. However, between the French numerical superiority and the large army reserves at The Flat and Harbor, this is unlikely. Overall the English played a solid game, and the “dark horse” faction that nearly ended up winning. They were pretty much always 5th in the point and ship counts, but wound up finishing 2nd. This keeps their incredible CG track record alive, with low finishes quite rare.

Spanish
Plagued by mediocre exploring efforts and a lack of resource options in the Caribbean, the Spanish never had much of a chance in this game. Arguably the best underdog story of CTO, their position actually improved slightly throughout the game, with the poor getting slightly richer. A turn of the tide resulted in a semi-victory at the Battle of Paradise Island, which was huge for Spanish morale and a surprise to the English. After that, French news of the American conquest of the Castle infuriated the Spanish, who immediately set off to Karkuda to make things right. The Castle WAS eventually retaken with French help, but the Spanish were too weak to fight the French on their own. By the time they realized they needed to betray their ally, it was a little too late.

French
The French played a great game obviously. They established a strong gold system early on, building docks to optimize the Harbor and launching gunships to protect their interests. Their lighthouse helped them gather resources a bit faster, and also helped in the War for Karkuda as ships departing the Harbor reached the front lines faster. Establishing alliances with the Pirates, English, and Spanish, the French set themselves up VERY well for the late stages of the game. However, the dramatic and devastating Cursed attack on the Harbor and nearly simultaneous revelation that the Pirates had betrayed them threw a huge wrench into their plans. The French managed to recover, blasting the Cursed back to Allost and setting up whirlpool blockade squadrons to ensure the Pirates and Cursed could not harm them so easily. Of course, the French were defined in this game by their war against the Americans more than anything else. Starting with a weird alliance fakeout on the American side, The Flat was hotly contested more than once. Once the Battle for the Castle got underway, all hell broke loose in Karkuda. One of the bloodiest conflicts in history, the War for Karkuda saw the Franco-Spanish emerge victorious at the expense of the Americans and Mercenaries. Despite being humbled by the Cursed invasion, the Pirate betrayal, and the Merc drama, the French came out on top. Their final effort saw the elimination of three factions that were teaming up against them. The Harbor was a great “home island” for the French, and they utilized army units more than most other factions. Refusing to get tangled up with drama, they put an end to the factions that opposed them to win the biggest game ever.

Mercenaries
To be blunt, the Mercs were an also-ran from the time they officially broke off from the French as their own faction. By that point in the game some of the factions had massive fleets ready to go to war, and the Mercenaries would not be able to make up the deficit even if they were unhindered for dozens of turns. Nemo’s sub hideout has a coolness factor, but it wasn’t enough against the annoyed French. The betrayal by Eileen Brigid O’Brien was a final slap in the face to Nemo and by extension the French, and only served to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. The frustrated and hungry Mercenaries wanted to make a final stand, which was quickly quelled by the French.

Americans
The Americans were hindered by a line of reefs east of their home island for much of the early game, but eventually learned how to destroy them to explore the rest of Karkuda. However, soon after sailing out from their territory, they encountered the French, a powerful rival that would affect them for the rest of the game. Two separate whirlpool expeditions led by Ralph David led to an eventual declaration of war against the Pirates, which ended up going better than expected when the Pirates lost both battles of the American whirlpool. However, by the time the second battle was wrapping up, the French and Americans were engaged in all-out war. The discovery of the Castle was exciting for the Americans, but it turned out to be more bad than good. The Spanish intervention in Karkuda triggered the reopening of conflict between the Americans and French, and a war that would eventually see the demise of the Americans.

The final standings:
1. French
2. English
3. Spanish
4. Cursed
5. Pirates
6. Americans
7. Jade Rebellion
8. Mercenaries

This certainly comes as a surprise, including to myself. I thought the Pirates and Americans would finish higher up in the standings, but facing more than one faction at a time was difficult for them. The Pirates have to be especially disappointed to not even finish in the Top 3, beaten out by the Spanish (lol for this game) and their main late-game adversaries, the French and English.

I am quite proud to have completed the game, between having it set up for 3+ months without a disaster occurring and finishing the biggest game ever by last fleet afloat and not by point count. This game made up for what my other CG’s have lacked. CotE was cut short after 3 weeks, while EE had the same problem but due to a disaster that resulted in a lame ending. CTO will remain my legacy in the world of playing Pirates CSG for a long time… it is the best looking game I’ve played, the longest, the most difficult, the biggest, and quite possibly the best. Only the ease of playing on VASSAL (for CG1) and how obnoxious this game was at times could hold it back in my all-time ranking for best games I’ve ever played.

Notes and miscellaneous 

Here are some of the things I wished had happened or things I wished I had done. Also, this section has some notes from my CTO doc that I kept updating throughout the game.

-More home island attacks
I was disappointed that the Harbor was the only home island seriously threatened by a specific attack. Of course some factions were eliminated at home (Pirates and Americans), but I was eager to see more shooting at HI’s. The Harbor specifically could have been even more epic and crazy, but the French established a strong position early on and were able to beat off a pretty solid Cursed attack. On this tack, I can say that the Jades were fully planning to invade the Roost. If the Cursed hadn’t held them back in that final battle of their war before turning the tide with the eventual Pirate entrance, the Jades would have tried very hard to knock the Cursed out of the game with a full-scale invasion of the Roost area and even the structure itself. I also wanted more Castle/Harbor shenanigans in general, but the naval wars took up most of the action and excitement.

-10 masters and dragon effects happened too late
By the time I launched most of the 10 masters, the combat rules had changed to expedite the finish or were about to change. I wish I had prioritized them earlier so they could have fought in more battles and played a bigger role as flagships. The Celtic Fury had the longest stay of them in the game, but she spent a TON of time just sitting in the Tunnel so the Pirates could exploit that island fully with her taller masts. The dragons worked well and I don’t have many regrets with those, but Angelica should have been born earlier so she could get into more action. I did greatly enjoy the flamethrower and swoop attacks. The dragons were clearly overpowered and got by too easily. The infantry volleys were a realistic and fair way of taking them out before they could conceivably dominate the endgame too much. I’m quite happy with how many advantages the Cursed got, though perhaps it was a little too much based on where they finished (but it’s nice to see them not last or second to last for once lol).

And yeah since I haven’t said it yet, this will bear repeating randomly throughout the years:

Charizard+Lord of the Rings+Tunnel=Epicness.
XD

I was thinking about the dragons picking up some JR or even English troops and dump them onto the top of the Tunnel, but Shal-Bala’s rolling death caused more Pirate troops to die than I thought, and by then it was too late.

The English and Cursed were going to collaborate on whirlpools in Allost before they defeated the Pirates. They had a plan to create a whirlpool behind Dead Man’s Point (near the kingdom) and come at the Pirates from the east. However, between the rushed pace of play, Davy Jones needing to copy Deleflote to keep the 10 masters alive as long as possible and to give ships shoot actions to stay alive, and the speed with which the Anglo-Cursed force fought through the Pirate hordes, it was unnecessary.

-Lighthouses: JR’s, Americans?
I had wanted to use more than the two lighthouses, and the Jades and the Americans were the best candidates based on nearby wild islands and general gold systems. Most of the islands weren’t fit for the structures, but the French and Pirates definitely benefited from theirs. Neither came under fire at any point, but it’s certainly an interesting idea that could use further playtesting (especially in more normal games haha).

-Alliances? (American/English? Cursed/English?)
The Cursed/English alliance obviously happened, but the Americans and English may have teamed up against the Pirates if the Americans had lasted longer and they weren’t busy fighting the French every single turn of the endgame.

Deal with the Devil
I can’t get over this, and will probably reference it many more times in the future. XD Here is my original writeup on it from my doc.
Pirates deal with Cursed: Cursed can copy Calypso for entire game if they use DJ to copy her and attack French at the Harbor (Pirates can take out 2 huge factions/rivals at once while denying involvement to the French, and can focus their efforts against the Americans. “The Pirates pull off a huge masterstroke of grand strategy, weakening two huge rival fleets with one deal while simultaneously able to focus on their other rival.”)
Very Happy And that’s about as good as it gets folks. For now…. O_O

-Fireships as equipment?
I just keep meaning to try out my fireship idea, but I just keep putting it off and/or forgetting about it. Another CG.

-How to shoot the higher altitude stuff?
I kind of glossed over this, but I had a general thought that ships could hit things at a higher altitude by rolling a 5 or 6 on their guns. Thematically it was tough to explain, with the cannons possibly being tilted at an angle on their carriages to fire almost like a mortar. XD However in that case the accuracy would have to be even worse. Luckily the dragons mostly took care of the Tunnel shenanigans and Diamond Rock didn’t play a role in combat after the English-Spanish war ended. I also had grand thoughts of a faction shooting off part of the ladder that the Pirates had let down from the top of the Tunnel to the bottom (the one going through the hole they blasted to the top). This would cause ladder fragments to be scattered inside the Tunnel battlefield, and possibly the troops on the Tunnel would starve. However, the Pirates were able to hold the western end until all their ships were sunk there, so there was nobody alive on the Tunnel by the time the Cursed sailed through it. Of course, I hope we haven’t seen the last of the Tunnel.

Ideas
Cursed
Custom Devereaux (AA with option of +1 cannon rolls to any ship in your fleet)
Spawn of Shal-Bala!
Dragons gain flamethrowing ability after gaining experience through successful swoops/attacks
Broken horn island defended by Brachyura?

These are mostly obvious at this point, and Angelica being Cursed was planned pretty much from the start. I don’t have Raptor Maw (or Vieil Homme Wink), and it wouldn’t be much of a Roost without at least one other dragon! Although Angelica showed up pretty late, it was probably for the best since her appearing earlier may have given the Cursed even more of an unfair advantage. Broken Horn Island was going to be Brachyura’s “home” after I slashed the base of that island with a knife to make it look slightly less artificial. However this didn’t pan out which is fine.

I also had the thought of Cursed named crew climbing aboard a dragon and using it as a flying steed! O_O Davy Jones could fly off to Karkuda or the Caribbean to give a message or information to another faction. However, this is an easy house rule that could be used in future games.

-What the heck is going on?!
I only did this once, but it’s a substantial effort to put forth when I could have been playing or finishing the regular report in the first place (aka I didn’t have time to do it as much as I wanted to).

-Harbor can be rented out if faction is needing money (can share)
Man this was something I thought about before the game even began. Once I got the Harbor concept down (modular and reusable/destructible), the possibilities became almost endless (hopefully you’ll see more of it in the future… oh yes). I was thinking that if the French were struggling, they could take a huge payment (200+ gold, maybe some insane amount like 600+ lol) to “rent” or sell the Harbor to another faction in order to stay in the game. The French would have settled a home island somewhere and the Harbor would have multiple “owners” throughout the game. Of course, this was all made incredibly irrelevant when the French did well for themselves and never truly struggled at any point, going on to even win the game overall.

-Factions send big fleets through whirlpools (myths, rumors of gold/etc, helping out a faction in need, desire to explore/expand)
This actually did happen a bit between the Pirates, English, and Cursed. However, whirlpool squadrons were incredibly ineffective, which is one of the lessons and lasting legacies of this game. The Pirates lost big-time against the Americans twice at the same whirlpool, and the Cursed and English were dominated by the French and Pirates when they tried to invade. Even at the end of the game, the factions coming through the whirlpools lost the battle. The French won, and happened to be the faction doing the least whirlpool traveling other than the Jades (and Mercs).

-“Night” turns, Night video?
This is perhaps the biggest thing I should have done since it wouldn’t have taken all that long. I was going to put the Delusion up to the light and take a video of the battlefield with the shadows of the ships against the glow in the dark 10 master, with some close shots and zoomed out as well. As far as an actual turn, I thought about playing a full turn at nighttime without using the flash for any of the pictures. However, the Caribbean was the only ocean really optimized for playing at night (due to the lighting in the rooms), and I didn’t end up doing this, especially since the flash can make the pictures and colors look so good. Along with the Delusion glowing, I was going to put tiny flashlights in the lighthouses since they have little openings in them. Smile However, I couldn’t fit what I had inside the little lighthouses, and didn’t prioritize buying something just for that. Of course, these concepts are all things that can be tried out in future games, campaign or otherwise. I’m thinking a tiny electric candle could work well depending on the size of the custom lighthouse, but a stronger light would be needed to get a good practical effect that shines on the ships sailing by. That’s one thing about these final notes – although I could have done more (sort of, since I was VERY pressed for time when playing and reporting, so extra stuff got pushed aside by necessity), these are things I can look back on and prioritize more for future games.

I was a little disappointed not to say “Mission Accomplished!” as a pun at the end. The Pirates were farther from winning than anyone could have envisioned, but that’s part of what makes CG’s great – the rich often get richer, but that doesn’t mean they always win.

I am glad that I had the resource system change, since the 1’s rolled really mixed things up and led to some fun megalaunches. That is one part of Economy Edition that could possibly use an edit, since the random changes can also simulate sudden and unexpected market crashes that the predictable changes don’t.

Turns/Resources:
5 roll for 8 turns
3 roll for 7 turns
5 roll for 9 turns
3 roll for 6 turns
4 roll for 8 turns
3 roll for 5 turns
3 roll for 5 turns
4 roll for 3 turns (+1 turn random change)
5 roll for 5 turns (+2 1 turn random changes)
2 roll for 5 turns (+2 1 turn random changes)
1 roll for 8 turns
5 roll for 10 turns (didn’t roll after this since launches were done)

Official new records:
BIGGEST GAME EVER
Total points: 9,078
Total ships: 509
Largest recorded single-fleet point total: Pirates at 2,347 points (since broken by the Americans of VASSAL Campaign Game 3)
Largest fleet of any faction: Pirates at 131 ships

Stats
3 oceans, 2 rooms, 42 square feet of ocean, 8 factions, 7+ major NEW custom pieces in play (Kingdom, Tunnel, Roost, Diamond Rock, Harbor, Sub Hideout, Castle, other cool new islands like The Flat)

Unique stuff:
Multiple oceans
Multiple rooms
Kingdom
Roost
Tunnel
Castle
Harbor
Diamond Rock
All custom islands – none regular (!)
Only real icebergs
Breaking icebergs
Ladders
Army units
EE resource rules
House rules
Videos (tours, etc)
Lighthouses

Some final questions you can answer if you want:
What did you think of the ending?
Favorite parts of this last report?
Was it a satisfying conclusion?
What did you think of the game overall?

Thank you for reading, and thank you to those who have commented their thoughts on the game (especially Xerecs). Thanks for having patience with these massive reports and with the game itself. As I said, this is the last physical campaign game of a large size that I will play for a long time. My attention now shifts to other “Piratical activities”. As far as campaign games go, you can find me on VASSAL. Very Happy

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