During the last few turns, the English showed off their considerable power, first crushing the Pirate fort, Dead Man’s Point, with the “can’t be hit by L-range guns” Cygnet. Then HMS Titan sailed into the fray against the Pirates and sunk two of their best (and most vital) treasure runners, the Bonnie Liz and the Shamrock. This puts a serious dent in the Pirates’ hopes of winning the game. Although the Titan was sunk by the Pirates in the next turn, HMS Grand Temple and her flotilla Gibraltar sunk the Revenant and dismasted the Cursed Blade.
To top it all off, their treasure runners from the western squadron all got back to Fort Brompton (their base in the west) at nearly the same time, giving them a huge windfall of 59 gold in the span of just 2 turns. Having built most of the best gunships England has to offer, they spent almost all of the gold on the Mercenary 10 master Shui Xian, who they maxed out in terms of cargo hold and points. Along with sac-captain Tsai and canceller Christian Fiore, they got Brother Virgil to allow Master Gunner Rogelio Vazquez to use his ability, which makes all of the Shui Xian’s guns L-range (normally only 3 are L-range).
The French Americans had to put forth a large group effort in order to sink the Baochuan. The Baochuan dismasted the 5 master Le Superbe. It took 7 shoot actions to take the Baochuan out, with plenty of cannonade being supplied by Le Soleil Royal and La Ville de Paris. They are still taking in a solid amount of gold, having recently launched Le Bonaparte and La Corse, powerful 4 masters from DJC.
The Spanish Rebels are officially out of the game. After the Baochuan sunk, the Spanish went on a suicide run into the gauntlet of French gunships, without captains! Needless to say, it didn’t work very well. After taking out two masts (via ramming), all remaining Spanish ships have been sunk or dismasted. A bad HI selection combined with atrocious luck doomed them from the beginning.
The Cursed Pirates have not fared well of late, and they are fading fast. With both of their forts either destroyed or abandoned, and their best remaining gunship (Revenant) and treasure runner (Bonnie Liz) recently sunk, they appear to be the next fleet eliminated. After realizing this, they seem to have given up hope, and are trying to maximize the carnage and chaos they can cause. The Death’s Anchor took a mast off of HMS Gallows, and the Sea Nymph went east to fight Le Gaule. Also, they still have the Harbinger, Windjammer, and the Doombox, so they still have some fight left in them.
The game will be finished tomorrow, with either the English Corsairs or the French Americans emerging triumphantly from the smoke of battle .
The game was finished today (1/1/13), with a flurry of turns deciding the victor.
The English dominated the ocean, sinking everything in sight! The Cygnet destroyed the French fort St. Pierre, while HMS London destroyed Paradis de la Mer. The English trade machine was working fluidly to keep the fleet at full strength. When gunships (HMS Grand Temple, HMS Titan, HMS Gallows, HMS Nautilus, and the Gibraltar flotilla) sunk, they would simply be rebuilt by all of the gold the English were raking in.
The Shui Xian sacced an explorer to sink both Le Soleil Royal and La Ville de Paris in one turn, with help from Thomas Gunn (F&S version) giving +1 to her gun rolls from the Cygnet.
HMS Apollo sunk the Doombox and the Death’s Anchor flotillas, and the English used an MI effect to move the Harbinger away from her HI, where she was repairing. HMS Gallows and HMS Leicester finished her off, and then the Rover was sent to the bottom, officially ending the game for the Cursed Pirates.
At this point, the game normally ends, but with just a few French American ships left, the English took over the entire ocean. HMS Titan dismasted and captured the Enterprise (capturing her to avoid the Eternal Gus Schultz), and HMS Swallow sunk Le Bonaparte with her L-range guns. L’Amazone and the USS Quigley were the last two ships out, being sunk by the Shui Xian, who (finally) had a good day with the guns.
When all was said and done, the English Corsairs were the last fleet afloat. They reached the height of their power at the end of the game, with 29 ships, two flotillas, and two forts. With a total of 89 gold saved up between the two forts and their HI, they could’ve had more, but they were saving it for the possibility of having some of their best gunships sunk, so they could quickly re-purchase them.
Why did the English win? Superior strategy combined with an emphasis on expanding their empire. They were the only fleet to build a fort not near their HI, and took advantage of it big time, assembling a large western squadron that combined with the eastern fleet in a pincer movement at the end of the game. They also made sure to get the best guns available, and bolster them with extra actions and rerolls. They didn’t rush hastily into battle, instead waiting for the right opportunity (and the right enemy) to strike. The Spanish Rebels had a bad HI selection and horrible luck, which ruined their game. The Pirates struggled to a slow start (since the Raven was stuck in a Sargasso Sea for a while), and had to travel too far to get to even the nearest wild islands. The French made the mistake of being too timid, seemingly afraid to risk their beautiful 5 masters (at one point, all 6 of them sailing almost in line-of-battle formation) in a fight. They didn’t take the opportunity to expand much beyond their borders, even though they had the chance.
This was a fun, long cumulative game, taking over a week to complete. The English are victorious once again!
I probably won’t play again until February .