FB Group 10 Year Anniversary Game
November 23rd 2020 was the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Facebook group created by Captain Vendari! To celebrate the occasion some of the moderators there played a game on VASSAL.
It was a 70 point game between myself, Xerecs, and Captain Vendari. We each contributed 10 coins of any value or type, except that each player had to contribute at least one coin worth a gold value. We ended up with 6 wild islands, so 5 coins per island. Towards the end of the game, Xerecs and I kind of retroactively decided that it was being played under round earth rules – one of a number of asterisks this game can be viewed under. However, it was quite a fun and bizarre game. 😀 It took longer and was more strategic than I expected, although that is often par for the course with Pirates CSG. The game can be a lot more in-depth and strategic than a lot of people think… this was one of those instances where it almost turned into a chess match of varying possibilities, not all of which are even discussed here.
Here are the fleets in the order of play. We rolled for turn order then chose home islands in reverse turn order. Game pieces found in the Master Spreadsheet.
USS Morning Star + Shap’ng Tsai (SS version), helmsman, cannoneer, explorer, oarsman
Destiny + Ralph David (RV version), silver explorer, 2 crew for Tsai’s Sac ability
Providence + Captain Charles Richard, Montana Mays (OE version), Diamond Nelson Turner (BC version), Commodore Matthew Perry, helmsman, oarsman
Mind Control is back! My favorite and ultimate gimmick fleet has returned with a vengeance after a long hiatus! As soon as Xerecs mentioned the 70 point build total I knew what fleet I would use. George Washington LeBeaux’s (GWL) flavor text: “The deep swamps of Louisiana breed a different sort of man. LeBeaux has learned from the mambos, magic men, and shamans that those who harness the power of the loa for evil means are an affront to life itself.” GWL was about to change his mind… or have his mind, changed for him….
Baochuan + Admiral Zheng He, Ms. Cheng, Zheng Li Kwan, Kian Ng, Chang Pao, captain, helmsman, shipwright, firepot specialist (nearly all crew started facedown)
HMS Patagonia + Lord Mycron, Robinson
Le Coeur du Lion + navigator
Being the second to choose a home island, I purposely went in the middle. I thought of it as a central base or “home brain” for the nefarious operations of my mind controllers. With a UPS-based fleet (the Americans) on one side and a loaded Baochuan on the other, I went into the game feeling like I had a slim chance of winning. However, that wouldn’t stop me from wreaking maximum havoc!!
Incredibly, on my first turn both GWL and Davy Jones were successful in their mind control tactics! The Baochuan and Providence were thrown onto reefs, losing 4 and 1 masts respectively.
Maps of Alexandria was found, revealing a lot of UT’s in the setup. This affected the rest of the game, as ships knew exactly which islands to target to get specific treasures. This is an aid to my Mind Control design by revealing exactly what the fleet needs to do in order to set up “doom combos” that, once acquired, make it very hard for any opposing fleet to dictate the remainder of the game.
But in bigger news… the Baochuan was dismasted by another reef toss combined with the Divine Dragon’s shooting! I can’t remember the details on which mover was successful each turn, but Davy Jones was giving enemy ships move actions on 6’s, while GWL on the Kentucky was moving enemy ships L (not a move action) on 5’s and 6’s, aided by the ship’s Reroll ability. Mind Control was getting lucky early on, showing their true potential. Xerecs made the map, and neither I nor Vendari based our fleets on it. However, I came out luckier in that regard, with many reefs in play perfect for moving big enemy ships onto. The Baochuan had already been thrown onto reefs twice, losing all her masts and potentially costing the Jades the game only a few turns in! However, the game was FAR from over…. I didn’t attempt to sink the Baochuan with the Divine Dragon’s remaining cannons after asking Vendari if an oarsman was aboard. He said there wasn’t, which I chose to believe partly because I wanted it to be true. XD The Divine Dragon (DD) docked at the southern island of the ring, as it looked like a great option to explore.
However, I made the mistake of underestimating what Vendari would be able to do with the Baochuan on the next turn. The ship repaired with a newly revealed shipwright, then moved off the reef at L+S with Mycron’s help for a second action. The island was S-explored on the previous turn, allowing the Baochuan to dock and take coins! She loaded up everything except for Turtles, which started swimming in the water next to the 10 master. The coins included a 7, Spices, and Smuggled Goods. I started to feel pretty dumb for not sinking the Baochuan when I had the chance, especially now that it looked like the Jades were going to get a massive windfall. However, I knew the Baochuan’s path home was nearly paved with reefs, and perhaps good things would come to one who waited…. (though I think realistically I still just botched this lol) I had wanted to capture the Baochuan, thinking it would be a way to rival the UPS fleet’s gold total.
In the meantime, Xerecs’ American UPS fleet was getting busy, with the Morning Star flipping two silver coins to the Destiny, who added +3 value to each coin via her crew. The Cyclone docked at the eastern ring island, but it looked like the Providence had interest in it too. Each fleet had at least one ship basically parked at their home island for a (different) specific duty – navigating, action generation, L-moving, and gold factory production. Say what you may about ships sitting at home, because that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to sit there forever….
The Morning Star builds Thompson’s Island for the Americans. The Baochuan repairs twice. The Divine Dragon is about to explore the western ring island, the Rover is slightly confused about which island to go to, and the Cyclone is dismasted by the Providence, who lost no masts in her second reef encounter. However, I was willing to accept that outcome. That was because the Cyclone was able to explore that island before getting whacked. She grabbed Pandora’s Box, with Vendari and Xerecs giving the ship Fruit and Rum (the latter to freeze her for the next turn). I loaded up Runes of Odin, playing it to place a deadly iceberg right next to the USS Morning Star! Alas, the plan failed when DJ and GWL didn’t come through with their rolls, meaning I couldn’t chuck the MS into the iceberg to remove her and all her crew and treasure from the game.
The MS promptly escaped, heading west to a new island. That made the Rover turn away from that island towards the DD. The Providence captured the Cyclone, giving the Americans a 4th ship while taking my fleet down to 3. However, Mind Control still had a successful turn – the Divine Dragon explored the western ring island to grab Nemo’s Plans….
And they moved the Baochuan onto another reef to wreck her!! O_O
USS MS explored the northwestern island, sacrificing the abandoned musketeer for an extra action. The Destiny was moved away from the American HI by Mind Control, though that wouldn’t affect much. The Providence is about to dock home gold.
For Mind Control, the Rover dumped her shipwright on the western ring island to load a coin – it would have fit regardless, but I wanted the full S+L speed on the way home so I had to drop the crew to avoid the negative ability. The shipwright actually remained hidden the whole game but wasn’t of any real consequence. The DD headed east towards the captured Cyclone and the island she had explored.
With the help of Mycron and a trade current, the Coeur du Lion sails off in search of wrecked Baochuan gold, reaching the ship easily.
The MS moved and then got moved. The Odin iceberg moved a little away from Thompson’s Island. With the then-friendly Cyclone having already explored the eastern ring island, the Divine Dragon picked up Runes of Thor from that island (!!) before continuing south with DJ’s extra action. The Coeur explored the Baochuan and took all her coins, which combined with the incoming bale of sea turtles to give the “Jades” some serious hope. (we didn’t use any campaign/army unit rules in this game, Vendari just wanted to decorate the home islands XD)
But it wasn’t Christmas. More bloodshed and frustration was necessary to determine a winner today. With their newfound megapower of a “permanent” Runes of Thor (on the same ship as Nemo’s Plans), Mind Control was about to truly live up to their name. This could be used on the abilities of Davy Jones OR GWL every turn, and here the Morning Star was tossed onto a reef on her way to a whirlpool, knocking free three masts. Evil maniacal admiral… using UT combos… to become a god-like puppetmaster of doom… where have I heard that before? …. oops, nothing to see here tee hee!
However, Mind Control would not go unchallenged, with the Providence racing south to intercept the Divine Dragon in Davy Jones’ quest for the legendary Runes of Odin UT, the normal copy (first iteration via Pandora’s Box heh) of which was on the southeastern island. The Providence hit 2/4 with her cannons, then rammed another mast off the DD. The picture below does not show the whole sequence, but both players declined to board. An important factor was DNT, the American canceller from BC that Xerecs revealed to cancel Davy Jones on the next Mind Control turn. Soon afterwards, the DD hit the Providence twice, and Xerecs rolled consecutive 5’s to let me throw DNT and Mays off the ship via Captain Charles Richard’s ability!! O_O This meant uncancelled Davy Jones could resume normal business hours on my next turn! XD
For quite a while, the Cyclone was kind of “stuck” between Xerecs moving her and her getting moved in other directions via the Maps of Hades and GWL. At the lower left, the Coeur unloads the Baochuan’s gold, completing a harrowing journey for the Spices and Smuggled Goods.
The MS emerged from the whirlpool near home, where the Destiny sailed out to greet her. For the other “home ships”, Kentucky and Patagonia stayed home while the Coeur sailed north.
This was a big turn in the game. Seeing Bad Maps on the southeastern island, I knew I had to position the severely weakened Divine Dragon (1 mast remaining) properly so that when the ship moved with the island, the DD wouldn’t end up on a reef and possibly wrecked. With the dangerous Providence off the stern, Davy Jones piloted the ship into the island’s shore, triggering UT’s. Bad Maps was resolved, with Vendari moving the island and DD west, right into the Providence’s lines of fire. However, I knew it didn’t matter, since the “ultimate” combo was now in play…. Nemo’s Plans… Runes of Odin… Runes of Thor with an L-mover…. O_O A modified ODIN MISSILE. By placing an “Odin iceberg” next to an enemy ship, then using Thor’s auto-6 to guarantee GWL’s success with L-moving the same ship, I could now eliminate any ship in play, once per turn, every turn. O_O Precision cruise missile strike capability unlocked! HERE WE GO AGAIN!!!
The Norse god Odin appeared in the sky, called by the great Davy Jones. He reared back and threw an iceberg next to the Providence. Finally embracing the dark side and using the power of the loa for evil, GWL (possibly with an assist from another god, Thor) slammed the Providence into the iceberg, blowing it up! GWL was converted to The Cursed cause, helping Davy Jones to sink a fellow American ship. Suddenly the threat was gone and the DD was free and clear! 😀 XD
As an Avenger would say, “we’re in the endgame now.” True indeed. Davy Jones was getting excited. OE flavor text: “As his power grows and his minions cause more destruction, Jones has begun his second wave of terror, one that will take his power beyond the edge of the oceans themselves—setting him up to rule the seas once and for all!”
With that, the second wave of terror had begun. If the first wave had seen the Baochuan and Providence thrown onto reefs, this one was going to prove more deadly. Davy Jones ordered a missile strike from the gods, who complied by crushing the Coeur du Lion with an Odin iceberg. A turn later the USS Morning Star was removed as well, eliminating any chance of more UPS shenanigans. Suddenly the other two players were running out of ships, and quickly.
Vendari sailed the Patagonia away from his home island, with that being his last ship. The Americans only had the Destiny and the wretched Cyclone, who was still struggling to make progress towards her new home island due to some combination of “movers” (Maps of Hades/DJ/GWL). In the meantime, Mind Control was regrouping, with the Cursed and Pirate ships returning home as the Kentucky wreaked havoc with GWL’s loa powers. Indeed, the DD would soon start repairing, slowly making her a dangerous weapon again.
Around this time Vendari had to leave, with Xerecs and I continuing the game. Xerecs gave actions to the Patagonia as optimally as he could, as we talked out trying to play it like Vendari would.
This is also where things got weird, lopsided, and extremely strategic. After the Baochuan fiasco and likely being in last place at this point, I considered myself mostly an also-ran for much of the mid-game. However, now I was in the driver’s seat, with most of the power remaining in play giving me the ability to potentially dictate the outcome of the game. I had to slow down and really consider a lot of options. I wasn’t playing this game like T2, where I would pay close attention on every turn and essentially keep track of how much gold both fleets had at any given time (as much as humanly possible given the standard total of 30 gold along with bonuses and help like Maps of Alexandria/etc). Therefore I had no idea how much gold Xerecs had. Before Vendari left he said he had 36 gold on his home island, quite a bit more than I had. I was worried Xerecs had even more. As a result, I had the mindset that I had to play things near-perfectly for the remainder of the game in order to maximize my gold score no matter what.
There was still a bunch of gold in play, with at least one coin on 5 out of the 6 wild islands. If I simply eliminated the other players, it would trigger an endgame condition and I would lose since I didn’t have enough gold. Therefore I had to keep at least one player alive (even artificially!)
Three ships remained in play, and each represented an opportunity for Mind Control to win, or possibly lose.
Destiny: This American ship had Jade aboard, which doubles the lowest-value coin on the ship and doesn’t have to be unloaded. I started moving the Destiny away from the American home island, realizing that capturing the Jade UT could lead to a win if I got multiple coins doubled up. I rammed her into an iceberg twice (the same one that eliminated the Morning Star), but then realized that Xerecs could easily scuttle her to counter my plan. I continued moving her north, which Xerecs eventually did as well, likely because there were still two coins (one silver) on the southeastern island. In the next picture you can see her moving north after round earthing to the south with only one mast remaining. Xerecs and I decided round earth made sense for the game (I had mistakenly assumed we were using that house rule from the start since I like it and almost always prefer to use it), but in hindsight it’s at least possible that Xerecs may have made a different decision(s) if that had been established from the start. However, most of the stuff in play (especially islands) was pretty far from the map edges, so it’s extremely possible everything would have turned out exactly the same. After round earthing, the Destiny was bound for the southeastern island, which is exactly where I wanted her to go… the Cursed had been busy repairing the Divine Dragon, who was powering up for a critical capture opportunity. Davy Jones planned to take nearly the same route southeast as he had earlier, cutting through the sargasso gap in the reef ring. The DD had a max speed of 6S with DJ rolling a 1-5, so the DD wouldn’t have much trouble catching the Destiny whether she continued to the island or made a break for the whirlpool east of her.
Cyclone: The Cyclone still had Rum aboard, which was worth 5 gold. I wanted to be cautious and fully assume I needed that coin to win the game, so I wanted to capture BOTH the Destiny and the Cyclone at one point. However, even with Runes of Thor hitting GWL every turn and Maps of Hades occasionally working against Xerecs’ efforts to get the Cyclone home, it would be difficult. The Cyclone was making slow but steady progress towards Xerecs’ HI, and I soon started to need GWL for a different purpose.
Patagonia: The lone ship left in Vendari’s fleet was tempting to just hit with an Odin Missile and be done with her. However, I realized that she would potentially be the key to my victory. At one point I think I was still using GWL on different ships, moving any of the 3 to prolong the situation. However, especially since I didn’t even want DJ to get 6’s at this point (it would slightly delay his progress towards the Destiny, which held Jade, one of the big keys to my strategy), Runes of Thor was used every turn on GWL but it wouldn’t be enough. With essentially just one mover now, I was trying to control or delay three enemy ships at once. Even with none of them having a base move faster than S+S and the guaranteed “backwards L” provided by Thor/GWL, it wasn’t going to be sustainable. The Cyclone or Destiny would get home, and the Patagonia… could suicide? More on that soon….
My plan was put in play – with 4 masts up on the Divine Dragon, Davy Jones felt comfortable sailing out. He raced the ship southeast to intercept the Destiny, which was quickly captured. This netted me the Jade UT. The Rover arrived home with a 2 coin while GWL moved the Patagonia back.
Back to the Patagonia. This is where an interesting rules hangup occurred. The Patagonia could ram the western iceberg that removed the Coeur, eliminating the Patagonia’s only mast. Then she could row over to a sargasso sea just southeast of that area, trapping herself on purpose! “If a game piece is tangled, you can use its action for the turn to try to free it. Roll a d6 and add the current number of masts or segments on the tangled game piece to the result. If the result is more than 6, the game piece is untangled.” O_O With 0 masts, she can’t roll more than a 6! In that case, she would be “stuck forever”, potentially triggering the “no future move actions” end condition if Xerecs’ fleet was also out of action by that time… BUT, with GWL guaranteed to be able to move the Patagonia L on each of my turns, I could potentially finagle my way out of it and prevent the seaweed from stopping play.
I developed a new plan. The Patagonia would be stopped from exploring, stopped from scuttling herself after losing a mast, stopped from getting stuck forever in a sargasso sea, stopped from doing… anything. Every time she moved S for any reason (Xerecs continually directed her northwards), GWL (w/Thor as needed of course) would move her back L. She had to be kept away from icebergs so she couldn’t lose her lone mast. I was helping out Vendari! 😉 XD LOL! First sparing the Baochuan and now this! XD Or just using his last little ship as a puppet to make myself rich heh.
I also realized (way later than I should have) that any/all three of the enemy ships could make plans to scuttle themselves. It wasn’t limited to one – the Patagonia and Destiny could ram icebergs to eliminate their final masts and then scuttle themselves, and the Cyclone was still pretty close to the last surviving Odin iceberg she could use to remove herself from play. With the Destiny now in my possession and the Cyclone already derelict and able to be scuttled, the choice became obvious.
In the end, the clear best decision was to put the Patagonia on artificial “life support” to prevent the game from ending. XD What a thought – Davy Jones’ second wave of terror was so scary, it nearly led to the game ending via mass suicide! :/
True to form, things went as I planned or expected. The Divine Dragon was towing the Destiny home when the Cyclone rammed herself into the final Odin iceberg, removing her and Xerecs from the game. Now it was only Vendari’s Patagonia keeping the game afloat, and she was certainly doing fine lol – in no trouble whatsoever! Moving only S every turn meant she would never get anywhere, with GWL forcing her back on each of my turns.
This created something I haven’t seen all that often – one player has complete control of the game (usually there’s more of a ticking time bomb in the form of a suicidal enemy ship), but decides not to end it so they can get the most gold and ensure victory. I’ve barely ever played Yugioh and not in many years, but this reminds me of the infamous Yata-Lock. O_O XD Similar to that situation, here we have a player that continues taking turns as they see fit while completely denying the enemy player any action at all – completely robbing them of even playing the game. Here the GWL/Thor/Patagonia combo is the lock, using an enemy ship rather than a friendly “monster” to keep the game going – of course, until all the gold in play is mine. 😀 LOL!
Say what you will about this being a “lame” ending or whatever, but remember what it took to set up – a Mind Control gimmick fleet that is theoretically far outclassed by UPS/Baochuan enemies, who didn’t stop my fleet from accumulating the incredible Nemo’s Plans+Runes of Thor combo that allowed it to transpire in the first place. (with some additional help from Odin of course heh)
With that, there was no reason to continue playing “normally”. Now began “the simulation”, where I was able to do whatever I wanted with no interference from the remaining player. Xerecs and I talked this out and basically I would spend probably an hour (or more) gathering gold from the various sources, taking care to unload each and every coin individually with Jade applied to double it. This would likely be accomplished with the Destiny, since she had cargo spaces open along with a silver explorer that would give +1 to the DD’s silver 5. Since I didn’t keep track of Xerecs’ gold (and Vendari could be bluffing about his 36, though he wasn’t and his gold was easier to track since it all came in in a 2 turn windfall), no chances could be taken – I would max out my gold score to give me the absolute best chance of winning. No reason not to, especially in a simulation that doesn’t need to be played out since I was sailing unopposed.
The one slight wrinkle was Thompson’s Island, which held the 3 to build it along with another coin. However, a fully repaired DD and Kentucky were available for this, and I rolled some dice to make sure I would eliminate the fort to get all the island’s gold. I even got lucky and didn’t face return fire, with a double action Divine Dragon proving enough to overpower the fort. The other coin was a 7, so the 10 gold would provide a nice boost – especially when doubled individually via Jade.
The Final Scores
1. A7XfanBen (Mind Control): 72 Gold
2. Captain Vendari: 36 Gold
3. Xerecs: 29 Gold
If Thompson’s Island was left intact: 1. A7XfanBen: 52, 2. Xerecs: 39, 3. Captain Vendari: 36
Crazy enough I actually didn’t even need Jade either.
Without Jade: 47-36-29 (with me destroying Thompson’s Island, and Vendari in 2nd again)
A number of Rules questions came up during the game, though I don’t think any of them would quite affect the outcome directly, or at least not overturn the result.
Asterisks: Vendari had to leave early (Patagonia actions afterwards not consequential though), round earth affecting strategy/Xerecs’ play, some potential Rules hangups.
Perhaps it’s fitting that going after the Destiny was a path to my victory. (“fulfill your destiny”) This game got pretty dark, there are definitely some weird parallels to mass genocide/suicide that were carried out by Davy Jones. Perhaps GWL used the loa to control the gods…
“Commandeering the Gods to commit mass genocide” – Indeed, here Davy Jones led a campaign that resulted in a brainwashed, mind-controlled GWL to use the power of the loa to commandeer the gods for the purposes of a partial genocide, which directly resulted in mass attempted suicide. But then GWL intervened and didn’t even let the victims get what they wanted, refusing them (the Patagonia with Mycron and Robinson aboard) “assisted suicide” until finally Davy Jones had his fortune and reigned supreme. Yikes….
I didn’t play perfectly, but I still feel this game deserves to be in my Master Strategist post. Despite my gaffes, some solid accomplishments for just one game. 🙂
Wreck the Baochuan: Check
Beat a UPS fleet with a gimmick fleet/Mind Control: Check
Win the game with more gold than the other two fleets combined: Check (with a proper ending, or “full simulation”)
Permanently lock a ship in place: Check
Use Odin Missiles in a normal game: Check
I was able to insert or “inject” CG4 into this game. Which is a little absurd given how tiny this game is to CG4, which realistically has over 7000 total points in play, over 100 times this game’s build total. (and given how long it took to accumulate combos in that game)
Thanks to Xerecs and Captain Vendari for helping to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the FB group with a wild game!
Thanks for reading! 😀 Comment below what you thought of the game!