Reply To: End of Year Creative Fleet Challenge! Potential Prize=Pirate Booty!

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With 2022 upon us the deadline has passed! Thank you to all who submitted fleets! I was a little disappointed to only see 5 entries, especially with the prize up for grabs to incentivize participation.  Alas, no silver will be distributed!

Now it is time to grade the fleets!

: Nice use of DJC Davy Jones who will also likely see some abilities worth copying in enemy fleets. The Hangman’s Joke will be somewhat reliant on popping out of a fog bank that is close enough to a wild island. Between the randomness of exit location and her lack of a helmsman, it could be an issue. Partly for that reason I would prefer the explorer on her rather than on the Alligator, who is less likely to need or use it. Fog hopping does make up for lack of speed, but not having anything other than Mist Walker (which is two words) moving faster than S+S could hurt in the long run.
I like that you included a picture! Have you played the fleet in a game?

Rating: 3.5/5

: Very interesting build! I like the use of Hargreaves, stinkpot shot, and the Minuteman. Impressive that you got two American cargo masters in the fleet with neither on the Roanoke. I don’t know if the Roanoke would be able to get in range of all the targets she would need to potentially neutralize. She’ll be moving L+L with a total range of about 4L for shooting purposes. The chain shot should help, but as soon as it misses or you face multiple enemy ships closing in (quite likely at this build total), it will become a simpler firefight.

My main concern is that the entire fleet feels like walking on thin ice. Roanoke getting hit once, Minuteman sinking or BC getting boarded could all be disastrous. The UT’s sound great in theory but I’m not sure how they’re supposed to be acquired. The Jolly Mon might be able to get something to the Roanoke. However, lack of gold also makes Carbon Charlie even harder to use. I also think Roanoke will be far too busy sailing around dealing with targets and threats to spend a single turn docked at her home island, so I’d rather see a different crew used than him. I think a helmsman would actually be far more useful. I think I would find L speed (while towing Minuteman) to be too limiting for the sheer volume of things the Roanoke has to accomplish by herself in a game like this.

I assume you used Chang Pao instead of Brent Rice because you’re more likely to encounter Americans than Jades?

Rating: 3/5

: Rocinante is the spelling from the RtSS spreadsheet. She may indeed want to ram, since a successful boarding party could allow for the stealing of a 3rd treasure. Great setup and strategy with the MF. 2 cargo spaces still open for coinage is also nice. I could see the Santa Isabel teaming up with the MF to help the MF dismast ships.

One interesting swap would be taking out the Santa Isabel and Haulers in favor of the Alquimista with Nemesio Diaz. A tiny bit less firepower, but Diaz might end up being better than the Haulers for defense while also providing a way to cancel enemy oarsmen so the MF can snag ships without having to board for crew elimination. If the MF encounters multiple ships with oarsmen it could become frustrating, especially since her middling mast count could provide opportunities for dismasted enemies to beat her in boarding parties (as she tries to eliminate oarsmen). The Alquimista’s +2 bonus could also be perfect with the Rocinante’s hoist and stealing capabilities.

I love that you used 2 hoists, but especially love the use of THREE of the challenge crew options. It’s good that I have to fish around for negatives in your fleet. The Santa Isabel is a pretty typical choice for you, and an easy include with a basic setup only made semi-interesting by the inclusion of the Haulers. Was Ramsgate excluded for any reason? Wouldn’t hurt to include all 5 possible forts. With a fleet so ready to explore islands, I’m surprised by all the negative UT’s. I’d probably not include Natives or Maps of Hades. Decent chance Rocinante finds one of them early on, which could cause big problems. Standard treasure rules are 8 coins worth 15 gold (not 16).

As to your last note on a +5: Lord Thomas Gunn from OE could provide Reroll for 3 points on the MF, allowing 2 points elsewhere though I’m not sure how useful it would be. (maybe explorer on LSI and stinkpot shot on MF to deal with oarsmen)

Rating: 4.5/5

: I would be interested in seeing your other fleets, though it may take me ages to comment on them. Thank you for mentioning that Miranda links to all Spanish ships, since the Master Spreadsheet didn’t have that. Nice use of skirting the No-Duplicates rule with the Santa Anas, which I had to look up and confirm via Woelf’s post.

Wow, that is a really effective fleet! Ironically I think you have by FAR the most conventionally “good” fleet submitted, as it will have no problem winning games. However, as far as creativity and uniqueness goes, the fleet is lacking the “it factor” or newness I was looking for in this fleet challenge. Nothing really blows me away or surprises me. Knowing the importance of helmsmen, I think I would have approached Anita’s +5 points differently. Instead of the cargo master I’d add helmsmen to the San Cristobal and CC Santa Ana, with the last point going to an explorer on the CC Santa Ana or an oarsman on the SCS Santa Ana. I think it would be more important to get the best coins from more islands rather than the slight bit of “cargo overkill” I’m seeing that sacrifices speed. In addition, all four ships have at least 5 cargo to start, so a cargo master is probably just unnecessary (in my opinion). I do like the theme.

Regarding your note on these exact setups, I wouldn’t underestimate how long this game has been around and the sheer volume of people that have played it and the various combos that are likely to have been used. For example, using a Reroller (including Miranda himself as Cadet-Captain Mike alluded to in 2012) on a ship with SAT is as old as the early sets. One way to differentiate one of the setups would be to crew the Santa Isabel with Nemesio Diaz, Fernando Sanchez (who links to Diaz) and the Haulers. Maybe too slow (a problem potentially solved by Calypso), but a real nasty combo where you have 4 spaces for stolen loot with Diaz and the Haulers making the SI a defensive powerhouse of sorts just re-parking at an enemy home island (though you could argue that the canceller is just overkill with the Haulers there). The CC Santa Ana setup might actually be the most unique, mostly because she’s probably usually run with at least a helmsman and/or explorer.
Lastly (I hope this doesn’t sound too harsh!) I wasn’t really worried about whether any of the fleets submitted were faction-pure; in fact, to make these unique, creative and wacky combo ideas work, you often can’t go faction pure (the Guichuan + FN Grim the Savage and Bianco’s Haulers combo is an extreme but really good example). Also, it looks like Zone/Davy Jones’ fleet is all-Cursed.
Kudos for creating a fleet that with a few tweaks might even be pretty competitive at the 80 point level!

Rating: 3/5 (you would win if I was judging on pure effectiveness, but that wasn’t the goal)


The final submission comes from ARabidPickle, which I’m counting since he was having a login issue when he tried posting the fleet before the deadline.
“Fun with Commander Temple 85pts
HMS Titan 17
Lord Thomas Gunn 6
Helmsman 2
Total 25
HMS Caradoc 13
Commander Temple 6
Helmsman 2
Oarsman 1
Total 22
St. George 10
Lawrence 5
Total 15
HMS Patagonia 4
Commander Portland Spencer 7
Lord Mycron 6
Robinson 0
Administrator Scott Bratley 0
Total 17
Le Bon Marin 6
Total 6
The strategy is to derelict opposing ships and using Lawrence to cancel any abilities that Would prevent Commander Temple from capturing. Lord M helps Temple by letting him make contact with derelicts then explore in the same turn to capture.”

@ARabidPickle: Solid English fleet. Most of the setups are pretty basic/expected but I like the inclusion of the Caradoc and St. George at first glance. Why is Portland on the Patagonia? As it says in The Pirate Code: “-If you use this ability, this ship cannot be given any other actions this turn regardless of how many it could generate or would normally have available. This restriction also applies to free actions such as making a scuttle attempt or transferring crew to or from an island.” Not sure what your goal is with him on the Patagonia. Boarding protection for Mycron?

I think Lawrence might be better off on the Caradoc (if she lost her oarsman) or the Titan. That could even allow for the addition of a second canceller if you swapped the St. George for HMS Rye, which also has an extra cargo space and could be used as a gold runner.

Rating: 3/5 (this could be 3.5 if Portland was explained or swapped for something that worked better)


Final Scores:
1. Xerecs: 4.5/5
2. Zone (Fear the White Mist): 3.5/5
3. Tilorfire27: 3/5 (tiebreaker goes to most unique/creative here)
4. JW Darkhurst (The Spanish Saints): 3/5
5. ARabidPickle: 3/5 (would be tied with the All Saints fleet if not for Commander Portland’s placement)

The Winner is Xerecs! Congratulations! You now have the opportunity to host the next Fleet Challenge if you’d like!  😀