Today (February 14th, 2017) is the 10th anniversary of Pirates of the Frozen North! To commemorate the occasion I played a game using ONLY stuff from FN, with the exception of generic crew so the game would be more fair.
Here are the fleets in the order of play, as the Vikings rolled to go first!
My current traveling collection actually has some of the better Viking gold runners, though I was disappointed to leave the Donar out. However, with the Grendel, Sleipnir, and Kalaallit (abbreviated KL) getting gold, the Vikings looked to be in good shape. The Wodin looked to function as a hybrid, with 3 spaces open for gold, the captain and helmsman ability with good guns, and the gold capture ability for yet another option. The Hrothgar was the flagship of the 100 point fleet, carrying two of the best Viking named crew (Shayna Deux and Sigurd Andersen) as well as a proxy helmsman as my Viking crew options are lacking.
The opposition: a conglomeration of ships from the Big 5 factions, which is almost all the other FN ships in my traveling collection!
The rarely used Seminole would try to give the already-deadly Tartessos and Orkney an extra cannon bonus, making for an intimidating gunship squadron. The Marie Antoinette (MA) led a group of four gold runners, the rest of which were small, uncrewed ships. The MA had Leander Arnaud aboard, who would try to take advantage of the MA’s S-boarding and steal lots of Viking loot. This would be my first time using the Seminole, Tartessos, and Ahura Mazda, as they are all recent acquisitions.
Welcome to the Frozen North!!
The Big 5 picked an island near lots of icebergs to be the Viking home island. The Vikings didn’t want to deal with the Orkney and Tartessos, choosing one of the furthest islands away, and hoped the arches and some icebergs could give them trouble. The straws at the upper left and right are the round earth boundaries.
The 3D foam icebergs would function as icebergs numbered 1, 2, and 3, with the largest being 1 and the smallest being 3 since you want to roll high in this game. For their direction, 1=NE, 2=E, 3=SE, 4=SW, 5=W, 6=NW (essentially clockwise from the north with no due north/due south).
6 regular icebergs were also in play, with 6 FN islands making up the home and wild islands. I didn’t use my custom islands (with lots of green foliage heh) since I wanted the setup to be as thematic as possible.
Arches always seem to lead to great picture opportunities, and this game was definitely no exception.
Both home islands and both arches:
The Big 5 had 7 ships to the Vikings’ 5, but both fleets had plenty of ships on the small side.
Which fleet would weather the cold and emerge victorious?
The arch on the left is usually flipped to the right to put gold on it, but here I liked it a bit different, allowing the little nook you see at the closer end. Each island had 6 coins, except for an accidental 7 on the southern island.
They’re off! Eager to take advantage of two nearby northern islands, and to avoid the gunships of the Big 5 fleet, all the Viking ships fittingly sailed north.
The Big 5 is confident that their diverse fleet will prevail. The gold runners scatter while the Orkney, Tartessos, and Seminole begin sailing towards the Vikings.
This was the ideal formation, with the gunships leading from the front but still withing S of the sheltered Seminole. The Orkney and Tartessos were willing to take an iceberg hit if it meant protecting the Seminole and keeping her speed at L+S to keep up with the gunships.
Bam! The first iceberg hit of the game and the MA is down a mast.
I love how realistic the foam icebergs are. They’re very easy to make, as there’s no painting/gluing/etc involved. I’d recommend trying some, especially if you like icebergs (which I usually don’t lol).
The Sleipnir found the first Rune of the day, Runes of Magic, which could be very valuable with so many icebergs around.
Trying to avoid an iceberg, the formation splits up as the Tartessos prepares to navigate an archway.
The MA has round earthed to the north, while the sneaky Grendel may have similar ideas.
The KL finds more runes! Runes of Thor could have been used on Runes of Wealth to turn the 1 into a 6, but the Vikings figured they might want the 6 for a guaranteed extra action from Sigurd Andersen at some point in the future. There were better treasures than the 1 on the island, but the KL smartly grabbed a 1 and promptly turned it into a 4 via Runes of Wealth with a decent die roll.
Here, an iceberg has smashed up the stern of the Tartessos, while the Wodin has returned to the Viking home island, wary of a possible blockade or attempted interception of the Viking gold runners.
I’d wanted La Tartessos for a long time, especially after she proved herself in VASSAL Campaign Game 1. It was great to build the ship and see the unique artwork on the hull.
With the Wodin and Hrothgar relatively near, the squadron sails under the arch.
Looking at English, American, and Spanish flags through the arch and seeing Viking flags beyond:
The Cantabrian and MA have reached wild islands; at the top right Grim the Savage aboard the Grendel has realized it will be some time before the Big 5 get some gold to their home island, so he docks at the KL’s island to load gold while postponing any raiding attempts.
Watch out for the imperialists!
The Hrothgar in heavy seas, ready to defend the Sleipnir if necessary.
I love pictures that look through archways: here you can see the massive iceberg beyond the Wodin.
This picture almost makes it look like the ships are sailing very fast:
No more maneuvering – the Wodin attacks! However, after using her stern turn to get both cannons in range, the Wodin utterly fails, missing four consecutive shots, failing to eliminate a mast via the ram, and losing her helmsman in a disastrous boarding party. This time, getting the first shot backfired with very poor dice rolls. The Sleipnir has docked home gold, while the KL and Grendel aren’t far behind with more.
This left the Wodin as a sitting duck for the Orkney, who sank her with the help of the Seminole’s bonus.
The Tartessos has turned around, while the Hrothgar had docked at the Viking home island in a similar fashion as the Wodin, ready to break up a blockade and/or protect the gold runners.
On the Vikings’ next turn, Sigurd Andersen rolled a 6! This gave the Hrothgar two actions and up to 12 shots!! The Hrothgar’s first action sank the Seminole and crippled the Orkney, while her second was a dud. (only 4 cannons were in range of the Orkney on the second action since the Hrothgar returned to the safety of her home island in anticipation of a counterattack)
The Tweed has finally reached the southern island, finding valuable gold. The MA, Cantabrian, and Ahura Mazda all have gold for the Big 5.
Chaos reigned during this period of the game, with the Orkney dismasting a departing Sleipnir and the Tartessos basically running away from the Hrothgar, who couldn’t be shot at while docked at her HI.
An impressive sight, but unfortunately for the Big 5 those guns were more useful in last year’s CG1 than this effort.
Through an arch: Viking flags, a desperate Englishman, and the carnage of battle.
The KL has returned home with gold, while the Grendel is almost back. The loss of the Wodin was not in vain, as the event partially helped the Vikings turn the tide.
With perfect timing, the Vikings reveal their secret weapon – Runes of Thor! This UT changed Sigurd Andersen’s die roll to an automatic 6, allowing the Hrothgar another pair of devastating actions!
The Hrothgar’s guns are mediocre, but the sheer volume of firepower allowed her to sink the Orkney…
…and dismast the Tartessos.
The Grendel docks and the KL goes out for more gold:
All four of the Big 5 gold runners are close to unloading, while at the right, the Tartessos tries to run with her helmsman and oarsman. You may have noticed something terrible happening to the Grendel…
Unlucky enough to get smashed by an iceberg at her own home island, the unthinkable then occurred: the EXACT same die rolls were made for icebergs at the beginning of the Viking turn, which slammed the iceberg into the Grendel once more, this time dismasting her! I nearly made a house rule where icebergs could sink derelicts (or the giant iceberg eliminated two masts per hit, etc), but it wouldn’t be fair to the Viking fleet in particular to make it up on the spot.
Luckily the oared Sleipnir was nearby to try a rescue attempt:
The Hrothgar sinks the Tartessos, eliminating the last remnant of the Big 5’s gunship squadron. The Hrothgar has had an impressive game indeed, in no small part because of her excellent crew.
The Tweed, knowing the faster Hrothgar would likely come after her, took a risk that didn’t pan out! She sailed too close to an iceberg, which moved to dismast her at the beginning of a turn. The MA sails out to rescue her, but the Hrothgar is faster than any of the ships remaining in the Big 5 fleet. At the top left, the Ahura Mazda will try to add value to each coin the Cantabrian brings back. The Sleipnir has successfully taken the poor Grendel under tow, while the KL loads gold from the southern island.
With another AA from Andersen, the Hrothgar wrecks any chance of getting the Tweed’s 8 gold home. The MA is sunk and the Vikings look close to being able to control the final part of the game.
Indeed, the Vikings have the momentum here. The KL unloads yet more gold, while the Sleipnir and Grendel repair.
The Hrothgar prepares to annihilate the final two ships in the Big 5 fleet, but the Ahura Mazda stays docked at home and the Cantabrian sails out for more gold with Runes of Speed.
Knowing both ships must survive somehow, the Pirates go into desperation mode, ramming a mast off the Hrothgar while the Cantabrian looks to evade or get lucky if the Hrothgar misses. To make matters worse for the Big 5, the Grendel is fully repaired and Grim the Savage is finally ready for his highly anticipated home island raid!
BAM! The KL dismasts the Ahura Mazda, while Grim steals 3 coins from the Big 5 home island!
The Hrothgar intercepts the Cantabrian and dismasts her, abruptly ending the game!
The Big 5 has no future move actions available, while most gold has been unloaded to home islands.
The Vikings win 21-6! If not for Grim’s last-minute raid, it would have turned out 21-16, so in reality the game was much closer and quite exciting!
It was great to pay homage to the Frozen North set, which has never been one of my favorite sets actually. However, it has some very cool stuff in it, and I like all the sets heh. It was nice to play some ships that are new to my collection. Fittingly, the Vikings won! The Hrothgar was definitely the “MVS” (Most Valuable Ship), sinking or dismasting the entire opposing fleet! The Runes of Destruction and Magic were also used, but not with much consequence. I didn’t want to use Runes of Odin since it’s a bit OP heh, especially when combined with Runes of Magic.
Thanks for reading!