Games with Witch – 60 Points and a Sealed Pack Game! (April 9th, 2022)

Games with Witch – 60 Points and a Sealed Pack Game!

April 9th, 2022

I played some additional games with Witch/Dan (current Discord username: The Witch King) at Zulu’s Board Game Cafe (highly recommended!) in Bothell Washington!  We had agreed on a 60 point build total for the first game, using my Basic Rules and round earth.  The ban list included all events, the DJC Le Bonaparte, Nubian Prince, Blood Money and Cursed Natives.  Proxies were allowed.

He went first with a fleet consisting of the Black Pearl, Greed’s Hammer, Mermaid, and Bilge (proxied by a 1 masted sloop).  I followed with an English fleet:
HMS Interceptor + HGold (RotF version), Sir Christopher Myngs, CRGO (BC version), Sir Watkins Defoe, smokepot specialist
HMS Lady Provost + helmsman, explorer, oarsman
HMS Lord Kenyon + captain, helmsman

Games with Witch at Zulu's Board Game Cafe in Bothell Washington

I had been inspired by a recent discussion at the ever-active Discord server, where Infin8Ouroboros and others were discussing a tactic where you combine the Ghost Ship keyword or the ability to ignore terrain with a bit of a loophole in the overlap rules. First you move to attack a target, shooting a smokepot with one of the cannons.  The ship then gets a second action, moving to overlap the smokebank while still shooting at targets (since it ignores terrain when given a move action).  Then since the terrain effects are applied once the move action ends and the piece is overlapping the terrain, the ship gets sucked into the fog bank and therefore into safety!!  O_O   Once I read about this combo I knew I had to try it, and nicely enough our game was scheduled for only around a week later.  It was time to try something different!  The Lady P (LP) would serve as my main gold runner with a side of HI raiding, while HMS Lord Kenyon was the final addition but would hopefully provide strong backup to either ship that needed it, a durable little hybrid capable of various tasks.

60 point English fleet for Pirates CSG

Both fleets had fog banks conveniently close to their HI’s, which would play a large role in the positioning aspect of the game.  The LP has loaded gold, while the Greed’s Hammer has already unloaded 2 coins +2 via Mycron’s wizardry (on the proxied Bilge).

The LP needs to stay safe in the fog on the way home, while a potential duel between flagships looms….

Alas, the dance continued, with the Lord Kenyon hiding in fog while my other ships docked at the home island.  The LP and Greed’s Hammer are making both fleets richer but Witch and I knew that the standoff would have to explode in order for the game to ever end.

I was able to pull off the combo!  However, I didn’t even need the smokepot specialist, as the Interceptor already had a fog bank to “stumble” into on her way to sinking the Greed’s Hammer!  She got Myngs’ SAT to zoom over and hit the GH, using her second action to sink the ship while overlapping fog, becoming safe at the end of her second move action!  The LP enters the same fog bank as the Black Pearl, eyeing the riches on Witch’s home island.

There was a bit of position reversal, with the Black Pearl and my English ships in opposite positions from earlier in the game.

The Interceptor sank the Mermaid. The Black Pearl returned near home.  After weighing some different options, I decided it would be prudent to build a fort.  The westernmost island was close to Witch’s HI due to round earth, and a fort would allow for the LP to drop off gold on her route home. In addition, I wanted to see if I could get Witch to overplay the BP and risk her against my massed fleet all in one spot. Not to mention that forts can be really good for home island raiders because the available gold keeps the game alive for more raids to potentially occur.  😀   All three ships docked at the island west of my HI, with the LP surrounded as Ramsgate was constructed.

English build Ramsgate fort in Pirates CSG game

Soon afterwards, I was able to do a little fancy maneuvering with the smokepot combo, having the Interceptor speed out ahead of the LP and drop a smokebank. The LP sailed into it for safety (on her way west towards the final unexplored wild island), with the Interceptor right behind her with SAT.

Although the Mycron-boosted Black Pearl was looming via round earth, I wanted to make a play at the final wild island. The LP and Interceptor docked there, with the Interceptor spewing smoke to block one of the BP’s routes of attack.

Sure enough the BP came around the other side of the island, dismasting the LP but crucially missing two shots that kept the HI raider afloat!

The LP ducked through a whirlpool, with the Lord Kenyon waiting to protect her in home waters on the other side.  The Interceptor took on the Black Pearl in a 2003 movie-showdown redux!  However, Witch flipped Tia Dalma to cancel Hermione Gold’s Captain ability, meaning the Interceptor was powerless to attack!

Finally a very predictable round was played, with the LP docking home her 4 additional coins as the Black Pearl sank the Interceptor! (true to form)

The LP repairs both her masts as the Black Pearl returns home as well.  Both fleets set up in fog banks and another dance has begun!  XD

Now we did a count for gold, to make sure it was even relevant for me to try and raid Witch’s home island.  Incredibly, we both had 22 gold (including 4 in my Ramsgate).  We would play on, with the Lady Provost and Lord Kenyon moving north to the fog bank next to Witch’s HI.  From there they emerged, with the LP stealing a 3 and the LK trying to block the BP a bit (LK revealed her captain to shoot but was cancelled).

The Black Pearl got two actions via Mycron, dismasting the LP and stealing the 3 back, while also taking a mast off the Lord Kenyon.  In a split second of excitement I realized I had a quick and easy path to potential victory – with the 3 coin on the Black Pearl, if I could end the game now with a suicide of the Lord Kenyon, I would win 22-19 because the 3 was not back on Witch’s home island yet!  I immediately sent the LK through a whirlpool hoping for a bad roll, but a 4 (under my Basic Rules) meant she was safe!

The BP unloaded the 3, meaning I was basically playing for a “tie” at this point with the score back at 22-22.  It took a couple more attempts, but eventually the Lord Kenyon lost her final mast to a whirlpool roll, ending the game.  Though the gold score was knotted at 22 apiece, Witch won the game based on the tiebreaker of most points in play!  (and would have also won based on any other tiebreaker such as most units in play/masts standing/etc.)

This was a really incredible game that saw the introduction (for me) of a new fog bank smoke attack combo, lots of maneuvering as is typical when strategists like Witch and I meet up, and a close and dramatic finish that could not have been closer!!  😀

 

Sealed Pack Game

We had also agreed to play a sealed pack game, with me supplying the packs for a nominal fee of about $1/pack.  We each opened 1 pack of SM, RV and OE.  It would be a 40 point game.  If either of us didn’t like our pulls enough, we would each receive one more pack of OE for 4 total, but we ended up being content with what the 3 gave us.  The only exception was the first pack I opened – the first SM pack was a mispack with a pair of Le Duque card 2/2’s with no deckplate, so I exchanged it for a new pack of SM.

Witch went first with:
Black Swan + helmsman, explorer, oarsman
HMS Birkenhead + shipwright
Treachery + Genny’s Red Rampage

From my packs I selected:
El Leon + captain, helmsman, firepot specialist
Saratoga + musketeer
Royal Fortune

We only used the terrain from the packs, so 2 reefs and 2 whirlpools were placed.

Going first didn’t prove to be very helpful for Witch, as I pounced at the end of round 1.  The Leon set the Black Swan ablaze!

Indeed, I had a plan for the Saratoga as well.  She looked like she was going to explore, but once two enemy ships were within range of her broadside, a musketeer emerged from belowdecks and helped eliminate masts from the Birkenhead!  The latter was dismasted, but got her mainmast back up via the shipwright.

However, I had won the battle, with the Leon re-dismasting the Birkenhead to allow the Saratoga to capture her, while also setting the Treachery alight!  Meanwhile the Royal Fortune loads 2 coins.

The Black Swan managed to extinguish her flames when docking home some gold, and the Treachery managed to put out her blazes as well.  However, I had established some board control, with a centrally located HI frequented by the Saratoga (about to repair) and Royal Fortune while the Leon pursued intimidation tactics in the east where the Treachery had fled to temporary safety.  The Birkenhead was busy repairing with her shipwright.  I now had 4 ships to Witch’s 2, forcing him to play down in numbers again like last game.

The Black Swan loaded 2 coins from the southwestern island while the Royal Fortune emptied the southeastern one.  Although I’ve seen it dismantled in the past, a blockade strategy by my own fleet was beginning to take shape….

However, a full blockade became unnecessary, with the Black Swan attempting some kind of run towards home without round earthing.  The Birkenhead got out of the Leon’s way, allowing the latter to bombard the Black Swan with another firepot!  The Royal Fortune stole a coin and Witch’s Pirates were looking rough.

The Saratoga came over to observe the slaughter, with the game becoming more lopsided by the turn now.

The Black Swan was sunk by the Leon, with the Treachery not enough to overcome the combat capabilities of my fleet.

Scores:

  1. A7XfanBen: 24 gold
  2. Witch: 6

Though not as good as the first game, it was nice to return to sealed pack play and change things up a bit.  Thanks to Witch for being an awesome opponent and player!  We are the perfect match for playing each other since we’re both so strategic and deliberate.  Many turns took far longer than they might for other people, but it’s because we care about considering all the options and making sure we’re playing as optimally as possible.  It’s awesome!

In addition, we did a little real-time trading and purchasing, as I FINALLY got the Tasmanian Devil (Mysterious Islands SE ship) for $30 and gave Witch an RV Executioner that he wanted!  My luck was better than usual tonight, and I’d like to attribute it to my HMS Victory gun deck shirt I was wearing.  XD  These games with Witch were really fun. Thanks for reading!

A7XfanBen and Witch at Zulu's Board Game Cafe in Bothell WA

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4 Comments

  1. Enjoyed these write ups and seeing different strategies. Last week I played my first game in 10 years and scored an English win using info you’ve compiled here 🙂 thanks for keeping a pirates legacy!

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