Huge Pirate Turn and Unveiling of a WMD – April 17th in CG4

After another turn of developments, one faction reigns supreme!  (for now)

New rules updates:
Celestine’s Charts and the S-Exploring ability will reset the resource values of islands.
Stinkpots and Chainshots are exempt from the 2 hits per mast rule (each hit of their type takes effect since they don’t eliminate masts).

After my last turn I decided to do the first point count of the game!

Point Count (after A7XfanBen’s turn on 4/7/2020)
Spanish: 8 ships, 105 points
Jade Rebellion: 4 ships, 45 points
The Conglomerate/Alliance: 5 ships, 60 points
English: 9 ships, 113 points
Pirates: 51 ships, ~870 points
Cursed: 9 ships, 107 points
Vikings: 10 ships, ~153 points
Barbary Corsairs: 17 ships, ~252 points
Dutch: 5 ships, ~64 points
Americans: 11 ships, ~154 points
Mercenaries: 2 ships, ~30 points
French: 8 ships, ~114 points
Totals: 139 ships, 2067 points!
(as with previous VASSAL campaign game point counts, I generally count face down crew and equipment as 3 points each, the ~ marks are therefore close estimates most of the time)

If you need to catch up on the last few turns, Xerecs’ video provides a nice summary.

The Pirates started their turn with a bang!  The Warring Tribes got an SAT from Jack Hawkins and dismasted the Noble Swan!  She used her Galley keyword to touch the NS, taking the Plague that Jack Hawkins protected the crew from.  Both myself and Xerecs declined to board.  The Zephyr and Branwen arrived to assist, and the recently launched “speed squad” was seemingly there in a flash!

Here is footage of the attack:

Attention soon shifted to the combat theater of the northeast.  The Selkie burned to the waterline, becoming the first ship in the game to be sunk!

The Pirates began blasting away at the Barbary Corsairs.  The Widowmaker and Splinter combined to take a mast off the Osiris (the BC flagship), but the real damage lay in the Agnis Crystalis – assuming she wouldn’t hit with both of her remaining 2S’s to take out a mast, her captain ordered the specialists to get to work.  Their shots rang true, slamming the Osiris with both a stinkpot and a chain shot!!  This means that the Osiris cannot use ANY of her MANY crew abilities on the next Corsair turn, and the Osiris can’t move either!  O_O  (the green token is for the stink, black for the chain – just so I wouldn’t forget later on… the Pirate turn took about 2.5 hours today!)

And then it was time… FOR THE WMD TO GET IN ACTION!!!!  The Stormcloud is a fog hopping 10 master that costs 47 points from Pirates of the Epic Seas!  Continuing the considerable good luck the Pirates experienced this turn, she got an EA from her linked captain, Robert Alcantara.  Popping out of a fog bank south of the Corsair position, she sailed north to hit the Sphinx.  There was much more to this story, as the Corsairs would soon find out….

ABSOLUTE PIRATE DOMINANCE!

This is when the Pirates were able to flex their might and completely pulverize the enemy.  Front and center was the Stormcloud.  Using her EA, she moved over to get 8 cannons in range of the Giza.  Ibrahan Vosely was sitting pretty, keeping the Giza from getting shot at while docked at the textiles island.  But then a weird smile came over the face of a pirate aboard the Stormcloud!  It was Tia Dalma!!  She cancelled Vosely’s ability, allowing the Stormcloud and any other Pirate ships within range to shoot at the Giza!  Pouring in a heavy fire, the Stormcloud went 4/8 while also taking a mast off the Sphinx with her stern guns.  The Akua Lapu started towing the Hades’ Flame, hitting 2/2 against the Giza.  The Eagle rounded the south side of the island and was just barely able to get both her 2L’s in range, hitting with both of them!   In an impressive display of force, the Pirates had gone 8/12 to completely dismast the Giza!!

Slightly northeast, the teamwork continued against the Osiris.  The Darkhawk II captured the Red Star (!), hitting the Osiris in the process.  The Pirates immediately tried to scuttle the Red Star, and got a 6!  This meant she would return to the Pirate home island fully repaired via the Resurrection Codex on the next turn!  O_O   The Black Pearl made a FAST entrance, sailing L+S+S+L+S+S down from the Pirate home island to lay a couple extra shots on the Osiris.  At the end of the turn, the Splinter got an extra action via Elizabeth’s Piece of Eight (EPoE) to shoot her 2S guns three additional times, hitting on all!  By the end of the turn the Pirates had taken 15 shots at the Osiris, knocking down all but one mast.

Pirate counterattack in CG4!

The Corsairs are in big trouble!  Making matters even worse for them, the Pirates have 4 additional gunships sailing south from their home island area, including Captain Blackheart on the Harbinger, and the Zeus.

The Pirates had been eagerly anticipating the grand reveal of their WMD, or “Weapon of Mass Destruction” (perhaps an alternate name would be Weapon of Mast Destruction).  This was the turn to do it, as they needed the Stormcloud’s full capabilities to really turn the tide against the Corsairs.  In addition to having fog hopping, EA w/reroll, and the basic captain/helmsman/oarsman available right now, she has a nasty combo going that makes her a true WMD.  Homemade Flag.  “Cannon ranges of enemy ships are reduced to S against this ship.”  O_O    When combined with Tia Dalma, I believe this essentially means she is invincible to cannon fire against one ship per turn that doesn’t have a canceller.  O_O  An enemy has to get within S to shoot at her, but then Tia Dalma cancels the other ship’s captain!!  Not to get too carried away because there are truly no unsinkable ships in Pirates CSG, but the Pirates basically have an invincible teleporting 10 master with full strike capabilities due to extra actions (whether from her linked crew, AA’s, or EPoE) and Bruce Grey’s World Hater ability to improve the cannons.  If that’s not a WMD within the confines of this game, I don’t know what is!   O_O  XD

Most of the attack was recorded!

The situation in the southeast near Pirate activity.  At their home island, this is the second turn in a row where they’ve had a lull in metals production.  However, that will change very soon, with at least 3 ships due to arrive home with metals next turn and a whopping 6 resource ships docking at the metals island today.  At that bottom right area, you can also see 3 Pirate ships that have round earthed to the south.  The Pirates have sent them to gather metals partly because they’re worth more than textiles right now, but especially because of the medium-scale conflict at the textiles island in the north.  The Lady’s Scorn has vague orders to escort the Hai Peng, but she can’t keep up!  At the upper left, a sighting of La Bonne Chance indicates that perhaps the French have interest in these waters.

The Pirates ended their turn by purchasing the first colony of the game, a military port for 50 gold.  They are not happy with the situation south of their home island and will not be “playing around” with resource system defenses in the future.  A handful of hybrids with captains was not enough, so the Pirates now seek to have total sea control of the area, possibly to an extreme degree until the Corsairs are long gone from that area.

It was finally time to move on to another faction, with the Cursed doing their normal resource operations trying to get textiles.  The American schooners off their home island are possibly awaiting the arrival of a 5 master or two.  Recognizing the recent rule change that allows ships at their home islands to be shot at, the Grand Misfortune gets underway.  Out of the picture, the Wisp continues to play ring around the rosie in the Turbulence.

In a sad moment (partly due to the music that happened to be on at the time), the Viking gunships off the contested textiles island turned away from the fight.  Despite having established an anti-Pirate alliance with the Barbary Corsairs (!!), the Vikings felt it futile to risk their few offensive assets against such a strong enemy when the battle for the island was clearly already lost (the Corsairs control the town for now but will be slaughtered when the Stormcloud arrives to retake it).  The Corsairs understand but are still disappointed with them.  I am revealing this alliance for the battle report, but the Pirates don’t know for sure that an agreement has been made between the factions (neither has made any public announcement in-game).  The Corsairs and Vikings had actually been planning a coordinated pincer attack on the island for quite some time ever since the Pirates forcefully claimed ownership of the island in August 2019.

The Vikings couldn’t get to the battle in time and now Pirate dominance is back in the area. Zeus with EPoE + others is just too devastating a prospect for the Vikings to handle, especially since they are weak.  The Corsairs felt it was the time to strike (now or never, and it pretty much was with more Pirate gunships on the way regardless), and didn’t want to wait for the Vikings to arrive just to have “perfect” timing.  It does seem unlikely that the Muninn and Diversion+Odin’s Mortar (flotilla) trio would have been able to turn the tide fully in favor of the allies, but it would have made things more complicated for the Pirates.  Part of the problem today was that the Vikings still weren’t within good attacking range of the Pirates, so although they probably could have taken off a mast or two from Pirate gold runners, the Zeus was getting in very solid position to completely whack them next turn (not to mention the Stormcloud potentially moving L+S+L+S to assist).  On top of all that, the Vikings didn’t get an AA from Sigurd Andersen, and don’t feel particularly indebted to the Corsairs since the Vikings were the ones who got attacked by the Pirates last year.  The Corsairs and Vikings are still allies as of today, but it’s more of “unite against a common enemy” than actually being best friends at sea….

The Vikings did convert 5 new lumber tokens to 20 gold, launching the Wiglaf with a captain, helmsman, and oarsman.  They plan to use her as a hybrid for now and would prefer to stay well clear of the super-dangerous Pirates.

The Corsair turn was… futile at best, embarrassing at worst.  After the revenge exacted by the Pirates, it was the complete polar opposite of their last turn.  They have gone from triumphant to trashed in the span of one bloody round.  The Sphinx did manage to put out her fire mast and hit the DHII with fire shot… though, the Corsairs were almost hoping for the equipment to backfire and set the ship alight again, merely to make it less likely the Pirates would inevitably capture the Sphinx very soon.  Unable to move or use her various crew abilities, the Osiris hit the Agnis Crystalis, taking her down to one mast.

Now for some fun strategy: The Corsairs had a brilliant idea to steal the Resurrection Codex with the Giza (who had an oarsman), which would make the Red Star sink normally on the Pirate turn from scuttling (denying the Pirates from being able to use her when the Codex warped her to the Pirate HI).  It would also protect the Giza, which was annoying to capture due to her oarsman (in which case the Pirates may have just sunk her and triggered the Codex to get her out of the battle area).

With hope pretty much lost, the Corsairs decided to go for broke again.  The Giza got her EA!  This would theoretically give her two chances to steal the Codex from the Red Star.  She rowed around to touch the derelict Red Star.  The Giza lost a boarding party of mastless ships 2-3 (lol), losing all of her crew due to the Red Star having Massacre!  The helmsman-less Giza was barely able to maneuver for her EA, but managed to turn her oars into the Red Star and board again.  This time she won 2-1 (lol at futility after last turn’s epicness and bravery) to take the Codex!  Her scuttle attempt failed.  If Giza had won the first boarding party, it’s possible the Pirates would only be coming away with 1 prize (Osiris) instead of 3.  Instead, they may be able to capture all the Corsair galleys in the area, as long as they get help from Tia Dalma to cancel oarsmen.

Corsair futility

This shows the northeast theater, with a big mess created by the first major outbreak of conflict.  At the left, you can see the Vikings turning for home, not willing to commit precious assets to a lost cause.  Raidamos, captain of the Osiris, signaled for the Crescent Moon and Algiers to stay far away from the battle, with any help efforts likely to result in those ships being captured by the Pirates.  They have turned to port and will likely grab textiles from the island the Corsairs are now sharing with the English.  In a faint glimmer of hope, the Agha’s Whip has finally returned to the Corsair HI!  She unloaded 3 food tokens from an island northeast of the Pirate HI.

Huge Pirate Turn and Unveiling of a WMD - April 17th in CG4

The turn ended in somber fashion, with the upstart allies failing in their effort to take down the mighty Pirates at the textiles island.  However, these fleets are just 3 out of 12 in play, with many more developments still to come!

The last few rounds are one of the best examples I’ve ever seen of the extreme momentum shifts Pirates CSG games can have.  The Corsairs started their last turn with 16 masts on 4 galleys.  Despite the 2 hits per mast rule, they ended this turn with just 2 masts standing on those 4 galleys.  In a really wild single-ship example, the Giza went from being fully crewed and having triumphantly taken over the textiles town (literally shooting off Fireworks!  XD) to being completely dismasted with all her crew dead just a turn later.  The Corsairs’ devastating attack led to a complete utter catastrophe for them immediately afterwards due to how good the Pirates are right now.  The Pirate counterattack was one of the best I’ve ever seen, and swung the momentum completely back in their favor.

Admiral A7XfanBen sits down at the table with Lord Henry McLean (Captain Mysion of course) and Robert Alcantara.  Evil pirate laughs ring throughout the night.  Commence nuclear launch system… the Stormcloud is quite operational….

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4 Comments

  1. Not to rain on the parade but…. from the Code:
    “If this ship enters a fog bank and remains inside on the following turn, this ability cannot be used to exit a different fog bank. It must be used on the turn immediately after entering a fog bank or it has no effect.”

    I think the Stormcloud has been sitting in that fog bank for a while so I’m not sure if she would be able to move out of it using her fog hopping. Only way I could see around this is if she’s been going in and out of the same fog bank by the pirate HI in the north.

    That aside, this was epic to read! The point and ship count at the beginning is really telling, the Jades essentially have made 0 progress, and some factions are doing better than I thought they were. The Pirates already have numbers close to what becomes the norm in my summer games, they REALLY look like the favorites right now.
    I kept hearing this as I read the report: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgB2qItM76g
    Can’t wait for my next turn…. 😀

    • @Xerecs: O_O Wow, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that ruling in the Code! Thank you for alerting me to it! I must say I disagree with it, but I’ll have to keep that in mind from now on. It’s too late to go back and change everything, so we’ll just pretend the Stormcloud had been moving in and out of that fog bank each turn, which would have been easily possible if not just kinda silly. I don’t think the Pirates really need a punishment since they would have been able to pull off the raid perfectly fine if they had followed the rule, but perhaps next time the Stormcloud goes into a fog bank, she has to exit and go back in before she can fog hop.

      Yeah, the Mercenaries have truly made no progress other than gathering some stuff. It’s clear they could have launched by now but for whatever reason, they haven’t.
      Thanks for the song rec!

      Ben

  2. I think we discussed some of the finer details of Fog-hopping after CG3 when the Cursed used them to run gold. Also, I think you asked about it on the Rules Questions thread here.
    Theoretically I could re-send the game file I have and you could go again…. But that would be tedious and a little wonky, since the BR is already out.

    • @Xerecs: I don’t see anything about that line from the Code in the Rules thread.
      And no, I’m not going to redo 5+ hours of my life for a rule that didn’t matter much in the first place. The key is, if the Pirates followed that rule perfectly, the result would be the same. The Stormcloud would have just sailed into the fog bank on the last turn and the raid would commence as normal. The problem would be if the opposite was true (not following the rule completely changing the result) – such as Eventgate from T2.

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