Mysterious Island #2 (Miniature Review)

Published to Miniature Trading on November 26th, 2017

Miniature Review: Mysterious Island #2 – Live off the land, and drive your opponents away from it!

Mysterious Island #2

Mysterious Island #2
Collector’s Number: I02
Rarity: C
Type: Island
Miniature text:
1-2: Roll 3d6. For every 4-6 result, eliminate one of this ship’s masts.
3-4: No effect.
5-6: Move an opposing ship using this ship’s base move.

General description:
After just two previous reviews of specific islands, I figured I would review my all-time favorite MI (Mysterious Island). It’s one that has been a cornerstone of my favorite gimmick strategy: Mind Control. It’s quite risky but can be incredibly fun and rewarding to use. By its nature as a mysterious island, it’s available to all players to use, so the “OP” talk is minimized. Mysterious islands were generally not a great addition to the game, but I think this one is more good than bad.

-Control your enemies and throw their ships away from you and into terrain
-Help out an ally in a multiplayer game

Time to bring up the Code! 

quote from The Pirate Code:
Abilities That Move Ships (“This ship may move X” or “Move a ship X”)
-If an ability refers to an outside force moving or pushing the ship, such as “move an enemy ship L”, it is not treated like a movement segment; the ship’s heading does not change, but it can be used if the ship is pinned or entangled.
-Unless a movement ability specifically states that it is a move action (or “move as a free action”), other abilities and effects (shooting with a Captain, ramming, etc.) that refer to move actions cannot be used.
-Docking only requires contact between a ship’s bow and an island, so it may occur any time a ship moves or is moved.

So we cannot use it with a captain for “friendly fire” like we can with All-Powerful. However, you can purposely use the effect to help out an ally by docking one of their ships home to repair or unload gold.

Strategies and game play: 
Alright. Let’s get to it. This thing has the potential to affect gameplay rather dramatically if used to its fullest effect. From my Mind Control fleet, we can see that it is rather evil. To “farm” a mysterious island, you dock at it multiple times to get the positive effect many times over. This is often done with rerollers or linked Ex-Patriot crew, which I’ll talk about more in the combos section. By farming the island, you can move other ships more than once, including on the same turn! You can quickly see the possibilities racking up. With two S+S+S ships of your own docking at the island, you could move an enemy ship 6S in a single turn! This can delay their advance for 2+ turns, or send them flying into a reef that wasn’t even proximal to the ship.

This island could truly affect gameplay. The MI’s are placed face down when put in the play area, so your opponent may not be aware of the effect until the game is underway. Once revealed, your opponent may freak out a bit when you control their ships. It’s not the smartest thing to do with a hotheaded enemy, as getting your ships yanked around is sure to cause some animosity. Once the effect is “live” and known to all players, it could become a hotspot. Multiple players might flock to the island in order to farm it, throwing ships all over the board. Also, a player may try to get revenge on another by moving a ship after one of theirs has been moved. Messing with other players will probably cause chaos, and it might even spill over into a heated argument at the gaming area! XD

You could also bargain with another player: threaten to move one of their ships, and coerce them into helping you. If not, chuck their ship onto a reef.

In a multiplayer game, you could also help out an ally. Unless you’re playing as the same fleet, an “opposing ship” to you could be any of the other players. This could save one of their ships from a deadly chase, or allow them to reach a fog bank or whirlpool at the perfect moment.

Combos with other miniatures: 
Of course, there is a rather severe negative effect. Any ship with 3 masts or less stands a reasonable chance of being completely dismasted. However, there are various ways to increase your odds.

One basic way is with Nemo’s Charts , which takes away the negative ability entirely since your worst roll is boosted to 3. It will turn 3’s into 5’s, which means you’ll get the positive effect 2/3 of the time!

The standard reroll ability is a great way to farm MI’s more effectively. One of the least-known parts of any keyword shows up at the end of Ex-Patriot: “If this crew is assigned to its linked ship, add 1 to the result when the ship rolls for effect at a Mysterious Island.” Of the EP crew that link, there are a few that would work especially well with mysterious islands. Count Gustov can give the Terror multiple actions so the ship can dock twice, but even a few bad rolls could really limit the submarine’s potential for the rest of the game, especially since you’d need a shipwright or fort to repair potential damage due to the MI. You can use the SS version of Eileen Brigid O’Brien on the Mobilis to do the same thing, but that sub is better used as a defensive underwater canceller. However, there is one truly exceptional link you can use.Thane Hartless provides the reroll ability as well as MI +1’s for the Slipstream , which even has the amazing ability to bring in crew from other nationalities. Using the reroll for someone like Sir Christopher Myngs and possibly in conjunction with Bianco’s Haulers , a somewhat complex Slipstream setup is probably the best way in the game to farm MI’s. There is still a big risk involved, so a shipwright or helmsman/oarsman combo may be needed to guarantee some success.

However, we must pay close attention to the MI’s final text: “using this ship’s base move.” As a result, none of the above combos are going to do a lot in terms of throwing enemies great distances, since the best Merc linked ships have slow base moves. You cannot add on any movement bonuses from the docking ship either, so you’ll probably want something faster.

This is where it gets CHEESY.  

Since the negative effect only refers to mast elimination and not crew elimination or sinking, there is nothing to stop a mastless ship from redocking at the island via a helmsman and oarsman (or a keyword such as Galley/Turtle Ship/Longship/Turbine). Since the negative effect is rather brutal and will likely dismast most “farmers” in short order, why not just plan for the worst? Rather than bemoaning the dismasting of your Terror or other 3+ masted ship, you can just use a tiny ship with a helmsman and oarsman! XD

Using the Banshee’s Cry with a helmsman and oarsman for just 6 total points, you can have an effective MI farmer. Losing the ship’s only mast is pretty much inevitable with the odds, but the crew allow the ship to move S away from the island and S back to redock even after the ship is dismasted. From there, you are immune to the negative effect.  Unfortunately, you cannot move the ship’s printed base move even when dismasted, so small ships would only be able to move enemy ships S once the masts are gone from the negative effect.

Continuing the theme of tiny ships that cost at least 3 points to accommodate the helmsman/oarsman complement, consider La Fureur . Going slightly more expensive but slightly more effective, faster ships like the Carrion Crow and Lezard could do pretty well with their decent speed. There are other good options, including theZephyr and Pique.

There are a few other UT’s that can help optimize the farming process. Notably, combining Runes of Thor with Nemo’s Plans  This allows you to roll a 6 every time a ship docks at the island, so with a swarm fleet you could be immune to damage and move your opponents ships off of and back onto reefs! Or, with “At World’s End”/Ocean’s Edge style flat earth rules, move their ships off the map to eliminate them from play!

A particularly brutal combo would be to move an enemy ship so that it docks at the very island covered in this review, and then reveal Runes of Loki , forcing them to get the negative effect! Even more sinister, combine those Runes with Nemo’s Plans, and force them to automatically lose three masts!!  

From my Mind Control fleet, there are other things you can do to maximize this island’s effectiveness: Combine it with other things that move enemy ships, such as abilities and a very similar mysterious island.

Ways to counteract it: 
-Build a fort on it (“Mysterious Island abilities (including Great Turtles) are ignored if a fort is present on the island.” – The Pirate Code)
-Use your own Runes of Loki to deny an opponent their opportunity to become a rural farmer. 
-Flip Potions and Brews to turn an enemy 5-6 into a 1-2.
-Put Bad Maps in the treasure distribution and let an opponent find it, so you can both move it farther from their fleet and closer to yours at the same time!
 Natives could severely delay farming efforts; Plague would knock out the helmsman/oarsman crew on farmer ships, at which point the negative effect would become more relevant.
-Choose it as your own home island
-Don’t put it into the island pool when setting up the ocean, or refuse to play with mysterious islands in general (not a bad idea, since many of them are OP and can tilt a game more than they should)
-If your opponent is basing their strategy around this type of island, get there first and move their ships away so they cannot build a farm on the island. XD

The Competition:
So. As nasty as this island is, there are OTHER mysterious islands that make this one look like a frightened little animal!!  That’s right, many of the MI’s can be quite OP, especially with the right farming setup.

Mysterious Island #1 Mysterious Island #5 , and Mysterious Island #11 are possibly the biggest offenders to in-game balance, as they usually become extreme hotspots of activity after just one or two 6’s are rolled. The gold simply flocks there very soon after the MI is explored, and if that MI is close to a player’s HI, it could be game over.
Mysterious Island #4 and Mysterious Island #12 are quite amazing, as it allows you to farm for powerful things like Neptune’s Trident Poseidon’s Breath , or evenPlague for a suicide mission.
Mysterious Island #6 and Mysterious Island #14 are just silly; events were the worst addition to the entire game in the first place, and this allows you to bring them in for free, an infinite number of times. 
Mysterious Island #10 isn’t as bad as the above, but lets you potentially turn a 0 into a 7, dramatically changing the total amount of gold available in a standard game.
Mysterious Island #15 gives you a pseudo-CJS-style teleportation, and could be used at the opportune moment  to flip home a 7 to avoid it getting intercepted on the return trip.

As you can see, more than half of the MI’s from the set are more OP than this one. Throw in things like Ancient Altar Island Paradise , and Verdant Isle , and it’s clear that using this is not as bad as using some of the other crazy ones.

Mysterious Island #13 is both the biggest “competition” for this island, and the biggest partner. They are great when used together, since you can decide which island to dock at when moving a specific enemy ship. Keep in mind this one has a slightly worse negative effect, as you can lose up to 4 masts at once. I decided to review this one instead mostly because I like how it gives a greater degree of control over how far you move the opposing ship. For example, say you have an enemy ship picked out that you want or need to move. With this island, you can dock your fastest ship at it and give that move to the enemy ship. With #13, you can only move the ship as far as its own base move, which could be slower or just less predictable if you’re choosing from multiple options. Therefore, this island also gives you a slightly easier decision making process. However, you can really take advantage of #13 if you have a slow ship like Paradox (almost useless at this island) and you’re trying to move a fast ship in the enemy fleet such as throwing the Hai Peng onto a sargasso sea.

-Fun cool effect that adds diversity and excitement to the game
-In play for all players, so not OP like some crew and ships that are part of a fleet build
-Powerful effect that can change a game without ruining it

-Very nasty and debilitating negative effect
-It’s a Mysterious Island with a powerful positive effect, so naturally it’s prone to farming
-Opponents may not want to play with it/fellow Pirates may hate you for using it

Artwork and aesthetics: 
I’ve always liked the way MI’s looked, both front and back. When face down, they have a nice palm tree indicating their status as mysterious, and the text on the back doesn’t detract much from the islands overall. Getting really specific, I’ve always thought of the “dual” islands as naturally wild, with the larger rounder ones (like #4) being better as home islands since they look big enough for a town and more docking areas. Therefore, this particular shape of island is perfect for a wild island, and therefore to remain mysterious.  (leave a comment if you understand the callback)

Overall rating: 
I’ll give this one a 7.5/10. Rating a specific mysterious island feels a little strange, but it’s fun to review things other than ships and crew once in a while. This MI is certainly prone to farming, but the nasty side effect of “living off the land” (lol) will make you pause before pursuing its full potential. I have a bit of bias since I have used the “Mind Control” strategy very successfully in the past and quite enjoy it. It’s also not as OP as many other MI’s, which would otherwise decrease the rating. As a result, it’s generally my favorite MI and one you should try out sometime! Thanks for reading! Comment and vote if you’d like.

Want this island?  Check out this great deal on Mysterious Islands packs, or a more general search.

Posted in Miniature Reviews.

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