Northwest Pirate Festival 2022
July 9th, 2022
I met up with Dan (Witch) and Kyle at Northwest Pirate Festival in Lacey Washington! We set up a folding table for a 3 player 100 point game. Giant terrain pieces were placed liberally, and round earth was used as usual. We tried a return fire house rule: Once a ship was done shooting at another ship, the second ship could return fire with any cannons it had left, though they would get -1 to their rolls. The game ended up with many asterisks but was still fun.
I went first with an “Evil English Curses” fleet:
HMS Salient + RotF HGold, LE Griffin, Myngs, CRGO, First Mate Ismail
Soul Crusher + El Fantasma, helmsman, oarsmen x3
Tasmanian Devil + captain, helmsman
Sea Rat + helmsman
The first three of those ships have been on my list of ships to use, and the idea was to steal gold with the Salient (through switchblade boarding) and Sea Rat (HI raiding) while the Soul Crusher and Tasmanian Devil simply caused as much chaos and distraction as possible. I knew I wouldn’t have a great chance at winning but it looked like a fun fleet. I feel like switchblades fit The Cursed more than the English, and so The Cursed were the ringleaders of this little mini evil alliance, recruiting the newly constructed TD to boost firepower.
Kyle went second with a Spanish fleet, with Dan going last as the Pirates. Fleet pictures taken partly through the game and don’t show all crew.
With Dan’s powerful looking fleet just a move action away from a nearby wild island via round earth, I took my entire fleet into fog banks to start the game.
La Monarca explored for Kyle, finding a few negative UT’s. However, in an incredible stroke of luck, the volcano’s lava floes destroyed the wolf habitat and killed them! O_O
My Tasmanian Devil emerged from the massive fog bank at the far left to attack Kyle’s fleet, dismasting the Monarca. We forgot about return fire for this skirmish, but it probably affected both sides approximately equally. The Soul Crusher may be trying to follow her into battle, but will be at the whims of fog bank rolls.
The Garante used a round-earth-and-back maneuver to come broadside to the Black Swan, knocking out two masts and taking a hit in return. The Tasmanian Devil is sunk by Spain but the Soul Crusher emerges from fog to keep up the fight. Dan’s ships are getting gold up top, while the Joya del Sol has docked at the middle island. For this game we agreed to a house rule that allowed ghostly ships to technically be docked after ending a move action with their bow overlapping an island, which was probably a mistake given how the keyword was already quite beneficial seeing how such a large percentage of the map was covered with terrain. After rolling a string of 5’s at the top left fog bank, I decide to redock the Salient and Sea Rat, frustrated with the exit location and overall setup.
I had a strange thought while playing – with recent eBay prices of $100 for the Tasmanian Devil and $76 for the Soul Crusher, I was coming close to fielding a $200 fleet (in theory) with only four ships… how times have changed!
The Joya del Sol abandons the gold in the middle to assist in the fight against the Soul Crusher, who is engaged in a long fight against the Algeciras and Picador. Despite all three ships firing at each other at point-blank range, many shots miss wildly. Perhaps it was a little foggy even on the outskirts of the main bank… which the crippled Black Swan has fled into following her fight with El Garante.
The Joya del Sol rams the Soul Crusher, Kyle reveals the Inquisitor, and wins the boarding party to kill all of the Soul Crusher’s remaining crew! O_O The Soul Crusher failed to massacre the Algeciras’ crew earlier in the game, and now the evildoers got a taste of their own medicine. Dan and I were both surprised to see the Inquisitor on the Joya, and indeed I thought it was really cool how all three of us used various unconventional setups/crew complements in our fleets.
At the bottom left, the Gruesome gets stuck in a sargasso sea. The Picador tried to pounce, but Dan revealed Tia Dalma to cancel the Spanish captain. However, the Joya sped over to ram and board the Gruesome, resulting in another inquisition massacre! Dalma and Hammersmith were dispatched in short order. The Soul Crusher was finally sunk by the Spanish. At the bottom right, the Black Swan was able to return home with gold, repair, and is now back out for more. At the top, the Amity teams with the Princess and Genny Gallows to increase the value of Dan’s coins. After some more fog bank rolling and cautious maneuvering I finally was able to get the Salient and Sea Rat into position. I wanted to raid a home island with the Sea Rat, but Dan’s strong HI position meant she would be sunk or captured pretty much immediately upon arrival, with the Salient only able to provide marginal help in such a tight area and hopeless case.
The Amity goes after the Monarca’s exploration efforts in the center, but has a horrific turn. She rolls a 1 to lose the maximum of 2 masts to the reef, then gets foiled on ram damage by the Cross of Coronado UT!
This was taken in between events at the festival, but it was nice to see some cannons going off nearby as we played. We also heard some Pirates of the Caribbean music which of course is more than appropriate.
Dan raided Kyle’s HI with SCS Fantasma, but the Black Swan was sunk by El Garante on the transit home. I was waiting until the endgame to go out in a blaze of glory HI raid, but completely botched the treasure situation. Despite contributing at least one of the face down UT’s still on wild islands (abandoned cannoneer), I didn’t realize that we had run out of gold worth actual value to unload at HI’s. Thus the game ended.
- Dan: 27 gold
- Kyle: 14
- Ben: 0
This was a good lesson on why ghostly ships can’t dock even if overlapping an island (in hindsight this is clearly written out in the keyword itself). Though Dan would probably still win overall as he had a strong (and cool!) fleet along with two HI raiders to assist in the endgame. There were also some UT botches due to inexperience, where a few UT’s were tossed out since they had been played improperly.
I don’t have much feedback on the basic return fire mechanic after this being just the second time I’ve used it, other than how it creates additional house rules. For example, it must be decided how extra actions will be handled – will the ships have a chance to return fire before the ship’s second action, or only after that ship’s turn is done? (probably after every action to help curb that extra actions are an overpowered mechanic)
It was good to play at the Northwest Pirate Festival and continue our pirating adventures!