Top 10 English Gunships
1. HMS Titan
This ship is the first gunship to ever be gifted with amazing guns and the built-in EA roll. Back in the old days before the 2 action limit rule was instituted, players everywhere loaded the Titan up with crew like Myngs and gave their ship enough extra actions to clear the board in one turn. Even today you’ll occasionally see newbies posting fleets claiming to be able to eliminate upwards of 20 masts in one turn using old-school combos. Although the Titan has serious competition now that all the sets are out, she still remains one of the most formidable foes you can face in this game. A large cargo space, average base move, and fair point cost make her the quintessential gunship.
One of the most undercosted ships in the game, the English version of the original GT just missed out on the #1 spot. I felt that the Titan’s 2 extra cargo spaces gave her more flexibility in terms of crew and potential treasure running/stealing, and the EA is worth more than allowing Pirate crew aboard. Although, since Pirate crew can be used on the HMS GT, undercosted crew such as Calico Cat can come aboard and give the GT an EA at a discount.
That being said, the Grand Temple combines above average size with above average speed (for her size, anyway), not to mention her near-perfect guns. I myself have used her extensively, and I can say that she is one of the best gunships in the game, regardless of nationality.
Combining theoretically perfect guns with the most potent offensive ability in the game, this beast is probably the most powerful five master ever. Put a world-hater on board and you’ve got a chance to take out up to 10 masts in one turn if you can find enough targets. The only things that hold this ship back from taking the #1 spot are her high point cost (tough to use in the standard 40 point format) and her average speed and cargo space. In addition, many players may be expecting her to be used a lot, so make sure to have a counter for ships with this ability.
4. HMS London
Not only does the London combine great cannons with good speed, she only costs 11 points, less than most other large English gunships. She’s not as flashy as some of her counterparts, but 16 points (with a captain and helmsman) gets you a very nice package. Her ability doesn’t help her too much, but perhaps it’s all for the better since it keeps her point cost low.
5. HMS Gallows
This ship is expensive and a bit slow at 16 points, but having 4 1L cannons before adding any crew is the best a gunship can ever do. Her firepower is simply too good to be ignored. In addition, her large cargo hold allows you to pack on deadly crew and equipment, or potentially use her as a treasure raider and/or hybrid ship.
6. HMS Oxford
Similar to the London but with a higher point cost and slightly less effective guns, the Oxford can fly under the radar by playing second fiddle to ships like the Titan and Endeavour. Her speed sets her apart; no other English gunship as large can boast such a high base move, outside of HMS Swallow. With just a captain aboard she’s ready to go at 15 points. Again, like the Gallows, her extra cargo spaces can be utilized to run gold or try to steal it via boarding. Her ability is just gravy after how good the rest of the ship is.
This one is a little bit sentimental, but I’ve always thought the Bolingbroke to be one of the most underrated ships in the game. The cheapest ship on this list, the Bolingbroke is very much like a smaller version of the London, combining S+S speed with good cannons. Released in the first set, her speed made her “fast” in those days. Her ability is often cited as a good one to use behind a larger ship, but it’s very flexible in that it can be used at any point in the game.
8. HMS Royal
This might be a surprise to some, however the impact of a world-hater on guns that are already good is understated. Raw firepower wins battles more than flashy ships and expensive crew. The Royal combines great firepower with enough cargo space to add another crew or equipment after the standard captain and helmsman (or Hermione Gold).
Not exactly a ship, I first had doubts about putting this on the list. However, this is by far the cheapest bunch of guns you can buy in England. It would be considered even they didn’t have great ranks (2) and ranges (S+S). Hook this up to a ship like the Oxford and you’ll be almost unstoppable. Always remember that not only can your opponent only cancel your ship’s captain, but the Extended Range keyword can let you snipe away from outside S range, not to mention the fact the the flotilla’s shoot action can’t be cancelled, making her perfect against ships with cancellers. I prefer the Gibraltar over the Tower because of the gun ranks and lower point cost, but Tower isn’t far behind at all.
10. HMS Apollo
This was the hardest choice to make – HMS Victoria would probably be #11. You can see my honorable mentions below, but the last spot will always be a tough one. I went with the Apollo over the Victoria for a number of reasons. The Apollo has a faster base move, and her guns are a mix of S and L, which can be crucial if facing the wrong opponent. However, the Apollo’s reroll gave her the advantage over the Victoria and the other version of HMS Apollo. Faction-haters are too situational, while the reroll can be used over and over for a multitude of things.
Honorable mentions (not in order): HMS Victoria, Tower, HMS Hyena, HMS Victor, Cygnet, HMS Durham, HMS Bretwalda, HMS Nautilus, HMS Swallow, HMS Leicester, HMS Lord Walpole, HMS Wycliffe, HMS Apollo