Rants on home island raiders

Originally posted to Miniature Trading on March 12th, 2015

This was originally going to go in “Hijack this thread” but the post got really long since I’m trying to really explore these possibilities. Not really expecting many responses but I’d appreciate it if you could point out any strategies I’ve missed. At the moment I’m really interested in very unorthodox strategies and huge combos, so the more complex the better!

I’ve been running all sorts of combos through my mind concerning home island (HI) raiders. I’m trying to come up with the absolute best way to use them effectively.

I’ve been thinking about just about everything – Calypso (who has to place one of the whirlpools next to a WILD island, which I didn’t realize), smokepots with the reverse captain ability, fog hoppers, Grim, etc, etc.

Imagine that you had a fog hopping ship and two support ships. One support ship stays near your home island while the other sails off with the fog hopper, who could even stay at your HI if you wanted her to.

The fog hopper (with an HI-raider crew aboard) darts in and takes gold as her escort creates a “smokebank”. Either on the next turn or preferably on the same turn using Mycron or a fleet admiral, the fog hopper then ducks into the fog. On the next turn, the ship moves out of another fog bank created by the support ship back at your HI, upon which she docks and unloads the gold.

I like this strategy better than the reverse captain strategy since it’s much faster and creates more of a “smoke and mirrors” effect, allowing you to potentially go back for more if you can get your support ship out of trouble in time (in which case it would be useful if she had the reverse captain ability so she could duck into the fog with the fog hopper). With the reverse captain strategy the ship is essentially only moving S per turn, where she’s essentially invulnerable but very slow.

Sometime soon I’m going to try out a fun combo using the Akua Lapu with Grim the SavageCrimson Angel, and Hammersmith on board. S+S+S speed with the captain ability with room for 4 treasures! I’m hoping to potentially combine this with some other strategy – I really want to start using more specialists (and probably equipment, although I don’t have smokepot shot) in my games. You could conceivably run as many HI raiders to your opponent’s HI as you wanted, as long as you had at least ONE ship with both the reverse captain and smokepot abilities. If you could coordinate your raiders you could swoop in with 2 or more of them and duck into the single smokebank before you could be sunk, especially since with multiple targets it would be hard for your opponent to stop or sink all of your ships. I’m considering including an escort ship or two equipped with captains and chainshot specialists to try to freeze any enemy ships to protect my HI raiders.

I also thought about loading up a speed demon like the San Cristobal with Fernando SanchezVictor de AlvaVaccaro and a helmsman and trying to use the doubled S+S+L+S speed to get in and out extremely fast, flipping Sanchez at the last second (although I’ve always played my games with crew face up from the start of the game). Since de Alva and Vaccaro link the Cristobal still has 3 cargo spaces, so you could conceivably go back for more trips if your opponent’s gold was still vulnerable.

I just remembered another huge thought I found very intriguing – using a hoist. There are only 3 in the game but they are all 3 masters with a ton of cargo space.

If you could find a way to get Grim on a hoist, the possibilities become endless. Imagine sailing up 2 or more ships behind a HI-raiding hoist and then having the hoist transfer treasure to them, giving your opponent multiple targets! They could scatter in different directions, and it would be even cooler if you had a ship with Secret Hold to protect the treasure.

Hmmm… the Spanish and Americans lack a crew like Brother Virgil so it looks like it would have to be the Maui’s Fishhook. She’s got the smallest cargo but does have Secret Hold.

Now that I think about it, imagine if you could get both Grim and Secret Hold on the GuichuanRants on home island raiders You could use Tabatha McWarren to get both of them onboard, and add a helmsman to boost the speed. The whole idea is to take a TON of treasure using the Treasure Ship keyword and then having it be unobtainable unless your opponent can sink the Guichuan or kill Bianco, both of which are less likely after the Guichaun would become ghostly! This combo gets expensive in a hurry, especially since you have to add the Headhunter: 7+6+3+2+6=24 points at a minimum (a canceller would be nice insurance to fill out the points with). It would be useful to add some kind of Mycron combination on the Patagonia (10 extra points) to speed up the Guichuan to make sure she’d get out of there unharmed, unlikely since she’d probably be carrying the entire HI with her!

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I’ve always found HI-raiding to be rather ineffective, for multiple reasons. The biggest reason is that by the time your opponent can successfully take gold from your HI, you already have the gold advantage and a few coins won’t offset that advantage. Unless there is some very early HI-raiding successes that tip the balance before your opponent’s other ships can get back, it’s still necessary to run gold normally. The problem occurs when building your fleet, since HI raiders (crew and ships) and the combos needed to use them effectively are so expensive, there’s little to no room left in the rest of your fleet to actually run gold, which is necessary to win most games. But, on the other hand, if you only use one HI raider in your fleet and you don’t give her enough support, she will likely fail before she gets to their HI, get obliterated while she’s docked there, or be captured or sunk while trying to flee.

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