Small Fry, Big Danger!

Originally published to Miniature Trading on March 14th, 2015

This is my entry into brettb45’s “Small Fry” Fleet Challenge! Thanks to all who participated and to brettb45 for running the challenge. It was great fun to think about all of the possibilities.

The fleet you see here was actually my first idea for the challenge. I’ve always been intrigued by the thought of using a crew like Jonah on a small ship with lots of cargo. This is usually impractical for various reasons, but this challenge has a theme of using small ships. What better way to showcase my idea!

Naturally I wanted to look and see if this fleet (or something very similar using the same ship) had been submitted before, but despite the Prince of Chichester being one of the absolute best two masters in the game (and arguably one of the overall better ships of any size or faction), she’s only appeared in 2 fleets!  (Perhaps because she’s from SCS, one of my favourite sets, and people usually go for the typical big English gunships, but I was surprised nonetheless.)

What do we have here? Why is there only one ship? I thought this was the Small Fry challenge? What is a7xfanben playing at? Does he think he can win by fielding a fleet that only contains a single little ship?

This is a single-ship fleet for 40 points. No ten master, just the Prince of Chichester and one of the more insane and (for Pirates CSG at least) slightly complicated crew combos there is.

It starts with the basic captain and helmsman provided by Thomas Gunn. As you’ll see later, I absolutely had to combine these abilities and risk losing both of them at once because of the cargo limitations (yes I’m filling up all five spaces!). With that, the Prince (or PoC) moves S+S+S with the move-and-shoot, a great start for a ship with fantastic cannons and one of the best abilities in the entire game.

Next we add Brother Virgil, who will allow a certain crew aboard. Small Fry

For the next crew, I had to get Robinson. There’s no small ship that costs enough points to pull this off, so he’s a necessary evil (sorry Robinson!). I know all about the drawback of his ability, but this is one of my patented “gimmick” fleets, so I’m well aware of the problems the fleet has. Between the ability of the Prince and what you’ll see next, I don’t think we’ll have a hard time avoiding getting hit. 

Who’s next? Why, ALL-POWERFUL DAVY JONES, of course!!  

Adding Brother Virgil allows Cursed crew to function on the Prince, and Robinson lets him serve on a ship other than the Flying Dutchman, Divine Dragon, Guichuan, and Delusion for once.

If you don’t know about Davy, read up. He’ll give the Prince a double action 5/6 times, allowing the ship to move S+S+S+S+S+S+S+S (8S, more on that later) and move-and-shoot twice!! This will allow the Prince to move anywhere on the ocean, almost every turn. On the rare 6, you can move an enemy ship closer to the Prince, or force them onto terrain (like Sargasso Seas for this challenge!), etc. Also, if there are any 2 segmented submarines out there, although DJ can’t force them to the surface, he can make them ram their comrades while submerged, which can increase the potential damage he’ll cause.

Rounding out the crew is LE Griffin. I also considered Major Peter Sharpe to give the ship an extra cannon, but I decided against it for multiple reasons. For one, I’d have 2 points left over, and I think events are cheap and borderline unsportsmanlike. Griffin gets me to exactly 40, which is amazing considering the build limit and the one-ship theme of this fleet (27 points of crew!). Also, Marines can’t be given additional shoots through Davy Jones, so I’d only get 5 shots per turn, not 6. In the end, Griffin is more valuable since he adds another +S to my move (essentially adding +S+S!), not to mention the awesome cannon bonus that I still love to have on my gunships. That bonus makes them 1S guns in this case, which is almost as good as it gets, especially considering that the Prince wants to fight at close range because of her ability.

quote from brettb45:
-One Unique Treasure can be included.

And last but not least, my ace in the hole: Odin’s Revenge! This is one of the biggest keys to this entire fleet. With just one UT allowed, the choice was incredibly easy. With so many small ships running around, there will undoubtedly be some 1 masters to put out of commission!  Due to the nature of this challenge, I think that any savvy Pirates player should be hesitant to use many 1 masters in their fleet, albeit for just this reason. I find this unfortunate, but perhaps someone can flip Jailhouse Dog to save the day for their fleet of tiny ships! (Anybody know how a little dog can stop a lightning strike from a god? Small Fry )

When Odin’s Revenge hits (quite possibly early in the game with so many small fast ships sailing around), chaos will result. Any one masters will have a lot of trouble doing much of anything. 2 masters will be reduced to just one mast, leaving them fragile and weak. The Prince will also feel the hurt, but she’ll be moving at 8S with 2 1S shots available, which should be enough to dismast two ships or sink one (or sink two 1 masters now that I think about it). Canoes will be a problem since they won’t be affected, but if the Prince can take out 2 per turn I like my chances of stopping them from getting home.

Obviously, this fleet has a huge weakness: there’s no cargo space to get gold with! True, but this is a gimmick fleet and I didn’t have any points left over. I wanted to maximize the value of the gimmick (and how massively dangerous the Prince is in this game of only small ships), rather than dumping Griffin to get some lame empty runner like HMS Discovery. I didn’t want to cop out. I went all-in, and if that’s the downfall of this fleet, so be it. I’ve said it multiple times: I don’t care about winning games much anymore. I just want to have fun, try new combos, new game pieces I’ve never used, and crazy gimmicks. That holds true for this fleet challenge as well. I do feel that the extra 2S movement per turn and cannon bonus will help out the Prince a lot, possibly enough to sink or derelict everything in sight since she has such a long effective range.

That being said, in a 2 player game (which would be optimal for multiple reasons, since in a 4+ player game it will literally be impossible to sink everything before some coins get home) this fleet could do well with sinking runners and getting half the gold. Priority will be on getting the Prince near my opponent’s runners while trying to avoid or overwhelm (with speed and flipping DJ/Griffin at the right time) their gunships so I can sink everything in sight! Odin’s Revenge will help soften every ship in play, making them even weaker for my devastating attack.

Finally, as the creator of the Battle Reports thread (current version) and the player of over 200 games, naturally I’ve already tried out this fleet and written a report on it. Small Fry

Thanks to all who participated in the challenge, and thanks to brettb45 for running it! Comment and vote! 

Section: Ship #1 (6 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Brother Virgil PofSMU 065 Crew C
1 x Davy Jones PatOE 016 Crew R
1 x Griffin RotF 207 Crew LE
1 x HMS Prince of Chichester PofSCS 050 Ship U
1 x Robinson PofR 037A Crew C
1 x Thomas Gunn RotF 021 Crew R
Section: Unique Treasures (1 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Odin’s Revenge PofFN 303 Unique Treasure PR


Small Fry, Big Danger!

Fleet page at Miniature Trading

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