Hai Peng Fort Frenzy!
Originally published to Miniature Trading on October 26th, 2014
I’ve managed to acquire both the Hai Peng and Captain Jack Sparrow, and although I won’t be able to use them for a little while, I read up on them in anticipation of using them in games. This fleet is designed to be used in a standard 2 player game featuring 6 islands, with 4 of them wild. Edit: Check out how this fleet did in VASSAL Tournament #2!
This fleet was inspired by a combination of fleets, reviews, and comments that I’ve looked at recently. First off, darrin’s review of the Hai Peng introduced me to the concept of using her in conjunction with Captain Jack.
I first read darrin’s review and got excited about the possibilities that this combo opened up. I would highly recommend reading the review as it’s very insightful and well-explained. Only recently did I see that he already had made a fleet that is somewhat similar to this one. Perhaps all of the cool combos for this game HAVE already been thought of, but we’ll see.
I think that the Universal Pirate Shipping fleet (along with the second version) is probably more practical and effective than this particular fleet, but I was relieved to see that his idea wasn’t exactly the same as my own.
In creating this fleet, I was also influenced by a recent fleet that discussed using forts to block enemy movement. Lastly, this old review shed further light on Captain Jack.
So what do we have here? The strategy is quite simple: build a fort on all four wild islands. From there, the Hai Peng can transfer treasure back home, dropping off oarsmen when her cargo gets too low. Since Captain Jack links to all Pirate ships, the Hai Peng has two spaces available for gold.
Mycron sacrifices the Patagonia each turn so that the Hai Peng can move S+L+S+L+S+L+S+L.
The Lezard holds the oarsmen: the Pirate ones fill up her cargo space, but the French one doesn’t take up space. She can “explore” or move away and re-dock at your HI every turn, bringing in a coin from the Hai Peng.
The Banshee’s Cry is there to help the Hai Peng ferry gold home once the forts are set up. She also has oarsmen in case the Hai Peng needs more once the others are distributed around the islands. (This could lead to a funny sight – the Hai Peng running around incredibly fast with forts of one fleet occupying every single wild island, with a lonesome unsuspecting oarsman in each fort!)
The Banshee’s Cry can be swapped out for Becalmed, which would help you get the jump on your opponent. You can effectively freeze most or all of their ships right from the start, which should prevent the Hai Peng from getting hit by an enemy gunship when she is in the enemy’s part of the sea. You’d also have an extra point, which you could use on an extra oarsman to sit on your HI (that the Lezard would load) or the Jolly Mon.
The Patagonia brings two more potential forts into play. Ramsgate is especially fun with that L+L cannon, which will let you interfere with shipping routes and shoot at ships who are shooting at your other forts at a neighbouring island.
1. Use Mycron to move the Hai Peng S+L+S+L+S+L+S+L to the island closest to your opponent’s HI.
2. Explore, using Captain Jack to trade the treasure for an oarsman from the Lezard.
3. Unload the coin on the Lezard at your HI.
4. Send the Banshee’s Cry out towards the nearest wild islands.
5. Build a fort using the traded treasure (Dead Man’s Point with a 3 or Paradis de la Mer with a 4).
1. Use Mycron to move the Hai Peng twice. You should be able to explore two islands, dropping off unneeded oarsmen as you go along.
2. Trade and unload the treasure from the islands using the Lezard.
3. At this point the Banshee’s Cry should be able to either reach the second-closest island to your own HI, which has already been explored by the Hai Peng. At the very least she can hit the island closest to your HI, docking at it.
4. Build two forts (The Devil’s Maw and Ramsgate should be priorities, but whatever you have gold for is fine).
1. Use Mycron to move the Hai Peng twice, building a fort on the last island and beginning the process of bringing gold home, whether you want to trade it or sail it.
2. Use the Banshee’s Cry to ferry gold home.
Once you have 16 gold you win. Your opponent’s treasure runners will be completely useless until their gunship(s) destroy at least one fort, which could take a while if they pick on Paradis de la Mer. Either way “your gold” is protected for at least a turn each, if not much longer. The extreme speed of both the Hai Peng and Banshee’s Cry lets you ferry gold home in a hurry. Also keep in mind that the Hai Peng should have 2 open spaces once you dump any extra oarsmen (she can keep one), and the Banshee’s Cry will have all 4 open if you dump her second oarsman. The Cry should concentrate on the closer islands while the Hai Peng sails for the more distant ones, potentially even the furthest one. Since you’ll have explored all the islands and the gold is already in your forts, you’ll know exactly where to go with your ships. The Hai Peng can zip in and out of any island in one turn: she can dock at an island S+L+S+L away, load 2 coins, and then sail S+L+S+L away from harm. If she needs it at any point, Mycron can give the Cry an extra action.
Why the Lezard and therefore the French forts? Simple. Paradis de la Mer is the most durable fort by far. Set it up on the furthest wild island, the one closest to your opponent’s HI. Therefore it will be a pest to them for a while, and they may not be able to destroy it. They will have to sail to further islands to destroy the other forts in order to get treasure, in which case the Hai Peng and Banshee’s Cry will have enough time to ferry/trade gold home. L’Intrepide and Le Pique were considered because of their extra speed and large-enough cargo holds, but the Lezard saves a point, which is essential for a fleet like this.
Obviously this fleet is extremely fragile and entirely dependent on the island setup and the Hai Peng. You’ll only have 3 masts out there at any given point during the game, none of which possess good cannon ranks. If an enemy gunship gets to the Hai Peng, you’ll probably lose. The Banshee’s Cry is relatively expendable, but still important for getting gold to your HI.
When you place the islands, keep in mind that you’ll want to have the home islands as far apart as possible. Hopefully your opponent won’t see your fleet, and the home islands will be as far apart as possible. If they are close together, you may have to build a fort on a near island and on a far one, depending on the setup and who goes first.
Treasure may be the biggest issue. I didn’t have points for a combo like the one in the Universal Pirate Shipping fleet, where a +1/+2 crew is used to increase the value of the gold. The Lezard doesn’t have room for this (hello, L’Intrepide), but in a higher point game this would be great to have. If the furthest island only has 1’s and 2’s, you’ll either have to re-explore the next turn or go to the next island. This is where Becalmed would be useful, buying you an extra turn. When selecting treasure coins, you could gamble and put some 3’s and 4’s into the mix.
Unique treasures like Missionary and Wolves will cripple this fleet in a hurry. This is why I’ve included the UT’s. They’ll let you see danger in advance and/or eliminate treasures you don’t like.
This fleet is basically a gimmick fleet – build four forts on all four wild islands on the first 2 or 3 turns. All gimmicky fleets have serious flaws, and the nature of the gimmick makes this fleet quite risky. However, I love gimmick fleets and this combo sounds too fun not to try out!
Edit (1/1/2015): This fleet was involved in a series!
I’d like to make some edits to this fleet based on the games it was in, to make it better.
Thanks for reading; comment and vote!
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