Ranking sharks is not difficult. Only three sharks were released by Wizkids, not including the Super Rare variant of Squalo with no stat changes. They were all part of Ocean’s Edge. Unfortunately, they are generally the worst sea creatures in the game’s history. This is notable because most sea creatures in general are horrific in gameplay to begin with – often unplayable in remotely competitive settings. As a result, this is not exactly a “player’s guide”. However, Tindwunnel of the Discord server asked about this exact topic, which made me want to start making some Rankings again. Without further ado I will rank the trio of sharks! 🙂
1. Squalo(both versions as they are identical for gameplay purposes)
This is the only shark with a single digit point cost. No cargo space for stolen gold, just like the others. Not enough base move to hunt enemies down effectively, like the others. And no special abilities that really make up for the lack of other positive qualities. You can see how bad these monsters are. However, I think Squalo is the best because it’s the cheapest, and using Fear while submerged is likely to be of greater benefit than trying to board enemies while swimming at L or S+S speed and only 2 segments to start a boarding party from.
Fear is not a good ability, but it can be a bit nasty, especially if you can affect multiple enemies in a turn with it, or scare off heavily crewed ships with the handy 5 roll. Using it while submerged in a crowded area has some niche potential. The firepower is decent, with the beast being stronger in the jaws than the tail. However, at just L speed it’s unlikely to do just about anything without some help. To that end, good pieces to pair with it are L boosters like The Hag of Tortuga (RotF version), or trade current generators like the Celestine and Master Scribe.
Even as the easiest shark to fit into fleets and with that nifty chance to cancel (via Fear) while submerged, Squalo very rarely sees play. It was a nice piece to have in my first Other Worlds game. Link to buy on eBay(as uncommons from OE, these are readily available)
At 3 points more than Squalo, you’d expect to get considerably more shark for your points in Carcharodon. However, this is not really the case, as the French shark has less accuracy, speed too slow for a creature that can’t carry a helmsman, and an ability that, while conventionally more powerful than Fear, has little business on a 12 point 2 master. S+S speed is not usually fast enough to catch much of anything, and though you can “surprise board” by surfacing at the last second, boarding parties are better off when launched from game pieces with higher mast/segment counts. 2 is not a good starting point, though at least you realistically won’t have any crew or coins to lose if the attack is repelled. The French do have an L booster crew in Jules Arnaud, but making Carcharodon fast enough to catch something is unlikely to be worth it. It appears I’ve only used it twice, and you can probably guess if its fleets won. Link to buy on eBay
Finally we come to the worst of the sharks, ironically named after one of the most famous pirates of all time. This one does have slightly better firepower than the others, but it has the least to offer – the highest point cost, and slow speed that does not pair well at all with its Massacre ability. I did use Teach in the OE 10th anniversary game, but it got absolutely torn apart by El Toro. My only other memory of it is even worse, when it seemed possessed to attack me as an NPC. Safe to say, I’m not a fan of the sharks! However, hopefully someone out there will find this post useful and decide if they are cool enough to collect. Link to buy on eBay
How would your shark rankings look? Do you disagree with mine? I’d love to know your thoughts on them in the comments below!
I met up with Dan (Witch), Kyle (kyky), and John for a 4 player, 100 point game at Mox Bellevue! (Mox Boarding House) Here are the house rules we use. In addition, the Longship keyword was replaced by the following based on Dan’s suggestion: +2 to boarding rolls, +S to base speed, Oarsman. This would make longships more historically accurate, with better speed but no extra firepower weirdness. You can find all game piece details in the Master Spreadsheet. We used 6 wild islands with 4 coins on each of them, with Kyle and I contributing the only UT’s (5 total). During setup we were each allowed to place one giant terrain, one medium terrain, and 2 standard terrain. The fleets are described below!
John rolled to go first:
Neptune + captain, helmsman, oarsman, 1 Ex-Patriot crew
Duc d’Enghien + CC Gaston de St. Croix, Godiva, captain, helmsman, oarsman
L’Heros + CC Lenoir, captain, helmsman, oarsman
Mercure + captain, helmsman, oarsman
Le Bon Marin + Maurice Aristide, helmsman
I went second with “The Wolf Pack”:
Cursed (super rare) Black Pearl + Cursed Captain Barbossa, helmsman, oarsman
Fantasia + helmsman, oarsman
Red Curse + Captain Mysion, helmsman, explorer, oarsman
Shadow + Coconut, Gunner, helmsman, oarsman
Raven’s Neck + Hammersmith (F&S), The Hag of Tortuga, explorer
Kyle went third with the English:
HMS Granville + Sir Jeremy Rothschild, RotF Thomas Gunn, Mercer, oarsman
HMS Dover + RotF Hermione Gold, Administrator Scott Bratley (0LR+5)
HMS Duke of York + Lord Thomas Gunn (OE), Admiral Morgan, helmsman
HMS Oxley + Admiral James Norrington, F&S Hermione Gold
Dan went last with the Jade Vikings:
Black Lotus + Li Quin, SS Shap’ng Tsai, helmsman, 2 explorers, oarsman
Asgard + Grim the Savage, others
Hrunting + Ethan the Farseeker, helmsman, others
Polaris + Sigurd Andersen, helmsman, others
The idea for my fleet started with the PotC SR’s, which I acquired recently but had yet to use in a physical game. The Black Pearl and Fantasia were the first ships in the fleet, and I decided to fill it out with more square rigged 4 masters (two of which had HI raiding) which would surround the Fantasia for her cannon bonuses in a “wolf pack” of firepower and cargo potential. BP was the hunter, Red Curse was the thief hybrid with some Parley flair, Shadow was the primary thief and fastest overall gold runner, while Raven’s Neck was the all purpose support hybrid whose spying ability would inform me of which home island(s) to raid. Fantasia would cheerlead the captained ships while the Rover and Mermaid were added at the end with the Hag to provide a distraction from the wolf pack and additional gold gathering options.
In the far west (left), the French have set up a strong defensive position around the exploratory efforts of the Bon Marin and Heros. The English consider attacking, but call it off. At the bottom right, the Sleipnir has round earthed to the southeast to contest gold that the Mermaid and Rover have discovered. The northbound wolf pack splits up a bit, with the Raven’s Neck grabbing nearby coins (including Marksman’s Map and Runes of Magic…) while the Shadow and Black Pearl speed towards the corner island, as the RN has tipped them off about a 6 where the Mercure has docked.
The Rover and Mermaid explore the island in the southeast, finding two 3’s, Jailhouse Dog, and Trees. The Marksman’s Map on the RN means I can now look at two facedown coins on islands per turn, fueling my efforts to decode the “puzzle” of the gold distribution as fast as possible to help guide my future actions.
The Sleipnir (moving 4S with the house rule!) speeds over and rams the Mermaid derelict. However, the Mermaid gets a 6 to win the boarding party! The English have arrived, leading to a deal (handshake and all!) between Dan and Kyle that they will not fight each other in the area if Dan gets the Mermaid’s coin and Kyle can have the other three. They also seemed to surmise that the island contained quite a good amount of gold value, which amuses me as I exercise my right to remain silent. 🙂 (at this point, only UT’s are on the actual island)
The Mermaid re-explores the island, triggers the Trees UT, and puts her mast back up! The Rover has ducked into the nearby fog bank, where she will remain for most of the game….
The Black Pearl hits 2/2 to dismast the Mercure, while the Shadow explores with Coconut and takes aboard 10 gold total.
The English intervene, Dan and Kyle’s deal is broken, and things begin to unravel in the southeast. The Duke of York failed to steal the Mermaid’s coin but does dismast her again. The fort is a semi-proxy for The Devil’s Maw, only built after the Duke entered the fray (I forgot to add the 5th flag since I was waffling between building it vs. Dead Man’s Point). The Granville and Kirkwall have appeared via round earth as well, but I have the superior positioning – the Red Curse, Raven’s Neck and Fantasia are all docked at my home island (RN having deposited the gold needed to build the fort) as they have returned from their brief gold excursion.
An eventful round! HMS Duke of York clears the fort’s flags with a single Broadsides Attack (in hindsight one flag should remain), and the Granville heads southwest to provide support. However, my Pirates strike hard soon afterwards, with the Red Curse (4/4) and Raven’s Neck (2/2) hitting 6 times with the Fantasia’s help to dismast both Englishmen!! At the bottom right, the Shadow returns to home waters via round earth, missing Gunner’s SAT but desperately trying to get home with her gold.
At the bottom right of the following picture, you can just see the bow of the Black Lotus, who has rammed the Shadow and taken off two of her masts as Dan gets into the anti-Ben action. XD Indeed, it seemed that everyone was gunning for me for a bunch of the game, and you can see John’s Heros and Neptune stalking my home island at the right. The Black Pearl got caught up battling the Duc d’Enghien, winning but losing strength. In this picture she has round earthed to the northwest to pull off a minor coup, sinking the fleeing Mercure (rowing home on oar power) with a well-placed L range shot and dismasting the oarsman-less Bon Marin with a ram (the Black Pearl was partly trying to get the Heros and Neptune to come get her and get away from my HI, but it didn’t work). In the quieter waters of the middle ocean, Dan and Kyle gather gold from central islands in relative peace, except when the Hrunting dented the Oxley but got badly mauled in return (the former now in that giant fog bank).
By this point I had spied that John picked up Runes of Odin earlier in the game, first by knowing it was on the westernmost island and soon after seeing that the only coin left on that island after he explored was a 1. After the Bon Marin deposited her full load on his home island but the Heros still had a coin, I figured it was on the Heros. However, I started spying the coins on John’s HI to see if either of the coins the Bon Marin unloaded were worth stealing with my Red Curse or Shadow. To my shock one of the coins was Runes of Odin! This was a unique situation where you cannot load any treasure from your own home island (denying John the use of the rune), but I had the HI raiding capability to take it for myself…. O_O I already had Runes of Magic on the Raven’s Neck, so as soon as I potentially got both, I could flip them for an Odin Missile to wipe just about any ship in play off the map! This quickly became my #2 goal besides winning the game, with targets likely being the Neptune, Dover, or Hrunting (the Asgard’s Grim the Savage remained face down the entire game).
Before seeing that the Runes of Odin had made it face down to John’s HI, I nearly did a really bizarre play. I was thinking about flipping Jailhouse Dog (still at the southeast island in my fort) to eliminate my own Marksman’s Map UT (it was the only faceup UT in play) simply to deny the other players from using Jailhouse Dog in the future to interrupt the rune combo. The fort was looking mighty fragile, and if someone explored the island and made off with the dog, it might wreck my future plans. In this case, I made a comment (usually the volume of information I volunteer out loud is directly related to how much I want to win lol) about how glad I was to have done a double-take on John’s coins, because it informed me that I didn’t need to waste both the Dog and Map simply based on theoretical rune combo paranoia. XD I could hardly contain my shock, but with 3 of the 4 UT’s in question face down, it was hard for the other players to know what was going on (Kyle contributed both runes so the combo was definitely on his mind throughout the game). Just some little strategy tidbits from an obsessive player.
The French attack from the north! The Heros sails down and dismasts the Fantasia. This excited me as I wanted to eliminate the Heros as a potential raider of my HI. Conveniently, though the fort play was risky and questionable, it did put both of my coins worth value back on a wild island, preventing the Heros from taking some of my treasure while my back was turned as I dealt with the English threat.
I loved my next turn – Gunner’s SAT finally triggered, getting the Shadow home to safety and netting me 10 gold. Hammersmith’s Captain ability (on the RN) was cancelled by Lenoir on the Heros, but the Red Curse was available as well, with Captain Mysion directing a vicious broadside that sank the Frenchman in short order (with a possible assist from the Fantasia). The Mermaid captured the Duke of York, who I planned to repair ASAP as she had a very nice (and intact) crew complement aboard.
The Duc got a timely SAT from Gaston, rowing home at 4S to avoid the dangerous Black Pearl. Cursed Captain Barbossa’s rage is not over however, as he takes the Bon Marin as a prize.
In what must be an extreme rarity, the Kirkwall S-explored my fort island to mark it explored for Kyle’s English and unexplored for me. However, the Mermaid docked the Duke of York there, who used Admiral Morgan’s EA to quickly repair 2 masts. The Red Curse and Raven’s Neck are ready for all comers, but as the endgame trudges forward my thoughts shift back to home island raiding… conveniently enough, another SAT from Gunner allows the Shadow to repair twice, returning her to full strength.
The Black Lotus finally puts an end to Barbossa’s cruel gunnery barrages. The Sleipnir is headed west for one of the last “wild” coins in play, but the Neptune’s return will soon deter her.
The Black Lotus was not able to finish off the Black Pearl, and then got hit with some worst-case dumb luck: a 5 on Fear meant she couldn’t use ANY abilities for a turn. The gleeful Barbossa returns the Black Pearl to home waters via round earth, dragging the Bon Marin with him. Upon arrival he is greeted by the Shadow and Red Curse, who are making full speed towards John’s home island with the intention of stealing Runes of Odin. Some players had to leave soon, so we started taking some faster turns. In addition, through spying on all the enemy home islands I had a pretty good idea that I was in the lead and just needed to conserve my gold score. To this end it was actually a relief when Kyle’s Kirkwall landed the final hit needed to destroy The Devil’s Maw fort, as it allowed me to quickly re-explore with the Raven’s Neck and scoop up the 6 gold that I wanted on my home island, not in an abandoned fort on a wild island. The fully repaired Duke of York was unleashed on her former fleetmates, quickly sinking the Kirkwall and begging the Dover to come get some as well. XD
At this point it should be noted that the luck disparity was becoming ridiculous, and possibly somewhat historic. Dan couldn’t roll dice to save his life today, and Kyle’s BA against the fort felt like ancient history as the Dover flailed against the Duke and was sunk in short order immediately afterwards. At one point in this game I rolled four 6’s in a row, and didn’t lose a crew to a boarding party all evening. The Black Lotus would normally make short work of the BP, but failed. Sigurd Andersen was also a major disappointment for the Vikings, possibly only giving Dan one AA all game. My luck on the cannons was exceptional, especially for a physical game where it is regularly atrocious.
With maybe about 25 minutes left for playtime, I force my strategy and send the Shadow to the northwest via round earth. The Red Curse can back her up, but the Duc is fully repaired and still fully crewed. In addition, the southbound Neptune at the far left is actually dangerously close to my fleet, but as I feel comfortable with my gold lead, why not go for the crazy rune combo? XD
Alas it was not to be – the Duc got an SAT and dismasted the Shadow, who was lucky to even see home waters again after rowing for home. The main key is that the Raven’s Neck and Rover have arrived home with an additional 9 gold between the two of them.
Having been on the rough end of combat for a while now, it was neat to see John have some fun on the last round. The Duc got another SAT and sped to the southeast, blasting away but missing plenty of shots (luck on my side yet again, even when I didn’t need it). The Neptune cleaned up well, round earthing to crush the Red Curse and Shadow! Knowing gold on ships counted for the endgame rules, HMS Duke of York and the Sleipnir both nabbed 1’s just as time was running out. Somehow the Black Pearl had survived her entire journey, with Barbossa earning his keep as an undead ghost pirate. O_O
The final scores:
Ben: 21 gold
This was a good game that showed that even when everyone is against you, some luck and good abilities and strategy can still win the day! We liked the longship house rule, which might see usage again. If you were disappointed that no one could pull off the rune combo, I have a far more ludicrous game for you to read about….
I met up with Dan and Kyle at Zulu’s Board Game Cafe in Bothell WA for a pair of 3×50 games (3 players, 50 points). Here are the house rules we use. The other house rule we used was a big one, and the main theme for the day: each player’s turn was limited to 2 minutes. We used our phone timers. In general, if a ship had commenced an action, she was allowed to finish that action even if the time was up (partly to not ignore obvious rules like resolving boarding parties/etc). If any rules or UT ability text needed to be researched, the timer was paused. These were my first games ever using timed turns, and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.
I went first with a Spanish UPS idea (Universal Pirate Shipping, a fleet strategy publicly pioneered by darrin of Miniature Trading). The fleet actually started with the Song since this is the first time I’ve used her in a physical game, but she paired perfectly with the Sol, another ship on my list of ships I wanted to use in the near future.
Song + Genny Gallows (SM), helmsman, 3x oarsmen with 1 starting on HI
Sol + SM Castro, Vaccaro, Bianco’s Haulers (SS), helmsman
Cursed Blade + helmsman
Dan went next with a Jade Pirate fleet consisting of the Eagle, Black Lotus, and Tiger’s Breath.
Kyle went with an English all-junk fleet with HMS Grand Temple, Divine Wind, and HMS Clear Wind. This meant every player had at least one junk in their fleet.
The Sol flipped a coin to the Song, who redocked to unload it at +3 value between Genny Gallows and the Song’s ability. HMS Grand Temple was about to shoot at the Sol, but Bianco’s Haulers prevented it.
The Sol also grabbed Homemade Flag, which could make her annoying to face even while at sea. My Cursed Blade (a different copy of the same ship from my original collection and one of my favorites) got loaded up with all four coins from a western island while Dan’s fleet headed out. The Tiger’s Breath has provided a quick ROI.
With the Sol an invalid target, Kyle takes HMS GT over round earth to dismast the Cursed Blade! However, at the right you can see Dan just now moving the Eagle into position to blast the mighty junk…
However, the Eagle only shot 1/7 in a double action, leaving her wide open to a devastating counterattack!
The area turns into all-out war, with both sides suffering HEAVY losses! The Grand Temple is sunk, but the Eagle and Black Lotus are both dismasted. HMS Clear Wind is trying to salvage the situation for the English but has set herself alight with fire shot. The 5 on the Cursed Blade is a scuttle roll (I did this to prevent others from capturing her, as at the time it looked very unlikely the scuttle would go through and trying to rescue her with the Song would have likely lost me the Song as well).
In the meantime, the Divine Wind has returned a coin home for the English. Capitan Castro is keeping Genny busy, trading home more coins for additional +3 bonuses. Before Robinson went down with the Grand Temple, his ability allowed me (the player to Kyle’s left) to fling some impressive named crew over to the Sol’s new island. I wouldn’t be able to convert them into gold somehow, but I figured at least one might be valuable in the long run.
The Cursed Blade was scuttled, going down with 12 gold aboard. The English will not go quietly, as HMS Clear Wind presses her attack even as her fire spreads. However, the Black Lotus is hiding in fog and the CW cannot finish the Eagle.
HMS Clear Wind puts one fire out, but the other spreads, dooming the ship to burn to the waterline.
With the gold dwindling and no home island raiders in play that I anticipated, I had little to lose towards the endgame. The Sol went for some of the final coins on an island in the south, but was promptly sunk by the Divine Wind. However, I still had the Song, who had dumped Genny Gallows at home in favor of picking up OE Calico Cat from the island at the right.
The worst thing has happened to the Black Lotus – she rolled a 1 to exit fog onto a reef, and became a shipwreck! However, Dan is still in business, especially with the Eagle getting ready for more action.
We agreed that if a ship can touch a shipwreck without touching the reef, the ship would not have to roll for reef damage. The Divine Wind made a detour to build Ramsgate (admittedly just for fun by Kyle), but heads back south as the Song tries to pick up some of the last coins. The Tiger’s Breath stole one of my coins with the Wine UT.
The Divine Wind dismasted the Song and killed Calico Cat. The Song was still able to explore, and I loaded her up heavily to increase the chances of getting any coins home. One of the coins you see on the deckplate is Homing Beacon, which might help if she miraculously survives a lengthy chase scene. However, for now the path is blocked by sargasso seas. Although Dan was not able to save the Black Lotus, he does get her coin home and now has 2 fresh ships for the final phase of play.
The Divine Wind pursued the Song but then headed to the center since Dan was attacking Ramsgate. This allowed the Song to get home, but I had no way to pick up Genny Gallows before the Song’s coin automatically unloaded, at least that I know of. After the coin was unloaded I tried to end the game by wrecking the Song, but couldn’t roll a 1 with either reef roll. Dan had won the battle at the fort and eliminated Kyle, taking home all 4 gold from Ramsgate, which actually proved crucial!
Dan: 20 gold
A nice game with a tight finish. As we see in a ton of games, lots of alternative endings. If Kyle hadn’t built Ramsgate, I would win 17-16-5. If the Song had successfully ran aground it would have been 17-16-1. Alas it was not to be!
We had all prepared two fleets for the day’s games, so the second game would feature a completely new setup and fresh fleets. The final island was placed in close proximity to others, but quickly got surrounded with terrain.
I rolled to go first again, bringing a mostly American fleet. Continuing the theme for the 5th or 6th game in a row of playing a ship brand-new to my collection for the first time, USS Maryland was how the fleet started. In the end I couldn’t resist two of my American favorites for the rest, as the Roanoke and Hessian are both just so versatile and fun.
Roanoke + Captain Mysion, Le Requin, Gus Schultz, Wayne Nolan, helmsman, oarsman
USS Maryland + captain, helmsman
Hessian + helmsman, oarsman
Dan went with HMS Interceptor, HMS Gibraltar, and the Devil Ray:
Kyle’s French fleet had La Vengeance, Tepant, Pique, and Coeur du Lion:
The Tepant got SAT from CC Gaston de St. Croix early, but her captain was cancelled by Lawrence aboard the Interceptor! The Vengeance braves a reef to get gold. The Gibraltar, Pique, Hessian and Roanoke have all made quick gold runs. The gold supply seemed to be running out quickly, but this game actually wound up taking longer than the first….
The Roanoke explored one of the center islands soon afterwards, but found Wolves along with Wine and two 3’s. Dan had included the Wolves and had the only musketeer in play, RotF Trevor van Tyne.
The Interceptor dismasted and captured the Tepant. The Roanoke gets stuck in a sargasso sea, but she will explore before trying to free herself. Seeing the impressive French gold running scheme, the Maryland whirls west to combat their gold runners. A gaffe with the Plunder UT (which got thrown out) was the first of about two asterisks for this game. The Gibraltar is transferring coins from the Devil Ray since the latter can’t dock at home with Mercenary.
I sacrificed the Maryland to dismast the Coeur but couldn’t sink her, leaving her easy prey for the Vengeance. The Interceptor returns home as the strategic elements intensify.
The Devil Ray rammed a mast off the Vengeance, who fails to dismast the Maryland. This allowed me to capture the Coeur with the Maryland, but that area was still a lost cause for me. More interesting was combating the Gibraltar with the Hessian, but the Hessian didn’t have the speed or cancelling options to contest the island they’re docked at. All while the Pique misses a few S+S range potshots at the Hessian. The Roanoke only spends one turn stuck in seaweed, ready to launch home next turn.
In the south, the Maryland is finally dismasted and the Gibraltar returns home with a couple coins. I am eyeing the wide-open Tepant derelict at this point, despite her proximity to Dan’s HI via round earth. The Roanoke’s 2 remaining face down crew (Captain Mysion and Gus Schultz) may have deterred Dan from being aggressive.
Kyle sent the Pique north, allowing the Hessian to ram her derelict. With the Roanoke watching the Tepant, the Hessian turns back to capture the French prize. I immediately roll for scuttling, trying to trigger Eternal as fast as possible so I don’t have to tow her home. Part of the reason I was able to snag the Tepant was because Dan was preoccupied with stealing some of Kyle’s gold, home island raiding with HMS Gibraltar! The Vengeance had towed the Coeur home but lost a mast to the Devil Ray’s submerged ramming, which helped when even Kyle’s accurate anti-English guns were not numerous enough to sink the Gibraltar! The thief runs into fog, not able to return home on oar power with no helmsman. (Sir Jeremy Rothschild was her other crew. A neat sign of the times as all three of us have used rather interesting and unconventional crew setups in nearly all of our recent fleets.)
Some general regrouping. I figured I’d increase the size of my fleet by capturing the Pique as well, though both French prizes were vulnerable to the Interceptor’s striking range. The Gibraltar gets her stolen loot home while the French repair.
Here the second asterisk affected some of the decisions, as Dan didn’t realize that ships could be given actions immediately after warping home via Eternal. I think he was thinking about raiding my HI with the repaired Gibraltar when the Tepant showed up and Gaston used SAT to quickly repair half her masts, simultaneously blocking off some of my HI and getting some much-needed firepower at the American HI. It turned into an accidental French-American ship swap, as Kyle had captured USS Maryland and was repairing her for future use.
The Roanoke lost two masts after exiting fog straight onto a reef. However, she reached home with an SAT. The sloops have no fear of reefs, with the Hessian towing the Pique over one to get home faster. By now I believe all gold except for that guarded by Wolves in the middle was unloaded to HI’s. The attention turned towards Dan, as his decisions would control the endgame. TvTyne on the Interceptor was the only path to freeing up the last 2 coins worth value in the middle, and his HMS Gibraltar had the HI raiding capability that could also extend the game if she stole any more loot.
Kyle was using Marksman’s Map every turn to look at face down coins on my home island. This would help him calculate his odds of winning and how much the coins in the middle might matter. We spent a lot of turns doing almost nothing, with various “passes” occurring as we weighed decisions and jockeyed for position. Kyle eventually explored the middle island with the Coeur in order to see what coins lay there. Dan considered various options and had to figure out how to make his few key game pieces count the most despite 4-5 dangerous ships that would inevitably oppose his run on the Wolves. At one point the Vengeance was somewhat vulnerable near the Roanoke, but I elected to repair given my generally horrid luck with rank-3 guns and the ever-present timer that limited my decision time. This was probably a mistake in hindsight, but there were a lot of outcomes and plays that couldn’t be given the regular amount of consideration since we only had 2 minutes per turn to do everything with all of our ships.
At one point I had the Roanoke in between reefs near my HI when Dan decided he wanted to force things so the game didn’t take a massive amount of time. He flipped Grease Barrels, round earthed the Interceptor and hit a nice 4/5 on rank-3 shooting to smash the Roanoke. She was nearly dismasted but the Devil Ray rolled a 1 with submerged ramming (the first of three 1’s in a row for her submerged rams!). The Vengeance had been protecting the French HI from another Gibraltar raid, so this did leave things open for Dan in the center. However, we all knew that all hell would break loose as soon as the Wolves were killed!
And indeed, the game completely exploded. TvTyne shot the Wolves out of play with his musket, allowing Sir Jeremy Rothschild to load both 3’s and the Wine on the Gibraltar. She was rammed by the Pique (who stole a 3) and Maryland (killing Rothschild) but managed to flee into a fog bank! In a rushed turn the Roanoke blasted her way back onto the scene, using Requin’s SAT and her 3L cannons to sink the Interceptor outside of Lawrence’s cancelling range.
The Vengeance arrives and the French and Americans get caught up in a big fight. The Vengeance sank Le Pique, who took 3 gold with her. My luck completely evaporated as the Roanoke failed her SAT and to dismast the Vengeance.
Many shots are exchanged between the French and Americans, with the Roanoke losing masts and crew at a depressing rate (for me lol). The Maryland was doing more damage to my fleet than I doled out with her earlier. The most important thing in play is still HMS Gibraltar, who is sprinting home with her gold. Can the Coeur du Lion stop her?
OOF!! Dan decides to take the Gibraltar through a whirlpool to get home the back way, but for the second game in a row he ends up with a shipwreck!! O_O This is pretty wild since shipwrecks are rare enough in this game… let alone two from the same player in one day! This marked another roll of 1 in the endgame for Dan, whose luck ran out after the Interceptor owned her gunnery against the Roanoke and the wolves.
Top of pic: With the Maryland effectively finishing off the Roanoke, I had to divert the Hessian to get rid of my own pest. Bottom right: Inevitably the wreck of HMS Gibraltar is swarmed. The Vengeance explored the wreck after being dismasted by the Tepant.
The Tepant has no cargo space open to steal the Vengeance’s 3 coin, so she starts ramming to eliminate the oarsman from the Vengeance. However, she runs out of time as the Vengeance rows into the nearby fog bank. She was also losing masts to the Devil Ray’s submerged ramming, which finally started working. The Hessian arrives with the intent to help the Tepant block fog bank exit maneuvers but is too late. This entire endgame for me was like watching a long painful train wreck. Everything that could go wrong went wrong!
In the end, there would not be another fog-reef-shipwreck sequence. The Vengeance rolled a 1 to exit the fog near home, but rolled well to avoid wrecking herself. She rowed home to end the game, and the coin mattered immensely!!
Kyle: 16 gold
What a game! Even more entertaining than the last game and with closer scores! Lots of crucial plays and big rolls that affected the endgame, the difference being that they happened rather rapidly due to the turn timer. Overall it was pretty well played by all sides. Arguably, each fleet had at least one thing they wanted to “redo”. The French wished they hadn’t eliminated the Tepant’s oarsman, thinking they could get an abandoned one to replace it (leaving her open to capture right after getting dismasted). The English may have done better if the Interceptor had brought the Tepant home soon after capturing her. I probably should have taken the chance with the Roanoke when she had SAT and could have put 6 3L shots at the Vengeance. My endgame was a complete disaster, though it’s hard for me to know if it was because the turn timer forced my decisions. I was really disappointed to barely use Mysion and Schultz, though I think it’s good I didn’t Parley when the Interceptor attacked, as it may have flipped my gold score with Dan’s. Towards the end it was really cool that Kyle was able to use the Marksman’s Map many times over (partly due to the large number of turns the game took) in order to see what he needed at the end to win, earning the victory over the tight competition.
I definitely enjoyed the turn timer more than I expected. It’s a neat house rule we’ll probably use again. My only problem is that it did result in a few lost actions, but generally not due to excessive deliberating. There are just some turns where you have 5-6 actions to take (especially with extra actions available) and with all the cannon shots, ramming, boarding and maneuvering there is just not time to do it all. I think the Tepant lost an action in the endgame, which probably wouldn’t have affected the standings… but when you add up all the lost actions in the game it feels a little weird (especially if another player can’t decide if they want to board and the first player needs to move on). Mostly because it’s rarely in a player’s best interests to lose actions or ship turns in crucial moments. Perhaps in a game of this size (40-60 points I’d say), a timer of 3 minutes per player turn would be the sweet spot between keeping the game moving at a good pace while not impeding on how fleets are played or how rushed actions are taken. I also think it would be worth trying a game with a “total time limit”, where each player has 30-60 minutes to take ALL of their actions for the entire game. If they run out of time, they are out of the running entirely or their gold is counted up and that is their fixed score for the end regardless of what happens after.
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
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!
This game against Gazerbeam543 was in Studio City, California. We used his GF9 islands along with almost all the terrain I had with me.
I went first with the French:
Le Triton + Lenoir (RotF version), captain, helmsman, oarsman
La Bonne Chance + captain
L’Afrique (BC version) + captain, helmsman
Le Courageux + captain
The idea was a balanced French fleet that had captains on every ship to take advantage of the various decent guns and still leave plenty of cargo open for gold. Essentially 3 hybrids along with the Bonne Chance.
He went with a Spanish Pirate fleet:
San Cristobal + Victor de Alva (F&S version), Duque Marcus Vaccaro, helmsman, explorer, oarsman
Akua Lapu + Hammersmith (F&S version), Crimson Angel (OE version), Coconut
The SC got an EA and round earthed to blast my French fleet. Despite taking some severe pounding, both the Bonne Chance and Courageux survived the assault. Knowing I had a captain on every ship, I was excited to strike back with full force.
In some typical bad cannon luck for me, I returned fire with all seven remaining cannons but only hit twice!
The SC made a break for it but without EA she was easily caught by the Triton and Bonne, who combined to shoot her to the bottom in a reversal of fortune!
At this point both fleets had gotten some gold. The San Cristobal fight was a 4-on-1 action, and the rest of the game looked to be the same with only the Akua Lapu remaining for Gazerbeam’s fleet. Knowing I had Lenoir’s Parley face down on the Triton, I felt comfortable sailing her east to contest the Akua Lapu’s exploration efforts.
The AL found Turtles! These tokens are from Tilorfire27 of the discord server.
The AL returns home with yet more gold, the Triton starts running over turtles, and the Courageux and Bonne Chance repair.
The AL sails back out to attack the Triton, but Lenoir is flipped. Unfortunately in the random draw I Parleyed away my most valuable coin (a 5), but it left the Triton intact to blast off most of the AL’s masts.
The AL flees into fog while the turtle assault intensifies. Kill the wee turtles!! The Afrique and Bonne Chance get in on the action, whacking the greenies out of the water left and right.
Not a single turtle survived the three-pronged French assault, but I was still facing an uphill battle to win the gold race. The Courageux has picked up some lower value coins from the middle island while the Triton and Afrique make a break for the northern island. Blue blur at left is a d6 roll accidentally captured mid-roll. XD
The newly repaired AL sank the Bonne Chance and took a mast off the Courageux, who found the Frond of Fisaga in the southeast. I was happy that such events seemed like sufficient distraction for the Triton and Afrique to get home safely with their gold.
The Akua Lapu finishes off the Courageux before moving on to the French HI. The Triton returns home with gold, blasting a mast off as she pulls into port. However, the Afrique can’t quite make it and will hide in fog until the opportune moment.
Soon afterwards the Afrique emerged to dock home the final coins, ending the game!
1.Gazerbeam543: 33 gold
A solid game against Gazerbeam with some worthwhile abilities used. Perhaps if I had come with a more competitive fleet, if Gazerbeam hadn’t gotten so many EA’s/SAT’s, or Parley hadn’t resulted in a 10-gold swing, the outcome may have been different. Thanks for reading!
I met up with Dan (Witch) and Kyle at Mox Boarding House Bellevue for a unique 2 vs. 1 game to celebrate the Fourth of July! (a handful of days early) I would field a 100 point English fleet, while Dan and Kyle would team up. Dan created a 50 point American fleet, while Kyle had 50 points for the French. They would share a home island, but take individual turns. Since each of the allied fleets had a Limit crew, I was allowed to use two Limit crew in my fleet. There was a brief ban list including events, Paradis de la Mer, Mycron/Deleflote, DJC Bonaparte, Blood Money and Natives.
The massive pieces of terrain are those I won in a recent eBay auction. They were a big hit and we look forward to using them again in the future. We used round earth rules with 5 coins on each of the 5 wild islands.
Here are most of the fleets in play order:
Kyle (50 point French)
Conquerant (house ruled to cost 17 points instead of 21!) + Lenoir (F&S version), Godiva, captain, helmsman
L’Auguste + Maurice Aristide
Le Pique + helmsman, explorer
Dan (50 point American)
Enterprise + Jonathan Haraden, Commander Albert Crenshaw, Commodore Matthew Perry, helmsman, oarsman
Providence + Dr. Clark Lewis, captain, helmsman, oarsman
Ben (100 point English)
HMS Phoenix + Admiral James Norrington, helmsman, stinkpot shot
HMS Serapis + Sir Christopher Myngs, CRGO (BC version), captain, helmsman, oarsman
HMS Hyena + 0LR+5 Bratley, captain, helmsman, oarsman, firepot specialist, fire shot
Cygnet + HGold, oarsman, French Letter of Marque
HMS Hound + helmsman, explorer, oarsman
Honu Iki + helmsman, explorer
Having finally just acquired HMS Phoenix after having her on my wants list for near a decade, I knew I wanted to make her the centerpiece of my fleet. That can be easier said than done with 100 points of English stuff available, so she would be the largest ship by theoretical “tonnage” and no 5 masters would be around to overshadow her. With Norrington she can hit at L+L range on rolls of 5-6. The Serapis was included for historical reasons, and the rest of the fleet didn’t include any Pokeships or catamarans like HMS Hermes because I wanted it to feel like a fleet from 1779. In general I wanted a somewhat unconventional fleet, though the gold runners aren’t much of a surprise for the English. The Hyena is one of my favorite ships but I think I’ve set her up exclusively as a hybrid in the past, hence going full gunship here instead. I figured there was a strong chance Kyle would bring Le Superbe after our last encounter given that he would have a French fleet – if that happened, the Cygnet’s defensive ability would prove a strong deterrent. The French Letter of Marque was a fun defensive overkill that made the Cygnet a dedicated French hunter… little did I know that the American half of my opposition would be the combat-heavy side.
I was very excited to use HMS Phoenix for the first time!
The allies would go first:
I went with the black GF9 tokens since I was the historical bad guy for today:
Here is the full setup, which shows how huge the terrain pieces are. I picked my home island first as I was going second, looking to use the Honu Iki to hit the island obstructed by reef north of me.
Dan brought up the good point that the huge fog bank could actually be used as a speed boost if you got the right exit location. It’s about 4S wide!
Beautiful and fresh out of the shipyard with newly minted cannons, could HMS Phoenix prove useful in her debut?
The Providence jumped out to the middle island and grabbed a couple coins. HMS Hound snagged the next two on my turn, but the Enterprise was lurking…. The Hound does have a nifty spying ability, so I was alerted to the presence of Haraden and Crenshaw early in the game.
The Phoenix was not given an action, preferring to stay safe at home given the striking range of the Enterprise and knowing she could still defend the Hound if needed with her sniping cannon range of L+L.
But it was the French who drew first blood! The Conquerant got an extra action (EA) and round earthed to the southeast, setting the Serapis alight!
The next turn was well played on both sides. The flames on the Serapis spread rapidly to engulf her final mast, but a heroic effort by some motivated oarsmen just barely got her home to safety! The Britons on the home island swiftly put the fires out, saving the Serapis from a quick demise. Hermione Gold saw her chance to engage the French with the Cygnet, but Lenoir cancelled her captain ability! This left HMS Phoenix as the only other ship I could get in range of the Conquerant. Redocking to position three of her cannons within sniping range of the French bombardier, I revealed Admiral James Norrington and stinkpot shot! The cannons proved more than capable, as I rolled a 5, 5, and 6 to hit all three times! O_O The first shot landed was the stinkpot, meaning the Conquerant would not have any of her crew abilities available on Kyle’s turn. With one mast left standing the Conquerant was crippled, as HMS Phoenix saved the day. I finished my turn by returning the Hound and Honu Iki to the home island, netting me 4 coins.
The Providence and Pique return home with gold, with the French setting up a gold factory system using Maurice Aristide on L’Auguste. At the top right HMS Trepassey has round earthed to the northernmost island. This was part of my plan to hit 3 of the 5 wild islands early in the game.
On the following turn I then built Ramsgate on the island the Trepassey explored, much to Dan’s displeasure. The Providence was heading there but I liked the gold I saw…
… diverting most of my resources there to make sure I locked up that island. The Hound would carry the most valuable treasures away from the fort and back to my home island, while the Hyena and Cygnet would defend the fort and deter the Providence. HMS Phoenix stayed at home to make sure the Enterprise didn’t try to make a move to slam the Honu Iki, who is out for another gold run.
Lots of round earth considerations for this game, as the Enterprise is actually pretty close the the Serapis here. We agreed on a house rule that there could be no shooting over round earth lines – ships would have to cross over physically to shoot at a ship normally, partly due to the extreme inconvenience of trying to measure cannon ranges from separate edges of the playing area. I was already thinking about how to use this house rule to my advantage – if you lined up a bunch of ships on the edge of the map, you could get them close to something on the other side without any of them getting shot at.
The Conquerant has made it home for repairs, with some significant deterrence assistance from Lenoir and the Enterprise keeping the Cygnet and Phoenix at bay. The Providence has headed back southwest. My deterrence strategy at Ramsgate seems to have succeeded, and I think both sides are rather satisfied with how things are going at this point. The Cygnet has returned home; once the Serapis is fully repaired the English will have a solid battle squadron to employ. I did make a few mistakes here; the Trepassey should have loaded 3 coins instead of 2 which would allow me to keep the Hound’s explorer aboard, and in hindsight the Hyena’s plan going forward was kind of dubious.
The Enterprise explores the southwest island and finds Volcano! It takes out a coin and mast, but the Americans build Thompson’s Island. (proxied, not another English fort haha)
At this point I liked my gold position but figured I would lose if the gold factory continued unabated until the end of play. Therefore my goal was to take out either the Pique, Maurice Aristide, or both. This would disrupt the continual +2 gold that often adds up to victory in the long run. Once the Serapis was fully repaired she immediately got an SAT from Myngs to dart southeast at L+S+L+S, with the Cygnet and Phoenix coming along for the brazen adventure. Besides, the 3 wild islands I had explored had no more gold to take off them, so there was less need for escorts going forward. However, with the Providence back at home and the Conquerant nearing full strength, it looked like a potential suicide mission. The Hyena has sailed west to potentially support the other 3 gunships via round earth, but it was looking more and more like she was going to be bait for the Enterprise. A backup plan formed in my mind where the Hyena would bait the Enterprise into coming east, then my other gunships would round earth to the southwest (rather than northwest) to assault Thompson’s Island to try and get more gold. In which case the current maneuver looked like a feint towards the French American home island.
In the end, the latter did end up happening. The Enterprise got an EA and promptly sank the Hyena, netting the allies 1 gold via Bratley. I decided the fort was a juicier target than the Pique or Aristide, partly since going up against an opponent right at their home island is a steep uphill battle. I knew I would probably need all six of my remaining ships to get any amount of gold from Thompson’s Island, so I set them all up in a formation that made it very difficult for the Conquerant to shoot at them due to the round earth shooting rule.
With no home island raiders in play I had less to lose, and I wasn’t in the mood for a long maneuvering dance – the climax was upon us!
On the next turn Myngs got the SAT I wanted for the Serapis. The moment to strike was now. The goal was just to get at least one coin from Thompson’s Island back to my home island, regardless of the losses I would take along the way. The Serapis continued my shockingly good luck at the guns today, going a whopping 6 for 6 to destroy the fort as the first ship on the scene!! O_O This meant the gold could be removed quickly and efficiently, with the Honu Iki taking the best two coins and the Cygnet the last one. The Cygnet dumped the still-facedown French Letter of Marque equipment on the island to make room for the coin; this was partly a deke to see if the French Americans would eagerly pick it up and want to use it, possibly thinking it was exploding shot or something XD (whereas the FLoM would be completely useless to them lol). The Hound touched her bow to the stern of the Honu Iki, knowing the Honu Iki would explore the Hound next turn (if possible) and then the Hound would turn and run home at S+L+S. The remaining ships just set up as blockers to try and protect the coins as much as possible. HMS Phoenix was just in range to take a stinkpot potshot against the Enterprise, but it missed.
Gold wins the game, so I made my move. Now time to get wrecked! XD
The Conquerant got her EA, sailed around the reef, and started the battle! She ran into her old foe HMS Serapis and knocked a mast off, but failed to set her on fire this time. The Trepassey was dismasted.
The carnage continues! The Enterprise got an EA as well, sinking HMS Phoenix and taking a mast off the Cygnet! The Providence got two cannons in range of the Hound but only hit once, leaving her with a mast. I was ecstatic HMS Hound survived the onslaught with a mast standing, but knew that getting home could still be difficult.
The Hound received the Honu Iki’s two coins and sped for home via round earth. The Cygnet and Serapis team up to dismast the Enterprise!
Finally the Conquerant is able to vanquish her foe HMS Serapis, who ironically never returned fire against the Frenchman.
HMS Hound makes it home with both coins! The Cygnet tries to return home on oar power, but she would be sunk soon afterwards by the Conquerant.
The Providence dismasts the Honu Iki, leaving the damaged Hound as my last ship remaining. Seeing that there are a few coins left in play NOT on home islands (one on the Enterprise, one on the Providence, one or two the Pique hasn’t gotten to yet) that I am very unlikely to get back to my home island successfully, ending the game as soon as possible is my best option. The Hound purposely ran over a reef on her way to ram the Enterprise, suffering no damage. She lost the boarding party, eliminating the Hound’s final crew. The Conquerant sailed over and shot off her last mast, ending the game!
The final scores:
English: 44 gold
French Americans: 28 gold
The non-fort coins that the French Americans could have gotten if they managed to keep the Hound alive were low value; I think we calculated that I would have won 44-40 even if the French Americans had gotten all of them AND gotten Aristide’s +2 on all of them (which would take a while). In that case, the allies would have needed Ramsgate’s 4 gold to win 44-40, which seems unlikely since HMS Hound would have ample chances to roll a 1 on the nearby reef to end the game. Say what you will about the endgame rules encouraging the elimination of your own fleet in certain circumstances, but here it proved beneficial. Even the entire anti-fort mission that saw the destruction of the English fleet essentially helped me win, as it led to a 5-gold swap once the Hound got home and drastically hastened the end of play which helped prevent more gold factory bonuses from piling up. Overall it was a very fun game and well played on both sides! After an English loss in last year’s Fourth of July game, perhaps fitting that they win this time, partly due to my abnormally good luck with the guns.
Have you played a game on July 4th? This year is your chance to play a Revolutionary War themed game!
I played my first game on Tabletop Simulator with Skelebone. Huge thanks to Juulm, Arshellan, DodoDye, Arde, Thunderbros99 and others whose efforts allowed the project to come to life. There are still improvements being made to the mod but I had been itching to try it out!
We played a 60 point game. I went first with Snipers Unite minus the Power Cannons UT, while Skelebone tried out a custom German fleet from his Pirates of the Baltic Sea set.
SMS Ludwig II + Vice Admiral Jachmann, Prince Adalbert, Alexander von Monts, captain, helmsman, oarsman
SMS Albatros + captain, helmsman
SMS Luchs + helmsman, explorer, oarsman
Seeing that all of Skelebone’s ships were as fast or faster than my fastest ship, I decided to send my entire fleet through the whirlpool in an attempt to force heavy combat early in the game that I hoped would cause severe damage. All of my ships had captains and helmsmen, and I didn’t want to split my fleet up, especially since I knew how powerful the Ludwig II is after seeing it get posted in the Custom Ships thread.
The Atlanta did nearly the unthinkable, landing a fire shot hit on the Ludwig II at L+L away with a 6! O_O My other three ships surrounded the Albatros and dismasted her, though it took considerable effort.
The Ludwig II put out her fire mast and caused major damage to El Neptuno. However, I had enough firepower on the following turn to sink the German schooner. The Coeur also captured the Albatros this turn, meaning the Germans were down to just SMS Luchs. However, she is a very nice gold runner moving S+L+S.
There was a hiccup with a custom UT at the island the Atlanta explored, but it was replaced with a 1 coin. My ships combined to empty that island along with the other two closest to my home island. Along the way the Luchs rammed the Neptuno derelict at my home island, but I didn’t want to end the game prematurely because I didn’t know if Skelebone’s 4 coins were worth more than my loot. I was worried the Luchs would be able to suicide on a reef and force the gold count. I meant to leave one mast standing on the schooner but accidentally shot all of its masts off – luckily for me she had an oarsman aboard. At this point the Luchs was the fastest ship in play and able to pick up the remaining gold at the southwestern island. In a personal rarity I decided to attempt a blockade, keeping all my firepower in one place.
The Luchs returns, but it’s not home sweet home today….
It took more shots than I expected, but eventually the Neptuno was able to finish off the schooner and end the game.
A7XfanBen: 16 gold
This was an informative first game on Tabletop Simulator. Thanks for reading!
Dan, Kyle and I met up at Mox Boarding House Bellevue to play a 3 player game! Thanks to my friend Captain Randy I had been alerted earlier in the day that it was International Tabletop Day, so it was fitting that we were already planning to meet up to play!
I went first with a “Windcatcher Triple Threat” fleet:
HMS Mirage + RotF Hermione Gold, canceller Bratley, First Mate Ismail
Mystic + Tia Dalma, captain, helmsman, oarsman
Ghost Walker + Jonathan Haraden, Gus Schultz, helmsman, oarsman, exploding shot
Dan (Witch) went second with a mostly Spanish American fleet consisting of the Neptuno, Providence, President (proxied with a square rigged 4 master) and Mermaid.
Kyle went third with a French fleet, sailing out the Superbe, Dauphin Royal, Possession, Pique and Coeur du Lion.
We used 4 wild islands with 4 coins on each of them, and all terrain ended up touching islands or other terrain. Dan provided the tokens courtesy of Tilorfire27 (affiliate link).
This was my first time using HMS Mirage, a cool looking ship that has solid all-around stats. I decided to go all windcatchers, with the Mystic providing some HI raiding capability and additional cargo, while the Ghost Walker would be the only pure gunship and capable of both powerful offense (2L exploding shot with reroll) and defense via cancelling and Eternal. I like the way their looks contrast against each other!
Dan’s fleet was also mixed; the 4 master on the right is the President proxy.
I though Kyle’s fleet looked the most intimidating out of the three, with a trio of good French gunships all at 4 masts or larger.
I knew I wanted to keep my cancelling cluster together in order to have any chance against the French 5’s nearby. It was nice to see a setup reminiscent of a tropical island chain instead of the typical square or circle setup that often becomes the default when placing islands.
The Mirage reached an island but would have to wait to take any coins. I purposely put the “public” canceller (the Ghost Walker) away from the French gunships in order to try and draw them in a bit so I could cancel their crew with the face down cancellers on the other windcatchers.
Dan’s Providence has round earthed all the way to the east, but poor d6 luck with Commodore Stern’s EA prevents him from striking the French before they get gold. The Mermaid is docked at the southwestern island.
With 3 coins aboard, the Mirage charges the Superbe and shoots a mast off. I knew I wouldn’t be able to avoid conflict on the journey home so I decided to instigate it, with the Mystic right beside the Mirage. I purposely kept the Ghost Walker away to try and appear less threatening, hoping the Superbe would turn to port and pull up broadside to the Mirage, upon which I would cancel her captain and get away soon afterwards.
It worked until it didn’t! I was successful in getting the French to play into my plans, but I didn’t account for BOTH French 5’s having Sac Captains! (Arazure and Arathiel) This was especially surprising given that CC Gaston de St. Croix was on the Superbe, with the ship already having him as an action generator. The Superbe had her source of Captain cancelled by Bratley, but Kyle was able to sac a crew to get an extra action and shoot anyway, hitting the Mirage twice. The Dauphin sacced as well and dismasted the Mystic despite Tia Dalma cancelling her captain! In the case of the Superbe, this was a rare case where it was well worth it to bring multiple action generators on a single ship despite the 2-action limit, since Gaston’s SAT was not going to get the Superbe a single shot in against the Mirage (since Kyle chose to move the ship before I revealed Bratley, and the Superbe would have to move twice).
The Mirage sailed for home, hitting the Superbe on her way by. Then it was time for the Ghost Walker to shine, hitting 3/4 (successfully using Haraden’s Reroll) and setting the Superbe aflame! The Mystic revealed an oarsman to row towards home at S+S.
Dan got in on the action next! The President came flying in from the south, lighting up the Dauphin Royal! Both of his 4 masters had action generators onboard, with Commodore Stern and Montana Mays eager for some cannonades. However, the Dauphin did sac to move twice on Kyle’s turn, hitting 2/2 on the President without the fire spreading. The rest of the French fleet is near their HI.
Stern and his crew hear the battle from afar, but their view is mostly blocked by two fog banks:
Knowing I had Gus Schultz’s Eternal in my back pocket, I felt comfortable sending the Ghost Walker out for more blood, this time setting the President on fire. The Mirage and Mystic would take time to repair, but I was ready to play the long game.
The President escaped into a fog bank, letting the Possession take over in the fight against the Ghost Walker. The Possession stayed out of cancelling range to knock a mast off the GW, but the GW retaliated by setting up off the Possession’s stern (to minimize how much return fire I would face) and setting yet another ship on fire with exploding shot.
Dan and Kyle agreed to team up and sink the Ghost Walker, with the President emerging from the fog to knock a mast off. The Possession finished off the GW with some nice shooting. However, this was the day they almost caught Jonathan Haraden! But Gus Schultz was there to save the GW, warping her home to join the other windcatchers undergoing extensive repairs. He thus acquired the nickname “Ghost Gus” – like a shadow in the night, always there.
Despite their recent agreement Kyle couldn’t help but shoot at Dan’s President with the Dauphin as the latter returned home, dismasting the American. With that we were left to survey the carnage, as the battlefield was strewn with debris across a somewhat wide area. Alas, with the Possession burning wildly and the Mirage already headed out to stop the French from getting more gold, it was not over!
The Pique explores but is quickly slammed by the Mirage, who exchanges successful shots with the Possession and rams the Pique derelict. First Mate Ismail is lost in the boarding party, but I still had HGold and Bratley aboard.
The Possession’s fire finally spread and overcame her crew. The Mirage towed the Pique, who explored the Mirage to transfer two coins. My other windcatchers sailed out fully repaired. Seeing the endgame, I was prepared to build a fort to extend the game since Dan looked to be in the lead from getting a good amount of +2 gold bonuses via LE Dominic Freda. The Dauphin Royal is almost finished repairing, possibly signifying another battle on the horizon.
Dan was coming home with more gold, including the last 2 from the southwestern island that would end the game since the Mirage had already docked hers home. Figuring Dan was winning I built Fort Brompton on the center island, hoping to use the 3 windcatchers to knock the French off balance and for the Mystic to steadily steal some gold that I might be able to keep at the fort in the short term.
Dan regroups, repairs, and gets gold bonuses. Kyle tows the Pique with the Coeur, but I have my eyes on both ships – partly as a numbers game if I could capture them, and also as a slight distraction away from the fort that I don’t want the Dauphin messing with. The Mystic goes from one fog bank to another, trying to get into optimal position for HI raiding. The Dauphin has lost a bunch of crew but still has bite from pure firepower.
Making a play at the French sloops could also give me distractions and ramming options in the potential fight against my opponents. However, Dan was trying to end the game as fast as possible….
The cat and mouse game in the fog bank continued, allowing the Ghost Walker to stop the Coeur from getting the Pique home.
I did capture both ships…
… but then we did a count! It was revealed that even if I successfully stole ALL of Kyle’s gold, I still wouldn’t have enough to beat Dan. So I would have to steal some of Dan’s to win, which seemed unlikely between the Dauphin at full strength, the fort getting attacked by both players or at least Dan’s fully repaired fleet of 4 ships, and getting the Mystic to survive all these HI raids after many many turns of it. So I agreed that we should call it there.
Dan: 30 gold
Congratulations to Dan on a nice win! This was a fun game that gave us a lot of what we wanted: combat, lots of abilities used (all named crew from all fleets featuring prominently), cool plays made and a solid ending. There was plenty of fun bargaining throughout. All in good fun! Thanks for reading and let us know if you want to play near Seattle!
Games with Witch – 60 Points and a Sealed Pack Game!
April 9th, 2022
I played some additional games with Witch/Dan (current Discord username: The Witch King) at Zulu’s Board Game Cafe (highly recommended!) in Bothell Washington! We had agreed on a 60 point build total for the first game, using my Basic Rules and round earth. The ban list included all events, the DJC Le Bonaparte, Nubian Prince, Blood Money and Cursed Natives. Proxies were allowed.
He went first with a fleet consisting of the Black Pearl, Greed’s Hammer, Mermaid, and Bilge (proxied by a 1 masted sloop). I followed with an English fleet:
HMS Interceptor + HGold (RotF version), Sir Christopher Myngs, CRGO (BC version), Sir Watkins Defoe, smokepot specialist
HMS Lady Provost + helmsman, explorer, oarsman
HMS Lord Kenyon + captain, helmsman
I had been inspired by a recent discussion at the ever-active Discord server, where Infin8Ouroboros and others were discussing a tactic where you combine the Ghost Ship keyword or the ability to ignore terrain with a bit of a loophole in the overlap rules. First you move to attack a target, shooting a smokepot with one of the cannons. The ship then gets a second action, moving to overlap the smokebank while still shooting at targets (since it ignores terrain when given a move action). Then since the terrain effects are applied once the move action ends and the piece is overlapping the terrain, the ship gets sucked into the fog bank and therefore into safety!! O_O Once I read about this combo I knew I had to try it, and nicely enough our game was scheduled for only around a week later. It was time to try something different! The Lady P (LP) would serve as my main gold runner with a side of HI raiding, while HMS Lord Kenyon was the final addition but would hopefully provide strong backup to either ship that needed it, a durable little hybrid capable of various tasks.
Both fleets had fog banks conveniently close to their HI’s, which would play a large role in the positioning aspect of the game. The LP has loaded gold, while the Greed’s Hammer has already unloaded 2 coins +2 via Mycron’s wizardry (on the proxied Bilge).
The LP needs to stay safe in the fog on the way home, while a potential duel between flagships looms….
Alas, the dance continued, with the Lord Kenyon hiding in fog while my other ships docked at the home island. The LP and Greed’s Hammer are making both fleets richer but Witch and I knew that the standoff would have to explode in order for the game to ever end.
I was able to pull off the combo! However, I didn’t even need the smokepot specialist, as the Interceptor already had a fog bank to “stumble” into on her way to sinking the Greed’s Hammer! She got Myngs’ SAT to zoom over and hit the GH, using her second action to sink the ship while overlapping fog, becoming safe at the end of her second move action! The LP enters the same fog bank as the Black Pearl, eyeing the riches on Witch’s home island.
There was a bit of position reversal, with the Black Pearl and my English ships in opposite positions from earlier in the game.
The Interceptor sank the Mermaid. The Black Pearl returned near home. After weighing some different options, I decided it would be prudent to build a fort. The westernmost island was close to Witch’s HI due to round earth, and a fort would allow for the LP to drop off gold on her route home. In addition, I wanted to see if I could get Witch to overplay the BP and risk her against my massed fleet all in one spot. Not to mention that forts can be really good for home island raiders because the available gold keeps the game alive for more raids to potentially occur. 😀 All three ships docked at the island west of my HI, with the LP surrounded as Ramsgate was constructed.
Soon afterwards, I was able to do a little fancy maneuvering with the smokepot combo, having the Interceptor speed out ahead of the LP and drop a smokebank. The LP sailed into it for safety (on her way west towards the final unexplored wild island), with the Interceptor right behind her with SAT.
Although the Mycron-boosted Black Pearl was looming via round earth, I wanted to make a play at the final wild island. The LP and Interceptor docked there, with the Interceptor spewing smoke to block one of the BP’s routes of attack.
Sure enough the BP came around the other side of the island, dismasting the LP but crucially missing two shots that kept the HI raider afloat!
The LP ducked through a whirlpool, with the Lord Kenyon waiting to protect her in home waters on the other side. The Interceptor took on the Black Pearl in a 2003 movie-showdown redux! However, Witch flipped Tia Dalma to cancel Hermione Gold’s Captain ability, meaning the Interceptor was powerless to attack!
Finally a very predictable round was played, with the LP docking home her 4 additional coins as the Black Pearl sank the Interceptor! (true to form)
The LP repairs both her masts as the Black Pearl returns home as well. Both fleets set up in fog banks and another dance has begun! XD
Now we did a count for gold, to make sure it was even relevant for me to try and raid Witch’s home island. Incredibly, we both had 22 gold (including 4 in my Ramsgate). We would play on, with the Lady Provost and Lord Kenyon moving north to the fog bank next to Witch’s HI. From there they emerged, with the LP stealing a 3 and the LK trying to block the BP a bit (LK revealed her captain to shoot but was cancelled).
The Black Pearl got two actions via Mycron, dismasting the LP and stealing the 3 back, while also taking a mast off the Lord Kenyon. In a split second of excitement I realized I had a quick and easy path to potential victory – with the 3 coin on the Black Pearl, if I could end the game now with a suicide of the Lord Kenyon, I would win 22-19 because the 3 was not back on Witch’s home island yet! I immediately sent the LK through a whirlpool hoping for a bad roll, but a 4 (under my Basic Rules) meant she was safe!
The BP unloaded the 3, meaning I was basically playing for a “tie” at this point with the score back at 22-22. It took a couple more attempts, but eventually the Lord Kenyon lost her final mast to a whirlpool roll, ending the game. Though the gold score was knotted at 22 apiece, Witch won the game based on the tiebreaker of most points in play! (and would have also won based on any other tiebreaker such as most units in play/masts standing/etc.)
This was a really incredible game that saw the introduction (for me) of a new fog bank smoke attack combo, lots of maneuvering as is typical when strategists like Witch and I meet up, and a close and dramatic finish that could not have been closer!! 😀
Sealed Pack Game
We had also agreed to play a sealed pack game, with me supplying the packs for a nominal fee of about $1/pack. We each opened 1 pack of SM, RV and OE. It would be a 40 point game. If either of us didn’t like our pulls enough, we would each receive one more pack of OE for 4 total, but we ended up being content with what the 3 gave us. The only exception was the first pack I opened – the first SM pack was a mispack with a pair of Le Duque card 2/2’s with no deckplate, so I exchanged it for a new pack of SM.
Witch went first with:
Black Swan + helmsman, explorer, oarsman
HMS Birkenhead + shipwright
Treachery + Genny’s Red Rampage
From my packs I selected:
El Leon + captain, helmsman, firepot specialist
Saratoga + musketeer
We only used the terrain from the packs, so 2 reefs and 2 whirlpools were placed.
Going first didn’t prove to be very helpful for Witch, as I pounced at the end of round 1. The Leon set the Black Swan ablaze!
Indeed, I had a plan for the Saratoga as well. She looked like she was going to explore, but once two enemy ships were within range of her broadside, a musketeer emerged from belowdecks and helped eliminate masts from the Birkenhead! The latter was dismasted, but got her mainmast back up via the shipwright.
However, I had won the battle, with the Leon re-dismasting the Birkenhead to allow the Saratoga to capture her, while also setting the Treachery alight! Meanwhile the Royal Fortune loads 2 coins.
The Black Swan managed to extinguish her flames when docking home some gold, and the Treachery managed to put out her blazes as well. However, I had established some board control, with a centrally located HI frequented by the Saratoga (about to repair) and Royal Fortune while the Leon pursued intimidation tactics in the east where the Treachery had fled to temporary safety. The Birkenhead was busy repairing with her shipwright. I now had 4 ships to Witch’s 2, forcing him to play down in numbers again like last game.
The Black Swan loaded 2 coins from the southwestern island while the Royal Fortune emptied the southeastern one. Although I’ve seen it dismantled in the past, a blockade strategy by my own fleet was beginning to take shape….
However, a full blockade became unnecessary, with the Black Swan attempting some kind of run towards home without round earthing. The Birkenhead got out of the Leon’s way, allowing the latter to bombard the Black Swan with another firepot! The Royal Fortune stole a coin and Witch’s Pirates were looking rough.
The Saratoga came over to observe the slaughter, with the game becoming more lopsided by the turn now.
The Black Swan was sunk by the Leon, with the Treachery not enough to overcome the combat capabilities of my fleet.
A7XfanBen: 24 gold
Though not as good as the first game, it was nice to return to sealed pack play and change things up a bit. Thanks to Witch for being an awesome opponent and player! We are the perfect match for playing each other since we’re both so strategic and deliberate. Many turns took far longer than they might for other people, but it’s because we care about considering all the options and making sure we’re playing as optimally as possible. It’s awesome!
In addition, we did a little real-time trading and purchasing, as I FINALLY got the Tasmanian Devil (Mysterious Islands SE ship) for $30 and gave Witch an RV Executioner that he wanted! My luck was better than usual tonight, and I’d like to attribute it to my HMS Victory gun deck shirt I was wearing. XD These games with Witch were really fun. Thanks for reading!