6×150: My 2019 Game of the Year

6 Fleets, 150 Points – September 2019

Here it is!  After planning the details of this game since perhaps April or May of 2019, it is finally complete.

Comment below if you liked it!  I would love to hear what you thought of the fleet setups, the gameplay, the crazy moments, the strategic decisions, the house rules, who you were rooting for (if any fleet in particular) and the results!

House Rules

Points in play + gold for the win!  The winner of the game will be the fleet with the most total points in play AND gold combined into one grand score. (game ends when all gold is unloaded to HI’s or only one fleet remains)
Round Earth.
Wind rules.
Gold multiplier: coins are worth 5x their printed value, shiny gold backed coins are worth 50 gold each. 900 total gold in play excluding UT’s that can have a gold value.  Should be a balance between gold and points in play (900 for each at the start of play).
I’m using my Basic Rules; no ram damage is the main thing to keep in mind.
Waterfall: Uneven tables at different heights. Waterfall into bay. Can only go down onto lower ocean, not back up unless Turbine/Submarine/sea creature. Ships on edge of waterfall have Extended Range for shots crossing over waterfall with their normal range. Ships can brave the waterfall going down into the bay, but must roll a d6. On a 1-3, they lose one cargo. On a 4-6, they get +L to their base move after their other move segments are resolved.
Giant Turtle Rules: Functions like a great turtle from SS. Ships can dock at grassy areas on turtle and build forts on it. Giant Turtle’s movement can be controlled by building a fort on it. At that point, the turtle can be moved S in any direction the controlling fleet chooses once per turn (like a ship). Fort cannons can fire at any time during the turn.

The Fleets

The linked fleets (Golden Cranes and Crew Recyclers) are two I’ve been waiting and wanting to use for a long time.  Of course, anticipation and excitement was just as high for the (somewhat) newly created fleets as well.  Game pieces can be found in the Master Spreadsheet and customs from Pirates of the Epic Seas (4th sheet).

In the order of play

1. Cursed
(60) Guichaun + The Headhunter, Sammy the Skull (F&S version) Grim the Savage (Viking version), Cavendish, helmsman, stinkpot specialist, Bianco’s Haulers, oarsman
(77) Delusion + Davy Jones (OE), El Fantasma (OE), Captain Nemo, Christian Fiore, Ibrahan Ozat, Sir Edmund, helmsman, oarsman
(13) Sea Rat + helmsman, explorer

Here we see my original monster setup on the Delusion, which totals a massive 77 points, nearly the maximum you can ever spend on a single ship and crew.  With a canceller and potentially multiple sources of guaranteed extra actions, the Delusion could be dangerous even if inaccurate.  The Guichuan setup is just wild and similar to one I used to sheer perfection in this game.  The Sea Rat filled out the points while giving them some gold running insurance and a second HI raider.

Cursed fleet

2. Golden Cranes – Hoist Madness!

This is a fleet I have been very excited to use, as evidenced by the massive description I wrote for it.  However, the lack of defenses and firepower could give them problems in such a chaotic environment full of huge threats.

Golden Cranes - Hoist Madness!

3. English Mercenaries
(60) Eighth Wonder (30) + Frederick Xernias (11), Apprentice of Xernias (4), Larkon Presyl (6; Parley,+1 cargo), Jozeran Danklidge (6; shipwright+HI Raider), Xavier Gedry (3; This ship gets +1 to her cannon rolls when carrying gold.)
(28) HMS Gallows + Thomas Gunn, CRGO (0LR reroller) oarsman, exploding shot, fire shot, stinkpot shot, double shot
(31) Elthelfleda + chieftain, helmsman, oarsman
-English native canoes from RtSS
(14) King’s Ghost (10) + captain, oarsman
(13) -towing Gibraltar flotilla + First Mate Ismail, Exploding Shot
(4) HMS Ramsgate

This fleet is unique in that it contains game pieces from a custom set, Return to Savage Shores, and an Unreleased ship from Spanish Main! 😀  I wanted to use some customs in a game, and went a little crazy with non-standard stuff!  This makes another fleet with an HI-raiding 10 master, and another fleet that had a flotilla assigned crew.

English Mercenaries fleet

Here are the non-standard game pieces for reference: (points-masts-cargo-base move-cannons-ability)
Eighth Wonder  (proxied by the Shui Xian) 30 10 7 L 4L-4L-3L-3L-3L-3L-3L-3L-4L-4L Link: Frederick Xernias A: Mercenary. Junk. Dories. If this ship eliminates 5 or more masts this turn, you may give her an extra action.
Frederick Xernias (Link: Eighth Wonder) 11 points A: Ex-Patriot. Captain. This ship ignores the first hit she takes each turn as long as she has all of her masts. One of this ship’s treasures is worth +1 gold when unloaded at your home island.
Apprentice of Xernias (Link: Frederick Xernias) 4 points A: Helmsman. Once per turn, if this ship is touching another ship, reveal all treasure aboard the other ship. This ship can take as much unique treasure from the other ship as she can carry, even those that otherwise can’t be removed.
Larkon Presyl 6 points A: Ex-Patriot. Parley. This ship gets +1 cargo spaces. This crew takes up no cargo space.
Jozeran Danklidge 6 points A: Ex-Patriot. Shipwright. HI Raider.
Xavier Gedry 3 points A: Ex-Patriot. This ship gets +1 to her cannon rolls when carrying gold.

Elthelfleda (proxied with the Alexandria) 16 4 4 S+L 3S-4L-3S-4L Galley. This ship can move and shoot using the same move action. This ship gets +1 to her boarding rolls. She gets +2 instead if her opponent is a sea monster.
Native Canoes (proxied with the Spanish canoes) 12 1 1 L+S 3S Native Canoe. Give this ship a move action but do not move her. Instead, roll a d6. On a result of 5 or 6, you may repair one mast on ships within S of any native canoes.
King’s Ghost  (proxied by the Newport) 10 1 2 L+L 1L Eternal. This ship may use the effects of any equipment with “shot” in the name.
HMS Ramsgate (proxied by HMS Meresman) 4 2 2 S+S 1S-1S This ship cannot carry crew.

4. French
(41) Celtic Fury + Eileen Brigid O’Brien (SS), Duncan Rousseau, captain, helmsman, oarsman
(46) Ultimate Saber Attack Combo + oarsman (Bonny Peel, Commander Steven Decatur, Jordan Dumas (OE), helmsman)
(26) Pluton + Leander Arnaud, Godiva (0LR reroller), captain, helmsman, oarsman
(22) Le Descharges + Guy LaPlante (F&S), helmsman
(15) Renard à Ailes + captain, oarsman
Renard à Ailes (proxied with the Sea Serpent) 11 2 3 S+S+S 2S-2S A: Junk. Once per turn as part of a move action, this ship can randomly take one treasure from any ship up to S away from her.

I love this basic and “cheap” 10 master combo (SAT w/Reroll + Parley) to go along with a mostly French fleet.  The Saber is beyond fun and probably my favorite switchblade due to the sheer number of combos you can create with her.  Overall this fleet is based on boarding.  Mostly to steal gold, but also crew with Bonny Peel.  The Renard is definitely one of the coolest ships from RtSS, and fit perfectly with the theme.

French fleet

5. Jade Vikings
(60) Baochuan + Zheng He (AA+S-Exploring), Ms. Cheng, Dragon Eyes, Zheng Li Kwan, Sensei Xu, helmsman, oarsmen x4
(32) Asgard + Shayna Deux, Sigurd Andersen, helmsman, oarsman
(28) Muninn + Ethan the Farseeker, captain, helmsman, oarsman
(30) Naegling + Olof Linstrom, captain, helmsman, oarsman

This fleet is the definition of concentrated firepower.  28 captained shots across 4 ships, 29 counting the Marine.  A pair of AA crew (both with reroll!) could help them a lot with some luck.  The main concern was the dependency on the Baochuan for gold collection – if the giant gets taken down early, the Vikings would probably struggle to stay relevant.  However, in a game where points in play matter as much as gold, this fleet looked extremely intimidating.

Jade Viking fleet

6. Crew Recycling 2.0

This fleet has roots from way back in my gimmick games of 2012.  It would probably be better in deathmatches, and really is a strange kind of gimmick fleet, but wanting to use this fleet was one of the reasons I decided on the 150 point build total in the first place.  I picked the fleets before deciding to use the points in play house rule, so unfortunately this fleet’s strategy of killing as many enemy crew as possible could be a detriment.  However, they had some serious firepower available along with the only game piece (A Fearsome Creature) that could climb the waterfall.

Crew Recycling 2.0

Setup

Here is the map and setup! The west half of the ocean is called “Great Turtle Bay”, while the east is the upper part and slightly smaller. (due to the size of the silky blue sheet and wanting to have 3 fleets of deckplates on one of the tables)

6x150: My 2019 Game of the Year

The amount of gold varied by location. The Giant Turtle had the most coins with 10. 11 locations held 5 coins each – the 3 remaining wild islands in the west, the 2 shipwrecks (Duke and Sultan), the gold island in the east, and each of the 5 beaches on the big island in the east. 3 shipwrecks at Shipwreck Cove held 2 coins apiece. This totalled 71 coins worth 900 total gold – with the multiplier and special coins of course, but not including any UT’s that could produce a gold value.

The shiny gold backed coins are worth 50 apiece.  I tweaked the distribution to my liking to have the points in play equal to the gold points in play.

gold distribution

Choosing HI (home island) locations was an interesting process. Although the Crew Recyclers picked their home island first, they didn’t end up with an advantageous position, because everyone wanted to stay away from them! They need to capture enemy ships for points to win, since they have nearly no cargo available with all their (literally) killer combos. They chose a great turtle in the southwest, thinking other fleets would want to prioritize the Giant Turtle.

Overall it was interesting to see the locations picked because 41 of the 71 coins were located in the west, yet 4/6 fleets picked home islands in the east. This was due to a variety of reasons – the Crew Recyclers immediately showed up in the southwest, and everyone wanted to avoid getting attacked by such a dangerous foe. Even with round earth and whirlpools, the waterfall presented an intimidating challenge. Starting on the upper level meant you could go down easily without having to worry about having to go UP. Finally, the volume of reefs in the west made the fleets with 10 masters understandably nervous, since reefs and 10 masters don’t mix!

eastern half of ocean for 6x150 game

Will these two fleets have an easier time in great turtle bay due to less competition?

great turtle bay

Going last, the Crew Recyclers also got to choose the initial wind direction.  They picked north, as it would benefit at least their first turn or two.

wind blowing north

Crew Recycling 2.0 fleet

Crew Recycling 2.0 fleet

Tall ships loom in the background above the bay:

Crew Recycling 2.0 fleet

The semi-“expanded” Shipwreck Cove, with plenty of loot to be found for those who dare:

Shipwreck Cove

Between the silky material of the blue fabric and the logistics of having two tables side by side at different heights, some slight movement of the waters would be inevitable.  However, this seemed to only enhance the realism of the game, as waves and water movements could be seen instead of a permanently flat surface (also fitting given I actually had wind in the game).

The Game

The Cursed got things started with a BANG!  😀

After that walloping, the Golden Cranes fleet got a tiny measure of revenge by knocking a mast off the Delusion with the remaining canoe.  The Frontier took off to the north via round earth, while part of the fleet hid in the fog to avoid the dual 10 master threat.

play begins!

The Monarca had a great turn, using the wind, Mycron, and her ability to grab a bunch of coins and start heading back home all in one turn!  The Peacock sailed out to escort her.

However, the Rum would slow her down next turn….

The English Mercenaries immediately split their fleet into 3.  The Eighth Wonder would accompany the canoes and try to drain the Giant Turtle.  The small ships headed to the reefs, as they would be immune or nearly immune to damage from Shipwreck Cove.  The 4 masters headed north, eyeing the great turtle in the southwest corner via round earth.

The French liked their chances – the Cursed looked to be completely vacating the northeast, and the French could potentially have a lot of gold from 3 different beaches on the 5 beach island.  The wind slowed them down a bit, but they had gold runners heading to the right places….

OR SO THEY THOUGHT.  O_O

With a favorable wind blowing north, the Jade Vikings pounce and CRUSH the Celtic Fury!!

Celtic Fury dismasted

The Asgard prepares to explore a beach next turn as tons of carnage quickly piles up in the far east.  One dismasting of a 10 master can create a huge debris field and maneuvering difficulties.

The Crew Recyclers end the round.  Most of their ships sail northwest; the Royal James heads north.  She has one of the only open cargo spaces in the fleet and intends to explore the Duke shipwreck.

Here is the second turn by The Cursed!

The Sea Rat explores new waters:

The Maui’s Fishhook is the next to brave the waterfall!

The immense Guichuan looms above:

What a wild sight!  The Frontier balances on Ocean’s Edge, with not quite enough movement left to take the plunge!

Frontier on Ocean's Edge waterfall

The hoist fleet is totally scattered by the invasion of the Cursed 10 masters.  The Buscador hides in the fog, with Mycron assisting the Sea Serpent to tow the Monarca into a smokepot specialist-created fog bank.  They roll to successfully scuttle the Peacock.

The Cursed want both ships, so the wrath of Davy Jones’ Delusion is not likely to be over soon.

The English native canoes explore the Giant Turtle!  Marines had no effect, and the canoes didn’t have enough individual cargo to load the Sunken Treasure.  However, it looked like a huge haul for the English Mercenaries if they could get it home.

The Elthelfleda and Gallows round earth to the southwest, where they see the Crew Recyclers trying to sail around the Giant Turtle….

The Eighth Wonder has docked at the Giant Turtle to load up the Sunken Treasure and some coins the canoes didn’t have room for!  Frederick Xernias will ensure the canoes get their gold home safely.

How confident should Xernias be?  Lots of firepower potentially headed his way….

To the east!

The Pluton and Renard team up to dismast the Muninn!  The Saber cannot quite into the action, but docks nearby at the French HI to be ready for combat next turn.

The Celtic Fury explores, giving her Power Cannons and Ammunition for exploding shot!  Of course, with no cannons she won’t be able to use the UT’s anytime soon.

Here I explain the situation and play part of the Jade Viking turn!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCuijI2u9oU

The loaded Baochuan becomes even more crowded, with multiple named crew captures and a coin joining the full crew complement.

Baochuan deckplate situation

The Muninn escapes sinking by rowing through the whirlpool, and the Asgard drains the Celtic Fury of coins!

As expected the Crew Recyclers clash with the English!

The Armada couldn’t quite get the SAT from Castro and Vaccaro (the 4 result), which likely spared the Gallows.  However, the two shots that connected knocked out half of the Gallows’ equipment arsenal along with two masts of course.

The Cristal attacks the Eighth Wonder by herself!  But Larkon Presyl is flipped to Parley away one of the EW’s new coins!  Between Parley, ignoring the first hit, and sheer durability, the EW is likely to be a very tough customer in this game.

The Crew Recycling fleet has completely split up, with the Flying Dutchman heading north to try and attack the English canoes.  A Fearsome Creature eyes some vulnerable prey to the east, while the Royal James reaches the Duke shipwreck.

The end of the round sees considerable carnage piling up.  Three 10 masters are absolutely wreaking havoc in the east.

eastern half of ocean

The west is more calm, but fights have begun to break out.

6x150: My 2019 Game of the Year

With the first shift, the wind started blowing to the east!

As usual, the Cursed got the round started with some action!

Davy Jones rolls a 6 to force the Sea Serpent and Monarca out of the fog bank!   This meant they couldn’t hide in the fog indefinitely with the smokepot-reverse captain strategy.  Davy Jones was ready to hunt….

The Cursed take advantage!  The Delusion captures the Peacock, while the Guichuan sails over (with some help from the wind) to dismast the Sea Serpent and steal all the gold from the Monarca with The Headhunter’s ability!  O_O

The Rum would slow down the Guichuan for a turn, but the Cursed had no immediate threats to worry about.

Cursed 10 masters dominant

The Maui’s Fishhook finds an interesting mix of coins after braving the waterfall:

Such a uniquely pretty ship with her silver crane reflecting off the water:

Maui's Fishhook

The MF went into a whirlpool and popped out of a nearby one.

The Sea Rat’s explorer fell overboard and drowned in the waterfall descent.  This allowed the Frontier to reach over and grab coins from the Sultan shipwreck right in front of the Cursed!  Jail would slow her down (helmsman and other crew back to HI), while the Curse of Davy Jones was tossed since it didn’t apply to any game pieces in play.  Keep in mind that the two coins are worth 75 total gold!

6x150: My 2019 Game of the Year

It’s a bit of a comeback turn for Golden Cranes, as all three hoists explore on the same turn!  The Buscador finds Necklace of the Sky along with some decent loot.

6x150: My 2019 Game of the Year

An extra action from Lord Mycron’s Patagonia allows the Frontier to explore a Flying Dutchman shipwreck with two more coins!

Frontier explores shipwreck

I love the aesthetic of Shipwreck Cove.  In the background you can see the English reaching the far side of the area.

Shipwreck Cove illuminated

Even with Xavier Gedry giving +1 to cannon rolls with gold aboard, the Eighth Wonder only goes 3 for 8 against the Cristal del Obispo!  The Spaniard’s ability allowed her to only lose 2 masts, meaning the Crew Recyclers were still in the fight against the junk.  Of course, Parley meant the Mercenaries could do pretty much whatever they wanted for the time being.

Here comes HMS Gallows!  In a highly anticipated attack, she did her job well.  Exploding shot set the Rosal aflame, while the second shot was VERY unique: stinkpot shot used against a flotilla.  O_O  Sounds like a once in a Pirates CSG career moment!  The Armada carried SAT with reroll, and the English wanted to ensure they wouldn’t be receiving 8 cargo-wrecking shots from the flotilla on the Crew Recyclers’ turn.  The stinkpot shut down the crew, limiting the flotilla’s effectiveness.  (orange 5 represents the stinkpot hit so I remember not to use the crew on their turn)

HMS Gallows attacks

One of my favorite pictures from the game – lots of red, orange, and yellow:

6x150: My 2019 Game of the Year ship aflame with combat action

The Elthelfleda attacked next, going 2 for 4 to cripple El Rosal:

TIME FOR CHAOS!

The Saber goes ballistic with a suicidal double switchblade assault!!

The Saber goes ballistic with a suicidal double switchblade assault!!

The Renard and Pluton tried to soften the Baochuan up a bit before the Saber’s crazy boarding attempt.  They took off a few masts.

The Saber goes ballistic with a suicidal double switchblade assault!!

The Saber shoots 3 for 3 against the Baochuan!!  However, both the Baochuan AND Asgard roll 6’s to defeat both of the Saber’s boarding parties!!  O_O  Commander Steven Decatur’s Crew Protect means the Saber doesn’t lose any crew, saving Jordan Dumas and company for the time being.  The boarding party against the Baochuan was especially dramatic and a battle of the Gold Capturers: the Baochuan narrowly prevailed 11-10 to deny Bonny Peel from capturing Dragon Eyes!!  (worth 10 gold!)

The Saber goes ballistic with a suicidal double switchblade assault!!

This is why you play!!  One 10 master dismasted, carnage everywhere, and a blaze of glory switchblade suicide against two powerful opponents, all in a cramped area at Ocean’s Edge!!!  😀   O_O
This is why you play!!  One 10 master dismasted, carnage everywhere, and a blaze of glory switchblade suicide against two powerful opponents, all in a cramped area at Ocean's Edge!!!  :D   O_O

This is a big reason why switchblades are one of my favorite ship types despite their lack of historicity – super fun and always creating incredible gameplay moments!

Seen from another angle, the Baochuan’s huge bulk almost completely obscures the attack.  Can anyone compete with the Baochuan’s power in this game?

Baochuan in battle

The French knew they were up against a superior foe once the Celtic Fury got beat up.  Jordan Dumas is known for being a bit crazy, and his wild side showed through in a desperate moment to try and stave off the Jade Viking invasion.

An incredible sight:

An incredible sight

A loaded up switchblade is one of the most fun ships to do a “blaze of glory” attack with.  Cannons, blades, extra actions, captures, and chaos!!

A loaded up switchblade is one of the most fun ships to do a "blaze of glory" attack with.  Cannons, blades, extra actions, captures, and chaos!!

GOODBYE FRENCH!!

In a savage counterattack, the Jade Vikings SINK the Celtic Fury AND the Saber!!!   3 masts combined are also knocked down on the Renard and Pluton.  The Naegling dealt huge damage, ensuring the incredible Saber combo would not hurt anyone else in this game.  It was a bit sad to see the switchblade and a 10 master go so early in the game, but it really proved the might of the Jade Vikings.

In a savage counterattack, the Jade Vikings SINK the Celtic Fury AND the Saber!!! 

The Baochuan got an AA to move and shoot, but could barely hit the Pluton, keeping her alive!  Some of the debris has floated over into the deckplate area, showing just how much devastation is quickly accumulating.

An amazing shot: the Celtic Fury’s green stern upside down as she sinks below the waves, with the Jade Vikings triumphant right near the French home island.

An amazing shot: the Celtic Fury's green stern upside down as she sinks below the waves, with the Jade Vikings triumphant right near the French home island.

Wow.  Time for another fleet!

The Royal James explores the Duke shipwreck!  Turtles and Relics are two of the best UT’s, but the schooner may find a hard time giving Enemy of the State to an ally to unload one of the 2’s.  There are almost no open cargo spaces in the Crew Recycling fleet, and the Flying Dutchman needs to keep her Eternal active.

The Royal James explores the Duke shipwreck!  Turtles and Relics are two of the best UT's, but the schooner may find a hard time giving Enemy of the State to an ally to unload one of the 2's.  There are almost no open cargo spaces in the Crew Recycling fleet, and the Flying Dutchman needs to keep her Eternal active.

The flames aboard El Rosal spread towards the bow, dooming the vessel.  Alfonzo de Castilla takes the ship into the Gallows, but to no avail. (notice the unrealistic reflective “canvas” sail XD)

The Armada flotilla takes two masts and two crew off the Elthelfleda.  At least one was snagged by the Crew Recyclers (Captain Davy Jones and Wraith).

The Cristal del Obispo tries to fire at the Eighth Wonder, netting her fleet another coin via Parley.  The Flying Dutchman cannot catch the English native canoes and turns east with the wind.

The Cristal del Obispo tries to fire at the Eighth Wonder, netting her fleet another coin via Parley.  The Flying Dutchman cannot catch the English native canoes and turns east with the wind.

After another round, here is the map:

6x150: My 2019 Game of the Year 6x150: My 2019 Game of the Year

The Delusion captures the Sea Serpent and begins towing her away.  Davy Jones thought about turning the ship ghostly to assault the Descharges (top of picture), but it would be risky and unnecessary.

The Delusion captures the Sea Serpent and begins towing her away.  Davy Jones thought about turning the ship ghostly to assault the Descharges (top of picture), but it would be risky and unnecessary.

The Rattlesnake of the Golden Cranes fleet finds some nice coins by the waterfall.  Trees repairs her missing mast, but she looks to be in trouble… the Crew Recyclers are approaching.

The Rattlesnake of the Golden Cranes fleet finds some nice coins by the waterfall.  Trees repairs her missing mast, but she looks to be in trouble... the Crew Recyclers are approaching.

The Maui’s Fishhook raids the home island of the Crew Recyclers!  Grim the Savage only has room for one coin, but the Golden Cranes fleet is desperate for anything with their fleet trashed and scattered.

The Maui's Fishhook raids the home island of the Crew Recyclers!  Grim the Savage only has room for one coin, but the Golden Cranes fleet is desperate for anything with their fleet trashed and scattered.

The Buscador uses Necklace of the Sky to dock at the southwestern island!  She used the second part of the Hoist ability to explore the island, finding good coins.  Lost was ineffective even with a 5 roll, because almost all parts of the map were within S of other islands and terrain, including all of the 10 master locations at the time of the UT discovery.  Golden Cranes placed a fog bank near their HI and some reefs in the east, trying to make the waterfall and Cursed HI waters more treacherous.

The Buscador uses Necklace of the Sky to dock at the southwestern island!  She used the second part of the Hoist ability to explore the island, finding good coins.

The King’s Ghost finds some UT’s at Shipwreck Cove, while HMS Ramsgate looks to explore it next turn.  The abandoned shipwright might be a target of The Cursed if the Delusion ever needs it….

The King's Ghost finds some UT's at Shipwreck Cove, while HMS Ramsgate looks to explore it next turn.  The abandoned shipwright might be a target of The Cursed if the Delusion ever needs it....

Now able to ignore the burning Rosal, the English 4 masters team up to sink the dangerous Armada.  The English are mildly annoyed that the Buscador took gold from the great turtle that they had planned to explore before the Crew Recyclers forced their hand.

Now able to ignore the burning Rosal, the English 4 masters team up to sink the dangerous Armada.  The English are mildly annoyed that the Buscador took gold from the great turtle that they had planned to explore before the Crew Recyclers forced their hand.

After some weird back and forth (Parley and bad shooting), the Eighth Wonder finally gets the better of the Cristal del Obispo.

After some weird back and forth (Parley and bad shooting), the Eighth Wonder finally gets the better of the Cristal del Obispo.

The Pluton and Renard were able to row into the eastern whirlpool to escape the Jade Vikings’ wrath.  However, the Descharges was captured in a nice move by the Asgard!  This brings Neptune’s Trident into the Jade Viking fleet, making them even more dangerous.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpRz-hPtMYQ

 

A Fearsome Creature surrounds the Rattlesnake!

A Fearsome Creature surrounds the Rattlesnake!

The Crew Recyclers have a plan to get some gold – the Flying Dutchman will cut off the Frontier before she can enter the whirlpool.  The Frontier is slowed and loaded – she lost her helmsman to the Jail UT but now has plenty of gold aboard.

The Crew Recyclers have a plan - the Flying Dutchman will cut off the Frontier before she can enter the whirlpool.  The Frontier is slowed and loaded - she lost her helmsman to the Jail UT but now has plenty of gold aboard.

Really love everything about this picture.

Pirates CSG game 2019

As usual, Golden Cranes faces yet more trouble, this time from the Crew Recyclers:

As usual, Golden Cranes faces yet more trouble, this time from the Crew Recyclers

A dramatic shift in the wind!!  A 6 was rolled and now the wind blew west!

A dramatic shift in the wind!!  A 6 was rolled and now the wind blew west!

The wind shift changes the plans of the Cursed!!  The Crew Recyclers aren’t the only fleet with designs on the Frontier!  She is a golden egg just waiting to be snatched!  XD

The wind shift changes the plans of the Cursed!!  The Crew Recyclers aren't the only fleet with designs on the Frontier!  She is a golden egg just waiting to be snatched!  XD

Here comes the Delusion!

Here comes the Delusion!

The captured crew of the Sea Serpent (including Wayne Nolan) get a wild view as the Delusion ghosts through a reef and down the waterfall!  O_O

The captured crew of the Sea Serpent (including Wayne Nolan) get a wild view as the Delusion ghosts through a reef and down the waterfall!  O_O

How fitting – Davy Jones goes over the Ocean’s Edge!  😀

How fitting - Davy Jones goes over the Ocean's Edge!  :D 

Sir Edmund’s view from the main topmast of the Guichuan:

Sir Edmund's view from the main topmast of the Guichuan

And here she is!  In an epic display of power, the Delusion dismasts the Frontier, with Christian Fiore cancelling the ship’s Secret Hold ability to steal Poseidon’s Breath!!

And here she is!  In an epic display of power, the Delusion dismasts the Frontier, with Christian Fiore cancelling the ship's Secret Hold ability to steal Poseidon's Breath!!

The truly All-Powerful Davy Jones and his ship will likely throw a wrench into the Crew Recyclers’ plans.

The truly All-Powerful Davy Jones and his ship will likely throw a wrench into the Crew Recyclers' plans.

The shift in the wind also benefits the Golden Cranes fleet – the MF gets home via a whirlpool and Mycron.

The shift in the wind also benefits the Golden Cranes fleet - the MF gets home via a whirlpool and Mycron.

Another vulnerable hoist!  The Buscador is dismasted by the English!

Another vulnerable hoist!  The Buscador is dismasted by the English!

HMS Ramsgate finds two UT’s at the northern end of Shipwreck Cove.  I decided to toss Bad Maps because moving Shipwreck Cove didn’t make much sense thematically (not an island) or logistically (moving it 2L would cause bizarre over and underlaps and more issues than I had time for).

HMS Ramsgate finds two UT's at the northern end of Shipwreck Cove.  I decided to toss Bad Maps because moving Shipwreck Cove didn't make much sense thematically (not an island) or logistically (moving it 2L would cause bizarre over and underlaps and more issues than I had time for).

The Eighth Wonder captures the Cristal del Obispo!  The native canoes have deposited their 5 coins and head north.

The Eighth Wonder captures the Cristal del Obispo!  The native canoes have deposited their 5 coins and head north.

Tension rises in the center!  The Frontier gets a successful scuttle roll from the Golden Cranes fleet.  Even though she’ll almost definitely be captured before it happens next turn, it still creates some urgency for the fleets vying for her riches.  The Royal James captures the Sea Rat from the Cursed and the Flying Dutchman turns towards the Delusion.

Tension rises in the center!  The Frontier gets a successful scuttle roll from the Golden Cranes fleet.  Even though she'll almost definitely be captured before it happens next turn, it still creates some urgency for the fleets vying for her riches.  The Royal James captures the Sea Rat from the Cursed and the Flying Dutchman turns towards the Delusion.

Potions and Brews couldn’t save the Rattlesnake from A Fearsome Creature’s wrath!

Potions and Brews couldn't save the Rattlesnake from A Fearsome Creature's wrath!

Another shift in the wind, as a 4 brought it back to its original heading!

wind shifts north

The Delusion struts her stuff again.  Here she snags the Frontier and dismasts the Flying Dutchman, as OE Davy Jones takes out his movie doppelganger.

The Delusion struts her stuff again.  Here she snags the Frontier and dismasts the Flying Dutchman, as OE Davy Jones takes out his movie doppelganger.

Finally a game where the Delusion can really shine!  She seems unstoppable!

Pirates CSG gameplay

And the other Cursed 10 master is still healthy!  Finally fully recovered from the Rum, the Guichuan’s large crew complement is doing a good job towing the potentially valuable Monarca back home.

And the other Cursed 10 master is still healthy!  Finally fully recovered from the Rum, the Guichuan's large crew complement is doing a good job towing the potentially valuable Monarca back home.

The Maui’s Fishhook recaptures the Peacock for Golden Cranes, while the French and Jade Vikings regroup and repair.

The Maui's Fishhook recaptures the Peacock for Golden Cranes, while the French and Jade Vikings regroup and repair.

Christian Fiore is the only canceller in play, and unsurprisingly got to make some tough decisions in this game.  Here he deferred cancelling the FD’s oarsman, allowing her to move away so he could cancel the Royal James’ captain to prevent any damage to the Delusion and her crew.  (RJ has cargo wrecking via Chevalle AND crew killing, so 2 hits could eliminate 2 masts and 3 crew)  Especially with the kraken lurking, it was still an intriguing situation.  It would be interesting to see if the Delusion could recapture the Sea Rat and capture the FD while simultaneously denying the RJ and kraken.

Delusion 10 master in action with Christian Fiore

The action after a day of play.  The Buscador has been captured, furthering the expansion of the English Mercenary fleet.  The English native canoes have round earthed to the south, looking to cut off the Turtles swimming home for the Crew Recyclers.

The action after a day of play.  The Buscador has been captured, furthering the expansion of the English Mercenary fleet.  The English native canoes have round earthed to the south, looking to cut off the Turtles swimming home for the Crew Recyclers.

The east is quiet now, but the sheer volume of HI raiders and gold still in play will likely end that soon.

The east is quiet now, but the sheer volume of HI raiders and gold still in play will likely end that soon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ekXTq7F61c

Another shift in the wind!

Another shift in the wind!

Game video of Cursed turn!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zqHavMNQ8k

The MF grabbed the last coin from the tiny beach of the 5 beach island, heading home with the Peacock in tow.

The MF grabbed the last coin from the tiny beach of the 5 beach island, heading home with the Peacock in tow.

The Eighth Wonder unloaded a coin with Dories, passing the captured Cristal to the King’s Ghost so she could be towed home and repaired.  The Gallows is towing the Buscador home. (didn’t want to leave her in the south and forget)

The Baochuan unloads her gold captures and a coin, with the Asgard close behind.  The Naegling is towing the Descharges home, while the Muninn goes out to grab a derelict or two from the Golden Cranes fleet.

Jade Vikings fleet operations

Game video: big Cursed turn and aftermath!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjY-K0o2W-c

A big party for the English Mercenaries!  Nearly their entire fleet converges at home in a coincidence I see as fairly common in games.  The Elthelfleda and Ramsgate will transfer Necklace of the Sky and Protection from Davy Jones to the Eighth Wonder, making her a huge teleportation threat.  The Spanish captures start repairing and this fleet is definitely one of the favorites to win right now!

A big party for the English Mercenaries!  Nearly their entire fleet converges at home in a coincidence I see as fairly common in games.  The Elthelfleda and Ramsgate will transfer Necklace of the Sky and Protection from Davy Jones to the Eighth Wonder, making her a huge teleportation threat.  The Spanish captures start repairing and this fleet is definitely one of the favorites to win right now!

The native canoes get busy, killing three turtles and trapping them before they can reach their new home island!

The native canoes get busy, killing three turtles and trapping them before they can reach their new home island!

Save the wee turtles?  The Crew Recyclers will not be able to….

turtles dying in water

However, they are able to frustrate The Cursed a bit.  The Sea Rat is sunk by A Fearsome Creature.  The Royal James goes over a reef, trying to wreck the Frontier to force the Delusion to brave a reef to get her gold!  However, the attempt barely fails with a 3 roll.

Game video: overview of first 2 rounds of the day

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8i91np7ZiQ

Yet another wind shift and it’s back to blowing northwards!

Yet another wind shift and it's back to blowing northwards!

The Cursed were not able to have their ideal solution to the Crew Recycler problem, but the Delusion blasted A Fearsome Creature out of the game on 7 for 8 shooting (!) and successfully rolled to scuttle the Flying Dutchman.

The Cursed were not able to have their ideal solution to the Crew Recycler problem, but the Delusion blasted A Fearsome Creature out of the game on 7 for 8 shooting (!) and successfully rolled to scuttle the Flying Dutchman.

Although her first shoot action was one of my best ever while using a 10 master (and the POLAR opposite of my Delusion’s early failures back in 2012), the Delusion couldn’t keep the luck going.  She went 1/6 against the Royal James to not even dismast the ship.  Still 8/14 overall on the turn was still more accurate than her cannon ranks (3’s and 4’s).  Ibrahan Ozat S-boarded the RJ so Captain Nemo could capture Capitaine Chevalle.

Although her first shoot action was one of my best ever while using a 10 master (and the POLAR opposite of my Delusion's early failures back in 2012), the Delusion couldn't keep the luck going.  She went 1/6 against the Royal James to not even dismast the ship.  Still 8/14 overall on the turn was still more accurate than her cannon ranks (3's and 4's).  Ibrahan Ozat S-boarded the RJ so Captain Nemo could capture Capitaine Chevalle.

Wizkids Pirates game in progress, game being played

The Guichuan strikes!  She round earths to dock at the Golden Cranes HI, stealing all of their coins!

Guichuan

The MF would like to dock home her coins, but she knows that Grim the Savage will just steal them next turn!  And Bianco’s Haulers allow the Guichuan to not be shot at while docked, so the Guichuan can just sit there as long as The Headhunter wants!  Truly a nightmarish combo to face!

The MF would like to dock home her coins, but she knows that Grim the Savage will just steal them next turn!  And Bianco's Haulers allow the Guichuan to not be shot at while docked, so the Guichuan can just sit there as long as The Headhunter wants!  Truly a nightmarish combo to face!

English Mercenaries in a big gearing up phase:

The poor turtles have no hope against 5 fast canoes….

The poor turtles have no hope against 5 fast canoes....

In the east, plenty of movement and repairing.  The Muninn captures the Sea Serpent, who had been previously captured by The Cursed.

In the east, plenty of movement and repairing.  The Muninn captures the Sea Serpent, who had been previously captured by The Cursed.

The wind continues to shift just about every turn, going back to the west now!

The Delusion finally puts an end to the shenanigans in the center, ghosting over Shipwreck Cove and cancelling the RJ’s oarsman to capture the vessel.  Crew Recycling 2.0 is the first fleet eliminated!!

The Delusion finally puts an end to the shenanigans in the center, ghosting over Shipwreck Cove and cancelling the RJ's oarsman to capture the vessel.  Crew Recycling 2.0 is the first fleet eliminated!!

The Monarca is taking advantage of the wind and goes over the falls.  The Cursed want her to tow the Frontier home on the last leg of the trip, since the Delusion can’t dock with her Ex-Patriot crew aboard.

La Monarca

With the Maui’s Fishhook simply hiding out in the fog, the Guichuan finally turns for home.  The Headhunter plans to return soon if the MF dumps her haul.  In the background, you can see the Flying Dutchman start repairing.

Guichuan turns south

All the turtles are gone, and it’s possible that the Crew Recyclers will finish with a total grand score of 0.  The clustered English Mercenaries may be able to create some serious late game chaos, but they’re worried they might lose a potential lead in the points+gold race if any of their large ships get captured.

6x150: My 2019 Game of the Year

The French have mounted an admirable comeback.  The Renard finds high value coins at the 5 beach island that the Pluton intended to explore early in the game.

The French have mounted an admirable comeback.  The Renard finds high value coins at the 5 beach island that the Pluton intended to explore early in the game.

The Asgard explores another beach on the island, finding a lot of gold as well:

Asgard explores

Here we go again!  The Vikings just won’t take it easy on the French, with the Naegling dismasting the Pluton right after she finished repairing!

Naegling dismasts Le Pluton

The 6 signals a dramatic shift in the wind!

wind shifts east!

With an AA and wind help, the Asgard and Baochuan were able to get all 5 coins from the southeastern beach, potentially catapulting them into the lead.  In the northwest, the English Mercenaries look to be assembling a large squadron for a potentially wild whirlpool raid.  The Cursed are still trying to get the Frontier home, and should soon have a healthy Flying Dutchman to join the Guichuan and Delusion.  Right now it looks like a tossup between The Cursed, English Mercenaries, and Jade Vikings.  Neither of the other two remaining fleets have much of a chance, though their gold may play a big role in the final standings, especially if it gets stolen.  The amount of HI raiders in play (Grim the Savage x2, Jozeran Danklidge, Wine) could extend the endgame period considerably, or the game could end suddenly if all gold is on HI’s at any point.

full map picture - 6x150: My 2019 Game of the Year

Game video: overview of Day 2!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxhkpT-jlzs

The wind continues to shift, now blowing to the south!

The wind continues to shift, now blowing to the south!

Seeing that the King’s Ghost (with Gibraltar flotilla) will catch the Monarca if the latter takes over towing duties of the Frontier, Davy Jones simply uses an extra action to take the Frontier home himself.  The Delusion’s second action of the turn was used to S-board the Renard, with Captain Nemo stealing her captain.  The 1 result represents French futility on their own turn later in the round – the Renard missed on both 2S shots.  The Guichuan has unloaded stolen loot from the Golden Cranes HI.

Cursed operations

The English Mercenaries get a bit more aggressive, sinking the captured Royal James to deny her points and gold from The Cursed.  At this point in the game, sinking hard-to-capture ships or logistical nightmares (RJ had oarsman and Enemy of the State aboard) became a reasonable option to pursue.  The Monarca and Ramsgate both want the final coin from the Duke shipwreck.

The English Mercenaries get a bit more aggressive, sinking the captured Royal James to deny her points and gold from The Cursed.  At this point in the game, sinking hard-to-capture ships or logistical nightmares (RJ had oarsman and Enemy of the State aboard) became a reasonable option to pursue.  The Monarca and Ramsgate both want the final coin from the Duke shipwreck.

The Eighth Wonder uses Danklidge to steal the lone coin on the Crew Recyclers’ HI!  This means that fleet will indeed finish the game with a score of 0.

The ever-growing Jade Viking fleet is the complete opposite – lots of points and lots of gold.  The Sea Serpent begins repairing as the Peacock is towed home and the Descharges sails out – all captured ships.  Grabbing the Sea Serpent netted them 5 gold – the JV’s are happy to have Wayne Nolan’s Ransom payout of 5 rather than a reroller worth 0 in the final scores count.

Lady Kamaile (aboard the MF) of Golden Cranes hardly knows what to do – if Grim the Savage steals Cursed gold, the Guichuan can just steal it back.  If they go after the Jade Vikings’ gold, the MF will probably be captured or sunk before she can get back home.

Another round begins, and the wind is back to blowing east!

Another round begins, and the wind is back to blowing east!

The Cursed are doing some serious transfers of valuables.  Knowing the King’s Ghost and Gibraltar would make short work of her, the Monarca returns home to tow the Frontier to safety.

Everything is being moved to the Guichuan due to her important status as the home island hoarder and the ship that could net the Cursed a bunch more gold in a short period of time.  Besides, it seemed as if some of them were overkill on the other ships – Neptune’s Figurehead isn’t needed on the Frontier and won’t work on the Delusion due to Ex-Patriot, while the Delusion also gave away Relics because she has canceller Christian Fiore.  Between all the stuff she’s carrying the Guichuan is nearly unshootable (Relics and Bianco’s Haulers), unsinkable (Neptune’s Figurehead), and unboardable (Ghost Ship).  With a favorable wind, AA’s and Poseidon’s Breath, she might even be uncatchable too!  O_O

Guichuan ship deckplate is loaded

Here’s something I forgot about since the setup phase!  The Maui’s Fishhook rolled a 1 coming out of the fog, smashing into a rock to lose and mast and stay lose in the fog!  XD

Unbelievable!!  Lord Mycron gives the MF another action, but she rolls a 1 again to smash into the same rock and lose another mast!  O_O  After all the misfortune that befell the Golden Cranes fleet in this game, this seems like icing on the cake for their opponents.  They are literally just beating themselves up at this point!

(Also reminds me of the Black Mamba’s horrid performance in my 2015 Economy Edition game where she rolled 1’s to dismast herself with her ability – here the MF cannot even roll a 2-6 to escape a simple fog bank, nearly getting dismasted in the process.)

The King’s Ghost with Gibraltar has been a loyal sidekick for the Ramsgate in this game.  Having chased off La Monarca, they can now explore the Duke shipwreck in peace.

The King's Ghost with Gibraltar has been a loyal sidekick for the Ramsgate in this game.  Having chased off La Monarca, they can now explore the Duke shipwreck in peace.

All four of these ships (not the 10) have gone from damaged to healthy!  The English Mercenaries are ready to rock, but they are understandably hesitant due to the factors at play.  Since points in play matter so much to the final score, they don’t want to lose anything in a daring whirlpool raid.  In addition, the other fleets with the most gold (Cursed and Jade Vikings) have plenty of firepower of their own, with plenty of it right around their HI’s.

The Jade Vikings are approaching one of the ultimate luxuries in any Pirates CSG game – having more ships than they know what to do with.  The Descharges and Baochuan are headed north, looking to take the final 2 coins from the 5 beach island.  The only question is whether they’ll take them from the beach, the Renard, or another ship….

Taking advantage of the shifting wind, the Muninn round earths to the west and eliminates 4 of the 5 English native canoes!  In a weird way this wasn’t a big deal.  The canoes’ point cost of 12 is represented by the tribal chieftain, who is alive and well on the Elthelfleda.  There is almost no gold left in play for the canoes to get, and their ability is unlikely to have much effect with a (currently) completely healthy fleet.  However, the Jade Vikings wanted to eliminate as many threats and contingencies as possible, and the canoes were ripe for destruction.

Taking advantage of the shifting wind, the Muninn round earths to the west and eliminates 4 of the 5 English native canoes!

A 6 reverses the wind direction!  This would be an ominous sign, and one of extreme luck for one of the favorites….

A 6 reverses the wind direction!  This would be an ominous sign, and one of extreme luck for one of the favorites....

A nice turn for The Cursed!  The Delusion S boards the Renard to steal her oarsman with Captain Nemo, then sinks her!  The Monarca docks home the Frontier with an AA, netting the Cursed a lot of gold!  The Flying Dutchman finishes repairing, and the Guichuan heads north to raid the Golden Cranes HI and take back the gold that the MF stole.

Cursed big turn

I will admit my Delusion setup has some funny flaws – with Davy Jones rolling 1-4 so often for an extra action, Fantasma doesn’t even need to sacrifice Nemo’s captures that often.

Delusion deckplate with crew - Pirates CSG

The Ramsgate braves the reef that claimed the Duke, while the Eighth Wonder turns around and uses Dories to deposit the 2 from the Crew Recyclers’ HI.  The final canoe flees into the fog, but where have some of those large ships in the northwest gone?

Through a whirlpool to emerge in a northeast!  The captured Spanish ships are sent to steal gold from the vulnerable French home island, as the English Mercenaries suddenly remembered that HI raider Fernando Sanchez was still aboard the Buscador!

whirlpool arrival

The English Mercenaries were trying to hedge their bets, sending a few ships to a relatively peaceful area to grab some lightly defended gold without risking their entire squadron.  If things went wrong, the Gallows, Elthelfleda, AND Eighth Wonder were ready to arrive in the same area next turn.  This part of the game is where the EM’s lack of extra actions and/or AA’s started to look like a weakness compared to the Cursed and Jade Vikings.

The English Mercenaries were trying to hedge their bets, sending a few ships to a relatively peaceful area to grab some lightly defended gold without risking their entire squadron.  If things went wrong, the Gallows, Elthelfleda, AND Eighth Wonder were ready to arrive in the same area next turn.  This part of the game is where the EM's lack of extra actions and/or AA's started to look like a weakness compared to the Cursed and Jade Vikings.

Now it was the Jade Viking turn.  That 6 represents that they got BOTH AA’s, from Sigurd and Zheng He.  O_O   I also see a little something in the bottom right hand corner…. and the wind was blowing west.  O_O

AA rolls successful

I must have been thinking about their options and possibilities for a good 15 minutes before deciding what their optimal choice was!

Here are the notes I took to figure things out, although I considered even more stuff than this:

Epic JV turn w/ both AA’s: Baochuan and others have TONS of options. Baochuan can attack Delusion and then try to Sac OR use an AA – either way, Delusion in big trouble. Fiore has no idea who/what to cancel – Captain (won’t get shot up as much on the first action), Gold Capture (save Davy Jones from being captured by Dragon Eyes), Sac (JV’s would need to use an AA on Baochuan). Should probably cancel captain because Delusion will sink since Eternal doesn’t work with the Ex-Patriots aboard.

Baochuan can also whirl to smash EM’s in the northwest, but not enough firepower in one action to cripple the Eighth Wonder enough to make it worthwhile. Can also whirl to hit Cristal+Buscador, but that could let the Delusion off the hook (though Descharges can hit Delusion a little with an AA).

In the end, it seems optimal to focus all firepower on one area – Baochuan leads the attack on the Delusion and uses Neptune’s Trident with the inevitable second action, whether it comes from Sac or an AA. Muninn gets an AA to whirl to the northeast and blast Buscador. Descharges assists the Baochuan against the Delusion.

And off I went!  XD

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HENPzksgSbM

When it was all said and done, the Delusion and Cristal del Obispo each had one mast remaining.  Davy Jones was captured by Dragon Eyes (talk about a showdown!), and the Buscador was sunk (28 points out of play!).

When it was all said and done, the Delusion and Cristal del Obispo each had one mast remaining.  Davy Jones was captured by Dragon Eyes (talk about a showdown!), and the Buscador was sunk (28 points out of play!).

The second 10 master to be absolutely mauled by the Jade Vikings in this game!

Suddenly the game has changed.  The Delusion has gone from being one of the biggest threats with All-Powerful and a canceller, to a wimpy opponent that must run to avoid being sunk.  The English Mercenaries suffer a large blow, and their arguably half-hearted offensive has backfired.  The Jade Vikings already looked like a favorite – now it will be embarrassing if they lose!

The JV’s are also doing a fine job with captures.

Counting the Buscador, the Jade Vikings knocked out 14 masts this turn, even with mediocre shooting.  If the Delusion and Cristal had been sunk as well with 4 more total hits, the game would probably be out of reach for the other fleets.

Always an epic sight full of carnage as a 10 master meets her match.

Delusion with masts toppled over the side

Can the Cursed recover to have a chance at winning?

The Jade Vikings have really been incredible this game, and now the Cursed and English Mercenaries are even more intimidated by them.

Time to flee!  Saccing the Renard’s oarsman, Fantasma turns the Delusion ghostly and takes advantage of the wind (still blowing west) to reach the fog bank near the Cursed home island.

Time to flee!

The Guichuan still round earths to approach the Golden Cranes HI – the Cursed want to pull off at least one more heist before the game ends, especially since the gold they’re eyeing was theirs.  The MF pulls in to dock and repair – Bianco’s Haulers prevents the Guichuan from being shot at while docked.  This means the MF basically can’t defend her gold, which is a horrible feeling for Lady Kamaile as she is forced to watch the Cursed take everything and get away with it.  Such a brutal combo.

The English Mercenaries are feeling more timid than ever, like a shamed dog with its tail between its legs.  The Gallows and Elthelfleda get on either side of the damaged Cristal so she can make it home to repair.  Frederick Xernias considers the locations and risks of one more HI raid….

And now the Jade Vikings officially have more ships than they feel they need.  The Peacock finishes repairing as the Asgard stands guard (Asguardian?  as guardian…) over their HI.  The Naegling heads west, unsure if she will try to intervene near the Golden Cranes HI, take the whirlpool somewhere, or neither.

The Cursed hold steady at their HI, with the Monarca and Flying Dutchman not receiving actions.  If they sail out, the Baochuan may be able to move L+S+S+L+S+S between the wind and a Sac action.  They also want to be ready to assist the Guichuan in case she needs support getting home with stolen loot.  The Frontier repairs, while the Delusion just hides in the fog.  The Cursed may keep the Delusion in the fog indefinitely because they want all of her points to count towards victory.  (if she had any gold aboard, she’d be forced out)

The Pluton is keeping the French fleet alive.  Both Leander Arnaud and Godiva both simply feel lucky to have avoided the blast from Neptune’s Trident.

The Descharges looks to explore the final gold location for the JV’s.  The Sea Serpent is coming out to escort her home, having nothing better to do.  Dragon Eyes wants to drop the captured Davy Jones off at home before the Baochuan potentially gets involved in a major attack to seal their victory.

The Ramsgate has taken the final coin from the Duke, which draws the attention of the Muninn – she is back in the west.

overhead shot of map

As Day 3 came to a close, I wondered… Should Guichuan raid HI of Golden Cranes or try for the JV HI? (especially considering Relics and Poseidon’s Breath)  The latter would be insanely risky, but the UT’s could help the Guichuan achieve glory….

 

Day 4 Begins with Amazement!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJ5ai05FEsg

With that, the Guichuan has all NINE of her cargo spaces filled with treasure!  O_O

The captured Descharges loads the final coins from a beach!  Now the Jade Vikings control both Rules of Thor AND Loki!

The captured Descharges loads the final coins from a beach!  Now the Jade Vikings control both Rules of Thor AND Loki!

The Naegling catches the Flying Dutchman sailing off the Cursed home island and deals major damage!

The Naegling catches the Flying Dutchman sailing off the Cursed home island and deals major damage!

The Sea Serpent and Baochuan head for home, while the Asgard and Peacock look to track and intercept the Guichuan on her potentially short journey home via round earth.  The Asgard’s crew are beyond frustrated – imagine having a 10 master docked in your home port that is loaded with gold they stole from you, and you can’t shoot at it!!

But they should have stayed home!!  The Guichuan gets going, turning ghostly and then blasting the Asgard and Peacock!!  The loss of the Asgard is a big blow to the Jade Vikings, who lose an AA, 32 points, and a capable gunship.

But they should have stayed home!!  The Guichuan gets going, turning ghostly and then blasting the Asgard and Peacock!

The Flying Dutchman returns home to repair, shooting a mast off the Naegling, who is joined in the blockade by the Muninn.  The Frontier and Monarca are standing pat, awaiting the arrival of the Guichuan and trying not to be captured or sunk.

Seeing an opportunity to cause a headache for the Cursed, the Muninn uses an AA to round earth, tow the Peacock (partially trying to block the Guichuan, although the latter has Ghost Ship), and shoot at the Guichuan to get her Relics!  This leaves the Guichuan “wide open”….

Here they come again!  The Baochuan surges through a whirlpool and round earths with Sac to come broadside to the Guichuan!!

Here they come again!  The Baochuan surges through a whirlpool and round earths with Sac to come broadside to the Guichuan!!

The Baochuan connects 6 times, taking the Guichuan down to 3 masts!!

The Baochuan connects 6 times, taking the Guichuan down to 3 masts!!

The red d6 is to mark that the Guichuan’s broken mast towards the stern is out as well.

Guichuan under fire

The first two 10 masters released are duking it out on Ocean’s Edge:

10 masted junk sea battle at Ocean's Edge

Knowing that an AA and/or southerly wind could be combined with Ghost Ship to get the Guichuan nearly home, the Jade Vikings have taken the fight right to them.  They intend to beat up and block the Guichuan as much as possible in an attempt to get their gold back.  The problem is, The Headhunter is holding on to Neptune’s Figurehead – the UT makes him fearless.  If the Jade Vikings sink the Guichuan, a ton of JV gold goes to the sea bottom while the Guichuan simply returns to her HI fully docked.

Le Pluton has sailed out to attack Le Descharges, as the French try to get a few more coins.  However, a tied boarding party means Leander Arnaud can’t hoard any gold.

Complicating matters for The Cursed is the Maui’s Fishhook – with HI Hoarder Grim the Savage still alive and well, the MF poses a serious threat to the Cursed gold pile.  It feels like there are a lot of different ways this endgame could go….

The Guichuan must escape!  The Headhunter and Sammy the Skull turn her ghostly and hide in a fog bank, which is nearly due north of the Cursed HI.  Fear will slightly slow the Baochuan on her turn.

The Cursed must stop the MF from raiding their HI again!  The FD slams into her, but cannot massacre the crew.  The Frontier redocks in an attempt to block the MF’s path to docking.  The Delusion is nearly frozen – if she exits the fog even for one turn, multiple fleets are likely to do everything they can to sink her, which won’t be so difficult without Relics and the 7-9 extra masts she had earlier.

The English Mercenaries have been a bit of a “dark horse” winner candidate for a while now – here the Ramsgate unloads the coin from the Duke shipwreck (the last “wild” coin west of the waterfall) as the Cristal repairs.

The English Mercenaries have been a bit of a "dark horse" winner candidate for a while now - here the Ramsgate unloads the coin from the Duke shipwreck (the last "wild" coin west of the waterfall) as the Cristal repairs.

Their other ships arrive in the northeast!  The Eighth Wonder has Protection from Davy Jones to avoid whirlpool damage, while both English 4 masters roll high to avoid penalties.  The English Mercenaries are hoping to seize this opportunity to raid at least one of the eastern HI’s (likely French, maybe Jade Viking) without getting into too much trouble as the Cursed and JV’s fight like mad just to the west.

ships arrive via whirlpool

The Pluton S-boards the Descharges before sinking her, netting Leander Arnaud and the French a 4 and Runes of Thor!  This gives the French some revenge against the JV’s, denying them a capture and her 22 points of value.

Only one French ship still floating… she has done a fine job getting back into action after multiple maulings.

A bizarre change of heart!  Showing the ever-changing nature of this game, the Jade Vikings send the captured Sea Serpent into a fog bank with her smokepot specialist-reverse captain combo, trying to block the English Mercenaries from messing with the Pluton!  The JV’s are in fierce competition with both the Cursed AND the EM’s in this endgame.  Giving the EM’s an easy capture and extra gold is not going to help the JV’s have the highest score in the end.

Dragon Eyes unloads a valuable capture – Davy Jones.  An AA gets the Baochuan right back out towards teh action.

Much jockeying for position:

A dramatic turn of events as the wind shifts 180 degrees to the east!

The English Mercenaries have been a bit of a "dark horse" winner candidate for a while now - here the Ramsgate unloads the coin from the Duke shipwreck (the last "wild" coin west of the waterfall) as the Cristal repairs.

The Guichuan also rolls a 6 to emerge from her fog bank!  She turns ghostly…

… and joins the Delusion in the fog bank just off the Cursed home island!

Captain Davy Jones of the Flying Dutchman scares the crew aboard the Naegling, which will slow her this round.  Then the FD again tries to kill the MF’s crew, but fails once more.  The Frontier manages to knock a mast off the MF.

The situation has become an emergency for the Cursed.  If the MF steals some coins from the Cursed HI, she has a combination of Secret Hold and nearby whirlpools and fog banks aiding her.  In addition, the nearby JV’s could capture or sink her, making it difficult or impossible to get the gold back.  El Fantasma decides he must act, taking the Delusion out of the fog at last and straight for the Maui’s Fishhook!  The boarding party is an epic fail as one shot misses and Ibrahan Ozat and Sir Edmund are killed!!  O_O  (Eddie was sacced to no avail)

In an even more embarrassing display of utter futility, the MF rolls two 1’s in a row on 2L shots against the Delusion!  (Mycron giving a second action)  Christian Fiore cancelled Grim the Savage, or else the MF would have raided the HI.

shots miss

I finally use the ability of the English native canoe!  She gets a 6 to help the Cristal repair faster.

I finally use the ability of the English native canoe!  She gets a 6 to help the Cristal repair faster.

The Eighth Wonder steals a coin from the French home island right before the Pluton unloads some more gold!

The Eighth Wonder steals a coin from the French home island right before the Pluton unloads some more gold!

The Jade Vikings are starting to encircle the Cursed home island… although they are slowed by the wind shift, they are determined to get revenge on the Guichuan and possibly even capture the MF after she loads Cursed gold.

The Guichuan gets a 5 out of her fog bank and wants to unload her HUGE haul ASAP!  The FD simply rows out of the way, ducking into the fog bank to avoid being an obstacle.

The Guichuan gets a 5 out of her fog bank and wants to unload her HUGE haul ASAP!  The FD simply rows out of the way, ducking into the fog bank to avoid being an obstacle.

She cannot make it through!  With the fog bank on her port side and the starboard bow clipping the MF’s stern flag, the Guichuan is stuck!  Activating Ghost Ship will prevent her from docking, along with the perfectly executed trick they need right now….

Things were getting desperate AND complicated!!  The Guichuan had technically rammed the MF, as the Cursed wanted to kill the “other” Grim the Savage before the MF could dock at the Cursed HI.  Or simply knock him out with some stink.  However, the Jade Vikings saw the way the Cursed were thinking, and knew they HAD to act (if the Guichuan gets her gold home AND their other coins are safe from the MF, the game is quite likely out of reach).  Zheng He flips Runes of Loki to force the Guichuan’s stinkpot specialist to miss, leaving Grim the Savage uncancelled!

However, the Guichuan easily wins the boarding party, and The Headhunter takes great delight in massacring and beheading the entire crew of the MF!!!

Guichuan wins boarding party against Maui's Fishhook

(only the American oarsman was “recycled”)

Now it was time for the key moment!  The Frontier reached over and grabbed 8 of the Guichuan’s 9 coins with her hoist!!

Two of the coolest ships in the game working together!!

Two of the coolest ships in the game working together!!

The Frontier redocks to simultaneously unload the HUGE haul of gold and block the Naegling from getting to the Guichuan!

Pretty great turn by the Cursed right?  Most of the loot home safe with the MF neutralized! (and ripe for capture…)

ARE YOU KIDDING ME???  WHAT THE HELL IS THAT!?

La Monarca, the uncrewed gold runner with two 5S cannons, gets a pair of 6’s to dismast the mighty Naegling!!!!

La Monarca, the uncrewed gold runner with two 5S cannons, gets a pair of 6's to dismast the mighty Naegling!!!!

WHAT A TURN!!

Cursed epic turn is complete

Things got serious real quick for the English Mercenaries.  They were considering trying to end the game.  At this point the only coins in play were the final coin on the Guichuan (about to be unloaded by her or the Frontier) and the stolen 7 on the Eighth Wonder.  With the wind blowing east, the EW could potentially even round earth this turn and use Dories to possibly unload the final non-Cursed coin.  However, the English Mercenaries realized that they probably didn’t have more combined gold+points than the Cursed.

This is another period of the game where I sat for a solid 10+ minutes trying to figure out what to do.  The simple thing would be to end the game and have everyone count, but the EM’s would likely lose to the Cursed and maybe even the JV’s as well.  Every other option carried a LOT of risk.  If the EW stole another coin from the French HI, the Pluton and possibly Baochuan could attack her right afterwards.  In the end, only one option seemed good enough to win the EM’s the game – steal at least one of the two 50 gold coins from the Cursed HI.  If the EW could use her considerable supporting cast perfectly, she might be able to add 50 gold to the 35 (7×5 multiplier) she already carried, which might be enough to beat the Cursed.  Of course, the journey there could eliminate a ton of the points in play, especially for the English Mercenaries.

decision time

Frederick Xernias decided the English Mercenaries had to go for it and not settle for what would likely be second place.  The Eighth Wonder uses Necklace of the Sky to dock at a beach, putting her in position to raid the Cursed HI next turn!

Frederick Xernias decided the English Mercenaries had to go for it.  The Eighth Wonder uses Necklace of the Sky to dock at a beach, putting her in position to raid the Cursed HI next turn!

Could this trigger a large war?  The EM ships remaining in the west head to round earth their way to aid their fleetmates.

The French were pissed again.  XD   Leander Arnaud really hates the Jade Vikings and the English Mercenaries.  He takes the Pluton into the Elthelfleda, blasting off two masts and killing the tribal chieftain in a boarding party!  (so the EM’s were already down 12 points from deciding to stick it out – see how hard the decision making can be in the endgame? (especially when points in play count just as gold does))

Another turn for the Sea Serpent!  The Jade Vikings had to switch sides again, this time away from the French.  The EM’s now had the only non-Cursed HI raider in the game (Jozeran Danklidge on the EW), and the JV’s need more gold and points to win.  If they could team with the EM’s just long enough for the EW to grab some Cursed gold, the Baochuan could try to steal it at the end.  A devious plan by the JV’s, but one that was their only hope at this late stage of the game.  The Guichuan’s double HI hoard completely smashed their chance of winning (which looked extremely high at the end of Day 3), so any plot against the Cursed seemed like a great idea.  The Sea Serpent knocks a mast off the Pluton so the English can better assist the EW.

Their movements are hampered by the wind, but the Muninn and Baochuan move to assist the EW.  The Muninn wants to block the Guichuan from blasting the EW, and maybe snag the MF in the process.

“Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” – Gore Verbinski

A time of impromptu alliances!  With the Pluton about to be blasted apart by HMS Gallows, the French decide to lend the Cursed a hand against the hated JV’s and EM’s. (the Delusion did hit the Renard, but the French don’t have as much reason to hate the Cursed)   Leander Arnaud plays Runes of Thor to change The Headhunter’s AA roll to a successful 6!

Side note: That Neptune’s Figurehead UT loomed VERY large here in the late game.  It was effectively a trump card for the Cursed, because if a fleet sank the Guichuan, she would simply reappear at the Cursed HI with all TEN masts up again.  With the Guichuan and the game action right near the Cursed HI already, nobody wanted to sink the Guichuan and deal with her at full strength again.  Therefore, almost everybody was scared to sink the Guichuan since she would immediately come back stronger in the exact same battle area where nobody could afford to face her.  In addition, the fleets were afraid that if the Guichuan came back with 10 masts in an instant, The Headhunter would feel confident in trying yet ANOTHER home island hoarding expedition, which would just further increase the Cursed gold reserves.

The Frontier uses her hoist to grab the final coin from the Guichuan, while the Monarca captures the Naegling!

The Frontier uses her hoist to grab the final coin from the Guichuan, while the Monarca captures the Naegling!

The Guichuan shoots at the Muninn to get Relics back as the ships meet again.  The Flying Dutchman emerges from the fog to capture the MF, while the Frontier deposits the Guichuan’s final coin from her epic double home island hoard turn.

Weirdly enough, the AA from Runes of Thor was only used on the Monarca to capture the Peacock.  This is because the Guichuan’s turn was over due to the Relics, and the Cursed didn’t have anything better to do.  It’s possible that both the JV’s and French held onto their Runes of Loki/Thor too long, or simply didn’t use them optimally.  Of course, it seemed like the right time to use them while playing.

Things are looking pretty crowded… how the hell is the EW going to raid the Cursed HI??  XD

HMS Gallows blasts Le Pluton, killing Godiva (1 gold for the EM’s) and eliminating the French from the game!

HMS Gallows blasts Le Pluton, killing Godiva (1 gold for the EM's) and eliminating the French from the game!

This is where things got… weird.  I was becoming frustrated by how long the potentially irrelevant endgame was taking, and the English Mercenaries were starting to consider a “surrender” on every one of their turns.  Part of the problem is that the EW had to spend a turn exploring the beach to unload Necklace of the Sky in order to use the effect properly (something I didn’t know until this year, but it does make it less OP which is good).

Unable to reach the Guichuan, the Baochuan captures the Monarca.  The JV’s know they have only an outside shot at winning now, and will try to capitalize on easy opportunities to add points to their fleet.

With only one coin technically left in play, almost all ships are concentrated in the northeast.

ocean map view

The Eighth Wonder has help, but it might be too late to the party to be effective…

A pretty neat sight to see, with 4 10 masters remaining for this interesting endgame situation.  At the top you can just make out the rest of the EM ships preparing to round earth towards the action.

The wind shifts and blows north!

The wind shifts and blows north!

The Cursed score a coup??

The Flying Dutchman docks home the Maui’s Fishhook, and naturally the Cursed put her in a position to block the Muninn and EW’s movements.  The Guichuan FINALLY docks home after her arduous journey, with 3 masts and all of her crew intact.  She docks to block in the Muninn and EW as well….

At this point the EW is really running out of options, and Frederick Xernias begins to regret his decision to raid the Cursed HI.  The ship has almost nowhere to maneuver, and getting out alive could prove impossible even if the Muninn doesn’t turn on him….

The King’s Ghost is the first of the reinforcements to arrive in the northeast, but the EM’s are still considering a kind of forfeit deal.

Time to play!   The Eighth Wonder tries but cannot make it through!  She can pin herself on the MF or wreck her starboard side on the rocks!

What a disaster!!  The Cursed have effectively boxed in the new allies, and the ships cannot be shot at while at their home island of course!

The MF lost a mast (possibly a mistake on my part, though it wouldn’t matter in the end), and the Muninn captured her but only after losing 2 masts to the Guichuan’s 2L guns!  The Naegling and Flying Dutchman were repairing, while the Frontier went out to grab the Peacock.

With no good targets to shoot at, the Baochuan has round earthed to tow the Monarca home.  Things only got weirder and more convoluted from here….

The English Mercenaries are becoming very frustrated!!  A northerly wind only makes their problems worse!  The Eighth Wonder sinks the Maui’s Fishhook and docks at the Cursed home island where she steals one of the coins worth 50 gold!!!   Annoyed by the mediocre help coming from the “ally” Jade Vikings, First Mate Ismail leads the gunners of the Gibraltar flotilla to sink the Sea Serpent!  The EM reinforcements are here, and they are willing to take control by sheer force and brutality.  Frederick Xernias just wants to get his gold and go home.

the game gets weird

The magic of Ghost Ship!!  An AA allows the Guichuan to swing around to the other side of the EW, knocking off 2  masts (black d6) with the help of the Naegling!  (the Guichuan’s cannon accuracy fell apart here at the end of the game)  The orange d6 on the EW marks that her crew have been hit by the Guichuan’s stinkpot specialist!!  This is hugely important in slowing the ship, as it cancels a ton of abilities with such a loaded crew complement.

The shootout continues!  The EW sinks the Muninn, as the EM/JV alliance has not panned out the way either side would have liked.  Poor accuracy by competent gunners means that three EM game pieces are needed to dismast the Frontier.

The Baochuan is back!  Dragon Eyes captures The Inquisitor!  (also going 5 for 8 to nearly dismast the Cristal)

The Baochuan is back!  Dragon Eyes captures The Inquisitor!

The wind shifts to the east:

Here we go again!  The Cursed are absolutely having a ball with this game.  The Guichuan stops being ghostly so she can dock at her home island and become immune to cannon fire again.  She hits the EW a few times, and the FD follows with a few hits of her own.  The 5 represents that 5 masts are down on the EW, leaving her at only half strength.  Captain Davy Jones and Griffin prepare a deadly boarding party to massacre the crew of the EW (!) if they can get lucky….

STOP!!!!

Frederick Xernias demands an end to the madness!!  He seeks a truce!  With his flagship still struggling to move anywhere and near-invincible Cursed ships surrounding him (FD has Eternal-Ghost Ship-Massacre and a bunch of expendable crew, and Guichuan has Neptune’s Figurehead, Fear, stinkpot specialist, etc, both right at their HI), Xernias knows he is out of viable options to increase the English Mercenary total point score.  In addition, his reinforcements may be further weakened by what would remain of the Baochuan, who still has Sac.

This was a bizarre and extremely rare case of a “strategic forfeit”, where surrendering was the best option for the fleet in question.  The terms were simple: the Cursed would get back their stolen 50 coin, but the English Mercenaries would get to keep the 7 (worth 35 gold) on the EW that they had stolen from the French.  Then the game would simply end.  It’s very likely the EW would be sunk by the Cursed soon afterwards, or her fleet decimated by the combination of the Cursed and Baochuan.  (plus, if the FD did succeed at that boarding party, the EW would lose all 30 points of her crew and be too slow to make it home with her stolen gold)

The Jade Vikings were not necessarily happy with the decision, but they didn’t control either of the coins in question and they were too far behind for me to really consider their opinion heavily at this point.  XD  (plus they didn’t have any HI raiders, so they couldn’t just snag a coin on their turn to keep the game alive)

Wow!!   With that the game was finally over.

Wow!!   With that the game was finally over.

The Final Scores

In first place are The Cursed!!

1. Cursed: 647 total points; 460 gold, 187 points in play

Cursed: 647 total points; 460 gold, 187 points in play

2. English Mercenaries: 448 total points; 281 gold, 167 points in play

2. English Mercenaries: 448 total points; 281 gold, 167 points in play

3. Jade Vikings: 148 total points; 82 gold (55 from coins, 27 from crew captures), 66 points in play (score goes up to 155 total if including The Inquisitor capture aboard Baochuan)

Jade Vikings: 148 total points; 82 gold (55 from coins, 27 from crew captures), 66 points in play

4. French: 50 total points; 50 gold, 0 points in play

French: 50 total points; 50 gold, 0 points in play

5. Golden Cranes: 22 total points; 0 gold, 22 points in play

Golden Cranes: 22 total points; 0 gold, 22 points in play

6. Crew Recyclers: 0

I highly recommend trying out the points in play and wind house rules!

What a memorable experience!  This game was pretty wild.  I enjoyed using the points in play + gold house rule.  The scores are really crazy and lopsided, but I’m fine that they weren’t close – mostly to avoid controversy from the weird ending.  The final few hours of the game were extremely strange.  At the end of Day 3 it looked like the Jade Vikings would win.  However, the Guichuan’s ridiculous double home island hoard epic raid proved to be the play of the game.  The Cursed got very lucky with UT’s and different timing and location things.

I ran a few calculations to see if the English Mercenaries made the right decision, and it does look like they would have just ended up poorer if the game had continued.  In a best case scenario, the EM’s would have gotten both the 50 gold coin back home from the Cursed along with capturing the Frontier and Peacock.  The Cursed would end up with 597 (647-50), while the EM’s would finish with 527 (448+50 (coin)+17 (Frontier)+12 (Peacock w/equipment)).  So the Cursed would still win by 70 gold!

The Cursed did so many things right.  Capturing ships with consistency (Monarca, Flying Dutchman, Frontier, and many others) ensured that their points in play number stayed high, yet also provided them with logistical support in a tense and stressful endgame.  The FD and Frontier held down the fort as they say, providing great support around the HI that allowed the Guichuan’s massive haul to be unloaded as threats were dealt with.  The Delusion snagged both of those ships in her waterfall trip to the west, so her role cannot be ignored.  She was a huge star in the first half+ of the game.  Once she was crippled by the Baochuan, it was time for the Guichuan to shine brighter than ever.  Grim the Savage teamed with Bianco’s Haulers for an international stealing party for the ages, raking in a TON of gold.  I think the Guichuan may have stolen 6 coins from the Golden Cranes fleet and another 6 from the JV’s home island.  If someone had been stupid enough to sink her and trigger Neptune’s Figurehead, there’s a solid chance she would have sunk the Eighth Wonder at the end or even gone after the French or EM HI’s for more booty.

The Golden Cranes fleet went second, but finished second to last.  They didn’t have any defenses or firepower that were required to hang with the big boys in this brutal game.  I think they could fare better in a 2 player game, a game with less big threats flying around, or a game by the normal rules where gold is the only win condition.  Once the Cursed unleashed devastation, their fleet scattered and then got picked off around the map.

The English Mercenaries played very well and dominated most of the west, and eventually even some of the east as well.  They lacked an extra action capability that allowed the Jade Vikings to dominate and allowed the Cursed to win.  With some different crew choices or less tough customers in the endgame (FD and Guichuan cornered the EW), they may have emerged victorious.  A nice showing by some of my customs along with the RtSS and Unreleased pieces.  They had a a fine line to walk between being too passive and too aggressive, and wound up in 2nd place after two somewhat unsuccessful initiatives into the east.

The French were mostly crushed early by the aggressive Jade Vikings, but recovered nicely to finish first among the “has-beens”.  They survived with just two ships for quite a while, and the Pluton’s valiant efforts will not soon be forgotten.  I was very happy to see her in action a lot, as she is one of my sentimental favorites.  Who knows how differently the game would have turned out if O’Brien had piloted the Celtic Fury to attack the Eighth Wonder very early in the game….

The Jade Vikings were a powerhouse from Turn 1.  Without a doubt the most intimidating fleet for most of the game, all 4 of their powerful ships wreaked havoc.  They were outsmarted by a super-Guichuan who took a lot of their riches and lived to tell the tale.  The wheels completely came off at the end as their longships were sunk and captured.  Some very impressive crew captures by Dragon Eyes (including Davy Jones himself) could not make up the difference, and the JV’s were disappointed to finish the game with far less points in play than when they started.  A triumphant first three days of the game was wrecked by a horrible day 4.

The Crew Recyclers did not look like a fleet that would do well, so it’s not surprising to see them in last with 0 gold or points.  They ended up with a tough HI location and their strategy was not exactly appropriate for this game (again, house rules determined after fleet selection of course).  Splitting up their fleet around the bay area resulted in total annihilation.  Still, it was nice to cross this fleet off my “bucket list” of fleets I want to use in games.

Please comment below what you thought of this game!  😀

Admiral A7XfanBen, Master Strategist

Admiral A7XfanBen, Master Strategist

Warning: This may be my most arrogant and self-congratulatory piece of content I have ever made or will ever make for Pirates CSG.  It is a way for me to look back at my best and favorite game moments where my obsession with the game’s strategy and my vast experience with playing the game culminated in big wins.  After hundreds or thousands of hours spent on the game in general, I feel proud of what I’ve accomplished in terms of playing the game.

For a long time I only played solo games.  I didn’t play my first game against a human opponent until January 2015.  Since then I’ve played against a few dozen players, some in physical games but even more on the VASSAL module.  This post documents some of my greatest moments as an experienced and extremely passionate player of Pirates CSG.

VASSAL Campaign Game 1

My first non-solo campaign game featured a ton of amazing moments, and it remains as possibly my favorite huge game.  It was smart for my Spanish to optimize their gold system very early on, purposely launching pretty much all of their ships and crew with gold bonus abilities.  The massive fleet of native canoes peaked at 35 total (7 sets), which helped the Spanish rake in a ton of gold throughout the game.  This allowed them to spend on battle fleets, which were used to take on the other factions.  The Americans were forced to pay tribute, and ironically became a vassal state of the Spanish Empire.  The French put up an amazing fight but were crushed by the strength of the Spanish war fleet.  The Pirates were next.  The Cursed and English were also smashed by my Spanish, who steamrolled through the game.  Even though my English fleet looked superior in the endgame, the Spanish managed to wear them down and pull out a well-deserved victory.  My superior launching strategy (of not saving gold for almost any reason) gave me the win.  Check out the factional analysis in the reflection at the bottom of the reports to get a better idea of how dominant the Spanish were.

Here is the retrospective video for a quick summary of the game, with the Spanish theme of the game playing:

VASSAL Campaign Game 2

This game was short compared to CG1, but still featured some interesting plays.  My theme in this game was attacking the Pirates (the main rival of my English) through whirlpools.  I pulled off multiple whirlpool raids, most of which were successful in general.  The final one was a huge move that swung the momentum permanently to the English side.  At that point I was building up an insurmountable points lead, and the game ended somewhat prematurely after my English intervened in a battle between the Pirates and French.  I was able to use 10 masters and submarines to devastate opposing forces, and eventually controlled seven 10 masters and six cancellers!  I mostly accomplished my goals within the game, which were to capture the Zeus, hinder or eliminate Captain Jack Sparrow, and of course win in the end.  Check out my path to victory in this video:

VASSAL Campaign Game 3

CG3 would be perhaps my greatest test yet.  In CG1 I controlled half the fleets (3/6), and in CG2 I still controlled a third (1/3).  In CG3, I’d be at just 1 fleet out of 6 total, with 5 other players trying to win the game.  I still thrived.  Lying low early due to bad resource rolls for my islands, the Americans watched as the Spanish burned brightly but then fizzled out.  After some long-awaited changes in the resource values, my Americans began to have serious spending power.  As usual, I first concentrated on optimizing my gold system, and then began to steadily launch ships for war.

The game’s turning point was an epic display of momentum shifting – the French crushed the Spanish at the central Gateway island, but then my Americans struck and crushed the French in the same location.  From there it was a matter of eliminating the other factions.  My fleet ranged far and wide, with the Zhanfu and others going to the far west to take out the Spanish and English.  The French were eliminated after trying to invade my home waters through a whirlpool.  I correctly anticipated a betrayal by my Pirate allies, and launched a preemptive strike to take care of that threat to my gold system.  The Cursed were the toughest opponent to beat, but yet another whirlpool strike (like in CG2) with the first shot advantage proved to be decisive.  You can even see my epic opening turn of that conflict here.  A long battle at the Cursed home island eventually saw the American numerical superiority victorious, with a massive wave of cancellation coming to dominate the Frozen North.

This grand victory was my third consecutive non-solo campaign game victory in as many efforts, improving my record to a perfect 3-0 and initiating comparisons to Tom Brady and Thanos in terms of utter dominance and early “championship” success.  At the bottom of the battle reports you can see my long strategy explanation for the game.  In this retrospective video you can see the dominance of the American fleet play out.

200 Point Game of Water World

This is one of those extremely rare games where everything goes according to plan.  My strategy was applied, and it worked flawlessly.  Everything I did went right.  It was a bizarre combination of luck, timing, and good gameplay on my part.

The Guichuan’s heist totaled 22 gold, but in reality the final score was about 35-0. I had won the game in a complete shutout despite the big build total. I only lost one ship, the Celtic Fury (plus one canoe haha). I had captured or destroyed Xerecs’ entire fleet.I was also happy because I was intimidated when I saw the enemy fleet – the Zeus and San Cristobal (by some people’s accounts the 2 best gunships in the game), along with the Baochuan and some of the best gold runners in the game. However, with some negative UT’s, effective crew placement, and brilliantly executed gimmick strategy, I was able to pull off the victory!

Calypso Shutout

To be fair, this was against a slow fleet.  However, it was still one of my most impressive wins, with Calypso going ballistic with whirlpools to give the Pirates every single coin in the treasure distribution for a 55-0 victory!  O_O

In a huge blowout, the Pirates defeat the Spanish 55-0! This is one of the only games I’ve ever played where a fleet gets every single coin in the treasure distribution. No gold was sunk, and the Pirates collected and stole the rest for a massive victory. This game made me want to use Calypso more, and it’s also one of the best gimmick games/fleets I’ve seen.

3 Player Circle of Blood game

This 5-hour long game was captured in full on video, found at the bottom of the battle report linked above.  I scored two massive coups that helped me pull out a narrow victory in the end.  The first involved a brilliant combination of using the Harbinger’s ship-stealing ability in conjunction with the special rules of the scenario, where the first island your fleet explores becomes your home island.  This happened early in the game, but there was a ton of action left.

The second “coup” netted me another capture.  I was able to capture a derelict galley and then row her S+S towards the Europa, who used an extra action and Commander Temple’s ability to warp the galley home.  Making it even sweeter was the fact that the 2 gold runners captured in these incredible game moves are two of the best to ever sail: the Banshee’s Cry and Star of Siam.  Quite the prizes indeed!

This second coup of the game for me was triply effective – it made the Hound less of a target, it got the SoS and Europa out of harms’ way (the Black Pearl), and it gave me another capable gold runner in my fleet. All in all one of my favorite moves I’ve pulled off in this game, showing how important it is to consider all options and really think through how you want to tow or “untow” things to your greatest benefit.

I then captured the Black Pearl a la Captain Jack Sparrow retaking his favorite vessel.  In the end it appeared that my moves were needed to keep me in the race, as I won a narrow 85-81 victory.  Truly a memorable game.

VASSAL Tournament #1 and VASSAL Tournament #2

These massive tournaments full of uber-competitive fleets were played between myself and Xerecs.  23 games in T1 and 53 in T2 combined for 76 games of competitive high-stakes action.  I played my ass off consistently, winning a lot of games and having a lot of incredible strategy moments.  A lot of it was gold calculation and making decisions based on available gold and fort strategy.  Really fun and incredible, and Xerecs had plenty of great moments as well.  I also made the somewhat incredible pick of choosing UPS 2 as the fleet to win T2 before the 16 fleet tournament even started!  (so technically 6.25% chance of picking the right fleet, though UPS 2 was an obvious favorite among some others)  This was based on my prior experience using UPS 2 in physical games and knowing how ridiculously effective, efficient, and overpowered that fleet is.  It was a total crapshoot, but I also won the 16 fleet game (using every fleet from T2) by 1 gold, and you can see footage of that game in my Games playlist.

8 Fleet Game after T1

This game was a bit controversial at the end, but my American Pirates fleet made things right with an impressive victory.  Not necessarily my best game in terms of strategy or specific plays, but it was one of the games I was happiest to win.

Blockade BreakerTwice

That was the first of two games with the “Other Worlds” scenario, where you use whirlpools to access multiple tables to dramatically change the setup compared to most games.  My opponent tried to use gunships to blockade my home island after I returned with gold from the other oceans – that way he didn’t have to brave the whirlpools.  I foiled that real quick.  The Philadelphia’s ability (ship stealing just like the Harbinger and Commander Temple) warped home a capture and I charged right back in.  I proved the ineffectiveness of the blockade strategy, and won in a 32-2 blowout.  I basically did the exact same thing a year later against a different opponent.  That game ended up 31-0 in my favor.

My record speaks for itself.  I have by far the most wins of any player on VASSAL (at least since it’s rebirth in 2016), and I am the only player to win a campaign game on the module that I know of, having won all 3 thus far.

Admiral A7XfanBen, Master Strategiest - VASSAL record as of July 2019

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Experimental Cumulative Game

1/6/2016

The Economy Edition game being played right now by Xerecs has inspired me to start another (but considerably smaller and shorter) cumulative game. Things have come full circle after my CotE and Economy games inspired him to play those!

This game won’t last much more than a week and a half, if that. As the title suggests, it’s not your average cumulative game. There are going to be some things that I wasn’t able to do during my Economy game, as well as some other ideas I’ve been wanting to try out. This will also make for a unique style of battle reports. Be ready for anything!

Without further ado, here is the setting:

Shap-‘ng-Tsai has succeeded. “With over 100 junks at his disposal and bases hidden along the Chinese coast, Tsai claims that he will be the one to topple the English empire.” He has now done it. The English presence in the South China Sea is a remnant of its former self. The Jade Rebellion can now be more properly called a Jade Empire, as they are rightfully the dominant presence in their home waters.

However, the age of imperialism is not at an end. Other imperialist nations threaten to cause more damage to the Jades and their way of life, mostly as a result of the so-called “endless” gold deposits on the local islands. Just in the past few weeks, Spanish and French ships have entered the waters patrolled by Jade Rebellion ships. These two nations have teamed up once again to form the Franco-Spanish alliance, although here they’ve decided to split their forces to maximize their odds of taking down the Jade Rebellion empire. The Jade Rebellion has already sent away many of the gunships that helped to win the war against the hated English. Unfortunately for them, this means that only one capital ship remains in the area. The Jade presence is still strong, but the Spanish and French are a huge threat that Tsai and his fleet must deal with.

The Spanish and French may have underestimated their opponent, for they didn’t send large fleets to guarantee victory. However, one such ship, El Príncipe de Asturias, has considerable battle experience already, and her crew is thirsty for more. “El Principe de Asturias was reassigned to the South China Seas after leading several successful campaigns in the Mediterranean. Now her crew use their considerable experience against the Jade Rebellion.” It’s obvious that fighting is inevitable, and in fact the Spanish and French have already made a joint declaration of war on the Jade Rebellion.

To complicate matters even further, one English ship remains in the area, a veteran of the JR-English war. HMS Galapagos has suffered extreme losses in battles against the JR, making her tiny remaining crew anxious for revenge. Tsai recently let the Galapagos escape, knowing his fleet could easily take the ship at their leisure. However, with the Spanish and French now in the area, the Galapagos may slip under Tsai’s watchful eye since the FS (Franco-Spanish) are a much bigger threat.

The fleets sailed out in this order of play:

Jade Rebellion (100 points)
Grand Temple + Shap-‘ng-Tsai, Katsura-chan, helmsman, oarsman
Sea Wind + captain, explorer
East Wind
Sea Lion
Sea Crane + explorer
Admiral Yi
Dragon’s Talon + helmsman

Spanish (50 points)
La Voz de Dios + captain, helmsman
El Príncipe de Asturias + captain, helmsman
San Agustín

French (50 points)
La Gaule + captain, helmsman, oarsman
La Geographe + Nicholas-Thomas Baudin
La Fureur
L’Argus + oarsman

English
HMS Galapagos

As you can see, this game starts out as an all-SCS game. This is the beginning theme, but only that. As a result, the only three UT’s present at the start of play were also from SCS.

For the first time in any of my games, wind would be used! A while back I searched in the depths of the files section at BGG and found different wind rules. For this game, I’m using this from way back in 2004. Thanks to headlouse for coming up with it.

There are also some Sandbars present, which are similar to Sargasso Seas, but worse for large ships than small ships. Other ideas will be explored as well. For example, Marines can fire on EVERY player’s turn, not just on their owners’ turn. Also, to continue the experimental theme, ramming cannot do damage. In addition, some “ghost gold” has made its way into the setup.

– Transparent coins give the ship carrying them the Ghost Ship keyword, as long as they’re still on the ship.

The game’s area is limited by the table it’s being played on, and only non-standard islands and terrain were present at the start. There are currently four home islands (HI’s) and six wild islands (emphasis on “currently”). The English and Spanish HI’s are in the west, while the French have set sail in the northeast. The Jade Rebellion empire starts the game as the favorite to win, with the biggest HI located in the general center of the sea.

Flat earth rules are being used, for now.

Each wild island has 5 coins on it, and the new “shipwreck cove” area has three different sets of 3 coins on different shipwrecks, which must be docked at like they’re independent wild islands (and ships have to roll for effect on the reef when “docking”). The wild islands will replenish back to a maximum of 5 coins only after all 5 previous coins are gone from the island. The replenishment happens at the end of each round of turns.

This picture shows most of the sea. The bottom of the frame is south, while the top is north. The English and Spanish HI’s are at the edge of the table, while the Jade Rebellion sits in the middle. The French can just be seen at the top right in the northeast. Notice how the huge sandbar separates the Spanish and the Jade Rebellion, while the shipwrecks are a dominating factor of the northwest.

Experimental Cumulative Game

Also looking south to north, here’s the rest of the sea, showing the east where the Jade Rebels and Frenchmen reside. The Jade Rebellion has easy access to four of the six wild islands, but this is not the case for the other fleets.

Experimental Cumulative Game

Here is the ocean again, but this time looking from west to east:

Experimental cumulative game
Experimental Cumulative Game

The Jade Rebellion, with a HI that has 3 beaches, are completely unaware that their HI lies on convergent tectonic plates.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Spanish are ready for war, with two gunships in the area already.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The French are ready to assist, especially with La Gaule.

The northern half of the sea looking from west to east.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The southern half:

Experimental Cumulative Game
Experimental Cumulative Game
Experimental Cumulative Game

Shipwrecks of a long-forgotten war between the Jade Rebellion and Pirates reveal similarly forgotten gold aboard the wrecks of the Thrud, Deliverance, and Flying Dutchman.

shipwreck cove

One last look for the time being – a unique shot showing the beautiful water of this contested sea.

beautiful blue ocean sea water shiny with sheen

As the English were the last fleet to take their turn, they chose the initial wind direction, choosing northeast (NE).

Wind rules and directional compass

Without further ado the fleets set sail! The wind rules immediately affected things, since any ships sailing in the southwest direction lost S from their speed. This slightly slowed all the fleets except for the English, but the game was just beginning.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Sea Crane was the first ship to reach an island, but the Gaule approached.

For the time being, the wind would be rolled for at the start of each round of turns, rather than at the start of each fleet’s turn. This could change. For now, a 4 was rolled, meaning that the wind shifted to blow due east, slowing ships headed west.

The French proved they weren’t about to shy away from a fight! On just the second turn, with war already declared, the French instigate the first conflict! La Gaule sinks the Sea Crane and her two 5 coins!

Tsai responds angrily by using his SAT powers to sink the Gaule and nearly dismast the Geographe!

Experimental Cumulative Game

In the meantime, the Sea Wind has found Rotting Hull, but she’s also brought back the first coin for the JR. The other JR ships have docked in the south and are exploring. The Geographe managed to mark that eastern island as explored and therefore knocked out the Sea Crane’s JR presence there. (This third turn saw the wind stay blowing from west to east.)

Experimental Cumulative Game

Using the wind’s +S boost, the Voz de Dios sails around the sandbar and rams the Sea Lion! With the Grand Temple off fighting the French in the east, the Spanish capitalize on an easy chance to hit Jade trade. The action is somewhat unsuccessful, with the Sea Lion only losing 1 mast after 4 shots by the Voz (and also remember no ram damage). However, the Voz did win the boarding party to steal one of the Lion’s coins. To make matters even more tense, the East Wind used her treasure trading ability to trade a 1 on that island for a 4 on the island that the other Spanish ships were docked at.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The English and Spanish have docked at western islands as separate skirmishes have already occurred in the south and east.

Experimental Cumulative Game

To get the +S wind boost, a ship must move in the correct direction (here anywhere between NE and SE) for one move segment. In this way, the Geographe was able to tack back to her HI in one turn, which meant she could repair. The Argus and Fureur turned around, desperate to stay away from the Grand Temple, who had already crippled the French fleet in just one turn. In addition, the Principe found Fireworks and the first ghost coin. The Dragon’s Talon had Trade Route aboard.

Experimental Cumulative Game

After just three turns, two separate battles have occurred and two fleets have already lost ships! This unique experimental game is just beginning…

1/8/2016

The fourth turn of play marked the second day’s action. The Jade Rebellion hired two captains, one for the East Wind, and one for the Dragon’s Talon. However, the Dragon’s Talon still had Trade Route aboard, and so had to wait for the Grand Temple to sail up and take it off her in order to load the captain. This turn marked another change in the wind, though it shifted back to NE, the direction it was blowing when the game began. The Sea Lion and East Wind managed to avoid further trouble with the Voz de Dios, who appeared reasonably content with the coin she stole from the Sea Lion. The approaching presence of the Grand Temple gave her another reason to head home.

On their turn, the Spanish used almost all of their gold to commission La Habana with a captain and helmsman, continuing the SCS theme by choice.

The Voz de Dios sails home with stolen loot while her fleet mates enjoy the comforts of their home island.

Spanish fleet in water

The Argus and Fureur head west to an island, while the Geographe repairs (top left).

Experimental Cumulative Game

However, with the wind behind her, the Sea Wind reaches that same island for the second time, as the newly-captained East Wind departs to the south. The Jade-French tension is obvious.

Experimental Cumulative Game

As the Voz rounds the sandbars, her proud fleet mates sail south to greet her. The San Agustin is slow, but her large cargo hold means she can empty the southwestern island when she isn’t carrying crew.

Experimental Cumulative Game

In the northwest, the Galapagos heads home with gold. To the east, the Argus docks but can’t explore just yet. The slow Fureur gets into position to dock and take gold next turn.

Experimental Cumulative Game

At the top of the frame, the East Wind has joined the Sea Wind on the north side of the Jade HI, giving the Jades two of their three gunships in close proximity to the French gold runners. Far to the south, the Grand Temple guards the southern island for the Sea Lion.

Experimental Cumulative Game

You may have noticed a few additional ships at the Jade HI. At the end of their turn the Jades launched two new turtle ships, the Proud Tortoise and Floating Stone.

Jade Rebellion home island

With the Grand Temple facing southwest, the Spanish turn around and head north up the huge sandbar. The Voz docks home gold, while the San Agustin loads some. At this point, at least one of the six wild islands was replenishing at the end of each round, and many of the day’s turns saw two islands replenish in one turn.

Spanish fleet from above

With a meager haul of 7 gold from 4 coins, the English manage to launch HMS Patagonia with a helmsman and also add an oarsman to the Galapagos.

English at home island

The Grand Temple shadows the Spanish, as the Jade gunships up north appear to sail in such a way as to cut off the French.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Jade Rebels are still angry that La Gaule sunk the Sea Crane, and things don’t look good for the French.

Experimental Cumulative Game

Looking west to east, the Habana has been sent north to explore the mysterious shipwrecks of the northwest.

Experimental Cumulative Game

On their turn, the French did well to position their ships for possible attack, with the newly-repaired Geographe sheltering the Argus. However, the Fureur was a sitting duck.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The island that once sat in the middle of the lagoon in Economy Edition isn’t so lucrative anymore, but it’s the best option the English have.

HMS Galapagos approaches golden island

War resumes! The East Wind takes on the Fureur!

combat at island

With a devastating blow, the French are nearly defeated! The Fureur sank beneath the waves. Then the Proud Tortoise sailed towards the Geographe and hit with her fire shot! To finish up the successful attack, the Sea Wind hit the Argus and Geographe once each.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Sea Wind carefully maneuvered to avoid illegally docking at the French HI while staying out of S-range of the Argus.

sailing ship aflame

Luckily for them, the French had placed an oarsman on the Argus at the game’s start, and with the wind aiding her, she was able to return home and save herself! Her coin was only a 2, but the French had hope. That hope temporarily diminished when the Geographe continued to burn, but she got home as well. The French narrowly avoided being the first fleet eliminated.

French ship burning

The Spanish continue to play cat and mouse with the Grand Temple.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The East Wind and Sea Wind grab some gold on their way back to the Jade HI. The Jades have dealt with threats efficiently and have successfully intimidated the Spanish into staying in their own waters up to this point. As a side note, this day of action saw the wind blow east for four consecutive turns.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Spanish were very worried that even with the help of La Habana, the Grand Temple could potentially cripple the Spanish battle fleet in one turn with Tsai’s SAT. As a result, they launched another ship from SCS, one of Spain’s finest: Santa Ana + Almirante Carlos Pavón y Miranda, Bianco’s Haulers (finally breaking the SCS theme), Comandante Antonio de Silva, helmsman, and oarsman.

Spanish and Jades across sandbar

In the meantime, the English launched an addition of their own: HMS Hyena + Sir Meyer Hampstead. This gave them a ship that could harass enemy gold runners while still having enough cargo spaces open to run gold normally if no targets were available. However, the English should have paid more attention to the man they hired…

“Hampstead knows that money—not the Crown—is what keeps the world turning, and he’ll do whatever is necessary to keep that money flowing back to the investors in London. Flags, kings, and courts are all secondary.”

Sir Meyer Hampstead flavor text

The Jade Rebellion was obviously still the fleet to beat, but they were getting a little worried that they wouldn’t be able to deal with all of the growing threats at once.

The Patagonia has explored the wreck of the Deliverance, while the Habana is exploring the wreck of the Flying Dutchman, whose bulk obscures the Spaniard’s bow.

Experimental Cumulative Game

In the northeast, the French have repaired most of their battle damage, while to the south, the Jades have multiple ships coming back with gold.

Experimental Cumulative Game

All is well in the southern part of the sea… – hang on, what’s that in the southeast corner?!

Experimental Cumulative Game

IT’S THE BARBARY CORSAIRS! The Barbary Pirates have invaded the South China Sea!

Barbary Corsairs arrive!!

The Grand Temple and Dragon’s Talon immediately head southeast to counter this unexpected threat! Seeing their opportunity, the Spanish gunships round the north side of the sandbar for the first time, entering Jade waters! The Jade HI is loaded with gold, but they may have to use some of it soon to deal with the madness that’s beginning to unravel! The Barbary 2 masters have docked at the southeastern island, while the Persian Victory heads straight towards the Grand Temple in open defiance of the Jade Empire! The Sea Dragon and Viper’s Bite sneak north.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Jades are strong, but the Spanish have now massed all of their firepower in one spot! The returning Habana watches as her fleet mates round the sandbar in the largest display of firepower seen in the game so far. 16 masts on 4 ships, all with captains.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The 12th turn of the game finally saw a dramatic shift in the wind, as a 6 meant that the wind reversed direction from blowing NE to blowing SW!

The Jades have the opportunity to take the battle to the Spanish, and they do so! With war declared long ago, the Proud Tortoise has no hesitation sailing up to the Principe de Asturias and blasting her with fire shot!

Jades attack Spanish!

But in the meantime, another battle is erupting at the same time! The Grand Temple shows her might once again – even with no SAT from Tsai, she dismasts the Persian Victory and takes out a mast on the Pasha’s Delight.

Jade Rebels attack Barbary Corsairs

The Dragon’s Talon finished off the Persian Victory! The Admiral Yi has decided to go to the Sea Lion’s island to avoid having her gold stolen by the Barbary Corsairs.

Chaos! The other battle rages on, as the East Wind hits 2/3 on the Principe, bringing her down to 1 mast. The Sea Wind gets the cannon bonus from the East Wind, but still misses both her shots against the Habana.

Spanish and Jade Rebellion engaged in combat

With their aforementioned capital ships in another part of the world after the conclusion of the JR/English war, the Jades couldn’t launch any more of their own ships, for they had run out of building supplies. As a result, they turned to hired Mercenaries, purchasing the Meropis with Herr Fuchs, Count Gustov, and a helmsman, leaving just 10 gold on their HI.

Jades launch a Mercenary ship, the Meropis

The Spanish started their turn by rolling for the Santa Ana’s extra action (EA). They got it, and decided to let the Habana continue sailing home with gold. The Habana almost made it all the way back with the new NE wind pushing her home. The Spanish were confident their two remaining gunships could deal with the Jades, and they were right. The Principe started things badly by completely catching on fire, dooming the poor ship. The Santa Ana then used her double action to cripple the East Wind and sink the Sea Wind!

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Voz finished the Spanish counterattack by sinking the East Wind, but her long range guns couldn’t hurt the pesky Proud Tortoise.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The fully-repaired and now-ignored French make their way west, careful not to stray too far south.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The English went next, and began by exploring with the Galapagos so her cargo was full after the island replenished at the end of the previous round. Then they ordered Hampstead’s Hyena to continue sailing north and explore the Thrud shipwreck, but he had other plans! Caring only about money and profits, he rammed the Galapagos and stole all her gold in a ridiculous act of betrayal!

English at gold island

As the sun sets on another day’s action, one thing is for sure: these fleets are in for the unexpected!

sun sets on the day's action

But wait! The Barbary Corsairs took their turn as well, using the Bey’s Revenge to explore the southeastern island! Then the Pasha’s Delight used a repair action while docked, claiming that island as the new home island for the Corsairs! Finally, to end a crazy day, they launched the Ivory Star immediately with the gold they found on the island! She’s immune to the Grand Temple’s L-range guns and can’t be shot at right now since she’s docked at her HI!

Barbary Corsairs establish home island
1/11/2016

Turn 13 saw the southwesterly wind continue. The Grand Temple and Dragon’s Talon scooted away from the BC ships who couldn’t be shot at. However, the Meropis got into action immediately, but only went 1/3 to dismast the Viper’s Bite and failed to damage the Sea Dragon. The Proud Tortoise returned home to avoid being trounced by the Spanish. At the upper left, the Principe de Asturias is about to slip under the waves.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Spanish had lost one of their four gunships, but had dealt the Jade Rebellion major losses in return. Now the Santa Ana and Voz de Dios headed east while the Habana returned home with gold. To the north you can see the French getting some much-needed gold.

Spanish heading east

The Barbary Corsairs respond! The Ivory Star has docked at the southern island to the left, while the Meropis is under attack. She was subject to three boarding parties during the turn, one from the Bey’s Revenge and two from the Sea Dragon via S-board. She lost her helmsman, but the Corsairs boarded because they had no crew to lose, which meant they didn’t have captains either.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The BC’s swarm the Meropis:

galleys ram the ship

Furious at Hampstead’s betrayal of the English, the Galapagos fires a full broadside. She only hit once! The Hyena sails off with her stolen gold, with the weak Patagonia unable to do anything about it.

Hampstead sails off with Hyena and gold after betraying English

The following turn saw the wind shift to a northerly wind, which would benefit any ships sailing south. The Jade Rebellion launched a successful counterattack, damaging the Pasha’s Delight and Bey’s Revenge. In a rare instance where the reverse captain ability came in very handy, the Meropis used it to sink the Viper’s Bite before scurrying away from the frenzy of Corsair ships. Her guns were rather poor once again, however, since she needed all her shots to sink the Viper’s Bite and therefore didn’t have a chance to hit the Sea Dragon, which would come back to hurt her.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Sea Dragon uses the wind to her advantage and catches the Meropis! With another double-board, she eliminates Count Gustov from the game! The 6 represents the fact that both ships rolled a 6 on the second boarding party, meaning no crew were eliminated with a 9-9 tie! (which happened after the Sea Dragon rolled a 6 to win the first boarding party) The 2 masted galleys returned home for safety and repairs, while the Ivory Star explored to the west. Towards the top of the picture you might notice some other things…

The Spanish continue their advance, though somewhat cautiously. The Floating Stone was off on her own, and the Santa Ana pounced, taking out both turtle shell panels. However, the Santa Ana couldn’t bring her last gun to bear since she wanted to dock at the same wild island in order to activate Bianco’s Haulers (this ship cannot be shot at while docked) and avoid getting hit with the Floating Stone’s exploding shot. The Spanish had the Voz de Dios shadow the Santa Ana, careful not to split their gunships up.

Experimental Cumulative Game

Here’s a broader shot of the situation. The main new development concerns the Habana, who has docked at the large sandbar for some reason. That longer, noticeably taller sandbar can’t be passed over by ships, but the two to the south (on the right here with one out of the frame) follow the custom sandbar rules.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The wind continued to blow south, and the Jade Rebellion empire continued to show its might. From left to right: the Grand Temple knocks out two masts on the Ivory Star (with her 3S cannons since the IS can’t be hit by L-range guns), the Floating Stone uses her initial segment to get the wind boost and escape from the Spanish, and the Meropis uses reverse captain again to hit the Sea Dragon before running away. The Dragon’s Talon hit with her lone cannon to dismast the Sea Dragon, but she can easily row home to repair. Knowing this, the JR’s are becoming tired of fighting the Corsairs so close to their HI, since it’s ineffective.

Jade Rebellion take turn

The Santa Ana got an extra action with that 6, and moved to redock at the island, and then explored. This was a puzzling move, since the Santa Ana could only take one coin aboard. The Voz followed suit, but there had to be some other motive.

Spanish explore island

To the west, the Habana “explored” the sandbar, and the Spanish finished their turn by putting Fortaleza Dorada on it! The fort’s two long range guns reached almost to the Jade HI, so their ships were blockaded in the south from the west! The Santa Ana’s explore action became obvious…

Spanish build fort on sandbar

And the Spanish construct El Castillo del Infanta on the eastern island! The L-range guns again reach almost all the way to the Jade HI, and now the Spanish have lines of fire drawn on both sides of the Jade HI! This cuts the Floating Stone off from the rest of the fleet in the south, and immediately denies Jade access to the island the Castillo is on as well as the northern island at the top left. In addition, it kind of traps almost the entire Jade fleet in the south, making it harder to avoid the BC’s. Lastly, the wind was not favorable for the JR’s, since the Spanish had the weather gauge and the wind was blowing the JR’s back into the southeast.

Spanish build another fort

The Hyena docks at the aforementioned northern island, and in a stunning move Hampstead reveals his new allegiance: to America! The new “American” fleet has been borne once again out of distrust of the weakened British, and the Americans claim the island as their own! With the Hyena’s stolen loot from the Galapagos, the Americans commission USS Overton with a helmsman! Hampstead comes aboard the Overton to command his new ship.

Hampstead introduces the Americans to the game

The ever-frustrated Jade empire responds after the wind shifts to the NW (blowing SE), and Tsai’s SAT gives the Grand Temple enough shots to sink the Ivory Star, who carried the hopes of the Corsairs with 15 gold on her. Now that treasure is at the bottom of the sea, and the Corsairs are struggling. They repair their 2 masters and row the Sea Dragon back. The JR’s, however, have their gunships in the southwest corner, fighting the wind to get back to their HI.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The English continue to slowly accumulate gold while their former fleet mate, the Hyena, repairs at the new American HI. The Overton has set a course for the tumultuous southern area.

Experimental Cumulative Game

With the wind at her back, La Habana has quickly moved south to the sandbars she can traverse. The Spanish may have a pincer attack in mind, with the Habana coming from the west and the Santa Ana and Voz coming from the east, while the forts prevent or delay escape to the NW/NE. At the bottom of the frame, the Pasha’s Delight is capitalizing on the JR’s dilemma and grabs a 7 from the southern island.

Experimental Cumulative Game

But once again the Jades strike first! The Grand Temple takes two masts off the Habana, further proving that the Jades are strong enough to handle the threats presented to them. The Spanish are frustrated with their slow progress in taking down the empire, but they know they need to proceed cautiously since the GT can move 6S (or more with the wind!) and rip off 12 shots in one turn with Tsai’s SAT.

Grand Temple smashes Habana

Here you can see some gold on the JR HI, and they’ve done a decent job regrouping their gunships considering the pesky Corsairs and the unfavorable wind.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Habana’s best option is to retreat, as the San Agustin docks home another load of gold. All of the factions appear to be saving up some gold at this point, and the English, Spanish, and Jade Rebellion all have at least 20. Notice the Overton on the right, sailing past the Spanish fort. The Spanish gunners hold their fire, dumbfounded at seeing an American ship in these waters.

Experimental Cumulative Game

Another picture to cover the eastern areas, this shows a good portion of the sea. The big Spanish gunships in the east have moved south! However, with a NW wind, they’re worried the wind will shift to a westerly wind and the JR’s will gain the weather gauge. Who do you think will win?

Experimental Cumulative Game

1/12/2016

Turns 18-21 have been played, and the wind stayed at a constant NW (blowing towards the SE) for turns 18-20.

At the beginning of turn 18, the Grand Temple turned around but knew she couldn’t go too far east for fear of being jumped by the Spanish gunships. However, the Jade Rebellion empire is smart. They knew that their window of opportunity to hit the Spanish hard was diminishing. They also knew that the Spanish would continue to get stronger as long as the Jades didn’t do anything about it. Therefore the Jades decided their best option was to take the initiative. The Floating Stone moved away from her HI and into range of the Castillo del Infanta’s cannons. She would do her best to cut off the Spanish escape route to the north. Then, the Proud Tortoise once again showed extreme bravery, and for the second time sailed up and fired upon a vessel much larger than herself! Her successful fire shot was instrumental in taking down the Principe de Asturias, and here it caused a fire on the Santa Ana! With the tough wind blowing southeast, the Meropis and Dragon’s Talon were forced to sail slowly back towards the Jade HI and the developing action.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Spanish, seeing the dangerous fire upon the Santa Ana, order a temporary retreat! They’re very cautious this game, and we’ll see if it pays off. The Santa Ana got an extra action and eliminated her fire mast. Her first action was used to blast both turtle shell panels off the Proud Tortoise, and her second action was used to move north. The fort missed the Floating Stone, but the Voz de Dios managed to sink the ship instead.

Spanish retreat!

The Overton, with Sir Meyer Hampstead and a helmsman aboard, continued to curiously sail south towards the Jade fleet. The ship then reached the Grand Temple and pulled alongside despite not having a captain! Then something strange happened…

Flavor text for Katsura-chan: “Some say that Katsura-chan was a member of a secret warrior caste that trained women in the art of deception and espionage. Since falling in love with an American sailor, however, she has taken to the sea to follow her heart.”

That “American” sailor turned out to be Hampstead! And Katsura-chan left the Grand Temple and the Jade empire to join the crew of the Overton!!

Katsura-chan joins Hampstead's American crew

That was that. Tsai, the main commander of the remaining Jade Rebellion fleet, was stunned. He ordered his crew to hold their fire even as his second-in-command deserted for the Americans. He couldn’t fire on his friend, especially so soon afterwards! With everyone on the Grand Temple in complete shock, there was nothing they could do.

To change things up, the launchings for turn 18 happened at the end of the round, rather than at the end of each fleet’s turn. The historical “big three” got busy spending:
Spanish: Granada + captain, helmsman, firepot specialist, explorer
French: Le Bourbon + Benoit de Marsilles, captain, helmsman
English: Polaris + Hermione Gold, Commander Temple, helmsman

The Spanish were anxious to replace the Principe de Asturias, and the Granada has a nice complement of crew in addition to bonuses against the pesky Corsairs, should they try to bother the Spanish. The French used an oft-forgotten ship of reasonable value, but the real story was the marine: remember from the first post that marines can fire on ANY turn for this game (though the French would forget lol). The English launched one of my newest ships, a massive and wide Double Catamaran with an interesting crew complement.

Here you can see the new Granada and Polaris at their HI’s, while the Habana has arrived to repair.

Experimental Cumulative Game

Le Bourbon has arrived. The Geographe and Argus split up. The French plans remain murky, though the Franco-Spanish remain allied against the Jade Rebellion empire.

French fleet operations

With more daring and excellent sailing, the Proud Tortoise easily catches the fleeing Santa Ana and lights her on fire again!

Proud Tortoise is incredible in this game!

With Katsura-chan gone, Tsai had lost his captain and the reroll for his own SAT ability. Seeing the fleeing Spanish, he decided to press the attack despite the loss of such an important crew member. With a successful SAT roll, the Grand Temple flew across the waves and rammed the Voz de Dios, taking out her helmsman!

It’s finally happened! The Grand Temple, the Jade flagship, takes one of the Spanish capital ships head on!

Grand Temple rams Voz de Dios

A nice shot of the southern island, where the Pasha’s Delight is currently docked. Her immunity to L-range guns makes the Meropis feel even more helpless, as she’s forced to sail at just S speed going into the wind. The Admiral Yi and Sea Lion are headed back with gold.

The Spanish were next. The Santa Ana, once again aflame, needed to get back to the Castillo del Infanta to repair. However, she rolled low and gained another fire mast, leaving her with just one mast! In the meantime, the Spanish were relieved to not see Katsura-chan aboard the Grand Temple, giving the Voz de Dios the opportunity for the first broadside. The Grand Temple knew her guns were relatively inaccurate, but then the Spanish revealed their secret weapon: Fireworks!

The Voz connects! Disappointed to hit only three times, the UT was still very helpful because only one mast would have fallen without it.

Fireworks UT to the rescue

Another angle:

Voz de Dios hits the Grand Temple

The French continued to sail south, but the bad blood between the English and French was present throughout the world at this time, so the South China Sea was no different. However, the Polaris only managed one hit against the Geographe. To the right, it looks like the other French ships may be sailing to help out their Spanish allies.

Experimental Cumulative Game

Not the center of attention anymore, the Corsairs bring back enough gold to launch the Fire Djinn! This gives them another empty ship with S-board, and they’ve fully embraced the swarm/boarding ideal. With empty ships, they can board without restraint and try to steal gold and kill crew. The Sea Dragon and Fire Djinn can board twice in a turn with a ram, while the Pasha’s Delight and Bey’s Revenge have a nice tag-team gold system going at the southern island.

Pirates CSG is a beautiful game

A closeup shot of the beautiful Barbary Corsair ships at their nice home island.

Beautiful Barbary Corsair galley ships at their home base

The Proud Tortoise continued to harass the Spanish, and hit once again with fire shot to burn down the last mast on the Santa Ana! With an oarsman aboard, the Santa Ana couldn’t be scuttled from the fire, but it was a very close call since the Santa Ana would have sunk if she wasn’t so close to the Castillo. In the meantime, the Grand Temple shot off two masts from the Voz de Dios as the big ships poured a heavy fire into each other.

Experimental Cumulative Game

In another instance where reverse captain was useful, the Grand Temple moves to ram and board after the broadside! The boarding party was a 9-9 tie after both ships rolled a 6, just like the Sea Dragon vs. Meropis earlier in the game!

ships duking it out on the high seas

To finish off the attack on the Voz, the Dragon’s Talon made it to the battle in time to knock another mast off.

Experimental Cumulative Game combat

The Spanish respond with a Broadsides Attack! As usual, it misses.

Close quarters Broadsides Attack misses!

The Spanish took their chance at dismasting the GT with one die roll, but came up empty.

Experimental Cumulative Game

As the Santa Ana burns, the Jade Rebellion continues to surprise the FS with their resilience and fighting ability.

Experimental Cumulative Game
Experimental Cumulative Game

A rare angle looking from north to south, and you can see that the Santa Ana has managed to row over to the Castillo and eliminate her fires! The JR’s almost had a huge victory in sinking the current Spanish flagship, but once again decisive action is not to be found (which is ironic given the historical nature of this game so far).

The French have arrived with the help of the northwesterly wind! With a stunningly successful shoot action, the Bourbon goes 4/5 (including Benoit’s shot) to dismast the Grand Temple and knock a shell off the Dragon’s Talon! The Argus doesn’t have a captain, but she can’t be shot at within S and carries a 2S cannon.

French arrive at the scene - Experimental Cumulative Game

The Bourbon raked the GT by the bows, firing a devastating broadside that increased the carnage in the battle area. The mizzenmast of the Voz has fallen between the two ships and further hinders the gunners’ visibility.

carnage and devastation at sea

The Spanish have been having a rough time, and therefore see no reason to slow their expanding battle fleet. They launch La Manila + captain, helmsman, cannoneer, musketeer, oarsman. The Manila is heavily crewed to support her numerous but inaccurate cannons. The Habana finishes repairing and the Spanish have 3 healthy gunships, more than any other fleet. However, their unhealthy ones are on the front lines. The “USS” Hyena appears to have interest in exploring the southwestern island, partly because the Americans can’t go to the English island in the northwest and the FS haven’t shown hostility to the Americans so far.

Spanish launch ships

In the foreground, the brand-new Granada has used the wind to quickly make it to Barbary waters, where she corners the obnoxious Pasha’s Delight. In the background, the Geographe continues sailing south, possibly in search of gold. With the American HI in the north, the Americans and French both have to travel considerable distances to get gold, and they were already two of the weaker fleets in the first place. This may serve to increase American/FS tension, though the Overton calmly sailed past the Geographe and Fortaleza Dorada without so much as a word. Hampstead seems to be content in reuniting with Katsura-chan, and the Overton has simply sailed for home. To the east however, there are more shots flying at once than the game has seen thus far, with the Corsairs now appearing to have a desire to join the fight.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Sea Dragon and Fire Djinn increase the scope of the eastern battle, which is essentially a 3 on 1 fight against the Jade Rebellion empire. The Sea Dragon S-boards the Dragon’s Talon to eliminate her helmsman.

sea battle

Turn 21 saw a 6 rolled for the wind and it shifted completely to blow towards the northwest!

The Spanish were smart to put an oarsman on the Santa Ana, as it recently saved her from a fiery doom. The Jade Rebellion put an oarsman on the GT to protect her valuable crew (but from shots, not an “English” nobleman!), but here the oarsman combines with the helmsman to let the GT return to her home island to repair!

Grand Temple returns home

The hostilities between the French and Jade Rebellion have recommenced, as the Meropis opens up another conflict by dismasting the Geographe!

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Jades are simply a force to be reckoned with this game! They won’t go down without a fight, as the two turtle ships ram the Santa Ana in an attempt to take out her crew. The Dragon’s Talon needed the wind’s assistance since she had lost her helmsman, but she also lost this boarding party to lose her captain. However, both turtle ships connected on the Bourbon, who was quickly down to two masts and aflame.

Experimental Cumulative Game

Total carnage in the east!

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Spanish won’t be friends with the Americans! Their gunships fire upon the Hyena, but somehow manage to hit once in eight tries! (Counting the musketeer and cannoneer since the latter two masts on the Manila weren’t in range)

Spanish fail against HMS Hyena

Going 2/2, the Granada hits with her S-range guns to set the Pasha’s Delight on fire. I thought this was a cool picture, and later noticed it had a lot of orange/brown: the sandy/rocky island, the gold on the island, the gold on the PD, the PD’s deck, and the Granada’s masts and sails.

Granada sets galley aflame with firepot specialist

The Voz sails to the Castillo to repair. She manages to get her guns in range of the Dragon’s Talon and hits once to knock off a shell panel. The fort has one cannon in range, but misses the shot and reroll. While the Santa Ana repairs two masts with an extra action, Benoit (aboard the Bourbon) suddenly realizes he can keep shooting and dismasts the Dragon’s Talon!

Experimental Cumulative Game

The fire aboard the Bourbon spreads, but she manages to sink the Dragon’s Talon.

Experimental Cumulative Game

Courtesy of the Proud Tortoise, the Bourbon is now running north to her HI to put out fires and repair, exactly the same situation the Santa Ana was just in! Somehow, after all that has happened, the Proud Tortoise is still sailing.

overhead view of fort

The Sea Dragon eliminates the Voz’s captain, leaving the big Spaniard with no crew. This also made it clear the BC’s were at war with the Spanish, and by extension, the French.

Corsairs arrive and attack!

Here are a few overhead shots looking from west to east to give an idea of the overall nature of the game. The English are getting gold with the Galapagos and Patagonia, but they’ve sent the Polaris east. The Overton is headed to pick up the last coin from the wreck of the Flying Dutchman, as the eastern battle still rages on.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The same angle but slightly south to expose the rest of the sea. In the far south the Pasha’s Delight has put her fire out, but the Granada can sink her. The Hyena has decided to run away from the Spanish, and the Americans haven’t really been able to gather any gold so far. The 4 gold on their HI is the gold left over from when the island was a wild island. A sharp eye will notice a peculiar fire marker lying on the deck of the Geographe, which was placed there to remind the Jades that she rolled for a successful scuttle attempt. The French don’t want the ship in enemy hands, as the Bourbon and Argus won’t be able to rescue her.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The wreckage of turns 18-21 sets up another very interesting day of action tomorrow!

Experimental Cumulative Game

8 turns were played today, turns 22-29. The first two turns saw the wind stay blowing to the northwest.

With an SAT from Tsai, the Grand Temple has repaired two masts already. The Proud Tortoise connects with another fire shot hit, dooming the Bourbon.

Experimental Cumulative Game

Without the weather gauge, the Meropis can’t fight the Granada yet, so Herr Fuchs settles for sinking the Geographe. This leaves the French with just one mast standing in their fleet, L’Argus.

sinking of Geographe

The Spanish take their turn, and between the guns of El Castillo del Infanta and the Voz de Dios, dismast the Sea Dragon.

masts in water, carnage

The English spent some gold and finally got some crew for the Galapagos – Commodore Rhys Gryffin Owen, Thomas Gunn, shipwright, oarsman.

Then the Corsairs bought another 4 masted galley – the Crescent Moon!

Crescent Moon

The Fire Djinn used S-boarding to eliminate the same oarsman who saved the Santa Ana, but the Sea Dragon was unsuccessful.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Habana dismasts the Hyena:

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Granada quickly takes care of the Admiral Yi, setting her aflame with a firepot hit. The Spanish have successfully invaded JR trade.

Granada sets turtle ship on fire

With no captain, the best the Grand Temple could do was get in range of the Voz while staying out of range of the fort’s guns.

Grand Temple returns partially repaired

The Santa Ana got an extra action and dismasted the Fire Djinn! Notice the Polaris lurking behind the island.

Experimental Cumulative Game

And the Grand Temple gets her revenge! With another SAT, she shoots twice to dismast the Voz de Dios, almost sinking the ship. With the help of the wind, which is now blowing due west for the first time in the game, the Proud Tortoise is quickly trying to row back to the Jade HI and escape the angry L’Argus.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Granada and Meropis engage each other in a predictable fight (as in, it had looked like it was going to happen). Both ships take damage. The Crescent Moon uses the opportunity to grab gold from the southern island.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Jades have spent 39 of their 54 gold and used it to hire some more Mercenaries! 10 of the gold was spent on Dragon Eyes, who waits on their HI for the GT’s return. The Forward is crewed with Luc Savard, Ibrahan Ozat, and a helmsman.

Jades hire Mercenaries

With an extra action from Owen aboard the Galapagos, the Polaris joins the fray! She sank the Proud Tortoise (finally!) and caused some damage to the fort.

Polaris joins the fray

As the Sea Lion bravely ventures back to the tumultuous waters around the southern island, the Forward supports her by taking two masts off the Crescent Moon.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Grand Temple has done it! The Voz de Dios is no more!

Grand Temple sinks the Voz de Dios

The Santa Ana immediately responds by making the GT derelict once again and eliminating her oarsman!

masts falling overboard
naval battle in progress

In the meantime, the Spanish have gained the upper hand in the south, and the Jade empire is crumbling. After a turn of unsuccessful broadsides by both ships, the Granada finally wins her battle against the Meropis. On this turn 25, the wind dramatically shifted to a westerly wind blowing due east, which let the Manila make great progress and arrive at the southern battle!

Experimental Cumulative Game

However, the Spanish suffer a setback when the San Agustin finds Wolves on her gold island! The Spanish don’t want to wait for the slow Manila (and her musketeer) to return, especially considering the change in the wind, so they decide to launch a new ship instead.

San Agustin finds Wolves on island

An overview of the situation: the game is actually shrinking a bit with so many ships being sunk. The Sea Dragon and Fire Djinn were finished off, leaving the Corsairs with just one ship. The new development here is the Habana (up north) speeding east to assist the fort against the possible danger of the Polaris, and also to help protect the Santa Ana, Spain’s flagship.

Experimental Cumulative Game overview of situation

However, instead of continuing to bombard the Spanish fort, the Polaris has sailed south to touch her bow to the bow of the Grand Temple…

Experimental Cumulative Game

… and with an extra action from Owen, uses Commander Temple to warp both ships back to the English home island! The English have gotten revenge on the Jade Rebellion and captured the Grand Temple!!

English capture the Grand Temple!

To get even with the Spanish for the sinking of the Hyena, the Overton uses the wind to catch the Habana and dismast her!

Overton dismasts Habana

In this picture, the Meropis has succumbed to fire, the Forward must fight the westerly wind, and the Crescent Moon has returned home.

Experimental Cumulative Game

Despite having the weather gauge and the first strike advantage, the Manila and Granada only manage two hits on the remaining two Jade ships!

The Spanish end their turn by commissioning the Pamplona with Diego Cesar Olano.

Spanish launch at HI

At the English home island, shipwrights busily get to work giving the Grand Temple a new paint job. With another extra action from Owen, the Temple raises two masts in one turn, and is rechristened HMS Grand Temple!!

English have HMS Grand Temple!

The Barbary Corsairs saw that their swarming and boarding tactics weren’t working, so they gave up and decided to get some crew for the Crescent Moon – Kheir-ed-din, helmsman, shipwright, oarsman. However, some recently discovered Rats cut into their profits. The Crescent Moon loaded the new crew and repaired.

Pirates CSG is a gorgeous game

The Overton captures La Habana:

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Forward hit 1/2 on the Manila to set her alight.

Experimental Cumulative Game fighting at sea

Olano misses the Wolves:

Taking advantage of a great set-specific combo, the English then hired Calico Cat, Griffin, and a Pirate helmsman to crew the HMS Grand Temple!

With the Galapagos down to one cargo space open with her recent crew acquisitions, the English needed some more treasure runners to assist the slow Patagonia. They built HMS Discovery and HMS Tweed, both literally acquired yesterday in a trade with manicdrake!

English launch small ships

The only English ship not docked at their HI in the above picture is the Polaris, who sank the captured Habana! This served to lessen Anglo-FS tensions, since the Spanish didn’t want the Habana in enemy hands. It also served as a way for the English to get some revenge on the hated Americans, for Hampstead still sailed the Overton. Between all that and the three new English ships, one of which was the mighty Grand Temple, the English were taking on a powerful position in the game.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Overton wouldn’t be able to get all of her guns in range of the Polaris because of the wind, so instead Hampstead sailed her downwind and inflicted major damage on the Santa Ana!

Overton smashes Santa Ana with cannon fire

Olano killed the Wolves, which allowed the San Agustin to take treasure once again. However, what she found was similarly horrible: Plague and Enemy of the State! The San Agustin had no crew aboard, but the UT’s meant that Spain’s only gold runner had issues.

On the previous turn the Granada had set the Sea Lion alight and dismasted her. On the next turn, the Sea Lion burned to the water line, and the Manila sank the Forward! Finally, the Jade Rebellion empire was no more! Note the Granada fleeing to the fort to repair, which is also what the Santa Ana has in mind. Bianco’s Haulers mean the Santa Ana can’t be shot at by the Overton while docked at the fort.

Experimental Cumulative Game

As the new gold runners set a course for the northwestern island, Calico Cat’s EA gives the GT her last two masts, and next turn she’ll be ready to sail for England once again!

Experimental Cumulative Game

With the repairing Santa Ana invulnerable, the Overton has turned for home, but the Polaris may be waiting for her. The Argus, the last French ship remaining, passes by the Granada on her way to the southern or southwestern island. The Manila is still burning a little bit, but she still has three masts standing. The BC’s new philosophy is to avoid combat if it’s impractical, so the Crescent Moon maneuvers around the Spanish 5 master. With her fire mast and (so far) extremely ineffective guns, the Manila isn’t likely to continue hostilities. The eastern and southern battles have concluded, and the English are the only faction not completely worn out at this point. The Jade empire is gone, but Dragon Eyes is still stranded on their former home island. Speaking of Dragon Eyes, he was the first to feel an ominous rumbling, which wasn’t from cannon fire but rather from the earth itself that he was standing on!

Experimental Cumulative Game

BOOM!

The pent-up pressure was released, and the former Jade home island was consumed by multiple explosions from below! Lava bombs flew high into the sky, and descended onto ships and forts in the nearby vicinity. Dragon Eyes and the gold on the island was long gone, but a new island with volcanic peaks took its place!

Here you can see the devastation. The Manila, Overton, Argus, and Granada (out of the picture) have been set on fire, as well as both Spanish forts. Ships were also thrown off course by the ensuing shock waves and water waves. The Polaris lost her starboard outrigger, and you can see the Crescent Moon has been thrown off course despite being undamaged. The Argus was tossed against the side of the BC home island, while the Santa Ana was driven backwards away from the fort.

volcano and earthquake gives birth to new island!
ships aflame from lava bombs flying from sky

Fortaleza Dorada on fire. The rules for flaming forts will work like this: instead of the fort rolling for each fire every turn, it rolls one die regardless of how many fire masts it has and regardless of whether the fort is given an action during the turn. The roll follows the regular rules for fire masts. The fort will be automatically destroyed if the fire consumes all 8 areas (not how many guns the fort has). Just like in my Economy Edition game, fleets can place a shipwright inside the fort to give it repair actions. If this is done, a shipwright can only put out one fire per turn, but no flag is raised in the fire’s place until another repair action is given.

Fortaleza Dorada fort on fire

Here you can finally see the Granada, who was heading north when the eruption occurred. She’s now heading east, and the Overton has been blown from heading west to heading north.

devastation from eruption

With their fleet and forts aflame and in shambles, the Spanish are desperate. With no enemy ships around, the San Agustin unloads the Plague onto the Pamplona, killing Olano! The Pamplona is given an explore action to take Enemy of the State from the San Agustin so she can ferry treasure once more.

Spanish desperate, unleash plague

At the top of the frame, the fire in Fortaleza Dorada spreads. At the bottom, the Manila puts one fire out but another spreads, for a negative overall effect.

flames everywhere

The Santa Ana and Granada are both headed towards El Castillo del Infanta to repair, but the fort is in more trouble than they are!

Experimental Cumulative Game

After a brief discussion, Calico Cat and Griffin come to an agreement. With their HMS Grand Temple and no English crew aboard, the Pirates set sail for the first time, betraying English orders and firing a full broadside at the Galapagos!!! The hired Pirates have turned on the English! Almost as soon as the English take the former Jade ship, the Pirates have commandeered her! With the loss of all crew members, HMS Galapagos, the final English ship in SCS waters after the JR-English war, sinks beneath the waves in her own harbor. How ironic that it’s at the hands of Tsai’s old flagship (the way he would have wanted it if the FS didn’t invade the area), though not in his command, but in the command of pirates.

Pirates commandeer Grand Temple, sink HMS Galapagos

With an extra action from Calico Cat, the Grand Temple moves on and dismasts the Polaris!!

HMS Grand Temple dismasts Polaris

In an instant, half of the English fleet and all of their gunships are gone. The Polaris and Galapagos are finished, while the Grand Temple has been commandeered by pirates while the stunned one masted treasure runners look on.

English suddenly destroyed by pirate betrayal

The Grand Temple lays in shadow, an ironic twist given her turn to the “dark side”. The burning Overton hopes to return to the American HI.

HMS Grand Temple turns to the dark side of piracy

And with that, the Jolly Roger was raised!! Calico Cat and Griffin signaled their secret fleet that now was the time to strike! Pirate ships swarmed the area, including some ships and Pirates that the English really didn’t want to see:
Revenge + Captain Villanueva, helmsman
Greed’s Hammer + Mistress Ching, helmsman
Black Mongoose + captain, shipwright
Empress + Captain Sao Feng, captain, helmsman
Mocha + Kanhoji Angria, helmsman
Plague of the East + helmsman
Plague of the North + captain

(Notice some SCS crew and the Jade-inspired POTC crew)

The Pirates arrive!!

Captain Sao Feng leads the Pirate fleet, which is a ragtag bunch of former Jade Rebels turned true rebels against the JR empire. Now that the once-strong empire has fallen, the Pirates are looking to seize their chance at controlling the area. Their hatred of the English stems from their jealousy at the English initially getting the better of the Jades during the JR-English war, which many of these Pirates fought in. These Pirates deserted the Jade Rebellion cause during the war since they had faith that the English would win. When the Jade Rebellion won the war, they were forced into hiding and exile. Feng is the best example of this band of Pirates: “There is no honor in remaining with the losing side. Leaving it for the winning side, that’s just good business.”

Sao Feng's pirate ships arrive in the South China Sea

The effect wasn’t obvious at first, but it’s now apparent that the volcanic activity created two natural whirlpools and three reefs!

Experimental Cumulative Game

During this day of action, a whopping 15 ships were sunk in the 8 turns that were played, including 8 ships from SCS. The wind has now blown due east for 5 consecutive turns, and the game’s end is starting to approach…

1/14/2016

4 turns were played (30-33). The wind blowed east on turn 30 and southeast on turns 31-33.

The Pirates have begun their assault. The Discovery has been dismasted, while the Grand Temple shoots at Fortaleza Dorada and the Polaris at the same time. The Revenge rams the Patagonia and steals some of her gold.

Experimental Cumulative Game

At the bottom of the frame, the Mocha has blocked the San Agustin from docking at her HI. The burning La Manila is making her way towards Fortaleza Dorada, which is also on fire.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Argus burned to the water line, which officially eliminated the French from the game! Their HI became a new wild island.

French eliminated

In her attempt to eliminate her fire masts and repair at the fort, the Manila must cross one of the reefs created by the volcanic activity, but she rolls a 1!

Spanish fort and ship in flames

The Spanish have truly fallen hard. The Manila is now a flaming wreck, blocking part of the southern sea from the north.

La Manila, a burning shipwreck

Fire has consumed more than half of Fortaleza Dorada, and the smoke can be seen for miles around.

Spanish fort almost completely consumed by fire

Using the wind to her advantage, the Pamplona rams the docked Crescent Moon and gives her the Plague, killing all four of her crew!

Experimental Cumulative Game

With no helmsman or weather gauge, the San Agustin can’t quite make it home. This allows the Pirates another chance to catch her…

The Pirates are cleaning up the west by wrecking everything in their path. The Black Mongoose has sunk the Discovery, while the Empress will soon do the same to the Tweed.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The San Agustin was sunk when the Grand Temple turned around and used an extra action from Calico Cat to arrive at the Spanish home island!

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Spanish still have hope in the east: the Santa Ana and Granada have almost finished repairing, while El Castillo del Infanta managed to put out her fires. However, the Plague-ridden Crescent Moon is now looking to get revenge on the Spaniards. At the top of the frame, notice the Overton docked at the former French HI, but she’ll need to explore next turn.

Experimental Cumulative Game

In the far southwest, the Greed’s Hammer and Plague of the East look to plunder the Spanish gold island, while the Mocha rounds the sandbars and heads east. The Grand Temple has begun moving north, towards the end of the Pirate/English battle.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Patagonia put up a fight and set the Revenge on fire, but the Pirate forces are far too much for the little galley. The Empress has finished off the Tweed.

Experimental Cumulative Game

Fortaleza Dorada has finally been destroyed!

fort destroyed by fire and flames

The Spanish know they must act quickly to have any hope of survival, so they send their ships on different missions. The Granada will try to set the Grand Temple aflame with her firepot specialist, while the Santa Ana takes care of the Crescent Moon and her Plague. Continuing the Spaniards’ unfortunate woes however, the Santa Ana only hits 3/6 on the Crescent Moon!

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Corsairs get revenge and eliminate the final three crew (Carlos Pavon, Bianco’s Haulers, and a helmsman) on the Santa Ana!

The Overton explores the former French HI-turned wild island, and finds the Whirlpool UT! This drags her into the nearest whirlpool, which is just to the south. However, mysteriously, she doesn’t appear at the southwestern whirlpool as she should. Instead, she seems to have disappeared!

The waters of the northeastern whirlpool where the Overton disappeared began to froth and bubble. Foam and steam flew in the air, and suddenly, demonic beasts and bloody ships came flying up from beneath the ocean!!!

The Cursed arrive in a flash!!! From under the new whirlpool created by the volcanic activity!

(The above picture was purposely taken like that, to illustrate how quickly the Cursed came up – in a flash!)

The Cursed are here!

Grinder + El Fantasma, helmsman, oarsmen x3
Skin Flayer + Sammy the Skull, White Crew, Wraith, helmsman, oarsman
Brachyura + captain, helmsman
Cyclops + captain, helmsman
Shal-Bala
Squalo

The Pirates immediately summon all of their ships to attack the Cursed! The Grand Temple leads the charge, while the Revenge, Black Mongoose, Empress, and Plague of the North follow. The Patagonia was sunk, officially eliminating the English from the game!

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Pirate ships in the southwest explore the Spanish gold island, but the Greed’s Hammer finds The Red Skull, turning her into a Cursed ship!

After 33 turns, who could have pictured a scene like this?

what the hell happened?

1/15/2016

Turns 34+ have been played! The wind shifted from the SE to the NW on turn 35, but after that it was a whirlwind and I didn’t keep track of the wind or turn count.

At the top of the picture, Squalo has sunk the Granada. The Santa Ana and Pamplona run from the Grinder and Mocha respectively, knowing that they stand the best chance when fighting together. The Grinder has sunk the Crescent Moon, eliminating the Barbary Corsairs from the game.

Experimental Cumulative Game

With her recent turn to the Cursed, the Greed’s Hammer fires and sinks the Plague of the East. In the background, the main battle has begun.

Experimental Cumulative Game

With the sun setting on the game and glinting off the switchblades of the Skin Flayer, the Cursed are in control. The Skin Flayer and Cyclops team up to crush the Grand Temple, while Brachura waits behind them. White Crew eliminated all of the Pirates aboard the GT, but Wraith couldn’t reanimate any of them.

Skin Flayer shiny blades attacks Grand Temple

The Pirates have arrived! However, they do minimal damage. The Revenge makes an ill-advised ram against the Skin Flayer, and loses her crew. The hulk of the Grand Temple is blocking the path for either faction to proceed.

Pirates vs. Cursed battle

The Cursed launch another attack, and it’s just as deadly as the last. The Revenge is dismasted, while the Grand Temple is finally sunk! Shal-Bala swoops on the Empress, and the Pirates are down to three usable ships.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Grinder sacs another oarsman to sink the Santa Ana! The Pamplona is waiting, while the Mocha also wants to sink the Grinder.

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Pirates manage to dismast the Skin Flayer, but their time is running out!

Experimental Cumulative Game

Shal-Bala takes care of the Plague of the North, but the Black Mongoose and Cyclops continue to miss each other at point-blank range. The Greed’s Hammer has arrived via whirlpool, while an impatient Brachyura has whirlpooled to the south to approach the battle from a different angle.

big battle at sea

Total carnage on the high seas!

total carnage!

The Pamplona went 1/2 against the Grinder, but soon afterwards paid the price.

Shal-Bala prepares to savage the Black Mongoose:

Experimental Cumulative Game

In the meantime, Squalo looks to take a bite out of the GT’s mast!

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Grinder has finished off the Pamplona, but now the Mocha is upon her.

The Black Mongoose is finally derelict!

massive sea dragon wingspan

Brachyura has sunk the Empress, and the Pirates are all but finished.

Experimental Cumulative Game

Or are they? A forgotten shipwright on the Black Mongoose gives the Pirates another chance!

As Shal-Bala flies off to deal with the Mocha, Brachyura unleashes her fury on the Black Mongoose. The Greed’s Hammer had captured the Revenge, and they scuttled her. The Hammer then sunk the Plague of the North, ending the northern battle with no Pirate survivors.

giant crab attack!

The southeastern area will see the final action take place:

The Pirates continue to show their resilience as the Mocha dismasts the Grinder!

Shal-Bala is given a shoot action, and the game ends!!

Shal-Bala sea dragon ends game by destroying the Mocha schooner

The Cursed have won this short experimental cumulative game!

After around 40 turns, nobody could have predicted this! None of the original starting factions are in the game, while one island has been completely transformed by nature. Dark times have fallen upon the area, with Pirates and then Cursed taking turns to dominate the waters. Debris is strewn over the northern area, while a shipwreck blocks a trade route south. What a crazy game!

end of the Experimental Cumulative Game

This was a good game, and I’m happy that I finally did some things I’d been meaning to do. The biggest one was trying out one of the various wind rules. I liked it quite a bit – it affected gameplay but not overly so. It didn’t make or break every situation.

One interesting aspect of the wind is for gold runners – in general, on a trip to a wild island they’ll have the advantage one way, but usually have it hinder them on the other way (to or from their HI). This balances things nicely, but for longer voyages it can be a major nuisance, or a major help (and when it’s a major help, the voyage won’t turn out to be so long after all!). I waffled back and forth on how to determine the wind’s +S/-S for extra actions: at first I had the wind only affect one of the actions, but later on I wanted it to be more prominent so sometimes I had it affect both actions. For example, when the Santa Ana gets an extra action, her first move with the wind might be L+S+S, but the second could be the regular L+S even if she’s still going with the wind. To make things more complicated and more interesting, sometimes ships would be going into the wind with their first action but with it for their second, so the net effect was neutral. Also, ships were occasionally able to “tack” in order to gain an extra S by sailing slightly out of their way to go with the wind for a moment before continuing on the original direction with that extra S boost.

I’m glad the game looked good – it’s my first cumulative game I’ve played using exclusively 3D islands and terrain (excluding those whirlpools and reefs at the end). This made it look more realistic, something I was going for when I started the game with a semi-historical scenario of sorts. It was also my first cumulative game that I played on a table, and I mostly enjoyed that aspect of it. The fabric used was the unique one – I have 4 more “regular” fabrics but this 5th one is the silky, shinier one that kind of looks more like water in the way it can shimmer. (the pictures don’t usually do it full justice) There were also certain aspects that looked very cool – the forts on fire, the burning wreck of the Manila, and the classic shiny blades of the Skin Flayer glinting in the sun.

I will admit that the game became somewhat rushed towards the end. The Jade Rebellion held out for far longer than I expected them to, so that delayed the entrance of the Pirates and Cursed. When they did show up, my other priorities and events conspired to give them less of a showing, but the game was still completed and it worked out fine. However, as a result of this rushing at the end, I do have one regret about this game of something that I wanted to include but couldn’t: fireships. I still need to try this out. With the semi-historical nature of the majority of this game, they would have fit reasonably well, especially as a last-ditch effort by the Jade Rebellion or perhaps the English. I was happy to get lots of fire into the game in general, and having forts ablaze is something I look forward to seeing more of.

With all that said, I have a feeling that my next cumulative game will take place not on a table or a floor, but on VASSAL.

Legend of the Giant Turtle

Legend of the Giant Turtle

A Game Played on May 11th, 2019

For centuries, myths were spread around the sea of a giant turtle in slumber deep below the ocean’s surface.  It was rumored that the turtle’s massive shell was made of pure gold.  Perhaps if a sailor was sneaky enough, he could manage to remove part of the shell and set himself up for life.

Last week a dubious publication revealed that someone claimed to have seen the turtle above water!  Almost immediately nearly every nation in the world scrambled to get a small fleet into the region.  If the rumors were true, this opportunity to gain wealth could be unrivaled in history.  Little did the factions know what truly awaited them….

~~~~~

Admiral A7XfanBen is back!  I was able to play my first physical game of Pirates CSG since November 2018, and my first physical solo game since the ridiculous Command the Oceans ended in December 2017.  I got that “playing bug” and wanted to try something a bit different.  I’ve had some cardboard moldings like this for quite a while, with the intention of turning at least one into a giant turtle.

cardboard molding for turtle/fort

It would have been nice to give the legs/flippers a glossy teal-like color, with a gray for the shell.  However, I wanted the turtle to be more of a proper wild island, and a very lucrative one at that.  The turtle is so large and fertile that grass grows on all of its flippers!  And of course, this legendary turtle of old has a shell of PURE GOLD that is unmatched in world history!!  O_O  I spread out some glue and sprinkled on some grass powder, along with some big bushes for the eyes.  I finished it off with a thick layer of shiny metallic gold paint.  The shell would look a bit more realistic if it was more raised up/rounded, but I wanted to keep it pretty flat, mostly so coins can be easily placed and kept on its back.  Besides, it’s a giant gold turtle bigger than a 10 master, so realism was not the goal here!   😀

Giant Golden Turtle

I took 496 pictures for this game, which was certainly too many!  I think it’s good I didn’t include them all here, since there are a number of semi-duplicates, the same angle with the flash and without, etc.  I decided to vary the picture size for this report so the page might load faster and because some of the developments don’t necessarily deserve the full size picture.  The largest pictures can be made even bigger by opening them in a new tab and zooming in.

Here is the setup!  I used the “Caribbean” blue ocean fabric as I thought it suited the turtle theme the best.  I made sure to string together some terrain and include whirlpools for maximum traveling efficiency.

Legend of the Giant Turtle setup

 

 

House Rules:

-Round Earth – ships going over one side of the map appear on the exact opposite side.

-Shiny silver is worth 3 times its printed value

-Shiny gold is worth 2 times its printed value

-Giant Turtle acts as a wild island – more rules are below in the report

-Only singular islands can be chosen as home islands.  The 11 gold locations were as follows: 5 beach island, 3 beach island, giant turtle, 2 shipwrecks.

-No Events

 

The Fleets

This would be an 8 fleet, 60 point game.

Here are the factions!  This is the turn order; I got the fleets out in the reverse of this order (with the Pirates first).  Home islands were picked in reverse turn order, with the Pirates choosing first.

The Cursed

Skin Flayer + Captain Nemo, El Fantasma, helmsman, shipwright, oarsman

Sea Duck

Silver Coffin

Nightmare + helmsman

The final fleet made for the game.  This was simply an excuse to add a switchblade with Captain Nemo aboard.  Switchblades with any kind of capture crew almost always make games more fun, so I couldn’t resist.  The idea of course is that the Skin Flayer won’t really need Nemo’s captures (already have the essential crew aboard), so they can be sacced by Fantasma for chained extra actions. (sac a crew to get an extra action, which is then used to blade ram a ship and capture another crew for next turn’s sac)  The rest of the fleet was some gold running support, with the Sea Duck’s sniping ability pairing nicely with the Silver Coffin’s Extended Range.

Cursed fleet

 

Jade Rebellion – Clones of the South China Sea

(slightly modified)

I think this Grand Path setup is nastier than what the original fleet contains.  The GP would have SAT+reroll with essentially 1S cannons, along with a stinkpot specialist and oarsman for maximum crew support.  I have convinced myself that the Grand Wind is underrated, so I was looking forward to using her in a reasonably-sized game.

Jade Rebellion fleet

 

Barbary Corsairs – Clones of the Barbary Coast

(slightly modified)

No events allowed me to add a few extra crew, and this swarm of clones would be off to the gold races!

Barbary Corsair fleet

 

Americans – Shutting it Down with American Guns

A powerful American fleet with serious potential.  A great case could be made that the Kettering and Frontier should both be 20+ points, so combine that with 5 extra from Perry and this fleet packed serious punch.

American fleet

 

Spanish

Valeroso + Victor de Alva, Master Bianco, Contessa Anita Amore, helmsman

Intermediaro

San Francisco + captain, helmsman

Pescados de Plata + helmsman

Easily the oddest and possibly the weakest fleet, I decided to get a bit funky here.  The Valeroso is a very capable ship, and I wanted to emphasize her ability by putting S-Board on her.  Bianco comes aboard to make her a funky S-Boarding hybrid, with 3 open cargo spaces. Intermediaro is a one-of-a-kind creature with an ability that could be used to help any of the other 3 ships.  It was added partly for the possibility of using the ability to draw coins from the giant turtle. San Francisco is a great little hybrid and the Pescados would function as a gold runner.

Spanish fleet

 

French

Le Superbe + Amiral Stephan Dupuy, Duncan Rousseau, captain, helmsman, oarsman

Le Soleil Royal + Vicomte Jules de Cissey, captain, helmsman, firepot specialist

Le Triton + captain

Three of my favorite French ships.  All of them absolute classics; I think the Triton is one of the most underrated ships in the entire game.  The big gunships would be ready to wreak havoc; the Superbe specifically was equipped for absolute chaos with the combination of EA+reroll along with Parley to stay in fights longer than most other ships.  With all 3 ships having captains, the French would be ready for war.

French fleet

 

English

HMS Titan + Lord Thomas Gunn, helmsman, firepot specialist, oarsman

HMS Bolingbroke + captain, helmsman

HMS Adventure + helmsman

HMS Rye

Since it was my first physical game of a longer nature in quite some time, I wanted to include some classics and favorites.  HMS Titan remains one of England’s finest, and she alone can make the English competitive in this game. The Bolingbroke is a very capable gunship.  They were a little short on cargo, but HMS Adventure is a somewhat new addition to my collection that I wanted to use for the first time, while HMS Rye gave them a faster gold runner in addition to the valuable cancelling ability.

English fleet

 

Pirates

Zeus + Captain Blackheart, helmsman, explorer, oarsmen x5

Raven + Hammersmith, oarsman

Devil’s Pay + captain, oarsman

THE ZEUS IS LOOSE!!!!  This marks the first time I’ve used my physical copy of the Zeus in a game since acquiring the 10 master earlier this year.  I decided to go with the original (and cheaper) Blackheart for the Sac ability, with tons of oarsmen for “food”. The Raven is one of my original ships and an all-time favorite, with Hammersmith turning her into a fast hybrid.  The Devil’s Pay isn’t great, but this was the first fleet I decided upon for the game and thought it might be too good, so I didn’t want to fully optimize it since it wasn’t a hyper-competitive game. (though still competitive relative to lots of other games I’ve played).

Pirate fleet

Feel free to comment below your thoughts, and which fleet you thought would win/which fleet you were rooting for!

The Setup

Looking east:

Legend of the Giant Turtle

From above:

Legend of the Giant Turtle

Looking west:

 

Gold

-10 “regular” gold locations (8 beaches and 2 shipwrecks) with 5 coins apiece.  (50 coins)

-Giant Turtle has 30 coins on it, including one all-gold coin worth 20 gold. (most valuable coin in play)

-16 Unique Treasures spread out among the locations, with at least 4-5 on the turtle.  All the factions know that the UT’s are positive in nature.

-80 coins total

 

TONS of gold appears on the giant turtle!!

The turtle was placed in the middle of the map with not much around it for good reason….

 

The three beach island, from Ross in AZ.  Contact him if you’re interested in getting your own!

 

The Sultan shipwreck:

 

The Duke shipwreck returns as well!  It’s gotten a little dirty after seeing extensive use since it first appeared in 2015.

 

The 5 beach island, also made by Ross in AZ.

 

Ready to start!!

 

The Game

The Cursed get things started, with the dangerous Skin Flayer going to the south via round earth!

Cursed gold runners approach the wreck of the Sultan:

Knowing they need to get gold early with all the dangerous fleets floating around, the Jades use Zheng Li Kwan to sac an oarsman from the Grand Wind (GW).  This allows her to dock and explore a beach in the west.  The Grand Path (GP) ducks into a fog bank due to her proximity to HMS Titan.

Not a bad haul!  With all the crew on the GW, she can only load the best 2 coins.

The Corsairs immediately show that they have designs on the turtle!  Half of their fleet breaks for the sleepy creature.

The other BC ships head for the 3 beach island, with two of them ducking into a fog bank to avoid the Skin Flayer:

The Corsair fleet, gorgeous as always:

Corsair fleet

The Frontier’s hoist arm is perfect for avoiding the reef that ensnared the Duke!

Frontier hoist

A nice haul, and one that the Frontier’s huge hold can easily accommodate.

The Kettering and Hudson quickly sail over to surround their valuable investment, daring anyone to come close.

To my surprise, the Spanish are able to use Intermediaro on their first turn, the ability providing the Valeroso with a coin!  (a shiny silver 1 worth 3 gold)

 

The Spanish 2 masters head for the north side of the 5 beach island:

The Superbe docks at the 3 beach island with the Soleil Royal and Triton close behind.

It seems that the French are always gorgeous.  One of the best sights on the sea:

The English venture out, heading north just like the Jade Rebels:

The Titan and Adventure join the Grand Path in the fog, with the Rye a bit more confident than most due to her cancelling ability (and the GP only has S-range guns).

The Pirates split up, with the Raven heading towards the turtle, the Devil’s Pay heading towards the Sultan shipwreck, and the Zeus heading north along the eastern edge of the map.  The Pirates already had a plan they decided upon as soon as they chose their home island (HI): the Zeus would round earth to the northwest and dominate the waters around the 5 beach island.  She would try to keep that gold locked up until she sacced enough crew to load some of it, or one of the other Pirate ships got over there to explore.

ocean setup

The Cursed runners arrive at the shipwreck, both avoiding reef damage:

The Skin Flayer heads west, definitely wanting to avoid the massive firepower of the French fleet. (up to 18 shots in a turn between the 3 captained ships and the Superbe’s EA)

The Grand Wind sacs another oarsman and is already home with gold!  The Jade Rebellion takes a very early lead on Turn 2!  They partly did this to avoid having HMS Titan go ballistic coming out of the fog and wrecking their gold game.  Saccing early meant getting some guaranteed gold, and also freed up cargo space on the GW for future treasure runs.

The Grand Path comes flying out of the fog bank with Tsai’s SAT, covering a large distance quickly!

She connects with a hit on the Pescados de Plata, and the fighting has begun!

The Morocco is the first ship to dock at the giant turtle!  She has an explorer and they clamber upon the mythical creature for a look at what the golden shell contains!!

O_O  Holy hell!!  In addition to the 20 gold coin (painted gold in the middle), the giant turtle does not disappoint the centuries-old rumors.  The Morocco’s crew is delighted to find tons of extremely valuable gold and silver, not to mention a bunch of great UT’s.

Suddenly the Morocco is filthy rich!  It turns out Calico Cat (Pirate SAT crew) was the Castaway, so maybe she was hiding out on the turtle as one of her nine lives!!  XD   The coin worth 20 gold combines with a shiny silver 6 to represent a whopping 38 gold on the Morocco alone!  O_O

The Corsairs get greedy, with the Queen of Sheba and Agha’s Whip also docking at the turtle.  They abandon their explorers to maximize the loot loaded!

The Dervish rolls an unlucky 1 to exit the fog bank right onto a reef, but rows over it undamaged.  The Griffin docks at the 3 beach island, with the Gallows protecting her from the Raven zooming around to the north.

The Corsairs are loaded, with 4 ships carrying gold already.  The Griffin finds Metal Hull with her explorer.

The Americans return home, with the Frontier turning a quick profit by draining the Duke shipwreck.  The Kettering is already eyeing the Corsairs with suspicion, given their turtle antics and obvious greed.

The Pescados docks at the 5 beach island…

With the San Francisco trying to shield her from the massive Grand Path, going 1 for 2 to knock off a mast.

Intermediaro (submerged) transfers another coin from the turtle to the Valeroso.  This is a solid strategy for the Spanish, but per the creature’s ability, the coin has to be random, limiting their potential profit.

Hearing the guns booming to the west, the Valeroso docks home her 2 coins as Victor de Alva looks to even the fight against the Jade Rebellion.

Since the ability is a free action, Intermediaro was then able to move southeast towards the Pirates:

Le Superbe explores to find some coins and TURTLES!!  XD

The Triton docks as well, as the French grab all the coins from the beach.  You can see that my “turtle UT collection” is 30% complete.  🙂

The Soleil Royal stands guard against a possible attack by the Skin Flayer, who already feels like one of the biggest “free agent”/wild card type ships in the game.

Suddenly 3 of the 4 English ships are docked, though none of them have explorers.

With some custom islands/terrain and a blue ocean, you can really make this game look even more beautiful than it normally is.  I listened to some music while playing the game, including various epic mixes and some Alestorm later on.  Feel free to tune in while you take in the game and all the pictures.

The Pirates get in action!  Most figured the scary Zeus would be the one to open their realm of combat, but the Devil’s Pay snuck up on the Cursed from the other side of the Sultan shipwreck!  This wreck is too low to block lines of fire, so the Devil’s Pay shot away both masts on the Sea Duck!

The Raven flies in at S+S+S+S speed to attack the Morocco!  However, she fails miserably, missing with both cannons and losing her oarsman in the boarding party.  The ram was successful, but Hammersmith really wanted to dismast the ship.

An ominous sight: the Zeus has round earthed to the west!

However, with 3 factions exploring 3 of the 5 beaches at the island, and the Grand Path and Titan (both with extra actions) in the area, it may be difficult for Captain Blackheart to use his ship of doom to control the whole area.

But still, it’s the ZEUS!  😀

 

Suddenly, the ships around the Giant Turtle heard a deep rumbling.  The turtle opened its eyes!!  THE TURTLE IS AWAKE!!  Noticing some of its golden shell stolen, the turtle gets angry and rams two of the Corsair ships at once, knocking a mast off each one!!

turtle awakens

The turtle is angry!

Giant Turtle Rules

-Acts as NPC island that can move S in any direction it wants at the end of each round of turns, measured from the head. (one ship must dock at it to wake it up)  

-Ships can dock at grassy areas on turtle and build forts on it.

-Turtle can only “fight” by ramming, can ram multiple opponents at a time and every turtle ram always eliminates a mast.  

-Turtle has Hoard ability and can board opponents that have gold after ramming them (base roll of 4). If turtle loses boarding party, winning ship can take 1 extra coin from island if they have room.

 

The turtle is alive and well!!  In an event the Corsairs did not predict the turtle has awakened to take back its valuable gold.  It rolls a 4 while boarding the Morocco to take back all of her gold and UT’s!!  (Calico “Castaway” Cat remained since she is a crew now)

The Agha’s Whip is boarded as well, and loses all her gold back to the turtle!

Suddenly the Corsairs aren’t so rich anymore, with the Queen of Sheba lucky to get out alive. (so far at least)

The Corsairs docking at the turtle woke it up, which led to this chaotic finish to the end of Turn 2.

This giant turtle won’t be giving up its riches that easily:

 

I figured that instead of just having the turtle be a simple wild island, that it could move and defend itself.  That way the island is still a priority due to the immense riches on it, but the turtle can be a living game piece that makes it harder for factions to win by simply “robbing” the turtle’s huge golden shell.

What was looking like an easy path to victory now looks like an intimidating behemoth that factions may want to stay away from:

It’s worth noting that since the turtle can move at the end of each round, an explorer is almost required to get gold from it, at least until that faction has marked the island as explored.  Any ship docked at the turtle can expect it to attack them, which will undock the ship and require docking again to have a chance at the gold.

Now you can see why I wanted to leave the middle area pretty wide-open.  I wanted to give the turtle plenty of space to maneuver without crashing into obstacles and getting stuck.

The Silver Coffin is able to barely shoot between the fog bank and Sea Duck for an extended range shot, along with another shot between the Sea Duck and Nightmare.  One hit drops the Devil’s Pay to 1 mast.

The Nightmare explores the Sultan to find some interesting UT’s, but not a large amount of gold:

She loads the Necklace and a 3, hoping to use the Explosives later on.  (face up coins since it was a solo game so I don’t have to try and remember which coins are what)

So far the northeast is a battle of the small ships and long guns over a shipwreck:

It was time for the Skin Flayer to get in action!!  Captain Nemo and El Fantasma were waiting for the opportune moment to strike, and a weak and scattered Corsair fleet was the perfect target!!  The switchblade slices through the stern gallery of the Dervish:

Skin Flayer switchblade

With a successful shoot and board via the blades, the Dervish loses both masts!

Showing the effective and sadistic nature of this strategy, Fantasma immediately sacrifices a Cursed oarsman for an extra action.  The Skin Flayer moves on to savage more Corsair targets, ramming the Griffin with her bow and the Gallows with her port side blade!!

With death in her wake, the Skin Flayer shows the power of switchblades: a double action triple ramming frenzy attack!!

The Griffin avoids damage, but the Gallows loses both masts:

BOTH boarding attempts were successful, with Captain Nemo essentially capturing 2 crew from 2 different ships at once!  The Griffin’s oarsman and Gallows’ captain become part of Fantasma’s evil army.

The Cursed have launched a devastating attack on the Corsairs, with the sun shining on the Skin Flayer’s blades:

This is a switchblade lover’s dream: two actions, two crew captured, three ships rammed – and all of them by a different “source”. (both blades and the ship’s bow all hit a target!)  They might be funky and a dumb idea, but this is why switchblades are often my favorite type of “Pokeship” – they’re fun and wild!

To nobody’s surprise, the Grand Path easily blows the San Francisco out of the water for the first sinking of the game!

The Corsairs take their turn, trying to process the devastation.  In a turn they went from having 6 healthy ships, 4 of them with a lot of gold between them.  Now 3 of them are dismasted, with only 2 carrying gold.  Most of their ships flee to the safety of the fog and home (Dervish docked), but the Morocco can’t make it despite her helmsman and oars.  With Metal Hull preventing fast movement but making her a tough opponent, the Griffin actually decides to stand and fight the Skin Flayer, going 1 for 2 to knock out a mast.

Making things even worse for the Corsairs, French and American gunships are lurking to either side of their home island, only a few actions away from being able to do serious damage to an already weakened fleet.

Speaking of which, it was now the American turn!  The Kettering was eager for some action, trying to prevent the Morocco from getting home next turn with her S+S rowing capability.  However, her stinkpot shot backfired, eliminating it from the game!

And just like that, it looks like the Americans are the next faction to have plans for the turtle!  Their entire fleet heads northeast, with the Frontier having two decided advantages over the great beast:

-Her Hoist ability can use the crane arm to take gold directly from the shell, avoiding the dock+explore mechanic and likely limiting potential damage from a turtle counterattack if she can get the right angle of approach

-Secret Hold will protect the gold from the turtle’s wrath and Hoarding Gold ability!

Could the Frontier make off with a massive store of shiny loot?

Or will the giant turtle prove too much for the legendary gold runner?  Stay tuned to find out!

With no proper escape route from the Grand Path, the Pescados decides to just continue on and explore anyway.  She finds some solid coins.

But now the Pescados is not alone!  The Valeroso arrives, with Victor de Alva leading an S-Boarding party on the Grand Path!  However, the Spanish utterly fail, missing all 3 shots and losing the boarding party. (her ability prevented the loss of any crew)

Intermediaro surfaces for the first time and crashes HARD into the Devil’s Pay!!

A crowded area just got more crowded with the addition of a giant squid:

The French have a sneaky quick gold run going on, with the Superbe docking home a few coins and the Triton and turtles not far behind:

The Soleil Royal simultaneously docks at the southern beach of the 3 beach island and takes advantage of the Skin Flayer’s extended blades to take a couple shots….

But misses!

Although the French fleet is built for combat, all three ships have at least one cargo space open.  They have a nice little secluded corner in the southeast that they will try to milk as much as possible. (gotta love how Ross’ waterfalls pretty much match the water color)

All FOUR English ships load treasure on the same turn!

The Rye gets two 7’s, but leaves the real goodies to the more durable HMS Titan – a shiny silver 5 worth 15 gold could be doubled by Spices for a whopping 30 gold in one load!  The other two ships get the leftovers that the Grand Wind didn’t take.

The Kettering stands ready to cancel one of the Morocco’s moving abilities to try and prevent her from getting home.  This would be important on the Pirate turn in a moment.  This is also where the game’s strategy and “endless options” started to get more complicated, as I wanted and expected. (complex Pirates games are usually more fun for me)

The Pirates decided to change their plans.  With the Grand Path, Titan, Bolingbroke, and Rye still around the 5 beach island, Blackheart started looking for an easier target.  Those English ships alone could potentially ruin the Zeus, especially with the Titan’s EA combined with the Rye’s cancelling.

THE ZEUS IS LOOSE!!!  BLACKHEART GOES AFTER THE FRONTIER!

Blackheart sacced an oarsman to get an extra action coming out of the whirlpool, and the 1 roll on the whirlpool (my house rule) meant she lost a second one as well.  Blackheart didn’t want to sacrifice any firepower by losing a mast – with my atrocious history rolling for 3S cannons, the Zeus would need all the firepower she could muster against even a 3 masted ship.

Zeus vs. Frontier!

The Zeus made sure to ram the Frontier as well.  Instead of just sinking the hoist, they want her.  The Pirates were trying to capture the Frontier and use her in their own fleet.  With both a helmsman and oarsman aboard, the latter of which prevents dereliction and therefore capture, this would be a tough task.

With typically bad luck on those silly 3S cannons (which are like my Achilles’ Heel of this game), the Zeus shoots a rather poor 3/9, just barely enough to dismast the ship.

The Zeus won the boarding party of course, but Blackheart had semi-forgotten that he wouldn’t be able to choose which crew got eliminated.  The Americans tossed the helmsman overboard, while the Pirates were kinda hoping the oarsman would die…

… because the Raven came flying across the front of the giant turtle to ram and board the Frontier!  If the oarsman was gone, this would have been enough to capture the Frontier, but the best-laid plans in Pirates often don’t work out at all.  (not that this was the best plan ever, but Blackheart was getting kinda bored on the Zeus lol)

The Raven successfully boards the Frontier, taking out her oarsman and leaving her ripe for capture!  Unfortunately for them, the Devil’s Pay (their only other ship) was derelict by the Sultan shipwreck way in the northeast.

The turtle moves again!  This time its slow movement of S was not enough to ram anything, but it did compromise the space between the various ships in the south.  Now you can see why the Kettering cancelling the Morocco’s ability mattered – the Pirates had to make sure the Raven could get past the Kettering without having Hammersmith’s helmsman ability cancelled before even launching the attack on the Frontier with the Zeus.  Lots of logistics and planning were starting to come into play!

The end of Turn 3 shows a very active southern area:

Some other angles on the game:

Indeed, most of the action is in the south, with a little in the northwest and northeast:

An overhead shot shows that perhaps the French and English have a clear path to lots of easy gold?

The Nightmare takes the Sea Duck under tow, allowing Silver Coffin to shoot off Intermediaro’s head.

An area filled with debris accumulates more:

Leaving the metal-hulled and annoying Griffin alone this turn, the Skin Flayer captures the Morocco:

The Cursed immediately give her a move action, which she uses to duck into a fog bank so the Griffin can’t sink her.

Claiming her second captained Spanish victim, the Grand Path’s massive crew complement calmly unleash a huge broadside that sinks the Valeroso!  This nets them 1 gold for eliminating Contessa Anita Amore.

The Grand Wind rolled a 6 out of the fog and sacced her final oarsman (already!) to dock at an unexplored western part of the 5 beach island.

She finds an interesting mix, with Poseidon’s Breath perfect for a 6 master. (move your base move as many times as you have masts)

She uses the Ammunition to get exploding shot for defense (not bad with a 4L cannon with reroll) and loads the other coins.

So far the Jades have fought the Spanish, but not the English despite their home island proximity.  Of course, the GP has been busy, sinking both of the only 2 ships to sink so far.

The Corsairs take their turn, with not much of note happening.  The Kettering and Hudson have effectively blocked off the fog bank, not allowing the Queen of Sheba and Agha’s Whip to return home.  They roll for exit location but then duck back into the fog.  The Griffin starts her slow trip home (S speed due to Metal Hull), while the Dervish repairs.  In what would become almost a “meme of the game”, the Gallows docks at the far side of a giant turtle flipper and loads a coin.

Lots of gold still available, and the Gallows was trying to sneak off with some:

The Americans are pissed!  USS Hudson swoops in and tows the Frontier, preventing the Pirates from capturing her later in the round.  She misses 2 shots against the Zeus but hits both times against the Raven, dismasting the ship and killing Hammersmith!  (essentially a death blow to the Raven, who is now dead in the water after having 4S speed and Captain)

Worrying more about the Frontier’s survival than the elusive Corsairs hiding in the fog, the Kettering sails over as well, ready to cancel an ability on the Zeus in case the Pirates try to sink the Frontier.

Continuing the theme of damaged gold runners on the run, the Pescados flees into a fog bank to escape the “Wrath of the Path”.

Taking damage from the Silver Coffin and unable to do much against the Cursed on the other side of the fog/reef barrier, Intermediaro suddenly reverses direction and goes after the Gallows, who has loaded the 20 gold coin from the turtle.

Speaking of turtles, the French ones are nearly home:

I don’t think this game gets prettier than the French on a picturesque ocean!

Finally the English and Jade Rebels have begun to clash!  Or not.  The Grand Wind tosses Relics to the Bolingbroke, preventing any damage.

The other 3 English ships have a lot of gold between them and scurry home as fast as they can:

Oh god… will it be fast enough?  It’s the Pirate turn!  Blackheart is angry after his plan to capture the Frontier failed miserably – with no Raven to help out and the Kettering ready to cancel or broadside any further attempts, Blackheart accepts failure and turns to a new opportunity.  This was a big decision in the game, where I carefully measured if the Zeus could strike the English or not.  With L+S speed and another sac action, the Zeus might barely make it over to the English ships about to dock at their home island next turn.  The Rye had the cancelling ability as well, but looked to possibly be just out of potential range….

SHE DOES IT!!  THE ZEUS ZOOMS OVER AND SMASHES HMS TITAN HEAD ON!!!!

Zeus rams HMS Titan

ZEUS SMASH!!!!

ZEUS SMASH!!

The massive English warship heels over to starboard from the HUGE impact:

An engagement for the ages:

The Zeus wins the boarding party and Hoards all the gold on the Titan!  Which is basically worth 30 gold!!! (I think the Rye must have been in cancelling range to cancel Blackheart’s Captain ability, which is why she didn’t shoot.  I forgot to remove Hammersmith from the Raven until later in the game)

The giant turtle moving marks the end of an active and exciting round of turns!  The turtle turns toward the Gallows, which is now the only ship in sight that has some of the turtle’s gold.  It’s a little funky trying to turn at just S speed with something so large, but I made it work.

A messy scene as the game continues to get more chaotic!

El Fantasma sacrifices a captured Corsair crew to capture an oarsman from the Gallows via Captain Nemo!  The Cursed are after that 20 gold coin on the Gallows, which could really help a fleet win the game.

But don’t forget about the turtle lurking nearby:

The Grand Wind explores a new beach on the 5 beach island, but it’s a total dud for her!  Only 6 gold total, and the Trees UT is useless to a healthy ship.  One of the few crappy gold locations in this game.

The Jades finally meet back up again, though not on purpose.  The Grand Path has the option of docking quickly to take advantage of the Trees, but after a consultation between Tsai, Chang Pao and Ms. Cheng, they decide they might want to return later if they or the GW are missing more masts. (only 1 mast out on the GP)

Defiant of the Cursed and the giant turtle as ever, the Gallows redocks to take Neptune’s Figurehead and another coin!

With a pair of good fog rolls, the Queen of Sheba and Agha’s Whip are both able to dock at the Barbary Corsair home island!  The QoS unloads her very valuable three coins taken from the giant turtle.  Now that the Americans are distracted by the Zeus, the Corsairs have a chance to get back in the game.  The Dervish repairs her second mast and the Griffin is coming home with a few coins.

The Americans swap ships, with the Hudson capturing the Raven and the Kettering taking up towing duties of the Frontier.  The Americans have suffered a setback with the Zeus Smash event, but with few enemies, they should have time to get repairs done and possibly even come back stronger.

Oh boy, the game gets weirder!  Intermediaro rams the Gallows and wins the boarding party to steal the 20 gold coin, the most valuable in the game!  Since the turtle hates anyone that steals gold from its shell, could this lead to a bizarre showdown of giant turtle island vs. (headless) giant squid?!?  XD

The wee turtles are saved!  At least, the 3 “normal” ones.  The others are face down 1 coins and will be arriving in the next turn or two.

Hopefully one of the only gaffes I made during the game… the Soleil Royal forgot to stay at the beach and explore after docking and shooting at the Skin Flayer a few turns ago!   Amiral Dupuy reprimands the Royal’s captain, and both ships dock at the southern beach.

Although her gold was already stolen by the Zeus, the Titan docks home anyway to prevent getting shot at by the Zeus.  HMS Titan opens fire, hitting three times and setting the 10 master ablaze!

Battle of Legends

Arguably the matchup everyone wanted to see!  Two powerful classics of the game going head-to-head.  HMS Titan vs. the Zeus!

Of course, the Titan had help, with the entire English fleet all in the same area.  HMS Bolingbroke took advantage of a rare opportunity to use her “shoot through ships” ability, getting all three cannons in range!

The Bolingbroke connects twice, bringing the Zeus down to 5 masts.

Some serious firepower in this picture:

Fittingly enough the Pirates were next.  Blackheart considered a LOT of options.  In the end, the Zeus continued her attack in a different fashion, ramming the Rye!  The ramming and boarding were successful, leaving the Rye with no masts and no coins!  With the Hoarding Gold ability, the Zeus has stolen a whopping 44 gold from the English in just two turns!!!  O_O  (30 from the Titan between the shiny silver 5+Spices, and both 7’s from the Rye)

Making matters even worse for the English, the Zeus sacced an oarsman, rolled to eliminate her fire mast, and ducked into a fog bank!  This was a grand heist, a level of success only dreampt of!  It’s also a rather rare instance of one of my 10 masters doing extremely well in a physical game.  The English have been embarrassed and robbed right in front of their own home island.

The round of turns ends with the giant turtle ramming the Gallows to take back the coins, but cannot ram Intermediaro.

But the Skin Flayer can!!  The switchblade hooks an arm into one of Intermediaro’s tentacles!

The Skin Flayer purposely leaves the squid with a segment left so the Cursed can board the creature!  A successful boarding party leaves the 20 gold coin in the hands of Nemo and El Fantasma!!

It’s worth noting that this was a tough decision for Fantasma.  The Skin Flayer began the turn without any cargo spaces open, so they had to sacrifice the shipwright in order to make room for the coin.  However, since Nemo has Ex-Patriot which gives the ship the Mercenary keyword, this meant that repairing the Skin Flayer later in the game would be difficult or impossible.  It was a risk the Cursed were willing to take for the gold, especially since they actually began this turn by repairing with the shipwright (to repair the one mast that was out on the SF) right before sacrificing him to move and shoot (and slash) on Intermediaro.

Combine that with a few other developments, and you could say that the Cursed are rising!  Although Calico Cat has not been very successful with her SAT ability, the captured Morocco is making her way to the Cursed HI at S+S speed to repair.  Speaking of which, the Nightmare has brought home the Sea Duck, who starts repairing and eventually looks to tow the Silver Coffin again.  Lately it’s been all-Skin Flayer, but the Cursed are getting a real fleet together, which could make a difference in the gold race in the second half of the game.

Jade Rebellion time!  Tsai gets his SAT without needing reroll and he’s ready to rumble!!

In a surprise attack through the whirlpool, the Grand Path uses her second action to maul the French!  It was becoming evident that the French had an easy route to a lot of gold without any interference thus far, so it was felt that somebody needed to intervene.  The Grand Path continues to make her mark as an absolute killer beast in this game, dismasting the Triton and running over a poor sea turtle to kill it!

Will this finally spark the French 5 masters into action?

The Grand Wind returns to home waters via the same whirlpool the GP took on her way out.  The GW comes home to a changed seascape, with the Americans regrouping, the turtle facing a different direction, and the huge Zeus hiding from the English in the fog.

This game continues to not disappoint!  The Corsairs sail out before the Agha’s Whip finishes repairing, eager for a quick strike on the turtle while it’s back is turned!  The Queen of Sheba loads coins as the Agha’s Whip tries to shield her from the potential wrath of the Americans, who are still annoyed with the Corsairs.  The Dervish doesn’t know quite where she’s going yet.

You can see the QoS loaded the Neptune’s Figurehead, recently stolen back from the Gallows by the turtle (who also stole it from the Morocco upon waking up).  Even more important was the Wine, which was the only ability in play that allowed home island raiding.

As she is now doing every turn, the Gallows rows back to the turtle and loads up a few coins.  However, this has actually been a legitimate strategy by the Corsairs all along.  With the Gallows constantly distracting the turtle, she can keep the turtle’s attention more to the northeast, allowing the main Corsair ships in the south to dock at the back of the turtle.  This prevents the turtle from stealing gold as soon as it’s taken, since the turtle’s S movement must be measured from the head – it can’t turn around and ram a ship that has docked at its hind flippers.

And here come the Americans!!  The Kettering and Hudson both drop their tows to double back and blast the Corsairs!  The Agha’s Whip is sunk and the Queen of Sheba dismasted (Americans really want her gold and UT’s).  The Hudson rolled a 6 with her stinkpot shot to disable the Sheba’s crew, which would be important for limiting her movement and escape options next turn.  This was quickly becoming one of the game’s central themes – back and forth, with very little sustained momentum for any faction.  As soon as a faction took one step forward, another fleet was there to bring them back, sometimes severely.  I found it fun and rather dramatic – keep the twists coming!  😀

Crushed by the Skin Flayer and clinging to life, Intermediaro packs up its bags and heads home.  XD  The squid submerges and heads straight for the Spanish home island, where the Pescados has finally returned and repaired.

Loch Ness Monster anyone?  lol.

Loch Ness Monster Pirates CSG

The Jades have angered the French!  Dupuy gets his EA roll, which means the Grand Path is pretty much a goner.

Open fire!!

SUNK!

The French got the rest of their turtles home (9/10 total), and now look to empty the 3 beach island to increase their gold score.

With no EA roll and no way to get revenge on Blackheart’s Zeus, Lord Thomas Gunn somewhat randomly takes out his frustration on the Grand Wind.  The Titan shoots well, setting the GW on fire.

Although it’s a sad scene for the English here in the west, they didn’t have a horrible turn.  The Bolingbroke and Adventure docked home their 3 total coins.  The Bolingbroke has the useful Relics snatched from the Grand Wind.  The Rye is rowing home and once repaired, the English will be back at full strength.  They are desperate to get back the gold the Zeus stole, for they theorize that it could win the game for them.

The Pirates were next, and Blackheart decided to see what his ship could do!  Once more I premeasured an entire double move action to see if it was in the cards…

They’ve done it!!  Blackheart sacs yet another oarsman to move L+S+L+S, round earthing all the way back to the Pirate home island!!  All of the stolen loot is unloaded!

At this point I must admit I made an “accounting error”, thinking that the Spices still applied to the shiny silver 5 worth 15 gold (therefore doubling it to 30).  Since the Spices were unloaded from the same ship with the 7’s from the Rye aboard, the total would decrease from 44 (which is what the English would have gotten from the Titan and Rye since the Titan had only the Spices and essentially 15 coin) to 36, still a huge haul of course.  However, there was a LOT of game left, so I’m happy to say in hindsight that this error was not relevant….

The round ended with the meme of the giant turtle ramming the Gallows to take back her coins.  The Gallows could win a boarding party against the turtle if the turtle rolled a 1 and the Gallows rolled a 6, but that never happened.

With the English vs. Pirates and Jades vs. French storylines seemingly resolved, what could happen next?  So, so much more….

The Skin Flayer takes a minor shortcut through a whirlpool, eager to get the 20 gold coin home.  However, due to Captain Nemo, some transferring of cargo will be necessary.  The Sea Duck is now fully repaired and up to the task.

Once again the Corsairs prove elusive.  The Queen of Sheba couldn’t use her helmsman to row at S+S, but S was enough to escape into the safety of a fog bank.  The Dervish decided to as well, while the Griffin finally docked home some gold.

Using its ability while submerged, Intermediaro transfers a coin from the turtle to the Pescados de Plata, who only has one open cargo space due to her helmsman and the Potions and Brews UT.  You can see that the Gallows has once again taken coins from the turtle, always doing her part to help her Corsair allies and turning the turtle even farther north.

The Corsairs have essentially fallen to the Americans twice, but then frustrated them both times afterwards.  That southern fog bank is proving to be a great Corsair ally!  The American gunships begin towing their derelicts once more.

Not satisfied with sinking the Grand Path, Dupuy hears of the Skin Flayer’s gold exploit and rolls for an extra action to start yet another whirlpool raid attack!  Perhaps he learned from Tsai’s Grand Path maneuver.  Either way, Nemo and Fantasma are suddenly in huge trouble.  Yet another twist!  (this is part of why I love whirlpools and round earth so much – I highly recommend trying both if you haven’t already)

However, the Superbe cannot land a 4th hit on the Skin Flayer going 3/5 to cripple the ship but let her live!

Back home in French waters, a calm scene shows the Soleil Royal approaching the Triton to tow her home.  After the turtle swarm came through and the Superbe and Grand Path fought, it is weirdly quiet….

BUT NOT FOR LONG!!!!!

The English are here!!  In another example of using an extra action to move through a whirlpool and come out shooting, HMS Titan uses her EA to blast 4 masts off the Soleil Royal in a devastating blow!

Lord Thomas Gunn saw his moment to strike the French, with the Superbe off fighting the Cursed in the north.  Similar to the Grand Path going after the French due to their impressive home island pile of gold, the English had gunships to spare (since the Zeus is now docked at her home island, which is who the English really want to go after) and simply picked out the French as a good target.  The Soleil Royal does have a coin on board, along with Ransom crew Jules de Cissey.  The Bolingbroke comes through as well (partly in case the Superbe comes back next turn), but loses a mast from the whirlpool travel.  In fact, the Titan rolled poorly on the whirlpool as well, choosing to lose her firepot specialist instead of rerolling it.  Gunn wanted to do as much damage to the Royal as possible, but ended up hitting 4/4 anyway and not needing the reroll.

The Zeus repairs as the afternoon sun casts a glare off the golden turtle:

The turtle rams the Gallows again and the round is over!  The Corsairs have somehow escaped disaster after another American attack, while the French and English both whirlpool attacked, respectively leaving the Skin Flayer and Soleil Royal with 1 mast standing.  Left of the turtle you can see that the Grand Wind has docked home a few more coins for the Jades, which also extinguished her fire mast.

A new round of turns!

The Skin Flayer pulls it off!  She moved to touch the Sea Duck, sacced a crew to get an extra action, and explored the Sea Duck.  The Sea Duck then redocked, putting the 20 gold coin on the Cursed home island!  The Morocco docks as well, finally at her new home island after being captured by the Cursed many turns ago.

The 1 in the water is Duncan Rousseau’s Parley ability being used to prevent the Nightmare and Silver Coffin from damaging the Superbe – the Cursed were hoping to pummel the Frenchman with 6 shots.

parley

Now for a bit of diplomacy, or “faction interaction” if you will.  The Jade Rebels started their conflict with the French, but they still hate the French now that the Grand Path was sunk by the Superbe.  The French just attacked the Cursed, knocking the Skin Flayer down to 1 mast.  The Jades also know where Trees are.  The Grand Wind is already docked at her home island and doesn’t want to go back to the Trees beach, especially since there’s not much valuable gold there (Zheng Li Kwan of the GW now has designs on the turtle, but I’ll get to that eventually lol).  The Jades figure they can help the Cursed beat the French by telling them where the Trees are at, since they know that Fantasma killed off the Cursed shipwright, which is the main way the Skin Flayer can repair (she could also transfer Nemo to the Sea Duck to dock at home, but that would take longer and might be risky in the short term with the Superbe around).  So the Jades inform the Cursed of where the Trees UT is – on the northwestern beach of the 5 beach island.

With no target to shoot at, the Nightmare moves over to the Skin Flayer to give her the Necklace of the Sky UT, which you might be realizing can be used next turn to teleport the Skin Flayer straight to “Trees beach” for a quick repair!

Once AGAIN the Queen of Sheba is able to get a favorable fog roll right after the Americans gave up on the annoying Corsair situation and left the lane wide open.  With her helmsman working again the QoS is able to row home at S+S, docking home 3 coins worth a whopping 35 gold!!

The Dervish decides against a turtle raid and takes 2 coins leftover from the Griffin’s haul earlier in the game.

The Gallows is slowly bringing the turtle north towards the Spanish home island, while the Griffin prepares to do a swap with the Queen of Sheba.

Utterly sick of the Corsair shenanigans and momentum shifts, the Americans capture the Queen of Sheba right from the Corsair home island!  (her oarsman from the fleet picture was moved way earlier in the game to the Griffin I believe since it would make 7 points of crew on a 6 point ship)  However, it wasn’t just a frustration move.  The Queen of Sheba already unloaded her valuable coins, but not her valuable UT’s – Wine (potential source of gold), Neptune’s Figurehead, and Power Cannons.  The Americans were hoping to use Wine to get revenge on the Pirates.  The Hudson snatched her up, while the Kettering docked home the Frontier, who began repairing in earnest.

The American fleet expands to 5 ships!  (those American crew are eliminated; I often put eliminated crew face down off the deckplate)

The Spanish have a decent system going – Intermediaro can use its ability while submerged, which avoids the turtle’s wrath.  The Pescados can move S after unloading treasure, which helps her get from the home island back to the turtle quickly.  If the Gallows keeps moving the turtle northwards, the Spanish will have more coins than they can even transfer effectively right on their beach!  It’s a somewhat inspiring turn for a fleet that had its main two ships (Valeroso and San Francisco, both with hybrid setups) sunk by the Grand Path in what feels like a week ago.

The French fight back as well as they can!  The Soleil Royal tows the Triton so she can’t be captured by the Bolingbroke quite yet, and also rolls a 6 with her firepot specialist to set the Titan aflame, also eliminating the English oarsman per the Royal’s ability!  Although the situation is desperate for the French, they were able to optimize fully with what they had.

But that’s not all they’ve got!!

Le Superbe is here!!  Rolling a 5 for Dupuy’s EA, the Superbe comes flying out of the whirlpool the English came from.  With the 20 gold coin safely on the Cursed home island, the Superbe didn’t have much business in the north anymore.  Dupuy figured he should try to maximize French gold reserves, rather than keep trying to deny the Cursed.  Given the emergency back home, it became a no-brainer.

The Superbe splits the gap, protecting the Soleil Royal while shooting two masts off the Titan! (only 2/5)

A classic scene from the Age of Sail: English vs. French capital ships in a close-quarters engagement with guns blazing!

Although the Superbe was not super effective, the Titan is in pretty bad shape:

I like how factions fighting each other often had turns right after one another in this game.  Here the English fight back, with Lord Thomas Gunn determined to take the Titan down in a blaze of glory.  She will certainly go down in a blaze at least, as the fire spread to another mast when she began moving.  The Titan shot the final mast off the Soleil Royal and killed the Triton’s captain in a boarding party, providing another moment where a ship’s last moments can induce desperation-fueled success.

As I always like to say: THE CARNAGE CONTINUES TO MOUNT!

And now, for the possible beginnings of an English coup.  HMS Bolingbroke was the forgotten ship in all this.  She is finally given an action, and shines brightly.  She captures the Soleil Royal, potentially netting the English a grand prize if she can be towed home intact.  She goes to shoot at the Superbe, but Duncan Rousseau parleys, giving the English a 3 coin.  This is fine with the English, as they need to make up ground in the gold race, having lost most of their coinage to the Zeus.  To top it all off, the Bolingbroke still has Relics, which will make it a lot tougher for the French to recapture the Soleil Royal.  I think the Bolingbroke is an underrated ship and one of my favorite English vessels, so it was nice to see her do well in this game!

(Side note: the English considered throwing the Soleil Royal through the whirlpool immediately without towing her through, which is legal.  They decided against it because it is a very hard thing to recapture a ship once it’s already being towed, and the Relics would make it even tougher on the Superbe to break the tow by sinking or capturing the Bolingbroke first.  If the English had thrown the Royal through the whirlpool and into English waters, it’s likely the Superbe could have gone after her and recaptured her easily, especially since I remember checking to see if the Rye was in range to start a new tow over in the west, and she wasn’t.)

 

As the sun begins to set on this round of turns, the far west is desolate, a bizarre scene after all the events so far.  The Rye repairs as the Adventure sails out for more gold.

The Zeus repaired a mast and the turtle probably rammed the Gallows again.  XD

Back to the Cursed!  The Nightmare explores to give the Skin Flayer the Necklace of the Sky!  Nemo and Fantasma command attention as always, and activate the UT immediately!

Sure enough, the Skin Flayer shows up at the beach where the Jade Rebels told them Trees was at.

The Griffin was somewhat heartbroken, unable to do anything about the Queen of Sheba’s capture.  There was no point in shooting the vessel to the bottom either, since the Corsairs unloaded the Sheba’s gold and Neptune’s Figurehead would kick in and help the Americans.  From this point onward, the Corsairs had a bit of a glum outlook on the game.

Of course, their loss was the Americans’ benefit.  The Kettering took up towing the Raven again, with the Hudson transporting the QoS home.  The Frontier (and Grand Wind….) are almost fully repaired.

Death of a Titan

Le Superbe sinks HMS Titan.  The ship served the English decently well in this game, but met a fiery doom after being robbed by pirates and set aflame by Frenchmen.  The Superbe used an EA to tow the Triton and reverse direction towards home, directly a few shots at the Bolingbroke in order to get the Relics UT from her.

A sad scene for an English fan like me:

However, the loss of the Titan was not in vain!  Lord Thomas Gunn’s last command to the Bolingbroke’s captain was to save the Soleil Royal and let her be the “new” titan of the English fleet.  The Bolingbroke used the whirlpool to warp home, with both ships getting good whirlpool rolls.  HMS Rye moves into the whirlpool but doesn’t use it – she’s setting up a cancelling screen to prevent any antics by the Superbe in case the French decide to show up. (so the Rye can at least cancel the Superbe’s captain even if she comes through with an EA from Dupuy)

The Skin Flayer explores, dumping the Necklace of the Sky on the beach and using Trees to repair all three of her fallen masts!

Although the Griffin couldn’t swap the QoS, the Dervish docked home a couple coins and did a transfer.  With oars touching, the Griffin explored to give the Dervish Metal Hull and taking her helmsman in exchange for the Griffin’s now former explorer.  This was to optimize the Griffin’s speed for – you guessed it – another turtle raid!

Americans in business: Frontier is fully repaired, QoS will be next turn, and the Raven will make a nice addition to their fleet once she is finally healthy as well.  After a long period of dealing with Corsair crap and some Pirate junk (literally), the Americans are hoping to finally increase their gold score.  They still only have the 5 coins the Frontier grabbed from the Duke shipwreck.  With the Frontier healthy, the Corsairs may not be the only faction with imminent plans for the giant turtle….

(also note the Grand Wind fully repaired in the background….)

Dupuy fails to get an EA despite Duncan’s reroll, so the French simply dock to get the Triton sailing again.  No chance of getting the Soleil Royal back, at least not yet.

The English are getting rich again!  The Bolingbroke triumphantly returns the grand prize: not only does the Soleil Royal represent a chance to get another 5 masted gunship in the English fleet, she actually had a shiny silver 4 (worth 12 gold) aboard!  Not to mention the Knights of Malta Banner, worth 1 gold after the Royal damaged the Titan.  Those coins were from the southern part of the 3 beach island, explored a while back.  Combine that with de Cissey’s 5 gold Ransom payout, and the English turn a nice profit of 18 gold on the capture in addition to getting the beautiful ship!  😀  They have lost the Titan and their leader, but the English see light on a dark day.

Check out the lower right: the Zeus continues to repair, while the Sea Duck returns to towing the Silver Coffin and exploring the Sultan shipwreck.  The Morocco is fully repaired, meaning the Cursed are at full strength!  (or more due to the addition of the Morocco)

No more hints on this development!  The Grand Wind is fully repaired and finally ready to use a UT you may have forgotten about: Poseidon’s Breath!!  The GW can move her base move as many times as she has masts, which means 6S speed!

A Grand Wind indeed!!  (what a fitting UT for this ship to use!)  Zheng Li Kwan goes after the giant turtle!  This really puts the scale of the creature into perspective.

After a long period of just chasing the Gallows aimlessly, action around the giant turtle may finally heat up again!  Feel free to let me know if you like the turtle shell better with or without the camera flash. (forgot to eliminate a mast per the UT effect)

Here we go!  A big run on the turtle is underway as the Griffin zooms out at S+L+S speed to get in on the action!  (after she moved just S for many turns due to Metal Hull)  The Gallows has done her strange job well, and the Corsairs look to capitalize and reap the rewards!

But of course, the Americans are coming!!  The Frontier is now moving S+S+S again after receiving the Hudson’s helmsman, and the Corsairs may have to deal with the Americans yet again!  Not to mention – this is the Frontier’s second chance at the turtle, after her first attempt was quickly ambushed by the Zeus.

The opposite angle looking at the southeast corner.  The Dervish is wary of the Superbe to the east, and the Americans’ Wine UT to the west.  She can only move S and simply redocks, hoping to hold down their home island at least.  The Triton is busy repairing, while Dupuy’s rage propels the Superbe 6S in the general direction of the Corsairs.

The English are free to get some lower value leftover coins from the northwest as the gunships repair:

A sight no sailor wants to see: the Zeus is fully repaired!

In literally a dramatic turn, the giant turtle angrily turns towards the Grand Wind, who holds the most gold from the turtle as of now but is out of ramming range.  This moves the Gallows and Intermediaro a bit.

With the giant turtle shell’s store of gold slowly dwindling, who will profit most in the endgame?

Now approaching the turtle from behind, the Nightmare docks at the same part where the Grand Wind docked.  However, she has no explorer and the Morocco can’t get there.  At the upper right, the Sea Duck docks home coins from the Sultan shipwreck.  The Skin Flayer makes contact with her once more to transfer a coin – though this time worth much less than 20 gold.  Every bit could help, so Fantasma grabbed something small from the Trees beach.  It’s not worth noting, but the Devil’s Pay is still in the Pirate fleet despite being derelict next to the Sultan wreck for many turns now.  Blackheart is still hoping to rescue her if he gets a dull moment, which is unlikely given the high stakes of the upcoming endgame period.

The Grand Wind docks home the 3 coins from the giant turtle, dramatically increasing the Jades’ gold score!

(^angry seething turtle in the background XD)

The Griffin zips home and unloads 3 coins of her own!  Now that the turtle wasn’t facing her “attackers” when they docked, some turtle raids are succeeding easily.

The Kettering receives the Neptune’s Figurehead and Power Cannons UT’s from the Queen of Sheba.  If that doesn’t wow you, consider the power available: the Kettering has cancelling, Crew Protect (Montana Mays), and the Neptune’s Figurehead (dock fully repaired at home when sunk, like a one-time super Eternal) for defense.  She can move up to S+L+S+L (Mays SAT) with up to 12 shots at rank-3 and L+L range (Longship + Captain + Power Cannons).  (12 x 3L+L!)  Definitely one of the scariest setups I’ve seen in a game, especially for a 3 master.

Finally, the Frontier gets her moment to shine again!  The Hoist uses her crane arm to explore the giant turtle!

Frontier US hoist

The Frontier loads almost all of the remaining coins from the turtle, leaving only the Fireworks UT!  Love how this picture shows the shadows as the sun begins to set on the game.

In short order the turtle has gone from being the premier gold location to being almost empty!

This would turn out to be a minor mistake, but Intermediaro uses its ability to give Fireworks to the Pescados:

Dupuy got an extra action and the Superbe round earths into a whirlpool!

The Superbe went into the northern whirlpool and exited from the one at the lower left, near the turtle:

The French are on the attack!  Le Superbe opens fire on the Frontier!

The French want to capture the ship with all her gold, so the Superbe shoots away all her masts, leaving her derelict again!

A familiar scene: both times the Frontier has attempted to get gold from the turtle, she has been dismasted by a gunship via a whirlpool attack.

The captured Soleil Royal repairs at the English home island:

You can see that the Bolingbroke has come through the same whirlpool in an attempt to engage the Superbe.  At this point the Americans and English had made a deal – if the English helped the Americans get the Frontier’s gold home, the Americans would help the English in robbing the hated Pirates with the Wine UT.  Since the Zeus was the first ship to dismast the Frontier, the Americans didn’t need much convincing.  As the final part of the game went on, I started to realize that the deal favored the Americans more (there was no promise to let the English actually use the Wine, since it was on the now-American Queen of Sheba).  It was mostly a temporary alliance against a common enemy – Blackheart and the Zeus.

Speaking of which, the Zeus is loose!  Fully repaired, she is once again ready to wreak havoc on the seas.

A glimpse at the whirlpool locations and you can see Blackheart’s potential route….

The turtle is angry!  Being robbed of its last coins by the Frontier, the turtle rams the hoist with intensity!  However, her masts are already in the water and the turtle is unable to take any gold!

The Frontier has Secret Hold!  This makes the Frontier truly the perfect ship to raid the turtle with – her hoist arm prevents her from even having to dock (can rob the shell directly), while Secret Hold prevents the turtle from taking all the gold back with Hoard!

Cursed gold runners warp to the northwest to grab some leftover coins from the 5 beach island:

Uh oh!  Montana Mays gets a rare SAT roll to work, and the Kettering is ready for action!

I got really hyped for the Kettering to absolutely destroy the Superbe, but Relics prevented it!  However, this left the French warship open to attack from the Hudson, who went 3 for 3 to take out 2 masts, kill the French oarsman, and land a stinkpot shot that disabled the remaining 4 crew on the Superbe for the next French turn! (knocking out EA/reroll/Parley/captain/helmsman!)

Making the situation more interesting, the captured American Raven is fully repaired and looks to help out her new fleetmates in getting the Frontier home.  The Queen of Sheba has entered a fog bank, mostly to hide from the Zeus in case she flies through a whirlpool and Blackheart tries to steal the Wine for his own use.  (a decent amount of factors played into each move action on some of these somewhat complex turns)  Almost bored by now, Zheng Li Kwan pilots the Grand Wind towards the action as well.  (the Superbe wasn’t randomly given a stinkpot shot, I placed it there to remind myself that her crew were cancelled)

The Spanish had gotten themselves into a little pickle, with their only remaining gold ship full of non-shiny objects.

Trying to get some additional gold from anywhere, the Pescados de Plata captures the Gallows now that the turtle faces south again.  They have managed to gradually increase their gold stores with Intermediaro’s transfer ability, but it was pretty obvious that it wouldn’t be enough to win the game.

Knowing they likely won’t survive the coming onslaught of firepower, the French decide to capture the Frontier anyway.  With the stinky cancellation effects limiting Dupuy’s options, basic desperation meant that they would simply go down trying.

The Adventure docks home a little gold, the Soleil Royal nears full strength, and the Rye stands guard in the whirlpool, ready to cancel the captain of any ship that might come through. (namely the Zeus)

With the Relics now on the Kettering, the Bolingbroke is free to attack!  She hits all 3 times as classic English gunnery crushes the Superbe!  At this moment the Anglo-American alliance was bearing fruit.

BUT YOU CAN TRUST BLACKHEART TO RUIN THEIR DAY!!!

Sacrificing one of his last expendable crew, Blackheart takes the Zeus through a whirlpool and uses an extra action to insert himself into the fight!  The massive 10 master blows the Bolingbroke out of the water!

The big  dominoes continue to fall as the carnage mounts!  First the Frontier, then the Superbe, now the Bolingbroke!

In one blow, the Zeus has changed the seascape of the battle for the Frontier in the center.  The turtle is beginning to lose hope, but moves towards the Frontier anyway, compressing and moving some of the debris from the battle.

The turtle’s movement would not be irrelevant, as it could impede American efforts to recapture the Frontier or get at the Zeus.

As the typical desperation of the endgame sets in, the middle area is once more the center of attention:

Stacked as ever:

Cursed runners return home via whirlpool as the Sea Duck takes the same one to head out, intent on doing something she wanted to do for a while….

The Skin Flayer appears in the south, looking to hunt down the Triton.  This was a combination of wanting revenge on the French and trying to make sure they ended up with less gold than the Cursed.  The Triton is loading gold from that southern beach, so the SF will try to cut her off before she can reach her HI.

With great anticipation, the Americans begin an important turn.  Pretty sure Mays got his SAT.  The Americans sank the Superbe (!) and took the Zeus down to 1 mast!  The Kettering began towing the Frontier to recapture her, while the Raven rams a mast off the metal-hulled Dervish (UT only applies to hits, not rams).  Between the combination of an angry turtle, the Zeus, and supreme American firepower, Zheng Li Kwan has turn the Grand Wind away from the chaos.

With the Zeus nearly out of the game, the English decide to attempt a few quick gold runs with the Adventure and Rye.

The Griffin round earthed to the north in an attempt to recapture the Gallows from the Spanish.  However, Intermediaro surfaced to ram and pin the galley!

Not wanting to wait, the Americans send the Queen of Sheba through a whirlpool to raid the Pirates’ HI with Wine!  This was a huge part of the endgame and would dominate events going forward.  Wine lets you pick which treasure is exchanged, so the QoS would be loading the shiny silver 5 worth 15 gold, severely lowering the Pirates’ gold score while potentially stealing a win for the Americans!  There were also some faction dynamics at play, namely the English wanting some of their old stolen loot for themselves.  The Jades also made a sort of deal with the Americans to not interfere in the center, with Zheng Li Kwan hoping to get in Mays’ good graces….

But the game is called Pirates!!  Not nice puppies!  XD  The English and Jades wait near the whirlpool they expect the Sheba to emerge from, both ready to betray the Americans and steal the gold.  Originally the English were going to send an escort or two to ensure the QoS got the coin, but with the Zeus nearly out of it and the English greedy to get their old gold back, no such help would come in the east for the QoS.

Captain Blackheart has run out of crew to sac!  At this point, all 7 Pirate oarsmen that started the game were dead.  (5 on Zeus + 1 on each of their other ships)

No such problem for El Fantasma!  He sacs a crew to cut off the Triton, swinging his ship’s “skin flayers” and taking a 7 coin!

The Cursed have slowly and sneakily accumulated a decent amount of gold:

It happens!  The Queen of Sheba docks at the Pirate HI and exchanges Wine for the 15! (which is what I’ll call it from now on)

The English arrive!!  They are ready to betray the Americans.  They decided to get the jump on the Sheba rather than waiting for her closer to home, since that would mean a more imminent struggle against the Grand Wind and eventually the rest of the American fleet.  Check out how I strategically placed the ships coming out of the whirlpool – the Rye gets within cancelling range to limit the Sheba’s speed to S+S next turn by cancelling her helmsman, while the Soleil Royal is trying to block off the whirlpool as much as possible. (funny enough the whirlpool rules don’t specify how and where ships have to touch the whirlpool they emerge from)

Towards the end of the game I forgot to take a few pictures, so some things might be out of order or get a little less detailed.

With Blackheart cancelled by the Kettering, the Zeus shoots a mast off the Hudson as the Kettering then tows the Frontier away.  The Sea Duck approaches the Zeus from behind, while in the background you can see the Raven capturing the Dervish, bringing the American fleet to 6 ships.  The Zeus has 1 mast standing as indicated by the die….

The Sea Duck reveals her objective… and uses Explosives to blow up the Zeus!!!!

Now you see why I didn’t take the masts out on the Zeus – the Americans or Cursed were about to finish her off anyway, so I didn’t want to take out and replace almost all of her masts, especially since she’s still new (this being her first game).  A massive object has been removed from the still-busy center area:

The Skin Flayer returns home where the Morocco prepares to take her 7 so Nemo can stay on the switchblade.  The Devil’s Pay is afloat, but the Pirates have been officially eliminated from the game.

It took a lot of extra time and hardship, but the Americans have experienced massive success!!  The Frontier has been retaken and her turtle gold unloaded!  The Americans have faced some serious setbacks today, but their rise undoubtedly makes them the premier faction of the endgame.

Mays takes advantage of his SAT to move towards a whirlpool, while the Hudson leaves the battle area.

After killing Intermediaro, the Griffin makes a break for the 5 beach island.  Although nearly their whole fleet has been captured or sunk, the Barbary Corsairs can try to get a few last bits of gold.  The Pescados and captured Gallows set off in hot pursuit.

Here we go!  The Rye and Soleil Royal team up to dismast the Queen of Sheba and rob her of the 15 coin!

This is where things got weird with round earth.  The Kettering managed to get in range, but from the other side of the map!  This is one of the main flaws of round earth – in somewhat rare circumstances, you can have ships engage in various aspects of combat while on opposite sides of the world!   XD  At first I had the Kettering in the east, but realized it would be easier to have everything in the west, since that’s where the treasure was headed as long as the English carried it.

Finally shooting well, the Kettering goes 5 for 6 to dismast the Soleil Royal!  The QoS rows to try and block the English from their HI.

The Pescados robs the Griffin, with the Gallows trying to block the latter’s escape:

The Skin Flayer only ever had cargo for 1 coin, so the Triton is free to dock home a little bit more gold for the French.  (SF rolled poorly and didn’t come close to dismasting the ship, else the Cursed would have captured her)

Awkward round earth maneuvers, and the Cursed are here!  The Rye began towing the Soleil Royal, so the English still had a chance at getting the 15 to their HI.  However, the Rye had met her match – the Kettering’s identical cancelling ability nullified that advantage.  The Cursed decided to show up because, hey, why not?  XD  It was getting into the very late stages of the game where factions had not much better to do than throw all their ships at the highest value coin left in play.  The Grand Wind slowly lumbers towards the growing scene as well.

The Kettering sinks the Rye and the Sheba tows the Soleil Royal, leaving the 15 back in American possession!

A desperate free-for-all was emerging by the English HI, with the English themselves mostly out it. (Adventure coming home with some small coins, just hoping to get them home knowing she can’t win the upcoming clash XD)  The Cursed had the Skin Flayer, but Mays had reinforcements sailing in – the Raven, Frontier, Hudson AND Dervish are all on their way!

The Cursed strike!  The Skin Flayer steals the 15 from the Royal, while the other 2 ships try to block potential attackers. (neither could block the Kettering)

The Pescados takes off with the 1, while the Gallows and Griffin engage in a sort of civil war style duel.  This picture sums up the Spanish game – with their best 2 ships sunk early in the game, they’ve been scrounging for scraps for what feels like ages, just trying to do whatever they can for 1 more gold while the remaining powerhouses fight over the mega-valuable 15 coin. XD

Chaos at the English home island!  The Kettering shoots poorly to only take 2 masts off the Skin Flayer, with the Raven ramming the captured Morocco and the Sheba towing the Royal.

Desperate for a miracle, Fantasma sacs the Cursed helmsman and takes off with the coin!  HMS Adventure hides in the fog, hoping for a break in the action to dock home a little loot.

The Triton arrives on the scene for the festivities, but the Grand Wind puts a quick end to any hopes the French have, knocking them out of the game. (the GW was mostly a non-factor towards the end of the game due to her slow speed and Zheng Li Kwan having run out of sac options early in the game)

Mays’ reinforcements gradually arrive as the Morocco is dismasted by the Raven (capture vs. capture):

Mays gets his SAT to dismast and capture the Skin Flayer!!  The SF is immediately give an explore action to transfer the American captain for the 15 coin, so the Kettering can keep it safe and dock it home.

Victory for the Americans!  But will it be enough?

With the giant turtle drained and most of the gold unloaded, it was about time to call the game.  It was getting very late at this point and after a long day of pirating it was quite fair to simply “simulate” the last few turns, especially given the American dominance.

Whew!  What a game!

Legend of the Giant Turtle

But who will win?

Legend of the Giant Turtle

Gold Scores

In turn order, here are how the factions fared!  Some of the scores may seem off because the pictures don’t always show which coins are shiny gold and shiny silver, but I got them right.

Cursed: 48 gold

The Cursed played a solid game, using the Skin Flayer and her exciting crew effectively from the beginning to the end.  Their gold runners did as well as could be expected, and they even manged to score the 20 gold coin, the most valuable in play.

Jade Rebellion: 35 gold

The Jades did well, but peaked early.  The Grand Path was a ship killer, sinking numerous opponents before being sunk herself by the Superbe.  The Grand Wind got a bunch of gold early, with Zheng Li Kwan doing well to sac crew and lock up some gold early before things got crazy.  The Poseidon’s Breath turtle raid was perfectly executed, but not quite enough.

Barbary Corsairs: 87 gold

Holy crap!  The Corsairs finish with a massive total, mostly due to some extremely high-value coins brought home from the giant turtle.  Those top 2 rows are worth 50 alone, with the shiny silver 6 being 18 and shiny silver 4 being 12.  The Corsairs were richly rewarded for going after the turtle early and often, with the Queen of Sheba being their MVP after slipping past the Americans.

Americans: 52 gold

The Americans did as well as they could, raking in a ton of coin despite their main gold runner being completely dismasted twice!  The Kettering never lost a mast and was simply unstoppable in the endgame period, especially given her ability spread and UT stack.  The Hudson and various captured ships provided great support, and the Americans cannot be too disappointed.

Spanish: 25 gold

The Spanish were crippled by the Grand Path early, losing the San Francisco and Valeroso.  They managed to stay in the game and collect some gold afterwards with the Intermediaro-Pescados combo, which had some nice synergy between Intermediaro staying submerged to avoid the turtle and the Pescados’ ability helping her get back out after depositing a coin.

French: 25 gold

The French looked like a favorite until perhaps halfway through the game.  They got some turtles and very calm beaches right near their secluded home island.  Factions kind of assumed they might be a leader in the gold race, which led to whirlpool raids by the Grand Path and English warships.  Duncan Rousseau’s Parley helped to keep the exciting and brutal Le Superbe in the game, but decreased their count slightly as well.  In the end they gradually lost all three of their ships, though not without causing a ton of chaos and damage in the meantime.

English: 31 gold

The English had it made until the Zeus showed up, with essentially 44 gold between the Titan and Rye along with about 7 between the Adventure and Bolingbroke.  Blackheart wrecked their game, forcing them to temporarily settle for an American ally and settle for less in the end.  Their conflict with the French was quite memorable in various ways (historic faction rivalry, Titan sinking, Soleil Royal captured and then used effectively after), and ended up netting them 18 gold, more than half of their final total.  If not for the Zeus’ blitz, the English could have finished higher up in the standings.

Pirates: 21 gold

Bringing up the rear are the Pirates!  With the Devil’s Pay (dismasted by Cursed + Intermediaro) and Raven (captured by Americans in first Frontier battle) out of action relatively early, Blackheart had to rely on the Zeus and his immense army of sacrificial lambs to make it through the game.  The Pirates did well for a while, at one point having 36 gold on their HI after a brilliant and successful raid on the English.  (also a rare example of a successful “pivot”, when the Zeus was able to get gold from the English after failing to capture the Frontier moments earlier)  After the Wine was exchanged, they lost 15 gold and ended with the lowest total.

The Final Standings

  1. Barbary Corsairs: 87 gold
  2. Americans: 52
  3. Cursed: 48
  4. Jade Rebellion: 35
  5. English: 31
  6. Spanish: 25
  7. French: 25
  8. Pirates: 21

(Spanish ahead of French since they had movable game pieces/active points in play at the end, but the French played a better game)

What a crazy experience!  This was a LONG return to playing a physical game of Pirates.  The Corsairs are victorious!

It’s interesting that the Big 4 factions finished lowest in the standings, probably at least in part due to their going last in the turn order.  The giant turtle proved to be a big draw, with the Corsairs taking advantage to rake in tons of gold.  I like how topsy-turvy the game was, with tons of twists and turns.  The Corsairs had all sorts of setbacks (American attacks, most of their fleet ruined, the dramatic and unexpected double ram+Hoard turtle attack, etc), but still managed to come out on top.

It was really neat to see my American fleet do well, not to mention the Skin Flayer.  I highly recommend using switchblades in games of 60+ points, as they can be really fun.  On that note, the Frontier is amazing.  Not just as a gold runner, but as an overall play piece.  It feels like she enhances whatever game she takes part in.  She’s often the center of attention, so although her somewhat OP nature makes her an American favorite, it also places a huge target on her.  I may not be a big fan of some of the weird ship type mechanics, but switchblades and hoists can really make games more fun.

As expected, the Zeus had a wild, crazy, and active debut.  The Pirates came up short in the end, but she may be seen again before the end of the summer….

Thanks for reading!  I hope you enjoyed the Legend of the Giant Turtle game!  Feel free to comment below your thoughts on the game!  (turtle, action, gameplay, fleets, strategy, pictures, etc – a lot to take in!)

Pirates CSG Podcast #42: MIKE SELINKER, Pirates CSG Game Designer!!!!

Pirates CSG Podcast #42: MIKE SELINKER, Pirates CSG Game Designer!!!!

You can listen to the audio via ShoutEngine!

You can also listen on Archive.org: https://archive.org/details/PiratesCSGPodcast42MikeSelinker

 

Mike Selinker is one of the original game designers of Pirates CSG.

His company, Lone Shark Games: http://lonesharkgames.com/

http://lonesharkgames.com/staff-member/mike-selinker/

https://www.facebook.com/lonesharkgames/

Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Selinker

BGG page: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgamedesigner/604/mike-selinker

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mikeselinker

 

Question of the Day: Do you wish the Dutch had been a faction from the start in Spanish Main?  Would you prefer them as one of the major factions in the game?

The list of questions from the Forum at Pirates with Ben: https://pirateswithben.com/forums/topic/submit-your-questions-for-pirates-designer-mike-selinker/

 

Take the podcast survey! https://goo.gl/forms/CsnwVmi3qhtqik323

Feel free to rate and review the podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/pirates-csg-podcast/id1258016060

Pirates packs on eBay: https://goo.gl/MfHBQJ

Sign the Petition!  https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/bring-back-pirates-of-the-cursed-seas

Join the Forum at Pirates with Ben!  https://pirateswithben.com/forums/forum/pirates-csg/

 

The following should eventually be updated from ShoutEngine so they will be available when they get the podcast.

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/pirates-csg-podcast/id1258016060

Overcast: https://overcast.fm/itunes1258016060/pirates-csg-podcast

Google Play Music: https://play.google.com/music/m/Imxc6vplvkqlmagcvkxvi2er2wu?t=Pirates_CSG_Podcast

Blubrry: https://www.blubrry.com/piratescsgpodcast/

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/a7xfanben/pirates-csg-podcast?refid=stpr

Epic Seas – My Custom Fantasy Set is “Done”!

Pirates of the Epic Seas – A Custom Fantasy Set of Epic Proportions

I started making custom game pieces for Pirates CSG back in 2011, but up until 2018 I mostly just made historical customs.  Around February 1st of 2018, I started making some “fantasy”, or non-historical, custom game pieces.

It only took me about a week to really rev up “production” and I was off to the races creating a TON of fantasy customs.  On February 9th I officially announced my second custom set, which would be an all-fantasy set to be the utter opposite of my main custom set, Pirates of the Age of Sail.

Eventually I decided to name the new set: Pirates of the Epic Seas (you can see it on the 4th sheet).  I generally enjoy the “epic” side of things, which you can see in my favorite movies and music.  Throughout the process of making the set I constantly underestimated how big it would get.  The set quickly grew to over 100 game pieces in February 2018:

There is more coming, but I would estimate that I won’t add more than a few dozen more pieces eventually. That could change, but for now the set is mostly done.

Boy was I WAY wrong!!

I am happy to say that Pirates of the Epic Seas has reached ONE THOUSAND total game pieces!!!  O_O

Lately I have been finalizing the set in various ways – almost every game piece should now have flavor text.  The only exceptions should be some of the stuff that normally didn’t have flavor text – UT’s and equipment.  I’ve also been working through some of the unfinished or partly finished customs, to the point where now there shouldn’t be any customs in the set that are “not ready for playtesting”, which I like to denote with a question mark somewhere with the ship stats/abilities.  The “Collector’s Numbers” are mostly inaccurate and simply reflect which game pieces have been publicly released on a forum such as the Custom Ships thread that you can post in.

I’ve also completed the set description that would theoretically be on the back of any packs for the set:

Chaos reigns. Strife is rampant. With the global political situation teetering on the edge of absolute catastrophe, conflict seems inevitable. The Cursed have risen again, and appear to be far stronger than ever before. A prolonged worldwide arms race and increasing tensions in every ocean can lead to only one thing: WAR. Gold will be lost, and glory will be found. Which side will you take in Pirates of the Epic Seas?

I’ve been wanting to do a “set analysis” for quite some time, and now that I’m pretty satisfied with the set’s progress, hitting 1,000 game pieces is the perfect time to finally look at the numbers.

Pirates of the Epic Seas: By The Numbers

Cursed

Ships: 157 (127 C/U/R, 6 SE, 24 LE)

Crew: 102 (81 C/U/R, 3 SE, 18 LE)

Forts: 13

Total new game pieces: 272

Jade Rebellion

Ships: 57

Crew: 36

Forts: 5

Total new game pieces: 98

Barbary Corsairs

Ships: 40

Crew: 43

Forts: 2

Total new game pieces: 85

Americans

Ships: 32

Crew: 35

Forts: 3

Total new game pieces: 70

French

Ships: 26

Crew: 24

Forts: 4

Total new game pieces: 54

Spanish

Ships: 18

Crew: 19

Forts: 2

Total new game pieces: 39

Pirates

Ships: 43

Crew: 33

Forts: 3

Total new game pieces: 79

Vikings

Ships: 12

Crew: 23

Forts: 1

Total new game pieces: 36

Mercenaries

Ships: 96

Crew: 118

Forts: 6

Total new game pieces: 220

Neutral

Ships: 3

Crew: 3

Forts: 2

Total new game pieces: 8

English (All LE, as they were never supposed to be in the set)

Ships: 8

Crew: 4

Forts: 1 (Lighthouse)

Total new game pieces: 13

Equipment: 10

Unique Treasures: 15

Super Rares: 5

Special Editions: 34

Limited Editions: 89

Pirates of the Caribbean movie pieces: 10

Islands: 1 (designed to be played as a set of 5)

Unreleased/No Rarity: 2

Total Ships: 492

Total Crew: 440

Total Forts: 42

Total new game pieces: 1,002 and counting (including the 2 “Unreleased” whose designs are confirmed)

The set was NEVER meant to be balanced, in terms of factional parity or in terms of ship/crew ratios within each faction.  That’s part of the reason it’s pretty random.  However, I’m actually quite satisfied with how it has turned out.  Below you can see part of the new sheet with the breakdown of game pieces.

Epic Seas breakdown March 2019

 

Thanks for checking out my custom set!

Pirates of the Epic Seas

“Ain’t No Grave…”

“Ain’t No Grave…”Delusion glow in the dark ship (Ain't No Grave fleet)

Originally published to Miniature Trading on June 3rd, 2017

159 Points

This is simply a fleet that is designed to not die. Everything in the fleet is based on surviving through hell and back. The main goal is to keep the ships afloat and keep the crew alive. Before continuing, I will admit that this fleet has two major weaknesses: Stinkpot Stuff and cancellers.

Here is the setup for each of the ships:

Delusion
-Eternal
-Ghost Ship (can’t be rammed or boarded)
-Can’t sink (Davy Jones copies the Republique’s ability)
-Cancelling (Papa Doc)
-Fear (can act as a secondary canceller)
-Shipwright ability
-Third potential cancelling action with Stinkpot Shot
-Oarsman (prevents capture and scuttling)
-Fantasma is immortal (he is there for thematic reasons and can represent Captain Salazar from Dead Men Tell No Tales)

Papa Doc
RtSS-028b, Common
Cursed
Points: 8

Ability: This ship gets +1 to her boarding rolls. Once per turn, one crew or ship within S of this ship can’t use its ability that turn.

Concordia
-Built in offensive ability
-Eternal
-Oarsman (prevents capture and lets the ship shoot 5 cannons with no masts, must be eliminated for capture)
-Crew cannot be eliminated (lol)
-Most offensive ship in the fleet (EA + reroll w/captain and helmsman)

Mercury
-Submarine
-Ignores first hit w/ all hull pieces
-Eternal
-Cancelling
-Oarsman prevents capture
-Crew cannot be eliminated

La Republique
-Can’t sink (but “can be scuttled”)
-Oarsman prevents capture and dereliction, and therefore the ship can’t be scuttled (lol)
-Cancelling
-Perfect combo because Ex-Patriot wouldn’t work with Eternal anyway, and ship provides Davy Jones with an ability to copy for a cheap point cost

The point total quickly escalated above what I had originally intended, and the Republique and Davy Jones weren’t part of my original idea. At 160 points, your opponent could certainly craft a fleet that could take this apart, but it would still be incredibly annoying to deal with.

Section: Ship #1 (10 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Davy Jones PofDJC 025 Crew R
1 x Delusion RotF SE01A Ship SE
1 x El Fantasma PofSCS 136 Crew SR
1 x Helmsman PofDJC 121 Crew C
1 x Oarsman PofDJC 129 Crew C
1 x Papa Doc PofDJC 024 Crew R
1 x Sammy the Skull F&S 021 Crew R
1 x Shipwright PofDJC 130 Crew C
1 x Sir Edmund F&S 082 Crew C
1 x Stinkpot Shot F&S 108 Equipment U
Section: Ship #2 (6 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Commander Steven Decatur PofBC 094 Crew R
1 x Gus Schultz RotF 063B Crew C
1 x Helmsman PofR 133 Crew C
1 x Jonathan Haraden PofR 091 Crew R
1 x Oarsman PofR 138 Crew C
1 x USS Concordia F&S 006 Ship R
Section: Ship #3 (6 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Diamond Nelson Turner PofBC 216 Crew PR
1 x Helmsman PofR 133 Crew C
1 x Montana Mays F&S 030 Crew R
1 x Oarsman PofR 138 Crew C
1 x Ralph David RotF 060 Crew C
1 x USS Mercury PofMI 300 Ship PR
Section: Ship #4 (3 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Christian Fiore PofMI 025 Crew C
1 x La Republique PofBC 079 Ship U
1 x Oarsman PofCC 121 Crew C

 

This fleet was inspired by the song used for the trailer for Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Fleet picture from MT isn’t loading, so you can see the fleet here as well.

Tom Brady is Thanos, and Admiral A7XfanBen is Tom Brady

Tom Brady is Thanos, and Admiral

A7XfanBen is Tom Brady

Spoilers Ahead

Last night (February 3rd, 2019), myself and many others witnessed a thoroughly unsurprising event.  Tom Brady won his 6th Super Bowl ring, further extending his legacy as the greatest player in the history of football.  As he always does, Tom proved the doubters wrong.  After his previous success, especially the historic comeback against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI, NO ONE should have been betting against Tom Brady.  He is the god of football, and now there is simply no debating that.

Tom Brady is Thanos

With his 6th championship ring, Tom Brady now has as many Super Bowl rings as Thanos has/had Infinity Stones.  At any time now he could do a snap and erase half of all people, or perhaps just half of the NFL.  XD  Tom is now 6-3 in his nine Super Bowl appearances, breaking a tie with Charles Haley for the most championships by a single football player and moving into a tie with the Steelers for the most championships of any TEAM.

Tom Brady is Thanos

TB12 sitting on his throne with an Infinity Gauntlet of Super Bowl rings. (not my picture – full credit to BeatATrexx on Imgur)

Tom Brady and Admiral A7XfanBen

After winning VASSAL Campaign Games 1, 2, and 3, I became “the Tom Brady of campaign games”.  This is because Tom was 3-0 in his first three Super Bowls, and now I am 3-0 in my first three non-solo Pirates CSG campaign games.  You can see how I did it in my Epic Videos playlist.  CG4 has begun, although it is likely to last FAR longer than any of the previous VASSAL campaign games.

There are a number of additional parallels between Tom’s Super Bowl legacy and my own campaign game legacy.  CG1/2/3 were all played in a 2 year period from February 2016 (start of CG1) to March 2018 (end of CG3), which covers the three calendar years from 2016-2018.  It took Tom only 4 years to accumulate 3 wins, similar to how it took me only about 2 years (and one month) to accumulate 3 wins.

Opponents

In terms of opponents, Tom was a massive underdog to the Rams in his first Super Bowl (SB).  Xerecs and I faced off in CG1, the first-ever VASSAL campaign game.  It could be argued that neither player was really a favorite or underdog.  I did not control the best faction in the game, the Pirates, nor the French, another very competitive faction.  I ended up winning as the Spanish, dominating the game in general.  The Patriots were the favorites in Tom’s second SB, just as I would have to be favored to win CG2 against 2 other players.  The Patriots were also the favorites in Tom’s third SB, just as I would be to start CG3 (as the most successful and experienced player in that game).

Margins of Victory

A more stark contrast lies in the margins of victory, which are necessarily opposite due to the nature of the radically different games.  Tom’s Super Bowls are pretty much always decided by a tiny margin, often by 3 points.  With the shortest VASSAL campaign game (CG1) requiring a full 3 months of play to finish, and with Last Fleet Afloat rules in effect, it’s inevitable that my CG wins would be lopsided at the finish.  However, there were some close moments, notably when the Pirates nearly attacked the Spanish in CG1, when the Pirates had a points lead over the English in CG2, and when multiple factions had better starts than the Americans in CG3.

Thanos and Admiral A7XfanBen?

What if someday I get to 6 victories in Pirates CSG campaign games?  Will I “retire”?  Nope, I’m going nowhere!  I also don’t like to think about what would happen in a “snap” comparison – by the time I win my 6th, it’s possible that half of the current community will be gone.  🙁   Let’s not let that happen!!  😀

What’s Next?

Tom has already stated that he will not be retiring, so a potential 7th ring is already in his sights.  While CG4 and the Caribbean game slowly languish on, I have turned my attention to The Hourly Campaign, a solo campaign game, for want of players.  Thanos will presumably look to defend his Infinity Stones in Avengers: Endgame.

The interesting thing about what lies ahead is that Tom lost consecutive Super Bowls and went a full 10 years before winning his fourth.  Incredibly, something vaguely similar could happen with me, though of course I am confident in my abilities.  It’s certainly possible I may not win CG4, which will likely take multiple years to conclude.  Instead, I will try to break from this “Tom Brady and the Patriots” campaign game tradition and continue my undefeated streak.  😀

Click here to get your Tom Brady Thanos gear!  If you want to beat me in a campaign game, you better buy some packs to get started, cuz I’ve got a 400+ game advantage.  🙂  If you’re like me, the following video will motivate you to WIN.  (not my video; full credit to GoobzTV on youtube)  Finally, it looks like Joseph Vincent is going to make a sequel to his EPIC 5 Rings video.  Edit: It’s here!  Tom Brady – Six Rings (An original Documentary)

 

Here is my hype video for VASSAL Campaign Game 4.  If I can win it in due time, I would be 4-0 in Pirates CSG campaign games.

Greatest Rivalries between Factions in Pirates CSG games

Originally posted to Miniature Trading on October 9th, 2016

Greatest Rivalries between Factions

As the title says, what are the factions that fight each other the most in your games? Which rivalry has the bloodiest history? Story time!

~~~~~

For me, it has to be Spanish vs. Pirates. For some reason, they almost always seem to be at odds with each other. It’s not on purpose at all, and never has been. I’ve had plenty of the classic English/French wars and plenty of different wars between all the factions, but the Spanish/Pirate rivalry is so consistent, legendary, and brutal that it has to take the cake.

Warning: spoilers ahead!

My “Guide to huge games” thread has links to all the different huge games (1,000+ points total) I’ve played in the past, which I will reference here. The Spanish and the Pirates have been at it since the very beginning. My first two packs contained two Spanish ships and two Pirate ships! My first cumulative game from 2011 was most memorable for the war between these two great factions. The Pirates hated the Spanish so much in that game it was unbelievable. They attacked in full force and effectively forced the Spanish out of the game, although it was partly due to other factions getting involved as well. The Pirates went on to repair their battle fleet and win the game, though the Spanish were the early favorites.

Then came the first 5 player 500 point game. The end of the game was controversial: Davy Jones’ Divine Dragon managed to sink two Spanish galleons right before they docked home gold, giving the Pirates a 48-45 victory! This further fueled the Spanish/Pirate rivalry, with the Cursed acting as a temporary sideshow.

Those games happened in 2011, and although I’m sure there were plenty of smaller games featuring battles between the Pirates and Spanish in the meantime, there was a bit of a “cool down” period. That is, until 2013’s Century of the Empires (CotE) game. That setup had the Americans in between the Spanish and Pirates, which would seem to act as a buffer. However, once the final battles began, the Pirates and the Spanish went at it again, utterly destroying the Americans in the crossfire! The Spanish eliminated the Pirates from CotE, exacting some measure of revenge…

Until the legendary Economy Edition game! After forming an alliance with the Franco-Spanish, the Pirates then proceeded to break their promise in the biggest betrayal in Pirates CSG history. That, coupled with non-allied attacks by the Americans and Cursed, wiped the FS from the game at the hands of the Pirates. This was the ultimate disrespect for the Spanish, and they were sick and tired of being on the losing end of things.

VASSAL Campaign Game 1 changed all that. The Spanish Empire flourished, and the Pirates weren’t ready. The Spanish swept down upon the Pirates at their fort, winning the Battle of the Devil’s Maw and later the battle at the Pirates’ home island. It took a long time, but the Spanish finally eliminated the Pirates and went on to win the game. It was a well-deserved victory for the Spanish, and between the records they set along the way (biggest fleet, etc) and the dominant fashion in which they won (with the exception of the late-game English battle fleet), the Spanish are relatively satisfied with the rivalry for now.

Looking ahead to more epic conflicts, the future is murky. The Spanish aren’t participating in CG2, so the Pirates don’t have to worry about them there. The World game is due to begin at some point, but the home territories of Spain and Singapore promise to keep the factions apart for at least a little longer. Of course, it’s only a matter of time before they clash again.

Even in my latest game they were at it again!

January 2019 update:

Crazy enough, the Pirates and Spanish have home islands near each other in BOTH The Hourly Campaign AND VASSAL Campaign Game 4!  I don’t want to speak too soon, but it’s hard to imagine them NOT clashing in at least one of those games, especially given the history between the two factions.  In fact, there’s already some tension between them in THC….

Xerecs wrote:

There hasn’t been a rivalry like that in any of my campaign games, yet. There have been game to game animosity and hatred, such as Spanish and American in the first and second CoE test games.

In CoE in 15, there were two main rivalries, the Spanish and Pirates; and the Americans and Cursed. The Spanish and Pirates started the first war of the game, with the Pirates launching a small HI raiding squad that was repelled by the Spanish. The Spanish followed the Pirates home and almost eliminated them. They were forced to spare the Pirates due to Cursed activity. Later on after re-building a little, the Pirates assembled a sizable fleet and sailed en-mass on the unguarded Spanish HI. The Spanish responded by fighting their hardest and repelling the Pirate attack, effectively taking them out of the game.

The Americans were dominant in their western part of the sea, putting down the English and expanding their empire. The Cursed launched a significant battle fleet, and used Becalmed twice to get the first shots on the Americans. However the Americans fought back and eliminated most of the Cursed battle fleet, effectively taking THEM out of the game, combat wise. The Americans then fought an English battle fleet, backing the English all the way to their HI, and were eventually proclaimed as winner of the 2015 CoE.

In the Economy game, the Pirates and Cursed were not present,and the great rivalry of that game was the two fold, the Americans and French, and the French and English. Though the Spanish were present, they were not a factor until late in the game, thus taking them out of rivalry contention. The battle between the English, French and Americans dominated that game and made each faction hate the other.

The next campaign game was this year’s CoE, in which their was only one real rivalry: Cursed v. Everyone except the English. The Cursed and Americans contested the middle ocean, with the Cursed pushing the Americans back, for a time. The Pirates tried to take gold and resources from within the Cursed’s sphere of influence, for which the Cursed attacked them with almost everything they had, sinking the Pirate launched Baochuan, and destroying the Devil’s Maw fort for a time. The French sailed south around the English and Spanish and tried to forcibly take Cursed territory, which met with mixed success. The Cursed fought back, but were weakened from the ongoing conflicts with the Pirates and Americans, and Spanish to boot. This resulted in a slow decline for the Cursed, which opened the door to the renewal of the French-English rivalry.

For this Winter’s campaign game, there will be no factional divisions, it will instead be player divisions, with me against my two brothers and perhaps our friend from the Economy game. Thus it will be a rivalry of persons, like CCM’s great campaign in 2011.

Also, the examples don’t have to be from campaign games or anything – I’m aware that Xerecs and I are mostly the only ones that play them. I just remember them a lot better than all the little games I’ve played, and a larger and longer game naturally has more potential for a rivalry than an hour-long game.

As a matter of fact, I can’t really think of specific factional rivalries within smaller games over the long haul – I’ve played so much that everyone has warred with everyone multiple times throughout history! laughing

Greatest rivalries between factions

Original thread on Miniature Trading

The Huge Game Legacy Thread

The Huge Game Legacy Thread

Originally posted to Miniature Trading on December 27th, 2017

Definitions:
-A huge game is any game of Pirates that totals at least 1,000 points at any given time.
-A campaign game is any game of Pirates CSG that uses gold to purchase additional game pieces during the game, rather than the game ending under the normal rules.
-There isn’t really a difference between a “campaign game” and a “cumulative game”. I would suggest that the main difference is that a campaign game (CG for short) often uses a custom ruleset to make it a campaign, while a cumulative game is generally a “regular” CG without any custom ruleset used aside from a few house rules.

(I was originally going to call this thread the Campaign Game Legacy thread but thought better of it after realizing how confusing the definitions would be if I grouped my “regular” huge games under the CG definition.)

If you’re interested in playing your own campaign games, I’d recommend the Guide to huge games thread. This thread heavily borrows from that, but is more of a reflection and analysis with less how-to and more spoilers.

I have documented the epic history of my huge games, with links to the games played by Xerecs (and his brothers and friend) as well. (he may create entries for his games at some point) Enjoy!

Click on a game’s title to read the battle report.

1. Cumulative game from June 2011

Summary: My first cumulative game, at least as far as I can tell. This may be my favourite battle report I’ve ever written, even though I wrote most of the report years after the game took place. This is my most nostalgic game of Pirates. It’s the only actual game to feature the harbour system, which was mostly used during Historical Fantasy Scenarios.

Factions participating: English, French, Spanish, Pirates, AMerCursedCorsairs (permanent alliance of Americans/Mercenaries/Cursed/Barbary Corsairs)

Starting conditions: 20 points per fleet, 20 wild islands (14 mysterious), many UT’s.

Unique features:
-Harbor system instead of home islands
-Huge ocean using my entire room
-Unprecedented amount of gold on each wild island
-Due to a smaller collection at the time, the opportunity to use duplicate ships and custom rulings for a few game pieces
-Infantry and artillery rules from RISK (hardly used during game however)
-Chain exploring by the Spanish

Battles: (for this entire thread, the instigator will be listed first if known)
-Pirates vs. Spanish: Short skirmish in the middle of the ocean (Spanish tactical victory, made the Pirates hate the Spanish)
-English vs. Spanish: Heavy losses on both sides, English tactical failure and small Spanish strategic victory
-Americans vs. Spanish: Spanish victory (retained the Cursed Conch and dealt the Americans heavy losses)

(there is a break here to denote how much the game changed as a result of the next battle)
-Pirates vs. Spanish (and later vs. English): Largest battle of the game. Spanish eliminated from the game. Very heavy losses for the Pirates. Pirate victory.
-French vs. Americans: Unknown victor, French likely failed in their efforts to steal the Cursed Conch.
-English vs. French (and later vs. Pirates): English and French nearly eliminated each other, making it relatively easy for the Pirates to deal with the leftovers and win the game. Pirate victory.

Wars: (for this entire thread, the instigator will be listed first if known)
Pirates vs. Spanish (essentially started early in the game, though declarations of war weren’t as common in my games back then)
Possibly English vs. French, though this wasn’t important compared to the above rivalry.

Alliances: (for this entire thread, the instigator will be listed first if known)
None known other than the permanent alliance to beef up the smaller factions.

Most notable game pieces:
Cazador del Pirata
Cursed Blade
Various 5 masters
Cursed Conch UT

Most important things:
Spanish (chain exploring from powerful mysterious island)
Cursed Conch
Pirates

Results:
1. Pirates
-I didn’t record the order of eliminations for all the factions, so I’ve left this blank for my spreadsheet.

Reflection

Pros: Epic battles, massive fun with the Cursed Conch and it’s effect on the game, and using the harbour system in a real game.

Cons: Far too much distance between islands and harbours, not to mention the locations of the harbours themselves on the ocean. I used an entire room for this game, and as a result the English and French harbours were considerably more isolated than the Spanish, Pirate, and American harbours near the middle of the sea.

Overall size: Unknown. I never did a point count, but according to my original reports, there were over 100 ships in play at some point. Estimated size between 1,200 and 2,000 total points, the peak size likely occurring right before the outbreak of the big battle between the Pirates and Spanish. I used almost my entire room for the ocean, so it was a very long rectangle with another rectangle for part of it (shaped somewhat like “00oo”, if you pretend that the shape is floor/ocean space). After measuring the same area, the total length was about 15 feet. The narrow end of the rectangle had the English and Spanish harbors (3.5 feet wide), while the bigger end with the Pirate, American, and French harbors was 6.5 feet wide. When combining these two areas (8.5×3.5 and 6.5×6.5), it gives a total ocean size of 72 square feet!

Biggest fleet: Spanish before their elimination at the guns of the Pirates and English

Total length: About a week

Records:
-72 square feet of ocean, the largest for any of my games
-Likely one of the biggest and most chaotic battles of all time with the Pirates vs. Spanish vs. English changing the game for the remainder, eliminating the then-favorite (Spanish), and just causing a huge mess. If the Pirates had suffered smaller losses, they might not have actually won, as the losses forced them to return to their harbor while the other factions fought and weakened each other, allowing the Pirates to return at decent strength.

Favorite quote:

Quote:
All I remember is that all hell broke loose. The Spanish panicked, the chain broke, and the Pirates attacked!

Signature picture: (none were taken during the game, but this gives an example of the harbor system)
Huge Game Legacy

2. First 5 fleet 500 point game (August 2011)

Summary: Still the largest “regular” game I’ve played, this was the first of three 5 player 500 point games. The first one was definitely the best of the three, and it remains one of the absolute best games I’ve ever played. It featured a lot of memorable moments, and the finish was downright epic, including the top 3 fleets being within 5 gold of each other!

Factions participating: English, French, Spanish, Pirates, AMerCursedCorsaiRebels (permanent alliance of Americans/Mercenaries/Cursed/Barbary Corsairs/Jade Rebellion; referred to as the Amercs in the battle reports)

Starting conditions: 500 points per fleet, 20 wild islands, 21 pieces of terrain, many UT’s.

Unique features:
-Likely the largest game ever by points outside of true campaign games (2,500 total points)
-Possibly the first documented use of chain towing
-Potential for triple actions (based on rereading the battle reports)

Battles:
-English vs. Pirates: Indecisive and short; various capital ships on both sides sunk.
-French vs. Amercs: Indecisive, minor losses on both sides.
-Pirates vs. Spanish: Small stakes; Spanish victory.
-Spanish and French (not allied) vs. Amercs: Amercs would have eventually been eliminated if not for the game ending due to all gold being unloaded.
-English vs. Pirates: Indecisive chase battle. English suffered heavier losses but battle was irrelevant to end results.

Wars:
Anglo-Spanish vs. Amercs: Likely without a declaration of war, but the closest this game came to having a true war. The allies had the upper hand in combat and would have eliminated the Amercs in the long run, but the Amercs got the last laugh by “unintentionally intentionally” giving the Pirates (a rival of both the English and the Spanish) the win via Davy Jones.

Alliances:
English/Spanish

Most notable game pieces:
Davy Jones
Divine Dragon
Missionary
Santa Ana
Enterprise, HMS Titan, USS Stephens, Nautilus, HMS Granville

Most important things:
Davy Jones/Divine Dragon
Anglo-Spanish alliance
Davy Jones vs. allies dilemma
“Last-minute end-of-game chaos”

Results:
1. Pirates: 48 gold
2. Spanish: 45
3. English: 43
4. French: 28
5. Amercursedcorsairebels: 9

Reflection

Pros: Start out with long turns, and then the game gets faster as you go along (the opposite of cumulative games). Very fun and fast-paced gameplay, with a lot of big decisions affecting the outcome.

Cons: None.

Overall size: 2,520 points at the start of the game. This includes the four 0LR +5 crew. Essentially a 2,500 point game. 157 total ships.

Total length: 1 week

Records:
-Tied with the other two 2500 point games for the largest total build points used in a “regular” game.

Favorite quote:

Quote:
…the English/Spanish are planning to go on the attack as soon as they can repair their damaged gunships and formulate a plan of action (or a plan of extra actions, haha).

(plus the entire final battle report from August 12th, 2011)

3. Second 5 fleet 500 point game (February 2012)

Summary: Similar to the first one, just not as exciting and memorable.

Factions participating: English, Spanish, Pirates, France/Americans/Barbary Corsairs (referred to as the French Americans), Cursed/Mercenaries (referred to as the Merccursed in the battle reports)

Starting conditions: 500 points per fleet, 15 wild islands, 14 pieces of terrain, 16 UT’s.

Unique features:
-Likely the largest game ever by points outside of true campaign games (2,500 total points)

Battles:
-Spanish vs. Merccursed: Spanish victory
-French Americans vs. Pirates: Likely Pirate victory; capital ships lost on both sides
-English vs. Pirates: English victory; Pirates lost almost half their fleet
-English vs. French Americans: Small skirmish; English victory
-Merccursed vs. Spanish: Spanish victory
-Merccursed vs. French Americans: Decisive Merccursed victory
-Spanish vs. English: Tactical Spanish victory; irrelevant to final results
-Pirates vs. French Americans: Indecisive skirmishes
-Merccursed vs. French Americans: Unknown victor; irrelevant to final results
-Spanish vs. English: Tactical English victory

Wars:
Not any true wars in this game, it was a somewhat chaotic free-for-all and there wasn’t as much bad blood and defined rivalries as in most huge games.

Alliances:
None known

Most notable game pieces:
Mostly capital ships
Forward
Wolves
HMS Bath, HMS Lady Provost, HMS King Edward

Most important things:
English dominance of Pirates
Capturing ships
Round earth rules

Results:
1. English: 81 gold
2. Pirates: 25
3. French Americans: 21
4. Spanish: 0
5. Merccursed: 0 (I put them behind the Spanish because they never had a single coin at any point during the game).

Reflection

Pros: Same as the other 5 fleet 500 point game.

Cons: Not as exciting as the first 2,500 point game. For me, the least memorable huge game I’ve played.

Overall size: 2,520 total points. 165 total ships.

Total length: 3-4 days

Records:
-Tied with the other two 2500 point games for the largest total build points used in a “regular” game.
-One of the highest totals of ships used in a “regular” game, especially one with an actual battle report (165 ships)

Favorite quote: (not many from this game)

Quote:
The English used the “round earth” rules to go to the other side of the sea and try to get to two far-off islands, but things became much more complicated than that. The English ended up having to send some of their best gunships over to take care of the Pirates, heading for the same islands, and took out 24 masts in one turn of furious broadsides (mostly the work of the HMS Grand Temple, HMS Titan, Bretwalda, Ark Royal, and Apollo).

4. Pirates CSG combined with RISK (June 2012)

Summary: This remains my only personal custom ruleset. Combining the land warfare of RISK with the naval warfare of Pirates, this game was epic indeed. Coming up with the rules and designing a global ocean took a lot of time, but I was eventually satisfied with the setup. This was also my first time playing a huge game that utilized a custom ruleset.

Factions participating: English, French Americans, Spanish, Pirates, MercCursedCorsairRebels (a fleet combining the factions of the Cursed, Mercenaries, Barbary Corsairs, and Jade Rebellion; referred to as the MCCR’s)

Starting conditions:
-20 points per fleet
-Each faction gets a home territory (HT) from the RISK board
-House rules for RISK portion found in the Battle Report

Unique features:
-Combination of two board games
-Land warfare!
-Two maps: the regular RISK board used for land combat, with another area for the world ocean where the ships were.

Battles:
-MCCR’s vs. Pirates: tiny Pirate victory (Fallen Angel captured)
-English vs. French Americans: English victory (establishing dominance at the Battle of the Caribbean)
-English vs. Pirates: Pirate victory in the Indian Ocean
-English vs. Spanish: Decisive English victory in the Pacific
-MCCR’s vs. Pirates: Decisive MCCR victory, Pirates eliminated
-English vs. French Americans: English victory, blockade of French HT set up
-English vs. Spanish: Decisive English victory, Spanish effectively eliminated
-French vs. English: English victory
-Battle for Asia (land warfare): French victorious early on, but eventually pushed back and overwhelmed by MCCR army (French Americans eliminated shortly afterwards)
-Battle of the Atlantic: English victory to win the game

Wars:
None declared that I know of, though the English vs. Spanish and MCCR vs. English (at the end) rivalries could certainly be considered full-scale wars.

Alliances:
French Americans/Spanish (mostly irrelevant)

Most notable game pieces:
HMS Victor
Grim Reaper
Delusion/Baochuan/Shui Xian (in a bad way, as they were horrifically inaccurate)
Ramsgate
English capital ships

Most important things:
Flawed land rules (couldn’t acquire gold via army units, now fixed in updated rules)
Aggressive expansion (English and MCCR’s dominated game after taking the initiative at sea)

Results:
1. English
2. MCCR’s
3. French Americans
4. Spanish
5. Pirates

Reflection

Pros: Truly realistic “global” scale, using real-life territories, continents, and locations. Very interesting take on the world of Pirates CSG to combine it with another game. Grand scale that makes you feel like you’re playing a game of life rather than just a petty war in the Caribbean.

Cons: The RISK portion was underpowered. If I play this game again I’m going to edit the ruleset so troops can acquire gold over land.

Overall size: Unknown. Definitely a huge game, but probably under 2,000 total points. The only clue is that at the beginning of the final battle, the two combatants combined for 62 total ships, with the other fleets having already been eliminated.

Biggest fleet: English

Total length: About a week I think.

Records:
-None that I know of, other than one of the only games (or the only one) to use two maps that represent the same ocean in the same game.
-10 master futility: Shui Xian and Baochuan (the latter with a world hater ability) go 2 for 13 combined during a turn. English won the final battle somewhat easily despite having no 10 masters against 3 for the MCCR’s.

Favorite quotes:

Quote:
The Spanish wanted to control all of North America, as well, and the English HT of Greenland was the only territory left that they hadn’t occupied. They had built the fort Puerto Blanco on Hawaii, and were transporting troops from there to Alaska when the English rounded Alaska and began their assault. The Spanish panicked and asked if the English would stop their attack if the Spanish retreated from Hawaii and stopped the apparent invasion preparations. The English went on with their attack, with nothing to gain from letting the Spanish get away.
Quote:
…the Spanish decided on a desperate cheap shot, using the Santos Romanos to sink both the Victoria and her prize. Furious, the English turned around the untouched HMS Apollo (F&S version) and blew the Spanish blockade runner out of the water at point-blank range. With that, the Spanish lost their last ship and are officially out of the naval war.
Quote:
Shap’ng Tsai, captain of the obtrusive Shui Xian, seems a bit confused on how to help out, as he thought he would be fighting, not watching and carrying troops.

 

5. Third 5 fleet 500 point game – Defence of St. Helens Island (June 2012)

Scenario

Summary: The biggest deathmatch I’ve ever played. A fun scenario, but the fleets were probably too big for it (maybe the only time you’ll hear me say that!). It was more memorable than the second 2,500 point game but slightly disappointing overall. However, the scenario itself is brilliant and rather interesting.

Factions participating:
Attackers: English, Pirates, and MercCursedRebels (Mercenaries/Cursed/Jade Rebellion all in one 500 point fleet)
vs.
Defenders: Spanish, French Americans

Starting conditions: 500 points per fleet, 1,500 total points for the attackers and 1,000 total points for the defenders. The picture shows the rest.

Unique features:
-Likely the largest game ever by points outside of true campaign games (2,500 total points)
-Fun scenario!

Battles/Wars:
The entire game!

Alliances:
Just the 3 on 2 nature of the scenario.

Most notable game pieces:
10 masters (negative)
HMS Bretwalda (successful Broadsides Attack may have made the difference at the end to take out El Acorazado)

Most important things:
Baochuan goes 7/20 in a double action with a world hater aboard, which seemed to anger me so much that it nearly ruined the game and almost definitely made the battle report shorter than it would have been. (the Shui Xian and Delusion doing similarly awful contributed as well)
Tight spaces to sail such huge fleets through
Incredibly massive logistical maneuvering nightmare!

Results:
The attackers won on turn 14, one turn before the time limit would have expired and given the defenders the win.

Reflection

Pros: HUGE deathmatch! Lots of chaotic fighting, especially around the forts and entrance points.

Cons: Fleets were a bit too big – lots and lots of rolling dice.

Overall size: 2,520 points. 137 total ships.

Total length: 1-2 days

Records:
-Tied with the other two 2500 point games for the largest total build points used in a “regular” game.
-Possibly the largest deathmatch ever

Favorite quote: (extremely short battle report)

Quote:
I would play more today, but the ten masters have ruined my gaming experience for the day Sad. I would rather not go on a long rant, but if they keep disappointing me I think I will flip out. Basically, they all stink.

(I do not think I have ever been more frustrated when playing Pirates)

Signature picture: (not my original photo or scenario!)
Defence of St. Helens scenario

6. Century of the Empires (June 2013)

Ruleset

Summary: A monumental achievement for me on so many levels. The MT era of battle reports was born, as well as the advent of pictures. This was the first cumulative game ruleset created by someone other than me that I played. This game and its reports redefined my standards for battle reports, and I’d like to think they’ve only gotten better and clearer since then. The game itself was absolutely fantastic; CotE is one of the best rulesets created for this game.

Factions participating: English, French, Spanish, Pirates, Americans/Jade Rebellion (referred to as the Americans), Cursed/Barbary Corsairs (Cursed Corsairs or just the Cursed)

Starting conditions: 20 points per fleet, 6 home islands, 12 wild islands, along with a Frozen North and Sargasso South.

Unique features:
-Sariouriel’s ruleset!
-Every ship requires two hits (overall) to eliminate one mast; derelicts only sink when they’ve been hit twice as many times as they originally had masts

Battles:
-English vs. French: English victory
-Americans vs. Pirates: American victory
-Spanish vs. Americans: Spanish victory
-English vs. French: English victory
-Pirates vs. Americans: Minor Pirate victory
-Cursed vs. English: Cursed victory

(these battles started after the gold was removed and the endgame began)
-Cursed vs. English: Decisive English victory, Cursed eliminated
-Spanish vs. Americans vs. Pirates: Spanish victory, all sides taking severe damage, Americans and Pirates eliminated
-English vs. Spanish: Decisive English victory

Wars:
-English vs. French
-Americans vs. Pirates
-Cursed vs. English
-Spanish vs. Americans vs. Pirates (free for all near the end)

Alliances:
None

Most notable game pieces:
Lost/Runes of Magic/Runes of Odin
HMS Gallows
Divine Dragon, Flying Dutchman
HMS Endeavour
Santo Columba, Santa Ana (SCS)
Alquimista, San Pedro
L’Heros
Revenant, Enterprise, Constitution
Various other ships (more than usual since ships stayed healthy and afloat longer than usual due to the house rules)

Most important things:
-2 hits to eliminate a mast, ships rarely sinking from combat
-Colonies and upgrade strategy
-Cessation of gold production (unfortunately)

Results:
1. English
2. Spanish
3. Pirates
4. Cursed
5. Americans
6. French

Reflection

Pros: Epic ruleset, huge ocean, big fleets. There are certain things in the ruleset that mimic real life, colonization, and empire in ways that RISK cannot. I love upgrades and the slow but natural pace of the game. Definitely a ruleset worth playing over and over again.

Cons: Inevitable rich-get-richer/poor-get-poorer nature of a cumulative game. Also takes forever, which I didn’t realize. 3 weeks was a decent start, but not long enough.

Overall size: 1,212 points in the sea at the end of turn 41, when gold production stopped. This sounds low based on the scope and nature of the game; it felt bigger than 1,200. The game ended up taking 62 total turns. The ocean was somewhat of a giant square, as you can see in the pictures, somewhere around 6 feet by 6 feet.

Biggest fleet: English

Total length: 3 weeks, 62 turns

Records:
-My first huge game with pictures
-Not really any numerical records, other than possibly tying the record for most hits required to dismast a ship (21 for the Acorazado with Joaquin Vega aboard)

Favorite quotes:

Quote:
The upside down SM island is actually a Cursed trade current that was placed by the UT Lost that was dumped on the Viper’s Bite via Pandora’s Box.
Quote:
The immense carnage of war at sea, with a view from the mizzen top of the Constitution

Signature picture:

7. Economy Edition (June 2015)

Ruleset

Summary: After two years of smaller games, it was finally time to take on my most ambitious project yet. The ruleset was key, and it proved to be possibly my favourite ruleset yet, mostly because it limits the rich-get-richer/poor-get-poorer aspect that usually dominates cumulative games.

In the back of my mind, I kept thinking to myself that I wanted to make this game bigger than anything I had ever done. I accomplished that goal, but at what cost?

Factions participating: English, Franco-Spanish (FS), Pirates, Americans, Cursed

Starting conditions: 40 points per fleet, 26 wild islands

Unique features:
-Cannonfury’s ruleset!
-Unique custom terrain (arch, lagoon, shipwreck) that also provided a way to use super-valuable gold and silver

Battles:
-English vs. Americans: Small American victory
-Cursed vs. Pirates: Small and inconclusive
-English vs. Americans: English victory
-Cursed vs. Americans: Cursed victory in the Lagoon
-FS vs. Americans: American victory
-English vs. Americans: American victory, English eventually eliminated
-FS vs. Cursed: FS victory
-Americans vs. FS: American victory
-Pirates vs. FS: Pirate victory, FS eliminated
-Cursed vs. Pirates: Unfinished

Wars:
-English vs. Americans
-Franco-Spanish vs. Americans
-Franco-Spanish vs. Cursed
-Pirates vs. Franco-Spanish

Alliances:
English/Cursed (not fruitful or relevant, weren’t able to collaborate)
Pirates/FS (broken)
Pirates/Cursed (broken)

Most notable game pieces:
Maui’s Fishhook
HMS Pacificum
Devil Ray
Thompson’s Island
San Estaban (one of the luckiest ships of all time, shooting 8/9 with average cannons and surviving two full-scale Cursed attacks before being eliminated by the Pirate assault)
Brachyura
San Cristobal
Paul Revere
Calypso
HMS Swiftsure
Akua Lapu

Most important things:
-Resource system and strategy
-The Arch and Lagoon

Results:
1. Pirates
2. Americans
3. Cursed
4. Franco-Spanish
5. English

Reflection

Pros: Biggest physical game ever. Best-looking game I’ve ever played. Unique, custom made islands, terrain, and locations used for the first time ever. New concepts including the lagoon, arch, and gold-laden shipwreck. A blue ocean was used for the first time. MASSIVE fleets, huge launchings, epic strategy plays, incredibly diverse fleets, extremely unique ruleset that made the game more fair, shiny gold, shiny silver, chain exploring with native canoes, tons of fun, very intense battles, crazy house rules. Also introduced stuff from my custom set, CC Mike’s set, and RtSS. Nuff said?

Cons: The biggest disaster in my history of Pirates CSG. A horrific accident destroyed the entire setup and many ships were destroyed beyond repair. The bigger the stakes, the bigger the potential fall.

Overall size: 2,846 points at the end of turn 33. At the time, this was the biggest game I’ve ever played. Turn 33 alone saw over 1,000 points’ worth of purchases, meaning that one turn saw more stuff introduced than entire games start off with! Those 2,846 points accounted for 163 total ships, showing how heavily crewed a lot of them were. A number of turns later, another ship count revealed 181 ships in play, making this one of the biggest games ever by ship count as well as point count. In addition, with a higher number of ships the second time around, it’s likely that the game exceeded 3,000 total points. The ocean was about 5 feet long by 3 feet wide.

Biggest fleet: Pirates at 104 ships and possibly over 1,800 points

Total length: 1 month

Records:
-Possibly the fastest elimination of a major faction when the FS went from 700+ points to eliminated in just a handful of turns
-Notably held the record for largest physical game until Command the Oceans

Favorite quotes:

Quote:
…the Americans actually lost money on the fiasco
Quote:
Papa Doc cancelled Champ to the surface, allowing Brachyura to rip the serpent’s head off!
Quote:
Notice how the Moulin Rouge is heeled over to starboard from three submarines all ramming her on the same turn, blown backward from the impact
Quote:
The point count exceeded even my expectations, showing the absolutely epic and grand nature of this ridiculous cumulative game!
Quote:
After 38 turns, the carnage and chaos continues to mount.
Quote:
However, the Black Mamba rolled 0/3 and even rolled a 1 to eliminate one of her own masts for one of the least effective shoot actions in recent history, losing masts and not damaging the enemy in the process!
Quote:
…the Black Mamba went 0/3 once again and rolled two more 1’s. This means she’s 0/6 and has lost all of her masts based on her ability, not from any hostile ships shooting at her!
Quote:
An incredibly bizarre sight, the lagoon’s island has been temporarily displaced with gold still on it.

Signature picture:

8. Century of Empires (June-August 2015)

9. Economy (December 2015 – February 2016)

10. VASSAL Campaign Game 1 (February-May 2016)

Summary: After reviving the VASSAL module, Xerecs and I became excited by the possibilities of campaign games on the module. We hastily planned the first one, which would be a “regular” cumulative game with no special campaign ruleset or many house rules. Each of us controlled 3 fleets, which we HAD to play independently.

Factions participating: French, Pirates, Americans (controlled by Xerecs), Spanish, Cursed, English (controlled by a7xfanben)

Starting conditions: 30 points per fleet, 18 wild islands

Unique features:
-VASSAL system (virtual gaming platform)

Battles:
-Battle of Thompson’s Island: Spanish victory
-Battle for Cursed Captain Jack and the Cursed wild islands: Cursed victory
-Battle of the Two Paradises: Spanish victory
-Battle of the Devil’s Maw: Spanish victory, Pirates retreat
-Battle of El Puerto Blanco (eastern): Strategic Spanish victory
-Battle of the Pirates’ home island: Spanish victory
-Battle of Dread Isle: Spanish victory
-Battle of the Cursed home island: Spanish and English (not in an alliance) soundly defeat the Cursed
-War for CG1: Spanish outlast and outplay the English to win the game
(Other minor battles took place as well; many had the Cursed as the aggressor.)

Wars:
-Spanish vs. French
-Spanish vs. Pirates
-Spanish vs. Cursed
-Spanish vs. Americans
-Spanish vs. English

Alliances:
-Americans/French
-First Coalition between the Americans/French/English, with the goal of eliminating the Cursed (didn’t officially declare war, and the Cursed were eliminated by the Spanish)

Most notable game pieces:
Spanish native canoes
Cursed Captain Jack
OE Davy Jones (and LOTS of other Cursed game pieces that can move enemy ships, including some customs)
Acorazado, Garante, Augusta, Muerta
Le Bonaparte
Grand River, Harbinger, Swift
Carolina, Frontier
Divine Dragon, Loki’s Revenge, Hell Hound
Dreadnought, Apollo, Grand Temple, Endeavour
Amiral Stephan Dupuy, Emperor Blackheart, Elizabeth Swann, Commodore David Porter, unnamed Spanish admiral (aboard El Garante), Luis Zuan, Davy Jones, and the English Lords Beckett, Mycron, and Gunn
Celestine’s Charts

Most important things:
-a7xfanben launching more often early in the game than xerecs, who preferred to save up gold (which led to the Spanish, English, and Cursed to have faster starts in the arms race and eventually dominant fleets)
-Overarching fleet strategies: the Spanish were my imperial faction from the start, while the Cursed were a trouble-maker and the English would play “nice” (compared to past CG’s) and save gold. Xerecs had his own strategies for his fleets, but they were mostly wrecked somewhat early in the game by the Cursed and Spanish.

Results:
1. Spanish
2. English
3. Pirates
4. Americans
5. Cursed
6. French

Reflection

Pros: First campaign game played remotely (as far as we know). The first of many campaign games between Xerecs and a7xfanben! Plenty of custom game pieces were used. In addition, the interaction between leaders through the VASSAL chat was very unique (much of it wasn’t recorded, but the game was more complex than the battle reports show). It also became the largest game of all time (since broken by Command the Oceans).

Cons: Typical negatives of a standard CG. The rich got richer, and the poor got poorer, almost without exception throughout the entire game. As the game swelled to enormous size, the map started to look a bit too small, but the chaotic and bloody War for CG1 brought the game to a relatively quick end. This was about as “normal” as campaign games get, but it was a fantastic test of VASSAL’s capability (as well as Xerecs and I’s capability!) to run a long campaign game. One of the biggest problems concerned the lag – when the game size reached ~2,000+ points, zooming out to see more of the ocean produced a lag in the module. This was countered by simply ignoring the lag, and sometimes by not zooming out at all.

Overall size: 3,516 total points

Biggest fleet: Spanish at 1,631 points

Total length: 3 months

Records:
-Biggest virtual game ever
Largest single-turn launching: 628 gold (English battle fleet)
Most native canoes used in a game by a fleet: 35 (7 Spanish sets)

Favorite quotes: (also pretty much all my strategy summaries lol)

Quote:
The French might want to be a little more careful with their choice of words in the future, given the short fuse the Cursed have
Quote:
THE SPANISH DEMAND PAYMENT!
Quote:
the Spanish decided to punish the Americans (still not declaring war on them of course, as they are essentially a vassal (pun intended) or tributary state to the Spanish)
Quote:
VIVA EL IMPERIO ESPANOL!

Signature picture:

11. Century of Economy (June-August 2016)

12. VASSAL Campaign Game 2 (February-December 2016)

Summary: For the second VASSAL campaign game, which started just a few days after the first one began, Xerecs and I wanted more than just 2 players. The game would be played at a slower pace than CG1, and we managed to bring El_Cazador and ownage98 into the fold. This brought us to a whopping 4 players, a large number of people to play a campaign game with, let alone remotely using VASSAL. Each player would control 1 faction-pure fleet, and just like CG1 there was no special ruleset.

Factions participating: French (controlled by el_cazador), Pirates (controlled by xerecs), English (controlled by a7xfanben), Americans (controlled by ownage98 who dropped out after one turn)

Starting conditions: 30 points per fleet, 13 wild islands

Unique features:
-VASSAL system (virtual gaming platform)

Battles:
-First battle of the whirlpool: minor English victory over the Pirates
-Pirates vs. French: minor French victory
-Second battle of the whirlpool: Tactical Pirate victory/English strategic failure (minor losses on both sides)
-French vs. Pirates: Pirates victory
-Third battle of the whirlpool: Decisive English victory over the Pirates (and the beginning of the end)
-Battle of the deep south: Decisive English victory over the Pirates
-Battle of the southeast whirlpool: French begin to defeat Pirates; English intervene and defeat the French but accidentally trigger the endgame with the French going suicidal and essentially quitting

Wars:
-French vs. Pirates
-French vs. English

Alliances:
None

Most notable game pieces:
-10 masted ships
-Submarines

Most important things:
-Superior English strategy (including getting the first strike in their battles) (possibly my most masterful game along with CG1, this time beating 2 experienced (real, not a solo game) players in mostly dominating fashion)
-el_cazador not understanding how long the game could go/disappearing for weeks or months at a time/not trying to win after a while
-ownage98 dropping out of the game almost immediately after starting, leaving us with 3 players instead of the planned 4

Results:
1. English
2. Pirates
3. French

Reflection

Pros: This gave El_Cazador his first campaign game experience, and allowed Xerecs and I to have a distraction from the intensity of CG1. It was also a great chance to try out some custom game pieces, which we did. As the game took longer than CG1, an edit to the module was completed during the game, which allowed the first usage of 10 masters on VASSAL, during a campaign game no less.

Cons: A huge disappointment. After committing to the game, ownage98 realized he was in way over his head, leaving the game after just a few turns. This took the Americans out of the game and left a void in the western area of the sea. It also left us with 3 players, which was only 1 more than CG1. Other problems began to develop. The ocean was a bit “tall”, and I should have made it as wide as the ocean for CG1. El_Cazador’s frequent absences and hiatuses were a much bigger problem, as he was too busy and/or disinterested to pursue remotely consistent play. As you can see from the battle reports, the game went for long stretches with no turns being played, and even when turns were played, they often ceased soon afterwards for another hiatus. There was no combat until late June, after starting the game in February. You’d think that would spark more playing, but again the game suffered a huge delay, with the next turn happening in late September. El_Cazador tried to sail his fleet off the map before Xerecs and I convinced him to keep playing. The game became lopsided towards the end, and an interference by the dominant faction unintentionally caused the game to stop and end prematurely after a chain reaction which would have led to a predictable finish even had we kept playing.

Overall size: Final point count: 82 ships, 1,417 points

Biggest fleet: English at 1,222 points

Total length: 10 months

(Possible) Records:
-One of longest campaign game I’ve played by how long it took (10 months), but certainly not remotely close by how many turns were played or total time in hours spent playing the game.
-7 ten masters in the English fleet (though “only” 6 for most of the late-game action)

Favorite quotes: (+ my strategy summaries)

Quote:
Whirlpool sub squadron ATTACK!
Quote:
The English were not going to fail in their objective again! The first raid was 2 10 masters and 3 subs, but this raid has 3 10 masters and 5 subs, with the Leicester backing them up to boot!
Quote:
The English are gunning for Emperor Blackheart, and for good reason. While the English have built up their battle fleet with sheer firepower and a possible numbers advantage, EBH threatens to throw everything off course with a single lucky die roll. Lord Thomas Gunn doesn’t see that as fair, and thus has ordered EBH’s execution.
Quote:
Now that the PC and Corcoran have been taken out of action, the English get closer and closer to being able to run unrestricted submarine warfare against the Pirates if they need to.
Quote:
At this point negotiations broke down.
Quote:
In a single turn the 3 English-controlled 10 masters in the deep south fired off around 50 shots to absolutely devastate the Pirate resistance.
Quote:
TIME TO CAPITULATE!!!!!!!
Quote:
The MF will be a busy ship helping out with crew logistics. … This situation is one of my favorite things about campaign games – strategies that aren’t viable in regular games become fun side diversions in CG’s, and the flexibility and grand strategy involved just make it a much more rewarding experience.
Quote:
At this point the English decided to intervene!

Signature picture:
Huge Game Legacy

13. Century of Economy (June-September 2017)

14. Command the Oceans (September-December 2017)

Summary: I wanted to play a campaign game to show off some of my custom stuff I created for the third Ocean Terrain Contest. Funny enough, as I played more and more, it became FAR more about the game itself than simply revealing the new islands and terrain in grand style! With more ocean space than I had for Economy Edition, and determined to top myself after that game and CG1, soon after play began I realized that I would be trying to play my most epic and biggest game EVER!

Factions participating: Pirates, Jade Rebellion, Cursed (officially revealed on Turn 40), English, Spanish, French, Americans, Mercenaries (officially an independent faction starting on Turn 52)

Starting conditions: 30 points per fleet, 3 oceans across 2 rooms, not everything revealed at the start due to faction-based perspective of the battle reports

Unique features:
-TONS of unique islands and terrain used, many of them brand-new with grand reveals happening all over the place! (no regular cardboard islands!)
-“Real” foam icebergs, and breaking them up too!
-Introduction of ladders
-Army units/land combat
-EE resource rules
-House rules
-Custom lighthouses in physical form

Battles:
-First Battle of Fog and Ice: Indecisive, Jades and Cursed suffer reasonable losses
-First Battle of Diamond Rock: English gain decisive victory but lose multiple ships to fire
-Ralph David’s attack: Decisive Pirate victory
-Second Battle of Fog and Ice: Inconclusive, heavy losses on both sides. Jades suffer slightly worse losses but Cursed are the first to retreat.
-First Fight at The Flat: French victory
-Third JR-Cursed battle: Indecisive
-Battle of Paradise Island: Both sides suffer heavy losses; Spanish lose Fortaleza Dorada but English lose multiple ships
-First Battle of the American whirlpool: American victory over the Pirates
-Second Fight at The Flat: French victory over the Americans
-Second Battle of Diamond Rock: Indecisive, stopped with abrupt truce

-Second Battle of the American whirlpool: Decisive American victory
-Fourth JR-Cursed battle: Eventual Cursed victory with unintentional Pirate help, both sides suffer heavy losses
-Battle of the Harbor: Decisive French victory, Cursed suffer light losses
-French-American line of Battle: French victory
-Battle of the northern Karkuda whirlpool: French victory over the Pirates
-Battle for the Castle: Eventual Franco-Spanish victory
-Battle for the Tunnel: Eventual Cursed victory over Pirates with Jade and English help

These were huge battles classified as full wars that dominated the endgame:
War for the Sea of Allost: Anglo-Cursed victory over Pirates, Jade Rebellion and Pirates eliminated
War for Karkuda: Franco-Spanish victory over the Americans, Mercenaries and Americans eliminated
-“Second” War for Karkuda: French victory over the Cursed, Spanish, and English

Wars:
-English vs. Spanish (concluded with a peace)
-Jade Rebellion vs. Cursed (approximately 4 major battles)
-Americans vs. French (French victory)
-Americans vs. Pirates (American victory)
-Cursed, Jade Rebellion, and English (separately but nearly simultaneous) vs. Pirates (Anglo-Cursed victory)
-Franco-Spanish vs. Americans (Franco-Spanish victory)
-Anglo-Cursed (and eventually Spanish) vs. Franco-Spanish (French victory)

Alliances:
French/Americans (broken)
Pirates/French (broken/betrayed)
Spanish/French (broken at end)
English/French (broken/irrelevant)
Cursed/English

Most notable game pieces:
Shal-Bala, Angelica
Crusher/Captain Mission
HMS Lord Algernon
Cassandra
HMS Viceroy
All Jade 6 masted junks
Santa Ana
Bonhomme Richard
President
Flotillas
Nautilus
Dauphin Royal, Soleil Royal, L’Hercule
Celtic Fury
Namazu, Behemoth
Endeavour/Titan/Apollo/Leicester
Admirals: Captain Mission, Warlord Cavendish, Devereaux, Thomas Gunn, Duque Marcus Vaccaro, Gaston de St. Croix, Monsieur Lenoir, Commodore Edward Preble, Captain Nemo

Most important things:
Unique HI situations (Pirate Kingdom, Roost, Harbor, etc)
Terrain boundaries (mainly fog and reefs in Allost and Karkuda respectively)
Unique islands and terrain and their associated rules (Diamond Rock, Tunnel, castle, whirlpool travel to different oceans)
Resource changes from Economy Edition rules (along with resources/gold running out periodically)

Results:
1. French
2. English
3. Spanish
4. Cursed
5. Pirates
6. Americans
7. Jade Rebellion
8. Mercenaries

Reflection

Pros:
I got to show off many of my cool island/terrain pieces. However, the game became much more than just that, since now this game is more about its own legacy than OTC3. I experimented with various house rules. I got into some video content for the first time for a physical game. I did a lot of awesome narrative stuff to make the game exciting and fun to read about, including some big surprises and twists. I had a lot of fun with the strategic and tactical side of things, especially with a whopping EIGHT factions participating. For some factions, I got to use almost my entire collection since the game got so big. I have over 3,500 awesome pictures to use for years to come. The battle reports have inspired multiple people with their own CG efforts, and tons of people have enjoyed reading about the game. Almost the same things about EE could be said here, as it became the greatest campaign game ever by most aspects you could consider.

Cons:
The most frustrating, trying, and difficult game I’ve ever played. The physical hardship of EE was multiplied by 3, both for the length of the game (1 month vs. 3) and the points involved. A full round of turns in a 9,000 point game can take 8 hours, so things progress at a glacial pace regardless of how often you play. There was a lot of bumping things, knocking stuff over, moving between rooms to check a crew setup for a gunship, etc etc. Overall it’s an experience I would not want to repeat again. The lessons hold though – have an unlimited amount of time to play the game, and try to play entirely on tables. You need serious real estate and literally unlimited time to get these things right.

Overall size:
Official new records:
Total points: 9,078
Total ships: 509
Largest recorded single-fleet point total: Pirates at 2,347
Largest fleet of any faction: Pirates at 131 ships
Ocean size: 42 square feet between the 3 oceans involved (Sea of Allost about 6×3, Caribbean 3×3, and Sea of Karkuda about 5×3)

Biggest fleet:
Pirates at 131 ships and 2,347 points

Total length:
About 112 turns over the course of 3 months and a week. (9/9/2017-12/15/17)

Records:
-Biggest physical game of all time
-Biggest overall game of all time
Biggest fleet ever seen in a game (since surpassed briefly by Americans in CG3)

Favorite quotes: Basically all the grand reveals, not just of the HI’s and terrain, but also the ladders, Cursed, events at the Tunnel, and more. These two certainly top things off for me:

Quote:
The Pirates pull off a huge masterstroke of grand strategy, weakening two huge rival fleets with one deal while simultaneously able to focus on their other rival.
Quote:
Charizard+Lord of the Rings+Tunnel=Epicness.

Signature picture: (of 3500+, this was quite difficult)

15. VASSAL Campaign Game 3 (September 2017-March 2018)

Summary: After having 3 different players combined between CG1 and CG2, CG3 set a big new record at 6 players, with 4 of them being new to campaign games. It was decided that the Economy Edition ruleset would be used, and the ocean would be the same size as CG1.

Factions participating: Spanish (pirateaj14), Cursed (xerecs), Pirates (wifey), French (vixenishcoder66), Americans (a7xfanben), English (repkosai)

Starting conditions: 40 points per fleet, 12 wild islands

Unique features:
-VASSAL system (virtual gaming platform)
-Economy Edition rules

Battles:
Major Battles:
-First Battle of the Gateway Island: French decisively defeat the Spanish
-Second Battle of the Gateway Island: Americans decisively defeat the French (immediately after first battle)
-Battle of the American home island: Americans decisively defeat the French and Pirates
-Battle of the Cursed home island: Americans decisively defeat the Cursed

Minor Battles:
-Skirmishes won by Spanish against English and French
-Battle for Davy Jones: American victory over Cursed
-Battle of the Pirate home island: Americans eliminate the Pirates
(there were some other minor skirmishes)

Wars:
-Americans vs. French
-Americans vs. Cursed
-Americans vs. Pirates

Alliances:
Americans/Pirates (failed at end)
Americans/Spanish (irrelevant)
Anti-American coalition between Cursed, French, English, Pirates (wiped out)

Most notable game pieces:
-10 masted ships
-AA crew

Most important things:
-Superior American strategy (including getting the first strike in their battles) (arguably my most masterful game along with CG1 and CG2, this time beating FIVE other players in mostly dominating fashion despite getting a poor start with resources and having the reputation coming in as the most experienced veteran and still able to pull off a big win)
-String of resource changes that allowed the Americans and Cursed to continue launching a lot while effectively dooming the French
-Early Spanish aggression that caused the French and Americans to play more aggressively, resulting in a domino effect where 3 of the 6 factions (English, Spanish, Pirates) hardly got to play and didn’t stand much of a chance in the long run

Results:
1. Americans
2. Cursed
3. Pirates
4. French
5. English
6. Spanish

Reflection

Pros: Having a lot of players was fun, and gave them some valuable experience with a large game. The EE rules are good, and some players utilized game pieces from RtSS along with some customs.

Cons: The game eventually became lopsided and one faction was able to run away with the game. Unfortunately there was a domino effect that resulted in 3 of the 6 players hardly getting to play, so their first CG experience was quite limited.

Overall size: Final point count: American fleet at 127 ships, 2,414 points

Biggest fleet: Americans at 2,414 points

Total length: 6 months

Records:
Largest recorded single-fleet point total: Americans at 2,414 points
Most cancellers ever seen in a fleet? (likely): 9 (Americans)
Most players ever seen in a campaign game? (impossible to know for sure): 6
Most players ever seen in a virtual/VASSAL campaign game: 6

Favorite quotes:

Quote:
So all in all, you could say “the Americans hit the nuclear option”. XD Declaring war on the second-largest faction, launching a new 10 master, potentially wrecking their only alliance, and going ballistic on the game in an attempt to dominate this ocean. All of this (except the attack on the Pirates) has been in the works for weeks, but only now was it the perfect time to strike. It has now been about 5 hours since I downloaded the new file and started my turn, which took over 3 hours. Thanks for reading, and thank you to those who are playing this huge game! Very Happy

Signature picture: The Turning Point
Huge Game Legacy

16. Century of Economy 2018

~~~~~~~~~~

With that, we can analyze the results and come up with some all-time standings and leaderboards. Since it was very short and a team game with permanent alliances (not to mention a deathmatch), I have not included my Defence of St. Helens game in the results.

Here are my huge games and the finishes for each along with additional stats:
Huge Game Legacy

It’s interesting that the Pirates and English won the first 6 huge games I played. It wasn’t until I got on VASSAL that a different faction would win, but then the English won yet again in CG2. The English have won about half of the huge games I’ve played. Until CTO, the French were winless, and they had not even finished higher than 3rd in any of the games. The Americans have only played by themselves in 6 of the 9. The Spanish were either 2nd or 4th in all the games before breaking through for a big win in CG1. Before CTO, the French finished last in 3 out of 4 games played since 2013, and second-to-last in the other one.

The results of Xerecs’ games:
Huge Game Legacy

The epic all-time standings!

Overall results
Huge Game Legacy

As you can see, the English and the Pirates are generally the best factions for huge games. The English do hold a decided advantage in the combat department (last fleet afloat), which really helps in the huge battles and long endgames not seen in smaller games. The English do a little better than you would expect them to based on popular opinion and smaller games, while the French do a little worse than expected.

With a very impressive 3 wins in 2 years, the French have caught the Pirates for second-most all time victories. They have been very up-and-down, literally with first or last place finishes in 5 of the past 6 CG’s! (and second to last in the other) However, they have certainly redeemed themselves and more after a terrible run from 2011-2015.

The Spanish are consistently quite good, but only have one victory to show for it. Especially since 2015, the Americans seem to do quite well or quite bad. The Cursed have yet to win, but have finished twice when you count the RISK game where they commanded the alliance. The 7.5 for “Other” in CTO refers to the Jade Rebellion finishing in 7th and the Mercenaries in 8th.

The Pirates haven’t won a huge game since 2015’s Economy Edition, which I see as kind of a “turning point” or landmark game since it inspired Xerecs and spurred a “new era” of CG’s that has resulted in a whopping 9 campaign games since June 2015 (not counting the unfinished 2017 Campaign by Xerecs).

After a long drought (for them) of 5 straight campaign games where they didn’t win, the English have surged back to win 2 of the last 3 concluded games and second in the other. Quite impressive for a faction that some would consider (understandably so) to be the 4th-best faction behind the Pirates, Spanish, and French.

For now, the English claim the title of best all-time faction in huge games, with the Spanish and Pirates a ways back but close to each other (which shows the Spanish consistency). The French, Americans, and Cursed are together in the next group, surprisingly close together in fact. The “Other” factions are likely to never win, but they made some big waves in the RISK game and the JR’s in CTO.

~~~~~~~~~~

Superlatives

True winner of each category listed first when possible; others are similar to honorable mentions, or dishonorable mentions in some cases haha. These are also for games I’ve been involved in, though I have a few shoutouts to Xerecs’ games when I remember enough.

Most dominant: Spanish in CG1, English in 2nd 2500 pointer, English in CG2, Americans in CG3, Pirates in EE

Most pathetic: Americans in CG1, French in CotE, Pirates in RISK, Mercenaries in CTO, Spanish in 2nd 2500 pointer, English in CG3 (dishonorable mention to the Pirate ship Black Mamba, who in EE shot 0/6 with three 1’s to dismast herself without doing any damage to enemies)

Best alliance: French Americans in 2nd 2500 pointer and RISK: French did worse on their own beforehand, and both factions did worse after separating for CotE (France really needs them since Americans beat them in EE and technically CG1, where America needed France more)
However, this has been made mostly a thing of the past now that France and America have 4 victories on their own between them.

Most aggressive: Spanish in CG1 (all declarations of war and essentially all eliminations)

Most passive winner: Pirates in EE (though due to disaster)

Fastest/most sudden eliminations: Pirates in RISK, Franco-Spanish in EE

Most underrated/dark horse: Other (last in first 2 games, but weren’t really trying; then finished 2nd in RISK in the only game where they had a chance) (deserve another chance as CursedCorsairRebelVikings or Cursed+minor factions to make a true Big 6)
Honorable mention to the English and French perhaps: the English kinda stank for a while but have recently surged back to nearly win 3 in a row. The French underperformed for a while but have the most victories since 2016 and are habitually underrated by Xerecs and other players.

Most controversial: Pirates in 1st 2500 pointer (Cursed essentially helping them win and denying the Spanish)
-Likely even more controversial is Xerecs’ winter Economy game, which is still a murky and strange subject.

Best revenge: Spanish taking down English in CG1 after England wins final battle of CotE. Pirates vs. Spanish rivalry in general (2011 CG, 1st 2500 pointer, CotE, EE, CG1 (5 out of 8 they both participated in that are counted)

Closest finish: 1st 2500 pointer (gold scores 48-45-43) (also most “robbed”, or controversial)
-Also Xerecs’ winter Economy game

Most lopsided: CG2 (likely more points in the English fleet than twice the other 2 put together), CG3 (Americans had over 1500 of the 2300 points in play even before the final handful of turns)

Longest win streak: English at 3 consecutive wins (4 if you include the 3rd 2500 pointer deathmatch after the RISK game where they won as the attacking alliance in the Defence of St. Helens scenario), honorable mention to the Pirates for winning both of the first 2 and to the English once again recently with two wins in a row (and only a handful of gunships away from winning CTO for a second streak of 3 wins, truly incredible)

Longest drought: French were technically 0 for 9 in my games before finally breaking through for the win in CTO. The longest current drought goes to the Pirates, who have not won a huge game since 2015’s Economy Edition. (though the Cursed and “Other” have never won).

Most disappointing: obviously French, but also the Cursed a bit; arguably Pirates in recent years

Most durable: English (best average finish in last fleet afloat games)

Most fragile: French (worst average finish in last fleet afloat games with the exception of Other)

Most wealthy: Pirates (best average finish in most total points games)

“Poorest”: Spanish (worst average finish in most total points games)

Most greedy/rich: Pirates (best average finish in most gold games)

Least greedy: Other (last place in both gold games, but due to factional weaknesses)

Most wild/chaotic faction: Cursed in CG1

Most imperial faction: English in general, but also Spanish in CG1, Americans in CotE, Americans in CG3

Best year: English in 2012 (essentially winning all 3 huge games counting Defence of St. Helens)
-Honorable mentions:
Pirates in 2011 (won both)
Americans in 2015 (first and second)
English in 2016 (a win and never finishing last)
Kind of the French in 2016 (won 2, but last in the other 2 lol)

Worst year: 2014 (no CG’s)
Dishonorable mention to Spanish in 2012 (4th out of 5 in both major CG’s and on the losing end at the Defence of St. Helens)

Most satisfying story? Spanish coming very close to winning both 1st 2500 pointer (Cursed interference at the very end) and CotE (somewhat close final battle, closer if the Acorazado hadn’t been eliminated by a UT combo). Then brutally destroying everybody in CG1 for the most dominant and deserved victory of all time.

Most flawed rules: RISK (need to acquire gold over land in future)

Most parity/fairness: Most all, probably more so in VASSAL due to more rigid map construction/lack of real life elements

Least fair: 2011 CG (harbor locations too far from some islands, most dominant factions had a central location in the room, though massive conflict nearly led to neither of them winning)

Biggest game: CTO (9,078 points at peak)

Most ships: 509 (CTO)

Largest single-turn launching: 628 gold (English battle fleet in CG1)

Largest single-fleet point total: Americans at 2,414 points at the end of CG3, honorable mention to Pirates at 2,347 points in CTO

Largest fleet by ship total of any faction: Pirates at 131 ships in CTO

Largest ocean: 2011 CG (~72 square feet), honorable mention to CG1/CG3 at 40.56 square feet and CTO at 42 square feet
-Also Xerecs’ 2015 CoE game (difficult to determine size)

Smallest game: likely CotE (1,212 at point count but possibly higher earlier in the game), also CG2 which peaked at just over 1,400

Best CG? Very tough to pick between 2011 CG (nostalgia), 1st 2500 pointer (nostalgic but close and exciting/classic), EE (aesthetics, epicness/records), CG1 (big and GRAND scope, then-records, extremely enjoyable), CTO (biggest, most aesthetic, most epic physical, etc)

Middle CG’s: RISK/CotE (both great but with some major flaws, especially lack of grandness in hindsight), CG3 (decent but paling in comparison to the best)

Worst CG? CG2 (not a lot of combat, not optimal ocean shape/configurations too formulaic, English dominance, long hiatuses, lame ending with basically 2/4 players dropping out including 1 who essentially didn’t play at all), Dishonorable mention to 2nd 2500 pointer for being somewhat lame and boring

Ranking the CG’s?
1-CG1/CTO
2-EE
3-2011 CG
4-1st 2500 pointer
5-CotE
6-RISK
7-CG3
8-3rd 2500 pointer (deathmatch)
9-2nd 2500 pointer
10-CG2

Very tough to pick between CG1 and CTO; CG1 had way less headaches for me, but CTO was bigger and infinitely more pleasing to look at (and probably more fun to read about, but I truly think CG1 is underrated). I think I need more time to digest CTO to rank it properly and try to forget about how difficult it was at times, after which I’ll probably rank it #1 without a doubt. (for now…)

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I mostly made this for my own enjoyment and something cool to look back on. I will do my best to update with future huge games.