BREAKING THE GAME | + A Global Biological Terrorist Attack Threat

BREAKING THE GAME

Plus: A Global Biological Terrorist Attack Threat

If I had to pick my own “MUST READ” battle report for 2020, this is it.

VASSAL Campaign Game 4 has continued (introduction and rules here).  The previous battle report is probably worth a refresher before getting into the events of this past… weekend.  Indeed, my turn took up a huge portion of my weekend from Friday-Sunday.  Things have spiraled out of control to a degree not seen before in any other game of Pirates CSG, at least that I know of in its recorded history.  Game balance is a thing of the past.  Welcome to a new era – “exploits of the power gamer”.  😉  I listened to this epic mix for most of the Pirate play turn.

A turn this long and epic deserves a long report to do it justice.  Especially given the “injustices” that have taken place… and of which there are likely more to come.  If you make it through the whole thing, please consider leaving a comment at the bottom, as it should help my fansite and the visibility of this post that apparently has 5625 words.  It would be useful to have the newly released Customs Database available while reading, as there were a LOT of customs involved….

As usual for my turns, we start with the Pirates.  The Eagle gave Resurrection Codex to the Zeus. (a pretty big deal in a more “normal” game or even a campaign game) 

Having crushed Xerecs’ Spaniards in the Archipelago last turn with a grand display of powerful weaponry, their combat of this turn was mostly about cleaning up in the center of the ocean.  The Deliverance got the Pirates started by eliminating two Spanish canoes (revealing Isandro Ramirez to be her captain).

From there, things quickly got… unprecedented.

The Smoke’s Hand got two actions and used the second to sink the final canoe and shoot at the Morning Star, who was dismasted by the Stormcloud.  This allowed the Sapphire Sea to tow the Spanish galleon, with the Pirates capturing her!  Given she was loaded with textiles (a valuable resource right now) and additional cargo, in any normal circumstance this would be a major deal and win for the Pirates.  This was, however, arguably even for me the least normal turn EVER taken in a Pirates game…..

As you may have seen in the video, the Arcane herself rolled for her signature ability.  “Once per turn, you may give this ship a move action, but do not move her. Instead, roll a d6. On a result of 6, you may place a Unique Treasure on any ship in your fleet.”  First try of the entire round, and she got a 6.  O_O

The Pirates brought in…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HIDDEN TROVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From Xerecs’ Return of Davy Jones custom set:

Hidden Trove: Load this treasure face up, Hidden Trove is worth 2x the total number of ships in the game.

O_O

Reaction to bringing in Hidden Trove

LOL!!!!  Hidden Trove was placed on the Osiris, who naturally was already docked at the Pirate home island.

The report goes a bit out of order here… XD

Naturally it begs the question: how many ships are in play?  Well, at the end of the Pirate play turn: 173.  O_O

This means that Hidden Trove is worth 346 gold.  O_O   XD

But Wait, There’s More

😀  Of course there is!

The Pirates were not even CLOSE to being done yet!  XD

As mentioned in the May 9th report, the Pirates have a mass surveillance program.  They call it the “Global Surveillance Program”, or GSP (not to be confused with GMS).  Think of it like the NSA.  XD   If you’ve got something and want to hide it, odds are the Pirates already know about it.  I believe the Pirates know where every single face down UT on the map is.  O_O   They also know about most of the face down crew in play.  This allows them to make focused decisions that do not rely on assumptions or wild predictions.  They have also become extremely self-sufficient, not needing to bargain with other factions for intelligence purposes.  The Pirates already knew about something they wanted… something that would combo perfectly with their new Hidden Trove….

The Leviathan was put into action!!  In her first turn in play, The Leviathan (from vladsimpaler’s Treachery on the High Seas set) was immediately ready to show off how much of an asset she could be to the burgeoning Pirate fleet.  With D movement, she was able to “fly” anywhere on the ocean at will.  She got her orders to intercept a Dutch ship far from Pirate waters, off in the southwest.  The Prins Willem carried Ivory, a custom UT created by the legendary Cadet-Captain Mike:

Ivory: When unloaded, this treasure is worth as much as the most valuable treasure coin currently on the ship.

O_O     … You may see where this is going.

The Leviathan warped out to meet the Prins Willem, careful not to ram the ship and become pinned.  She simply brushed ever so slightly up against the hull of the Dutch 3 master, and fired off a full broadside of 5 shots just for good measure, courtesy of Captain crew Gregory Rose (a custom by JW Darkhurst).  All shots missed!  However, blood was not what the Pirates were after.  That laid elsewhere.  The Prins Willem had 2 other UT’s aboard: Barrel o’ Monkeys (created by Woelf!!) and Letter of Marque.

Barrel o’ Monkeys: When this ship leaves a wild island, randomly choose one of her treasures and put it face down on that island. When this ship touches another ship, randomly choose one of this ship’s treasures and put it face down on the other ship; eliminate the treasure instead if the other ship’s cargo is full.

Emphasis added; the random part was where my Pirates needed some luck.  I assigned Letter of Marque a 1-3 and Ivory a 4-6; sure enough, the d6 roll came up 6!!  😀   This put Ivory on The Leviathan!

With great haste she flew home, carefully landing to just barely touch the Osiris, who still hadn’t been given an action on the turn.

Now it was time for a true rarity: using SAT (Same Action Twice/Born Leader) to explore twice in a row.  O_O  I don’t know if I had ever done that in a game up until this point, but it was certainly the perfect time.

*** <a7xfanben> rolls White D6 -> [6] ***
<a7xfanben> – O_O   Got Danvian Arrestelos’ SAT on the Osiris, which is suddenly key because both AA’s were already used

With SAT available, the Osiris used her first explore action to explore The Leviathan, taking Ivory.  With her second explore action she targeted the home island, unloading both Hidden Trove AND Ivory at the same time!!!!!

Hidden Trove was worth 346 gold!!  Ivory was worth the same amount as Hidden Trove!!

Suddenly the Pirates had a fortune on their home island!!!

 

 

692 GOLD!!!!!!!!!!

O_O   XD

The Pirates also brought in a fair quantity of metals and textiles this turn, still the game’s 2 most valuable resources for now.  This gave them an additional 58 gold, which would be a pretty good total for them under normal circumstances.

This left them with a grand total of….

 

 

 

 

 

750 GOLD.

O_O

Even in a campaign game, this is beyond belief….

Anticipating one of the biggest megalaunches in memory, Pirate ships immediately scattered away from the home island, with the Pirates desperate to make as much room at their launch points as possible.  Get out of the way!! Make room, make room!!  XD  Despite needing more repairs, the Agnis Crystalis and Darkhawk II simply sail straight out away from the home island, with priority going to the new ships that will inevitably be launched in short order….

I almost never do bulk copy+paste of the module chat in actual battle reports, but this is one turn where I think it is fitting.  🙂

<a7xfanben> – HIDDEN TROVE HAS BEEN PLACED ON THE OSIRIS BY THE ARCANE.
<a7xfanben> – Load this treasure face up, Hidden Trove is worth 2x the total number of ships in the game.
<a7xfanben> – O_O
<a7xfanben> – !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
<a7xfanben> – Its worth will be calculated….
<a7xfanben> – But first
<a7xfanben> – Time to try out the newest superweapon
<a7xfanben> – THE LEVIATHAN!!
<a7xfanben> – O_O
<a7xfanben> – Here’s hoping this works XD
<a7xfanben> – D movement
* [The Leviathan] moved by a7xfanben*
<a7xfanben> – (not her final location for this move)
* [The Leviathan] moved by a7xfanben*
* [The Leviathan] moved by a7xfanben*
* [The Leviathan] moved by a7xfanben*
* UNDO: * [The Leviathan] moved by a7xfanben*
* [The Leviathan] moved by a7xfanben*
<a7xfanben> – Placed alongside, touching but not ramming…
* **** Crew – Pirate (Gregory Rose) revealed by a7xfanben ****
<a7xfanben> – Gregory Rose: Captain. Eternal. This ship gets +1 to her cannon rolls against English ships.

(shots miss lol)
<a7xfanben> – Now for the key, and maybe a little luck.
<a7xfanben> – Prins Willem has Barrel o’ Monkeys aboard.
<a7xfanben> – When this ship leaves a wild island, randomly choose one of her treasures and put it face down on that island. When this ship touches another ship, randomly choose one of this ship’s treasures and put it face down on the other ship; eliminate the treasure instead if the other ship’s cargo is full.
<a7xfanben> – From the Code: Barrel o’ Monkeys is not included in the random selection
<a7xfanben> – It comes down to Ivory and Letter of Marque.
<a7xfanben> – D6 roll: 1-3 Letter of Marque is transferred, 4-6 Ivory is transferred.
<a7xfanben> – Here goes
*** <a7xfanben> rolls White D6 -> [6] ***
<a7xfanben> – O_O
<a7xfanben> – Oh my god….
<a7xfanben> – This is absolutely staggering…
* Coin moves Ocean -> Player 1 Locker *
* Coin moves Player 1 Locker -> Ocean *
<a7xfanben> – Ivory goes to Leviathan
<a7xfanben> – Elizabeth’s Piece of Eight on the Jolly Mon to give The Leviathan another action!!
<a7xfanben> – Not pinned since no ram 🙂
<a7xfanben> – Bye
* Coin moves Ocean -> Player 1 Locker *
* [The Leviathan] moves Ocean -> Player 1 Locker *
<a7xfanben> – She knows just where to go…
* [The Leviathan] moves Player 1 Locker -> Ocean *
* Coin moves Player 1 Locker -> Ocean *
* Coin moved by a7xfanben*
* Coin moved by a7xfanben*
* [The Leviathan] moved by a7xfanben*
* [The Leviathan] moved by a7xfanben*
* [The Leviathan] moved by a7xfanben*
<a7xfanben> – Touching the Osiris
<a7xfanben> – O_O
<a7xfanben> – Her first action is to explore The Leviathan and take the Ivory
* Coin moved by a7xfanben*
<a7xfanben> – O_O
<a7xfanben> – Now her second action…
<a7xfanben> – Is used to explore the home island!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
<a7xfanben> – Hidden Trove: Load this treasure face up, Hidden Trove is worth 2x the total number of ships in the game.
<a7xfanben> – Ivory: When unloaded, this treasure is worth as much as the most valuable treasure coin currently on the ship.
* Coin moved by a7xfanben*
* Coin moved by a7xfanben*
<a7xfanben> – O_OOO_O_O_O_O_O_O_O
<a7xfanben> – LOLOLOLOL
<a7xfanben> – A MULTIPLIER!!!!!
<a7xfanben> – HIDDEN TROVE IS DOUBLED!!
<a7xfanben> – UNLIMITED POWER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
<a7xfanben> – (force lightning spews from eyes in all directions)
<a7xfanben> – The craziest part is… IT IS NOT OVER. Not for another faction………
<a7xfanben> – The Pirates have not even used their Runes of Thor this round.
<a7xfanben> – O_O
<a7xfanben> – Someone else eagerly awaits….
<a7xfanben> – All shall perish.

Things have gotten a bit strange in Pirate waters.  Multiple damaged ships are almost stranded in between the two launch points of the Pirate HI and their military port, with orders not to dock at either given the mass influx of valuable new ships about to enter play.  At the bottom left the Giza tries to row away from the island at an angle that will allow the maximum number of ships to be docked at the port by the end of the overall Pirate turn.  The Triton’s Fury could have docked and loaded textiles but simply doesn’t.  At the bottom right, 3 Pirate gunships are headed in the direction of the whirlpool created by the Tempest.

Round earthing to the other side of the Pirate home island, the Amity has unloaded 3 gold at the metals island to build Plumb Point Lighthouse!

At the end of their turn the Pirates followed through with their plan to build a fort on an Archipelago island.  They built my custom Skull Valley fort, which has Extended Range. (The fort shuts down resource production on the island; this snapshot was taken before I removed the textiles token or added the 5 gold cost of the fort)

A true pirate stronghold, the Skull Valley is located on an undisclosed and unnamed island either in the Caribbean or the Pacific, depending on who you talk to. More of a town than a fortress, the valley is inside hilly terrain that prevents enemies from getting a clear look at their target. Massive mortars and a huge cache of old Spanish culverins provide ample firepower over the hills.  [Ironically fitting flavor text given that the Spanish were just here and had explored that island]

Then it was time for the launch period.  The Pirates had 750 gold at their disposal, more than any fleet I’ve controlled with the exception of the English in CG1.  With near-unlimited options…

The Pirates spent… ALL OF IT.  O_O

I didn’t know if it would be possible with just 2 launch points, but it was.  The Pirates spent 750 gold in one turn, eclipsing my personal record of 628 that the English spent in CG1.  50 of it was spent on a military port upgrade, with most of the rest of it going to ships and crew of course.

The Pirates are putting Catapults (custom equipment from Xerecs’ Spherus Magna set) on their textiles island to fortify it even more (12 “island cannons” between those and the 8 3S’s from the MP).  The Catapults are manned by new oarsmen.  The Catapults are 3L+L cannons that can fire from only one point on the island.

The Pirates completed their fleet of 10 masters, launching the last 2 that I am aware of.  Both customs of mine: the Slave Revolt and Hera.  Despite the massive costs, both 10 masters actually needed “reducer” crew to make their mammoth setups work.  The Slave Revolt has The Stump aboard to allow (I think) 37 points of crew to fit onto the 31 point ship.  The Hera is even more extreme – Jonah had to be hired in order to fit (I think) 38 points of crew onto the 23 point ship.  O_O  Helping out the Slave Revolt’s poor speed was Woelf’s custom Streamlined Hull equipment, which shows up on a handful of the ships I launched this turn:

Streamlined Hull

We have house ruled it to 3 points for CG4 due to the no ram damage house rule and after feedback from Woelf himself.  This comes from Woelf’s Treasure Trove of Fenrir equipment set, and not the last of it you’ll see….

As ships potentially get into combat and some face down crew are eventually revealed, I hope to talk more about the crew setups on some of the ships.  For now my fellow players (Xerecs and PirateAJ14) can gawk at the epicness of what is not face down (unless they have spyers of course to look at face down crew/cargo!).  🙂    I listened to Dawn of the Villains while the Pirates were launching.

From the following picture you can see that both 10’s were launched from the military port south of the Pirate HI; starting above the Giza (derelict galley) and going anti/counterclockwise from that ship, the Pirates launched (custom creator in parentheses): Deceit (Riz), Shark (mr_awesome/JuliusPepperwood), Howler (the_grandmaster/PointlessArrow), Coleoptera, Fantasia, Chasseur (vladsimpaler), Karda-Nui (JW Darkhurst), Scepter, Challenger (JW Darkhurst), Silent (mr_awesome/JuliusPepperwood).  😀

Pirate megalaunch at military port in CG4

The Pirates are putting together a certain type of squadron… however, it involves so many game pieces and parts that it is not currently possible to put it in the water all at once.  It will be more of an intermediate-term assembly of various things.  You can see that the Pirates are massing some 10 masters; the Zeus and Hera are thematically and practically the perfect “pair”, while the Slave Revolt has some truly terrifying combos aboard.  There is also a theme of submarines and cheerleaders….

But wait, there’s more!  From the northern half of their home island, the Pirates launched two ships, both created by Xerecs: the Inferno and Shadow Thief.  In the deckplate area you can see 7 of the new ships’ cards; the Slave Revolt is absolutely loaded.

Another 10 new ships were introduced at the southern half of the Pirate HI.  Docked at the island, clockwise from lower left with custom creator name (if applicable) in parentheses: Smiling Jim, Albatross (El_Cazador), Wretched (Avery), Gale Force Nine, Turbulence+Divination+La Mosca (all by mr_awesome/JuliusPepperwood), Coastal Ranger (JW Darkhurst), Stormy Night (A7XfanBen).  You can also see more of the Pirate deckplate area, which is quickly expanding and looking rather impressive.

Pirate megalaunch in CG4 July 2020

Nearly every ship the Pirates launched is maxed out in some way – either her point cap space has been filled (14 points of crew/equipment on a 14 point ship), or her cargo hold is full.  With the overstuffed 10 masters adding an excess +~21 points of crew, it’s possible (but unlikely) that I actually spent more gold on crew and equipment than ships this turn.  O_O  The Pirates are trying to optimize every build from the point of launch so ships don’t have to go back into port to pick up new crew/equipment they could have had the first time out.  Plus, it helped to spend all the gold the Pirates took in, which was a fun goal to achieve.  There are a few logistics ships in the mix, such as the Silent – carrying extra crew to replenish those who might be in need of them in the future.

In order to expedite the completion of a short-term plan, the Pirates also launched a new set of native canoes from the middle Archipelago island.  These are the ones from RtSS that have the home island raiding ability built in.  How crazy that 2 turns ago this area was dominated by peaceful Spaniards, with 10 of their canoes here.  Now it is Pirates-only, with 10 of their canoes instead.  With a 10 master and a new fort to boot!

Archipelago dominated by the Pirates

The Pirates launched 25 total ships – 12 from their home island, 12 from their military port on the textiles island south of their home island, and RtSS native canoes at the middle Archipelago island.  This left the game at 198 total ships in play….

The Pirates didn’t even need to use Runes of Thor! Or maybe… they didn’t want to….

 

Whew.  Of course there’s MORE!  That was only one of my four factions!!  😀

Now it was time for The Cursed.  The Devil’s Storm came out of the fog bank she was in to shoot at the Boston!  She shot 3/4 to nearly dismast the schooner.  Although the fleeing Americans had lost their brief skirmish against The Cursed, the Devil’s Storm was all alone with no backup.  It would be very easy for the Bonhomme Richard to blast the Devil’s Storm on the American turn.

Devil's Storm hits Boston schooner

However, there was a reason for the Cursed aggressiveness and confidence… a good reason indeed….

The Opal Shrine uses the Eye of Insanity to copy Davy Jones on the Cursed home island to her oarsman, which is used to copy the Arcane’s ability!!  A 6 is rolled!!!!!!!!!

O_O

TIME TO BRING IN ANOTHER HIDDEN TROVE!!!!!!!!!

XD

Hidden Trove was yanked into the game again, this time placed on the Maman Brigitte, fittingly one of the most hated ships in the game.  She was a move action away from the home island, docking home to unload textiles and Hidden Trove.

198 ships in play x2= 396 gold for The Cursed!!

Combined with 1 gold on their HI and 30 from converted textiles…

 

 

427 GOLD.  O_O

Here we go again!!  Time to megalaunch!!  😀

The Cursed have a vastly different situation than the Pirates.  The Pirates have been the “favorites” (in quotes because there’s been almost no combat and I believe it to still be early in the game) for a while, but The Cursed had only 8 ships in play going into this turn.  Their small fleet was struggling to grow quickly.  Hidden Trove would change all that.

However, the Cursed went straight to the top.  Straight to the top of the customs hierarchy if you will, to the top of the heap.  To something horrific and awesome at the same time.  A superweapon of epic proportions…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHIMERATRON LEGACY!!!!!!!!!

Type: Ship
Faction Affiliation: Cursed
Rarity: LE
Point Value: 90
Number of Masts: 10
Cargo Space: 12
Base Move: L
Cannons: 2S-2S-3L-3L-3L-3L-3L-3L-2S-2S
Ability: Junk. Eternal. Turbine. Sniping.* Two hits from the same shoot action are required to eliminate one of this ship’s masts. This ship gets +1 to her equipment rolls. This ship must be assigned at least 7 crew at the start of play.
Link: Any 1 10+ point Cursed named crew, (and) Aliktoril Bellen

*Sniping: You may double the range of this ship’s cannons each turn, but you must roll a 6 to hit.

Flavor text: Filled to the brim, with a ludicrously massive cargo hold, technical innovations aplenty, and well over a thousand fiends to defend her, this ship is the best of all worlds. No one knows where the ship came from, or if it was built in a visible shipyard somewhere in the world. The ship is said to be the heaviest afloat, with huge amounts of metal aboard given the technological aspects that seem to indicate that the Cursed are growing at a faster rate than even the English. With enough gunpowder to supply an entire small fleet, and some steel plating on her hull, the vessel could be the first truly “unsinkable” ship. Although her crew is made up of demons and fiends, the despicable and vicious Aliktoril Bellen has come aboard to provide a steadying hand. He plans to drive the ship to unparalleled heights of power as the Cursed machine of death revs up for a grand campaign of terror that will end human existence.

“God mode 10 master with defenses”; End of All Things

O_O   XD

We are entering new territory now, sailing into new waters.  The CL comes loaded like no other ship in the history of the game… but first, a look at the glorious deckplate:

Chimeratron Legacy deckplate

A familiar theme began playing….

 

 

 

Now for the elaborate setup that took probably at least an hour (maybe two) to come up with and actually put in the game file:

Chimeratron Legacy CG4 crew setup

If you don’t want to look up all the customs, here’s a summary: a 10 master that can move S+S+L+S with Captain, all rank-1 cannons (effectively) that have Extended Range and two extra 4L+L’s from the bow, super-Nemo capture, Commander Temple steal-a-ship ability, “global” Possession of cheapish crew, L-board, Sac, the potential to board up to 3 enemy ships in a turn without ramming, stinkpot shot, and more.  This is a doomsday superweapon that comes with a full loadout price tag of 180 gold.  180 points!!  O_O

The CL is optimized for maximum efficiency.  As soon as she starts capturing crew via boarding parties and Captain Shamshere’s super-Nemo capture, she can start sacrificing them to Isaiah Van Tyne for extra actions.  If they run out, Makuta can provide fodder from afar.  The ship may have unparalleled striking range, likely to eventually be greater than even HMS Swallow with Power Cannons and extra actions, a combo seen in the English fleet of CG1 fame.  The CL will not be operating without support….

Her speed may be aided by the Python, who carries First Mate Hamlet, a custom from the_grandmaster/PointlessArrow and his epic Back to War custom set: If a sea monster or ship begins its turn within L of this ship, it gets +L to its base move.  Adding to the insanity is the classic Cursed support ship Celestine and her linked crew Master Scribe.  Between them The Cursed may be able to place 2 trade currents per turn with some luck.  In addition, Barst is now in play, a Lord Mycron clone created by Xerecs and placed onto my custom Tomb of Lucifer turtle ship.  Between the bonuses and a guaranteed extra action (whether from Barst or eventually Sac), the Chimeratron Legacy should be able to move up to S+S+L+S+L x2 +S in one turn.  O_O  Python + CL will be moving at “WARP MACH SPEED”.  Another theme plays…

You would think that The Cursed would want to keep such a powerful thing a secret.  However, with such a massive price tag and ludicrous crew+equipment loadout, I decided to just put it all out there, at least with this setup.  The ship alone is a massively intimidating presence on the water.  The Cursed are basically letting everyone know that they mean serious business and are not to be trifled with.  Mess with them, and you may just see the Legacy on your doorstep moments later.  This is why the Devil’s Storm felt so confident going after the Americans.  If she gets attacked, there is at least a chance that the CL will be able to reach the combat area next turn.  Besides, if the Cursed lose the longship, it’s not a big deal because they are almost literally swimming in gold.  XD

The Cursed saw the potential of the Arcane last turn with the Pirates’ exploits, which is why they rushed to hire Davy Jones.  They made sure they could copy the ability as soon as possible and yank in the Trove for a massive windfall that would allow them to simultaneously beat off a possible American attack in the future, and also begin to finally put their MANY plans into place via launching and logistical efforts.  For the CL was just the beginning!

I listened to Soundtrack For a Supervillain for most of the rest of the Cursed launch period.  The Cursed launched the Solenostomus as well, one of my newest customs and based on nature.  Uh… she is carrying a fort upgrade…. ?!

The Cursed have launched one of my favorite and oldest customs: the movie version of the Flying Dutchman!

Flying Dutchman
Type: Ship
Faction Affiliation: Cursed
Rarity: LE
Point Value: 30
Number of Masts: 5
Cargo Space: 3
Base Move: S+S
Cannons: 2L-2S-2S-2S-2L
Ability: Broadsides Attack. Fear. At the beginning of each of your turns, determine whether or not this ship is submerged. If she is submerged, her base move becomes S+L, and she may be given only move actions. She has to surface to shoot, repair, dock, and explore. While she is submerged, she cannot shot or be shot at, pin or be pinned, ram or be rammed, and tow or be towed. Once per turn, roll a d6. On a 6, you may place a unique treasure (that can be loaded) from outside the game on an enemy ship. Bow Chasers equipment does not take up cargo space on this ship.
Link: Davy Jones

The FD carries some crew, including customs Wendigo (Fear+Canceller; from Cadet-Captain Mike) and Guardian Corps (Crew Protect; from El_Cazador).

However, Davy Jones was not boarding the Dutchman… he was boarding… the Pantheon!!

Pantheon
Type: Ship
Faction Affiliation: Cursed
Rarity: LE
Point Value: 40
Number of Masts: 10
Cargo Space: 8
Base Move: S
Cannons: 4S-4S-4L-4L-4L-3S-3S-2L-3S-3S
Ability: Junk. This ship ignores the first hit she takes each turn as long as she has all of her masts. This ship gets +1 to her cannon rolls against forts within S of her. When this ship reaches her cargo limit, she gets +1 to her cannon rolls. If this ship’s point limit is reached by her assigned cargo, she gets +1 to her boarding rolls. If this ship is assigned at least 3 Cursed crew that cost at least 10 points each, she gets +1 to her d6 rolls.

Flavor text: There have been so many powerful Cursed officers joining the ranks that Xenthalos doesn’t always have a ship to assign them to. The Pantheon was raised from the depths of an ancient underwater Cursed city to house all manner of powerful creatures. The ship excels when crewed with great leaders, with near-certain doom befalling her enemies when fully optimized. The ship’s original constructors took the fore and after “castles” to new heights, with top-heavy stonework at the bow and stern of the ship slowing her down but making her a monster in close-quarters combat.

The Pantheon loaded up on some crew, and it was already over!  Having spent an ungodly amount of gold on just a few ships and various extremely expensive crew, The Cursed were out of gold!  They had spent all 427 of it on just 7 ships and the fort upgrade!  O_O  (even minus the fort upgrade cost of 40 gold, this comes out to a sickening 55 points per ship; 387/7)

The haul with new ships clockwise from right: Chimeratron Legacy, Solenostomus, Flying Dutchman, Celestine, Pantheon, Tomb of Lucifer, Python.

 

Now it was time for the Vikings.  They too saw the Arcane stuff get crazy last turn.  And guess what: they too have a copier!!  O_O  Jord from Pirates of the Kraken Sea!  (created by mr_awesome/JuliusPepperwood)

Jord and Shayna Deux were hired last turn and are currently aboard the Asgard, Shayna’s ship.  Although the Vikings didn’t get as lucky as the Pirates or Cursed, they look forward to using the Copier ability again next turn.  The Pirate GSP/NSA did not see Jord, as she was just put in play and the Pirates weren’t looking at Viking crew this round.  (The Cursed have Shipping Charts but have been using it to spy on the Americans)  As a result, this is an unexpected twist that may anger both the Pirates and The Cursed.  The Vikings did bring in 12 gold on their turn, combining it with 6 saved to launch the Noble Glacier, a custom icebreaker of mine from Epic Seas.

The Barbary Corsairs got home some valuable textiles and used it to launch 2 custom ships – one of mine and one from the_grandmaster’s Back to War.  I purposely made this a wide shot to show the dire situation the Corsairs made find themselves in… two Pirate 5 masters are just off their west coast, with the megalaunch from the military port not far off in the distance.  At the lower right you can see the English have made some solid launching progress lately.

As my 4 faction turns came to a close, The Cursed had not quite yet had their fill.  They made a grand announcement to ALL players and factions in the game, a “general announcement” of sorts:

(please do not be offended, this is a game and The Cursed being The Cursed)

 

THE CURSED ARE THREATENING TO BRING THE CORONAVIRUS INTO THE GAME.

O_O

(This is meant to shock but not offend. I am not trying to make light of the actual virus and how devastating it has been. It is an analogy given what’s happening in real life and how the Cursed are the supreme evil in Pirates CSG. Not meant to offend anyone.)

Obviously this doesn’t make much sense as the game is theoretically taking place in the Age of Sail long before the recent discovery of the virus (maybe The Cursed can see into the future?), but there it is.

The Cursed have made a global biological terror threat.  O_O  This is a bad day.  And we thought 2020 couldn’t get worse!  :/    It remains to be seen if this general threat is directed at the Americans, who are (as far as “we” know?) the only faction to have specifically annoyed The Cursed thus far in the game.  It will certainly be interesting to see if The Cursed are serious about this, or if it is more of a bluff.  Serious thought went into the massive, offensive threat.  The Cursed considered not making it, but are determined to make other factions “play ball” their way and not do stupid things.  If The Cursed are angry enough, they might release biological or chemical agents of terror into the game.

(sorry if I have “gone too far”; my passion for Pirates campaign games is intense and I have been very immersed in my turns for the game this year – it is the perfect escape from everything else)

 

From my notes:

After Cursed launch 7 ships, it makes for 205 total ships in play.
Increased to 207 total after Vikings and Corsairs launch one ship each.
-From Pirate launch of 25 ships, this netted the Cursed an extra 50 gold!
Total gold spent this turn between my four factions: 1,236!!!! (Pirates: 750, Cursed: 427, Vikings: 18, Corsairs: 41)
-Total income: 1223 gold
34 ships launched (Pirates: 25, Cursed: 7, Vikings: 1, Corsairs: 1). This rounds up to a 20% increase in one round (34/173=19.65%).
-Will have to do a point count this year to top CG1 as the biggest overall virtual CG ever!

The 1,236 total gold spent in one round may be my highest total ever; realistically only Command the Oceans could be higher.

 

Throughout the turn I was stunned and in disbelief. All previous standards have been completely shattered. If the game was an egg that the Pirates had been poking holes in with a fork, as of this weekend they have obliterated the egg with a massive sledgehammer.

It’s almost like the game has been broken into a thousand pieces, or; a thousand gold pieces that have gloriously fallen into Pirate and Cursed coffers.

The Pirates are trying to create “closed loop systems” of ultimate efficiency. That way, the beast feeds itself. Each combo feeds into the next so that abilities and UT’s aren’t wasted. Every time Hidden Trove is brought into the game and used to launch ships, it makes the next Hidden Trove windfall payout even bigger.  You can already see this happening – the Pirates’ Hidden Trove was worth 346 gold, but now with 207 ships in play, the next Trove will be worth at least 414 gold – an increase of 68 gold, enough to launch a fully loaded 10 master.  Or better yet, perhaps 7 ships that make the next Trove worth 14 more gold than the last.  XD  The beast feeds itself!!

I am topping even my prior VASSAL campaign game efforts now. I am arguably putting more effort into the game than I need to, simply because I LOVE it so much. I love optimizing fleets, strategy and epicness in campaign games above almost all else.
Compounding Combos. I love how none of this is my fault. The game pieces involved are basically not mine at all. Arcane, Hidden Trove, The Leviathan, Ivory – none of the absolutely key customs used to pull off this insanity came from me. XD

From the report prior to this one:

In time, it could become surreal and bizarre unlike anything anyone has ever seen in Pirates CSG.

Yes, yes indeed.  XD  😀   And this “part” is still in the very early stages…

 

Finally, a view of the huge ocean.  1,236 additional points worth of stuff is in play, though a huge percentage of that is concentrated in the deckplate areas.  Four new 10 masters in play!

Thanks for reading!  Please consider leaving a comment below with your thoughts!  What did you think of my turns?  What was the craziest part?  Who are you rooting for?  What do you think will happen next??  😀

CG4 after turns in late July 2020

The Pirates Attack as the Buildup Continues! (July 3rd in CG4)

I was extremely excited to play my turn, as usual.  Xerecs’ report on recent events reinforced my last report that showed a relatively tranquil ocean.  Here you can see the Spanish with 10 canoes and a couple treasure galleons in the center of the map at the Archipelago:

THE PEACE WILL NOT CONTINUE!!!!

The Pirates have designs on the Archipelago!  They have been planning and plotting to an EXTREME degree in recent months, to the point where I’ve often spent more time strategizing Pirate faction stuff than I do actually playing all 4 of my factions put together.  O_O   I’m talking many hours of planning and custom game piece and combo research before, during, and after each Pirate play turn.  It has gotten completely bonkers!  Each turn you see the fruits of my efforts to optimize the Pirates and my other fleets.  The Pirates have so much happening behind the scenes that it boggles my mind and just about literally made me dizzy today from the possibilities of what could happen and what is to come.  In time, it could become surreal and bizarre unlike anything anyone has ever seen in Pirates CSG.  😀

Alright, enough rambling, what actually happened?  The Smoke’s Hand is a 40 point custom 5 master that can copy any keyword each turn (whether it’s in play or not).  She has a boatload of stuff aboard as well.  She was launched last turn along with the Arcane, a custom from JW Darkhurst’s Seas of Doom set.  Check out her ability: “Once per turn, you may give this ship a move action, but do not move her. Instead, roll a d6. On a result of 6, you may place a Unique Treasure on any ship in your fleet.”  O_O

This is where it starts to get complicated, and where the turn started to get just as time consuming as I thought it would.  The Arcane rolled for her ability, getting a 5.  However, this was bumped to a 6 with Hakann’s Piraka keyword, which gives the ship +1 to all d6 rolls.  Therefore, I didn’t have to use Runes of Thor on the Noble Swan to get the Arcane’s ability to work!  After looking over a LOT of custom and Wizkids UT’s, I decided to take what I saw as a big risk and go with Nuva, from Xerecs’ Pirates of Spherus Magna.  “Any crew ability on this ship may be used by another crew within S of this ship.”  My intention was to get Vesok copied to another crew that could then use the Arcane’s ability again.

Time to back up.  Vesok is another custom crew, with 3 keywords: Piraka. Limit. Copycat.
Piraka: This piece has the Black Mark keyword, and gets +1 to all die rolls.
Copycat: At the beginning of each of your turns, choose any ability possessed by any ship or crew in play; this character has that ability. You may make a different choice each turn.

Vesok is on the Smoke’s Hand to allow for maximum flexibility and power in one ship.  The SH (Smoke’s Hand) has a true copier aboard, and the ship itself can copy any keyword.  Almost as good as having two copiers on one ship.  O_O  It gets weirder.  🙂

The Agnis Crystalis, with only 1 mast standing from the carnage of the Corsair battle but with plenty of crew left, was the perfect ship to start using Nuva with.  The Nuva UT is on the SH.  The Agnis Crystalis used her oarsman to essentially copy Vesok using the Nuva UT.  This meant that the AC basically had a full copier for this turn as well.  Now that the AC’s oarsman could copy any ship/crew ability in play, naturally the Pirates chose to copy the Arcane’s ability and use it again.  I didn’t get the roll… but it didn’t matter, since I just forced it to a 6 with the Noble Swan’s Runes of Thor UT, which of course stays in play via Nemo’s Plans.  Guess what the Pirates brought in with this second usage of the Arcane’s ability?  Another Runes of Thor UT.  O_O   XD  This RoT was placed on the Pandora, a ship in the vicinity chosen at random because I knew I’d be using it right away this turn.

Okay – now that those logistics are out of the way (for now), it was time to actually get to the Archipelago.  How would the Pirates do that, with no ships even close to the center of the map at the start of their turn?  Well, combos and UT’s of course.  😀   Vesok copied the ability of another Spherus Magna custom that the Pirates launched recently: the Phantom (not the infamous Cursed 4 master from Xerecs’ games, a different ship).  The ability: Once per turn before you give this ship an action, roll a d6. On a 6 this ships base move becomes D for this turn.

O_O  And there you have it!  With this ability now used by Vesok, the Pirates were in business.  The new Runes of Thor was used to change the d6 roll to a 6, allowing the Smoke’s Hand to have D movement for this turn, meaning she could teleport anywhere on the sea at will!!!!!  O_O   The Pirates chose the Archipelago as the location for their attack!!  The Smoke’s Hand warped out to the middle of the map, revealing John James, a historical custom with the Captain and Canceller abilities.  This meant that not only could the Smoke’s Hand teleport, but she could shoot right afterwards!  The SH started blasting away at the Spanish native canoes from Return to Savage Shores, getting +1 to her cannon rolls due to Vesok’s Piraka keyword.  She hit 4/5 to knock out most of the set.  Then it was time for the impressive Pirate logistics to help out.  The Jolly Mon sacrificed her (useless) action via Elizabeth’s Piece of Eight, allowing the SH to move and shoot again.  The SH warped slightly southeast to dock at a textiles island the Spanish have explored, eliminating the final RtSS canoe and 2 from the SS set in the process.  The Smoke’s Hand has enough gold to build a Pirate fort on the island and to upgrade it afterwards, but due to the ruleset we’re using in CG4, things like that can only happen one turn at a time.  The SH copied the Explorer keyword this turn to explore the island, but she has to wait until next turn to actually deposit the gold and build the fort.  Then on the turn after that, the fort can be upgraded.

This was just the start of the Pirate attack.  Next it was time for the Tempest!!!  One of her abilities is one of my favorites: Once per turn you may roll a d6. On a 6, you may place a whirlpool anywhere on the play area.

The roll didn’t work at first, but Amos Carter (a custom crew with Reroll) bailed out the Pirates and rerolled to get a 6!  O_O  The Pirates put a whirlpool southeast of their textiles island in the northeastern part of the sea, near the fogpool that the Stormcloud popped out of when she attacked the Corsairs.  Speaking of the Stormcloud, she was the first ship that would go through the newly created whirlpool….

The Pirates only got one of their 5 AA rolls this turn, but it was one they needed.  The Stormcloud used her first action to go through the whirlpool and emerge in the center of the map by the Archipelago!  With Robert Alcantara and Lady Baptiste failing to give the ship an Extra Action (EA), the AA was used to guarantee a second action coming through the whirlpool.  The Stormcloud surged eastwards, blasting away at the Morning Star!  She only hit 4/9 times, destroying 2 masts on the MS.

Of course the Pirates weren’t done.  🙂  The Black Pearl was next, getting an EA from Sao Feng to come through the whirlpool and hit the Morning Star 3/4 times, taking out another 1.5 masts.

In order to block the Spanish ships, provide backup, and get in position for next turn, the Pirates sent additional ships to the area despite knowing they wouldn’t be able to shoot yet.  The Deliverance sailed in from the northwest, using the whirlpool she had previously used near the Cursed HI to teleport to the center.  The Sapphire Sea (one of my custom ships) arrived via the Tempest’s whirlpool.  The Shadow’s Hand (a custom 5 master by Xerecs with the Fog Hopper ability) arrived via a fog bank, using a little bonus from the Shrunken Heads to narrow the distance between her and the textiles island later in the turn.  The Archipelago has gone from paradise to bloodshed!

Pirates attack the Spanish at the Archipelago in CG4!

Later in the turn I decided why not just put the Natives of Madagascar canoes in the area too?  They were going to head home and flee Spanish waters from the island they had been launched at, but they had nothing to lose by going through the whirlpools surrounding that island they were launched at.  Suddenly all 5 showed up in the Archipelago as well!  XD  Including every canoe (which skews the numbers of course), the “ship swing” at the Archipelago went from Spanish: 12, Pirates: 0 to Spanish: 5, Pirates 11. O_O  (4-0 to 3-7 counting the canoes as one ship per set)

Pirates swarm the center!

Here is the attack footage!  As it happened!

A report was quickly made to Lord Henry McLean (aka Captain Mission) on the Zeus: “The Spanish have been savagely slaughtered in the center.”  At this point the Stormcloud is still the main Pirate flagship, with Robert Alcantara as the primary “admiral” in tactical command of battle-ready Pirate forces.  As of right now, Lord Henry McLean is more of the administrative, home front leader overseeing growth efforts and less combat-focused tasks.  Mission has more experience and authority than Alcantara, but Alcantara can basically do whatever the hell he wants.

The Pirates have not declared war on the Spanish… there is a LOT going into each decision the Pirates make.  They were getting antsy.  Before the game progresses any more, I think this is a good time to reveal some notes from my document I use for games like this:

Bizarre crew setup on Tempest (needed a shipwright and wanted to fill out points – so a Chieftain/Shipwright custom lol) led to “bored” Pirates trying to bait someone into attacking them – conveniently the Spanish, since the Pirates also wanted another Necklace of the Sky. Pirates itching for some action and wanting an excuse to put their crazy weapons to good use. XD

Basically, the Natives of Madagascar canoes were launched at the Spanish spices island to try and bait the Spanish into attacking the Pirates.  Between that not working (at least not right away, the Pirates were not patient enough to see if it would work longer term lol) and the canoes having rules troubles getting the Necklace of the Sky at a reasonable rate, the Pirates decided to just initiate things.  The Pirates wanted to be able to blame the Spanish for instigating conflict, but the Pirates have been growing more confident as their fleet grows.  Plus, the Pirates captured the Santa Isabel way earlier in the game and are now using her as a resource runner at last, so the Spanish may have already had some beef with the Pirates.  As their arsenal of weapons grows by the turn, the Pirates were getting excited and anxious to do a “test firing” to see how effective a small version of their plan might be.  The Pirates also have some designs on the Archipelago, which has been somewhat dominated by the Spanish so far.  The Pirates are enjoying their sudden strike capability and want to make it clear they mean business in the center of the map.

In the southern part of Pirate waters, some ships (including the Tempest) are making their way into the fogpool in order to be prepared to come through a whirlpool (likely at the Archipelago) in case they are needed in the next few turns as reinforcements against the Spanish.  As you may have noticed from my previous campaign game performances, I usually like my attacks to have maximum redundancy.  At the bottom, you can see that another 5 master has been launched.  This is another “WMD”.  O_O   The Leviathan.  This one is from vladsimpaler’s Treachery on the High Seas set from 2008.

The Leviathan, 23 points, Pirate (Link: The Mastermind) [Rare]
Masts: 5
Cargo: 1
Speed: D
Cannons: 4L-4L-3L-4L-4L
Abilities: This ship ignores the first hit it takes each turn as long as it has all of its masts.
The Leviathan is the new flagship of the Mastermind. Reports of the ship landing in one port and docking at one thousands of miles away are fairly common. Nobody knows how it works, except that it sails by unholy means.

Another weapon, this one with unlimited movement!!  O_O  She comes with 2 face down crew, which does work because Edmund Cooke is aboard to give +1 to her cargo hold.

Another broad shot of the northeastern theater shows 3 of my 4 factions gathering resources.  The Cassandra unloaded the military port upgrade at the Pirates’ textiles island, meaning it will be upgraded next turn.  Next turn the Eagle will give the Resurrection Codex to the Zeus (uh oh… XD).  At the very bottom of the frame you can see the whirlpool that the Tempest created, which is where the Stormcloud, Black Pearl, and Sapphire Sea all went through.  The whirlpool was almost created to the northeast where the Flying Dutchman (11 point version) and Harbinger are located, but the Pirates decided they wanted arguably their best asset (the Stormcloud) in the Archipelago to better protect the Smoke’s Hand, especially because of Tia Dalma being on the Stormcloud.  The Vikings actually had one of their best turns in ages, cashing in lumber for 32 gold and adding 8 saved up gold to it for 40 total.  They spent a bunch of it on the Asgard and some crew.  The Vikings are hoping to get in on something wild that might happen soon.

A bit out of order, but here is the northwest.  The Americans have put a bunch of good ships in play, with the Blackwatch, Kettering, Mercury and Lamon making up what looks like a new strike force.  The Cursed are getting excited and cashed in resources to hire a crew.  They are unconcerned and have a flippant attitude at the moment.  The Wisp has returned home early with no cargo, a strange occurrence.

A full view of the ocean reminds me of how gigantic it is.  The substantial new action in the center is barely visible!  XD   Who knows what happens next?  I may have some ideas….

CG4 full ocean picture July 3rd 2020

Thanks for reading!  And definitely, stay tuned.  😀

Pirates Launch More Epic Customs and The Cursed Attack!!

CG4 continues to develop!  Here is the music mix I listened to for most of the Pirate turn.  Crazy enough, their post-turn period of launching and truly grand strategizing took even longer than their actual turn!!  O_O

I have to apologize for a rules gaffe on my part, and thank Xerecs for pointing it out to me.  During my last turn, the Stormcloud used the fog hopping ability inappropriately.  However, since it had effectively no impact on the game (the exact same result would have happened if the rule was followed perfectly), we have continued as usual.

New rule: No more than 2 of the same custom fort can be in play at once.

In a move that could potentially have ramifications for the rest of the game, the Pirates captured the Noble Swan!  The Warring Tribes began towing her and got Jack Hawkins’ SAT, moving 4S to start skedaddling back to the Pirates’ home island.  The Zephyr was initially the “designated tower”, but the Warring Tribes should be able to get the job done faster due to her SAT capabilities.  Just behind the Noble Swan you can see the Branwen covering the stern of the prize, just in case the Bonne Chance or Jades try anything in the near future.  In addition, the Devil’s Kiss and Lady’s Scorn are sailing out to help escort the small convoy home.

At the bottom of the frame, the Hai Peng has docked at the island the Sea Crane made land on this round!  She explored, finding textiles.  Although textiles are valuable right now at 5 gold apiece, the Pirates weren’t satisfied since they already have textiles so readily available just south of their HI.  In a rare moment for me, they took advantage of the Explorer ability’s bonus under the Economy Edition rules, rerolling for the island’s resource type and getting lumber instead!  This was fine with the Pirates, since it gave them a different resource type relatively close to their home island.  At this point, it has become clear that the Pirates aren’t too worried about what the Jades think of what they’re doing.  As the captain of the Virtuous Wind surely knows, the Pirates have now given the Jades the Plague (via the Dungeon a while back), captured the Noble Swan, and explored an island with the Hai Peng right out from under the Sea Crane.

Pirates capture the Noble Swan!

The lull in metals production has ended, with 5 ships docking home metals this turn.  They were converted to gold at the end of the turn, which gives an idea of the Pirates’ spending power….   Left of the resource system you can see that the Deliverance has taken the whirlpool inside the fogpool to a different location.

Post-battle cleanup efforts in full swing!  The Pirates finished their victory over the Barbary Corsairs by dismasting the final two galleys, the Osiris and Sphinx.  Due to the Giza’s effort to steal the Resurrection Codex last turn, the Red Star sank after being scuttled by the Pirates last turn.  However, the rest of the Pirate plan went perfectly – all three remaining Corsair galleys were captured!  The Splinter knocked out the last mast on the Osiris, while the Stormcloud dismasted the Sphinx.  The Stormcloud then used an EA to sail over so Tia Dalma could cancel the oarsman aboard the Osiris, allowing the Black Pearl to capture her.  Due to Raidamos’ Eternal ability, the Pirates immediately scuttled the Osiris to try and get her home to repair as quickly as possible.  The Giza and Sphinx were able to start rowing on their own power immediately after capture due to the handy Galley keyword.  A team-oriented logistics effort allowed the burning Darkhawk II to sail straight for home, rolling a 3 on the fire mast to keep it at bay for now.  Though, the Pirates could have put it out if they wanted to….   hehe.  🙂

After the light combat and medium-complexity towing logistics and logjam was over, the Pirates decided to risk trying to retake their textiles town right away!  The safest thing would be to wait for the Stormcloud or Zeus to arrive, but Bartholomew Roberts and Genny Gallows (both aboard the Akua Lapu!) agreed that an attack on the town was worth the risk.  However, they were embarrassed in their effort, losing the boarding attempt and the ship’s mizzenmast as a result.  Adding to their frustration was the Star of Siam, who was able to retake the town on her attempt despite no big-name pirates on board.  XD  The textiles island belongs to the Pirates once again!  The Coral and Raven immediately joined the Star of Siam in loading textiles, with some of the Pirate resource runners not even having their routine trips bothered by the brief but intense clash with the Corsairs.  The Cassandra can be seen east of the Zeus, trying to get the new military port upgrade to the island as fast as possible.  North at the home island, the Pandora was given an AA to reach home with 6 textiles tokens, the 30 gold from which would be used directly on the last Pirate purchase of the turn….

Off on her own, the Dungeon explored a wild island southwest of the Archipelago and found the Wine UT along with spices (resource not UT).

Then it was launch time!!  The Pirates had 138 gold to spend, and it worked out perfectly as they spent it all!  The first big chunk went to what looks like another WMD: the Tempest!!

Tempest
Point Value: 35
Number of Masts: 5
Cargo Space: 4
Base Move: S+S
Cannons: 3S-3L-3L-3L-3S
Ability: Once per turn you may roll a d6. On a 6, you may place a whirlpool anywhere on the play area. | This ship can move through whirlpools without losing crew, masts, or treasure. | Give this ship a shoot action. A wave S wide and 2L long leaves the ship in one direction. Up to 2 masts of every ship in the path of the wave are eliminated. Eliminate one of this ship’s masts.

Flavor text: A mysterious and rarely sighted ship said to rival the power of the Flying Dutchman, the Tempest creates waterborne chaos wherever she sails. It is rumored she can travel under the waves without any harm to her or her crew. Those who don’t believe the legends are those who have yet to encounter the ship….

With a whopping 35 points to play with and plenty of gold to spend, the Tempest comes outfitted with a FULL crew complement: Hammersmith (Captain+Helmsman), Cannonball Gallows (EA), and 4 customs. Amos Carter for rerolling the EA, Henry Turner (from Dead Men Tell No Tales) to add a cargo space, a face down custom, and Aert van Tuyl. (Chieftain. Shipwright. This ship gets +1 to her cannon rolls against Pirate ships.) The new canoes were curiously launched at a wild island near the Spanish HI that Spanish cargo ships have been making trips to. The Natives of Madagascar canoes have the Possession ability built into each canoe, but only L speed. Aert van Tuyl is one of my weirder custom crew (arguably not actually, lol), and serves a dual purpose on the Tempest that doesn’t need to be revealed here. Let’s just say this was a turn in which the Pirates spent a LOT of time strategizing and thinking about long term plans… and more.  😀

Then the attention shifted to the northern half of the Pirate HI, where two new customs came into play, also with considerable crew complements.  The Shadows Hand (custom by Xerecs) is a fog hopping 5 master with good cannons.  Across the island from her is the Phantom, another custom from Xerecs’ Pirates of Spherus Magna set.  She’s a 2 master with S speed for a whopping 15 points, but her wild ability set makes it understandable: essentially she’s got +2 to boarding rolls, 2 hits/mast defense, and gets D movement for turns when she rolls a 6.  O_O  Safe to say this isn’t the historically-driven Caribbean game!!   XD

That was the end of the Pirate turn, but not the end of their thinking… and amusing ideas.  😉

During this turn, the Pirates accomplished their main short-term goals: capture the Noble Swan and clean up from the Corsair battle (which meant finishing the victory, rounding up the rather epic prizes, and ensuring no Pirate ships were left behind).  They then launched the Tempest, arguably another WMD given her EA capabilities and a full complement of crew onboard.  The Pirates are hard at work on a project codenamed “GMS”….

In addition, the Pirates have a “mass surveillance” program that is helping them make decisions.  They now have a variety of “spies” in play – 5 total.  Many of them have been in the game for a number of turns now.  (listed with per-turn abilities) Between Carina Smyth (can look at all treasures on a wild island), Shansa (can look at two face down crew or treasure coins on any ships or islands), Raven’s Neck (one cargo on an island), Cassandra and Lucky the Parrot (can look at one cargo on a ship), the Pirates have the ability to see as many as approximately 9 cargo per turn across the map.  This network of spies has resulted in the Pirates having their eyes and surveillance activities in nearly every corner of the sea… just one of many things they have going for them right now.  It’s why they were able to single out and snag the Noble Swan so efficiently when they had a chance to do so.  It could also result in more short-term interests being investigated….

As you probably saw in the recent reports, the Americans had been amassing what looked like an attack force off the northeast side of the Cursed home island.  With 3 schooners and the Enterprise stationed there, the Cursed were curious as to American intentions.  Over a week ago the Cursed reached out to the Americans:

From: Captain of Grand Misfortune
To: American force off Cursed home island

… what is your purpose here? Do ya intend to attack… ?
IF so… ya may regret its….

The Cursed

However, by the time the Cursed turn was up this morning of May 9th, no response had been received.  Soon after the game started, the Cursed had become interested in a potential alliance with the Americans to share resource islands and information on which islands were the best to go to.  Between the Americans’ thinly veiled threat of “the newly assembled strike force is looking for a target…” last September and now the proximity of said strike force to the Cursed home island, the Cursed have a feeling they cannot trust the Americans.  They have been using what little purchasing power they have to put some defenses in place, mainly based around small raiders and UT combos.  With most of the American ships of the strike force in range of the Cursed, the Cursed decided…

IT WAS TIME TO ATTACK!!!!!

Check out the video to see the crazy stuff that went down!!!

The Repulsive Waste got things started, coming out of the fog and ramming the Enterprise head-on!  It may look like a severe mismatch, but the RW was just on a suicide mission to give the Enterprise the Plague!!  This killed all 3 of the Enterprise’s crew, leaving her much worse off in the short term for potential combat operations against the Cursed.

Then it was time for the next UT-based raider.  The Devil’s Sneer had been launched for one purpose only: carry Explosives.  She had the UT face down and was waiting inside the fog bank for the perfect time to strike.  The Cursed flagship is the Grand Misfortune, but none of her cannons (all L-range) can hit the Jarvis (who has L-immunity).  Therefore, the Jarvis was the perfect ship to simply eliminate from the battlefield so the Cursed didn’t have to deal with her!  The Devil’s Sneer got a lucky fog exit roll and slammed into the Jarvis!  She rolled a 2, but Explosives needs a 4-6 to work!  However, there was more to the story!!!!  Suddenly out of nowhere the die roll became a 6!!!!!  O_O    RUNES OF THOR!!!!!!  THE NOBLE SWAN HAS RUNES OF THOR!  The Pirates flipped the UT to detonate the Devil’s Sneer and the Jarvis!!  O_O  With a spectacular explosion both ships blew up.  Of course, the Pirates knew what they were doing – the Noble swan ALSO has Nemo’s Plans!  This means that UT’s like Runes of Thor that are normally eliminated after use remain aboard and can be used again!!  😀  The Pirates had anticipated using RoT on their turn to save the DHII from fire or to scuttle the Osiris, but didn’t really need it for anything.  Instead it was saved for a moment like this to cause maximum chaos.

From there it was time for the proper gunships to get in play.  The Devil’s Storm hopped out of the fog bank and maneuvered off the Boston’s stern (unable to get any guns in range of the Enterprise).  She shot 2/4 to eliminate a mast.  Then it was time for the Grand Misfortune!

The GM is absolutely loaded with UT’s, although she would use 2 from her arsenal here. (she started the turn with 7 UT’s aboard!)  The GM is only moving S+S, so she needed a little help to get in range of the American schooners.  Luckily for the Cursed, they found a LOT of help in the UT department from exploring earlier in the game.  Power Cannons AND Fireworks!  O_O  This gave the GM L+L range on all 6 of her cannons, along with +2 to her cannon rolls!  I couldn’t resist this unique and cool shot of the GM lining up her shots to devastate the Julius Caesar.

Cursed attack the Americans in CG4!!

The captain gave the order, and the Grand Misfortune blasted away!  She shot 5/6 to nearly dismast the Julius Caesar!  She really needed the Fireworks too, since 3 of the hits would have missed if not for the bonus.  Although the (probable) American counterattack on the Cursed could be effective, the Grand Misfortune has Metal Hull aboard, meaning she can’t be hit by cannon rolls less than 6!  She also has Eternal and an oarsman, so she has been equipped as a defensive powerhouse with short-term (aka: this turn) offensive theatrics.

Total damage assessment: 2 ships sunk (1 American, 1 Cursed), 3 masts eliminated, 4 crew killed in action (captain of the Jarvis + all 3 crew from the Enterprise).

Here’s a good view of the northwest area where the Cursed and Americans live.  Both factions have valuable resources right now, and the Americans look like they have quite a stockpile of metals available.  At the bottom you can see where the Deliverance emerged.  Her crew are observing the Cursed and hearing the sounds of the clash beyond the fog.

The northeast is still the busiest “quadrant” of the sea, as it is home to many of the game’s most prominent factions thus far.  The Vikings and Barbary Corsairs simply spent their turn gathering resources.

Now the possibilities with Runes of Thor become evident for the Pirates: even just using it on one of their AA crew basically gives them a guaranteed extra action anywhere in their fleet, every turn (without having to actually roll the 6).

Stay tuned, for more exciting developments await!  😀   Thanks for reading!

Another EPIC Campaign Game Attack!! (April 7th 2020 in CG4)

Wow!!  What a fun day of play for me in VASSAL Campaign Game 4!  After PirateAJ14 and Xerecs completed their latest turns, my four factions were up.

As always the Pirates led things off for me, with a bunch of their new ships scattering west of their home island.  The canoes are headed home, while the Zeus is in the process of “round earthing” to the northern half of the map.

Speaking of the northern half of their home island… the Selkie gets in action!  She was finally able to land a sniping hit on one of the Corsair galleys, lighting the Sphinx aflame with exploding shot!  This put a small dent in the Corsairs’ plans and killed a Corsair oarsman.

The Pirate strategy was one of deterrence.  The Selkie was out front taking potshots at the Barbaries, but she was soon joined by numerous fleetmates.  The Agnis Crystalis (5 master at bottom center) and Splinter have been following the Selkie southwards.  To augment that 3-ship line, the Pirates began to bring their hybrids to bear.  The Darkhawk II and Akua Lapu headed southeast to up the Pirate numbers, while the Widowmaker flotilla and Rover (latter designated as a tugboat, mostly for derelict rescue) helped to plug the gap between the Agnis Crystalis and the much slower Splinter.  The captain of the Agnis Crystalis shouted a warning to the captain of the Sphinx… “we are prepared to use our WMD!”  The Corsairs weren’t entirely sure of what that meant….

The Eagle stayed on the west side of the textiles island, both because she couldn’t maneuver towards the Corsairs very effectively this turn and to protect the other side of the island from potential Viking attack in the near future.  At the top of the picture you can see 2 of the 3 new Pirate ships – they took in textiles and metals this turn and spent all 79 gold it amounted to.  The Black Pearl and Harbinger are decked out with action generators, while the Sapphire Sea (one of my custom schooners) was launched from the southern half of the HI but plans to join the others and head south.

However, the northeast wasn’t the only area with tension.  Multiple American ships are bearing down on the Cursed home island – 3 of their classic schooners, with a couple 5 masters coming behind out of frame.  The Cursed have loaded up the Grand Misfortune with a bevy of UT’s.  Three small Cursed ships are clustered in a fog bank as most of the other Cursed ships head southeast to get textiles (quite the popular resource these days).  The Wisp is off in the southeast having serious difficulty getting through the ring of fog that surrounds an island in the Turbulence area.

The Vikings had a little awkward moving to do but have a bunch of ships headed home with lumber, currently worth 4 gold apiece.  Then it was time for the Barbary Corsairs….

The Corsairs had been waiting many MONTHS for this moment.  A moment in time where they could finally get back at the Pirates.  The Pirates claimed the textiles island for themselves, and now had a town on it to prevent the other factions from loading any resources from it (both the Corsairs and Vikings had explored the island previously).  With careful planning, optimal UT placement, and some powerful custom warships, the Corsairs were finally both ready and able to make a calculated strike!

However, at this point in time, it could be argued that an attack on the Pirates looked like a bad idea.  The Pirates had not only launched the custom Stormcloud 10 master in recent turns, but also the Zeus last turn.  They had many more ships in their fleet than the Corsairs, including more gunships and various hybrids being used to escort resource carriers to and from the textiles island.  However, the Corsairs wanted to make a move NOW, and since the Pirates have super-valuable metals readily available, they would likely only get stronger and stronger as time went on.  The Corsairs were afraid that the Pirates would beef up their defenses even more in the coming turns, and decided it was essentially “now or never”.

From a few pictures above, you can see the quartet of custom 4 masted galleys the Corsairs had sailing west: Osiris (the flagship), Red Star, Sphinx, and Giza.  The Corsair turn started with great luck, getting an AA from Kheir-ed-din aboard the Crescent Moon and the Osiris getting an SAT from Danvian Arrestelos.  With that, it was decided.  The Corsairs would carry out their sudden attack as planned!

The Sphinx got things started!!  Sailing up to the Selkie, she connected on 2 of her 3 shots to set the Pirate sniper aflame with a newly revealed fire shot!  Paying no heed to the flames on their own deck, the Corsairs showed they meant business and would use their war galleys as needed!

THEN IT WAS TIME.  For the ultimate attack!!  The Red Star moved S+L+S into position, carefully maneuvering to get close to enemy Pirate vessels while maintaining a strong line of sight on many of them… she was then given an AA to shoot!

NEPTUNE’S TRIDENT!!!!!

NEPTUNE'S TRIDENT!!!!!

O_O

In a HUGE move, the Corsairs knock out 14 Pirate masts, with SEVEN ships in the path of the tidal wave!  From west to east, the Eagle, Hades’ Flame, Akua Lapu, Dragon, Darkhawk II, Agnis Crystalis, and Selkie all lost 2 masts.  (Woelf’s recent answer to a different question confirms that the wave blast should eliminate masts as normal despite the 2 hits per mast house rule we’re using in this game)  The Red Star lost all of her masts, but the Corsairs have a brilliant plan to scuttle her – with the Resurrection Codex!  XD  Their luck continued, with the ship rolling a 5 on the successful scuttle attempt.  As long as the Red Star isn’t towed before the Corsairs’ next turn, she’ll get a “super-Eternal” effect and show up fully repaired at the BC home island!  This had been the Corsairs’ plan for the Red Star all along – essentially sacrifice the ship at the opportune moment to cause maximum damage with the Trident, then scuttle the ship and get her back to the battle as a “normal” ship as fast as possible via the Codex.  😀

The Corsairs weren’t done yet!!  The Osiris used her SAT to move 6S and broadside the Agnis Crystalis, hitting 3/4 to take out a mast (and a half).  Then it was the Giza’s turn.  Continuing the amazing Corsair luck throughout the turn, she got her built-in EA and was able to move S+L+S x2 to dock at the Pirate textiles town!  Shooting next, she revealed yet another Corsair UT – Fireworks!  However, it didn’t help, as the Giza only shot 1/3 with improved cannons to partially damage the Darkhawk II.

The Giza still had an important final role to play – attempting to capture the town!  She rolled a 6 and the textiles island has changed hands from Pirate to Corsair!!  This was the Corsairs’ main goal all along – claim the important island as their own!!  To put the final icing on a delicious cake filled with great combos and tactical prowess, a new custom crew appeared on the Giza’s deck – Ibrahan Vosely, who prevents the ship from being shot at while docked!  Now the Giza can sit at the island and protect it if needed, possibly providing a useful buffer against the likes of the Eagle, who has a captain on the west side of the island.

Another EPIC Campaign Game Attack

Look at the Carnage!!

(the white pennants represent partial damage, or the first of two hits required to eliminate each mast)

You can also witness footage of the entire attack!

For now at least, the overall theater is in favor of the Barbary Corsairs as the first major conflict of the game has erupted in rather dramatic fashion.  The Pirates still have considerable firepower in the area, but perhaps most important is the firepower that will be arriving in the coming turns.  The Pirates have a pair of 10 masters in addition to the four gunships headed south from the east side of their home island, not to mention any launches in the coming turns as valuable metals continue to pour into Pirate coffers.  The battle for the coveted textiles island has just begun, and it looks like like another faction may even get involved – notice the Viking ships Diversion and Muninn sailing southeast….

The Algiers and Crescent Moon have headed west from the Corsair HI for as many as three reasons: provide firepower backup for the main gunships; gather textiles from the island now that they are able to once more; if the Corsairs lose the battle quickly, tow home any potential derelicts they can salvage.

After last turn the Corsairs reached out to the English about sharing in the valuable spoils of this textiles island that the English have been going to.  The English are fine if the Corsairs explore and load the resource, and so they have done so with the Queen of Sheba and Marrakesh.  Additional galleys are on their way, but the Corsairs hope they can make the shorter trip west (instead of south) if they can retain control of the contested textiles island.

A shot of the whole ocean shows the fleets growing at various rates, and the first real hotspot of hostile activity!  (right click and open in a new tab to see full size!)

VASSAL Campaign Game 4 April 7th 2020

PS: The post has “another” in the title due to all the grand campaign game attacks I’ve done in the past (though this is the first “big one” of CG4).

All Time Records – Staggering Stats from Pirates CSG

Pirates CSG Records

This post is dedicated to preserving Pirates CSG game history and bringing all time records into the spotlight.  This post was made in October 2019, so records set after that date may take some time to appear here.  Most of the battle reports for the games mentioned can be found in the Huge Game Legacy Thread, and I also tried to link to them for the first time each game is mentioned.

 

“Biggest” Records

Largest games of all time

1. Command the Oceans: 9,078 total points in play, 509 ships

Sea of Allost, Command the Oceans 2017

Only one of the three oceans used for the game!

2. Century of Economy (CoEC) 2019: 5,651 total points, 291 ships

3. VASSAL Campaign Game 1: 3,516 total points in play (at 198 ships; 208 ships soon afterwards)

VASSAL Campaign Game 1, biggest virtual Pirates game

4. Economy Edition: 2,846 points in play (at 163 ships; 181 ships later on)

Economy Edition 2015 Pirates CSG game

Largest fleets of all time

1. American fleet at the end of VASSAL Campaign Game 3: 2,414 points (127 ships)

Huge American fleet at the end of CG3

2. Pirate fleet in Command the Oceans: 2,347 points (largest physical fleet ever) (131 ships – biggest fleet ever by ship count)

Honorable mentions

From Command the Oceans: Pirates at 105 ships, 1,840 points; French at 101 ships, 1,804 points; Americans at 96 ships, 1,660 points; various others from that game surpassed 1,000 points as well.

Pirate fleet in EE (2015): 104 ships, ~1,800 points

Spanish fleet in CG1: 111 ships, 1,631 points

American fleet in CoEC 2019: 77 ships, 1,591 points

Largest non-campaign games of all time

-Three 500 point games between 5 fleets for a grand total of 2,520 total points in each of the three games. (2011-2012)

Largest virtual game of all time: CG1 at 3,516 total points (later peak had 208 ships in play)

Largest single-turn launchings

CoEC?

628 gold (English battle fleet from CG1)

Largest oceans: 2015 Century of Empires game at ~160 square feet (Xerecs), 2011 cumulative game at ~72 square feet.

Unofficial/Assumed Records

These are more debatable, but many are likely true records.

Longest campaign game by turn count: Command the Oceans? (~112 total rounds)

Longest campaign game by calendar months: CG2 for a finished game (10 months); CG4, The Caribbean Game, and The Hourly Campaign are all technically “ongoing” but have no end (or in many cases, continuation) in sight.

Most ships ever used in a non-campaign game: 165? (second 2500 point game)

Largest deathmatch ever?  Defence of St. Helens scenario game from 2012 (2,520 total points at start)

Most ships ever sunk in a single day’s action: 74 (Command the Oceans, December 9th 2017)

Most ships ever sunk in one turn by a single ship: ~10, Santisima Trinidad of CoEC 2019)

Most cannons ever seen on a ship: 20, Santisima Trinidad of CoEC 2019 (honorable mention: HMS Dreadnought with 16 during CG1)

Most cancellers ever seen in a fleet: 9 from American fleet in CG3

Most players ever seen in a campaign game? (impossible to know for sure): 6 in CG3

Most players ever seen in a virtual/VASSAL campaign game: 6 in CG3

Most 10 masters used in a game by a fleet: 7 for the English in CG2

Most native canoes used in a game by a fleet: 35 (7 Spanish sets of canoes in CG1)

Fastest Battle Report (BR) turnaround: ~1 minute for the PotC anniversary game(I was writing the report at Miniature Trading as we were playing the game, and submitted it right after the game ended)

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.

3 Player VASSAL Game in 2017

Here I used a gimmicky home island raiding strategy with the Spanish to win by a decent margin.

 

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!