Defense of St. Helens deathmatch scenario on VASSAL with Xerecs!

Get VASSAL here: https://pirateswithben.com/vassal/

Get the Defense of St. Helens map I made here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/mk2jmgri9pb079h/Defense%20of%20St.%20Helens.vsav?dl=0

Here is the Defense of St. Helens scenario, created by Gustawicyryl: https://www.deviantart.com/gustawicyryl/art/Map-St-Helens-Island-92117099

Points In Play AND Gold For the Win – July 29th, 2017

Points In Play AND Gold For the Win (new endgame rule)

This was a 3 player game on VASSAL between myself, repkosai, and wifey.

With some inspiration from this epicness, we decided to play by a new rule. The winner of the game would be whoever had the most points in play PLUS gold. Essentially, you’d start with X points and try not to lose any, and get gold along the way to maximize your score.

We kept it simple for the first time trying out the idea, with standard 40 point fleets. Also, since the new rule could potentially make the gold race irrelevant, we contributed high value coins (only worth 4 gold or more). Here was the turn order:

Repkosai’s Corsairs
El Leon + Castro (SAT version), captain, helmsman
Wicked Kareen + captain, helmsman
Queen of Sheba + helmsman

Wifey’s Spaniards
Asesino de la Nave + captain
El Duque + captain, helmsman
La Monarca + explorer

A7XfanBen’s Unconventional Pirates

The Duque and Raven are the first to reach islands:

Points In Play AND Gold For the Win - July 29th, 2017

After some maneuvering, the Leon knocked the flag off the Doombox flotilla before being attacked by the Cutlass and Raven. Barstow nabbed the Spanish captain, but the Raven couldn’t dismast the Spanish ship. To make things more complicated, the Asesino was approaching.

Points In Play AND Gold For the Win - July 29th, 2017

The Unconventional Pirates dismast the Leon and nearly do the same to the Asesino! The Monarca lurks north of the wild island the Pirates looted with the Paradox and Cutlass.

Pirates dismasting and capturing ships

The Pirates clean up with a big turn! The Paradox captured the Leon, while the Raven dismasted the Asesino and the Cutlass did the same to the Monarca. At this point I had realized that my strategy of capturing crew for gold with Barstow wasn’t a very effective strategy with the new endgame rule, so I adapted and tried to capture as many ships as possible to control a lot of points. However, the Spanish were certainly winning the gold race, as the Duque brought home her second haul.

Points In Play AND Gold For the Win - July 29th, 2017

The Pirates capture the Asesino and Monarca, giving them 6 ships to double the size of their fleet!

Pirates area is busy

The Pirates repair two of their new ships and maneuver so the Paradox can tow the Asesino, allowing the Raven to unload her captured captain. The Duque passes by in a convenient route, allowing the Pirates to attack her as well!

Points In Play AND Gold For the Win - July 29th, 2017

The Duque was captured, giving the Pirates 7 ships and their flotilla! The Leon was sent through a whirlpool to steal gold from the Queen of Sheba, which she did with moderate success. Another captured Spanish ship from a different fleet, the Monarca, grabbed a coin from the northeastern island. The Pirates had already begun celebrating – check out the welcoming parade for the Leon and Monarca! With the Spanish eliminated and the QoS docking home her gold for the Corsairs, the game was over with no gold left to collect.

Points In Play AND Gold For the Win - July 29th, 2017

The points and gold of each fleet were tallied up!

1. Pirates: 139 total points (93 in their fleet, so they more than doubled their starting build total)
2. Corsairs: 49
3. Spanish: 36 (all from gold)

The Pirates ruled the seas in this game, using a dual strategy of gold capture crew and later adapting to capture ships normally to maximize the size of their fleet.

I must say, I like this new endgame variation, and not just because I won. It’s rather practical, and adds more realism to the game. Ships were very important, and losing a ship could be as bad or worse than losing a cargo full of resources. It really emphasizes keeping your fleet healthy, and trying to make a decisive engagement with another player so you can take ships and crew (and therefore points) from their fleet and add them to your own. In addition, it makes sinking ships less practical, and incentivizes the winners of battles to keep derelicts afloat and capture them. This is also more realistic, as ships didn’t sink from cannon fire very often in the Age of Sail. Finally, it makes combat more enticing since the gold scores aren’t the end-all be-all like they usually are. This is great because various people expected the game to be more of a combat game and wish there was more battling, and because gold running is usually more boring than the combat. I’d love to hear feedback on this “Points In Play AND Gold for the win” idea!  Please comment below your thoughts on it!

Return of Cadet-Captain Mike’s Random Setup Tables – July 21st, 2017

Just played a game with Repkosai using Cadet-Captain Mike’s random setup tables! Repkosai made the rolls to avoid my bad luck giving us a more boring setup. He rolled a 5-4-6, which gave us: “Free ships totalling 8 masts; One generic crew on each ship, plus two generic crew & one named crew (all free)”.

With that, it was clear that you could afford many of the lesser used small ships with high point costs.

Repkosai went first with an American fleet:
Enterprise + Commodore David Porter, cargo master, helmsman
USS Kettering + captain, helmsman

I went with one of the strangest fleets I’ve ever constructed, and possibly one of the oddest fleets of all time:
Barnacle + helmsman
Loki + helmsman
HMS Swiftsure + captain, stinkpot specialist
Seven Brothers + helmsman
Sea Storm + captain, helmsman
Dharma + Bonny Peel, helmsman
Kalaallit + captain
Le Jongleur + helmsman

Round earth rules. I made sure to include various UT’s, including some wacky and potentially game-changing ones!

The Americans head northwest, while the mixed fleet immediately scatters. My strategy was to raid the American HI with the Loki and Jongleur after the Enterprise docked home. The Sea Storm was a suicidal pest, while the Dharma and Swiftsure were more tactical gunships (especially the Dharma, with Bonny Peel potentially being a nice surprise between the named crew in the opposing fleet and the Longship’s +1 boarding bonus). The KL was a hybrid, but ran gold at the start. The Seven Brothers and Barnacle were the most direct gold runners, and I wanted the Barnacle to find at least one of the UT’s I dumped in…

Return of Cadet-Captain Mike's Random Setup Tables

In an annoying circumstance for both sides, the Enterprise picked up Enemy of the State! Not only could the Americans not unload her gold, but the mixed fleet couldn’t steal it via HI raiding! At the extreme south and east of the sea, the Dharma and Loki look to round earth and surprise the Americans. The Swiftsure and Sea Storm watch the Kettering, almost as eager to stay out of range as they are to pounce.

Return of Cadet-Captain Mike's Random Setup Tables

In the south, the KL finds Ammunition and Driftwood. In the north, the Barnacle finds a UT and some good gold, along with the Dead Man’s Chest UT. The DMC was included since the unique setup rules allowed me various free generic crew. I purposely included only 1’s for regular coins, in order to maximize my personal benefit if the DMC was used properly. With 3 of the islands explored and only one left, the Swiftsure knows what she must do….

With the Enterprise unable to dock, the Americans headed northeast to try and eliminate the Dead Man’s Chest UT from the Barnacle. I made a comment about blowing the game up, but little did the Americans know, I meant it literally! In what looked like a bizarre and suicidal move, the gold-laden Barnacle rammed the huge and powerful Enterprise! The other UT the Barnacle had found was… Explosives! I rolled a lucky 6 and both the Barnacle and Enterprise were blown up!! Luckily the Enterprise had found some Driftwood of her own (separate from that on the KL), which saved Porter, who grabbed onto a log just in time for the explosion to simply throw him to a nearby wild island.

However, this was just the beginning of my nefarious plans, as the Seven Brothers finally explored her island to find another crazy UT: PLAGUE! The Swiftsure had the fastest base move in my fleet, and immediately zoomed up to the SB and grabbed the Plague. This eliminated the Swiftsure’s captain and stinkpot specialist, but the Plague was more valuable in deterring the Kettering from interfering with the endgame, which was approaching quite rapidly. As for my other ships, the KL is headed home with gold, the Jongleur looks to grab some gold from the SB so she’s not trucking it home at just S speed, the Dharma is unable to attempt crew captures from the Kettering due to bad fog rolls, the Sea Storm heads north again to provide bait for the Kettering, and with no gold on the American HI available for stealing, the Loki looks to pick up a coin left over from the KL’s haul.

Return of Cadet-Captain Mike's Random Setup Tables

The Kettering loaded Porter aboard, and the Sea Storm let herself sink so the Swiftsure could ram the Kettering and unload the Plague to kill all the American crew. (the Kettering wouldn’t have caught the KL in time anyway, who was busy unloading gold from the Mercenary ship Jongleur) The Dharma eventually got in on the action against the Kettering, but soon it was evident that the mixed fleet had prevailed. In a very strange setup, the mixed fleet had won 13-0.

This is a great example of what happens in Pirates – just as Gore Verbinski said, “everything that can go wrong will go wrong”. Not a single strategy in either fleet worked properly. The Enterprise wasn’t able to run gold or fight, and was simply blown up without firing a shot. The Kettering managed to do some damage late in the game, but to no avail. My fleet wasn’t able to steal gold from the American HI, capture crew with Bonny Peel, or use many of the ships as intended.

It was a fun game, though lopsided as I tried to exploit the setup rules as much as possible, going with the maximum number of ships and generic crew. I believe my fleet totalled 126 points against just 53 for Repkosai, which is one of the only flaws of the random setup tables. However, we both enjoyed the game and hope to use the tables again in the future!

No home islands and no open cargo spaces! October 4th, 2016

In my first solitaire game since last fall (I think), I decided to do something totally different.

Following the Water World rules introduced by brettb45, there would be no home islands. However, similar to a few other games I played last fall, there would also be no home forts. There was absolutely nowhere to store or unload gold – only gold on ships would count towards victory at the end of the game. The game would end once all the wild islands had sunk, when they had no more gold on them.

To make things even more bizarre, there were 5 fleets at 30 points, but no ship could have ANY cargo spaces open to start the game. Every ship had to be full to the brim with crew and/or equipment, which meant that to load gold, crew would have to be either left on the island or killed in combat! It was a whole new approach to the game, with new strategies, tactics in fleet construction, and odd gameplay. It turned out to be great fun! I also happened to be in a rush playing the game, so all of this happened very quickly.

These were the fleets – one from each of the Big 5. Making the fleets was rather strange – given the constraints of my traveling collection, there were only so many options. It was also tough to fit named crew, especially without defaulting to a one-ship setup. The play order went in the reverse faction order, with the Americans going first, and then the Pirates. Each of the 4 wild islands had 5 coins.

The Pirates unfurled their sails but the Spanish were right behind them! The Furia quickly took out the Fancy, but the Cantabrian struggled mightily against the Selkie, managing to win a boarding party after missing both shots and failing to damage the ship with a ram.

Spanish blast Pirates

The other 3 fleets were content to sail towards wild islands without interference:
No home islands and no open cargo spaces!  October 4th, 2016
The Selkie fought both broadsides against the Spanish, but missed 0/3 and rolled a 1 with her exploding shot to lose a mast! The Furia punished her afterwards, scoring a hit to dismast the Selkie and eliminate the Pirates from the game before a single island had been explored! In the meantime, the Americans had ominously turned the United States around – why bother getting a few coins early in the game (which would come at the expense of some very valuable crew) when you could wreck havoc first?

The Maui’s Fishhook (MF) finds Plague! The UT wipes out all 5 of her generic crew, but it does allow her to load 3 regular coins without making any tough crew decisions. She left a 0 coin on the island as a decoy, and to keep the game alive in case she would be able to load more gold and/or use the Plague to terrorize other fleets.

Maui's Fishhook finds the Plague UT

The United States sank the Fancy and Selkie to destroy both Pirate ships, but the Furia sailed up and shot away two of the American’s masts! In the meantime, the Cantabrian had explored an island and loaded a couple coins, leaving her captain and helmsman behind. The Spanish were looking good…

No home islands and no open cargo spaces!  October 4th, 2016

But so were the French! The Missionary actually made it easier for them – the Floating Stone was their main gold ship anyway, so losing the helmsman and explorer wasn’t a big deal. The French had a plan for the island’s gold.

The Floating Stone loaded two 1’s and the Weapons, which would soon be transferred to the Marie Antoinette, who swapped her explorer for the final 1 coin. It was a good “resource management” turn – the MA would now have a +2 bonus on boards, which was a great combo with her built-in S-boarding ability.

An overview of the situation:

No home islands and no open cargo spaces!  October 4th, 2016

Not wanting to risk a Broadsides Attack with a world-hater aboard, the United States went 1/3 to take a mast off the Furia! It wasn’t enough once the Cantabrian and Furia teamed up to eliminate the Americans from the game! The Spanish had their own resource management plan: maximize gold aboard ships by transferring the Cantabrian’s gold to the United States, and then have the Cantabrian go back to the island to pick up more gold. It was definitely a strange game for strategy, but a fun and refreshing one at that!

No home islands and no open cargo spaces!  October 4th, 2016

The northwestern island sank, and the Marie Antoinette was looking to attack the Spanish before turning on the English because the MF’s Plague could render the MA relatively weak to the Furia.

No home islands and no open cargo spaces!  October 4th, 2016

However, I then realized that due to the Plague (using the old version), the MF couldn’t dock, so she headed straight for the MA!

The Furia sailed bravely into battle to protect her fleet’s gold, but missed her shot against the MA. The MA utilized her S-boarding prior to moving, but remarkably, she couldn’t even win the boarding party with extra Weapons aboard!! With two crew aboard and a die roll of 1, the MA had a boarding score of 7, which was tied when the Furia rolled an improbable 6!

Furia ties boarding party score!

The MA used her move action to smartly get away from the sickly MF, instead dismasting the Cantabrian and sinking the United States with 4 gold aboard! As a result the MF dumped the Plague onto the Furia to eliminate all 3 of her crew, and France now had the upper hand against Spain.

No home islands and no open cargo spaces!  October 4th, 2016

The MF actually won her boarding party against the Furia to take the Plague right back! This made her a target for the MA, who dismasted her with (ironically) help from the Furia. (with no crew the Furia couldn’t ram or shoot the MA on her turn)

No home islands and no open cargo spaces!  October 4th, 2016

However, the French still had a logistical issue in the way of them winning the game. The only gold they controlled was the three 1’s on their two ships, which could not be counted on against the 3 coins aboard the MF, who was captured by the Spanish. The French countered by capturing the Cantabrian. It was a race to see who could control the most gold the fastest, but the key lied with the MA’s still-healthy crew complement.

No home islands and no open cargo spaces!  October 4th, 2016

The Marie Antoinette used her captain and helmsman to sail up to the Spanish, sinking the MF and dismasting the Furia! The game had ended not with all the islands sinking, but with only one fleet remaining!

The French had won with 5 gold! All the other fleets had not a single coin between them. The extremely low values were explained after the game by the unexplored southeastern island, which held a nice cache of 15 gold. Even if the United States had grabbed that gold early in the game, it’s not likely she would have held onto it with the dangerous Furia and MA opposing her.

No home islands and no open cargo spaces!  October 4th, 2016

This was a really fun setup, and I’d recommend it if you want a quick, desperate, and exciting match. I’d like to do it again soon, possibly with other variations (such as making it mandatory to fill up each ship’s point cost with crew, rather than cargo spaces) and likely a higher point limit.

Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge – October 1st, 2016

These battle reports concern the following:
Fleet Challenge: Sink The Battleship

4 competitors would face the Spanish Main version of El Acorazado in this setup to determine the winner of the Sink the Battleship fleet challenge!

First up: The Dread… (Xerecs)

The Acorazado maneuvered to get the first shot, and took out three masts.

Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge - October 1st, 2016

The Dreadnought returned fire twice with all cannons but missed a few times! This left the Acorazado with two masts, which was enough to sink the Dreadnought with an SAT. The Patagonia was also eliminated, and Xerecs was out of the challenge!

Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge - October 1st, 2016

Next up: Allies in Fire (Volt)

Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge - October 1st, 2016

The Acorazado maneuvered, staying close to her home island and waiting for a chance to strike.

She struck the Victor, since I believed the Victor’s Exploding Shot to be the most dangerous weapon that I could not cancel or deal with. The Fortune had to come within S to shoot firepots, and so the Victor was sunk.

Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge - October 1st, 2016

Volt’s fleet struck hard afterwards, and there was simply too much to cancel. I decided to cancel the Fortune’s captain if she came within S range, but in the meantime the Glorious Treasure and Maryland eliminated masts. The Battleship was soon ablaze!

The Acorazado didn’t get Castro’s SAT, so she had to stand and fight. Dismasting the Glorious Treasure and Coeur was the best I could do.

Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge - October 1st, 2016

The smaller ships closed in and dismasted the Acorazado! Volt’s fleet has beaten the ship in 4 turns!

The third challenger: Gonna Sink You!

Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge - October 1st, 2016

With no extra action or canceller capabilities, it was difficult for the smaller ships to get the first shot. The Acorazado struck with a double action, and purposely shot a mast off each of the two masters, meaning that their guns would be completely useless for the rest of the battle.

Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge - October 1st, 2016

The ships had no choice but to ram. All 4 rams failed, and the Acorazado quickly destroyed the fleet and claimed a second victory in three games!

Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge - October 1st, 2016

The final test for the Acorazado: Cheeseland VS The Battleship

Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge - October 1st, 2016

The Swallow made sure to stay out of the Acorazado’s range.

Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge - October 1st, 2016

The Acorazado simply sailed away from the Swallow, looking to frustrate the English and leave her vulnerable. The Swallow took the bait, but not only because Griffin and Lawrence were frustrated – they knew that Thomas Gunn’s fleet had already beaten the Acorazado in 4 turns, and time was running out. They had to make a move in order to make El Cazador victorious. Sailing up to the Acorazado on the third turn, they loosed a Broadsides Attack and missed with a 1!

The Acorazado only hit 3 times after failing to get the SAT from Castro. This opened the door for the English, who could tie Volt’s fleet if they sank the Battleship this turn. Turn 4 proved to be the climactic (or anticlimactic) one: the Swallow hit with her first broadside (a 4), but missed with her second on a 3!

Turn 5 wasn’t necessary, but the Acorazado finished off the Swallow just to prove a point. Not only did the Acorazado win 3 out of the 4 games with a considerable point disadvantage, she had also sunk or dismasted 3/5 of Volt’s fleet in her only loss!

@El Cazador: I forgot to copy and paste the chat transcript for the final game before I closed VASSAL. What’s funny is that I forgot about the Swallow’s strategy at first: before undoing the turn, I had the Swallow sail up and broadside the Acorazado on the very first turn (with her second action, after the Acorazado had gone first). However, that BA roll was a hilarious 1. Looks like the Swallow needs some more gunnery practice!

Volt has sank The Battleship and won the Fleet Challenge!! Congratulations! Now it’s up to you to determine the next challenge. Thanks again to all who entered.

10/3/2016

The Acorazado faced another English fleet (created by El Cazador) in a deathmatch. This one tried to utilize the Gargantuan’s reverse captain ability, L-range guns, and double cannon bonus (via TGunn the Elder and Griffin) when combined with Mycron on the Patagonia. The Victor served as support with more L-range firepower.

The Acorazado decided to chance an early attack, and hit 2/2 against the Victor.

The Victor rammed a mast off the Acorazado, who had a new strategy: eliminate Lord Mycron. However, the Gargantuan caught her and was able to blast some masts off. Eventually the Battleship fell to the English.
Sink the Battleship Fleet Challenge - October 1st, 2016
Thanks for reading!  Do you think you can Sink The Battleship?  Feel free to post any fleets below that you think would be victorious!

Other Worlds Part 2 – March 23rd, 2016

A year after the first one, a second “Other Worlds” game has been played! My opponent was different, but the setup remained quite similar. The fleets were 100 points instead of 80. For a change, the winner of the initial die roll deferred to let the other player go first.

French Americans:
USS Hudson + Gus Schultz, captain, helmsman, oarsman
Freedom + captain
USS New Orleans + captain, helmsman, oarsman
Hessian + helmsman
Libellule
La Cleopatre + captain, helmsman, oarsman
L’Emeraude

English Americans:
Grampus + Master CPO Charles Richard, Diamond Nelson Turner, firepot specialist
Pequod + explorer
HMS Dunlap + Major Peter Sharpe, captain
HMS Henry VIII
USS Oregon
USS Shark

Once again the setup featured home islands in one ocean, with one whirlpool that led to two other oceans where the gold was.

Other Worlds Part 2 - March 23rd, 2016
Other Worlds Part 2 - March 23rd, 2016
Other Worlds Part 2 - March 23rd, 2016
Other Worlds Part 2 - March 23rd, 2016
island setup

I didn’t have much luck with whirlpool rolls at first, but that changed on the return trip. Many an oarsman were lost on this day.

Other Worlds Part 2 - March 23rd, 2016

The French Americans were eager to get gold, while the English Americans had a different strategy.

Other Worlds Part 2 - March 23rd, 2016
Other Worlds Part 2 - March 23rd, 2016

As the Freedom and New Orleans collected gold, the Hudson opened fire on the Henry VIII!

Other Worlds Part 2 - March 23rd, 2016

The French Americans were trying to capture the Englishman with the New Orleans’ ability, which may sound familiar…

Other Worlds Part 2 - March 23rd, 2016

And there it is! I made the apparent mistake of sending the battle report of the last game (linked above) to my opponent beforehand. I assumed it would deter them from trying to use a blockade strategy, but I was wrong. Instead, they were inspired to try it because a blockade understandably sounded and looked cool. Though disappointed, I was just as determined as last time to teach a lesson and deter such tactics in the future.

Blockade set up at home island

The other ocean saw lots of French American ships collecting lots of gold.

Other Worlds Part 2 - March 23rd, 2016

After a few turns of waiting, I finally was forced to return home. The Henry VIII continued to hide in the fog, so the New Orleans gave up her pursuit.

Americans return home!

The Freedom started the battle, but missed all three shots.

conflict at home

The English Americans brought the Pequod home, and the Hudson and New Orleans pounced!

Other Worlds Part 2 - March 23rd, 2016

Deja vu! The New Orleans is given an explore action, and she teleports home with the Pequod and all of the gold aboard both ships. However, the Oregon has sank the Freedom.

deja vu

The Oregon and Shark were doing rather well holding off the French Americans, partly because of my typically bad gun rolls. However, the English Americans had a major problem when the New Orleans began shooting at the Dunlap.

Other Worlds Part 2 - March 23rd, 2016

The Libellule towed the Shark to allow the Emeraude to dock home, and the Oregon was sunk. The Grampus sank the Cleopatre, but the English American blockade had failed miserably and they were now fighting an unwinnable fight.

Other Worlds Part 2 - March 23rd, 2016
Other Worlds Part 2 - March 23rd, 2016

The Hudson took on the Grampus, weakening both ships. This allowed the New Orleans to sail back out and dismast the Grampus, while the other French American ships went after the Henry VIII, who was trying to sneak home.

Other Worlds Part 2 - March 23rd, 2016

The game ended in an absolute French American victory after they towed the Henry VIII. The final score was 31-0, mirroring last year’s 32-2 score in a very similar game.

Other Worlds Part 2 - March 23rd, 2016

I was disappointed with how similar the game turned out, but it taught me a lesson as well as my opponent. For the next Other World game, I’m going to change the setup a lot, partly to disincentivize the blockade strategy (which seems particularly alluring with whirlpools around!) and also to incentivize more fighting around the wild islands. One idea I have is to make the HI’s on separate tables, and then have all the gold on one table, possibly with each player controlling 2 or 3 independent fleets.

PS: I may get to use one of my 150 point fleets in April, which is exciting. There may be another game this weekend or next week, but other than that, the attention shifts back to the VASSAL campaign games!

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Experimental Cumulative Game

1/6/2016

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

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

Without further ado, here is the setting:

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

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

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

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

The fleets sailed out in this order of play:

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

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

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

English
HMS Galapagos

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

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

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

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

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

Flat earth rules are being used, for now.

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

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental cumulative game
Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

The southern half:

Experimental Cumulative Game
Experimental Cumulative Game
Experimental Cumulative Game

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

shipwreck cove

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

beautiful blue ocean sea water shiny with sheen

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

Wind rules and directional compass

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

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

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

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

1/8/2016

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

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

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

Spanish fleet in water

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Jade Rebellion home island

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

Spanish fleet from above

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

English at home island

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

HMS Galapagos approaches golden island

War resumes! The East Wind takes on the Fureur!

combat at island

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

sailing ship aflame

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

French ship burning

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Spanish and Jades across sandbar

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

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

Sir Meyer Hampstead flavor text

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

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Barbary Corsairs arrive!!

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

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

Jades attack Spanish!

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

Jade Rebels attack Barbary Corsairs

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

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

Spanish and Jade Rebellion engaged in combat

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

Jades launch a Mercenary ship, the Meropis

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

English at gold island

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

sun sets on the day's action

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

Barbary Corsairs establish home island
1/11/2016

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Spanish heading east

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

The BC’s swarm the Meropis:

galleys ram the ship

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

Hampstead sails off with Hyena and gold after betraying English

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Jade Rebellion take turn

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

Spanish explore island

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

Spanish build fort on sandbar

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

Spanish build another fort

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

Hampstead introduces the Americans to the game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Grand Temple smashes Habana

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

1/12/2016

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

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Spanish retreat!

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

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

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

Katsura-chan joins Hampstead's American crew

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

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

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

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

French fleet operations

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

Proud Tortoise is incredible in this game!

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

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

Grand Temple rams Voz de Dios

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

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

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

Fireworks UT to the rescue

Another angle:

Voz de Dios hits the Grand Temple

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Pirates CSG is a beautiful game

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

Beautiful Barbary Corsair galley ships at their home base

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

ships duking it out on the high seas

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

Experimental Cumulative Game combat

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

Close quarters Broadsides Attack misses!

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game
Experimental Cumulative Game

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

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

French arrive at the scene - Experimental Cumulative Game

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

carnage and devastation at sea

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

Spanish launch ships

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

sea battle

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

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

Grand Temple returns home

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

Total carnage in the east!

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Spanish fail against HMS Hyena

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

Granada sets galley aflame with firepot specialist

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

overhead view of fort

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

Corsairs arrive and attack!

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

sinking of Geographe

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

masts in water, carnage

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

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

Crescent Moon

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

The Habana dismasts the Hyena:

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Granada sets turtle ship on fire

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

Grand Temple returns partially repaired

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Jades hire Mercenaries

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

Polaris joins the fray

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Grand Temple sinks the Voz de Dios

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

masts falling overboard
naval battle in progress

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

San Agustin finds Wolves on island

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

Experimental Cumulative Game overview of situation

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

English capture the Grand Temple!

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

Overton dismasts Habana

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

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

Spanish launch at HI

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

English have HMS Grand Temple!

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

Pirates CSG is a gorgeous game

The Overton captures La Habana:

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game fighting at sea

Olano misses the Wolves:

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

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

English launch small ships

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Overton smashes Santa Ana with cannon fire

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

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

BOOM!

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

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

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

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

Fortaleza Dorada fort on fire

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

devastation from eruption

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

Spanish desperate, unleash plague

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

flames everywhere

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Pirates commandeer Grand Temple, sink HMS Galapagos

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

HMS Grand Temple dismasts Polaris

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

English suddenly destroyed by pirate betrayal

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

HMS Grand Temple turns to the dark side of piracy

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

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

The Pirates arrive!!

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

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

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

1/14/2016

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

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

French eliminated

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

Spanish fort and ship in flames

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

La Manila, a burning shipwreck

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

Spanish fort almost completely consumed by fire

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

Fortaleza Dorada has finally been destroyed!

fort destroyed by fire and flames

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

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

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

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

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

The Cursed are here!

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

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

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

what the hell happened?

1/15/2016

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

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Skin Flayer shiny blades attacks Grand Temple

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

Pirates vs. Cursed battle

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

big battle at sea

Total carnage on the high seas!

total carnage!

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

Shal-Bala prepares to savage the Black Mongoose:

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

The Black Mongoose is finally derelict!

massive sea dragon wingspan

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

Experimental Cumulative Game

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

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

giant crab attack!

The southeastern area will see the final action take place:

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

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

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

The Cursed have won this short experimental cumulative game!

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

end of the Experimental Cumulative Game

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

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

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

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

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

Circle of Blood – March 21st, 2015

Circle of Blood

From the Corsairs of Douglas County website:

rizz wrote:
Players design 100 pt fleets, mixed nations allowed. The privateer for the battle sets up islands in a pattern along the lines of this…

Rizz Circle of Blood diagram

Black-islands
Green-terrain
White-neutral sea monsters
Red/Yellow-starting positions of ships (in this case yellow was Player 1 and red was Player 2)
(No forts were available, or else they would go on the middle four islands)

Circle of Blood 2015 setup

rizz wrote:
Now for the good stuff. Place 4 randomly selected gold coins, and 1 randomly grabbed UT on each island. No one has a home island at this time. The first island each player explores will become their new home island; all gold on that island is automatically theirs, as is the UT, apply the UT effect if applicable.

After both players take a turn, then the creatures get a turn. Each time the creatures get a turn, roll a d6 for each creature still alive, compare this number to a fog bank in play, the creature will move its full move in the direction rolled. If it encounters an island, iceberg, reef, or Sargasso Sea, it will stop moving until its next turn (ignore fogbanks for creature movement). At the beginning of a creatures turn, if ANY ship is within any attack range for the creature (this is checked before movement), instead of moving it will attack that ship (or the closest ship if more than one is in range). It will continue to attack this ship until either; 1 it is out of range, 2 it is destroyed, or 3 another ship moves closer.

Since the gold is a randomly selected amount, there is no “half way” rule for ending the game, it will continue until there is no gold left, or only one player remains (this puts HI raiders at a premium). Another variant we do here is throw four NPC forts out on the islands marked in orange.


Fleets

Americans: 
USS Concordia + Montana MaysRalph DavidDiamond Nelson Turner, helmsman, shipwright, oarsman
Peacock + captain, chainshot specialist
Pawtucket + helmsman, explorer
Flying Fish + explorer
Philadelphia + explorer
Harlequin + explorer

Franco-Spanish: 
L’Ange de la Mer + captain, helmsman
El Rosal + Luis ZuanExploding Shot
Armada
St. Denis + captain
El Cervantes + Capitan Alarico CastroDuque Marcus Vaccaro, helmsman
Le Coeur de Lion + Aramis, captain, helmsman (just realized it was 8 points but it’s only 1 point over)


Circle of Blood 2015 setup Circle of Blood 2015 setup with sea monsters in center
The fleets started sailing. The Franco-Spanish (hereafter referred to as FS, not to be confused with F&S) explored first by marking their home island (HI) with El Cervantes. Other FS ships quickly docked at islands in the outermost ring, all of which were mysterious in this game.

The FS set up shop in the east, while the Philadelphia explored an island in the northwest which became the HI of the Americans. After the first turn the sea monsters and icebergs began moving! A house rule was quickly instituted which let the sea monsters stay submerged until they were in range of an enemy ship or would have to surface to ram.
Circle of Blood 2015 game Circle of Blood 2015 game

As more ships docked and loaded gold, one mysterious island effect that is borderline “broken” in a game of this size captured all attention. The Peacock rolled to move 2 coins from EVERY other wild island to the island that she was docked at, creating a mother lode of gold on a northern island.
Circle of Blood 2015 game
On her next turn, the Peacock explored, only to find a ton of UT’s that had been transferred via the MI effect! This slowed the game down as everything was resolved. Holy Water and Metal Hull made the Peacock borderline invincible, but trouble was brewing for the poor little ship. Natives were transferred to the island, making the huge amount of gold somewhat harder to access. Pandora’s Box was the real killer (literally), spawning an outbreak of the Plague, killing all of the ship’s crew (the Peacock grabbed some Wine from the box to numb the pain). In order for the Castaway to actually have effect it was ruled that he came aboard the ship to captain it (literally the crew was a captain) after the Plague had already struck. After it was all said and done, the ship was stuck for two turns from Natives and could only move S. I guess the captain saved himself from the Plague by drinking of mixture of Holy Water and Wine!
Peacock full deckplate

In the meantime, a shark introduced himself to the Philadelphia, who would soon run in the other direction.
shark chases Philadelphia

The FS soon had a crowded HI, with ships coming and going with new gold. Despite their fighting crew the Ange de la Mer and Rosal managed to contribute to the findings.
Circle of Blood 2015 game Circle of Blood 2015 game

An iceberg and the Teach began consistently moving northwest, directly towards the American HI. This was an ominous sign and unbeknownst to the players, a foreshadowing one as well. In addition, the Leviathan seemed to enjoy the bright new lines of the dangerous Concordia.

Tragedy soon struck in the form of a huge lightning storm. Odin’s Revenge (a gift from trox I might add) toppled a mast from every ship in play, leaving the Harlequin derelict and all alone in the southernmost part of the sea. The FS were still around their HI and therefore didn’t lose much momentum at all, quickly repairing the ships already docked at their HI. In terms of percentage of masts lost this also benefited the FS more because the Pawtucket was the only American ship other than the big Concordia that had more than 2 masts.
Odin's Revenge lightning storm Circle of Blood 2015 game

The Flying Fish made her way home via whirlpool as the Philadelphia came home to repair her foresail. The Pawtucket used round earth rules to get home more quickly. Once again the Teach and Leviathan moved directly towards American ships.
Circle of Blood 2015 game

The FS experienced a little bad luck of their own, with the Lion being smashed by a hostile iceberg just off their HI. As with Odin’s Revenge, however, the FS were able to repair quickly without much time lost. The St. Denis came in for repairs as well, bringing even more gold to their HI.
bringing in gold to home island

The Peacock was finally able to get moving due to Jailhouse Dog eliminating Metal Hull, restoring her to her full S+S+S speed. She darted out of the way of Slarg Gubbit, eager to get revenge on the FS and give them some of their own medicine in the form of the plague!
Peacock back in action

However, the Peacock’s plan was quickly foiled via MI farming. The Rosal rolled a 6 to slam the Peacock into a nearby iceberg, taking out her second mast and leaving her dead in the water. With Plague still aboard it was unlikely that any ship would want to go near her.
Circle of Blood 2015 game

The American player (who happened to be me, lol) was running into a lot of difficulties around his home island. Teach and Leviathan were seemingly on a mission to sink his entire fleet! An iceberg was also nearby, giving the Americans a handful of bad luck just as they began to bring in some gold. As soon as she repaired and set back out again the Philadelphia was rammed by the Teach, although since she had already left her explorer at home the Teach didn’t get to eat any poor Americans. The Concordia purposely positioned herself right next to the Leviathan, losing two masts in the process. Montana Mays knew the strength and relative invincibility of his ship (with DNT even aboard to cancel the Leviathan’s stinkpot-esque breath attack that could shut down Eternal and make the ship vulnerable), and therefore he wasn’t afraid to lose a few masts if he could still win the battle.

Americans attacked by sea monsters Shark attack! Philadelphia gets rammed

The FS soon tried their hand at more luck with MI farming, but they soon learned their lesson and got burned, with the St. Denis losing all four of her masts to the same MI.
St. Denis at mysterious island

As the St. Denis and Philadelphia limped home to their respective HI’s, the Concordia shot the Leviathan to pieces, leaving only the head of tail of the great beast. Leviathan shot back and dismasted the Concordia, although the Concordia would still be able to fire with all of her cannons. Earlier in the game the Harlequin had found Albatross, which was soon transferred to the Concordia and rendered her mediocre guns even less effective.
Circle of Blood 2015 game

No wonder the Concordia can still shoot when derelict! American blood and steel take on nature’s most terrible creature:
USS Concordia vs. Leviathan great beast Circle of Blood 2015 game

The Concordia docked at her HI, giving her immunity to the annoying Leviathan, shooting off the tail in the process. The Teach continued to harass the American HI, even moving around the island to chase the poor Philadelphia. The damaged Pawtucket and Flying Fish shot at her from their HI but missed again and again. The bad luck experienced by the Americans in this game was borderline unprecedented. To make matters worse, two icebergs blocked their path to the southeast, which you can just see in the next picture on the far right.
Americans have horrible luck at home island

As the Pawtucket repaired, the sea monsters finally gave the Americans a break, letting the Flying Fish and Philadelphia sail in opposite directions. The Flying Fish headed off without crew (due to Natives) to the rich northern island. The Philadelphia was sunk by the L’Ange de la Mer, who was headed home with gold from that northern island. The Rosal and Cervantes looked to capitalize on the Americans’ weaknesses, but the partially repaired Concordia loomed just out of range. In the relatively deserted south, the Lion captured the Harlequin and began the long journey home at S+S.
Circle of Blood 2015 game

Both factions were content to run gold for the time being as the Concordia guarded the northern island. The Americans had the advantage of their HI being closer to this major island, but it would be interesting to see if that advantage could turn the tables on their history of bad luck and how it affected their early game. Speaking of which, the FS were nearly intact outside of Odin’s Revenge and enjoyed considerable wealth flowing in from neighboring wild islands.

Due to space constraints during setup, the sea monsters’ deckplates were placed next to the FS fleet’s deckplates, which made the admirals think that this coincidence had affected the minds of the sea monsters, as they had only attacked the Americans.
Circle of Blood - March 21st, 2015

The Leviathan used the round earth rules to ram and board the Mer. Both rolls failed, and the serpent was quickly eliminated by the French flagship.
Circle of Blood - March 21st, 2015

While the shark and sea serpent were harassing the Americans, the two squids (Slarg Gubbit and Lusca, where did those names come from?) were busy moving back and forth aimlessly. Gubbit got in the way of the Americans a few times but didn’t directly attack them. Eventually they seemed to grow fond of each other and moved directly together. After a few turns of mating they headed off in opposite directions, desperate for human blood.
bizarre sea monster mating ritual

A few turns later:
sea creatures mating again!

Since Montana Mays protected his crew from elimination, the Concordia began towing the Peacock, handing off Plague to the already dangerous American flagship. The American shipwright went the opposite way, coming aboard the Peacock in order to get her sailing again. The Flying Fish was busy making trips to the northern island, but the Pawtucket wanted no part of the Natives. Earlier in the game the Pawtucket’s helmsman became linked to Manawa no Kowhatu, giving her Eternal and Fear.
Circle of Blood - March 21st, 2015

As the Lion returned home with the captured Harlequin, a similar situation occurred for the second time (the first being around the time of Odin’s Revenge), with almost the entire FS fleet crowding around their HI as ships came in for various reasons.
Circle of Blood - March 21st, 2015

This brief period of peace allowed the Pawtucket, Concordia, and Peacock to sail east as the Flying Fish continued to take gold from the northern island. Both fleets had considerable gold, with less than a dozen still on wild islands.
Circle of Blood - March 21st, 2015

As the FS fleet spread out once again, the Americans knew they’d have to do some fancy maneuvering to gain the upper hand with a numbers disadvantage. The Peacock sailed south with Wine, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. The Concordia and Pawtucket sailed north, with the Concordia eyeing the Mer with Plague aboard (Luis Zuan had been killed aboard the Rosal earlier in the game via a UT). The Pawtucket was quickly sunk by the Armada and Mer, although the Mer moved into perfect positioning in the process.
Circle of Blood - March 21st, 2015

The Concordia unloaded her deadly Plague, killing the Mer’s captain and helmsman. She also had a very successful shoot action, rolling 4/5 to dismast the schooner!
Circle of Blood - March 21st, 2015 Circle of Blood - March 21st, 2015

The St. Denis took advantage of her L-range guns and moved to avoid the range of DNT, sinking the Concordia! This placed her alongside the Pawtucket to repair. (via Eternal)
Concordia sinks but returns home via Eternal

The Rosal let go of the Armada and grabbed gold from the northern island. With the Concordia gone the Lion and Harlequin also moved into the area.
Circle of Blood - March 21st, 2015

With the FS HI deserted, the Peacock seized her chance and intended to exchange Wine for any treasure she wanted. However, her captain (from the Castaway UT) had forgotten about the shipwright she inherited from the Concordia, which meant that she had no space with which to load the gold! (The treasure you exchange for Wine still takes up cargo space)   Perhaps he had gotten drunk with the Wine!  XD
Peacock drunk, can't use Wine!

The St. Denis dismasted and captured the Peacock, who would have been hit anyway once Wine was off the ship. The endgame was nearing, with the northern theater holding all of the tension.
Circle of Blood - March 21st, 2015

The Concordia and Cervantes were the only ships in the area capable of putting up a fight. The Cervantes SAT’d away as the Concordia sunk the Mer. At this point the game was called since there were only 5 coins left on the once-rich northern island and both players knew they were all 1’s.
Circle of Blood - March 21st, 2015

Both players counted up their treasure, with the FS getting the majority of the 5’s and 6’s. The Franco-Spanish beat the Americans by a score of 67-41!

The scenario worked well for the most part. The sea monsters could perhaps move based on different icebergs/fog banks that are facing different directions so a roll of 1 doesn’t always move them north. Also, with so many wild islands (10 after the HI’s are explored) the game could revolve around gold running a little bit too much.

This was a great game that saw some interesting new UT’s such as Castaway and Odin’s Revenge. The Americans suffered from bad luck with icebergs, sea monsters, and shoot actions early on while the Franco-Spanish benefited from finding a handful of high-value coins. The late-game UT ploys by the Americans failed to overcome the difference, as the superior Franco-Spanish gold running and powerful escort ships won the day!

Circle of Blood with 3 players – August 21st, 2017

Circle of Blood with 3 players

The first game of the planned VASSAL weekend was a 3 player Circle of Blood game between myself, repkosai, and wifey!

Repkosai went first with a diverse fleet, followed by yours truly with my ship stealing fleet (its first game!), and then wifey with a fast Pirate fleet. Thanks to Rizz for making such a cool game setup; it would be my second go-round at CoB, and the first experience for repkosai and wifey.

With an odd number of players, we had to improvise the last chunk of picking fleet locations, which is why repkosai’s HMS Gibraltar is in the middle of the play area between the hostile forts.
Circle of Blood

This shows the first of two major coups (“a notable or successful stroke or move”; feat, master stroke) by a7xfanben’s ship stealers in the early part of this game. Looking back at the first picture, the Banshee’s Cry moved towards the SE island, and was pursued by the Harbinger to the north. Because of the unique home island rules (the first island you explore becomes your home island), there was considerable strategy in essentially being able to choose a location. With some intimidating Pirates to the north (repkosai’s Black Pearl crushed the Raven and Neptune’s Hoard in a single turn, with the Revenant also lurking), I wanted a location far from them.

In a very important die roll that allowed the move to work, I rolled a 6 with Preble to get an AA (Admiral’s Action). The Electric Eel (of wifey’s fleet) had docked at the SW island, with my El Dorado also headed there. I had other options, such as exploring the SE island with the Hound or trying to get an island in the NW area. After some strategic thinking, I made my choice, trusting the Harbinger to not roll a bunch of 1’s in a row lol.

El Dorado used her action to dock at the SW island. She then used the AA to explore it, making it my home island. Suddenly the Electric Eel was caught docked at an enemy home island, with no chance left to explore. The Harbinger surged forward, ramming the Banshee’s Cry but taking care not to sink the ship, simply dismasting her with a shot. Then Havana Black sacced an oarsman to EXPLORE the Cry, triggering the Harbinger’s ability. To complete the coup, the Harbinger warped to her new home with the BC, suddenly docking right next to the flabbergasted crew of the Electric Eel! The ship stealers were living up to their name, going from not having a home island to capturing a ship, getting it home, and simultaneously denying another ship from that island’s gold!

Clockwise from the top: repkosai has sunk the Raven and Neptune’s Hoard, putting wifey in a major predicament. In the SE, the Hound has explored the SE island while the Star of Siam makes the southern island wifey’s HI. The Harbinger knocks two masts off the fleeing Eel, while El Dorado looks to transfer Weapons to the flagship. The northwest is a scene of considerable delay, with the Windjammer finding Rum and the New Orleans finding Natives.

Repkosai’s fleet gets gold while my ship stealers continue to bother wifey’s fleet. The Harbinger dismasts the Eel, leaving her carcass to the less-important El Dorado while the Harbinger gets ready to make full sail towards the south. The Hound is hounding the Star of Siam, ramming a mast off but failing to hit with cannons. The Europa is slow without a helmsman but lurks to the west of the Hound, which would soon become important….

Another major coup! (Sorry if it sounds like I’m tooting my own horn too much, but honestly these two moves are some of my favorite that I’ve pulled off in a Pirates game) You may be wondering where the Star of Siam went. Well, she was snagged like the Banshee’s Cry.

Once again, the situation was more complicated than a simple picture can show. The super-fast Black Pearl was bearing down on the southern tier of the sea, likely in support of HMS Gibraltar raiding wifey’s unprotected home island (repkosai has made some great plays of his own this game). The Hound’s captain was worried about the BP, but reckoned that he still needed to pursue the SoS, who had picked up a certain Calico Cat who had been “cast away” for some reason. Wink Now, I will admit that I got lucky once more, but it was perfect timing for the second time too. The Hound had caught the SoS at the SE island and knocked off her final mast. The SoS lost Calico Cat in a boarding party but rowed a bit to the south at S+S. To mitigate the Hound’s fear of the Black Pearl arriving imminently from the north, the Harbinger was sailing at full speed towards the general area of interest.

The Hound captured the SoS, towing her so the ship would be as far from the Black Pearl as possible. The luck occurred with the Europa getting an extra action from her built-in ability! I was originally going to move the Europa 4S and get her on the starboard side, to protect her from a potentially hostile Black Pearl. The Europa could not reach the SoS with her first action, and therefore couldn’t teleport her home with the second since she would need the second just to reach the SoS. Then I suddenly realized that because the SoS could move S+S but was still technically derelict, the Hound could tow her and then immediately release her, upon which the SoS turned around and moved S+S towards the Europa! This saved the Europa valuable movement. The Europa was then able to reach the SoS with her first action, and explore the derelict with her second action, using Commander Temple to warp both ships home!

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.

However, for all my bragging, repkosai had gained a steady lead in the gold race, and many of my ships with treasure on them were far from home. Here, the Philadelphia and New Orleans are finally getting sails unfurled after their encounter with the Natives. The BC has explored the western island, while HMS Gibraltar raids wifey’s HI for a 7 coin (which I saw with the Hound’s spying ability). The Electric Eel and Star of Siam repair at their new HI, while the Dorado and Europa follow the Harbinger to support her potential intervention in the southern theater. With the Hound in a bad spot on the ocean anyway, I decided to have her redock at the SE island just to build Ramsgate, which could serve to not only deter the Black Pearl from coming after the Hound, but also to potentially protect my gold from being stolen off my HI by the Gibraltar.

Here the Harbinger is about to dismast the Windjammer.

The Windjammer was captured, eliminating wifey from the game and giving my fleet yet another captured ship.

Here you can see all 10 of the ships in my fleet, in a rare instance of them being relatively close to one another.

Each fleet was busy wrecking forts on the sides their HI’s were on. The northwest island (with Natives) looked like a potential future hotspot.

The last forts are finished off and the two imposing fleets are about as close as they had been all game.

My fleet masses near the northern whirlpool, anticipating a conflict.

However, a somewhat unfortunate situation played out, with each fleet inevitably being content with getting local gold. My fleet got the last of the native gold, while repkosai’s Morning Star grabbed the final coins from the northern island.

Repkosai’s fleet made a move towards the ships I had getting gold from Ramsgate in the southeast, but the distances and lack of whirlpools prevented a major encounter. Soon afterwards the Europa made a surprise attack, using an EA to burst through the eastern whirlpool and ram the valuable HMS Gibraltar! Thomas Gunn was lost in the boarding party, and the Gibraltar scurried home for repairs, the rest of her fleet covering her stern.

At this point it is worth noting that all gold (except for Ramsgate) had been unloaded to home islands. However, the game was quite “live” as both fleets had a HI raider: HMS Gibraltar for repkosai and a captured (no surprise there!) Electric Eel in my fleet. In addition, the gold race was a complete mystery but we both knew that it was likely very close. With that, the endgame was decided: it would be a raiding challenge, with neither side wanting to completely vacate their HI in fear of the other player making a move towards it.

Repkosai conceded that he didn’t think he would be able to pull off a successful HI raid without TGunn aboard the Gibraltar along with his numerical disadvantage. Thus he formed a protective barrier around his HI with all of his ships, and waited it out. This let me formulate any strategy I wanted, and of course I thought of a many plans. I decided to round earth part of my fleet, with the Electric Eel as the most important ship. Other ships headed to meet up with them in the northeast near repkosai’s HI.

With infinite time to orchestrate what I wanted, I set things up to perfection. With my ships in position, my plan was sprung. Two forts were built, to provide places for repairing and any gun assistance in case of a chase. The Harbinger hid in the fog, ready to pop out and start the assault!

The Harbinger tore into the Gibraltar and Revenant. I made sure to target the Gibraltar, so I could possibly capture another HI raider and gain a decided advantage, simultaneously securing my own gold for the duration. I managed to capture the Gibraltar with the Windjammer, but couldn’t get an extra action to the Dorado to warp her home.

Repkosai’s counterattack was devastating, with the Black Pearl sinking the Harbinger and Gibraltar with a double action! This denied me from using the Gibraltar, and took out my flagship as well. The Yankee rammed the Windjammer, while the Morning Star attempted to stop the Electric Eel from raiding the HI.

I managed to dismast the Black Pearl with a combination of ships, and then used a lucky AA from Preble to capture the ship with the Dorado! This netted me another capture, but it was doubtful the BP could be used in time to affect the results.

Captain Jack Sparrow: “I’m going after the Black Pearl…. I know where it’s going to be, and I’m going to take it.”

The Electric Eel was continually foiled by the MS, Yankee, and Revenant until she was dismasted, which ended the game!

After the gold count:

1. a7xfanben: 85 gold
2. repkosai: 81
3. wifey: 0 (she had 7 or 8 before it was stolen)

What an amazing conclusion to a fun game! In the end, wifey’s captured Rum (worth 5 gold) made the difference in a way, since it got my score from 80 to 85! Very high scores, and very close as well. I must admit being very happy about the victory, since I played one of my favorite games ever in the early going, and certainly felt deserving of the win after the plays I made.

Another successful Circle of Blood game, and it’s a great scenario that I would recommend. As far as potential changes for us, I would say that making the islands a bit closer together and/or adding more whirlpools could help. Also, the forts were easy to eliminate, so they should probably have at least 6 3L cannons instead of 4.

Thanks for reading! This was played over the course of three different sessions on VASSAL. We’ll be back with more sometime, and until then, may your swords stay sharp!

Check out the video footage of this game!

Circle of Blood by Riz

Circle of Blood: (Riz)

Riz wrote:
Players design 100 pt fleets, mixed nations allowed. The privateer for the battle sets up islands in a pattern along the lines of this…

 

Link to photo album with pictures detailing the setup. (Black – wild islands, Orange – wild islands (with optional forts defending the gold), Green – terrain, White – neutral sea creatures, Yellow – Player 1, Red – Player 2)

 

Riz wrote:
Now for the good stuff. Place 4 randomly selected gold coins, and 1 randomly grabbed UT on each island. No one has a home island at this time. The first island each player explores will become their new home island; all gold on that island is automatically theirs, as is the UT, apply the UT effect if applicable.

After both players take a turn, then the creatures get a turn. Each time the creatures get a turn, roll a d6 for each creature still alive, compare this number to a fog bank in play, the creature will move its full move in the direction rolled. If it encounters an island, iceberg, reef, or Sargasso Sea, it will stop moving until its next turn (ignore fogbanks for creature movement). At the beginning of a creatures turn, if ANY ship is within any attack range for the creature (this is checked before movement), instead of moving it will attack that ship (or the closest ship if more than one is in range). It will continue to attack this ship until either; 1 it is out of range, 2 it is destroyed, or 3 another ship moves closer.

Since the gold is a randomly selected amount, there is no “half way” rule for ending the game, it will continue until there is no gold left, or only one player remains (this puts HI raiders at a premium). Another variant we do here is throw four NPC forts out on the islands marked in orange.

These forts will fire under any of the following conditions; a ship of a non-matching faction moves into range or ANY ship attempts to dock at the island. The forts will fight until destroyed, and defend their gold and UT at all costs.

Circle of Blood

 

(Black – wild islands, Orange – wild islands (with optional forts defending the gold), Green – terrain, White – neutral sea creatures, Yellow – Player 1, Red – Player 2)

This is a very fun scenario that would work with more than 2 players. In fact, the more players, the more fun it would get I imagine. For an idea of how the game plays out, here is a Battle Report.