RECORD BREAKING GOLD. EXTORTION. ARMS RACE.

RECORD BREAKING GOLD. EXTORTION. ARMS RACE.

As always, VASSAL Campaign Game 4 continues to explode.  The weekend of August 14th-16th of 2020 saw the biggest single-round total gold income I have ever seen or comprehended!!  O_O

As always, it could be useful to have the Customs Database up for reference while digesting the events of the report.

We start with the Spanish, currently Xerecs’ most numerous faction.  They launched a new set of native canoes (Savage Shores version).

Next comes the Conglomerate, another fleet that Xerecs launched things for on his turn.  In a hugely newsworthy event, the Conglomerate have introduced another Copier into the game!!  Mata-Nui!  Helyrex is on the same ship with Reroll, meaning that if the Conglomerate wants to copy the Arcane’s ability, they’ll have two cracks at it, much like the other factions and pretty much identical to the Vikings’ Arcane rolling situation.  This whole Arcane business is becoming a meta game within the game!  XD

The English launched as well.  They added an AA with Reroll combo.  Here is a shot showing much of the northeastern chunk where 3 factions are in somewhat close proximity to each other.  From west to east, the Pirates, Corsairs, and English.  The Pirates have their own textiles island, while the Corsairs and English are sharing the one at the bottom of the picture.

Showing Off a Bit

Before Xerecs’ turn, the Pirates decided to randomly interject and reveal one of their new 10 master setups. Partly to remove any suspicions of the setup being illegal (not that anyone thinks I’m cheating), but also to serve as knowledge for the other factions to know how powerful these ships are looking. 🙂 Tee-hee! 🙂

Slave Revolt (from my Pirates of the Epic Seas custom set)

Crew: Havana Black (Sac Captain), Vincenzo Gambi (Massacre + World Hater), Captain Davy Jones (repossess the dead on 6’s; Fear), Capitaine Chevalle (Cargo Wrecking), Blackfoot Bill (WK unreleased-“When this ship is damaged, remove any crew member, except this one, instead of a mast.”), The Stump (2 point reducer) Grappleshot Specialist, helmsman, oarsman.

Equipment: Streamlined Hull (makes base move L instead of S)

In sum, the Pirates have a 10 master moving L+S with sac capability that utilizes a “sadistic recycling strategy”.  The ship has multiple ways to kill a ton of enemy crew (Massacre with grappling for extra boards + Cargo Wrecking with 10 cannons that are essentially boosted to almost all rank-3’s or better via Gambi), and then comes the nasty part.  CDJ can potentially repossess the victims, who are then sacced by Havana Black to further fuel the ship’s malicious intents.  When the ship comes under fire, repossessed victims will be placed in the line of fire by Blackfoot Bill so enemy shots kill their own instead of taking any masts off.  I may make a new name for this: the “zombie loop”.

(A few clarifications to avoid any future confusion- “This ability may be used when any crew is eliminated, regardless of previous ownership.”  From the Code, meaning CDJ’s ability is voluntary as with most other abilities.  Crew need to remain eliminated for effects to apply properly, so it’s good that I can’t loop it indefinitely with HBlack and Blackfoot Bill – their abilities require crew to stay eliminated)

The ship also gets +1 to her boarding rolls for every crew assigned to her, so with 9 crew aboard her base boarding roll starts at 19.  O_O  XD

This wild setup comes to 68 points total.  The cargo comes to 37 points compared to the ship cost of 31, but The Stump subtracts 1 point each from the other 8 crew aboard for 26 points of crew (34 originally), bumped to 29 TOTAL points that count with Streamlined Hull at the modified cost of 3.  The ship has 9 cargo spaces because Havana Black links to the ship, and 8 cargo that take up space (8 crew) along with the equipment and oarsman that don’t.  Whew!  XD  (so somehow there is still technically room for 2 points and 1 cargo lol)

 

And now that I’m writing the full battle report… why not do a reveal of the Hera as well?!  XD Some random abilities excluded.

Hera (from Epic Seas)
Crew: Red Legs Greaves (Captain+Helmsman), Cheng I (AA+cheerleading effect), El Castellano (Reroll+Parley), Kerkah (+2 to cannons and boards), Derrik the Red (Sac+World Hater), Jonah, oarsmen x2.
Equipment: Dinghy (This ship gets +1 cargo spaces. This equipment does not take up cargo space. This ship may explore an island or ship within S of this ship as a free action.)

Here we have a 10 master with (essentially) nearly all rank-1 cannons along with Sac capabilities and a Zeus-based movement bonus.  She will have plenty of support.

 

Pirate Play Turn

The Pirates have so much going on every turn that I’ve made a spreadsheet documenting many of the ships in their fleet.  It provides a quick and easy reference on each ship’s total speed, abilities aboard, and mission.  For some of the ships it also includes current open cargo spaces, and cannons (if the ship has the Captain ability and especially if the cannons are modified with bonuses/etc).

At the southern part of the Pirate HI, a large number of resource gatherers go to and from the metals island.  Plumb Point Lighthouse has its first turn in action!  The light emitted L+L from its base immediately helps many of the cargo ships sailing about.  6 ships docked home resources for the Pirates this turn, netting them 112 gold.  That included the Hai Peng, who returned with a lumber token from an island to the west of this area that the Jade Rebels have also explored.  The Turbulence sped out towards the metals island and used Dinghy (which allows the ship a free action to explore a ship or island within S of it) to transfer the newest Military Port upgrade to the Cursed Blade.  The Cursed Blade docked at the metals island and unloaded the token, giving the Pirates another Military Port!  At the left, the Sapphire Sea is towing the captured Morning Star through the fogpool.

Just like last turn, Pirate ships near the northern part of their home island are told to stay away.  The Pirates have something big coming.  The still-damaged Darkhawk II simply heads south, with her captain figuring that even if he can’t repair at the first military port to the south, the ship can at least grab some textiles and take them home as normal.  There is room at the home island for the Agnis Crystalis to dock and start repairing… but she hides in a fog bank instead.  Ships heading home take in sail and avoid coming close enough to dock.  These are strange times indeed… but for VERY good reason….

The Pirates are becoming more brash, with the newly launched Stormy Night using her ability to move the American ship Harlequin (far to the northwest) onto a sargasso sea.  The Gale Force Nine revealed my Copper Sheathing equipment to boost her base move to L+L.

Off to the races!  The new Pirate ships launched last turn from the textiles MP (Military Port) generally head east.  The Splinter is the first to reach and cross the whirlpool… perhaps the Pirates are heading to attack the hated Corsairs?  This extremely impressive squadron is just beginning.  Above the Splinter, note the Harbinger continuing to head south while the Flying Dutchman turns around, pointing her bow north.  At the lower right, hostilities between the Pirates and Corsairs recommence!  This time it was the Pirates striking first, with The Leviathan teleporting broadside to the Golden Peacock and shooting 2/5 to knock a mast off.

RECORD BREAKING GOLD

Of course, the Pirates had already rolled for the Arcane.  And Vesok, and Nuva.  All three of them rolled for the Arcane’s ability to bring a UT into the game on a 6.  For reference, the Arcane’s ability: “Once per turn, you may give this ship a move action, but do not move her. Instead, roll a d6. On a result of 6, you may place a Unique Treasure on any ship in your fleet.”  Vesok is a copier on the Smoke’s Hand (a 5 master in the middle of the map at the Archipelago), and copied the same ability.  Nuva allows a ship within S of Vesok’s ship to have one of their crew copy a crew from Nuva’s ship.  This was once again a generic crew on the Black Pearl, copying Vesok to copy the Arcane in turn.  And this is how the rolls went….

TWO SUCCESSFUL ROLLS!!!

FIRST THE PIRATES BRING IN HIDDEN TROVE…

AND THEN THEY BRING IN EVENSTAR!!!

From Xerecs’ Return of Davy Jones custom set:

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

From Xerecs’ Fiends of the Blood Islands custom set:

Evenstar: Load this treasure face-down, it takes up 3 cargo spaces. When this ship docks at your home island, triple the value of the lowest gold coin, then remove Evenstar from the game.

O_O

They were both placed on the Shadow Thief.  And she revealed….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SILVERBACK JOHN!!!

From JW Darkhurst’s Seas of Doom custom set:

Silverback John: Ransom. Cargo Master. Once per turn, when this ship unloads treasure at your home island, double the value of the lowest-value coin.

O_O

With both UT’s aboard, the Shadow Thief moved away from the home island… and simply redocked!!  XD

As of the Pirate turn, there were 213 total ships in play.  This means Hidden Trove was worth 426 gold.

Upon docking, Evenstar tripled that to 1,278 gold.  O_O

Then both coins were automatically unloaded at the home island, triggering Silverback John’s ability to double the value… to….

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,556 GOLD.

O_O

The Pirates also had 112 gold from resources this turn, bringing their record-breaking single-turn grand total… to an unprecedented, dizzying, somewhat incomprehensible….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,668 GOLD.

Two thousand six hundred sixty eight gold.  O_O

 

Vince McMahon reaction to sextupling Hidden Trove

 

 

We are in the end days….  O_O

 

Last turn was absurd.  This turn is unbelievable.  The Pirates are rich to a degree not even close to anything I’ve seen before in any of my games.  2,668 is a very large point total to reach in a campaign game of Pirates CSG, between all points in play from all the fleets.  The Pirates just raked in that much gold in a single turn.  XD  O_O

This is becoming a sickening affair….

 

But Wait, There’s More

^That is now my catchphrase for this game.  It applies to almost every turn I’ve taken this year and it only keeps accelerating – a trend that shows no signs of slowing down.  The ludicrous gold income number may have been the craziest thing to happen this round, but it was far from the last exciting thing to happen in the game this turn.

With their GSP (Global Surveillance Program) allowing them to see just about all the face down treasures in play, the Pirates knew exactly what they wanted to try next.  Davy Jones’ Key was on the middle Archipelago island.  Pandora’s Box was on the island within the Turbulence area (southeast corner of the map).  The Shadows Hand had fog hopped to the Archipelago originally to explore a different island of the Archipelago, with the eyes of her crew set on a pretty decent UT.  However, a far more interesting and important mission now presented itself – especially now that the Shadows Hand was within docking distance of the middle island of the group.  She had come out of a fog bank ready to assist in the fight against the Spanish, but wasn’t needed there.  Now one of her cargo, originally meant for that other island, would prove incredibly useful.

From my Pirates of the Epic Seas custom set:

Bomb Box: This equipment takes up no cargo space. When this ship explores a wild island, you may eliminate this equipment to eliminate or remove from the game any Unique Treasures on the island before their effects are applied.

This is a neat little 1 point equipment designed as an option for gold runners that are often ruined by extremely negative UT’s like Plague, Runes of Death, and Natives.  Here it would prove even better.

For reference, here is the Archipelago after last turn. The Shadows Hand is the northernmost ship, just south of the eastern canoes.

Archipelago dominated by the Pirates

 

The Shadows Hand docked at the island and was given an AA (Admiral’s Action) to explore it.  She swapped Davy Jones’ Key for Pandora’s Box, triggering a climactic event:

Pandora’s Box: When revealed, each player must choose and put a unique treasure from outside the game aboard this ship.

O_O  More UT shenanigans!!!

Here is the full Pirate Code entry on Pandora’s Box, which proved to be extremely important: (emphasis added)

Pandora’s Box
-When this unique treasure is revealed, starting with the player to your left and ending with yourself, each player chooses and reveals one UT and places it on your ship. After all UTs have been chosen they are resolved per the standard rules.
-If a chosen UT can be loaded facedown it is not revealed until used.
-All UTs received from Pandora’s Box are treated as if they were on the island when it was explored.
-A UT chosen for this ability may duplicate one that is already in play and/or one that has been chosen by a preceding player. The “no-duplicates” rule applies to UTs only when placed in the treasure pool during setup.

By “player to your left” I’m going with the next “player” in the turn order, which is The Cursed.  Keep in mind it says “REVEALS”.  Meaning that everyone knows what each fleet gives to the Pirates, and the Pirates know which UT came from each faction.  The Bomb Box is being used here as a way to throw out the negative UT’s before they can do anything.  That is where the third point from the Code comes into play – since they’re treated as if they were on the island when it was explored, the Bomb Box can be used to eliminate any UT’s before their effects are applied.  O_O  😀

Mass Extortion on a Grand Scale

The Pirates would like to make it clear that they will simply throw out ANY AND ALL negative UT’s.  In addition, if they are given a negative UT from a faction, that faction may be subject to extremely harsh punishment in the extremely near future.  Aka, possible annihilation. If a faction gives the Pirates a bad UT, they might get slaughtered!  You might as well be nice!!  XD  There is no anonymity to hide behind here.  So make your choices wisely and consider the pros and cons of paying tribute to the all-powerful Pirates.  “Now line up!  And offer me a tribute.”  LOL!

This is what the Pirates are demanding from each faction: (this is also technically the order the UT’s should be chosen, which could be important for alliance/diplomatic purposes/etc)
The Cursed: Nemo’s Plans (done)
Vikings: Antikythera Mechanism (done)
Barbary Corsairs: Mask of Concealment (not complied with)
Dutch: Runes of Thor (FN)
Americans: Aegis Shield (The Vengeance of the Cadet Captain)
Mercenaries:  Nightmare’s Knot (Fiends of the Blood Islands)
French: Garai (Pirates of Spherus Magna)
Spanish: Mask of Valor (Pirates of Spherus Magna)
Jade Rebellion: The Ring (Seas of Doom)
The Conglomerate: Mask of Wisdom (Spherus Magna)
English: Neptune’s Figurehead (CC)
The Cursed and Vikings gave the Pirates what they requested.  The Corsairs didn’t, instead placing Skull Spiders (from Spherus Magna) on the Shadows Hand, but it was immediately tossed out via the Bomb Box.ALSO: This should technically happen in real time on the Pirates’ turn.  This means the Pirates would give themselves a UT before it even became The Cursed turn.  The Pirates have given themselves Jailhouse Dog.  Fair warning that negative UT’s brought in via Copiers/etc that would hurt the Pirates will be cancelled by the Jailhouse Dog.  That is also likely to apply if someone tries to yank in Fountain of Dreams.

Also from the Code, regarding Jailhouse Dog:

-This ability may be used at any time during the game.
-This ability may be applied as an “interrupt” to avoid any immediate effects that would apply when another unique treasure is first revealed.

This was something the Pirates had been planning for a while.  They were originally going to send a ship with a Bomb Box to the Turbulence island to trigger Pandora’s Box.  However, once the Shadows Hand was already in the Archipelago, they figured… why wait?  This way they could get a good look at where the other factions were at (regarding compliance… lol) and possibly speed up their UT plans….

I was listening to this mix during the Pirate turn and one of the songs is called Pandora’s Box and another is called Dark Tides (the name of one of JW Darkhurst’s custom sets) lol.  Talk about ironic….

 

To finish off the Pirate turn, the Smoke’s Hand unloaded her fort upgrade to Skull Valley in the Archipelago.  When combined with the new military port on their metals island, this means the Pirates will have four launch points next turn instead of two.  O_O   The horror…. 😉

Pirates trigger Pandora's Box in the Archipelago

 

Pirate Launch Period

With 2,668 gold at their disposal, there was almost no way to run out.  The Pirates got busy, launching a ton of ships just as they did last turn.

Here are the ships they launched from their military port southwest of their home island, with custom creator name in parentheses. (in the picture, these go clockwise from the top starting with the ship pointed due south)

Scarlet Star, Lhikan II (both by JW Darkhurst), Plague of the West (the_grandmaster/Pointless Arrow), The Slash (JW Darkhurst), Acre (the_grandmaster/Pointless Arrow), Vortex, Kanohi Dragon (both by JW Darkhurst), Typhoon, Diamond Strike, Silver Casket (the_grandmaster/Pointless Arrow), Blue Heron (stats by Woelf for one of the 1 of 1 Ships in a Bottle).

Another Pirate megalaunch from their military port

The Slash carries my friend Captain Randy!!  He is now in the game!!  😀

None of these ships are picked at random – in fact, the complete opposite.  Each one is selected for a specific reason, and each one carries a complement of crew/equipment that will help to optimize the mission for each and every vessel in the Pirate fleet.  Optimizing fleets is one of my biggest passions within Pirates CSG, and in a grand campaign with near-unlimited spending ability, I can really execute plans perfectly.  There are so many moving parts to the Pirate machine that it will start to become unprecedented.  Gunships, equipment placement, managing how many total rerollers there are (between Wizkids and customs), making sure I don’t miss any ships that should get launched, making sure each ship has a specific purpose, supply ships… the Pirates are always hard at work on their turns!  In time the grand scope of their plans and launches will become more evident.

The Pirates didn’t have a lot of room at their home island, but managed to put two more AA w/Reroll combos in play; “Admiral” Scathe (JW Darkhurst) on the Stoneheart, and the Mammoth (vladsimpaler) with James Browne.  Gotta throw some history curveballs in this crazy game!  ;P  XD

At the southern tip of their HI the Pirates launched the Smokescreen (Xerecs), Beast’s Belly, and Rhino (mr_awesome/JuliusPepperwood).

A home island too crowded and busy to dock at… even for ships coming home with valuable textiles, and there will be a resource change soon that could crash their value!  A really weird sight.

The Black Jack (mr_awesome/JuliusPepperwood) is launched from the southern part of their HI with a town AND military port upgrade aboard… and the Blackleaf (Riz) has the same!  The Wrath is now in play as well – one of my favorite customs I’ve made for Epic Seas.  Her linked crew Bloodbeard is aboard, one of the fiercest to sail the seas.  She is configured as a shooting and boarding monster.  Here’s a little preview of my note taking from the spreadsheet document… after 9+ years playing big games of Pirates CSG, I like to abbreviate and put almost an inside joke type thing on most of the things I write for myself.

CHO. Massacre w/S Boarding and Grapple Shot. WH, so Cargo killing on 5-6. Currently at +7 to boards bonus with 5 crew.

The Pirates also went a little crazy with the Catapults (2 points each) from Xerecs’ Pirates of Spherus Magna set:

“This equipment may be used on an island or on a ship. If used on a ship; she gains one 4L cannon that can shoot from any mast (even an eliminated mast). If the cannon roll is a 1, turn this equipment face-down. You may give this ship a repair action to turn it face-up again instead of repairing a mast. If used on an island, this equipment becomes a 3L+L cannon that can only fire from one point on the island. To fire a catapult on an island, a friendly crew must be present on the same island; if the roll is a 1, turn the catapult equipment face-down and remove the associated crew from the game. Catapult must be loaded back onto a ship to be turned face-up again.”

The Pirates spent 300 gold to get 100 Catapults (!) and 100 oarsmen to crew them with. I consolidated all the Catapults into one equipment token and all the oarsmen into one crew token. This is to save space on the HI, but mostly to limit lag in the module. If combat/drama does ensue at the Pirate HI (good luck ;), I can adjust the numbers as necessary or even make a note in the module/etc to keep track of numbers. As it stands now they have near-unlimited firepower at their HI and have turned it into an insane stronghold. Any ships that come within L+L of the Pirate home island are likely to be dismasted (100 3L+L shots could result in 50 total hits).

A recap:

Hidden Trove: 213 ships in play x2=426 gold. w/Evenstar: 1278; w/Silverback John: 2556. +112= 2,668 Gold to spend!
Pirates spend 1072 gold!
592 gold on assorted ships and crew.
300 gold on 100 Catapults and 100 oarsmen to man the Catapults. (all placed on HI)
180 gold on 3 town and 3 Military Port upgrades. (one of each on home island)

20 ships launched:
Ships launched from home island: 8 (5 at northern half, 3 at southern half)
Ships launched from textiles MP: 12
Pirates have spent 1822 gold in the past 2 turns.  O_O  (750, and now 1072)
Last turn: 25 ships launched, 20 this turn. The Pirates have expanded their fleet by 45 ships in two turns!!

New record single-turn spending: 1,072 gold  (a record as far as I know – I will certainly have to update that page this year)

This all in just two turns with two launch points.  Imagine four launch points at the end of their next turn when they still have ~1600 left to spend!!  I’m just not sure what will run out first – my time or their gold!  XD

Now there are 233 ships in play.

 

Cursed Play Turn

The custom Flying Dutchman submerged and ducked into a fog bank.  The Python and Tomb of Lucifer scattered from the home island, anticipating the end of turn events.

The Wisp fog hopped locally and ended her move action touching the whirlpool just south of the Cursed HI…

 

 

TO BUILD A FORT!!

Figlar Castle
10 gold
Cannons: 3S-3S-3S-3S-3S-3S
Ability: This fort can only be built on a whirlpool when a Cursed ship is touching the whirlpool. Starting the turn after construction, this fort can travel through whirlpools like a ship, but without having to roll for damage. Ships docked at the fort do not travel with the fort. Cursed crew can use their abilities in this fort.

Flavor text: The Cursed have built this monstrosity, which could spell doom for all humanity. They have now created a water-borne fortress that can harness the power of the sea to warp into various locales. Hearing of the shocking development, some sailors have already given up hope, preferring to simply stay on land.

O_O

Doom indeed!!

 

But before that even happened… I rolled some dice.

Remember how there’s always more in CG4?   Here we go again.  XD

The Cursed use a trio of +1 to d6 roll abilities to trigger another Arcane event!!!

The Cursed bring in Hidden Trove again!!  Then they bring in Evenstar!!!

Both are placed on the Maman Brigitte!  She redocks and The Cursed are RICH!!!  Again!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,398 Gold.

233 ships in play.  This led to Hidden Trove being worth 466 gold – tripled with Evenstar for 1398 gold!

The Cursed spent 780 of it!    (1852 gold spent this turn between the Pirates and Cursed!!)

The Cursed managed to get both Arcane rolls to work, triggering another Hidden Trove + Evenstar event. O_O This netted them a massive windfall. The Pirates used Runes of Thor on the custom Flying Dutchman’s ability, forcing it to work. The Cursed placed a Nemo’s Plans on the Zeus.

This was not the first time the Pirates had played Runes of Thor for the Cursed… they also did it when the Devil’s Sneer blew up the Jarvis with Explosives.  This also marks the second Nemo’s Plans given to the Pirates by The Cursed… this very turn.

 

Cursed Launch Period

The Cursed bought 9 ships.  Here they are, listed counterclockwise from the top with the Chimera pointed almost due south. (not in order due to ships already at the HI)

Chimera, Divine Beast of the Apocalypse (A7XfanBen), Interloper (El Cazador), Devil’s Frenzy, Nemesis (both by A7XfanBen), The Rock (the_grandmaster/Pointless Arrow), Guichuan (southernmost 10 master), Howl, Devil’s Child (A7XfanBen), Gerudo Gale (El Cazador).

Cursed megalaunch from home island in CG4!!

Another epic deckplate as The Cursed delve into my ship-ton of custom 10 masters they have….

Chimera, Divine Beast of the Apocalypse deckplate in VASSAL

The Cursed bought 10 Catapults along with 10 oarsmen to crew them for 30 total gold, placed on their home island.

They also spent a ton of money on island upgrades.  3 fort upgrades, 2 towns, and 2 military ports.  O_O  This could be bad….

I would love to give more details on The Cursed launchings… but by nature of the game, the future, and plans, it is best to keep things as secret as possible for now.  In due time some of The Cursed stuff will be used and then some of the wild setups will come to light.  Let’s just say that most of the ships are absolutely stacked.  I have been consistently running out of point cap space before running out of cargo space or crew to use, so most of the gunships coming into play lately have as many points aboard as their point cost allows.  This is the case for Chimera and the Devil’s Frenzy… which means 192 points between them.  O_O

Cursed had 15 ships coming into the turn. 9 new ships bring them to 24 total.

242 ships in play brings the value of Hidden Trove to 484 gold.

 

The Vikings…

… didn’t get lucky!  XD

<a7xfanben> – Jord copies Arcane
*** <a7xfanben> rolls White D6 -> [1] ***
<a7xfanben> – reroll
*** <a7xfanben> rolls White D6 -> [2] ***

They do have a pretty respectable resource gathering fleet for how underpowered they are compared to most of the other factions.  Their deckplates are being pushed west by the rapidly expanding Pirate fleet.

 

The Barbary Corsairs Get In On The Festivities!

THE CORSAIRS HAVE A COPIER!  They get some help from Woelf’s Gilded Figurehead equipment to pull in a UT!!  O_O

 

The Corsairs get Hidden Trove!!!

It is worth 484 gold!!  Combined with textiles from Marrakesh for 499 gold total!

This shows the entire Corsair fleet at the end of their turn and their general situation.  Especially after giving the Pirates a bad UT via Pandora’s Box instead of what the Pirates were demanding, they are extremely worried that a Pirate attack from the west is imminent.  Hidden Trove couldn’t have come at a better time!

 

The Corsairs with their version of a megalaunch!!  They spend 331 gold to launch 8 new ships!

Counterclockwise from upper left: Nubian Prince, Sea Tiger (the_grandmaster/Pointless Arrow), Anubis towing Elephant flotilla (both by A7XfanBen), Crown Jewel (mr_awesome/JuliusPepperwood), Desert Wind, Sultan’s Bride (Riz; her flavor text by AlanQSmithee), Majestic.

Barbary Corsairs megalaunch from home island in CG4!

On their home island… the Corsairs placed Mons Meg!!  O_O

(5 points) Only one of this equipment can be used per fleet. This equipment can only be used on islands following the Marine rules. This equipment has a cannon (5L+L) that eliminates 3 masts with one hit and can sink ships.

For additional home island defense, the Corsairs also matched The Cursed, buying 10 Catapults with 10 oarsmen to crew them with.  This along with the new ships massively beefs up the Corsair HI defenses.

As with The Cursed, it would be unwise to reveal the crew setups of the Corsair ships.  What I can say is that this is about the closest thing to a super squadron the Corsairs can assemble.  Drawing on both Wizkids and extensive customs, the Corsairs have placed in the water a 10 master, two submarines, two “S-Immunity” ships, a canceller (the Anubis), and a cheerleader.  The ships are stacked and loaded.  The Corsairs are going all out in case the Pirates attack soon.  Suddenly the Corsairs have become substantially more powerful, which is just what they needed.

 

A few other notes:

Corsairs started their turn with 15 ships. Launch 8 so now they have 23 total.

8 additional ships brings the grand total to… 250!!  This means the next Trove will be worth 500 gold!!  XD

Total gold spent on the weekend of 8/14-8/16: 2,183   O_O   This is less than half of what was brought in. 2183/4565=47.8%  (2668+1398+499=4565)  Just absolutely staggering numbers.  And more to come soon too… a point count is coming….

2183 new points in play. Point count in April showed 2067 points in play.  So the game is definitely bigger than CG1 ever was!!  (3516 official, likely topped 3700)  Which means it’s already the biggest virtual/VASSAL Pirates campaign game of all time!

~~~~~

I could hardly believe it when Doragon the Magnificent appeared in the music mix!  Maybe it’s a sign he should enter the game soon….

 

Here it is!!  The whole ocean!  With over 2000 new points of stuff in play, you can finally see some huge activity even when zoomed all the way out!  The 5 Cursed 10 masters in the northwest stand out, while the northeast becomes even more of a hub than it already was.  Click to see the full size version where you can zoom in easily.

VASSAL Campaign Game 4 - Mid August, 2020

 

Big News:

-At the end of today’s play on August 16th, the Vikings recommitted to their alliance with the Barbary Corsairs.  Both factions see the need to stay together at a time when unprecedented and rapid growth of their unpredictable Pirate neighbors threatens their very existence.

-The Pirates and The Cursed have independently threatened violence against all three of the other factions with copiers (Vikings, Corsairs, Conglomerate).  The messages basically said if you copy Arcane/etc to bring harm to the Pirates or Cursed, they will respond with immediate aggression.  Even going so far as to say a faction that does the wrong thing may face extinction in short order.  O_O

-The game is becoming more complicated from a diplomatic or political perspective.  This crazy turn is resulting in more messages being sent among the factions than usual.  This could mean a lot for the game going forward.  Just what though, we don’t know….

BREAKING THE GAME | + A Global Biological Terrorist Attack Threat

BREAKING THE GAME

Plus: A Global Biological Terrorist Attack Threat

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

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

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

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

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

From there, things quickly got… unprecedented.

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

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

The Pirates brought in…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

From Xerecs’ Return of Davy Jones custom set:

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

O_O

Reaction to bringing in Hidden Trove

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

The report goes a bit out of order here… XD

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

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

But Wait, There’s More

😀  Of course there is!

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

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

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

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

O_O     … You may see where this is going.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

O_O   XD

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

This left them with a grand total of….

 

 

 

 

 

750 GOLD.

O_O

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Pirates spent… ALL OF IT.  O_O

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

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

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

Streamlined Hull

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

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

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

Pirate megalaunch at military port in CG4

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

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

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

Pirate megalaunch in CG4 July 2020

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

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

Archipelago dominated by the Pirates

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

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

 

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

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

Devil's Storm hits Boston schooner

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

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

O_O

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

XD

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

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

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

 

 

427 GOLD.  O_O

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHIMERATRON LEGACY!!!!!!!!!

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

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

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

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

O_O   XD

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

Chimeratron Legacy deckplate

A familiar theme began playing….

 

 

 

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

Chimeratron Legacy CG4 crew setup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

O_O

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

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

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

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

 

From my notes:

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

From the report prior to this one:

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

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

 

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

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

CG4 after turns in late July 2020

Gimmicks For The Win – Unorthodox Strategies for Success

Gimmicks For The Win
How Using Unconventional Gameplay Methods Can Occasionally Pay Off

For a long time I’ve been interested in using “gimmicks” in Pirates CSG games – this is generally any kind of strategy that uses weird abilities or funky game piece combinations to win.  The opposite would be speedy gold fleets, Sac Captains, etc.  Over the years I have seen gimmick fleets win a surprising number of times – perhaps not against hyper-competitive tournament fleets, but impressive victories nonetheless.  This post will highlight some of the most successful gimmicks with links to the fleets and/or games they’ve been involved in.  Feel free to comment below what gimmick fleets you’ve used to win!  (game pieces can be found in the Master Spreadsheet)

Examples

Mind Control

This is a fleet designed to control the enemy’s fleet using a combination of All-Powerful, L-movers, and powerful Mysterious Island effects.  I created it back in 2012, my second year in the online community.  It’s still my favorite gimmick fleet and sometimes my favorite fleet overall.  Against some other gimmick fleets it went 4-1 in 5 games!

“Invincible” Home Island Raiders

Using the “This ship cannot be shot at while docked” ability, you can make home island raiders even scarier than they normally are.  Dock, take a coin or several with Grim the Savage, then redock next turn to take more or simply stall out while your opponent can’t shoot.  When combined with a 10 master (very difficult to take down with ramming and boarding) and/or Ghost Ship/Secret Hold (very hard for opponent to take gold back before you dock it home), this is one of the nastiest combos I’ve ever seen.  This is a strategy I’ve pulled off a few times – first with 200 point Water World (one of the only games I’ve ever played where EVERYTHING went right; 35-0 victory), and also in a VASSAL game with my Best Raiders of Spain fleet (29-15-0 victory).  There were some house rules in play, but the Cursed fleet that won my 6×150 game used the wild Guichuan combo to devastating effect.  Check out this crazy turn!  This was absolutely filthy.

 

Grim the Savage teamed with Bianco’s Haulers for an international stealing party for the ages, raking in a TON of gold. I think the Guichuan may have stolen 6 coins from the Golden Cranes fleet and another 6 from the JV’s home island. If someone had been stupid enough to sink her and trigger Neptune’s Figurehead, there’s a solid chance she would have sunk the Eighth Wonder at the end or even gone after the French or EM HI’s for more booty.

Now that it has succeeded twice, it can honestly be called a very viable combo in large games.

Capture Everything

I piled all of the ship-stealers (Commander Temple ability) into one fleet.  I used it to win a narrow Circle of Blood game 85-81.

Calypso in Small Games

These fleets needs to be tested more, but it showed some potential.  This fleet won 55-0.  Even in a non-Pirate fleet, Calypso’s whirlpool creation ability can be used to dramatically shorten gold running voyages and allow for sneak attacks on enemy positions. (including a win over a fast Pirate fleet)

Calypso Jade fleet wins - Gimmicks for the win!

Dead Man’s Chest UT Fleet

LordStu’s funny idea has real potential – it went 2-1 in a 3 game series against the original UPS fleet!  I’m not finding the fleet archived from MT or in a saved picture, but it basically uses ships stuffed with oarsmen to win if you can get the DMC UT home and convert all the oarsmen into 16 gold.  XD

Thanks for reading about how you can use gimmicks for the win!  Comment below your own improbable victories using gimmick fleets!

6×150: My 2019 Game of the Year

6 Fleets, 150 Points – September 2019

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

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

House Rules

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

The Fleets

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

In the order of play

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

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

Cursed fleet

2. Golden Cranes – Hoist Madness!

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

Golden Cranes - Hoist Madness!

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

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

English Mercenaries fleet

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

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

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

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

French fleet

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

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

Jade Viking fleet

6. Crew Recycling 2.0

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

Crew Recycling 2.0

Setup

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

6x150: My 2019 Game of the Year

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

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

gold distribution

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

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

eastern half of ocean for 6x150 game

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

great turtle bay

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

wind blowing north

Crew Recycling 2.0 fleet

Crew Recycling 2.0 fleet

Tall ships loom in the background above the bay:

Crew Recycling 2.0 fleet

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

Shipwreck Cove

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

The Game

The Cursed got things started with a BANG!  😀

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

play begins!

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

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

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

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

OR SO THEY THOUGHT.  O_O

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

Celtic Fury dismasted

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

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

Here is the second turn by The Cursed!

The Sea Rat explores new waters:

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

The immense Guichuan looms above:

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

Frontier on Ocean's Edge waterfall

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

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

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

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

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

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

To the east!

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

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

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

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

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

Baochuan deckplate situation

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

As expected the Crew Recyclers clash with the English!

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

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

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

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

eastern half of ocean

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

6x150: My 2019 Game of the Year

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

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

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

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

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

Cursed 10 masters dominant

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

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

Maui's Fishhook

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

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

6x150: My 2019 Game of the Year

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

6x150: My 2019 Game of the Year

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

Frontier explores shipwreck

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

Shipwreck Cove illuminated

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

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

HMS Gallows attacks

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

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

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

TIME FOR CHAOS!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baochuan in battle

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

An incredible sight:

An incredible sight

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

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

GOODBYE FRENCH!!

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

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

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

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

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

Wow.  Time for another fleet!

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

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

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

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

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

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

After another round, here is the map:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

A Fearsome Creature surrounds the Rattlesnake!

A Fearsome Creature surrounds the Rattlesnake!

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

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

Really love everything about this picture.

Pirates CSG game 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here comes the Delusion!

Here comes the Delusion!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

wind shifts north

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

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

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

Pirates CSG gameplay

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

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

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

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

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

Delusion 10 master in action with Christian Fiore

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

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

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

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

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

Another shift in the wind!

Another shift in the wind!

Game video of Cursed turn!

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

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

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

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

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

Jade Vikings fleet operations

Game video: big Cursed turn and aftermath!

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

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

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

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

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

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

turtles dying in water

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

Game video: overview of first 2 rounds of the day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wizkids Pirates game in progress, game being played

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

Guichuan

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

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

English Mercenaries in a big gearing up phase:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

La Monarca

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

Guichuan turns south

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

6x150: My 2019 Game of the Year

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

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

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

Asgard explores

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

Naegling dismasts Le Pluton

The 6 signals a dramatic shift in the wind!

wind shifts east!

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

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

Game video: overview of Day 2!

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

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

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

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

Cursed operations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guichuan ship deckplate is loaded

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cursed big turn

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

Delusion deckplate with crew - Pirates CSG

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

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

whirlpool arrival

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

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

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

AA rolls successful

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

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

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

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

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

And off I went!  XD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Delusion with masts toppled over the side

Can the Cursed recover to have a chance at winning?

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

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

Time to flee!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

overhead shot of map

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

 

Day 4 Begins with Amazement!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guichuan under fire

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

10 masted junk sea battle at Ocean's Edge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ships arrive via whirlpool

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

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

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

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

Much jockeying for position:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

shots miss

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guichuan wins boarding party against Maui's Fishhook

(only the American oarsman was “recycled”)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT A TURN!!

Cursed epic turn is complete

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

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

decision time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ocean map view

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

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

The wind shifts and blows north!

The wind shifts and blows north!

The Cursed score a coup??

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the game gets weird

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

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

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

The Baochuan is back!  Dragon Eyes captures The Inquisitor!

The wind shifts to the east:

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

STOP!!!!

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

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

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

Wow!!   With that the game was finally over.

Wow!!   With that the game was finally over.

The Final Scores

In first place are The Cursed!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Crew Recyclers: 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please comment below what you thought of this game!  😀

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!

Admiral A7XfanBen, Master Strategist

Admiral A7XfanBen, Master Strategist

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

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

VASSAL Campaign Game 1

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

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

VASSAL Campaign Game 2

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

VASSAL Campaign Game 3

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

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

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

200 Point Game of Water World

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

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

Calypso Shutout

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

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

3 Player Circle of Blood game

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

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

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

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

VASSAL Tournament #1 and VASSAL Tournament #2

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

8 Fleet Game after T1

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

Blockade BreakerTwice

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

3 Player VASSAL Game in 2017

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

 

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

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

Universal Pirate Shipping – The Best Fleet Strategy EVER

Universal Pirate Shipping – The Best Fleet Strategy EVER

Universal Pirate Shipping 2.0

Universal Pirate Shipping 2.0 on the verge of winning the ultra-competitive VASSAL Tournament #2

From a discussion on Miniature Trading in September 2016

You may have heard me mention the “UPS” (Universal Pirate Shipping) fleets before, created by darrin. I am still somewhat puzzled by the lack of discussion, commenting, and voting not just on these fleets, but on the strategy of it all.

Perhaps it’s due to confusion surrounding Captain Jack Sparrow? I didn’t understand the entire “UPS” strategy at first, and I still think that CJS is the most confusing crew in the game. Is it just too cheesy?

Part of what makes me puzzled is just how amazing the strategy is for gameplay. I would argue that it is on par with about anything in terms of pure effectiveness, especially when done correctly. Combined the UPS fleets have a general record of 11-3 in my games, and have completely destroyed other competitive fleets.

Here are the fleets for reference, along with their current records from my games.  The records may not look as impressive as you’d expect, but they are the result of playing against similarly hyper-competitive fleets.

UPS 4.0

UPS 4.0 in action against my EA Gold Runners fleet

Universal Pirate Shipping (UPS 1.0) (1-2)

UPS 2 (15-5)

UPS 4 (4-2)

And another variant:
Darrin’s Gold Race fleet (7-5)

Here is a variant I came up with recently:
UPS 5 (11-5)
(UPS 3 is illegal) 

My UPS 5 fleet has advanced to the finals of Tournament 1. It will also participate in T2, a tournament that will also see fleets like UPS 2, UPS 4, and Hai Peng Fort Frenzy (HPFF) compete. If I had to bet on a fleet to win T2 and therefore be crowned the best existing fleet of all-time, I would pick a UPS fleet. Of course, many games will have to be played to get to that point. But still, Universal Pirate Shipping is simply one of the most effective strategies for winning games, and seems grossly underrepresented and underrated (and possibly misunderstood) by the Pirates community.

2019 Update

UPS 2 won VASSAL Tournament #2, beating another fleet using Captain Jack Sparrow in the Finals.  Further proving that this is the best fleet strategy in Pirates CSG history, and the most-proven way to win games.

The following is the discussion that took place at Miniature Trading in September 2016.

Woelf Responds

Captain Jack Sparrow

Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean set

I think the lack of discussion around the crew isn’t because he’s confusing, it’s because he has one of the most poorly-though-out abilities in the entire game and is ridiculously easy to abuse.

It’s not even clear what that ability is supposed to represent thematically. Maybe it does reference some specific event in one of the movies, but whatever it was, it definitely doesn’t account for how the ability can be used repeatedly to send treasure after treasure home.

There’s no question that a fleet set up to (ab)use his ability will be effective, it’s more a matter of whether your opponent will be able to keep up with it without resorting to something similarly broken and/or without using a fleet specifically designed to counter this.

Good points. However, he isn’t banned (even if he should be, or if the ability should have never been invented in the first place), so his fleets are still (in my opinion) the favorite to win Tournament 2 and be crowned the best fleet of all-time. I suppose there can be a “best non-UPS fleet”, but he’s not the only thing in the game that is easy to abuse. Things like the Banshee’s Cry, sac captains, cheap extra actions, events, and even cancellers have been around longer than CJS’s ability, and are also extremely easy to abuse and are either undercosted or flat-out broken.

However, fleets using any of those things often get considerably higher attention and recognition than fleets using CJS’s ability. That’s what I don’t like – sure it’s cheap, but so are other things in this game that are consistently more popular or even “accepted”.

Woelf:

Most of the others have been “accepted” because they’re easier to use, are much more common, or have a wider range of uses.

Extra actions of any variety are everywhere in the game, and are useful no matter what you’re doing with your ship. Because they’re so cheap and/or easy to use, no one ever has to go out of their way to use them.

Ships like Banshee’s Cry are undercosted for what they do, but even though that’s the “best” one out there, there are a lot of other cheap ships that are close enough to it that banning it wouldn’t solve the problem it represents, it would just shift it to the next ship in line – whether that’s Le Bon MarinLa Monarca or any number of others is open to debate, but like extra actions, they’re “accepted” because they’re widely available to pretty much everyone. Not every nation has one, but others have several so unless you lock in to a single-nation fleet, they’re easy to find.

Cancelers could probably could cost a point or two more, but for better or for worse, they’re game-breakers by design. They make players put a little more thought into what they do beyond just “sail up and shoot the other ship”. Like the other things that are on the borderline of being broken, they’ve become relatively common too, with most nations having at least one or two. Also, a key difference with cancelers is that they can’t win games on their own, because they don’t collect treasure or sink ships – they just make it easier for your other ships and crew to do it (or they make it more difficult for your opponent).

Jack is the weird one because there is nothing else quite like him anywhere else in the game, and because he does directly contribute toward winning (technically the target ship has to unload the treasure, but he’s the reason it’s there in the first place). He’s also not easy to counter with things that are widely available. Negative UTs can hurt him the most, but when you add them to the pool you’re accepting the fact that you might have to deal with them too. Taking out his transfer ship is another possibility, but depending on the board layout that may not be an option until he’s already been used a few times, or even at all.

He doesn’t need to be banned, but that combination of having an effect that’s somewhat overpowered, being kind of weird and confusing about what’s happening, and being one-of-a-kind really limits the discussion about him. A lot of players simply aren’t familiar enough with him, and most that are don’t use him other than to prove the point that he’s overpowered.

Universal Pirate Shipping original

The original UPS fleet, with a proxy in for L’Intrepide

It seems that this is arguably one of the biggest mistakes the designers made – putting that ability on a crew. No UPS fleet uses the Rising Sun or Sol, because of their speed and CJS’s ridiculously perfect matching with the Hai Peng. The ability makes mediocre ships better, but giving it to a crew for essentially just 3 points was what led to the abuse in the first place. (That said, I suppose you could make the Rising Sun or Sol rather nasty if you had Hidden Cove and either a sac crew or Mycron.) 

As a side note, I forget when (as in which set) you started working with Wizkids? During playtesting for the PotC set, did CJS and/or the combo with the Hai Peng ever come up as a concept or potential problem?

I would say that his effect is very overpowered, although at first glance you wouldn’t necessarily jump to conclusions like the UPS strategy.

That last part is part of why I made this thread – no matter how unique, confusing, or cheesy, I think everyone needs to be quite educated on what is arguably the single “best” game piece there is (with the Banshee’s Cry and generic captain/helmsman also in the discussion I suppose).

This discussion also makes me question my knowledge of PotC – if there is a connection, who will be the one to discover it here? pirate shipping

Woelf:

There was some very limited playtesting as far back as SCS, but with most of them the sets were pretty much fully designed by the time I saw anything and whatever input was provided didn’t amount to much.

I didn’t really get involved directly with the designers until RotF, but even then it was mostly just for rules consulting and going over the spreadsheets to see if there was anything obviously broken.

PotC kinda slipped through just beforehand, and I didn’t see anything significant from the set until it was published. I assume there was some internal playtesting, but considering how quickly some of the sets were being cranked out and especially how rushed the PotC set seemed, it wasn’t nearly as much as what was needed.

What are your thoughts?

I welcome all criticisms, questions, etc. What do you think of the Universal Pirate Shipping fleet strategy? Have you played a UPS fleet, or played against one? Do you plan on it? Feel free to nominate fleets that you think could beat a UPS fleet as well. Finally, try to vote or comment on some of the above fleets – as my battle reports have shown, this is one of the most viable competitive strategies in this game, and it doesn’t seem to get enough attention. Thanks!

Rants on home island raiders

Originally posted to Miniature Trading on March 12th, 2015

This was originally going to go in “Hijack this thread” but the post got really long since I’m trying to really explore these possibilities. Not really expecting many responses but I’d appreciate it if you could point out any strategies I’ve missed. At the moment I’m really interested in very unorthodox strategies and huge combos, so the more complex the better!

I’ve been running all sorts of combos through my mind concerning home island (HI) raiders. I’m trying to come up with the absolute best way to use them effectively.

I’ve been thinking about just about everything – Calypso (who has to place one of the whirlpools next to a WILD island, which I didn’t realize), smokepots with the reverse captain ability, fog hoppers, Grim, etc, etc.

Imagine that you had a fog hopping ship and two support ships. One support ship stays near your home island while the other sails off with the fog hopper, who could even stay at your HI if you wanted her to.

The fog hopper (with an HI-raider crew aboard) darts in and takes gold as her escort creates a “smokebank”. Either on the next turn or preferably on the same turn using Mycron or a fleet admiral, the fog hopper then ducks into the fog. On the next turn, the ship moves out of another fog bank created by the support ship back at your HI, upon which she docks and unloads the gold.

I like this strategy better than the reverse captain strategy since it’s much faster and creates more of a “smoke and mirrors” effect, allowing you to potentially go back for more if you can get your support ship out of trouble in time (in which case it would be useful if she had the reverse captain ability so she could duck into the fog with the fog hopper). With the reverse captain strategy the ship is essentially only moving S per turn, where she’s essentially invulnerable but very slow.

Sometime soon I’m going to try out a fun combo using the Akua Lapu with Grim the SavageCrimson Angel, and Hammersmith on board. S+S+S speed with the captain ability with room for 4 treasures! I’m hoping to potentially combine this with some other strategy – I really want to start using more specialists (and probably equipment, although I don’t have smokepot shot) in my games. You could conceivably run as many HI raiders to your opponent’s HI as you wanted, as long as you had at least ONE ship with both the reverse captain and smokepot abilities. If you could coordinate your raiders you could swoop in with 2 or more of them and duck into the single smokebank before you could be sunk, especially since with multiple targets it would be hard for your opponent to stop or sink all of your ships. I’m considering including an escort ship or two equipped with captains and chainshot specialists to try to freeze any enemy ships to protect my HI raiders.

I also thought about loading up a speed demon like the San Cristobal with Fernando SanchezVictor de AlvaVaccaro and a helmsman and trying to use the doubled S+S+L+S speed to get in and out extremely fast, flipping Sanchez at the last second (although I’ve always played my games with crew face up from the start of the game). Since de Alva and Vaccaro link the Cristobal still has 3 cargo spaces, so you could conceivably go back for more trips if your opponent’s gold was still vulnerable.

I just remembered another huge thought I found very intriguing – using a hoist. There are only 3 in the game but they are all 3 masters with a ton of cargo space.

If you could find a way to get Grim on a hoist, the possibilities become endless. Imagine sailing up 2 or more ships behind a HI-raiding hoist and then having the hoist transfer treasure to them, giving your opponent multiple targets! They could scatter in different directions, and it would be even cooler if you had a ship with Secret Hold to protect the treasure.

Hmmm… the Spanish and Americans lack a crew like Brother Virgil so it looks like it would have to be the Maui’s Fishhook. She’s got the smallest cargo but does have Secret Hold.

Now that I think about it, imagine if you could get both Grim and Secret Hold on the GuichuanRants on home island raiders You could use Tabatha McWarren to get both of them onboard, and add a helmsman to boost the speed. The whole idea is to take a TON of treasure using the Treasure Ship keyword and then having it be unobtainable unless your opponent can sink the Guichuan or kill Bianco, both of which are less likely after the Guichaun would become ghostly! This combo gets expensive in a hurry, especially since you have to add the Headhunter: 7+6+3+2+6=24 points at a minimum (a canceller would be nice insurance to fill out the points with). It would be useful to add some kind of Mycron combination on the Patagonia (10 extra points) to speed up the Guichuan to make sure she’d get out of there unharmed, unlikely since she’d probably be carrying the entire HI with her!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’ve always found HI-raiding to be rather ineffective, for multiple reasons. The biggest reason is that by the time your opponent can successfully take gold from your HI, you already have the gold advantage and a few coins won’t offset that advantage. Unless there is some very early HI-raiding successes that tip the balance before your opponent’s other ships can get back, it’s still necessary to run gold normally. The problem occurs when building your fleet, since HI raiders (crew and ships) and the combos needed to use them effectively are so expensive, there’s little to no room left in the rest of your fleet to actually run gold, which is necessary to win most games. But, on the other hand, if you only use one HI raider in your fleet and you don’t give her enough support, she will likely fail before she gets to their HI, get obliterated while she’s docked there, or be captured or sunk while trying to flee.

Water World – at 200 points! September 2nd, 2016

VASSAL Game 17 
9/2/2016

Xerecs and I have played a 200 point game of Water World!

I went first with this fleet while Xerecs used a similarly powerful fleet with multiple 10 masters. When creating my fleet, I was quite inspired by some of the ideas I presented here. With 200 points at my disposal, any combo was possible, even that monster one with the Guichuan. I’ll admit this report is a bit biased towards my perspective on things, but that’s entirely because this was one of the best games I’ve ever played. (as in, I played it really well, not that the game itself was that exceptional) Hopefully it won’t sound too conceited haha!

My strategy going into the game was as follows. The whole premise of the fleet was to basically sail the Guichuan up to the enemy fort, flip Grim to steal all the gold (or at least 7 coins anyway), and then be immune to cannon fire with the Haulers. Then, after stealing all the gold from said fort, proceed to sink it to add insult to injury! The Oxford is the sidekick to the Guichuan, chosen for her speed (able to keep up with a Guichuan going 4S per turn with Mycron’s help) and ability. The canoes provide transfer backup if needed. Honestly, the rest of the fleet was just created as a distraction. Realistically, the only thing that can distract an opponent from the Guichuan is another 10 master. Thus, the Celtic Fury. I chose her because France has some crew with the Parley ability, and using Parley as offense is another thing I’ve been wanting to test further. Roimata’s captain/SAT was the perfect complement to Lenoir’s reroll, while a stinkpot specialist was added to fill out the points and provide some insurance against tough foes. The support gunships are other distractions – with this many points available the Constitution was a support gunship! The Black Coral was added for another RtSS piece, and I thought she could be a backup gold runner, with Secret Hold being extra-useful in the Water World scenario. The Mercure is a ship I’d like to use more often, and was the perfect fiery pest to fill out points with.

I wondered to myself if this grand plan was even plausible. Somehow, it worked.

6 wild islands, 8 coins per island, round earth rules.
Water World

The canoes explored, and the first island sank beneath the waves. I was hesitant to make my strategy obvious early on, but knew I needed to strike Xerecs’ fort when he was least expecting it, preferably early in the game soon after some gold had been unloaded there. The Celtic Fury was to be a distraction, and a suicidal one if need be. She and the Mercure headed straight for the enemy 10 masters, with the Constitution not far behind. The San Cristobal grabbed a bunch of gold but also found Scurvy.

The Frontier grabbed the SC’s gold with her hoist, and I began to maneuver the Guichuan and Oxford into position in anticipation of Xerecs unloading gold at his home fort. After the Black Pearl was distracted by Natives at a northern wild island, the Celtic Fury moved to strike. With Lenoir still face down, I actually gave Mycron’s action to a native canoe in order to get some gold in my fort. I wanted Parley ready in case the Zeus was able to strike first with an SAT from Crimson Angel.

Xerecs was able to drain two islands completely, meaning that half of the wild islands were already gone. This worried me, since I didn’t know if the Guichuan’s potential haul would even be enough to tip the treasure game in my favor, especially if the heist didn’t go as planned.

I nearly attacked the Black Pearl since she was a sitting duck with the Natives UT affecting her for 3 turns, but decided not to risk it. Tia Dalma aboard the Zeus could easily cancel Lenoir’s Parley, leaving the Celtic Fury open to a devastating broadside. The Constitution was coming, but she wouldn’t arrive in time. At the bottom of the frame, I decided to not explore with the Black Coral since I knew some of the negative UT’s I put into the mix, and to provide support for the Guichuan from the west if needed.

Xerecs moved the Zeus west a bit, allowing the Celtic Fury to SAT into position. However, she only knocked one mast off the Pearl, being careful to stay out of Tia Dalma’s cancelling range. The Mercure ducked into a fog bank to hide from the Zeus, while the Constitution arrived on the scene. In the meantime my canoes had finished unloading gold, while the San Cristobal did the same on the opposite side of the sea. With the Celtic Fury getting some action going in the north, the distraction was in place. The Guichuan and Oxford turned their bows west, towards Xerecs’ fort accessible via round earth.

The Zeus sped north, while the Baochuan took over against the Celtic Fury. However, I flipped Lenoir to Parley my way out of the situation! The random coin chosen from my home fort was a 1, and the Celtic Fury was safe!

The Celtic Fury responds with a thunderous broadside, crippling the Baochuan! The Constitution and Mercure team up and sail north, possibly to pursue the Zeus. At this point the game was in a relatively flexible state, but I knew one thing for sure: I was going for it. The Guichuan and Oxford round earthed their way to the east, where the San Cristobal was the only ship guarding the home fort. In the meantime, the Black Coral attacked the Joya del Sol, who was headed north with an abandoned musketeer to take out the Wolves that were found on the same island with the Natives.

Attack! The Celtic Fury dismasts the Baochuan, while the Constitution and Mercure team up to take the Black Pearl down to 1 mast. The Morning Star went through a whirlpool and aimed her bow at my home fort, which funny enough, I had left unguarded! I interpreted this as a potential raid, but my ships weren’t close enough to deter it. However, the Guichuan was ready to strike, while the San Cristobal sailed away from danger.

The Frontier discovered a mess of UT’s at a middle island, which sent the hoist into a whirlpool. The Morning Star turned south, alleviating my fears for a moment. However, the Zeus was on her way to my home fort. Uh oh. The Joya escaped into a fog bank, while the Black Pearl joined the Zeus with her high speed and an EA from Calico Cat. I was a bit worried, but my excitement level was also very high, as the game was about to hit its climax.

Chaos! The Guichuan raids the home island! Grim steals everything! Bianco’s Haulers is also flipped, and I realized something. Originally I planned to dock, steal as much gold as possible, and then sink the fort all in one turn. However, with the Haulers available, I could purposely stay docked while not sinking the fort, meaning the Guichuan couldn’t be shot at until I sailed away or sank the fort. It worked to perfection – the Guichuan damaged the fort on the approach and while docking, getting a lot of help from the Junk keyword. Once the loot was loaded, it was the Oxford’s turn. She blasted the final cannons off the fort while simultaneously firing at the still-dangerous San Cristobal. However, I was just getting started. The native canoes round earthed to the east, and the full extent of my plan became clear – the canoes could use their transfer ability to grab gold from the Guichuan and then scatter! This was a variation on my Golden Cranes idea.

With the Joya in the fog, the Black Coral turned her attention to a new opponent: the Frontier. She hit once, but it was a good example of the Black Coral being my ultimate utility ship in this fleet. To the north, the Constitution began sailing back to my home fort, desperate to get there before the Zeus did. The Mercure stayed in the northeast, and nearly sunk the Baochuan (which in hindsight is what I probably should have done haha). What about the Celtic Fury? Well, I knew I’d need her for home defense, so I sent her through a whirlpool to intercept the Zeus. With an SAT from Roimata she was able to dismast the Morning Star after teleporting! All in all, this turn saw me dismast one ship, damage two others, and steal 6 coins all at once!

Knowing full well that Parley would be cancelled, the Celtic Fury had to make a stand – she was only in the fleet to be a distraction anyway. She positioned herself right between the oncoming ships and her home fort. The Constitution was going to be late, similar to the earlier battle. The Joya emerged from the fog to kill the Wolves, but was set aflame by the Mercure. The grand plan was nearly complete! The Guichuan began sailing for home with her stolen gold, while the Oxford easily sank the remains of Xerecs’ home fort, leaving the Black Coral utility player to deal with the weakened San Cristobal (making the SC the 3rd ship the Black Coral engaged during this game).

Here the Zeus has blasted the Celtic Fury to pieces! 8 shots hit their mark, and a second 10 master was ruined.

For trivia reasons I wanted to do what could have been the first inter-world (?) gold transfer: using the canoe’s ability to transfer a coin from a canoe in the west to a canoe in the east. It didn’t quite happen, partly because I was in a rush to get home. Predictably, the Celtic Fury hit with a regular cannon but not with her stinkpot specialist, which could have given the Zeus some big problems if it had hit. In other news, the Black Coral missed the San Cristobal all three times while the Mercure captured the Baochuan! Knowing how unlikely it would be to tow her home and use her, I was mostly after the Baochuan for Zheng He’s admiral ability, which would give me two along with the Headhunter. At this point I wasn’t worried about the gold remaining on islands – I knew I had enough to win between the gold in my fort and the gold coming home from the Guichuan’s heist. The last thing I wanted was the game to end since the islands had disappeared, because I knew I had an inferior gold fleet.

The Zeus sinks the Celtic Fury! The showdown is at hand! (and the Black Coral finally dismasts the San Cristobal heh)

The Zeus reaches my fort and blasts away! She hits 6 times in 9 shots – if all 9 had hit, my fort would have sunk. Alas, the odds were not in Xerecs’ favor at this point. I returned fire with my fort, the Constitution, and the Guichuan, who was just able to get some guns in range. The ending was rather bizarre, with two 10 masters fighting with a floating fort in between them. The canoes had just docked home some gold from the heist. To add to the strange finale, Lord Mycron’s ship (the Patagonia) was actually in the Guichuan’s way of getting more cannons in range, but the Patagonia couldn’t move out of the way since that would mean Mycron wouldn’t give his action to the Guichuan and the Guichuan wouldn’t have any guns in range in the first place!! The Mercure abandoned the Baochuan in the fog (I just wanted her for Zheng He’s ability, which I never rolled a 6 with haha), going after the Frontier. The Black Coral sank the San Cristobal.

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

I have to admit, this is one of the best performances I’ve ever had. There aren’t many games that go this well – almost my entire gameplan worked to a T. It was truly a perfect game.

The 2011 cumulative game – Pirates CSG Battle Report

Originally posted to Pojo and Miniature Trading on November 10th, 2014.

I haven’t played a game yet, but I wanted to document an old game to the best of my ability. Plus, I don’t want this thread to get locked up. 😀

I started the Pojo version of the Battle Reports thread on July 24th, 2011, about a month after I joined MT and Pojo. I was getting back into the game for the first time in multiple years, and started playing again.

I don’t know exactly how many games I played between mid-June of 2011 and July 24th, but I don’t think it was very many. There were three reasons:
1. I was spending a bunch of time on MT and Pojo getting to know the sites.
2. I believe I did a Historical Fantasy Scenario (HFS), which is basically using the ships to wage huge naval wars without using the actual rules of the game.
3. I played a MASSIVE game that was never fully written about.

#3 has always been a very interesting topic when I occasionally think about it, which isn’t very often. Since I started the Battle Reports thread on Pojo after the game ended, a lot of the finer details have been forgotten. However, here I will write what I remember. This particular game holds a special place in my personal Pirates CSG “lore” if you will – all of my older games are documented, so I can go back and remember what happened. This one is a murky subject that is a legendary game in my book, sort of akin to the SiaB discussions and old eBay posts, among other famous posts here at MT. I have found some limited documentation of the game in the first thread I ever started at Pojo.

Back in those days, when I did HFS’s, I used an entire room of floor space, although the particular room isn’t huge, and of course has many things on the floor to inhibit space (but also provide natural obstructions  🙂 ). Because of the huge sea, ships took longer to reach their destinations.

Each faction had a harbour. The English were in the far east, the Spanish in the south, the Pirates in the north, the French in the northwest, and an alliance of the Americans, Cursed, Barbary Corsairs, and Mercenaries in the southwest. The harbours were made out of dozens of duplicate ship deckplates, with “unlaunched” ships sitting on the deckplates waiting to be bought, whereas launched ships would dock in different places in the harbour. I used to punch out all of my duplicates because I used them for HFS’s and because I hadn’t started trading here yet.

Edit (7/22/2015): I’ve made a harbour example. Here’s what a typical harbour would look like:
2011 cumulative game

The game was a cumulative one, where points are spent as the game goes along to build up your fleet. However, there was a distinguishing factor that set this game apart from all others that I’ve played: the treasure distribution.

Normally for a cumulative game, each island starts out with maybe 3 or 4 treasure coins each, and treasure magically replenishes itself at the end of each turn until the original max is reached. However, when I did HFS’s, I would simply stack as much treasure on the islands as possible. When I say stack, I mean STACK. Each stack of coins would be at least 10 coins high (usually more I think), and there would be a minimum of (probably) around 6 or more stacks per island. This was the case for EVERY island, not just some “Paradise Island” in the middle. (You can see where this is going  O_O)

Since I was so used to placing treasure like this, I did the same for the cumulative game. I can’t remember if I ever had the treasure replenish itself as well, but either way there was basically so much gold on every island that you could barely see the island itself, not to mention that the stacks were taller than some of the ships. XD

Edit (11/27/2015): Here’s an example of what an average wild island would look like for this game:
2011 cumulative game

Also, I used custom rules with the introduction of infantry and artillery units from RISK, but they didn’t play a big factor in the game.

EDIT: I wrote all of this before I found the old thread on Pojo, which I’ll quote from occasionally to supplement the report I wrote today.

06-20-2011

a7xfanben wrote:
I am starting a long game where each player starts with 20 points for ships/crew. I placed 20 islands in my room, 14 of them mysterious. I placed all of my unique treasure, and I am going to experiment using the infantry and artillery units from Risk (I don’t have any forts, sadly). Here are my rules for them (still in the early stages):

Infantrymen units (cost two points): They can be stationed at home harbour (or home island, I use harbours so I can fit all the ships) or on island. A player with an infantry or artillery unit on an island is occupying the island. The infantrymen are eligible for invasions/shoot actions. Invasions: An invasion counts as a general action. Therefore, a ship cannot dock at an island and invade that same turn unless her ability lets her dock and explore in the same move action.

The infantry units act as returning fire, not as an actual cannon. When an enemy ship fires on them, and misses twice in a row, one mast from the enemy ship is eliminated. Boarding parties: When an enemy attempts to invade, they roll on a boarding party as normal. For the designated infantry unit, roll a d6 and add one. If the ship has the higher result, the infantry unit is eliminated and the controller of the ship is allowed to place one of their own infantry units from that ship on the island. Each infantry unit represents one short-range three-rank cannon, for land combat (these cannons can only shoot at other infantry/artillery units). An infantry unit is not allowed a land shoot action the turn it is landed successfully. Infantry units take up one cargo space.

Artillery units (six points): Can be used in invasions, and can be stationed on island or at harbour. On land, they are a long-range two-rank cannon and require two hits from the same infantry shoot action to be eliminated. They can shoot at enemy ships as a regular shoot action, and are mobile (you can position them at any place on the island for optimum range), but cannot be given any extra actions. Artillery units take up two cargo spaces.

 

This game was bizarre in many ways: unspeakable amounts of gold, huge distances between harbours that hindered battling, and weird rulings that came up as part of my house-rulings and somewhat limited collection.

06-21-2011

a7xfanben wrote:
I am making progress on my big game today. The French and alliance of American/Mercenary/Cursed/Corsair have had terrible luck with island placement and mysterious islands. The Spanish were the first to purchase infantry and artillery units for the defense of their harbour. It has been all gold collecting so far, but now the Pirates are gunning to take down what looks to be the fastest-starting faction, the Spanish (mainly because of the Joya del Sol with a helmsman). The Pirates are sending the Revenant and some supporting ships (Muerta de la Corona for +1 to cannon rolls against Spanish ships, and Freedom for gold stealing) to wreak havoc. I am playing as the English, and my harbour is somewhat isolated, at one end of the room, but I have been able to buy some good ships for this gold-running start (HMS Hyena is 9 pts. for S+S and five cargo spaces, HMS King Edward has six cargo spaces).

 

The Pirates began a small fight against the Spanish in the middle of the ocean between their two harbours, but the first action didn’t last long at all. However, it made the Pirates hate the Spanish, which would become more important later on.

I remember the English having to travel the furthest distance to get to their wild island(s), and so they wanted to expand to some more. The Spanish were the closest harbour, and so the English picked on them. (the Pirates were to the north, but their harbour lay around the corner of a cape, so they were harder to get to.) Some English ships including HMS Leicester began attacking the Spanish, inflicting heavy losses on both sides. The attack was eventually repulsed because it was so close to the Spanish harbour, so the Spanish had a much easier time getting reinforcements to the front lines.

Probably the most memorable part of this game was the system of chain exploring set up by the Spanish. The following is a quote from the Rules Thread.

 

a7xfanben wrote:
Warning: This is extremely specific and impractical. It only would only be feasible in huge games, and games where the islands have more treasure on them than normal (a non-standard game with stacks of treasure on islands, or treasure that replenishes each turn). Line up a bunch of empty ships touching at the bow and stern, with the lead ship in the line docked at a wild island. The final ship is docked at your home island. Ideally the island is as close to home as possible. Also, it would help if all of the ships had the same cargo hold. The lead ship explores the island, and each ship on down the line explores the ship in front of her, taking the treasure all the way to the last ship, where it is automatically unloaded.

This is too wacky to even try in 99.9% of games, but in this way you could have a supply line of ships that automatically transports treasure from an island to your home island.

 

Due to the fact that cumulative games don’t have a point limit, this particular game lent itself well to exploiting this idea. The Spanish had a perfect storm going: there were huge stacks of treasure on the wild islands, one of these islands was close to their harbour, and they had bought a lot of ships (the only ones I know for sure were two copies of the Cazador del Pirata) with around 3 masts and at least 3 cargo hold.

With the nearby island to the north of their harbour, the Spanish set up the system. One ship docked at the island, and then another ship lashed herself to the stern of the first ship, with the last ship being docked at the Spanish harbour. The line was at least 5 ships long, maybe 7 or 8. There may have actually been TWO lines, but I don’t know for sure. In addition, they still had a handful of ships sailing to and from the island as normal and bringing back gold. I would estimate that the whole operation consisted of at least 20 ships, all at this one island. (I think they almost were able to set up a second line of ships to another island, but they got attacked before it could be completed.)

Naturally the Spanish were getting rich very fast, milking one island for probably an average of at least 5 coins per turn overall. They launched more ships, both goldships and gunships, making their fleet even more impressive. This is not to say that all of the other factions struggled, for they were generally successful in running gold in a normal fashion. The Spanish were the only ones to set up the chain-exploring system, which hasn’t been seen since.

The other extremely memorable part of this game concerned a single game piece. It wasn’t a ship or even a named crew, but a UT: the Cursed Conch. The Cursed Conch lets you sacrifice one of your ships to move an opponent’s sea monster. However, my collection at the time didn’t contain a single sea monster, and so I house-ruled the ability to say “ship” in place of sea monster. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but soon it became apparent just how dangerous this UT had become.

Which faction discovered the once-legendary Cursed Conch? Naturally, the Spanish.   :/    XD

I’m not sure whether it was discovered on the island they had built a chain to, but it was discovered relatively early on in the game, and therefore had a huge impact.

Now, for a word about the harbour system: the harbours function much differently than home islands. They serve the same purpose, but each harbour was much bigger (probably about 2 feet wide by 2 feet long), with docks coming out from the wall of the room. Each harbour had designated places where ships were launched (on the outside where they could immediately start sailing), and ships were repaired (inside the harbour). The large number of docks and passages lent well to “hiding” ships if a faction wanted to do so.

After the Spanish discovered the Cursed Conch, I think they put it on a 4 master, and began “saccing” her each turn to cause havoc and chaos in other fleets. The Conch was later transferred to either a 1 or 2 master, because the Spanish wanted to use the bigger ship since it was more valuable.

Since the Pirates were the closest harbour (to the north), they were messed with the most. This further angered the Pirates, who had already lost a short skirmish against the Spanish earlier in the game. The Americans were also a target of the Conch, and they were the first to attempt to retaliate.

After the Conch was transferred to one of the smallest Spanish ships, the Spanish docked her deep within the bowels of their harbour, so she could “hide” and be “safe” from enemies looking to sink her or steal the Conch. However, the Spanish harbour was consisted mostly of docks facing due north, and they didn’t have a place to hide their ship in the recessed southeast corner of their harbour. Therefore they docked her almost all the way to the back against the wall in one of the inner docks on the west side. This became important later on.

Edit (7/22/2015): Here’s another mockup picture showing a harbour example with the Honu Iki at the top of the picture approximately how far back the Spanish sloop was:
2011 cumulative game

Again, pretend it’s a Spanish ship, but this is basically what the Pirates and the Cursed Blade were after:
2011 cumulative game

The Americans quickly grew weary of their ships being moved about by the Spanish, and sent some ships (the Enterprise was one of them) east to attack. Their goal was to sink or steal the Conch, but their efforts were too scattered. The Spanish either held on to it or stole it back, and the losses the Americans suffered as a result of these disorganized attacks dealt them losses that were hard to overcome. Additionally, I didn’t have as many good gold ships for the Americans, Cursed, and Barbary Corsairs as I do today, so the Americans weren’t likely to win the game anyway.

06-23-2011

a7xfanben wrote:
In my game today, the Revenant was quickly repelled from her attack on the Spanish harbour when two of her masts were knocked out from the harbour’s artillery batteries.

The infantry haven’t played a role yet, but then again there have not been any real battles (the Revenant action was the first and it was brief-she didn’t have enough backup). The Spanish have had luck with the mysterious islands-the one closest to them lets you take two treasure from every other wild island in the game and put it on this one before you explore, if you roll a five or six.

On the other hand, the French have had their Petit Dauphin sunk, Danae dismasted, and Courageaux damaged at a single island (Roll 5d6. For every 4-6 result, eliminate one of this ship’s masts). The Spanish are calmly and steadily accumulating more gold, while the nearby pirates are scrambling to put a good fleet together to wipe them out (or die trying).

I am using all of my unique treasure, including the Cursed Conch, but I don’t have any sea monsters (normally it lets you give a sea monster an action instead of the ships it is on), so I changed the ability to let the controller move any ship in play. This has had an undesirably overpowered effect. The Cursed Blade has been thwarted from stealing it by being sent back to where she came from, and the Enterprise was moved onto a reef, losing two masts.

Tomorrow the Pirates will attack and we will see which fleet is stronger. As the English, I sent a squadron to steal unique treasure from the other factions, the French and American/Mercenary. Then I finally bought the Leicester for 18 and decked her out with Admiral Morgan (5-6:extra action), Ducie Chads (5-6 same action twice, +1 against Pirates) and the Gentleman (captain ability and die re-roll for the above effects).

 

With one attack repulsed (pun intended; I think I actually used La Repulsa in this game), the Spanish went about their business of chain-exploring. However, they realized what a threat the Conch was to other factions’ security, and so transferred it to a smaller ship that they hid in the back of their harbour. It wasn’t long before it was the center of attention once again.

With the Americans weakened and the French and English having slow gold fleets, the Pirates had in the meantime built a fleet that was surpassed in size only by the Spanish. As a result, the Spanish began using the Conch exclusively against the Pirates, which led them to the conclusion that they must attack the Spanish or face elimination. A battle fleet was gradually launched and assembled, and they began clustering in the ocean to an area to the northwest of the Spanish harbour, but still out of striking distance.

More than anything, the Pirates wanted the Conch. They wanted to steal it and use it against the Spanish. For this they launched the Cursed Blade, one of my favourite ships and the perfect ship for the job. They also considered the Raven because of her speed, but they didn’t want to risk losing a boarding party. With the strategy they were planning, they would have just one shot at the Conch.

The Pirates knew that the small Spanish ship had the Conch and no other treasures. The Cursed Blade didn’t need to win a boarding party to steal the Conch, but only to make contact with the Spanish ship. The Blade was crewed with a helmsman to boost her speed to S+S+S, and Calico Cat to give her an extra action to move twice for a total of 6S. She probably had other crew aboard such as a captain and/or oarsman, but I don’t remember if I had a Pirate reroller back then.

The Cursed Blade positioned herself at the southeast edge of the cluster of Pirate ships accumulating in anticipation of the upcoming battle. The Blade would go in first in an attempt to take the Conch. She had to wait a few turns for the SAT from Calico Cat, turns that were spent in anxious anticipation. There was also a lot of time spent measuring distances and ranges, for the Pirates knew they had one shot at it. They would end their move deep in the Spanish harbour with ships sailing to block the entrance off before she could escape.

The Cursed Blade finally got the SAT, and she zoomed in 6S straight into the Spanish harbour, crashing into the small Spanish ship. I believe the ram took out a mast, and it may have been a 1 master, which would mean she was totally dismasted. Either way, the Blade was successful in grabbing the Conch. The problem was, she couldn’t use it or transfer it to safety until she made it out of the harbour. I don’t think she did.

This is where my memory fails me. All I remember is that all hell broke loose. The Spanish panicked, the chain broke, and the Pirates attacked! I can honestly say that the Cursed Blade’s action that turn altered the game forever, in a single, solitary moment of brilliance that caused a chain reaction that would be felt for the rest of the game.

I want to say that neither the Cursed Blade nor her crew got out of the harbour alive. If they made it out, I think they were sunk soon thereafter. The entire cluster of Pirate ships (probably 2/3 of their overall fleet) sailed down upon the Spanish, and the battle was on! Due to the Spanish being backed up against their own harbour, the battle was extremely close-fought, and I remember a lot of ramming and boarding. The chain broke because the Spanish wanted more of their numbers in the main battle area, which quickly spread a little bit towards the east, where the chain was originally docked. The battle was very chaotic, because the Pirates were in a manic rage to kill as many Spaniards as possible, and the Spanish didn’t expect such a large battle.

The other factions took notice of this epic clash between the two largest navies. The English joined the main battle, but they did so from the east, near where the chain had been. This meant that the Spanish were fighting two foes at once, since most of the Pirate ships were more to the west and south. In the end, the Spanish were generally eliminated through all the carnage, and the Pirates eventually retreated back to their harbour to repair their considerable losses. However, the English had arrived late to the battle, and still had fresh ships sailing up as the battle was ending. Therefore, they kept on sailing west through the area where the battle had been.

In the meantime, the Americans somehow managed to get the Cursed Conch during all of the chaos:

06-25-2011

a7xfanben wrote:
The Pirates are almost finished wiping out the Spanish, and the English eventually got involved also. The Americans/Mercenaries managed to get the Cursed Conch with the Santa Molina (with help from the Enterprise), but now they are under attack from the French.

Many ships were sunk today (the highlights being the Leicester, Revenant, Harbinger, and Acorazado), and now the fleets are trying to salvage what they can after the long melee and distribute shipwrights (because their home harbours are too far away, and they don’t have treasure to repair, I usually require a ship to pay two treasure points to repair at her home island if she doesn’t have a shipwright there, this is what I have done for years with my fantasy scenarios).

The French were exposed to the battle the least and have the most fresh ships. I am looking forward to the final conclusion of what looks like a week-long game, which will probably happen near the American/Mercenary harbour (where they headed after they got the conch).

 

The French (with their harbour based in the northwest) had started to sail southeast towards the main battle as well, but they didn’t get there in time. However, they arrived in the middle of the ocean just as the English were sailing west, and another battle became imminent!

The English and French didn’t have fleets nearly as large as the Pirates and Spanish, so the battle was shorter and less grand overall. I’m not sure who won, but both fleets were battered and weak by the end of it.

At this point, the Pirates had done a bunch of repairs and were ready to have another battle. They weren’t at the full strength they had been at before the Spanish battle, but they were plenty large enough to defeat any of the remaining fleets. They spotted the winner of the English/French battle and promptly sailed southwest to clean up the scraps. It was relatively easy for them to win, and for reasons I don’t remember the Americans had been eliminated as well (possibly as part of the English/French battle). The Pirates were the last fleet sailing, and therefore were the winners of this long cumulative game!  😀

That’s the best I can remember. It was one of the most memorable games I’ve ever played, and now that I’m done writing this it’s much longer than I expected it to be.

06-26-2011, 06-27-2011

a7xfanben wrote:
I am finishing up an unlimited point game where the fleets accumulate ships/crew as you go along, and it has taken about a week. At one point I had well over 100 ships in play at once…

The Pirates ended up winning, as the English and the French got tied up in a decent fleet action, which allowed the Pirates plenty of time to repair, regroup, and bring back some of their sunken ships.