Strategic Elements of Pirates CSG

Strategic Elements of Pirates CSG

Welcome to a relatively deep dive on one of my favorite topics – the “strategic elements” of this game. I want this list to be as comprehensive as possible, so feel free to leave a comment at the bottom if you think I should include additional topics. Some of the ideas are more tactical than strategic, but I think they fit in the discussion as well. These are the kinds of things I love thinking about after playing the game more than 450 times over a 10+ year period.  A lot of it is theoretical, situational, irrelevant to casual players, and even gamey in a few cases.  Some of the topics I go “down the rabbit hole” on are more for a thought exercise than any likely practical use.

Would you be scared if you saw this fleet across from you? Based on the ships you see, what named crew would you expect to see revealed during play?

Before the Game
Fleet Construction: If possible, work out a build total with players in advance.  I’ve found that this helps me build more effective fleets than arriving at a venue and having to come up with things on the spot.  The Building a Fleet page has more information.

Questions to ask yourself when building a fleet: Who are you playing against? What are their habits, favorites, and collections like? (might help determine face down crew setups or likely play styles) Is there a ban list? Are there house rules? If so, what are they? (it is important to establish house rules in advance if possible) Will players gang up on you and try to take you out of the game if you use certain overpowered (OP) items? Has a “fleet tier” been established prior to playing? For example, is the game going to be of a casual nature, or more competitive?  In my experience, even in “casual” settings players tend to use pretty high-quality ships.

Look at the other fleets!  Something I forget to do in some casual games is get a good look at the opposition before going into the setup and gameplay.  It pays to know each special ability on each ship in play, which is always public information.  It also helps to know how many crew are on each ship, even if all of them are face down.  For example, if a ship has 5 cargo spaces but 6 crew aboard, there must be a crew that doesn’t take up cargo space (usually an oarsman) or/and a link.  If a player has their crew unpunched in a stack under a ship’s deckplate, ask them how many crew are aboard and what their nationalities are.  It’s understandable that people don’t want to punch out crew chips (especially named crew), but the normal rules of play dictate that there is no hiding the quantity of crew on each ship. This will be important later on when crew start getting revealed and you need to ascertain or assume what else the ship might be carrying.

Setup
I recommend checking out my Island Placement Strategic Meta post for thoughts on optimizing setups for competitive standard games.  However, terrain is an additional wild card.  If your fleet would be better served by terrain (fog banks for fog hoppers, whirlpools for extra actions, etc), are you able to argue for the inclusion of the type(s) you want?  Normally fleet building happens before setup, so an opponent may have looked at your fleet and want to deny you from using specific terrain.  Additionally, they might deduce your “terrain strategy” and try to place them far away from any potential home island you may end up at.  It gets a bit “gamey”, but your group may be quite casual about how terrain is placed and you might be able to successfully put extra of your favored type into the mix that ends up benefiting you more than the other players.

Although house rules often feature in the setup phase, it’s good to know the official Wizkids rules as well.  The last player chooses the location of the last island placed.  After terrain is placed, they then choose the location of the first player’s home island.  This makes it very easy for them to screw over the first player by intentionally placing the final island 6L away from the already-most-remote island and then pick that to be the first player’s home island.

If forts are integral to your strategy or play style, it could be a great idea to have each regular gold coin you contribute be valuable enough to build the most expensive fort you may use.  This way, if things go wrong and you only get a single coin home in the early going, you’ve maximized your chances of being able to build any of your forts with said coin. (this works better in non-standard treasure distributions)

Ship abilities must be public knowledge, but I prefer to keep my named crew and Unique Treasure cards hidden out of play.  Punching the chips and coins out before you arrive for a game is worth considering, although this level of paranoia is likely beyond the scope of most player experiences.

Knowledge is Power
It is very important to know how everything works with the rules (they’re also at the bottom of the homepage) and The Pirate Code to know the capabilities and limitations of the fleets and game pieces.  I cannot emphasize this enough.  Too many times I’ve been playing against people who thought things worked a certain way and thought they were about to pull something off.  Turns out it’s illegal because it would be too unfair, and because it twists the original intent of the rules and abilities as written.  As official Rules Arbitrator Woelf has said in the past, (paraphrasing) if a combo/etc seems too good to be true, it’s probably not legal by the rules.  For newer players with little experience in how the Code usually elaborates on rules and abilities, it’s probably a good idea to read about abilities or game pieces you’re using (not all need a Code entry however) before trying things out in fleets.  Sometimes just reading the Code will give you gameplay or combo ideas.

As mentioned earlier, looking at your opponent’s fleets before the game starts can be instrumental to victory. Know what they have, what likely combos might be face down on crew, etc.  If they are using English or Pirate crew, the alternate flag artwork could give away crew from the PotC expansion.

If you have an encyclopedic knowledge of all the game pieces and their stats and abilities, it provides opportunities to “observe” some games from a different perspective.  It is then your choice if you wish to remind a player that their ship actually has an ability that could help them out.  Again, it gets “gamey” but this could also be used to hurt players that oppose you or are fighting you during a game (reminding a player attacking someone who is attacking you that the Cargo Killing ability works on every hit, for example), or avoided altogether as players forget that you have a ship with the home island raiding ability or that they forgot to give an action to one of their ships.  However, I usually prefer to “overinform”, mostly in the interests of helping other players become better or more knowledgeable.

Strategic Elements of Pirates CSG

What might an opponent do with this setup? What cargo might get transferred to a gunship?

This also goes for knowing how Unique Treasures work.  Strange things can happen during a game that catch you off guard.  For example, at one game I brought a small stack of 5-7 UT’s to a game and placed 4 or 5 in the treasure distribution in the interest of helping my fleet.  During the game a player had found a UT, didn’t know what it did, and asked me for the stack so they could look at the ability.  I was fine giving them the stack to look at.  However, it got me thinking – there are various databases out there (like the Master Spreadsheet) that contain all game piece information in an easily accessible medium. I could have told the player to just look the UT up.  By seeing my stack, they not only can learn what other UT’s I contributed, but they can make additional deductions.  If only one punched out UT in the stack has not been revealed (and is a UT loaded face up) and there is only one wild island with coins left on it, they can make a pretty good bet that the UT is on that island.  In addition, some of the UT’s in my stack were still on the card, which only further helps to narrow down what UT’s might be where.

As far as a “Unique Treasure Meta” goes, this could actually be taken WAY further.  I could have included a deke in my stack – if I included a copy of Pandora’s Box without the UT on it, maybe a player would get cold feet on further exploratory ventures – especially if they also saw an unpunched copy of Runes of Death in the stack!  Additionally, you could leave punched UT cards lying around during the game, perhaps prompting players to ask you if you included those UT’s in the mix.  At that point you could answer them truthfully, lie, or decline to say anything at all.  After all, the game is called “Pirates”.  🙂

Towing
I have probably won at least a few games based on towing alone.  Knowing all the intricacies and opportunities in the towing rules can be extremely beneficial, especially when valuable cargo is involved or you are close to your home island or a friendly fort.  Woelf’s useful Reference Diagrams mostly contain basics and are not needed by more experienced players.  However, as recently as perhaps 2018 or 2019 I learned something valuable from page 10. I was completely unaware of “Towing Option #1”. For example, you could get rammed by an enemy ship, derelict them on your next turn with a different ship, then start towing them immediately with the rammed ship!

Although the Pirate Code often restricts the crazy combos that players want to exploit, I think towing is one of the specific areas where the Code is surprisingly lenient.  I highly recommend reading the entry on towing at the top of page 10.  Always make sure to give a new capture an action as soon as possible.  For example, the turn after cancelling Oarsman to capture an enemy ship, it can row away on its own with said oarsman (often at S+S if a helmsman is still aboard).  This frees up the towing ship for additional duties.  As soon as a towing ship docks at your home island or a friendly fort, the towed ship docks immediately as a free action and can be given a repair action.  Quick repairing and optimizing crew setups on newly captured ships can be very helpful in the endgame phase (usually around the last ~1/3 of a game).

The Americans use chain towing to remove the wildly burning Paul Revere from a battlefield.

I drop tows and resume them all the time.  Towing is completely voluntary and the towing ship can thematically “cut the line” at any time.  Although towing multiple ships in a chain is not legal, a different take on “chain towing” is – towing a ship just to warp it to the stern of the towing ship, releasing it immediately, then towing it with another ship in your fleet in order to move the towed ship again.  If often requires more ships than most games can accommodate, but this tactic can be used to remove a valuable asset from potential disaster.

Very strange things are possible with towing. If you’re towing a 10 master, moving nearly 180 degrees in the opposite direction just a teeny bit will result in the entire bulk of the 10 master flipping around and potentially creating a large “block”. Such a maneuver could result in the 10 master then getting its canceller in range, blocking an enemy trade route for a turn (especially if it’s an Eternal 10 master your opponent doesn’t want to sink), or letting a friendly ship more easily reach the 10 master to exchange cargo.

Whenever you tow a ship and cannot place it directly behind the towing ship (normally because the flag gets in the way), just place it on the side of the towing ship’s stern that is least likely to face attack before your next turn starts.  This might help keep the towed vessel out of shooting or ramming range.  Also, keep in mind that the towing and towed ships can explore each other because they’re touching – this can be useful when the towed ship explores the towing ship to give the latter a valuable piece of cargo.

It’s also good to keep in mind which ships in your fleet should even be towing in the first place.  You might capture an enemy ship with a vessel that has S+S+S base move and no helmsman, but it’s probably far better to have a slower ship with a helmsman tow her home because she can tow at S+S (and S speed is atrociously slow for any ship to be moving).  Ships with extra action capabilities available may help you a lot if they can get a valuable derelict home at S+S+S+S per turn or faster.

Bluffing, Threats, and Deception
Some new players will be overly honest about the quality of the wild islands they explore.  Try not to make it obvious if you’ve found a good or bad wild island in terms of how much total gold is on it (all 1’s/etc).  On the other hand, you could gamify it and tell players that the values are bad in the interest of getting them to not attack you for your coins.  Of course, this could backfire if they think you’re lying.

It might be beneficial to keep a “poker face” whenever you explore wild islands or see face down cargo on enemy ships.  When it’s not your turn, it might be worth it to watch people’s reactions when they explore islands.

Bluffing and lying are two of the most fascinating gameplay aspects of Pirates that I have very little experience with and have not seen very often.  However, the potential ramifications are endless.  Nothing stops you from disclosing information (whether it’s true or not) about what you have in your fleet and the treasures you contributed.  In a 4 player game, you could theorize about what face down crew could be on an enemy gunship, perhaps spooking one or both of the other players into attacking them.

In addition, you can help other players you want to see do well (usually for your own benefit of course).  You can cater your advice to players trying to take down the early leader, or someone who has already attacked you.  You could even intentionally give bad advice to someone to derail their efforts, though I wouldn’t want to and in multiplayer games you’re likely to get busted by the other players.

You can also make threats. Claiming that you’ll attack a player on your next turn may affect what actions they take this turn.  This relates closely to bluffing.  Threatening to reveal a home island raiding crew (whether you have one or not) when paired with a feint towards their home island could result in a player moving multiple ships towards home, potentially opening up additional opportunities.

One thing I have done in the past is offer up ideas on additional options available to a player.  This can be with good intent to help them learn how the game works, or to mislead them.  For example, if you see a player considering 1 or 2 options available to an action a gunship is about to take, you might see a 3rd option that actually does make sense, but you expect to be slightly more beneficial for you in the long run than their other options.  Casually suggesting it might remind them that they could take that route.

Side conversations: Nothing forbids you from having private conversations with other players during the game.  You might see the perfect opportunity for an alliance, or want to share information about a crew or UT one of your ship carries.  The downside is that the other players might assume you are in cahoots.  At which point you can of course tell the truth of what was said, or lie.

Side note: Please don’t take this too far.  Certain elements of the game are meant to be public information at all times – you cannot hide ship abilities, the number or nationality of face down crew on your ships, or the presence of Unique Treasures that must be placed/loaded face up.  It may also be a good idea to consider the “temperament” of your playgroup – if you engage in too much deceit or “gamey” playing, people might quit or decide to play something else.

Exploring, Gold, and Unique Treasures
This section goes along with some of the others already discussed, but is vital to winning. Try to memorize all gold values you see throughout the game, especially those you cannot voluntarily look at again – coins left on wild islands you don’t have cargo space for, gold on enemy ships, etc.  You could even make some notes on your phone to keep track of what gold is where and how much value is left on the islands you’ve explored.  This leads to the chess match of competitive standard games – if you explore 2 of the 4 wild islands and only find 10 gold total, you know the other player is likely to find the other 20 and you’ve got some work to do to win.  Then you need to decide which avenue is most likely to result in you getting enough gold to win or tie – risking your ships to get to the other islands, dropping low value coins to make room for high value coins you haven’t loaded yet, trying to steal their gold whether it’s on their ships or their home island, capturing their Ransom crew, etc.

Knowing what gold was on all the islands you explored is good for later parts of the game.  If you know an opponent reached a wild island after you looted it and only got the last 2 coins, hopefully you remember that they’re both 1’s and can potentially be ignored in favor of protecting the 5 gold in your fort that might get attacked soon.

If you know how much total gold is in the treasure distribution, it’s useful to make calculations throughout the game.  From the gold you’ve seen, you can start to figure out what other islands have and what the other players likely have access to. For example, in a 3 player game with 80 total gold in play, your explored island (1 of 4 wild islands) contains 32 gold, a disproportionately high amount.  If you can get just a bit more from there on out, you might be able to play conservatively or in a defensive way.  In games where the total amount of gold in play is random, the “spying” abilities may become more useful.

Tactical Decisions
Order of Operations – What to do?
Sometimes the hardest decision made in a game is which crew to eliminate after you’ve lost a boarding party. You need to consider the survivability of the ship on your next turn, but also in the long term if you think you can escape in the short term.  This is where valuable crew might be better off thrown overboard.  A named captain might take the bullet in favor of a helmsman+oarsman combo because your dismasted hybrid needs the latter two in order to make it home with important gold next turn.

When you are working with the Canceller ability, what to cancel can also be a conundrum.  It often boils down to the lesser of two evils – cancel the opponent’s captain to avoid being dismasted, or cancel Blackbeard’s gold capture ability to avoid a boarding party where he steals said canceller?!  (which might be unloaded later for a game-winning payout!)

Cancelling logistics get far crazier when multiple ships are involved.  This is when the order in which an opponent moves their ships can matter a lot to you.  You may be facing two enemy ships in the vicinity of your canceller.  If their 3 master moves on you and you don’t cancel its captain because there’s a 5 master lurking nearby, you might take a surprising amount of damage only to realize you wasted an opportunity when they move their 5 master away to go do other things, when you thought it was going to attack you!

The order in which you give actions to each of your ships can matter immensely.  When your turn is approaching, try to figure out the optimal way in which your actions should be given.  The order will be inconsequential on many turns, but things get especially interesting with tight maneuvering, combat, docking, repairing, cargo transfers, towing, and whirlpools.

Positioning
When docking a derelict at an island after the towing ship docks, consider what your goals are for said derelict.  Can it repair immediately? Will it be capable of movement soon?  How much do you care that it remains in your possession?  Can you use it to block enemy movement or protect the towing ship from attack?  Make sure to dock the derelict in a position that will not block your own maneuvers.  If it’s a large ship that needs many turns of repairing, you might want to dock it at a “dormant” part of the island where it can sit for a while. On the other hand, you might want to dock a derelict ship optimal for gold running near a trade route so it can sail out for a coin in the endgame as soon as it has a mast up.

Here the Shui Xian is completely boxed in, and cannot shoot at the ships on the right docked at their home island. Click for the insane battle report.

There are situations where you might be able to block an enemy’s movements simply by docking derelicts at home, or redocking other ships.  I’ve found this to be especially prevalent when using the ship stealing ability, where you can warp a derelict home by exploring it (first seen on Commander Temple).

Positioning is also extremely important in general – for angling your move segments optimally for shooting, docking, blocking, towing, and more.

Premeasuring
This is when you measure L and S segments in advance of something happening, or simply to check lines of fire or see if a target is in range. When and when not to premeasure?  It is critical for determining who might get the first shot in a potential engagement. It is very helpful to determine where your ship will end a move action and what cannons might be in range of your target. This new information must then be weighed against the threat of counterattack, the possibility of a canceller being revealed, bad shooting luck, and more.  Premeasuring is usually worth it, but it could also tip off an opponent to something you’re planning.  If you premeasure an intimidating attack your opponent is not expecting, it might make them hostile or provoke them into trying to get the initiative.

Forts
Questions to ask: Should you build a fort in this situation? What are the advantages and disadvantages of building a fort or NOT building a fort?  Where should a fort be built?  Which location (of perhaps two being considered) is more likely to get attacked or not protect the gold or ships you need? What fort should be built? (often the Revolution forts are better than the Crimson Coast ones)

Gimmicks, the unexpected, and exotic game pieces
This might go beyond the scope of this post, but there are some exotic game pieces out there that players should be aware of.  Calypso allows for nearly infinite whirlpool creation and therefore opens up entirely new play strategies – whirlpool teleporting on a turn-by-turn basis, using gold runners without helmsmen because they will come out of the second whirlpool within L of a wild island, home island raiding chaos, making extra actions even more valuable, and on and on.  Sea dragons can essentially teleport at will, making them prime executors of Lord Mycron’s ability – with two actions they are guaranteed to get the first strike on any ship in play not docked at its home island.  Fog hoppers are a fun way to essentially weaponize terrain (which Calypso also does, just with whirlpools).  Ship stealers (like the Harbinger) are one way to get derelicts home in a flash – especially when combined with extra actions.  One thing to keep in mind when using that ability is the situation at your home island – whether or not it’s a good time to warp home, what the derelict ship will do upon docking, etc.

Getting into the competitive scene, the common version of Captain Jack Sparrow helped birth the Universal Pirate Shipping strategy, in which coins are magically flipped home and “plused” or “bonused” into near-instant victories against almost any opposing fleet you could come up with.  In general, a close eye should be kept on any game piece that allows for teleportation – of ships, crew, or gold.  Most of these unique game pieces (often “1 of 1”, meaning they are the only crew/ship of their faction or in the entire game with such abilities) are not found in casual games, but are good to be aware of due to their potential to upend strategies or in some cases even destabilize the playing field.

Predicting the Future
Try to play the game on your opponent’s turns as well – this is a great time to observe how the other people play, learn what crew or UT’s they might have in their fleet, keep tabs on conflicts that don’t involve you, and plan your next turn. Premeasuring, even if it’s not during your own turn, can help to predict if someone is about to attack or divert course.  You should be able to premeasure enemy movements and shots to see what kind of threat you’re facing in the near future.

However, I would caution against trying to plan things out too far in advance.  Gore Verbinski said about filming Pirates of the Caribbean: “Everything that can go wrong will go wrong”.  The same is very often true of playing Pirates CSG.  The best-laid plans often go awry.  The problem with predicting too many turns or actions in advance is that you cannot predict exactly what other players will do, unless they are silly (or complacent) enough to say so. I have had times during a game where I got excited about a potential future course of action that I saw during a game – an avenue towards victory had opened up!  Alas, I was not anticipating an opponent doing X maneuver with X ship to foil my plans. This is where a bit of experience in playing solo might come in handy – if you can put yourself in your opponent’s shoes throughout the game, you can get a better understanding of how they are likely to optimize their playing going forward.

Ending the Game
There are times when you know you’re winning, even if you don’t know the total value of gold in the treasure distribution.  At that point you may want to end the game as fast as possible. If your fleet has weakened or an enemy is in position to take the lead from you by raiding your home island or by some other means, there may be ways to end the game when you need to. Deliberately slamming your ship into an iceberg or running it over a reef might cause a dereliction that triggers an endgame condition.  If flat earth rules are being used, you might be able to sail your last ship over the edge of the map and out of play.  You might also be able to force an opponent’s hand by attacking them, which might result in a boarding party where you choose to eliminate an oarsman that was preventing your ship from being derelict.  I don’t enjoy when games end this way, but I haven’t seen it often at all either.

That wraps up the strategic elements of Pirates CSG!  Please leave a comment below if you think I missed anything, or if you want to further the discussion!  I LOVE talking about these deeper gameplay aspects and I want to hear and know more about them. Thanks for reading!

Island Placement Strategic Meta

Island Placement Strategic Meta

Lately I’ve been thinking about some rabbit holes.  Specifically, those involving the thinking man’s strategic aims when setting up for a game or playing it.  This is one of my absolute favorite topics in Pirates CSG – competitive optimization from thinking through options and deciding on a best course of action.  It’s a bit more theory and less experience-based than I usually am, but it’s real fun for me to think about.  These snippets come from the Pirates CSG Discord server and I hope to add more over time.

The player who goes first chooses the location of the first island. The second player chooses the location of the final island, which they can place 6L away from the island in play that is already in the most remote location. Then the second player chooses the home island location of the first player, which at that point, why not put the first player as far away as possible?

I can’t believe I haven’t thought of or noticed this before, at least not to a clear strategic goal. This makes it seem like the optimal standard setup (1v1 at 40 points with 6 total islands) would pretty much always have at least one island farther out than all the rest, or would even make the island placement look a lot less like the typical circle or pyramid shape I’m very accustomed to seeing since people often default to placing islands no more than 3L away from other islands.

I think the follow up is: Does an “island placement meta” emerge where because Player 1 knows they will be placed 6L away from an island to start the game, do they place their 2nd and 3rd islands (the 3rd and 5th to be placed) the maximum distance (6L) away from other islands because they know that they will HAVE to place Player 2 at an island that would otherwise be closer? It is suddenly obvious that they will want ALL the islands to be 6L apart to minimize their relative distance to getting gold compared to Player 2.

This could also exacerbate the existing “issue” of speed being the most important attribute in the game along with extra actions. If both players are well aware that one of them (50% either way) will start the game 6L away from the nearest island, they are almost forced to build speed fleets that attempt to make up for such a distance. Which results in more Hai Peng/Banshee’s Cry/Lord Mycron type fleets. This in turn forces the other player to build a more competitive fleet as well, and results in even less average or below average ships and crew from being used.

You would see the ships you’re going up against, but would have to make educated guesses on the crew. That’s where experience and having a somewhat encyclopedic knowledge of the game pieces could come in handy. A bunch of face down crew on the Hai Peng and a potential Mycron ship is a pretty decent bet you’ll be seeing some crazy S+L+S+Lx2 stuff going on in the game. But opponents could also bluff what their crew setups are or just lie about what they have, which gets into the strategic elements I’m also thinking about…

I’ve just been thinking more in-depth about the rules than usual in the past month or two. Plus I keep going first and losing, though this certainly isn’t the reason why. XD

When you go as deep as the rabbit hole goes, you could even say everything is playing the game. Even what you say to the other player prior to meeting up. Bluffing that you’re using a casual fleet and saying the roommate took your tin by accident that morning. XD

I might lose competitive games in the future because I’m bringing this topic up right now. O_O

I just think if you “reverse engineer” it or go backwards, Player 1 realizes that they will have terrible positioning either way. Even if the first 4 islands are set up in a square 6L apart, and Player 1 puts the 5th island 6L away from a corner of the square, Player 2 can still place island 6 (which they know will be 1’s HI) 6L away from the square in the same direction. I think I’ll have to draw this out or make a video about it soonish.

Player 1 would want some powerful ships to stop P2 from getting gold home. This could even affect fleet building for everyone involved – if you know you’ll get screwed with a gold fleet in Player 1 position, BOTH players might just hedge their bets and bring loaded fleets with minimal points invested in gold running.

Terrain is vastly harder to talk strategy about and theorize a “meta” around, simply because it’s FAR more variable than the islands. So many types of terrain, with so many places they can each go on the ocean

I countered my own idea from earlier. Player 1 would anticipate Player 2 placing the final island as far away as possible, and therefore would likely place island 5 in the middle. (this is very basic with the first 4 all maximally 6L apart. Then P2 picks the final location 6L off a corner of the area which they choose as the P1 HI.

I think P1 starts to depend on whirlpools at this point.
the rules don’t specify about agreeing on the TYPE of terrain, so players would potentially just bring a lot of everything and base their choices on whether they go first or second.

Man the meta continues! Because with terrain, P1 can now try to MAKE other islands more appealing for P2 to choose as P1’s HI! By putting whirlpools near a faraway island, it could make P2 think twice about making that P1’s HI.
Maybe this all circles back to the official HI selection choice rule being quite good?

Continuing the discussion on the Discord on 9/27/2021:

This gets into more island placement strategy. Player 2 knows they can put P1’s HI wherever they want. They can place it near their own HI with the full intention of blasting away on their turn (the end of “round 1”) because they had HI protection while P1 doesn’t (unless they keep ships there and likely forfeit actions).

This could also dramatically impact terrain type selection AND placement by P1 because they know they’re going first and will have their HI chosen by P2. If they think P2 will blast them in R1, it could benefit them to place fog banks near as many islands as possible so they can hide right after the game starts if necessary.

FB Group 10 Year Anniversary Game

FB Group 10 Year Anniversary Game

November 23rd 2020 was the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Facebook group created by Captain Vendari!  To celebrate the occasion some of the moderators there played a game on VASSAL.

It was a 70 point game between myself, Xerecs, and Captain Vendari.  We each contributed 10 coins of any value or type, except that each player had to contribute at least one coin worth a gold value.  We ended up with 6 wild islands, so 5 coins per island.  Towards the end of the game, Xerecs and I kind of retroactively decided that it was being played under round earth rules – one of a number of asterisks this game can be viewed under.  However, it was quite a fun and bizarre game.  😀   It took longer and was more strategic than I expected, although that is often par for the course with Pirates CSG.  The game can be a lot more in-depth and strategic than a lot of people think… this was one of those instances where it almost turned into a chess match of varying possibilities, not all of which are even discussed here.

Here are the fleets in the order of play. We rolled for turn order then chose home islands in reverse turn order.  Game pieces found in the Master Spreadsheet.

Xerecs
USS Morning Star + Shap’ng Tsai (SS version), helmsman, cannoneer, explorer, oarsman
Destiny + Ralph David (RV version), silver explorer, 2 crew for Tsai’s Sac ability
Providence + Captain Charles Richard, Montana Mays (OE version), Diamond Nelson Turner (BC version), Commodore Matthew Perry, helmsman, oarsman

A7XfanBen
Mind Control is back!  My favorite and ultimate gimmick fleet has returned with a vengeance after a long hiatus!  As soon as Xerecs mentioned the 70 point build total I knew what fleet I would use.  George Washington LeBeaux’s (GWL) flavor text: “The deep swamps of Louisiana breed a different sort of man. LeBeaux has learned from the mambos, magic men, and shamans that those who harness the power of the loa for evil means are an affront to life itself.”  GWL was about to change his mind… or have his mind, changed for him….

Captain Vendari
Baochuan + Admiral Zheng He, Ms. Cheng, Zheng Li Kwan, Kian Ng, Chang Pao, captain, helmsman, shipwright, firepot specialist (nearly all crew started facedown)
HMS Patagonia + Lord Mycron, Robinson
Le Coeur du Lion + navigator

Being the second to choose a home island, I purposely went in the middle.  I thought of it as a central base or “home brain” for the nefarious operations of my mind controllers.  With a UPS-based fleet (the Americans) on one side and a loaded Baochuan on the other, I went into the game feeling like I had a slim chance of winning.  However, that wouldn’t stop me from wreaking maximum havoc!!

FB Group 10 Year Anniversary Game

Incredibly, on my first turn both GWL and Davy Jones were successful in their mind control tactics!  The Baochuan and Providence were thrown onto reefs, losing 4 and 1 masts respectively.

Mind Control is back in action!

Maps of Alexandria was found, revealing a lot of UT’s in the setup.  This affected the rest of the game, as ships knew exactly which islands to target to get specific treasures.  This is an aid to my Mind Control design by revealing exactly what the fleet needs to do in order to set up “doom combos” that, once acquired, make it very hard for any opposing fleet to dictate the remainder of the game.

But in bigger news… the Baochuan was dismasted by another reef toss combined with the Divine Dragon’s shooting!  I can’t remember the details on which mover was successful each turn, but Davy Jones was giving enemy ships move actions on 6’s, while GWL on the Kentucky was moving enemy ships L (not a move action) on 5’s and 6’s, aided by the ship’s Reroll ability.  Mind Control was getting lucky early on, showing their true potential.  Xerecs made the map, and neither I nor Vendari based our fleets on it.  However, I came out luckier in that regard, with many reefs in play perfect for moving big enemy ships onto.  The Baochuan had already been thrown onto reefs twice, losing all her masts and potentially costing the Jades the game only a few turns in!  However, the game was FAR from over….  I didn’t attempt to sink the Baochuan with the Divine Dragon’s remaining cannons after asking Vendari if an oarsman was aboard.  He said there wasn’t, which I chose to believe partly because I wanted it to be true.  XD  The Divine Dragon (DD) docked at the southern island of the ring, as it looked like a great option to explore.

However, I made the mistake of underestimating what Vendari would be able to do with the Baochuan on the next turn.  The ship repaired with a newly revealed shipwright, then moved off the reef at L+S with Mycron’s help for a second action.  The island was S-explored on the previous turn, allowing the Baochuan to dock and take coins!  She loaded up everything except for Turtles, which started swimming in the water next to the 10 master.  The coins included a 7, Spices, and Smuggled Goods.  I started to feel pretty dumb for not sinking the Baochuan when I had the chance, especially now that it looked like the Jades were going to get a massive windfall.  However, I knew the Baochuan’s path home was nearly paved with reefs, and perhaps good things would come to one who waited…. (though I think realistically I still just botched this lol)  I had wanted to capture the Baochuan, thinking it would be a way to rival the UPS fleet’s gold total.

In the meantime, Xerecs’ American UPS fleet was getting busy, with the Morning Star flipping two silver coins to the Destiny, who added +3 value to each coin via her crew.  The Cyclone docked at the eastern ring island, but it looked like the Providence had interest in it too.  Each fleet had at least one ship basically parked at their home island for a (different) specific duty – navigating, action generation, L-moving, and gold factory production.  Say what you may about ships sitting at home, because that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to sit there forever….

The Morning Star builds Thompson’s Island for the Americans.  The Baochuan repairs twice.  The Divine Dragon is about to explore the western ring island, the Rover is slightly confused about which island to go to, and the Cyclone is dismasted by the Providence, who lost no masts in her second reef encounter.  However, I was willing to accept that outcome.  That was because the Cyclone was able to explore that island before getting whacked.  She grabbed Pandora’s Box, with Vendari and Xerecs giving the ship Fruit and Rum (the latter to freeze her for the next turn).  I loaded up Runes of Odin, playing it to place a deadly iceberg right next to the USS Morning Star!  Alas, the plan failed when DJ and GWL didn’t come through with their rolls, meaning I couldn’t chuck the MS into the iceberg to remove her and all her crew and treasure from the game.

The MS promptly escaped, heading west to a new island.  That made the Rover turn away from that island towards the DD.  The Providence captured the Cyclone, giving the Americans a 4th ship while taking my fleet down to 3.  However, Mind Control still had a successful turn – the Divine Dragon explored the western ring island to grab Nemo’s Plans….

And they moved the Baochuan onto another reef to wreck her!!  O_O

USS MS explored the northwestern island, sacrificing the abandoned musketeer for an extra action.  The Destiny was moved away from the American HI by Mind Control, though that wouldn’t affect much.  The Providence is about to dock home gold.

For Mind Control, the Rover dumped her shipwright on the western ring island to load a coin – it would have fit regardless, but I wanted the full S+L speed on the way home so I had to drop the crew to avoid the negative ability.  The shipwright actually remained hidden the whole game but wasn’t of any real consequence.  The DD headed east towards the captured Cyclone and the island she had explored.

With the help of Mycron and a trade current, the Coeur du Lion sails off in search of wrecked Baochuan gold, reaching the ship easily.

The MS moved and then got moved.  The Odin iceberg moved a little away from Thompson’s Island.  With the then-friendly Cyclone having already explored the eastern ring island, the Divine Dragon picked up Runes of Thor from that island (!!) before continuing south with DJ’s extra action.  The Coeur explored the Baochuan and took all her coins, which combined with the incoming bale of sea turtles to give the “Jades” some serious hope.  (we didn’t use any campaign/army unit rules in this game, Vendari just wanted to decorate the home islands XD)

But it wasn’t Christmas.  More bloodshed and frustration was necessary to determine a winner today.  With their newfound megapower of a “permanent” Runes of Thor (on the same ship as Nemo’s Plans), Mind Control was about to truly live up to their name.  This could be used on the abilities of Davy Jones OR GWL every turn, and here the Morning Star was tossed onto a reef on her way to a whirlpool, knocking free three masts.   Evil maniacal admiral… using UT combos… to become a god-like puppetmaster of doom… where have I heard that before?   …. oops, nothing to see here tee hee!

However, Mind Control would not go unchallenged, with the Providence racing south to intercept the Divine Dragon in Davy Jones’ quest for the legendary Runes of Odin UT, the normal copy (first iteration via Pandora’s Box heh) of which was on the southeastern island.  The Providence hit 2/4 with her cannons, then rammed another mast off the DD.  The picture below does not show the whole sequence, but both players declined to board.  An important factor was DNT, the American canceller from BC that Xerecs revealed to cancel Davy Jones on the next Mind Control turn.  Soon afterwards, the DD hit the Providence twice, and Xerecs rolled consecutive 5’s to let me throw DNT and Mays off the ship via Captain Charles Richard’s ability!!  O_O  This meant uncancelled Davy Jones could resume normal business hours on my next turn!  XD

For quite a while, the Cyclone was kind of “stuck” between Xerecs moving her and her getting moved in other directions via the Maps of Hades and GWL.  At the lower left, the Coeur unloads the Baochuan’s gold, completing a harrowing journey for the Spices and Smuggled Goods.

The MS emerged from the whirlpool near home, where the Destiny sailed out to greet her.  For the other “home ships”, Kentucky and Patagonia stayed home while the Coeur sailed north.

This was a big turn in the game.  Seeing Bad Maps on the southeastern island, I knew I had to position the severely weakened Divine Dragon (1 mast remaining) properly so that when the ship moved with the island, the DD wouldn’t end up on a reef and possibly wrecked.  With the dangerous Providence off the stern, Davy Jones piloted the ship into the island’s shore, triggering UT’s.  Bad Maps was resolved, with Vendari moving the island and DD west, right into the Providence’s lines of fire.  However, I knew it didn’t matter, since the “ultimate” combo was now in play…. Nemo’s Plans… Runes of Odin… Runes of Thor with an L-mover….  O_O   A modified ODIN MISSILE.  By placing an “Odin iceberg” next to an enemy ship, then using Thor’s auto-6 to guarantee GWL’s success with L-moving the same ship, I could now eliminate any ship in play, once per turn, every turn.  O_O   Precision cruise missile strike capability unlocked!  HERE WE GO AGAIN!!!

The Norse god Odin appeared in the sky, called by the great Davy Jones.  He reared back and threw an iceberg next to the Providence.  Finally embracing the dark side and using the power of the loa for evil, GWL (possibly with an assist from another god, Thor) slammed the iceberg into the Providence, blowing it up!  GWL was converted to The Cursed cause, helping Davy Jones to sink a fellow American ship.  Suddenly the threat was gone and the DD was free and clear!  😀 XD

As an Avenger would say, “we’re in the endgame now.”  True indeed.  Davy Jones was getting excited.  OE flavor text: “As his power grows and his minions cause more destruction, Jones has begun his second wave of terror, one that will take his power beyond the edge of the oceans themselves—setting him up to rule the seas once and for all!”

With that, the second wave of terror had begun.  If the first wave had seen the Baochuan and Providence thrown onto reefs, this one was going to prove more deadly.  Davy Jones ordered a missile strike from the gods, who complied by crushing the Coeur du Lion with an Odin iceberg.  A turn later the USS Morning Star was removed as well, eliminating any chance of more UPS shenanigans.  Suddenly the other two players were running out of ships, and quickly.

Vendari sailed the Patagonia away from his home island, with that being his last ship.  The Americans only had the Destiny and the wretched Cyclone, who was still struggling to make progress towards her new home island due to some combination of “movers” (Maps of Hades/DJ/GWL).  In the meantime, Mind Control was regrouping, with the Cursed and Pirate ships returning home as the Kentucky wreaked havoc with GWL’s loa powers.  Indeed, the DD would soon start repairing, slowly making her a dangerous weapon again.

Around this time Vendari had to leave, with Xerecs and I continuing the game.  Xerecs gave actions to the Patagonia as optimally as he could, as we talked out trying to play it like Vendari would.

This is also where things got weird, lopsided, and extremely strategic.  After the Baochuan fiasco and likely being in last place at this point, I considered myself mostly an also-ran for much of the mid-game.  However, now I was in the driver’s seat, with most of the power remaining in play giving me the ability to potentially dictate the outcome of the game.  I had to slow down and really consider a lot of options.  I wasn’t playing this game like T2, where I would pay close attention on every turn and essentially keep track of how much gold both fleets had at any given time (as much as humanly possible given the standard total of 30 gold along with bonuses and help like Maps of Alexandria/etc). Therefore I had no idea how much gold Xerecs had.  Before Vendari left he said he had 36 gold on his home island, quite a bit more than I had.  I was worried Xerecs had even more.  As a result, I had the mindset that I had to play things near-perfectly for the remainder of the game in order to maximize my gold score no matter what.

There was still a bunch of gold in play, with at least one coin on 5 out of the 6 wild islands.  If I simply eliminated the other players, it would trigger an endgame condition and I would lose since I didn’t have enough gold.  Therefore I had to keep at least one player alive (even artificially!)

Three ships remained in play, and each represented an opportunity for Mind Control to win, or possibly lose.

Destiny: This American ship had Jade aboard, which doubles the lowest-value coin on the ship and doesn’t have to be unloaded. I started moving the Destiny away from the American home island, realizing that capturing the Jade UT could lead to a win if I got multiple coins doubled up.  I rammed her into an iceberg twice (the same one that eliminated the Morning Star), but then realized that Xerecs could easily scuttle her to counter my plan. I continued moving her north, which Xerecs eventually did as well, likely because there were still two coins (one silver) on the southeastern island.  In the next picture you can see her moving north after round earthing to the south with only one mast remaining.  Xerecs and I decided round earth made sense for the game (I had mistakenly assumed we were using that house rule from the start since I like it and almost always prefer to use it), but in hindsight it’s at least possible that Xerecs may have made a different decision(s) if that had been established from the start.  However, most of the stuff in play (especially islands) was pretty far from the map edges, so it’s extremely possible everything would have turned out exactly the same.  After round earthing, the Destiny was bound for the southeastern island, which is exactly where I wanted her to go… the Cursed had been busy repairing the Divine Dragon, who was powering up for a critical capture opportunity.  Davy Jones planned to take nearly the same route southeast as he had earlier, cutting through the sargasso gap in the reef ring.  The DD had a max speed of 6S with DJ rolling a 1-5, so the DD wouldn’t have much trouble catching the Destiny whether she continued to the island or made a break for the whirlpool east of her.

Cyclone: The Cyclone still had Rum aboard, which was worth 5 gold.  I wanted to be cautious and fully assume I needed that coin to win the game, so I wanted to capture BOTH the Destiny and the Cyclone at one point.  However, even with Runes of Thor hitting GWL every turn and Maps of Hades occasionally working against Xerecs’ efforts to get the Cyclone home, it would be difficult.  The Cyclone was making slow but steady progress towards Xerecs’ HI, and I soon started to need GWL for a different purpose.

Patagonia: The lone ship left in Vendari’s fleet was tempting to just hit with an Odin Missile and be done with her.  However, I realized that she would potentially be the key to my victory.  At one point I think I was still using GWL on different ships, moving any of the 3 to prolong the situation.  However, especially since I didn’t even want DJ to get 6’s at this point (it would slightly delay his progress towards the Destiny, which held Jade, one of the big keys to my strategy), Runes of Thor was used every turn on GWL but it wouldn’t be enough.  With essentially just one mover now, I was trying to control or delay three enemy ships at once. Even with none of them having a base move faster than S+S and the guaranteed “backwards L” provided by Thor/GWL, it wasn’t going to be sustainable.  The Cyclone or Destiny would get home, and the Patagonia… could suicide?  More on that soon….

My plan was put in play – with 4 masts up on the Divine Dragon, Davy Jones felt comfortable sailing out.  He raced the ship southeast to intercept the Destiny, which was quickly captured.  This netted me the Jade UT.  The Rover arrived home with a 2 coin while GWL moved the Patagonia back.

Back to the Patagonia. This is where an interesting rules hangup occurred.  The Patagonia could ram the western iceberg that removed the Coeur, eliminating the Patagonia’s only mast.  Then she could row over to a sargasso sea just southeast of that area, trapping herself on purpose!  “If a game piece is tangled, you can use its action for the turn to try to free it. Roll a d6 and add the current number of masts or segments on the tangled game piece to the result. If the result is more than 6, the game piece is untangled.”  O_O  With 0 masts, she can’t roll more than a 6!  In that case, she would be “stuck forever”, potentially triggering the “no future move actions” end condition if Xerecs’ fleet was also out of action by that time… BUT, with GWL guaranteed to be able to move the Patagonia L on each of my turns, I could potentially finagle my way out of it and prevent the seaweed from stopping play.

I developed a new plan.  The Patagonia would be stopped from exploring, stopped from scuttling herself after losing a mast, stopped from getting stuck forever in a sargasso sea, stopped from doing… anything.  Every time she moved S for any reason (Xerecs continually directed her northwards), GWL (w/Thor as needed of course) would move her back L.  She had to be kept away from icebergs so she couldn’t lose her lone mast.  I was helping out Vendari!  😉  XD  LOL!  First sparing the Baochuan and now this!  XD  Or just using his last little ship as a puppet to make myself rich heh.

I also realized (way later than I should have) that any/all three of the enemy ships could make plans to scuttle themselves.  It wasn’t limited to one – the Patagonia and Destiny could ram icebergs to eliminate their final masts and then scuttle themselves, and the Cyclone was still pretty close to the last surviving Odin iceberg she could use to remove herself from play.  With the Destiny now in my possession and the Cyclone already derelict and able to be scuttled, the choice became obvious.

In the end, the clear best decision was to put the Patagonia on artificial “life support” to prevent the game from ending. XD   What a thought – Davy Jones’ second wave of terror was so scary, it nearly led to the game ending via mass suicide!  :/

True to form, things went as I planned or expected.  The Divine Dragon was towing the Destiny home when the Cyclone rammed herself into the final Odin iceberg, removing her and Xerecs from the game.  Now it was only Vendari’s Patagonia keeping the game afloat, and she was certainly doing fine lol – in no trouble whatsoever!  Moving only S every turn meant she would never get anywhere, with GWL forcing her back on each of my turns.

This created something I haven’t seen all that often – one player has complete control of the game (usually there’s more of a ticking time bomb in the form of a suicidal enemy ship), but decides not to end it so they can get the most gold and ensure victory.  I’ve barely ever played Yugioh and not in many years, but this reminds me of the infamous Yata-Lock.  O_O  XD  Similar to that situation, here we have a player that continues taking turns as they see fit while completely denying the enemy player any action at all – completely robbing them of even playing the game.  Here the GWL/Thor/Patagonia combo is the lock, using an enemy ship rather than a friendly “monster” to keep the game going – of course, until all the gold in play is mine.  😀  LOL!

Say what you will about this being a “lame” ending or whatever, but remember what it took to set up – a Mind Control gimmick fleet that is theoretically far outclassed by UPS/Baochuan enemies, who didn’t stop my fleet from accumulating the incredible Nemo’s Plans+Runes of Thor combo that allowed it to transpire in the first place. (with some additional help from Odin of course heh)

With that, there was no reason to continue playing “normally”.  Now began “the simulation”, where I was able to do whatever I wanted with no interference from the remaining player.  Xerecs and I talked this out and basically I would spend probably an hour (or more) gathering gold from the various sources, taking care to unload each and every coin individually with Jade applied to double it.  This would likely be accomplished with the Destiny, since she had cargo spaces open along with a silver explorer that would give +1 to the DD’s silver 5.  Since I didn’t keep track of Xerecs’ gold (and Vendari could be bluffing about his 36, though he wasn’t and his gold was easier to track since it all came in in a 2 turn windfall), no chances could be taken – I would max out my gold score to give me the absolute best chance of winning.  No reason not to, especially in a simulation that doesn’t need to be played out since I was sailing unopposed.

The one slight wrinkle was Thompson’s Island, which held the 3 to build it along with another coin.  However, a fully repaired DD and Kentucky were available for this, and I rolled some dice to make sure I would eliminate the fort to get all the island’s gold.  I even got lucky and didn’t face return fire, with a double action Divine Dragon proving enough to overpower the fort.  The other coin was a 7, so the 10 gold would provide a nice boost – especially when doubled individually via Jade.

The Final Scores
1. A7XfanBen (Mind Control): 72 Gold
2. Captain Vendari: 36 Gold
3. Xerecs: 29 Gold

If Thompson’s Island was left intact: 1. A7XfanBen: 52,  2. Xerecs: 39,  3. Captain Vendari: 36

Crazy enough I actually didn’t even need Jade either.
Without Jade: 47-36-29 (with me destroying Thompson’s Island, and Vendari in 2nd again)

A number of Rules questions came up during the game, though I don’t think any of them would quite affect the outcome directly, or at least not overturn the result.

Asterisks: Vendari had to leave early (Patagonia actions afterwards not consequential though), round earth affecting strategy/Xerecs’ play, some potential Rules hangups.

Perhaps it’s fitting that going after the Destiny was a path to my victory. (“fulfill your destiny”)  This game got pretty dark, there are definitely some weird parallels to mass genocide/suicide that were carried out by Davy Jones.  Perhaps GWL used the loa to control the gods…

“Commandeering the Gods to commit mass genocide” – Indeed, here Davy Jones led a campaign that resulted in a brainwashed, mind-controlled GWL to use the power of the loa to commandeer the gods for the purposes of a partial genocide, which directly resulted in mass attempted suicide. But then GWL intervened and didn’t even let the victims get what they wanted, refusing them (the Patagonia with Mycron and Robinson aboard) “assisted suicide” until finally Davy Jones had his fortune and reigned supreme.  Yikes….

I didn’t play perfectly, but I still feel this game deserves to be in my Master Strategist post. Despite my gaffes, some solid accomplishments for just one game. 🙂
Wreck the Baochuan: Check
Beat a UPS fleet with a gimmick fleet/Mind Control: Check
Win the game with more gold than the other two fleets combined: Check (with a proper ending, or “full simulation”)
Permanently lock a ship in place: Check
Use Odin Missiles in a normal game: Check

I was able to insert or “inject” CG4 into this game.  Which is a little absurd given how tiny this game is to CG4, which realistically has over 7000 total points in play, over 100 times this game’s build total.  (and given how long it took to accumulate combos in that game)

Thanks to Xerecs and Captain Vendari for helping to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the FB group with a wild game!

Thanks for reading!  😀  Comment below what you thought of the game!

Cheerleaders Aren’t Useless! (barely)

Cheerleaders Aren’t Useless

But only in the most niche of circumstances

“Friendly ships within S of this ship get +1 to their cannon rolls.”

Ah, the “cheerleading” ability.  Sometimes the bane of a player’s existence – as soon as you see this ability, you know the ship is almost definitely downright unusable.  I mean, Le Solitaire is probably the worst ship in the entire game.  17 points for a 1 master moving L with a 5L cannon!  C’mon!!  XD

However, cheerleaders aren’t useless… at least, not quite always.

Cheerleaders have a very niche use in massive games. They can be worth it believe it or not. They are best as behind-the-lines cheerleading ships that try to absolutely MAX OUT how many cannon bonuses they can give out in a single turn. It comes down to ship movement logistics, which are key in a campaign game, especially during large battles. The order in which you give gunships and support ships actions becomes very tactical, in order to sink or tow enemies at the right time, or to make room for a new gunship/etc.

Cheerleaders in CTO

Solitaire and Crete Argentee at the bottom there in an optimal situation where there is a defined “front” rather than a pell-mell battle

With cheerleaders, most of them are small and can hide behind the big gunships on the front lines. Before giving the cheerleader’s move action for the turn, shoot with the ships within range of the ability to get the bonus. Include more ships by moving captained ships within range of the ability to max out the “first round”. This can easily be 3-4+ ships in a serious battle that get the +1 to cannons bonus, which stacks with World Hater (“This ship gets +1 to her cannon rolls against non-faction ships”) and potentially other cannon bonuses available. With most gunships at 3+ cannons overall, this could easily result in 10+ cannons getting boosted, which is no small thing if you can get it on multiple turns in said battle.

Then you try to get it again with a whole new “batch” of ships. You still get to move the cheerleader. It’s best to have a helmsman, and sometimes there’s a slight chance of it getting an AA (Admiral’s Action – “Once at the beginning of each of your turns, roll a d6. On a result of 6, any ship in your fleet can be given two actions that turn.”) just because of how many cannons it might be able to improve. Move the cheerleader down the battle line. New gunships within range are now boosted as well and you can move even more gunships within range to max out bonuses. In a big battle it’s quite possible to give 6+ ships cannon bonuses in a single turn, which is like having an extra World Hater ability on all those ships for that turn (WH normally 4 points so ~24 point “value” for example), but still stacks with WH and other bonuses.

It also gets crazier because with two cheerleaders in one area, you might even be able to double up because the ability is not getting stacked on ships in range of more than one cheerleader (ability is on different ships).  The Pirates, French and Americans each have multiple cheerleader ships to pull this off with.  You can easily find them by searching for the ability text from the top of the post in the consolidated Master Spreadsheet.

They are terrible in 40 point games, and need a build total of 100+ (preferably 150+) to really even consider using them.

The Pirates have launched multiple cheerleaders in CG4 (being played with @Xerecs and PirateAJ14) including the Fantasia and Scepter. (read from the beginning if you don’t want to get spoiled; then you can continue with the CG4 tag)

So here I am in 2020 after all these years defending one of the worst ship categories in the game. XD  Only after over 400 games of experience and hundreds or thousands of hours playing massive campaign games.

TL;DR – Cheerleaders aren’t useless and can be extremely effective in large battles.

Question of the Day: Have you used the cheerleader ability in a game before?

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 brings 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 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!

FB Group 10 Year Anniversary Game

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