Gimmicks For The Win – Unorthodox Strategies for Success

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

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

Examples

Mind Control

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

“Invincible” Home Island Raiders

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

 

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

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

Capture Everything

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

Calypso in Small Games

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

Calypso Jade fleet wins - Gimmicks for the win!

Dead Man’s Chest UT Fleet

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

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

6×150: My 2019 Game of the Year

6 Fleets, 150 Points – September 2019

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

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

House Rules

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

The Fleets

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

In the order of play

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

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

Cursed fleet

2. Golden Cranes – Hoist Madness!

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

Golden Cranes - Hoist Madness!

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

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

English Mercenaries fleet

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

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

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

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

French fleet

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

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

Jade Viking fleet

6. Crew Recycling 2.0

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

Crew Recycling 2.0

Setup

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

6x150: My 2019 Game of the Year

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

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

gold distribution

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

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

eastern half of ocean for 6x150 game

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

great turtle bay

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

wind blowing north

Crew Recycling 2.0 fleet

Crew Recycling 2.0 fleet

Tall ships loom in the background above the bay:

Crew Recycling 2.0 fleet

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

Shipwreck Cove

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

The Game

The Cursed got things started with a BANG!  😀

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

play begins!

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

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

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

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

OR SO THEY THOUGHT.  O_O

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

Celtic Fury dismasted

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

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

Here is the second turn by The Cursed!

The Sea Rat explores new waters:

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

The immense Guichuan looms above:

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

Frontier on Ocean's Edge waterfall

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

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

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

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

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

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

To the east!

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

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

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

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

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

Baochuan deckplate situation

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

As expected the Crew Recyclers clash with the English!

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

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

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

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

eastern half of ocean

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

6x150: My 2019 Game of the Year

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

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

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

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

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

Cursed 10 masters dominant

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

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

Maui's Fishhook

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

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

6x150: My 2019 Game of the Year

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

6x150: My 2019 Game of the Year

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

Frontier explores shipwreck

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

Shipwreck Cove illuminated

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

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

HMS Gallows attacks

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

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

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

TIME FOR CHAOS!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baochuan in battle

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

An incredible sight:

An incredible sight

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

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

GOODBYE FRENCH!!

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

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

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

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

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

Wow.  Time for another fleet!

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

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

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

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

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

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

After another round, here is the map:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

A Fearsome Creature surrounds the Rattlesnake!

A Fearsome Creature surrounds the Rattlesnake!

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

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

Really love everything about this picture.

Pirates CSG game 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here comes the Delusion!

Here comes the Delusion!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

wind shifts north

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

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

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

Pirates CSG gameplay

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

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

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

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

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

Delusion 10 master in action with Christian Fiore

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

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

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

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

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

Another shift in the wind!

Another shift in the wind!

Game video of Cursed turn!

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

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

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

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

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

Jade Vikings fleet operations

Game video: big Cursed turn and aftermath!

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

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

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

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

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

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

turtles dying in water

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

Game video: overview of first 2 rounds of the day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wizkids Pirates game in progress, game being played

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

Guichuan

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

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

English Mercenaries in a big gearing up phase:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

La Monarca

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

Guichuan turns south

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

6x150: My 2019 Game of the Year

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

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

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

Asgard explores

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

Naegling dismasts Le Pluton

The 6 signals a dramatic shift in the wind!

wind shifts east!

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

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

Game video: overview of Day 2!

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

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

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

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

Cursed operations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guichuan ship deckplate is loaded

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cursed big turn

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

Delusion deckplate with crew - Pirates CSG

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

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

whirlpool arrival

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

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

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

AA rolls successful

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

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

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

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

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

And off I went!  XD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Delusion with masts toppled over the side

Can the Cursed recover to have a chance at winning?

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

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

Time to flee!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

overhead shot of map

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

 

Day 4 Begins with Amazement!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guichuan under fire

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

10 masted junk sea battle at Ocean's Edge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ships arrive via whirlpool

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

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

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

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

Much jockeying for position:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

shots miss

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guichuan wins boarding party against Maui's Fishhook

(only the American oarsman was “recycled”)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT A TURN!!

Cursed epic turn is complete

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

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

decision time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ocean map view

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

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

The wind shifts and blows north!

The wind shifts and blows north!

The Cursed score a coup??

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the game gets weird

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

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

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

The Baochuan is back!  Dragon Eyes captures The Inquisitor!

The wind shifts to the east:

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

STOP!!!!

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

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

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

Wow!!   With that the game was finally over.

Wow!!   With that the game was finally over.

The Final Scores

In first place are The Cursed!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Crew Recyclers: 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please comment below what you thought of this game!  😀

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A7XfanBen’s Unconventional Pirates

The Duque and Raven are the first to reach islands:

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

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

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

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

Pirates dismasting and capturing ships

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

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

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

Pirates area is busy

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

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

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

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

The points and gold of each fleet were tallied up!

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

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

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

Admiral A7XfanBen, Master Strategist

Admiral A7XfanBen, Master Strategist

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

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

VASSAL Campaign Game 1

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

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

VASSAL Campaign Game 2

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

VASSAL Campaign Game 3

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

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

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

200 Point Game of Water World

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

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

Calypso Shutout

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

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

3 Player Circle of Blood game

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

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

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

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

VASSAL Tournament #1 and VASSAL Tournament #2

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

8 Fleet Game after T1

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

Blockade BreakerTwice

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

3 Player VASSAL Game in 2017

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

 

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

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

Universal Pirate Shipping – The Best Fleet Strategy EVER

Universal Pirate Shipping – The Best Fleet Strategy EVER

Universal Pirate Shipping 2.0

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

From a discussion on Miniature Trading in September 2016

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

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

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

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

UPS 4.0

UPS 4.0 in action against my EA Gold Runners fleet

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

UPS 2 (15-5)

UPS 4 (4-2)

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

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

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

2019 Update

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

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

Woelf Responds

Captain Jack Sparrow

Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean set

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

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

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

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

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

Woelf:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Universal Pirate Shipping original

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

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

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

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

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

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

Woelf:

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

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

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

What are your thoughts?

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

Rants on home island raiders

Originally posted to Miniature Trading on March 12th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VASSAL Game 17 
9/2/2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 2011 cumulative game – Pirates CSG Battle Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

06-20-2011

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

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

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

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

 

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

06-21-2011

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

06-23-2011

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

06-25-2011

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

06-26-2011, 06-27-2011

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

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

VASSAL Campaign Game 3

VASSAL Campaign Game 3

Played from September 2017 – March 2018

8/23/2017

With a whopping SIX people interested in playing a virtual campaign game, the opportunity for another adventure has presented itself!

Unlike the first two campaign games on VASSAL, this one will utilize a special ruleset:

Economy Edition

In addition, a few simple house rules:
-No Events
-No 0LR +5 crew
-0LR reroller crew will cost 3 points so they’re not free
-When a ship wins a boarding party, the winner decides whether they will take gold/resources or eliminate crew. The winner chooses which gold/resources to take, but the loser chooses which crew is eliminated.
-Whirlpools take effect on a roll of 1-3 instead of 4-6 (since you almost never want to roll low in this game)
-Return to Savage Shores is available
-Custom game pieces are allowed, but they may be modified or banned in-game (through a vote) if they are overpowered (OP).
-Other house rules may be instituted during the game if players are in favor of them.

This game has two abbreviated names:
VEE: VASSAL Economy Edition
CG3: Campaign Game 3

2019 Edit: You can use the Master Spreadsheet to see the game pieces now that Miniature Trading doesn’t work.

Here are the players with their associated factions, in the order that turns will be taken.

Pirateaj14, Spanish
La Santa Isabel + Dominic Freda
La Monarca + explorer
El Algeciras + captain
Diablo

Xerecs, Cursed
Grinder
Sea Monkey + explorer
Celestine + Master Scribe

Wifey, Pirates
Hai Peng + Captain Barbossa, explorer
Swift + Hammersmith
Banshee’s Cry + helmsman

Vixenishcoder66, French
L’Intrepide
Le Pique
Le Bon Marin
La Bonne Chance + crew
Libellule + crew

A7XfanBen, Americans
Nene-nui + helmsman, explorer
Lynx
Carolina + helmsman
Annapolis + helmsman

Repkosai, English
HMS Bolingbroke + captain, helmsman
Aberdeen Baron + helmsman
Honu Iki + captain, helmsman

The home islands were chosen in reverse turn order, with the English choosing first and the Spanish choosing last.

Here is the ocean, created by xerecs! A great barrier reef divides the sea mostly in half, with the Gateway island in the center where the reefs part. There is a Frozen North, as well as a Great Sargasso and Gray Shrouds in the south.
VASSAL Campaign Game 3

The northwest, where the storms are currently clustered into a hurricane. The storms are from xerecs’ EE game:

STORM
Type: Terrain
Every storm has two sets of numbers on it, one in the middle, and 1-6 on the edge. Once per every players turn, roll a d6. If the number matches the middle number of any storm in play, roll another d6, the storm moves L from that number in a straight line. Storms may move over islands and other terrain.
If any part of a game piece, even submerged pieces, touches a storm place the game piece inside the storm, it is now lost. Roll a d6 and subtract the result from the number of masts, segments, or flags remaining on the game piece. Ships may be sunk by storms, and forts may be eliminated by storms as well.
To escape the Storm, give the piece a move action, and roll a d6. Place the game piece facing away from the storm on the resulting number, the game piece may continue moving from there.
If a storm moves over or into another storm they join, if either of them is rolled, move both as one.

The other fog banks with numbers on them (not grouped together) are icebergs. The Spanish and Cursed home islands (HI’s) are visible.

The northeast, showing the American HI.

The southeast, showing the American and Pirate HI’s, the Barrier Reef, and the Great Sargasso.

The southwest, showing the home ports of England, France, and Spain. Indeed, by coincidence the major imperial factions are grouped in the west half, while the “others” (Pirates, Americans, Cursed) are on the eastern side of the big reef. An island is hidden in the Gray Shrouds, which may part or roll at various times.

Stay tuned, for adventure awaits!

9/3/2017

The third Pirates CSG campaign game on the VASSAL module has BEGUN! VEE (VASSAL Economy Edition) is now in progress!

Video of the first session. “Alive” by Phil Lober is one of the best fantasy/adventure/epic songs that encompasses the grand and epic nature of this kind of game, and provides a perfect thematic start. This was live streamed to youtube but may be quite a rarity because coordinating the logistics of 6 different people across 3 different time zones is rather difficult for the purposes of playing live. However, we wanted to do a “grand opening”, and here it is!

The first resource rolls were made! A 4 was rolled for value, with a 9 for duration. This gave us some time to acquire resources and cash them in if desired, with metals and textiles being the most valuable. We are keeping track of the resource rolls with face up coins in the upper left corner.

The first turn of the game! As with the other Economy Edition games, face up coins represent resources, while face down coins represent gold. Launchings happen at the end of each player’s turn, and the icebergs and storm terrain is moved at the beginning of each round of turns. We confirmed flat earth due to how the map was constructed.

This shows a chunk of the east, where the first launching has occurred! The Spanish found extremely valuable metals on the island west of their home island, and have cashed in 3 of them for 18 gold! pirateaj14’s Spanish launched La Resolucion, giving the Spanish two capable gunships very early in the game. You can see repkosai’s English heading for an island north of their HI, while to the east the Gateway island is unexplored.

Incredibly, all four explored islands in the west are metals islands!! All of those metals are currently worth 6 gold apiece, so the English, French, and Spanish are hurrying to cash them in before the next resource rolls are made. wifey’s Pirates are making their way around the Great Sargasso to a southern island. In the east, my Americans made the second launching of the game with the Rattlesnake. They have found good resources as well, with their two islands producing textiles and lumber. In the Frozen North, the Cursed have found textiles of their own in addition to luxuries. In the south, the French took great advantage of the explorer-reroll rule, turning an island from fish (currently worth 1) to metals! (currently worth 6)

It was a successful start to this grand endeavor, and we hope to continue soon with individual turns and hopefully live play as well. Stay tuned!

9/9/2017

Another live session has been played! I forgot to take pictures for most of the session, partly because it was recorded.

Partway through the session, the first resource change happened! With great anticipation from a laggy die roll, a 6 was rolled for value, and another 6 for duration! For the next 6 turns, spices and fish would be the most valuable resources.

The Americans launched their native canoes, with the chieftain residing on the James Madison. The Spanish and Americans have established military ports on the islands west of their home islands.

The first shots have been fired! The French sailed the Bonne Chance towards the Gateway, but the Spanish were not having any of it! With a quick turnaround, the Resolucion sailed south and took a mast off the French junk! No declarations of war have been made, but the Resolucion also provided the first sinking of the game on the next turn, sending the Bonne Chance to the depths!

The Spanish found textiles on the Gateway island. From their new military port, the Spanish launched La Tartessos, who began sailing towards the English. The Aberdeen Baron and Bolingbroke were taking a roundabout way back to their HI, using whirlpools to go in a circle of sorts. This may have been to avoid the Algeciras and Diablo, and indeed the Spanish are off to a very strong start. At the bottom left, the Honu Iki prepares to re-enter the Gray Shrouds in hopes of finding the island again.

The Frozen North, where the Cursed reside. The resource change didn’t do them any favors, as they currently have access to the lowest-value resources. Although, the Hangman’s Joke discovered lumber after fog hopping to the far northeast! You can see the trading port southwest of their HI, but the Sea Monkey has taken a hit from an iceberg.

Likely in response to Spanish aggression, the French launch two 5 masters: the Soleil Royal and Monaque! They join an impressive fleet of French resource runners, who are collecting still-valuable metals from two different islands. At the far right, the Swift has loaded spices from the Pirates’ wild island, and the Hai Peng and Banshee’s Cry are approaching home farther north.

It was an interesting night, which saw the first shots fired, the first ship sunk, and the first resource change.

10/27/2017

Since Xerecs’ last report, some stuff has happened!

Retaliating for the sinking of the Bonne Chance and possibly aiding the English at the same time, the French strike the Spanish hard!! The Acorazado was sunk (!), with the Joya del Sol and Monarca dismasted. The San Cristobal has sailed in to dismast L’Ange, but the Spanish are in major trouble.

Up in the north, the Cursed are using their fog hoppers to great effect, gathering valuable lumber from the northeasternmost island. At the bottom left, my Americans have established the second trading port of the game, which is right near the first one built by the Cursed. At the bottom right, the Pirates’ Darkhawk II loads textiles from an island in the far east.

The entire ocean, showing the decent-size French-Spanish action in the middle.

11/8/2017

A few major developments have happened! After the latest report, the Americans spent a whopping 221 gold in one turn to launch the Zhanfu, Baochuan, Nautilus, Mobilis, Concordia and New Orleans, all replete with crew setups!

The French have nearly finished off the Spanish, capturing the Joya del Sol, San Cristobal, and Santa Isabel in addition to eliminating most of their native canoes. The Spanish settlement on the Gateway island was destroyed as well.

After spending big at their trading and military ports in recent turns, the Americans finally show their might! Seeing the potential for huge French competition in the near future (a military port about to be established on the Gateway island with a resource change coming soon to possibly skyrocket the value of French metals), Montana Mays decided to launch a preemptive strike!

With careful execution, the American gunships are sent into battle! The Julius Caesar and York knocked masts off the Belle Etoile, who was docked at the Gateway island with both a settlement and military port upgrade. Then it was the Zhanfu’s turn! Huang Bai sacced an oarsman, and the 10 master from Return to Savage Shores surged southwards. Her second action brought her within range of the Soleil Royal. Ibrahan Ozat launched an S-boarding party, which let Captain Nemo capture Capitaine Arathiel! Then, in a rare display of accurate shooting from yours truly, the Zhanfu went 5/5 on the cannons she had in range, dismasting the Soleil Royal! The Atlanta was given the Tombstone’s action via GWL (RtSS version of George Washington LeBeaux, the American version of Lord Mycron), and the Belle Etoile was sunk with her island upgrades aboard! O_O

The whole ocean, with the sudden American strike in the center. The Spanish, Pirates, and English have about 8 usable ships between them, leaving the Cursed, French and Americans as the dominant factions as of now. The hurricane in the northwest has not affected play yet, but it has been moving southeast somewhat consistently….

12/2/2017

After two more turns, the Americans have emerged as the dominant faction in the game.

One turn ago, the French tried to escape and salvage what gunships they could. However, Montana Mays and Captain Nemo weren’t having any of it. The Zhanfu took out the final mast on Le Bonaparte, leaving her and the captured San Cristobal dead in the water. The Superbe was dismasted and the Soleil Royal captured. The Julius Caesar and Atlanta chased down the Monaque, hitting her with exploding shot and stinkpot shot.

After 8 turns, a new resource change was needed! A 2 was rolled, crashing the textiles market but increasing the value of everything else by 1 (lumber is the most valuable). The values will hold for the next 5 turns.

This past turn, the Monaque shot 2/2 (with Deleflote’s action) against the Zhanfu, but the Americans completed their victory just afterwards. The Americans have captured most of the ships, though the Monaque will have to be scuttled. The Mobilis cancelled the Nautilus’ Submarine keyword, allowing the ship to tow the Joya del Sol out of the way so the Peacock could dock and explore the Gateway island. However, more textiles were found, a resource readily available to the Americans. Thus, the Americans built Thompson’s Island at the end of their turn! This will give them a place to repair, quite convenient given the plethora of valuable derelicts now in their possession.

The Americans have declared war on the French! The Zhanfu also sunk the Mont Blanc flotilla this turn, and the captured Bonaparte will eventually be scuttled since I hate that ship. The American victory is complete, and gives them total control over the center area. The Pirates and French still won’t have valuable resources readily available to them during this change, but the final English ship (Aberdeen Baron) may finally be able to dock home on their turn! Curiously, the Spanish have not returned to their HI or tried to gather resources with El Algeciras, as they appear hell-bent on eliminating the English. The Cursed just launched their icebreaker (Urd), and have pretty easy access to islands that produce the two most valuable resources.

1/15/2018

The action has continued! In this picture you can see that the Americans have captured Davy Jones!! This was their ultimate objective when they suddenly sent the Grampus and Bonhomme Richard north into Cursed territory, seizing the opportunity to take out a huge threat (and the reason the Joya del Sol sank after being captured by the Americans, which is why the Americans took action in the first place). The Urd was dismasted by the Grampus, with AA’s and GWL (American Mycron) helping out immensely. You can see that the Americans have launched more ships from their trading port, with two turtle ships crossing the reef barrier and four new ships at the port.

However, an even bigger development has been taking place in the mostly deserted western half of the sea…

THE SPANISH HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED!!!!

The Zhanfu had been dispatched to the west a number of turns ago, with the mission of eliminating the final Spanish presence in the game. After they were decimated in the French attack near the Gateway, the Spanish eventually had only two game pieces afloat – El Algeciras and the Diablo flotilla. With the Spanish for some reason seemingly still hell-bent on eliminating the English instead of returning home to secure the HI and start gathering resources again, it was time for the Americans to end things. The slightly weakened Zhanfu (8 masts remaining) dismasted the Algeciras and knocked out the flotilla’s flag with her first broadside, and this turn she has sunk both to knock pirateaj14 from the game! They still have their military port, but that is now easy picking for whoever wants that island as their own. There is a tiny loophole in the EE rules where the Spanish could get back into the game, but it would require a failed razing of that port by an enemy ship (at which point the Spanish would capture the ship). The possibility of Cursed or Pirate help potentially bringing the Spanish back into the fold is an ugly one (due to the Spanish often taking the longest to complete their turn despite the lack of time it takes to give a single move action), so it’s possible the Americans will have the Zhanfu sac next turn and try to eliminate the port herself.

At the left, the Aberdeen Baron repairs, as the English are still in it!

Action in the north! The first American reinforcements are on the scene of the “Battle for Davy Jones”, which the Americans have won so far. The Divine Dragon began towing the Grampus, knocking a mast off the Hades’ Realm. The Noble Swan arrived as well, but missed her shot. The DD was later given an AA to shoot and ram the Hades’ Realm, taking out two more masts along with a crew (successful shot plus devastating ability). However, the Cursed are on the move with their gunships, with the Grim Reaper and Fallen Angel leading the charge. Those subs at the top of the picture have cancellers (Papa Doc and Madame Maria, a custom by Xerecs), which is part of the reason the newly launched Naegling and Polaris have turned around lol. However, the Glorious Treasure and Slipstream have ventured across the great Barrier Reef. With the captured Slipknot (the ship that carries All-Powerful Davy Jones) failing her scuttle roll again, the Bonhomme Richard was given an extra action by GWL to tow the Slipknot into the fog bank at the lower right, where DJ will be “safe” until his ship can “sink” and warp home via Eternal. Some slightly complicated business, but the Americans have accomplished their objective (it seems, unless the Cursed can extricate their captured leader) and now have control of Davy Jones.

At the bottom, the Mercury (windcatcher) is the first of a few American gunships slowly bringing up support from the home waters to the south. At the left, though, is something else entirely. Wanting to make a STATEMENT, the Americans spent most of their income from this turn on the Fortaleza, their third 10 master of the game! This was a perfect and ironic “gift” the Americans gave to themselves after eliminating the Spanish from the game.

With most of the ocean somewhat deserted, the only remaining conflict is in the north now. Of course, the French, Pirates, and English are all biding their time until the next resource change, which is now less than 2 rounds away. The American force in the south is nearing the French fleet, even as the influence of America reaches far into the west and north. Further conflict between the Americans and Cursed looks inevitable.

1/20/2018

After another turn, the Americans continue to make aggressive moves. The force in the south has reached the primary French resource island, with the combined firepower of three ships destroying the French settlement there! This makes the island go back to unexplored for all players and resets the island’s resource. In hindsight the Americans probably should have captured the settlement instead, but oops on my part for that.

In the north, the Cursed appeared to begin retreating, but the Americans are considering their hired turtle ships from the Jades as disposable, so they pressed the attack. The Noble Swan knocked a mast off the Grinder and eventually sank the Urd with an AA, while the Divine Dragon beat up on the Grim Reaper a bit. The Americans have slowly been trying to mass a small force near the reef barrier, with the Glorious Treasure, Mercury windcatcher, Minuteman flotilla, and now Naegling in that area. The recently launched Kettering looks to join them soon. The Slipknot finally got her scuttle roll and will join the American HI soon, while her captor (the Bonhomme Richard) sails to the military port for repairs.

The resources are about to change! Knowing this, the Americans used an AA to get the James Madison home (along with other ships of course) when she otherwise wouldn’t have, cashing in some extra lumber in the anticipation that lumber may not be valuable again for a while. This paid off immediately, as the Americans used all but one of their 84 gold to launch 4 new ships from their military port.

A few developments in the west too: the Zhanfu destroyed the Spanish military port to officially eliminate them from the game for good, while the Aberdeen Baron finished repairing so the English are ready to sail once more.

1/23/2018

What is going on?!

This game isn’t as big as my EE game, CG1, or CTO, but I’m hyped about it right now and feel like it’s a solid time to do a little overview.

Finding valuable resources early, the Spanish got off to the quickest start. They soon launched some of Spain’s finest ships and got into small-scale conflicts with their neighbors, the English and French. This ultimately led to their demise, with both factions fighting back.

Eventually the resources changed and the Americans were able to put forth some good warships and start to optimize their resource system. There was essentially a domino effect. First the Spanish largely took out the English, who still only have one ship in play. Then the French got revenge for the sinking of the Bonne Chance and took the Spanish down to one ship remaining. Then the Americans struck suddenly at the Gateway island, sinking or capturing the entire French battle squadron that had crushed the Spanish.

Just recently the Americans have finished off the Spanish, while the Pirates and English slip under the radar and try to recover from difficult starts. The Cursed have been rising of late, and the capture of Davy Jones by the powerful Americans has escalated into very tense relations between those two factions.

~~~~~

Onto the actual developments! Of which there are only a couple now haha, but more soon. A VERY important resource change just took place, with a value roll of 3 for 8 turns!! This is incredibly fortunate for the factions already in power positions, as the Americans and Cursed have the valuable resources (textiles and lumber) readily available to them. Dark times continue for the French and English, who likely wanted nothing more than to cash in their metals and go on a spending spree.

As of the current turn, the Cursed have launched some of their best custom ships, and now have 4 cancellers in play to counter the 4 the Americans have launched over the past few turns. Papa Doc from RtSS is the only standard one, with Madame Maria, the Demise, and the Rampage (a Merc 5 master launched from the trading port) joining the Cursed ranks.

However, the Americans spent last night plotting and strategizing, planning out their launches for a while in what looks to be a borderline-unprecedented 8 turn spending spree as high volumes of textiles and lumber are cashed in for new ships. The American leaders will have to juggle difficult operations on two fronts, though they will now have the spending power to potentially make aggressive moves at both locales. In the south, they face the fact that it is extremely difficult to eliminate a faction entrenched at their home island. In the north, powerful customs and a “blanket” of cancelling surrounding Cursed operations will require serious efforts to contain or overwhelm.

1/27/2018

After a few more faction turns, there has been some big spending. In the far south, the French decided to cash out their immense hoard of metals, spending nearly all of it (almost 100 metals) despite the resource being only worth 1 gold. However, it makes sense because the Americans look to be bearing down on them and have declared war. Waiting 8 turns for the metals to jump in value would be risky as well. The French have launched some new gunships and put some fighting crew on existing vessels.

With the Americans once again possessing the two most valuable resources (textiles and lumber), it was launch time at the home island! Cashing out their stash of 41 textiles for 246 gold and adding to it with some lumber, the Americans spent 292 gold on their turn, completely emptying the coffers. They launched from all three of their available locations: the Grand Temple and Crescent Moon came into play at the trading port, where the Fortaleza and Grand Path also lurk. 6 warships were launched from the military port, and 3 ships were launched from the home island.

In addition, the Slipknot was repaired at her new home after finally being scuttled. The Noble Swan burned to the waterline after being hit with exploding shot, while the Slipstream zoomed back across the reefs after seeing the newly launched Rampage (which has the canceller ability) at the Cursed trading port. The Americans already have about a dozen ships stationed near their own trading port, with more on the way from the south.

It will be interesting to see if the Americans can fight on two fronts at once, with a full squadron of 10 ships still stationed in the south near the French HI. In other news, you may have noticed that the Zeus is loose!! At the lower right you can see her newly launched at the Pirate HI. This is the fourth 10 master in play, with all of them spread out right now in different locations. At the far left, the Aberdeen Baron has finally sailed out after repairing for quite some time!

1/30/2018

Perhaps an unnecessary report, but certainly some interesting developments to report on. The Cursed appear to be in fully defensive mode, with most of their new launches staying docked at their home island and the Rampage and others retreating a bit from their positions a turn ago. In the far south, the French are off! Their entire fleet has departed the HI, heading in a northwesterly direction.

Seeing a chance to really maximize their profits, the Americans are devoting even more cargo capacity to their textile-laden island northeast of their HI. The Providence and Bellevue are being used as hybrid escorts in an attempt to protect the canoes from possible fog hopping attacks by the Cursed. With textiles as the most valuable resource for another 6 turns (after this picture was taken), the Lynx and Carolina have switched islands from the lumber island to the textiles island to assist in the efforts. Finally, you can glimpse four ships heading to the island as well. This is a random mishmash including the recently repaired Strongarm hoist, the newly launched Silver Dollar (Xerecs custom), the fully repaired Slipknot with Davy Jones aboard, and the (finally repaired) Santa Isabel, another grand prize the Americans have brought home from their war spoils. Throw in the Darkhawk II of the Pirate fleet, and the textiles island will see a huge harvest over the coming turns. There was a tiny bit of combat on this turn as well, with the Fortaleza getting an EA from Count Gustov. My custom equipment Bow Chasers was revealed, with the ship using both actions to shoot across the reef and hit 1/4 to dismast the Fallen Angel. The Americans ended their turn by launching 4 new ships from their trading port: the Assassin (one of my oldest customs), the Sigra Mein (a custom Viking 3 masted longship, with S+S+S speed but costing 20 points for just 2 cargo spaces), the Majestic, and the Wiglaf, the latter of which has a cannon bonus against the Cursed.

2/7/2018

A Turn for the Ages

Normally I don’t title these but this deserves special mention. Check out the video of my combat turn here.

First, the situation at the end of the Americans’ last turn: “tightening the noose”. In the north, and the south. The Fortaleza paid the price for using Bow Chasers to dismast the Fallen Angel, with the Cursed dragging her across a reef with an L-mover. This left the 10 master essentially doomed with just 2 masts remaining (3 taken out via the Death’s Anchor flotilla, and 5 more from the reef roll), since she couldn’t move off the reef without being wrecked automatically (highest roll of 6 for the reef would result in 4 masts eliminated and a shipwreck in this case). Knowing this, the Americans simply shot again, with the Fallen Angel sinking. The Death’s Anchor sank the Fortaleza, which the Americans knew was inevitable. However, all the while they have been tightening the noose around the Cursed home island. Not wanting to risk the Grand Temple and Grand Path across the reefs that wrecked the Fortaleza, the Americans sent them west towards a convenient whirlpool. Around 10 ships clustered near the American trading port, waiting for the command to surge northwards. The Kettering guarded the Naegling, who was on a strange mission to explore the Cursed luxuries island as part of an American goal. Further south lies some of America’s newest ships, among them 3 cancellers and 3 five masted capital ships (with the President, Montezuma, Eagan, and cheerleading Denver to back them up, an impressive force indeed).

However, the real immediate strength lay in the deep south, where the task force assigned to the French fleet was gathered around the whirlpool, having anticipated an attack on the Cursed for weeks now. In that squadron were three more cancellers, and the mammoth Baochuan. In an important development, the Flying Fish arrived through the southern whirlpool carrying island upgrades, turning a former French metals island into an American military port! This was the final piece of the puzzle for the American strategy, as they could now launch in the deep south to keep the French at bay (or now to blockade them since they are leaving the area). This would free up their megaships (cancellers and best gunships) to enter the whirlpool and emerge in the Frozen North where the Cursed were concentrated!

THE AMERICANS DECLARE WAR ON THE CURSED!!!!
USS Kettering starts the war! She sailed over and cancelled the Interloper to the surface, sinking the expensive submarine with a barrage of cannon fire augmented by her captain Jonas Richman’s hatred of the Cursed.

The American force in the north may not look strong enough to take on the Cursed, but with a LOT of help from their friends…. 😀

Chaos erupts! The Wiglaf and Sigra Mein brave the Barrier Reef to dismast and capture the Grim Reaper. In a calculated strike, the Americans send forth their cancellers to counter the 4 Cursed cancellers in the area. Christian Fiore (aboard the Nautilus) and Madame Maria (aboard the Locker) cancel each other out. The Mobilis and Papa Doc (aboard the Pyre) cancel each other out. The Constitution gets her SAT with a reroll from Jonathan Haraden, and America’s most famous sailing warship is back in action! The Americans had a little trick up their sleeve: the previous turn they had launched the Majestic, a 14 point 1 masted galley that has the cheerleading ability (friendly ships within S get +1 to their cannon rolls). As a Barbary Corsair ship she was fair game to launch at the trading port, and with only one mast, she wouldn’t take reef damage when crossing. The Majestic was sent over before the Constitution’s second action of the turn, and although she didn’t play a HUGE role in the battle so far, it’s a cool way to use 19 points on something (with helmsman/shipwright/oarsman aboard for maximum support, as I am wont to do XD) that nobody would ever use in most regular games.

And now things descend into the chaos only seen in huge games. O_O This is where the action is! The Constitution sank the Death’s Anchor flotilla before shooting at the Rampage, with DNT and the Rampage cancelling each other out. Next came the mighty Baochuan! However, she wasn’t so mighty this turn, as she couldn’t quite reach the Cursed trading port (I had wanted to raze it on this turn), but sacced to eventually sink the dangerous Rampage. From there the Americans had a bit of luck, but they were certainly due for it. Since getting two more AA crew (any ship in your fleet gets two actions on a 6) 3 turns ago, the Americans got just ONE AA over those three turns (the one came on this turn). Since I have paired every AA crew with the reroll ability, in this case that represents 1/29 total rolls being a 6. O_O (normal odds would be 5/30, so 1 is extreme) However, the Americans made up for it with their SAT and EA rolls this turn. The Grand Temple got her SAT to blast away. The Kettering received the AA so she could blast away at the Demise. The Grand Path received an extra action from GWL (American Mycron) to do the same thing as the Grand Temple. The cannon smoke hasn’t even cleared, but the Cursed lost the Demise and Flying Dutchman in the carnage.

With less emphasis on the action itself, here is the whole situation. The Americans are now at war with the French and the Cursed. The Concordia, Mercury, and Lamon also showed up through the whirlpool from the south. At the lower right, the Americans show that the Cursed must act fast and have a miraculous comeback, for the speedy Sea Wind is carrying settlement and military port upgrades to the luxuries island the Naegling explored! All is revealed in this battle report on the American side, as they plan to build an MP there to launch right near the Cursed and eventually wipe them out. Various ships have surged across the reef barrier and up from the south in an all-out CHARGE!!! O_O

The deep south is suddenly nearly devoid of American activity, though 4 gunships are sailing to blockade the French HI.

In their final action of the turn, the Americans pull a shocker! Having established a secret alliance with the Pirates early in the game, the Americans didn’t put any island upgrades on the textiles island northeast of their HI so they could share the island with the Pirates. Nice right? However, the Americans suspect the Pirates might be in cahoots with at least one of the other factions, including the French or Cursed that the Americans are at war with! This is because the recently launched Zeus has pointed her bow towards the American resource system with a crew complement ready to strike! (sac with captain/helmsman and world hater) An attempt to contact the Pirate admiral was in vain, but it didn’t help that the Americans were trigger-happy tonight! XD Wanting to get a preemptive strike in the case of a betrayal, the Americans strike first and break their alliance with the Pirates!! The captured Superbe sacs an oarsman to rake the Zeus’ bow, but lands just two hits. However, the attack was a statement, since any Pirate aggression will result in earning the wrath of the mighty Americans. The Americans have not declared war, and are even still open to the possibility of working with the Pirates.

Here is the full ocean, with the Americans becoming dominant to the point of a full Empire. They have declared war on the Cursed and crushed many of their best ships with a single, massive, devastating attack, and have sent dozens of ships sailing straight for the Cursed HI in what could become the longest and bloodiest conflict of this game. To show off their might, the Americans launched the Shui Xian from their trading port just a turn after the Fortaleza sank! XD Sink one of their 10 masters, and they’ll just launch another. They also launched the Tiger’s Breath as an impromptu medical barge, with various Jade ships losing crew from the whirlpool and likely losing more in the War on the Cursed. In the deep south the Americans have begun activity at their new military port, where the USS Thomas Jefferson (one of my favorite American ships) and Brandywine have been launched.

So all in all, you could say “the Americans hit the nuclear option”. XD Declaring war on the second-largest faction, launching a new 10 master, potentially wrecking their only alliance, and going ballistic on the game in an attempt to dominate this ocean. All of this (except the attack on the Pirates) has been in the works for weeks, but only now was it the perfect time to strike. It has now been about 5 hours since I downloaded the new file and started my turn, which took over 3 hours. Thanks for reading, and thank you to those who are playing this huge game! 😀

2/8/2018

Here are the latest ship and point counts for this game. I didn’t post this first one back then since I didn’t want it to be as obvious how much of a points lead I had, in an attempt to prevent a coalition against the Americans. XD (though anyone could total things up at any time of course)

12/2/2017 point count
Spanish: 2 ships, 13 points
Cursed: 16 ships, 241 points
Pirates: 4 ships, 62 points
French: 12 ships, 163 points
Americans: 43 ships, 893 points
English: 1 ship, 14 points
Total: 78 ships, 1,386 points

2/8/2018 point count
Cursed: 23 ships, 407 points
Pirates: 5 ships, 100 points
French: 14 ships, 221 points
Americans: 72 ships, 1,565 points
English: 1 ship, 14 points
Total: 115 ships, 2,307 points

The game has ballooned by almost 1,000 points in the past month! The Spanish were eliminated, but most other factions gained at least some stuff. The Americans have had fortunate resource changes, adding 29 ships and 672 points to their fleet! O_O

Points per ship:
Cursed: 17.7 points/ship
Pirates: 20
French: 15.8
Americans: 21.7
English: 14

The Americans have many heavily crewed gunships, along with three 10 masters. What’s more impressive is the percentages:

Americans:
Ships in play: 62.6% (72/115)
Points in play: 67.8% (1565/2307)

That means the Americans have more than twice as many points in play as all the other factions COMBINED! O_O
American points in play: 1,565
All other points in play: 742

The Americans are approaching the status of the largest single fleet ever seen on VASSAL, within sight of the Spanish CG1 record of 1,631 points in play. That fleet did have a ridiculous 111 ships in play at that point count, so that record probably won’t be broken in this game. The Americans are also approaching the record for the largest American fleet I have controlled, which was 96 ships at 1,660 points from Command the Oceans.

2/12/2018

The Americans are here! With another fantastic turn they tighten their hold on what I would now say is officially the “endgame” assuming the Americans can keep their point lead and win their wars.

Here is the combat situation in the far north, where the action is still hot. The King Jones was dismasted by a trio of ships (including Glorious Treasure and Assassin), with DNT of the Constitution cancelling the ship’s oarsman so the Grand Temple could capture her. At the far left, the Baochuan and Minuteman flotilla teamed up to sink the Sea Monkey, but not before the Baochuan won a boarding party to take three textiles. The Americans are disappointed they haven’t razed the trading port yet, but at this point they can do that at their leisure, having gained control of the area. After the 2 submerged cancelling submarines on each side cancelled each other out, the Lizard sailed over the Pyre to cancel the Eternal keyword on Admiral of the Skelds, allowing the Grand Path to shoot twice via the only American AA this turn to sink the Hell Hound! Just to the right of that, the Ghost Walker got within cancelling and cannon range of the Locker, bringing the sub to surface by cancelling the Submarine keyword. One hit from the GW and a pair of hits from the Sigra Mein eliminated all three of the Locker’s segments. With the now-dominant cancelling advantage the Americans enjoy (4-2 in that area with DNT and the late-arriving Hessian making SIX on the overall battlefield), they hope to capture at least one of the Cursed submarines that has a canceller on it, since cancelling the Submarine keyword allows it to be towed. One thing that didn’t go well at all for the Americans this turn was submerged ramming, as their subs generally failed to damage the Nightmare and Hell Hound. The Concordia shot 3/5 to leave just one mast standing on the Hades’ Realm. The Cursed have now been pushed back against their own home island as a result of the 2 turn offensive (so far). However, from previous reports you might expect to see more American gunships flooding the area in this picture. Their attention has been drawn elsewhere!

The French have arrived in the northeast! Sending almost their entire remaining fleet through the whirlpool near their home island, they have come to the eastern half of the sea presumably to wage war on the Americans. The Americans have already called 3 capital ships away from the squadron heading north, with the Enterprise, Colossus (out of frame to upper left), Essex, Denver, and Hannah breaking off to head southeast. The Bonhomme Richard was almost finished repairing (4 masts up) when she too was called to active duty, rushing to intercept the oncoming French (the captured San Cristobal is behind her at the far left). At the upper right, the Bellevue only managed to take out one mast on the Sea Hag, and the Americans don’t have any other captained ships in the area with which to take on the Ouroboros fort. However, the timing wasn’t too terrible for the Americans, since their larger cargo ships (Carolina, Silver Dollar, Strongarm, Slipknot, Santa Isabel) all got loaded up with textiles just before the fort was built last turn. They are now running home along with the canoes, though some might be intercepted by the French before they can get there. However, the Americans probably have enough points in play and resources coming in to win the game as-is, so the triple threat of Zeus/Cursed fort/French attack may not hinder them as much as you would think.

At the lower right, the Kentucky was clutch on this turn, hitting the Zeus 2/2 on her first action and using an AA (not from Preble himself, who is aboard) to hit 3/4 on her second action! This takes the Zeus down to 3 masts, and the Kentucky also towed the now-derelict (courtesy of the Zeus) Superbe with her second action. A canoe and the Argo have positioned off the bow of the Zeus to hinder her mobility a bit, and the powerful Kettering has begun repairing at the home island.

For the first time in a while, the Americans launched only from their HI, buying swift gunships they will use to combat the French threat. They launched four of their fastest and most effective 4 masters, including 3 schooners: the Franklin, Intrepid, Hudson, and Saratoga. The Americans are hoping those 4 can get out and defend the resource system quickly, since the likely imminent French attack puts the cargo ships in danger. Those 4 will combine with the 5 ships coming in from the northwest, along with the two 5 masters from the west, and likely more gunship launches next turn. It’s an emergency situation for the Americans, but one that I think they are reasonably prepared to deal with. I have been meaning to launch more hybrids to use as escorts to the textiles island, but the Providence and Bellevue are the only ones around so far. Most of the money has gone towards the War on the Cursed, and understandably so given their powerful customs in play (some formerly) and at one point their 4 cancellers. The Kentucky had been sailing slowly off the south shore of my HI, so she was in decent position to hit the Zeus.

With that, the French appear to be giving up on trying to win, which will likely hasten the end of the game. The American-Pirate alliance is clearly gone for good. As the American admiral I have some inkling that the remaining factions have made a coalition alliance against the Americans, but as evidenced by the latest point count, the Americans have more than twice as many points in play as all of the other factions combined. O_O

In the far west, the lone English ship (Aberdeen Baron) has turned east, though it’s unsure if she is heading towards the anti-American war effort, or simply another wild island in search of resources seeing that the hurricane has overrun the island the English visited a long time ago. In the far south, the Americans were planning to establish a blockade of the French home island, but now that looks generally unnecessary. The York and Destiny are headed there anyway, but the better American gunships in the area (USS Thomas Jefferson, Atlanta, and Julius Caesar) are headed towards the whirlpool to go fight the French or possibly the Cursed. Speaking of whirlpools, that is another area where the Americans could hit the French soon. They almost sent the Lizard through the whirlpool to cancel Lenoir aboard La Gaule (the Americans have been using their 3 cargo spies lately to look at face down French crew), allowing the Grand Temple to zoom through with an AA to smash the French 5 masters. However, I didn’t want to give up a canceller in the complicated Cursed situation, and that would also likely mean sacrificing the Grand Temple when a significant defense of the American resource system is being put together rather effectively on the fly. Between their ships in the far north and the USS Thomas Jefferson in the south (EA available via Commodore Stern), the Americans have flexibility for a many-pronged attack to combat the French invasion.

In the middle, The Zhanfu finally reaches Thompson’s Island to repair, joining the Slipstream. The Shui Xian may not even see combat in this game, but the newest 10 master in play is lumbering south in an attempt to join the effort against the French and/or Pirates. In the northeast, the Americans have gotten some measure of (largely unnecessary XD) revenge against the Cursed fort, as they’ve built their own fort on the Cursed resource island! It is a new game piece designed as part of my new fantasy (non-historical) custom set:

Eagle’s Roost
American Fort
Cost: 4 gold
Guns: 3L,3L,3L,3L
You may double the range of this fort’s cannons each turn, but you must roll a 6 to hit.

2/17/2018

With another devastating turn of brutal combat, the Americans have mostly recovered from their home island “crisis” and have scored a coup in the far north against the Cursed.

The Baochuan was L-moved by the Cursed onto a reef, where she was wrecked regardless of the die roll! This was the second time the Baochuan has become a shipwreck while in the pay of the Americans, the other example being the famous situation in Xerecs’ 2015 CoE game. The Americans are disappointed, but it was arguably inevitable with the Baochuan’s extreme length and difficulty positioning. The Baochuan kind of failed in this game (couldn’t raze the trading port, didn’t last long in combat, and couldn’t take advantage of the Treasure Ship keyword to be a hybrid like in CG2), but the Americans have such a massive lead in the game that it hardly matters. They’ve now lost the Fortaleza and Baochuan, but still have the Zhanfu and Shui Xian. At the far left, the Polaris has destroyed her third iceberg (I believe), making the passage of the Mercury easier.

Near the whirlpool, the Americans scored a “coup” this turn! With enough cancellers in the area, I was hoping to capture at least one of the Cursed cancellers, as Papa Doc and Madame Maria were still aboard the Pyre and Locker. With those cancelling out the Lizard and Ghost Walker, it was time for some finagling. The Sigra Mein got into position and got her temporary Fear ability, gaining the keyword for this turn. Then, I improbably rolled a 5 to scare the Locker, shutting down all crew and ship abilities!! No Submarine keyword meant the sub could be towed immediately, and the Philadelphia did the honors. DNT (on the Constitution) cancelled the Pyre to the surface, where she was dismasted by the Sigra Mein. The New Orleans then started towing her! The Americans have now captured both Cursed cancellers!

The Mobilis was able to repair after surfacing, also putting out a dangerous fire. She cancelled the Atlantis to the surface, who was sunk by the Grand Path and Assassin. The Hades’ Realm was captured, with the Divine Dragon recaptured. The Mercury (submarine now) rammed a mast off the Tarantula, and the Glorious Treasure used her ability to take out a mast and crew from the Executioner, whose EA ability provided by Igor McWarren is being cancelled by Christian Fiore of the Nautilus. This represents the beginning of the assault on the Cursed HI, which will likely take many turns and be a brutal affair for both sides. At the far right, the Naegling and President (latter with Bow Chasers as you can see) teamed up to dismast the Skwaluck (not the actual spelling XD) before she can reach the HI. The Americans don’t want any more resources coming in, since every potential Cursed launch represents more and more firepower needed at the HI. If you’ve read the BR’s for CG1, you know how incredibly difficult it is to eliminate a faction AT their HI. Knowing this the Americans also launched a few ships from their new military port to the southeast: the Paul Revere and USS Morning Star.

Now, for a historic situation. Now that they have both Cursed cancellers in their possession (Papa Doc pun intended), the Americans control a whopping NINE cancellers as of now. O_O I believe this is the most ever seen in a single fleet in a game of Pirates CSG. The Kettering is back at the HI, but in this picture you can see EIGHT cancellers all in the same general area. I have marked them with the range “rosettes”, though of course only the S-range applies to the cancellation. The Nautilus (with Christian Fiore) and Ghost Walker are the farthest to the top, with the Constitution (DNT) on the left. Around the whirlpool is an incredible CANCELLING CLUSTER of 5, with the Mobilis/Lizard/Hessian/Papa Doc/Madame Maria ready to shut down anything and everything that gets close. Even with all my CG experience I have never seen anything like this. The amount of cancelling available to the Americans right here is astounding. Keep in mind that the Americans have the most officially released cancellers of any faction, with 5. This means that to get to this level of 9, you’d have to do a combination of capturing enemy cancellers, using other faction’s cancellers (like the Mobilis and Fiore), and/or using custom cancellers that aren’t Wizkids official. As a big fan of cancellers this is a wacky but cool moment in this game. Between this coup and the drowning of Lenoir (see below), the Americans also now control most of the cancellers left in play, for a 9-1 (Demise still Cursed) advantage over all 4 other factions.

Chaos reigns in the east! The American home island is under attack, but they are now well-equipped to defend it. The Carolina and a few canoes were sunk by the French and the big Pirate ship Zeus, but the Americans have responded with force of their own. 4 ships have teamed up to dismast the Zeus, but the Americans are purposely waiting on the capture part. I’ve learned a bunch about 10 masters on VASSAL, and I know how dramatic and extreme their length can be. If I captured the Zeus this turn, the resultant “towing flip” would likely put her in range of the Cursed fort and/or some oncoming French ships. By waiting, the Americans theoretically increase their chance of actually getting the 10 master home to repair, which would once again give them three 10’s in play along with the Zhanfu and Shui Xian. Unfortunately the Bellevue (upper right) is likely doomed, as she couldn’t hit the Sea Hag much and is now pinned in place with one mast standing. The Americans are rushing to get some L-range cannons out there (Ouroboros can’t be shot at by ships within S), including the newly built Blackwatch and Stephens.

Against the French the Americans were actually able to do better than I expected, partly due to 2 AA’s this turn (as compared to 1 or 0 on the previous 3 turns). The new launches did their job exactly as intended, with the Franklin, Intrepid, Saratoga, and Hudson zooming out from home to block and blast the French ships. The Franklin was devastating, starting a fire on the Gaule after Lenoir cancelled the Providence’s captain. The Intrepid and Saratoga did well, but the Franklin really shined when given an AA, finishing her turn 8/8 to sink the Gaule and dismast the Neptune. The Hudson and Lynx were ineffective against the Possession, but the Saratoga helped out and the ship still lost 2 masts. More to the west, the Enterprise got an EA to team up with the Bonhomme Richard and Denver to sink the Lyon and severely damage the Triton and Libellule. The Colossus and Essex are reaching the battlefield, and two surprise (to me) entrants came in at the end. The Atlanta and Julius Caesar were originally part of the squadron assigned to blockade the French HI, but seeing as how that’s unnecessary, they have arrived via the whirlpool to join the fight against France! The Atlanta got an AA, which I knew probably should have gone to the Intrepid or Saratoga. However, I wanted to take a chance and use some equipment instead of the easier option, plus I clearly love extra action-based whirlpool strikes as evidenced by CG2 and this game. The Atlanta did well, and didn’t roll a 1 with exploding shot at least. XD Her stinkpot shot hit, shutting down the crew of Le Descharges next turn. Two hits on the Courageux took out a mast due to the defensive ability. Overall the attack on the French went even better than I had anticipated, but having good extra action/AA rolls and tons of ships coming in at multiple angles helps a lot. XD

Here is the whole situation, though the closeups probably show at least 90% of the points in play. The Aberdeen Baron is all alone in the far west, looking for metals as the hurricane moves off to the northwest. The French ship Lezard seems to be hiding among the Grey Shrouds, giving out actions via Deleflote. The Destiny and York are off to take care of her, though they won’t be able to do much if she flees into the dense fog.

THE AMERICANS HAVE DECLARED WAR ON THE PIRATES!!!!
Though, it was pretty lame. XD USS Thomas Jefferson was given the Tombstone’s action via GWL, but only hit the Hai Peng once, with stinkpot shot. In addition, the Americans have way more points in play than the Pirates, so it’s not like the war declaration was a big deal either way now that their alliance has completely fallen apart.

2/26/2018

I was listening to this impressive series while taking my latest turn.

The Cursed used the Executioner to sink the Ghost Walker, taking out one of the many American cancellers. At the far left, the Celestine was sunk by the Polaris. The Cursed home island is under siege, with the Sea Duck captured and L-mover Mimi cancelled by the Hessian. The Americans have captured a bunch of Cursed ships over the course of the battle, but they won’t be able to finish them off yet. That’s why you see a bunch of smaller ships launched from the military port at the bottom right – to eliminate the Cursed from their HI will be difficult, so the Americans have launched “ram ships” that will serve no other purpose since ships cannot be shot at while docked at their home islands. The Americans were not as aggressive this turn, since their cancellers are still getting into position and Ocean’s Edge is just north of the Cursed HI. If the submarines go too far north during their submerged ram attempts, it will leave them vulnerable to being moved off the map by the L-mover crew. One of them is now cancelled, but the Cursed have enough stuff left to hold out for a while, partly due to what they have (2 L-movers, 1 canceller, two sources of Eternal, some oarsmen, etc) and also because of how close their HI is to the dangerous edge of the map.

Much more decisive and quick is the situation at the American home island. The French have nearly been eliminated!! American firepower closed in on the remaining French squadron from all angles, dismasting all French ships in the area. The French managed to sink USS Atlanta, but now I believe they are out of move actions. The Americans are capturing as many French ships as possible to increase their fleet’s point total, with the Neptune and Triton being saved from scuttling. At the right, the Zeus is finally captured by the Americans, while the eternal ships Kettering and Concordia repair. Soon the Hudson, Blackwatch and Julius Caesar will bombard the Cursed Ouroboros fort to get the American resource system back to normal. The Americans have still had healthy launches of late, due to how many ships managed to load textiles from that island right before the fort was built, and their undisturbed lumber trade route to the west.

The clincher! The York received an AA to dismast the Lezard, eliminating her potential to escape into the fog and dismasting the final French ship in play. I included the Grey Shrouds in the picture because those Cursed fog hoppers could be problematic for the Americans to eliminate the Cursed, as the Cursed also have a fog bank conveniently right next to their HI. At the lower right, the French do have one metal resource token left, so if it increases in value when the next resource change occurs (2 turns from now), they could theoretically put another ship in play. However, the Americans have emerged victorious in their war against France!

The entire ocean, with American victory looking inevitable at this point. They have crushed the opposition and the 4 remaining fleets have considerably smaller areas that deckplates occupy. In fact, the Americans now need about half of all border space available for their burgeoning fleet. Outside of the two HI/battle “hub” areas, the sea is mostly empty at this point.

2/28/2018

Another round of turns has been completed. Here you can see the intense blockade/assault of the Cursed home island. At the upper corners, the Sea Rat and Maman Brigitte have been sunk. With a lot of ramming, the Americans have captured both Cursed L-moving crew, with the Tarantula and Fiddler’s Green towed. This was a priority for the Americans, since now the Cursed cannot move American ships off the map with the L-movers. The Executioner and Nightmare lost some masts to ramming as well.

It’s a bit of a convoluted mess to the southeast, but the Americans have captured the Grinder by using the Mobilis to cancel the Turbine keyword, and now their newly launched ram ships are sailing towards the Cursed HI. The Cursed now have 7 ships left in play – the Executioner, Nightmare, Demise, and Lizard’s Sting at their HI, the Sea Hag, and the Howl and Hangman’s Joke in the Grey Shrouds hoping to come home and unload fish. That is why you see the Americans doing a new tactic to the left – the “fog blockade”. XD The Americans are trying to block off most or all exit points at that fog bank in order to force the fog hoppers to go somewhere else and eventually be intercepted by the vast American war fleet. If the fog hoppers can pop out right there, they can dock home on the same turn, which would not only allow the Cursed to launch more stuff, but it would also place additional ships that cannot be shot at at the Cursed HI, requiring even more American rams to take them out. The American situations against the French and Cursed show the contrast simultaneously – the Americans disposed of a similar-sized French fleet in just a few turns, but eliminating the Cursed while they are docked at their HI will take much longer.

The situation in the east. The Americans have captured the remaining French ships in play, eliminating their fleet from the game! The sole possession the French have is one metal token, so if that spikes in value (resource change is about to occur), they might be able to launch a small ship to stay alive. At the upper right, the Hudson and Blackwatch teamed up to destroy the Ouroboros fort built by the Cursed. The Julius Caesar shot off the Sea Hag’s final mast, so that ship is also now derelict. Next turn the Santa Isabel will re-explore the island and American trade will resume at the island once more. North of the American HI is just towing logistics as French ships are captured and towed home. To the southeast, the Americans show they mean business against the Pirates, with the Colossus, Essex, and Denver whirling into the area from just above the American HI, not wanting to go all the way around. The repaired Kettering is headed south along with the newly launched Wasp, the first of more “ram ships” designated for use against the Pirates. Three more were launched this turn: the Dolphin (custom by Cadet-Captain Mike), Fly and Hornet.

In fact, those three Pirate ships in the above picture are what they have left. In the deep southeast, the Brandywine was given an AA to catch and dismast the Banshee’s Cry. Between the resources and gold on their HI and the resources coming in, the Pirates may be able to mount a significant defense of their home island in the coming turns. However, it will still depend somewhat on the resource change roll. In the southwest, the York captures the Lezard as the USS Thomas Jefferson arrives via whirlpool to assist the Zhanfu in chasing down the Aberdeen Baron, the only English ship. As the end approaches, the American fleet is a mammoth size many times larger than all the other factions left in play. Only the 12 deckplates you see in the far west borders are not part of the American fleet now.

3/1/2018

With the help of 3 AA’s and GWL’s action, the Americans managed to capture all four Cursed ships that were stationed at their home island. From the dense cluster you can tell that I needed a lot of ships to ram the Cursed ships derelict, and indeed five 1’s were rolled between the Lizard’s Sting and Demise! The Glorious Treasure’s ability proved useful, and a clutch 6 ram from USS Mercury (submarine, the windcatcher is actually just to the west haha) dismasted the Demise. With Fiore cancelling the Demise’s cancelling, and the Hessian cancelling the Cursed oarsman, the Wiglaf moved in to tow the Cursed gunship. It was a fitting end to the Cursed HI, as the Wiglaf has +1 to cannon rolls against the Cursed and her flavor text is very anti-Cursed. With the Executioner, Nightmare, Demise, Lizard’s Sting and Sea Hag all captured, the Cursed have only their two fog hoppers left. However, the close blockade around the Cursed home island could mean they won’t be able to get their now-valuable fish home. That’s right, the resources changed and finally lumber and textiles weren’t valuable. Spices are now the most valuable resource, which is what the Pirates have a bunch of!

However, the Pirates are about to experience a home island attack similar in intensity and nature as the Cursed. At the bottom right, the Hai Peng, Swift, and Darkhawk II are the three Pirate ships in play, but they can launch a bunch more. Already about half a dozen American ships are closing in on the Pirate HI, and a whopping 10 ships have emerged from the whirlpool near the Great Sargasso. Many other ships are on their way or about to be, including many of the ships that recently defeated France along with the captured French vessels. At the upper right, things get back to normal. With the Sea Hag captured and the fort destroyed, the Americans can run resources to and from that island once more. The Santa Isabel explored it to find luxuries, currently the least valuable resource; however it doesn’t really matter at this point. In addition, the Americans are still getting some lumber from their western island and cashed in some now-valuable fish and spices to get 36 gold, which they used to launch the Celtic Fury from their trading port. Because why not? XD

This was not the final event on the American turn, but check out the English finally coming into contact with another faction again! After being isolated since the Spanish had to back off, the Zhanfu has sacced to chase down and intercept the Aberdeen Baron. Ibrahan Ozat led an S-Boarding party and captured the English helmsman, with the ship’s foremost cannons also shooting off a mast. At this point it’s unlikely the Aberdeen Baron will get home to unload her metals, but the Americans have the powerful USS Thomas Jefferson now stationed off the English HI in case things get wacky.

3/5/2018

With only a handful of turns left I would think (and hope! XD), the Americans converge on the Pirate home island! The Pirates did cash in their spices and launched a bunch of well-equipped gunships. Here the Americans have used the captured L-mover Screaming Mimi to move the Revenant away from the Pirate HI, allowing the Hudson and Kettering to sink her. The Revenant carried Dirk Chivers, a new historical crew from my custom set that I was pleasantly surprised to see so early after I created him. The Hai Peng was dismasted, and the Pirates have 5 healthy ships at their home island now (none of my rams worked).

Zoomed out a bit, and you can see the extent of the American operation in its “swan song” days. The Blackwatch got an EA to come south and sink the Darkhawk II. The Americans may already have enough points near the Pirates to eliminate them, but they’ve sent some additional ships through the whirlpool at the left, and more ships are coming down from the north after repairing at the American HI.

The French are alive again! Cashing in their final resource token, it was just enough to launch the Marianne. The York and Destiny are headed there to dispatch her, while the English do what is also likely to be their final launch in the west. HMS Oxford has a captain and Sir Christopher Myngs aboard, but the Zhanfu has sank the Aberdeen Baron and is ready for more, with USS Thomas Jefferson for support. In the center, the Shui Xian and Celtic Fury are headed to separate whirlpools. In the far north, the Americans now have a close blockade of the Cursed home island and their fog bank.

With that, potentially a “final” point count. It exceeded my expectations, and may require another just before the game ends.

3/5/2018
Americans: 119 ships, 2,263 points

O_O The Americans have nearly reached the size of the biggest fleet of all time! That was the Pirate fleet from Command the Oceans in 2017, with 131 ships for 2,347 total points. So, if the Americans can capture enough ships and crew (along with minor launches) in these final turns, they may just claim the title of “biggest fleet ever”. 😀  I will admit it’s somewhat flawed due to how lopsided things are now, and many of the American ships are captures, derelict, or repairing. That Pirate fleet didn’t even make it to the final battle of CTO, and they certainly didn’t win the game. However, that’s part of the reason I want to keep track of the American point total – if it goes up enough, they could become the largest fleet ever AND the largest fleet to ever win a game.

3/9/2018

Given an Admiral’s Action from Commodore Preble himself, the York catches the Marianne and dismasts her, officially eliminating the French from the game!!!!

In the far west, the USS Thomas Jefferson gets the Tombstone’s action via GWL (American Mycron), hitting 3/5 to set HMS Oxford (the final English ship) ablaze. Then the Zhanfu’s commander (Huang Bai) sacced Capitaine Arathiel (a “prize of war” taken from the French much earlier in the game) to get in range of the Oxford, sinking her with a few accurate shots! This means that the English have been eliminated from the game!!!!

Whew! My Americans were on a roll, and I eyed what was very nearly an incredible THIRD faction elimination in one turn! However, it didn’t quite work out since the Akua Lapu and Empress are still docked. The Pirates did manage to sink the Essex on their turn, but the Americans hit back by capturing the Black Pearl, Hai Peng, and Swift. They also dismasted the Harbinger, so the AL and Empress are the only two usable Pirate ships left. The devastating flood of American ships has hit the Pirate home island hard, and their elimination is likely only a turn or two away.

The entire ocean, with now only 3 factions left in play: the Americans as the clear dominant force in CG3, the Cursed hanging onto two fog hoppers and a trading port, and the Pirates being besieged at their home island with a few usable ships left.

Keeping in mind the all-time fleet record of 131 ships at 2,347 points set by the Pirates of Command the Oceans, I’m trying to keep track of the American fleet totals on a per-turn basis. The Essex was sunk, but her ~23 points total was easily made up by the capture of the Hai Peng for the same point total. Between the other two Pirate captures and 48 gold spent on launching (the United States and Grand Storm), the Americans actually gained 90 total points from last turn! (they also lost an oarsman, but I don’t think any other crew were eliminated)

3/9/2018: 123 ships, 2,353 points

O_O

By point total, this American fleet now claims the title of largest fleet ever!! 😀  Of course, they’re only ahead of those Pirates by 6 points right now, though they should be able to launch next turn as well. They’re also behind the Pirates in ship count, and many of the American ships are in bad shape, especially the various captured vessels. Still though, it’s an amazing record to break, and I’m happy to have broken the record with a fleet that will actually win the game the record is set in. XD

3/11/2018

After about 8 rams, the Americans capture the final 3 Pirate ships and the Pirates are eliminated from the game!!!!

The Cursed split up as the final faction in play, with the Hangman’s Joke making a final stand and shooting 2/2 against the USS Thomas Jefferson.

The Americans clamp down on the incursion and the Zhanfu sinks the Hangman’s Joke!

Video of the final turn!

Only the Howl remained. She fog hopped to the northeast and started heading home when the Enterprise caught her. In a fitting end, one of the best American ships in the game sank the Howl! The Cursed have been eliminated!!!!

ADMIRAL A7XFANBEN’S AMERICANS HAVE WON VASSAL CAMPAIGN GAME 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Having won all 3 VASSAL campaign games (CG1 and CG2 in 2016), I have asserted extreme dominance over the CG world, and could now be called “The Tom Brady of campaign games”. O_O XD (at 3-0 with 3 wins and no losses in my first 3 non-solo campaign games, like Tom Brady going 3-0 in his first 3 Super Bowl appearances) More on that later, I hope. XD

In their final turns, the Americans captured 4 ships, the final 3 Pirate ships and the Marianne, the final French ship. This increased the size of their fleet of course…

Truly the final point count from this game:
3/11/2018: 127 ships, 2,414 points

This means they have extended their record from the last battle report as the largest fleet of all time by point count. As CG3 is now officially over, the Pirates of Command the Oceans hold onto the ship count record (for now…) at 131 total ships. However, the Americans of CG3 are the first fleet to break the 2,400 point mark, which is an insane number.

I’ll leave the rest of the analysis in the now-traditional reflection post, which you can find below.

Reflection post

Looking back on VASSAL Campaign Game 3, I would say it was largely successful. The biggest reason is that we set a new (by far) record for players in a virtual campaign game, with 6! The previous high was 3 for CG2, so to double that and not have any long-term issues with people dropping out or quitting was quite awesome. The game lasted almost exactly 6 months, with play going from 9/2/2017 until 3/11/2018.

The high number of players was certainly a new experience for me, having controlled 3 of the 6 fleets in CG1, and then controlling 1 of the 3 fleets in CG2. However, I eventually came to dominate both of those games points-wise, so the bulk of playing time in the long run was done by me. CG3 was totally different since I theoretically only controlled about 17% (1/6) of the points in play to begin the game, and a reasonably slow start by the Americans meant I was mostly relegated to seeing how things developed.

I will start this with an analysis of my own game that I played; all the other players are free of course to post their thoughts on the game, their strategies throughout, what their plans were, and what they thought of the experience overall. (also feel free to reveal any alliances/etc, with the game over there’s not much to hide haha!)

Americans
As play began, I did NOT plan to dominate this much and to eliminate all the other factions. XD Knowing that there were 4 new players in the CG, and hoping the game would have parity for quite a while, I was planning to sort of “take it easy” and be a somewhat passive or friendly faction.

Everything changed when the Spanish started being aggressive though. That got my competitive spirit rekindled, and it was game on from there. XD  Within a few turns or weeks I went from hoping I could be passive to being completely optimized and getting ready to dominate in the long-term. This happened because the Spanish showed they meant business VERY early, sinking a French gunship and nearly eliminating the English completely before any of the rest of us could do anything. This did a handful of things for me – it worried me on one hand, since the Spanish were a faction that I saw as a potential territorial rival, since they commanded a strong position on the map (center of the western hemisphere) and I was directly opposite them across the Gateway. In addition, it happened quite a bit faster than I (or possibly anyone else) had anticipated. I didn’t want to see another faction eliminated so early, but unlike CG1 and some of CG2, I was not in a position to be “world policeman” (like the British Empire during Pax Britannica 1815-1914) and interfere to guarantee the survival of a faction. The English were at risk of a VERY early elimination, but I had played with the English commander (repkosai) quite a bit on VASSAL in 2017, and I knew he was pretty stoked to be playing in CG3. Therefore, I didn’t want to see him go so early without hardly getting a chance to play, so I was somewhat opposed to the early Spanish lead. Some talks were had about a coalition to save the English, but in the end the French were the ones to take the fight to the Spanish since they had similarly valuable resources and the means necessary to get a battle fleet in play.

Very early in the game I pursued an alliance with the Pirates. This was partly since wifey was relatively new to pretty much everything going on – VASSAL, her first campaign game, and even Pirates CSG to a degree (and the EE ruleset of course). In addition, I recognized that their somewhat poor home island position could mean that my Americans would have a much better time getting gold from resources than the Pirates. So I wanted to take the Pirates “under my wing” if you will and have a friendly neighbor. And also, to hopefully prevent a pincer movement on all sides in the case of an alliance against me. XD This secret alliance solidified my position in the game, and made me feel decent about my chances going forward. Other alliances never really came to fruition, as the English didn’t respond to my tentative offer of help and the French and Cursed always seemed like factions I would have to fight to win the game. The Spanish actually reached out to me with an alliance offer, which I accepted. However, they then proceeded to establish a settlement on the Gateway island, which was near the American military port. I had doubts about the alliance, and couldn’t take it seriously when the Spanish were putting island upgrades near me on islands I also wanted.

As the French closed in and started wiping out the Spanish with their impressive battle fleet, I knew I had a chance to strike. The problem was how long it would take to get at the French (and what was left of the Spanish) effectively. With extreme haste, I rushed to get a trading port on the west side of the Barrier Reef, as the island was nearly untouched by the Cursed and Spanish. Some of the fastest American ships (Peacock, Sea Wind, Mercury windcatcher) were instrumental in this development, which I now see as one of the keys to my eventual victory. I escorted those ships with a few gunships, but not ones I wanted to risk in battle if I could help it (since they had tribal chieftains aboard). I also wanted a trading port because the players had voted that Mercenaries would function as regular privateers, with no bidding system as I had proposed. I was fine with that, but it was fun to get a little “payback” for the decision, as I eventually came to dominate privateer launches. XD We had also decided that the Mercenary 10 masters with faction biases were free to be launched by anyone that could do so, but I decided not to take overt advantage of that, generally only launching those 10 masters once the faction in question had been eliminated or effectively eliminated. The trading port also came in handy for launching AA crew, of which the Americans eventually had 5 including 3 privateers. Various AA’s were very useful down the line and provided support in key moments.

I didn’t put a trading port on the island northeast of the American HI because I was purposely sharing that with the Pirates, to keep the alliance strong and give them more of a chance if they had another island they could go to. The Cursed were actually the first to build a trading port, but they hardly ever used it for launching. This left the door wide open for me to take full advantage of the one built north of the Gateway, which became a launch hotspot and the bane of both the French and the Cursed.

In early November, I seized my opportunity and started the beginning of the American empire. After some saving, I spent over 200 gold to get some very effective ships, namely the Zhanfu, Baochuan (both 10 masters I felt comfortable launching at the time), Nautilus, and Mobilis. This dramatically increased my potential to hit the French before they could make it back home, as their fleet was somewhat far from home and exposed in the middle of the map while collecting Spanish prizes and being slowed by the towing process. It also gave me two cancellers, which is of course one of my favorite things to have in these giant games. Knowing the Americans have the most cancellers of any faction in the game (5 total), I decided to attempt a “canceller monopoly” that would form a potential “super squadron” surpassing even the super squadrons put together by the English and Spanish of CG1. Due to logistics and opportunities, this squadron never quite came together the way I wanted it to, but towards the end of the game it was mostly unified. Anyway, the Mobilis and Christian Fiore gave me a leg up in the cancelling game, locking up both Merc cancellers after the vote to not implement the bidding system for Mercenaries (and denying them from the Cursed, who had a trading port before the Americans).

I felt my window of opportunity closing fast, so I immediately hit the French as hard as I could. The French were about to establish a military port at the Gateway island (the ship with the upgrades was literally docked at the island and just needed another turn to explore and unload them!), and a resource change was imminent, making me worried that French metals would skyrocket in value and start a chain reaction that could see the elimination of the Americans. The attack went fantastic overall, and the rest is history. XD

After declaring war on the French and capturing many of the ships from the battle, I turned my attention to the Cursed, who were now the biggest long-term threat to the Americans (excepting if metals went to 6 gold apiece, which would have gotten the French back into things in a big way). Once again, the opportune moment came and I couldn’t pass it up. Though, the Cursed started it by using one of the American 10 masters to sink a captured prize (through Davy Jones), which I was looking forward to having in my fleet. XD I saw Davy Jones in a unique spot – somewhat isolated, nearly unprotected, and with his own ship open to attack! Knowing the downside if I failed (losing two gunships and their associated tribal chieftains, but only eliminating chieftains directly and rolling badly for them would really affect me negatively, since you only need one chieftain to actually give the canoes actions), and having checked the tribal chieftain rules to see that sinking them wouldn’t be too bad after all, I decided to take the plunge! The Grampus and Bonhomme Richard used AA’s to sail north and dismast the Slipknot, and after a couple tense turns, the former Cursed admiral was mine! (along with his ship, which was a nice resource gatherer towards the end of the game) This was another “masterstroke” of my game, mostly predicated on previous CG experience. From CG1 and CG2, I’ve learned that taking action and launching preemptive strikes can lead to great results in the long term, even though being hostile is always risky. In addition, I had learned from CG2 that having an All-Powerful crew in an enemy fleet rolling 6’s to sink your own ships (with your own ships) is one of the most annoying things in Pirates CSG. XD So I was determined to get quick revenge and not let it happen again. The skirmish was the start of the greater American-Cursed conflict, which mostly defined the last third of the game.

I was going to blockade the French home island and keep them there as best I could, but they fled the area before I could launch much from the military port the Americans set up in the south. Although there was a brief and somewhat minor “crisis” at the American home island when the French converged from the north and the Pirates sailed the Zeus up from the south (I just assumed they were breaking the alliance due to my points lead), I was actually relieved that the French would not have to be eliminated at their HI, which is extremely difficult and becomes a huge drain on resources the more ships there are to ram-dismast. Instead they were defeated on the open ocean, allowing for a quick elimination and some easy towing back to the American HI. Then I was able to focus on the remaining Cursed and Pirate ships.

Once the French left and I had a military port near their HI, I felt comfortable sending the elite southern squadron through the whirlpool to emerge in the north to combat the Cursed. It was quite the complicated mess for a number of turns, but eventually the Cursed HI was blockaded and their ships captured. That “turn for the ages” was the most complicated of the game, and reminds me of my whirlpool strikes from CG2. (whirlpool attacks are kind of my thing in these games now I guess XD)

If there was a “turning point”, I would say it was the Second Battle of the Gateway Island where the Americans defeated the French. This completed the domino effect, and led to the Americans dominating for the rest of the game. It really was a strangely perfect domino effect in a way – the Spanish nearly eliminated the English, the French nearly eliminated the Spanish, and the Americans nearly eliminated the French. The Americans were eventually responsible for the elimination of all the other factions.

So there you go. A detailed look into the mind of the winning Admiral. XD As the “Tom Brady” of campaign games, I’m happy with the way I played.

Of course, anyone could spin it another way. I benefited massively from the strange run of resource changes, which saw American islands (with textiles and lumber) valuable for months on end, whereas French metals stayed very low for just as long. In addition, I came in with a HUGE experience advantage over 4 of the other 5 players (Xerecs being the exception), and indeed this was the first campaign game (I think) for all 4 of those players. However, you could paint it the opposite way and point out that the Americans are almost objectively the second-worst faction of the Big 6, meaning I was at a somewhat severe disadvantage from the start. In addition, the resource changes benefited the western factions for a while at the start, but none of them were able to build up enough of an advantage that would resist the eventual riches of America (sounds familiar… XD). Finally, I am impressed with how quickly the Americans were able to end the game, since 6 months for a virtual CG with 6 players feels pretty short. Once the French were defeated at the Gateway and the Americans continued to get fortuitous resource changes, the steamrolling was just about inevitable and impossible to stop. (Cursed mounted a great defense of their HI but the numbers advantage was too great) I also made some mistakes of my own, though they were generally gameplay gaffes and not strategic blunders. For example, I tried to launch the Mercenary Divine Dragon with Christian Fiore before establishing a trading port (forgot about the EE ruling for that especially after not using it for CG1/2). Ironically I did launch both of those game pieces properly later on. XD I also had the Kettering cancel two abilities in one turn against the Cursed, so she lost her ability to cancel for the turn after. Oops!

Since I won the game and I have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to these kinds of games (and I greatly enjoy these reflection posts), I can give a brief analysis of the other factions and some “pointers”. 🙂  Kinda hesitant to do this since I’m revealing the “grand strategy” that has proven to be essential to winning these things, but I suppose it’s easy to understand and maybe not as helpful as I think it will be. XD

In the order of play:

Spanish
The Spanish were the dominant force early on, getting very valuable resources consistently from wild islands. They were the first to do a lot of things, such as launch, build a port, shoot, etc. However, it fizzled out quickly. I think they were a bit too aggressive, which made the factions on their west side of the map hostile to them. In addition, they didn’t really optimize their resource system before going after other fleets. They never had a lot of ships getting resources for gold, so things fell apart quickly. They attacked the French when they didn’t need to and couldn’t handle the later counterattack. Their gunships couldn’t handle the French fleet out for revenge, and their “alliance” with the Americans never panned out, especially when they claimed the Gateway island for themselves despite the Americans just to the east. They also seemed hell-bent on eliminating the English, keeping the Algeciras and flotilla stationed off the English HI when they may have been able to survive by running home or trying to get resources (not sure why the Spanish were so onto the English like that). In the end it was too much too soon, but partly as a result of not optimizing their income and launch strategy.

Cursed
The Cursed did well as a somewhat passive or isolationist faction. Their fog hoppers were used to great effect to get resources not readily available on nearby wild islands. The Cursed made themselves difficult to reach and attack early, helping out the English with L movers and positioning themselves in the Frozen North near the icebergs. However, they saved resources and gold too much, never fully optimizing their resource system. This was their Achilles’ heel, as other factions were usually ahead of them in point counts. With more ships running resources, the Cursed could have built up a more impressive hoard they could use for defense. One could also argue the Cursed were slightly too passive, and didn’t appear to align with any factions against the powerful Americans. When they did anger the Americans, it was too early (or too late) for them to get into that giant conflict. However, the Cursed still played a solid game and finish in second place, VERY good considering the factional limitations.

Pirates
The Pirates’ biggest problem was a disadvantageous home island location. In the far southeast, they didn’t have easy access to a single island, as the Americans were closer to an island in the northeast and the main Pirate wild island was far to the southwest around the Great Sargasso and possibly as close to the French HI as it was to the Pirate HI. This resulted in the Pirates getting WAY behind right from the start. In reality, they didn’t have much of a chance. They did accept a smart alliance with the Americans, so their powerful neighbors were on great terms with them for nearly the entire game. By the time the Americans sensed betrayal, the points lead the Americans had was overwhelming. Outside of that the Pirates didn’t really do anything wrong that I noticed.

French
I would contend that the French actually played the second-best game, though that can’t always be reflected in the final standings/elimination order. I don’t feel like they truly made any big mistakes that doomed them. I suppose you could make the case that they shouldn’t have used the explorer’s reroll at their second wild island during the first session of play, but it did help them early on. In addition, seeing the battle reports for CG1 and CG2 may have helped them anticipate a strike by yours truly, given the situation near the Gateway. The French were one of the early leaders due to valuable metals, and they sent an appropriately large squadron north to retaliate for the Spanish sinking of the Bonne Chance. As the Americans and French had no real contact prior to my attack (diplomatic or physical), there wasn’t a lot to suggest that they’d be crushed almost immediately after their big victory at the Gateway. However, with that decisive battle ending in favor of the Americans, it was very difficult to recover after that. Just as the resource “changes” (aka American and Cursed resources retaining high value) favored the eastern factions, the French were left with little means to launch things with. When one of the final resource changes kept metals at 1 gold apiece, the French decided to just spend what they had (99 metals I believe) and avoid a blockade scenario. If they had gotten lucky and metals had jumped to 6 (basically a windfall of 600 gold!), the French would have done better and possibly altered the final result of the game. (though since the Americans had over 1,000 points in play at that point, it still would likely have taken a coalition to unseat them as the eventual victor) All in all, it was a well-played game by the French, and like I said, in my opinion arguably the second-best game of the six factions.

English
The English went last and got to pick their home island first, which can be both a blessing and a curse. It allowed them to get a good location, but they had no idea where the other factions would settle. In the end they were close to the most aggressive faction of the early game, the Spanish. They were left at the mercy of Spanish firepower, though their questionable detour through a whirlpool route to get home may have doomed them just as much. Unfortunately the English spent many of the game’s most exciting turns simply repairing the Aberdeen Baron, the only English ship in play for most of the final half of the game. It was a disappointing outing for a faction that usually does quite well in these grand adventures, but like the Pirates they had lots of trouble early on and couldn’t make a comeback.

~~~~~

Random stuff from my google doc I use for all VASSAL CG’s (strategy/launch plans/etc)
-I wanted to eliminate the French within the 8 turns when that resource change happened, to prevent their metals from potentially skyrocketing
-At some point (in January or February) the main part of the strategy said “End the game as soon as possible!” XD (in bold) Mostly since it was borderline over, but also so we could potentially start another CG since the other players would get sick of the American dominance and inevitable outcome (trying to rush things so everyone could get a chance again in the next CG)
-Keep cancellers together and protect them (canceller squadron sails against Cursed, non-canceller ships blockade French HI) – this didn’t work that much, but it didn’t need to since the French left their HI and I couldn’t get all the cancellers together until the battle against the Cursed was already going well.
-Try to eliminate Cursed trading port?
-Peacock – where to put next military port? (after Flying Fish puts one near French HI)
(neither of those were particularly relevant as the endgame accelerated, the Celtic Fury did raze the Cursed TP on one of the final turns though)

These were from a while ago:
-Establish an alliance with wifey and possibly repkosai
-Deterrence with a fleet in being
-Escorts around fog banks

I accomplished the alliance with the Pirates, didn’t really need a “fleet in being” since I started playing offense earlier than I wanted/expected to, and started to get some escorts around fog banks to protect against fog hoppers. However, the Cursed didn’t use them for offense much and Davy Jones was captured before his 6’s could wreak havoc on the American resource system.

I also recorded a lot of various launch plans, which I followed some of the time. The game actually ended with a bunch of notes still in that section, so if the game had continued I had another ~400 points of launches planned out. XD I did manage to launch all 4 Merc 10 masters, and I think I put all the American 5 masters in play overall.

The super squadron never united as one due to how things panned out, but this was the fearsome main part of it that I wanted to assemble in the same small area:
Long term: Super squadron w/ Constitution + DNT, cancellers, Eternal, oarsmen
Kettering + Ralph David, Ghost Walker, Hessian, Lizard, Mercury, Lamon (+ Fiore and Mobilis in hindsight)

Here’s a random part of the doc where I recorded what I was satisfied with/had done right. XD

Accomplished:
-Alliance with wifey
-Kill Davy Jones and other similar threats before they can be used to cripple gunships (in hindsight, capturing worked even better!)
-MP on one of Cursed wild islands

Alliances: Spanish, Pirates (neither really worked out, but they didn’t need to)

~~~~~

The final standings:
1. Americans
2. Cursed
3. Pirates
4. French
5. English
6. Spanish

Major Battles:
-First Battle of the Gateway Island: French decisively defeat the Spanish
-Second Battle of the Gateway Island: Americans decisively defeat the French (immediately after first battle)
-Battle of the American home island: Americans decisively defeat the French and Pirates
-Battle of the Cursed home island: Americans decisively defeat the Cursed

Minor Battles:
-Skirmishes won by Spanish against English and French
-Battle for Davy Jones: American victory over Cursed
-Battle of the Pirate home island: Americans eliminate the Pirates
(there were some other minor skirmishes)

Official new records:
Largest recorded single-fleet point total: Americans at 2,414 points
Most cancellers ever seen in a fleet? (likely): 9 (Americans)
Most players ever seen in a campaign game? (impossible to know for sure): 6
Most players ever seen in a virtual/VASSAL campaign game: 6

Thank you all for playing! Also, thanks to xerecs and repkosai for helping with the battle reports.

VASSAL Campaign Game 2

VASSAL Campaign Game 2

Played from February-December of 2016

2/16/2016

With much anticipation and planning, the second VASSAL campaign game has begun! This one goes in a separate thread so they don’t get confused, with the first one having battle reports in the regular BR thread.

The game is being played by four different players, listed in the order of play below. As with the first campaign game (Campaign Game 1 or CG1), the starting fleets were 30 points. Each wild island had 7 coins which would replenish when at least 4 islands were empty. Flat earth rules are being used.

2019 Edit: You can use the Master Spreadsheet to see the game pieces now that Miniature Trading doesn’t work.

French (El Cazador)
La Vengeance +
Le Triton +

Pirates (Xerecs)
Darkhawk II + helmsman, explorer
Bloody Jewel + explorer
Banshee’s Cry
Mermaid
Lightning

English (A7XfanBen)
HMS Yardbird + helmsman
HMS Half Moon + helmsman
Honu Iki + helmsman

Americans (ownage98)
Blackwatch + Commodore Edward Preble
Rattlesnake + captain

Oddly enough, the HI setup coincidentally resembled the real world, with the English in the north, the Americans in the west, and the French in the east. The Pirates took the southern HI.
VASSAL Campaign Game 2

3/12/2016

Progress has been made! Ownage decided to drop out of the game, leaving El Cazador, Xerecs, and myself to continue.

The action saw each faction launch a handful of extra treasure runners, expanding the fleets and leading to the first gold replenishment.

3/13/2016

Another handful of turns passed, with even more gold runners being introduced. Among them were the Aberdeen Baron, Tiger’s Eye, Hai Peng, and Le Lyon.

Here, the Lyon has gone through a whirlpool to emerge in the northwest, while the Pirates take advantage of the broken abilities of the Rising Sun and Captain Jack Sparrow.

4/16/2016

After a month of inactivity, CG2 has continued! Still no shots fired, but this picture gives a glimpse of all the launchings.

A quick ship count, in the order of gameplay:

French: 9 ships
Pirates: 24 ships
English: 19 ships

Total: 52 ships

6/22/2016

This game has continued.

The first official point count, in the order of play:
French: 11 ships, ~169 points*
Pirates: 34 ships, 442 points
English: 28 ships, 413 points

Total: 73 ships, 1,024 points

With over 1,000 total points in play, we have already reached huge game status!

(*El Cazador has kept many of his crew face down, so I simply assumed an average of 3 points each for those)

It’s worth noting that Emperor Blackheart made the Corse fire upon Le Soleil Royal, but other than that there hasn’t been any combat action.

6/30/2016

We have begun using the new version of the Pirates module to play CG2.

Exciting things are finally happening!

My English launched the Baochuan with Admiral Zheng He and Katsura-chan!

The Zeus is loose! Xerecs’ Pirates respond with a 10 master of their own!

However, the English have attacked! They’re not going to be nice like they were in CG1! Whirlpool sub squadron ATTACK!

The Terror came through a whirlpool first, using El Cazador’s custom Nobunaga marine crew to shoot a mast off the Pride, a Pirate schooner. Then the Slipstream followed suit, using Major Peter Sharpe to blast off another mast. To complete the attack, HMS Oxford sailed through the whirlpool and was given an AA (Admiral’s Action – the crew you must roll a 6 with) to knock three masts off the nearby Darkhawk II and steal a coin!

9/26/2016

CG2 has finally continued!

The English press their attack! (southwest of the center) The Pirates managed a nice counterstrike, dismasting the Oxford! However, more submarines were on the way! The Terror and Slipstream were followed through the whirlpool by the Mobilis and Hephaestus, as well as HMS Bolingbroke! The Bolingbroke splintered masts on the Darkhawk II and the Thirty Tyrants, while the Terror surfaced to shoot at the Windjammer! The Pride has been dismasted, but the Pirates have the Broken Key and Ranger nearby to help recover from the raid.

After another turn, the English and Pirates have unloaded quite a lot of gold, while the French appear to be heading east, despite the flat earth rules.

Up close in the action! The Bolingbroke was dismasted, and is due to be scuttled. The Terror was sunk! The other English-controlled subs were ineffective, but they had a final ship join them: HMS Success. She was given an AA (admiral’s action) after coming through the whirlpool, inflicting minor damage on the Ranger. This burst of combat has spiced up the game, and we hope to continue soon!

In terms of launches, El Cazador launched a custom 5 master, while I launched HMS Durham with Lord Cutler Beckett, giving the English 4 total AA (admiral action) crew.

10/4/2016

Two more turns have been played. HMS Success and HMS Oxford were captured by the Pirates, who launched the Prussian Crown, presumably to deal with the Mercenary subs hired by the English. Those three subs were ineffectively ramming the various Pirate gunships in the area, while Major Peter Sharpe missed sinking the Oxford (to deny the Pirates from using her).

The French nearly sailed off Ocean’s Edge, but had second thoughts and eventually turned their ships around. Introducing El Cazador’s custom Hyrule faction to the game, the French launched the RHS Nayru and built Hyrule Castle on their home island!

At the end of my turn, the English launched the Shui Xian and hired crew for the Baochuan!

10/8/2016

More turns have been played with very interesting developments.

The English did something I believe to be unprecedented. After launching the Shui Xian, they proceeded to launch the Zhanfu on their next turn! The Zhanfu is one of the 10 masters from Return to Savage Shores. Then, after using an AA (admiral’s action) to dock home the Scots’ Pride for enough gold, they purchased the Fortaleza (also from RtSS) as well!! Three 10 masters in three turns! However, by the end of it they were flat-out broke and will remain poor for the time being. They also didn’t have enough gold to put much crew on the Fortaleza – the gold from the Scots’ Pride was needed just to launch the final 10, let alone have a good crew complement aboard. However, the crews of the Shui Xian and Zhanfu are more impressive, hosting the likes of Lawrence, Huang Bai, Captain Nemo, and others. This flurry of launches give the English 4 10 masters in play, which may be a campaign game record.

The English had also cleaned up in the south against the Pirates. After a dismal turn of bad rolls, they had two good turns in a row to sink not only the captured Oxford and Success, but also the Pirate ships Thirty Tyrants and Darkhawk II! Most recently, the Deliverance showed up to contest the now-surfaced Hephaestus, but the Deliverance was sunk by the Mercenary sub after the Hephaestus went 6/6 with an AA! So in total, the English raid through the whirlpool almost had 3 distinct stages: initial success with the element of surprise, followed by the Terror being sunk and the Oxford and Success captured, and now with the remaining submarines (Hephaestus, Mobilis, and Slipstream) doing a great job of salvaging the operation and hurting the Pirates by permanently taking some of their better ships out of the game. It also mirrors CG1 a little bit, where the English got some hired help to combat the Cursed. However, the English are doing a much better job this time around, making sure their minor faction helpers have enough crew to be effective in their missions.

The French seem to be changing their ways a little bit. Understandably shy in combat so far with a (somewhat) smaller battle fleet, they attacked the Pirates! The Recreant had actually shot first, but the French got the better of the engagement, capturing the Pirate 3 master with Le Lyon. The Soleil Royal then ventured into Pirate waters to dismast the Dragon! This was a rare instance of hurting a fleet’s gold system, and that’s one of the best ways to bring down a faction in a campaign game (though it’s often difficult).

If it looks like the Pirates had a rough day, that would be correct. However, they were well prepared for whatever came next. The 20 point Flying Dutchman sailed towards the submarines with canceller Tia Dalma aboard, with the sub-hunting Prussian Crown and Corcoran nearby. The Zeus and other Pirate gunships still loomed large, and in the far south you can see the Victoire departing the Pirate home island.

The next phase of the game promises much excitement!

10/9/2016

A single turn has been played since the last report, but it was a notable one. The Flying Dutchman opened fire on the Hephaestus and did minor damage.

As the English, I knew what my strategy was. First the three submarines got through the whirlpool to safety, back in the north. Then, it was time to ATTACK! The 10 masters were sent into battle!

Emerging from the whirlpool, both ships sacced for extra actions. The Shui Xian was first, hitting 5/9 overall (I think) against the Corcoran and Prussian Crown. The Zhanfu was next, and Huang Bai positioned her to ram and board the Flying Dutchman, with Lawrence aboard the Shui Xian cancelling the FD’s Ghost Ship keyword. The Zhanfu was a bit less effective, taking out three masts on the Flying Dutchman. At the end of the attack I rolled 4 consecutive 1’s, two on shots, one on a reroll, and one on the ram roll. However, the Zhanfu won the boarding party! This allowed Captain Nemo to capture Captain Barbossa! I wanted to make sure I could ram in order to have enough crew to sac on the next turn, since the Zhanfu was running with one less extra crew than the Shui Xian, and I wanted to avoid saccing the shipwright or primary oarsman.

Xerecs’ counterattack will no doubt be devastating, but the Fortaleza may also be sent through the same whirlpool!

Three other things: the Shui Xian is using Woodes Rogers, a rare instance of him being useful. At the end of Xerecs’ turn, he launched the Grand Path and Fool’s Hope at his home island. Also, El Cazador’s Soleil Royal managed to light the Cassandra aflame with some exploding shot, continuing the assault on Pirate gold runners!

xerecs wrote:
From my turn right after this:

Cassandra immediately turned for home, but the fire spread, however the Lighting has come out to meet her, possibly to tow her home. La Victoire used a SAC to bring the Royal down to one mast, and then the Feathered Hat got in on the action, sinking the Royal, and damaging another french ship in the process.

The FD got her SAT and went 2/4 against the Zhanfu, while Lawrence and Tia Dalma cancelled each other out. The Sea nymph used a double action provided by Jean Laffite to fire 8 time on the SX, but only hit with half her shots. The PC and Corcoran split off, trying to get to safety to repair. The Zeus used a SAC to get her first five cannons in range of the SX, but only hit once in five tries.

The Grand Path and Fool’s Hope have deployed from the Pirate HI, ready to assist Pirate efforts on any front.

 

 

el_cazador wrote:
From my turn right after this:

With the sudden disappearance of Le Soleil Royal, the French decided to stay put and hit harder. Down went La Victoire to the holy sword of St. Michael and the booming guns of the Nayru. Vive la France!

I also launched a custom 1 masted French galley.

And good to see the Cassandra burning. She sinks immediately at the start of Xerecs’ next turn. 🙂

Xerecs: note the crew on those ships. I have 2 cancelers in the area (in case you try to attack). 😛

10/9/2016

More exciting developments have unfolded!

Xerecs’ counterattack knocked out more than half of the Shui Xian’s masts, and the Zhanfu took damage as well.

As the English, my main objective had failed (if you can guess what is was heh). However, I eventually came to the conclusion that I needed to get my 10 masters out of a bad situation instead of losing them, or worse, having the Pirates capture them. The English were close to giving the Mercenaries the go ahead, but it would have been suicidal, and the main objective would likely have failed anyway.

Of course, there was damage to be done on the way out!! The Mobilis and Tia Dalma cancelled each other out, right before all three submarines high-tailed it outta there! Then it was time for the 10 masters. The Zhanfu was already on top of the whirlpool, so her first action was used to further damage the Flying Dutchman. The Zhanfu then used a sacrifice action to go through the whirlpool and emerge in the northwest where she had come from, near a friendly English fort where she and the Shui Xian could repair. The submarines had gone to a different fort, partly because the other fort would be quite crowded, and also to provide 2 targets via different whirlpools in the event of an immediate Pirate counterattack.

Here you can see the aftermath of a major skirmish. Certainly not a full-scale battle, but an important part of early-game combat. The Shui Xian and Zhanfu are looking to repair in the northwest, where the Fortaleza and Baochuan (two more 10 masters!) provide insurance in the case of a Pirate attack through the whirlpool. The battlefield looks strangely empty without the Merc 10’s and the submarines – the Zeus is nearly intact, while the FD has been sunk. The Prussian Crown repairs at the Devil’s Maw.

The Pirates and French continue to fight in the southeast while the 10 masters repair.

From north to south: the Baochuan has begun running treasure, picking up an entire island’s worth of gold on her first trip. A bunch of English gold runners are crowded around their home island, and with some of the gold coming in I launched a few more ships. In the center, the French continue to get gold from their main 3 wild islands. In the south, total carnage between the French and Pirates! Xerecs recently launched the Rampage, a custom Merc 5 master with built-in cancelling.

It’s a small picture, but a closeup of the carnage! One 5 master on each side lies derelict. The Nayru (a custom Hylian 5 master similar to El Acorazado) and Nautilus, both equipped with cancellers, hold the key to France’s hopes in the battle. Their main opponents are the Grand Path and Feathered Hat, though El Ladron still has all her masts.

10/11/2016

Here are the latest ship and point counts as of October 11th!

French: 14 ships, ~232 points
Pirates: 33 ships, 515 points
English: 35 ships, ~670 points
Total: 82 ships, 1417 points

Since the last point count (June), the French have made some strides in their fleet, and lately they’ve made some waves by attacking the Pirates. The Pirates have about the same number of ships they had in June, but they have more crew since their point total is higher. The English, however, have climbed into the lead in both ship and point count! Their quartet of 10 masters (3 of them just about fully crewed) explains their point differential compared to the Pirates while having just 2 more ships.

Here both of the derelict 5 masters in the southeast have sunk; the Nayru flees the area while the Nautilus has submerged to reach safety underwater.

10/18/2016

After the English had failed to achieve their objective with a raid on the Pirates through the whirlpool, they finally had their 10 masters and submarines repaired! The turns of waiting and organizing another raid were over, and it was time for another strike!

ATTACK!! The Fortaleza is given an AA to sail through the whirlpool and unleash her firepower! A custom equipment of mine was revealed to be aboard:

Bow Chasers
Faction Affiliation: Neutral
Type: Equipment
Point Value: 5
This ship gains two additional cannons that can only shoot from the foremost mast of the ship. The cannons follow the range of the foremost mast of the ship, but they have 4 rank and the Extended Range keyword. The cannons can only fire in a straight line directly forward of the ship’s bow. Other pieces of equipment cannot be used with Bow Chasers.

The Fortaleza’s gunports opened up, and the upgraded Devil’s Maw fort was in range! The new bow cannons missed, but her regular cannons hit, damaging the Pirate investment. Lord Thomas Gunn is the new admiral of the fleet, and from HMS Dauntless he gave the Fortaleza +1 to her cannon rolls this turn. However, in my opinion the Bow Chasers should stay at a fixed rank that cannot be modified, similar to how they cannot be used with other pieces of equipment.

The Fortaleza then fired on the Rising Sun at point-blank range, dismasting the ship. However, the English were just getting started…

Ducie Chads gave HMS Leicester the SAT, and she came through the whirlpool! The Zeus was in trouble! The Leicester revealed some Bow Chasers of her own and scored 3 hits to take out 6 masts on the Zeus! Then it got even worse for the Pirates – the Zhanfu is back!

With a successful shoot and boarding party, the Zhanfu took the Zeus down to one mast and captured sac captain Havana Black with Captain Nemo! Then it was the Shui Xian’s turn. A 3rd 10 master came through the whirlpool, and just like the Zhanfu the SX sacced for an extra action. The SX missed the fort despite Woodes Rogers’ rare bonus ability, but the Zeus was dismasted!

This shows the entire ocean. The subs also came through the whirlpool, including the two new ones. The English were not going to fail in their objective again! The first raid was 2 10 masters and 3 subs, but this raid has 3 10 masters and 5 subs, with the Leicester backing them up to boot! Lawrence and Tia Dalma have teamed up to freeze the Zeus, cancelling her helmsman and oarsman abilities. On their turn, the Pirates built Dead Man’s Point and hired some crew, while the French have been forced to retreat from the southeast area where the Pirates have the new fort.

10/21/2016

The English onslaught was so abrupt and powerful that there wasn’t much the Pirates could do about it in the short term. The Pirates backed off, save for the Ranger, who missed two consecutive Broadside Attacks against the Fortaleza. The Fortaleza responded by sinking the Ranger and the Rising Sun. However, the Pirates managed to get two valuable ships out of harm’s way: check out the Hai Peng and Prussian Crown sailing away from the battle.

As you can see, the Zhanfu captured the Zeus! The Shui Xian and Fortaleza teamed up to destroy the upgraded Devil’s Maw fort, technically costing the Pirates 55 gold!

With that, my first objective was complete! This is from my strategy document, and thus I can’t show my other strategies which are still in progress. Destroy the fort upgrade with the 10 master squadron, sinking 10’s with the subs if captured. Mission accomplished! The fort was no more, and the English hardly lost any masts (2 on the Shui Xian), let alone any ships. My thinking was that if the Pirates had a launch point near a whirlpool, they could launch ships with which to get revenge on the English by using similar tactics, since it was the English who started this conflict. That being said, keep in mind that the English still haven’t declared war on the Pirates. In fact, there hasn’t been a declaration of war in this game!

The capture of the Zeus gives the English a whopping SIX 10 masted ships! The fifth was actually HMS Union Jack, a custom 10 master from Pirates of the Kraken Sea. The battle squadron in the south is somewhat exposed, but it has enough firepower to defend itself. I suppose it feels exposed since I am the one controlling it, and each ship had a special purpose until now, since the situation is more stable at this point. The 10’s have good crew complements aboard, while the Leicester and submarines provide good support in the case of an emergency.

It seems to be a good time to do a general overview of each fleet’s situation.

Here are the English in the north. From left to right: the Baochuan is being used as a gold ship, since she can empty an entire island each trip! HMS Durham (with valuable Lord Cutler Beckett aboard) is her guard ship. I love how campaign games get so big that you can simply assign a ship to guard another ship, like a personal bodyguard. The Dauntless is heading home, hoping to pick up some additional crew. That’s what the Union Jack has just done, and she has some very good crew indeed. Her current setup gives +2 to her cannon rolls via Admiral James Norrington and Griffin. Many other ships are running gold. It looks less necessary now that the English have the largest fleet, but early in the game I made it a point to have “treasure runners with teeth”. The English gold system is not a vulnerable one, because many of the gold runners have more than 2 masts, and a handful of them carry a captain in addition to a helmsman, providing more flexibility in the case of raids or attacks. The English have plenty of natural hybrids, and among their current ranks running gold are the likes of HMS Dover, Hyena, Metal Dragon, Swallow, Scots’ Pride, and the Tiger’s Eye. At the lower right, HMS Titan guards Ramsgate, in the case of an attack by the French or by a fleet through the nearby whirlpool. HMS Rye guards the Titan, giving the English two cancellers in one spot (Bratley is aboard the Titan). At the upper right, smaller English gold runners have handled the reefs rather well. There isn’t much point in sailing the larger ships to that hazardous island, and so the 1 and 2 masters do the job. It’s also the furthest island the English are currently harvesting, but with 6 ships running gold it’s reasonably efficient.

The center area, showing the entirety of the French fleet. They have fallen on hard times of late, as their raid on the Pirates didn’t go as well as planned. They were thwarted in trying to get another island in their possession, losing two capital ships in the process. However, the Nayru and Nautilus have survived intact, and they and their cancellers provide France with some good weapons and defense. France simply needs to optimize her gold system and avoid a war with either of the other two factions (aka not making them angry lol), and she could begin to make major strides in this game.

The Pirates in the south. As you can see, their territory has been encroached upon by the English, who have essentially cut off two of their valuable islands. The English didn’t foresee their attack going so well and being able to cut off some of the Pirates’ resources, but the Pirates are still a strong faction, as evidenced by their many capital ships and powerful named crew. The English were particularly annoyed by the Pirate usage of “OP” game pieces, such as the UPS gold strategy. The capture of the Zeus and elimination of things like the Rising Sun (UPS) and Flying Dutchman (Eternal) may serve to level the playing field going forward, which is exactly what the English were after. However, factors such as Emperor Blackheart threaten to throw things out of balance once more, and if the Pirate shenanigans continue, it may inevitably lead to war….

The entire ocean. Notice how the English attack has dramatically reshaped the south – the northwestern part of the southern hemisphere is all of a sudden nearly devoid of Pirate activity. The Shui Xian quickly built Fort Royal on the island where the Devil’s Maw stood, giving the SX and Zeus a place to repair. The Zeus moves S+S towards the fort on oar power, an ominous sign. Why so ominous? The ghostly crew of the Devil’s Maw lay there, along with plenty of sacrificial oarsmen. It may be only a matter of time before the English loose Calico Cat on her former fleetmates….

Finally, the topics of UT placement and forts repairing via shipwrights have come up. No consensus has been reached, but it’s likely that some of the “light” UT’s will make an appearance at some point.

10/23/2016

Another day, another turn. The French are running gold almost exclusively due west to due east, as you can see from the orientation of their ships. The Nautilus has surfaced to repair near the French home island.

In a devastating turn of events, Emperor Blackheart rolled a 6 to use the Leicester! The gunship nearly dismasted the Zhanfu, and now only one of the four 10 masters in the area has all of her masts. It was a blow to the English cause, but it only served to make them extremely angry.

In the meantime, another gold replenishment was done.

10/24/2016

Exciting developments in the southwest! The Gladius Dei and Devil Ray came out of the fog to ram the Corcoran, hoping to dismast the sub hunter and therefore eliminate her as a threat to themselves. The Dei was completely ineffective, but the Devil Ray got an EA from Count Gustov and succeeded with both rams!

With an AA, the Leicester used her Bow Chasers to smash masts off the Foresight!! The English are gunning for Emperor Blackheart, and for good reason. While the English have built up their battle fleet with sheer firepower and a possible numbers advantage, EBH threatens to throw everything off course with a single lucky die roll. Lord Thomas Gunn doesn’t see that as fair, and thus has ordered EBH’s execution. HMS Apollo and HMS Union Jack have arrived through the whirlpool, the latter having been given an EA from Mycron to do so. The Zhanfu and Zeus (double Z! lol) repair, while the Shui Xian and Fortaleza are too far away to reach the Foresight.

The Pirates have sent most of their gunships west. However, the English may give them more trouble, as two more Pirate hunting gunships have been launched – HMS Victoria and HMS Diamond. The English will have justice!

11/29/2016

CG2 has continued once more! Xerecs and I took our turns to complete the round and I did a gold replenishment at the end.

The Pirates went on the run after being attacked by the English. Emperor Blackheart tried to get away aboard the Foresight, but the Leicester was given an AA to sail over the Sargasso Sea (rolling a 3 to not get stuck) and fire! With Ducie Chads’ help, her powerful guns sank the Foresight, and EMPEROR BLACKHEART IS DEAD! This fulfills another one of my objectives as the English. Mission accomplished! EBH didn’t roll many 6’s before his demise (unlike Davy Jones in CG1), but one was all it took for the English to snap. The crippled Zhanfu is still repairing, and will be for quite some time. A weapon as powerful as EBH needed to be eliminated, and now the English and French (who also wanted EBH dead) can sail the seas without having to worry about having their capital ships too close together.

However, the situation may actually get much more interesting. The Leicester needed some support down in the deep south of the ocean, and the 10 masters were willing to assist. The Shui Xian used a sac action to sink the Prussian Crown, another ship on the English hit list. Now that the PC and Corcoran have been taken out of action, the English get closer and closer to being able to run unrestricted submarine warfare against the Pirates if they need to. Speaking of which, the Gladius Dei and Devil Ray managed to dismast the Cursed Blade with a series of rams; the Cursed Blade and Windjammer are visible at the extreme left of the picture.

The Fortaleza was next on the scene with an AA, but missed both her shots against the Longshanks. HMS Union Jack, England’s latest 10 master, also arrived with an SAT from Commander Spencer Portland. However, the Pirates have considerable force amassed at their home island, most notably with the Rampage (a custom Merc 5 master with built-in cancelling) and two Jade privateer 6 masted junks.

12/4/2016

Exciting developments unfold!

Another round of turns took place today. The Pirates went after HMS Leicester, seeking revenge for the death of Emperor Blackheart. The Longshanks and Grand Temple (the latter with help from Tsai’s SAT) dismasted the English gunship and captured Henry Ducie Chads with Dragon Eyes, at which point Woodes Rogers (aboard the nearby Shui Xian) hailed the Pirates:

Woodes Rogers: I would like to point out that we are not after the elimination of the Pirates. We have objectives that need to be met, but open war is not our primary goal with you scum.
* L Tool moved by Xerecs*
<a7xfanben> – WR: In other words, perhaps we can work out some terms?
<Xerecs> – Genny Gallows: You killed the Emporer.
<a7xfanben> – I think this is the first convo of this type lol, similar to CG1 heh
<Xerecs> – GG: But we can listen,
<a7xfanben> – WR: As needed. He ruins everything for everyone but yourselves.
<Xerecs> – One Extended shot from Ningpo on that ten
*** <Xerecs> rolls Red D6 -> [2] ***
<Xerecs> – miss
<Xerecs> – GG: We have quarrel with the French
<a7xfanben> – WR to himself: Even as they continue to fire…
<a7xfanben> – XD
<Xerecs> – GG: Blasted Frogs
<Xerecs> – GG: T’was one shot
<Xerecs> – GG: and it missed
<a7xfanben> – WR: You are still more powerful than the French. If certain things don’t happen soon, that may change.
<Xerecs> – GG: You can take the Leicester back,
<Xerecs> – GG: But the Polaris and Sigurd are important to us.
<a7xfanben> – WR: We are not interested in a talentless Viking….
<Xerecs> – GG: I would not call him talentless…..
<Xerecs> – GG: I quite fancy him
<a7xfanben> – Lawrence: Blackheart is not the only nuisance in your fleet
<Xerecs> – GG: To what other nuisance to you refer?
<Xerecs> – GG: Captain Sparrow?
<a7xfanben> – WR: A certain junk, let’s call her “Hai Peng”?
<a7xfanben> – WR: Him as well.
<Xerecs> – GG: Is oyur issue with the ship or with er captain?
<a7xfanben> – WR: Both are unnatural…
<a7xfanben> – WR: I would hardly expect the Pirates to be surprised that His Majesty’s Navy wants Sparrow dead.
<Xerecs> – GG: Killing Sparrow would result in a cursed version of imself.
<Xerecs> – GG: Neither are in our best intrests
<a7xfanben> – WR: We’re not asking you to kill one of your own.
<a7xfanben> – WR: Simply keep him in a jail cell where he belongs.
<a7xfanben> – WR: If not, Beckett will not simply keep him in a jail cell…
<Xerecs> – GG: But he brings us such nice shiny things……
<Xerecs> – GG: I’ve heard he is going to the Dead Man’s Point…….
<a7xfanben> – WR: With unnatural powers that will lead you to your own doom.
<Xerecs> – GG: I can arrange for im to be……Detained
<a7xfanben> – WR: Good. We hope for hostilties to cease.
<Xerecs> – GG: Mind you, I cannot stophim from using his ‘unnatural’ powers one last time once he arrives.
<Xerecs> – GG: But after that it sould be simple to keep him there
<Xerecs> – GG: Your giant ships off our coast make us quite Nervous Woodes
<a7xfanben> – WR: Unless he escapes… or should I say when you LET him escape in his usual fashion? Wink
<Xerecs> – GG: Only a Pirate could keep him permanently in place.
<a7xfanben> – WR: How could we make demands without a show of force?
<Xerecs> – GG: For only a Pirate can truly know the mind of another Pirate
<Xerecs> – GG: Impressive display Woodes, you took one of ours to make it so.
<a7xfanben> – WR: Gives us Ducie Chads in the meantime; his hatred of Pirates will make him kill himself before you can get him back to the ransom market.
<Xerecs> – GG: Alas i truly do not know how to give im back, he’s fallen to the Dragon Eyes, a truly mysterious fellow.

Here’s the situation after the Pirate turn. 6 Pirate gunships have their bows pointed to the west; the Rampage has turned around and away from the battle.

At this point negotiations broke down. Almost all the English ships in the southern hemisphere have Pirate-hating crews aboard. In addition, the large crews of the powerful 10 masters had grown restless. The Leicester had taken care of the main objective – eliminating Emperor Blackheart. The English and Mercenary crews were itching for some action, and the Grand Temple’s dismasting of the Leicester (and subsequent capture of Chads by Dragon Eyes) put them over the top. The Fortaleza surged forward and it was on! With an AA the Fortaleza shot about 9/20, taking the Grand Temple and Grand Path down to 3 masts each. The Shui Xian was given a sac action to move and shoot twice as well. Her first broadside sank the Longshanks, while her second broadside dismasted the Grand Temple and Raven’s Neck and sank the Greed’s Hammer. Then at long last it was time for the English 10 master: HMS Union Jack! The Union Jack had a triple cannon bonus against Pirate ships: +1 from Governor Lynch, +1 from Griffin, and +1 from Admiral James Norrington! This also meant that she had a +2 cannon bonus against ships of any faction, but against Pirates, 2’s hit on all of her cannons! Commander Portland’s SAT roll failed, but Mycron gave the ship an extra action to bail him out. The Raven’s Neck and Ningpo were sunk in short order. Then the Union Jack had to maneuver so that some guns were in range of the Grand Path, but so that the UJ wasn’t in range of the Rampage’s built-in cancelling ability. This was accomplished, and the Grand Path was sunk! With 2 L-range guns in range of the Rampage, the UJ rolled a pair of 6’s to damage the dangerous vessel. Finally, all 4 aft cannons on the UJ scored hits on the Ladron, making the Ladron the final Pirate ship to sink on the turn, one of six I believe. The English ended their turn by advancing even more Pirate-hating ships: HMS Apollo, HMS Victoria, and HMS Diamond are on their way. In addition, you can see the Mercenary subs advancing, without the Prussian Crown and Corcoran to oppose them.

The ocean. In a single turn the 3 English-controlled 10 masters in the deep south fired off around 50 shots to absolutely devastate the Pirate resistance. The English are still not interested in war, as they have made their demands to the Pirates clear:
<a7xfanben> – 1. Don’t use Captain Jack Sparrow for the rest of the game.
<a7xfanben> – 2. Scuttle the Hai Peng.
<a7xfanben> – The English will be taking the Rampage as a prize of war; resistance will mean the end of the Grand Temple, Polaris, Dragon Eyes, Tsai, and Andersen.
<a7xfanben> – If the two demands are not met, the English will have no choice but to use force. In that case anything that gets in the way will be eliminated.
<a7xfanben> – TIME TO CAPITULATE!!!!!!!

12/5/2016

A few turns later, and the Pirates have agreed to the English demands. The English captured the Rampage, and a house rule allowed the Fortaleza to load Ducie Chads (previously captured by Dragon Eyes) after the Shui Xian eliminated the Grand Temple’s oarsman. In the deep south you can see the 10 masters turning north, while the Mermaid has taken the Grand Temple under tow. The Leicester is about to get Chads back, after which he hopes to provide an SAT so the ship can move 4S on oar power. The Leicester will repair at Fort Royal, where the Zhanfu and Zeus have half of their masts up. The Victoria and Apollo have docked there as well, having lost masts to the whirlpool. Those two were originally headed south in case the 10 masters needed backup, but the battle has concluded already, the English objectives having been met.

In the southwest, the Devil Ray received an EA from Count Gustov, but missed all 4 of her shots in an attempt to sink the Corcoran. The Slipstream (with Major Peter Sharpe aboard) is coming over to assist the Devil Ray if needed, while the Gladius Dei prepares to ram any Pirates attempting a rescue.

The Pirates’ plans seem to have shifted back to their beef with the French. Gunships have been launched on both sides. Among the new Pirate ships are the Harbinger, Coleoptera, and Nubian Prince. The French have hired more Hylians in their quest, with RHS Ordona joining the ranks. The Duc de Bourgogne and the Delacroix have set sail as well. It looks as though another battle could happen in almost the same location as the previous one.

The English have launched more ships as well. One turn saw them purchase 3 new gold runners, among them 2 armed merchantmen. The latest turn saw them launch another trio, this time all gunships. It remains to be seen what they intend to do in the near future, but they certainly have plans.

12/9/2016

Here we have another round of turns completed. The French certainly appear to be renewing their conflict with the Pirates: check out their squadron in the east heading south towards the Pirate fort. That group of ships includes the Nautilus (with canceller Christian Fiore aboard) and RHS Nayru, a Hylian ship similar to El Acorazado (also with a canceller aboard). Other ships are sailing with them, such as the defensive powerhouse La Corse.

The Pirates appear a bit worried about the French, which is quite understandable, especially considering that the Pirates don’t have any cancellers at this point, Tia Dalma having been killed in combat earlier in the game and the Rampage being recently captured by the English. The Pirates are grouping up south of the fort however, and have some great firepower of their own: the Sea Nymph, Viper, Harbinger, Coleoptera, Akua Lapu, Golden Medusa and others look to be ready for battle. It will be interesting to see how that situation unfolds. It looks like the Pirates could be trying to draw the French into the southeast corner, putting them further from the French forts and home island, while also keeping the Pirates’ main treasure lane open to that island. However, if the French can interrupt Pirate trade, the Pirates will have to fight farther north in order to end the threat. With the Pirates and English having fought numerous times (without either faction declaring war however) and their conflict at an end, the Pirates can go to their southwestern island more easily now. That’s important since the Pirates really only have 2 islands readily available to them right now.

And what about the English? As their controller, I have various plans which I won’t divulge here. I can give a few past strategies though (specific objectives in this case):
Sink the Hai Peng
Deals with the Pirates (?)
-The HP wasn’t sunk, but probably won’t need to be. Captain Jack Sparrow was unloaded at Dead Man’s Point, where he won’t be used anymore. Without him the Hai Peng is considerably less valuable (and less OP!) to the Pirates. A deal was made, as I explained earlier, and the Rampage was taken. It’s been some months since this much peace existed between the Pirates and England.

The English launched a ship at the end of their turn: the Maui’s Fishhook. I didn’t want to launch a hoist this early in the game, but she is absolutely the perfect “medical barge”. I believe that term was coined by cannonfury in his review of the Frontier. The MF has loaded up with 6 crew, two of which she’ll keep: William Dampier (SAT) and a helmsman. The other 4 are oarsmen here, and they are to be delivered to ships that need them. The MF will be a busy ship helping out with crew logistics. Between the sac captains on the Shui Xian and Zhanfu, the somewhat under-crewed submarines hastily launched to get the sub squadron, and crew lost in combat, there are plenty of opportunities to use the MF. Her unexpected appearance and sudden strategy of using her combines with an objective the English have. This situation is one of my favorite things about campaign games – strategies that aren’t viable in regular games become fun side diversions in CG’s, and the flexibility and grand strategy involved just make it a much more rewarding experience.

12/12/2016

The French begin their assault! Dead Man’s Point is quickly destroyed, and the Pirates have gathered their gunships near some reefs at a point south of where the fort stood.

Shortly after this picture, the Maui’s Fishhook was able to complete her crew logistics mission to perfection, using an extra action to give an oarsman to the Mobilis (who also received a shipwright from the Hephaestus before being a given a move action of her own) and 3 oarsmen to the Shui Xian.

Attack! The French do tremendous damage, sinking multiple ships and getting the advantage of the first shot. The Pirate counterattack saw the Gris and Delacroix take considerable damage, with Barstow capturing Robert Surcouf.

At this point the English decided to intervene! The English were after the Nayru’s Captain Darbus and the Nautilus’ Christian Fiore, which could allow the English to complete their canceller squadron. HMS Rye and Scott Bratley cancelled Darbus and the Nayru’s ship ability (same ability as El Acorazado), which allowed the Titan and HMS Union Jack to dismast the Nayru. Five support ships followed those three English ships through the whirlpool.

The French then surrounded the Nayru with all of their ships in the area, trying to prevent her from being captured. A 5 roll meant she would be scuttled at the beginning of the next French turn. The Union Jack and Rye lost masts, the Nautilus surfacing to shoot at the UJ. Many months ago the French had told the English that if the English attacked them, the French would retaliate with everything they had. The English had forgotten about that, and the French stuck to their plan. Indeed, France’s attention now appeared to be solely fixed on England, as the French/Pirate battle was essentially over already. At this point, the French had declared war on both the Pirates and the English.

The English showed their classic gunnery on their turn, blasting their way to the Nayru and capturing her with Commander Temple, who was aboard HMS Swallow. The English had accomplished half of their objective (with one canceller captured), but with the unintended consequence of France declaring war on England. It was truly total war, as the French suddenly sent their gold-laden treasure runners north to invade English home waters.

French gold runners attacking Ramsgate and the ship docked there, the Tiger’s Eye. At the bottom you can see more French ships on the way, while to the left the damaged Victoria has returned through a whirlpool.

In the southeast, Christian Fiore committed suicide by ramming the Nautilus into the Union Jack and dying in the boarding party, so the English couldn’t capture him. Between Fiore being gone and the difficulty of capturing the Nautilus, the English decided to sink the Nautilus. The Gris was captured while HMS Phoenix missed a bunch of extra-long-range shots. The Pirates were enjoying their time off from fighting, looking to re-explore the island that Dead Man’s Point was on, towing the Cursed Blade in the southwest, and getting the Grand Temple home to repair. All four French ships at Ramsgate have been dismasted. At the end of their turn the English launched HMS Endeavour and the Celtic Fury, giving them seven total 10 masters. The English hadn’t planned on launching the Celtic Fury (her ability allows French crew aboard), but seeing that the French were deploying a total war strategy and seeing that the French likely wouldn’t have the funds to launch her, the English broke their own record for most 10 masters in a single game. Shortly after this picture the Vengeance dismasted the Victoria.

And that was that. Unfortunately this means that the game is effectively over. The French will attack the English, who have no choice but to fire back and eventually eliminate them. The Pirate fleet is still weakened by the English raids earlier in the game, and further weakened by the French attack. Letting the Pirates build up their fleet would take a while, and the English would have a ton of gold saved up even if they backed off for a long time. Even if the Pirates came back, the English would have an advantage between their 7 10 masters and 6 cancellers, not to mention all the English capital ships in reserve. (The game has not ended, but the English have all but won.)

Out of curiosity, I did a point count of the English fleet to see how big it is. The fleet totaled 54 ships for 1,177 total points, which is one of the biggest fleets of all time and surprisingly it could be the largest English fleet I’ve ever commanded. Although, with the 10 masters, the fleet has a lower percentage of English game pieces than in past English fleets I’ve had.

Here are my strategies as the English.

CG2 Strategy (keep all players in the game and let them build)
Assemble canceller squadron, keep it intact
Capture the Nautilus/Nayru if possible (Lenoir?)
Use MF for crew logistics (Mobilis: oarsman, Rye: oarsman, Fortaleza: oarsman, Slipstream: shipwright+oarsman, Zhanfu: oarsman, Zeus has an extra oarsman)

Beyond that, I was hoping to break up fights between the Pirates and French and keep the fun of this campaign game going for as long as possible.

Launch: 
Customs (my crew, other English customs) (Custom sets)
More gold ships
Gunships with chieftains (establish canoe fleets at forts)
Ships with Bow Chasers
Double boarding ability
Monjuer, Crown Jewel
Fort upgrade in south? Fire squadron?

Potential ships for chieftains:
Dreadnought
Bombardier