15th Anniversary of Savage Shores! 2×60 game on November 5th, 2023

15th Anniversary of Savage Shores!


Today marks the 15th anniversary of the final set’s release!  Savage Shores came out on November 5th 2008, so Captain Randy and I decided to play a quick little 2 player 60 point game to celebrate, using almost exclusively SS game pieces. It would be the first of many games we’ll play together in Las Vegas!

We used standard rules with the exception that whirlpool rolls would be bad on 1-3 instead of 4-6. The only non-SS game pieces permitted were terrain, and generic crew from any faction or set.

Randy rolled to go first with this mixed fleet:
Valeroso + captain, helmsman
Libellule + Capitaine Baudouin Deleflote
Speedy Return + tribal chieftain, oarsman
American native canoes

I followed with a Cursed American fleet:
Soul Crusher + Wraith, captain, helmsman
Frontier + tribal chieftain, helmsman, oarsman
American native canoes

We placed 3 SS mysterious islands each, then 3 terrain each. I put Randy’s home island (HI) in the far west, while he put me in the northeast. His canoes are on the far right, with mine just southwest of them.

15th anniversary of Savage Shores game of Wizkids Pirates CSG

I recorded Randy’s first turn:

Randy had a canoe head west, while Frontier loaded a big load of booty from the first island.  I unintentionally was using game pieces that would effectively bypass the mysterious island docking criteria, since Frontier’s hoist arm and the canoes already being at an island when the game started made docking less important for my fleet to get gold.

Soul Crusher got in action and took on the other Turbine!  However, all my shots missed, and only after winning the boarding party (which would normally massacre the Spanish crew) did we remember that Valeroso has Crew Protect built in.  However, the ram damage took out a mast.

Soul Crusher rams Valeroso

Various ships explored, with my canoes finding the Necklace of the Sky and Manawa no Kowhatu (which was ignored with no crew on the canoe of course).

Randy took two of his canoes with two coins each through the whirlpool to arrive in home waters. Valeroso was unable to escape Wraith’s wrath (which could be a fun ship name), with Soul Crusher ramming off her final mast.  True to form, my cannon d6 rolling was abysmal as usual, as I believe I went 0/6 with Soul Crusher.  I used the American native canoe ability to transfer a 7 from one canoe to a different canoe that had Necklace of the Sky, warping to the east to get away from Randy’s approaching canoes.

15th Anniversary of Savage Shores! 2x60 game on November 5th, 2023

Valeroso was able to whirl home on turbine power, with Libellule and the canoes also returning to make for a gold-laden homecoming.  However, Soul Crusher was busting up some canoes as Frontier unloaded another coin for me.  Speedy Return was not living up to her namesake with no helmsman aboard.

15th Anniversary of Savage Shores! 2x60 game on November 5th, 2023

Soon afterwards the final coins were unloaded!

15th Anniversary of Savage Shores! 2x60 game on November 5th, 2023

Final scores:

  1. Cursed Americans: 33 gold
  2. Mixed SS alliance: 20

A solid quick 15th anniversary game to get us started on what should be a great year+ or many years of playing Pirates CSG in Vegas!  It only took about an hour to play out, which might be a theme we experiment with over the long haul.  We’ve got plans for a wide variety of things, including using timed turns, playing scenarios, and playtesting customs.  Thanks for reading and we hope you stay tuned for more seafaring adventures from the desert!  If you know anyone in Vegas that likes pirates and/or this kind of board game, feel free to let me know!

Lastly, feel free to grab some Savage Shores from eBay – affiliate links like that and my Patreon are some of the best ways to support my efforts to keep this game alive and hopefully revive it as well.

Ben and Captain Randy in Las Vegas

Curse of the Black Pearl 20th Anniversary Game! July 9th, 2023

Curse of the Black Pearl 20th Anniversary Game!


20 years ago to the day this game was played, it all began. The movie that changed lives and made fortunes. The movie that led Jordan Weisman of Wizkids to make a Pirate game – the birth of Pirates of the Spanish Main and the CSG subgenre of board games. To celebrate The Curse of the Black Pearl 20th anniversary, Xerecs and I played a 50 point game on VASSAL using only game pieces from the Pirates of the Caribbean set! A brief summary follows, with a full video recording of the short game at the bottom of this post.

He went first as the Pirates, while I followed with the English. I wanted to restrict my fleet to only game pieces actually seen in the first film of the series, which got me to 45 total points using various crew on HMS Dauntless and HMS Interceptor, adding Mercer to get to 48.  They would be facing off against the Black Pearl and Hai Peng.

Curse of the Black Pearl 20th Anniversary Game!

Ragetti helped the Hai Peng snag some Plunder early, while Interceptor used her speed to reach an island quickly as well.  However, my own Marines must have been brainwashed by some natives, as they shot and killed the guvna!  Governor Weatherby Swann was eliminated. Only upon making this report and seeing the video do I realize that I accidentally cheated on the following turn, with Interceptor sailing home when she should have been stuck at the island due to the hangover from Rum.

Curse of the Black Pearl 20th Anniversary Game!

On the Interceptor’s sail home, she was intercepted by the Black Pearl!  The epic battle happens again!!  Black Pearl took off two masts, but the English returned fire for the same on their turn!

Black Pearl vs. HMS Interceptor from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

However, this time “Commodore” James Norrington was there to intervene!  HMS Dauntless came whirling onto the scene, with Mercer tossing Murtog overboard to fuel the ship’s extra action, which sank the Pearl!

From there it was a race to get gold home, with Hai Peng’s blazing speed impeded by the Jail UT which had removed her crew and therefore the captain and helmsman speed bonuses.  HMS Dauntless returned to the southwest via whirlpool to explore, but found TWO Aztec Medallions!  One of them eliminated the other coins from the island, though I should have flipped the Jailhouse Dog to reverse that.

HMS Dauntless came through a whirlpool again, with Mercer sacrificing Mullroy to sink the Hai Peng!  However, the Pirates had won 11-10!
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 20th anniversary


I also played some PotC music on violin that day to celebrate the anniversary, and saw the movie in theater at night to cap the grand day of piracy!  😀

English vs. French Americans – Revolutionary War Redux (June 30th, 2022)

English vs. French Americans

June 30th, 2022

I met up with Dan (Witch) and Kyle at Mox Boarding House Bellevue for a unique 2 vs. 1 game to celebrate the Fourth of July! (a handful of days early) I would field a 100 point English fleet, while Dan and Kyle would team up.  Dan created a 50 point American fleet, while Kyle had 50 points for the French.  They would share a home island, but take individual turns. Since each of the allied fleets had a Limit crew, I was allowed to use two Limit crew in my fleet. There was a brief ban list including events, Paradis de la Mer, Mycron/Deleflote, DJC Bonaparte, Blood Money and Natives.

The massive pieces of terrain are those I won in a recent eBay auction.  They were a big hit and we look forward to using them again in the future.  We used round earth rules with 5 coins on each of the 5 wild islands.

Here are most of the fleets in play order:

Kyle (50 point French)
Conquerant (house ruled to cost 17 points instead of 21!) + Lenoir (F&S version), Godiva, captain, helmsman
L’Auguste + Maurice Aristide
Le Pique + helmsman, explorer

Dan (50 point American)
Enterprise + Jonathan Haraden, Commander Albert Crenshaw, Commodore Matthew Perry, helmsman, oarsman
Providence + Dr. Clark Lewis, captain, helmsman, oarsman

Ben (100 point English)
HMS Phoenix + Admiral James Norrington, helmsman, stinkpot shot
HMS Serapis + Sir Christopher Myngs, CRGO (BC version), captain, helmsman, oarsman
HMS Hyena + 0LR+5 Bratley, captain, helmsman, oarsman, firepot specialist, fire shot
Cygnet + HGold, oarsman, French Letter of Marque
HMS Hound + helmsman, explorer, oarsman
HMS Trepassey
Honu Iki + helmsman, explorer

Having finally just acquired HMS Phoenix after having her on my wants list for near a decade, I knew I wanted to make her the centerpiece of my fleet. That can be easier said than done with 100 points of English stuff available, so she would be the largest ship by theoretical “tonnage” and no 5 masters would be around to overshadow her.  With Norrington she can hit at L+L range on rolls of 5-6. The Serapis was included for historical reasons, and the rest of the fleet didn’t include any Pokeships or catamarans like HMS Hermes because I wanted it to feel like a fleet from 1779. In general I wanted a somewhat unconventional fleet, though the gold runners aren’t much of a surprise for the English. The Hyena is one of my favorite ships but I think I’ve set her up exclusively as a hybrid in the past, hence going full gunship here instead. I figured there was a strong chance Kyle would bring Le Superbe after our last encounter given that he would have a French fleet – if that happened, the Cygnet’s defensive ability would prove a strong deterrent.  The French Letter of Marque was a fun defensive overkill that made the Cygnet a dedicated French hunter… little did I know that the American half of my opposition would be the combat-heavy side.

I was very excited to use HMS Phoenix for the first time!

HMS Phoenix Pirates CSG ship

The allies would go first:

French American fleet Pirates CSG

I went with the black GF9 tokens since I was the historical bad guy for today:

100 point English fleet Pirates CSG

Here is the full setup, which shows how huge the terrain pieces are.  I picked my home island first as I was going second, looking to use the Honu Iki to hit the island obstructed by reef north of me.

English vs. French Americans

Dan brought up the good point that the huge fog bank could actually be used as a speed boost if you got the right exit location. It’s about 4S wide!

Beautiful and fresh out of the shipyard with newly minted cannons, could HMS Phoenix prove useful in her debut?

HMS Phoenix 092 Pirates of the Caribbean pocketmodels

The Providence jumped out to the middle island and grabbed a couple coins.  HMS Hound snagged the next two on my turn, but the Enterprise was lurking….  The Hound does have a nifty spying ability, so I was alerted to the presence of Haraden and Crenshaw early in the game.

The Phoenix was not given an action, preferring to stay safe at home given the striking range of the Enterprise and knowing she could still defend the Hound if needed with her sniping cannon range of L+L.

But it was the French who drew first blood!  The Conquerant got an extra action (EA) and round earthed to the southeast, setting the Serapis alight!

The next turn was well played on both sides.  The flames on the Serapis spread rapidly to engulf her final mast, but a heroic effort by some motivated oarsmen just barely got her home to safety!  The Britons on the home island swiftly put the fires out, saving the Serapis from a quick demise. Hermione Gold saw her chance to engage the French with the Cygnet, but Lenoir cancelled her captain ability!  This left HMS Phoenix as the only other ship I could get in range of the Conquerant.  Redocking to position three of her cannons within sniping range of the French bombardier, I revealed Admiral James Norrington and stinkpot shot!  The cannons proved more than capable, as I rolled a 5, 5, and 6 to hit all three times!  O_O  The first shot landed was the stinkpot, meaning the Conquerant would not have any of her crew abilities available on Kyle’s turn.  With one mast left standing the Conquerant was crippled, as HMS Phoenix saved the day.  I finished my turn by returning the Hound and Honu Iki to the home island, netting me 4 coins.

HMS Phoenix debut cripples the Conquerant

The Providence and Pique return home with gold, with the French setting up a gold factory system using Maurice Aristide on L’Auguste.  At the top right HMS Trepassey has round earthed to the northernmost island.  This was part of my plan to hit 3 of the 5 wild islands early in the game.

On the following turn I then built Ramsgate on the island the Trepassey explored, much to Dan’s displeasure.  The Providence was heading there but I liked the gold I saw…

English build Ramsgate fort

… diverting most of my resources there to make sure I locked up that island.  The Hound would carry the most valuable treasures away from the fort and back to my home island, while the Hyena and Cygnet would defend the fort and deter the Providence.  HMS Phoenix stayed at home to make sure the Enterprise didn’t try to make a move to slam the Honu Iki, who is out for another gold run.

Lots of round earth considerations for this game, as the Enterprise is actually pretty close the the Serapis here.  We agreed on a house rule that there could be no shooting over round earth lines – ships would have to cross over physically to shoot at a ship normally, partly due to the extreme inconvenience of trying to measure cannon ranges from separate edges of the playing area.  I was already thinking about how to use this house rule to my advantage – if you lined up a bunch of ships on the edge of the map, you could get them close to something on the other side without any of them getting shot at.

The Conquerant has made it home for repairs, with some significant deterrence assistance from Lenoir and the Enterprise keeping the Cygnet and Phoenix at bay.  The Providence has headed back southwest.  My deterrence strategy at Ramsgate seems to have succeeded, and I think both sides are rather satisfied with how things are going at this point.  The Cygnet has returned home; once the Serapis is fully repaired the English will have a solid battle squadron to employ.  I did make a few mistakes here; the Trepassey should have loaded 3 coins instead of 2 which would allow me to keep the Hound’s explorer aboard, and in hindsight the Hyena’s plan going forward was kind of dubious.

The Enterprise explores the southwest island and finds Volcano!  It takes out a coin and mast, but the Americans build Thompson’s Island. (proxied, not another English fort haha)

At this point I liked my gold position but figured I would lose if the gold factory continued unabated until the end of play.  Therefore my goal was to take out either the Pique, Maurice Aristide, or both.  This would disrupt the continual +2 gold that often adds up to victory in the long run.  Once the Serapis was fully repaired she immediately got an SAT from Myngs to dart southeast at L+S+L+S, with the Cygnet and Phoenix coming along for the brazen adventure.  Besides, the 3 wild islands I had explored had no more gold to take off them, so there was less need for escorts going forward.  However, with the Providence back at home and the Conquerant nearing full strength, it looked like a potential suicide mission.  The Hyena has sailed west to potentially support the other 3 gunships via round earth, but it was looking more and more like she was going to be bait for the Enterprise.  A backup plan formed in my mind where the Hyena would bait the Enterprise into coming east, then my other gunships would round earth to the southwest (rather than northwest) to assault Thompson’s Island to try and get more gold.  In which case the current maneuver looked like a feint towards the French American home island.

In the end, the latter did end up happening.  The Enterprise got an EA and promptly sank the Hyena, netting the allies 1 gold via Bratley.  I decided the fort was a juicier target than the Pique or Aristide, partly since going up against an opponent right at their home island is a steep uphill battle.  I knew I would probably need all six of my remaining ships to get any amount of gold from Thompson’s Island, so I set them all up in a formation that made it very difficult for the Conquerant to shoot at them due to the round earth shooting rule.

With no home island raiders in play I had less to lose, and I wasn’t in the mood for a long maneuvering dance – the climax was upon us!

On the next turn Myngs got the SAT I wanted for the Serapis.  The moment to strike was now.  The goal was just to get at least one coin from Thompson’s Island back to my home island, regardless of the losses I would take along the way.  The Serapis continued my shockingly good luck at the guns today, going a whopping 6 for 6 to destroy the fort as the first ship on the scene!!  O_O  This meant the gold could be removed quickly and efficiently, with the Honu Iki taking the best two coins and the Cygnet the last one.  The Cygnet dumped the still-facedown French Letter of Marque equipment on the island to make room for the coin; this was partly a deke to see if the French Americans would eagerly pick it up and want to use it, possibly thinking it was exploding shot or something XD (whereas the FLoM would be completely useless to them lol).  The Hound touched her bow to the stern of the Honu Iki, knowing the Honu Iki would explore the Hound next turn (if possible) and then the Hound would turn and run home at S+L+S.  The remaining ships just set up as blockers to try and protect the coins as much as possible.  HMS Phoenix was just in range to take a stinkpot potshot against the Enterprise, but it missed.

Gold wins the game, so I made my move.  Now time to get wrecked!  XD

The Conquerant got her EA, sailed around the reef, and started the battle!  She ran into her old foe HMS Serapis and knocked a mast off, but failed to set her on fire this time.  The Trepassey was dismasted.

The carnage continues!  The Enterprise got an EA as well, sinking HMS Phoenix and taking a mast off the Cygnet!  The Providence got two cannons in range of the Hound but only hit once, leaving her with a mast.  I was ecstatic HMS Hound survived the onslaught with a mast standing, but knew that getting home could still be difficult.

French Americans vs. English climactic battle June 30th 2022

The Hound received the Honu Iki’s two coins and sped for home via round earth. The Cygnet and Serapis team up to dismast the Enterprise!

Finally the Conquerant is able to vanquish her foe HMS Serapis, who ironically never returned fire against the Frenchman.

HMS Hound makes it home with both coins!  The Cygnet tries to return home on oar power, but she would be sunk soon afterwards by the Conquerant.

The Providence dismasts the Honu Iki, leaving the damaged Hound as my last ship remaining.  Seeing that there are a few coins left in play NOT on home islands (one on the Enterprise, one on the Providence, one or two the Pique hasn’t gotten to yet) that I am very unlikely to get back to my home island successfully, ending the game as soon as possible is my best option. The Hound purposely ran over a reef on her way to ram the Enterprise, suffering no damage.  She lost the boarding party, eliminating the Hound’s final crew. The Conquerant sailed over and shot off her last mast, ending the game!

The final scores:

  1. English: 44 gold
  2. French Americans: 28 gold

The non-fort coins that the French Americans could have gotten if they managed to keep the Hound alive were low value; I think we calculated that I would have won 44-40 even if the French Americans had gotten all of them AND gotten Aristide’s +2 on all of them (which would take a while).  In that case, the allies would have needed Ramsgate’s 4 gold to win 44-40, which seems unlikely since HMS Hound would have ample chances to roll a 1 on the nearby reef to end the game.  Say what you will about the endgame rules encouraging the elimination of your own fleet in certain circumstances, but here it proved beneficial.  Even the entire anti-fort mission that saw the destruction of the English fleet essentially helped me win, as it led to a 5-gold swap once the Hound got home and drastically hastened the end of play which helped prevent more gold factory bonuses from piling up.  Overall it was a very fun game and well played on both sides!  After an English loss in last year’s Fourth of July game, perhaps fitting that they win this time, partly due to my abnormally good luck with the guns.

Have you played a game on July 4th?  This year is your chance to play a Revolutionary War themed game!

FB Group 10 Year Anniversary Game

FB Group 10 Year Anniversary Game

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FB Group 10 Year Anniversary Game

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

Mind Control is back in action!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fire and Steel 10th Anniversary Game – April 9th, 2018

April 9th is the 10th anniversary of Fire and Steel being released. Xerecs and I played a little “celebratory” game to commemorate the anniversary. (not sure if this particular set is worth celebrating… XD)

Foresight + Barstow, Hammersmith, oarsman
Napolitana + Victor de Alva, helmsman

HMS Salient + Hermionie Gold, captain, helmsman
HMS Ark Royal + captain

I believe this is the first time we’ve tried to proxy a switchblade into VASSAL. For now, I used an L-range tool rotated from the center of the Salient.

For the setup, the “move and rotate randomly” option worked better than it ever has before for me. The islands and terrain were generally placed that way.

Both fleets headed a bit southwest, with the Ark Royal being the first to explore:

Fire and Steel 10th Anniversary Game - April 9th, 2018

However, both fleets found only 0 coins at their islands!! I had placed six 0’s and two UT’s into the treasure mix, and it quickly dawned on me that Xerecs may have placed only 0’s as well!

Fire and Steel 10th Anniversary Game - April 9th, 2018

The Ark Royal and Salient split up, while the Napolitana brought home a coin… which I assumed was a 0.

Fire and Steel 10th Anniversary Game - April 9th, 2018

The Napolitana got an EA from de Alva and shot up the Ark Royal. She was attacked by the Salient immediately, but only lost one mast.

The Salient eventually dismasted the Napolitana and started towing the Ark Royal, which the English were trying to scuttle. By this point the Salient was loaded with some “extra weaponry” in the form of Ammunition (turned into Stinkpot Shot) and Deck Cannon (transferred from the Ark Royal).

fighting at Ocean's Edge

The Foresight got involved, hitting 1/2 on the Salient. The Salient answered with a big turn, combining her proxy switchblade with a solid 2/3 shooting effort (helped by the extra cannon and HGold’s reroll) to knock 3 masts off the Foresight and kill the Pirate oarsman.

Pirates CSG combat on VASSAL

The Foresight’s shooting and ramming attack dismasted the Salient! Barstow captured Hermione Gold! However, just as the tables turned against the English, the Ark Royal warped home via an Eternal scuttle.

Fire and Steel 10th Anniversary Game - April 9th, 2018

The Foresight round earthed to the north, where she was caught by the Ark Royal JUST before she could dock home HGold for an 8-gold payout! (a haul of Gold, in more ways than one! XD) After electing not to use Broadsides Attack (my luck with it is generally horrible, and with the ram attempt after the shots I had a decent chance of getting 2/3 rolls to work), the Ark Royal hit twice in a row to dismast the Foresight! However, the English killed Barstow in their valiant boarding attempt, eliminating any chance of getting Hermione Gold’s payout to work… for themselves? (this was getting even weirder…)

The Pirates now had no future move actions left, so the game was over. To my chagrin, the Napolitana had indeed brought back a 7, not a zero! This put Xerecs firmly in the lead, as the Spanish Pirates beat the English 7-0.

This was a very Fire and Steel 10th Anniversary game that came down to the wire. Once it became obvious that most or all of the coins would be worthless, I was afraid it would be a boring deathmatch. However, the endgame was very tight and satisfying, with multiple momentum shifts throughout. I finally tested out my idea of using only 0-value coins, which I have talked about multiple times on the forum at Miniature Trading. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the single coin worth a dime, let alone 7 gold! XD It was also notable as (likely) the first VASSAL game with a switchblade present. Using the L tool as a proxy worked fine during the one blade attack, but I still want to measure a physical switchblade to see if it’s the right size.

Thanks for reading; only one more anniversary game remains!

Rise of the Fiends 10th Anniversary Game – January 2018

This was an utter fiasco.


January 30th marks the 10th anniversary of Rise of the Fiends being released!

To celebrate the occasion, a 5 player “game” has been played on VASSAL!  XD

The players in turn order:

  1. xerecs, with a Spanish fleet using the rare San Cristobal
  2. pirateaj14, with a Spanish fleet using the LE San Cristobal
  3. cursedfan99, with a Pirate fleet
  4. wantkrakens, with a mixed Franco-Spanish fleet
  5. a7xfanben, with a mixed French Pirate fleet

We used 5 home islands and 5 wild islands, with the wild ones getting 6 coins each.

a7xfanben had the first strike, using an EA from the Fool’s Hope to dismast the Argo of the Franco-Spanish (and American) fleet.

Rise of the Fiends 10th Anniversary Game - January 2018

Much blood money was found, in addition to dolls and monkeys.  The Fool’s Hope captured the Argo as various ships gathered gold.

I didn’t look at the Argo’s coins until after the FH got another timely EA (with one mast remaining!) to return home through the whirlpool and dock home her prize.  Then it was a fiasco with different players operating on different rules and Blood Money was naturally at the center of it all.  That has been just about my least favorite UT for years and now I will officially never play with it again.  All in favor of banning Blood Money/Bloody Gold say aye!  XD

Pirates of the Caribbean Pocketmodels – 10th Anniversary Game (11/15/2017)

Pirates of the Caribbean Pocketmodels – 10th Anniversary Game

Here is a game to celebrate the 10th anniversary (November 6th) of the Pirates of the Caribbean set!

Only PotC game pieces were allowed, except for generic crew.

Xerecs‘ Pirates
Fleur de la Mort + Cursed Captain Barbossa, Captain Sao Feng, Cursed Crew 2, helmsman
Revenge + Capitaine Chevalle, captain, helmsman
Ranger + helmsman, explorer
Song + helmsman

A7XfanBen’s English
HMS Phoenix + Admiral James Norrington, helmsman, oarsman
HMS Hyena + Lord Cutler Beckett, helmsman, explorer
HMS Success + captain, helmsman
Edinburgh Trader + captain, helmsman

The game featured plenty of UT’s, many of which were found early on. Beckett got his first two AA rolls, giving the Edinburgh Trader and Phoenix a fast start. The Hyena found Marines and Cannibals on the same island!

Pirates of the Caribbean Pocketmodels - 10th Anniversary Game (11/15/2017)

The Phoenix shot two masts off the Revenge from L+L range, but that precipitated a major brawl between the 4 most heavily armed ships. The Success dismasted the Revenge but took major damage in the process. The Fleur couldn’t capture Norrington from the Phoenix, who shot 1/3 to take a mast off the Fleur.

Pirates CSG in action
Pirates of the Caribbean Pocketmodels - 10th Anniversary Game (11/15/2017)

The Pirates used Dead Man’s Chest to get 4 extra gold, and the Edinburgh Trader found TWO Aztec Medallions on the same wild island! Not rolling a 1 for either, she found Elizabeth’s Piece of Eight. However, it was likely too late.

Pirates of the Caribbean Pocketmodels - 10th Anniversary Game (11/15/2017)

The Fleur de la Mort captured Admiral James Norrington!

Pirates of the Caribbean Pocketmodels - 10th Anniversary Game (11/15/2017)

The Trader unloaded her coins, and the game was over! The Pirates won 40-16!

What did you think of the Pirates of the Caribbean Pocketmodels 10th Anniversary Game?

Ocean’s Edge 10th Anniversary Game – April 15th, 2017

Today is the 10th anniversary of Ocean’s Edge! Due to lack of interest and some annoying no-shows, there weren’t any VASSAL games played for this anniversary after all, so I had to play by myself. However, ironically enough the game turned out extremely well, despite using some of the most maligned ships ever!

Using only game pieces from OE, there were 4 fleets participating at a 50 point build total. After some die rolls, the order of play was Cursed, Spanish, Americans, Pirates. Each faction brought at least one sea creature; the Pirates brought two. To further emphasize the Ocean’s Edge/At World’s End aspect, flat earth rules were used, though they didn’t come into play (though if round earth rules were used perhaps the game would have been slightly different).

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

Here is the setup, with 5 coins on each of the 5 wild islands. 5 whirlpools were also present.

Ocean's Edge 10 years later

The Americans had two S speed ships and their sea serpent Champ.

Ocean's Edge American fleet

The Spanish had some nice diversity – a crab to cause terror, a slow but capacious gold runner, and a small but similarly capacious home island raider.

Ocean's Edge Spanish fleet

The Pirates were simply out for blood. They had only two open cargo spaces, but they were on the powerful Jape. Angelica and Teach were ready to eat plenty of man flesh with their sharp teeth!

Ocean's Edge Pirate fleet

The Cursed looked similar to the Americans, with two ships and a sea serpent. The Nosso Lar and Nightmare aren’t two of their better ships, while Maxehebel isn’t one of their best sea creatures. However, the Cursed sized up their arguably pathetic competition and knew they had a fighting chance.

Ocean's Edge Cursed fleet

After a turn, it looks like the Spanish and Cursed may clash over the northern island. The Americans stick together, while the Pirates do the opposite: they’ve decided to split their “fleet” into three, sending the Jape after the Americans, Angelica after the Cursed, and Teach after the Spanish.

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

The Mezquita was the first ship to explore, and found the first UT, which sent her through a whirlpool and out another one. The Santa Lucia turned east towards the same island to avoid the Cursed, but a submerged shark appeared off her larboard bow!

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

The Mezquita lost a mast, but was actually closer to her home island than if she hadn’t found the UT. El Toro has decided to not engage the Cursed, instead guarding the Spanish HI to make sure the Mezquita gets home in case of a sneak attack by the Jape.

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

With a swoop attack Angelica savagely rips apart the Nosso Lar! In a rare opportunity to sail the ocean, the poor little Cursed ship barely gets a chance to prove her worth!

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

The next turn started with the Nightmare finding Lost and Homing Beacon on the northern island! 4 reefs showed up underneath a whopping 5 different ships! Angelica flew away from harm, but the Jape, Mezquita, and Aaron Burr all lost a mast each, with the Oregon losing two. Suddenly the Americans weren’t looking good at all, especially with the Jape hot on their tail.

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017
Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

Both American ships were almost to the island before running into the sudden reef!

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017
American ships on reef

After coming through a whirlpool, Teach popped up and tried to bite off one of El Toro’s arms!!

shark vs. giant crab

The attack failed and El Toro viciously ripped the shark to shreds with its huge claws!! It was a rare sea monster-only battle, with El Toro easily winning.

giant crab (titan) wins battle against shark

More combat! Chaos erupts in the southeast, as Champ can’t quite block the Jape from hitting one of the two American ships. Sadly USS Aaron Burr will have to sail another time, as the Jape sunk her with one shoot action.

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

Angelica uses flamethrower! It’s super effective against the Nosso Lar! A nice UT (Protection from Davy Jones) and a 7 sink to the locker.

Angelica sea dragon

Champ emerges to go 2/4 against the Jape, but the Jape escapes becoming a shipwreck to sail across the reef, ram the Oregon, and steal a 4 coin! The Americans can’t catch a break, and the Cursed and Pirates have really messed with their game.

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

With one victim already sent to the depths, Angelica flies to an area where she’s in range of the Mezquita and Nightmare, sizing up her prey. El Toro makes sure the Santa Lucia gets home safely while keeping an eye on the newly repaired Mezquita.

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

Champ rams off the Jape’s last mast, but the Jape can still row at S+S with the stolen coin while her captain dies. The Oregon gets home, ensuring the Americans won’t get shut out.

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

In a bold but disastrous move, Angelica swoops on El Toro, coming up short! The Pirates have fallen apart, though the Jape survives another hazardous trip across the reef while trying to row away from the Americans.

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

In another brutal attack, El Toro rips Angelica’s head off!! (I got a little carried away and now I could use a new Angelica… however, the tape job I did after the game worked remarkably well for now, so I don’t have a headless dragon.)

El Toro giant crab rips sea dragon's head off!!

Maxehebel had tried to block the Mezquita, but the Spaniards aboard decided to duck into a whirlpool rather than face the beast, taking a slight shortcut in the meantime at the cost of another lost mizzenmast.

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

The Santa Lucia and Nightmare are already engaged in a chess match of sorts, with the Santa Lucia’s HI raiding ability containing huge potential for the Spanish. Champ finally eliminates the Jape’s oarsman, officially eliminating the Pirates from the game!

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

Will El Toro, now feeding on the dead carcass of Angelica, be distracted long enough to give the Cursed an opening in the south?

El Toro feeding on dragon carcass

The Mezquita is cornered…

Maxehebel is successful, but the Nightmare utterly fails! The Mezquita has a whopping 13 gold aboard, and the Spanish already have 4 gold at their HI. The Cursed are in the lead with 5, while the Americans also have 4. The Pirates are already out of it, but they caused some sufficient chaos before exiting.

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

El Toro’s answer is a clear no! Urged onward by Victor de Alva, the giant crab continues its reign of terror, this time grabbing Maxehebel by the tail and yanking it off! The Mezquita escapes, but the CHAMP is here! lol

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

The Santa Lucia has robbed the Cursed home island! The Oregon heads northeast to capture the Jape and her stolen loot, while at the bottom of the picture you can just see the tail of Maxehebel still in El Toro’s grasp.

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

In a brilliant maneuver, the Cursed use Maxehebel’s reverse captain ability to dismast the Mezquita and then move out of the Nightmare’s way, as the Nightmare promptly boarded the Spaniard and robbed her of 10 gold! This left 11 total gold on the Nightmare and 3 on the Mezquita. However, El Toro approached from behind once again, taking a chunk out of Maxehebel and a mast off the Nightmare. Then Victor de Alva overplayed his hand in a typically melodramatic manner! Swinging on a rope from Toro’s biggest claw, he led an S-boarding party with his entire crew! But the evil Wraith was waiting for him aboard the Nightmare, and the Cursed brutally cut down every last Spaniard, leaving the Toro with no human support! (In hindsight, this could be argued to be a Spanish mistake, but they had a boarding advantage and Wraith could have still been face down if it wasn’t solitaire, so it wasn’t a total bonehead move. It’s also a good example of how overpriced, ineffective, and overrated the “+1 to boarding rolls” ability is, for the Spanish essentially had this advantage but lost the boarding attempt 8-5.)

Cursed make brilliant play

Here, the Nightmare tries to escape even after losing her second mast. Maxehebel and Champ both ram El Toro, and the crab is down to two claws. More importantly, it can’t quickly pursue the Nightmare and use its claws at the same time.

The crew of the Santa Lucia suddenly realized they had room for more Cursed loot, and went back to rob their HI again! At the far right, the Oregon has taken the Jape under tow.

This was when the game started to get even more complicated. The Nightmare lost Wraith to a whirlpool (she couldn’t afford to lose her final mast or helmsman), while the Santa Lucia loaded up the final Cursed coin from their HI, giving her 5 gold on two coins aboard. The SL still had a cargo space open, and the Nightmare was about to deposit valuable gold. The Spanish knew she had at least a 6 and a 4 aboard, since it was stolen from the Mezquita. This could potentially lead to a standoff, with the Santa Lucia waiting for the Nightmare to unload the gold, but the Nightmare unwilling to since the SL would just steal it and likely get away with her faster speed. With just his head above water, Maxehebel abandoned the fight against El Toro and swam towards a whirlpool to assist the Nightmare and/or try to cut off the Santa Lucia before she could get home. Champ and El Toro were left staring at each other with the derelict but valuable Mezquita nearby.

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

The Spanish thought about what the Americans would likely do on their turn. El Toro was already touching an island and could explore it and load the last two coins, which the Spanish knew they were only worth 2 gold total. They also knew the Americans didn’t know this, and thought they could deke the Americans into keeping El Toro alive for longer, since they would have to bring the Oregon or Jape over to win the gold in a boarding party since Champ didn’t have any cargo space. The Spanish realized this could keep the dangerous El Toro alive even longer, and the giant crab had already claimed the lives of both Pirate sea creatures and numerous masts and segments from other ships. The Spanish also saw no downside to this, since the Toro was unlikely to win the battle against Champ, being down 4-2 in firepower with equal “cannon” ranks. There was also no way the Toro could tow the Mezquita home without one or both of them being sunk by Champ. El Toro decided to load the gold. The Americans thought the situation through as well, and decided to kill El Toro because it was such a chore to retrieve the gold (with a regular boarding party from the Oregon, mostly likely), and because keeping El Toro alive could hurt Champ and the Oregon. Finally, the Americans also reasoned that the Oregon could likely tow the Mezquita home for her remaining coin, similar to what they did with the Jape (since the ocean was less crowded and the Cursed and Spanish were already in a tense standoff up north with only a few masts standing for either side). Champ finished off the crab, and El Toro was no more! The Americans breathed a sigh of relief when it looked like the coins involved wouldn’t have won or lost them the game, though it was looking tight enough to possibly be the case at this point in the game. (the Spanish loaded the 0 to make it look like the Toro had more gold to deceive the Americans)

The situation up north has been forced by the Nightmare, who broke off the stalemate with the Santa Lucia by sailing southwest towards the one island that still had coins on it. The Spanish, now with just the Santa Lucia remaining in their fleet, decided to save their stolen loot and sailed the SL home (knowing they could turn her around if the Nightmare also turned around). In a surprise twist, Maxehebel has gone through a whirlpool in the east, in the hopes of ramming the Jape to eliminate her 4 coin! However, with just one segment left, he couldn’t emerge from the whirlpool within range of the Oregon’s guns, leaving him in a bad spot. The Oregon eliminated the chance of any shenanigans by moving straight towards her HI, and the Jape looked to be safe for the moment. However, it was a dual plan by the Cursed, as Maxehebel could now potentially block the Santa Lucia from docking at her HI or simply shadow the sloop and try to prevent further HI raids.

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

The Nightmare moves within S+S (one move action) range of her HI, ready to dock on her next turn if the SL moves further away, or turn towards the western island if the SL comes back. The newly free Champ nearly throws a wrench into that plan, moving through the whirlpool and hungrily eyeing the Nightmare’s helmsman. Maxehebel moves towards the SL, who has no choice but to save her 5 gold and moves towards home (or face being surrounded by the Nightmare and Maxehebel caught in between the HI’s). The Oregon docks home with the Jape, who unloads her 4 gold and immediately starts repairing. This puts the Americans in the lead with 8 gold; the Spanish with 4 and the Cursed actually with 0.

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

The Nightmare finally docks home her gold, with most of it stolen from the Mezquita! This gives the Cursed a brief lead with 11 gold, and the Americans are quickly in last after the Santa Lucia bumps the Spanish total to 9 gold (11-9-8 ). The SL scoots past Maxehebel, careful to stay out of ramming or shooting distance. The Spanish know they can’t save the Mezquita against the now-mighty Americans, but they can hope to get some of their stolen gold back from the Cursed. Indeed, in this picture the Americans have 3 relatively healthy ships for 10 total masts against 4 masts remaining in the other two fleets combined. In the west, Champ has taken up station to guard that final wild island, while the Oregon hurries to capture the Mezquita.

At this point, the Cursed have 11 gold but know the Americans and Spanish might have more (especially the Spanish since they had 6 total coins against 3 for the Cursed). The Nightmare must risk another gold run to guarantee victory, and might be able to evade Champ at the western island. The Cursed have some problems in their plan, with Maxehebel too slow and weakened to provide adequate HI defense against the raiding Santa Lucia. However, the Nightmare can’t hang around until Maxehebel returns, since the Jape is fully repaired and sailing to a whirlpool to get the gold on the western island. Therefore, there is no time to waste and the Nightmare sails again! Sure enough, the SL saw a chance to raid and comes through the northwestern whirlpool to attempt it. The Oregon has begun towing the Mezquita, and the Americans now have 4 ships in their fleet, more than they started with! The Jape lost her crew to Champ, but is still a formidable ship at this stage of the game and the Nightmare would very much like to avoid confronting her in the west.

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

Knowing the western island has just 6 total gold on it (3,2,1 for the coins from when the Nosso Lar explored early in the game), the Nightmare pursues the SL after she re-steals the 6 from the Cursed HI. Unfortunately Maxehebel is likely a non-factor at this point, but he’s had a good game. In a break for the Cursed, the Santa Lucia rolled badly while whirlpooling, and was forced to lose her helmsman! (rather than the coin or her lone mast, her oarsman having died earlier in the game) Champ is still guarding the western island, and is rewarded when the Jape appears through a whirlpool. The Oregon docks home the Mezquita for her 3 coin, and the Americans lead once more (11-9-5, 5 gold for the Cursed currently).

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

The Spanish had to hope for a miracle, but they didn’t get it. The Nightmare would have to roll a 1 on the ram and lose the boarding party for the SL to dock home her 6 successfully. The Spanish were officially out of the game! In a bizarre turn of events, the Americans have gone from having almost no ships (when the Aaron Burr and Oregon were damaged by reefs and nearly both sunk by the Jape) to having an empire of sorts, with ships to throw at every opportunity they see! The Oregon goes out for yet another mission, this time her first designated combat mission.

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

The Jape is about to explore the western island, while Champ looks to kill Maxehebel for fun, or block the Cursed HI if the Nightmare somehow escapes the Oregon. The barely-seaworthy Mezquita sails with one mast, looking to join the fray somehow! At this point, the Americans could say they were “playing with house money” in Pirates form… the endgame was extremely tactical and strategic, but the Americans just so happened to dominate the final few turns of the final phase of this game.

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

Maxehebel was eliminated, leaving the Nightmare desperate for some kind of miraculous boarding party and escape route. She nearly succeeded despite the Mezquita blocking her and the Oregon sailing off with the 6 coin that originally belonged to the Mezquita when she was in Spanish possession. Champ arrives on the scene for support, while the Jape arrives via whirlpool as well, with 6 gold aboard. After most of the game was played over many different areas, it fittingly came down to just a small area with all 5 remaining ships in one spot.

Ocean's Edge 10th Anniversary Game - April 15th, 2017

The USS Oregon, of all ships, is the MVS (Most Valuable Ship) of the OE 10th anniversary game! She survived a reef placed by Lost, an attack by the Jape, and an attack by the Nightmare. She captured two ships and essentially brought back 17 gold! The Jape also docked before Champ finished off the Nightmare, giving the Americans 23 total gold. The Spanish were second with 9, the Cursed third with 5. The Pirates of course had 0.

USS Oregon is a hero!

This was an amazing game and a fantastic celebration of the Ocean’s Edge set for the 10th anniversary of its release! Despite the many lackluster ships used, it turned out to be one of the best games in recent memory and a cool example of parity within a set, using a handful of relatively equal game pieces instead of the typical OP ones (Zeus, HMS GT, Pirate named crew, etc). I was glad that Lost didn’t completely wreck the game, since the faction most hurt by it went on to win. Indeed, the Americans had a cool underdog story in this game. The Spanish and Pirates were almost like the antagonists for me, with the Pirates simply menacing everybody and the Spanish dominating the early game with healthy ships and the huge presence of El Toro. The Cursed actually felt like the good guys, losing a ship early, somehow taking gold from the Spanish and getting into the lead, but only to be stretched thin later on before falling to repeated HI raids and the emergence of American firepower. Champ somehow didn’t lose a segment all game long, while the other 4 sea creatures were eliminated. The Nosso Lar and Aaron Burr didn’t get a chance to prove themselves, but it’s safe to say that the Oregon, Nightmare, Santa Lucia, and Toro all outperformed what players might normally expect from them. I loved how much of an effect the whirlpools had on the game, but I was a little disappointed to see Protection from Davy Jones sunk so early on. There were definitely a few game-changing moments, such as the failed swoop attack on the Toro and the Toro’s failed S-board against the Nightmare and Wraith (among others). Of course, neither of these involved the winning fleet, so it was a very even game that seemed like a very fair outcome for all sides. Hooray for Ocean’s Edge!

Frozen North Pirates! Another 10th Anniversary Game – February 2017

Today (2/14) is the 10th anniversary of Pirates of the Frozen North! Over the course of two sessions on VASSAL a 3 player game using only game pieces from FN was played.

These were the combatants, in the order of play:

Cursed (agiantpie):
Loki’s Revenge, Baba Yaga, Serpent’s Fang

French (xerecs):
La Delacroix, Marie Antoinette, La Dijon

Vikings (a7xfanben):
Muninn, Donar, Sleipnir

We changed the setup rules slightly, with 4 wild islands (just like a 2 player game) and 6 coins of any value or type (as long as the UT’s were from FN) on each island. The VASSAL module doesn’t have icebergs, but the fog banks look great as icebergs and even have the same dice markings on the edges, so fog was ice in this game.

The fleets after a turn:

I forgot to take pictures for a while, and you can see here that a lot of UT’s have been discovered and played. Of the 8 coins that I contributed to the mix, all were UT’s from FN! Throw in an extra Runes of Death and one Odin’s Revenge, and things were bound to get crazy. The Dijon found the first Runes of Death very early in the game. However, she was very close to her home island… but the Loki’s Revenge sank her! A whopping 13 gold was sent to the bottom of the sea, and the French had their main gold runner sunk. The French experienced further woes when the Marie Antoinette found many UT’s at the northeastern island, among them Odin’s Revenge. That UT hurt the Vikings the most, dismasting the Sleipnir. The Vikings were smart to explore with the Sleipnir on their turn, for she found the second Runes of Death that could have been loaded by the Donar! With no crew or masts remaining, death was averted, at least for the time being.

However, the Cursed soon played Runes of Magic, moving an iceberg towards the fragile Viking fleet, whose Muninn and Donar would take damage from the iceberg. The Delacroix and Marie Antoinette descended upon the crippled Viking fleet, but they weren’t as successful as anticipated. The Delacroix took damage from an iceberg and a ram from the Sleipnir, while the Muninn engaged the Marie Antoinette. Runes of Thor was played on the Vikings’ Sigurd Andersen to guarantee an Admiral’s Action, since it looked like the Donar (the ship carrying Runes of Thor) would be captured by the MA.

Frozen North Pirates!  Another 10th Anniversary Game - February 2017

This is when the game began to turn odd. The Delacroix and Marie Antoinette captured the Sleipnir and Donar respectively, temporarily giving the French 4 ships. However, this was but a mirage of success for France, as the Muninn dismasted and captured the MA, while the Delacroix lost her final mast to an iceberg! Suddenly the French only had two usable ships, both former Viking ships with gold aboard. In the west, the Cursed have set out once more, while a double iceberg has been formed between the 3 home islands.

Frozen North Pirates!  Another 10th Anniversary Game - February 2017

The miraculous Viking comeback continues! The Muninn recaptures the Donar, brings her back to unload gold, and uses her reverse captain ability to cripple the Baba Yaga only after the Baba Yaga missed the derelict Donar twice in a row! Not to mention the Marie Antoinette being repaired to full strength, and the mega iceberg dismasting the Baba Yaga! #tombrady #johncena #nevergiveup. lol. (just kidding, the Vikings never had much of a chance in this game, and unfortunately for me they didn’t win at the end heh)

Frozen North Pirates!  Another 10th Anniversary Game - February 2017

The Muninn and MA stopped the Loki’s Revenge from getting home with a coin, but the Serpent’s Fang brought home a few more for the Cursed. The final coins on the northeastern island wouldn’t have mattered, as the game had been decided.

Frozen North Pirates!  Another 10th Anniversary Game - February 2017

1. Cursed: 16 gold
2. French: 5
3. Vikings: 2

The Cursed win a fun one! The French and Vikings got embroiled with UT’s and each other, while the Cursed found a 6 and a 4 early in the game. The Cursed essentially clinched their victory by sinking the Dijon and her 13 gold. The late-game surge by the Vikings (“Frozen North Pirates” of this game) was fitting considering it was an FN-only game, but it turned out to just be some late fireworks. The icebergs were a big factor, and between them and the Runes, it was a very thematic way to celebrate Pirates of the Frozen North.

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

Today (February 14th, 2017) is the 10th anniversary of Pirates of the Frozen North! To commemorate the occasion I played a game using ONLY stuff from FN, with the exception of generic crew so the game would be more fair.

Here are the fleets in the order of play, as the Vikings rolled to go first!

Viking fleet

My current traveling collection actually has some of the better Viking gold runners, though I was disappointed to leave the Donar out. However, with the Grendel, Sleipnir, and Kalaallit (abbreviated KL) getting gold, the Vikings looked to be in good shape. The Wodin looked to function as a hybrid, with 3 spaces open for gold, the captain and helmsman ability with good guns, and the gold capture ability for yet another option. The Hrothgar was the flagship of the 100 point fleet, carrying two of the best Viking named crew (Shayna Deux and Sigurd Andersen) as well as a proxy helmsman as my Viking crew options are lacking.

The opposition: a conglomeration of ships from the Big 5 factions, which is almost all the other FN ships in my traveling collection!

Multinational conglomerate fleet

The rarely used Seminole would try to give the already-deadly Tartessos and Orkney an extra cannon bonus, making for an intimidating gunship squadron. The Marie Antoinette (MA) led a group of four gold runners, the rest of which were small, uncrewed ships. The MA had Leander Arnaud aboard, who would try to take advantage of the MA’s S-boarding and steal lots of Viking loot. This would be my first time using the Seminole, Tartessos, and Ahura Mazda, as they are all recent acquisitions.

Welcome to the Frozen North!!

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

The Big 5 picked an island near lots of icebergs to be the Viking home island. The Vikings didn’t want to deal with the Orkney and Tartessos, choosing one of the furthest islands away, and hoped the arches and some icebergs could give them trouble. The straws at the upper left and right are the round earth boundaries.

The 3D foam icebergs would function as icebergs numbered 1, 2, and 3, with the largest being 1 and the smallest being 3 since you want to roll high in this game. For their direction, 1=NE, 2=E, 3=SE, 4=SW, 5=W, 6=NW (essentially clockwise from the north with no due north/due south).

6 regular icebergs were also in play, with 6 FN islands making up the home and wild islands. I didn’t use my custom islands (with lots of green foliage heh) since I wanted the setup to be as thematic as possible.

Viking fleet at home in the Frozen North

Arches always seem to lead to great picture opportunities, and this game was definitely no exception.

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)
Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

Both home islands and both arches:

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

The Big 5 had 7 ships to the Vikings’ 5, but both fleets had plenty of ships on the small side.

Which fleet would weather the cold and emerge victorious?

The west:

The east:

The arch on the left is usually flipped to the right to put gold on it, but here I liked it a bit different, allowing the little nook you see at the closer end. Each island had 6 coins, except for an accidental 7 on the southern island.

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

They’re off! Eager to take advantage of two nearby northern islands, and to avoid the gunships of the Big 5 fleet, all the Viking ships fittingly sailed north.

Viking longships sail out

The Big 5 is confident that their diverse fleet will prevail. The gold runners scatter while the Orkney, Tartessos, and Seminole begin sailing towards the Vikings.

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

This was the ideal formation, with the gunships leading from the front but still withing S of the sheltered Seminole. The Orkney and Tartessos were willing to take an iceberg hit if it meant protecting the Seminole and keeping her speed at L+S to keep up with the gunships.

sailing squadron

Bam! The first iceberg hit of the game and the MA is down a mast.

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

I love how realistic the foam icebergs are. They’re very easy to make, as there’s no painting/gluing/etc involved. I’d recommend trying some, especially if you like icebergs (which I usually don’t lol).

iceberg smash hit

The Sleipnir found the first Rune of the day, Runes of Magic, which could be very valuable with so many icebergs around.

Trying to avoid an iceberg, the formation splits up as the Tartessos prepares to navigate an archway.

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

The MA has round earthed to the north, while the sneaky Grendel may have similar ideas.

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

The KL finds more runes! Runes of Thor could have been used on Runes of Wealth to turn the 1 into a 6, but the Vikings figured they might want the 6 for a guaranteed extra action from Sigurd Andersen at some point in the future. There were better treasures than the 1 on the island, but the KL smartly grabbed a 1 and promptly turned it into a 4 via Runes of Wealth with a decent die roll.

Here, an iceberg has smashed up the stern of the Tartessos, while the Wodin has returned to the Viking home island, wary of a possible blockade or attempted interception of the Viking gold runners.

I’d wanted La Tartessos for a long time, especially after she proved herself in VASSAL Campaign Game 1. It was great to build the ship and see the unique artwork on the hull.

La Tartessos

With the Wodin and Hrothgar relatively near, the squadron sails under the arch.

Looking at English, American, and Spanish flags through the arch and seeing Viking flags beyond:

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

The Cantabrian and MA have reached wild islands; at the top right Grim the Savage aboard the Grendel has realized it will be some time before the Big 5 get some gold to their home island, so he docks at the KL’s island to load gold while postponing any raiding attempts.

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

Watch out for the imperialists!

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

The Hrothgar in heavy seas, ready to defend the Sleipnir if necessary.


I love pictures that look through archways: here you can see the massive iceberg beyond the Wodin.

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

This picture almost makes it look like the ships are sailing very fast:

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

No more maneuvering – the Wodin attacks! However, after using her stern turn to get both cannons in range, the Wodin utterly fails, missing four consecutive shots, failing to eliminate a mast via the ram, and losing her helmsman in a disastrous boarding party. This time, getting the first shot backfired with very poor dice rolls. The Sleipnir has docked home gold, while the KL and Grendel aren’t far behind with more.

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)
Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

This left the Wodin as a sitting duck for the Orkney, who sank her with the help of the Seminole’s bonus.

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

The Tartessos has turned around, while the Hrothgar had docked at the Viking home island in a similar fashion as the Wodin, ready to break up a blockade and/or protect the gold runners.

On the Vikings’ next turn, Sigurd Andersen rolled a 6! This gave the Hrothgar two actions and up to 12 shots!! The Hrothgar’s first action sank the Seminole and crippled the Orkney, while her second was a dud. (only 4 cannons were in range of the Orkney on the second action since the Hrothgar returned to the safety of her home island in anticipation of a counterattack)

Hrothgar strikes!

The Tweed has finally reached the southern island, finding valuable gold. The MA, Cantabrian, and Ahura Mazda all have gold for the Big 5.

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

Chaos reigned during this period of the game, with the Orkney dismasting a departing Sleipnir and the Tartessos basically running away from the Hrothgar, who couldn’t be shot at while docked at her HI.

An impressive sight, but unfortunately for the Big 5 those guns were more useful in last year’s CG1 than this effort.

La Tartessos broadside

Through an arch: Viking flags, a desperate Englishman, and the carnage of battle.

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

The KL has returned home with gold, while the Grendel is almost back. The loss of the Wodin was not in vain, as the event partially helped the Vikings turn the tide.

With perfect timing, the Vikings reveal their secret weapon – Runes of Thor! This UT changed Sigurd Andersen’s die roll to an automatic 6, allowing the Hrothgar another pair of devastating actions!

Runes of Thor used

The Hrothgar’s guns are mediocre, but the sheer volume of firepower allowed her to sink the Orkney…

Hrothgar strikes again

…and dismast the Tartessos.

Wrath of the Hrothgar longship

The Grendel docks and the KL goes out for more gold:

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

All four of the Big 5 gold runners are close to unloading, while at the right, the Tartessos tries to run with her helmsman and oarsman. You may have noticed something terrible happening to the Grendel…

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)


MASSIVE iceberg slams into small ship

Unlucky enough to get smashed by an iceberg at her own home island, the unthinkable then occurred: the EXACT same die rolls were made for icebergs at the beginning of the Viking turn, which slammed the iceberg into the Grendel once more, this time dismasting her! I nearly made a house rule where icebergs could sink derelicts (or the giant iceberg eliminated two masts per hit, etc), but it wouldn’t be fair to the Viking fleet in particular to make it up on the spot.

Grendel dismasted

Luckily the oared Sleipnir was nearby to try a rescue attempt:

huge iceberg hits Viking fleet

The Hrothgar sinks the Tartessos, eliminating the last remnant of the Big 5’s gunship squadron. The Hrothgar has had an impressive game indeed, in no small part because of her excellent crew.

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

The Tweed, knowing the faster Hrothgar would likely come after her, took a risk that didn’t pan out! She sailed too close to an iceberg, which moved to dismast her at the beginning of a turn. The MA sails out to rescue her, but the Hrothgar is faster than any of the ships remaining in the Big 5 fleet. At the top left, the Ahura Mazda will try to add value to each coin the Cantabrian brings back. The Sleipnir has successfully taken the poor Grendel under tow, while the KL loads gold from the southern island.

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

With another AA from Andersen, the Hrothgar wrecks any chance of getting the Tweed’s 8 gold home. The MA is sunk and the Vikings look close to being able to control the final part of the game.

Indeed, the Vikings have the momentum here. The KL unloads yet more gold, while the Sleipnir and Grendel repair.

The Hrothgar prepares to annihilate the final two ships in the Big 5 fleet, but the Ahura Mazda stays docked at home and the Cantabrian sails out for more gold with Runes of Speed.

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

Knowing both ships must survive somehow, the Pirates go into desperation mode, ramming a mast off the Hrothgar while the Cantabrian looks to evade or get lucky if the Hrothgar misses. To make matters worse for the Big 5, the Grendel is fully repaired and Grim the Savage is finally ready for his highly anticipated home island raid!

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

BAM! The KL dismasts the Ahura Mazda, while Grim steals 3 coins from the Big 5 home island!

Grim the Savage home island hoard!

The Hrothgar intercepts the Cantabrian and dismasts her, abruptly ending the game!

Hrothgar dismasts Cantabrian

The Big 5 has no future move actions available, while most gold has been unloaded to home islands.

Frozen North 10th Anniversary Game #1 (Physical Game, 2017)

The Vikings win 21-6! If not for Grim’s last-minute raid, it would have turned out 21-16, so in reality the game was much closer and quite exciting!

gold scores revealed, Vikings win!

It was great to pay homage to the Frozen North set, which has never been one of my favorite sets actually. However, it has some very cool stuff in it, and I like all the sets heh. It was nice to play some ships that are new to my collection. Fittingly, the Vikings won! The Hrothgar was definitely the “MVS” (Most Valuable Ship), sinking or dismasting the entire opposing fleet! The Runes of Destruction and Magic were also used, but not with much consequence. I didn’t want to use Runes of Odin since it’s a bit OP heh, especially when combined with Runes of Magic.

Thanks for reading!