Tampa Pirate Invasion!
100 Point post-Gasparilla Chaos!
After some planning and coordination, I met up with various members of the Pirates CSG community in Florida for a Tampa Pirate Invasion! This took place on the day after Gasparilla Pirate Festival (which happens on the last Saturday in January), which I really want to build an annual Pirates CSG event around. It was awesome to see the Jose Gaspar pull in along with the parade. We continued the festivities into Sunday with a 4 player, 100 point game! I have to thank Marshall for getting my initial interest going in a Florida meetup dating back to March 2022, when he posted a comment on my youtube channel talking about his annual meetup near Punta Gorda/Cape Coral/Naples (unfortunately it didn’t happen in fall 2022 due to Hurricane Ian). From there we gathered other local members of the community, with Marshall bringing his friend Sean, while I reached out to Personofsecrets from the Discord server and legendary collector Dholub1 (who just wanted to meet us and observe). We met at Critical Hit Games in St. Petersburg for a memorable time. If you play Pirates in Florida, contact me so I can add you to the FL Pirates messenger group!
The only house rule we used was a ban on all events, along with a few proxies. We ended up contributing 8 coins for 15 gold per player, just like in the 1v1 standard rules. Fleets are below and you can see all of the game pieces in the Master Spreadsheet.
Ever since retrieving all my krakens when I was in my hometown in New York State back in November 2022, I had started thinking about using what I think of as a “classic” fleet – Woelf’s Denial of Service Attack fleet. O_O This was a fleet that Woelf himself posted on Miniature Trading way back in 2010, and it became not only a Fleet of the Week, but according to lordstu, the 2010 Fleet of the Year! I voted on it back in 2012, made a comment in 2016, and finally acquired Cursed Captain Jack in 2022 to complete the final piece needed to play the fleet. I came close to playing it in the 4×100 game on 12/30/2022, but was desperate to try out my three headed dragon fleet in that game. And thus, 2023 Gasparilla weekend would be (as far as I know) the debut of Woelf’s old fleet. He told me that he still hadn’t played it, and I thought it was high time it saw some real action. Big thanks to Woelf for making such a fun concept for a fleet, and for saving all his fleets before MT sank in 2019. I swapped out the events for the Coeur du Lion and Dervish, and don’t have a Tunis in my Washington collection so I used the Belle Poule instead. (additional comments on the fleet at MT: page 2, page 3)
However, I had a few concerns I had to sort out before using the fleet. I asked Woelf in private to clarify a few rules questions I had about it, in the off chance that one of the other players would remember the fleet and be tipped off about what I was planning (if I had posted the questions in the Rules Thread). To summarize the Q&A exchange:
- Both the kraken crew-cancelling ability and Cursed Captain Jack’s (CCJ) abilities are optional. “The key difference is that Jack’s can only be rolled on your own turn but the effect lasts until your next turn, while the other can be rolled on every player’s turn and only affects that specific turn.”
- Cancelling the Kraken keyword while it is locked onto a target via Captain Davy Jones (CDJ) does not “unlock” the kraken and does not remove the +S movement bonus.
- The krakens do not violate the No-Duplicates Rule.
The answer to #1 was especially surprising to me, as I figured at least one of the two “global cancellation” abilities would be mandatory. The krakens being optional really opens up some crazy possibilities with this fleet, and clearly makes these krakens better and more playable overall. I would be able to roll to cancel all crew on my opponents’ turns, but I wouldn’t have to on my own turns! O_O
Alright, let’s get to the game! Here are the general fleets, in play order:
Evan used a slightly modified version of my old Delusion fleet, swapping out the Fallen Angel and firepot specialist for the Grinder. This meant I would be playing against one of my fleets while I played with one of Woelf’s fleets! 😀 This made me quite happy I went with a rather diabolical fleet, partly because I know how much of a beast the Delusion can be with a nasty crew setup, and because Evan’s fleet was extremely reliant on crew to be successful – a perfect target of the kraken cancelling. The Soul Crusher was used as a proxy for the Grinder.
Denial of Service Attack! Coeur would carry the navigator so the Bon Marin and Belle Poule could load up on gold, while CCJ is the face down crew on my home island (HI). Since I planned to use the navigator a bunch, I removed Celestine’s Charts from my UT’s. I ran out of time to find disembodied kraken segments in my big box of Pirate ships in NY, so a few segments from A Fearsome Creature were proxied in (with cannons still correct).
I think this was the first multiplayer game in quite some time where I used the regular home island selection rules. Once mine had been picked I was able to put Marshall’s fleet way in the northeast, hoping it would spark conflict between him and Evan’s goliath.
Fleets scattered in the first round. Marshall docked at an island in the northeast. Sean got off to a fast start, loading gold. I saw his high cargo capacity as a big threat to my long-term gold game (with my fragile and slower gold runners), and used Captain Davy Jones on the Black Pearl to declare La Monarca a target of Kray-kin! The krakens started shutting down crew on individual opponent turns, which would not be the last we saw of them….
The Delusion got in action!
With a solid double action, the Delusion beats up Marshall’s 5 masters, with both the Enterprise and Constitution losing 3 masts. (Delusion was built based on her deckplate order of cannons, which we realized after was incorrect)
Seeing four coins on Sean’s Bon Marin, Captain Davy Jones switches the target of Kray-kin to the French sloop, who gets promptly surrounded!
Seeing no crew on Sean’s Wasp, I realized my Bon Marin could dock at the center island in a location where she couldn’t be rammed. Her and Belle Poule loaded up 7 coins between the two of them, though not without some of my own nasty UT’s included in the mix. In a perfect find, Natives wouldn’t slow the crewless Belle Poule; however, Maps of Hades and Enemy of the State made the Bon Marin’s haul less than stellar. I would have to do some serious support in order to get the latter ship home with her 6 gold intact. The Coeur’s navigator created a trade current for The Kraken, who may have been targeting the Wasp with CDJ’s help. I was hesitant to move the Black Pearl away from my home island for fear of the Delusion – if the krakens didn’t shut down that monstrous crew setup, she was an easy send through one of the many whirlpools to potentially devastate the BP.
Sean had gold on La Monarca and was headed home, while the Bon Marin shot a tentacle off Kray-kin. At the upper right, Marshall has returned home with the Constitution and returned fire on the Delusion, but only hits 1/4 between the Enterprise and Bloody Jewel. I was heavily rooting for Marshall for most of this fight (worried about what the Delusion would do to my fleet if she truly ran amok), and selectively only rolled for the kraken crew cancelling on all of Evan’s turns, but few of Marshall’s turns (at least during this battle). This game really opened my eyes to how powerful The Kraken and Kray-kin can be – I was affecting a battle from afar that I had no business being apart of, able to influence it in my favor by hindering one opponent while my “favorite” to win the fight could play without restriction. O_O The puppetmaster continues their antics….
A partial round later, with the Bon Marin sunk by Kray-kin (taking 4 coins with her!) and Wasp surrounded by The Kraken. Bon Marin and Belle Poule were headed home, with CDJ hopeful they would both reach my HI with all loot accounted for. He was still in charge of the fleet, with Cursed Captain Jack simply lying in wait on my HI. Overall, the krakens were so effective at shutting down crew in this game that CCJ was mostly unnecessary. In addition, CCJ’s effect is far more impactful – it shuts down ALL abilities (including forts and UT’s!), not just crew, and lasts for the whole round, meaning I couldn’t use it selectively on only opponent turns.
Another example of the horrific logistics of trying to operate a fleet with no crew doing their jobs:
Krakens doing work. The inability to shoot at them unless you’re surrounded played a big role, as they could simply encroach upon Sean’s territory, surround only weak gold runners, and operate with relative impunity.
The Wasp hit 2/2 on Sean’s turn (making him 3/3 overall against the krakens on less than 50% expected accuracy!), but it was still no match for The Kraken, who sent it to Davy Jones’ Locker.
Frustrated by my fleet, Sean sent Seleucis through a whirlpool where she eventually rammed the Black Pearl, but only after getting cancelled to the surface by (still face down at that point) Tia Dalma and losing most of her remaining segments (she lost one in a whirlpool as well). Belle Poule has returned home with 3 coins while Dervish blocks her from danger. In the background you can see that Maps of Hades has gotten the best of my Bon Marin, with Evan moving the ship out of the fog bank and onto a reef to the east. With little need for trade currents right now, Coeur goes out to try and rescue the vessel – or at least, her treasure!
I was after more of Sean’s gold! Using the “chaining” effect to surround one ship within S after another, Kray-kin grabs hold of La Monarca!
Sean was looking to split up his remaining ships and gather gold from different islands with them, splitting treasure between at least 3 ships in the hopes that at least one or two could get home unscathed from the kraken slaughter. Carolina, Salte el Tiburon and Peacock all whirled into the south, heading for islands I figured that the Grinder and Dervish would have explored by now. (just shows how much even basic playing expectations can change during a game) In the northeast, Marshall has dismasted the Grinder!
Maps of Hades allows Evan to move the Bon Marin again, this time sending her into a sargasso sea – the bane of 1 masted ships. The Coeur is already safe in fog and decides to pivot on her plan to save the Bon Marin, instead creating a trade current to speed up the Belle Poule and Dervish, who head southeast after the Carolina in pursuit of loot. Seleucis is killed by the Black Pearl and La Monarca is sunk by Kray-kin, whittling Sean’s fleet down even more.
Marshall finds the Wolves UT on the island south of his HI, furthering his bad luck. Grinder has whirled away from the battlefield, allowing Delusion to take up towing duties of the Death’s Anchor flotilla.
On the next turn, the krakens failed their rolls, meaning the Delusion had all her crew available to go nuts!
The Delusion and Death’s Anchor combo sank two of my gold runners, with the Belle Poule and Dervish sent to the depths. Captain Nemo captured Captain Davy Jones, meaning there was likely to be no more kraken targeting for the rest of the game. However, the Black Pearl struck back on my turn, dealing good damage to weaken the Delusion. With a good point from Evan about the order of operations, the Black Pearl dropped her crew on my HI after the shooting to protect them from potential Nemo boards for the next round.
The Kraken continues southwards, while Kray-kin lies in wait off Sean’s HI, anticipating some gold-laden ships to appear out of the whirlpool at some point. Sean gets busy exploring in the south, loading treasure onto different schooners and avoiding another instance of the nasty Natives UT (Evan put one in too). Salte dumps her captain. Evan’s Grinder returns to the Cursed HI. My Bon Marin was stuck in the sargasso sea, with a low likelihood of being able to return home successfully.
Sean explored with the Carolina and divided the southern island’s treasure between her and the Lynx. His Spanish 4 masted schooners started heading home, though the Delusion whirled into the area on Evan’s turn. I got a 6 with the Bon Marin to free her from the sargasso sea, but she still had an arduous journey home due to the influence of the Maps of Hades. With the help of another trade current from the Coeur’s navigator, the Black Pearl arrives on the scene to blast the Carolina. However, I was hoping she’d hit 3/3 to dismast the ship, but instead left her with 1 mast remaining. She may receive assistance soon though… from… The Kraken!
Sean decided to go on the offensive, successfully ramming the Black Pearl with both the Carolina and Lynx! It was a solid move, given that neither ship could reach the whirlpool west of them and both were now moving at just S+S speed. However, I was able to swing the situation back in my favor during my turn, with the Black Pearl dismasting the Lynx and The Kraken surrounding the Carolina! The Coeur emerged from the fog bank to move S+S+S over a trade current to the empty wild island. My intent was to capture both American gold runners and tow them home for their gold – The Kraken was simply to dismast Carolina, then move away and let her be captured by the Coeur. In the northwest, a similar scene was unfolding. Kray-kin surrounded the Santa Isabel, a ship I had been wanting to blast since early in the game. This would allow the Salte el Tiburon to return home with a couple coins, but Kray-kin didn’t have time to surround both.
Maps of Hades allows Evan to put the Bon Marin back in the sargasso sea. XD
At some point during one of the kraken crew cancellations we realized that when Sir Edmund was cancelled, crew on the Delusion would have to be thrown overboard to restore the ship to a legal point cap. In addition, Captain Nemo being shut down meant that some of his 3 captures got thrown overboard! The krakens were having a devastating effect on the game, especially in Evan’s fleet.
However, probably the biggest moment of this round was when Marshall finally explored the northeastern island with the Executioner. He found Bad Maps and Pandora’s Box! Importantly, the order of UT contributions (and reveals) would in this case be exactly the same as the play order: Sean-Evan-Ben-Marshall. Sean didn’t bring any UT’s, and after a recent conversation with Woelf in advance of last October’s PNW weekend marathon of games, it made more sense for him to not contribute any:
I would say no to forcing a player that didn’t have any extra UTs of their own available to use ones from some other player’s collection, because that would be too easy to abuse. For example, a player who knew their opponents usually didn’t bring along anything extra to the game sessions could throw Pandora’s Box into the mix and then purposely only bring additional UTs that would help them specifically, like Blood Money for a Spanish-only fleet. The other players shouldn’t be stuck picking from an intentionally-limited selection; it would be better to just not place anything at all.
He was welcome to use some of mine or Evan’s, but the game was already taking many hours and he was fine not contributing any.
Evan then shocked even me… by contributing another Pandora’s Box!! O_O This meant we would have a “Pandora’s Box Loop”! It’s a fascinating concept that could be used as an epic stall tactic – continually put in more Pandora’s Boxes, triggering another round of UT’s to be brought in from outside the game! However, it seems illegal due to the No-Stacking Rule. Confusing stuff, but either way we played it out in this game for better or worse. Thus I knew that I had at least two UT’s to contribute before even choosing my first, which gave me an idea…. I had a brief private conversation with Marshall where I asked him if he wanted to take out the Delusion (knowing I had both Runes necessary for an Odin Missile ready to rock and roll). He said no, as it was one of the only things capable of keeping my fleet in check. XD I put in in Plague and then Explosives, in the hope that at least one of them would make it to the Delusion at some point. Evan actually had a third copy of Pandora’s Box ready to go, but didn’t put it in. I had my own copy in my tin, but didn’t want to extend the loop any further for a variety of reasons. I believe Marshall gave himself a Cross of Coronado and Castaway, which was used to bring in a musketeer with the goal of killing the Wolves!
La Santa Isabel battles Kray-kin:
The Black Pearl brings the Lynx home, netting me a coin. The Kraken dismasts the Carolina. Grinder repairs while Delusion heads towards the immobile Bon Marin.
Carolina captured, Black Pearl and Grinder furiously repairing. (picture taken before we hit the “undo button” on the Constitution whirling south)
At this point various masts were not being taken out, but Santa Isabel has been made a derelict by Kray-kin. Coeur lets Lynx tow Carolina, while the former heads to a whirlpool in the hope of towing home a different prize – the Santa Isabel and her coin. Marshall’s Nightmare rams a mast off the Grinder but gets herself pinned in the process. The Kraken heads east to combat the Delusion, who might soon be making off with the Bon Marin, but it could be an ugly fight with Christian Fiore still aboard and no way to guarantee the global crew cancellation that would keep The Kraken reasonably safe. The Delusion rammed the Bon Marin but rolled a 1! She also managed to accidentally steal the Maps of Hades….
I finally flipped Cursed Captain Jack on the Black Pearl, and I believe rolled a 6 on the first try. O_O This meant that no abilities at all could be used for a full round.
However, I quickly realized the error of my ways, as this meant the krakens could not surround, and not only that, but they could be shot at normally even without surrounding an enemy. Plus, The Kraken’s Eternal was shut down, so the Delusion could potentially eliminate it for good if they got tangled up with the Death’s Anchor firepower providing some leverage.
Unsurprisingly, it turned into a relatively uneventful round. Evan managed to capture both the Bon Marin and Nightmare – the Bon Marin’s mast was shot away at some point by the Delusion, who had stopped towing Death’s Anchor. I generally decided not to use CCJ again in the game, and might even use iterations of this fleet in the future without him.
With the Salte and Kray-kin duking it out, the Coeur swooped in to capture the Santa Isabel. However, she had company, as the freshly repaired Grinder was whirling into the area. Lynx docks home the captured Carolina, while the repaired Black Pearl heads north to protect my new prize. Delusion fogs out with Bon Marin, while The Kraken searches for a new target. After a Plague exchange, Marshall finally deposits some gold on his HI.
Evan appears in full force! The Delusion has whirled into the area, and just beyond her final remaining mast you can see the stern flag of Bon Marin, putting more gold in the area.
Coeur is dismasted, Santa Isabel is captured by the Grinder, Salte is sunk, and the Black Pearl and Constitution are on the scene even as Delusion flees it! O_O
The above pic shows some kind of gaffe, as Maps of Hades was accidentally triggered “retroactively”, meaning a thing or two had to be undone. I think Sean chose to leave the Bon Marin behind when he moved Delusion. Either way, the Bon Marin was surrounded by Kray-kin, who I intended to use simply as a shield to keep the sloop safe in the beast’s clutches until one of my ships could recapture her and get her gold home (only one coin remained though I believe, with her 2 being lost in whirlpool travel). Grinder has made off with the Santa Isabel through the whirlpool. I seized my chance to stop the mighty Delusion, with the Black Pearl doing her job and eliminating 3/4 remaining masts. The Lynx looked like a lock to dismast with an easy ram, but rolled a 1! (just like Delusion against Bon Marin) At the upper right, Marshall is finally ready to take on the Wolves with his “castaway musketeer”. However, that island contains some of the last gold in play, which means I have designs on it too, with The Kraken and Carolina both making steady progress towards the area.
At the left, I think the Lynx I captured from Sean has rammed Marshall’s Lynx derelict. I was very happy to capture the Delusion (her oarsman having been sacced long ago), and did a crew swap to put the Ex-Pats on the Black Pearl with Tia Dalma and the BP’s captain joining the Delusion to make sure BP didn’t exceed her point cap. With the Constitution bearing down, I could only expect one ship to survive, and that was the Eternal one – Delusion. Fiore cancelled the Constitution’s captain, but in my efforts to capture a mighty prize, the BP was becoming more frail, having lost her captain ability.
In the east, Evan docks home the Santa Isabel to get on the board with some treasure. Executioner’s musketeer misses the Wolves!
The pictures don’t tell the full story here, but I think BP shot at the Constitution because she couldn’t dock at my HI with the Ex-Pats aboard. Constitution shot at BP and just barely managed to dismast her! (the 2 hit because of the ship’s +1 cannon bonus against Pirate ships)
The Wolves are shot dead, much to my delight! Some turns ago I figured I had no chance at this gold or the eventual fight for it, but now I was threatening to increase my score with it. The Kraken has surrounded the Executioner, but Grinder and Coral will provide some opposition for the Carolina.
The desperation of the late endgame was upon us! Lynx tows Black Pearl, while I silently hoped for Constitution to trigger the Delusion’s Eternal. In the middle, it looks like the Santa Isabel lost her lone remaining mast in whirlpool travel and has become a derelict. In the northeast, Executioner is sunk as Carolina loads 7 total gold.
Staying out of Fiore’s cancelling range, Constitution moves to sink the Lynx and Black Pearl!
The Delusion was also sunk, triggering Eternal and returning her to my HI now that no Ex-Patriot crew (and therefore the Mercenary keyword) were aboard!
The Carolina was sunk by either Grinder or the Coral, with the Grinder stealing a coin before being enveloped by The Kraken as the beast chained its way around the wild island to surround its final target. At this point it looked as good as over, so I simply sank the final gold in play (on the Grinder and Bon Marin) to end the game. I partly wanted to simply protect it since both ships were in the clutches of my krakens, and then repair the Delusion so she could go try to get the gold home after releasing the derelicts, but it was simply unnecessary and would extend the game quite a bunch.
- Ben: 14 gold
- Marshall: 7 (3 or 4 units in play)
- Evan/Personofsecrets: 7 (1 unit in play)
- Sean: 3
Wow! What a wild, long and memorable game. I definitely got lucky with the kraken crew-cancelling, hitting it a large percentage of the time. The krakens absolutely devastated Sean and Evan’s fleets. I mostly left Marshall alone until the end because he was a counter to Evan for a while, until at the end Marshall looked like a threat to beat me (he would have tied my 14 if he had gotten all the “Wolves gold” home). Sean had a nearly crewless fleet but his gold runners couldn’t escape the endless kraken attacks. Evan played well but was foiled by my 5’s and 6’s, making waves but coming up short in gold. Marshall mostly stuck to the northeastern quadrant, fending off a Cursed attack and ending up in second place.
Congratulations to Woelf for making such a cool and unique fleet! It performed quite well, severely limiting other players and allowing me to take home the win and the custom “Florida Pirates” trophy that comes with it. Marshall made this up before the meet and I will make efforts to return for Gasparilla weekend next year! 😀 Thanks to everyone who played, and for Dholub1 for the commentary and insights from the sideline! Really glad we had an awesome time and definitely excited for next year! There is a group that meets near Jensen Beach and hopefully some of the broader community might fly or drive in for the festivities of Gasparilla and Pirates CSG! Until our next Tampa Pirates Invasion!! 😀
Now to bring up… the Gong….