My friend and I played a relatively basic 2 player 80 point game yesterday, 5/7/2023. It was a tight game with some fun moments.
I rolled to go first with the following fleet. Empty Sky was a recent acquisition from my adventures in Tampa. She was on my short list of ships to try out, with this being the first time I’ve used her. As always, the game pieces can be found in the Master Spreadsheet.
Empty Sky + Commander Albert Crenshaw, Gus Schultz (RotF version), captain, helmsman
Black Pearl (SR version) + Wesley, captain
Soul Crusher + helmsman, explorer
Fancy + captain
I wanted to include non-Pirate crew to use the ES’s ability, specifically crew whose abilities don’t show up in the Pirate ranks. Thus, extending all the S-range cannons to L range, and using one of the cheap Eternal crew to keep an American privateer theme. I also thought about Commander Temple but realized I’ve used him and other ship stealers a bunch in recent years. Wesley was also included solely because I’ve never used him. Soul Crusher and Fancy were a convenient pair of ships to grab to fill out points and add some gold running capacity.
My friend has a small Franco-Spanish collection, and I let them borrow a few named crew:
El Toro + The Mask, helmsman
La Catedral del Mar + captain, helmsman, oarsman
La Cazadora + captain, helmsman
Pescados de Plata + Dominic Freda (RotF common version), helmsman
Le Mercure + explorer
Both fleets happened to have S-boarding crew, but the weirder oddity was that 4 of the 9 total ships used had the Fear keyword! Perhaps not the scariest fleets, but with some unique stuff out on the ocean. 🙂
Round earth, 3 terrain per player, 4 random coins on each island (no UT’s), crew face up since I made both fleets and didn’t want that informational advantage.
Soul Crusher and Fancy headed for different islands, with Black Pearl and Empty Sky escorting them. Pescados and Mercure drain the eastern island, while possible confrontations await near two of the other islands.
A round and a half later, and Wesley uses the Black Pearl to engage the giant crab! The Pirates won the S-boarding party 10-9 (!), but I mistakenly retconned it due to not reading the whole Pirate Code entry (no boarding). Shooting well, BP blows off 3 of 4 arms. Soul Crusher lost a mast to the reef in her desperation to reach home with 9 gold on my second turn, and here braves the reef again (this time taking no damage) to snag the last two coins from the contested island. More Spaniards are approaching….
El Toro rams a mast off the Black Pearl! La Cazadora advances to within range of Soul Crusher but out of the BP’s current range, shooting 2/2 to dismast the turbine.
Black Pearl rolled for Fear, getting a 5 to disable abilities on the Cazadora. She then killed El Toro and damaged the Cazadora. Soul Crusher then rolled for Fear, getting a 6 to slow the Cazadora on her next turn! I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen both effects of Fear apply against a single ship in the same turn of a regular game. It may have happened in one of my campaign games, but definitely a rare occurrence. It actually helped my plans too, as I had originally considered taking the Soul Crusher back over the reef to get home, even with no masts.
However, as much as I liked the thought of my first-ever Turbine shipwreck, a slowed and captainless Cazadora would not be in range of anything if SC just moved southeast with her L+S total movement (Turbine keyword preventing dereliction, so she was capable of full movement).
During this major scuffle, the gold runners had been making trips to and fro. Pescados, Mercure, Fancy and Empty Sky all dropped off coins. Empty Sky temporarily dropped Crenshaw and captain in order to do so, but at the top of this next picture you can see she’s gone back to the island to pick them up again. Soul Crusher got home with her gold as well, having survived both the reef and a Spanish pest.
The Catedral has engaged the Pearl, shooting 2/3 before losing 2 of her own masts in the counterattack from a shot and ram! Wesley uses S-Board against the Catedral but is slayed by the Spanish inquisition sailors for his efforts! With the other 3 islands empty, it looks like the SW island will be the final fight of the game.
Fancy sped east but missed her L+L range sniping potshot against the Pescados. Empty Sky returned home as Soul Crusher repaired. The Spanish closed in on the final coins, with three ships converging on the SW island. La Cazadora was one of them, but her job was to finish off the Pearl, which she effectively did with a ram, winning the boarding party to eliminate the BP’s captain.
The Spanish have been weakened, but most of their ships can outrun the relatively slow Pirate fleet.
Indeed they did, with the Pescados carrying home the final coin via round earth to avoid the approaching Empty Sky and Fancy. As you can see from the coins, the scores made for a tight game!
- Pirates: 24 gold
- Franco-Spanish: 23