Two more games have been played, with a build total of 60 rather than 40.
The setup featured just four islands, but instead of 16 coins worth 30 gold we used 24 coins of random amounts. In this way we had two wild islands with 12 coins on each island. Reefs and fog banks were set up to encourage conflict, with two icebergs ominously dominating the middle of the ocean.
Both fleets set out in clusters, with neither side wanting any part of the first iceberg.
The Pirates were the first player, which allowed the Foresight to explore the first island and take 5 coins. The Bruja was escorting her with the abysmally slow Splinter predictably bringing up the rear.
As the Bruja and Foresight made sail for their home island, the French continued west and struck first, with the Lyon taking out all three masts on the Splinter.
Seeing an opportunity to hurt the French fleet, the Bruja turned around and attacked the nearby Monaque, who had rounded the first island as the Splinter sank beneath the waves. The Bruja hit twice, killing both the captain and helmsman aboard the Monaque. In the meantime the Foresight got home and the Coeur de Lion explored the far island.
The Bruja was now double-teamed by the Monaque and Lyon, who sank her with their powerful guns. The Foresight was now in trouble, with no expensive named crew to convert to gold via Barstow and with a plethora of French cannons in her way of getting back to an island. The Foresight tried to run, but when the Lyon blocked her path she decided she just had to attack, missing all three shots against the Lyon.
The Lyon shot back and hit twice before the Foresight retaliated with a successful shoot-and-ram, using Barstow to capture the French captain.
However, by now the Intrepide had towed the dangerous Mont Blanc into range, which effectively ended the game.
The Pirates had more gold on their home island, but the French proceeded to NOT sink the Foresight in order to accumulate more gold on their HI while the Foresight lamely tried to sink the entire French fleet with just one cannon. After this brief simulation the French came out on top, by a score of (if I remember correctly) 16-12. Not a bad game at all, with a good balance of shooting between the two fleets! I was very happy to use Barstow, if only to explore with the Foresight and capture a crew that wasn’t able to be brought back.
(Same as the above French fleet)
A rather unique setup was used, with the two home islands combined into one in the middle of the sea. Four wild islands with 6 random treasures apiece were arranged in an X away from the HI’s. Whirlpools and fog banks formed in the west and east, with an iceberg in the north and south.
The English used their speed to sail out quickly, with the Cheshire the first to reach an island and explore. All of the French ships headed for wild islands, with the smaller ships heading northwest and the gunships heading northeast.
The Edinburgh Trader, Cheshire, and Galway all brought home their first loads of gold. Knowing the Intrepide was the best treasure runner the French had and that their gold game would be crippled if she could be sunk, the Richards sailed north and waited for an SAT from Myngs. In addition, the French player blurted out that the Intrepide had found “quite a lot” of gold on the northwest island, furthering the bloodlust of the Richards’ captain. Myngs brought her within range and with two shoot actions, the Richards sank the Intrepide and took two masts off the Monaque!
The Frenchman was deking, for the Intrepide was carrying only 5 gold between 3 different coins!
This left the Mont Blanc dead in the water, but it also left the Richards in an unenviable position between multiple hostile ships and an iceberg.
The French exacted revenge on the next turn by sinking the Richards, while the Cheshire ducked into a fog bank. With the fast Lyon, shoot-through-ships L-range guns of the Monaque, the Extended Range keyword of the Mont Blanc, and the doubled ranges of the Coeur’s guns, the French had considerable “zone control” of the northern half of the ocean. The English would try to get around this with their superior speed and strategy.
The three English gold ships explored different islands as the French convened on their HI, with the Lyon dropping off a coin and the Monaque repairing.
The Coeur turned north to tow the Mont Blanc as the English continued their steady accumulation of gold.
With the Galway slowed down by her cargo of 1 gold, the Lyon was able to corner her and send her to Davy Jones’ Locker.
With only half of his original fleet remaining and powerful French ships still dominating the middle of the sea, the English knew they’d have to get creative to get even more gold, which was to be found on the “French” islands, in the north. The Cheshire ducked into a fog bank and the Edinburgh Trader followed her lead, staying out of range of the newly repaired Monaque.
At this point, a rather unique situation began to develop. Revealing his strategy, the English player sent the Cheshire through a whirlpool to access the northwestern part of the sea without having to contend with the French gunships. The Edinburgh Trader emerged from the fog and grabbed the last treasures from the northeast island. Both ships then darted back into the fog in anticipation of docking home their gold, but an unwelcome surprise awaited them at their home island!
The French were blockading the English HI, with considerable help from their own HI (which blocked the northern side) and an iceberg, which split their fleet in two but covered part of the southern side. The English had so much gold on their HI that it was obvious who would win, but the situation was definitely worth playing out just for fun!
The English waited in the fog until they got the right iceberg roll (a 3). Luckily for them the iceberg moved south, allowing the Cheshire to come home with 3 additional coins (she left her explorer on the northwest island in order to load an extra coin). This left the Edinburgh Trader to fend for herself, and she proceeded to ram the Lyon. The Lyon and Monaque sank her on the following turn, ending the game at last! The English were victorious with a 34-12 win!
As a side note, the first of these two games was technically my 206th game of Pirates CSG (since 2011, I don’t know how many I played before that – probably 1 or 2 dozen), which breaks the record formerly held by islander on BGG. Maybe I’ve played this game more than anyone else, ever. Just kidding! Still, it was nice to finally get to the top since I write so many reports and most of the folks at BGG (understandably) don’t have any reports of the huge numbers of games they’ve played. (At the time of this republishing in June 2019, I’m at 430 total plays!)