VASSAL Campaign Game 1

VASSAL Campaign Game 1

Played from February-May of 2016

The first-ever VASSAL campaign game is about to get underway!! Two of the greatest admirals in history, a7xfanben and xerecs, meet in an epic clash on the high seas!

After a number of smaller adventures, both admirals have agreed to take part in the ultimate challenge – a giant cumulative game where gold is spent along the way to build bigger and better fleets. The game has no time limit, and it will go until only one fleet remains or until both admirals agree to stop the game, at which point the fleet with the most combined points afloat and gold on their home island will be declared the winner.

The game is being played with a unique style – each admiral gets to control 3 different fleets, with all of the major factions being present (the minor factions can be hired as privateers). However, each admiral MUST control these fleets independently – they can still form alliances with their own fleets, but each fleet is a separate entity.

Without further ado, here are the starting fleets in the order of gameplay, under a 30 point limit:

Xerecs

French:
La Geographe
Enfant Terrible + Capitaine Baudouin Deleflote

Pirates:
Neptune’s Hoard + explorer
Swift + helmsman
Banshee’s Cry + explorer
Mermaid

Americans:
USS James Madison + Tribal Chieftain
Wasp + explorer
Native Canoes

a7xfanben

Spanish:
El Alquimista + Tribal Chieftain
La Saragoza + helmsman
Native Canoes

Cursed:
Divine Dragon + Davy Jones, helmsman

English:
HMS Dover
HMS Hound
Sea Tiger
HMS Trepassey

Here is the grand ocean!

Here’s the northwest corner, where the English have settled. I purposely made the corner islands harder to get to, since the fleet nearby could otherwise take extra advantage of them. The French have generally the most central fleet location, though they’re not really in the actual middle. Here you can see them to the far right.

This is the northeast corner, where the Cursed lie. There’s some overlap with the pictures, as you can now see the French at the far left. To the right lies a barrier reef and some fog dangerously close to the shallows.

The southeast corner, with the Americans on the right and the Spanish on the left. I placed those wild islands close together on purpose, so the setup didn’t look too artificial with the same distance between all neighboring islands. How fitting that 10 canoes are already docked at those islands!

Finally, the southwest corner, where the Pirates are waiting to sail out. You can also see the French in the upper right corner, while the English HI is almost due north of the Pirates’ HI.

Right now there are 18 wild islands in addition to the 6 home islands (HI’s). Each wild island starts with 7 coins on it. All wild islands will refill to their maximum of 7 coins when at least 4 of the wild islands are completely empty. UT’s will probably make appearances eventually. Flat earth rules are being used.

The current house rules state that when a ship wins a boarding party, the winner chooses which coins to take, and that turtle ships are immune to ram damage. Other house rules will be instituted if needed.

The game will start tomorrow! The other campaign game will start sometime early next week, but I’m planning to create a separate thread for that one to avoid confusion and because this one starts first.

2/13/2016

The first VASSAL campaign game has gotten underway!

The Geographe took the first action of the game, and all of the fleets raced for the gold!

In the southeast, both the American and Spanish native canoes have explored their islands, while in the northeast, Davy Jones on the Divine Dragon is powering the Cursed to a fast start.

Of all the factions, the Cursed make the first launchings of the game! The Loa’s Justice and Nightmare join the ranks, both crewed with helmsmen.

The Americans and French have some gold, while the Pirates, Spanish, and English are all about to unload some.

Here you can see some of the islands that have been explored. In the order of play, here are the explored marker colors: French (green), Pirates (gray), Americans (blue), Spanish (yellow), Cursed (black), English (red).

The English spent some gold and bought HMS Lady Provost and a helmsman and explorer for her.

A flurry of launchings soon followed!

Pirates:
Bloody Jewel + Jean Laffite
Dragon + Captain Elizabeth Swann
Rover + navigator

Spanish:
La Santa Isabel + Capitan Alarico Castro, helmsman, oarsman
San Pedro

Cursed: Sea Monkey + helmsman, oarsman

English: HMS Alexander

The Sea Tiger is returning with gold from the remote northwestern island, while the Wasp looks to do the same in the far southeast.

2/13/2016

The game has continued!

The Spanish have built El Castillo del Infanta on the island in the southern middle area! Just like in xerecs’ Economy Edition game, forts can be rebuilt as many times as a player wants.

Notice the Spanish flocking to their island to the east.

Responding to the Spanish, the Americans quickly build Thompson’s Island, but the Spanish counter with Fortaleza Dorada just to the south! Xerecs has been using navigators, which are now a part of all three of his fleets. The Spanish launched the first true gunship of the game with La Tartessos + captain, helmsman, and fire shot.

The Cursed and English got busy spending as well:

Cursed:
Sea Monkey + helmsman, oarsman
Executioner + El Fantasma, captain, helmsman, oarsman

English:
Edinburgh Trader + helmsman
HMS Durham + captain

The Pirates navigated some reefs in the southwest to reach a corner island with the help of some trade currents.

Davy Jones on the Divine Dragon finally rolled a 6, and seeing that the Americans were the biggest threat to the Cursed, forced the Wasp off the map! Xerecs had forgotten about her way over in the southeast corner, and now she’s been moved off the flat earth and removed from the game.

Here’s an overview of the situation in the southeast:

The Swift had the honor of being the first ship to lose a mast, while crossing over a reef! However, the Pirates did launch the Cassandra with a helmsman.

The Cursed have been doing surprisingly well for themselves; their newest additions are the Maman Brigitte and Fallen Angel. The Executioner seems to be headed straight for that whirlpool; I wonder why?

Admiral A7Xfanben’s favorite faction is the English, so it should come as no surprise that they are launching ships all the time. In addition to building Ramsgate south of their HI, they’ve purchased numerous ships:
Aberdeen Baron + helmsman
HMS Cheshire
HMS Antelope
HMS Oxford + captain

The fleets have rapidly expanded, with no less than 39 ships already in play! The close of the first day’s action saw the French nervously eyeing the expanding English fleet. An interesting part of the game so far has been the differing philosophies of the admirals. Xerecs saves gold more often, belying the potential strength of his fleets, while a7xfanben knows the value of getting lots of gold runners out on the sea as fast as possible to increase the gold flow.

Another interesting aspect is even just writing the battle reports; I have to watch what I say because I don’t want to tip off xerecs or make any odd mistakes!

2/17/2016

Here’s the game after another turn. The main developments are that the Pirates launched the Black Heart with Cursed Captain Jack, and the Executioner has gone through a whirlpool to arrive in the west.

2/20/2016

A TON of progress has been made on Campaign Game 1!

The French finally spent some more gold:
La Possession + helmsman
Royal Louis + helmsman
Le Courageux
Le Bon Marin

The Spanish purchased another gunship with La Habana + captain and helmsman.

The Cursed launched the Fiddler’s Green with “Screaming” Mimi and a helmsman.

The Spanish have instigated the first combat of the game! The Tartessos had been lurking off Thompson’s Island, and she finally got the perfect positioning and fired a full broadside at the American fort! Only one hit landed, but it sent a clear message. However, the Spanish assured the Americans that they were NOT declaring war.

On the Cursed turn, Davy Jones rolled a 6! All eyes turned to his wrath, as he could now move any ship in the game however he wanted.

Suddenly HMS Oxford surged forward and fired a broadside into the Aberdeen Baron, taking her down to 2 masts! Davy Jones was wreaking havoc in the English home waters!

Then, the Executioner, who had sailed through a whirlpool the last time the game was played, sailed up and dismasted the Aberdeen Baron!

This shows the first real “battle” of the game, though it was a strange one. The English used the Antelope (who went 2/2!) and Oxford to sink the Executioner, but Fantasma’s Eternal sent her back to the Cursed HI!

The Spanish launched two ships: Concepcion (with a helmsman) to further their gold system and the Colector del Dia (with a captain and helmsman) to further their eastern expansion. The Colector del Dia is a 3 masted junk from RtSS very similar to the Cazador del Pirata.

The English began towing the Aberdeen Baron with the Hound and launched HMS Galway.

The next turn was a rare one, with no launchings by any fleet. Thompson’s Island was fighting hard against the Tartessos, hitting 2/3 before the Spaniard knocked the fort down to 2 guns. The Executioner used Fantasma’s SAT to repair two masts in short order.

With the English in the west and the Cursed in the east, the French have been getting the majority of their gold from the center area south of their HI, where you can see a bunch of trade currents. Each fleet has their own area right now, but fleets are quickly expanding. As more and more ships come into play, treasure replenishments happen more and more often.

Despite the Tartessos losing two more masts to Thompson’s Island, the Spanish finally silenced the fort’s cannons!

In a huge move, Davy Jones rolled another 6 and forced the Oxford to sink the Aberdeen Baron!! She went down with plenty of gold aboard right near her home island, and one of England’s best gold runners is gone for the rest of the game. The Aberdeen Baron also is the first ship to officially sink, though the Wasp was eliminated via round earth and the Executioner was “sunk” before Eternal kicked in.

On the following turn, the Americans made some interesting purchases:
Jarvis + chieftain, helmsman (+ another set of native canoes)
Gator + GWL (RtSS version, the American version of Lord Mycron)

The Spanish immediately responded, launching another set of canoes at the island that Thompson’s Island was recently destroyed on (the Spanish weren’t declaring war but rather claiming the island), as well as El Garante with a chieftain, captain, helmsman, firepot specialist, oarsman, and fire shot.

The English got busy spending as well:
HMS Apollo + Lord Cutler Beckett, captain, helmsman, oarsman
HMS Patagonia + RobinsonLord Mycron

The Apollo took over for the Dover as the official English flagship. The English saw the two Pirate fleet admirals and decided to use their own as well.

The new American canoes loaded gold from the island in the far southeast, while the new Spanish canoes loaded gold from the island Thompson’s Island was on. The Spanish ended their turn by building their third and final fort, El Puerto Blanco, on the island! This ended their short-term objective of controlling those two nearby islands. Also, forts can be rebuilt as many times as a faction wants if they are destroyed. An agreement has been reached where up to 2 of the same fort can be present at the same time, but flotillas follow the same rules for ships in that they can only be purchased once and can’t be brought back if sunk.

The Tartessos repaired at the southern Fortaleza Dorada, while something interesting was brewing up north. The USS James Madison “shot” at the French ship Royal Louis, who parleyed a coin to the American HI. Xerecs (the controller of both fleets) then announced that the French and Americans were agreeing to some kind of alliance, as both factions felt pressure from the fleets around them. Taking it even further, the French then went so far as to make it clear that they considered the English and Cursed to be “enemies”, which puzzled and frustrated Beckett and Davy Jones respectively, as no fleet has done anything hostile against the French so far. The French might want to be a little more careful with their choice of words in the future, given the short fuse the Cursed have in addition to their dangerous named crew.

Speaking of dangerous named crew, the Cursed recruited Tabitha McWarren to crew the Lizard’s Sting. a7xfanben doesn’t dislike trade currents and navigators nearly as much as cargo masters, and so the Cursed also got the Celestine with Master Scribe.

The English then bought 5 new ships, including one named crew: Commodore Rhys Gryffin Owen (CRGO), the other English fleet admiral. The English also received the first home island expansion! As the game gets bigger and bigger I’ll probably do more and more pictures of the deckplates since it’s faster than typing everything in.

The whole situation:

The gold running pace intensified, and treasure replenishments were happening every turn or two. The Pirates had been saving for a while, and suddenly spent 91 gold on three new ships, including the first use of privateers!

All three ships were ready to capture crew and turn them into gold, while the Grand River is actually a custom of mine (Xerecs is the Pirate controller).

Grand River
Collector’s Number: 124
Faction Affiliation: Jade Rebellion
Rarity: SR
Type: Ship
Point Value: 16
Cargo Space: 5
Base Move: S+S
Cannons: 3S,3S,3L,3L,3S, 3S
Number of Masts: 6

Junk. This ship’s base move becomes S when she reaches her cargo limit.

The Spanish then cashed in some gold of their own to get the Isabela, another set of native canoes (their third), and the Afortunado with a navigator. This left the English as the only fleet not to utilize trade currents.

During the actual turn (which happened before the launchings), some interesting stuff went down (literally). The Cursed, annoyed with the English but also the Americans (remember them moving the Wasp off the flat earth as the first ship eliminated), moved a native canoe off the map and sunk another with the Executioner!

The Americans’ woes continued. The Spanish decided they needed to make a statement. Despite the destruction of Thompson’s Island and the building of El Puerto Blanco on the same island, the Americans didn’t seem to be getting the message, with the James Madison sailing into now-Spanish waters. The Colector del Dia shot 3/3 to dismast the JM, though she managed to lose the boarding party 5-4 after rolling a 1. The Spanish still have not declared war on the Americans, but the message is clear: the waters around Spanish forts belong to Spain, and nobody else.

Ominously, the Cursed got the first submarine of the game with the Locker and Edward Low.

The English launched two more treasure runners, HMS Goodfellow (from RtSS) and HMS Lord Kenyon.

At the end of their next turn the Americans finally spent a bunch of gold to get both of their hoists (Frontier and Strongarm, the latter from RtSS), as well as a custom by Xerecs.

USS Mississippi
Faction Affiliation: America
Type: Ship
Point Value: 15
Cargo Space: 6
Base Move: S+S
Cannons:
Number of Masts: 4

Steamboat. (+L to base move, no helmsman allowed) One of this ship’s treasures is worth +2 gold when unloaded at your home island.

The Frontier and Mississippi carried the American Eternal crew, while the Strongarm carried a cargo master.

For this game, hoists are represented by 4 masted square rigged ships with no jib sail, where an S range tool can be proxied as the hoist arm.

The Spanish followed by capturing the James Madison with the Habana! This was the game’s first capture.

In a brutal display, the Cursed continued to be hostile to the English, using McWarren and Mimi to move the Sea Tiger and Discovery off the map and eliminate them from the game.

The day’s action was almost at an end! The French got things started by launching three of the finest ships: the Libellule (with Maurice Aristide), Belle Etoile, and Favori. The Pirates built Dead Man’s Point on an island south of their HI.

The Spanish went overboard and bought two more sets of native canoes, bringing their overall total to 5 sets (25 canoes) and breaking my Economy Edition record of most sets of canoes in a single game by one fleet!

The Spanish have already dealt with some moderate traffic jams, but things are about to get a LOT more interesting!

With great drama the Cursed rolled successfully for both Tabitha and Mimi, and threw the Jarvis off the map and out of the game! This took out their last chieftain, and the Americans had to eliminate 3 more canoes! The Cursed were proving to be a major annoyance to the English and Americans, but they’re far enough away that going to war against the Cursed would take a major effort. The Cursed are taking huge advantage of the flat earth rules and Davy Jones’ 6’s. The English have learned not to sail their ships too close to the edge on their trips to and from that northwestern island, which is why the Jarvis got flung next.

Speaking of the English, they launched a set of their native canoes from RtSS!

Here is the overall situation, with the Pirates, English, and Spanish having the biggest treasure fleets. You can see a lot of French trade currents, with the Pirates and Americans (Xerecs’ other fleets) laying some down as well. The Spanish and Cursed have gotten started with their navigators.

With all that was accomplished on this great day of Pirating, I thought it would be a great time for the first ship and point counts! For the ship count, each set of native canoes is counted as one ship, while forts are not counted. Forts were not included in the point counts either.

In the order of gameplay:

French: 10 ships, 120 points
Pirates: 12 ships, 180 points
Americans: 7 ships, 91 points
Spanish: 16 ships, 208 points
Cursed: 11 ships, 186 points
English: 21 ships, 266 points

Total: 77 ships, 1,051 points

That means that after just a few days of playing, this game has already reached the status of being a “huge” game! (at least 1,000 total points) Who knows how big it could get? Very Happy

2/22/2016

More turns have been played!

The Spanish had to pay for their mistake of launching two additional sets of canoes without having their associated chieftains on ships. The Spanish immediately purchased the Morning Star and San Jose, and a turn later paid a penalty of 6 gold. However, once that was figured out they had a new-record 5 sets of native canoes for 25 total in play! As impressive as it sounds it’s rather obnoxious to move them all each turn!

The Cursed continued to have great luck with Mimi and Tabby, throwing the Grand River onto a reef, where she lost 5 out of her 6 masts! This marked the 3rd fleet that the Cursed had annoyed with their antics. Nobody has declared war on them, partly because they’re in their northeast corner and haven’t been a huge detriment.

Soon afterwards, the French launched La Charlemange with Capitaine Arathiel (with oarsmen) and La Richelieu with Jean Desailly, captain, and oarsman. This gave the French their second major gunship along with the Possession, as well as one of those annoying crew with the same ability as the Cursed Mimi and Tabby.

The Americans launched the Louisiana with a captain and other crew.

Mimi and Tabby were successful in their rolls yet again! The Grand Path was chucked onto a reef but didn’t lose any masts. The American turtle ship Gator was yanked backwards away from the American HI. Davy Jones gave the submerged Locker (with Edward Low aboard) an extra action and rammed the mast off the Gator, and on the next turn she would have had a chance to possess GWL, the American Mycron! Alas, it was not to be, as the Gator rowed home with the help of a trade current and unloaded GWL. Still, it was a narrow escape for such an important crew, and another example of the gimmicky but powerful Cursed named crew.

Check out the Gator and Locker on the far right near the American HI. Also note the considerable gold piles on the Spanish, Cursed, and English HI’s.

Over the past two days of action, Cursed Captain Jack has rolled 6’s twice. This has greatly annoyed the fleets, as it severely hampers their efforts and essentially just makes the game more boring, as no abilities of any kind can be used. Much grumbling follows his antics….

The fleets continued to run gold, and the Spanish and English were eager to spend. The Spanish had already received a HI expansion and now proceeded to buy El Príncipe de Asturias and the Buscador, both with chieftains for two additional sets of native canoes! This brought them to a grand total of 7 sets of canoes for 35 canoes in play!

With little outward fanfare but much internal excitement, the English launched HMS Dreadnought! She was a long-term investment, and a great example of a naval deterrent. Her crew was picked from the best English sailors of old.

Carbon Charlie

George Anson
Collector’s Number: 044
Faction Affiliation: England
Rarity: R
Type: Crew
Point Value: 11

Captain. Canceller. This ship’s crew cannot be eliminated unless she sinks.

Job Hartop
Faction Affiliation: England
Type: Crew
Point Value: 7

Eternal. This ship gets +1 to her cannon rolls against any non-English ship. If this crew would be eliminated OR removed from the game, place it on your home island instead.

(And a helmsman and oarsman!)

The Cursed were the next fleet to make a major launching, and they bought a fog-hopping squadron! This consisted of the Sea Hag, Hangman’s Joke, Needle, Howl, and Alligator, all with captains and helmsmen.

Then the English spent some more gold. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of SCS, the English launched the Virtuous Wind, Sea Wind, Tiger’s Breath, and Sea Crane. They also got HMS Interceptor.

At the far right, notice the Locker lurking near the Gator and Destiny. Just south of the French home island, the Isabela and San Jose have docked at a wild island. The Dreadnought begins making cannons from 1 coins. The Cursed have made their displeasure with Cursed Captain Jack obvious, using Mimi or Tabby to hinder the Black Heart’s movement.

The last few turns of play were quite interesting. The French used Jean Desailly in combination with Deleflote to move both the Divine Dragon and the Locker! The French appeared to be helping their American allies. The Dragon wound up on a reef, losing almost all of her masts just like the Grand River. The Locker was moved away from the American home island temporarily. The Americans launched the Carolina with Commodore David Porter (captain + Broadsides Attack). Speaking of the Grand River, she was almost done repairing in the southwest at Dead Man’s Point.

The Spanish joined in on the SCS anniversary festivities, launching some turtle ships (Glorious Treasure, Noble Swan, Proud Tortoise). They also launched some other ships, among them the Espada de Dios (with Bianco’s Haulers, just like my latest fleet challenge entry), Bahama, Santa Lucia, and Villalobos. This and their giant native canoe traffic jam required them to get their 3rd and 4th home island expansions.

The Cursed purchased the Tenfold, one of El Cazador’s most famous custom ships! Her linked crew, Zedekiah, is Hostile: Cursed, so she’s only crewed with a helmsman for now.

Tenfold
Type: 3-mast hoist
Nation: Mercenary
Points: 22
Masts: 3
Cargo: 5
Move: S+S
Cannons: 4L,3S,3S
Link: Zedekiah
Mercenary, Hostile: Caesar, Hoist, Turbine. Two hits from the same shoot action are required to eliminate one of this ship’s masts. This ship ignores the first hit she takes each turn if she has all of her masts.

This was the first Mercenary ship in the game, but not nearly the first hoist. Speaking of hoists, the English finished their turn by launching the Maui’s Fishhook.

As the day’s action came to a close, the English and Spanish suddenly saw new French forts on the wild islands they were (respectively) sailing towards and docked at. This puzzled both nations, as neither had done anything hostile to the French whatsoever. As a matter of fact, the French remain the only faction not to be bothered by anyone, and they’re one of only two factions (along with the Spanish) not to be bothered at all by the Cursed. The English and Spanish are somewhat perturbed by this development, though it’s far from an act of open hostility.

The game has seen a lot of progress thus far. No factions have declared won on one another. There haven’t been many skirmishes. The Spanish established dominance over the pair of islands east of their HI, unseating the Americans in the process. The Spanish are feeling a bit chaotic and disorganized, and their admiral is a bit unsatisfied with their gold system. The Cursed managed to anger the English by sinking the Aberdeen Baron through Davy Jones commanding the Oxford, but the English got some revenge by sinking the Executioner (who came back via Eternal). The English have mostly gotten over the emotional loss of having the Sea Tiger and Discovery moved off the round earth. The Cursed have also caused a lot of tension with the Americans, moving numerous canoes and more importantly, the Wasp and Jarvis, off the ocean. With the still-recent Franco-American alliance, the Cursed appear to have a new enemy they didn’t intend to have, though the French haven’t actually engaged any fleets yet. The Cursed have also been at odds with the Pirates from afar (Cursed in the NE, Pirates in the SW). However, Cursed Captain Jack has caused rising tension in more than just one fleet.

The fleets are still feeling each other out and are mostly content to build up their navies, and it remains to be seen what long-term strategies they might have in mind.

2/23/2016

I’ve played my latest turn with the Spanish, Cursed, and English.

The Spanish had a mass departure of ships from their HI, and at the end of their turn they launched La Joya del Sol with Dominic Freda, just about completing their “gold factory” system of +1 and +2 gold bonus abilities.

The Cursed took their turn, with the Divine Dragon repairing and the Master Scribe placing another trade current. The submerged Locker was within S of the Carolina, and Edward Low tried to take possession of David Porter! With much drama a 5 was rolled, almost enough to succeed!

The Cursed made their intentions clear: the fog hopping squadron is coming to kill Cursed Captain Jack.

The English launched HMS Bath and the Growler with helmsmen.

HMS Growler
Type: 3-mast square rigged
Nation: England
Points: 10
Masts: 3
Cargo: 4
Move: L
Cannons: 3S,3S,3S
Link: None
Schooner. This ship gets +L to her base move if she starts her move action within S of an island.

2/27/2016

With much anticipation, play has resumed!

The Cursed had taken the Pirates by surprise with the fog hopping squadron! The Black Heart docked at the southwestern island and unloaded Cursed Captain Jack, to much shock in the Cursed fleet. Blackheart, the Pirate admiral, didn’t realize that enemy ships could pick up crew from islands, even if their abilities couldn’t be used. The Sea Hag used an extra action from Davy Jones to dock at the island and load up Cursed Captain Jack! With him on the island, he couldn’t use his Parley ability, but he also couldn’t be killed in a boarding party against the Black Heart. The Cursed couldn’t kill him immediately, so they settled for the next-best thing: torture, Cursed-style.

This whole saga ironically parallels the Pirates of the Caribbean movies in multiple ways. The Cursed are extremely annoyed with Jack, similar to Barbossa and company in Curse of the Black Pearl. They manage to essentially capture him, and in this case Jack has been taken to the brig, much like how he was a captive during the BP’s battle with the Interceptor. However, now it’s Davy Jones who’s after him, similar to the events of Dead Man’s Chest. Another parallel would soon emerge…

Here you can see the Sea Hag docked. The Alligator and Needle have stayed in the area to make sure the Sea Hag can get home safely, while the Hangman’s Joke and Howl have gone back into the fog, trusting the trio of Cursed ships to finish the mission successfully. At the right, the Fleur de la Mort and Grand River are a turn or two away from interfering, which would prove key.

On the Pirates’ next turn, there was a long series of exchanges between the admirals of the two fleets. The Black Heart’s crew loaded the guns and ran them out, but Davy Jones warned the Pirates not to shoot, and reiterated that the Cursed had not declared war on the Pirates. Blackheart (the Pirate admiral) didn’t want to listen, but consulted with Elizabeth Swann. Blackheart asked the Cursed if they would return Cursed Captain Jack to the Pirates in return for holding their fire, at which point the muttering started… part of the crew, part of the ship… part of the crew, part of the ship… part of the crew, part of the ship….

Swann told Blackheart there was no reasoning with the Cursed. There was clearly no getting Jack back. part of the crew, part of the ship

And with that, the Black Heart opened fire! She hit twice, but the deed was done (or not done… undone!).

The Pirates were not happy with the Cursed. They pulled a surprise of their own, launching three sets of their RtSS native canoes at the three wild islands the Cursed had been going to!

Tribal Chieftain & Native Canoes
RtSS-019
Pirate
Points: 11
Masts: X (Canoes)
Cargo: 1
Move: S+S
Cannons: 4S
Native Canoe. This ship can dock at an enemy home island and load one treasure. If able, she must leave on your next turn.

The Pirates apparently intended to rob gold from the Cursed by appearing on their doorstep! The ships housing the chieftains were no small threat either: HarbingerFool’s Hope, and the Black Pearl!

On the Cursed’s turn, the Alligator sacrificed herself to the cause of destroying Jack. She used her smokepot shot to create a smokebank that the Sea Hag and Needle ducked into. This left her vulnerable, and she was quickly sunk by the Fleur de la Mort and Grand River. The rare sinking further angered the Cursed, but it was necessary to complete the mission of killing Jack.

Here’s a closeup of the Cursed HI situation. At the bottom, the Executioner has gotten busy eliminating Pirate canoes, while the Divine Dragon finishes repairing at the home island. The hired Tenfold is immune to the canoes with her immense defenses, while reinforcements arrive in the northeast with the Hangman’s Joke and Howl returning from the short expedition.

The next turn saw a few intimidating launches.

French:
Le Superbe + Capitaine Arazure, oarsmen x5
L’Hercule + captain, helmsman, firepot specialist

Cursed:
Loki’s Revenge + Wraith, Keith Atkinson (one of Xerecs’ custom crew with the 3 point reroll ability), captain, helmsman, oarsman

The Spanish also purchased the first fort upgrade! Xerecs and I have agreed to fort upgrades, where a faction can pay 50 gold to upgrade their fort, which means that ships and crew can be launched there. The cost is so high because we want to mitigate the rich-get-richer/poor-get-poorer nature of campaign games, and because we want it to be risky, since the fort is still relatively fragile. Getting a fort upgrade can be a big deal. The Spanish chose Fortaleza Dorada, the southern island of the pair east of their HI. I don’t recall if I said it yet, but factions can also build up to two of the same fort, which the French have already done with Paradis de la Mer.

In the northeast, the Sea Hag and Needle return home from the expedition, with Jack aboard the Sea Hag. In the southwest, Mimi has moved the Harbinger onto a reef, but the new Pirate flagship wasn’t damaged.

In the southeast, the Buscador uses her hoist to take gold from that island, the first time the Spanish have done so! The Spanish also have a group of ships nearing the American HI; however all appears well between the factions as they haven’t had any issues for quite some time now.

The English are finally satisfied with their gold system and appear to have begun saving gold.

Another closeup of the northeast. The Sea Hag has docked home to repair and unload Cursed Captain Jack, who can now be tortured on the Cursed HI. The Nightmare lost a mast to a canoe, but they’ve been mostly neutralized by the Executioner, Divine Dragon, and Loki’s Revenge. Only the northernmost set remains, and that’s been knocked down to 4 canoes after Mimi moved one off the map.

A treasure replenishment was done after that turn.

Another ship count!
French: 14 ships
Pirates: 15 ships
Americans: 8 ships
Spanish: 31 ships
Cursed: 17 ships
English: 29 ships

Total: 114 ships!

2/28/2016

After another turn, there are some launchings to report on.

The Americans launched the Ghost Walker.

The Spanish spent every penny in their possession (177 gold!) and launched a fire squadron!

La Ebro + captain, helmsman, exploding shot
(This ship was launched at Fortaleza Dorada with the new fort upgrade while the rest were launched at the Spanish HI.)

San Cristobal + Almirante Devante Del Nero, El Bombero, captain, helmsman, fire shot
La Cazadora + captain, helmsman, fire shot
La Sirviente + captain, helmsman, fire shot
La Voz de Dios + captain, helmsman, exploding shot, fire shot
El Argonauta + captain, helmsman, exploding shot, fire shot
La Resolucion + captain, helmsman, firepot specialist, fire shot
Soberano del Mar + Roberto Santana, navigator
El Picador

El Bombero
Nation: Spain
Points: 3
Link: None
Firepot Specialist. This ship gets +1 to her d6 rolls when attempting to extinguish a fire mast.

The Cursed got busy as well:
Dire Miralis
Nation: Cursed
Points: 14
Masts: 2
Cargo: 8
Move: S
Cannons: 2L,2S
Link: None
Longship. Secret Hold.

Lamprey
Nation: Cursed
Points: 8
Masts: 2
Cargo: 3
Move: S+L
Cannons: 5S,5S
Link: None
Longship.

Ghast’s Bell (a custom from selvaxri)
Point cost: 12 (For now)
Masts 1
Cannons 4S
Cargo 3
Movement L
Ghost Ship.
If this ship ends her turn in a fog bank, on her next turn she may use her move action to move out of any other fog bank in play.
This ship may take a shoot action after moving out from a fog bank.

The Dire Miralis had a captain and helmsman aboard, while the Ghast’s Bell had a captain, helmsman, and smokepot shot, to replace the sunken Alligator.

3/1/2016

The game is absolutely exploding!!

THE SPANISH DEMAND PAYMENT!

After gathering a squadron of warships near the American home island, the Spanish have finally revealed its purpose! A tribute demand! The Americans had little choice but to capitulate, as the Spanish have a much larger fleet and the Americans were powerless to resist. However, the Americans were able to tensely negotiate that the tribute payment would happen on the American turn, rather than the Spanish turn.

The Spanish appear to be the fleet to beat! At the right you can see their canoes going home after receiving the tribute from the Americans. The fire squadron has sailed out.

The French launched La Corse with Amiral Stephan Dupuy, who became their first in command.

The Pirates were the next fleet to launch, with the Flying Dutchman and the Carnage.

Carnage
Link: One-Handed John
Pirate
Rarity: CLE
20 pts
Masts: 4
Cannon: 3S-2L-2L-3S
Cargo: 4
Movement: S+S
Hidden Gold (This ship has 2 extra cargo Spaces that may only be taken by TREASURE. This ship is considered to have the Limit keyword ). If this ship has a cpatain crew, she gets +1 to her cannon and boarding rolls, and is considered Eternal.

The Spanish weren’t done just yet! They purchased a second fort upgrade for 50 gold and used it to launch four new gunships at El Castillo del Infanta, northwest of their HI! These gunships included two new ones from Pirates of the Great Sea (Estrella de la Manana and Hurucan), as well as the Granada and Reconquistador.

The Cursed were showing their truly evil side. They docked the Loki’s Revenge at their HI, unloaded Wraith and Keith Atkinson, loading up their prisoner Cursed Captain Jack, who had been tortured repeatedly. The Cursed were ready to complete their mission. With no fanfare whatsoever they executed Jack to give the Loki’s Revenge an extra action, which she simply used to redock at the HI. The Cursed made a final insult to his legacy by not even using him as well as they could have. Cursed Captain Jack is gone, and Davy Jones is happy.

However, that’s not all the Cursed were doing. They proceeded to launch one of the nastiest combinations from the brand-new Pirates of the Great Sea set:

Farore’s Cataclysm
Link: Vaati
Cursed
Rarity: R
19 points
Masts: 4
Cannon: 2S,3L,3L,2S
Cargo: 4
Movement: S+S
Ganonite. During your shoot actions, each time this ship hits an enemy ship, you may move that enemy ship S in a direction you choose.

The linked crew has already undergone some revisions:

Vaati
Link: Farore’s Cataclysm
Cursed
12 points
Ganonite. Helmsman. Once per turn instead of giving this ship an action, roll a die. On a 1-2, move any ship S. On a 3-4, move any ship L. On a 5, move any ship S and place a Fog Bank within S of that ship (it remains until your next turn). On a 6, move an enemy ship L and eliminate a mast or a crew from that ship. Enemy Turbines may be moved S by their controller after being hit by these effects, but this is not considered an action.

Dark Knights (Crusher Corps)
Cursed
7 points
Reroll. When this ship hits an enemy ship, you may eliminate one cargo from that ship.

The Knights were brought aboard specifically to reroll Vaati’s powerful ability, which was the perfect complement to the L-movers Mimi and Tabby. This gave the Cursed an crazy arsenal of weapons that seems to expand with each passing day.

This shows the developments; notice the Spanish forming a short line of battle with the first ships of their fire squadron.

The Pirates launched the Deliverance with Captain Nemo!

The Spanish then noticed something suspicious. They were aware of the French-American alliance, but what they saw puzzled them. The Spanish Admiral hailed Amiral Stephen Dupuy and asked him what was going on. The French were honest and told the Spanish that Le Favori was taking gold to the Americans. Apparently the Americans were going to use the gold to finance an operation against the Cursed, as the Cursed had dogged the Americans in the early game and seriously hampered the potential growth of the US fleet. The Spanish admiral aboard El Garante told the French that as soon as the gold was in American hands, the Spanish would seize it as another tribute payment. The French replied that this would not be happening, and Le Superbe and L’Hercule were sailing close behind the Favori to provide support. The Spanish seemed adamant that the gold would belong to them.

Spain was extremely confident in her young navy, with a more veteran squadron to the east and the newer ships gradually coming up from their HI in the south. Some of the eastern squadron was sent west to meet up with the fire squadron, and in the following picture you can see the crossing of their lines. To top it all off, the Spanish even launched more gunships, with El San SalvadorLa Cordoba, and El Montenez being berthed at El Castillo del Infanta.

The Cursed launched as well. They continued their demonic rise, purchasing two horrible new gunships, one custom (the Phantom) from El Cazador and one from Xerecs (Hell Hound).

Ganon’s Phantom
Cursed
Rarity: U
17 points
Masts: 4
Cannon: 2L,3S,3S,3S
Cargo: 2
Movement: S+L
Ganonite. Schooner. Fog Hopper.

Hell Hound
Cursed
16 points
Masts: 4
Cargo: 4
Cannon: 2S-3L-3L-2S
Movement: S+S
If this ship wins a boarding party she may eliminate all of the other ships crew.

Both ships had captains and helmsmen, but the Hell Hound carried a new horror, also courtesy of Xerecs:

Admiral of the Skelds
Cursed
6pts.
Link: Skelds
Ability: Eternal, as part of a move action this ship may initiate a boarding party from S away without having to ram, the boarded ship may not use any boarding bonuses.

flavor-This foul creature appeared with the hordes of Skelds, and is the only one who can command them.

Skelds
Cursed
5pts.
Link: Admiral of the Skelds
Ability: This ship gets +1 to her boarding rolls for every crew on her.

flavor- A new breed of foulness, the Skelds are decaying sailors animated by dark fire, with a craving for destruction.

This was part of the Cursed strategy, which was unsurprisingly a gimmick. The Hell Hound would go out and murder entire crews on enemy ships, after which Wraith (on the Loki’s Revenge) would try to reanimate them with the help of Keith Atkinson. It was a brutal and evil plan, concocted by none other than Davy Jones himself.

In the meantime, the Executioner and Locker headed west…

The Louisiana and Carolina, the only captained American ships on the seas, had been heading west through French waters for quite some time now. This wasn’t altogether surprising, given the French-American alliance. However, the English were surprised when they continued even further west, as the Carolina reached English waters. Lord Cutler Beckett, aboard the English flagship HMS Apollo, hailed Commodore David Porter on the Carolina. Porter responded that he sought an audience with the Lords, Beckett and Mycron. The English were curious as to what had brought the Americans so far west! It was especially interesting given their precarious situation back home with the greedy Spanish. Almost immediately, Mycron said that the English were at peace, and desired to remain so. However, Porter responded that the problem laid not with Spain, but with the Cursed.

This got Mycron’s attention. The Cursed had messed with the English quite a bit, almost since the very beginning. Davy Jones had used his power to turn the English on themselves, and with the help of the Executioner’s arrival, sink the Aberdeen Baron, one of England’s finest merchant ships. They had also used Mimi and Tabby to move the Sea Tiger and Discovery (two of England’s fastest ships) off the map and into oblivion. Recently, they had moved English gold runners into fog banks, delaying their progress. Porter said that the Americans had already formed an alliance with the French, with the primary purpose of stopping the Cursed madness. He asked Mycron and Beckett if they would be willing to participate. The English responded with a yes, but that their participation would be on their terms; they would send what ships they could, when they wanted to send them. Still, it was a huge moment in the game, as the ice had been broken between factions. Porter announced that the Americans had a gift for the English, which he would bring to Ramsgate. As the conversation ended, it was clear that the First Coalition had been formed!

Things were in motion, but there was more than one aggressive nation on the seas…

THE SPANISH DEMAND PAYMENT! To much eye-rolling in the French and American fleets, the Spanish abruptly demanded another tribute! Another lengthy discussion followed, with the French being the voice of reason. Dupuy assured the Spanish that they would receive their tribute payment, but that it would come from the wild island northwest of the American HI (where the Frontier was sailing), not from the Favori’s cargo hold. The Strongarm used her hoist to load the Favori’s gold, and the French had officially provided monetary assistance to the Americans. However, the Spanish weren’t quite satisfied. Once again they warned the French and Americans that the gold would be paid as tribute to the Spanish. The Spanish also claimed that the gold was now in Spanish waters. Dupuy retorted that the area was marked by American trade currents, to which the Spanish replied that they didn’t matter because Spain had the dominant naval force in the area.

The tension was obviously escalating. The Spanish had a point, but they had also sent a good amount of their eastern squadron west to join the fire squadron. They now only had 3 captained ships stationed off the American HI: the Tartessos, Principe de Asturias, and Glorious Treasure. However, they had also blatantly sailed three HI raiders (Espada de Dios, Bahama, and Santa Lucia) near the American HI for some time now, making it obvious that they would get gold whether the Americans cooperated or not. To the west, the still-growing Spanish battle fleet was impressive, with a line of ships stretching almost from El Castillo in the west to El Puerto Blanco in the east.

The Spanish, probably taking in an average of at least 25 gold per turn, launched yet another gunship at the Castillo, the Santa Catalina.

The Cursed continued to make purchases, buying another ship for their fog hopping squadron. However, this time that ship was a submarine:

Interloper
Type: 3-segment submarine
Nation: Cursed
Points: 20
Masts: 3
Cargo: 3
Move: S+S
Cannons: 2S,2L,2S
Ganonite, Submarine, Ghost Ship, Fog Hopper.

This underwater demon carried very interesting new named crew:

Agnahim
Cursed
10 points
Ganonite, Captain, Eternal. When this ship sinks an enemy ship (or causes it to scuttle by fire masts), place all of its treasure on your home island.

Dark Knights (Sniper Corps)
Cursed
8 points
Marine. This crew’s gun has the Extended Range keyword.

The English finally spent some of their saved gold! On the previous turn, Davy Jones had forced the Durham to fire upon the Sea Wind, dismasting her! Seeing the Executioner and Locker approach from the east, the English decided it was time to take action. They launched HMS WestminsterHMS Granville, and HMS Ajax, all with captains and helmsmen. In addition, the Apollo weighed anchor and sailed east. After 10 turns, Carbon Charlie’s job was temporarily complete, having given HMS Dreadnought a whopping 10 extra cannons, so she now carried 15!

Notice the new launchings, as well as the Spanish battle fleet north of their HI. The Strongarm has loaded gold from the Favori at the right.

With the new First Coalition between the Americans, French, and English, the French continued to prepare themselves for the Cursed! They commissioned RHS Farore, introducing Hyrule to the game! To keep it somewhat more historical and because Hyrule isn’t an official faction, each fleet can only have 3-4 Hylian ships in their navy at any one time. The Farore is a 6 masted junk similar to the Grand Temple, and she was joined by the new Le Gaule, a 5 master.

The Pirates continued running gold, and seemed to be the only faction not really at odds with anyone.

The Americans took their turn, and then all eyes turned towards the Spanish.

THE SPANISH DEMAND PAYMENT!

With yet another tribute demand, there was only so much the Americans could offer and promise. They reiterated that the Spanish would be getting all the gold from the island NW of the American HI, but the Spanish weren’t satisfied. Knowing of the French-American alliance, the Spanish felt they were being deceived. The Spanish admiral said once again that the Americans would fork over the gold the French had given to them. Once again the French said it wouldn’t happen.

Tense negotiations continued, and the Spanish grew angrier and angrier. France and America were getting in the way of Spain’s ultimate goal.

The Spanish admiral aboard El Garante considered his options, but in the end he knew what to do. He had waited long enough for this moment, ever since the French had built a fort on a wild island the Spanish explored.

To the west, the Granada suddenly surged forward! Her guns were run out! With a defiant battle cry heard by the thousands, she opened fire on Paradis de la Mer!!

VIVA EL IMPERIO ESPANOL!

THE SPANISH DECLARE WAR ON THE FRENCH!!!!!

With a huge roar the Spanish fleet sailed north! The fort’s defenses were tough, but Spain had an overwhelming numbers majority in the area. The Granada and LE San Cristobal weakened the fort, and the Sirviente and Estrella teamed up to destroy it! The San Cristobal used the same action twice to continue sailing northwest, where she fired upon the Bon Marin, sinking her easily! Her final shots set the Libellule aflame, and the fire squadron was in full sail! They finished their turn by launching 4 new ships at the Castillo, and finally their imperial desires were made clear!

The Battle of Paradis de la Mer has begun! The Franco-Spanish war has commenced, and it’s the first declaration of war in this game.

Here is the entire ocean again, with chaos erupting in the center. The English got both of their Admirals’ actions, and used them in conjunction with Lord Mycron to give double actions to all three of their new gunships, whose crews are eager to protect English trade from the Cursed. The Executioner and English are both out for revenge, in a way, since the English couldn’t sink the Executioner for good but Fantasma is angry his ship was defeated in the first place.

What on earth could happen next? Only time will tell, though another report will be coming soon with a ship and point count.

3/3/2016

After another epic ship and point count, here is the game size:

French: 16 ships, 294 points
Pirates: 18 ships, 355 points
Americans: 9 ships, 133 points
Spanish: 51 ships, 752 points
Cursed: 24 ships, 484 points
English: 32 ships, 489 points

Total: 150 ships, 2,507 points

This game is already close to becoming the biggest game of all-time (Economy Edition at 2,846 points), and we’ve nearly just started! Also, Economy Edition had a max of 181 ships in play, which when multiplied by the average points/ship (2,846/163=17.46) gives an approximate size of 3,160 total points. As a result, I wouldn’t feel confident claiming a game as the biggest in history until it reaches around 3,400 total points. The massive totals made me want to do a bit of analysis.

First off, the Spanish have almost 30% of the overall points in play, while the Americans have just over 5%. Even if you take out all 7 sets of native canoes, the Spanish would still have a dozen more ships than the English, the next-largest fleet. In addition, the Spanish now become the second-largest recorded fleet that I’ve ever played in a game, being surpassed only by the giant Pirate fleet of Economy Edition, which had 778 points in play at the end of turn 33 of that game. However, Spain’s 51 ships surpasses that fleet’s total of 45, though the Pirate fleet would grow MUCH larger soon afterwards, with 62 ships after turn 38. Then the Pirates continued launching even more, until their fleet was almost unmanageably big, with an astronomical, mammoth size of 104 ships after turn 43. I’m putting this in perspective because although the Spanish fleet is huge, one mustn’t forget past epics (and if you multiply those 104 ships by the average points/ship number based on turn 33 (2,846/163=17.46), the Pirate fleet could have theoretically reached over 1,800 points!!).

Here are the numbers on points per ship, rounded to the nearest whole number:

French: 18 points/ship
Pirates: 20 points/ship
Americans: 15 points/ship
Spanish: 15 points/ship
Cursed: 20 points/ship
English: 15 points/ship

It comes as no surprise that the Cursed have the highest average points per ship (before rounding), though I’m a little surprised by how high the French number is and how low the Spanish number is (partly due to the canoes). The Pirate number is so high because it feels like the only gunships they’ve bought have been 5 and 6 masters with tons of crew on them. The French were the most peaceful nation, but with the first war of the game directly involving them, the Pirates become the current “most-passive” faction if you will.

Also, after the recent weekend of action, I felt the urge to reveal my strategies for the three fleets under my control. Little did I know how much they would change over the course of these eventful days! Now they are different, so I’m not really disclosing any information that could be useful to Xerecs, whose past strategies I’d love to see if they were recorded.

Strategies of 2/26
Spanish: Try to cut off American access to the island in the southeast. Demand payment from the Americans, and threaten with display of force.
(Mission mostly accomplished; cutting off American access to that island was quickly changed based on other things that I won’t reveal.)

Cursed: Kill Cursed Captain Jack. Be extremely aggressive and likely lash out against the Americans and/or the French. Continue the gold system, but buy for war.
(Again, mostly accomplished, but the Cursed still aren’t aware of the First Coalition against them (consisting of the Americans, French, and English).)

English: Be cautious and controlled. Continue launching gold ships until the system is massive and the fleet can begin saving gold. Do not engage enemy fleets unless they become hostile. Give the Dreadnought at least 10 extra cannons.
(Mission accomplished, though the Cursed have forced their hand.)

3/9/2016

The action has continued!

The French are the first fleet to go each turn, and their counterattack crippled the San Cristobal, Granada, and Hurucan. However, the fire on the Libellule spread and she was doomed.

The Americans used GWL to give an extra action to the Strongarm, who docked home the French gold gift, denying it from the Spanish! True to their word, they launched the Enterprise with Jonas Richman and other crew, with the likely intent of going after the Cursed.

Disaster for the Spanish! Both the San Cristobal’s and Sirviente’s fire shot equipment blows up! The Montenez and Reconquistador are ineffective, though the Charlemagne is doomed by the flames.

However, another fight has broken out in the northwest! The Executioner reached English trade and started disrupting it! A canoe was eliminated, but the Executioner was just a distraction! Suddenly, the Ghast’s Bell popped out of a nearby fog bank! Using her unique ability, she shot a smokebank out right next to some English ships! Then the hordes came forth! The Sea Hag, Ganon’s Phantom, and Needle all appeared through the new fog bank! This was disturbing to the English, since they had spent the game peacefully running treasure. Now the Cursed were at their home island!

However, the fog hoppers hopped out too close to the English. On their turn, the English were able to dismast 3 of the 4 ships and cripple the Needle! The threat was a dangerous one, but the English had the gunships and crews available to put it down before it did any serious damage. In addition, the Granville and Westminster teamed up to hit the Executioner twice.

Here’s the whole ocean:

As the battle in the center raged, the Spanish gunners weren’t as accurate as their French counterparts. Numerous ships had their fire shot backfire, causing chaos. The San Cristobal, Sirviente, and Hurucan were all sunk in short order. The Spanish, with their great gold system, were eager to replace their losses, hiring the Tasmanian DevilForwardRevolution, and El Algeciras towing Diablo.

A broad shot of the entire French/Spanish situation. At the left Spanish gunships are unable to touch the western Paradis. The battle rages in the middle, but more Spanish ships are on the way. To the right, the Superbe, Hercule, and Tartessos are three major ships yet to enter the battle.

The Farore gets involved, but fires are burning on her decks and throughout other French ships.

The Pirates continued their trend of launching 6 masted junks, hiring the Grand Temple and Katsura-chanKian Ng, helmsman, oarsman.

This picture only shows a few developments; the Spanish have launched a super-sniper and a medical barge:
El Neptuno + captain, helmsman, exploding shot, fire shot, chain shot
La Manila + captain, helmsman, shipwrights x3, oarsmen x2

In addition, the English captured the fog hoppers the Cursed had sent to attack them.

The French soon lost the Charlemagne, but replaced her with Le Bonaparte and El Cazador’s custom French native canoes, which have S+L speed and 3L guns, in addition to the Captain keyword built-in. The canoes were launched at the western Paradis.

This picture shows the chaotic melee. The Spanish have built their second El Puerto Blanco on the island that used to have Paradis de la Mer, as the Spanish try to establish themselves in French waters. The Noble Swan has already docked there to repair a mast she lost to her own fire shot. Using an extra action from Deleflote, Le Gaule has hit the Spanish hard, but on the Spanish turn she came under extremely heavy fire. The Augusta, a ship purchased to expand the new Spanish Empire, was fortunate to have a captain aboard. Roberto Santana (aboard the Soberano del Mar docked at her HI) gave the Augusta +1 to her cannon rolls, and most of them hit! The Villalobos did more damage, while the Cazadora finished off La Corse. Slightly north of the Corse, the Possession has the upper hand against the Argonauta, but El Garante, the Spanish flagship, has sailed up on her starboard quarter. Astern of the Garante, the Proud Tortoise and Colector del Dia have taken out 3 of L’Hercule’s masts and set her alight. However, one mast standing meant that she could fire all of her cannons next turn. To the east of her, the Cursed have joined the fray on the outskirts! The Hell Hound used an extra action from Davy Jones to surprise the Superbe, crippling her and eliminating all of her crew! This was rather exciting, as it was the first instance of crew being eliminated specifically for the purpose of feeding Wraith (aboard the nearby Loki’s Revenge). Both Wraith and Captain Davy Jones (in the Pirate fleet aboard the Black Heart) were able to possess a French oarsman.

The Pirates built the Devil’s Maw on the wild island east of their home island, while the Americans launched the Algiers.

The English continued to bring back their Cursed prizes, and the Executioner was captured!

On the following turn, the French managed to sink the Argonauta! However, their new canoes were relatively ineffective. Much to the dismay of the Spanish, the Hercule and Possession dismasted El Garante! This was a morale blow for the Spanish, seeing their flagship in such dire circumstances. In the end, however, it spurred them on with an even greater hatred of the French than they already felt. The Spanish quickly launched the Trinity at the end of their turn, stationing her at the Castillo west of their HI.

The Cursed purchased some cheap firepower in the form of the Baba Yaga, Last Hope, Whydah, and Mourning Star.

The French were being absolutely worn out, with the Spanish enjoying a significant numerical advantage. The Spanish had a great turn, knocking out 4 of the 5 French canoes, dismasting the Possession and Superbe, and crippling both Le Bonaparte (through a team effort involving the Santa Catalina, Canela, Cordoba, and Tasmanian Devil) and La Richelieu. The Hercule was sunk by the Augusta, which was quickly turning into a Spanish hero ship. To the southeast, the Cervantes has removed the American and French explored markers from that wild island and put a Spanish one there instead, further signalling the expansion of the Spanish Empire. Four Spanish gunships repair at the new Puerto Blanco, and it appears the flagship, El Garante, is safe for now.

This isn’t all of the action either; stay tuned for more!

3/12/2016

The Spanish flagship, El Garante, was soon dismasted by the Possession. This was a blow to Spanish morale, but it also served to make the Spanish hate the French even more, spurring them on. The English have towed most of their Cursed prizes back home to repair.

The Spanish continued to press their attack, sinking the Superbe and Richelieu. The Villalobos rammed the Enfant Terrible, dismasting her and eliminating Deleflote, one of the most important French crew! The French launched the eternal Tepant, but they had already lost the battle. To make matters worse, the western Paradis de la Mer was destroyed by a combination of Spanish ships and the Diablo flotilla. The Rosario quickly used Alejandro Malaspina to plant the Spanish flag upon the island. In a morale victory, the Noble Swan started towing El Garante, and it appeared that the Spanish had saved their flagship! Another handful of Spanish ships dismasted the Favori, one of the only remaining French gold runners.

In a huge move, the Cursed Hell Hound used the help of a trade current to catch the Enterprise, board from S, and eliminate all of the American ship’s crew! The new Cursed gunships have set a southerly course. In another big move, the remainder of the Cursed’s fog hoppers have hopped out of a fog bank near the Pirate HI! The Interloper is looking to use Agnahim’s new ability to aid the Cursed gold effort, while hurting their old enemy the Pirates (though actually one of their newer enemies haha).

Seeing an intimidating Pirate fleet assemble off the western side of their HI, the Spanish realized that they were stretched too thin. They decided to have a considerably better Home Fleet for home island defense. They started this new plan by launching 5 ships at the end of their turn. One of them was my custom Nautilus (basically faster with better cannons for more points) with canceller Christian Fiore, a captain, helmsman, shipwright, and oarsman. They also got La Academia and stationed her at the Castillo northwest of their HI, where she couldn’t be shot at as long as she stayed docked at the fort. This gave the Spanish some extra defense for their vulnerable gold runners, in addition to the fort itself and the Trinity. They also launched a few other ships at their HI: the 2 masted El Toro, and the treasure-seekers Ventura and Halcon. Knowing UT’s had just been put into the mix for the first time, the Spanish were eager to launch the ships with such a valuable spying ability, which they would use to look for enemy ships with UT’s. These launchings beefed up the Spanish Home Fleet, but they knew they would need more. Fortunately for them, they had done well to put the gold system in place early on so they could afford to launch multiple ships each turn.

The Cursed launched the Pyre with Papa Doc, who would look to join the Locker and Edward Low in the quest to possess crew. The Jikininki also made an appearance, with the Cursed looking to use her to feed eliminated crew to Wraith. They also built the Dark Knights’ Tower, a custom fort from El Cazador.

The English launched HMS King Edward and the Metal Dragon.

This picture simply shows the new stuff.

The French weren’t nearly done yet! The Bonaparte was busy repairing, while the Farore made it out of the fog but couldn’t quite make it home. This actually meant she was completely doomed, since the strong Spanish presence in the area threatened to take out any ship not docked at the French HI. However, there were signs of hope for France. The Tepant ventured out and damaged the Forward and Cazadora. Two French gold runners were almost home with treasure. However, the Spanish had captured Le Favori, and some of their biggest ships were repairing at the nearby El Puerto Blanco just to the south.

This shows the whole ocean from the same point in time. At the left, the Interloper has sunk the Bloody Jewel (and Jean Laffite), giving the Cursed all of her gold! However, they were about to pay for it dearly, especially after the captains of the squadron forgot to move their ships back into the fog and to safety! Two devastating new customs have been launched: the Pirate ship Smoke’s Hand (one of my customs which lets you use certain keywords of your choice) and La Muerta (a custom of El Cazador similar to HMS Endeavour).

The Enterprise was pulled away from her HI by Vaati! This allowed the Hell Hound to sink her! The Americans were really struggling, as they had launched the Enterprise for the express purpose of getting revenge on the Cursed. However, in an ironic twist, the Enterprise had been quickly sunk by the Cursed without doing any damage in return! In the meantime, the Spanish had taken another tribute payment.

The Spanish continued to build up their relatively new Home Fleet. Most of their energies had gone north to win the Battle of the Two Paradises, but now that the main battle was over, some ships were able to return to traditionally Spanish waters. Four gunships sailed off the northwest coast of the Castillo, while the submerged Nautilus and La Muerta stood guard closer to home. The Spanish Empire was in full swing.

Up north, the situation was a bit of a mess, but the Spanish had more than enough ships in the area to have things mostly in their control. Some ships were still in the early stages of towing derelicts and repairing from the battle, while north of El Puerto Blanco, healthier ships continued the fight against the French. At the left, the Revolution and Cordoba frantically try to establish a close blockade, while the north and east sides of the French HI see cannonballs flying everywhere. The Colector desperately tries to cripple the Courageux before she can dock home with gold, but the Frenchman’s defensive ability thwarts her plan. In the east, the Tepant is surrounded by Spanish gunships. This would seems to spell the end for her, but Lenoir cancelled the Resolucion’s captain, giving the Spanish only 4 shots on the Tepant. 3 of them hit, including the Proud Tortoise’s fire shot. However, the Tepant’s one mast meant she could return home on her turn to repair. At the upper left, note the escaping Royal Louis and the American ships Louisiana and Carolina, who are making the long journey home after their trip to see the English. That trip to form the First Coalition against the Cursed has mostly been for nought, as the English would have defended their gold runners from the Cursed fog hoppers regardless of any coalition agreement. The Americans, French, and English are allied against the Cursed, but the Spanish onslaught and tribute demands (as well as the Cursed themselves, who have had no contact with the Spanish whatsoever, whether friendly or not) have led to almost nothing being done against the Cursed. In short, the Cursed hate everybody, while the powerful Spanish seek only to expand their empire and conquer the entire sea. Those two factions have really made things difficult for the French, Americans, and to a lesser degree the English.

Another report coming soon!

3/12/2016

After another handful of turns, a few interesting events have unfolded.

The French had some of their ships flee north of their home island! However, the Spanish were relentless! They pressed their advantage, dismasting the Royal Louis and Courageux! The Lyon and Bonaparte also took damage, but quickly returned home to repair. Despite the nearby French HI, the Spanish are still winning the War on France. The American ship Louisiana hit the Revolution with chainshot, so the Spanish decided to punish the Americans (still not declaring war on them of course, as they are essentially a vassal (pun intended) or tributary state to the Spanish) by dismasting the schooner with the Revolution and Villalobos, who was still plaguing the French. At the upper left, note how close the battle has come to English waters. The first UT’s have been discovered! The English had a horrible run of UT’s, finding Wolves on their southern and eastern wild islands. They also found Rats and Monkey’s Paw. They hired Lt. Nigel Hardwicke and Major Peter Sharpe to hunt the Wolves. Hardwicke was successful at Ramsgate, but in this picture you can see that Sharpe has missed his first shot aboard the Galapagos. This delayed the treasure replenishment for an extra turn or two, since the English have the most efficient gold system in the game and by FAR the most gold saved up. At the upper right, it looked like the Royal Louis was headed northeast towards Cursed waters in search of gold (she was originally headed towards that island at the left before the Wolves were found on it). The French are really in trouble, since the Spanish have total control of their southern front; they’re running out of places to run.

In the southwest, the Pirates turned their gunships west and/or towards their home island. Whether or not they were planning to attack the Spanish gold system, the new Home Fleet seems to have provided some deterrence. In other news, the fog hopping squadron was nearly lost! The Cursed are discovering how ineffective fog hoppers generally are, losing the Hangman’s Joke to Pirate gunships. As stated earlier, the Cursed forgot to move the three ships for a turn, which cost them the Joke and some masts. The Howl was nearly sunk, saved only by Vaati and her fog hopping ability. The Interloper was sunk, but Agnahim’s Eternal keyword brought her back to the Cursed HI, where she is now fully repaired. This means that the Cursed have only 2 fog hoppers left, with the rest either sunk or captured by the English.

Speaking of the English, Lord Cutler Beckett and Commodore David Porter had another meeting, which could possibly be their last. Both men agreed that it would be best to send the captured fog hoppers back against the Cursed, to give them some of their own medicine. It was up to the English how they want to do this; they talked about having them pop out near the Cursed HI, or assisting the Americans at their HI. Either way, the English aren’t worried about losing the prizes, since they’re not English ships and the English crews aren’t comfortable on the strange ships in the first place.

On their turn, the Spanish announced that they had made a decision. The Americans were essentially like a colony to them, with tribute payments hindering the growth of the tiny American fleet. However, the Spanish could not afford to fight the approaching Cursed. Interestingly, the Spanish are the only fleet the Cursed have had no contact with, and therefore the only enemy they haven’t made. Neither faction is interested in fighting the other right now, though that could change. In addition, the Spanish had just received yet another tribute payment, which actually filled up the cargo holds of both the Principe de Asturias and Espada de Dios, the two principal Spanish enforcers still in the area. Wanting to get the gold home, the Spanish decided to pull out their eastern squadron, not wanting to fight/defend on three fronts at once. The Cursed know they’ve made too many enemies, but the chaos in the center and the general complacency of the English and Pirates have let the Cursed run free to do whatever they want. It appears they want to eliminate the Americans… the Cursed are coming! The combination of Mimi/Tabby/Vaati yanked the Ghost Walker away from her HI repeatedly, and the Hell Hound capitalized, killing GWL (American Mycron) and eventually sinking the Ghost Walker! The Cursed took it even further, using the Last Hope to ram the Destiny at her HI and eliminate the single American navigator. Other Cursed gunships head south.

Here you can see all of the aforementioned developments, with the Spanish leaving and the Cursed overrunning the area. I’m not a huge fan of trade currents, so I put Celestine’s Charts into the mix! The Americans were the first to find it, and it really cleaned up their area, knocking out all of their trade currents! This made the American situation even more deplorable, with no American trade currents, only one ship docked at their HI, and Cursed gunships sailing freely around the waters.

With the War on France mostly under control, the Spanish are for the first time seeing a relatively major influx of ships coming home. This is a welcoming sight to them, as they save gold and plan for the future. The French and Americans have become desperate, but both factions have plenty of fight left in them. The Pirates continue to amass an impressive fleet, while the Cursed have invaded American waters and seem to have no enemies intent on destroying them. The English have been saving for what seems like ages, and are still the most peaceful faction. The next few turns will no doubt see very interesting developments!

3/15/2016

Here, the French have been soundly beaten north of their HI. The Royal Louis was captured, and some Spanish ships have turned for home. Some more UT’s have been found, and the English have fully repaired their fog hopper prizes and can use them as a squadron against the hated Cursed. The Spanish found Celestine’s Charts, eliminating all of their trade currents! However, they responded with a long-term plan coming to fruition: The Spanish Inquisition!

Inquisition squadron (174 gold)
El Cristal del Obispo + The Inquisitor, Castro (SAT), captain, helmsman (28 )
La Catedral del Mar + de Silva (BA), captain, helmsman (23)
Santos Romanos + captain, helmsman (16)
El Rafael + captain, helmsman, musketeer, shipwright, fire shot (24)
El Rosal + Duque Alfonzo de Castilla, oarsman (22)
Armada (9)
El Extremadura + Guillen, helmsman, oarsman (23)
El Tirador + captain, helmsman, grape shot (14)
Martillo de Dios + captain, helmsman, shipwright (15)

This picture shows the Cursed and English turns. The Cursed have continued to send their battle squadron south, further and further into American waters. The Poor Adams has stolen the only coin on the American home island. After it was placed on a different wild island, the Cursed also found Celestine’s Charts! Not only does the UT level the playing field, but it also makes the ocean look much better and less convoluted.

This gives an idea of the giant size of the Spanish fleet, with not all of their ships shown here. (Ship and point count coming in the next few days!) Even with 5 home island expansions, there is almost no space to dock at the home island, especially with the launch of the Inquisition.

The French continue to fight, but the odds are against them. The Tepant and Enfant sail out, but both are quickly dismasted. Most Spanish ships not running gold are generally headed west. However, the real excitement here lays to the southeast! The English loosed the captured fog hoppers on their former owners, helping the Americans as promised! Mycron gave the Ganon’s Phantom an extra action, but she only hit once on the Baba Yaga. In addition, Vaati pulled the Destiny away from her HI, and the Last Hope sunk her! This left no American presence at their own home island.

MUCH more to come!

3/16/2016

The French sailed the Tepant and Enfant Terrible back home to repair, while the Lyon sailed out in search of gold. She wouldn’t find any however, because the Colector del Dia quickly shot off two of her masts. It was obvious that despite the considerably diminished Spanish presence in the area, Spain was not willing to let France go easily.

The Cursed caught up to their captured fog hoppers, and the Baba Yaga blasted them to pieces while the Jikininki rammed the Algiers.

The Spanish had been amassing their home fleet and heading west for a while now, and finally they continued their imperial conquest!

THE SPANISH DECLARE WAR ON THE PIRATES!!

Similar to the Battle of the Two Paradises, the Spanish got things started by attacking the nearby Pirate fort. As a result, this battle will probably be known as the Battle of the Devil’s Maw. The San Salvador was the first ship in action, quickly followed by other Spanish gunships. However, most Spanish ships couldn’t reach the battle area right away, but the Spanish had already decided that it was the best time to strike. Xerecs would later reveal that the Pirates had been planning to attack the Spanish (which prompted the Home Fleet’s construction), but different things got in the way.

The Carnage and Fleur de la Mort were quickly dismasted, but both fleets had a lot of ships on the way. This has all the makings to be one of the all-time great battles!

Here you can see the battle’s start at the Devil’s Maw, with tons of Spanish ships trying to flood the battle area from the east.

Here you can see how crowded the battle area in the southwest is going to get. The English have docked home their flagship, HMS Apollo, in order to give her extra cannons just like they did with the Dreadnought.

The French continue to fight, taking a mast off the Colector and Tartessos. Spain is sending a lot of the veteran ships of the French war and the blockade southwest towards their new enemy.

The Spanish/Pirate war is just beginning! Here, both factions have taken another turn. The Pirates sunk the Habana, while also doing major damage to the Canela, San Salvador, Neptuno, Augusta, and Reconquistador. The Grand Path, Smoke’s Hand, and Black Pearl used double actions to get right in the thick of it. The Spanish counterattack was successful, eliminating all of the Devil’s Maw’s cannons. Christian Fiore (on the submerged Nautilus) cancelled the Carnage’s ability (which provides her with Eternal when a captain is aboard), allowing the Spanish to sink her. The Augusta missed against the Fool’s Hope, but the Neptuno helped her out with an improbable 2/2 with both exploding and fire shot, setting the big ship ablaze!

In the far north, the Carolina has been joined by HMS Granville and HMS Westminster to finally take action against the Cursed as part of the First Coalition. The captured Executioner is on her way to join them, and she would make very fast progress in the next few turns due to Fantasma’s SAT.

The Spanish have sunk Le Lyon, knocking the French fleet down to just 4 ships. The Americans only have 3 ships left after the Mourning Star sunk the Algiers. The Mississippi and Frontier are hiding in fog banks from the Cursed, who were finishing off the captured fog goons sent there by the English. The Ganon’s Phantom sank, and the Cursed had sailed almost to the southeastern-most part of the sea in their assault on the Americans! The Cursed have sent the Locker and Pyre west, where some of the faster and more durable Spanish gold runners have gone north to explore formerly French islands. Ominously, the Interloper and Howl have moved into a fog bank near the Cursed HI, as the remains of the fog squadron are ready to hunt again. The Spanish rolled successfully to scuttle the Royal Louis; although they wanted more ships, she was holding the Tartessos back from more important matters. The Spanish continued to clear out of “French” waters while the Apollo and Carbon Charlie looked to eliminate bad UT’s the English have found to give the Apollo extra cannons (turning a negative into a positive).

The second war of the game continues! The Spanish have sunk the Smoke’s Hand and dismasted the Fool’s Hope. The Grand Path and Black Pearl were both burning fiercely. The Canela and Reconquistador were towed a bit out of harm’s way; the Spanish know that to achieve the size of the Spanish Empire they foresee, they will have to save as many ships as possible to keep up their huge fleet.

Xerecs and I are actually playing another turn as I post this; another post coming soon!

3/19/2016

The Pirates began to retreat! Most of the remaining Pirate gunships headed west, back towards their home island. The Spanish, however, pressed their attack, sinking the Fool’s Hope and setting fire to the Golden Medusa. Tia Dalma was cancelled by Christian Fiore on the submerged Nautilus. Through the gun smoke of battle, the Spanish didn’t realize that they were still shooting at the Flying Dutchman, and she returned to the home island via Eternal. Spanish derelicts are towed to clear room for the advancing gunships. However, the Cursed would soon throw a wrench into their plans…

The Cursed have attacked! In a potentially very bad decision, the Cursed sailed the Mourning Star up to Fortaleza Dorada and opened fire! THE SPANISH DECLARE WAR ON THE CURSED! (Even though the Cursed initiated the conflict, they didn’t declare war; it was supposed to be just a raid.) The Spanish are now at war with the French, Pirates, and Cursed! The Cursed also revealed their intentions with the Interloper and Howl, their two remaining fog hoppers. Both hopped out near the Santa Isabel and Saragoza, with the intention of striking the Spanish gold system, the heart of their empire!

In addition, the Cursed used Mimi to yank the Carolina toward the Gerudo Fortress, where two of the schooner’s masts were shot off.

North of the French home island, the Bonaparte and Tartessos were locked in battle. Each ship was hurting, and the Tasmanian Devil missed twice on the Bonaparte, keeping the annoying ship alive. Between the Cursed attack on their now-undefended eastern front and the defiance of the French fleet, the Spanish realized that they had sent too many ships to attack the formidable Pirates. Especially with the Pirates losing the Battle of the Devil’s Maw and appearing to be in retreat, the Spanish have sent some ships back east and a few to the north.

The Revenant did some damage to the Galeon de Gibraltar, but was quickly dismasted by the horde of Spanish gunships.

The Spanish hired some Jade Rebellion privateers to help their eastern defenses, with the East Wind and Black Lotus joining the fight. However, the Cursed sunk the recently launched Santa Ana (SCS version), while the Interloper sunk the Picador, giving the Cursed two valuable coins via Agnahim’s ability! The Cursed recaptured a few of their fog hoppers, while the Whydah looked to join the Mourning Star in bombarding Fortaleza Dorada. In addition, the English had some plans up their sleeve regarding the First Coalition, though they didn’t tell Commodore David Porter exactly what they were.

At this point, I was able to do another epic point and ship count! As usual, here are the numbers in the order of play:

Ship and point counts at the beginning of play on 3/18/2016:

French: 4 ships, 54 points
Pirates: 17 ships, 351 points
Americans: 3 ships, 50 points
Spanish: 76 ships, 1,212 points
Cursed: 27 ships, 517 points
English: 37 ships, 595 points
Total: 2,779 points
(164 ships!)

WOW! At the beginning of another day’s action we were literally 68 points away from breaking the all-time record of 2,846 total points, held by my Economy Edition game from summer 2015. How incredible! However, as I said in an earlier post, that EE game likely peaked at around 3,200 or 3,300 total points a handful of turns after the final point count. Still, the game is at a massive size. However, it’s also obvious that the fleets are radically different in size. The Pirates have the highest points per ship number, at 21 (rounded).

Here is each fleet’s point total as a percentage of all points in play, rounded to the nearest whole number:
French: 2%
Pirates: 13%
Americans: 2%
Spanish: 44%
Cursed: 19%
English: 21%

Spanish Empire indeed! The Spanish have a higher percentage share of the points in play than any other two fleets combined, not to mention having almost half (76/164=46%) of the total ships afloat. At 76 ships, they’ve cemented their place as the second-largest fleet I’ve ever managed, behind only the massive Pirate fleet from Economy Edition. Imagine a twelve hundred point fleet! The French and Americans are hanging on by a thread, while the middle three fleets continue to have some success in general. In addition, it’s worth noting that my turns take so much more time than Xerecs’ because I literally control about 84% of the points in play! As of this point count I have to move 140 ships each turn.

The Bonaparte returned home once again to repair, while the Enfant Terrible set out. The Tasmanian Devil shielded the Tartessos and Colector from the French as no less than seven Spanish gunships sailed north to contain the French and bring Spanish dominance back to the area. While fighting on three different fronts, the Spanish would have to manage each fleet appropriately. They had learned from their mistake of sending too many ships to attack the Pirates, and they were determined not to make the same mistake again.

The Pirates launched the Mobilis with a helmsman, and Calypso aboard the Black Heart created two new whirlpools! The Pirates still appeared to be running from the Spanish, though one of their strategies would soon be revealed. Here, the Spanish have captured the Revenant (who lost all of her crew to the Inquisitor), and they intend to use her as a guard ship. Other Spanish ships continue to advance west through Pirate waters. In this picture alone over 15 Spanish ships have captains, with a few HI raiders and flotillas among the others.

At the end of their turn at Fortaleza Dorada in the east, the Spanish launched their best gunship: El Acorazado! They were going to wait longer to launch her, but the sudden Cursed attack on their undefended eastern front forced them to take desperate measures. They crewed her with my favorite crew setup for her: Luis Zuan (MI version), Nemesio Diaz, Joaquin Vega, Duque Marcus Vaccaro, helmsman, oarsman. If the Cristal del Obispo can make it over to the Acorazado, they’ll swap the oarsman for Castro, making the setup complete. However, in the meantime, the Acorazado serves as an extremely intimidating presence; her power and history as arguably the best gunship in the entire game sent all of the nearby Cursed ships sailing in the other direction immediately. In a huge game like this one, her presence diminishes simply because of the sheer size of the game, but the Acorazado still commands the utmost respect from every ship on the sea. The Acorazado becomes THE Spanish flagship of their entire fleet, with the Garante moving to second-in-command. In addition to the Acorazado, the Spanish also launched the Corazon Dorado with a captain, helmsman, and exploding shot.

Two other interesting developments in this picture: the Black Lotus had set the Loki’s Revenge aflame with fire shot, making the ship a floating time bomb. However, Keith Atkinson’s reroll (a custom Cursed crew from Xerecs) saved the ship by putting out the fire! The Loki’s Revenge then sacced one of her possessed oarsmen to move 4S while dismasted! She moved towards Cursed waters and a friendly fort. Also, notice the Cursed fog hoppers going right back into the fog: La Muerta approaches. Similar to the legendary HMS Endeavour, La Muerta is the most dangerous Spanish ship afloat, capable of eliminating two masts with every hit. She’s also crewed extremely well and carries Metal Hull. The Santa Isabel was soon going to leave the Spanish home island with the Martyr’s Amulet aboard, while decreases Cursed cannon rolls against the ship carrying it. If the Muerta can get both the Amulet and Metal Hull aboard, she will be completely immune to Cursed cannon fire!!

The English have launched HMS Swallow with plenty of good crew aboard; she was launched to become the next ship Carbon Charlie added cannons to. However, this time the negative UT’s Xerecs added to the mix sort of backfired, since Charlie can eliminate UT’s for cannons. This led to a strange situation where Charlie was making cannons out of odd materials rather than precious metals, including wood, Rats, and a Monkey’s Paw!

The French continued to repair and regroup, but it’s not as if things are looking up for them. In addition to the veteran Spanish gunships returning from Pirate waters and the northern Puerto Blanco, the newly repaired Neptuno and Granada returned as well! The Granada’s crew has a special venom reserved for the French; she was the ship that fired the first shots of the war at the original Paradis. Definitely not a good sign for France.

After seeming timid against the Spanish, the Pirates have revealed their plan! Calypso made two more whirlpools, but to the surprise of the Spanish, one of them appeared next to the eastern Puerto Blanco, just north of the recent Cursed attack on Fortaleza Dorada! Not only that, but the Grand River and Harbinger both moved through the whirlpool and got extra actions to smash the Spanish in their own waters! The Grand River eliminated two canoes (including one carrying Elizabeth’s Piece of Eight), while the Harbinger bombarded El Puerto Blanco and destroyed the fort’s gun armament. The Spanish are much more concerned with the southern Fortaleza Dorada, since it was given a fort upgrade relatively early in the game and thus they have 50 gold invested in it. Speaking of Fortaleza Dorada, the Mourning Star’s second broadside knocked that fort down to one cannon before the Acorazado showed up and scared all of the Cursed ships away. And speaking of the Acorazado, she connected twice on the Harbinger as the Battle of El Puerto Blanco began! The Corazon also landed a couple hits, including a devastating exploding shot. The Spanish weren’t nearly done in the area; the Black Lotus captured the Mourning Star while the East Wind sank the Jikininki. At the end of their turn, the Spanish spent almost all of their remaining gold out of necessity and bought three ships. The first two were El Alma and El Paso, two ships the Spanish had planned to launch with the Acorazado (with Nemesio Diaz) to form a very small sort of “canceller squadron”. Last but not least, they launched the first Viking ship of the game. The Naegling comes into play with Shayna Deux and Sigurd Andersen in addition to a helmsman. The Naegling is the most accurate and devastating Viking longship, and Andersen gives the Spanish a fleet admiral crew, something they’ve been jealous to have between all of the similar crew in the Pirate and English fleets. Also notice the Frontier finally venturing out of the fog.

The Howl and Interloper returned home, giving the nervous Saragoza a chance to do the same. The Muerta and other Spanish gunships are making their way east to combat not only the Pirate threat but also the fleeing Cursed. Spain’s extremely ambitious imperial goals forces them to fight on three fronts at once, which they’re still getting used to. However, they’ve grown as a nation and continue to get better at managing their Empire.

The Spanish built a new Castillo del Infanta just west of their first one, on the island where the Devil’s Maw had been destroyed. The new fort was built for three purposes, all of which flowed into one another: expand the Empire, provide a base of operations from which to attack the Pirates, and serve as a repair station for damaged ships. Four Spanish gunships are already docked at the busy new fort, with their crews eager to repair. The captured Revenant has also been towed there, while the Canela has deposited a shipwright inside. Xerecs and I have agreed to have shipwrights give forts repair actions while stationed there. At this point, the Battle of the Devil’s Maw had ended in a conclusive Spanish victory, though the Pirates kept their numbers up by not turning the battle into a major fleet action.

El Garante (and her guard ship the Noble Swan) turned east away from the Pirate war. The Cristal del Obispo, lead ship of the Inquisition, took over as flagship of the western fleet. The dynamics of world power were shifting, and the threat of Calypso was troublesome, even for an Empire as great as the current Spanish one.

As much as the Pirates and Spanish were sharing the spotlight, the English were executing on plans of their own! Their plans came together faster than expected, and the English were happy to finally strike directly at the heart of the Cursed! That’s right, it’s time for the Cursed to pay for what they’ve done! With France and America badly hurting at the hands of the Spanish and Cursed, England had no choice but to lead the so-far-inactive First Coalition into battle!

It began in the north. The English wanted to give the Cursed a taste of their own medicine, similar to using their own fog hoppers against them. The captured Executioner received an SAT from El Fantasma, and she sped into Cursed waters, sinking the Dire Miralis and damaging the Lamprey! The Westminster and Granville (the ships that teamed up to capture the Executioner) sailed up to Gerudo Fortress and poured in some broadsides, taking out more than half the fort’s armament.

The next segment occurred in the southeastern reaches of Cursed waters. The Oxford and Durham, with recently hired oarsmen aboard to help with whirlpool troubles, sped through a whirlpool near the English home island. They emerged from the northeastern whirlpool, near the other Cursed fort! The Durham got an AA (Admiral’s Action) from Beckett and she proceeded to STUN the Cursed by sinking the Loki’s Revenge!! The LR had a ton of possessed crew from Wraith aboard, not to mention being one of the most dangerous gunships in the game, capable of ripping off 12 shots at 2L in a single turn! This was a big blow to Cursed morale; just a few turns previously they had been in control of the entire far eastern chunk of the sea. Then they attacked the Spanish, and once scared away by the Acorazado and company, turned for home. However, they didn’t expect an English sneak attack! If this proves anything, it’s that you shouldn’t attack the Spanish Empire. They WILL declare war and get payback. If the Cursed hadn’t attacked and gotten the Loki’s Revenge in trouble, she wouldn’t be sailing home so fast and in danger from the English.

To finish the English three-pronged assault, the Dreadnought revealed the secret weapon, found by the Lord Kenyon: Necklace of the Sky! Suddenly the Dreadnought was transported all the way across the northern ocean into Cursed waters, where she docked at the middle Cursed gold island! This stunned the Cursed as well, as they were the ones expected to use teleportation tactics. The Dreadnought carries with her one of the most formidable combination of crew and cannon in the history of naval warfare, as the Cursed are about to find out…

Since this picture, Xerecs has played another turn. The Grand River sailed right back into Calypso’s whirlpool near the eastern Puerto Blanco, and used the SAT to sink the Cervantes! This was actually a relief for the Spanish, for they were afraid she would go on a suicide run and take out a bunch of canoes and hurt the Spanish gold system directly. The Frontier is making a break for the American home island, but the Hell Hound is hot on her tail. The Harbinger couldn’t make it back into the whirlpool, but at least her fire didn’t spread.

What more is going to happen here?!

(Here are some of the recent strategies for my fleets)
Strategies of 3/6
Spanish: Demand payment from the Americans, and threaten with display of force. Drive the French back towards their HI and establish dominance over their waters. (Save for the Inquisition) Demand payment from the French. Establish a HI defense fleet.
Mission accomplished, though the French have no gold to make tribute payments with.

Cursed: Be extremely aggressive and lash out against the Americans and/or the French. Consider attacking the English through various means. Let the Hell Hound kill to feed Wraith. Save for fort upgrades, and then use them to launch attacks against nearby ships. Continue the gold system, but buy for war.
Partially successful, though they attacked the Spanish instead of the French. The English appeared too powerful after the failed fog hopper expedition, and Wraith is gone. They aren’t saving for fort upgrades, but for something else entirely…

English: Be cautious and controlled. Save gold. Do not engage enemy fleets unless they become hostile. Use Carbon Charlie to give gunships extra cannons.
Simple but effective. Bad UT’s have delayed them a bit, but between turning a negative into a positive by giving those UT’s to Charlie and also leading the First Coalition, things are looking good for England right now.

3/19/2016

A few more developments after another turn: the Cazadora used Sigurd Andersen’s Admiral Action to dismast the Queen of Sheba; the Spanish gold spyers had seen some nice coins aboard the galley.

The English smashed the Cursed! Both forts were destroyed, including the eastern one that had been upgraded! The Cursed know they need to launch in order to repel the English attack. In addition, the Poor Adams was crippled by the Durham, while the Oxford stole Metal Hull from the Maman Brigitte. The Executioner sent the Lamprey to the bottom.

3/21/2016

Before play started, the Cursed spent every penny in their possession (261 gold) and launched the majority of their planned FEAR squadron!

Dragmirius + Sargasso Calhoun (SAT), The Organist (reroll), Dark Knights (Marine/+1 boarding), captain, helmsman, firepot specialist, oarsman (49)
Monkey’s Paw + Dark Knights (Reroll/Kian Ng), captain, helmsman (29)
Flying Dutchman + Sammy the Skull, helmsman, firepot specialist, shipwright, oarsman (30)
Sautez le Requin + captain, helmsman (21)
Demise + Ghirahim, helmsman, firepot specialist, oarsman (32)
Nayru’s Ire + Veran, Pipe Organ, helmsman (37)
Boneyard + Devereaux, captain, helmsman, oarsman (23)
Verdani + captain, helmsman (21)
Twinrova (10)
Dread Isle (4 gold)
+ captain and helmsman on the HI

The Cursed needed better home defense, and this was the way to do it!

The French still fought the Spanish around their home island. The Tepant took three masts off the Revolution, while the Enfant Terrible had almost reached a wild island in the east; it has been a long while since a French ship carried gold.

The Spanish were growing more and more weary of the French resistance, and decided to become even more serious in their efforts. The Proud Tortoise moved off the Bonaparte’s stern and hit with fire shot, while the Ebro’s captain was cancelled by Lenoir aboard the Tepant. However, the Tasmanian Devil maneuvered to get 3 guns in range of the Tepant, and 2 connected. Then, the Neptuno got involved in the action! Using her sniping ability to great effect against the Bonaparte (the perfect ship to snipe at), 1 of her 2 shots landed, with the exploding shot taking out the old French chieftain and spreading fires throughout the Bonaparte’s decks! To finish the aggressive assault, the Cordoba rammed the Coeur du Lion derelict and eliminated her navigator, allowing the Granada to capture her and leave no ships docked at the French HI!

In the southwest, the Spanish/Pirate war continued to have small and slow developments; the Pirates appear to be stalling for time. Each side had a relatively major victory however: the Flying Dutchman dismasted the Estrella de la Manana (one of Spain’s most accurate gunships), but the Cazadora sunk the Queen of Sheba, who went down with admiral crew Kheir and 16 gold aboard. The Spanish also used teamwork to dismast the Flying Dutchman. The Espada de Dios has now taken 2 of the Pirates’ 3 remaining gold coins, though the Cassandra is almost home with more. Spanish ships continued to repair at the new Castillo, while the Garante and Noble Swan turned back to the west after hearing of the successes against the French and Cursed in the north and east respectively. All is well in the Spanish Empire.

In the far north, the Carolina received an abandoned shipwright from the Edinburgh Trader, allowing her to repair without having to sail back to the American HI. The English continue to collaborate with the Americans as part of the First Coalition, though it’s essentially a two-nation agreement right now due to the Spanish pushing France to the brink of elimination. The Frontier and Mississippi have ventured out of the fog, and after a rather unsuccessful attack by the Hell Hound, the Frontier is almost home!

Between the vastly improved Spanish fleet in the east and the English attack back home, all Cursed forces are being withdrawn from the southeast. The Hell Hound and Last Hope have the best chance of making it back; El Corazon Dorada set the Whydah alight before she sped off with the help of a trade current. The southeastern expedition was mostly a failure for the Cursed, and could even be deemed a fiasco. They sailed south with the intent of eliminating the Americans, which they couldn’t do. As a result, they took out their anger on the (seemingly) vulnerable Spanish, who showed their colossal power in this game by quickly re-asserting dominance in the far east, sinking the Baba Yaga and recently capturing the Mourning Star and Sea Hag. That same counterattack was what also led to the English sinking the Loki’s Revenge, Davy Jones’ second-in-command.

At the end of their turn the Spanish launched 4 new ships. La Monarca was launched at Fortaleza Dorada to give them yet another gold runner, while three 4 masters were launched at the Castillo to the west. With the newly launched Santa Ana (CC version), Matthias Vospero, and Salte el Tiburon in play, Spain has now used every single 4 and 5 masted ship at their disposal except for the OE Resolucion, which can’t be launched until the SM version is sunk.

In addition to the above developments, note how quickly the Spanish Empire can react to threats. Just a few turns ago, the eastern Puerto Blanco and Fortaleza Dorada were in serious trouble from the Pirates and Cursed. Now, the area is swarming with Spanish power: probably the two best ships of all 150+ ships afloat, El Acorazado and La Muerta, have been joined by another 5 master, El Cristal del Obispo. The Alma and Paso bump the canceller count to 3, while support sails around them in the form of the Corazon, Principe, Naegling, East Wind, and Black Lotus.

Unfortunately for the English, the Cursed Fear squadron got right to work. The Dragmirius got the SAT from Sargasso Calhoun, sinking HMS Durham and greatly angering the English. The other English ships were lucky to escape, with the Oxford being given an Admiral’s Action (AA) to take the whirlpool back home. The Dreadnought’s Eye of Insanity was used to copy Davy Jones’ All-Powerful, allowing the lumbering battleship to move 4S and accompany the Granville and Westminster back to the west. The Cursed dismasted the Executioner and plan to recapture their first true gunship of this game.

Here’s the entire ocean. If you haven’t noticed it already, check out the deckplate disparity around the edges. The Pirate fleet is at the lower left, but it very quickly turns to Spanish… and more Spanish… and more Spanish, all the way up to the three remaining American deckplates at the far right. South of their HI, the Spanish have needed to go 4 deep with deckplates, running into the ocean itself! The English and Cursed fleets are quite large; the eight new gunships of the Fear squadron are obvious from all the crew chips just to the upper left of the Cursed HI.

Soon after play for the weekend ended, an urgent letter from Lord Mycron arrived upon the deck of the Carolina, where it would be read by Commodore David Porter.

“Dear Commodore David Porter,

Our worst fears have been realized… the Cursed have suddenly launched a considerable battle fleet and all hope has abandoned our small eastern squadron… we hope to strengthen our alliance soon, but the Cursed are far stronger than we anticipated… we lost one of our finest ships, the Durham, to these fiends. This angers us immensely, and we’ve already called upon the Barbary Corsairs, Vikings, and our old friends in the Jade Rebellion to help us. They’ll be arriving shortly to reinforce our position, but we hoped that our American allies could help in some way as well… if a main force is sent due east along the northern coast of this troubled ocean we think the possibility of an American force coming up from the south could either provide a distraction or vice versa with your force hitting their trade.

Rampant rumours have reached us regarding a Cursed attack on the Spanish Fortaleza Dorada… we’ve been told the Spanish are even more angry at the Cursed than they are at the Pirates, who they’re also at war with… we know you’ve had trouble with Spain, but if they can be reasoned with, I can’t imagine the Cursed being able to repel a 3 pronged attack, especially when they’re all cooped up in that demonic corner of theirs…

Good day to you; we hope your ships are luckier than ours!

Lord Mycron”

Porter would respond quickly:

“Dear Lord Mycron

It troubles me to hear this, as it is one of my worst fears as well. Indeed, the Cursed fiends have attacked the Spanish Fortaleza, and they are beside themselves in a rage, however I fear their lust for gold my inhibit our ability to call forth a battle fleet. Nonetheless I shall try to reason with them, and I shall contact what remains of our allies the French. I suspect the Cursed would be hard pressed indeed to repel a three pronged, or even four pronged attack, however it may take time to raise the necessary funds to launch such an attack, however we will try to reason with the Spanish admiralty and see what can be done.

Good day to you,

Commodore David Porter.”

“Dear Porter,

Just since my last letter was sent out, from our spies we’ve heard that the new Spanish admiral is Luis Zuan, as he is the commander of El Acorazado, the new Spanish flagship. We may have more spies than your fleet possesses simply because of the size of our respective fleets. In addition, we’ve heard that Zuan is more reasonable than the former Spanish admiral (who may be on the Garante; perhaps your past experience with the Spanish gives you such knowledge). However, ever since we heard wrongly that the Spanish had given you Americans gold, we realize we must be cautious with such findings. That said, our hope is that Zuan is at least willing to listen, unlike the first Spanish admiral that gave you such trouble. If any ills befall you on accord of our devious spies where Zuan turns out to be just as harsh as the last admiral, we are truly sorry.

Lord Mycron”

“Dear Lord Mycron,

Thank you for understanding. Once my ship has been repaired, I will set a course toward American waters. I am hoping the Spanish, and Zuan, are willing to listen as well.

Commodore David Porter.”

3/23/2016

The latest point count revealed that the game has exceeded 3,000 total points!!

French: 3 ships, 50 points
Pirates: 15 ships, 285 points
Americans: 3 ships, 48 points
Spanish: 88 ships, 1,423 points
Cursed: 28 ships, 622 points
English: 37 ships, 603 points
Total: 174 ships, 3,031 points

3/28/2016

CG1 has continued! Despite only one more turn being played, major developments unfolded!

The French continued to fight back, but they are extremely close to being eliminated by the Spanish! The Tepant was dismasted by the Ebro and Tasmanian Devil. However, the Bonaparte was docked at her home island. The Spanish had sent reinforcements for just this purpose. The Neptuno and Augusta rammed the Bonaparte derelict and killed her captain. Then, in a very fitting end for the obnoxious ship, she was captured by none other than the Granada, the Spanish ship that started this long war!

France holds on for dear life, with 2 ships remaining:

The Spanish see the Pirates as cowards, as they’ve done almost nothing but run away. Spain punished them, sinking the Flying Dutchman (Fiore on the submerged Nautilus cancelled Eternal), dismasting the Mermaid and Banshee’s Cry, and setting fire to the Lady’s Scorn. To add insult to injury, the Espada de Dios and Bahama stole the only 2 coins on the Pirate home island.

Things were also happening in the east. The Americans managed to get the Frontier home while the Cursed were still running away! They used her gold to buy the USS Morning Star. The Corazon Dorado has sunk the Whydah, but Davy Jones gave the Hell Hound an extra action, so she’s safe for now. The Last Hope has made it to the fort, but the Spanish appear to be serious about their declaration of war – note their small but extremely impressive line of battle. Those three 5 masters are La Muerta, El Cristal del Obispo, and El Acorazado, three of the most powerful ships on the sea! The Spanish are looking to have other ships join them as they sail north. The Spanish launched two ships at the end of their turn: the Cazador del Pirata and Magdalena.

In a morale blow to the Pirates, the Cursed moved the Black Heart off the map! She was eliminated with Calypso, Captain Davy Jones, and tons of possessed crew aboard. The Cursed were tired of their crew being used by another nation, and they were wary of Calypso’s power to easily strike the Cursed gold system. In addition, they were already at war with the First Coalition and Spain – the last thing they can afford is a powerful Pirate fleet to make it 4 on 1!

The Cursed spent all of their 21 gold to launch the Spilled Salt with a captain, helmsman, and firepot specialist. From now on they’re planning to launch the remainder of their planned Fear squadron in chunks. They also recaptured the Executioner, which I believe is the only ship to change hands twice in this game so far.

The English took their turn, getting gold and starting to give the Shetland extra cannons. All seemed well in the northwest as the English appeared content to remain the richest nation.

Suddenly, the English stunned the Cursed by turning their ships around and attacking! After seeing the numbers disadvantage, the Westminster, Granville, and Dreadnought had turned to flee, but now they turned around once more, this time to face the Cursed head on! Both admiral crew had rolled 6’s, which meant that all 3 ships could move and shoot twice, as the Dreadnought used the Eye of Insanity to copy Davy Jones’ All-Powerful.

The Westminster was the first ship in action, blasting a mast off the Monkey’s Paw and another off the Sautez le Requin. The Sautez also lost her helmsman. The Granville shot two masts off the Sea Monkey and rammed another off the Tenfold, damaging Cursed trade. Then it was the Dreadnought’s turn.

As I may have mentioned a while back, the Dreadnought had been given no less than 10 extra cannons from Carbon Charlie’s ability, over the course of 10 turns. She also had two of my custom crew aboard, which when combined with her oarsman and ship ability, makes her one of those “Eternal god ships”. Just to make it even more over-the-top, Peter Sharpe added a Marine crew to the onslaught. The Dreadnought totaled 16 cannons, with all of them shooting at rank-2. However, her speed was still slow, so her first action simply sunk the already damaged Sea Monkey. However, her second action put her in position to rake both the Monkey’s Paw and Nayru’s Ire by the bows. The cancellers cancelled each other out, and the Dreadnought unleashed a full broadside! The immense firepower sank the Nayru’s Ire outright and nearly dismasted the Monkey’s Paw!

The English had dealt the Cursed a major blow. In addition, they’ve become the default leader of the First Coalition. The English won’t run from a fight!

However, the English weren’t even done! Mycron gave an extra action to the Swallow, who appears to be heading east towards Cursed waters. She carries 5 extra cannons from Charlie for 10 total, in addition to the Power Cannons UT. Between the UT, her speed (S+L+S with a helmsman), and Blake’s SAT, she has the greatest overall striking range of any ship in the game right now.

As they had talked about with Commodore David Porter, the English then spent a bunch of gold (209 to be exact) to hire minor faction help in the war against the Cursed! The new ships were launched at Fort Brompton, the closest English island to Cursed waters.

Nubian Prince + captain (18 )
Ivory Star + captain (15)
Meshud + captain (14)
Tiger’s Eye + Murat Rais, captain (19)
Muninn + Count Gustov, captain, helmsman (29)
Huginn + captain, helmsman (20)
Hrunting + captain, helmsman (22)
Grand Dynasty + captain, helmsman (20)
Terror + captain, helmsman (21)
Hephaestus + captain, helmsman (19)
Divine Dragon + captain, helmsman (12)

In addition, the English launched HMS King George III at their home island and also built Fort Royal on the other wild island they control. (Both of those pieces are customs of El Cazador.) This brought total English expenditures of this turn to 232 gold.

England was showing her might, but not nearly her full might. As of 2 weeks ago, they had accumulated more gold than any other fleet that I’ve ever controlled in Pirates. For those of you that remember, that means they had more than the 549 gold that the Pirates used in last summer’s Economy Edition to launch the HI raiding squadron! Though they just spent over 200 of it, they probably have even more than anyone realizes…

4/15/2016

Play finally resumed, and the French have been eliminated!!

The French fought gallantly at the Battle of the Two Paradises, but eventually fell to the superior Spanish fleet, being driven back to their home island. The French continued to dog the Spanish with quick and effective raids, fighting to the last ship. The Spanish suffered a setback and almost lost control of the area when they sent too many gunships southwest to wage war against the Pirates. However, Spain quickly realized their mistake and sent reinforcements to take out the French once and for all. The Bonaparte and Tepant made the war last much longer than Spain expected, but both ships have finally been captured, with the Enfant Terrible being sunk. Spain has won the War on France!

Here’s the now-desolate center area, deprived of French trade currents via Celestine’s Charts. The French HI converts to a regular wild island.

Spain was also continuing her aggressive westward expansion. Spanish gunships have reached the western reaches of the sea, where the Pirate Grand Temple ran into trouble. Looking to the east, notice Spain’s impressive supply chain of fresh ships ready for action.

However, the biggest excitement of the day concerned the mounting tension in the northeast. England was leading the “First Coalition” (now essentially devoid of the French and Americans) into battle from the west, while an extremely impressive Spanish squadron sailed up from the south. The Westminster was affected by Fear to the point where she could only fire in place, but further damaged the Sautez le Requin. The Granville failed to ram another mast off the Tenfold, but the Dreadnought easily sunk the Sea Monkey and Fallen Angel. In the meantime, the Cursed were gathering their best ships to the south at their fort, ready to take on the Spanish. However, La Muerta had both Metal Hull and the Martyr’s Amulet aboard, making her almost immune to Cursed cannon fire! The Acorazado required 3 hits just to eliminate her first mast, and the Spanish had 3 cancellers in the area to the Cursed 1. Things were not looking good at all for the Cursed.

The Spanish continue to press their attack! The Pirate Grand Temple effectively used reverse captain to derelict three Spanish ships in two turns, but has finally been dismasted by the Spanish force. Three Spanish gunships have sailed around the north side of the Pirate HI while others go to the south, creating a pincer movement in the next few turns. The Babieca used a trade current to dismast and burn the Swift, but the galley was able to dock home her gold on the next turn with help from admiral crew Swann. The Asesino and Villalobos have taken damage, but the Lady’s Scorn suffered worse. Pirate waters continue to be overrun by the Spanish fleet.

The Spanish finally launched the rare version of the San Cristobal after the LE version was sunk in the Battle of the Two Paradises. They also launched the San Estaban, the luckiest ship of my Economy Edition game. However, the Americans made strides as well, launching the Chesapeake and Lynx. However, Admiral Zuan has issued a chilling command from the Acorazado, seeing how weak the Cursed are: “wipe out the Americans before they become stronger.” Zuan said this after the Spanish soundly crushed the Cursed squadron south of the Cursed fort.

The Cursed had known to attack first, but the Dragmirius and Hell Hound could only respectively sink the Extremadura and dismast the Corazon Dorado, not nearly enough to win the battle. The Acorazado dismasted the Last Hope (who was later sunk by the Paso) while Diaz cancelled out the Demise’s cancelling ability. This gave the Muerta free reign, with no Cursed canceller to cancel her captain or ship ability. She sunk the Dragmirius and dismasted the Demise! The Boneyard was crippled by the Cristal del Obispo and Principe de Asturias. The Alma and Naegling teamed up to dismast the Hell Hound. The Cursed have lost the Battle of Dread Isle almost as soon as it began. It’s not over yet, for the Divine Dragon and Flying Dutchman are about to get into action, but the Cursed are finished.

In terms of the English, the Granville and Westminster were inevitably sunk, but the Dreadnought obliterated the Twinrova and Spilled Salt, while the English minor faction squadron continued sailing towards the Cursed.

4/16/2016

War continued in the southwest, with the Spanish advancing. The Deliverance was sunk, while the Lady’s Scorn and Swift were captured.

The Spanish continued to crush the Cursed, sinking their derelicts and nearly sinking both the Divine Dragon and Flying Dutchman. Between Nemesio Diaz, El Alma, and El Paso, the Cursed are being cancelled into oblivion. The Cursed could hardly muster anything in their counterattack, with two failed rams in addition to moving the Naegling onto a reef, where she took no damage.

The Cursed had more success against the English than the Spanish, eliminating four masts from the Dreadnought by tossing her onto a reef! The Interloper and Howl teamed up for a final fog hopping ambush, taking masts off the Swallow and Muninn. Both the Interloper and Howl were sunk on the next turn, and the English furthered their cause by rolling a 6 with the Eye of Insanity (copying Davy Jones). The Tenfold (carrying 4 coins) couldn’t be sailed off the map, so instead the Executioner was used to bring the Tenfold down to one mast (ironically the English actually had control of the Executioner earlier in the game – El Fantasma must be really confused!). The Cursed aren’t quite finished, with some ships repairing at their home island in addition to the newly launched Specter.

In addition to the Specter, the Spanish and English also launched new ships. The Spanish purchased 9 new support gunships, with some stationed in the east to aid in the elimination of the Americans, and some in the west to possibly help the war against the Pirates.

The English decided to count their gold for the first time in a month.

With a grand total of 864 gold, the English have by far the most gold saved up in any fleet I’ve ever controlled!

The inevitability is coming…

With no other options, England began preparing for war with Spain. The two great superpowers of the game have started eyeing each other across the ocean, with tension slowly mounting.

The English built another five master, this time the Dauntless. The Shetland had been given 5 extra cannons by Carbon Charlie, and was thus ready to sail out. Charlie boarded the Dauntless, England’s newest capital ship. If it hasn’t been obvious, England has avoided becoming an intimidating faction in this game. They haven’t looked like a threat, but their “nice” nature has given them the relative peace (with the exception of the Cursed) with which to save gold for almost the entire game, with only occasional launches dipping into their savings. However, with the inevitable war against Spain on the horizon, they will finally abandon their cautious strategy. Notice the lack of famous ships such as HMS Titan, Grand Temple, Endeavour, etc. The Dauntless and her fantastic crew (Admiral James Norrington and Admiral Morgan) signal the end of this phase of the game for the English.

The English decided to keep it simple and spend 64 of their 864 gold, using 32 on the Dauntless and 32 on two support gunships, the Success and Dunlap. Then, to avoid having to recount their gold, they consolidated their remaining treasure in a UT labeled “800 gold”.

The northwest corner of the sea, purely English.

Now for a glimpse at the past strategies of my fleets:

Strategies of ~4/10/2016:
Spanish: Eliminate the French. Continue to have a strong presence in Pirate waters. Keep the HI defenses strong and provide good defenses on the eastern front. Launch gunships where appropriate, with eliminating the Pirates as the intermediate-term goal.
Mission accomplished; the Pirates, Americans, and Cursed all face simultaneous elimination at the hands of the huge Spanish Empire.

Cursed: Launch part of the Fear squadron to combat the invading English. Once the threat is over, buy back more gold runners than were previously in use, and once the system is better than ever start buying gunships constantly.
The “threat” became much larger than anticipated, and the Cursed are doomed. The two most powerful fleets have crushed them in a non-allied two-pronged attack.

English: Be cautious and controlled. Save gold. Do not engage enemy fleets unless they become hostile. Use Carbon Charlie to give gunships extra cannons. Put forts on the other two nearby island, and likely purchase at least one fort upgrade. Give bad UT’s to Carbon Charlie for more cannons. Lead the First Coalition into battle against the Cursed, but be wary of losing important long-term assets.
Mission accomplished; the biggest questions are those regarding the future.

Another ship and point count (4/16/2016):
French: 0/0 (eliminated)
Pirates: 10 ships, 152 points
Americans: 6 ships, 82 points
Spanish: 98 ships, 1,566 points
Cursed: 16 ships, 365 points
English: 47 ships, 794 points
Total: 2,959 points

Wow! The game size is slightly smaller than the last point count, a testament to the bloodshed that has occurred since. By far the most interesting thing about this point count is the English number. They have about 800 points in play, in addition to 800 gold saved up. This means that if England launched a giant battle fleet, the Spanish and English would have fleets of almost exactly equal size!! How incredible!

England and Spain now face decisions; England is aware of Spain’s somewhat thin but extremely far-reaching and powerful empire. England has to decide whether to initiate the war and try to strike Spain while she is trying to eliminate 3 other factions (Pirates, Americans, and Cursed). Spain is not eager for war with England, as the Spanish have some idea of the vast gold reserves that could be spent in an instant to produce a giant battle fleet. The Spanish favor eliminating the other factions first, which would allow them to repair and regroup before the final climactic struggle to determine the ruler of the sea. England has considered a whirlpool squadron in an attempt to strike the Spanish gold system and hurt their morale, as well as a surprise attack on the Spanish forces that are now fighting the Cursed, since both factions will be near the Cursed HI very soon.

The other three factions can’t help but root for the English, between Spain’s oppression and the slight possibility that if England attacks soon, it may distract the Spanish and give the other factions a chance to recover. However, the Pirates, Americans, and Cursed won’t survive either way, for they would likely be eliminated in the epic crossfire when Spain and England meet in pitched battle!

4/18/2016

The Spanish have almost finished eliminating the Pirates from the game! The Cassandra, Victoire, and Sea Nymph sank while the Dragon was captured.

The majority of the Spanish gold system, the fuel of their empire. The Spanish are beginning a major regrouping, with some of their gunships sailing closer to home to protect against a possible attack through the whirlpool (at the bottom left) by the English.

In the southeastern reaches of the sea, the American face elimination at the hands of the Spanish, much like the Pirates. However, the USS Morning Star has successfully used her ability to teleport Commodore Peregrine Stern from the Mississippi back home, giving the Americans a gunship in the area. Spain is ready for them, with 9 captained ships chasing the Americans.

The mess in the northeast was the hottest action of the day. The Spanish had already sunk the Flying Dutchman and Divine Dragon, meaning that Davy Jones was gone. The Acorazado moved away from the Cursed HI to repair, giving the Muerta a chance to dismast the Poor Adams. The Paso and Alma teamed up to cancel the Demise’s canceller and Eternal abilities, sinking the Cursed ship at last. However, the Locker and Pyre pounced on the Cursed turn, emerging from a whirlpool to ram the Paso derelict. The Cursed also moved the Terror (Mercenary submarine of the English) onto a reef, but she took no damage. The Tasmanian Devil (hired by the Spanish) was not so lucky, losing two masts. The Tasmanian Devil signaled the arrival of the Spanish reinforcements, 5 ships sailing in from the west following the elimination of the French. They make the Spanish position in the northeast even stronger.

The Specter set the Tiger’s Eye aflame, and after a bad roll she will burn to the waterline. The Terror surfaced to bring the Specter down to 2 masts. Most of the minor faction squadron controlled by the English still hasn’t reached the Cursed home island, but the Divine Dragon (Mercenary turtle ship) and Hephaestus teamed up to dismast the Executioner, but not before the Cursed ship sank the Muninn.

It has finally happened! The English spent 628 gold to purchase no less than 26 new ships, most of them very capable gunships! This broke the Pirates’ record (549 gold) from my Economy Edition game of the biggest single-turn launching in history! This made their home island extremely crowded, even with three additional home island expansions. They also launched a few ships from Fort Brompton to the east.

And with that, the most important point count yet was done!

4/17/2016 point/ship count
French: 0/0 (eliminated)
Pirates: 6 ships, 96 points
Americans: 5 ships, 75 points
Spanish: 101 ships, 1,631 points
Cursed: 13 ships, 292 points
English: 73 ships, 1,422 points
Total: 3,516 points

Since my Economy Edition game peaked at approximately 3,200 points, I can comfortably say that VASSAL Campaign Game 1 is officially the BIGGEST GAME IN THE HISTORY OF PIRATES CSG!!!!!

The Royal Navy sets sail!

The biggest game of all time, with the biggest war of all time as the inevitable finale… notice how crowded the corners are, with the Cursed, Pirates, and Americans all on the brink of elimination at the hands of the Spanish Empire.

4/23/2016

Before play started I took the time to launch some ships for the Spanish, Cursed, and English. The Cursed were only able to launch the Sea Duck, a desperate play which may be their last purchase.

The Spanish spent almost 100 gold to grab 6 new support gunships, while England spent almost 200 gold to buy a bunch of ships at their upgraded Ramsgate fort and a few at their home island.

The next picture shows a big overview of the entire southwest area. At the bottom left, the Pirates only control two ships, the submerged Mobilis and the fleeing Grand River. The captured Dragon and Rover will sink at the beginning of the next Spanish turn, having been scuttled. However, the English are coming. The main battle fleet of English ships is surging forward, and the Escudo del Mar fortress could be the first casualty of the inevitable war. The English squadron launched at Ramsgate has moved west towards the whirlpool, which the Spanish anticipated. At the bottom right is the whirlpool the English would likely emerge from, trying to blast their way into Spanish trade and hurt the Spanish badly at the outset of the war. The Spanish are reasonably prepared, but they’re worried that their imperial adventures have stretched their fleet too thin and weakened their empire to the point where the suddenly strong English could defeat them in a numbers game. The English have a lot of 4 and 5 masted ships ready to go, while the Spanish are starting to rely on their smaller ships when launching, since all of their larger ships are at sea or sunk.

In the southeast, the East Wind caught the USS Morning Star and knocked off her back masts. The Americans also face elimination, but their widespread fleet makes them a better candidate to survive longer than the Pirates and Cursed.

Speaking of the Cursed, they’ve finally set sail with the four ships they previously had permanently docked at their home island! These are the ships carrying the L-mover crew and Master Scribe. The Spanish cleaned up on their turn, sinking the Specter and capturing the Poor Adams (which has Eternal). The English weren’t effective at all, with the Terror unable to take out the last mast on the Tenfold. The English did recapture the Executioner, which means that she has changed hands 3 times this game! The Cursed launched her, the English captured her early on, then the Cursed recaptured her, and the English just re-recaptured her! It remains to be seen if the English intend to ignite a battle against the Spanish in the northeast. The Spanish aren’t exactly reeling, but they were shocked and troubled when they lost the Naegling. The Sea Duck dismasted the longship by herself, allowing the Sautez to sink her. The Naegling was a powerful asset, and carried Sigurd Andersen, Spain’s only admiral crew. England still has both admiral crew, Beckett and CRGO.

Here’s the whole ocean; note the mass of English gunships heading southeast, while the Americans are mostly trapped in the southeast corner. Right now the Spanish are concerned with the English advance; Spain doesn’t have enough ships to throw at England to delay them for long. Some ships are moving to intercept the huge battle fleet, with some coming from the battle around the Pirate HI. Six new gunships have been launched at the Castillo, and the newly launched Trinidad will join them. The Augusta and Granada have turned around near the former French HI, and the captured Bonaparte is fully repaired. Despite these forces, the Spanish are the least confident they’ve been the whole game. To make matters worse for them, England has launched 3 new gunships at their HI for 50 gold. More are undoubtedly on the way, but the English have finally run out of gold!

4/24/2016

It’s finally happened…

BUT NOT FROM THE ENGLISH! THE SPANISH DECLARE WAR ON THE ENGLISH!

In a stunning move, Spain, now the underdog, sent the San Cristobal through the whirlpool near their home island to emerge from the whirlpool the English appeared to be after. She used an extra action to move S+S+L+S and sink HMS Goodfellow, one of England’s best treasure ships! This sudden, unexpected attack on English trade left the English stunned and angry.

The Spanish also managed to crush the American fleet, sinking the Lynx and Chesapeake while dismasting the Morning Star and Mississippi. The Carolina is the last American ship left, a fitting end for the doomed faction.

Speaking of doomed, the Cursed are also about to be eliminated. The Sea Duck and Tenfold are their final ships, with the others either captured or derelict. The Pirates are faring a bit better, between the submerged cancelling sub Mobilis and the quick Grand River. The Spanish squadron in the southwest is heavily damaged from the Pirate war, yet faces an extremely intimidating English fleet bearing down upon them from the north. The Spanish have gathered their forces and will continue to launch in an effort to delay the English as long as possible.

In the first English hostility of the war, HMS Grand Temple almost destroyed the Escudo del Mar, the Spanish fort closest to English waters. The Ajax, Success, and Dunlap are immediately astern of the GT, but dozens more English gunships are sailing full speed at the Spanish. All-out war is about to ensue!!

In the southwest, the Pirates have almost been eliminated, but the Spanish are reeling and need to repair some of their ships before they take on the English. In the southeast, the Americans have been destroyed by the Spanish Empire, but the Carolina is still relatively safe in the far north after her (very) long expedition. The northeast has seen the Spanish mostly eliminate the Cursed, with the English unable to get into action effectively and unable to inflict much damage when they did (though, it’s the minor faction squadron, not a Royal Navy squadron!). In the far northwest, the San Cristobal is doomed against the Endeavour, but she did her part to ignite the War for CG1. 

4/26/2016

4/25/2016 ship count (this was done before my latest turn)
(Pirates: 2 ships; Americans: 1 ship; Cursed: 3 ships)
Spanish: 111 ships (new record! Previous record: Pirate fleet of 104 ships in my Economy Edition game)
English: 91 ships
Total: 208 ships (new record! Breaks the previous record of 198 ships set a few turns ago)

Also, the game may be at a new peak level of points, though I’m not planning on doing another point count (I may do one when the fleets are smaller). Based on the last point count from 4/17, the average number of points per ship was 17.76. Multiplying this by the 208 ships in play gives an estimated points total of 3,694!

And now, for the “final” past strategies of my fleets, which are now almost irrelevant:

Spanish: Eliminate the Cursed. Eliminate the Pirates. Eliminate the Americans. Prepare for war on England.

Cursed: Survive? LOL

English: Get Lord Thomas Gunn out there. Use Carbon Charlie to give gunships extra cannons. Eliminate the Cursed. Consider declaring war on Spain; possible attacks include the whirlpool southwest of the Spanish HI, or loosing the minor faction squadron and other ships in a surprise strike. Make the 5 masters the true capital ships and go to war!

Now, for the actual events of the latest turn:

The center and western areas are being overrun by English warships! Tension is at an all-time high! The next turn will see the War for CG1 erupt!

The San Cristobal, having recently sunk the Lady Provost, was able to sink the Tiger’s Breath. This hurt the English gold system further, but the Endeavour got revenge by sinking the SC. At the English home island, the Dauntless has been given a fifth and final extra cannon, and it’s possible that Carbon Charlie’s job is finally done, having created around 25 extra cannons for almost as many turns in a row!

The Cursed have been eliminated!

On the Spanish turn, the Spanish battle squadron in the northeast cleaned up, sinking all Cursed ships south of the Cursed HI. On the English turn, the Terror submerged and rammed the last mast off the Tenfold! With that, the Cursed become the second fleet eliminated from the game.

The northeast corner of the sea. I included the deckplate area to give an idea of just how dominant England has been lately – English deckplates have spilled into the ocean and almost completely over the areas formerly occupied by Cursed deckplates! The Tenfold lies derelict in the far north, but something interesting is occurring just to the south. Despite Spain’s declaration of war, neither the Spanish squadron nor the minor faction squadron (controlled by England of course) want to engage in battle just yet. The Spanish are looking to join their comrades in the south, while the English squadron is relatively slow and know the importance of the first strike. In a further irony, both sides are trying to scuttle a captured Cursed ship since they have Eternal, which means the ship would automatically return to their HI, saving a ship a lot of time rather than towing it to the nearest fort. (The once-again-English Executioner is Eternal via Fantasma while the Poor Adams has been captured by the Spanish.)

Speaking of captures, the Spanish have been capturing ships in the hopes of using them to bolster their fleet to take on the English. The USS Morning Star and Mississippi are the latest additions, and both carry some formidable crew that could make them good gunships if repaired in time to help the war effort.

In the meantime, a command has been issued by Admiral Luis Zuan (aboard the Acorazado, the Spanish flagship) to have all able Spanish gunships sail to intercept the English ships before they can reach the Spanish gold runners. Many ships are answering the call, and although the Spanish fleet is still significantly damaged and spread out, they do have a great empire to call on. The Spanish western squadron (which almost managed to eliminate the Pirates) is the closest major squadron available to help, though it’s also the squadron most in need of repairs. Around a dozen ships have been launched from the Puerto Blanco fort over the last 3 or so turns, and they’re headed towards the massive English battle fleet as well. Joining them are a few ships from the center, though the famous Granada has already been sunk by a devastating combo of SAT and Power Cannons utilized by HMS Swallow. The Granada sunk in just the second ship action of this war (the first being the San Cristobal’s whirlpool attack), but she served with distinction throughout the entire game for Spain. She was the ship that fired the first shots of any war during this game, the War on France. After surviving the Battle of the Two Paradises, she accompanied Spanish ships to Pirate waters before returning to the French home island to see them finally eliminated. The Granada fittingly captured the Bonaparte, a ship now serving the Spanish. It’s safe to say the Granada is an MVS (Most Valuable Ship) of CG1.

In terms of maneuvering, both the Spanish and English have been sizing up each other’s cancellers. Both fleets possess 4 total, and it’s well known how much of an asset they can be in battles of any size. 3 of Spain’s 4 cancellers are returning from fighting the Cursed, and the Acorazado and Paso need to repair. The submerged Nautilus carries Christian Fiore, who is returning to Spanish waters from the end of the Pirate war. The English have learned from a past campaign game victory, and appear to be throwing a huge bulk of gunships against the Spanish, while keeping their absolute best 3-5 ships in reserve, at least for the time being. That is a luxury the Spanish cannot afford, for they’ve needed to send every available ship into action to slow the inevitable English onslaught. From the picture it appears that England has the advantage, but Spain’s impressive battle fleet and their ability to launch ships each turn from the nearby fort (El Puerto Blanco) should make this an epic fight. Indeed, it will be the largest war in the history of this great game of Pirates CSG!

4/27/2016

The War for CG1 has erupted!!

The Spanish showed no fear, sailing straight towards the enemy and intending to create a huge traffic jam of ships in battle so that the English would have trouble reaching the Spanish gold runners further to the south. The Lepanto got things started, blasting three masts off HMS Grand Temple. She was quickly followed by other brave Spanish ships, eager to earn glory in the name of the Spanish Empire. The Pescados de Plata and Pamplona were a major help, and the Pamplona almost dismasted the powerful Leicester in one action! The captured Revenant served as a temporary shield and firepower magnet, while more valuable ships such as the Garante and Nautilus formed up behind. Just to the west, the Babieca set the Virtuous Wind ablaze, while the Rosario won a boarding party to kill her helmsman. El Algeciras teamed up with her Diablo flotilla to eliminate three masts, while the Augusta managed to sink the Ajax with help from Roberto Santana’s cannon bonus! The Spanish attack was effective, but they knew the counterattack would be devastating. Indeed, the battle very quickly turned into a chaotic, extremely close-quarters pell mell engagement.

Here’s the wider view of the above picture, showing the far-flung Spanish Empire in full desperation mode. They’re frantically sailing to meet the English, but at the same time, their immense combat experience gained from building their empire in the first place gives them a well-earned confidence.

The last two pictures showed only the Spanish turn; these next two pictures show just the English turn. The counterattack was indeed effective, but not as effective as the English were expecting.

The Algeciras, Diablo, Babieca, Rosario, Revenant, Lepanto, Pamplona, Augusta and Bonaparte (among others I believe) were all either dismasted or sunk, but the derelict Lepanto and Revenant blocked English ships from getting through to more Spanish gunships, which meant the Spanish plan was succeeding on some level here in the early stages of the battle. The Spanish have sent most of their ships northwest to meet the English, but some English ships are even coming from directly north of the Spanish HI. The Kirkwall and King George III teamed up to damage the northern Puerto Blanco and nearly dismast the Trinity. With the Alquimista only another turn away, this is as close any faction has come to hurting Spanish trade since the Pirates’ whirlpool attack using Calypso.

Though the main battle is obviously concentrated in the middle western area, other conflicts threaten to erupt to the east.

The last three pictures show a full round of the most recent Spanish and English turns.

Here’s the absolute hottest part of the fight. The Dunlap and Cygnet have fought through the hordes, but that will expose them to deadly Spanish fire on the next turn. The Dover has been sunk by a combination of 4 smaller Spanish ships, while the Bolingbroke has just dismasted the Cazador del Pirata after the latter sunk HMS London. The Nautilus and Garante will finally enter the fight, and their presence is helping Spanish morale. However, there seems to be no stopping this English flood of ships, though Spain has done a great job slowing it down thus far.

This shows the entire battle area. The English have adapted to their problems by establishing a sort of pincer movement: lots of English ships are sailing almost due east from the area north of the Pirate home island, while plenty of English ships from the north are almost upon the weaker area of the Spanish defences. This puts pressure on the Spanish while also taking attention away from the jam where the battle started, the only place where the Spanish almost have the advantage. Both sides have had some major combat successes, but ironically HMS Success hasn’t been able to hit much of anything with her cannons. At the bottom right, the Spanish pulled off a near-miracle: the Colector del Dia (now with a new captain to fight once again!) and Trinity went 4/4 to dismast the King George III, who was then captured and towed by the Alquimista (a gold runner) and La Cordoba. The Kirkwall has sunk the captured ship to deny the Spanish of using her, but the Trinity also docked at the northern Puerto Blanco to put out her fire mast before it was destroyed by the Greyhound, while some Spanish reinforcements are arriving from the northeast. The Tartessos is finally ready for action again, with Spain showing her might in the form of veteran gunships returning to duty. The Tartessos has been joined in the fog bank by El Profeta, just one of many seldom-heralded Spanish ships that the empire has to call on in this time of great need.

More Spanish ships are coming up from the south, and Spain continues to launch ships every turn from the western Puerto Blanco. The Leon, Corazon del Mar, Duque, and Mercenary submarines Fathom and Devil Ray are the latest launchings. The Estrella de la Manana, a veteran of both the French and Pirate wars, is sailing east to pick up some generic crew after she was almost sunk by the Flying Dutchman in the southwest.

A few interesting things have happened outside of the immense chaos in the center; the English won the scuttle battle by scuttling the Executioner before the Spanish could scuttle the Poor Adams! Far from the main battles lines, each nation’s most impressive ship repairs at their respective forts: El Acorazado and HMS Dreadnought. Each nation also has an extremely dangerous ship unlikely to see action for a while: La Muerta and HMS Endeavour. The greatest ships in action so far have been the Leicester and Grand Temple, with Spain mostly having smaller support gunships available so far. Speaking of the Leicester, she was saved from sinking by a somewhat unsurprising (by this point at least, if you’ve read some other BR’s of campaign games) chain-towing effort involving no less than 6 other English ships.

As the War for CG1 continues, only one nation can claim victory as the ruler of the ocean!

4/30/2016

The battle continued, with two more turns being played. The Spanish counterattack was somewhat successful, but their hope lied in the reinforcements coming from the south and east. Before play resumed Lord Thomas Gunn was able to recruit Commodore David Porter aboard the Carolina (the last remaining American ship and crew) to join the fight against Spain, based on Spain’s past transgressions.

Here’s the whole ocean after the English took their turn. The valuable HMS Titan has temporarily fled northward to repair, as well as to meet up with the other English ships that have the canceller ability (Dreadnought, Endeavour, and Rye). They will be joined by the Gallows and Dauntless to form a sort of “super squadron”, relatively small but extremely powerful. The Spanish have their own makings of that in the east as the Paso and Acorazado finish repairing. In a stunning move, the Swallow used Mycron’s extra action to sink the Santa Isabel with 5 coins aboard! This angered the Spanish, but showed that the English were slowly getting closer and closer to putting a big-time hurt on the Spanish gold system.

After another Spanish turn, English ships such as the St. George, Clear Wind, Burma and Success lie derelict. However, this turn saw very poor shooting on both sides, especially the Spanish. However, they did manage to capture the Swallow, which they need to tow back to their home island. The Garante and others are fighting hard in the west, where a handful of English ships have been sunk, but the English still have a numbers advantage.

This is where the battle stands now, after another English turn. In the west, the Santa Catalina has been sunk, while the Voz de Dios and Manila have one mast left. After dismasting the St. George, the Armada flotilla has been sunk. The Santo Columba has finished repairing, giving the Spanish a capable gunship in the area for the next turn. However, the Villalobos and Asesino are just about out of time for repairs. The Ebro, Antamasia, and Colera are all in the area too, but the flood of English ships is starting to overwhelm the Spanish defences. The Galeon de Gibraltar and Santa Lucia are some of their latest losses, while the Rosal and Garante were very lucky not to have been sunk on the latest turn. Those two ships are the latest in a Spanish effort to block the invading English near where the battle originated. However, this led the English to send a lot of ships southwest around the reefs as well as ships sailing almost due east (and then south) in order to counter. The English have adapted reasonably well, as they seem to have the advantage in the western and center areas of the wide swath of battlefield. The Spanish have held up amazingly well in between those areas, holding off the English (and Grand Temple specifically) for many turns now. In addition, the Spanish have a reasonable advantage in the eastern reaches of the battle, which is more evident from the final picture.

Two and a half months into a giant campaign game. The Spanish and English continue to launch ships from their upgraded forts every single turn, which will keep the battle going for a while. However, Spain needs to focus more of her efforts to the west, because the Castillo (the main launching point right now) will fall once the English break free of the remaining Spanish ships. The Spanish now control almost all of the Mercenary submarines, while the English have launched almost all of their 3 masted ships. As expected, Spain has a repairing problem right now, as many ships repair at their two forts in the far east. Along with those ships, a handful of other gunships are joining part of the northeastern squadron after returning from the far east. Three gunships make their way around the south side of their HI. Between all of these forces, Spain still has a reasonable chance of victory, especially if they can capitalize on their launch point at the fort upgrade. For the existing ships, it’s mostly a question of whether they’ll get there in time or not (which depends on how effective the newer ships are at holding the lines of defence). I’m somewhat surprised by how the battle has gone so far, especially with Spain holding out extremely well where the action is still the hottest (near the Garante and Grand Temple). Spain has adopted a new strategy of leaving most derelict ships where they are, whether friend or foe. This forces England to tow some of their ships (though plenty have been sunk) and sink all Spanish derelicts, slowing their advance. However, the English gunships are really starting to break through to the west and north. It’s been reasonably complex thus far, especially with the maneuvering!

5/1/2016

After another Spanish turn, many more English ships lay derelict or at the bottom of the sea. HMS Richards was one of the latest sinkings, while the English approach from the west suffered heavy damage.

This next picture shows the next English and then Spanish turns. The English counterattack saw them sink the Rosal and Garante, slowly opening the gate for English ships to finally cross through past the area where the battle started. The English finally made the decision to try and scuttle some of their derelicts, simply to get them out of the way of their healthier ships. The Matthias Vospero and La Furia desperately try to re-close the gap at the upper left. To the far left, you can see the English struggling despite having a numbers advantage, but that numbers advantage is about to be almost negated by the new Spanish ships in the area. Three new Mercenary gunships, the (finally-ready-for-battle-once-again) Estrella de la Manana, Asgard, Sahara, and fully repaired Asesino are coming. This gives the Spanish a much-needed presence in the west. Once again, the momentum of each small area of the battle shifts. The English looked to have the advantage in the west and not so much near the Garante, but now it’s the opposite. The strong Spanish counterattack and the influx of new ships has solidified the Spanish western position, but now the English have broke free slightly to the northeast, allowing 4-6 gunships that are fresh to sail through. It’s very exciting! In addition, the Minnow is giving the English problems, while the Tasmanian Devil is fully repaired at the Castillo.

Towards the right-center, the Neptuno suffered a disastrous shoot action on the Lord Kettering, going 0/5 and setting herself alight with her own fire shot! Luckily for her the San Gabriel, Reconquistador, and Proud Tortoise bailed her out. Before that happened, the Gibraltar flotilla was destroyed by the Algeciras, while the Santa Ana dismasted the Nautilus (English schooner, not Spanish/Mercenary sub) after the Nautilus dismasted the Cordoba. The Grand Dynasty barely hit anything on the English turn, and was then pulverized by three small Spanish gunships. The Bazana has managed to dismast the Ivory Star by herself and ram a mast off the Nubian Prince. At the upper right, the Black Lotus surprised the minor faction squadron’s Vikings by turning to starboard and firing a full broadside! Two shots landed, setting the Hrunting on fire. The Sea Hag appears to be safe towing the Swallow home, while Spanish ships are almost done repairing at El Puerto Blanco (lower right).

And finally, the latest English turn. Inevitably, the Santo Columba, Villalobos, Matthias Vospero and Manila all sunk. Somehow the Ebro and Antamasia survived the English onslaught – though the English did have poor luck this turn. In addition, the aggressive English have put themselves in a position to be devastated in the western reaches of the battle on the next Spanish turn. The Cuervo and Corazon del Mar also sunk at the hands of the English, who are eagerly sailing south between that fog bank and the island the Spanish fort was on. Only a few subs and potentially the Tasmanian Devil and the newly launched Gallows stand in the way of England’s warships reaching Spain’s gold runners. The Pacificum received an extra action from Lord Mycron to sail further south and damage the Santa Ana. The English didn’t get either of their admiral crew this turn, but those two and Lord Mycron have definitely provided a somewhat significant advantage during the battle. England usually gets one of the admiral crew each turn because of the rerolls for them, which combined with Mycron allows them to get two extra actions to any gunships anywhere in the fleet.

The Lord Kettering, Nubian Prince, and Divine Dragon all did minimal damage to the Spanish, although the Hephaestus surfaced to cripple the Black Lotus. The hired Vikings didn’t do too well for the English, with the Hrunting’s fire spreading and the Huginn’s captain being cancelled by Nemesio Diaz aboard El Acorazado.

The entire ocean, which shows 79 ships in the Spanish fleet and 90 for the English. This means the numbers have shifted a bit, but the English have many derelicts among those 90 still afloat. Notice the relatively full English deckplate area compared to the once-grand Spanish area in the southeast, which now has many holes and chunks missing. The numbers haven’t gone down a significant amount, mostly because each faction launches at least one gunship per turn, and usually they can launch 2, 3, or 4. However, this will only last so long, because the current gold pile is running out. At less than 100 total coins, once the gold runs out, there will be no more replenishments! The end of the game is still a long way off, but it is approaching.

5/2/2016

Somehow I managed to play three turns today.

As expected, the Spanish hit the English hard in the westernmost part of the battle, with the Asesino de la Nave leading the charge. Slightly to the north, the Estrella de la Manana got back into action with a vengeance, dismasting one ship and setting fire to the Alexandria. She’s now participated in each of the major Spanish wars – against the French, Pirates and English. The submerged Mercenary submarines lied in wait for the English, while the Spanish launched three new Corsair privateer ships from the Castillo. The Tasmanian Devil and Neptuno engaged the Pacificum (middle of the picture), while the Santa Ana towed the Cordoba home. To the east, the Lord Kettering and Grand Dynasty were sunk, which boosted Spanish morale. The growing Spanish eastern squadron sank the Huginn and Hrunting, while the Hephaestus would soon meet a similar fate.

The following English turn saw them sink the Asesino and other Spaniards such as the Trinidad and Ebro. In addition, the English had a morale boost of their own, when the Pacificum managed to sail south towards the Spanish gold system (bottom right). Her attack on the Concepcion failed, but the point was made, similar to when the Swallow sank the Santa Isabel. However, the English were still struggling mightily in the west and northwest areas of the battle to fight through the horde of derelicts, belonging to both them and Spain. After the Minnow was sunk, HMS Morning Star surged through and used Professor Clive Defoe and Mycron’s extra action to sink both the Brave Selkirk and Barracuda! This took out two of Spain’s valuable submarines, and the Spanish were foolish to let them get so close to the Morning Star. The Victoria set the Tasmanian Devil aflame, while the Lord Lineton damaged the Neptuno. The Lord Algernon re-established an English presence in the eastern reaches of the battle, taking out La Reconquistador.

The rest of the ocean lies relatively dormant, save for the Spanish and English gold runners hurrying to fund their respective war efforts. It’s worth noting that England sent some of their larger gold runners (Interceptor, Metal Dragon, King Edward, Galapagos, and others) off to war, making the Spanish gold system seem more superior of late. However, with the gold replenishment pile running out, it may not matter, which could give England an advantage.

Another Spanish turn, and more devastation. The Estrella dismasted the Halcyon, while HMS Morning Star, Victoria, and Lord Algernon all took major damage. The Spanish have done surprisingly well using a lot of smaller but still effective gunships. The battle has turned into a stalemate, with both sides losing many ships and crew each turn. At the upper right, notice the powerful Spanish eastern squadron slowly assembling; El Acorazado cancelled the Terror to the surface and teamed with the Black Lotus to dismast the submarine. At the bottom, the Concepcion has dismasted the Pacificum to end that threat, while the Hrothgar and Slipstream are the latest Spanish launchings.

The English strike back, sinking the Antamasia, Bashaw Folly, Fathom, Reconquistador, and Toro. In addition, they rolled well for scuttling their own ships, which meant more ships would sink on the next turn. The Goliath slammed into the Estrella and set her on fire, pitting the two 5 masters against one another. At the top of the picture the English super squadron is assembling, with the intent to strike its Spanish counterpart. At the very top right, the Carolina has captured the Poor Adams (a ship the Spanish failed to scuttle), giving the Americans two ships overall.

The Spanish once again prove themselves! In a huge blow to the English attack, the Shetland and Goliath both sank! The Shetland carried 5 extra cannons from Carbon Charlie, while the Goliath was carrying shot equipment and was one of the main English ships in the northwest area of the battle. The Victoria and HMS Nautilus were sunk, while HMS Morning Star was knocked down to one mast. The Spanish continued to push the envelope, and miraculously they’ve taken control of the central/northern area of the battle! Things are also going better than expected in the west, and the east is predictably Spanish-dominated. The Lord Algernon is derelict, but the King Edward threatens to invade Spanish waters. However, the Spanish seem as prepared to take on any challenge as they have been since the battle began. The momentum naturally shifts each turn with the fast and furious broadsides, but the overall momentum shifted in Spain’s favor today. The experience many of their ships gained building the empire is serving them well against English crews with less experience. The Clear Wind and Silent Death are the latest launchings at the Castillo, while ships like the Castigue, Tepant, USS Morning Star (the latter two captured of course), and San Estaban look to finally enter the fray.

No less than 6 English derelicts were scuttled at the beginning of their turn, and that was followed by the English sinking numerous Spanish ships, which meant a large clearing-out in the western area of the battle. The Guy Fawkes finished off the Estrella, while the Belle of Exeter bombarded the western Castillo at the bottom left of the frame. The battle in the west is much more clear now, with 7 or 8 English gunships now free to sail towards the Spanish and not be bogged down by a dozen derelicts in the way. Spain only has about 4 privateer ships to match England’s strength in the western area, but more ships are on the way. The middle area has indeed been retaken by the Spanish, but HMS Gargantuan may cause some havoc before the Spanish can send some of those central ships to the west and northeast. At the upper right, the English made a wise decision not to send the King Edward south into more Spanish waters, instead turning around to dismast the Napolitana and temporarily save the Lord Algernon. Since the beginning of the battle, England has put a priority on hurting Spanish trade, but this has led to them being overly aggressive and not taking full advantage of their numerical superiority (which is dwindling or non-existent in the main areas of the battle).

This shows the entire ocean; once again notice the numerous holes appearing in the deckplate areas at the top and bottom of the frame. The Pirates are trying to get some gold with the Mobilis and Grand River, while the Carolina has let the Poor Adams repair with the abandoned shipwright given to her by the English.

There are around 65 Spanish ships afloat, compared to about 74 in the English fleet. This is without a doubt the biggest battle I’ve ever seen in a campaign game, and also one of the closest. At the middle left of the picture, 8-10 new English gunships (mostly 2 masters) are making their way to the battle from their launch point at Ramsgate. The Spanish have enjoyed their closer launch point at the Castillo del Infanta, which the English have not been able to reach, let alone destroy. Also, notice the massing of the two super squadrons, with the English near the former French HI and the Spanish assembling just to the southeast, where the Terror and Nubian Prince were recently sunk. With a giant (but diminishing in size) stalemate occupying the main battle fleets in the center of the ocean, it’s entirely possible that the battle between these powerful squadrons could decide the victor of the war, and by extension, CG1 itself! However, it’s also a possibility that the squadrons nearly cancel each other out (literally in some cases!) and the war of attrition leads to a very narrow victory for one of the two factions. Now that I think about it, it’s also possible that the gold runners of each faction would meet in a desperate struggle, with most actual gunships already sunk!

5/6/2016

With the game size diminishing as the end approaches, I was able to play 4 turns today! More will follow in the next few days as the pace of play increases due to faster turns.

This first picture shows the first full turn of the day in the battle area. The Spanish inflicted good damage, but England crushed both of her 3 masted longships and used the Gargantuan to devastate some of the smaller ships east of that fog bank in the middle. At this point in the battle, so many ships are being sunk or dismasted on every turn that it’s hard to keep track of. However, perhaps the most unique development on this turn concerned the “super squadrons”; Spain turned hers north in an attempt to lure the English squadron away from the Spanish home island and the battle they were continuing to very slowly lose, but the English were too smart for that. They still wanted to get to the Spanish gold system, which they knew would quickly end the war with an English victory. Turning their gunships south, England gave Spain no choice but to do the same, or risk losing everything while the Spanish squadron was unable to defend her home waters.

The next Spanish turn, where they barely have enough ships in the area to fight back. The dismasted Meropis and two 4 masted galleys have taken up the blocking duty in the now-infamous area northwest of the Castillo, but the Spanish are being exhausted by the war effort. On the bright side, they managed to finally dismast the Grand Temple, while the Nautilus rammed a mast off the Lord Cauldwell while submerged. They also took in 72 gold this turn, which was one of their highest totals in quite some time. They used it to launch 4 new gunships at the Castillo, while the super squadron turned around to take care of the King Edward and Executioner.

The next English turn saw the Prince of Chichester use her regular action to destroy the final armaments on the western Castillo, and then use an admiral’s action (AA) to dismast the Castigue. The English weren’t lucky this turn, but they were inching closer and closer to the Spanish home island.

With all the empty swaths of sea and many deckplates noticeably missing from the English and Spanish fleets, it’s obvious that the end of the game isn’t far off. Some Spanish gold runners have transferred to the eastern side of their home island, partly due to fear of English invasion from the northwest and partly because the gold system to and from the Castillo island has been more than adequate. At the middle left, notice the steady supply of English support gunships sailing southeast from Ramsgate, which will continue to put pressure on the Spanish defenders.

A turn later, and the western Castillo has been destroyed! However, the Prince of Chichester was captured. The gaps are about to be plugged by the Spanish once again, but notice the wide open lanes available to the English, on either side of the fog bank the Nautilus has ducked into. The Nautilus is desperately trying to reach the Spanish super squadron to give them 4 cancellers in the area, which would match the 4 cancellers in the English super squadron. Also note how densely packed each super squadron is, in anticipation of the epic face-off. At the lower left, the Castigue sees a rarity: using a sac action to repair twice! (before the fort was destroyed)

Xerecs was able to catch up on his turns, and the Americans (Carolina and captured Poor Adams) now sail with England against Spain! The Grand River gave the Pirates a coin, while the Mobilis will soon transfer another.

The next picture shows the following Spanish turn and part of the next English turn. The Spanish fought well once again, doing damage and creating annoying blocks for the English to deal with. With the average English gunship decreasing in size now that most of the bigger ships have been sunk, the battle in the western area is mostly even, though the English continue to gain ground very slowly. At the far left, the Castigue sailed out to battle the Nova Scotia, but her gunners failed her and the English have won that battle. In a scene usually only reserved for games this large, the English have two of their rowing ships towing two derelicts, while a fifth dismasted ship (the Iron Prince) follows (upper left areas).

The Nautilus managed to escape from the fog bank at the perfect location, joining up with the Spanish super squadron at last. At the top of the frame, the Matador used a suicide run to ram and dismast the Rye, one of the four English cancellers. This greatly angered the English, who decided to go all out and not hesitate any longer. The Spanish were still playing a bit smarter, with their experience in previous wars proving to be a key reason they’ve done so well against a mostly superior force. The Spanish had 3 of their lesser ships form a line to protect the Spanish super squadron, while the captured Swallow got an SAT to join the area as well. The Titan has started this important engagement, and she’s about to dismast all three of those ships with an extra action!

The Titan was followed by the rest of the English super squadron, who took part of the Spanish bait. The Spanish had the English where they wanted them, but the English were too smart to sink the line of defense, since it would open the English up to a more devastating Spanish attack on the next turn. Now, Spain will either linger behind her own derelicts or have to tow them out of the way to get a good line of fire. The repaired Leicester has gotten Myngs’ SAT almost every turn since leaving the English HI, allowing her to quickly return to action and join the English super squadron to reinforce it. The Spanish have reinforced their own squadron, with some support gunships joining the main force of the Acorazado, Muerta, Nautilus, Alma, Paso, Cristal del Obispo, and captured USS Morning Star. The additions make for a potentially even fight, especially considering that the Swallow now fights for Spain. She and the Dreadnought have extra cannons from Carbon Charlie, though the Dreadnought is far more dangerous. Both sides carry a ship with the Metal Hull UT (the Dreadnought and Muerta) as well, not to mention how similar the Endeavour and Muerta are. This combined with 4 cancellers and multiple extra action crew on each side make for a truly memorable and historic fight. Though I control both sides, the assembling of each super squadron and now their final battle has been a very natural progression. The arms race of cancellers and capital ships will finally explode, with the victor possibly having enough left in the tank to go on to win the game.

Spanish: 58 ships
English: 61 ships

The current state of CG1; note that in the upper left corner, there is no gold pile. With the latest replenishment, the gold has finally run out. There will be no more replenishments, which means that all the gold in the game is the only gold left. This may seem like trying to trigger an endgame, but between the relative stalemate with the War for CG1 and the final climax about to occur, it feels very natural for this to be the final replenishment. Spain and England have been on mostly equal terms for a long while now, so denying them both gold will reveal which nation is truly the ruler of the sea!

5/7/2016

Two turns have been played so far today, and more will be played very soon! The Spanish grouped a lot of ships behind their line and called upon gold runners to help block the English.

The English are fed up with the Spanish hiding behind their own derelicts, so the Titan sinks some of them! The Rye captured the Tasmanian Devil, while HMS Gallows managed to avoid Christian Fiore on the submerged Nautilus and dismast the San Pedro and captured USS Morning Star. Knowing the logjam would prevent them from entering the battle in the east so early on, the Dauntless and Leicester sailed west to help out the English ships in that area. The attack was devastating, and now only a few brand-new launches stand in England’s way of finally bombarding the Castillo del Infanta.

And with that, the chaos began to erupt! The extremely dense area just north of the Castillo became convoluted, with many ships engaging. The Cristal del Obispo sank the Gallows, while the Titan was swarmed. The Morning Star was towed out of harm’s way, with the Cristal taking her place to block the English from the Spanish cancellers. The Spanish were finally satisfied with their positioning.

The English strike back! The Titan and Dauntless teamed up to sink at least three Spanish ships, and the Dauntless managed to hit the Muerta (with some help from Carbon Charlie’s extra cannons) to eliminate her Metal Hull and damage one of Spain’s biggest assets! The Leicester and Diamond teamed up to sink the Grand Wind and Terror of Gibraltar, while at the top of the frame the Apollo has sunk the Black Lotus. In a huge move, the Dreadnought entered the fray! The Spanish immediately cancelled her canceller, captain, world hater and Marine abilities, but with an admiral’s action she was able to dismast the Cristal. The Spanish focused their attention too much on the Dreadnought, for they should have saved Fiore’s cancelling for the Dauntless. However, Spain will now have the opportunity to attack, which they’ll do with a vengeance.

Notice how the battle has very slowly shifted towards the Castillo, and by extension, the Spanish home island. The most recent turn saw Spain launch 2 new gunships, with England launching 5.

5/8/2016

A rather complex turn was played just now. Going into the turn, both the English and Spanish had 4 cancellers each, all in the same area. The Spanish were looking to establish a cancelling advantage in order to gain some momentum in the battle. The San Estaban only had one cannon in range of the Rye, but it hit! This sunk the Rye and decreased the English canceller count to 3. Then, the damaged Muerta dismasted the Dauntless by going 4/4 with her powerful ability. Diego Cesar Olano, aboard the submerged Slipstream, delivered a successful shot against the Dauntless, sinking the powerful Englishman. The Slipstream then went underwater beneath the Endeavour and with the help of a trade current rammed the Endeavour, doing no damage. The submerged Nautilus rammed the Titan, also doing no damage. Fiore and Bratley cancelled each other out. Aboard the Dreadnought and Acorazado, Anson and Diaz cancelled each other out. The Paso and Lawrence (aboard the Endeavour) cancelled each other out. The Acorazado had towed the derelict Cristal out of the way, while the USS Morning Star rolled successfully to scuttle herself home with Gus Schultz’s Eternal. The Spanish were finally ready to put their biggest prize, HMS Swallow, into action. With no English canceller available to cancel the Swallow’s captain, she surged forward into the gap created by the sinking of the Dauntless. With the cannons the English themselves created via Carbon Charlie, the Swallow got one 6 in 5 tries to eliminate the Dreadnought’s Metal Hull UT, which meant that she could now be hit normally on non-6’s. The Swallow then landed a few more hits on the Dreadnought (bringing her down to 2 masts) before also landing a hit on the Titan. The Principe de Asturias now moved into the gap the Cristal used to occupy, hitting 2/4 to dismast the Dreadnought. Then, in a stunning move, the Alma (Spain’s fourth canceller) moved in unopposed on the Dreadnought’s larboard quarter and cancelled George Anson’s Eternal ability, and then sank the Dreadnought with a hit!! The English were not expecting the Dreadnought to be sunk so soon, and it was a huge blow to English morale while boosting the spirits of the Spanish. The Spanish had taken advantage of their new 4-3 upper hand in the cancelling game, which they leveraged to sink the Dreadnought and further their advantage to 4-2. Also, the Sea Hag has hopped out of a fog bank to unsuccessfully ram the Endeavour.

At the top right of the frame, the Americans have gotten too close to the Spanish, so the Corazon Dorado set the Poor Adams alight with exploding shot and scored an additional hit just for good measure. The East Wind moved into a position to intercept the Carolina, while also making sure the captured USS Morning Star wasn’t captured before she could be scuttled. At the lower left, the Tepant has hit 1/2 against the Nova Scotia. The newly launched Typhoon and Duncan got into action, with the Typhoon ramming a mast off the Leicester and the Duncan dismasting the Diamond. The Castillo del Infanta’s guns boomed, and the Diamond was sunk.

As expected, the English turn saw more craziness. They started with the Nova Scotia dismasting the Tepant and the Apollo (schooner) dismasting the Duncan. Then Lord Thomas Gunn (aboard the flagship HMS Endeavour) had some major decisions to make. The Titan got an extra action, which she used to sink HMS Swallow (!) and damage the Sea Hag. Then it was the Endeavour’s turn. With the Dreadnought gone, only two English cancellers remained in play, and Bratley (aboard the Titan) and Fiore had once again cancelled each other out. However, due to the Acorazado towing the Cristal on the previous Spanish turn, the Endeavour would be able to maneuver to hit the Paso and Alma while staying out of Diaz’s range. This is exactly what she did. As a result, the Spanish essentially had a 3-2 canceller advantage on this specific English turn since Diaz wasn’t able to help out. Knowing the Endeavour could sink almost anything in range even without moving (between her ability and an extra action from Lord Mycron), the Alma cancelled the Endeavour’s ability rather than Lord Gunn’s captain ability (after Lawrence and El Paso cancelled each other out, of course). This gave the Endeavour room to move (but not too far east, which would put her in range of Diaz on the Acorazado), but with less overall firepower. The English did give her an extra action via Mycron, and the Endeavour rammed the Paso. Her first shoot action sank the Alma! However, the ram failed, meaning that all three of her guns that were in range of the Paso had to hit in order to sink the Spanish canceller. Unsurprisingly, the great leader Lord Gunn rallied his crew, and with his help they sank the Paso!! This meant that each fleet now had two cancellers at their disposal, with all 4 of them being crew (Diaz and Fiore for the Spanish and Lawrence and Bratley for the English). In other news, the Leicester dismasted the Typhoon, while HMS Apollo sank the Corazon Dorado to the north and damaged the East Wind. The English are still trying to be careful with Lord Cutler Beckett aboard the Apollo, since losing him means the loss of an important admiral crew. As much as England would love to win this battle of capital ships and cancellers, the overall war effort is still more important than this phase of the battle, though they were tempted to have the Apollo come to the Endeavour’s immediate aid.

Though this turn saw the Spanish mostly victorious, England managed to correct a brief canceller deficit, while many English support gunships continue to arrive from Ramsgate. More are also on their way from the English home island, with former gold runners like the Growler, Lord Kenyon, and Empress of India having picked up captains to help the war effort now that the gold has run out. In addition, ships like the Zephyr, Forge, Grand Temple, and Burma will be ready for action once more rather soon. These ships, as well as a few others that haven’t reached the English forts, were salvaged by the English with their flood of ships that began the battle. It seems to be a smart move, as the Spanish had no way to sink the derelicts at the time, and now the war of attrition has lasted longer than the English anticipated. The Spanish home island is looking strangely empty, with a state of emergency forcing the gold runners to sail to more distant islands to get any gold. Some gold runners have sailed to join the Spanish battle fleet, but it’s unlikely they’ll make much of a difference.

5/8/2016

Two turns so far today, with hopefully at least two more coming soon!

With each pair of cancellers cancelling each other out, the Spanish had a great opportunity to damage the English. They did just that, dismasting the Titan and sinking the Endeavour!! The Endeavour had been the English flagship since they launched her, and she went down with Lord Thomas Gunn aboard (the English admiral). Obviously a huge blow to English morale, the elimination of these two ships from the battle essentially meant that the Spanish had won the battle of the capital ships! Spain’s maneuvering and support ships played important roles, but they were also helped by the fragility of HMS Rye, the first English canceller eliminated. La Muerta also managed to sink the Leicester with an extra action, while some native canoes moved to form a screen against the incoming English gunships from the northwest. The captured USS Morning Star successfully returned home via Eternal. The Poor Adams damaged the East Wind before the privateer engaged the Carolina, who had sunk the captured Metal Dragon. At the right of the frame, the Espada de Dios is the first Spanish ship to reach an island outside of their 4-island comfort zone, all of which are now empty. Native canoes assist her, while others are looking to sail farther north towards former Cursed waters in the northeast.

The English turn saw them try to rescue the Titan, as her oarsman ability had been cancelled (thus not allowing her to move away at 4S with an extra action and helmsman). The canoe screen was eliminated, and the Muerta and Typhoon were predictably sunk. As the Acorazado was still healthy and Spain appeared to be winning the battle for once, the loss of the Muerta didn’t affect Spanish morale. At the bottom of the picture, the Academia was finally damaged, while the English captured the Tepant and recaptured the Prince of Chichester. At the top, notice HMS Apollo fleeing the area, for she is no match for the Acorazado and Beckett knows the importance of his admiral ability.

The next Spanish turn was similar to the last: a huge success and an absolute shock to the English! The Gibraltar and Titan were sunk, while no less than 5 other English gunships were dismasted! The Spanish navigators placed trade currents to the north, which the Slipstream and San Estaban quickly took advantage of. The Slipstream surfaced and teamed with the Estaban to dismast the Apollo, while Beckett thought he could escape in time! For the final clincher, the Acorazado got Castro’s SAT to move 5S and sink the Apollo, the last true English flagship!! This and the attack on the western front left the English in complete disarray. William Dampier, the new English admiral aboard the repairing Grand Temple, ordered a partial ceasefire for English gunships – the English gunships already upon the battle would continue to fight, but the ones still headed towards the battle would wait and regroup. The Spanish have won the “first” battle of the War for CG1, though they were losing for quite a while and it took them ages to get to this point of having a slight advantage. The English are now looking to regroup their new support gunships and have them join the older and larger gunships that are currently repairing. If England can combine these forces successfully, they will still have a formidable (and superior) battle fleet. However, Spain’s 2-0 canceller advantage and the sheer defenses of El Acorazado (essentially immune to anything smaller than 3 masts except for ramming) gives Spain two superweapons they’ll need to be careful with. At the upper right, the Poor Adams destroyed a canoe before being dismasted by the Santa Ana, who also hit the Carolina after the Carolina dismasted the East Wind. At this point, the privateer nations have been almost completely drained – the Scorpion and Pasha’s Delight are the best launchings Spain could muster near the end of this long game.

The dejected English managed some small offense on their turn, dismasting the Cordoba, Principe, and San Leandro. The Templar sank the derelict Ventura, but these English ships were doomed as a result of the recent order for fresh gunships to stop their approach to the battle area.

At the center left, notice the grouping of small English support gunships assembling between the wild island and reefs, the exact location where the battle began. They will wait for the larger ships to repair and join them, as England wants to mount one final assault with her entire battle fleet to crush the Spanish once and for all. The most important question might be what Spain can do in the meantime. At the top and right sides of the frame, the remaining gold runners for the two fleets race towards the northeast area, which is still rich with gold from past replenishments. A few gold runners head towards the southwest, where the Pirates are still lurking. How amusing it would be if the deserted areas of the sea now held the keys to victory!

5/9/2016

4 more turns have been played, for a whopping 6 in just a day’s action. The game size is diminishing, which dramatically speeds up turns.

The Spanish continued to pound the remaining English ships. By far the most interesting development of their turn was a sort of collaboration between them and the English. The English didn’t have any cancellers left, while the Pirates still possessed the Mobilis, a submarine that has cancelling built in, therefore needing two cancellers to take out. The English agreed to hold off their newest battle squadron until the Acorazado and Nautilus (with Spain’s two cancellers aboard) were able to eliminate the Mobilis from the game.

The English barely managed any offense with their remaining gunships, while the Acorazado continued sailing southwest toward Pirate waters. At the top right, the Americans are about to be eliminated. Commodore David Porter died a hero, leading a losing boarding party to the Santa Ana. He instructed his crew not to give up the ship, and they scuttled the Carolina rather than seeing her captured by the enemy. And so goes one of the most noble ships of CG1, a journey which will be reflected upon in a post once the game ends.

The English have scuttled a few more ships, while in the northwest, her most formidable gunships finish repairing and prepare to go to war against Spain once more.

Sensing that the English would betray them and attack regardless, the Acorazado and Slipstream turned around and headed northeast! This ended the extremely brief and tense collaboration between the Spanish and English. The Spanish were thinking that as long as the English feared the Pirates’ long-term game, Spain should keep them alive if the Acorazado and Nautilus could also be kept around. The latter isn’t all that difficult, for the Acorazado and Nautilus are almost untouchable at this late stage of the game, with plenty of open ocean and very few capital ships. The Spanish split up the impromptu Acorazado squadron, with the San Estaban sailing south to sink the Templar and the Nautilus following her to dismast the Nova Scotia. The Spanish gold runners were nearing wild islands, while other Spanish ships began efforts to return some derelicts to action. These included the Tepant, Poor Adams, Cristal del Obispo, Munchhausen, and San Leandro. With the capturing of the Poor Adams, the Americans have been eliminated!

With the Spanish breaking their word regarding the sinking of the Mobilis, the English charged in a rage. The squadron of small support gunships sailed directly at the Spanish, who weren’t prepared for another fleet engagement just yet. The Growler received an extra action from Mycron to shoot at the closest Spaniards, but missed. In the northeast, the San Jose is the first ship to reach a former Cursed wild island, but more ships will soon join her. All three remaining home islands are as desolate as they’ve been in months.

The flagship of the Spanish fleet, El Acorazado, now appears to have a new mission: sinking English ships that don’t have support around them. The Acorazado and Slipstream sped north, with the Acorazado easily sinking the newly-repaired Zephyr with a double action. The Nautilus has abruptly left the scene of battle in the south to join them. The Pasha’s Delight sacrificed herself to delay the English onslaught, while the San Estaban went 3/3 to dismast the Growler. Notice the Sea Hag ducking into a fog bank near the middle of the picture. The English have a secret plan to eliminate Lord Mycron – he sits aboard the Patagonia, a ship that has been docked for almost the entire game on the northwestern side of the English home island. Due to the circumstances where gold runners have sailed far from home in search of elusive treasure, the home islands have been left nearly vacant. The Sea Hag intends to pop out of the fog northwest of the English home island and catch the slow Patagonia, winning a boarding party to eliminate the powerful Lord Mycron (if Robinson died instead, Mycron would have to get tossed because of the ship’s point limit). However, Commodore Owen (aboard the 3 masted HMS Durham and the only remaining admiral crew left in the entire game after Beckett drowned in the sinking of the Apollo) is smart, and remembers how vulnerable Mycron could be to an attempt on his life. The Spanish ended their turn by launching two of my custom Mercenary ships and one from Cadet Captain Mike, the Pelayo.

After the only true lull in the War for CG1 subsides, the second and much smaller battle is about to begin.

Conflicts between gold runners may break out in the northeast, while the Acorazado looks to prey upon weaker English ships.

5/10/2016

2 more turns have been played! The San Estaban attacked first, and another melee began! The English line abreast formation broke up, and chaos ensued once more. The Saragoza, one of Spain’s original ships from the start of the game, re-explored that island to allow the native canoes to load gold.

At the upper left, the Sea Hag has emerged from the fog for an assassination attempt on Lord Mycron! However, the Durham is there to save him. Once again, the Spanish have been hit with Celestine’s Charts, eliminating all of their trade currents. At the lower left, the Grand River has dismasted the Sea Crane, who sailed too close to the Pirates. I believe this is the first act of hostility between the English and Pirates. At the upper right, the Bahama and Edinburgh Trader have reached a contested island in the northeast, but the Bahama will explore first.

More fighting in the battle area, and once again the Spanish are more effective than the English, who once again couldn’t take advantage of their numerical superiority. The long-awaited Resolucion has finally been launched, and she sinks the Moor Hound.

The English score some hits on their turn, most importantly the Empress of India going 3/3 with an extra action from Mycron to nearly dismast the Resolucion.

This last picture shows a rarity: a new Pirate ship! The Grand River returned home enough gold for the Pirates to launch the DJC Harbinger, and Blackbeard finally had a ship! (Blackbeard was hired long ago but the Spanish obliterated most of the Pirate fleet before he could participate.) However, the Pirate fort built by the Grand River south of their home island is under siege by Le Favori, a former French and Spanish gold runner now looking to destroy the fort. She can’t be hit by L range guns, so she can bombard the fort at her leisure. At the upper right, the Trepassey and Joya del Sol are racing to the former Cursed home island, which now holds untouched gold. In the upper center, the Acorazado hunts. The Antelope is her latest prey, though the little ship isn’t carrying any gold. In fact, the Antelope decided to go down fighting rather than run, nearly winning a boarding party if not for Vaccaro’s reroll! The English are wary of the Battleship’s power, and have launched the Bilge to add to their gunships in the area. The Bilge is looking to team up with the Merlin, Saint James, and Ivory Star (what a random group of ships!) to form a sort of “anti-Acorazado squadron”, to give English gold runners in the far east a chance of making it home safely. Their task is complicated by the Slipstream and Nautilus, dangerous subs who act as the Acorazado’s bodyguards.

Ship count:
Pirates: 3 ships
Spanish: 39 ships
English: 37 ships

I have to admit, I’m really enjoying the final phase of this game. Deciding on a final replenishment was a great idea, because not only does it speed up the endgame, it also makes for exciting and unique gameplay. Both fleets are sending gold runners far outside their home waters, with ships sailing all over the map in a frantic race to claim the last coins in existence. The main battle in the War for CG1 rages in its usual south-central location, but the potential star of the show (El Acorazado) has left on a mission of her own. After the English have mostly finished repairing, it’s now Spain’s turn to repair some of her damaged gunships, among them the Cristal, Poor Adams, and Tepant. All the while the Pirates continue to make progress, quietly eager to slip under the radar into a finish better than 3rd place….

5/10/2016

Three turns have been played so far today, with more coming a bit later. Xerecs’ Pirates are two turns behind now, which is why they look dormant here.

At the top left, the Sea Hag has turned her attention away from Lord Mycron (now protected by the Durham) to the Goodfellow, a ship carrying 4 now-rare gold coins. In the far north, the Acorazado has been unsuccessfully rammed by both the Pandora’s Box and Maui’s Fishhook, and for that the fates of those two ships are sealed. Olano (a marine aboard the Slipstream slightly to the south) missed the Antelope, but her days (or turns!) were numbered as well. The Spanish were really struggling in the southern battle, where the Mourning Star has been dismasted. HMS Forge has eliminated a canoe and will soon eliminate the others carrying gold. An even greater threat, HMS Grand Temple, has finally arrived after being dismasted in the heat of the first battle.

After another English turn, the Pelayo and Shadow’s Death have sunk. At the right of the frame, Spain’s last hopes for winning the battle lie in the captured USS Morning Star, La Academia, and the Castillo del Infanta.

Developments in the north: the anti-Acorazado squadron is poised to strike, the Joya del Sol beats HMS Trepassey to the former Cursed HI, and the Goodfellow slips past the slow Sea Hag.

The Acorazado gets her SAT, and strikes first! The first action sank the Maui’s Fishhook, while the second crippled the small squadron. Luis Zuan actually spread out his firepower here, because with the Acorazado’s defenses, he only needed to knock each ship down to 2 masts or less to prevent any shots from damaging the flagship. The Nautilus and Slipstream helped out, and the English squadron was already doomed. At the bottom, the Edinburgh Trader is carrying gold to the English home island, while some Spanish canoes are looking for gold at the right.

At long last, English victory in the south! The Burma sank the Saragoza, while the Grand Temple sank other Spaniards and captured the USS Morning Star, hoping to gain her help by scuttling her with Eternal Gus Schultz aboard, much like the Spanish did earlier. The Forge used a double action to take out all of the Castillo’s guns, and now La Academia is the only thing preventing the English from getting to the Spanish home island! Unsurprisingly, England’s larger ships (GT, Forge, and Burma) tipped the battle in their favor, though both sides were very inaccurate in their gunnery today from sheer exhaustion.

Clockwise from the upper left: The Durham brings the Sea Hag down to one mast while the Goodfellow docks. The anti-Acorazado squadron surrounds the Spanish flagship, but all three rams (and boarding parties) fail and two captains are cancelled. The Trepassey sets off in hot pursuit of the Joya del Sol and her “stolen” loot, but it’s unlikely she can win a boarding party against the big galleon. A canoe grabs the last coin from the island, while another successfully blocks HMS Hound, who misses a shot. At this point both fleets have enough gold saved up to launch one or two support gunships.

Pirates: 3 ships
Spanish: 29 ships
English: 32 ships

5/11/2016

A few more turns have been played. At the top left, the Edinburgh Trader sustained damage from the Nautilus before escaping through a whirlpool. In the northeast, the Trepassey managed a heroic act, ramming a mast off the much larger Joya del Sol, and winning the boarding party 6-5 to steal a coin worth 7 gold! The Grand Temple moved east to eliminate some canoes and eventually dismast the Poor Adams. Near the Spanish home island in the south, the Tepant blocks native canoes from the Forge, while the Cristal del Obispo finishes repairing.

In the far north, the Acorazado, Slipstream, and Nautilus took care of the anti-Acorazado squadron, sinking every ship except for the Merlin (who sank on the following turn). The Forge got as close as any ship has gotten to the Spanish home island, taking a mast off the Monarca and ramming the Tepant derelict and causing further headaches for the Spanish. In the northwest, the English have a new plan. Seeing their squadron fail miserably against the Acorazado, England is planning to bunch all of her ships into one or two main fleets, to prevent the chaos that has occurred lately since the final replenishment. The English need to take out the Acorazado to win the game, and to do that they may have to use swarm ramming, though the Grand Temple and others could provide some adequate firepower. Neither fleet is looking very strong at this point, and both need to be careful not to lose their best ships until they confront each other directly.

An interesting situation in the southwest. The Favori has abandoned her bombardment of Dead Man’s Point to assist the Morning Star and Isabela, who are in trouble from the Harbinger and Grand River. If the Pirates can capture the tribal chieftains, the Pirates could have some extra gold rather quickly. The 2 on the Pirate HI is from the Sea Crane’s helmsman – the Grand River was able to board, but not capture the junk before the English scuttled her.

The Spanish sank the Forge, with the Monarca taking the Tepant in tow. Both fleets have finally launched some ships (undoubtedly some of the last purchases of the game) – the Spanish with the Viking longship Kalmar and the English with the Ark Royal, Victor, and Lizard. Those English ships were launched at Ramsgate, and they look to rendezvous with the Durham and others to form a squadron. The other English squadron is what’s left over from the southern battle, though the Grand Temple (the English flagship) has gone north a bit to eliminate some Spanish canoes. About 60 ships remain afloat.

5/13/2016

CG1 has continued! It took 5 ships, but the English managed to capture the Academia. The Spanish battle fleet is assembling, but a recent plan has been revived. The Spanish and English will once again team up to eliminate the Mobilis and likely the Pirates in general. The English need the Mobilis eliminated in order to win the game. The Spanish are worried that the Acorazado and/or Nautilus would be sunk in a fleet action against the English, hence the opportunity to eliminate the Mobilis now before the final battle.

At the lower left, the Harbinger has engaged the Spanish. In the northern center of the sea, the Acorazado, Nautilus, and Slipstream are making full speed towards the Pirates.

After another turn, the Harbinger dismasted the Favori before being rammed by the Isabela. The Isabela was trying to distract the Harbinger so the Morning Star would escape with her gold. In the center, it’s evident that the reinstatement of Spain and England’s agreement doesn’t provide a true armistice, as the Grand Temple and James Madison exchange shots. In the northeast, the Hound has let the Joya del Sol and captured Trepassey go after being frustrated by a canoe blocker.

After another turn, a few major developments. In the southwest, the Harbinger received an SAT from Le Requin and absolutely dominated. The Isabela was dismasted, while the Morning Star lost 3 masts. The Harbinger S-boarded both ships with the double action, capturing the tribal chieftains on both ships, which would be worth 18 gold if unloaded at the Pirate HI! However, that would be a difficult task, as the English and Spanish were both rushing to blockade the Pirate HI. The Spanish launched the Matuku at the end of their turn. The English sank the James Madison and scuttled the Poor Adams, while the Hound headed for the last available gold coins on an island to the north. (Dead Man’s Point also has some gold; the coins on the islands in the northwest and southeast corners are the Celestine’s Charts UT.) Xerecs and I are trying to finish the game by the end of this weekend!

5/13/2016

The chase for the Pirates continues in earnest!

Using extra actions from CGRO and Mycron, the English arrive first! The Mobilis cancels the Ark Royal’s captain, but the Victor slips in and goes 3/3 to take the Harbinger down to 2 masts. The Pirate home island has been blockaded by the English, while the Cristal del Obispo nearly destroyed the Dead Man’s Point fort to the south. Outside of the southwestern corner, the ocean is mostly deserted. The Hound and Joya del Sol bring back each fleet’s final treasure haul.

With the English seemingly cutting off the Acorazado and Nautilus from the rest of the Spanish fleet, Luis Zuan issues an ultimatum: back off, or the Mobilis will survive. The English immediately obey, knowing the Challenger would need a canceller to even touch the Mobilis. The Spanish finish off the Pirate fort. A big move happened when the English managed to sink the Harbinger! The Ark Royal rammed a mast off, and then Mycron gave the Victor a double shoot action to sink the ship with Blackbeard and 21 points of captured crew aboard! The Acorazado and Nautilus are preparing for the final attack on the Mobilis and Grand River.

After a quick consultation among the members of the Acorazado’s crew, the Spanish decided to attack! The Grand River had sunk the Ark Royal, though she returned to the English HI via Eternal. Castro gave the Acorazado the SAT, but first the Nautilus moved forward to cancel the Mobilis and hit the Grand River twice. The Acorazado surged ahead, cancelling the Mobilis to the surface and sinking her!! Then the Acorazado used her second action to go 5/5 and sink the Grand River and eliminate the Pirates from the game!! (This picture also shows the resumption of the war between Spain and England, with the Santa Ana and some canoes already sunk.)

And with that, Xerecs is officially out of the game! I have technically “won” CG1, though two fleets remain for the final battle, which will take place in the next 24 hours. Thank you, Xerecs, for playing such a great game with me, and thank you for sticking it out with all three of your fleets even as they were slowly defeated. More to come in the reflection post!

May 14th will see the War for CG1 come to an end, with either Spain or England claiming victory in the biggest game in the history of Pirates CSG!!

5/14/2016

With the final battle imminent, the final day of play started in CG1!

With the Pirates eliminated, the War for CG1 resumed in earnest. The Spanish managed to sink the Grand Temple, a ship that could have been useful against El Acorazado. Her and the Nautilus are waiting for the English to come to them.

The Iron Prince, with Mycron helping, took the Cristal del Obispo down to 2 masts. However, she and the Cheshire were sunk and dismasted on the next turn. The Spanish had won the battle on the eastern side of the former Pirate HI, but the battle on the western side was just beginning, with the Acorazado dismasting the Goodfellow and damaging the Edinburgh Trader.

The English swarm the Acorazado by ramming her with 5 ships, but none of them roll a 6! At the top of the frame are 3 of England’s most important ships: the Challenger (can shoot at submerged ships within S of her), the Durham (carrying the only admiral crew and the default flagship now that the Grand Temple has sunk), and the captured USS Morning Star, their best remaining offensive weapon.

Here, the Acorazado and Nautilus fight off the horde, though they are essentially immune since the ships are pinned to the Acorazado and cannot eliminate masts by shooting them off since the Acorazado must be hit 3 times in one shoot action to eliminate her first mast. The rest of the Spanish battle fleet hurry west to help the Acorazado. Things are not looking good for the English.

A partial turn later, and the Morning Star has sunk the Cristal del Obispo! Finally the Inquisitor is no more!

The Burma and Durham are cancelled by the Nautilus and Acorazado, while the Morning Star is nearly dismasted by the superior Spanish force. Up north a few more English ships are entering the fray, as the Spanish send ships to meet them.

The Spanish recapture the Morning Star, but HMS Burma and HMS Challenger manage to ram two masts off the Acorazado! This is the first time she’s taken damage in quite some time. The Acorazado did manage to sink the Durham, which meant that Mycron was the only crew left in the English fleet capable of giving them extra actions.

The whole map, showing how the battle has shifted to the north side of the former Pirate home island. The Hound is almost back to the English HI with 4 gold, while the Joya del Sol sails for gold (now that Dead Man’s Point is gone) in the deep south.

After another turn, the Spanish take complete control. The English are brought down to 4 ships, the same number that they started the game with. The Hound, Ark Royal, Patagonia, and Poor Adams are England’s last hope.

A few turns later, and the Spanish head north to finish off the English!

The main part of the final battle took place around the former Pirate HI, but the final shots will be fired in the northwest. The Spanish have captured the Ark Royal and bombarded Ramsgate. At the lower right, the Tepant and Poor Adams (both captured ships) are shooting at each other with their bow chasers, with neither ship possessing a captain. HMS Hound used her 4 gold to crew herself with a captain and oarsman, and a double action from Mycron let her dismast the Wodin. The English are fighting hard until the end, as evidenced by the damage on almost all Spanish ships left in play.

After the Nautilus dismasts the Hound, the English are essentially down to two ships, the Poor Adams and Patagonia.

The Slipstream dismasted the Poor Adams, who was quickly captured by the Wicked Kareen! The Hound is sunk, while the Acorazado (the Spanish flagship) fittingly heads north to meet the Patagonia and Lord Mycron, the last English presence in the game!

It started with 6 fleets, grew to a game with over 200 ships and over 3,500 total points in play, and now it all comes down to this.

The Patagonia put up a fight, but was ultimately no match for the legendary Acorazado! The Spanish have won VASSAL Campaign Game 1!!!!
VASSAL Campaign Game 1

Upon hearing the news, immediately the cheer went up throughout the fleet: VIVA EL IMPERIO ESPANOL!

It’s finally over! After almost exactly 3 months of play (the first day of play was 2/12/2016), CG1 has finally come to a conclusive end! The Spanish Empire reigns supreme, for they not only rule the ocean, but I believe they also eliminated all 5 other factions. Tomorrow I will post a reflection upon the game, but for now, Spain is the ruler of the waves!

5/15/2016

Reflection post

Looking back on the first-ever VASSAL campaign game, Xerecs and I have a lot to be proud of. Not only did CG1 become the biggest game in the history of Pirates CSG, it was also the first time that such a long, intense, and epic game was played remotely. With Xerecs in California and myself in New York, we dealt with a 3 hour time zone differential, which we navigated quite well. Any problems were handled quickly and easily, and rules implemented after the game’s start were agreed upon to avoid any delays. Through many email exchanges, we were able to coordinate a ton of times where we both could meet, and play this great game. Once again, thank you, Xerecs, for playing this game with me. Also, thanks to B.J. for creating the Pirates module in the first place – without it, this obviously wouldn’t have happened. (Also thanks to El Cazador for his occasional watching, and always humorous comments.)

And with that, an analysis of the game. I may be the biggest fan of campaign games this game has ever seen, so it should come as no surprise that I also love the flashbacks, numbers, analysis, nostalgia, and more.

Spain played one of the absolute best games of all time, by any faction and in any setting. Not only did they manage to win the game in the long run, but they did so at extreme odds. The Spanish were imperialists right from the start. They literally declared war on ALL FIVE of the other factions, and wound up eliminating all of them (England technically struck the fatal blow against the Cursed, but the Spanish did most of the work). Showing no mercy, they went on a run that was only slowed by a historically large English battle fleet towards the end of the game. Even with that, Spain still came out on top. It’s almost hard to describe just how dominant the Spanish were in this game. In terms of combat and war, this game WAS Spain. In the end, they accomplished their ultimate goal of having a Spanish Empire that dominated the entire ocean.

The Spanish appeared aggressive from the very early stages of the game. Of my three fleets (the Spanish, Cursed and English), I decided that the Spanish would be my “imperial faction”. The Cursed would do typical Cursed things and annoy just about everyone, and I had some fun with that for a while. The English would sort of be the “nice faction” this time around, as evidenced by their strategy not to engage enemy fleets unless they became hostile. The Cursed were never a likely candidate to win the game, and so Spain took the early lead. They were the first to instigate combat, with the Tartessos firing upon the American fort Thompson’s Island. The Spanish easily established control of the two wild islands east of their home island, while simultaneously denying the Americans and hurting their potential gold system. It was a strong statement, and set them up well for the future. It’s safe to say that America never recovered.

In addition to making Spain my most aggressive faction, I wanted to establish a strong gold system that took advantage of their many ships with the +1 and +2 gold abilities. Getting all of those ships into the game was a priority, to the point where the Spanish even started the game with La Saragoza (a ship with the +1 gold bonus ability but also S speed) rather than something like La Monarca. I was determined to launch all of the bonus ships, which included launching many more sets of their native canoes than the one set that started the game. Less than two weeks into the game the Spanish had a record 7 sets of canoes for 35 canoes in total, though they wouldn’t launch any more after that.

One of the more impressive things the Spanish accomplished was eliminating the Cursed despite not being a part of the First Coalition. Originally intended to be a major alliance between America, France, and England, the coalition fell apart when Spain declared war on the French and continued to receive tribute payments from the Americans. Later in the game, the English took the lead for the coalition against the Cursed, but by that point Spain had already declared war on the Cursed after the Cursed made a mistake in attacking Fortaleza Dorada. The First Coalition was formed to eliminate the Cursed and contained half of the game’s fleets, but it was ultimately unsuccessful, though the Spanish eliminated the Cursed rather easily.

It’s worth noting that this was essentially the first huge game I’ve ever played where I wasn’t rooting for my favorite faction, the English. I anticipated rooting for them as the game went on, but the opposite happened. Managing and expanding the Spanish Empire became so fun that I was actually rooting for Spain! (However, there was no bias in the War for CG1 – I desperately played each fleet equally in order to have a true winner.) I also became attached to a lot of Spanish ships through the various battles and wars, which furthered my affection towards the faction.

Spain also made the Americans a “vassal” state, which was truly ironic and amusing given the game was being played on the VASSAL module. However, this eventually illustrated one of Spain’s only “failures” – they intended to essentially make the Americans their colony, but maintaining significant resources in the far east began to hold the Spanish back. They let the Americans go, which extended the Americans’ stay in the game. The Spanish were also one of the only nations to launch purpose-built squadrons, which included the Fire Squadron and Inquisition Squadron. Lastly, the Battle of the Two Paradises (the main battle of the Franco-Spanish war) was not decisive from the start. Between the effective French gunships in the area and the backfiring Spanish equipment (rolling 1’s with fire shot), France had a chance to win the battle early on, but the Spanish had a numerical superiority that was hard to overcome.

Notable ships that were either heroic or had a large impact on the game: Acorazado, Garante, Augusta, Muerta, and many others

A quick analysis of the other fleets, in the order of gameplay (the Spanish went fourth after the Americans):

French 
While setting up a huge network of trade currents, the French annoyed the English and Spanish by building two copies of Paradis de la Mer on wild islands the English and Spanish wanted to share. As the French hadn’t been bothered by any of the factions up to that point (not even the Cursed), it was a move that started their eventual demise. The French fought extremely well in the Franco-Spanish war and lasted a lot longer than the Spanish wanted them to. They came closest to handing the Spanish navy a defeat.
Notable ships: Le Bonaparte, Geographe, Favori

Pirates
The Pirates had a relatively standard gold strategy, though they made some waves by spending 91 gold in a single turn (probably the most in one turn up to that point in the game) to purchase 3 gunships, all with the gold capture ability. I (and the Cursed specifically) was extremely annoyed to see Cursed Captain Jack make an entrance. From then on, the Pirates hesitated to attack the Spanish on their western front, and never did so. The Spanish declared war and eventually wiped them out.
Notable ships: Grand River, Harbinger, Swift, Black Heart

Americans
To be honest, the Americans were basically stomped on and bullied by the Spanish since the very early part of the game. After losing Thompson’s Island and paying tribute to the Spanish, they had no shot at winning the game. However, they fought hard and lasted longer than expected, at first because the Spanish wanted to keep them alive and later because of their own skill and tenacity. The Carolina completed one of the longest journeys of any ship in any game. She departed from the American home island with the Louisiana, sailing almost the entire width of the ocean to arrive in English waters. There, she successfully recruited the English into the First Coalition, which partially led to the elimination of the Cursed. She joined the Americans in fighting the Cursed, nearly being sunk by a Cursed fort. With English help she repaired and then eventually captured the Poor Adams, and made a final stand against the Spanish by helping the English.
Notable ships: Carolina, Frontier, Mississippi, Louisiana, Morning Star

Cursed
The Cursed proved to be a major annoyance almost right from the beginning. They used Davy Jones to eliminate the Wasp from the game, and then turned their attention to the English, sinking the Aberdeen Baron and using their L-movers to force other English gold runners off the map (flat earth rules). Once the English got smart and didn’t sail their ships close enough to the edge for the Cursed to shove them off, the Cursed turned their attention back to the Americans, eliminating the Jarvis (and 3 canoes in the process). The Cursed then threw the Grand River onto a reef to eliminate 5 of her 6 masts, which greatly annoyed the Pirates. The Cursed launched the fog hopping squadron, which was moderately successful in carrying out different missions. It was gradually worn away, losing a ship or two per mission. They also launched a big Fear squadron, which fell to the combined might of Spain and England. The Cursed took great advantage of a lot of powerful gimmicks in this game, but didn’t come away with much to show for it. Their biggest mistake was attacking the Spanish, who proceeded to wipe them out.
Notable ships: Divine Dragon, Loki’s Revenge, Hell Hound

English
The English established a very strong gold system and a decent array of gunships to defend them with. The Dreadnought was launched early on, and Carbon Charlie eventually gave her a new-record 10 extra cannons to increase her firepower to 15 shots per turn. The English began saving gold way back on 2/27, and didn’t spend nearly any of it until launching their minor faction squadron on 3/28. The minor faction squadron sailed against the Cursed, but the Spanish got there first, so the squadron was generally ineffective. On 3/9, the English had 504 gold. On 4/16, they peaked at 864 total gold, which they spent to launch the biggest battle fleet ever, intending to eliminate the Spanish. They had a numbers advantage and the first strike, but somewhat poor cannon accuracy and the loss of their super squadron (with 4 cancellers) gave them a close second place finish.
Notable ships: Dreadnought, Apollo, Grand Temple, Endeavour, others

The most important overall crew in the game included Amiral Stephan Dupuy, Emperor Blackheart, Elizabeth Swann, Commodore David Porter, the mysterious “first” Spanish admiral (aboard El Garante), later succeeded by the slightly more reasonable Admiral Luis Zuan, Davy Jones, and the English Lords Beckett, Mycron, and Gunn.

Most important UT: Celestine’s Charts (lol)

Here are some interesting things I found while looking back at the reports.

First faction to launch: Cursed
First ship eliminated: Wasp
First ship to lose a mast: Swift
First ship sunk: Executioner
First ship permanently sunk: Aberdeen Baron
First HI expansion: English
First faction to hire a privateer: Pirates
First ship captured: USS James Madison (by La Habana)
First fort upgrade: Spanish
First declaration of war: Spanish (ALL declarations of war: Spanish)
First faction eliminated: France
Strongest alliance: America/England (though Xerecs knows more about the Franco-American alliance than I do)

Dates of elimination:
French: 4/15
Cursed: 4/26
Americans: 5/9
Pirates: 5/13
English: 5/14

Major Battles:
Battle of the Two Paradises: Spanish soundly defeat the French
Battle of the Devil’s Maw: Spanish defeat the Pirates, though the Pirates suffer light losses after retreating quickly
Battle of the Pirates’ home island: Spanish soundly defeat the Pirates
Battle of the Cursed home island: Spanish and English (not in an alliance) soundly defeat the Cursed
War for CG1: Spanish outlast and outplay the English to win the game

Minor Battles:
Battle of Thompson’s Island: Spanish victory
Battle of El Puerto Blanco (eastern): Strategic Spanish victory
Battle of the Cursed wild islands: Cursed victory
(Other minor battles took place as well; many had the Cursed as the aggressor.)

Official new records: (as of May 2016)
Total points: 3,516 (likely reached about 3,700 soon afterwards)  (since broken by Command the Oceans)
Total ships: 208 (since broken by Command the Oceans)
Largest single-turn launching: 628 gold (English battle fleet)
Largest recorded single-fleet point total: Spanish at 1,631 points (since broken by multiple fleets)
Largest fleet of any faction: Spanish at 111 ships (since broken by multiple fleets)

Posted in Battle Reports and tagged , , , , .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *