VASSAL Campaign Game 3
Played from September 2017 – March 2018
With a whopping SIX people interested in playing a virtual campaign game, the opportunity for another adventure has presented itself!
Unlike the first two campaign games on VASSAL, this one will utilize a special ruleset:
In addition, a few simple house rules:
-No 0LR +5 crew
-0LR reroller crew will cost 3 points so they’re not free
-When a ship wins a boarding party, the winner decides whether they will take gold/resources or eliminate crew. The winner chooses which gold/resources to take, but the loser chooses which crew is eliminated.
-Whirlpools take effect on a roll of 1-3 instead of 4-6 (since you almost never want to roll low in this game)
-Return to Savage Shores is available
-Custom game pieces are allowed, but they may be modified or banned in-game (through a vote) if they are overpowered (OP).
-Other house rules may be instituted during the game if players are in favor of them.
This game has two abbreviated names:
VEE: VASSAL Economy Edition
CG3: Campaign Game 3
Here are the players with their associated factions, in the order that turns will be taken.
La Santa Isabel + Dominic Freda
La Monarca + explorer
El Algeciras + captain
Sea Monkey + explorer
Celestine + Master Scribe
Hai Peng + Captain Barbossa, explorer
Swift + Hammersmith
Banshee’s Cry + helmsman
Le Bon Marin
La Bonne Chance + crew
Libellule + crew
Nene-nui + helmsman, explorer
Carolina + helmsman
Annapolis + helmsman
HMS Bolingbroke + captain, helmsman
Aberdeen Baron + helmsman
Honu Iki + captain, helmsman
The home islands were chosen in reverse turn order, with the English choosing first and the Spanish choosing last.
Here is the ocean, created by xerecs! A great barrier reef divides the sea mostly in half, with the Gateway island in the center where the reefs part. There is a Frozen North, as well as a Great Sargasso and Gray Shrouds in the south.
The northwest, where the storms are currently clustered into a hurricane. The storms are from xerecs’ EE game:
Every storm has two sets of numbers on it, one in the middle, and 1-6 on the edge. Once per every players turn, roll a d6. If the number matches the middle number of any storm in play, roll another d6, the storm moves L from that number in a straight line. Storms may move over islands and other terrain.
If any part of a game piece, even submerged pieces, touches a storm place the game piece inside the storm, it is now lost. Roll a d6 and subtract the result from the number of masts, segments, or flags remaining on the game piece. Ships may be sunk by storms, and forts may be eliminated by storms as well.
To escape the Storm, give the piece a move action, and roll a d6. Place the game piece facing away from the storm on the resulting number, the game piece may continue moving from there.
If a storm moves over or into another storm they join, if either of them is rolled, move both as one.
The southwest, showing the home ports of England, France, and Spain. Indeed, by coincidence the major imperial factions are grouped in the west half, while the “others” (Pirates, Americans, Cursed) are on the eastern side of the big reef. An island is hidden in the Gray Shrouds, which may part or roll at various times.
Stay tuned, for adventure awaits!
The third Pirates CSG campaign game on the VASSAL module has BEGUN! VEE (VASSAL Economy Edition) is now in progress!
Video of the first session. “Alive” by Phil Lober is one of the best fantasy/adventure/epic songs that encompasses the grand and epic nature of this kind of game, and provides a perfect thematic start. This was live streamed to youtube but may be quite a rarity because coordinating the logistics of 6 different people across 3 different time zones is rather difficult for the purposes of playing live. However, we wanted to do a “grand opening”, and here it is!
The first resource rolls were made! A 4 was rolled for value, with a 9 for duration. This gave us some time to acquire resources and cash them in if desired, with metals and textiles being the most valuable. We are keeping track of the resource rolls with face up coins in the upper left corner.
The first turn of the game! As with the other Economy Edition games, face up coins represent resources, while face down coins represent gold. Launchings happen at the end of each player’s turn, and the icebergs and storm terrain is moved at the beginning of each round of turns. We confirmed flat earth due to how the map was constructed.
This shows a chunk of the east, where the first launching has occurred! The Spanish found extremely valuable metals on the island west of their home island, and have cashed in 3 of them for 18 gold! pirateaj14’s Spanish launched La Resolucion, giving the Spanish two capable gunships very early in the game. You can see repkosai’s English heading for an island north of their HI, while to the east the Gateway island is unexplored.
Incredibly, all four explored islands in the west are metals islands!! All of those metals are currently worth 6 gold apiece, so the English, French, and Spanish are hurrying to cash them in before the next resource rolls are made. wifey’s Pirates are making their way around the Great Sargasso to a southern island. In the east, my Americans made the second launching of the game with the Rattlesnake. They have found good resources as well, with their two islands producing textiles and lumber. In the Frozen North, the Cursed have found textiles of their own in addition to luxuries. In the south, the French took great advantage of the explorer-reroll rule, turning an island from fish (currently worth 1) to metals! (currently worth 6)
It was a successful start to this grand endeavor, and we hope to continue soon with individual turns and hopefully live play as well. Stay tuned!
Another live session has been played! I forgot to take pictures for most of the session, partly because it was recorded.
Partway through the session, the first resource change happened! With great anticipation from a laggy die roll, a 6 was rolled for value, and another 6 for duration! For the next 6 turns, spices and fish would be the most valuable resources.
The first shots have been fired! The French sailed the Bonne Chance towards the Gateway, but the Spanish were not having any of it! With a quick turnaround, the Resolucion sailed south and took a mast off the French junk! No declarations of war have been made, but the Resolucion also provided the first sinking of the game on the next turn, sending the Bonne Chance to the depths!
The Spanish found textiles on the Gateway island. From their new military port, the Spanish launched La Tartessos, who began sailing towards the English. The Aberdeen Baron and Bolingbroke were taking a roundabout way back to their HI, using whirlpools to go in a circle of sorts. This may have been to avoid the Algeciras and Diablo, and indeed the Spanish are off to a very strong start. At the bottom left, the Honu Iki prepares to re-enter the Gray Shrouds in hopes of finding the island again.
The Frozen North, where the Cursed reside. The resource change didn’t do them any favors, as they currently have access to the lowest-value resources. Although, the Hangman’s Joke discovered lumber after fog hopping to the far northeast! You can see the trading port southwest of their HI, but the Sea Monkey has taken a hit from an iceberg.
Likely in response to Spanish aggression, the French launch two 5 masters: the Soleil Royal and Monaque! They join an impressive fleet of French resource runners, who are collecting still-valuable metals from two different islands. At the far right, the Swift has loaded spices from the Pirates’ wild island, and the Hai Peng and Banshee’s Cry are approaching home farther north.
It was an interesting night, which saw the first shots fired, the first ship sunk, and the first resource change.
Since Xerecs’ last report, some stuff has happened!
Retaliating for the sinking of the Bonne Chance and possibly aiding the English at the same time, the French strike the Spanish hard!! The Acorazado was sunk (!), with the Joya del Sol and Monarca dismasted. The San Cristobal has sailed in to dismast L’Ange, but the Spanish are in major trouble.
Up in the north, the Cursed are using their fog hoppers to great effect, gathering valuable lumber from the northeasternmost island. At the bottom left, my Americans have established the second trading port of the game, which is right near the first one built by the Cursed. At the bottom right, the Pirates’ Darkhawk II loads textiles from an island in the far east.
A few major developments have happened! After the latest report, the Americans spent a whopping 221 gold in one turn to launch the Zhanfu, Baochuan, Nautilus, Mobilis, Concordia and New Orleans, all replete with crew setups!
The French have nearly finished off the Spanish, capturing the Joya del Sol, San Cristobal, and Santa Isabel in addition to eliminating most of their native canoes. The Spanish settlement on the Gateway island was destroyed as well.
After spending big at their trading and military ports in recent turns, the Americans finally show their might! Seeing the potential for huge French competition in the near future (a military port about to be established on the Gateway island with a resource change coming soon to possibly skyrocket the value of French metals), Montana Mays decided to launch a preemptive strike!
With careful execution, the American gunships are sent into battle! The Julius Caesar and York knocked masts off the Belle Etoile, who was docked at the Gateway island with both a settlement and military port upgrade. Then it was the Zhanfu’s turn! Huang Bai sacced an oarsman, and the 10 master from Return to Savage Shores surged southwards. Her second action brought her within range of the Soleil Royal. Ibrahan Ozat launched an S-boarding party, which let Captain Nemo capture Capitaine Arathiel! Then, in a rare display of accurate shooting from yours truly, the Zhanfu went 5/5 on the cannons she had in range, dismasting the Soleil Royal! The Atlanta was given the Tombstone’s action via GWL (RtSS version of George Washington LeBeaux, the American version of Lord Mycron), and the Belle Etoile was sunk with her island upgrades aboard! O_O
The whole ocean, with the sudden American strike in the center. The Spanish, Pirates, and English have about 8 usable ships between them, leaving the Cursed, French and Americans as the dominant factions as of now. The hurricane in the northwest has not affected play yet, but it has been moving southeast somewhat consistently….
After two more turns, the Americans have emerged as the dominant faction in the game.
One turn ago, the French tried to escape and salvage what gunships they could. However, Montana Mays and Captain Nemo weren’t having any of it. The Zhanfu took out the final mast on Le Bonaparte, leaving her and the captured San Cristobal dead in the water. The Superbe was dismasted and the Soleil Royal captured. The Julius Caesar and Atlanta chased down the Monaque, hitting her with exploding shot and stinkpot shot.
After 8 turns, a new resource change was needed! A 2 was rolled, crashing the textiles market but increasing the value of everything else by 1 (lumber is the most valuable). The values will hold for the next 5 turns.
This past turn, the Monaque shot 2/2 (with Deleflote’s action) against the Zhanfu, but the Americans completed their victory just afterwards. The Americans have captured most of the ships, though the Monaque will have to be scuttled. The Mobilis cancelled the Nautilus’ Submarine keyword, allowing the ship to tow the Joya del Sol out of the way so the Peacock could dock and explore the Gateway island. However, more textiles were found, a resource readily available to the Americans. Thus, the Americans built Thompson’s Island at the end of their turn! This will give them a place to repair, quite convenient given the plethora of valuable derelicts now in their possession.
The Americans have declared war on the French! The Zhanfu also sunk the Mont Blanc flotilla this turn, and the captured Bonaparte will eventually be scuttled since I hate that ship. The American victory is complete, and gives them total control over the center area. The Pirates and French still won’t have valuable resources readily available to them during this change, but the final English ship (Aberdeen Baron) may finally be able to dock home on their turn! Curiously, the Spanish have not returned to their HI or tried to gather resources with El Algeciras, as they appear hell-bent on eliminating the English. The Cursed just launched their icebreaker (Urd), and have pretty easy access to islands that produce the two most valuable resources.
The action has continued! In this picture you can see that the Americans have captured Davy Jones!! This was their ultimate objective when they suddenly sent the Grampus and Bonhomme Richard north into Cursed territory, seizing the opportunity to take out a huge threat (and the reason the Joya del Sol sank after being captured by the Americans, which is why the Americans took action in the first place). The Urd was dismasted by the Grampus, with AA’s and GWL (American Mycron) helping out immensely. You can see that the Americans have launched more ships from their trading port, with two turtle ships crossing the reef barrier and four new ships at the port.
However, an even bigger development has been taking place in the mostly deserted western half of the sea…
THE SPANISH HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED!!!!
The Zhanfu had been dispatched to the west a number of turns ago, with the mission of eliminating the final Spanish presence in the game. After they were decimated in the French attack near the Gateway, the Spanish eventually had only two game pieces afloat – El Algeciras and the Diablo flotilla. With the Spanish for some reason seemingly still hell-bent on eliminating the English instead of returning home to secure the HI and start gathering resources again, it was time for the Americans to end things. The slightly weakened Zhanfu (8 masts remaining) dismasted the Algeciras and knocked out the flotilla’s flag with her first broadside, and this turn she has sunk both to knock pirateaj14 from the game! They still have their military port, but that is now easy picking for whoever wants that island as their own. There is a tiny loophole in the EE rules where the Spanish could get back into the game, but it would require a failed razing of that port by an enemy ship (at which point the Spanish would capture the ship). The possibility of Cursed or Pirate help potentially bringing the Spanish back into the fold is an ugly one (due to the Spanish often taking the longest to complete their turn despite the lack of time it takes to give a single move action), so it’s possible the Americans will have the Zhanfu sac next turn and try to eliminate the port herself.
At the left, the Aberdeen Baron repairs, as the English are still in it!
Action in the north! The first American reinforcements are on the scene of the “Battle for Davy Jones”, which the Americans have won so far. The Divine Dragon began towing the Grampus, knocking a mast off the Hades’ Realm. The Noble Swan arrived as well, but missed her shot. The DD was later given an AA to shoot and ram the Hades’ Realm, taking out two more masts along with a crew (successful shot plus devastating ability). However, the Cursed are on the move with their gunships, with the Grim Reaper and Fallen Angel leading the charge. Those subs at the top of the picture have cancellers (Papa Doc and Madame Maria, a custom by Xerecs), which is part of the reason the newly launched Naegling and Polaris have turned around lol. However, the Glorious Treasure and Slipstream have ventured across the great Barrier Reef. With the captured Slipknot (the ship that carries All-Powerful Davy Jones) failing her scuttle roll again, the Bonhomme Richard was given an extra action by GWL to tow the Slipknot into the fog bank at the lower right, where DJ will be “safe” until his ship can “sink” and warp home via Eternal. Some slightly complicated business, but the Americans have accomplished their objective (it seems, unless the Cursed can extricate their captured leader) and now have control of Davy Jones.
At the bottom, the Mercury (windcatcher) is the first of a few American gunships slowly bringing up support from the home waters to the south. At the left, though, is something else entirely. Wanting to make a STATEMENT, the Americans spent most of their income from this turn on the Fortaleza, their third 10 master of the game! This was a perfect and ironic “gift” the Americans gave to themselves after eliminating the Spanish from the game.
With most of the ocean somewhat deserted, the only remaining conflict is in the north now. Of course, the French, Pirates, and English are all biding their time until the next resource change, which is now less than 2 rounds away. The American force in the south is nearing the French fleet, even as the influence of America reaches far into the west and north. Further conflict between the Americans and Cursed looks inevitable.
After another turn, the Americans continue to make aggressive moves. The force in the south has reached the primary French resource island, with the combined firepower of three ships destroying the French settlement there! This makes the island go back to unexplored for all players and resets the island’s resource. In hindsight the Americans probably should have captured the settlement instead, but oops on my part for that.
In the north, the Cursed appeared to begin retreating, but the Americans are considering their hired turtle ships from the Jades as disposable, so they pressed the attack. The Noble Swan knocked a mast off the Grinder and eventually sank the Urd with an AA, while the Divine Dragon beat up on the Grim Reaper a bit. The Americans have slowly been trying to mass a small force near the reef barrier, with the Glorious Treasure, Mercury windcatcher, Minuteman flotilla, and now Naegling in that area. The recently launched Kettering looks to join them soon. The Slipknot finally got her scuttle roll and will join the American HI soon, while her captor (the Bonhomme Richard) sails to the military port for repairs.
The resources are about to change! Knowing this, the Americans used an AA to get the James Madison home (along with other ships of course) when she otherwise wouldn’t have, cashing in some extra lumber in the anticipation that lumber may not be valuable again for a while. This paid off immediately, as the Americans used all but one of their 84 gold to launch 4 new ships from their military port.
A few developments in the west too: the Zhanfu destroyed the Spanish military port to officially eliminate them from the game for good, while the Aberdeen Baron finished repairing so the English are ready to sail once more.
What is going on?!
This game isn’t as big as my EE game, CG1, or CTO, but I’m hyped about it right now and feel like it’s a solid time to do a little overview.
Finding valuable resources early, the Spanish got off to the quickest start. They soon launched some of Spain’s finest ships and got into small-scale conflicts with their neighbors, the English and French. This ultimately led to their demise, with both factions fighting back.
Eventually the resources changed and the Americans were able to put forth some good warships and start to optimize their resource system. There was essentially a domino effect. First the Spanish largely took out the English, who still only have one ship in play. Then the French got revenge for the sinking of the Bonne Chance and took the Spanish down to one ship remaining. Then the Americans struck suddenly at the Gateway island, sinking or capturing the entire French battle squadron that had crushed the Spanish.
Just recently the Americans have finished off the Spanish, while the Pirates and English slip under the radar and try to recover from difficult starts. The Cursed have been rising of late, and the capture of Davy Jones by the powerful Americans has escalated into very tense relations between those two factions.
Onto the actual developments! Of which there are only a couple now haha, but more soon. A VERY important resource change just took place, with a value roll of 3 for 8 turns!! This is incredibly fortunate for the factions already in power positions, as the Americans and Cursed have the valuable resources (textiles and lumber) readily available to them. Dark times continue for the French and English, who likely wanted nothing more than to cash in their metals and go on a spending spree.
As of the current turn, the Cursed have launched some of their best custom ships, and now have 4 cancellers in play to counter the 4 the Americans have launched over the past few turns. Papa Doc from RtSS is the only standard one, with Madame Maria, the Demise, and the Rampage (a Merc 5 master launched from the trading port) joining the Cursed ranks.
However, the Americans spent last night plotting and strategizing, planning out their launches for a while in what looks to be a borderline-unprecedented 8 turn spending spree as high volumes of textiles and lumber are cashed in for new ships. The American leaders will have to juggle difficult operations on two fronts, though they will now have the spending power to potentially make aggressive moves at both locales. In the south, they face the fact that it is extremely difficult to eliminate a faction entrenched at their home island. In the north, powerful customs and a “blanket” of cancelling surrounding Cursed operations will require serious efforts to contain or overwhelm.
After a few more faction turns, there has been some big spending. In the far south, the French decided to cash out their immense hoard of metals, spending nearly all of it (almost 100 metals) despite the resource being only worth 1 gold. However, it makes sense because the Americans look to be bearing down on them and have declared war. Waiting 8 turns for the metals to jump in value would be risky as well. The French have launched some new gunships and put some fighting crew on existing vessels.
With the Americans once again possessing the two most valuable resources (textiles and lumber), it was launch time at the home island! Cashing out their stash of 41 textiles for 246 gold and adding to it with some lumber, the Americans spent 292 gold on their turn, completely emptying the coffers. They launched from all three of their available locations: the Grand Temple and Crescent Moon came into play at the trading port, where the Fortaleza and Grand Path also lurk. 6 warships were launched from the military port, and 3 ships were launched from the home island.
In addition, the Slipknot was repaired at her new home after finally being scuttled. The Noble Swan burned to the waterline after being hit with exploding shot, while the Slipstream zoomed back across the reefs after seeing the newly launched Rampage (which has the canceller ability) at the Cursed trading port. The Americans already have about a dozen ships stationed near their own trading port, with more on the way from the south.
It will be interesting to see if the Americans can fight on two fronts at once, with a full squadron of 10 ships still stationed in the south near the French HI. In other news, you may have noticed that the Zeus is loose!! At the lower right you can see her newly launched at the Pirate HI. This is the fourth 10 master in play, with all of them spread out right now in different locations. At the far left, the Aberdeen Baron has finally sailed out after repairing for quite some time!
Perhaps an unnecessary report, but certainly some interesting developments to report on. The Cursed appear to be in fully defensive mode, with most of their new launches staying docked at their home island and the Rampage and others retreating a bit from their positions a turn ago. In the far south, the French are off! Their entire fleet has departed the HI, heading in a northwesterly direction.
Seeing a chance to really maximize their profits, the Americans are devoting even more cargo capacity to their textile-laden island northeast of their HI. The Providence and Bellevue are being used as hybrid escorts in an attempt to protect the canoes from possible fog hopping attacks by the Cursed. With textiles as the most valuable resource for another 6 turns (after this picture was taken), the Lynx and Carolina have switched islands from the lumber island to the textiles island to assist in the efforts. Finally, you can glimpse four ships heading to the island as well. This is a random mishmash including the recently repaired Strongarm hoist, the newly launched Silver Dollar (Xerecs custom), the fully repaired Slipknot with Davy Jones aboard, and the (finally repaired) Santa Isabel, another grand prize the Americans have brought home from their war spoils. Throw in the Darkhawk II of the Pirate fleet, and the textiles island will see a huge harvest over the coming turns. There was a tiny bit of combat on this turn as well, with the Fortaleza getting an EA from Count Gustov. My custom equipment Bow Chasers was revealed, with the ship using both actions to shoot across the reef and hit 1/4 to dismast the Fallen Angel. The Americans ended their turn by launching 4 new ships from their trading port: the Assassin (one of my oldest customs), the Sigra Mein (a custom Viking 3 masted longship, with S+S+S speed but costing 20 points for just 2 cargo spaces), the Majestic, and the Wiglaf, the latter of which has a cannon bonus against the Cursed.
A Turn for the Ages
Normally I don’t title these but this deserves special mention. Check out the video of my combat turn here.
First, the situation at the end of the Americans’ last turn: “tightening the noose”. In the north, and the south. The Fortaleza paid the price for using Bow Chasers to dismast the Fallen Angel, with the Cursed dragging her across a reef with an L-mover. This left the 10 master essentially doomed with just 2 masts remaining (3 taken out via the Death’s Anchor flotilla, and 5 more from the reef roll), since she couldn’t move off the reef without being wrecked automatically (highest roll of 6 for the reef would result in 4 masts eliminated and a shipwreck in this case). Knowing this, the Americans simply shot again, with the Fallen Angel sinking. The Death’s Anchor sank the Fortaleza, which the Americans knew was inevitable. However, all the while they have been tightening the noose around the Cursed home island. Not wanting to risk the Grand Temple and Grand Path across the reefs that wrecked the Fortaleza, the Americans sent them west towards a convenient whirlpool. Around 10 ships clustered near the American trading port, waiting for the command to surge northwards. The Kettering guarded the Naegling, who was on a strange mission to explore the Cursed luxuries island as part of an American goal. Further south lies some of America’s newest ships, among them 3 cancellers and 3 five masted capital ships (with the President, Montezuma, Eagan, and cheerleading Denver to back them up, an impressive force indeed).
However, the real immediate strength lay in the deep south, where the task force assigned to the French fleet was gathered around the whirlpool, having anticipated an attack on the Cursed for weeks now. In that squadron were three more cancellers, and the mammoth Baochuan. In an important development, the Flying Fish arrived through the southern whirlpool carrying island upgrades, turning a former French metals island into an American military port! This was the final piece of the puzzle for the American strategy, as they could now launch in the deep south to keep the French at bay (or now to blockade them since they are leaving the area). This would free up their megaships (cancellers and best gunships) to enter the whirlpool and emerge in the Frozen North where the Cursed were concentrated!
THE AMERICANS DECLARE WAR ON THE CURSED!!!!
USS Kettering starts the war! She sailed over and cancelled the Interloper to the surface, sinking the expensive submarine with a barrage of cannon fire augmented by her captain Jonas Richman’s hatred of the Cursed.
Chaos erupts! The Wiglaf and Sigra Mein brave the Barrier Reef to dismast and capture the Grim Reaper. In a calculated strike, the Americans send forth their cancellers to counter the 4 Cursed cancellers in the area. Christian Fiore (aboard the Nautilus) and Madame Maria (aboard the Locker) cancel each other out. The Mobilis and Papa Doc (aboard the Pyre) cancel each other out. The Constitution gets her SAT with a reroll from Jonathan Haraden, and America’s most famous sailing warship is back in action! The Americans had a little trick up their sleeve: the previous turn they had launched the Majestic, a 14 point 1 masted galley that has the cheerleading ability (friendly ships within S get +1 to their cannon rolls). As a Barbary Corsair ship she was fair game to launch at the trading port, and with only one mast, she wouldn’t take reef damage when crossing. The Majestic was sent over before the Constitution’s second action of the turn, and although she didn’t play a HUGE role in the battle so far, it’s a cool way to use 19 points on something (with helmsman/shipwright/oarsman aboard for maximum support, as I am wont to do XD) that nobody would ever use in most regular games.
And now things descend into the chaos only seen in huge games. O_O This is where the action is! The Constitution sank the Death’s Anchor flotilla before shooting at the Rampage, with DNT and the Rampage cancelling each other out. Next came the mighty Baochuan! However, she wasn’t so mighty this turn, as she couldn’t quite reach the Cursed trading port (I had wanted to raze it on this turn), but sacced to eventually sink the dangerous Rampage. From there the Americans had a bit of luck, but they were certainly due for it. Since getting two more AA crew (any ship in your fleet gets two actions on a 6) 3 turns ago, the Americans got just ONE AA over those three turns (the one came on this turn). Since I have paired every AA crew with the reroll ability, in this case that represents 1/29 total rolls being a 6. O_O (normal odds would be 5/30, so 1 is extreme) However, the Americans made up for it with their SAT and EA rolls this turn. The Grand Temple got her SAT to blast away. The Kettering received the AA so she could blast away at the Demise. The Grand Path received an extra action from GWL (American Mycron) to do the same thing as the Grand Temple. The cannon smoke hasn’t even cleared, but the Cursed lost the Demise and Flying Dutchman in the carnage.
With less emphasis on the action itself, here is the whole situation. The Americans are now at war with the French and the Cursed. The Concordia, Mercury, and Lamon also showed up through the whirlpool from the south. At the lower right, the Americans show that the Cursed must act fast and have a miraculous comeback, for the speedy Sea Wind is carrying settlement and military port upgrades to the luxuries island the Naegling explored! All is revealed in this battle report on the American side, as they plan to build an MP there to launch right near the Cursed and eventually wipe them out. Various ships have surged across the reef barrier and up from the south in an all-out CHARGE!!! O_O
In their final action of the turn, the Americans pull a shocker! Having established a secret alliance with the Pirates early in the game, the Americans didn’t put any island upgrades on the textiles island northeast of their HI so they could share the island with the Pirates. Nice right? However, the Americans suspect the Pirates might be in cahoots with at least one of the other factions, including the French or Cursed that the Americans are at war with! This is because the recently launched Zeus has pointed her bow towards the American resource system with a crew complement ready to strike! (sac with captain/helmsman and world hater) An attempt to contact the Pirate admiral was in vain, but it didn’t help that the Americans were trigger-happy tonight! XD Wanting to get a preemptive strike in the case of a betrayal, the Americans strike first and break their alliance with the Pirates!! The captured Superbe sacs an oarsman to rake the Zeus’ bow, but lands just two hits. However, the attack was a statement, since any Pirate aggression will result in earning the wrath of the mighty Americans. The Americans have not declared war, and are even still open to the possibility of working with the Pirates.
Here is the full ocean, with the Americans becoming dominant to the point of a full Empire. They have declared war on the Cursed and crushed many of their best ships with a single, massive, devastating attack, and have sent dozens of ships sailing straight for the Cursed HI in what could become the longest and bloodiest conflict of this game. To show off their might, the Americans launched the Shui Xian from their trading port just a turn after the Fortaleza sank! XD Sink one of their 10 masters, and they’ll just launch another. They also launched the Tiger’s Breath as an impromptu medical barge, with various Jade ships losing crew from the whirlpool and likely losing more in the War on the Cursed. In the deep south the Americans have begun activity at their new military port, where the USS Thomas Jefferson (one of my favorite American ships) and Brandywine have been launched.
So all in all, you could say “the Americans hit the nuclear option”. XD Declaring war on the second-largest faction, launching a new 10 master, potentially wrecking their only alliance, and going ballistic on the game in an attempt to dominate this ocean. All of this (except the attack on the Pirates) has been in the works for weeks, but only now was it the perfect time to strike. It has now been about 5 hours since I downloaded the new file and started my turn, which took over 3 hours. Thanks for reading, and thank you to those who are playing this huge game!
Here are the latest ship and point counts for this game. I didn’t post this first one back then since I didn’t want it to be as obvious how much of a points lead I had, in an attempt to prevent a coalition against the Americans. XD (though anyone could total things up at any time of course)
12/2/2017 point count
Spanish: 2 ships, 13 points
Cursed: 16 ships, 241 points
Pirates: 4 ships, 62 points
French: 12 ships, 163 points
Americans: 43 ships, 893 points
English: 1 ship, 14 points
Total: 78 ships, 1,386 points
2/8/2018 point count
Cursed: 23 ships, 407 points
Pirates: 5 ships, 100 points
French: 14 ships, 221 points
Americans: 72 ships, 1,565 points
English: 1 ship, 14 points
Total: 115 ships, 2,307 points
The game has ballooned by almost 1,000 points in the past month! The Spanish were eliminated, but most other factions gained at least some stuff. The Americans have had fortunate resource changes, adding 29 ships and 672 points to their fleet! O_O
Points per ship:
Cursed: 17.7 points/ship
The Americans have many heavily crewed gunships, along with three 10 masters. What’s more impressive is the percentages:
Ships in play: 62.6% (72/115)
Points in play: 67.8% (1565/2307)
That means the Americans have more than twice as many points in play as all the other factions COMBINED! O_O
American points in play: 1,565
All other points in play: 742
The Americans are approaching the status of the largest single fleet ever seen on VASSAL, within sight of the Spanish CG1 record of 1,631 points in play. That fleet did have a ridiculous 111 ships in play at that point count, so that record probably won’t be broken in this game. The Americans are also approaching the record for the largest American fleet I have controlled, which was 96 ships at 1,660 points from Command the Oceans.
The Americans are here! With another fantastic turn they tighten their hold on what I would now say is officially the “endgame” assuming the Americans can keep their point lead and win their wars.
Here is the combat situation in the far north, where the action is still hot. The King Jones was dismasted by a trio of ships (including Glorious Treasure and Assassin), with DNT of the Constitution cancelling the ship’s oarsman so the Grand Temple could capture her. At the far left, the Baochuan and Minuteman flotilla teamed up to sink the Sea Monkey, but not before the Baochuan won a boarding party to take three textiles. The Americans are disappointed they haven’t razed the trading port yet, but at this point they can do that at their leisure, having gained control of the area. After the 2 submerged cancelling submarines on each side cancelled each other out, the Lizard sailed over the Pyre to cancel the Eternal keyword on Admiral of the Skelds, allowing the Grand Path to shoot twice via the only American AA this turn to sink the Hell Hound! Just to the right of that, the Ghost Walker got within cancelling and cannon range of the Locker, bringing the sub to surface by cancelling the Submarine keyword. One hit from the GW and a pair of hits from the Sigra Mein eliminated all three of the Locker’s segments. With the now-dominant cancelling advantage the Americans enjoy (4-2 in that area with DNT and the late-arriving Hessian making SIX on the overall battlefield), they hope to capture at least one of the Cursed submarines that has a canceller on it, since cancelling the Submarine keyword allows it to be towed. One thing that didn’t go well at all for the Americans this turn was submerged ramming, as their subs generally failed to damage the Nightmare and Hell Hound. The Concordia shot 3/5 to leave just one mast standing on the Hades’ Realm. The Cursed have now been pushed back against their own home island as a result of the 2 turn offensive (so far). However, from previous reports you might expect to see more American gunships flooding the area in this picture. Their attention has been drawn elsewhere!
The French have arrived in the northeast! Sending almost their entire remaining fleet through the whirlpool near their home island, they have come to the eastern half of the sea presumably to wage war on the Americans. The Americans have already called 3 capital ships away from the squadron heading north, with the Enterprise, Colossus (out of frame to upper left), Essex, Denver, and Hannah breaking off to head southeast. The Bonhomme Richard was almost finished repairing (4 masts up) when she too was called to active duty, rushing to intercept the oncoming French (the captured San Cristobal is behind her at the far left). At the upper right, the Bellevue only managed to take out one mast on the Sea Hag, and the Americans don’t have any other captained ships in the area with which to take on the Ouroboros fort. However, the timing wasn’t too terrible for the Americans, since their larger cargo ships (Carolina, Silver Dollar, Strongarm, Slipknot, Santa Isabel) all got loaded up with textiles just before the fort was built last turn. They are now running home along with the canoes, though some might be intercepted by the French before they can get there. However, the Americans probably have enough points in play and resources coming in to win the game as-is, so the triple threat of Zeus/Cursed fort/French attack may not hinder them as much as you would think.
At the lower right, the Kentucky was clutch on this turn, hitting the Zeus 2/2 on her first action and using an AA (not from Preble himself, who is aboard) to hit 3/4 on her second action! This takes the Zeus down to 3 masts, and the Kentucky also towed the now-derelict (courtesy of the Zeus) Superbe with her second action. A canoe and the Argo have positioned off the bow of the Zeus to hinder her mobility a bit, and the powerful Kettering has begun repairing at the home island.
For the first time in a while, the Americans launched only from their HI, buying swift gunships they will use to combat the French threat. They launched four of their fastest and most effective 4 masters, including 3 schooners: the Franklin, Intrepid, Hudson, and Saratoga. The Americans are hoping those 4 can get out and defend the resource system quickly, since the likely imminent French attack puts the cargo ships in danger. Those 4 will combine with the 5 ships coming in from the northwest, along with the two 5 masters from the west, and likely more gunship launches next turn. It’s an emergency situation for the Americans, but one that I think they are reasonably prepared to deal with. I have been meaning to launch more hybrids to use as escorts to the textiles island, but the Providence and Bellevue are the only ones around so far. Most of the money has gone towards the War on the Cursed, and understandably so given their powerful customs in play (some formerly) and at one point their 4 cancellers. The Kentucky had been sailing slowly off the south shore of my HI, so she was in decent position to hit the Zeus.
With that, the French appear to be giving up on trying to win, which will likely hasten the end of the game. The American-Pirate alliance is clearly gone for good. As the American admiral I have some inkling that the remaining factions have made a coalition alliance against the Americans, but as evidenced by the latest point count, the Americans have more than twice as many points in play as all of the other factions combined.
In the far west, the lone English ship (Aberdeen Baron) has turned east, though it’s unsure if she is heading towards the anti-American war effort, or simply another wild island in search of resources seeing that the hurricane has overrun the island the English visited a long time ago. In the far south, the Americans were planning to establish a blockade of the French home island, but now that looks generally unnecessary. The York and Destiny are headed there anyway, but the better American gunships in the area (USS Thomas Jefferson, Atlanta, and Julius Caesar) are headed towards the whirlpool to go fight the French or possibly the Cursed. Speaking of whirlpools, that is another area where the Americans could hit the French soon. They almost sent the Lizard through the whirlpool to cancel Lenoir aboard La Gaule (the Americans have been using their 3 cargo spies lately to look at face down French crew), allowing the Grand Temple to zoom through with an AA to smash the French 5 masters. However, I didn’t want to give up a canceller in the complicated Cursed situation, and that would also likely mean sacrificing the Grand Temple when a significant defense of the American resource system is being put together rather effectively on the fly. Between their ships in the far north and the USS Thomas Jefferson in the south (EA available via Commodore Stern), the Americans have flexibility for a many-pronged attack to combat the French invasion.
In the middle, The Zhanfu finally reaches Thompson’s Island to repair, joining the Slipstream. The Shui Xian may not even see combat in this game, but the newest 10 master in play is lumbering south in an attempt to join the effort against the French and/or Pirates. In the northeast, the Americans have gotten some measure of (largely unnecessary XD) revenge against the Cursed fort, as they’ve built their own fort on the Cursed resource island! It is a new game piece designed as part of my new fantasy (non-historical) custom set:
With another devastating turn of brutal combat, the Americans have mostly recovered from their home island “crisis” and have scored a coup in the far north against the Cursed.
The Baochuan was L-moved by the Cursed onto a reef, where she was wrecked regardless of the die roll! This was the second time the Baochuan has become a shipwreck while in the pay of the Americans, the other example being the famous situation in Xerecs’ 2015 CoE game. The Americans are disappointed, but it was arguably inevitable with the Baochuan’s extreme length and difficulty positioning. The Baochuan kind of failed in this game (couldn’t raze the trading port, didn’t last long in combat, and couldn’t take advantage of the Treasure Ship keyword to be a hybrid like in CG2), but the Americans have such a massive lead in the game that it hardly matters. They’ve now lost the Fortaleza and Baochuan, but still have the Zhanfu and Shui Xian. At the far left, the Polaris has destroyed her third iceberg (I believe), making the passage of the Mercury easier.
Near the whirlpool, the Americans scored a “coup” this turn! With enough cancellers in the area, I was hoping to capture at least one of the Cursed cancellers, as Papa Doc and Madame Maria were still aboard the Pyre and Locker. With those cancelling out the Lizard and Ghost Walker, it was time for some finagling. The Sigra Mein got into position and got her temporary Fear ability, gaining the keyword for this turn. Then, I improbably rolled a 5 to scare the Locker, shutting down all crew and ship abilities!! No Submarine keyword meant the sub could be towed immediately, and the Philadelphia did the honors. DNT (on the Constitution) cancelled the Pyre to the surface, where she was dismasted by the Sigra Mein. The New Orleans then started towing her! The Americans have now captured both Cursed cancellers!
The Mobilis was able to repair after surfacing, also putting out a dangerous fire. She cancelled the Atlantis to the surface, who was sunk by the Grand Path and Assassin. The Hades’ Realm was captured, with the Divine Dragon recaptured. The Mercury (submarine now) rammed a mast off the Tarantula, and the Glorious Treasure used her ability to take out a mast and crew from the Executioner, whose EA ability provided by Igor McWarren is being cancelled by Christian Fiore of the Nautilus. This represents the beginning of the assault on the Cursed HI, which will likely take many turns and be a brutal affair for both sides. At the far right, the Naegling and President (latter with Bow Chasers as you can see) teamed up to dismast the Skwaluck (not the actual spelling XD) before she can reach the HI. The Americans don’t want any more resources coming in, since every potential Cursed launch represents more and more firepower needed at the HI. If you’ve read the BR’s for CG1, you know how incredibly difficult it is to eliminate a faction AT their HI. Knowing this the Americans also launched a few ships from their new military port to the southeast: the Paul Revere and USS Morning Star.
Now, for a historic situation. Now that they have both Cursed cancellers in their possession (Papa Doc pun intended), the Americans control a whopping NINE cancellers as of now. O_O I believe this is the most ever seen in a single fleet in a game of Pirates CSG. The Kettering is back at the HI, but in this picture you can see EIGHT cancellers all in the same general area. I have marked them with the range “rosettes”, though of course only the S-range applies to the cancellation. The Nautilus (with Christian Fiore) and Ghost Walker are the farthest to the top, with the Constitution (DNT) on the left. Around the whirlpool is an incredible CANCELLING CLUSTER of 5, with the Mobilis/Lizard/Hessian/Papa Doc/Madame Maria ready to shut down anything and everything that gets close. Even with all my CG experience I have never seen anything like this. The amount of cancelling available to the Americans right here is astounding. Keep in mind that the Americans have the most officially released cancellers of any faction, with 5. This means that to get to this level of 9, you’d have to do a combination of capturing enemy cancellers, using other faction’s cancellers (like the Mobilis and Fiore), and/or using custom cancellers that aren’t Wizkids official. As a big fan of cancellers this is a wacky but cool moment in this game. Between this coup and the drowning of Lenoir (see below), the Americans also now control most of the cancellers left in play, for a 9-1 (Demise still Cursed) advantage over all 4 other factions.
Chaos reigns in the east! The American home island is under attack, but they are now well-equipped to defend it. The Carolina and a few canoes were sunk by the French and the big Pirate ship Zeus, but the Americans have responded with force of their own. 4 ships have teamed up to dismast the Zeus, but the Americans are purposely waiting on the capture part. I’ve learned a bunch about 10 masters on VASSAL, and I know how dramatic and extreme their length can be. If I captured the Zeus this turn, the resultant “towing flip” would likely put her in range of the Cursed fort and/or some oncoming French ships. By waiting, the Americans theoretically increase their chance of actually getting the 10 master home to repair, which would once again give them three 10’s in play along with the Zhanfu and Shui Xian. Unfortunately the Bellevue (upper right) is likely doomed, as she couldn’t hit the Sea Hag much and is now pinned in place with one mast standing. The Americans are rushing to get some L-range cannons out there (Ouroboros can’t be shot at by ships within S), including the newly built Blackwatch and Stephens.
Against the French the Americans were actually able to do better than I expected, partly due to 2 AA’s this turn (as compared to 1 or 0 on the previous 3 turns). The new launches did their job exactly as intended, with the Franklin, Intrepid, Saratoga, and Hudson zooming out from home to block and blast the French ships. The Franklin was devastating, starting a fire on the Gaule after Lenoir cancelled the Providence’s captain. The Intrepid and Saratoga did well, but the Franklin really shined when given an AA, finishing her turn 8/8 to sink the Gaule and dismast the Neptune. The Hudson and Lynx were ineffective against the Possession, but the Saratoga helped out and the ship still lost 2 masts. More to the west, the Enterprise got an EA to team up with the Bonhomme Richard and Denver to sink the Lyon and severely damage the Triton and Libellule. The Colossus and Essex are reaching the battlefield, and two surprise (to me) entrants came in at the end. The Atlanta and Julius Caesar were originally part of the squadron assigned to blockade the French HI, but seeing as how that’s unnecessary, they have arrived via the whirlpool to join the fight against France! The Atlanta got an AA, which I knew probably should have gone to the Intrepid or Saratoga. However, I wanted to take a chance and use some equipment instead of the easier option, plus I clearly love extra action-based whirlpool strikes as evidenced by CG2 and this game. The Atlanta did well, and didn’t roll a 1 with exploding shot at least. XD Her stinkpot shot hit, shutting down the crew of Le Descharges next turn. Two hits on the Courageux took out a mast due to the defensive ability. Overall the attack on the French went even better than I had anticipated, but having good extra action/AA rolls and tons of ships coming in at multiple angles helps a lot. XD
Here is the whole situation, though the closeups probably show at least 90% of the points in play. The Aberdeen Baron is all alone in the far west, looking for metals as the hurricane moves off to the northwest. The French ship Lezard seems to be hiding among the Grey Shrouds, giving out actions via Deleflote. The Destiny and York are off to take care of her, though they won’t be able to do much if she flees into the dense fog.
THE AMERICANS HAVE DECLARED WAR ON THE PIRATES!!!!
Though, it was pretty lame. XD USS Thomas Jefferson was given the Tombstone’s action via GWL, but only hit the Hai Peng once, with stinkpot shot. In addition, the Americans have way more points in play than the Pirates, so it’s not like the war declaration was a big deal either way now that their alliance has completely fallen apart.
I was listening to this impressive series while taking my latest turn.
The Cursed used the Executioner to sink the Ghost Walker, taking out one of the many American cancellers. At the far left, the Celestine was sunk by the Polaris. The Cursed home island is under siege, with the Sea Duck captured and L-mover Mimi cancelled by the Hessian. The Americans have captured a bunch of Cursed ships over the course of the battle, but they won’t be able to finish them off yet. That’s why you see a bunch of smaller ships launched from the military port at the bottom right – to eliminate the Cursed from their HI will be difficult, so the Americans have launched “ram ships” that will serve no other purpose since ships cannot be shot at while docked at their home islands. The Americans were not as aggressive this turn, since their cancellers are still getting into position and Ocean’s Edge is just north of the Cursed HI. If the submarines go too far north during their submerged ram attempts, it will leave them vulnerable to being moved off the map by the L-mover crew. One of them is now cancelled, but the Cursed have enough stuff left to hold out for a while, partly due to what they have (2 L-movers, 1 canceller, two sources of Eternal, some oarsmen, etc) and also because of how close their HI is to the dangerous edge of the map.
Much more decisive and quick is the situation at the American home island. The French have nearly been eliminated!! American firepower closed in on the remaining French squadron from all angles, dismasting all French ships in the area. The French managed to sink USS Atlanta, but now I believe they are out of move actions. The Americans are capturing as many French ships as possible to increase their fleet’s point total, with the Neptune and Triton being saved from scuttling. At the right, the Zeus is finally captured by the Americans, while the eternal ships Kettering and Concordia repair. Soon the Hudson, Blackwatch and Julius Caesar will bombard the Cursed Ouroboros fort to get the American resource system back to normal. The Americans have still had healthy launches of late, due to how many ships managed to load textiles from that island right before the fort was built, and their undisturbed lumber trade route to the west.
The clincher! The York received an AA to dismast the Lezard, eliminating her potential to escape into the fog and dismasting the final French ship in play. In included the Grey Shrouds because those Cursed fog hoppers could be problematic for the Americans to eliminate the Cursed, as the Cursed also have a fog bank conveniently right next to their HI. At the lower right, the French do have one metal resource token left, so if it increases in value when the next resource change occurs (2 turns from now), they could theoretically put another ship in play. However, the Americans have emerged victorious in their war against France!
The entire ocean, with American victory looking inevitable at this point. They have crushed the opposition and the 4 remaining fleets have considerably smaller areas that deckplates occupy. In fact, the Americans now need about half of all border space available for their burgeoning fleet. Outside of the two HI/battle “hub” areas, the sea is mostly empty at this point.
Another round of turns has been completed. Here you can see the intense blockade/assault of the Cursed home island. At the upper corners, the Sea Rat and Maman Brigitte have been sunk. With a lot of ramming, the Americans have captured both Cursed L-moving crew, with the Tarantula and Fiddler’s Green towed. This was a priority for the Americans, since now the Cursed cannot move American ships off the map with the L-movers. The Executioner and Nightmare lost some masts to ramming as well.
It’s a bit of a convoluted mess to the southeast, but the Americans have captured the Grinder by using the Mobilis to cancel the Turbine keyword, and now their newly launched ram ships are sailing towards the Cursed HI. The Cursed now have 7 ships left in play – the Executioner, Nightmare, Demise, and Lizard’s Sting at their HI, the Sea Hag, and the Howl and Hangman’s Joke in the Grey Shrouds hoping to come home and unload fish. That is why you see the Americans doing a new tactic to the left – the “fog blockade”. XD The Americans are trying to block off most or all exit points at that fog bank in order to force the fog hoppers to go somewhere else and eventually be intercepted by the vast American war fleet. If the fog hoppers can pop out right there, they can dock home on the same turn, which would not only allow the Cursed to launch more stuff, but it would also place additional ships that cannot be shot at at the Cursed HI, requiring even more American rams to take them out. The American situations against the French and Cursed show the contrast simultaneously – the Americans disposed of a similar-sized French fleet in just a few turns, but eliminating the Cursed while they are docked at their HI will take much longer.
The situation in the east. The Americans have captured the remaining French ships in play, eliminating their fleet from the game! The sole possession the French have is one metal token, so if that spikes in value (resource change is about to occur), they might be able to launch a small ship to stay alive. At the upper right, the Hudson and Blackwatch teamed up to destroy the Ouroboros fort built by the Cursed. The Julius Caesar shot off the Sea Hag’s final mast, so that ship is also now derelict. Next turn the Santa Isabel will re-explore the island and American trade will resume at the island once more. North of the American HI is just towing logistics as French ships are captured and towed home. To the southeast, the Americans show they mean business against the Pirates, with the Colossus, Essex, and Denver whirling into the area from just above the American HI, not wanting to go all the way around. The repaired Kettering is headed south along with the newly launched Wasp, the first of more “ram ships” designated for use against the Pirates. Three more were launched this turn: the Dolphin (custom by Cadet-Captain Mike), Fly and Hornet.
In fact, those three Pirate ships in the above picture are what they have left. In the deep southeast, the Brandywine was given an AA to catch and dismast the Banshee’s Cry. Between the resources and gold on their HI and the resources coming in, the Pirates may be able to mount a significant defense of their home island in the coming turns. However, it will still depend somewhat on the resource change roll. In the southwest, the York captures the Lezard as the USS Thomas Jefferson arrives via whirlpool to assist the Zhanfu in chasing down the Aberdeen Baron, the only English ship. As the end approaches, the American fleet is a mammoth size many times larger than all the other factions left in play. Only the 12 deckplates you see in the far west borders are not part of the American fleet now.
With the help of 3 AA’s and GWL’s action, the Americans managed to capture all four Cursed ships that were stationed at their home island. From the dense cluster you can tell that I needed a lot of ships to ram the Cursed ships derelict, and indeed five 1’s were rolled between the Lizard’s Sting and Demise! The Glorious Treasure’s ability proved useful, and a clutch 6 ram from USS Mercury (submarine, the windcatcher is actually just to the west haha) dismasted the Demise. With Fiore cancelling the Demise’s cancelling, and the Hessian cancelling the Cursed oarsman, the Wiglaf moved in to tow the Cursed gunship. It was a fitting end to the Cursed HI, as the Wiglaf has +1 to cannon rolls against the Cursed and her flavor text is very anti-Cursed. With the Executioner, Nightmare, Demise, Lizard’s Sting and Sea Hag all captured, the Cursed have only their two fog hoppers left. However, the close blockade around the Cursed home island could mean they won’t be able to get their now-valuable fish home. That’s right, the resources changed and finally lumber and textiles weren’t valuable. Spices are now the most valuable resource, which is what the Pirates have a bunch of!
However, the Pirates are about to experience a home island attack similar in intensity and nature as the Cursed. At the bottom right, the Hai Peng, Swift, and Darkhawk II are the three Pirate ships in play, but they can launch a bunch more. Already about half a dozen American ships are closing in on the Pirate HI, and a whopping 10 ships have emerged from the whirlpool near the Great Sargasso. Many other ships are on their way or about to be, including many of the ships that recently defeated France along with the captured French vessels. At the upper right, things get back to normal. With the Sea Hag captured and the fort destroyed, the Americans can run resources to and from that island once more. The Santa Isabel explored it to find luxuries, currently the least valuable resource; however it doesn’t really matter at this point. In addition, the Americans are still getting some lumber from their western island and cashed in some now-valuable fish and spices to get 36 gold, which they used to launch the Celtic Fury from their trading port. Because why not? XD
This was not the final event on the American turn, but check out the English finally coming into contact with another faction again! After being isolated since the Spanish had to back off, the Zhanfu has sacced to chase down and intercept the Aberdeen Baron. Ibrahan Ozat led an S-Boarding party and captured the English helmsman, with the ship’s foremost cannons also shooting off a mast. At this point it’s unlikely the Aberdeen Baron will get home to unload her metals, but the Americans have the powerful USS Thomas Jefferson now stationed off the English HI in case things get wacky.
With only a handful of turns left I would think (and hope! XD), the Americans converge on the Pirate home island! The Pirates did cash in their spices and launched a bunch of well-equipped gunships. Here the Americans have used the captured L-mover Screaming Mimi to move the Revenant away from the Pirate HI, allowing the Hudson and Kettering to sink her. The Revenant carried Dirk Chivers, a new historical crew from my custom set that I was pleasantly surprised to see so early after I created him. The Hai Peng was dismasted, and the Pirates have 5 healthy ships at their home island now (none of my rams worked).
Zoomed out a bit, and you can see the extent of the American operation in its “swan song” days. The Blackwatch got an EA to come south and sink the Darkhawk II. The Americans may already have enough points near the Pirates to eliminate them, but they’ve sent some additional ships through the whirlpool at the left, and more ships are coming down from the north after repairing at the American HI.
The French are alive again! Cashing in their final resource token, it was just enough to launch the Marianne. The York and Destiny are headed there to dispatch her, while the English do what is also likely to be their final launch in the west. HMS Oxford has a captain and Sir Christopher Myngs aboard, but the Zhanfu has sank the Aberdeen Baron and is ready for more, with USS Thomas Jefferson for support. In the center, the Shui Xian and Celtic Fury are headed to separate whirlpools. In the far north, the Americans now have a close blockade of the Cursed home island and their fog bank.
With that, potentially a “final” point count. It exceeded my expectations, and may require another just before the game ends.
Americans: 119 ships, 2,263 points
O_O The Americans have nearly reached the size of the biggest fleet of all time! That was the Pirate fleet from Command the Oceans in 2017, with 131 ships for 2,347 total points. So, if the Americans can capture enough ships and crew (along with minor launches) in these final turns, they may just claim the title of “biggest fleet ever”. I will admit it’s somewhat flawed due to how lopsided things are now, and many of the American ships are captures, derelict, or repairing. That Pirate fleet didn’t even make it to the final battle of CTO, and they certainly didn’t win the game. However, that’s part of the reason I want to keep track of the American point total – if it goes up enough, they could become the largest fleet ever AND the largest fleet to ever win a game.
In the far west, the USS Thomas Jefferson gets the Tombstone’s action via GWL (American Mycron), hitting 3/5 to set HMS Oxford (the final English ship) ablaze. Then the Zhanfu’s commander (Huang Bai) sacced Capitaine Arathiel (a “prize of war” taken from the French much earlier in the game) to get in range of the Oxford, sinking her with a few accurate shots! This means that the English have been eliminated from the game!!!!
Whew! My Americans were on a roll, and I eyed what was very nearly an incredible THIRD faction elimination in one turn! However, it didn’t quite work out since the Akua Lapu and Empress are still docked. The Pirates did manage to sink the Essex on their turn, but the Americans hit back by capturing the Black Pearl, Hai Peng, and Swift. They also dismasted the Harbinger, so the AL and Empress are the only two usable Pirate ships left. The devastating flood of American ships has hit the Pirate home island hard, and their elimination is likely only a turn or two away.
The entire ocean, with now only 3 factions left in play: the Americans as the clear dominant force in CG3, the Cursed hanging onto two fog hoppers and a trading port, and the Pirates being besieged at their home island with a few usable ships left.
Keeping in mind the all-time fleet record of 131 ships at 2,347 points set by the Pirates of Command the Oceans, I’m trying to keep track of the American fleet totals on a per-turn basis. The Essex was sunk, but her ~23 points total was easily made up by the capture of the Hai Peng for the same point total. Between the other two Pirate captures and 48 gold spent on launching (the United States and Grand Storm), the Americans actually gained 90 total points from last turn! (they also lost an oarsman, but I don’t think any other crew were eliminated)
3/9/2018: 123 ships, 2,353 points
By point total, this American fleet now claims the title of largest fleet ever!! Of course, they’re only ahead of those Pirates by 6 points right now, though they should be able to launch next turn as well. They’re also behind the Pirates in ship count, and many of the American ships are in bad shape, especially the various captured vessels. Still though, it’s an amazing record to break, and I’m happy to have broken the record with a fleet that will actually win the game the record is set in. XD
Only the Howl remained. She fog hopped to the northeast and started heading home when the Enterprise caught her. In a fitting end, one of the best American ships in the game sank the Howl! The Cursed have been eliminated!!!!
Having won all 3 VASSAL campaign games (CG1 and CG2 in 2016), I have asserted extreme dominance over the CG world, and could now be called “The Tom Brady of campaign games”. O_O XD (at 3-0 with 3 wins and no losses in my first 3 non-solo campaign games, like Tom Brady going 3-0 in his first 3 Super Bowl appearances) More on that later, I hope. XD
In their final turns, the Americans captured 4 ships, the final 3 Pirate ships and the Marianne, the final French ship. This increased the size of their fleet of course…
Truly the final point count from this game:
3/11/2018: 127 ships, 2,414 points
This means they have extended their record from the last battle report as the largest fleet of all time by point count. As CG3 is now officially over, the Pirates of Command the Oceans hold onto the ship count record (for now…) at 131 total ships. However, the Americans of CG3 are the first fleet to break the 2,400 point mark, which is an insane number.
I’ll leave the rest of the analysis in the now-traditional reflection post, which you can find below.
Looking back on VASSAL Campaign Game 3, I would say it was largely successful. The biggest reason is that we set a new (by far) record for players in a virtual campaign game, with 6! The previous high was 3 for CG2, so to double that and not have any long-term issues with people dropping out or quitting was quite awesome. The game lasted almost exactly 6 months, with play going from 9/2/2017 until 3/11/2018.
The high number of players was certainly a new experience for me, having controlled 3 of the 6 fleets in CG1, and then controlling 1 of the 3 fleets in CG2. However, I eventually came to dominate both of those games points-wise, so the bulk of playing time in the long run was done by me. CG3 was totally different since I theoretically only controlled about 17% (1/6) of the points in play to begin the game, and a reasonably slow start by the Americans meant I was mostly relegated to seeing how things developed.
I will start this with an analysis of my own game that I played; all the other players are free of course to post their thoughts on the game, their strategies throughout, what their plans were, and what they thought of the experience overall. (also feel free to reveal any alliances/etc, with the game over there’s not much to hide haha!)
As play began, I did NOT plan to dominate this much and to eliminate all the other factions. XD Knowing that there were 4 new players in the CG, and hoping the game would have parity for quite a while, I was planning to sort of “take it easy” and be a somewhat passive or friendly faction.
Everything changed when the Spanish started being aggressive though. That got my competitive spirit rekindled, and it was game on from there. XD Within a few turns or weeks I went from hoping I could be passive to being completely optimized and getting ready to dominate in the long-term. This happened because the Spanish showed they meant business VERY early, sinking a French gunship and nearly eliminating the English completely before any of the rest of us could do anything. This did a handful of things for me – it worried me on one hand, since the Spanish were a faction that I saw as a potential territorial rival, since they commanded a strong position on the map (center of the western hemisphere) and I was directly opposite them across the Gateway. In addition, it happened quite a bit faster than I (or possibly anyone else) had anticipated. I didn’t want to see another faction eliminated so early, but unlike CG1 and some of CG2, I was not in a position to be “world policeman” (like the British Empire during Pax Britannica 1815-1914) and interfere to guarantee the survival of a faction. The English were at risk of a VERY early elimination, but I had played with the English commander (repkosai) quite a bit on VASSAL in 2017, and I knew he was pretty stoked to be playing in CG3. Therefore, I didn’t want to see him go so early without hardly getting a chance to play, so I was somewhat opposed to the early Spanish lead. Some talks were had about a coalition to save the English, but in the end the French were the ones to take the fight to the Spanish since they had similarly valuable resources and the means necessary to get a battle fleet in play.
Very early in the game I pursued an alliance with the Pirates. This was partly since wifey was relatively new to pretty much everything going on – VASSAL, her first campaign game, and even Pirates CSG to a degree (and the EE ruleset of course). In addition, I recognized that their somewhat poor home island position could mean that my Americans would have a much better time getting gold from resources than the Pirates. So I wanted to take the Pirates “under my wing” if you will and have a friendly neighbor. And also, to hopefully prevent a pincer movement on all sides in the case of an alliance against me. XD This secret alliance solidified my position in the game, and made me feel decent about my chances going forward. Other alliances never really came to fruition, as the English didn’t respond to my tentative offer of help and the French and Cursed always seemed like factions I would have to fight to win the game. The Spanish actually reached out to me with an alliance offer, which I accepted. However, they then proceeded to establish a settlement on the Gateway island, which was near the American military port. I had doubts about the alliance, and couldn’t take it seriously when the Spanish were putting island upgrades near me on islands I also wanted.
As the French closed in and started wiping out the Spanish with their impressive battle fleet, I knew I had a chance to strike. The problem was how long it would take to get at the French (and what was left of the Spanish) effectively. With extreme haste, I rushed to get a trading port on the west side of the Barrier Reef, as the island was nearly untouched by the Cursed and Spanish. Some of the fastest American ships (Peacock, Sea Wind, Mercury windcatcher) were instrumental in this development, which I now see as one of the keys to my eventual victory. I escorted those ships with a few gunships, but not ones I wanted to risk in battle if I could help it (since they had tribal chieftains aboard). I also wanted a trading port because the players had voted that Mercenaries would function as regular privateers, with no bidding system as I had proposed. I was fine with that, but it was fun to get a little “payback” for the decision, as I eventually came to dominate privateer launches. XD We had also decided that the Mercenary 10 masters with faction biases were free to be launched by anyone that could do so, but I decided not to take overt advantage of that, generally only launching those 10 masters once the faction in question had been eliminated or effectively eliminated. The trading port also came in handy for launching AA crew, of which the Americans eventually had 5 including 3 privateers. Various AA’s were very useful down the line and provided support in key moments.
I didn’t put a trading port on the island northeast of the American HI because I was purposely sharing that with the Pirates, to keep the alliance strong and give them more of a chance if they had another island they could go to. The Cursed were actually the first to build a trading port, but they hardly ever used it for launching. This left the door wide open for me to take full advantage of the one built north of the Gateway, which became a launch hotspot and the bane of both the French and the Cursed.
In early November, I seized my opportunity and started the beginning of the American empire. After some saving, I spent over 200 gold to get some very effective ships, namely the Zhanfu, Baochuan (both 10 masters I felt comfortable launching at the time), Nautilus, and Mobilis. This dramatically increased my potential to hit the French before they could make it back home, as their fleet was somewhat far from home and exposed in the middle of the map while collecting Spanish prizes and being slowed by the towing process. It also gave me two cancellers, which is of course one of my favorite things to have in these giant games. Knowing the Americans have the most cancellers of any faction in the game (5 total), I decided to attempt a “canceller monopoly” that would form a potential “super squadron” surpassing even the super squadrons put together by the English and Spanish of CG1. Due to logistics and opportunities, this squadron never quite came together the way I wanted it to, but towards the end of the game it was mostly unified. Anyway, the Mobilis and Christian Fiore gave me a leg up in the cancelling game, locking up both Merc cancellers after the vote to not implement the bidding system for Mercenaries (and denying them from the Cursed, who had a trading port before the Americans).
I felt my window of opportunity closing fast, so I immediately hit the French as hard as I could. The French were about to establish a military port at the Gateway island (the ship with the upgrades was literally docked at the island and just needed another turn to explore and unload them!), and a resource change was imminent, making me worried that French metals would skyrocket in value and start a chain reaction that could see the elimination of the Americans. The attack went fantastic overall, and the rest is history. XD
After declaring war on the French and capturing many of the ships from the battle, I turned my attention to the Cursed, who were now the biggest long-term threat to the Americans (excepting if metals went to 6 gold apiece, which would have gotten the French back into things in a big way). Once again, the opportune moment came and I couldn’t pass it up. Though, the Cursed started it by using one of the American 10 masters to sink a captured prize (through Davy Jones), which I was looking forward to having in my fleet. XD I saw Davy Jones in a unique spot – somewhat isolated, nearly unprotected, and with his own ship open to attack! Knowing the downside if I failed (losing two gunships and their associated tribal chieftains, but only eliminating chieftains directly and rolling badly for them would really affect me negatively, since you only need one chieftain to actually give the canoes actions), and having checked the tribal chieftain rules to see that sinking them wouldn’t be too bad after all, I decided to take the plunge! The Grampus and Bonhomme Richard used AA’s to sail north and dismast the Slipknot, and after a couple tense turns, the former Cursed admiral was mine! (along with his ship, which was a nice resource gatherer towards the end of the game) This was another “masterstroke” of my game, mostly predicated on previous CG experience. From CG1 and CG2, I’ve learned that taking action and launching preemptive strikes can lead to great results in the long term, even though being hostile is always risky. In addition, I had learned from CG2 that having an All-Powerful crew in an enemy fleet rolling 6’s to sink your own ships (with your own ships) is one of the most annoying things in Pirates CSG. XD So I was determined to get quick revenge and not let it happen again. The skirmish was the start of the greater American-Cursed conflict, which mostly defined the last third of the game.
I was going to blockade the French home island and keep them there as best I could, but they fled the area before I could launch much from the military port the Americans set up in the south. Although there was a brief and somewhat minor “crisis” at the American home island when the French converged from the north and the Pirates sailed the Zeus up from the south (I just assumed they were breaking the alliance due to my points lead), I was actually relieved that the French would not have to be eliminated at their HI, which is extremely difficult and becomes a huge drain on resources the more ships there are to ram-dismast. Instead they were defeated on the open ocean, allowing for a quick elimination and some easy towing back to the American HI. Then I was able to focus on the remaining Cursed and Pirate ships.
Once the French left and I had a military port near their HI, I felt comfortable sending the elite southern squadron through the whirlpool to emerge in the north to combat the Cursed. It was quite the complicated mess for a number of turns, but eventually the Cursed HI was blockaded and their ships captured. That “turn for the ages” was the most complicated of the game, and reminds me of my whirlpool strikes from CG2. (whirlpool attacks are kind of my thing in these games now I guess XD)
If there was a “turning point”, I would say it was the Second Battle of the Gateway Island where the Americans defeated the French. This completed the domino effect, and led to the Americans dominating for the rest of the game. It really was a strangely perfect domino effect in a way – the Spanish nearly eliminated the English, the French nearly eliminated the Spanish, and the Americans nearly eliminated the French. The Americans were eventually responsible for the elimination of all the other factions.
So there you go. A detailed look into the mind of the winning Admiral. XD As the “Tom Brady” of campaign games, I’m happy with the way I played.
Of course, anyone could spin it another way. I benefited massively from the strange run of resource changes, which saw American islands (with textiles and lumber) valuable for months on end, whereas French metals stayed very low for just as long. In addition, I came in with a HUGE experience advantage over 4 of the other 5 players (Xerecs being the exception), and indeed this was the first campaign game (I think) for all 4 of those players. However, you could paint it the opposite way and point out that the Americans are almost objectively the second-worst faction of the Big 6, meaning I was at a somewhat severe disadvantage from the start. In addition, the resource changes benefited the western factions for a while at the start, but none of them were able to build up enough of an advantage that would resist the eventual riches of America (sounds familiar… XD). Finally, I am impressed with how quickly the Americans were able to end the game, since 6 months for a virtual CG with 6 players feels pretty short. Once the French were defeated at the Gateway and the Americans continued to get fortuitous resource changes, the steamrolling was just about inevitable and impossible to stop. (Cursed mounted a great defense of their HI but the numbers advantage was too great) I also made some mistakes of my own, though they were generally gameplay gaffes and not strategic blunders. For example, I tried to launch the Mercenary Divine Dragon with Christian Fiore before establishing a trading port (forgot about the EE ruling for that especially after not using it for CG1/2). Ironically I did launch both of those game pieces properly later on. XD I also had the Kettering cancel two abilities in one turn against the Cursed, so she lost her ability to cancel for the turn after. Oops!
Since I won the game and I have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to these kinds of games (and I greatly enjoy these reflection posts), I can give a brief analysis of the other factions and some “pointers”. Kinda hesitant to do this since I’m revealing the “grand strategy” that has proven to be essential to winning these things, but I suppose it’s easy to understand and maybe not as helpful as I think it will be. XD
In the order of play:
The Spanish were the dominant force early on, getting very valuable resources consistently from wild islands. They were the first to do a lot of things, such as launch, build a port, shoot, etc. However, it fizzled out quickly. I think they were a bit too aggressive, which made the factions on their west side of the map hostile to them. In addition, they didn’t really optimize their resource system before going after other fleets. They never had a lot of ships getting resources for gold, so things fell apart quickly. They attacked the French when they didn’t need to and couldn’t handle the later counterattack. Their gunships couldn’t handle the French fleet out for revenge, and their “alliance” with the Americans never panned out, especially when they claimed the Gateway island for themselves despite the Americans just to the east. They also seemed hell-bent on eliminating the English, keeping the Algeciras and flotilla stationed off the English HI when they may have been able to survive by running home or trying to get resources (not sure why the Spanish were so onto the English like that). In the end it was too much too soon, but partly as a result of not optimizing their income and launch strategy.
The Cursed did well as a somewhat passive or isolationist faction. Their fog hoppers were used to great effect to get resources not readily available on nearby wild islands. The Cursed made themselves difficult to reach and attack early, helping out the English with L movers and positioning themselves in the Frozen North near the icebergs. However, they saved resources and gold too much, never fully optimizing their resource system. This was their Achilles’ heel, as other factions were usually ahead of them in point counts. With more ships running resources, the Cursed could have built up a more impressive hoard they could use for defense. One could also argue the Cursed were slightly too passive, and didn’t appear to align with any factions against the powerful Americans. When they did anger the Americans, it was too early (or too late) for them to get into that giant conflict. However, the Cursed still played a solid game and finish in second place, VERY good considering the factional limitations.
The Pirates’ biggest problem was a disadvantageous home island location. In the far southeast, they didn’t have easy access to a single island, as the Americans were closer to an island in the northeast and the main Pirate wild island was far to the southwest around the Great Sargasso and possibly as close to the French HI as it was to the Pirate HI. This resulted in the Pirates getting WAY behind right from the start. In reality, they didn’t have much of a chance. They did accept a smart alliance with the Americans, so their powerful neighbors were on great terms with them for nearly the entire game. By the time the Americans sensed betrayal, the points lead the Americans had was overwhelming. Outside of that the Pirates didn’t really do anything wrong that I noticed.
I would contend that the French actually played the second-best game, though that can’t always be reflected in the final standings/elimination order. I don’t feel like they truly made any big mistakes that doomed them. I suppose you could make the case that they shouldn’t have used the explorer’s reroll at their second wild island during the first session of play, but it did help them early on. In addition, seeing the battle reports for CG1 and CG2 may have helped them anticipate a strike by yours truly, given the situation near the Gateway. The French were one of the early leaders due to valuable metals, and they sent an appropriately large squadron north to retaliate for the Spanish sinking of the Bonne Chance. As the Americans and French had no real contact prior to my attack (diplomatic or physical), there wasn’t a lot to suggest that they’d be crushed almost immediately after their big victory at the Gateway. However, with that decisive battle ending in favor of the Americans, it was very difficult to recover after that. Just as the resource “changes” (aka American and Cursed resources retaining high value) favored the eastern factions, the French were left with little means to launch things with. When one of the final resource changes kept metals at 1 gold apiece, the French decided to just spend what they had (99 metals I believe) and avoid a blockade scenario. If they had gotten lucky and metals had jumped to 6 (basically a windfall of 600 gold!), the French would have done better and possibly altered the final result of the game. (though since the Americans had over 1,000 points in play at that point, it still would likely have taken a coalition to unseat them as the eventual victor) All in all, it was a well-played game by the French, and like I said, in my opinion arguably the second-best game of the six factions.
The English went last and got to pick their home island first, which can be both a blessing and a curse. It allowed them to get a good location, but they had no idea where the other factions would settle. In the end they were close to the most aggressive faction of the early game, the Spanish. They were left at the mercy of Spanish firepower, though their questionable detour through a whirlpool route to get home may have doomed them just as much. Unfortunately the English spent many of the game’s most exciting turns simply repairing the Aberdeen Baron, the only English ship in play for most of the final half of the game. It was a disappointing outing for a faction that usually does quite well in these grand adventures, but like the Pirates they had lots of trouble early on and couldn’t make a comeback.
Random stuff from my google doc I use for all VASSAL CG’s (strategy/launch plans/etc)
-I wanted to eliminate the French within the 8 turns when that resource change happened, to prevent their metals from potentially skyrocketing
-At some point (in January or February) the main part of the strategy said “End the game as soon as possible!” XD (in bold) Mostly since it was borderline over, but also so we could potentially start another CG since the other players would get sick of the American dominance and inevitable outcome (trying to rush things so everyone could get a chance again in the next CG)
-Keep cancellers together and protect them (canceller squadron sails against Cursed, non-canceller ships blockade French HI) – this didn’t work that much, but it didn’t need to since the French left their HI and I couldn’t get all the cancellers together until the battle against the Cursed was already going well.
-Try to eliminate Cursed trading port?
-Peacock – where to put next military port? (after Flying Fish puts one near French HI)
(neither of those were particularly relevant as the endgame accelerated, the Celtic Fury did raze the Cursed TP on one of the final turns though)
These were from a while ago:
-Establish an alliance with wifey and possibly repkosai
-Deterrence with a fleet in being
-Escorts around fog banks
I accomplished the alliance with the Pirates, didn’t really need a “fleet in being” since I started playing offense earlier than I wanted/expected to, and started to get some escorts around fog banks to protect against fog hoppers. However, the Cursed didn’t use them for offense much and Davy Jones was captured before his 6’s could wreak havoc on the American resource system.
I also recorded a lot of various launch plans, which I followed some of the time. The game actually ended with a bunch of notes still in that section, so if the game had continued I had another ~400 points of launches planned out. XD I did manage to launch all 4 Merc 10 masters, and I think I put all the American 5 masters in play overall.
The super squadron never united as one due to how things panned out, but this was the fearsome main part of it that I wanted to assemble in the same small area:
Long term: Super squadron w/ Constitution + DNT, cancellers, Eternal, oarsmen
Kettering + Ralph David, Ghost Walker, Hessian, Lizard, Mercury, Lamon (+ Fiore and Mobilis in hindsight)
Here’s a random part of the doc where I recorded what I was satisfied with/had done right. XD
-Alliance with wifey
-Kill Davy Jones and other similar threats before they can be used to cripple gunships (in hindsight, capturing worked even better!)
-MP on one of Cursed wild islands
Alliances: Spanish, Pirates (neither really worked out, but they didn’t need to)
The final standings:
-First Battle of the Gateway Island: French decisively defeat the Spanish
-Second Battle of the Gateway Island: Americans decisively defeat the French (immediately after first battle)
-Battle of the American home island: Americans decisively defeat the French and Pirates
-Battle of the Cursed home island: Americans decisively defeat the Cursed
-Skirmishes won by Spanish against English and French
-Battle for Davy Jones: American victory over Cursed
-Battle of the Pirate home island: Americans eliminate the Pirates
(there were some other minor skirmishes)
Official new records:
Largest recorded single-fleet point total: Americans at 2,414 points
Most cancellers ever seen in a fleet? (likely): 9 (Americans)
Most players ever seen in a campaign game? (impossible to know for sure): 6
Most players ever seen in a virtual/VASSAL campaign game: 6
Thank you all for playing! Also, thanks to xerecs and repkosai for helping with the battle reports.