The next three game series would be between my Hai Peng Fort Frenzy fleet and a fleet that was created recently with some of my new ships. The first game was particularly long and exciting, even complex to a degree.
Hai Peng Fort Frenzy
The Coeur du Lion is a proxy for the Lezard.
American Pirate fleet:
+ Captain Blackheart
, Commodore Matthew Perry
, helmsman, explorer, oarsmen x2
The American Pirates (abbreviated AP's) went first, using Hidden Cove to catapult the Amity out to the middle island. She explored and found Barbary Banner.
This Hai Peng can move 4S and 4L total distance because of Mycron on the Patagonia. She couldn't quite reach the furthest island, and since the Amity had already docked at the middle island, the Hai Peng was forced to sail to the northwestern island. However, she found Holy Water, Pirate Globe and two 2's. This was a problem because all forts cost at least 3 gold and therefore the Hai Peng couldn't build a fort on the first turn. The HP took one of the 2 coins and traded the other one home via CJS and the Lezard.
The Bandido docked at the northeastern island, while the Roanoke was not yet in range of either the Hai Peng or the Banshee's Cry. With a helmsman and Blackheart the Roanoke could move up to L+S+L+S, quite fast but technically only half the total speed of the Hai Peng.
The reveal of Pirate Globe on the first turn proved to be very beneficial to the Hai Peng fleet (Hai Peng Fort Frenzy or HPFF). The Globe revealed that on the western island where the Banshee's Cry was about to dock, there was Maps of Alexandria, Jailhouse Dog and two 5's. On the northeastern island where the Bandido had docked there was a 5 and three 2's. Because the Bandido was about to take treasure from her island and that island was closer to the AP's HI (plus the fact that it had more gold on it), the HP sailed off to the island where the Bandido was docked. With 8 total move segments she was able to get there easily and also position herself in a way that let her shoot at the Bandido while staying out of range of the Roanoke. One of her two shots hit to dismast the Bandido. She then sent the 5 home to build Paradis de la Mer on the island as the Banshee's Cry docked at the western island.
(The gold is already on the AP's HI because I forgot to take a picture at the end of the turn.)
The Amity docked home her 10 gold including the 5 from Barbary Banner, giving the AP's a 10-2 gold advantage. Knowing that of the 11 gold that was on the northeastern island (with Paradis), only 7 could be transferred home (making the score 10-9 at a maximum), the Roanoke made the decision to keep sailing west towards the Banshee's Cry.
The Hai Peng couldn't quite make it to the western island where the Banshee's Cry was docked, partly because she had docked on the other side of the island on the previous turn to shoot at the Bandido and avoid the Roanoke. As a result the HP couldn't build a fort on this turn either, with three islands either emptied or having a fort on them already. The HP also realized that there wasn't enough gold in Paradis de la Mer to win by simply transferring it home via CJS, not to mention that the oarsmen aboard the Lezard would run out anyway. Knowing that the HP would have a shot at the western island on the following turn, the Banshee's Cry sailed away from the island because it would be easy for the Roanoke to sink her on the next turn and take the gold with Divers. The Banshee's Cry and Hai Peng both made sure they were out of the Roanoke's range.
The Bandido was scuttled since Paradis would have sunk her anyway, leaving the AP's with the Roanoke and Amity. HPFF forgot about the explorer on the Roanoke, and the Roanoke used him to grab both 5's from the western island, saccing one of her two oarsmen to make enough space. Jailhouse Dog was used to eliminate the Holy Water that the HP had loaded. This was a blow to HPFF because they had wanted to use Jailhouse Dog to eliminate Barbary Banner to deny the AP's 5 extra gold. The Roanoke's foremast cannon was just out of range of the Banshee's Cry.
HPFF now realized that to win the game they would have to steal at least one of the 5's on board the Roanoke. The Banshee's Cry had nowhere to run and no islands to explore, so she rammed the Roanoke out of desperation, losing both rolls and one of her two oarsmen. The Hai Peng sailed back to Paradis and transferred home the original 5 used to build the fort by leaving two 2's as the gold necessary to keep the fort in operation. The gold count was now 10-7 in favour of the AP's.
The Roanoke sank the Banshee's Cry, while the Amity wasn't fast enough to ram the HP. The Hai Peng sent home 2 more gold from Paradis, leaving 4 gold permanently in the fort (10-9, AP's winning).
The Roanoke started to sail home. The Lezard, with no more oarsmen to transfer and no gold to unload at her HI, finally set sail. At this point the game was up to the HP and the Lezard (but realistically only the HP) to steal gold from the Roanoke and get away with it. The HP still had the 2 in her cargo hold from early in the game. This Hai Peng is so fast that she was able to go all the way home from Paradis and still sail back out again and catch the Roanoke.
The Roanoke moved twice by saccing her second oarsman. The HP dropped off her 2 coin at her HI, giving HPFF an 11-10 lead.
The Roanoke sacced her explorer to move twice once again, leaving her about a centimeter from her HI.
The moment was finally at hand! The Hai Peng was faced with her greatest challenge yet. With Mycron she was able to move and shoot twice before ramming the Roanoke. She missed both shots on the first action but hit both times on the second action, leaving the Roanoke with three masts. The Hai Peng rammed the Roanoke on the port side to avoid a potential ram by the Amity on the following turn. However, the ram roll failed, leaving the Hai Peng at a slight disadvantage going into the boarding action. With great drama the boarding action failed!
The Hai Peng only lost an oarsman but in reality she had lost the game, as the Roanoke ended the game on the next turn by docking home her two 5's to give the American Pirates a thrilling 20-11 victory!
This was one of the more interesting games of this winter so far. It was definitely one of the longest 40 point games I've ever played, with 9 total turns counting the Roanoke's final turn. During the game I noticed some problems with my HPFF fleet. I'll look to correct them as I go along.
HPFF rolled to go first, and the HI setup was reversed with the AP's in the south and HPFF in the east. Instead of two oarsmen on the Banshee's Cry one was swapped out for an explorer.
The Hai Peng couldn't reach the western island and so was forced to dock at the northwestern island, where she built the Devil's Maw.
The Banshee's Cry explored the middle wild island and found Jailhouse Dog, Barbary Banner, Maps of Alexandria, and a 2. She took the gold and the Hai Peng was able to see what treasures were on the remaining two islands. She sailed to the northeastern island and built Paradis de la Mer.
The Amity reached the western island and took the gold from it. In the first big move of the game, the Roanoke was Hidden Cove'd to the middle island. The AP's had decided to use HC with the Roanoke rather than to run gold with it. This extra boost of movement got the Roanoke within saccing striking distance of the Hai Peng. Blackheart sacced an oarsman and the Roanoke sunk the Hai Peng while she was docked at Paradis!
Two turns in and the Hai Peng is gone.
After a great start HPFF was now in big trouble. On the bright side, Mycron could now give the Patagonia's action to the Banshee's Cry, which let her return home at L+L+L+L speed from the middle island. In the meantime Paradis de la Mer exacted some revenge on the Roanoke by hitting twice with both of the cannons that were in range.
Since the Devil's Maw was an easier target, the Roanoke turned west and sacced herself into range of the Pirate fort, hitting twice in five tries between two shoot actions. She could only get two of her three remaining guns in range for the first action. It was now up to the Roanoke to take out a fort since they held all the gold left in play that was needed for the AP's to win.
The Banshee's Cry zipped out to Paradis and grabbed the 5 coin, which was the last coin that could leave the fort since the two 2's had to stay. This is actually one of the biggest weaknesses of the HPFF fleet because they can only get so much gold home from the forts they build. The Devil's Maw took a mast off the Roanoke with her three remaining cannons to establish a slight numerical advantage.
The Amity returned home with 8 gold, making the score 8-7 in favour of the AP's. The Roanoke sacced her explorer to shoot twice at the Devil's Maw but only hit once in four tries.
The Banshee's Cry docked home the 5 from Paradis to take the lead 12-8. The Devil's Maw connected for a hit on the Roanoke, leaving the flagship with just one mast.
On the AP's turn the Roanoke sacced her valuable helmsman to shoot twice at the Devil's Maw. The risk paid off as the Roanoke hit both times to make the fort abandoned and render it useless!
This is when the game started getting down to the wire. With the Hai Peng long gone and the Roanoke with one mast standing, the lesser ships would finally decide the outcome of the game.
Since the Roanoke was still around the Devil's Maw island that the Banshee's Cry had to get to in order to load the winning gold, HPFF decided to use Mycron's action for the Lezard, who had been sailing northwest ever since her partner in crime (the HP) had sunk. HPFF was worried about the speed (S+S+S) of the Bandido to ram the Banshee's Cry out of commission. The Lezard was given an extra action which she used to ram the Bandido, needing just a 2 to hit. She rolled a 1, leaving the AP's with 5 masts in the area and HPFF with 2.
With no crew left to sac and no helmsman, Blackheart fired the Roanoke's last cannon at the Devil's Maw, but it missed. The Bandido sailed around the Lezard and rammed her in return, but somehow the Bandido also rolled a 1.
With the Roanoke now in ramming range, the Lezard now rammed her and succeeded in taking out her last mast. The Roanoke was now derelict. The Banshee's Cry used Mycron to approach the crucial northwestern island, which was actually the first island to be explored in this game.
The Amity returned the favour by ramming the Lezard, leaving three ships (two derelict) all in contact with one another.
The Banshee's Cry docked at the Devil's Maw and loaded 4 gold, which would be enough to win the game for HPFF.
This was already a great, close, hard-fought game, but now it really started getting ridiculous. The Banshee's Cry had measured multiple times and determined that there was nowhere at the northwestern island that she could dock without being in ramming range of the two Pirate ships. She docked on the far side of the island anyway.
The Bandido came around the north side of the island and rammed the Cry. Needing a 2 to dismast the Cry and probably win the game for the AP's, the Bandido rolled another 1! The Amity sailed around the south side of the island, rammed the Banshee's Cry and rolled a 1!
The boarding rolls were ineffective and the Banshee's Cry had inexplicably survived!
Is this die cursed?
The infamous and now apparently invincible Banshee's Cry:
The Banshee's Cry was trapped between the Amity and the Bandido, and if you read my report from the game using El Garante a few weeks ago you'll remember the moment where the huge ship was trapped on both sides by ships that had rammed her. I feel that it would be very unfair for a fleet to lose in such a way and therefore the "no ship may turn more than 90 degrees" house rule was temporarily broken to allow the Banshee's Cry to move. She took off with the help of Mycron and there was no hope of the Amity or Bandido of catching her.
The Bandido used a shoot action to finally destroy the Devil's Maw, and the Amity used her explorer to grab the 7 gold that was in the fort.
Turns 10 and 11:
The ships raced for home with their gold, but it was no contest. The Cry docked home 4 gold to give HPFF a 16-8 win!
This was one of the craziest games I've played so far this run and one of the better ones I've played overall. It was even longer than the last one between these fleets (11 turns and 9 for the first one). They seem to be unnaturally evenly matched, which makes for awesome gameplay. HPFF appears better on paper, but the advantage of having Hidden Cove is HUGE. This really evens out the fleets and even gives the American Pirates the upper hand in some ways.
It was good to see the smaller ships see action after the Roanoke and especially the Hai Peng were knocked out of the game. HPFF showed their mettle by winning the game even after their main ship was sunk on the second turn.
Despite the game's length and overall excitement, I think I'll always remember this game as the failed ramming game (or the ram game maybe?). I believe there were SIX ram attempts on ships with one mast, and only two of them succeeded! Mathematically you'd expect 5/6 to work. Perhaps shoot actions aren't the only time where huge amounts of 1's are rolled...
The third game featured the HPFF HI in the west and the AP HI on the northeast island. HPFF rolled to go first.
The Hai Peng explored the middle island, finding Holy Water, Maps of Alexandria (thus turning over all the other treasure on the islands), a 5 and a 1. She sent the 5 home and kept the 1 and Holy Water. Then the HP went south and explored another island, sending another 5 gold home which came right back in the form of the Devil's Maw.
The HP now went to the northwestern island and grabbed Jailhouse Dog in order to potentially cancel Barbary Banner, which was on the eastern island near the AP HI. The HP sent a 2 to the Lezard. The Banshee's Cry loaded 4 gold from the Devil's Maw. At the end of the turn Paradis de la Mer was built on the northwest island.
The Amity used Ghost Ship to sail through the northwest island and ram the docked Hai Peng. The ram and board were successful, leaving the HP with one mast and the Amity with 1 gold in her cargo hold. The Bandido docked at the eastern island. The Roanoke was Hidden Cove'd to the middle island from which she sacced an oarsman to sink the Banshee's Cry to the south. Divers was flipped to give the AP's all 4 gold on their HI. The Roanoke was 4 out of 5 on her shoot action, with her last two hits coming against the Devil's Maw.
HPFF began the turn by opening fire with their two forts. This was probably the most triumphant game I've played with forts. The Devil's Maw blasted the Roanoke 3/3 to leave her with two masts remaining. Then Paradis de la Mer let loose a flurry of shots on the Amity, shredding her to pieces and leaving her derelict! Once again the rage of the gunners on Paradis had gotten revenge on the AP's for attacking the Hai Peng. When the smoke cleared from these battles the Hai Peng had already sailed away and was almost to the Bandido in the east.
The Bandido explored and took Barbary Banner and a 5 and a 2. The Roanoke retreated, with no interest in engaging the Devil's Maw.
The Hai Peng dismasted the Bandido with her first action and captured her and explored the island with her second action. This left the Roanoke as the only AP ship left that could move.
The HP towed the Bandido back the way she had come to the northwest, desperate to stay out of the Roanoke's range. The Roanoke sailed north, dismasting the Lezard, which had sailed out to capture the Amity.
The Lezard had plenty of oarsmen aboard (including her French one) and captured the Amity. HPFF had now captured two of the three AP ships and the Roanoke only had two masts standing. The Hai Peng sailed south with the Bandido in tow (still moving S+L+S+S+L+S because of the bonuses and Mycron), once again avoiding the Roanoke. The Roanoke turned south but was just out of range.
The Hai Peng docked, bringing in 14 gold between her and the Bandido. This gave Hai Peng Fort Frenzy a 16-4 victory and means that they win this series 2 games to 1!
This was an amazing series that was hotly contested. These fleets are very evenly matched, with both of the first two games taking a long time and going down to the wire. The third game finally featured a near-perfect game from HPFF, which shows how fast and powerful it can be. Hai Peng Fort Frenzy beats the American Pirates 2 games to 1.