This game was played on 11/21/2015.
This was a game with 4 fleets at 100 points each. After being completely astounded throughout, I can honestly say that in my 240+ games of Pirates up to this point, it was one of the absolute best games I've ever played. I would estimate that excluding cumulative games and huge games (games exceeding 1,000 total points), it was quite possibly one of the top 3 all-time!
As a result, I wanted to make it one of my all-time best battle reports. The game was so long, complicated, and engaging that the report has to be as well. However, naturally there are some details that I've already forgotten. There are almost 150 pictures, and I tried to go as in-depth as possible. Therefore, you may want to read this report in more than one sitting. Either way, enjoy!
Some custom game pieces were used (all mine this time), as well as one ship from Return to Savage Shores. The fleets took their turns in this order:
+ Captain Nemo
, Capitaine Arathiel
, Mademoiselle Josephine Godiva
, helmsman, oarsmen x2
Fetu (RtSS) + Jean Bart, helmsman, Smokepot Shot
(played as a 1 point equipment for this game)
+ Amiral Louis Cartier
+ captain, helmsman, oarsman
Collector's Number: 041
Faction Affiliation: France
Point Value: 16
Cargo Space: 6
Base Move: L
Number of Masts: 3
Hoist. If this ship has a crew with the Captain keyword, she gets +L to her base move.
Collector's Number: 134
Faction Affiliation: France
Point Value: 13
Captain. Reverse Captain. You own any derelict this ship explores; both ships become docked at your home island. Once per turn, roll a d6. On a 5 or 6, this ship may be given an extra action. This crew ignores the normal point limitations on crew, that is, this crew may serve on any French ship. If the ship’s point cost is 13 or less, then this is the only crew that can serve on this ship. If the ship’s point cost exceeds 13, then the normal point limitations apply.
As you can see, the French were going all-in on their three ships. I've wanted to use various crew combinations on the Saber for a while now, and this is one of the best. Arathiel has two oarsmen to sac for extra actions (EA) before Nemo starts nabbing enemy crew for Arathiel to sacrifice. The Fetu is one of the best ships from RtSS, and hoists are simply some of the game's best ships overall. With Bart on board, the Fetu would be able to move L+L+S even without Bart's EA capabilities. Also, the Fetu would be able to execute the extremely powerful combo of having Bart's derelict-teleportation ability on a hoist, where a hoist can use its free explore action on a derelict. Lastly, the Pluton rounds out the fleet as a hybrid, capable of running gold, stealing it, or simply fighting. The addition of Cartier means that all three ships have extra action potential.
Barbary Corsair/Jade Rebellion/Viking Alliance (referred to as the Alliance):
Rabat + Jack Hawkins
, Bonny Peel
, helmsman, explorer, oarsman
Grand River + Dragon Eyes
, Ms. Cheng
, helmsman, firepot specialist, Stinkpot Shot
Sigra Mein + Shayna Duex
+ Christian Fiore
Collector's Number: 123
Faction Affiliation: Barbary Corsair
Point Value: 18
Cargo Space: 6
Base Move: S+S+S
Number of Masts: 4
Galley. After looking at treasure on a wild island, you may trade one treasure from that island for a random treasure on any other wild island. This ship may dock at an enemy home island and load one treasure. If able, she must leave on your next turn.
Collector's Number: 124
Faction Affiliation: Jade Rebellion
Point Value: 16
Cargo Space: 5
Base Move: S+S
Cannons: 3S,3S,3L,3L,3S, 3S
Number of Masts: 6
Junk. This ship’s base move becomes S when she reaches her cargo limit.
Collector's Number: 125
Faction Affiliation: Viking
Point Value: 20
Cargo Space: 2
Base Move: S+S+S
Number of Masts: 3
Longship. Once per turn, roll a d6. On a 4-6, this ship gains the Fear keyword for this turn.
The BC/JR/Viking Alliance featured three of the four SR ships from my custom set. It's quite possible that all three are somewhat underpriced, but they have their drawbacks. With this setup, the Rabat is moving S+S+S+S (4S) per turn with the potential to double it to 8S with Jack Hawkins. She's a fantastic but expensive gold ship, with treasure trading and HI raiding available to complement her large cargo hold. The Grand River could be called a "boring" 6 masted junk compared to some of the others, but with enough help from the excellent selection of Jade Rebellion crew, she can excel. Here Ms. Cheng and the oarsman keep her from reaching her cargo limit and inducing the movement penalty. Just like the Rabat, the Grand River is equipped to capture enemy crew and turn them into gold. The Sigra Mein (supposed to mean "inflict pain" in Old Norse) is a brutal short-range fighter with enough room to add a captain/reroller and a Mercenary canceller. Similar to the French, the Alliance is looking to dominate with quality over quantity.
+ Genny Gallows
+ El Phantasma
+ Jean Laffite
, helmsman, oarsman
The Pirates went with a very different approach. Their fleet featured a large gunship with gold-capturing capability, in addition to the captain/helmsman/explorer combo. This saved the Ranger two spaces which she wanted to fill with gold. The Sea Crane was looking to combine her ability with that of Genny Gallows in order to get +3 on as many coins as possible! To help her do that, the Typhoon was a sort of hybrid ship designed for support and gold, with two spaces left and S+S+S speed. Laffite was a perfect fit with the Typhoon's built-in reroll, and fleet admiral crew are more affordable and useful in games like this that feature higher build totals. The Coleoptera was slow but threatening - the only submersible in the setup, she also featured the only HI-raiding ability other than the Rabat. To top it all off, Beastie promised to wreak havoc and cause consternation among the other fleets. To round out their fleet to the 100 point limit, the Pirates were able to add oarsmen to all of their ships, helping to protect crew from elimination and giving the ships more flexibility.
, captain, helmsman
+ Powder Pete
+ Sir Christopher Myngs
, Commodore Rhys Gryffyn Owen
HMS Sea Phoenix
+ Thomas Gunn
+ Richard Howe, captain, helmsman, oarsman
Collector's Number: 041
Faction Affiliation: England
Point Value: 6
Once per turn, roll a d6. On a 4, any ship in your fleet may be given two actions that turn. On a 5-6, this ship may be given the same action twice.
The English were planning to focus on beefing up the already-dangerous Nova Scotia using her unique ability, which doesn't see use very often. For this purpose, the MF (Maui's Fishhook) was the main treasure runner. Similar to the Pirates' strategy, the Honu Iki would try to get Powder Pete's +1 bonus on as many coins as possible so the Nova Scotia could simply eliminate the 1's added to the English home island. The Sea Phoenix was a hybrid, with 3 cargo spaces open to run gold. She could fight with Thomas Gunn and raid HI's with her ability. The Bombardier was the last addition to the fleet, a powerful gunship capable of defending the English fleet and attacking if need be. Howe is a custom crew from my set that I like to refer to as "SAT with a twist".
The setup featured the 4 home islands around the perimeter, with round earth rules making them closer in reality than they appear to be. There was one wild island in the middle, with three separate beaches containing 12 gold coins each, including some unique treasure. To the north and south of this island there were two shipwrecks, both of which were laden with 4 non-UT coins. In addition, each fleet had a unique obstacle to overcome in their pursuit of the island. The fleets picked their HI's in the opposite order of play, so the English opted for what they thought looked like the easiest approach. They had to contend with a few reefs, but one of the shipwrecks was conveniently located on a likely route to the island. The Pirates picked the other HI in the south, which had a huge sandbar in the way. The Alliance had two ships with wide oars, so they had to pick the northeastern HI which was completely blocked off from the island with various terrain. As a result, the French got what the Alliance didn't want, a HI near an obstacle course of dangerous rocks, which made maneuvering rather difficult and slow.
The Pirates on the left, the Alliance on the right:
French on the left, English on the right. Note the two hoists, one switchblade and one bombardier.
This is where everyone wanted to be, but getting there would prove complicated:
The French led off the game and it began! For the Alliance, the Rabat and Sigra Mein (Sigra) were able to reach a fog bank on the first turn, with the Grand River not far behind. The Rabat left Bonny Peel behind on the HI to make room for more gold. The Pirates were intimidated by the 6 masted junk and powerful longship, so they headed west towards the English, who got off to a good start with an SAT on the MF (Maui's Fishhook).
The French make their way through the obstacles:
The Fetu is the first to reach the island and finds the funny UT. In addition, she picked up Wine
and the Knights of Malta Banner
to go along with three valuable coins.
The fog bank facing the Alliance had numbers 3-6 exiting the fog bank the same way they came in, a 1 resulting in being laid up on a reef, and only a 2 resulting in clearing the fog and emerging in the semi-lagoon containing the only wild island. Miraculously, the Rabat got a 2 on her first try, and also received an SAT from Jack Hawkins on the same turn! This let her explore the northern beach, take a bunch of goodies, and sail right back into the fog! Along with regular gold she grabbed Manawa no Kowhatu
, Wet Gunpowder
, and Periscope
, making her more of a defensive threat. In the meantime, the Sigra Mein exited the fog bank to join the Grand River, who was sailing west.
Seeing the Alliance's change of course, the Pirates turned the Ranger and Coleoptera around. The OE junks Sea Crane and Typhoon continued, looking to explore the Duke shipwreck rather than get into an early confrontation with the nearby English. Beastie hung around to make sure the English didn't try anything.
However, the English weren't worried about the Pirates just yet, as the MF found a very interesting mix of UT's to complement her standard gold: Neptune's Figurehead
, Metal Hull
, Barbary Banner
, and Poseiden's Breath
, and Jail!
Jail sent all three crew home, while Metal Hull reduced her movement to S. (In hindsight CRGO should have stayed on the MF)
For a unique twist on the game, each time all three beaches were explored, the remaining treasure on the island would re-shuffle itself so that each beach had the same amount of coins on it, but the shuffling meant that each fleet didn't know what the beach they had already explored now contained!
With an EA from Jean Bart, the Fetu has already returned home. The Saber feels useless because her switchblades prevent her from traversing the rocks. She'll have to prove her worth on the outside parts of the sea. The Pluton grabbed a few coins from the western beach and sails beautifully through the rocks as the turtles begin following her.
With an overhead view of the whole sea, the first sign of conflict appears: the Bombardier, after receiving Neptune's Figurehead and Metal Hull from the MF, moves to eliminate a turtle and almost comes within range of the Pluton. To the southeast, the Sea Phoenix grabs gold while the Sea Crane looks to do the same at the Duke shipwreck. In the east, the Ranger and Rabat cross paths in the fog. At the northeastern and southwestern HI's, note Bonny Peel awaiting the return of the Rabat and the jailed English crew of the MF.
Hmmm... English vs. French! What a surprise!
The Pluton ran home with the help of an EA from Cartier, knowing her gold was more valuable than the slow-moving turtles. The Saber and Fetu have pointed their bows south, but the Fetu must wait for a fleet to return gold home to its HI before she can utilize Wine. With the turtles, the French have a slight advantage with the rocks, since the turtles can split up a bit to run away from the Bombardier, who is really scaring them with her flamethrower. At the far right, the Honu Iki has used her ability to ignore the reef (which she can essentially do anyway) and explore the western beach.
Luck has caught up to the Rabat, who lost two masts coming out of the fog onto a reef. However, she's still more than swift enough to return home on the same turn, giving the Alliance some gold. The Rabat is almost happy to have to repair, since it keeps her around to guard the gold against the submerged Coleoptera, lurking nearby. Also, the Rabat will need a full three turns to fully repair, since Bonny Peel won't take command until all the Wet Gunpowder is removed.
Even with Metal Hull now aboard the Bombardier, the MF was still moving just L since her helmsman had been jailed along with Myngs and Owen, more crew that helped speed up the MF. The MF wouldn't stand for getting home so slow, and used Poseidon's Breath very early in the game to move L+L+L towards home. This made it look like the English were in a hurry to get the MF's haul home, which they were. This aroused some suspicion in the other fleets since it was so early and each fleet knew that the MF could be carrying a lot of gold, especially since Jail removing her crew had let her take extra coins to fill her cargo hold. The Sea Phoenix successfully traversed a reef, and the Nova Scotia's Lawrence was prepared to cancel the Kraken keyword if Beastie tried anything.
Here's a quick overview of how the fleets were set up. The Saber has gotten the Knights of Malta Banner from the Fetu, since the Saber is looking to do a lot of damage in the game. Above the French fleet is the Alliance fleet, while the Pirates are at the bottom right. At the top, three of the five English ships have gold aboard.
This shows the end of the round of turns. Coleoptera has abandoned the Alliance HI and has round earthed her way to the west in the hope of raiding the French instead. The S and L straws at the top left and top right of the frames represent the round earth boundaries. At the bottom left, the Grand River and Sigra Mein have round earthed to the southwest, showing how the setup is relatively tight and competitive around the edges. Hoping to steal gold from the English, the Fetu has hidden in a fog bank. The Saber adopted a flexible position, where she can potentially hit the Coleoptera if the sub tries a home island raid, the Saber can also hinder the Bombardier, or the Saber can head south to assist the Fetu if needed. The Pluton would love to help the turtles, but the Bombardier can only eliminate one per turn, not to mention how dangerous the Bombardier is with Metal Hull and Neptune's Figurehead. The Pluton is also guarding the HI in case of a HI raid. The MF and Sea Phoenix are almost home with gold, with the Honu Iki not far behind. Unfortunately for the English, this is the end of this round, which means that the other fleets are up next in the following round...
Tensions rise in the west:
On board the Fetu, Jean Bart suddenly realized: "Why am I waiting for them to drop off gold and then exchange Wine for one coin, when I can use my hoist to steal an entire ship's worth of gold?" Why wait indeed? The Fetu came flying out of the fog and crashed into the Sea Phoenix, signalling the true start of war! Her guns shot only 1/3, but the ram bailed her out to dismast the Sea Phoenix. Immediately after, the Fetu used her Hoist keyword to get a free explore action, which was combined with Jean Bart's derelict-nabbing ability to teleport both ships home right then and there!
Myngs watches in agony as one of his ships falls to the French:
If the Coleoptera had reservations about raiding the French while the Pluton was there, now she has to contend with the Fetu and soon the Sea Phoenix as well!
The Alliance attacks! The Sigra Mein's powerful guns boom out and the MF is quickly dismasted!
And just like that, England's two best gold runners have been captured! They unknowingly made the (relatively minor) mistake of using Poseidon's Breath to draw attention to themselves, and now two fleets have capitalized on it. And both ships were so close to getting home! The Sigra Mein's guns also wounded the Nova Scotia after Lawrence and Christian Fiore cancelled each other out.
Here, the Pirates are sailing the Sea Crane and Typhoon home. The Typhoon is hoping to transfer her two coins one by one to the Sea Crane to maximize the gold bonuses at +3 per coin. The Ranger heads in the opposite direction, frustrated by the western fog bank. Beastie has entered the now-deserted center area, hoping to trap any treasure runner too greedy to avoid the remaining gold.
The Coleoptera isn't foolish enough to surface and raid the French HI, but she is willing to take advantage of France's lack of antisubmarine abilities, annoying the French by ramming the Fetu while she's docked at her HI.
The Nova Scotia and Honu Iki reach home, with the damaged Nova Scotia managing a hit against the hulking Grand River. I believe the 4 result is from Richard Howe's modified SAT/fleet admiral ability, which let the Honu Iki dock home three 1's. In addition to that gold, Powder Pete's +1 bonus was immediately used to add a 3S cannon to the Nova Scotia. The English would love to get their MF back, but know it will be difficult against the dangerous gunships of the Alliance.
After another turn, this is how it looked. Notice the development at the lower left near the English HI: both the Nova Scotia and Bombardier have received SAT's, with the Nova Scotia repairing two masts in one turn while the Bombardier abandons her turtle attacks to help her fleet mates. The Nova Scotia temporarily put Lawrence on the HI to load the linked Myngs/Owen combo. With the Saber lurking in the fog the Honu Iki has decided to stay put for the time being. The Sigra Mein is shielding the MF, and although they don't want to, the English are prepared to sink the MF rather than see her falling into enemy hands, which is a very real possibility since the Alliance HI is close to the English HI via round earth. Speaking of the Alliance HI, notice that the Rabat has finished repairing in the northeast. To the south, the Sea Crane and Typhoon have begun the process known as "gold factory". In the northwest, the captured Sea Phoenix repairs as the Coleoptera continues to annoy the Fetu, ramming a mast off as soon as it's repaired.
There's really not that much gold left out there, even including the two shipwrecks, one of which (the Duke in the south) is empty. This began a deceptive trend of making it look like the game could end soon...
The Sigra Mein shows the English she's not just sailing around to defend the Maui's Fishhook, blasting the Bombardier with an effective broadside. The Sigra Mein was the first ship to brave the Bombardier's Metal Hull defense, which was somehow eliminated on a 6 with the Sigra Mein's very first shot of the shoot action! This left the English ship easy prey for the rest of the shoot action, though the Sigra took care not to sink the ship for fear of triggering Neptune's Figurehead.
Will the Grand River succeed in towing the MF away to safety?
NO! With a defiant cheer, the Nova Scotia sinks the MF, knowing the English had a slim chance of recapturing the ship. The Alliance's hunch turned out to be right, for the Maui's Fishhook had a whopping 23 gold
on her! (Two 4's, two 5's, and Barbary Banner which would be worth 5) Luckily for the English, the dismasted Bombardier had an oarsman and was within rowing distance of her HI, so the Sigra Mein's broadside didn't spell the end for the gunship. The Honu Iki has sailed into a fog bank for protection, and notice how the Nova Scotia swapped Lawrence back in for Myngs/Owen.
After the Rabat finally departs, the Coleoptera immediately returns to the northeast, hoping for a home island raid. So far the Pirates' gold factory is working well, while the Ranger searches for gold.
The English get some revenge on the Sigra Mein! The Nova Scotia, with the help of another new cannon, hits twice to cripple the once-powerful longship.
El Phantasma aboard the Coleoptera continues to change his mind, going back to the French HI now that he sees there's more gold there than on the Alliance HI. The Bombardier succeeded in eliminating some turtles, but the French still stand to gain a nice bonus from the UT, despite their lack of effort to "save the wee turtles!" The Pluton has gone out for more gold, while in the top right the Rabat has lost a mast exploring the wreck of HMS Sultan. Where has the Fetu gone?
There she is! The Fetu used Jean Bart's EA to move L+L+S+L+L+S and round earth her way to the Pirates' home island! Wine has been exchanged for a shiny silver 6 (no Economy bonuses though!), and the Typhoon and Sea Crane are just too far away to ram her in an attempt to steal it back.
Having battled to a relative stalemate, the Alliance and the English part ways. The English won the morale battle, but the Alliance essentially cost the English 23 gold.
The whole situation. The only "new" developments here are the Ranger docking at the northern beach and the Grand River has almost made it home to repair.
With another EA from Jean Bart, the Fetu has quickly returned the 6 home for the French, who look like the fleet to beat! Arriving turtles bring in even more gold, and the dangerous Saber and Pluton haven't even been in action yet!
The east. After the sudden HI raid by the Fetu, the Typhoon and Sea Crane are almost finished getting +3 to each coin they got from the Duke shipwreck. Beastie and the Ranger are returning from their exploration of the center area, while for the first time all Alliance ships are converging on their home island. However, Christian Fiore will have to be removed from the Sigra Mein for the longship to repair, causing a minor headache for the Alliance.
The Bombardier repairs while the Nova Scotia, now with a whopping 6 total cannons, heads south in an attempt to recapture the Sea Phoenix. The Honu Iki wants to grab gold and avoid the nearby Pluton.
However, the Pluton attacks! Miraculously for the English, she misses all four shots against the Honu Iki! Up north, realizing the presence of the nearby Saber will prevent the successful recapture of the Sea Phoenix, the Nova Scotia simply sinks the ship to deny any more use of her to the French. Bored, Phantasma amuses himself by ramming the Fetu again. The eastern fleets are regrouping.
The French were annoyed that the English sunk their captured Sea Phoenix, and sent the Saber to intercept the Nova Scotia. Lawrence cancelled sac captain Arathiel to limit the Saber's potential, but Captain Nemo was free to board the Nova Scotia and capture Lawrence! This gave the already-powerful Saber a canceller in addition to her large crew complement.
The Saber attacks! Arathiel's captain ability was cancelled, but the Saber sacced an oarsman to extend her deadly blades once again, capturing the Nova Scotia's captain in addition to Lawrence! The Saber was finally proving her worth and establishing herself as a huge presence in the game. With crew included, she was the most expensive ship in the game at 40 total points, so the French were happy to use her.
However, trouble was brewing for the French! With the Fetu on the other side of the island and the Saber occupied with the Nova Scotia, the Coleoptera took the opportunity to surface and stole a coin! It happened to be the same 6 that the Sea Crane originally found on the Duke shipwreck, which was then stolen from the Pirates' home island by the Fetu with Wine! In addition, the French saw even more ships approaching via round earth in the northwest corner. The Pirate ships Ranger and Typhoon appeared, ready to attack the French and support the Coleoptera. The partially repaired Rabat, who has HI-raiding as a ship ability, also appeared to want a piece of the French pie. The French looked like the richest faction in the game, and therefore other fleets were looking to steal from them to even things up. Everyone knew that if they simply got more gold, it wouldn't necessarily be enough to beat the French, but if they stole the highest value coins from the French (as I let HI raiders do), that would have a higher chance of evening the odds because not only would they gain, but the French would also lose gold. At the top right, the Nova Scotia has lost her captain so she can only shoot at the Saber, knocking over a mast.
The east is relatively quiet once again. In the northeast, the Grand River has taken aboard Christian Fiore and given Dragon Eyes to the Sigra Mein, allowing the Sigra to repair. In the southeast, the Sea Crane adds +3 to another coin as Beastie prepares to round earth to the northwest.
With just one usable ship (the Bombardier, as the Honu Iki and Nova Scotia were both in major trouble with the French), the English knew they were pretty much out of it, with just one measly coin on their home island. As a result, they decided to stick it to the French instead of running away, and the Honu Iki was given a shoot action. Her cannon missed, allowing the Pluton to sink her on the following turn. The Bombardier finished repairing, and the English continued to hate the French.
The French go first each round of turns, and the Saber finished dismasting the Nova Scotia. Then, the nearby Fetu duplicated her earlier strategy with the capture of the Sea Phoenix, moving out to capture the Nova Scotia instantly with the hoist/derelict combo.
The French purposely positioned their ships back at home to block the invaders from the east, and the Nova Scotia was given a repair action. The coins on the Nova Scotia represent the three extra cannons added to her by the English via her ability, meaning that she effectively had 4 cannons with one mast standing since the added cannons can shoot from an eliminated mast. Even without a helmsman (Nemo aboard the Saber grabbed him too) or any other crew, the Nova Scotia could still help the French in the form of home island defense, which they currently needed.
The French turn was followed by the Alliance and then the Pirates, and all hell broke loose! The Rabat got an SAT from Jack Hawkins, allowing her to dock at the French HI, steal a coin, and then move away and redock to steal another coin! With her other crew aboard this filled up her cargo space, but she knew she'd have a tough time getting out of there unharmed. The Pirates were next, with the Coleoptera immediately diving underwater and making a break for the northwest round earth corner, from which she could relatively quickly emerge near the Pirate HI. The Pirates were in a bold mood, and the Typhoon and Ranger rammed! The Typhoon was successful in taking out the Nova Scotia's only mast, which meant that the Typhoon wouldn't be pinned and helpless since she couldn't shoot at the Nova Scotia docked at her HI. This also meant the Nova Scotia was derelict, which rendered her extra cannons obsolete. This was the Pirates' strategy, for the Typhoon was merely a support ship buying time for the Ranger. What the Pirates were really after was Jean Bart! The Ranger slammed into the Fetu, but couldn't fire because the Fetu was docked at the HI. Instead, the Ranger planned to use Barstow to capture Jean Bart, who at 13 points was the most expensive crew in the game and huge target to any gold capture crew. Unfortunately for Barstow, the ram failed, which left the Ranger at only a slight advantage for the boarding party... which she lost as well! This only eliminated the Ranger's oarsman, but it left the Ranger in a delicate position, pinned to a ship docked at its own HI. The Typhoon was blocking the Nova Scotia, but the Ranger was still at the mercy of the Fetu.
Here's the whole ocean. Most of the ships are near the home islands, especially in the northwest. In the nearby southeast, the Sea Crane looks to intercept the homecoming Coleoptera to add another +3 to the 6 coin the Sea Crane deposited not too long ago. The Sigra Mein repairs another mast, but she essentially ties up the Grand River for two turns as well because of the crew swap. At the upper left, the Bombardier is on a suicide mission to hurt the Saber, with the English abandoning logic in their quest to hit the French.
More carnage! The English charged into battle only to be devastated by the Saber's brutal combo of good guns, tons of crew available, and great boarding prowess between her ship abilities (Switchblade and +1 to boarding rolls) and Godiva's reroll. Nemo captured Richard Howe to mark the fourth English crew captured by the Saber!
This is the Saber's ludicrously crowded deckplate. The crew on the deckplate are her original crew, minus an oarsman sacced to finish off the Nova Scotia. The crew below are captured via Nemo (Beckett represents Richard Howe), as the helmsman from the Nova Scotia was sacced already. The French have their system working perfectly: the Saber uses an original oarsman to get two actions in one turn, which she uses to devastate an enemy ship and capture (via Switchblade boarding) two
enemy crew, resulting in a net +1 in total crew on the ship. Then, the Saber can sac the less valuable of these two crew to double (or triple with a regular ram!) board another ship and take two or three more
crew. Basically, Nemo+Switchblade+sac captain=game over for any ship that doesn't get a devastating first shot against the powerful Saber. She doesn't have any defenses with this combo, but her offense is so good that you need
to hit her before she hits you if you want to have any chance of surviving. Off to the left, the Saber has now accumulated 6 gold with the Knights of Malta Banner UT by dismasting the 3 masters Nova Scotia and Bombardier, meaning that she's essentially getting gold during this process in addition to adding captured crew from Nemo and wrecking every ship in her path! Adding insult to injury, Neptune's Figurehead, which has just recently been stolen from the Bombardier, means that sinking the Saber is a bad idea!
After all that discussion, the Rabat isn't scared of the Saber! In a climactic moment of utter shock and awe, the Rabat launches an attack on the Saber!
Somehow, all three of her remaining cannons HIT
! The Saber is dismasted! The Rabat initiates a boarding party! The Rabat wins! Bonny Peel captures Captain Nemo!!
Sheer confusion! At the bottom of the picture, the Saber has lost Captain Nemo to Bonny Peel, and near the top you can see his captured crew chip right underneath Peel. The Rabat still carries Manawa no Kowhatu (Manawa) and Relics, meaning she gets a free pass to anyone trying to attack her in addition to the defensive nature of Fear and Eternal! You can also see the two stolen coins the Rabat carries, so the French have turned their anger towards the Rabat and the Alliance. Above the Rabat's crew you can see the crew of the Grand River, where Christian Fiore will soon leave the ship and Dragon Eyes will rejoin his rebels.
The Sigra Mein has finished repairing, while the Coleoptera appears in the southeast. At the lower left, the Bombardier is free to return home on oar power after the Rabat dismasted the Saber. The trouble in the northwest continues...
From left to right: the Fetu shoots two masts off the pinned Ranger, the Nova Scotia repairs again, the Typhoon gets into position to shoot at either the Rabat or Saber, and the Pluton sails home with a few coins aboard. In all of this chaos, the Saber actually wanted
to be sunk without Captain Nemo aboard. With Neptune's Figurehead, the Saber was due to come home fully repaired
and just a slight distance away from the Rabat, who had Nemo aboard if the Saber was sunk. On the contrary, if Peel hadn't captured Nemo, although this would be good to deny the Alliance Nemo's possible gold payout, the Saber would be sunk permanently because Ex-Patriot denies the use of Neptune's Figurehead. This would not be the last of these types of complications in this game!
The Pluton attempts to shoot at the Rabat, but the Rabat gives her Relics instead! At this point, the Pluton declined to use her S-boarding ability even though she had a boarding advantage over the Rabat at 4 masts and +1 with Cartier vs. the Rabat with 3 masts. The reason lied with Bonny Peel - in the event the Pluton lost the S-board, Cartier would be captured by Peel and worth 7 gold to the Alliance when unloaded. The Pluton could only hope to eliminate the Rabat's oarsman, so the boarding party was called off.
The French finally were able to rectify their situation, using the Fetu's hoist/derelict teleportation ability for the third time
in the game! Their home island was only a short distance away, but the combo still saved them a turn or two with the Fetu and Saber, which would prove to make a difference.
Jean Bart also provides the Fetu with the captain ability, so the Fetu shot 2/3 against the Typhoon on the way by. The Nova Scotia took the Ranger down to one mast, and it looked like the Pirates' raid was a mix of success and failure: the Coleoptera succeeded in stealing back the 6, but the Ranger and Typhoon were foolish to take on the French at their HI.
After warping the Saber just a few feet back to their HI, the French were back in business. Since the Saber hadn't been given an action that turn, she was able to use her first action to repair. Arathiel considered saccing to repair another mast, but he knew that if the Rabat got an SAT from Hawkins on the Alliance's turn, the Rabat could move 8S and would be far out of reach, indeed so fast that she could probably return home via round earth and deposit Nemo, denying the Saber from using him again. As a result, Arathiel sacced for a move action to rekindle the battle!
The Saber was extremely successful, using her newly repaired cannon, switchblade and a regular ram to take two more masts off the Rabat. Unfortunately she was successful in 2 of the 3 attempts, which left the Rabat with one mast standing, all she needed to make a quick getaway. The boarding parties resulted in the Saber stealing back one of the Rabat's stolen coins (a 5!), but not without the help of Godiva's reroll! I believe the other boarding party eliminated the Rabat's explorer.
The huge mainmast and sail of the Rabat fall atop the Saber's blade:
The Alliance took their turn, and sure enough, Jack Hawkins got an SAT to sail the Rabat northwest, past the French HI, and through round earth to the northeast, where the Rabat was just able to dock home and unload the captive Captain Nemo for 8 gold! The Grand River and Sigra Mein are reswapping their crew so they're back to their original setups.
Another shot of the whole ocean. In the northwest, debris litters the sea around the French HI after the battles. Beastie guards the Typhoon who sails for home. The Ranger has already appeared in the southeast via round earth and wants to repair. The Coleoptera has surfaced, allowing the Sea Crane to once again possess the 6 she originally found on the Duke shipwreck.
All of the other fleets have been picking on the French since they appear to have the most gold, but the Pirates aren't looking too shabby:
Miraculously all three original French ships have survived the carnage, with two of them even in perfect condition!
The English are the only faction out of it:
The French began the next round by depositing the Pluton's gold, repairing the Saber and Nova Scotia, and sending the Fetu east once again in search of more gold.
As the Rabat and Ranger repair, the Bombardier docks at the English HI to begin doing the same. Here was a short period of relative peace, though the game was FAR from over!
Beastie feinted towards the French, but heads out now that the French are returning to full strength.
The Fetu enters the middle area, a place that saw remarkably little action during the game.
The Alliance regroups, but the Pirates have already sent Coleoptera north by round earth to appear near the Alliance HI! The Alliance is stunned, with all three of their ships near their HI in the presence of the HI-raiding Phantasma. What could the submarine do, especially with canceller Christian Fiore on the nearby Sigra Mein?
The English are too far behind to win the gold game, but they can still shake things up with the Bombardier! She's repairing quickly with the help of the Myngs/Owen SAT combo.
The Pirates show the Alliance that they mean business, sending the Coleoptera underneath the Grand River while the Beastie surprises the Alliance after round earthing her way from the northwest! All of the Pirates' carefully laid plans have worked so far. Beastie is literally at the most northeastern part of the round earth ocean.
The mostly-repaired Rabat has sailed into her familiar fog bank in a quest to grab some of the few coins left in play. The Sea Crane may follow her, but also looks to add value to any coin the Coleoptera can potentially steal from the Alliance. Like the Rabat, the Ranger is too important and the game is becoming too urgent to fully repair, so she sails out with three masts while the Typhoon begins repairing. The west has become peaceful, with the Bombardier, Nova Scotia and Saber fully repaired. The Fetu has grabbed some low-value coins, while the Pluton heads out to grab what she didn't have room for.
The French continue to accumulate more gold. The Saber departs again, a menacing sight.
The Rabat couldn't roll the 2 needed to exit the fog bank in the middle area, so instead of going back into the fog she attacked the vulnerable Sea Crane out in the open ocean! The Crane was left derelict, but Bonny Peel was unlucky enough to be denied capturing fellow pirate Genny Gallows.
The Alliance had a decision to make. With Beastie approaching, Christian Fiore could either cancel the Kraken keyword, or the submarine keyword of the Coleoptera, who was looking to raid the Alliance HI. However, if Beastie wasn't cancelled, the Grand River would probably be engulfed (surrounded) after the Sigra Mein attacked the Coleoptera. Hoping to take both threats out, and realizing how slow the Coleoptera was, Fiore cancelled the Kraken keyword. The Sigra and Grand River teamed up to destroy Beastie, and in fact they went a combined 8 for 8! However, Beastie's Eternal keyword sent him back to the Pirate HI to repair.
Looking for revenge against the Rabat, the Ranger sailed up near the galley and Hammersmith ordered a Broadsides Attack! With typical BA drama the roll was a 1!
With the Sigra and Grand River off fighting Beastie, the Coleoptera surfaced and robbed the Alliance HI! The Pirates and Alliance were engaged in full-out war!
The Pirates weren't done yet! Throughout this entire game, Jean Laffite aboard the Typhoon almost never succeeded in rolling a 6 for his fleet admiral ability, even with the help of the Typhoon's reroll. However, at this opportune moment, he finally got a 6, allowing the Coleoptera to move again, meaning she was already going S+S away from the Alliance HI! This furthered her chance of getting her stolen loot home. The Typhoon's regular action was used to tow the Sea Crane, which in hindsight was a pointless move, but the Typhoon didn't have a captain with which to shoot at the Rabat. Beastie begins repairing.
An overhead shot, showing the Bombardier's approach to the HI of the hated French. The Fetu unloads gold, but the conflict has shifted from the west to the east.
The Sigra Mein turned around and sailed S+S+S to catch up with the slow Coleoptera! Her guns easily dismasted the sub, but the Vikings didn't want to sink the sub. They knew that they could get their stolen gold back if they used Fiore to cancel the Submarine keyword and tow it home while it was cancelled.
The Saber had recently gone round earth to the southeast in an attempt to join the chaos, but the Grand River saw it and did the same from the northeast!
The matchup everyone wanted to see: Saber vs. Grand River!
Advantage: Grand River! The 6 master initiated the conflict, gaining an edge over the switchblade. Half of her shots found their mark, including the firepot and the stinkpot, the latter of which was huge since it shut down Arathiel so the Saber couldn't do a double action on her turn.
The Rabat then attacked the Ranger! The Rabat maneuvered so that all three of her remaining cannons were in range on the port broadside, and rammed the taller Pirate ship with all she had. The continuation of this battle also meant that we would see a world-class duel between Bonny Peel and Barstow, two Pirate crew with the gold capture ability who both also happen to cost 8 points.
The Rabat rolled 0 for 3 to miss all three shots! This left the ships on equal footing for the boarding party, as each ship had 3 masts. With great drama the two gold capturers led their boarding parties across the decks, and when it was over, Barstow had captured Bonny Peel!
The east is now the site of major conflict! The Alliance is winning all of the three main battles, but the Pirates go next!
The Ranger broke away from the Rabat only to ram the galley back! Establishing a pathetic trend of very poor rolling in this one-on-one battle, the Ranger missed both shots and failed the ram! Boarding parties commenced once again, and Barstow had his eye on capturing Jack Hawkins, who in hindsight would have been eliminated if captured to due the Manawa UT. Miraculously, the Rabat won the boarding party to recapture Bonny Peel!
(After checking with woelf, crew that have been captured for gold cannot be recaptured even if it's the same ship that the captured crew originally resided on, but I didn't know that; plus, this was a much more fun way of doing it!) In the meantime, the Coleoptera limped away from the Sigra Mein at S with her oarsman. The Sea Crane did the same, and so far it was a good idea the Pirates had to fill out their point limit with oarsmen on all ships to start the game.
The Fetu is too fast to be caught by the Bombardier:
Switchblade attack! The Saber tears into the Grand River and fires with her remaining cannons, taking the GR down to 4 masts. The Saber also wins a boarding party, which eliminates the GR's oarsman.
The Grand River continues the battle! Another shoot and ram, with the Saber losing her third mast as Stinkpot Shot finds its mark once again. However, the Saber won this boarding party as well, which killed the firepot specialist of the Grand River.
The Alliance continues its assault on the Pirates, with the Sigra Mein ramming the Coleoptera and shooting at the Typhoon. There was no reason for the Vikings to spare the Typhoon, and the junk was sunk easily, with fleet admiral Jean Laffite going down with her. At this relatively late stage in the game, the Typhoon was finally the first non-English ship sunk! Shayna and Fiore turned their attention to the Coleoptera, who predictably lost the boarding party, which eliminated El Phantasma!
However, the HI raider was too slick to go out so soon (lol) in the game, and so reappeared at the Pirate HI.
El Phantasma, literally
sitting atop a pile of gold:
The Alliance fights back! In a second daring attempt to capture Barstow with the newly-recaptured Bonny Peel (this got confusing!), the Rabat rams and shoots the Ranger once again! As usual, the Rabat's guns fail to respond to the urgency of the situation, going a paltry 1/3 to take a mast off the Ranger. This was better than nothing, for the Rabat now had a slight boarding advantage. A third boarding party resulted in... yet another loss for the initiator!
Bonny Peel was captured again (re-recaptured?) by Barstow!! To continue the abysmal rolling aboard the Rabat, Hawkins' SAT and Manawa's Fear didn't activate during this battle.
Absolute carnage in the east:
The Pirates took their turn, with surprising success. Most importantly, the Ranger deposited Bonny Peel on the Pirate HI, giving the Pirates 8 more gold in addition to denying the Rabat from using her again! In terms of the crew-capturing food chain, at this point Captain Nemo had captured 4 crew from the English, but was then captured by Bonny Peel, but then Bonny Peel was subsequently captured by Barstow!
The Sea Crane limps home on oar power, while the Coleoptera uses her own oars to hide in a fog bank, trying to avoid the Sigra Mein. The sub still has the 5 coin Phantasma stole from the Alliance. The Sigra Mein didn't have any room with which to take the treasure, and now the Sigra Mein must first eliminate the oarsman to make the Coleoptera to make her derelict, and then cancel the Submarine keyword to allow the sub to be towed.
The Grand River has defeated the Saber! In a great battle the Alliance has beaten the French, at least for now. The Saber is left burning, and her crew is decimated by Dragon Eyes, who captures both Lawrence and Capitaine Arathiel in the boarding chaos.
Ranger and Beastie repair as the Alliance dominates the east.
The endgame approaches. The Pluton has the last gold coins from the lone wild island, while the Fetu has loaded the last coins from the Sultan shipwreck in the north. The French still look like they have quite a lot of gold, and the other fleets suspect that any more could put them over the top into victory, if they don't have the most already. The Rabat has round earthed her way to the west to stop the Pluton, while the Bombardier is still lurking near the French HI, hoping to attack the Fetu when she emerges from the fog.
The Pirates aren't done just yet! Beastie, with three huge tentacles, has surrounded the Grand River near the burning Saber. The Ranger approaches to attack the Grand River, who with Dragon Eyes and captured crew aboard is a huge target. Up north, the Sigra Mein wants to guard the fog in case the Coleoptera emerges from it, but also wants to help the Grand River. In the end Shayna and Fiore decide to trust that Dragon Eyes and his massive junk will prevail.
The Pluton hides in the fog to avoid the Rabat for the time being, while the Fetu somehow manages to roll a 1 to come out of her fog straight onto a reef! However, she is undamaged.
Chaos in the northwest! The game has come full circle! Once again there is major conflict happening around the French home island. First, the Saber was automatically scuttled via fire, but then Neptune's Figurehead finally came into play!
Instead of the Saber sinking, she returned to her HI with all of her masts! At this point, the Saber's crew consisted of only Godiva, a helmsman, and an oarsman. However, she was still a threat, as she proved by immediately attacking the Rabat! The same thing that happened earlier repeats itself! The Rabat is attacked by the Saber, who is again not at full strength (the first time she only had one mast) with no captain ability. At the top of the picture, the Bombardier couldn't quite position herself to block all paths to the French HI, but even with an EA from Jean Bart, the Fetu can't quite get home!
The Saber's "sabers" eliminate another crew from the Rabat and damage the ship! Remember this?
Nearby in the southeast, the Grand River easily fights her way out of Beastie's grasp, eliminating the kraken for the second time in the game. However, this delays the Grand River's return trip by a turn.
With their next action the Rabat received an SAT from Jack Hawkins. She turned around and maneuvered behind the Saber before going on to ram the Fetu! With the Pluton in the fog the Fetu had one of the only remaining coins, and Jack Hawkins was determined to get it.
The Rabat's boarding party fails (big surprise lol) and she loses Jack Hawkins, her final crew! This also eliminated the Manawa UT, which meant the Rabat wasn't Eternal and couldn't use Fear anymore. At this point, the Rabat had started the game with 4 masts and 5 crew, but now had only one mast and no crew, with her crew having been eliminated or captured in various places and by various different ships!
Beastie's Eternal let the kraken repair again, while the Ranger now had a golden opportunity to capture or sink the Grand River! Hammersmith ordered up another Broadsides Attack, and it failed with a 2!
The English ended the round of turns by predictably ramming the Fetu. However, unlike the severely weakened Rabat, the Bombardier won the boarding party! Unfortunately for the English, they had brought along a spare helmsman in addition to the original helmsman and the Myngs/Owen combo (plus an oarsman), which meant that the Bombardier couldn't take the coin! Instead, the Fetu's helmsman was eliminated. The Bombardier also knocked off a mast.
The action lies in the northwest and southeast, while the Sigra Mein waits patiently for the Coleoptera to emerge from the fog.
In the west, the French are happy to finally take their turn, docking home the Fetu to deposit her gold! The Pluton came out of her fog bank to continue sailing home, while the Nova Scotia and Saber positioned themselves to defend the Pluton if she needed it.
In a huge move, the Grand River wisely decides to attack the weak Ranger instead of running for home. The shooting and boarding results in not only a derelict Ranger, but Dragon Eyes captured Barstow!
Here's another overview of the situation with the French and Alliance fleets. From bottom to top: the Saber shouldn't have Knights of Malta Banner anymore, since it was unloaded for 6 gold when the Fetu hoisted her home a while back. Above her, the Fetu has lost her helmsman. The Pluton is remarkably healthy and has been the whole game, and here she even has the Relics (from the Rabat) in addition to the lone coin she's bringing back. For the Alliance, the coin on the Rabat is interesting, while you can see that Dragon Eyes has captured a whopping 18 points' worth of crew for the Grand River (Arathiel, Lawrence, and Barstow - crew from all 3 other fleets to boot!).
If you're wondering where that coin on the Rabat came from - she stole it from the French! Who else? In another irony of this long game, the Rabat raided the French HI for a second (technically third though the first two were on the same turn) time, though this time around she wasn't in nearly as good a position to get out of there alive. Indeed, the Bombardier rammed her immediately, knocking over her last mast and stealing the coin! Once again there was treasure on an English ship!!
AHHH! More deja vu! The Saber once again tears into the Bombardier just like she did many turns ago, and the Fetu gets in on the action as well! The Bombardier loses all her masts in the onslaught, but the Fetu loses Jean Bart in a boarding party!
Once again, total carnage around the French home island!
The chaos in the north allowed the Pluton to approach undisturbed from the south. The Nova Scotia turned around, but everyone assumed she was too slow to be of any help to the French. The Rabat, completely broken over the course of all her adventures, tries to limp home on oar power. After this latest mess I'm pretty sure the Fetu's coin ended up being retaken by the Saber from the Bombardier, but I'm not entirely sure if the Fetu didn't retake it instead.
The eastern conflict has moved west, but Beastie desperately surrounds the Grand River once again. With just two tentacles, the Pirates need a miracle to stop the Grand River, who still has 4 masts remaining.
At the beginning of the next round of turns, the French clean up around their HI. The Nova Scotia puts an end to the Rabat's misery, while the French also sink the Bombardier, meaning that the English are finally out of the active game.
The English lasted a remarkably long time and put up good fights, but perhaps even more remarkable was that all three original French ships were still sailing with no more than one mast missing from all of them combined!
The Grand River is forced to defeat Beastie for the third time.
The Saber docks home the stolen coin, while the Fetu attempts to come home as well. The Fetu used to move L+L+S twice in one turn, but with her crew gone she can only move L. The Pluton has disappeared...
... to round earth her way to the southeastern battle! Her shots take the Grand River down to two masts, and the Alliance is in major trouble: if they want to have a shot at winning, they NEED to get the Grand River home. In addition to the three crew already mentioned as captured by Dragon Eyes, he also nabbed Hammersmith a turn or two ago!
At this point, the Grand River used round earth to approach her HI from the north. The Sigra Mein was still hunting the Coleoptera, but took up a more flexible position where she was closer to the Grand River. In the meantime, the Pirates decided that, having lost all 3 of their other ships, the Coleoptera wouldn't realistically be able to make it home at just S speed with a valuable 5 coin on board. They decided to try and wreck the sub on a reef!
The Pluton followed the Grand River and dismasted her! The Nova Scotia slowly made her way to the northeast as well, giving the French two ships in the area! The French looked to sink or capture the Grand River.
I don't believe I've ever had a submarine wrecked on a reef! The Pirates succeeded in their plan, making it more annoying and time consuming to get at the gold they stole a while back from the Alliance.
The Sigra Mein abandons the Coleoptera to help the Grand River, but it's too late! The French have begun towing the 6 master with the Pluton! The Sigra Mein shot at the Pluton, but the Pluton gave the Sigra the Relics UT instead! In another ironic twist, the Relics UT that had helped let the Alliance's Rabat escape from the French with stolen gold now helps the French steal a ship (essentially with gold aboard) from the Alliance!
The Nova Scotia tried to block the Sigra Mein, but it wasn't enough! The Pluton, reduced to S+S while towing the huge Grand River, was promptly sunk by the Sigra Mein! Just when the Alliance thought it couldn't get any worse, the Saber round earthed her way into the fight, taking up the towing duties!
The Sigra Mein won't be denied! All of the French moving and towing leaves their captainless ships open to a devastating salvo from the Sigra. In another strange twist, the captured Nova Scotia was sunk first to prevent her 6-cannon armament
(a result of the English such a long time ago) from damaging or sinking the Sigra on France's next turn, since Fiore couldn't cancel the Scotia's ability or shoot action. The Sigra Mein wanted to just take out the Saber, but she couldn't ignore the Nova Scotia, who with enough luck could eliminate the Alliance from the game on the next turn and allow the French almost certain victory if they towed the Grand River the short distance home. All told however, the Sigra Mein proved her worth yet again, going 6/6 to sink the Nova Scotia and damage the Saber.
On their next turn, the Saber broke across the round earth boundary (partially!) to almost dock home the Grand River! The Fetu flanked her port side to block the Sigra Mein, but naturally this allowed the Sigra to sail up on the Saber's starboard side! The Sigra easily sunk the Saber, finally eliminating the now-infamous Saber from the game after she had narrowly escaped death twice, once by the Fetu/Jean Bart, and the second time via Neptune's Figurehead. Notice the immense wealth the French have accumulated on their home island over the course of the game.
Now the Fetu had to take up towing duty! With her allies sunk, the Fetu was France's last hope for getting the Grand River home. However, Jean Bart was long gone, meaning the Fetu had no captain with which to harm the healthy Sigra Mein. The predictable trend continued, with the Sigra dismasting the Fetu!
It appeared that all was well within the Alliance, but this was not the case:
Beastie has returned! While the Sigra Mein was dealing with the French, the Pirate monster nursed itself back to 50% health, and now the kraken was back in French waters to challenge the Alliance once again, looking for a different result this time. In the meantime, the Alliance was dealing with a familiar problem: they couldn't dock home the Grand River while Christian Fiore was on the Sigra Mein! To make matters worse, they couldn't just put him on the Grand River either, and the Grand River had lost her oarsman earlier. The Sigra Mein decided to capture the Fetu and unload Fiore onto the hoist, allowing both remaining Alliance ships to dock home at the same time. The Ranger's gaff mast lies in the water on the starboard side of the Grand River.
Beastie was happy to see Fiore depart the Sigra Mein, but the kraken soon realized that Fiore was an Ex-Patriot and could therefore use his abilities on any ship! Fiore once again cancelled the Kraken keyword, this time from the Fetu, and the Sigra Mein shot away all of Beastie's tentacles to end the game at last!!
Who would've thought that after all that carnage, this would be the final scene? Beastie's tentacles lay atop the decks of the shattered Fetu, who lost both of her crew. The shattered hulk of the Grand River commands presence behind the healthy Sigra Mein, who wasn't so healthy earlier but has long since repaired.
The Sigra Mein towed the Grand River home to unload Dragon Eyes' captured crew. The game is finally over. All English ships have been sunk, two while in the French fleet. Two French ships have been sunk, while the third is a captured hulk. Both Pirate junks have been sunk, while the Ranger lies derelict, the Coleoptera wrecked (with gold still aboard) on a reef, and Beastie slain no less than 4 different times, all at the hands of the Alliance, who have only one usable ship. The sea is still strewn with debris, especially around the Ranger's hulk in the southeast, where the Grand River vs. Saber and Grand River vs. Ranger and Beastie battles occurred.
It was finally
time to count!
The Alliance had most of their gold from crew captures, which is a unique way to win. They also had some gold from the Rabat's first raid of the French HI and her trips to the wild island and Sultan shipwreck.
The French played the best "normal" game, making multiple gold runs with both the Fetu and Pluton. Some of the 1's are from the Turtles UT.
What the Pirates lacked in quantity they made up for with quality: 8 gold from Bonny Peel, the 6 that the Sea Crane originally found on the Duke shipwreck which was re-stolen by the Coleoptera, and another 6 and a 5. Most of the 2's and 1's are from the Sea Crane's effective gold factory strategy, combining her ship ability with Genny Gallows.
1. Alliance: 46 gold
2. French: 44 gold
3. Pirates: 43 gold
4. English: 1 gold
The Alliance has won one of the best games I've ever played!
I was stunned by the ending, and the whole game overall. The scores are almost too close to believe! After all that chaos, carnage, and bizarre twists, you'd think one fleet would emerge as the clear victor! Instead, it appears as though the fleets and HI locations were very evenly matched.
The final scores are also eerily similar to my first 500 point game
(it starts at post #7
). That game is still one of the very best I've ever played. Just like that game, the what ifs start: What if the Pirates hadn't deliberately wrecked the Coleoptera on a reef, since right after they did that, the French and Alliance got completely tied up in the northeast? This may have allowed the sub to get back home with her 5 coin and give the Pirates 48 total gold, enough to win! However, she would only be able to row S towards home, and she would have to navigate the fog bank again since she had already emerged on the other side of it before going onto the reef. Also, the Sigra Mein was moving S+S+S, so once Beastie was eliminated again, the Sigra would only need about two turns to catch the Coleoptera. Still, it's worth considering. What if the Rabat hadn't received that SAT from Jack Hawkins after her first HI raid on the French? If she hadn't gotten home successfully with both coins (I believe both were 4's), the Alliance would have finished with 42 or 38 gold, making a possible final score 44-43-42 in favor of the French! What if the Ranger's BA against the Grand River had succeeded? Perhaps the Pirates could have won easily in that case!
Now for some numbers. It's worth noting that the Alliance won mostly because of their gold capturers - Bonny Peel and Dragon Eyes were monumentally important. Peel captured Nemo for 8 gold, while Dragon Eyes was unstoppable, grabbing Arathiel, Lawrence (both from the Saber), Barstow and Hammersmith (both from the Ranger) for 23 gold! In total, 31 of the 46 gold the Alliance got was from gold captures!
Yesterday after the game, I originally thought that the Alliance and the French had tied at 46 gold apiece! The reason lies with a little known UT, the Knights of Malta Banner. Almost a full year ago I asked a question in the Rules Thread concerning whether or not the Banner is unloaded when a non-BC ship docks at its HI, or if you can keep it aboard to continue gaining the bonus as the ship continues to eliminate masts. Woelf gave his answer
, which is a huge reason the Alliance won. The Saber eliminated 6 masts during the game (3 from the Nova Scotia and 3 from the Bombardier) before she docked home for the first time, which obviously could only happen once Nemo was off the ship. Now, I forgot how woelf had ruled my old question, and I didn't want to look it up mid-game, so for the time being I decided to keep the Banner aboard the Saber, who coincidentally managed to last a while longer and eliminate two more masts (from the Rabat) before she docked again (from Neptune's Figurehead saving the ship from being sunk). Once she docked the second time, I decided enough's enough and got rid of the UT after she had unloaded 2 more gold from the Rabat's masts, for a total of 8 gold gained from the UT. It was easier to just add more gold to the UT's count (I added a treasure to the Saber's deckplate for each mast eliminated) and subtract after the game ended than try to remember how many masts the Saber had eliminated at some point in time and then add to their total. Now that I revisited the question and know how the UT works, it's obvious that the French only gained 6 gold from the UT, knocking their score down to 44 and giving the Alliance the win!
And again, the Pirates may
have been able to row the Coleoptera's stolen 5 home, but they decided it was a lost cause.
It was so strange and ironic how the crew capturers worked out! First, Captain Nemo captured a bunch of crew from the English, which he successfully used, some for saccing and some for their abilities. The Saber's lack of defenses let Bonny Peel aboard the Rabat capture Nemo, and the Rabat quickly unloaded Nemo! However, it continued: Barstow then captured Peel, which should have ended it according to the official rules. However, I'm glad I played it otherwise, with the Rabat recapturing Peel before Barstow re-recaptured Peel! The Ranger finally unloaded Peel to further the Pirates' score, but Dragon Eyes was the real star. He captured no less than 4 crew (including Barstow!) for 23 total gold, which proved to make the difference as the Alliance prevailed! So, in the end, 3 of the 4 capture crew ended up captured, haha!
To complete about a perfect game as you can imagine, bringing up the rear is the English with a hilarious 1 gold! I think they maxed out at 4 early in the game. Basically, they had around 30 gold between the Maui's Fishhook (seems like ancient history) and Sea Phoenix. They were captured and the English couldn't get them back. Around that time the Honu Iki returned with 3 1's, which made 4 with Powder Pete's ability. However, over the course of the next few turns, the Nova Scotia proceeded to turn 3 of those 4 1's into extra cannons, hence the 6 cannons she sported later in the game after the French captured her. This left the English with a single 1, which was left undisturbed because the Fetu, Rabat, and Coleoptera wanted to raid the rich home islands (aka each others!).
Unreleased/Custom game pieces analysis:
Fetu: The Fetu is an amazing hoist ship from RtSS, and she more than proved her worth. I've argued elsewhere that hoists are somewhat undercosted, and one that has the San Cristobal's ability (+L with a captain) is simply over the top.
Jean Bart: This amazing LE crew from my custom set (Pirates of the Age of Sail) is overpowered to some extent. The general pricing of his abilities would be: Captain=3, Reverse Captain=2, Derelict-teleport ability=5, and EA=5. This puts him at 15 points, which is extremely expensive. Therefore, I added a discount of 2 points based on having so many of your eggs in one basket, but he's still extremely powerful. (Also, it helps that you can't use Captain and Reverse Captain on the same turn.)
Richard Howe: This "SAT with a twist" character was fine. You could argue that he should cost 7-9 points because he essentially combines a 3 point ability (SAT) with a 6 (in my opinion 5) point ability (fleet admiral), but you can only make one die roll for him. He helped the English, but not overly so. Then he was captured by Captain Nemo and sacrificed.
Rabat: The 4 masted SR galley from my custom set is probably underpriced for what she gives you. She's just too good; basically a perfect ship. That's what she was designed to be, but I could see her cost raising to ~22 points, or possibly drop the HI raiding ability and maybe even the treasure trading ability as well.
Grand River: I think this ship is fine. She's relatively cheap for what you get, but this is in line with the large discount Wizkids gave to ships with her ability (hello Darkhawk II!). Her crew was the reason she excelled.
Sigra Mein: This ship is very unique, a 3 masted longship with a base move of S+S+S but only 2 cargo spaces. The Alliance utilized her perfectly, and I think 20 points is about right for her. The 50% Fear modification didn't really work, and when it did Fear didn't affect the game very much. As with all longships she's typically powerful but fragile. She's abnormally fast for any Viking ship but her cargo definitely holds her back, and the Vikings don't have many ways to increase how much cargo their ships can carry.
I will always remember this game, and now I can come back to this BR if I want to revisit it. Thanks for reading! If there are any rules problems you see, please comment and we can debate who should have won! For now, however, the custom Super Rare-ships Alliance of Barbary Corsairs, Jade Rebellion, and Vikings are atop the Pirates CSG world. This is a fitting finale for a short time since the next few weeks will likely see smaller adventures only. What an amazing game!