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VASSAL Tournament #2!
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a7xfanben
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Subject: 2 full series of games!   PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 5:33 am Reply with quote

Xerecs and I have played a whopping 5 games in VASSAL Tournament #2! (and nearly finished a 6th)

UPS 5 (#2 seed) (commanded by xerecs)
vs.
Hai Peng Fort Frenzy! (#7 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)



Both fleets quickly got to work, with HPFF building Paradis de la Mer in the center and the Devil's Maw in the north, and UPS 5 building their Devil's Maw in the west. UPS 5 found better coin values.


Here, HPFF has gone to the southeastern island, but the Zeus has destroyed their Devil's Maw!


With the remaining gold contained within the two forts, there wasn't much HPFF could do with their lack of firepower. The Lezard blocked the Zeus temporarily while the Hai Peng sped off in an attempt to destroy the Devil's Maw to get at the gold inside. The Banshee's Cry looked to take out the Hag of Tortuga.


The BC succeeded, but was dismasted for the effort. The 1 extra gold would not be enough to make the difference for HPFF, whose Hai Peng managed some damage against the Devil's Maw before being destroyed. UPS 5 had won the first game of the series 17-12!


One turn into Game 2. HPFF's home island is in the southeast, with UPS 5 in the west. The HP made it to the northern island, finding Pirate Globe, Jailhouse Dog, and two of the three 5 coins. Indeed, the luck had reversed from the previous game in terms of gold. To make things even better for HPFF, the Barbary Banner was revealed to be in the east, where the BC was headed.


A few turns later and HPFF is able to get what they need home. The HP avoided building Paradis on the northern island because it would put the valuable gold back in play, where the Zeus could potentially get it. After a loss in the first game, a change in strategy was just what the HPFF fleet needed, and here it panned out nicely (normally it's better to just build the forts, but with a Zeus moving L+S+L+S the gold is not safe for long at all heh). UPS 5 almost managed a late-game salvage operation: I had kept the Jailhouse Dog aboard the Hai Peng in case it was needed, but suddenly it became a huge liability since the Zeus could steal it and use it to eliminate the Barbary Banner, which would cost HPFF the game! Thinking quickly I did something unorthodox and eliminated one of my own positive UT's, Holy Water. This was simply to eliminate the dog from play to deny UPS 5 from using it. Indeed, the game turned out closer than I expected, but HPFF won 18-17 to even the series at a game apiece.


Game 3!


The Hai Peng sprinted to the northern island, once again finding the Pirate Globe, and this time the Barbary Banner as well. The Zeus went to the center island before turning to the northeastern island, where the Jailhouse Dog was. I then had to think about the best course of action for my fleet - I originally was going to run home with the Barbary Banner and the other coin the HP was carrying. However, seeing that the Zeus would soon come into possession of the Jailhouse Dog, and knowing that the UT could eliminate the Banner even after I docked at my HI, I decided to do something more risky but also more wise. The Hai Peng took off for the same northeastern island the Zeus was headed to, which could have been a suicide move. The HP docked on the side opposite the Zeus to maximize how far the junk would have to travel to get in range, and picked up the Jailhouse Dog, immediately playing it to eliminate the now-useless Maps of Alexandria UT on the western island. The Hai Peng picked up the Banner, and traded a 5 from the island for an oarsman on the Banshee's Cry. The BC, originally headed for the western island, now turned around and docked home the new 5 coin, giving HPFF two of the three 5's. To finish the turn, one of the 5's was transferred back to the northeast to build Paradis de la Mer, both in an attempt to deter the Zeus from attacking the Hai Peng/Barbary Banner, and to protect the final coin on the island. Not trying to brag but it was one of my best turns of the tournament and a fine example of how strategic this "beer and pretzels" game can be, and why it's always best to think things through. In the end I had essentially swapped 5's while protecting my end of the gold in play, since it was likely the Banner would be sunk or stolen, but that the 5 would remain in play for at least some time inside Paradis. Had I ran home, I would have lost the Banner immediately and not gotten the 5 in the northeast.


The Zeus decided against attacking Paradis and a double-action Hai Peng, turning to the western island instead. The HP used an action to trade home the 2 from the northeastern island, then used her second action to move towards home, careful to stay out of the Zeus' range.


The Coeur came out to meet the Hai Peng, but was unsuccessful with a ram and board. The HP sought shelter within a fog bank, while the Zeus unloaded her gold and combined it with the gold on the western island inside the Devil's Maw fort. Seeing the endgame conflict materialize, the Banshee's Cry headed to Paradis.


And there you have it - HPFF isn't willing (or capable, likely) to go after the Devil's Maw (and has no reason to), so the Zeus heads east to destroy Paradis. The 5 coin inside will determine the winner of the game - HPFF was up 21-14 at this point in gold, which could be determined by the revealed gold and the lack of extra gold in play outside of the Barbary Banner. It looked like the Coeur was sailing out to join the Zeus, but the HP sank her quickly. HPFF's strategy was to stop the Zeus from destroying Paradis and loading the 5 coin in a single turn. As long as that didn't happen, the HP could scoot to the island after Paradis fell, and then simply trade the 5 home (the Lezard still had 2 oarsmen aboard) for the instant win. The advantage laid with HPFF, but the situation was tense and competitive.


The BC maneuvered to block the Zeus at her bow, which in hindsight was a mistake because the Zeus could stay in place and shoot at the BC without coming into the range of the fort's guns. The Zeus did just that, but managed to go an abysmal 0 for 4! This gave the BC another chance, which she used to dock at the island on the side where Paradis was closest to the water (with her stern sticking out as far as possible). This new blocking method was designed to force the Zeus to go to the far side of the island and shoot at Paradis from longer range, reducing the number of effective guns. The Hai Peng observed everything, ready to pounce on the Zeus with a double action (4 shots) or grab the 5 if the Zeus got lucky against the fort.


Incredibly, Xerecs rolled a 6 for Paradis' ability, meaning the Zeus had to hit the fort 6 times that turn just to damage the fort at all! After this was not accomplished, Paradis knocked down 3 masts on the junk. The Banshee's Cry has departed the island, hoping to get revenge when the Zeus becomes weaker.


After another exchange of cannon fire, the Zeus is left with just 4 masts while Paradis still has 4 cannons. The BC saw her opportunity for a miraculous ram and board, but both failed!


The OP ability of Paradis was too much for the (similarly OP) Zeus to overcome, with the Hai Peng fittingly dealing the final damage to the 10 master. After a great game and hard-fought victory (final score 21-14), Hai Peng Fort Frenzy had knocked off the #2 seed to advance to Round 3, the semifinals!


This was a really memorable series, and showcased how HPFF is one of the best fleets out there. The fleet also seems to be involved in a LOT of very long games, from its first (and also extremely memorable) series against the American Pirate fleet, to that crazy game against the swarm fleet, and now to this hotly contested series against the fleet that won T1. Wacky enough, when considering the total gold scores from each of the three games, HPFF beat UPS 5 by a score of just 51-48!

Fittingly enough, as great as that series turned out, the next series was a complete dud! lol.

Quick wins the game (#14 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)
vs.
The Doldrums (#11 seed) (commanded by xerecs)

As the winner of the Round 1 series involving these fleets, I picked which one I controlled. Between my general disliking of events and my very positive experience using the Quick fleet to knock out UPS 4 in Round 1, I went with Quick wins the game despite its lower seed.

Game 1 setup: Quick in the north, Doldrums in the south.


Quick went first, with the Courageux being Hidden Cove'd to the center island to explore. The Pique headed east, while the Vengeance prepared to protect either gold runner while also trying to make sure that no two ships would be in range of Becalmed at the same time. Alas, it didn't work, with the Pique and Vengeance getting hit with the event. I had forgotten that the Doldrums fleet also had Hidden Cove, and suddenly the Eagle was at the center island and attacking my fleet! The Courageux and Vengeance lost a mast apiece, but Becalmed was an even bigger problem. The Vengeance connected on my turn, but was unable to move and get canceller Lenoir in range, while the Courageux's ram and board failed miserably.


The Eagle takes over, blasting the Quick fleet to smithereens! Suddenly the Pique was the only ship they could move (Vengeance sunk and Courageux derelict), and the game was effectively over.


The Eagle sank the Courageux with 6 gold aboard, but the Pique escaped into a fog bank, later grabbing gold from the western island. During all of the combat shenanigans the Pirate gold runners were busy establishing an advantage, and the French were out of the running. The Longshanks intercepted the Pique on her trip home and rammed her derelict to end the game. The Doldrums had won 13-0!


The second game went similarly great for the Doldrums, and similarly horrible for Quick. The Vengeance stayed in port, so the Eagle couldn't shoot at her if the same Hidden Cove strategy was used. However, this allowed Becalmed to hit two ships on the first turn once again, and it looked like the Vengeance should have moved northwest. This time the Pique was Hidden Cove'd to the center island, the French changing their strategies after the embarrassing loss in Game 1.


Becalmed was played to hit the Vengeance and Courageux. Hidden Cove was then played to put the Eagle at the center island once again, where she wreaked havoc. The Pique was sunk, while the Courageux was dismasted soon afterwards. This left the French to seek Vengeance (ha ha... or not). The Vengeance got caught up in a skirmish with the Longshanks, which further proved how much momentum the Doldrums fleet had, for Xerecs even rolled much better at the guns during the engagement. The battle was ended by the Eagle, with the French eliminated for the second game in a row!


The Doldrums won 7-0 in dominating fashion, and are a force to be reckoned with as they move on to the semifinals to face HPFF!

Only one more series in Round 2, after which there are only 3 matchups before we crown the best fleet of all time!
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Subject:    PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 3:51 pm Reply with quote

The final matchup of Round 2!

Norvegia (#4 seed) (commanded by xerecs)
vs.
UPS 2 (#5 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)

UPS 2 got busy with a couple forts, while Norvegia went to the northern and southeastern islands.




Eventually the only gold left was in the two forts, which would determine the winner of the game. The Neptune's Hoard attacked Dead Man's Point, knocking out three cannons before she was dismasted and captured by the fort and the Hai Peng. (we counted our gold early to determine if it was close enough to keep playing for the fort gold, and indeed it was, with Norvegia up 21-18 with 9 gold in the forts)


The Star of Siam and Banshee's Cry didn't have enough firepower to destroy Dead Man's Point, and both ships were dismasted to end the game! UPS 2 won the game 27-21.


Norvegia went first in the second game, using sac actions to reach two wild islands. The Hai Peng settled for the northwestern island, finding good gold values there (4,3,2,2). UPS 2 didn't build a fort, planning to send home the islands' final two coins on the following turn.


After much excellent treasure running by both fleets, it looked like it was going to be a close finish. Norvegia found all of their UT's (Spices, Barbary Banner, and Buried Treasure), while the Hai Peng was busy trading home coins from the northeastern and center islands. The last coin on the NE island was a 1, and CJS knew there was no point in getting that coin when he could try for a potentially better (and definitely not worse) coin with the final treasure of the center island. (UPS 2 had to pick one coin and not the other because the HP's helmsman had been sacced recently so the HP could explore the NE island right after docking, and because the Neptune's Hoard could catch the HP with her speed on Norvegia's turn.) The decision paid off when the coin was a 2, which CJS traded home.


The Hai Peng was dismasted by the Neptune's Hoard, while the Banshee's Cry docked home the final 1 coin for Norvegia.

In the end, UPS 2 had won a very close 27-25 victory! This reveals how important it was that the HP switched islands at the end, for if CJS had traded home the 1, the game would likely have ended tied at 26! For me it was one of the best treasure running games I've ever seen, with a whopping 22 extra gold in play by the end of it (12 from Maurice Aristide's +2 bonuses, and more from the UT's). Another weird stat is that Norvegia totaled 46 gold between the two games and still lost both! It seems that UPS 2 is always involved in very high-scoring affairs; they just happen to score more than their opponents.

UPS 2 advances to the semifinals!

Here is the updated bracket, with just 3 matchups left! At this point, we may play more than 2 or 3 games per series, if there's any doubt about which fleet is superior, similar to what we did in the last few series of T1.


Round 2 saw some VERY interesting series, with both the #1 and #2 seeds being knocked out. I'm not overly surprised at the left side of the bracket, as I had UPS 2 as the potential winner before the tournament started, and the gold race fleet not far behind. However, the right side of the bracket is a little more surprising, with HPFF knocking off UPS 5 in a close series. The Doldrums fleet has been the most dominant of the tournament, outscoring its opponents 61-12 (!), going 4-0, and often finishing games rather quickly. I hope Becalmed doesn't effectively ruin the tournament... either way, these semifinal matchups look very competitive and intriguing. It's also worth noting that the Doldrums fleet is the only fleet remaining that has a functional gunship... not overly surprising, but in the past I've seen different HMS GT fleets absolutely steamroll great gold fleets (which just speaks to how amazing Darrin's gold race fleet really is).

Stay tuned to find out which fleet becomes the greatest ever!
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Subject: Scandalous and controversial Pirates   PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 2:55 am Reply with quote

A grand mistake has been made... an embarrassing error that threatens the integrity of the tournament....

EVENTGATE.

The first of two semifinal matchups began, with Hai Peng Fort Frenzy (HPFF) facing the Doldrums fleet. As usual, the Doldrums fleet was cruising along, indeed on their path to an easy 17-2 victory for a nearly unprecedented 5-0 record. Early in the game the Hai Peng returned home to avoid being hit by Becalmed and then the Eagle, who would be Hidden Cove'd to the center island and then given a sac action to move and shoot twice. The Banshee's Cry then moved into a fog bank, which prompted Xerecs to wonder if the fog would make the BC immune to Becalmed. I figured as much since I thought that lines of sight/ability/etc were blocked by fog. The game continued, and here you can see the Eagle in the southwest after sinking the HP, essentially ending the game in favor of the Doldrums.


To confirm my thoughts about Becalmed I went to the Pirate Code, and funny enough I went to the section on Becalmed instead of the section on fog banks (where the answer to the question actually is). It was then and there that I saw it:

-Only one “beginning of turn” event token may be revealed during your turn.

O_O

Neither of us knew about this ruling, and it changed EVERYTHING. I immediately looked back at the battle reports concerning the Doldrums fleet, and sure enough, the fleet had used both Becalmed and Hidden Cove on their first turn in possibly every game.

Suddenly the Doldrums' 5-0 record was in doubt. Not only that, but their position in the tournament. One more win would put them into the final round, where a series victory would give them the title of "best fleet of all time". It became very apparent that controversy and scandal would win the night, but with T2 being a somewhat serious affair (we have to get it right), we were determined to fix what we could.

I have decided not to go back and edit any previous reports, since it could be confusing and disrupts the story of the tournament. A new picture of the updated bracket follows at the end of this report.

After a discussion, Xerecs and I narrowly decided to replay both series that the Doldrums fleet was involved in. This would be the most fair, and the Doldrums fleet would need to prove itself using the better rules. After all, it felt like Becalmed had gotten them to the semifinals almost by itself, and it was the only fleet in the tournament using the event. (the latter of which was very lucky - since no other fleet in the tournament uses both Becalmed and Hidden Cove, there wouldn't be any other matchups to replay)

With that, we were suddenly back in Round 1!

American Pirates (#6 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)
vs.
The Doldrums (#11 seed) (commanded by xerecs)

We used the same home islands as in Game 1 of the original series. The Amity used Hidden Cove to load up from the center island.


The Doldrums used their own Hidden Cove to dismast the Amity with the Eagle and take two masts off the Roanoke.


However, on the next turn the Roanoke sank the Eagle! It became clear that playing Becalmed and Hidden Cove on the first turn had been giving the Doldrums fleet quite an unfair advantage.


The Roanoke sank the Bloody Jewel, while the Amity and Bandido eventually returned with gold for the AP's.


The Roanoke was then set upon by the Longshanks (LS) and BC of the Doldrums fleet, until she was dismasted and captured! The Amity repaired two of her three masts before setting out for the final coin on the southwestern island. The Bandido followed her into a fog bank, while the remaining Doldrums fleet looked to intercept. The BC was rammed out of the game, while the Roanoke repaired. Eventually the Bandido rammed the final mast off the LS and captured her, towing the ship to block the Roanoke from attacking the Amity. The Amity returned the coin home and the American Pirates had dealt the Doldrums fleet their first loss! The final score was 17-15 after finding out that Raft had no effect on the Hag of Tortuga; she became 1 gold for the AP's when the Eagle sank.


The setup for Game 2:


This time the "Hidden Cove chess game" resulted in the Roanoke besting the Eagle once again.


Now the Roanoke can effectively terrorize the Doldrums gold runners, while the Amity and Bandido both dock in the west.


The BC was dismasted and captured, while the Amity and Bandido returned home with gold.


The Bloody Jewel ducked into fog with gold aboard, while the LS was targeted by the Roanoke. The AP fleet has formed a temporary chain of ships to block the Bloody Jewel if she comes out of the fog.


Some late-game antics made the game closer than it looks. (capturing the BC was a mistake) However, in the end the AP fleet won 9-8!

The American Pirates move on to Round 2! The Doldrums fleet has been retroactively eliminated! In stunning fashion, the Doldrums fleet falls as far as you could possibly imagine, from 5-0 and one win away from the finals to 0-2 and out of the tournament. 0_0

Now we had a brand-new Round 2 matchup, and HPFF would have to wait to see who their new opponent in the semifinals would be.

Quick wins the game (#14 seed) (commanded by xerecs)
vs.
American Pirates (#6 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)

Quick rolled to go first, and both fleets used Hidden Cove on their first turns, with the Roanoke dismasting but unable to sink the Courageux.


The Roanoke captured the Courageux, which later turned out to be a mistake.


The Amity and Bandido hide in the fog, while the Vengeance blockades the AP home island. The Roanoke uses the opportunity to drop the Courageux and sink the Pique.


Here I made another mistake (one of many this session) and pulled the gold runners out of the fog too early. The Vengeance turned around and dismasted both of them in one action! Now the AP's would have to win with just the Roanoke.


The Vengeance sank the Amity and Bandido, eliminating 11 gold from the game. This left 19 in play, of which the Roanoke deposited 4 from the center island soon afterwards. She then headed northwest for 4 more, while the Vengeance recaptured the Courageux. In a nice move the Vengeance towed the Courageux to dock her at the center island, loading up gold.


With no helmsman, the Vengeance could only tow the Courageux at S speed, allowing the Roanoke to get in range of the Courageux while being out of Lenoir's cancelling range. The Courageux was sunk, and the Roanoke won a brief battle of the gunships to end the game. The AP's win 8-4!


Here is the updated bracket, with Eventgate over. The AP's went from being eliminated to being one win away from a trip to the semifinals (if they get there, they would face HPFF, which would be an extremely highly anticipated rematch for the ages). At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Doldrums fleet proved to be a lot of hype for nothing. This also gives the Quick fleet new life, though now they have to win 2 in a row to advance.
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Subject:    PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:52 pm Reply with quote

Quick wins the game (#14 seed) (commanded by xerecs)
vs.
American Pirates (#6 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)

After losing the first game of the series, Quick went first once again.


The AP's were very aggressive with Hidden Cove, using it to catapult the Roanoke towards the French gold runners.


This turned out to be a mistake, for the Courageux was never in range, and the Vengeance arrived to cancel Captain Blackheart and eventually sink the Roanoke.


The Vengeance headed south to cut off the Bandido and Amity on their second gold run. Seeing no chance of getting the gold home, the Pirates turned to attack! An impressive ram and board from the Amity (two 6's in a row) hurt the Vengeance a little, but things were still looking dire for the AP's.


After the Bandido was sunk, the Amity put up a rather miraculous fight against the Vengeance, though it was more due to the Amity carrying the final AP mast (Quick needed to make sure they had more gold before triggering an endgame condition) than the excellent exploits of the Amity and her crew. The AP's built a Devil's Maw in the west after capturing the Vengeance and her two coins from the same island. However, the Courageux was going to the northern island once more, and gold bonuses were already stacking up on the Quick HI.


The Vengeance brought home de Cissey for a ransom payment, and the Courageux avoided the Amity to dock home the final coin. Due to the gold bonuses from Maurice Aristide, the Quick fleet had won a nice 24-20 victory!

It was one of the better games of the tournament thus far, and sets up a Game 3 showdown to see who moves on to the semifinals to face Hai Peng Fort Frenzy!
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Subject:    PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 6:30 pm Reply with quote

With xerecs not responding to my emails and showing zero interest in T2, and myself eager to resume/finish the tournament, I have decided to forge onward by myself. (If anyone else would like to join, just let me know, keeping in mind that the games are competitive and mistakes pretty much have to be replayed to have optimal results)

The tournament left off in the middle of the final game of the second round! The rubber game (#3) between these two great fleets:
Quick wins the game (#14 seed)
vs.
American Pirates (#6 seed)

These were the home islands, from play back in February:


The fleets made mirrored movements to the north, with neither playing their Hidden Coves.


The northern islands were explored:


This is where the game left off. After my question was answered by Woelf in the Rules thread, it was clear how to continue the game.


As expected, the AP's used Hidden Cove to get the Roanoke out of Lenoir's cancelling range. With careful maneuvering and a sac action, the Roanoke was able to knock down the Vengeance's final two masts and capture her!


The Courageux explores the Pique for her 1 coin, eager to unload it to get Aristide's +2 bonus. They plan to do the same at the northeastern island, which would give them 20 gold total (which they are aware of because they've explored two islands and found both 1's, and know the treasure distribution based on the previous games). However, the AP's would have 21 if they unload all of their gold (16 between the Amity and Bandido) as well as Cissey, who would provide 5 via the Ransom keyword. Thus, the French must make some kind of daring attempt to limit how much the AP's bring back.


The Pique was going to capture or sink the Amity, but Captain Blackheart on the Roanoke had other plans. At this point I forgot about the "new" oarsman keyword ruling, where you can't tow a ship if it has an oarsman. The Amity was towed a little bit by the Roanoke, but she could have just hidden in a fog bank or made it on her own anyway. The Roanoke could have dismasted the Pique instead of the Courageux to avoid forcing the end of the game and the treasure count, at which point a similar situation would have unfolded at the end of the game. In addition, the Roanoke would then have time to load the Amity's oarsman for sacrificial purposes and also to tow the Amity. Here are the pictures from the rest of the game, which the AP's won 21-17. It's extremely likely they would have won anyway, but I'm playing another game for maximum fairness.






In the other game, the same home islands were picked with Quick going first. The Roanoke used Hidden Cove to go to the center island and attack the Vengeance, hitting 2/3 times. The Vengeance fought back and cancelled Blackheart, but eventually lost the fight. The Amity beat the Pique to the northern island and the AP's won in a shutout.

With that, the American Pirates move on to Round 3 of the tournament, the semifinals! There they will face Hai Peng Fort Frenzy, in an epic rematch! But first, the other matchup will be played: Darrin's Gold Race fleet vs. UPS 2!
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Subject:    PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 6:19 am Reply with quote

Oh, Yikes. Sorry about that Ben, I've been meaning to get back into the Tournament (and the World game) but I've been hit with a TON of mostly school related stuff. My semester has not gone according to plan, and things have piled up. I'm going to be busy a good piece tomorrow morning, but I'll see if I can get onto VASSAL and we can do something, tournament or other.
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Subject:    PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 5:44 am Reply with quote

Xerecs has rejoined the tournament and Round 3 (the semifinals) has begun! From here on out, a fleet will need at least two more victories than its opponent in order to advance. We will play as many games as necessary to determine which fleet is better in each matchup.

Darrin's Gold Race fleet (#8 seed) (commanded by Xerecs)
vs.
UPS 2 (#5 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)

This matchup pitted two fleets that use Captain Jack Sparrow against each other. Each has Hidden Cove and CJS on a very fast flagship (Banshee's Cry and Hai Peng). The games didn't disappoint! Xerecs also got a crash course on the gold race fleet, which I consider to be the most confusing fleet ever made.


The first game was marred by a UT problem. The gold race fleet has Periscope listed (Sunken Treasure was already taken out based on past problems with including it), but the Hai Peng (HP) found it. The Hai Peng used a double action (saccing with Jimmy Legs) to activate the UT and cancel Jonah aboard the Banshee's Cry (BC), shutting down the crew and therefore forcing the removal of both Captain Jack Sparrow and Don Pedro Gilbert, two extremely essential crew for the gold race fleet! They were tossed overboard, and meanwhile the Hai Peng's CJS was busy ordering the gunners to open fire, leaving the BC derelict.


From here it looked like UPS 2 would have an easy ride to victory. The HP teleported two coins home from the northern island, getting bonuses on both. The gold race fleet was forced to sail out their remaining ships, with the Banshee's Cry useless and later scuttled.


The HP gets gold from the center island, while the gold race fleet salvages what they can.


After clearing out the western island, the HP headed east to intercept the final coins sailing home in the opposing fleet. However, she lost a skirmish and was captured! Here the Bonnie Liz transfers individual coins to the Sea Crane, who redocks to get a +3 bonus on each coin. This was the gold race's best chance at victory, and it could work as long as the rest of UPS 2 (Intrepide and Coeur du Lion) couldn't interfere.


The final coins were unloaded, and UPS 2 had won a 35-26 victory! This broke the previous tournament record (for T1 and T2) of total gold collected in a single game, at 61 gold! (previous high was 55)


The second game started, with the gold race HI in the southeast and the UPS 2 HI in the northeast. The BC has built Dead Man's Point in the center, dumping her French Letter of Marque equipment to make room for more sacrifices.


The fleets accumulate more and more gold via the UPS strategy.


Things started to get interesting. UPS 2 ran out of sac crew for the Hai Peng, who shadowed the BC and managed to dismast her (sending that CJS to the northern wild island via Jonah). The Intrepide and Coeur are sailing to the northern wild island.


The HP tries to steal the BC's coin, but manages to lose the boarding party! The Sea Crane stays docked to protect her valuable gold bonus crew. This makes Genny Gallows (aboard the Sea Crane) a "stay-at-home mom". (I wonder what Sean thinks of that? Wink) The Bonnie Liz sails to the fort and grabs the gold there. The Rover stalks the Intrepide and Coeur up north.


The Hai Peng sets up a sort of blockade of the gold race HI, leading the Bonnie Liz to seek shelter in the fog and wait for a good die roll to come out. The Sea Crane waits for her. Captain Jack, even the opportunist, seizes the chance to grab Powder Pete (traded earlier in the game via the other CJS to the southwestern island), in order to sac him. The Rover rams the Coeur derelict to get at the Intrepide.


The Intrepide has a mast rammed off by the Rover, before returning the favor to end the threat. In the southeast, further disaster for the Hai Peng! She went after the Bonnie Liz, who came out of the fog eager to hand off coins to the Sea Crane. With a handful of terrible die rolls (typical for me of course), the HP is eventually captured as you can see in the next photo...


... as all three 2 masters race to stop the Intrepide from accumulating more coins and bonuses. I finally managed to calculate that grabbing the final coin from the northern island and towing the Coeur home (she also had a coin aboard) would take 7 turns, compared to 8 turns if the Intrepide explored the Coeur, took that coin home, and then went back out for the other one. Exploring the Coeur and then going to the island (or vice versa) and taking them both home at once wasn't a good option, since I had also calculated/estimated that I needed the +2 gold bonus from Aristide on both coins (which was proven correct in the final gold totals). Hopefully this gives some insight into how competitive these tournaments have been - not so much between myself and Xerecs, but more between the fleets themselves. There's been plenty of math and deductions going on, with estimates and projections changing every turn based on the changing conditions of the game. The level of play is extremely high, evidenced by the very very high, very very close scores. Normally I wouldn't do so much before one action, but this turn got a little extreme and I really wanted to know what was truly optimal. Of course, I didn't factor in the other variable - the gold race fleet was already on its way, which meant the Intrepide had to get ANY coin home as fast as possible, with no time to get both. (pretty much guaranteed to lose both if that was pursued)


In the ensuing skirmish (not quite "chaos" between a few small ships heh), the Coeur was sunk and the Rover recaptured. The Intrepide got a coin home but it probably wouldn't be enough. The gold race fleet was in full control, but didn't want to end the game since they could still get the final coin on the northern island and +3 bonus it. (4 gold vs 1 from Cissey's elimination; capturing Cissey would end the game with no chance to unload him) The Intrepide initially tried to suicide on a reef, but then began fighting Dead Man's Point.


In a brilliant move, Xerecs used the captured Hai Peng to load up an oarsman and the CJS that was originally on the BC (so the HP had two Jack Sparrow's on her during the same game - Multiple Jacks like in At World's End!!). Then he used Jimmy Legs to sac the oarsman and redock, NOW using CJS's ability to flip the coin to the Sea Crane way in the south, who unloaded it for 4 gold total. To end the play, the gold race fleet was now free to end the game, and that they did, with the fort blasting the Intrepide apart and getting 1 gold from Cissey's elimination.


The final score was 34-28 in favor of the gold race fleet! The series was tied 1-1. This also rebroke the record set earlier in the day of most total gold in a standard game, with 62.

For the third game of the series, the gold race fleet rolled to go first, just as in the first game (and they went first in the second game too since they lost the first game). The home island locations happened to reverse, and we set sail!


Once again the BC built Dead Man's Point on the center island, which forced the Hai Peng to go around the perimeter. The HP was Hidden Cove'd (copyright lordstu) to the southwestern island but skipped it entirely, sailing north to the western island.


The HP and BC got busy trading, with the HP continuing to circle the center island by moving to the northern island, much to Xerecs' dismay. Paradis was built on that island, and the BC turned away.


The sickening speed of the Hai Peng was soon on full display. She sent another coin home before saccing to dismast the Rover, and then moved on to the southwestern island (finally returning to it) on the next turn. Honestly, sometimes there's just not much you can do against a ship like the Hai Peng with the right crew setup.


Another example: the Hai Peng is running out of crew to sac, but catches the Sea Crane right before she gets home and dismasts her. This is when it was time to get wild, with strategies going out the window and the desperate endgame situations kicking in.


Here is when it happened. The Banshee's Cry scored a hit. With CJS aboard and desperate times calling for desperate measures, the BC somehow dismasted the HP with a shot and ram! Importantly, the BC stole back the coin the HP had stolen from the Sea Crane. The Bonnie Liz came out to help the Sea Crane, while the Intrepide and Coeur looked on from afar in confusion and disbelief.


Then, another bizarre thing happened. While attacking the Coeur, the Banshee's Cry couldn't shoot due to carrying treasure, the same treasure that she stole partly as a result of her earlier hit.

The Coeur eventually sank, and the Intrepide once again tried to fight a fort. This time, she would survive at least in the interim, since the gold race fleet was trying to get the 4 gold from Paradis rather than settling for the 1 from eliminating Cissey.


The battles at the forts continued after a brief break, caused by yours truly messing up and pasting the entire eBay spreadsheet into the chat box lol, causing my VASSAL window to freeze and crash. (this can happen even if you don't submit the message, so beware)

Paradis is massively overpowered and unsurprisingly put up a great fight against the gold race coalition of 4 ships, besting all 3 comers! To complicate matters further for the gold racers, the Intrepide had just finished taking out the guns of Dead Man's Point, so it would only be a matter of time before she loaded the fort's former gold and sailed it home for a reversal of fortune and momentum. The Bonnie Liz put a stop to all that by ramming the Intrepide to end the game!


As you can see from the gold, it was a very high-scoring game! UPS 2 wins 37-31! This game set yet another record (rebroken for the 3rd time in 3 games, all in one day) for the most total gold unloaded or scored in a standard (40 point) game, with 68! This means we had well over twice as much gold than when the game started!

Between that (averaging gold scores in the 30's, like what??) and the overall effectiveness of the strategy, these are absolutely two of the best fleets of all time. It's interesting that UPS 2 holds a 2-1 advantage despite the gold race fleet going first in all 3 games, but that was partly due to the Periscope situation in Game 1. The future holds more excitement, for at least one more game will be played between these two fleets. The winner of the series advances to the finals!
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Subject:    PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:30 pm Reply with quote

Darrin's Gold Race fleet (#8 seed) (commanded by Xerecs)
vs.
UPS 2 (#5 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)

Game 4

I did manage to record this game, as I downloaded OBS Studio literally minutes before the game began. I am quickly getting the hang of it (I hope), and you can see the YouTube video; I'd recommend reading the description too (hit "show more" to see the whole thing).

My horrendous dice luck continued at a near-unprecedented rate, starting with losing the roll to go first. The gold race fleet uses Hidden Cove to send the Banshee's Cry to the center island.


The Hai Peng was Cove'd to the western island, and she continued south from there, exploring two islands in the same turn.


UPS 2 built Paradis de la Mer, and the gold race fleet responded by building Dead Man's Point in the northeast.


This is where things started to get interesting - with a scarcity of crew to trade with Captain Jack Sparrow, both fleets would need to scramble to secure victory. The Hai Peng lurks in wait for the Banshee's Cry and/or Rover, who could be coming home with gold soon.


After a change of plans, the HP instead attacks the Sea Crane, nearly losing the battle due to my bad rolls in the process. The ship is captured, and the Intrepide comes out to tow her home. The Coeur grabs an oarsman in the northwest, while the gold race fleet gets bonuses the hard way with the Bonnie Liz.


Suddenly all ships of UPS 2 are headed home, as I realized the HP could simply tow the Sea Crane back at S+L+S speed. In addition, the 5-gold payout from the Hag's Ransom keyword was greater than the potential 3 the HP could get at the southwestern island. Finally, it allowed the Intrepide to go back home and not risk being vulnerable to the gold race fleet while towing at S speed.


The HP repairs and speeds out to the southwest, where she trades home the final coin that she had found earlier. Then UPS 2 appears to sail straight for Dead Man's Point.


Battle for the fort! My die rolls continue to defy belief, and Dead Man's Point and the gold race fleet quickly gain the upper hand. Before the Rover was dismasted by a shot from the HP, a ram roll failed with a 1. You really can't make this stuff up.


Eventually 3 of the fort's 4 guns were silenced, but not before the HP was captured and most of UPS 2 dismasted. Xerecs didn't have amazing die rolls this game, but naturally the Banshee's Cry hit once again with a 6 to dismast the HP. (An outsider wouldn't be crazy to think that the module is biased against me.) A final shot rang out, and the game was over!


The final scores:
1. Darrin's gold race: 38 gold
2. UPS 2: 31 gold

With that, two more records are set! 38 gold is the new high score of any fleet in a single game, beating the 37 that UPS 2 collected in the previous game of this series. The 69 total gold breaks the previous record of 68, also set in the previous game.

The series is now technically tied at 2-2, but it's more like 2-1 in favor of the gold race because of the Periscope dilemma that ruined the first game. However, UPS 2 still hasn't gone first in any of the games. Between these factors and the close scores, it's incredibly unclear which fleet is superior. Stay tuned for more!
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Subject: 2 more games!   PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:53 am Reply with quote

Darrin's Gold Race fleet (#8 seed) (commanded by Xerecs)
vs.
UPS 2 (#5 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)

Game 5

Xerecs and I were recording our Skype discussion for a video of the game.

With the series tied at 2 games apiece, we decided to let UPS 2 go first because the gold race fleet had gone first in all 4 previous games in the series. This led to the Hai Peng quickly establishing forts at the center and northern wild islands.


Turns and turns of furious treasure-trading and gold bonus applications went by. There wasn't much the gold race fleet could do about the UPS 2 forts, and the game was truly a gold race. In the end, UPS 2 won the game with an insane score of 44-21! This is a new single-fleet high for gold in a standard game that we have played, breaking the previous record of 38 set by the gold race fleet in Game 4 of the series.


Game 6

Due to eating and an imminent time crunch, we didn't do Skype or a video for the second game of the session. Since the gold race fleet had gone first in more games (3 to 1 even if you don't count the first game which was marred by the Periscope incident), UPS 2 went first once again.

The home islands were swapped, with UPS 2 in the southeast and the gold race fleet in the west. Both fleets built Dead Man's Point in the north!


Knowing I had to get moving in order to prevent the Rover from getting gold in the southwest, the Hai Peng used one turn to build Paradis de la Mer on the center island, and the next turn to build the Devil's Maw on the southwestern island right before the Rover would have been able to explore. This meant that all wild islands had a fort on them!


The Dead Man's Point is the easiest target for the gold race fleet, who must destroy at least one fort and get its gold to have a chance. The Intrepide sails out to meet the HP and get a double bonus from Spices after a treasure swap. I dismasted the Rover with the intention of capturing her, thinking she might be useful down the line if the game came down to a battle to the death at a fort.


DMP (the UPS 2 version heh) puts up a good resistance, blasting masts off all 3 remaining gold race ships. The Intrepide makes another trade, this time with the captured and repaired Rover. The Coeur is ready to assist the fort up north, while the Hai Peng finally repairs (she was hit by the Rover after I missed her 4 times in a row) and gets ready for maximum speed once more (she was only doing stuff at one action per turn for 2 or 3 turns in a row, which is nearly unheard of in this fleet).


The Intrepide got yet another bonus via Aristide, and the Coeur rammed the Bonnie Liz unsuccessfully. The firepower in the northwest eventually subdued the BL and Sea Crane, while the Hai Peng chased down the Banshee's Cry and dismasted her to end the game!

In a second consecutive blowout, UPS 2 wins 40-20!

After a brief discussion, Xerecs and I decided that UPS 2 advances to the Finals of VASSAL Tournament #2!!

Our reasoning was that UPS 2 had a 4-2 lead in the series, though it was more like 3-2 because of the weird Game 1. However, UPS 2 won a game (out of three) despite going second. In the only games where UPS 2 went first, the gold race fleet lost both by a wide margin. As a result, it seems that the gold race fleet cannot beat UPS 2 when going second, while UPS 2 can beat the gold race fleet when going second. With that, we have a finalist. At the start of the tournament, I predicted that UPS 2 would win if I had to put money on just one fleet. Now they are in the finals, and have a serious shot at winning the title of the best fleet of all time.

The other semifinal matchup is next! Hai Peng Fort Frenzy versus the American Pirates! Get hyped! XD
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Subject: Rematch for the ages   PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 3:02 am Reply with quote

In one of the most highly anticipated series of all time, an epic rematch is taking place!! I knew this was a possibility from how the bracket was structured, but I can hardly believe it's actually happening. Similar to darrin's fleets facing off in the other semifinal matchup, my best two fleets I've submitted go head-to-head with huge stakes!

Hai Peng Fort Frenzy! (#7 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)
vs.
American Pirates (#6 seed) (commanded by xerecs)

HPFF rolled to go first, and was placed at the center island.


The Hai Peng has explored the two western islands, building Paradis de la Mer on the southwestern one. She unloads Barbary Banner at home, while the Roanoke sinks the Banshee's Cry.


The Amity explored the northeastern island and flipped Jailhouse Dog to eliminate the Barbary Banner. Knowing I'd need more gold, the HP scurried past the Roanoke to explore the northern island. However, the Roanoke's boarding party kills Lord Mycron, which puts a severe dent in the HPFF game plan.


The Roanoke sped north to dismast the HP, who took off into the safety of a fog bank. The Patagonia and Lezard sailed out, now unable to serve the HP.


The Lezard was sunk, but the HP managed to get a lucky roll out of the fog bank and speedily row home to unload her coins from the northern island!


With a considerable ship and mast advantage, the AP's capture the Patagonia, hoping to unload Bratley for the 5 gold Ransom payout. However, the Hai Peng is too fast for that! Although she missed when redocking at her home island, the HP managed to try again on her next turn. The second shot connected, sinking the Patagonia and denying the AP's the ransom.


At this point, only the 5 coin in Paradis remained. The AP's would give it up if they sunk the HP, and therefore the HP became essentially invincible for the endgame. The Roanoke and Amity headed over to the fort, but the Roanoke rolled a 5 for the ability and thus was only able to eliminate one cannon even after saccing for a double shoot.


Paradis was simply too much for the AP's to overcome, and the game ended after the Roanoke was sunk and the Amity was dismasted. That gold in the fort was the difference, as HPFF won a 18-13 victory in the first game of this highly anticipated rematch!


It was a great game, with more to come soon. In fact, we've already started the second game, which you can see part of if you check out the video on my channel.
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Subject:    PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:14 am Reply with quote

In one of the most highly anticipated series of all time, an epic rematch is taking place!! I knew this was a possibility from how the bracket was structured, but I can hardly believe it's actually happening. Similar to darrin's fleets facing off in the other semifinal matchup, my best two fleets I've submitted go head-to-head with huge stakes!

Hai Peng Fort Frenzy! (#7 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)
vs.
American Pirates (#6 seed) (commanded by xerecs)

For the second game of the series, the AP's went first and HPFF's HI was moved to the northwest.


The HP builds Paradis in the north, while Maps of Alexandria reveals the southwestern island to have both the Barbary Banner and the Jailhouse Dog, two important UT's in this series that often cancel each other out. Knowing the Bandido would likely ram the Banshee's Cry to dismast her, I had to try to explore the island anyway.


The HP was dismasted by the Roanoke, but since she can move S+L+S with a captain/helmsman/oarsman setup, she was able to return home some gold and repair there. The BC is indeed dismasted by a Bandido ram, but HPFF gets another fort built. The Roanoke has begun a fight with Paradis, but the OP fort shreds the gunship without taking any damage!


Both flagships repair (the Roanoke at a new fort built by the AP's in the northeast), and both Pirate 1 masters are sunk in the south. The Amity and Lezard are unable to do their usual tasks (respectively to gather gold and flip oarsmen for coins), and so they prepare for the inevitability of war.


The AP's destroyed Dead Man's Point in the southwest, but immediately afterwards the Hai Peng showed her worth using her uber-fast speed and great crew complement to get both gold coins from the fort back home to safety. This led to an inevitable and lengthy conclusion, with the AP's assaulting Paradis to no avail. However, in this picture you can see not only the mess, but also how close the AP's got to destroying the fort. Paradis is down to one cannon, while the Lezard and HP only have one mast standing between them.


In the end, HPFF won its second game in a row, this one by a score of 19-11! With that, HPFF seems like the better fleet, but at least one more game will be played in the series. We'll swap the Bandido out for the Banshee's Cry with a helmsman and explorer, and possibly switch controllers at some point. Either way, the Finals of T2 are not far away!
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Subject:    PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:45 am Reply with quote

Hai Peng Fort Frenzy! (#7 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)
vs.
American Pirates (#6 seed) (commanded by xerecs)

Here is a recording of the night's action, which happened directly after the start of CG3! The Bandido was swapped out for the Banshee's Cry with a helmsman and explorer. I didn't really want to do that, but I wanted to see if the AP's could pull out a win with a more optimized setup.

Here is the only picture from Game 3 of this series, showing how the Amity Hidden Cove'd to the center island and the Hai Peng used Mycron to reach the west. The Pirate Globe and Maps of Alexandria revealed the treasure distribution, with HPFF getting the better of it. They grabbed the 5 coins they needed to win (two 5's and three 2's), with the final score being 16-14.


With that, HPFF had a commanding (and indeed, decisive in normal circumstances) lead in the series, but I wanted to experiment. We switched fleets with myself in control of the AP's and Xerecs getting HPFF. Once again the AP's went first since they were behind in the series. The Roanoke was Coved out to the center island, where for the second game in a row, Pirate Globe and Maps of Alexandria were revealed at the same time! With two 5's on the southeastern island, the AP's got a better treasure distribution.


The Hai Peng couldn't reach a far island on her first turn, and so settled for the northern one. The Roanoke blasted her with a double action but couldn't sink her, which let her get away to the east. However, she was slowed, and by this point the Amity, BC, and Roanoke carried enough gold to win the game for the AP's. In a rarity, HPFF got both the Dog and the Banner, raising their potential score. However, I knew how much gold was on the Roanoke, and the calculations for this series were far easier than in the other semifinal series (which had a TON of gold bonus variables). The partially repaired HP nearly managed a miracle against the Roanoke, hitting 3/4 and getting her ram roll, but lost the boarding party. The Roanoke docked home her 6 gold, giving the AP's their first victory of the series by a narrow 18-17 margin!


Those two games were quick, but the third and final one of the night was FAR longer. It was one of the most desperate and drawn-out games I've ever been involved in.

Once again the Roanoke finds the revealing UT's on the middle island after Coving. On HPFF's first turn they get the Dog to knock out the Banner.


The HP has built Paradis in the southwest, while the Amity and BC clean up the center and northern islands for the AP's. The Roanoke reaches the HP with a double action but only hits once in three tries!


The HP goes all the way around the map (but still very quickly of course) to reach home without being intercepted by any AP ships. She docks home her gold, which leaves only a couple coins left in play. Between the 30 gold in play and the UT's that reveal everything, I knew how much gold was on my HI and how much was left. I came to the unfortunate realization that I (as the AP's now) would be playing for a tie in an attempt to continue the series with a rematch. That is, until xerecs made the good point that if I could eliminate Bratley on the Patagonia, the Ransom payout could potentially give the AP's a 16-15 win. However, that trade route (not road haha!) was fraught with waterfalls (instead of pitfalls), since a ton of things had to break right for that conclusion to even be plausible.


With the game in her hands (or so we thought...), the Roanoke begins bombarding Paradis with a 2 in her hold and a 5 in Paradis. I had 8 gold at this point, so I needed both coins to tie. I was afraid that HPFF would simply trigger the Ransom keyword of Perry, making it even more of an uphill (stormy?) battle. I did have absolutely incredible good luck in this game, which is somewhat rare for me (although it's mostly just shoot actions that give me problems). The roll for Paradis was a 1, which let the Roanoke hit 4/5 to take the fort down to just one cannon. In this picture, the HP has arrived to damage the Roanoke, with the fort contributing as well. The Amity and Lezard flock to the scene, while the AP's BC rams the Patagonia, killing Mycron.


A fair bit of wackiness later, and the Roanoke is derelict and the fort is abandoned. The HP, Patagonia, HPFF BC, and Lezard are all dismasted. This was where things really degenerated into madness, but unbeknownst to us, it was just beginning....


So much happened in the "endgame" (I call it that since we were fighting over the last few coins left, but it took longer than the other parts of the game) that I cannot remember all of it. HPFF managed to capture the Roanoke and began repairing her at the fort, but the Amity put a stop to that and eventually the Roanoke sank. The Amity became a major factor in the game, providing All-Star service to the AP's. However, the pesky rams from the HP and Lezard took her down to 1 mast. In the southeast, the "Battle of the Banshees" took place, with the HPFF Banshee's Cry eventually prevailing, but not before the AP BC successfully boarded the Patagonia again to eliminate Bratley and give the AP's 1 extra gold! However, now that the AP's were down to just one ship, the Amity, they couldn't afford to lose her. With HPFF having a gold advantage, the Amity needed to keep her final mast standing at all costs. As a result, although her priority was to get the 5 coin from Paradis (abandoned but still standing), she was forced to ram and dismast any potential threats in the area. This included the Lezard and Hai Peng, both of which had oarsmen before the Amity eventually eliminated them to render them harmless. Whew! This is just about as desperate as this game gets!


But of course! More ramming and boarding! LOL. The Amity needed to take care of the dual BC threat (both healthy and in the HPFF fleet) before moving back to the fort (I believe she had missed a handful of times with her remaining 5S gun in the attempt to destroy it). Both BC's were dismasted, but another shenanigan was continued from earlier, though I haven't mentioned it yet: the Roanoke's old 2 coin was making its rounds through both fleets, and it was probably on at least 4 of the ships by the time the game ended. The Amity was trying to protect the 2 coin and recover it and re-recover it so that HPFF couldn't get it home somehow. This all in addition to the whole purpose of getting the 5 from Paradis!


With the BC's still in play (at least one of them rowing around), the Amity returned to the fort but I believe she missed again. She then dealt with one of the BC's and towed her to retrieve the coin and end the threat. However, by this point the most unlikely of ships had entered the fray: HMS Patagonia! With Mycron and Bratley killed in combat, only Robinson remained to crew the ship all the way to the southwest at S speed. With the Amity busy ending threats to stay in the game, the Patagonia managed to get in range. Her 2L cannon boomed for the first time in ages, and the Amity's last mast fell overboard! Finally there was a victor! The final score was 20-9 in favor of HPFF, since the AP's got Bratley but HPFF retained the fort gold. (and the 2 was still afloat on the Amity when the game ended)


With that, an incredible game ends the series. By the end of the game, only the Patagonia had a mast standing, with 3 derelicts and one abandoned fort among the living. 3 ships were sunk, and most of the crew were gone. In fact, we probably came close to setting a record for most crew eliminated in a standard game.

With that, Hai Peng Fort Frenzy wins the series 4-1! Hai Peng Fort Frenzy advances to the Finals of VASSAL Tournament #2!

Here is the updated bracket. Only 2 fleets remain!! Which will claim the title of The Best Fleet of All Time?
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Subject: The Finals Begin   PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:42 am Reply with quote

The Finals

After a long hiatus since early September, T2 has been revived for its grand finale! The Final Round has begun!

UPS 2 (#5 seed) (commanded by xerecs)
vs.
Hai Peng Fort Frenzy! (#7 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)

There are videos of Game 1, in addition to Games 2 and 3.

UPS 2 rolled to go first in Game 1, establishing a gold lead and finding the Maps of Alexandria to reveal all treasures on all islands.


After much trading of gold and crew, and the building of a fort, my calculations revealed that I could not win with HPFF in this game. This was due to how early everything was flipped due to Maps of Alexandria - even with gold bonuses piling up for UPS 2, I was able to figure out the situation in terms of gold scores, both real and potential. The best I could hope for was to lose 22-21, since UPS 2 had the Barbary Banner and Jailhouse Dog (which had been played to deny my Hai Peng from getting Holy Water), in addition to a trio of +2 bonuses. The semi-worst case scenario in a long endgame would see HPFF lose 23-20 instead. Therefore, we called it, with UPS 2 technically winning the first game 22-5.


HPFF automatically went first in Game 2, trading home the Banner and building Paradis de la Mer on the lucrative northern island.


My Hai Peng went all the way to the southwestern island to trade home another coin...


... but was eventually sunk by the UPS 2 Hai Peng. XD


With only Paradis' 5 left in play, we counted gold to see if it was relevant. With UPS 2 winning 14-11 NOT counting the fort's gold, it was clear we had to play the endgame out. Things quickly devolved into a ramming fest, with the Banshee's Cry playing the role of hero. She was able to sail out, ram off a mast from a UPS 2 ship, get rammed in return, row home at S+S with the help of Mycron, and then repair and sail out to ram again on the next turn (with the help of Mycron).


UPS 2 needed to destroy the fort to eliminate or claim the gold there, but they couldn't get there. The ramming and boarding antics favored HPFF, who got consistently better rolls. The Coeur was captured and the HP dismasted, at which point we called it. HPFF wins the second game 16-14.


With the series tied at one apiece, we had to play at least 2 more games. The home islands changed again, with UPS 2 rolling to go first as in Game 1.


However, Game 3 was the most lopsided of the series so far. UPS 2 went first and got all the good coins, with HPFF having to settle for a bad haul up north. This forced me to fight early, which ended as poorly as one would expect. In one of the most lopsided games of the entire tournament, UPS 2 won 34-6!


With that, UPS 2 has a 2-1 lead over HPFF! At least one more game will be played, and we'd like to see UPS 2 win while going second to have a more decisive and conclusive result. Either way, the greatest fleet ever will be crowned very soon!
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Subject: A CHAMPION IS CROWNED   PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:34 am Reply with quote

The Finals

With UPS 2 up in the series 2-1, the Finals of Tournament #2 have concluded!

UPS 2 (#5 seed) (commanded by xerecs)
vs.
Hai Peng Fort Frenzy! (#7 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)

There are videos of Games 4-6, in addition to Games 7-8.

HPFF went first with its back against the wall. The HP reached the center and northern islands on the first turn, with one of the UT's revealing where everything was.


I don't have more pictures from this game, since it ended in a tie! 19-19 was the final score, which meant we had to play on.

The home islands were essentially rotated anticlockwise for the second game, with HPFF going first again and hitting two islands.


Both fleets used their Hai Pengs to build Paradis de la Mer, showing how similar and evenly matched these two are:


The UPS 2 Hai Peng was sunk, and with the support ships unable to blast Paradis, the game was over! HPFF won this game 21-11, evening the series at 2.


The HI's were reversed for the start of Game 6:


UPS 2 rolled to go first and got busy exploring and trading. Honestly this final round was a bit of a blur, and both fleets are complex, confusing, extremely similar, and entirely based on maximizing profit. As a result, there's not a ton to report on. XD


UPS 2 went to the center island for more gold bonus trading opportunities, while HPFF built a fort on the northern island:


With the fort's gold becoming irrelevant, UPS 2 had a 19-9 victory!


With HPFF down in the series 3-2, they went first once again.


I made a mistake by not trying to build a fort on the western island. This resulted in a throwaway win for UPS 2 (final score 29-18 ), but due to the unknown, we played another game to see if UPS 2 could conclusively win even while going second without mistakes made by either commander.


Game 8!

We kept the same home islands as last time, and ironically the treasure distribution also turned out very similar, with HPFF getting solid values along with the Banner, Jailhouse Dog, and Holy Water. (Jailhouse Dog was played to eliminate the Holy Water to prevent UPS 2 from stealing the Dog to eliminate the Banner)


This time HPFF did build a fort on the western island, with Dead Man's Point providing a second fort.


Both Hai Pengs were busy trading gold home, but the advantage of UPS 2 lies in its gold bonuses....


The UPS 2 HP was dismasted by DMP, after which we counted gold to see if the forts were worth fighting over. They were not!

With a dramatically close finish, UPS 2 defeats HPFF 22-21 and wins the series 5-2!!!!


UPS 2 IS OFFICIALLY THE BEST FLEET OF ALL TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's finally over! After starting this tournament in October 2016, it fittingly ends right as 2017 ends as well. The tournament featured 16 different fleets, and it took 53 total games to have a decisive winner.

Congratulations to darrin for making such a brilliant fleet. 3 of the 4 semifinal fleets used the Hai Peng/Captain Jack Sparrow strategy, but UPS 2 emerged victorious in large part due to saccing efficiency and gold bonus galore. It truly is an incredible fleet, and is now the fleet to beat in competitive play.

Congratulations to myself and Xerecs too, for playing such incredible tournaments out (T1 included). They have been quite fun, with a ton of games being very close or quite exciting. We've learned a lot about playing standard games optimally, and could certainly be considered experts in regards to the UPS strategy and competitive play in general. However, things got a little bogged down over the course of SO many standard 40 point games, and we're ready to take a break from the endless "Hidden Cove'ing/saccing/treasure trading with CJS/extra action to HP"/etc etc. XD Also, congratulations to a7xfanben for correctly guessing the winner of the tournament right from the start! O_O
a7xfanben wrote:
If I had to bet money on the winner of the tournament, I would pick UPS 2.
This was partly because of my prior experience with UPS 2 in a small number of physical games, in which it dominated to the extent that it was my winner pick (though I had a feeling the Gold Race fleet or UPS 4 would give it a serious run for its money (literally), and the Gold Race fleet did not disappoint in this tournament). It feels good to have a good handle on the various fleets, and it's too bad that nobody bet against me. XD Laughing

From here we do have one final thing left to do with this game file: the 16 fleet game to conclude the festivities. O_O This will be played soon, after which we turn our attention to other projects of a larger nature. Until then, thanks for reading these reports, and look out for that wacky 16 fleet game sometime soon.

Here is the final, completed bracket!
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Subject: New year, new game, new excitement   PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:02 pm Reply with quote

The first Piratical activity of 2018!

The 16 fleet game has begun! As far as I know, this sets a new record for total fleets used in a single game!

If you watch the video you'll get the gist of it, but here's how we started things.

Xerecs rolled higher than me to go first in the player turn order. From there, we decided to do a draft in reverse turn order! This meant that I had the first pick in the draft, followed by Xerecs for a fleet, and so on until all the fleets were picked. This was a fun way of doing it rather than haggling over which fleets we each controlled. We ended up with mostly the fleets we wanted to play, which is great. I had some conflicts of interest and decided to choose fleets that were NOT my own, passing over HPFF to select UPS 2 (a fleet I like about as much as HPFF though) and taking the swarm fleet instead of RtSS English since I've barely controlled the swarm fleet at all since T1 began. However, I did go with classic favorites American Pirates and HMS GT, while Xerecs went with some of the more combat-heavy options, locking up both Spanish 5 masters along with the Doldrums and Kettering.

Then, for fleet turn order, we simply went in reverse draft order. (might be getting confusing XD) That meant the last fleet picked would go first in the game, so RtSS English (controlled by Xerecs) would go first, followed by the swarm fleet (controlled by me). In this way you can see the order here: (go side to side before up and down; this is the reverse draft order with the AP's and then Norvegia going in the second round of the draft)


Since this game is purely for fun and the tournament is over, it would not nearly be worth the considerable time involved to recreate all 16 fleets in a bigger ocean to have a "standard" setup with 2 wild islands per fleet. Also, less wild islands and less distance between islands can often make for a more fun, fast-paced, and combative game. We were barely able to fit 32 total islands in, with 16 home and 16 wild. This meant there would be 8 coins per island, double the normal amount. The home islands were chosen in draft order/reverse turn order, with UPS 2 picking their HI first.

It is important to note we would use round earth rules, just as in the big T1 game. To not ruin the fun of having all the coins revealed early, a custom ruling for Maps of Alexandria and Pirate Globe is being used: when those are found, the fleet can choose to look (privately) at all the coins on ONE other island, instead of revealing every coin in play to all the fleets.

Reminiscent of my 12 fleet game and the 8 fleet game to conclude T1, here is the grand setup with all the fleets ready to set sail!


Entering play, my American Pirates fleet had not only the most pressure on them in a way (having an incredible pedigree in these giant multiplayer games, coming in 2nd in the 12 fleet game and winning the 8 fleet game), but also a good home island location despite choosing third. Most fleets tried to stay away from the Zeus and Grand Temple during HI selection, but in general these things turn into a crapshoot due to how many fleets pick after you (or before, as picking last has narrow options) and due to the randomness of the treasure distribution.

We were off! The first turn saw a lot of developments, with 16 fleets trying to maximize their potential to win the same game. It truly is incredible, with most of the best (submitted) fleets ever matching up against each other in a big game like this. Whoever wins will certainly have bragging rights forever, but could an underdog pull away with an upset due to the sheer amount of luck and chaos involved?

UPS 4 ran into some trouble early when the Kettering and Minuteman flotilla round earthed to sink the Longshanks. A bunch of Hidden Coves were played, with ships trying to get gold as fast as possible.

As far as combat goes, the Artillery Strike fleet made the biggest first impact. The Neptuno Coved out to the island where the English canoes were docked, and used extra range and cannon bonuses to hit 3/4 and dismast the Kettering! The Diablo flotilla shot 1/2 to eliminate one of those English canoes. The AP's were one of the last fleets to go, and after much pondering, I had the Roanoke cove out near the Neptuno, capturing the Kettering instead of exploring and/or trying to hit the Neptuno (keep in mind with all these nasty fleets, UT's like Missionary are out there). With a good home island location, the Amity and Bandido were able to take coins from the same island this turn, with the Amity discovering Holy Water. (this is in the deep south to the left)

Some other happenings around the map: at the lower right, the Zeus traded home a 5 to build Paradis, making that corner of the board a certified UPS 5 stronghold, with the most OP 10 master and the most OP fort in the same area. To the right of the Zeus, the Gold Race fleet didn't have many options for Hidden Cove, having to choose between the Zeus and the San Cristobal (round earth at top center). The BC docked at the eastern edge of the SE island, but the Elthelfleda is approaching via round earth. However, the Gold Race quickly showed why it's the 3rd or 4th best fleet of all time (would be interesting to match it up against the AP's, though I think the Gold Race would win), saccing to trade home two coins which both got +3 bonuses. O_O

EA Gold Runners does not have a favorable HI position, but the Joya got an EA to reach and explore a wild island, grabbing a bunch of coins along with some Spices. At the upper right, the Doldrums coved the Bloody Jewel to deny that wild island from HPFF, whose Hai Peng has gone to the west via round earth. In the upper right quadrant you can also see the Neptune's Hoard hit the Pique, but only with the help of the Monkey's Paw UT. The Quick wins the game fleet did not have a good first turn, with a tough HI position and the Pique likely doomed after finding a bad island and the Norvegia cheese attack. XD (they partly picked that HI since Lenoir's cancelling can help them deal with the nearby Zeus)

The Swarm fleet is heading towards at least 3 wild islands, and may somehow be the first to explore 2 of them. However, they have been denied of that island in the center/northwest by a wacky first turn from UPS 2, the last fleet to go each round and the winners of the actual tournament. UPS 2 continues to dominate headlines, winning the tournament in grand fashion, getting picked first (albeit predictably) in the draft, and now finishing the first round of turns with a BANG. The HP was coved out to that island where you see a bunch of Pirate crew chips. The HP redocked to explore but also shoot at the nearby HMS London of the HMS GT fleet, incredibly shooting 2/2 to take the London down to 2 masts! I was originally going to trade home the best coin and then drop some crew to sac and get home with more (so the London couldn't return fire next turn), but one of my least favorite UT's in the game ruined all that: Natives. Ironically one of the UT's placed by the HMS GT fleet, this freezes the Hai Peng for FIVE turns, since that's how many crew were on the ship when the island was explored. O_O In all likelihood this could doom UPS 2's chances of winning, but they could at least finish the explore action even if they couldn't sac afterwards. The island was good otherwise, with CJS trading home a 7. Paradis was built! This may keep the London at bay while simultaneously keeping the swarm fleet from taking any of the island's remaining gold. The Hai Peng was simply emptied out, since the crew and gold will be safer inside the fort. Also, I didn't want crew on the HP since if she is somehow still alive after 5 turns of sitting there, she could redock and take the remaining gold without triggering the Natives again. I wanted to send the Coeur out to the island, but figured she'd be safer at home with the London still lurking. Overall a wild turn for UPS 2, from the brink of glory (flipping a 7, building Paradis, and saccing to get most of the island's gold back home) to disaster (Natives keeping the rest of the gold there and likely dooming the Hai Peng for the rest of the game).


Whew! What a first turn! The sheer amount of fleets and things to do each turn mean this game will take quite a while to complete over the course of several VASSAL sessions. We hope to continue the video footage, and we're looking forward to what will likely become one of the best games we've ever been involved in!!
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