, a name that, over time, has been attached to more myths than most anything in history.
Was it a man, a king, who'd once been submerged in a lake while covered in gold dust as a rite of initiation?
Perhaps, it was a golden city...
Or, perhaps, the city was but the hub of a vast, gilded empire...
No matter the iteration, tales of the legendary 'El Dorado' and its/their lost treasures have been the base of numerous voyages and expeditions throughout time. Thanks to writings and maps recently discovered from an expedition into the Orinoco River Basin in 1537, it's about to launch a few more.
The writings are from a spare hand in the employ of the German conquistador Georg von Speyer, and notes that, though several instances of trace gold were discovered throughout the expedition, whose actual length spanned between the years 1531-1538, the entries from 1537 stand out, as they point out 'tunnels', and sites of possible civilizations around the coast of South America, near the location where the Orinoco River meets the Atlantic Ocean.
Word has spread of these new writings, and the maps and drawings accompanying them. The Vatican lays claim to the original text. Official records state that missionaries returning from Venezuela presented these writings to the church, and rumors persist that they are linked to a copy of von Speyer's narrative to Charles V, sent to the Holy Roman Emperor shortly before the conquistador's death out of the city of Santo Domingo. This opens the possibility of multiple copies of the narrative, and the new information regarding the lost 'City of Gold', which will doubtless whet the appetites of the fearless treasure-seekers of the world once more!
This challenge will be a variant of lord_denton's 'Sliders' challenge idea.
-Fleets will be 25 points (After all, the countries/companies financing these expeditions have most likely been down this road before, and won't be too inclined to sink vast wealth into a wild goose chase)
-Fleets must be based around a nationality, but may 'hire' up to one ship of another nationality (Mercenaries won't count as a nationality in this, but their ships can be considered 'free agents' for hire in the other nationality slot)
-One named crew must be used, representing the individual tasked with leading the expedition
-No events, Mysterious Islands, or custom pieces
-All sets allowed (including RtSS)
As you might have noticed from my battle reports, I prefer to try adding a touch of narrative to explanations of games, in an effort to illustrate the flow of the game and enhance the entertainment level of the report overall. In a similar fashion, entrants will be tasked with coming up with a small story (a paragraph or two will more than suffice, but feel free to write as much as you'd like) to explain the 'how's and 'why's of their expedition's origin. After all, it takes a person of some distinctive character traits to search out for something that has been searched for (in vain) so long that its existence is largely doubted by the finest minds of the day. Added to that, said person must also receive a commission (assuming they simply don't have limitless resources of their own to fund this) to crew ships and buy provisions.
While it most likely won't be the deciding factor in the challenge's outcome, points will be awarded for thought-out stories as to your expedition's origin in regards to logic and originality.
Voting is encouraged! Please, if you do vote, try to be as objective as possible, and do comment as to why you are rating the fleet in question as you are. I'll be looking the fleets over myself, and will rate them to the best of my abilities.
Though it's certainly not required, if people are interested in VASSAL play for this, I'd be more than happy to design a map and some UT setups to fit the flavor of the challenge. Who knows, we might even get a VASSAL weekend out of it...
Aside from the standard bragging rights and hosting honors for the next challenge, I have a few sealed packs in my spare room (you know, that place that was GOING to be a game room/office, but then...). They're F&S, OE, and BCU, but I'd be happy to send 6 packs to the winner (they can mix/match from what sets they'd prefer the packs from) if they'd like.
Submission Deadline will be Friday, September 8th, 11:59 pm (forum time). That gives everyone over a month, and, since Sunday, the 10th is my birthday, I can spend my spare time Saturday night and Sunday judging the fleets with as little interruption as possible, because hey, it's my birthday!
Additionally, as it's my first challenge hosting, if anyone has any thoughts on what I've laid out, please feel free to voice them. I'm always receptive to constructive criticism, and the overall goal is to make sure the challenge is as fun for people as possible.
With that said, have fun and good luck!