The game was finally finished up today. The Endeavour started the final battle by sinking the captured HMS Hyena, officially knocking the French out of the game.
Now it was just the English and the Spanish. The iceberg that took out the Acorazado hit the Santa Isabel, taking out her final mast. The next ship in line was the Argo, a two masted treasure runner. She was no match for HMS Leicester, but the Santo Columba was third in the Spanish line. Now the Spaniards' best ship, she acted as a flagship for this battle to the death. The Argo started towing the Isabel before she was dismasted, creating a physical block to gain the lagging Spanish ships some extra time before the rest of the English fleet was upon them.
As the Endeavour sailed along as the easternmost English ship, the westerly ships came into action. The Heros and damaged Nautilus were first, followed by the Alexandria, towing the Tower. L'Heros took out a mast on the Santo Columba before having one of her own masts taken out. Before the Nautilus and Alexandria could do any damage, the Spaniards' second-best ship, El Leon, sailed into the fray. Guns blazing, she took out a mast on the Heros and a mast on the Nautilus. She finished her attack by ramming the Nautilus to take out her last mast. This was a great effort by the Spanish, but they simply lacked the firepower to compete with the English. The Alexandria used a double action provided by Beckett to move-and-shoot twice, dismasting the Leon and pulverizing the San Pedro. Then the Leicester came around the iceberg and raked both the Concepcion and the San Pedro, dismasting both ships.
At this point, the battle was tipped heavily in favour of the English, but they still had to finish strong. The Santo Columba moved away from the Heros to take on the Grand Temple, who was missing her two short range guns from the earlier battle against the French, which now seemed like ancient history. However, the Temple prevailed in this fight, crushing the Spanish flagship. Meanwhile, the smaller English ships, Antelope and Alexander, captured both the Argo and the Santa Isabel.
Here you can see the battle in an early stage. The Endeavour (upper left) has just sunk the Hyena, while the English have gone around the obstacle created by the Argo and the Santa Isabel. The Santo Columba duels the Heros, while the Leon attacks the Nautilus. In the upper right corner, you can make out the hull of the Alquimista, the last Spanish ship to enter the battle.
With that, only the two remaining native canoes and the Alquimista remained. The canoes were quickly demolished by the Heros and Alexander, while the Endeavour moved south to take on the Alquimista. This final Spanish ship was only moving S because she had the captured American windcatcher, Ghost Walker, in tow. The Alquimista was hoping to make up for her lack of a captain by using the Ghost Walker's built-in canceller to cancel an enemy captain, thereby gaining the upper hand. The problem was, the Ghost Walker was behind the length of the ship, and she had hulks of derelict Pirate ships on either side of her, preventing her from maneuvering in such a way that would let her get the canceller into a good position. The Endeavour sailed up and raked her by the bows, sending all three masts into the ocean to seal a hard-fought victory for the English!
Victory at last! The English have captured or dismasted every Spanish ship, with the Endeavour finishing off the Alquimista to end the game (you can see the Ghost Walker, but not the Alquimista, as she's dwarfed by the English five master).
A similar view looking southeast, with the Grand Temple having finished off the Santo Columba in the foreground.
As they had the highest number of points at the peak of the game, and they were the last fleet afloat, the English won the game on both fronts. It wasn't easy, however, and it was rather close. They didn't dominate like they occasionally have in the past. Coming in second was the Spanish, who played a brilliant game. They may have won if not for their anxiousness to get into a dual-conflict, as well as their behemoth flagship (who would have required 25 hits just to dismast
) being sunk by a UT combo. The Pirates finished third in the point count, and were the third fleet eliminated. The Cursed came in fourth, with a well-played initial game that fell victim to the power of the Royal Navy. In fifth, the Americans were actually the first fleet eliminated, but they certainly played a better game than the French. With a good mix of aggression and treasure running, they almost became the only faction to have four colonies, but therefore had spread themselves a bit too thin. They were unfortunate to have two of the strongest factions in the game, the Spanish and the Pirates, attack them from the north and south, respectively. With a slightly different game and better luck, they could have finished at least two spots higher. Although they were the third-to-last fleet remaining, the French finished dead last in the point count and had problems throughout the game. The English were a tough adversary to have early on in the game, but the French made mistakes in choosing a home island that was right in the heart of the frozen north (losing 4 or 5 masts to icebergs in the early going), and the fact that they were too timid going about their empirical desires.
This was a good game, and I definitely like the scenario that Sariouriel created. It is very long and time-consuming, but I would recommend it if you like big games. I still wish I could have finished it the proper way by playing it out, but who knows how long that would take. Maybe someday I'll play it again and have the time to finish it. Three weeks later, and there is finally a winner to the Century of the Empires game!