There is a shocking gap between the worst and best ships you can get for 17 points. At the bottom are ships like Le Loup-Garou
and Banshee's Wail
, while at the top are... well, I'm not going to tell you that straight away. Keep reading to find out; some of the game's best ships come in at precisely 17 points.
10. La Magnifique
Picking a number ten on this list was honestly pretty hard. There are a lot of good, yet not-quite-deserving ships that could occupy this spot, so I ultimately give it to La Magnifique. Her ability and move aren't anything to write home about, but her armament is okay, and her hold space is huge. Kind of a dull pick in the grand context of the game, though.
Wow, a ship that's not a five master on this list! Executioner isn't just one of the best Cursed gunships, she's one of the better ships available at 17 points. What she may lack in overall firepower, she makes up for with speed and some flexible crew selection, courtesy of Cavendish
, and weird capabilities via Davy Jones
8. Black Pearl
If you put a captain and helmsman on Black Pearl (and you will) you get 2L-1L-1L-2L guns, L+S+S move, and enough leftover cargo to carry additional crew to further increase her prowess as one of the game's most powerful 4-masters. The classic Hammersmith
combo makes her an equally capable hybrid, too. She's basically a straight upgrade from Executioner, and it shows.
Harbinger has one of the most thematic abilities ever given to a ship, which I imagine to be of significant use—I'll admit I haven't actually played her. Great armament and hold space serve to soothe the pains of a subpar L base move.
6. La Corse
La Corse is essentially a downsized El Acorazado
, albeit without as strong a crew selection or armament, though she is compensated with better speed. The French still have enough crew up their sleeve that La Corse is a mighty threat in any game size, though I'd still keep her an arm's length away from the best ships on this list.
5. Grand Path
Oh lord, as much as I love Grand Path, I'm surprised that I can only give her this high a spot on the list. Her armament and hold space are great, but unfortunately, her all S-range armament makes her tricky to position for full effect, and her ability is borderline useless. Crew selection is also limited.
4. HMS Swallow
Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I'm pretty sure HMS Swallow not only has the highest base move of any five master, but also is tied for being the fastest ship of her size out there. She's not exceptionally well-armed for her cost, and her ability is none too fitting, but she's still fast as a settler headed west, and packs a punch.
3. HMS Titan
One of the game's best ships, and one that stood the test of time, HMS Titan remained relevant due to her strong armament, useful ability, large hold space, and first-rate crew selection. She may be on the dull side as far as choices for flagships go, but you can't be faulted for picking her if you want a reliable performer with the capability to surprise.
A hot take? I don't think so. In a game where spending more points on gold runners doesn't always get you a better ship, Frontier stands out. Her astonishing hold space, fair base move, and the right selection of crew can make her one of the game's best gold runners, irrespective of price. Wayne Nolan
, a helmsman, Captain Montana Mays
, and a cargo master give her S+S+S move, 8 cargo, and 55% of SAT. A magnificent ship, without a doubt.
1. San Cristobal
Remember how I was talking about HMS Swallow being tied for fastest 5-master in the game? Here's her competition. The two share speed limits of L+S+S+S, armament configurations, and hold space, but Cristobal doesn't get Broadsides Attack.
What makes her special is that she can reach her top speed for considerably cheaper than Swallow can: Luis Zuan
and a helmsman allow her to do L+S+S+S for 21 points, while Swallow needs Thomas Gunn
to do the same, which comes in at 29 points. Sure +1 to cannon rolls and Broadsides Attack come with that, but world hater is cheaper, and BA is of questionable value on these ships.
In the end, Cristobal is a more refined, more capable ship in about the same role, and she has utility in games small and large because of these strengths. There is also the fact that she makes a better hybrid due to her access to hold expanders like Dominic Freda
and Master Bianco
, but really, she doesn't need any more advantages to be considered one of the game's most well-stacked ships.