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miniature review Frontier: Unexplored Islands, the final Frontier...

Miniature Review
Frontier: click to enlarge
Frontier

Miniature text:

Hoist, Secret Hold.

Constructed in the spirit of exploration, the Frontier pushes ever onward to new horizons.

  • Collector's Number: 005
  • Faction Affiliation: America
  • Rarity: R
  • Type: Ship
  • Point Value: 17
  • Cargo Space: 8
  • Base Move: S+S
  • Cannons: 4S,3S,4S
  • Number of Masts: 3
Frontier
Unexplored Islands, the final Frontier...

written by ragnell_wielder
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General description:
Ok, so not such a catchy subtitle, guess it only works in space. Anyways this is one of only 3 hoists in the game. Hoist is basically just a fancy word for "amazing treasure ship!" Seriously, it can explore an island just by touching it! And with the addition of the Secret Hold keyword, you aren't going to be losing any of that treasure, as secret hold negates anything that would let an opponent steal or eliminate treasure, except for the few and far between crew/ships that can take UT's away. This can be great against an enemy that tries to ram and board your treasure runners to steal your gold to keep you from winning, especially if they try to make that their main way of getting gold. Of the three, it is the best, you can thank American ingenuity for that! It has the best default speed (the Buscador can escape enemies faster), the best cargo space (EIGHT!) and the second best cannons (but you're not gonna use it for fighting) and is in the middle in terms of cost (17 compared to 14 and 20)

Uses:
It's only use is as a treasure ship. It doesn't have the cannons to be a fighting ship, but with good speed, EIGHT CARGO SPACE, and a hoist and secret hold, you would be INSANE to use it as anything else. With the hoist you can pick up treasure from an island you can touch, even if you haven't explored it yet, because you do both as a free action! With that kinda cargo space, you can all but clean off any island in the seven seas at one go (especially if you have an American cargo master in your fleet)! The hoist also lets you explore anything it touches as a free action. This can be useful if an opponent attacks you and your escort ship derelicts it, or you are near a battle and you sea a derelict, you can explore it just by touching it! If it has anything good on them, then it is yours!

Strategies and game play:
As stated above, use it as a treasure ship. Just go to each island, hoist the treasure on board, and go home. And try and avoid big ships, this thing ain't gonna win many fights.

Combos with other miniatures:
For a standard battle (40 pts) I would use other ships, as the Frontier is so expensive. Most crew combos with the Frontier will be about or over 20 points, and most extra cheap ships will be about in the low 30's. That doesn't leave much customization. In a higher point game, however, these can be pretty good.
A helmsman can speed it up, which means that you only have room for 7 gold pieces, but you can make up for that by moving 3S!
A cargo master in your fleet can give the Frontier 9 cargo, or 8 with a helmsman. That cargo master may seem like overkill (it really is) but it can save you from having to make that one last trip back to that far away island, that is across the sea that can get you killed trying to get it a second time, thus saving you such an expensive ship. It can also do the same for any other American ship in your fleet.
Any fast ship to guard it, or nab the last gold piece or 2 on the island. The Sea Wind is a good escort ship. It has great speed, good cargo space and ok cannons if you keep it close to the Frontier, which you would always do, as it is escorting it.
The (USS) Freedom is another good escort ship. It has good speed, good cannons (great if against a pirate ship), and good cargo space. It is also kinda cheap at only 13 points.
The American Native Canoes are also good escorts, of sorts. They are fast, they have great "cannons", they each have 2 cargo space, and they can transfer treasure from an allied ship directly to them. This lets the Frontier explore and clear an island of gold, then it can transfer it to the canoes and send them back while it goes to other islands. Also the canoes of other countries works to, as you can transfer treasure to all 5 of them just by touching them with the hoist.
The American flotilla, the Minuteman, also serves as a great escort. Just have the Frontier tow it (you won't be able to have a helmsman though), and those extra four extended range cannons will keep most anything under 4 masts away.
Since it is a cargo ship, you don't really want that many crew on it, to free up space, but an oarsman can be a life (and gold) saver!
Hidden Cove can work wonders, letting you pop up at a far away unexplored island, and take all the gold on it, and head back home, exploring any and all islands you come across.

Ways to counteract it:
Any fast gunship (the HMS Interceptor) can catch up and sink her.
A good UT, like Neptune's Trident can let a ship that is far away to damage her.
A UT like blood money, or Curse of Davy Jones, ones that can't be removed and have negative affects are horrible.
Hidden Cove can be deadly, cause you just sail up to an island, and a 5 master (or bigger) pops up!
An island by a whirlpool can be dangerous, as the above can happen.
Same thing if your opponent has the Needle, the Sea Hag, or the Mist Walker and there is an unexplored island near to a fog bank.
An enemy can drop of a Flotilla near an island, and although you can just circle around the island to get treasure, it can be an annoyance.
A sea dragon can definitely catch up and damage her
Also a canceler takes out one of the keywords for that turn.

Strengths/Pros:
Hoist
Secret Hold
8 cargo space
fastest hoist
BEST hoist/treasure runner in the game
good speed
American

Weaknesses/Cons:
3 masts
bad cannons(but you'll never need to use them)
Expensive

Artwork and aesthetics:
Kinda bland, just brown and white. Also it is a reuse of the hull of a bombardier (which is kinda fun to switch the main cannon in place of the hoist, just to freak people out). But it has a hoist, 7/10

Overall rating:
The best at what it does, 10/10

 

Modified on August 8, 2012 07:56 am



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Current score for this Miniature Review, based on 13 votes:
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Discussion about this Miniature Review
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Author Message
lordstu
Canada

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Subject:    Posted: September 26, 2010 07:13 am Reply with quote Report content icon

This review hit on the greatest strength of the hoists - getting treasure - so full marks for that. The combos were a little weak, maybe Native Canoes should've been mentioned, or at least a couple specific American ships that would team up well with an American hoist. Using a cargo master to increase this hoist's cargo space is a bit of overkill - after all, if 8 spaces ain't enough, 9 probably isn't going to do it, either.

Counteracts were also a little lacking in creativity, fast gunships were mentioned, but Hidden Cove seems like a natural against a ship that is likely going to be cleaning out some islands. Credit for the sea dragon idea, though, as they can do alright against 3-mast ships, so one would make a player using the Frontier stop and think for a minute. There must be a ton of UT's that would slow the Frontier down a bit, though, so at least one or two should have been mentioned.

A final thought on the appearance of the Frontier, she doesn't have quite the same hull as a bombardier, but the fo'c'sle deck is closer to being identical, thanks for pointing that out! Maybe a house rule could be that a player choosing either type of ship would get to pick from a hoist arm, an artillery cannon, or a flamestrike cannon when they first outfit the ship?

Oh, maybe add a brief explanation of Secret Hold and thoughts on why such an ability would be valuable...
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ragnell_wielder
United States

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Subject:    Posted: September 26, 2010 10:46 am Reply with quote Report content icon

I always forget about hidden cove because i don't have it, so i have never used it, or even faced anyone with it! and i only had read the medical barge review before i wrote this, so i didn't realize that i had kinda copied one of the other reviewers. And I dont really have that many UT's that would be good against this, except maybe Neptunes Trident or the Claw Cannon. I hadn't even thought about the Native Canoes, I have them but don't use them much. Thanks for the imput.
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ragnell_wielder
United States

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Subject:    Posted: September 26, 2010 10:54 am Reply with quote Report content icon

I know that the cargo master is overkill, but it also helps all of the other American ships in your fleet too, which is a plus.
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woelf
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November 10, 2008
Subject:    Posted: September 27, 2010 09:45 am Reply with quote Report content icon

Aside from the things that have already been mentioned and the things covered below in the rest of this comment, I had to read through this two or three times to realize what it was that just wasn't sitting right: there's too much uncertainty in the first couple sections.

Two places in particular...
1) In the opening section where you mention the Secret Hold ability, you state that you're not sure if there are any exceptions or not. Instead of telling the readers you're unsure, you should dig into the gallery or (better yet) the Pirate Code to find out if there are actually some exceptions or not. If you can find some exceptions you should mention them, but if you find none or aren't 100% certain that there are no exceptions, it's better not to say anything about them at all.

2) The other one is in the Uses section when you say "if I remember correctly". For starters it's unclear if that's referring to the sentence before or after it, but either way it sends the message to the readers that you're not completely sure on how the Hoist ability and/or the general treasure rules work.


Those two things may seem minor, but combined they cast serious doubt on the accuracy of the review as a whole. To a player that has been around for a while and knows the rules inside and out, comments like those give the impression that you threw this together quickly and didn't take much time to actually research anything before writing this, which is going to make any other actual flaws stand out that much more. To a new player looking for insight on a ship they just got and/or can't figure out how to use, it gives the impression that you don't know much more about it than they do, which in turn reduces the chance of them getting anything useful out of the review.


quote:
The hoist also lets you explore anything it touches as a free action. This can be useful if an opponent attacks you and your escort ship derelicts it, or you are near a battle and you sea some derelicts, you can explore and claim them just by touching them! But if you claim several, then you will need to get other ships to help tow them back. If they have anything good on them, then it is yours!
Minor rules issue - you can explore enemy derelicts to grab their cargo, but you can't "claim" those ships that way. The only way to do that is to tow the ship or use an ability that specifically allows you to capture a ship.

Also, the Hoist keyword only allows for multi-target explore actions with islands and friendly ships. You can only explore one enemy derelict at a time.



quote from ragnell_wielder:

I know that the cargo master is overkill, but it also helps all of the other American ships in your fleet too, which is a plus.

A Cargo Master is definitely overkill on a ship like this, and while it may help other ships in your fleet, that's not really adding anything to a review of this ship. (It would be much better suited to a review of a CM instead.)

With that combo and some of the others you don't seem to be considering whether they are actually practical or not. Even though games are often played with higher build totals, a 40-point game is still the standard and that's what most combos should take into account. Frontier with a Cargo Master is already more than half of that, and that's before adding in a helmsman. The American fleet isn't exactly known for having a lot of cheap ships, so you're not going to get much benefit from that Cargo Master.

Sea Wind "works" as an escort, but even with the cannon boost it's barely better than Frontier itself. It's also incredibly expensive for what you actually get from it - within the American fleet there are a number of ships that would be just as effective (if not moreso) in that role for a much lower cost. Even the build total was higher than 40 and points were less of an issue, Sea Wind is still a pretty bad ship.

Freedom is a much better choice, but there's more than one ship with that name and it's not entirely clear which one you mean. The 12-point Pirate version is mediocre at best and doesn't fit particularly well with Frontier. The American version more closely fits your description and is a much better ship in general, but it's 13 points, not 12.

It was good that you added the Native Canoes after LordStu suggested them, but you didn't really address the main reason why they make such a good combo with Frontier or Hoist ships in general - while their ability is one way to get treasure from this ship, it's not the most efficient method available.


quote:
And I dont really have that many UT's that would be good against this, except maybe Neptunes Trident or the Claw Cannon.
LordStu wasn't referring to UTs that could be used by other ships to attack this ship. He meant the wide variety that would be sitting in wait on an island until this ship found them - since Frontier would likely be your primary explorer, it could be running directly into some pretty nasty stuff...


-----------------

It's really great to see you taking the time to write detailed reviews and and even better to see you're willing to revise them to improve them even more. The next big step will be to start really looking beyond the stuff you own and researching into parts of the game you're less familiar with in order to dig out those important details and insights that push reviews up to top-tier status.
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ragnell_wielder
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Subject:    Posted: September 27, 2010 11:24 am Reply with quote Report content icon

the reason i had the uncertainty stuff was because of the horribleness that my memory got me into last time i wrote a review (Angelica). now i see what UT's you mean, like the blood money, or cursed native type. i did kinda put it together kinda fast, but i am going back and adding/taking away stuff as i get more input. i'll fix some stuff, like the native canoes, and derelict stuff. but did i get the stuff that i wasn't sure about right?
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ragnell_wielder
United States

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Subject:    Posted: September 27, 2010 11:33 am Reply with quote Report content icon

also sorry about the misspells, my computer goes crazy on this website sometimes
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woelf
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November 10, 2008
Subject:    Posted: September 27, 2010 12:10 pm Reply with quote Report content icon


quote from ragnell_wielder:

i did kinda put it together kinda fast, but i am going back and adding/taking away stuff as i get more input. i'll fix some stuff, like the native canoes, and derelict stuff. but did i get the stuff that i wasn't sure about right?
Other than what's already been mentioned, most of the rest looks pretty good.

Two other minor things that jumped out:
1) Under counteracts you mentioned that a canceller takes out both abilities - While a canceller can shut down both abilities, it can only target one of them at a time.

2) You mention "No extra abilities" as a weakness. It may look like the ship doesn't have much, but those two keywords collectively give more than the vast majority of other abilities in the game. This ship certainly has more than what the average ship gets, so it's hardly a weakness Add anything else and cost would only go up even more.


quote:
also sorry about the misspells, my computer goes crazy on this website sometimes
Yeah, some of the proper names really kill spell-checkers. Although, it might not hurt to manually run this through the website's built-in checker because there are a few actual misspelled words scattered throughout.
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ragnell_wielder
United States

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Subject:    Posted: September 27, 2010 01:30 pm Reply with quote Report content icon

no, i mean that my computer screen does some crazy stuff on this website, like moves and does other stuff, that only happens when typing, that makes it really hard to proof read stuff. and the no other abilities, the buscador can move faster when an enemy gets close, i meant it would of been nice to have anything, like one that doesnt cost that much, but then i thought that it has a default explorer, can load from about S away and has secret hold. it DOESN'T need anything else. thanks for the input. and would you mind checkin out my review of the shui xian?
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ragnell_wielder
United States

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Subject:    Posted: September 27, 2010 03:14 pm Reply with quote Report content icon


quote from lordstu:


A final thought on the appearance of the Frontier, she doesn't have quite the same hull as a bombardier, but the fo'c'sle deck is closer to being identical, thanks for pointing that out! Maybe a house rule could be that a player choosing either type of ship would get to pick from a hoist arm, an artillery cannon, or a flamestrike cannon when they first outfit the ship?



ya i just noticed that the frony of the hull is curved, vs pointy on the bombardier's. but it is close enough in my book! and that idea is pretty good, i have thought of switching the hoist for a flamestrike when my friends weren't looking as they closed in on me
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woelf
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November 10, 2008
Subject:    Posted: September 28, 2010 08:02 am Reply with quote Report content icon


quote from ragnell_wielder:

no, i mean that my computer screen does some crazy stuff on this website, like moves and does other stuff, that only happens when typing, that makes it really hard to proof read stuff.
I see the same thing occasionally if I have a bunch of separate webpages open at the same time - pages with a lot of ads seem to bog things down quickly.

What I do when writing reviews is to copy & paste the framework provided by the website into a text (or .doc) file, and then I write the actual review there there. It's a lot easier to proofread that way, plus you won't feel like you need to write the entire thing in a single sitting - you can do it over the course of several days or even weeks if necessary. When you do finish it, all you have to do it open up the review page again and then copy & paste it back in. (Just make sure to "preview" it to make sure the UBB code is set up correctly and there aren't any major formatting errors.)
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