Recognizing that the average person would probably not want to be labelled a "Stinkpot Specialist"( ), I decided to do this review on the Stinkpot Shot equipment, instead. Since there are two versions, but the non-LE one is more common, all I'll say about the other is it's a one-use equipment, which is handy for freeing up cargo space after it's been fired, but provides no significant advantage before that.
(Before I continue, it should be noted that the Card Gallery is in error when describing the abilities of the two Stinkpot Shots, saying that their effect occurs on the same turn they are fired, when the cards actually say their effect takes place on the target's next turn, which is a fairly significant difference. The LE Stinkpot is also attributed the ability of eliminating a mast on a roll of 1, but this, too, is incorrect, with a missed stinkpot shot of any kind having no deleterious effects on the shooting ship.)
In my circle of play, the stinkpot is one of the lesser used abilities, with most players preferring the reliability of using a canceler for the purpose, but Stinkpot Shot has made an appearance here from time to time since it was released with Fire&Steel.
Since Stinkpot Shot cancels an opponent's ship's crew's abilities(phew!) for their entire next turn, it is best used against a target ship that is dependent on a fair number of crew to be useful.
Unlike the Stinkpot Specialist crew, whose range is limited to roughly 1S, Stinkpot Shot can be fired from any S or L range cannon other than an artillery(bombardier) cannon a ship has, although it's most effective if used by a ship having an accurate L-range cannon or two.
Strategies and game play:
The effectiveness of Stinkpot Shot largely depends upon getting the first shot at an opponent. If done from L-range, an enemy canceler will not likely be able to prevent the shot, and if successful, the target will not be able to make use of a captain to move into position and return fire properly. The size of the target is of little matter, as the stinkpot takes effect regardless, neutralizing all crew on board for the opponent's next turn.
Since the Stinkpot Shot will not eliminate a mast, the biggest question, really, is whether to indeed use the stinkpot or instead take a regular shot in order to inflict maximum damage on an opponent when the opportunity presents itself. Here, Stinkpot Shot is left somewhat wanting, as using Stinkpot Shot is generally a bit of a gamble, since a player must count on it to hit in order to be able to follow up with a second attack on their next turn. However, crew that are especially susceptible to Stinkpot Shot, that is, crew without which a ship will largely be left foundering after a successful hit, include - but are not limited to - captains, helmsmen, extra action crew, cancelers, Jonah's, "any-nationality" crew, and marines, so a Stinkpot Shot fired in the direction of a ship carrying two or three of the above will not likely be a waste of gunpowder.
Stinkpot Shot can't quite put cancelers out of business, but since it operates on your opponent's turn, it does nevertheless have the potential to limit their ship's choice of actions in a broader fashion, rather than acting specifically against the ability of a single crew, as a canceler does. For the single point cost, one is well worth carrying along, perhaps in favor of an oarsman, in the event an opponent reveals particularly effective crew combinations.
Combos with other miniatures:
Perhaps the most obvious combo for Stinkpot Shot is the UT Ammuntion, which allows a player to select a "Shot" equipment of their choice with it also taking up no cargo space - very useful if one has left their canceler at home for the night.
A captain and a dice re-roller are two essential combos for Stinkpot Shot to be used with greatest effect - the captain can get the Stinkpot Shot in first, and the re-roller can make sure any 1 results are discounted. That said, Calico Cat, Jonathan Haraden, Almirante Carlos Pavón y Miranda, Lord Thomas Gunn, or similar crew are all good choices, having both abilities rolled into one.
Any ship or crew with a cannon bonus ability will also be of assistance in making sure the Shot hits, the importance of which cannot be overstated, since a miss by a Stinkpot will likely have disastrous consequences. It would be ideal to use a ship which already has good cannons, and, in order to avoid cancelers, preferably good L-range cannons - for the Americans, the Blackwatch would seem to be ideal for using Stinkpot Shot with, while the English have HMS Gallows, and Spain has La Resolucion, albeit with a couple S-range cannons. Of course, with cannons like those ships have, Stinkpot Shot enters the realm of redundancy, but one or two unfortunate misses with the normal cannons may make one glad they brought it along as a safety at the end of a shoot action. Naturally, lesser equipped ships can also make use of Stinkpot Shot for the same reason, and if one has a ship with a poorer L-range cannon, such as the Crescent Moon or Ivory Star, it might be an idea to carry Stinkpot Shot along for taking a final cheap shot at an enemy ship, in hopes of avoiding a retaliatory strike with a good roll.
Using a smaller, cheaper ship with a good cannon or two is another possible strategy, "painting" a target with a stinkpot for a second, larger gunship to safely move in range for an attack. Devil's Pay is ideally suited for such a task, her cost of 4 allowing for a captain and the Shot equipment to both fit aboard snugly. Executioner and Panda are a couple other good 2-mast ships, both also coming with a great crew-killing ability. HMS Algiers would be another mean ship to have carrying a Stinkpot Shot, being able to swing around for a couple solid regular shots if she makes her extra action roll.
Myself, I like using Stinkpot Shot with a ship like El Duque, for if the two low-probability short-range shots both miss, the Stinkpot can still be launched with the more reliable third cannon to discourage the target from rounding back on her. Ships with a crew- or cargo-eliminating ability like the Bruja(with Ramirez on board, in particular) are also good for Stinkpot Shot, though, as the hit the Shot provides still triggers their elimination ability, forcing an opponent to make a difficult choice in the face of having no crew abilities at all on their next turn.
Ways to counteract it:
Don't use ships that rely on a lot of crew to be effective
Use ships that can't be hit by L-range cannons to keep stinkpots within canceler range
By all means, don't let the Stinkpot Shot-carrying ship get the first shot
Put Holy Water or Davy Jones Heart in the treasure mix
- At only one point, it's very cheap
- Very little downside, even a roll of 1 results only in the loss of the equipment
- Good defensive weapon as it cancels an opponent's carefully selected crew for their turn
- Relies on a successful cannon shot to work
- Even though the stink is surely offensive, it's not a good offensive weapon, as it's often better to take a regular shot than fool around trying to get a Stinkpot Shot in
- Being equipment, it can't be given up to a lost boarding action
Stinkpot Specialists: They can only shoot within S of the ship, but have no negative effect other than taking up a regular cannon shot.
Normal Cancelers: They only cancel one ability at a time, but can do so on either player's turn and can target ship abilities, making them a bit more practical in game play.
woelf's Denial of Service fleet, or elements thereof, such as Cursed Captain Jack, the Kray-Kin, or the Kraken: all three have a much wider range of cancellation, but rely on die rolls of 5 or 6, and, in Jack's case, of 6, only.
Chain Shot/Chainshot Specialist:Since preventing a ship from moving on its next turn can often be the equivalent of taking its entire crew out of action, a chainshot is somewhat of a valid alternative.
Artwork and aesthetics:
It's got a nasty-looking green cannonball flying through the air, which is very appropriate, almost like something one would expect the Green Goblin to go throwing about:
I guess we should all be glad Wizkids didn't go with the "scratch'n'sniff" option.
This is a tough one to rate. I'm thinking if a player uses Stinkpot Shot enough they will swear by it - I sure wouldn't go into a deathmatch without one - but from what I've seen, making practical use out of one just seems too hard to do as a lot of things have to come together for true success, so I'll give Stinkpot Shot a 5/10.