VASSAL Game 17
Xerecs and I have played a 200 point game of Water World!
I went first with this fleet while Xerecs used this fleet. When creating my fleet, I was quite inspired by some of the ideas I presented here. With 200 points at my disposal, any combo was possible, even that monster one with the Guichuan. I'll admit this report is a bit biased towards my perspective on things, but that's entirely because this was one of the best games I've ever played. (as in, I played it really well, not that the game itself was that exceptional) Hopefully it won't sound too conceited haha!
My strategy going into the game was as follows. The whole premise of the fleet was to basically sail the Guichuan up to the enemy fort, flip Grim to steal all the gold (or at least 7 coins anyway), and then be immune to cannon fire with the Haulers. Then, after stealing all the gold from said fort, proceed to sink it to add insult to injury! The Oxford is the sidekick to the Guichuan, chosen for her speed (able to keep up with a Guichuan going 4S per turn with Mycron's help) and ability. The canoes provide transfer backup if needed. Honestly, the rest of the fleet was just created as a distraction. Realistically, the only thing that can distract an opponent from the Guichuan is another 10 master. Thus, the Celtic Fury. I chose her because France has some crew with the Parley ability, and using Parley as offense is another thing I've been wanting to test further. Roimata's captain/SAT was the perfect complement to Lenoir's reroll, while a stinkpot specialist was added to fill out the points and provide some insurance against tough foes. The support gunships are other distractions - with this many points available the Constitution was a support gunship! The Black Coral was added for another RtSS piece, and I thought she could be a backup gold runner, with Secret Hold being extra-useful in the Water World scenario. The Mercure is a ship I'd like to use more often, and was the perfect fiery pest to fill out points with.
I wondered to myself if this grand plan was even plausible. Somehow, it worked.
6 wild islands, 8 coins per island, round earth rules.
The canoes explored, and the first island sank beneath the waves. I was hesitant to make my strategy obvious early on, but knew I needed to strike Xerecs' fort when he was least expecting it, preferably early in the game soon after some gold had been unloaded there. The Celtic Fury was to be a distraction, and a suicidal one if need be. She and the Mercure headed straight for the enemy 10 masters, with the Constitution not far behind. The San Cristobal grabbed a bunch of gold but also found Scurvy.
The Frontier grabbed the SC's gold with her hoist, and I began to maneuver the Guichuan and Oxford into position in anticipation of Xerecs unloading gold at his home fort. After the Black Pearl was distracted by Natives at a northern wild island, the Celtic Fury moved to strike. With Lenoir still face down, I actually gave Mycron's action to a native canoe in order to get some gold in my fort. I wanted Parley ready in case the Zeus was able to strike first with an SAT from Crimson Angel.
Xerecs was able to drain two islands completely, meaning that half of the wild islands were already gone. This worried me, since I didn't know if the Guichuan's potential haul would even be enough to tip the treasure game in my favor, especially if the heist didn't go as planned.
I nearly attacked the Black Pearl since she was a sitting duck with the Natives UT affecting her for 3 turns, but decided not to risk it. Tia Dalma aboard the Zeus could easily cancel Lenoir's Parley, leaving the Celtic Fury open to a devastating broadside. The Constitution was coming, but she wouldn't arrive in time. At the bottom of the frame, I decided to not explore with the Black Coral since I knew some of the negative UT's I put into the mix, and to provide support for the Guichuan from the west if needed.
Xerecs moved the Zeus west a bit, allowing the Celtic Fury to SAT into position. However, she only knocked one mast off the Pearl, being careful to stay out of Tia Dalma's cancelling range. The Mercure ducked into a fog bank to hide from the Zeus, while the Constitution arrived on the scene. In the meantime my canoes had finished unloading gold, while the San Cristobal did the same on the opposite side of the sea. With the Celtic Fury getting some action going in the north, the distraction was in place. The Guichuan and Oxford turned their bows west, towards Xerecs' fort accessible via round earth.
The Zeus sped north, while the Baochuan took over against the Celtic Fury. However, I flipped Lenoir to Parley my way out of the situation! The random coin chosen from my home fort was a 1, and the Celtic Fury was safe!
The Celtic Fury responds with a thunderous broadside, crippling the Baochuan! The Constitution and Mercure team up and sail north, possibly to pursue the Zeus. At this point the game was in a relatively flexible state, but I knew one thing for sure: I was going for it. The Guichuan and Oxford round earthed their way to the east, where the San Cristobal was the only ship guarding the home fort. In the meantime, the Black Coral attacked the Joya del Sol, who was headed north with an abandoned musketeer to take out the Wolves that were found on the same island with the Natives.
Attack! The Celtic Fury dismasts the Baochuan, while the Constitution and Mercure team up to take the Black Pearl down to 1 mast. The Morning Star went through a whirlpool and aimed her bow at my home fort, which funny enough, I had left unguarded! I interpreted this as a potential raid, but my ships weren't close enough to deter it. However, the Guichuan was ready to strike, while the San Cristobal sailed away from danger.
The Frontier discovered a mess of UT's at a middle island, which sent the hoist into a whirlpool. The Morning Star turned south, alleviating my fears for a moment. However, the Zeus was on her way to my home fort. Uh oh. The Joya escaped into a fog bank, while the Black Pearl joined the Zeus with her high speed and an EA from Calico Cat. I was a bit worried, but my excitement level was also very high, as the game was about to hit its climax.
Chaos! The Guichuan raids the home island! Grim steals everything! Bianco's Haulers is also flipped, and I realized something. Originally I planned to dock, steal as much gold as possible, and then sink the fort all in one turn. However, with the Haulers available, I could purposely stay docked while not sinking the fort, meaning the Guichuan couldn't be shot at until I sailed away or sank the fort. It worked to perfection - the Guichuan damaged the fort on the approach and while docking, getting a lot of help from the Junk keyword. Once the loot was loaded, it was the Oxford's turn. She blasted the final cannons off the fort while simultaneously firing at the still-dangerous San Cristobal. However, I was just getting started. The native canoes round earthed to the east, and the full extent of my plan became clear - the canoes could use their transfer ability to grab gold from the Guichuan and then scatter! This was a variation on my Golden Cranes idea.
With the Joya in the fog, the Black Coral turned her attention to a new opponent: the Frontier. She hit once, but it was a good example of the Black Coral being my ultimate utility ship in this fleet. To the north, the Constitution began sailing back to my home fort, desperate to get there before the Zeus did. The Mercure stayed in the northeast, and nearly sunk the Baochuan (which in hindsight is what I probably should have done haha). What about the Celtic Fury? Well, I knew I'd need her for home defense, so I sent her through a whirlpool to intercept the Zeus. With an SAT from Roimata she was able to dismast the Morning Star after teleporting! All in all, this turn saw me dismast one ship, damage two others, and steal 6 coins all at once!
Knowing full well that Parley would be cancelled, the Celtic Fury had to make a stand - she was only in the fleet to be a distraction anyway. She positioned herself right between the oncoming ships and her home fort. The Constitution was going to be late, similar to the earlier battle. The Joya emerged from the fog to kill the Wolves, but was set aflame by the Mercure. The grand plan was nearly complete! The Guichuan began sailing for home with her stolen gold, while the Oxford easily sank the remains of Xerecs' home fort, leaving the Black Coral utility player to deal with the weakened San Cristobal (making the SC the 3rd ship the Black Coral engaged during this game).
Here the Zeus has blasted the Celtic Fury to pieces! 8 shots hit their mark, and a second 10 master was ruined.
For trivia reasons I wanted to do what could have been the first inter-world (?) gold transfer: using the canoe's ability to transfer a coin from a canoe in the west to a canoe in the east. It didn't quite happen, partly because I was in a rush to get home. Predictably, the Celtic Fury hit with a regular cannon but not with her stinkpot specialist, which could have given the Zeus some big problems if it had hit. In other news, the Black Coral missed the San Cristobal all three times while the Mercure captured the Baochuan! Knowing how unlikely it would be to tow her home and use her, I was mostly after the Baochuan for Zheng He's admiral ability, which would give me two along with the Headhunter. At this point I wasn't worried about the gold remaining on islands - I knew I had enough to win between the gold in my fort and the gold coming home from the Guichuan's heist. The last thing I wanted was the game to end since the islands had disappeared, because I knew I had an inferior gold fleet.
The Zeus sinks the Celtic Fury! The showdown is at hand! (and the Black Coral finally dismasts the San Cristobal heh)
The Zeus reaches my fort and blasts away! She hits 6 times in 9 shots - if all 9 had hit, my fort would have sunk. Alas, the odds were not in Xerecs' favor at this point. I returned fire with my fort, the Constitution, and the Guichuan, who was just able to get some guns in range. The ending was rather bizarre, with two 10 masters fighting with a floating fort in between them. The canoes had just docked home some gold from the heist. To add to the strange finale, Lord Mycron's ship (the Patagonia) was actually in the Guichuan's way of getting more cannons in range, but the Patagonia couldn't move out of the way since that would mean Mycron wouldn't give his action to the Guichuan and the Guichuan wouldn't have any guns in range in the first place!! The Mercure abandoned the Baochuan in the fog (I just wanted her for Zheng He's ability, which I never rolled a 6 with haha), going after the Frontier. The Black Coral sank the San Cristobal.
I docked home my stolen loot and sank the Zeus and Frontier to end the game! To make things even more strange, the gold I originally had in my home fort was gone! The Guichuan's heist totaled 22 gold, but in reality the final score was about 35-0. I had won the game in a complete shutout despite the big build total. I only lost one ship, the Celtic Fury (plus one canoe haha). I had captured or destroyed Xerecs' entire fleet. I was also happy because I was intimidated when I saw the enemy fleet - the Zeus and San Cristobal (by some people's accounts the 2 best gunships in the game), along with the Baochuan and some of the best gold runners in the game. However, with some negative UT's, effective crew placement, and brilliantly executed gimmick strategy, I was able to pull off the victory!
I have to admit, this is one of the best performances I've ever had. There aren't many games that go this well - almost my entire gameplan worked to a T. It was truly a perfect game.
For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory
I love big games. Sooo much fun to be had with huge fleets.