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Subject: VASSAL Tournament #2! rss

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a7xfanben
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VASSAL Tournament #2


Welcome to the second VASSAL tournament! The winner of the tournament will be declared the best fleet of all time!!

Just like Tournament #1, each matchup consists of 2 fleets facing each other in 1v1 competition in a 3-game series. The fleet that wins the series advances to the next round. To save time, if a fleet wins the first 2 games of a series, the third game of the series will likely not be played. If you'd like to join the tournament, just let us know.

These games are being played under most of the "standard" game rules (8 coins per player worth 15 gold, 6 islands, etc). However, there will be a few house rules:
-Xerecs and I are changing the turn order after the first game of each series. The fleet that went second in the first game will go first in the second game. This is to ensure maximum fairness so one die roll doesn't effectively decide a series. (though Game 3's will still feature regular rolls)
-We will play until there is a clear winner. This will often be the "more than half the starting gold" rule, but there may be exceptions.

The seeding is based primarily on each fleet's winning percentage. Of the 16 fleets participating in T2, 6 were determined before T1 based on their past performance - these are the best of the best. Then, the top 4 fleets from T1 were added. Finally, over the past few days Xerecs and I have selected 3 fleets each for the final 6 fleets of the tournament. The seeding wasn't strictly based on winning percentage - exceptions were made based on our judgement and who was going to play each fleet in the first round.

We based our bracket on this, with the exception that in each matchup, the higher seeded fleet is on top. The picture below shows the bracket, but to clarify, here are all of the matchups and fleets. This order simply goes down the left "division" or column, and then it goes down from the right. However, we may not play the games in this order. Also, some of these fleets may be edited slightly by the time we play them.

Round 1 matchups:

HMS GT (#1 seed)
vs.
Artillery Strike (#16 seed)

Darrin's Gold Race fleet (#8 seed)
vs.
USS Kettering - Deadly Weapon (#9 seed)

Norvegia (#4 seed)
vs.
Spanish Meta V2 (#13 seed)

UPS 2 (#5 seed)
vs.
Extra Action Gold Runners (#12 seed)

(right side of bracket)

UPS 5 (#2 seed)
vs.
RtSS English (#15 seed)

Hai Peng Fort Frenzy! (#7 seed)
vs.
dakmor's swarm fleet (#10 seed)

UPS 4 (#3 seed)
vs.
Quick wins the game (#14 seed)

American Pirates (#6 seed)
vs.
The Doldrums (#11 seed)



If I had to bet money on the winner of the tournament, I would pick UPS 2. Xerecs said he would pick either HMS GT or UPS 5. Our "sleeper" picks were generally the Doldrums and "Quick wins the game" fleets.

The first matchup was underway! HMS GT vs. Artillery Strike, in a series that would likely be played in a deathmatch style.


Basically, I forgot about Hidden Cove. The overpowered event allowed the Neptuno to strike first, where she scored a whopping 5/5 hits on the Grand Temple. The London was overmatched for the remainder of the battle, and Artillery Strike pulled off a major upset!


The second game underway:


After a somewhat lengthy maneuvering process the GT finally got in range of the Neptuno and sank her outright!


Diablo managed to go 4/4 against the GT, but the Spanish fleet was effectively doomed. HMS GT won the game to even the series 1-1!


For the final game, the home islands were close together. The Neptuno didn't have a lot of room on her first turn, and luckily I got an SAT to dismast her. From there the game was predictable, with the English firepower too much to overcome.


HMS GT wins the series 2-1 and advances to the second round! This series was unique in that it was essentially a deathmatch, since neither fleet loaded any gold in any of the games. This would soon change however, as Xerecs and I got started on the next matchup. The first game is in progress!
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Two more series have been played! We decided to go in seed order - the second matchup would feature the #2 seed, and so on.

UPS 5 (#2 seed) (commanded by xerecs)
vs.
RtSS English (#15 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)

This was my first time playing my RtSS fleet challenge entry, and my first time using the English native canoes. Of course, my fleet was in for a rude awakening, facing a UPS variant.


The canoes were designed to deny the Zeus from an island, but the Zeus sacced to explore first. The canoes scattered, while the Halcyon ducked into fog in anticipation of battle.


The Halcyon attacked but only scored one hit! This left the RtSS fleet in grave danger.


The Zeus sacs to sink the Halcyon! The Elthelfleda returns home with gold as canoes load gold.


The Elthelfleda gets home before the Zeus can strike, but things aren't looking good for the English.


The Zeus then went after the canoes, eliminating one and being pestered by another. The Zeus had lost some masts when the Elthelfleda redocked at her home island, firing at the Zeus in the process.


The Zeus eliminated the gold-laden canoes but this left the Elthelfleda to sail east for more gold. The Zeus docked home, but was still a huge threat.


The Zeus sacced to cut off the Elthelfleda before she could return home!


The Elthelfleda was captured and UPS 5 won the game 11-8!


The second game featured different home islands. I made the mistake of putting the canoes near the Zeus again, but it didn't seem to matter much.


Similar to the last game, but the Halcyon stays docked.


The Halcyon comes out and hits 2/3, trying to buy time for the gold runners.


The Zeus simply crushes the opposition. The Halcyon lies derelict while the Elthelfleda is close to being dismasted.


Now it was a chase for the canoes! I decided to spread them out, simply hoping that the Zeus would only be able to catch 2. The English were just trying to avoid being shut out at this point.


A canoe did manage to slip by, but UPS 5 still won the game easily, 9-2. UPS 5 advances to the second round!

The next matchup!

UPS 4 (#3 seed) (commanded by xerecs)
vs.
Quick wins the game (#14 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)

It's important to note that the "Quick" fleet had the Coeur swapped out for Hidden Cove. The Coeur's explorer was moved to the Courageux, while Cissey was moved to the Vengeance.

The sea was set for Game 1!


It quickly (no pun intended heh) became apparent that this series would be considerably more interesting than the last two. The first was a mismatch with HMS GT emerging victorious, with the second matchup also ending in a predictable fashion. Here, both fleets possessed gold bonus abilities (3 for UPS 4, and 1 for Quick), and both fleets were generally focused on gold, though each also had a purpose-built gunship. Here, the French gold runners have abandoned their explorers in favor of more gold, while Captain Jack Sparrow (CJS) gets busy aboard the Coral up north.


I knew I needed to force the action with the Vengeance, or else the Pirates would get a huge lead with all of their gold bonuses. The Coral would be the primary target in all games of the series, and here the Vengeance dismasted her with a well-placed L-range shot! At the French home island, the Pique is about to be given an explore action to give her gold to the Courageux, who will redock to get Aristide's bonus on both hauls.


Battle erupts in the northwest, where the Longshanks and Vengeance duel. The Vengeance has a durability and cancelling advantage, but her gunners seemed tired to start this tournament. The Sea Crane has no UPS strategy to work with, so she sails out to get gold on her own.


After missing another shot, the Vengeance abandons the LS to go after the Sea Crane, hoping to cripple the ship before she docks home gold. The Courageux and Pique continue to tag team, getting the gold bonus on a single coin.


The Sea Crane did manage to get home in time, but the Vengeance was in cancelling range! Lenoir cancelled Genny Gallows, denying the Pirates an additional 2 gold. Battle then continued, with the Vengeance eventually winning out with just one mast remaining. The gold was counted up, and the Quick fleet had won a 19-14 upset! It helped that they had found most of the silver coins coveted by the Pirates.


For the second game the HI's would once again be at opposite ends of the playing area.


The Coral does her thing, and the Vengeance comes after her.


The Pirates can get gold extremely quickly, but the French have 6 coins on their runners. The Vengeance is not fast enough to catch the Coral...


Then things started getting interesting. The Pirates built Dead Man's Point on the island, but the Vengeance rammed off the Coral's single mast.


The fort took out a mast on the Vengeance and Barbinais along with it, but the Coral was dismasted after repairing.


The Coral sank, and the Vengeance and Longshanks went at it again!


The Vengeance couldn't overcome the combined firepower of the fort and LS. The French cleaned out their two islands, but the Sea Crane established the Devil's Maw on the center island. This effectively ended the game, and it was time to count!


The Pirates had won a 31-24 victory in one of the highest-scoring standard games you'll ever see! 55 total gold was counted, meaning that 25 extra gold had been created with the gold bonuses! (almost another game's worth of gold!)


A Game 3 finale was in order! The French got to go first, and I made sure that the Pirate HI was next to my own.


The French used Hidden Cove to spring the Vengeance to the center island. She then moved east, looking to attack the Coral once again.


Once again the Coral built Dead Man's Point:


The Vengeance got lucky and hit 3/4 on the fort to severely limit its return firepower. The Coral was in major trouble, with the LS too far away to help.


Similar to the first game, the Coral ran for it and was dismasted by a long range shot! As you can see, both fleets have unloaded some gold and received some bonuses from it.


The LS went after the French gold runners for the first time, but the Courageux fought back instead of running! The Vengeance went after the Sea Crane, and it looked like the Quick fleet could pull off a major upset if they could just dismast the remaining Pirate ships.


The battle in the center rages, with the Pique getting in on the action:


The LS was sunk and the Vengeance dismasted the Sea Crane to end the game!


The French had 16 gold to the Pirates' 9. Quick wins the game advances to the second round!

Here's the updated bracket. After two predictable matchups, we have our first upset. (The X's at the upper left mean that the fleet was eliminated without getting any gold, while the 0's mean that that fleet won the game despite not getting any gold.)
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Norvegia (#4 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)
vs.
Spanish Meta V2 (#13 seed) (commanded by xerecs)

The next matchup featured the classic Norvegia setup. We only had time for Game 1 so far.


The Neptune's Hoard (NH) found Rum on the middle island, freezing the ship for a turn. In hindsight, I could have used the ship's ability to trade away the UT, but in addition, Rum probably shouldn't be in the fleet in the first place.


The San Cristobal (SC) caught the NH and blasted most of her masts off. Luckily for the Pirates, the final mast standing meant the NH could return home with a sac action. The Star of Siam docked home gold on the turn as well, giving Norvegia a bit of a windfall. The Banshee's Cry (BC) is hiding from the SC while the Monarca runs gold.


At one point all the Pirate ships were docked at the home island, leading to the SC resorting to ramming.


The Monarca reached home with Buried Treasure (another UT I'm taking out of the Norvegia build for future games) and Spices, while the NH was able to damage the SC with a double action, including a ram of her own. The BC grabbed some coins but wasn't able to get them back home.


In the end, Barbary Banner and the sheer volume of gold gave Norvegia the victory! The final score was 23-16. We look forward to Game 2!
 
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10/19/2016

Norvegia (#4 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)
vs.
Spanish Meta V2 (#13 seed) (commanded by xerecs)

The second game of the series was about to begin!


Total destruction! The San Cristobal gets an EA, which lets her dismast the NH and BC. The Star of Siam was in the fog, and came out to score a hit. However, the game was as good as over when the NH's final mast fell.


The SC sinks the remainder of the fleet, and the Spanish Meta fleet wins Game 2 by a score of 1-0! (from eliminating the Hag of Tortuga aboard the BC when she sank)


For the third time in the first four matchups, we were going to a decisive Game 3!


The NH and Star of Siam reached islands on their first turn, and the BC headed to a third island. The Pirates wanted to split their fleet so the SC would have to chase down multiple targets.


Once again the SC got an EA, but she couldn't reach the Neptune's Hoard! The Star of Siam was sunk instead, allowing the NH to reach home with gold.


With the NH docked, the SC then went after the Banshee's Cry. The BC was sunk, but this opened the door for the Pirates to strike. I nearly went for the northernmost wild island, but I then remembered that from past experience, sinking the only gold runner an opponent has gives you a very good shot at winning the game. The NH used a sac action to reach the Monarca and dismasted her!


The SC finally missed the EA roll (about time haha), and missed the NH with both shots. This allowed the NH another sac action, which was used to sink the Monarca and miraculously dismast the SC as well!


Norvegia won the game 8-1. Norvegia advances to the second round! This was a fun series, and the Spanish Meta fleet is definitely a tough customer. The biggest differences were the guaranteed sac actions of the Norvegia fleet against the EA roll for the SC, which sometimes doesn't work, as well as having 3 gold runners compared to 1.

The next matchup!

UPS 2 (#5 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)
vs.
Extra Action Gold Runners (#12 seed) (commanded by xerecs)

I really love my EA gold runners fleet, but I love UPS 2 as well. Also, as I said previously, if I had to pick a fleet to win the tournament, it would be UPS 2, although it's very close and there is very tough competition. I was disappointed to see that these fleets have already faced each other, with UPS 2 prevailing 2 games to 1, but that was bound to happen in this tournament anyway, and will likely happen again.


The EA fleet got off to a great start, with the Joya and Star of Siam (SoS) receiving EA's on the first turn. The Joya grabbed gold from the center island, while the SoS headed west.

Then it was time for UPS 2. The strategy darrin outlined in his fleet was followed, and by the end of the turn UPS 2 had a bunch of gold sitting on their home island, two islands explored, Paradis de la Mer built on the island the SoS was sailing towards, and turtles swimming towards their home island.


The second turn saw the Joya dock home gold with the help of Skrew Engine, while the Hai Peng built another fort.


The SoS eliminated some turtles, while the Joya made for the northeastern island. The Hai Peng wasn't quite fast enough to beat the Joya to the island from across the sea, so instead took a shot against the Algeciras (which missed) and then returned to Dead Man's Point to transfer another coin home.


The Joya used Homing Beacon to get home extremely quickly, and with most of the gold unloaded and the rest in forts, the game was called. UPS 2 had won handily, 27-13. This was the first time using UPS 2 in a while, and it didn't disappoint!
 
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UPS 2 (#5 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)
vs.
Extra Action Gold Runners (#12 seed) (commanded by xerecs)

UPS 2 went first in the second game of the series, building a fort on the second island but finding useless UT's and low gold values.


The Joya got an EA and found turtles, and it was clear that this game would be tougher for UPS 2 to win.


Only then did UPS 2 play Hidden Cove, and CJS transported some coins home and Dead Man's Point was erected on the island.


That caused the SoS to change course, while the Joya got another EA to dock home some gold. The turtles were on their way, and they had a short trip home.


Here I made a mistake, thinking the Hai Peng could dismast the Algeciras with a shoot and ram. Both shots missed, and the Hai Peng was pinned. After dumping some crew, the Intrepide sailed from home, as it was a bit of an emergency for the usually-calm UPS 2 fleet. The Intrepide was ready to sail to the Paradis fort if needed, taking the gold to the much safer location of the home island.


The Algeciras scored a hit on the pinned Hai Peng, but it was ignored with a Cross of Coronado. The SoS then missed twice in a row, and UPS 2 had another chance.


The Hai Peng finally managed to dismast the Algeciras and escape a bad situation, scooting off to the southwest island to trade home some coins. My thinking here was that, knowing the gold values on the wild island, I could create a bigger gold advantage by tossing them home than eliminating turtles. It's not likely the Hai Peng could get all of the turtles, but each coin transferred via CJS would get +2'd by Maurice Aristide. In addition, eliminating the turtles could have meant facing more shots from the SoS.


UPS 2 was content to transfer home coins and get the bonus on each one, while the EA runners got busy attacking Dead Man's Point. The fort took a hit from the SoS, while the Joya waited for an EA to get in range since she had no captain. The fort's gunners didn't expect any contest with UPS 2 going, and they were asleep at their posts and forgot to fire.


The Star of Siam's guns woke them up, and they connected to dismast the SoS! This took Gallows out of the action, and the EA runners were essentially down to one ship. The turtles reached home safely after the Hai Peng eliminated one of them, while the Intrepide and Coeur sailed north now that the HP didn't have any gold to transfer.


The battle at the fort intensified! The Joya eliminated its final cannon, but that happened as the entire UPS 2 fleet sailed up to the Joya. The Joya was rammed by the HP and Coeur, while the Intrepide loaded the final available coin from the fort.


The Joya steals the coin! The SoS heads for the center island, where the Trees UT is located.


The HP stole the coin back, and the Joya was sunk.


The SoS used Homing Beacon to return home and repair, while the Intrepide took the coin from the HP. Aristide worked his magic once more, and the game ended. Once the gold was counted, it was obvious that the gold in the forts would not have given the EA fleet the win if they had gotten it.


The final score was:
UPS 2: 37 gold
EA gold runners: 17 gold

UPS 2 advances to Round 2! This came as no surprise, especially given that UPS 2 had already won a series against the EA fleet. My EA gold runner fleet is now 9-13, but 4 of those losses have come against UPS 2, one of the best fleets of all time.

With that, we also have our first Round 2 matchup: Norvegia vs. UPS 2!
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Xerecs and I were able to continue the tournament! We played three games; the third one was possibly the longest (by number of turns) 40 point game I've been involved in. It was incredibly desperate and wacky - keep reading to see what happened!

American Pirates (#6 seed) (commanded by Xerecs)
vs.
The Doldrums (#11 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)



Becalmed would soon prove to be a massive nuisance to the AP's, giving the Doldrums fleet a head start. The Eagle waited for the Roanoke in the fog, while the Banshee's Cry and Amity both docked at the same island. The Longshanks is already headed back with gold due to Hidden Cove.


The Eagle managed to dismast the Roanoke and come to the BC's aid when the Amity rammed the BC! With their gunship out of action and no gold on their ships or home island, it would be a tough road back for the AP's in this game.


The Eagle has sunk the Roanoke, while the Longshanks rams the Amity.


The Eagle finishes off the Amity while the Bloody Jewel returns home with gold. The LS rescues the BC. The AP's manage some gold as the Bandido returns home, but it's only to avoid a shutout at this point. The Doldrums win 20-4!


The AP's went first in the second game, but the Doldrums still managed to hit the Roanoke and Amity with Becalmed on their first turn. The Eagle stayed home, anticipating the Roanoke returning to her HI, while the Doldrum gold runners were wary of the dangerous American 5 master.


The Roanoke instead headed west, prompting the Eagle to sail out. Suddenly 4 ships were near the center island! The Bloody Jewel unloads gold, while the Amity grabs some for the AP's.


Shots fired! The Eagle wasn't able to hit anything with her first action, but by saccing she got lucky and took out 3 masts on the Roanoke! The Longshanks rammed the Bandido derelict, and combat was in full swing.


Of course, in a game this small, it didn't last long. The Eagle used another double action to dismast the Roanoke, while the LS towed the Bandido.


This led to a strange situation where the Eagle purposely didn't shoot at the Amity, since dismasting her would end the game. The Doldrums weren't 100% sure they had more gold than the AP's, so the Eagle sailed by while the Amity took some ineffective shots at the captured Roanoke. The BC engaged the Amity but failed her ram and was then dismasted.


The game ended when the Eagle docked home the Roanoke; the gold and captured Commodore Perry gave the Doldrums a 21-8 victory! The Doldrums advances to Round 2! Becalmed was certainly a factor in the two games, but good dice luck and appropriate maneuvering by the Eagle also won the day. (The Eagle would have to receive the MVS "Most Valuable Ship" award for this series)


The next matchup:
Hai Peng Fort Frenzy! (#7 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)
vs.
dakmor's swarm fleet (#10 seed) (commanded by Xerecs)

(This was the crazy one!)

The home islands were relatively close together. I was very excited to return to my HPFF fleet, which is a variant on the UPS strategy. Of the 16 ships the two fleets had on the ocean, none had more than 2 masts. Throw in only a single captain ability (Captain Jack Sparrow), and it looked like the series wouldn't feature much combat. What looked like it could be a quick game turned into a long affair....


This is the situation before the swarm fleet even took a turn. The Hai Peng has followed the HPFF strategy, building Paradis de la Mer on the center wild island. The UT Maps of Alexandria was found, giving both fleets the location of each UT and standard coin. The HP (Hai Peng) loaded the traded oarsman and a coin, while the Banshee's Cry headed for the southwestern island. Finally the swarm fleet could take its turn!


Here, the swarm fleet has set out, but the Hai Peng is at it again. The Devil's Maw was built on the westernmost island, and the HP loaded another coin and the Holy Water UT.


The HP then headed south to build Dead Man's Point, the third fort on four wild islands! Soon afterward, things started to "devolve into chaos", as I like to say. A few swarm ships got too close to Paradis de la Mer, who shot a couple masts off. The Banshee's Cry went there to grab any extra coins not used for the fort's construction. The swarm fleet mostly divided itself in two: a contingent of ships headed west to attack the Devil's Maw, while another group headed south towards the HPFF home island. There, the Hai Peng had just docked home the coins she had picked up on her journey to most of the wild islands. However, she was soon under attack! The swarm fleet can utilize rams quite effectively, and this strategy began to pay off as the HP lost a mast. CJS was surprised to be in so much trouble at his own HI! It's worth noting that the northern wild island was effectively irrelevant at this point, having been emptied by the swarm fleet.


The swarm fleet took their turn, and the momentum began to shift! The sheer number of swarmers overwhelmed the Hai Peng and dismasted her via ramming! Then, in an expert display of seamanship, Xerecs used the swarm fleet to capture and chain-tow the Hai Peng away from the HPFF home island and out of harm's way!!!! Chain-towing in a regular game, using about 6 total ships! (I sort of introduced chain-towing as a tactic back in my first 500 point game; it's normally only viable in very large games so to see it here was epic.) At this point I commented that I was willing to lose despite my love for the HPFF fleet, simply because of Xerecs' fantastic move and the honorable way of losing such a unique game. However, it was becoming evident that there was a lot of game left to play! The swarmers took up position in the far west against the Devil's Maw, and began their bombardment! This was another unique feature of this game - a prolonged assault against a fort by multiple ships, something you'd be more likely to see in real life than in a game of Pirates.


With the Hai Peng captured, Lord Mycron aboard the Patagonia can now give the extra action to the Banshee's Cry. The BC zips home with an extra coin from Paradis, giving the HPFF fleet 11 gold on their home island. The Lezard sails out, the HPFF fleet desperate now that the HP is gone. The Devil's Maw puts up a good fight against the uncaptained swarmers, dismasting two ships even as three more prepare to fire.


The two battles continue to rage. The swarmers now concentrate some ships against the remaining HPFF ships. The Lezard and Patagonia are both dismasted by rams! The Devil's Maw has knocked the western swarm squadron down to 2 masts, meaning that the fort has won the battle! Another rarity, as forts are often destroyed before they can even fire a shot when a fast gunship sails in and mauls them immediately. Between the lack of captains in the swarm fleet and the small size of the ships, the fort was in a uniquely good position. The Banshee's Cry tries to get gold, while the Hai Peng is towed home by the swarmers. At this point, the only way for the swarm fleet to win is to get some of the gold from the forts. However, they will be hard-pressed to destroy all 3 with their lack of firepower.


Both fleets continue to have some successes: the Devil's Maw finishes off the swarmers in the west, and the BC uses Skrew Engine to duck into a fog bank with a coin. However, the swarm fleet sinks the Lezard and captures the Patagonia! This gives the swarmers access to Lord Mycron.


Some turns later, and the Hai Peng has been repaired! She sets out for the swarm fleet, and is by far their best hope for them to destroy the forts, between her speed and CJS's captain ability. Her first shots miss the Devil's Maw, but Mycron can give the ship another action. At this point the Pirate fort is down to 3 cannons and faces a more powerful squadron in this second battle, with more swarm ships arriving soon. A ship stands guard at the HPFF HI, where the BC needs a 2 or 3 coming out of the fog to dock home her coin.


With 4 ships the swarm fleet manages to destroy the Devil's Maw in the second assault! The Hai Peng is given the Patagonia's action to load the 5 coin, which is extremely important. With two forts left, the swarmers will need some luck if they want to destroy both, especially against Paradis' overpowered ability. The Banshee's Cry has docked home a 3 for HPFF, and since she's the only ship remaining in the fleet, she has become essentially invincible! If the swarm fleet dismasts the BC, the game immediately ends and the remaining gold in the two forts counts for the HPFF fleet, which would give them the win. Knowing this, the BC immediately rams the nearest swarm ship in the hopes of capturing and repairing it, but the hapless Venture sinks instantly!


The Banshee's Cry manages to capture El Raton and even the Patagonia! However, the Patagonia is quickly sunk after being recaptured, giving the swarm fleet an extra 1 gold from Bratley's Ransom ability, which could certainly matter in this hotly contested game. In the south, Dead Man's Point has already fallen! Some of the fort's gunners fell asleep at their posts after the battle of the Devil's Maw took so long, and the fort is quickly defeated. The Hai Peng tries to load the gold used to build the fort... and we suddenly realize that I had accidentally cheated! The BC's entire trip to Dead Man's Point earlier in the game was all for nought: I thought there were two 3's in the fort, but in reality the 3 used to build the fort was the only standard coin on the island. Thus the coin couldn't be removed from the fort, and we corrected the mistake by transferring the coin from my HI to the Hai Peng. I knew something was amiss when I counted 38 total gold in play (30 + 5 from Barbary Banner, + a mysterious 3 that I mistook for an extra coin when it wasn't).

Something else happened in this segment of turns that completely turned the game on its head. When the BC went to Dead Man's Point to grab the "extra" 3 coin, she did pick up the Jailhouse Dog UT (so I guess the trip wasn't completely worthless!). I completely forgot about the UT until one of the swarm ships won a boarding party against the BC. Having to look at the BC's deckplate for the first time in a while, I suddenly saw the UT! I then consulted the Pirate Code and found this:
[quote="The Pirate Code"]Jailhouse Dog
-This ability may be used at any time during the game.[/quote]

Ecstatic, I then happened to (luckily!) read further:
[quote="The Pirate Code"]-This ability may be used to remove a unique treasure that is worth gold after it has been unloaded to a home island, provided that unloading that treasure did not trigger an endgame condition. If any endgame condition has been reached, Jailhouse Dog can no longer be used.[/quote]

I used Jailhouse Dog to eliminate the Barbary Banner sitting on the swarm HI and cost them 5 gold!

The BC lost one of her two oarsmen instead of having the UT stolen, and now it was once again a regular 30-gold game instead of the one-time "38"! At this point I knew exactly what I had to do: with 11 gold on my HI, just hold Paradis (with a 5 coin inside) and I would win the game. Jailhouse Dog meant the swarm fleet would have to get the gold from Paradis after all, rather than just the Devil's Maw and Dead Man's Point. Despite being on the winning side of the UT in this game, Jailhouse Dog is still one of my least favorite UT's because it can be OP and game-breaking. It's one of the ultimate "party poopers" of Pirates CSG.


With 2 of the 3 forts destroyed, it looked like the game would finally end soon. There was a brief scuffle near Paradis, which resulted in two derelict swarm ships. The Hai Peng hurried home with the gold from Dead Man's Point (the real 3 that the BC never should have loaded heh), while the gunners at Paradis prepared for a final clash.


The BC captured the Intrepide and towed her to Paradis to repair, while the fort sank the other swarm ship. The Hai Peng sailed out, knowing that only one of the two HPFF ships (now including the Intrepide) could be dismasted (unless docked at the fort and therefore able to repair).


In between the above picture and this one, the Hai Peng rammed the Banshee's Cry at such an angle that the guns of Paradis couldn't hit the HP. However, the Intrepide rammed the HP and forced her to retreat. The HP went home to repair one final time! At this point I had been playing the game and typing in the chat with one hand for a while due to eating. This led to many bizarre and amusing things in the VASSAL chat, and further contributed to this long and wacky game.

The Hai Peng sailed out and dismasted the Intrepide, leaving the BC as the only HPFF ship once again. The Hai Peng tried to attack Paradis, but once the first die was rolled for Paradis' effect, it was obvious that it was impossible for the HP to get enough hits. The fort's guns boomed once more, and the Hai Peng was derelict! This seemed to end the game, but the swarm fleet still had the Jolly Mon at their home island! The Jolly Mon vs. Paradis de la Mer matchup didn't happen for obvious reasons: the Jolly Mon would need an absolutely unprecedented string of luck to win, and even then a single successful ram from the BC would end the game as well.


Hai Peng Fort Frenzy wins the game 16-15!! 11 gold was on their HI, with 5 in the intact fort. The swarm fleet had 14 gold and 1 extra from sinking Bratley. How fitting that one of the longest and most desperate 40 point games ever ends with a 1-gold margin of victory! This is a game we'll remember for a long time, and continues the trend of the HPFF fleet having very long and interesting games: its first series (against the AP fleet ironically) was also quite memorable. After all that, we still have at least one more game left to play in the series!
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2 more games!

Hai Peng Fort Frenzy! (#7 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)
vs.
dakmor's swarm fleet (#10 seed) (commanded by xerecs)

The second game of the series got started, with the swarm fleet going first. For the second game in a row the Hai Peng built Paradis de la Mer on the center island.


The HP was headed to the southeast (building Dead Man's Point), where she found the Maps of Alexandria. By that point she had also loaded Holy Water and Jailhouse Dog. Paradis dismasted the swarm's Banshee's Cry, while the HPFF BC docked in the northeast.


The BC used Skrew Engine to dock home a few coins, including the Barbary Banner. This time HPFF had found both the dog and the banner, giving them a decided advantage. It was already likely that HPFF would win, but they also had luck on their side. Xerecs' cannons were ineffective, and DMP crushed all comers in the southeast.


Here, the swarm fleet has some gold home, but they're running out of ships. At this point the swarm fleet had to do the near-impossible: steal the Jailhouse Dog from the HP, use it to eliminate Barbary Banner, and then somehow destroy Paradis de la Mer to get the fort's 5 coin. HPFF had 16 gold when counting Paradis' gold but not counting the banner or the 3 in Dead Man's Point. The Banshee's Cry and Lezard were dismasted via rams but quickly repaired.


The Hai Peng got involved in the skirmish at the HPFF home island, where she was actually dismasted by rams and forced to hand over the Jailhouse Dog! Xerecs immediately played it to eliminate the Barbary Banner, but after the BC and Lezard got revenge by dismasting two swarm ships, the swarm fleet almost certainly wouldn't be able to destroy Paradis. Realizing that the Hai Peng could move S+L+S when derelict (oarsman + both bonuses intact from having a captain and helmsman aboard), I decided to take off, knowing I could repair at either fort but knowing that the HP would be captured if she stayed at home.


An overly lengthy endgame process saw the Algeciras capture the Patagonia, so Mycron gave the swarm's Coeur some extra actions. The Carrion Crow took the BC and Lezard out, leaving HPFF with just the HP. That would prove to be enough however, as the HP repaired at DMP, then dismasted the Carrion Crow. With only 2 masts left in the swarm fleet, we decided to call the game. HPFF had a 14-8 advantage even without the forts, which made the final score 22-8. Hai Peng Fort Frenzy advances to Round 2!

The final matchup of the first round!
Darrin's Gold Race fleet (#8 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)
vs.
USS Kettering - Deadly Weapon (#9 seed) (commanded by xerecs)

This was a bit of an odd matchup - a UPS variant against a fleet designed for deathmatch play. The Kettering fleet used the same nasty UT's as the HMS Grand Temple fleet to maximize the competitive nature of the tournament.

Darrin's fleet rolled to go first, and I followed his strategy to a T. The fleet had 12 gold on its HI by the end of the first turn.


CJS traded another coin home on the next turn, which was the final coin on the center island (Missionary was traded away on the first turn and the BC loaded a Monkey's Paw). This gave the gold race fleet 17 gold, technically enough to win. However, knowing that the BC had only traded away 8 total gold, there was 22 more gold out on the islands. To be fair we kept playing in the off chance that the Kettering fleet could come back, since the gold race fleet didn't have a true majority of all the gold now in play (9 extra on their HI from the bonuses).


The Rover turned around and rammed the Kettering! However, no damage was done. Then, in a bizarre twist, the Rover won the boarding party 7-6! A 2 point ship had just won a boarding party against one of the most feared ships in the game, and there was nothing the canceller ability could do about it! To continue the oddities, the Kettering then missed 4 shots in a row (partly due to Brent Rice having been eliminated in the boarding) before the Minuteman finally put an end to the mighty Rover. That whole sequence guaranteed the Banshee's Cry another explore action at a different island, and it was over. CJS traded home a 7, which became a whopping 10 after the gold bonuses. Darrin's gold race wins the first game of the series 27-0, the greatest margin of victory so far in the tournament and a higher margin of victory than any game from Tournament #1.
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Darrin's Gold Race fleet (#8 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)
vs.
USS Kettering - Deadly Weapon (#9 seed) (commanded by xerecs)

Game 2 (Darrin's fleet won the first game)


This time the Kettering fleet went first, and the BC was unlucky enough to find 2 negative UT's at the center island, loading Maps of Hades.


The Rover was dismasted, and it was clear that the BC would have to do some sailing (rather than just "Hidden Cove'ing" to the island and redocking) in order to win the game. The BC needed more regular coins at the center island rather than UT's. Negative UT's may be the most reliable way to slow down these UPS fleets, since treasure traders like Gilbert can only toss away one at a time. Even then, there's a chance you'll get another bad one in the exchange!


The Maps of Hades allowed the Kettering to easily sink the BC, while the Sea Crane and Bonnie Liz sailed out to look for gold instead. The strategy of the gold race fleet was massively compromised, and the serious firepower advantage of the Kettering fleet looked like a tough obstacle to overcome.


Here the Sea Crane is being towed by the Kettering for her gold and gold bonus ability. The Bonnie Liz has gotten the Rover back in action, and they look to ram and steal before it's too late.


The Bonnie Liz actually managed to steal a 7 from the Sea Crane, but it was promptly retaken by the Algeciras, who gave it to the Sea Crane to get the +1 bonus. The Rover was smashed again, while the Bonnie Liz tried to commit suicide on a reef in order to force the game's end, simply hoping for enough gold to win. However, it would have been too late anyway, for the Kettering fleet won the game 22-9!


We have begun the third and final game of this series, and hope to complete it in the near future. After that, the competition heats up in Round 2!
 
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Darrin's Gold Race fleet (#8 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)
vs.
USS Kettering - Deadly Weapon (#9 seed) (commanded by xerecs)

The final game of the series was underway!


The Banshee's Cry had to make a run for a second island, while the Rover tried to hold off the Kettering and the Sea Crane left her HI.




Disaster for the gold race fleet: the BC is sunk, the Sea Crane captured, and the Rover dismasted. The Bonnie Liz is their only hope now.


The Kettering encountered a Missionary, but managed to get some gold home, leaving the Minuteman flotilla near the middle of the map. The Bonnie Liz was off to the southwestern island, where she found Wolves.


With Wolves making some of the gold unavailable, the game was soon decided. Darrin's gold race had won a close 21-16 victory and advances to the second round of the tournament!


After the entire first round, here is the updated bracket. As before, the first number in each pair of scores belongs to the upper fleet, whether they won the game or not. Many fleets were quite impressive, winning both games of their series, while others prevailed against tough competition. The biggest upset was Quick wins the game (#14 seed) beating UPS 4, the #3 seed. After exactly 20 games in Round 1, there are 8 fleets remaining!


The first matchup of Round 2!

HMS GT (#1 seed) (commanded by Xerecs)
vs.
Darrin's Gold Race fleet (#8 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)

The home islands were the same as they were for the third game of the previous matchup, and with HMS GT following a similar style as the USS Kettering fleet, it would prove to be a similar game.


Once again, the Rover is dismasted as the BC runs off to a second island.


I didn't take many pictures, but the Bonnie Liz ended up as the last ship in the gold race fleet once again. This time, the Bonnie Liz managed to do a suicide run onto a reef to force the game's end, knowing that her fleet likely had more gold than the HMS GT fleet. This was correct, as darrin's fleet won 15-6.

There are no pictures from the second game of the matchup, because there doesn't need to be. The gold race fleet rolled to go first (after going second in the first game), and the Banshee's Cry managed to find only standard coins on the island she was Hidden Cove'd to! This meant she could simply trade 4 coins home in 2 turns and get the +3 bonuses on all of them. There was no need to scramble and no need for a second island. With 13 regular gold on the HI, there was only 17 gold available for the GT fleet. However, with 12 gold in bonuses in addition to the 13 standard, there was absolutely no way for the GT fleet to win.

Darrin's gold race wins 25-0 and advances to Round 3, the semifinals! The #1 seed is out of the tournament in an upset! It wasn't hugely surprising, since the gold race fleet is a UPS variant and the HMS GT fleet is built for combat. The perfect scenario combined with going first let the gold race fleet attain an easy second victory.
 
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Xerecs and I have played a whopping 5 games in VASSAL Tournament #2! (and nearly finished a 6th)

UPS 5 (#2 seed) (commanded by xerecs)
vs.
Hai Peng Fort Frenzy! (#7 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)



Both fleets quickly got to work, with HPFF building Paradis de la Mer in the center and the Devil's Maw in the north, and UPS 5 building their Devil's Maw in the west. UPS 5 found better coin values.


Here, HPFF has gone to the southeastern island, but the Zeus has destroyed their Devil's Maw!


With the remaining gold contained within the two forts, there wasn't much HPFF could do with their lack of firepower. The Lezard blocked the Zeus temporarily while the Hai Peng sped off in an attempt to destroy the Devil's Maw to get at the gold inside. The Banshee's Cry looked to take out the Hag of Tortuga.


The BC succeeded, but was dismasted for the effort. The 1 extra gold would not be enough to make the difference for HPFF, whose Hai Peng managed some damage against the Devil's Maw before being destroyed. UPS 5 had won the first game of the series 17-12!


One turn into Game 2. HPFF's home island is in the southeast, with UPS 5 in the west. The HP made it to the northern island, finding Pirate Globe, Jailhouse Dog, and two of the three 5 coins. Indeed, the luck had reversed from the previous game in terms of gold. To make things even better for HPFF, the Barbary Banner was revealed to be in the east, where the BC was headed.


A few turns later and HPFF is able to get what they need home. The HP avoided building Paradis on the northern island because it would put the valuable gold back in play, where the Zeus could potentially get it. After a loss in the first game, a change in strategy was just what the HPFF fleet needed, and here it panned out nicely (normally it's better to just build the forts, but with a Zeus moving L+S+L+S the gold is not safe for long at all heh). UPS 5 almost managed a late-game salvage operation: I had kept the Jailhouse Dog aboard the Hai Peng in case it was needed, but suddenly it became a huge liability since the Zeus could steal it and use it to eliminate the Barbary Banner, which would cost HPFF the game! Thinking quickly I did something unorthodox and eliminated one of my own positive UT's, Holy Water. This was simply to eliminate the dog from play to deny UPS 5 from using it. Indeed, the game turned out closer than I expected, but HPFF won 18-17 to even the series at a game apiece.


Game 3!


The Hai Peng sprinted to the northern island, once again finding the Pirate Globe, and this time the Barbary Banner as well. The Zeus went to the center island before turning to the northeastern island, where the Jailhouse Dog was. I then had to think about the best course of action for my fleet - I originally was going to run home with the Barbary Banner and the other coin the HP was carrying. However, seeing that the Zeus would soon come into possession of the Jailhouse Dog, and knowing that the UT could eliminate the Banner even after I docked at my HI, I decided to do something more risky but also more wise. The Hai Peng took off for the same northeastern island the Zeus was headed to, which could have been a suicide move. The HP docked on the side opposite the Zeus to maximize how far the junk would have to travel to get in range, and picked up the Jailhouse Dog, immediately playing it to eliminate the now-useless Maps of Alexandria UT on the western island. The Hai Peng picked up the Banner, and traded a 5 from the island for an oarsman on the Banshee's Cry. The BC, originally headed for the western island, now turned around and docked home the new 5 coin, giving HPFF two of the three 5's. To finish the turn, one of the 5's was transferred back to the northeast to build Paradis de la Mer, both in an attempt to deter the Zeus from attacking the Hai Peng/Barbary Banner, and to protect the final coin on the island. Not trying to brag but it was one of my best turns of the tournament and a fine example of how strategic this "beer and pretzels" game can be, and why it's always best to think things through. In the end I had essentially swapped 5's while protecting my end of the gold in play, since it was likely the Banner would be sunk or stolen, but that the 5 would remain in play for at least some time inside Paradis. Had I ran home, I would have lost the Banner immediately and not gotten the 5 in the northeast.


The Zeus decided against attacking Paradis and a double-action Hai Peng, turning to the western island instead. The HP used an action to trade home the 2 from the northeastern island, then used her second action to move towards home, careful to stay out of the Zeus' range.


The Coeur came out to meet the Hai Peng, but was unsuccessful with a ram and board. The HP sought shelter within a fog bank, while the Zeus unloaded her gold and combined it with the gold on the western island inside the Devil's Maw fort. Seeing the endgame conflict materialize, the Banshee's Cry headed to Paradis.


And there you have it - HPFF isn't willing (or capable, likely) to go after the Devil's Maw (and has no reason to), so the Zeus heads east to destroy Paradis. The 5 coin inside will determine the winner of the game - HPFF was up 21-14 at this point in gold, which could be determined by the revealed gold and the lack of extra gold in play outside of the Barbary Banner. It looked like the Coeur was sailing out to join the Zeus, but the HP sank her quickly. HPFF's strategy was to stop the Zeus from destroying Paradis and loading the 5 coin in a single turn. As long as that didn't happen, the HP could scoot to the island after Paradis fell, and then simply trade the 5 home (the Lezard still had 2 oarsmen aboard) for the instant win. The advantage laid with HPFF, but the situation was tense and competitive.


The BC maneuvered to block the Zeus at her bow, which in hindsight was a mistake because the Zeus could stay in place and shoot at the BC without coming into the range of the fort's guns. The Zeus did just that, but managed to go an abysmal 0 for 4! This gave the BC another chance, which she used to dock at the island on the side where Paradis was closest to the water (with her stern sticking out as far as possible). This new blocking method was designed to force the Zeus to go to the far side of the island and shoot at Paradis from longer range, reducing the number of effective guns. The Hai Peng observed everything, ready to pounce on the Zeus with a double action (4 shots) or grab the 5 if the Zeus got lucky against the fort.


Incredibly, Xerecs rolled a 6 for Paradis' ability, meaning the Zeus had to hit the fort 6 times that turn just to damage the fort at all! After this was not accomplished, Paradis knocked down 3 masts on the junk. The Banshee's Cry has departed the island, hoping to get revenge when the Zeus becomes weaker.


After another exchange of cannon fire, the Zeus is left with just 4 masts while Paradis still has 4 cannons. The BC saw her opportunity for a miraculous ram and board, but both failed!


The OP ability of Paradis was too much for the (similarly OP) Zeus to overcome, with the Hai Peng fittingly dealing the final damage to the 10 master. After a great game and hard-fought victory (final score 21-14), Hai Peng Fort Frenzy had knocked off the #2 seed to advance to Round 3, the semifinals!


This was a really memorable series, and showcased how HPFF is one of the best fleets out there. The fleet also seems to be involved in a LOT of very long games, from its first (and also extremely memorable) series against the American Pirate fleet, to that crazy game against the swarm fleet, and now to this hotly contested series against the fleet that won T1. Wacky enough, when considering the total gold scores from each of the three games, HPFF beat UPS 5 by a score of just 51-48!

Fittingly enough, as great as that series turned out, the next series was a complete dud! lol.

Quick wins the game (#14 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)
vs.
The Doldrums (#11 seed) (commanded by xerecs)

As the winner of the Round 1 series involving these fleets, I picked which one I controlled. Between my general disliking of events and my very positive experience using the Quick fleet to knock out UPS 4 in Round 1, I went with Quick wins the game despite its lower seed.

Game 1 setup: Quick in the north, Doldrums in the south.


Quick went first, with the Courageux being Hidden Cove'd to the center island to explore. The Pique headed east, while the Vengeance prepared to protect either gold runner while also trying to make sure that no two ships would be in range of Becalmed at the same time. Alas, it didn't work, with the Pique and Vengeance getting hit with the event. I had forgotten that the Doldrums fleet also had Hidden Cove, and suddenly the Eagle was at the center island and attacking my fleet! The Courageux and Vengeance lost a mast apiece, but Becalmed was an even bigger problem. The Vengeance connected on my turn, but was unable to move and get canceller Lenoir in range, while the Courageux's ram and board failed miserably.


The Eagle takes over, blasting the Quick fleet to smithereens! Suddenly the Pique was the only ship they could move (Vengeance sunk and Courageux derelict), and the game was effectively over.


The Eagle sank the Courageux with 6 gold aboard, but the Pique escaped into a fog bank, later grabbing gold from the western island. During all of the combat shenanigans the Pirate gold runners were busy establishing an advantage, and the French were out of the running. The Longshanks intercepted the Pique on her trip home and rammed her derelict to end the game. The Doldrums had won 13-0!


The second game went similarly great for the Doldrums, and similarly horrible for Quick. The Vengeance stayed in port, so the Eagle couldn't shoot at her if the same Hidden Cove strategy was used. However, this allowed Becalmed to hit two ships on the first turn once again, and it looked like the Vengeance should have moved northwest. This time the Pique was Hidden Cove'd to the center island, the French changing their strategies after the embarrassing loss in Game 1.


Becalmed was played to hit the Vengeance and Courageux. Hidden Cove was then played to put the Eagle at the center island once again, where she wreaked havoc. The Pique was sunk, while the Courageux was dismasted soon afterwards. This left the French to seek Vengeance (ha ha... or not). The Vengeance got caught up in a skirmish with the Longshanks, which further proved how much momentum the Doldrums fleet had, for Xerecs even rolled much better at the guns during the engagement. The battle was ended by the Eagle, with the French eliminated for the second game in a row!


The Doldrums won 7-0 in dominating fashion, and are a force to be reckoned with as they move on to the semifinals to face HPFF!

Only one more series in Round 2, after which there are only 3 matchups before we crown the best fleet of all time!
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The final matchup of Round 2!

Norvegia (#4 seed) (commanded by xerecs)
vs.
UPS 2 (#5 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)

UPS 2 got busy with a couple forts, while Norvegia went to the northern and southeastern islands.




Eventually the only gold left was in the two forts, which would determine the winner of the game. The Neptune's Hoard attacked Dead Man's Point, knocking out three cannons before she was dismasted and captured by the fort and the Hai Peng. (we counted our gold early to determine if it was close enough to keep playing for the fort gold, and indeed it was, with Norvegia up 21-18 with 9 gold in the forts)


The Star of Siam and Banshee's Cry didn't have enough firepower to destroy Dead Man's Point, and both ships were dismasted to end the game! UPS 2 won the game 27-21.


Norvegia went first in the second game, using sac actions to reach two wild islands. The Hai Peng settled for the northwestern island, finding good gold values there (4,3,2,2). UPS 2 didn't build a fort, planning to send home the islands' final two coins on the following turn.


After much excellent treasure running by both fleets, it looked like it was going to be a close finish. Norvegia found all of their UT's (Spices, Barbary Banner, and Buried Treasure), while the Hai Peng was busy trading home coins from the northeastern and center islands. The last coin on the NE island was a 1, and CJS knew there was no point in getting that coin when he could try for a potentially better (and definitely not worse) coin with the final treasure of the center island. (UPS 2 had to pick one coin and not the other because the HP's helmsman had been sacced recently so the HP could explore the NE island right after docking, and because the Neptune's Hoard could catch the HP with her speed on Norvegia's turn.) The decision paid off when the coin was a 2, which CJS traded home.


The Hai Peng was dismasted by the Neptune's Hoard, while the Banshee's Cry docked home the final 1 coin for Norvegia.

In the end, UPS 2 had won a very close 27-25 victory! This reveals how important it was that the HP switched islands at the end, for if CJS had traded home the 1, the game would likely have ended tied at 26! For me it was one of the best treasure running games I've ever seen, with a whopping 22 extra gold in play by the end of it (12 from Maurice Aristide's +2 bonuses, and more from the UT's). Another weird stat is that Norvegia totaled 46 gold between the two games and still lost both! It seems that UPS 2 is always involved in very high-scoring affairs; they just happen to score more than their opponents.

UPS 2 advances to the semifinals!

Here is the updated bracket, with just 3 matchups left! At this point, we may play more than 2 or 3 games per series, if there's any doubt about which fleet is superior, similar to what we did in the last few series of T1.


Round 2 saw some VERY interesting series, with both the #1 and #2 seeds being knocked out. I'm not overly surprised at the left side of the bracket, as I had UPS 2 as the potential winner before the tournament started, and the gold race fleet not far behind. However, the right side of the bracket is a little more surprising, with HPFF knocking off UPS 5 in a close series. The Doldrums fleet has been the most dominant of the tournament, outscoring its opponents 61-12 (!), going 4-0, and often finishing games rather quickly. I hope Becalmed doesn't effectively ruin the tournament... either way, these semifinal matchups look very competitive and intriguing. It's also worth noting that the Doldrums fleet is the only fleet remaining that has a functional gunship... not overly surprising, but in the past I've seen different HMS GT fleets absolutely steamroll great gold fleets (which just speaks to how amazing Darrin's gold race fleet really is).

Stay tuned to find out which fleet becomes the greatest ever!
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A grand mistake has been made... an embarrassing error that threatens the integrity of the tournament....

EVENTGATE.

The first of two semifinal matchups began, with Hai Peng Fort Frenzy (HPFF) facing the Doldrums fleet. As usual, the Doldrums fleet was cruising along, indeed on their path to an easy 17-2 victory for a nearly unprecedented 5-0 record. Early in the game the Hai Peng returned home to avoid being hit by Becalmed and then the Eagle, who would be Hidden Cove'd to the center island and then given a sac action to move and shoot twice. The Banshee's Cry then moved into a fog bank, which prompted Xerecs to wonder if the fog would make the BC immune to Becalmed. I figured as much since I thought that lines of sight/ability/etc were blocked by fog. The game continued, and here you can see the Eagle in the southwest after sinking the HP, essentially ending the game in favor of the Doldrums.


To confirm my thoughts about Becalmed I went to the Pirate Code, and funny enough I went to the section on Becalmed instead of the section on fog banks (where the answer to the question actually is). It was then and there that I saw it:

-Only one “beginning of turn” event token may be revealed during your turn.

O_O

Neither of us knew about this ruling, and it changed EVERYTHING. I immediately looked back at the battle reports concerning the Doldrums fleet, and sure enough, the fleet had used both Becalmed and Hidden Cove on their first turn in possibly every game.

Suddenly the Doldrums' 5-0 record was in doubt. Not only that, but their position in the tournament. One more win would put them into the final round, where a series victory would give them the title of "best fleet of all time". It became very apparent that controversy and scandal would win the night, but with T2 being a somewhat serious affair (we have to get it right), we were determined to fix what we could.

I have decided not to go back and edit any previous reports, since it could be confusing and disrupts the story of the tournament. A new picture of the updated bracket follows at the end of this report.

After a discussion, Xerecs and I narrowly decided to replay both series that the Doldrums fleet was involved in. This would be the most fair, and the Doldrums fleet would need to prove itself using the better rules. After all, it felt like Becalmed had gotten them to the semifinals almost by itself, and it was the only fleet in the tournament using the event. (the latter of which was very lucky - since no other fleet in the tournament uses both Becalmed and Hidden Cove, there wouldn't be any other matchups to replay)

With that, we were suddenly back in Round 1!

American Pirates (#6 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)
vs.
The Doldrums (#11 seed) (commanded by xerecs)

We used the same home islands as in Game 1 of the original series. The Amity used Hidden Cove to load up from the center island.


The Doldrums used their own Hidden Cove to dismast the Amity with the Eagle and take two masts off the Roanoke.


However, on the next turn the Roanoke sank the Eagle! It became clear that playing Becalmed and Hidden Cove on the first turn had been giving the Doldrums fleet quite an unfair advantage.


The Roanoke sank the Bloody Jewel, while the Amity and Bandido eventually returned with gold for the AP's.


The Roanoke was then set upon by the Longshanks (LS) and BC of the Doldrums fleet, until she was dismasted and captured! The Amity repaired two of her three masts before setting out for the final coin on the southwestern island. The Bandido followed her into a fog bank, while the remaining Doldrums fleet looked to intercept. The BC was rammed out of the game, while the Roanoke repaired. Eventually the Bandido rammed the final mast off the LS and captured her, towing the ship to block the Roanoke from attacking the Amity. The Amity returned the coin home and the American Pirates had dealt the Doldrums fleet their first loss! The final score was 17-15 after finding out that Raft had no effect on the Hag of Tortuga; she became 1 gold for the AP's when the Eagle sank.


The setup for Game 2:


This time the "Hidden Cove chess game" resulted in the Roanoke besting the Eagle once again.


Now the Roanoke can effectively terrorize the Doldrums gold runners, while the Amity and Bandido both dock in the west.


The BC was dismasted and captured, while the Amity and Bandido returned home with gold.


The Bloody Jewel ducked into fog with gold aboard, while the LS was targeted by the Roanoke. The AP fleet has formed a temporary chain of ships to block the Bloody Jewel if she comes out of the fog.


Some late-game antics made the game closer than it looks. (capturing the BC was a mistake) However, in the end the AP fleet won 9-8!

The American Pirates move on to Round 2! The Doldrums fleet has been retroactively eliminated! In stunning fashion, the Doldrums fleet falls as far as you could possibly imagine, from 5-0 and one win away from the finals to 0-2 and out of the tournament. 0_0

Now we had a brand-new Round 2 matchup, and HPFF would have to wait to see who their new opponent in the semifinals would be.

Quick wins the game (#14 seed) (commanded by xerecs)
vs.
American Pirates (#6 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)

Quick rolled to go first, and both fleets used Hidden Cove on their first turns, with the Roanoke dismasting but unable to sink the Courageux.


The Roanoke captured the Courageux, which later turned out to be a mistake.


The Amity and Bandido hide in the fog, while the Vengeance blockades the AP home island. The Roanoke uses the opportunity to drop the Courageux and sink the Pique.


Here I made another mistake (one of many this session) and pulled the gold runners out of the fog too early. The Vengeance turned around and dismasted both of them in one action! Now the AP's would have to win with just the Roanoke.


The Vengeance sank the Amity and Bandido, eliminating 11 gold from the game. This left 19 in play, of which the Roanoke deposited 4 from the center island soon afterwards. She then headed northwest for 4 more, while the Vengeance recaptured the Courageux. In a nice move the Vengeance towed the Courageux to dock her at the center island, loading up gold.


With no helmsman, the Vengeance could only tow the Courageux at S speed, allowing the Roanoke to get in range of the Courageux while being out of Lenoir's cancelling range. The Courageux was sunk, and the Roanoke won a brief battle of the gunships to end the game. The AP's win 8-4!


Here is the updated bracket, with Eventgate over. The AP's went from being eliminated to being one win away from a trip to the semifinals (if they get there, they would face HPFF, which would be an extremely highly anticipated rematch for the ages). At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Doldrums fleet proved to be a lot of hype for nothing. This also gives the Quick fleet new life, though now they have to win 2 in a row to advance.
 
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Quick wins the game (#14 seed) (commanded by xerecs)
vs.
American Pirates (#6 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)

After losing the first game of the series, Quick went first once again.


The AP's were very aggressive with Hidden Cove, using it to catapult the Roanoke towards the French gold runners.


This turned out to be a mistake, for the Courageux was never in range, and the Vengeance arrived to cancel Captain Blackheart and eventually sink the Roanoke.


The Vengeance headed south to cut off the Bandido and Amity on their second gold run. Seeing no chance of getting the gold home, the Pirates turned to attack! An impressive ram and board from the Amity (two 6's in a row) hurt the Vengeance a little, but things were still looking dire for the AP's.


After the Bandido was sunk, the Amity put up a rather miraculous fight against the Vengeance, though it was more due to the Amity carrying the final AP mast (Quick needed to make sure they had more gold before triggering an endgame condition) than the excellent exploits of the Amity and her crew. The AP's built a Devil's Maw in the west after capturing the Vengeance and her two coins from the same island. However, the Courageux was going to the northern island once more, and gold bonuses were already stacking up on the Quick HI.


The Vengeance brought home de Cissey for a ransom payment, and the Courageux avoided the Amity to dock home the final coin. Due to the gold bonuses from Maurice Aristide, the Quick fleet had won a nice 24-20 victory!

It was one of the better games of the tournament thus far, and sets up a Game 3 showdown to see who moves on to the semifinals to face Hai Peng Fort Frenzy!
 
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With xerecs not responding to my emails and showing zero interest in T2, and myself eager to resume/finish the tournament, I have decided to forge onward by myself. (If anyone else would like to join, just let me know, keeping in mind that the games are competitive and mistakes pretty much have to be replayed to have optimal results)

The tournament left off in the middle of the final game of the second round! The rubber game (#3) between these two great fleets:
Quick wins the game (#14 seed)
vs.
American Pirates (#6 seed)

These were the home islands, from play back in February:


The fleets made mirrored movements to the north, with neither playing their Hidden Coves.


The northern islands were explored:


This is where the game left off. After my question was answered by Woelf in the Rules thread, it was clear how to continue the game.


As expected, the AP's used Hidden Cove to get the Roanoke out of Lenoir's cancelling range. With careful maneuvering and a sac action, the Roanoke was able to knock down the Vengeance's final two masts and capture her!


The Courageux explores the Pique for her 1 coin, eager to unload it to get Aristide's +2 bonus. They plan to do the same at the northeastern island, which would give them 20 gold total (which they are aware of because they've explored two islands and found both 1's, and know the treasure distribution based on the previous games). However, the AP's would have 21 if they unload all of their gold (16 between the Amity and Bandido) as well as Cissey, who would provide 5 via the Ransom keyword. Thus, the French must make some kind of daring attempt to limit how much the AP's bring back.


The Pique was going to capture or sink the Amity, but Captain Blackheart on the Roanoke had other plans. At this point I forgot about the "new" oarsman keyword ruling, where you can't tow a ship if it has an oarsman. The Amity was towed a little bit by the Roanoke, but she could have just hidden in a fog bank or made it on her own anyway. The Roanoke could have dismasted the Pique instead of the Courageux to avoid forcing the end of the game and the treasure count, at which point a similar situation would have unfolded at the end of the game. In addition, the Roanoke would then have time to load the Amity's oarsman for sacrificial purposes and also to tow the Amity. Here are the pictures from the rest of the game, which the AP's won 21-17. It's extremely likely they would have won anyway, but I'm playing another game for maximum fairness.






In the other game, the same home islands were picked with Quick going first. The Roanoke used Hidden Cove to go to the center island and attack the Vengeance, hitting 2/3 times. The Vengeance fought back and cancelled Blackheart, but eventually lost the fight. The Amity beat the Pique to the northern island and the AP's won in a shutout.

With that, the American Pirates move on to Round 3 of the tournament, the semifinals! There they will face Hai Peng Fort Frenzy, in an epic rematch! But first, the other matchup will be played: Darrin's Gold Race fleet vs. UPS 2!
 
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mar hawkman
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that looks like it was a pretty brutal slugfest.
 
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Xerecs has rejoined the tournament and Round 3 (the semifinals) has begun! From here on out, a fleet will need at least two more victories than its opponent in order to advance. We will play as many games as necessary to determine which fleet is better in each matchup.

Darrin's Gold Race fleet (#8 seed) (commanded by Xerecs)
vs.
UPS 2 (#5 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)

This matchup pitted two fleets that use Captain Jack Sparrow against each other. Each has Hidden Cove and CJS on a very fast flagship (Banshee's Cry and Hai Peng). The games didn't disappoint! Xerecs also got a crash course on the gold race fleet, which I consider to be the most confusing fleet ever made.


The first game was marred by a UT problem. The gold race fleet has Periscope listed (Sunken Treasure was already taken out based on past problems with including it), but the Hai Peng (HP) found it. The Hai Peng used a double action (saccing with Jimmy Legs) to activate the UT and cancel Jonah aboard the Banshee's Cry (BC), shutting down the crew and therefore forcing the removal of both Captain Jack Sparrow and Don Pedro Gilbert, two extremely essential crew for the gold race fleet! They were tossed overboard, and meanwhile the Hai Peng's CJS was busy ordering the gunners to open fire, leaving the BC derelict.


From here it looked like UPS 2 would have an easy ride to victory. The HP teleported two coins home from the northern island, getting bonuses on both. The gold race fleet was forced to sail out their remaining ships, with the Banshee's Cry useless and later scuttled.


The HP gets gold from the center island, while the gold race fleet salvages what they can.


After clearing out the western island, the HP headed east to intercept the final coins sailing home in the opposing fleet. However, she lost a skirmish and was captured! Here the Bonnie Liz transfers individual coins to the Sea Crane, who redocks to get a +3 bonus on each coin. This was the gold race's best chance at victory, and it could work as long as the rest of UPS 2 (Intrepide and Coeur du Lion) couldn't interfere.


The final coins were unloaded, and UPS 2 had won a 35-26 victory! This broke the previous tournament record (for T1 and T2) of total gold collected in a single game, at 61 gold! (previous high was 55)


The second game started, with the gold race HI in the southeast and the UPS 2 HI in the northeast. The BC has built Dead Man's Point in the center, dumping her French Letter of Marque equipment to make room for more sacrifices.


The fleets accumulate more and more gold via the UPS strategy.


Things started to get interesting. UPS 2 ran out of sac crew for the Hai Peng, who shadowed the BC and managed to dismast her (sending that CJS to the northern wild island via Jonah). The Intrepide and Coeur are sailing to the northern wild island.


The HP tries to steal the BC's coin, but manages to lose the boarding party! The Sea Crane stays docked to protect her valuable gold bonus crew. This makes Genny Gallows (aboard the Sea Crane) a "stay-at-home mom". (I wonder what Sean thinks of that? ) The Bonnie Liz sails to the fort and grabs the gold there. The Rover stalks the Intrepide and Coeur up north.


The Hai Peng sets up a sort of blockade of the gold race HI, leading the Bonnie Liz to seek shelter in the fog and wait for a good die roll to come out. The Sea Crane waits for her. Captain Jack, even the opportunist, seizes the chance to grab Powder Pete (traded earlier in the game via the other CJS to the southwestern island), in order to sac him. The Rover rams the Coeur derelict to get at the Intrepide.


The Intrepide has a mast rammed off by the Rover, before returning the favor to end the threat. In the southeast, further disaster for the Hai Peng! She went after the Bonnie Liz, who came out of the fog eager to hand off coins to the Sea Crane. With a handful of terrible die rolls (typical for me of course), the HP is eventually captured as you can see in the next photo...


... as all three 2 masters race to stop the Intrepide from accumulating more coins and bonuses. I finally managed to calculate that grabbing the final coin from the northern island and towing the Coeur home (she also had a coin aboard) would take 7 turns, compared to 8 turns if the Intrepide explored the Coeur, took that coin home, and then went back out for the other one. Exploring the Coeur and then going to the island (or vice versa) and taking them both home at once wasn't a good option, since I had also calculated/estimated that I needed the +2 gold bonus from Aristide on both coins (which was proven correct in the final gold totals). Hopefully this gives some insight into how competitive these tournaments have been - not so much between myself and Xerecs, but more between the fleets themselves. There's been plenty of math and deductions going on, with estimates and projections changing every turn based on the changing conditions of the game. The level of play is extremely high, evidenced by the very very high, very very close scores. Normally I wouldn't do so much before one action, but this turn got a little extreme and I really wanted to know what was truly optimal. Of course, I didn't factor in the other variable - the gold race fleet was already on its way, which meant the Intrepide had to get ANY coin home as fast as possible, with no time to get both. (pretty much guaranteed to lose both if that was pursued)


In the ensuing skirmish (not quite "chaos" between a few small ships heh), the Coeur was sunk and the Rover recaptured. The Intrepide got a coin home but it probably wouldn't be enough. The gold race fleet was in full control, but didn't want to end the game since they could still get the final coin on the northern island and +3 bonus it. (4 gold vs 1 from Cissey's elimination; capturing Cissey would end the game with no chance to unload him) The Intrepide initially tried to suicide on a reef, but then began fighting Dead Man's Point.


In a brilliant move, Xerecs used the captured Hai Peng to load up an oarsman and the CJS that was originally on the BC (so the HP had two Jack Sparrow's on her during the same game - Multiple Jacks like in At World's End!!). Then he used Jimmy Legs to sac the oarsman and redock, NOW using CJS's ability to flip the coin to the Sea Crane way in the south, who unloaded it for 4 gold total. To end the play, the gold race fleet was now free to end the game, and that they did, with the fort blasting the Intrepide apart and getting 1 gold from Cissey's elimination.


The final score was 34-28 in favor of the gold race fleet! The series was tied 1-1. This also rebroke the record set earlier in the day of most total gold in a standard game, with 62.

For the third game of the series, the gold race fleet rolled to go first, just as in the first game (and they went first in the second game too since they lost the first game). The home island locations happened to reverse, and we set sail!


Once again the BC built Dead Man's Point on the center island, which forced the Hai Peng to go around the perimeter. The HP was Hidden Cove'd (copyright lordstu) to the southwestern island but skipped it entirely, sailing north to the western island.


The HP and BC got busy trading, with the HP continuing to circle the center island by moving to the northern island, much to Xerecs' dismay. Paradis was built on that island, and the BC turned away.


The sickening speed of the Hai Peng was soon on full display. She sent another coin home before saccing to dismast the Rover, and then moved on to the southwestern island (finally returning to it) on the next turn. Honestly, sometimes there's just not much you can do against a ship like the Hai Peng with the right crew setup.


Another example: the Hai Peng is running out of crew to sac, but catches the Sea Crane right before she gets home and dismasts her. This is when it was time to get wild, with strategies going out the window and the desperate endgame situations kicking in.


Here is when it happened. The Banshee's Cry scored a hit. With CJS aboard and desperate times calling for desperate measures, the BC somehow dismasted the HP with a shot and ram! Importantly, the BC stole back the coin the HP had stolen from the Sea Crane. The Bonnie Liz came out to help the Sea Crane, while the Intrepide and Coeur looked on from afar in confusion and disbelief.


Then, another bizarre thing happened. While attacking the Coeur, the Banshee's Cry couldn't shoot due to carrying treasure, the same treasure that she stole partly as a result of her earlier hit.

The Coeur eventually sank, and the Intrepide once again tried to fight a fort. This time, she would survive at least in the interim, since the gold race fleet was trying to get the 4 gold from Paradis rather than settling for the 1 from eliminating Cissey.


The battles at the forts continued after a brief break, caused by yours truly messing up and pasting the entire eBay spreadsheet into the chat box lol, causing my VASSAL window to freeze and crash. (this can happen even if you don't submit the message, so beware)

Paradis is massively overpowered and unsurprisingly put up a great fight against the gold race coalition of 4 ships, besting all 3 comers! To complicate matters further for the gold racers, the Intrepide had just finished taking out the guns of Dead Man's Point, so it would only be a matter of time before she loaded the fort's former gold and sailed it home for a reversal of fortune and momentum. The Bonnie Liz put a stop to all that by ramming the Intrepide to end the game!


As you can see from the gold, it was a very high-scoring game! UPS 2 wins 37-31! This game set yet another record (rebroken for the 3rd time in 3 games, all in one day) for the most total gold unloaded or scored in a standard (40 point) game, with 68! This means we had well over twice as much gold than when the game started!

Between that (averaging gold scores in the 30's, like what??) and the overall effectiveness of the strategy, these are absolutely two of the best fleets of all time. It's interesting that UPS 2 holds a 2-1 advantage despite the gold race fleet going first in all 3 games, but that was partly due to the Periscope situation in Game 1. The future holds more excitement, for at least one more game will be played between these two fleets. The winner of the series advances to the finals!
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Darrin's Gold Race fleet (#8 seed) (commanded by Xerecs)
vs.
UPS 2 (#5 seed) (commanded by a7xfanben)

Game 4

My horrendous dice luck continued at a near-unprecedented rate, starting with losing the roll to go first. The gold race fleet uses Hidden Cove to send the Banshee's Cry to the center island.


The Hai Peng was Cove'd to the western island, and she continued south from there, exploring two islands in the same turn.


UPS 2 built Paradis de la Mer, and the gold race fleet responded by building Dead Man's Point in the northeast.


This is where things started to get interesting - with a scarcity of crew to trade with Captain Jack Sparrow, both fleets would need to scramble to secure victory. The Hai Peng lurks in wait for the Banshee's Cry and/or Rover, who could be coming home with gold soon.


After a change of plans, the HP instead attacks the Sea Crane, nearly losing the battle due to my bad rolls in the process. The ship is captured, and the Intrepide comes out to tow her home. The Coeur grabs an oarsman in the northwest, while the gold race fleet gets bonuses the hard way with the Bonnie Liz.


Suddenly all ships of UPS 2 are headed home, as I realized the HP could simply tow the Sea Crane back at S+L+S speed. In addition, the 5-gold payout from the Hag's Ransom keyword was greater than the potential 3 the HP could get at the southwestern island. Finally, it allowed the Intrepide to go back home and not risk being vulnerable to the gold race fleet while towing at S speed.


The HP repairs and speeds out to the southwest, where she trades home the final coin that she had found earlier. Then UPS 2 appears to sail straight for Dead Man's Point.


Battle for the fort! My die rolls continue to defy belief, and Dead Man's Point and the gold race fleet quickly gain the upper hand. Before the Rover was dismasted by a shot from the HP, a ram roll failed with a 1. You really can't make this stuff up.


Eventually 3 of the fort's 4 guns were silenced, but not before the HP was captured and most of UPS 2 dismasted. Xerecs didn't have amazing die rolls this game, but naturally the Banshee's Cry hit once again with a 6 to dismast the HP. (An outsider wouldn't be crazy to think that the module is biased against me.) A final shot rang out, and the game was over!


The final scores:
1. Darrin's gold race: 38 gold
2. UPS 2: 31 gold

With that, two more records are set! 38 gold is the new high score of any fleet in a single game, beating the 37 that UPS 2 collected in the previous game of this series. The 69 total gold breaks the previous record of 68, also set in the previous game.

The series is now technically tied at 2-2, but it's more like 2-1 in favor of the gold race because of the Periscope dilemma that ruined the first game. However, UPS 2 still hasn't gone first in any of the games. Between these factors and the close scores, it's incredibly unclear which fleet is superior. Stay tuned for more!
 
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I guess it's rematch time then!
 
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marhawkman wrote:
I guess it's rematch time then!


Indeed. Xerecs is quite busy with a variety of things, one of which is his Century of Economy campaign game that has just started. T2 will continue at a slow pace for now unfortunately.
 
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