It's a Pirates' Life for me!
This game was between 5 fleets at 50 points each.
Here are the fleets in the order of play:
The English were looking to combine extra actions with the Hoist keyword and Commander Temple's capture ability to snatch enemy ships.
A mixed Corsair/Viking fleet had a big focus on gold. With lots of cargo available, the Donar's defensive ability, and HI raider Grim the Savage, this fleet looked competitive.
The French were next - similar to the English, they had a "pokeship" along with a 3 masted ship for gold running. The Grand Vainqueur carried a firepot specialist and reroll ability to increase her effectiveness, while the Auguste looked to get bonuses on stolen coins via Maurice Aristide.
The Pirates had two big bad ships and two tiny cheap ones. The Shadow was at the forefront - she would try to steal gold, using Mysion's Parley ability to escape. The Greed's Hammer would cause trouble for opponents and act as a hybrid, possibly trying to get the +2 bonus on coins the Shadow stole from enemy HI's.
Finally, the Americans. I saw Crenshaw aboard the Saratoga in one of Cadet-Captain Mike's battle reports, and decided to try the combo. Exploding shot and fire shot were added to make the ship more deadly, while the Colonial Trader and Argo would get treasure.
But something odd happened during setup. The crews found no islands to dock their ships at! Instead, ships had to seek shelter in fog banks. To unload gold, a ship had to enter it's home fog bank, and HI raiders would have to do the same. However, since ships cannot be shot at while inside fog banks, HI raiders were invulnerable while stealing!
Drawing from stuff at the bottom of my Game Ideas post, there would be fog home islands.
The MF took the first action of the game, and here she extends her crane to find some gold and a UT.
Moments later, the French strike! Throwing caution to the wind the Grand Vainqueur (GV) goes after the CV fleet, sinking the Donar! The Grendel has been set alight, and it's a terrible start for the new allies.
The Pirates create some chaos of their own, as the Greed's Hammer dismasts the MF! The Hammer had actually gotten Requin's SAT roll, but Thomas Gunn gave him some kind of potion or brew of some sort, and Requin thought better of attacking again.
Continuing the assault on different fleets, the Americans join the fray! The Mermaid is quickly doomed at the hands of the Saratoga's powerful gun battery.
The Turn 1 chaos:
The Corsairs get gold but the GV is intent on destroying their entire fleet!!
As cool as it looks, the GV managed to miss both fire shots, even jamming the flamethrower cannon. Her latter two shots connected to dismast the Dervish.
The Pirates have pulled off an amazing turn. The Fancy explored and found Letter of Marque, meaning a ship could repair inside another fleet's home fog bank. The Shadow got an SAT to grab some gold from that same beach, and then move back to deposit the loot in her fog bank. The Greed's Hammer captured the MF, and the English were down to the Ajax...
And now the Ajax is in trouble! She had loaded some great coins, but the Saratoga sped around the island and set her stern on fire!
After another turn, the French and Pirates have unloaded gold. The GV sank the Dervish and nearly dismasted the Sultan's Sword, who managed to win a boarding party against the Frenchman. The Grendel has repaired, but doesn't want to leave the fog because the GV is so close by. The Saratoga has round earthed to the west, while one of her victims, the Ajax, burns in the east.
Possibly my favorite picture from this game:
After only a few turns, the English are out of the running.
The Grand Vainqueur turns around to finish the job.
It's happened! Likely the first-ever home fog raid! The Shadow takes a coin from the French, and not only can the French not do anything about it on their next turn, the Shadow has Captain Mysion and his Parley ability to protect her if the French do manage to attack.
The Greed's Hammer grabbed the MF's 5 coin rather than tow the ship back home. The Argo dropped off some high value coins for the Americans, and the Colonial Trader is almost back with more.
The Auguste set out to steal gold from the Pirates, but she was caught by the Shadow! The Greed's Hammer came out to assist, and the Auguste was sunk.
The Saratoga's fire shot backfires, but her other 3 shots hit, leaving the GV a burning wreck!
Just like that, the French have been eliminated! It happened in an instant - they looked like one of the better fleets, but now they have no chance at winning, especially after the Shadow stole a coin.
The Pirates' next target was the Americans, who looked to have the most gold outside of the Pirates and potentially the French.
The Saratoga's fire spreads, and the Fancy somehow isn't hit by any shots!
That gave the Fancy an opportunity to do something remarkable - a 1 masted sloop dismasting a 4 masted schooner with a successful shoot and ram. The Fancy had found an abandoned captain the turn before, which was perfect timing. Alas, the Fancy couldn't deliver, rolling consecutive 1's on the shot and ram, and then losing the boarding party 8-7 after both ships rolled 6's. That gave the Saratoga a 5 coin, and to continue the sudden reversal of fortune for both ships, put out both her fires while hitting the Fancy with exploding shot! It was truly a momentum battle, with the Fancy having all the luck early and a chance to win, before the Fancy failed miserably and the Saratoga completely took over. That exploding shot meant the Fancy would burn to the waterline, and also eliminated the abandoned captain lol. A quick turnaround indeed!
The game soon ended, with the Greed's Hammer capturing the Argo and sinking the Saratoga. That left the Colonial Trader, whose slow speed and inaccurate cannons stood no match for the combined might of the Shadow and Greed's Hammer. At the right you can see the Grendel made a late-game dash to steal a fortune from the Pirates, but she didn't stand a chance.
The Pirates had won a considerable victory:
1. Pirates: 29 gold
2. Americans: 19
3. French: 6
4/5. English and Corsair Vikings: 0
This was a fun quick little game. The Pirates simply had the luck on their side. Almost everything went right for them, from the coins they found, SAT luck, and cannon accuracy. Combine that luck with the fact that they're already the best faction in the game, and it's no surprise that they emerged victorious. The coin the Shadow stole from the French was a 6, so they would have won 23-19-12 if not for that raid. The Americans got to pick their fog bank first as the last player, so they had a nice location for the Argo and Colonial Trader to grab gold while the Saratoga went crazy setting no less than 4 ships aflame. It's tough to award an MVS (Most Valuable Ship) here; both the Shadow and Greed's Hammer played perfect games, using their abilities and taking no damage. The Shadow got more gold, but the Greed's Hammer's cannoneers were simply excellent, barely missing at all and dismasting the MF and Argo. The Saratoga and Grand Vainqueur performed well, but the chaos they caused didn't help their fleets win. The French looked great early on, destroying any hope the CV's had. The English and CV's were essentially doomed after a few turns. The Americans played a good game but couldn't compete with the sheer luck and talent the Pirates possess.
I'd like to do fog home islands again at some point - next time I may have them move each turn, like rolling fog!
For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory
Def looks like fun.
It's a Pirates' Life for me!
Def looks like fun.
We could essentially recreate this on the VASSAL module if you'd ever like to play.