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Subject: VASSAL Tournament #2 continues with 5 games rss

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Find me on the Pirates CSG VASSAL module
It's a Pirates' Life for me!
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)
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)
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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