Today I started a seven-player 40-point game. I tried to use mostly my new stuff, especially in terms of ships, and I am using 20 islands (half mysterious) and 21 terrain. The combatants: English (HMS Victoria and Aberdeen Baron), French (Conquerant, Aquilon), Spanish (Cristal del Obispo and San Pedro), Pirate (Lady's Scorn, Belladonna, and Lightning), Americans (Blackwatch and Argo), Cursed (Poor Adams, Fallen Angel, and Death's Anchor), and Mercenary/Corsairs (Forward, Algiers, and Griffin).
The action began, and the English began sailing northwest towards a treasure island. The French, with the Conquerant moving 6S (S+S with helmsman and EA w/reroll) became separated. They realized they were playing more for fun because they had no gold ship(s), so they wanted to create chaos (more of a fun fleet to try out my only Bombardier). The beautiful Cristal del Obispo escorted the San Pedro to the nearest wild island. Then the Pirates departed, followed by the Americans, Cursed, and Mercorsairs, who immediately ran into bad luck-the Algiers was hit by an iceberg, leaving her with two masts.
Three actions quickly developed: The Lady's Scorn took out two masts on the Forward, but the Forward retaliated with her Fire Shot equipment, scoring a fire mast and another splintered gaff mast. Next turn, the Scorn took out the remaining two masts on the Forward, but now has two fire masts and only her mainmast to guide her.
Meanwhile, just to the north, the Conquerant missed with her flamestrike cannon, but hit with her others, taking out the remaining two masts on the Algiers and one on the Griffin. The galleys fled for home and plan to rescue the Forward. The problem for the French was that the Conquerant was in the way of the English, and so the next turn the HMS Victoria promptly sunk the new ship to get her out of the way.
To the south, it looked as though the Blackwatch and Cristal del Obispo would be content to escort their treasure ships to islands and back home, but the feisty Americans became restless (and reckless, perhaps?). The Blackwatch moved closer to the Spanish ships, but was burned badly. With the help of a helmsman, the Cristal moved S+S+S and took out three masts on the Blackwatch. The Blackwatch has 2L guns with world-hater (TWOS HIT), however, along with EA from Commander Stephen Decatur. The die roll gave the big American gunships two shoot actions, and the guns hit three of four times, taking out three masts on the Cristal, so now both ships have two masts remaining.
To the west, the Cursed one-master Fallen Angel is towing the Death's Anchor, using it to dismast the American Argo (now with no help because the Blackwatch is too far away), who has been captured by the Poor Adams.
The Lady's Scorn was able to return home safely and remove her fire masts, sinking the Forward on the way by. The HMS Victoria sunk the Aquilon after finishing the Conquerant, so she single-handedly took out the French fleet. Then the Victoria moved on and sunk both the damaged Barbary galleys, the Algiers and the Griffin.
The duel between the five-masters Cristal del Obispo vs Blackwatch ended with the Blackwatch sinking the Spaniard with her more effective guns. This left the Blackwatch with only one mast, which was quickly eliminated by the Death's Anchor, and then she was captured by the Poor Adams. The Cursed wanted to tow their new ships (Argo was captured as well) home and repair them and set them loose, but were alarmed to realize the Pirates' strategy. The Belladonna snuck up on the Spanish harbour and used her ability to take all of the Spaniards' gold! The San Pedro tried to stop her, but she was rammed and boarded by the swift Lightning. As the San Pedro limped back home to her now-empty harbour, the Cursed appeared to the west of the Pirates looking for a fight just as the newly repaired Lady's Scorn sailed in from her short battle with the Victoria, who she almost dismasted with four hits. The battle was on, with the Belladonna ramming and boarding the Fallen Angel, taking out her one mast and shipwright she planned to use to repair it. The Lady's Scorn then missed with all four of her guns! That's why it pays to pay for world-haters. The Cursed retaliated as Pirate morale sunk. The Poor Adams sunk the Lady's Scorn over the next few turns as the Death's Anchor dismasted both the Lightning and the Belladonna.
Sadly, this brought the action to a close, with four of seven (more than half) fleets now unable to give any possible future actions to their ships (French and Mercorsairs sunk, Pirates sunk and derelict, both American ships captured by the Cursed). Time to count treasure. What wasn't as exciting as the battles was the superb performance of the English five-master Aberdeen Baron, hauling in coins worth 18 gold, as much as the next two fleets combined! With a large cargo hold, built-in explorer, and the help of a helmsman, this ship was lucky to be unscarred after all the carnage. The Spanish came in second, the San Pedro bringing in gold after the Pirates stole her first runs' worth. The Pirates came in third with gold aboard the derelict Belladonna. The Cursed came in fourth with two coins aboard the captured Argo. The French, Americans, and Mercorsairs came in dead last with a comination of bad luck and bad strategy. Finally the English won, soon I may start a similar game but with double the fleet sizes (80 points).