Each fleet gets 20 points to start the game. There will be 18 islands to start the game, with 6 being HI's. Extra islands may be added if more wild islands (and therefore, more colonies) are desired (think underwater volcanoes). I'm going to use a bigger space for the ocean than usual, for the first time in a few years. I'd like to be able to take pictures, but no promises. There will be plenty of terrain, and some of it will be strung together. There is truly a "Frozen North", with 6 icebergs located at the northern end of the sea, as well as a tropical, "Sargasso South". This area will be sort of like the Caribbean, with plenty of sargasso seas and reefs.
The home islands will be the capital islands, with each capital island consisting of 3 islands put together, since there will be 4 buildings on each one, as well as the gold coming in and the new ships being built. I'm using the houses and palaces from Monopoly to represent the city halls, taverns, fortresses, and shipyards. Colonies will be represented by a house, or two houses, if the colony is upgraded.
One of the biggest changes to the game is an idea I've had for a while (but have yet to play-test): in order to make the game more realistic, it takes two hits to eliminate one mast. Basically, every ship gets the Acorazado's ability, with the modification that the hits don't have to come from the same shoot action. I've always been a bit puzzled by the combat system of this game. The idea came to the forefront when lord_denton started this thread. The other new concept introduced in this game will make things even more realistic: Back in the age of sail, it was extremely difficult to sink a ship during combat. Unless a ship was blown up, burned, or scuttled, most ships would stay afloat as derelicts. To implement this point, there could be a house rule requiring that extra hits be scored on derelicts in order to have them sink. Maybe once a ship is derelict, she must be hit 5 times before she goes down. Also, I've made a rules change regarding shoot actions: instead of having derelicts sink after they've been hit the same amount of times as they originally had masts, I'm going to double it. In this way, it takes 2 hits to sink a derelict one master, 4 for a derelict two master, and so on.
Since I don't want to have UT's appearing on capital islands and colonies, all of the UT's that will be present in the game are in the initial pool of 36 coins. In this way, there are only a few actual gold coins right now, but that will eventually change once things get going.
I've thought about loosening the restrictions on the upgrades for the Americans and the Cursed, but I'm not sure how that will work out quite yet.
I think that to start, each nation will receive a quest every 5 turns, but they won't receive the first one until the 5th turn (this may change). I still have to think of more ideas for quests, and about how to scale the amount of the reward based on the difficulty of the quest.
For now, colonizer crew will cost 3 points each, unless I hear otherwise. The city halls on the capital islands will generate 2 gold per turn, not 3 (both numbers were in Sariouriel's original post), in order to incentivize colonizing and not sitting at your HI.
Also, Risk infantrymen and artillery pieces will be available, but I'm not looking for them to play a huge role (these modified rules are from my first thread here!):
Infantrymen units(cost one point): They can be stationed at home islands or on wild islands. A player with an infantry or artillery unit on an island is occupying the island. The infantrymen are eligible for invasions/shoot actions. Invasions: An invasion counts as a general action. Therefore, a ship cannot dock at an island and invade that same turn unless her ability lets her dock and explore in the same move action.
The infantry units act as returning fire, not as an actual cannon. When an enemy ship fires on them, and misses twice in a row, one mast from the enemy ship is eliminated. Boarding parties: When an enemy attempts to invade, they roll on a boarding party as normal. For the designated infantry unit, roll a d6 and add one. If the ship has the higher result, the infantry unit is eliminated and the controller of the ship is allowed to place one of their own infantry units from that ship on the island. Each infantry unit represents one short-range three-rank cannon, for land combat(these cannons can only shoot at other infantry/artillery units). An infantry unit is not allowed a land shoot action the turn it is landed successfully. Infantry units take up one cargo space.
Artillery units(two points): Can be used in invasions, and can be stationed on island or at harbour. On land, they are a long-range two-rank cannon and require two hits from the same infantry shoot action to be eliminated. They can shoot at enemy ships as a regular shoot action, and are mobile(you can position them at any place on the island for optimum range), but cannot be given any extra actions. Artillery units take up one cargo space.
Through the first 5 turns, each fleet has had some good and bad things happen. The English are looking to establish colonies, but discovered Wolves on an island to prevent them from taking the other treasure on it. The French have been the last fleet to get to the islands they've gone to, so they haven't brought back any gold. The Spanish have found some UT's with their native canoes, but the San Jose is being sidetracked by Maps of Hades. The Pirates had the Banshee's Cry thrown across the ocean by Message in a Bottle, but they also got Lost, which let them put sargasso seas underneath the Bon Marin, Carolina, Rattlesnake, and Viper's Bite. The Bon Marin and Viper's Bite are still stuck. The American ship Rattlesnake has just explored an island, and the Carolina is moving north after the Bloody Jewel explored the island the Carolina was going to explore before she could do so. The Cursed are heading south of their HI, towards the direction of Paradise Island.
Quests are not going to be used, at least for the time being.
Here are some pictures to show the general layout of the sea:
This first one is an overhead shot looking northeast from the southwest. You can see the Cursed HI to the north of the galleys (the red building is the fortress), with the English HI just to the northwest. To the northeast of the English HI are the French, with the Spanish HI to the east of theirs (just to the left of the tin).
The English were the first to colonize an island, sending the Hound with a colonizer and 5 gold to an island east of their HI. They also used the Sea Tiger and the newly built Starbuck to colonize an island to the south of their HI. They got a musketeer for the Antelope, which she used to kill the Wolves on a northern island. In order to load the Sunken Treasure UT, the Antelope dumped both her musketeer and helmsman.
However, before the Hound could get to the island, the French got there first. The Artesien stole both crew on the island, while the Emeraude colonized the island (the Artesien had an explorer). The Dijon is sailing southeast in search of gold. Meanwhile, L'Amazone put an explored marker on an island that the Spanish had already taken gold from, making it easier for them to colonize in the future, if they choose to do so.
The Spanish sent the San Jose through a whirlpool in search of gold. They bought the Alquimista and crewed her with a colonizer, helmsman, and explorer. She moved south and explored an island, and now she's waiting for the native canoes and their 5 gold to arrive at the island.
The Pirates have built the Bonnie Liz, and her and the Bloody Jewel are looking for treasure farther away from their HI. The Coral and Banshee's Cry are teaming up to colonize the easternmost island, the one closest to their HI.
The Americans have had interesting UT adventures. Their turtles are almost back to their HI, and they've launched the Argo, who is headed to the island turtles was on with the Rattlesnake, in hopes of creating a colony on it. The Carolina was the first ship in the game to lose a mast, but it was due to a MI effect, not a shoot action. She found the Cross of Coronado, Barrel o' Monkeys, and Buried Treasure on the same island. When she left the island, she had to put the Buried Treasure back (due to the monkeys), via a die roll to determine which UT would be left behind.
The Cursed Corsairs were off to a slow start, but they've picked up their pace. They built the Tiger's Eye, and the Queen of Sheba has some UT's on her. The Viper's Bite is partway through a crazy adventure to one of the southern islands near Paradise Island. The MI effect took out her only mast, but it only got weirder from there. The three treasures on the island: Enemy of the State (ship gains the Mercenary keyword and can't dock at her HI), Pandora's Box (the first time I've ever used it in a game), and Smuggled Goods (which is useless when there aren't any coins with gold values on them). Via Pandora's Box, the each player chose a UT to put on the Viper's Bite. Normally, this would produce 5 bad UT's and 1 good one (in a six-player game). However, the fleets all tried to get in the Cursed's good graces by putting positive UT's on the ship. Trees got her mast back up, while Homing Beacon and Frond of Fisaga should boost her speed. Ammunition gave her Stinkpot Shot, and now she's ready to go!
6/16/13: Some more interesting developments have unfolded, and the first sign of tension has appeared.
The English have gained some gold from their colonies, with the newly launched Alexander working with the Starbuck to transfer gold from their two colonies to their HI. Some of that gold has been used for upgrades, as the English have both their shipyard and tavern at level 3. They are the first fleet to purchase a named crew, the ROTF version (captain + helmsman) of Hermione Gold. The Hound and Sea Tiger are off to try to colonize at least one more island, to the east of their HI and just south of the French HI...
However, the French have other ideas. The Artesien, Pique, Amazone, and Dijon are all headed to the same island the English have their sights set on. The Dijon is missing her mizzenmast after going through a whirlpool near the Americans' HI, after picking up the Buried Treasure that the Carolina had to leave behind. Now the UT is worth 5 gold, enough to make a colony (the Pique has a colonizer). Also, the Bon Marin finally rolled a 6 to get out of the Sargasso Sea she had been stuck in for ~10 turns, and now she's taking some of the gold off the lone French colony, with the Coeur du Lion sailing in her direction to help. It looks like the Anglo-French situation could boil over as soon as next turn, with the French having a numbers advantage at the current time.
The Spanish have done well to colonize an island south of their HI, and now three native canoes are grabbing the gold produced and taking it back to their HI. The other two native canoes and the Alquimista are heading north towards a MI that the Spanish hope to colonize. They've bought the Algeciras and crewed her with a captain. The San Jose is off on her own in the southwestern part of the ocean, near where the Cursed Corsairs are sailing towards Paradise Island.
The Pirates have had a rough few turns. The Bonnie Liz, after sailing unharmed through a whirlpool to get to a mysterious island near Paradise Island, was dismasted by the MI effect. The Rover had her only mast taken out by the same whirlpool, but she has since been scuttled and rebuilt (as she only costs 2 points). The Bloody Jewel went through a whirlpool west of the one previously described, in hopes of exploring Paradise Island. However, with the Cursed Corsairs having their entire fleet in her vicinity and the Bonnie Liz in need of assistance, it looks as though the Jewel has changed course, and is sailing east instead of south, towards the Bonnie Liz. The Banshee's Cry is heading north from the island that she and the Coral teamed up to colonize. The Coral is taking the first few coins produced by the colony back to her HI. The Pirates spent 10 gold to build the Raven, and she has loaded up 5 gold, sailing northeast to meet the Cry at another wild island the Pirates have explored, but not yet colonized.
The Americans have used the 10 gold from Turtles to build the Mohican and equip her with a captain and helmsman, making her the first true gunship on the ocean. She is headed for the MI that the Carolina originally explored, with her and the Carolina carrying 5 gold between them. The Argo is sailing to meet them there with her colonizer. Meanwhile, the Rattlesnake is ferrying gold from the colony to their HI.
The Cursed Corsairs are starting to look pretty good. The Tiger's Eye just became the first ship to dock at Paradise Island, with the Viper's Bite, Griffin, and newly built Algiers close behind. The Queen of Sheba has loaded gold from their HI and is headed south with a colonizer.
After a few more turns, the English have decided to play it safe and not combat the French in a battle for that wild island. The French have colonized it. The Spanish have built the San Pedro, giving them two fast ships that have the +2 gold bonus. The Americans have their second colony on the Carolina's original island, where the Argo rolled a 6 on the effect, letting the Americans move the Pirate schooner Raven into a Sargasso Sea. The Cursed Corsairs have used Homing Beacon to dock the Tiger's Eye at their HI, where she unloaded both a 4 from Paradise Island and Smuggled Goods. In this way, the Cursed took in 28 gold in one turn (24 from the two treasure coins, since the 4 was tripled from Paradise Island's rules, and then doubled by Smuggled Goods, and then 4 from their city hall), giving them the opportunity for the first spending spree of the game. They added in the 8 gold that was already on their HI and spent it all on the Meshud, Tripoli, and Carthage, along with two helmsmen and a captain. Now the Morocco is the only Corsair ship left for them to buy, and then they'll start delving into the Cursed stuff. Also, the Viper's Bite, Griffin, and Algiers are all starting to sail for home with more gold from Paradise. To make their turn even better, the Queen of Sheba gave them their first colony.
6/17/13: A few turns later, and the English have built HMS London and crewed her with Hermione Gold (ROTF). She has sailed north and demolished the French colony in the northwest corner of the ocean with the first shoot action of the game. She also dismasted the Coeur du Lion, and now the Hound is docked there. She is waiting for the newly built Lady Provost to arrive with her 5 gold.
The French have turned their gold efforts to their one remaining colony, and they've built L'Heros for their first gunship.
The Spanish have built the Concepcion (who gets the +2 gold bonus) and crewed her with a helmsman, Capitan Alarico Castro (SM version-SAT), and Vaccaro, their 0LR reroller. They have a pretty good money generation system going, and they also bought Luis Zuan (MI) for future use.
The Pirates have colonized the easternmost island with the Coral and the Banshee's Cry, but now the Raven is stuck in a Sargasso Sea and the Rover is the only ship available to make treasure runs. They've just upgraded both their tavern and shipyard to the third level.
The Americans are looking to make their third colony, near the Pirates' HI. Last turn, they used 20 gold to buy the Dark Fox (S+S+S) and Brandywine (S+L) to make gold runs to and from their two existing colonies.
The Cursed Corsairs have just made their second colony on the island northeast of Paradise Island, the one that the Bonnie Liz was dismasted by. The Queen of Sheba is now ready to start making gold runs. Coincidentally, she is the only one of the Cursed's 8 ships to not be in the same place at the same time. The three ships returning from Paradise are currently sailing past the four ships going out, creating a logjam that wasn't expected this early on.
Also, I've made a rules change regarding shoot actions: instead of having derelicts sink after they've been hit the same amount of times as they originally had masts, I'm going to double it. In this way, it takes 2 hits to sink a derelict one master, 4 for a derelict two master, and so on.
6/19/13: There has been more action in the game. The English had their colony in the northwest corner of the ocean (the one the London destroyed) taken out over the course of two turns by L'Heros, while the London was sailing south. She quickly turned around and sailed towards the French three master. In the meantime, the English had launched another ship, the Hyena. The Hyena swapped crew with the London, giving the bigger ship the captain and helmsman, while Hermione Gold became the captain of the Hyena (to save space). The Heros sank the captured French sloop Coeur du Lion, who was being towed by the Hound. Next, the Hound transferred the Dry Powder UT to the London, giving her the potential for a double shoot action. She wouldn't need it, however, since the English launched another gunship, the HMS Nautilus. The Nautilus, Hyena, and London teamed up to dismast the Heros (remember, it takes two hits overall (not necessarily from the same shoot action) to eliminate every mast). To the south, HMS Rye, Sea Tiger, Starbuck, Antelope, and Alexander (all one and two masters) are all busy running gold from the colonies back to the English HI.
After the Heros was dismasted, the remaining French ships that were headed to support her (not true gunships) turned back to the east. The French are struggling to produce results with just one colony in operation. They did launch L'Auguste last turn, and she's got a captain and helmsman, as well as +1 to her cannon rolls against English ships (something tells me that wasn't an accident ).
The Spanish are one of two fleets remaining (the other being the Cursed) to not have been in combat thus far. Their gold generation system is working well, between the native canoes, Alquimista, San Pedro, and Concepcion. Each of these ships has either a +1 or +2 gold bonus, and since they are sailing to and from their two colonies (one to the north of the Spanish HI, and one to the south) at the same rate that gold is being produced, each coin brought back is getting a bonus. They've recently launched the Santa Ana (SCS version) and Santo Columba, two formidable gunships with crew to match.
The Pirates are better off than they were about 10 turns ago, but they're still struggling with a mix of good and bad. On the bright side, they've managed to build the Darkhawk II and send her out to bring back gold. The Bloody Jewel and Bonnie Liz are finally back home after their fruitless whirlpool expedition to the southwest, where they never even reached Paradise Island. The Raven and Banshee's Cry have also stopped in to drop off unused gold.
However, the Americans have foiled their plans for a second colony. After the Banshee's Cry left the island to bring gold back home, the Coral stayed behind to load the first three coins produced by the colony. However, this made her a sitting duck for the nearby Americans. The Mohican (guns of 2S, 2L, 2S) came in and rammed the Coral, taking out her lone mast. The Mohican hit all three times on the colony, with only one more hit needed to destroy it. Out of desperation, the Pirates used the gold produced by the colony to upgrade it to the second level. However, the first shoot action only had one successful roll, so no masts were eliminated. The Mohican scored two more hits, and then the colonists fired back successfully. Unfortunately for them, however, the Mohican had Cross of Coronado, so she still has all three masts up. On the Americans' turn, the Mohican wiped out the colony once and for all, with the Coral as her prize. Realizing that the Americans were a much bigger threat to them than they had previously thought, the Pirates have built the Windjammer and the Doombox flotilla.
The Rattlesnake is headed to her HI with gold from the Americans' third colony. The Americans are doing well, but they are struggling to maximize their gold income, with gold on the colonies piling up and reaching the 5 gold maximum before ships can take it home. For their second gunship, they've purchased the Concord, who gets +1 to her cannon rolls against Pirate ships. She is crewed (coincidentally, not on purpose) with Stephen Decatur, whose flavour text shows his hatred of Pirates. She is also carrying Ralph David, a 1 point Eternal crew who is Hostile to Pirates . These two factions are clearly not getting along!
In the southwest quarter of the sea, the Cursed Corsairs are steadily accumulating gold without launching any real threats, at least not yet. Five galleys are heading home with gold, with four of them coming from Paradise Island. These galleys are carrying the last of Paradise's coins, and I wasn't planning on letting Paradise be colonized. I'm not really sure what to do with it yet, or what (if anything) will become of it.
Here we're looking ENE with the HI of the English in the foreground. You can see the Heros repairing, with the newly launched Aberdeen Baron just beyond her. Further east, the London and Nautilus have successfully deterred the French (at least for now) from attacking one of their colonies. To the left of the London, the Auguste (who's just turned around) and the rest of the French fleet are visible.
The Spanish have made the most upgrades to their capital island, with their tavern at level 3, their shipyard at level 4, their city hall at level 2, and their fortress at level 3. Only their shipyard hasn't been given the maximum upgrade. They launched the Santa Isabel last turn, giving them yet another ship with the +2 gold bonus. They've been the most consistent faction in the game, mostly because their gold system hasn't been interrupted at all. The Algeciras and Santa Ana have teamed up to destroy an American colony between the HI's of the two nations. The Santa Ana used an extra action to take out one mast on the Brandywine and both masts on the Argo, who is carrying three treasure coins. The Brandywine has since begun towing the Argo, but is still in range of the Santa Ana.
The Pirates are continuing to be aggressive, sailing the Windjammer (and the Doombox that she's towing), Raven, and Rover out of the comfort of the Sargasso South. The recent launch of the Revenant brings into play the first five master of the game! She's got Captain Blackheart aboard, along with a helmsman, exploding shot, and two crew to sac.
The Americans were on the verge of colonizing their fourth island, but things are taking a turn for the worse. Now they're down to two colonies after the Spanish took out the one northwest of their HI. The Mohican may have trouble getting home at S+S speed (since she's towing the Coral), for the Pirates are almost upon her. The Concord is in the vicinity, but she doesn't have a helmsman, relying upon Stephen Decatur's extra action to double her base move of L.
Here's the situation in the southeast, with a nice view from the main topmast of the Santo Columba. The town hall marker that was on the nearest island is gone (courtesy of the Algeciras and Santa Ana). You can see the Santa Ana dominating the Argo and Brandywine, although she lost a mast to the lone cannon on the former colony. You can make out the Carolina approaching and the Rattlesnake leaving the American HI. Beyond the Carolina is the (blurry) Mohican, towing the Coral, with the Concord and Windjammer to the right. Off in the distance, the foreboding black sails of the Darkhawk II and Revenant characterize the upper right part of the picture.
6/21/13: After a few more turns (31 turns total up to this point), the English have launched HMS Endeavour, although for now she is only crewed with Admiral Morgan and world-hater Norrington. She will eliminate a mast for every hit, due to her powerful ability. The French have launched La Corse, a four master that takes two hits to eliminate every mast. In this way, she'll need to be hit four times to take out one mast! She also has Lenoir onboard, giving her fabulous defences against enemy ships. The Spanish have launched El Cristal del Obispo, while the Santa Ana has begun towing the American ship Brandywine. The Santo Columba is towing the Argo, with the Algeciras nearby. The Pirate ships Revenant and Windjammer are sailing west towards the southernmost American colony. The Americans have launched the Enterprise and crewed her with plenty of generic crew along with Gus Schultz, making her Eternal. The Cursed Corsairs are almost ready for another turn of buying, with the Queen of Sheba the last ship in the treasure rotation to return to their HI.
6/22/13: The game is really starting to slow down, at least in terms of how long it takes to complete a turn. The game started with 120 points of game pieces on the ocean, but after 30+ turns, the fleets have expanded quite a bit, and now it takes quite a while to go through one round of all 6 fleets. However, this is mostly a good thing - this game was supposed to be huge!
The English are truly at war with the French. The Hyena and captured L'Heros were sailing towards the French HI from the west, but hesitated when the French launched La Corse on that side of their HI. The Endeavour is making her way toward the current battle, which is taking place at the lone French colony. That is, it was the only French colony, before the London and the Nautilus annihilated it. These two ships have also managed to inflict damage on the Emeraude and Amazone, but they've been hit in return. The Auguste scored a fire mast hit on the Nautilus, but the French are really in trouble. On top of their current predicament, the English have launched HMS Grand Temple!
Here's a picture of the engagement, with the Nautilus on fire after the broadside by the Auguste. The London has knocked out the colony as well as masts on the Emeraude and Amazone. The dice are used as damage counters, since it takes two total hits to eliminate each mast. In the background, you can see how close the French HI is to the colony, with the Corse sailing north. In the upper left, the Hyena and Heros are looming.
The Pirates and Americans are still in pure hatred of each other. The Concord and the Revenant are dueling right now, with the Revenant getting the better of the action so far. The only thing the Concord has been able to do is kill a sac crew on the Pirate five master, while losing two masts (including one to fire) in return. The Americans have launched the three masted schooner Jarvis (her first action in at least two years!), and she's sailing at the rear of an impromptu battle line of three ships, with the Mohican and Enterprise as her fellow gunships. The rest of the Pirate fleet is close by, so there could be a hot action coming soon! Also, the Pirates launched the Cursed Blade and the Shamrock.
Here's a nice shot looking to the southeast, giving a good view of the battle between the Revenant and Concord (on fire). To the left are the other American gunships heading toward the Pirates, who are sailing northeast to try to reestablish a colony. The Windjammer escorts the Banshee's Cry, while the newly launched Cursed Blade rounds the peninsula of sargasso seas.
This one doesn't need much of a caption! The impressive new Cursed ships leaving home.
This picture shows the Anglo-French battle in its last stage. The London is about to tow the Emeraude, while the Amazone (with 3 hits out of 4 on her "hull health") and Dijon are about to be sunk by the Endeavour and Grand Temple. To the northwest, the Hyena has seen better days after a drubbing by the powerful Corse.
Here's a picture of the Spanish fleet, with the north at the top of the picture. You can see the Santa Ana and Santo Columba towing the two American ships back to their HI, while the Cristal del Obispo and Algeciras are out in front of the newly built Resolucion and Monte Cristo.
The other part of the battle has also been exciting. The Jarvis scored a fire mast hit on the Rover, and she has since been scuttled. Then, the Pirate ship Windjammer (and her flotilla, the Doombox) took out two masts on the Jarvis while the Banshee's Cry and Shamrock both tried to flee the area. Originally the Windjammer had been escorting the Cry so that she could set up a colony on an island, but with the Windjammer occupied, the Mohican struck. She has dismasted both the the defenceless Pirate treasure runners, although only the Cry had any gold on her. With the Darkhawk II sailing out of the Sargasso South to assist her fellow fleet mates, the Pirates may flip the battle again. However, the Americans have saved up gold on their HI and may be about ready to launch a new gunship.
Here's the Pirate-American battle in the early stages. The Revenant has barely begun shooting, while the Rover burns to the waterline. The Windjammer is about to turn around and attack the Jarvis at the left. In the upper left, the Mohican has rammed and dismasted the Shamrock. To the right, the Cursed Blade tows the Concord as the Darkhawk's sails fill with wind.
37 turns have been played, and there are many still to come!
6/28/13: In the Frozen North, the French Soleil Royal has captured HMS Hyena, and she has just finished repairing. Also, the Royal took out the last mast on the London, setting her ablaze. Before that transpired, the Corse was quadruple-teamed by the London, Heros, Grand Temple, and Endeavour. Lenoir could only cancel one captain per turn, and the assault on the ship began. Requiring 4 hits to take out each mast (and two when the Endeavour was shooting), the Corse was dismasted after a furious shootout. One of her masts actually fell due to an iceberg, with the Endeavour finishing her off. The Endeavour then captured the French four master, but it remains to be seen what the English intend to do with her.
To the west, there has finally been a conflict between the English and the Cursed Corsairs. Their home islands have always been uncomfortably close to one another, but somehow they've made it work, with the English getting gold to the north and east, and the Cursed getting gold to the south. However, the Cursed have had enough of this "friendly neighbour" business. The recently launched Grim Reaper and Executioner joined the Flying Dutchman and the Divine Dragon in a fog bank, waiting for the right moment to strike. However, the English had taken precautions of their own to guard against the unwelcome possibility of a Cursed attack, launching HMS Victor and HMS Gallows to escort the English treasure runners (Sea Tiger, Starbuck, and the Rye) to and from their colony southwest of their HI. I still don't own an English canceller, so the English paid 7 gold to buy Christian Fiore (the Mercenary canceller). He boarded the Gallows, who took on the Eye of Insanity UT from the Antelope, who had discovered it earlier in the game. The Gallows grabbed a shipwright with the sole purpose of using him for the Eye. This UT, as you may already know, lets you use the abilities of a Cursed crew that is in play, rather than the ability of one of your crew. With All-Powerful Davy Jones in play, it's been a no-brainer so far, with the Gallows getting two actions per turn. However, the Cursed used a 6 from the real Jones to make the Gallows shoot at her own treasure runner, the Sea Tiger, taking out a mast. Then the Cursed gunships sailed out of the fog and attacked! However, the captain abilities aboard the Divine Dragon and the Flying Dutchman were both cancelled by Fiore and the built-in cancel ability of HMS Rye. The English didn't escape this first attack unharmed, however. The Grim Reaper took out a mast on the Victor and killed Sir Christopher Myngs in a boarding action. The Executioner had horrible luck with her die rolls, inflicting just one hit (that didn't take out the mast) on the Rye.
The Cursed gunships looming in the fog bank. The Gallows and Victor wait patiently, while the newly launched Leicester is about to turn around and go head east, and then south.
The Spanish appear to be building an armada. Just in the last few turns, they've launched the Asesino de la Nave, Leon, Reconquistador, Sirviente, and their new flagship, the legendary Acorazado . To the southeast, the Alquimista has established a third Spanish colony where an American colony formerly was. The Resolucion and Monte Cristo have caught up with the Cristal del Obispo and the Algeciras, who have finished wrecking an American colony and dismasting and capturing the American blockade runner Dark Fox.
New and old ships of the ever-expanding Spanish fleet. The four masters in the foreground are the Santa Ana and the Santo Columba, with the newer ships in between them.
The Americans used their gold savings to buy the Constitution (OE version) and the Ghost Walker (windcatcher with built-in canceller). Those two are sailing north towards the Spanish, who have now taken out two American colonies, leaving them with just one left (and that one has already been destroyed once by the Revenant). When the Spanish took out the first one, the Americans were occupied with the Pirates and didn't want to split their forces. Now that the Pirates appear to be the stronger foe, plus the fact that they never got revenge on the Spanish, the Americans have turned their attention to the Spaniards.
Here's a picture looking towards the Sargasso South from the former American colony. In the foreground, the Spanish are about to capture the Dark Fox. South of them, the Enterprise repairs while the Ghost Walker and Constitution set out for revenge on the Spanish. To the left, the Darkhawk II captures the American schooner Jarvis, while the Windjammer captures the Mohican. On her way back to her HI to repair, the Revenant passes by her fellow five master from the Spanish Main, the Harbinger.
6/29/2013: Due to other factors in my life, I will have to end this game prematurely. In order to speed things up, city halls and town halls will not produce any more gold. As a result, the game should quickly turn into a large deathmatch. This is not how I wanted things to go, but I can't spend the time necessary to play this scenario with my current situation.
6/30/2013: I've removed all the treasure from the ships, capital islands, wild islands, and colonies. Now there's only an epic battle standing in the way of the winner of this game!
If the game ended right now (under, let's say, a 41 turn time limit Embarassed ), this is how the fleets stack up, including captured ships and crew.
1. English: 343 points
2. Spanish: 319
3. Pirates: 223
4. Cursed: 202
5. Americans: 90
6. French: 35
There's almost three groups of two in terms of fleet sizes, although the Pirates and Americans would be almost equal if not for the Pirates' recent captures of American gunships.
All in all, 1,212 points on the ocean. Not bad for a cumulative game that's taken a few weeks thus far. I just wonder what the total would be if the game was played to true completion...
I'll probably do the bulk of playing out the battle-to-the-death on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. I should have some more reports to do, and hopefully some good pictures as well!
7/2/2013: With all the gold out of the game and no more gold being produced, there has been immediate, intense fighting. Each fleet tried to gather itself at least a bit, but for the most part ships just started sailing in the direction of their enemies and attacked!
With some of the English and Cursed ships already engaged in battle, they were the only group not to have their sailing plan dramatically altered by the sudden turn of events. With four Cursed gunships against the two English, the Cursed had a decent advantage. However, it was an extremely hard-fought contest. The Gallows outdueled the Divine Dragon, using her makeshift Davy Jones shipwright to maximum effect. She was also able to use Christian Fiore to cancel El Fantasma, so that the Dragon couldn't move-and-shoot, let alone sac a crew to shoot twice. The Dragon managed to take out the remaining mast on the Sea Tiger, and she has since been scuttled. The fleets have generally been scuttling their derelicts, since there won't be much, if any, time to tow them back and repair them. They are just dead weight getting in the way. However, some of the bigger gunships that are derelict are being fought over, since they can still be valuable (and they can block lines of fire). After dismasting the Dragon, the Gallows used Jones' extra action to move around the big junk and send the Death's Anchor to the bottom.
The ship astern of the Gallows was the Victor, who came under attack by the Grim Reaper, who has slightly better guns. The advantage of the Reaper's guns (plus the fact that Myngs was gone, so the Victor couldn't get a SAT) bore itself out over the course of a few turns, with a furious gunfight seeing the Victor lose all three of her masts and the Grim Reaper lose two of her three masts. Next in line were the Rye, towing the Gibraltar, and the Starbuck. These small obstacles were no match for the likes of the Executioner and the Flying Dutchman, who dismantled them in short order, but not before the Dutchman lost two masts. Soon after this, the nearby English treasure runners Hound and Lady Provost sailed toward their damaged comrades in an attempt to help out, but it was too little too late. The Dutchman hit both with successful broadsides, dismasting them.
Next, the Gallows rolled a 6 with her All-Powerful shipwright. The Executioner shot up the Flying Dutchman, while the two Cursed ships tried to make their way over to the powerful Gallows. The Gallows canceled the Dutchman's captain and took out two more of her masts, before falling victim to the overwhelming numbers advantage that the Cursed now enjoyed. The Grim Reaper continued to mercilessly pound shot after shot in the Victor, until she was so severely damaged that she sunk. The Corsair galleys Viper's Bite and Queen of Sheba came along to tow the Gallows and Divine Dragon, respectively.
The Cursed had won the battle, but not the war, for the English ships they had captured and sunk were only a fraction of their entire fleet. The rest of their fleet was split into two more squadrons, with one group of damaged gunships (the Endeavour, towing the Corse, the Grand Temple, the captured L'Heros, and the Antelope towing the derelict London) sailing west from their eastern battle against the French that saw the Soleil Royal sunk, and one group of somewhat random ships farther to the south. This group includes the Leicester, Nautilus and Alexandria (towing the Tower flotilla) among its gunships, with the Aberdeen Baron and Alexander also in the mix.
Here you can see the Cursed after their victory over the English (you can see that my mast removal is somewhat random, as the Gallows and Divine Dragon are actually derelict; six and ten masted junks are generally the only ships I almost never remove masts from during the game). The red dice are basically damage counters, with the number of hits each ship has taken. When I actually remove the masts, I just put one die on ships that have had a hit scored on them that doesn't remove the mast, or the first hit of the required two. The Grim Reaper has narrowly beaten the Victor, while the Sea Tiger (to the right) is about to be scuttled.
As of the latest turn, the Corsair galleys sailing parallel to the southern English squadron have attacked, while the biggest Cursed and English ships try to make it home to repair.
Here you can see the entire English vs. Cursed situation, with the ships from the first encounter breaking up to the west at the left side of the photo. The fully built ships on or adjacent to HI's are actually sunk. To the northeast, damaged English gunships return home from their battle against the French (the Grand Temple should be missing two masts). To the south, the second battle of this war is just starting.
If you thought that the English/Cursed action sounded hot, wait till you read about the eastern battle!
On the other side of the ocean, the Spanish and their relative armada (having the most overall ships of any fleet entering today's turns) sailed south towards the Americans and the Pirates. Things quickly deteriorated and spiraled out of control. For one thing, the Americans hate the Spanish in this game. The Spanish don't like the Americans. Most of all, the Pirates and the Americans have a passionate hatred of each other. With the three fleets all in the vicinity, things got ugly in a hurry.
The Americans only had six remaining ships, but they were prepared to fight to the death. The Enterprise finished repairing and used an extra action to move to the front of the American battle line. Following her were the Ghost Walker and the Constitution. They also owned the Carolina, Rattlesnake, and captured pirate sloop Coral, but they would be non-factors. The lead Spanish ships were the Asesino de la Nave, Cristal del Obispo, Resolucion, and the Monte Cristo, with many more ships (including the Acorazado, Santo Columba, and Santa Ana) sailing closely behind. The battle is going on right around the American home island.
To start things off, the Asesino de la Nave shot up the Enterprise, using her cargo-wrecking ability to kill many of the crew aboard the legendary American five master. With the Cristal and Resolucion following the Asesino, the Enterprise was under extremely heavy fire within one turn of the action. There is a whirlpool just to the northwest of the American HI, and this prevented the other American gunships from coming to her immediate aid. Cannonballs tore through limbs as splinters flew through the air, with a considerable amount of carnage soon evident. The masts and sails of the Enterprise littered the waters where the battle began, and she was set alight by a firepot shot from the Cristal del Obispo. Things were getting very cramped, with ships pressed for space and engaging each other at extremely close quarters. Sight was limited from the smoke from the guns, and any verbal orders were drowned out by the constant thunder of hundreds of cannon.
With the Enterprise a burning hulk, the Spanish moved on to other ships. The Monte Cristo engaged the Ghost Walker at extremely close range, locking two ships with fantastic cannons in a death struggle. The Ghost Walker prevailed and dismasted the Monte Cristo, but not without the help of the Constitution, whose captain was finding maneuvering extremely difficult with a whirlpool on his starboard bow and the Monte Cristo on his port side. Eventually the Constitution began towing the Cristo in order to get her out of the way, while the Ghost Walker moved on to face the Santa Ana. The Santa Ana, one of the first Spanish gunships, saw her as a serious threat and treated her as such, taking out her two remaining masts with her first broadside of the battle.
Just a few turns into the battle, and the chaos has started. The burning Enterprise is raked by Spanish gunships, while her fleetmates the Ghost Walker and the Constitution are stuck. You can see how close the ships are, with the whirlpool and American HI making things even more cramped. To the south, the Asesino and Acorazado shoot holes in the Carolina's hull, while the Pirates start entering the battle.
The dense "forest of masts" from the main topmast of the Windjammer, still in the early stages of the battle.
To the north, more Spanish ships (mostly non-gunships) are pouring into the battle, with the Santa Isabel, San Jose, Brandywine, and Argo (with the latte two having been captured from the Americans) sailing around the whirlpool to engage the Constitution, Cursed Blade, and others. At one point, the Spanish had captured the Enterprise, but they have since released her, giving the Constitution a chance to recapture her.
As described, more Spanish ships enter the action. The San Jose and the derelict Monte Cristo are in the center.
My personal favourite picture from the battle so far, showing most of the action with good quality:
In the west, the English overwhelmed the Cursed with numbers, using the Endeavour and Grand Temple to dismast both the Executioner and the Grim Reaper. The Flying Dutchman was soon derelict as well, and the English captured her and the Divine Dragon and recaptured the Gallows in order to have both Davy Jones' in their fleet. The Leicester, Aberdeen Baron, Heros, and Alexandria teamed up to sink the Corsair treasure runners, with the Queen of Sheba, Morocco, Carthage, Meshud, and Tiger's Eye all going to the bottom. The Fallen Angel was also sunk, and the Cursed Corsairs were no match for the powerful English gunships. With that, the English began sailing east to face the victor of the eastern battle.
Here's the western battle, showing the English in a position of dominance.
The carnage of a naval battle, with the Constitution on fire.
Instead of going around the west side of the American HI, where the two Spanish five masters used to be, the Darkhawk II, Concord, and Revenant went around the eastern side, where the Darkhawk quickly getting shot up by the Santa Isabel, Algeciras, and Brandywine. The Spanish eventually sunk her with the help of the Sirviente, but not before the Darkhawk took out two more masts on the Isabel (leaving her with one) and dismasting the Algeciras. The Concord towed the Cristal and was ripped apart by the Santo Columba and the Sirviente. With every Pirate ship but the Revenant and the Banshee's Cry taken care of, the Spanish wearily turned their attention to these final two ships.
Looking to the southeast, showing the area where some of the most heated action took place earlier in the battle. At the top left, the Cristal is about to be captured.
Some of the Spanish fleet sailing south to try to catch up with the Revenant:
Looking from the main mast of the Alquimista, the two remaining fleets gather their forces for one last epic conflict.
The game was finally finished up today. The Endeavour started the final battle by sinking the captured HMS Hyena, officially knocking the French out of the game.
Now it was just the English and the Spanish. The iceberg that took out the Acorazado hit the Santa Isabel, taking out her final mast. The next ship in line was the Argo, a two masted treasure runner. She was no match for HMS Leicester, but the Santo Columba was third in the Spanish line. Now the Spaniards' best ship, she acted as a flagship for this battle to the death. The Argo started towing the Isabel before she was dismasted, creating a physical block to gain the lagging Spanish ships some extra time before the rest of the English fleet was upon them.
As the Endeavour sailed along as the easternmost English ship, the westerly ships came into action. The Heros and damaged Nautilus were first, followed by the Alexandria, towing the Tower. L'Heros took out a mast on the Santo Columba before having one of her own masts taken out. Before the Nautilus and Alexandria could do any damage, the Spaniards' second-best ship, El Leon, sailed into the fray. Guns blazing, she took out a mast on the Heros and a mast on the Nautilus. She finished her attack by ramming the Nautilus to take out her last mast. This was a great effort by the Spanish, but they simply lacked the firepower to compete with the English. The Alexandria used a double action provided by Beckett to move-and-shoot twice, dismasting the Leon and pulverizing the San Pedro. Then the Leicester came around the iceberg and raked both the Concepcion and the San Pedro, dismasting both ships.
At this point, the battle was tipped heavily in favour of the English, but they still had to finish strong. The Santo Columba moved away from the Heros to take on the Grand Temple, who was missing her two short range guns from the earlier battle against the French, which now seemed like ancient history. However, the Temple prevailed in this fight, crushing the Spanish flagship. Meanwhile, the smaller English ships, Antelope and Alexander, captured both the Argo and the Santa Isabel.
Here you can see the battle in an early stage. The Endeavour (upper left) has just sunk the Hyena, while the English have gone around the obstacle created by the Argo and the Santa Isabel. The Santo Columba duels the Heros, while the Leon attacks the Nautilus. In the upper right corner, you can make out the hull of the Alquimista, the last Spanish ship to enter the battle.
Victory at last! The English have captured or dismasted every Spanish ship, with the Endeavour finishing off the Alquimista to end the game (you can see the Ghost Walker, but not the Alquimista, as she's dwarfed by the English five master).
This was a good game, and I definitely like the scenario that Sariouriel created. It is very long and time-consuming, but I would recommend it if you like big games. I still wish I could have finished it the proper way by playing it out, but who knows how long that would take. Maybe someday I'll play it again and have the time to finish it. Three weeks later, and there is finally a winner to the Century of the Empires game!
I forgot to mention that it ended up taking a total of 62 turns. As for the battle report, I feel that the pictures made this one of my best battle reports I've done. Maybe not my personal favourite (since the one at Pojo has a lot of good ones), but it was good to document how things went visually.
For anyone looking to try this game, I would seriously recommend that you set aside the time necessary for it. It's not your regular "game night" 2 hour 40 point game. It's an epic game that could be almost infinite in length. I didn't realize how long it would be, or else I would have waited until a few weeks from now (when I don't have as much going on) to start it. However, it was still quite fun and entertaining. Hopefully someday I'll be able to do it true justice. Thanks again to Sariouriel for the chance to play this beast of a game.