I played the first 4 player 80 point game. Overall, it was a fun game, although very one-sided. The order of play went: Pirates, English, French, Americans. The Americans swapped the Paladin back in for the Bartlett, while the English swapped some generic Cursed crew in for Edward Low. No terrain was used for the first game, but I'm using a bunch for the second game.
HMS Algiers got an extra action on the first turn and took a mast off the Royal Rover. The Triton, Frontier, Swift, and Queen Anne's Revenge quickly explored islands. The Royal Rover retaliated by dismasting the Algiers, although she lost the boarding party (and therefore her helmsman), thus denying Blackbeard a chance at capturing a crew and turning it into gold.
The Obago then captured the Algiers, intending to bring the ship back to use it for the Pirates later in the game. The Baionnette would sink the captured Algiers, but not before the Pyre rammed off one of the Baionnette's masts. The Locker also got to work, ramming the Belle Poule, who would be sunk on the same turn by the Lord Cauldwell.
For the Americans, the Frontier and the Nene Nui explored islands in the southern half of the sea. The Americans got lucky in the HI setup, picking first and getting the most well-positioned island that ended up as the most isolated of the four HI's, and therefore the most conducive to acquiring treasure.
The Royal Rover missed the Patagonia while she was grabbing gold from a northern island. The Patagonia (with her lone 2L gun) actually managed to dismast the Royal Rover over the next two turns as the Rover missed on the next turn as well. The Obago, angry that the Baionnette had sunk the Pirates' new ship (the Algiers), dismasted the French two master and captured her as well.
The Pyre rammed the Tunis derelict, but the Triton brought back a gold coin for the French. Off in the east, the SCS Santa Lucia shot a mast off the Queen Anne's Revenge, who was coming home with a coin aboard. The Swift and Queen Anne's Revenge docked home their gold, and simply sat there for a turn because both Santa Lucias (including the HI-raiding OE version) were in the vicinity.
The Pyre surfaced to sink the Tunis and the 4 gold she carried. In a bold statement that crushed Pirate morale, the Triton sunk both the captured Baionnette and the Royal Rover on the same turn.
The Frontier and Nene Nui docked home their treasure loads, with 9 coins between the two ships. It was obvious that the Americans had the advantage in the game, but with the English weakened (from losing the Algiers) and far away from the American HI, and with the French and Pirates completely at odds with each other, there wasn't much that was going to stop the Americans.
Out of nowhere, the Obago sank the Pyre, leaving the English with just 3 ships remaining, although this would go down to 2 after the Triton sunk the Patagonia.
Seeing the Pirate ships at their HI, the two Santa Lucias had turned around and sailed south to check out a wild island, the same one that the Queen Anne's Revenge had taken one coin off of. Still with a grudge against the French, the Pirates now looked to the HI-raider of their fleet, the Queen Anne's Revenge. She used an extra action to move within docking distance of the French HI, where she would dock on the next turn and pick up the 4 that the Triton had left there earlier in the game. The Triton responded by taking out two of the three masts on the Revenge while the Pirate ship was still docked at the French HI.
Meanwhile, the Locker and Lord Cauldwell ventured into American water, where they knew they stood no chance against the powerful USS Mercury, escorting the Frontier back home. They managed to sneak around to the south and catch the slow-moving Paladin and sink her after a few turns, costing the Americans an additional 7 gold. The Nene Nui had gone to the same island that the Santa Lucias docked at, but the SCS version blew two masts off the American junk. The Nene Nui aggressively responded by ramming straight into the OE version, dismasting her, and taking one of her two treasure coins. The SCS version would now finish off the Nene Nui, ending the skirmish.
At this point, the Frontier had gone out for a final treasure run to grab the last three treasure coins, signifying that the end was near.
Back up north, the Triton was gallantly fighting a losing battle against the Obago, Swift, and Queen Anne's Revenge. The Swift and Obago went 2 for 6 against the Triton, leaving her with one mast left. Still able to move and shoot, she dismasted the Queen Anne's Revenge and triumphantly stole back her original coin as the Revenge tried to sail away. The Queen Anne's Revenge used an extra action to make two boarding attempts, although they ended in a tie and a lost Pirate helmsman. However, it was too late for the French, as the Swift made the French schooner a derelict and the Obago began towing her.
The Lord Cauldwell and Locker desperately wanted to get at the American duo of the Frontier and Mercury, even though they knew it was too late. The Mercury surfaced and shot a mast off the Lord Cauldwell, who couldn't do anything in return with just one mast (the Mercury ignores the first hit she takes each turn as long as she has all of her masts). The Locker surfaced to attack the Frontier, but both her boarding rolls and gun rolls failed, upon which the Frontier docked home the last gold coins on the next turn to end the game.
The final gold count:
1. Americans: 26 gold
2. Pirates: 9
3. French: 2
4. English: 0
I'm looking to play the second game of this series tomorrow! The first fleet to win two games will be declared the overall winner.
1/12/14: The second 4 player 80 point game was played. The fleets would go in reverse order from the last game: first the Americans, then the French, English, and Pirates. Terrain was used, although it unsurprisingly was not a factor.
This shows the sea just before the game started. Clockwise from the upper left, you can see the Pirate, French, English, and American home islands.
The English were also wary of the success of the American fleet. The Lord Cauldwell rammed the Frontier, while the Algiers tried to hit the Frontier coming out of the fog. The die roll made her come out on the wrong side, however, so the Algiers would have to wait. The Pirate ship Obago would now dismast the Frontier, while the Royal Rover sailed up and took two masts off the Paladin. However, the Americans were able to salvage part of their situation. The Paladin used another extra action to sink the Queen Anne's Revenge with one move action, and dock home safely with the next. The Nene Nui ducked into a fog bank to escape further harm.
At this point, the USS Mercury decided to showcase her considerable power. After coming to the surface, she hit the Obago twice (including once with a firepot) and rammed off a third mast, not to mention using her 2L guns to take a mast off the durable Lord Cauldwell. HMS Algiers now towed the Frontier and connected for a hit on the Mercury. The Pyre (in the English fleet) rammed the Obago derelict.
From left to right: the Paladin repairs at the American HI, the Nene Nui avoids the Royal Rover by going into a fog bank, and the battle between the Pirates, Americans, and English rages on as the Mercury enters the fray.
In the meantime, the Royal Rover dismasted the Mercury (for the first time ever) and began towing her comrade, the Obago, who managed to put out the fire. The Nene Nui docked home 3 gold coins for the Americans while the Paladin repaired.
To the north, the SCS Santa Lucia dismasted the Swift with her firepot specialist, but the Swift was in S of her HI and put it out on the next turn by rowing home. The Belle Poule and Tunis brought back more gold for the French. The Triton and Baionnette went a combined 1 for 4 against the Locker, who responded on her next turn by hitting the Triton and trying to ram the Baionnette. The English forgot that the Baionnette's masts can't be eliminated by ramming. The boarding party against the Baionnette ended in another four French crew being eliminated, but despite the power of this ability, it would not help the English much in these games.
Continuing the English vs. French rivalry, the Pyre rammed the OE Santa Lucia just as she was looking to steal gold from the HI of the Pirates (especially since the Swift was derelict and wouldn't be able to defend the gold she had brought back). The Pyre would then surface to actually shoot at the Santa Lucia, but she missed both times.
The Royal Rover dismasted the Lord Cauldwell, and used Blackbeard to capture the English captain aboard the Cauldwell, to be turned into gold if the Rover could make it to her HI. Making the plight of the English even worse, the Baionnette and Triton finally outlasted the Locker and sunk her to the bottom (to Davy Jones' Locker!). The Pyre would now be dismasted by the SCS Santa Lucia and sunk by the Royal Rover. On the next turn, the Paladin sunk the Lord Cauldwell. The Algiers did manage to bring back the captured Frontier, giving them 5 gold coins, a huge amount for a fleet with just one treasure runner (the Patagonia brought back just one gold for the whole game).
At this point, the game was winding down. The Swift was fully repaired. The SCS Santa Lucia created more problems for the Pirates by ramming the Royal Rover and taking the captured English captain for herself (unaware that captured crew that had already been captured would not be worth gold unless the capturing ship also had the ability that Blackbeard has). The Rover promptly rammed the Santa Lucia and stole the captain right back!
The Paladin used an extra action to dismast the Algiers, who was going back out after bringing home the Frontier, giving the Americans some level of satisfied revenge for the English taking their prized gold ship. Up north, the Nene Nui took the last coin off the last wild island. The Swift hit the Nene Nui twice, leaving her with one mast. In an odd coincidence, the Belle Poule, Baionnette, and Triton all came home with gold for the French on the same turn. The Swift hit the Nene Nui twice more on the next turn, sinking her to end the game.
Here's the action just two turns before it was all over. To the left, the Swift approaches the Nene Nui. The Santa Lucia has set the Royal Rover on fire, while the Rover abandoned the Obago to fight the Spaniard. The French are about to dock their final treasure coins, while the Paladin has dismasted the Algiers just north of her home island.
This shows the fleets at their home islands at the start of the game. Clockwise from upper left: Americans, Pirates, English, French. The short distances between islands made for a smaller gaming area (a good thing if you need to play on a table) as well as a good game.
The Pirates sent Blackbeard (on the Royal Rover) after the Paladin and her 9 point crew, Peregrine Stern. Getting revenge on the French, the Obago now dismasted the Baionnette, and the Queen Anne's Revenge sunk her. The Paladin dismasted the Royal Rover before she could attempt to board the American three master, as the Nene Nui came home with three coins for the Americans. The SCS Santa Lucia captured the Royal Rover and set the Paladin on fire. The Triton brought home a coin for the French.
The action as the game stood at this point:
However, the rest of the English fleet were able to continue their concentrated assault. The Locker surfaced and sank the captured Royal Rover before the French could tow her home. The Pyre rammed a mast off the SCS Santa Lucia, but the Lord Cauldwell predictably missed the Tunis both times in an effort to sink her.
The Queen Anne's Revenge now stole a coin from the American HI, while also dismasting her fellow Spanish HI-raider in the OE Santa Lucia. Just to the north, the Obago captured the Frontier, giving the Pirates a huge prize if only they could tow her back to their home island. The Nene Nui rammed the Algiers, taking out a mast and her oarsman.
The Mercury finally surfaced, taking two masts off the Queen Anne's Revenge. To the south, the Tunis brought in gold for the French, while the Triton sailed to an untouched wild island just south of the French HI. The Pyre and Lord Cauldwell pursued the Triton, with the Lord Cauldwell eventually connecting to take out the mizzenmast of the Triton. The Locker submerged and headed east.
In the north, the Frontier is fought over as shots ring out elsewhere:
The Queen Anne's Revenge brought back the coin she stole from the Americans, a rare example of a successful home island raid!
The Tunis repaired as the Triton brought back another coin for the French. The Pyre and Lord Cauldwell both failed in their ram attempts to damage the Triton. The SCS Santa Lucia dismasted the Nene Nui, leaving the Americans with just the Mercury and therefore no way to acquire more gold (subs can't tow).
For the Pirates, the Swift had brought back three coins during two different gold runs. The Queen Anne's Revenge (with one mast remaining) grabbed a coin to empty an island near the Pirates' HI. The Mercury, still mad about having her home island robbed, proceeded to set the Revenge on fire as she was dismasted.
The game entering its final stage:
In the south, the Triton was blasting away at the Lord Cauldwell as the Tunis grabbed the last two gold coins in play from a southern island. The Pyre surfaced and shot at the Tunis, leaving her to depend on oars once again.
The Obago started towing the Frontier, and sunk the Nene Nui for good measure. The Frontier was moved to a new position when the Obago towed her, placing her out of range of the Mercury, who didn't want to see the formerly American gold docked at an enemy home island. However, the Locker was a bit closer. She went around an island and had two guns in range of the derelict Frontier. The first one missed, but the second one connected, forcing 13 gold to the bottom of the sea! The Swift managed to transfer the gold from the Queen Anne's Revenge, but the Mercury sunk the Swift before she could dock it.
One turn before it all ended:
The final gold count:
1. French: 12 gold
2. Pirates: 8
3. Americans: 5
4. English: 0
The game would have ended in a 10-10 tie if the Swift had returned with the 2 aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge and the Pyre had sunk the Tunis and the 2 gold that she was carrying.
With their second victory in this multiplayer series, the French have officially won! Their 80 point fleet seems to be the best of the four, winning even in the face of tough odds, as the English dogged them all game long. Their 40 and 60 point versions were soundly beat by the English, so I would say the best 40 point fleet would have to be the Americans, with either the Pirates or English having the best 60 point fleet.
For this 3 game series, the French win two games, the Americans one, and the English and Pirates zero apiece.
I'm looking forward to recreating the Moonlight Battle on Thursday night! Therefore the pics probably won't be posted on MT until late. Thanks for reading!