Instead of one or two huge games, there will probably be mostly smaller actions. The fleets may be very competitive. I'll definitely try out Norvegia. There may be a long tournament of standard games, although I'm not really sure quite yet.
8 fleets have been created, and they are all standard 40 point fleets designed to win. I tried to put together just about the best stuff I had from each faction, without using the same exact fleets I've used in the past. There will be a tournament, with each fleet squaring off against another fleet in a series of three games. Here are the fleets:
English: HMS London, Aberdeen Baron, HMS Hound towing the Gibraltar flotilla.
French: Le Bonaparte + the French trio of super-runners: L'Artesien, Le Bon Marin, Le Pique.
Spanish: La Santa Isabel, La Joya del Sol, El San Jose.
Pirate: Neptune's Hoard, Bloody Jewel, Banshee's Cry.
American: Ghost Walker, Carolina, Rattlesnake.
Cursed: Grim Reaper towing the Death's Anchor, Sea Rat.
Mercenaries: Shui Xian.
Barbary Corsairs: Tiger's Eye, Algiers, Carthage.
Half of the first round has been completed. The Pirates lost the first game to the Shui Xian, but quickly recovered and took both of the final two games to win their series. The Spanish soundly beat the Barbary Corsairs 3-0, but the Corsairs probably could have won the final game.
For the other first round series, the French will face the Cursed, and the English will take on the Americans.
The French have just completed a three game sweep of the Cursed. However, the games were very hard-fought; the Cursed didn't do as badly as they usually do.
The English have beat the Americans 3-0, completing the first round of the tournament.
For the semifinals, the Pirates will be pitted against the French while the English take on the Spanish.
In the first series of the semifinals, the Pirates beat the French in all three games. Even when the French went first, the Pirates still got to the islands faster due to their sac crew.
In the second series, the English beat the Spanish two games to one. The third game came down to the wire, with the Gibraltar's guns proving to decisive.
The final round will see the English take on Norvegia!
The Pirates took the first two games of the final series, beating the English.
For the third game, I decided to mix things up to see just how good the Pirates are. The English were automatically the first player, and they made the Pirates' HI next to their own.
On the first turn, the London and Hound (towing Gibraltar) moved towards the Pirates. The Star of Siam and Banshee's Cry went off to get treasure as usual (as did the Aberdeen Baron). Normally the Neptune's Hoard goes to a wild island on the first turn (and she can get there because of the sacced action), but it was obvious that the English would be able to fire upon her after she docked. Instead, she moved and shot at the London, using the extra action to eliminate all 4 of the London's masts.
After the Hound (who didn't have a captain) moved it into position, the Gibraltar shot at the Hoard and took out 3 of her 4 masts. By this point, the Aberdeen Baron was returning home with 8 gold, 2 of them from Smuggled Goods. The Star of Siam had grabbed some gold for the Pirates, and the Banshee's Cry used it to build Dead Man's Point on the middle island, which she had just explored. Afterwards, the Cry used Screw Engine to move to the last wild island, the only one yet to be explored.
The Hound wanted to finish off the Neptune's Hoard, but the Hoard still had plenty of crew left to sac. She zoomed away to assist the Cry in emptying the final wild island. The Hound used to the Gibraltar to destroy Dead Man's Point, and the gold left over was soon picked up by the Aberdeen Baron.
The Neptune's Hoard sacced all of her crew (other than Captain Blackheart) to get home in just a few turns, staying out of range of the Extended Range guns of the Gibraltar. The Star of Siam also sacced the rest of her crew to pick up the last two gold coins from the island she had explored earlier.
Since she didn't have any sac crew, the Banshee's Cry was stuck moving at L+L+S speed (so slow!) to get home, with both Barbary Banner (worth 5 gold) and another coin aboard.
Now things got a little crazy: this was the best part of the tournament. The Hound had just finished destroying Dead Man's Point, but the fort had got off a shot, which took out 1 of the Hound's 2 masts. The Hound and Gibraltar would be able to cut off the Cry before she got back home. However, the Hoard took Don Pedro Gilbert (the sac crew for the Star of Siam) away from the Star, and sacced him (a sac crew saccing another sac crew since there weren't any others left) to move within range of the Hound, and she also moved so that she blocked the Hound. With her final mast, the Hoard dismasted the Hound, and the Cry was safe to run home. However, the Aberdeen Baron had the gold from the middle island, and was also racing home. In the end, the Banshee's Cry was able to get home first (only because of her helmsman, however), giving the Pirates the narrow victory!
The Pirates' Norvegia fleet proved to be the best of the bunch, winning even in the face of tough odds. They have won the tournament, but I think I'll test the fleet against my HMS Grand Temple fleet.
The HMS Grand Temple fleet beat this fleet in all three games. The GT was able to crush the treasure runners before they got back home. The devastating UT's helped a bunch, but the English still won the third game despite not using the UT's.