I've made the fleets for the next series of games! As expected, the matchup will start out with the English facing the French. The English count HMS Algiers, HMS Lord Cauldwell, and the Patagonia as their only new additions, while the French have acquired Le Triton, La Baionnette, and the Belle Poule. The Algiers, Lord Cauldwell, Triton and Baionnette all have captains, with the Patagonia and Belle as the designated treasure runners (although the Triton and Baionnette have cargo space for gold if they want it).
The French started out the game on a gold run. They piled up 13 gold between the hulls of their three ships, and headed back with it. It's important to note that the English (as player #2) strategically picked the middle island to be the French HI, in order to guarantee that they wouldn't have to go far to corner the French.
The Triton, moving faster than any other ship in either fleet (S+L+S), was the first to dock at her HI, bringing home 6 gold. She shot at the nearby Lord Cauldwell as soon as she docked, but the Cauldwell's ability (two hits from the same shoot action are required to eliminate one of this ship's masts) overcame her firepower. Meanwhile, the Algiers went in the direction of the Belle Poule and the Baionnette. The Baionnette punished her by setting her on fire!
Off in the south by herself, the Patagonia slowly brought in 4 gold for the English (she would later bring home 2 more), while the battle up north continued to rage. The Algiers shot at, rammed, and boarded the Baionnette, but all to no avail. With the Baionnette busy and the Triton off to explore a new wild island, the Lord Cauldwell sunk the Belle Poule, giving 3 gold to each nation. Before the Baionnette could do any further damage to the Algiers, the Algiers used her S+S+S speed to catch up with the Triton (now docked at a wild island) and once again, shoot, ram, and board. However, this sequence was much more successful than the first, as the Triton lost two masts and her explorer! The Algiers would have taken one of the recently loaded treasures if not for her full cargo hold of crew.
On the next turn, the Baionnette responded by taking out the second and final mast of the Algiers, whose resilience would show through once again. The Algiers was essentially out of the game for good, but she managed to roll a 5 to put out her fire while simultaneously getting an extra action to move S+S towards home via her oarsman!
Now the battle was in the hands of the Triton, Baionnette, and HMS Lord Cauldwell. As she had two treasure coins aboard and only one mast remaining, the Triton was the main target of the English. The Lord Cauldwell hit once to dismast her but couldn't sink the French schooner. The Baionnette now began towing the Triton, looking to bring her in to dock and win the game (the French had 10 gold on their HI with another 7 on the Triton). The Lord Cauldwell, already near the French HI, sailed in the way of the Baionnette, taking out one of her two masts. The Cauldwell may have been able to dismast the French ship if not for her ability that makes her masts immune to ramming. Here's where the supremely effective ability of the Lord Cauldwell came into play: with just one mast left standing in the French fleet, they had no hope of taking out the Lord Cauldwell's masts by shooting, making the Englishman basically immune to combat (plus the Baionnette didn't want to ram the Cauldwell since she needed to get the Triton's gold home). The Lord Cauldwell dismasted the Baionnette, letting the English tow the Triton and win the game 16-10!
The next two games of this 40 point series have been played. For the second game, the French got off to their exploratory ways right from the start. The Lord Cauldwell missed hitting the Triton, but the Algiers quickly made up for it by shooting and ramming the Triton to dismast her. The Baionnette tried to retaliate by damaging the Lord Cauldwell (the Algiers was not in range), but she needed both of her cannons to hit due to the defensive ability of the Lord Cauldwell. Considering that one of the Baionnette's two cannons is a 4S, she is not the best match to attack the English blockade runner, and this time saw her miss as well. On the next turn, the two English gunships teamed up to dismast the Baionnette.
The Belle Poule docked home just 4 gold at the French HI, while the Lord Cauldwell finished off the Baionnette. The Algiers began towing the Triton, and sprinted 4S away from the Belle with help from an extra action and helmsman. Just before the Algiers got home, the Patagonia docked home 10 gold for the English, having gotten lucky in finding the highest value treasure coins. The Algiers brought home the Triton (and the gold aboard her) to give the English a 17-4 win!
For the third game, the English finally got to go first. The French chose the middle island to be their HI, since the French had not fared well while they occupied the same territory. The Patagonia headed in the opposite direction of the French fleet towards a wild island. The Lord Cauldwell headed west, with the Algiers sailing east. The English were looking to cut the French off regardless of which way they went, but made the age-old mistake of dividing their forces.
The French sailed west, with the Triton shooting away one of the Lord Cauldwell's masts (finally!). With both French gunships sailing with the Belle Poule, you'd think that she would be protected with such an escort. Fortunately for the English, their luck with the dice would soon overcome their early mistake.
The Algiers rolled an extra action, reversed direction, and sailed right into the battle, taking out a mast on the Baionnette and the lone mast of the Belle Poule. Getting revenge on the Triton, the Lord Cauldwell took out a mast on the Triton. Now we had a good old-fashioned shootout!
The Triton missed with her cannons on the next turn, but her captain saw the golden opportunity to ram the final mast off the Lord Cauldwell. Alas, she rolled a 1, with the Cauldwell taking out her second mast on the next turn. Continuing the one-sided dice luck, the Baionnette missed the Algiers with a firepot. Another extra action for the Algiers let her sink the Belle Poule and dismast the Baionnette, leaving the French with just one mast remaining. The Triton sailed away from the Cauldwell and shot away the only mast the Patagonia possesses. The Cauldwell then missed the Triton, but the Algiers was able to finish her off, ending the game with all French ships either derelict or sunk!
Neither nation had brought home any gold, but since the Patagonia still had 6 gold in her cargo hold and the English had more points and masts afloat, they were declared the winner!
Now that the English have defeated the French both times, I will move on to the 60 point variation. However, since the additions used in these two fleets are the only ones I have for the French and English, the fleets will now ally with other ships that I haven't used yet! The French have added the Santa Lucia (SCS version, same ability as the Lord Cauldwell) and equipped her with a captain, and they've also added the Tunis, a Barbary one master that has a built-in explorer (almost the same ship as the Belle Poule). The English have added the Locker, the LE Cursed submarine from MI, and crewed her with a captain, helmsman, and firepot specialist.