Archive for the 'Review' Category

Sailpower! Arr!

Recently, I had the opportunity to try a new game: Sailpower. It’s a ship-to-ship combat game, similar to Pirates, but at a larger scale. And, it’s a lot of fun!

I ran through a quick demo with Dave, a member of the Sailpower demo crew. I was given a British 8-cannon ship (the ship on the right in the picture), and Dave took a similar, American ship. Both ships had approximately 48 crew (I don’t recall the exact number), which could be assigned to either Aloft (in the rigging), on Deck, Repair, ready for Boarding, or Below. Crew on the Deck could be assigned to the Cannons (in groups of 2 or 4), and there was a chance during combat that an enemy shot would take out a Cannon, along with it’s crew. There was also a chance of rolling badly, and a Cannon would blow up, taking it’s crew with it.

I had lots of fun with the game, and I can see a lot of possibilities. I’m still learning, and it’s going to take me a while to wrap my head around the rules.

If anyone else is interested in trying out the same, there will be a Sailpower game at the Soldiery on Sunday, April 19th at 2pm.

Big Sailpower Game

Hoist Away! – Hoist Ships in Pirates of the Cursed Seas

One of the new ships introduced in Savage Shores is the Hoist. This ship has a large, articulated arm on the front that can grab cargo from islands and other ships. This raises some new tactical possibilities in the Pirates game, if you know how to use the new ships effectively. Continue Reading »

Savage Shores Sneak Peek #3

WizKids has posted a third Sneak Peak for Savage Shores, and Woelf has posted a few clarifications in the forums.

First, the new action-ship in the set is called the Hoist. The Maui’s Fishhook ship that I mentioned in my last post is this type. Unfortunately, still no word on what exactly this keyword does.

Another new keyword to show up in this set is Dories. This keyword allows your ship to unload gold when you are S away from your Home Island; a very good ability for the 10 masted Mercenary junks (see below).

One of the new 10 masted junks in this set is the Mercenary ship Celtic Fury. Costing 25pts, and capatined by Eileen Brigid O’Brien, this ship should prove to be a formidable challenge to your opponent. The ship comes with a cargo hold of 7, and the combo of ship and captain has the abilities of Dories, Born Leader (5 or 6 for same action twice), Hostile: England, Ex-Patriot, and gets a +1 to it’s cannons rolls vs English ships.

A new Sea Monster, the Ophidious, has been posted. This 4 segment creature with 4 cannons, moves L+S, and costs just 12pts. For this, you get the Eternal keyword, and the unfortunate ability that if an enemy successfully boards this sea monster, they can “steal” one of it’s segments. The segment can then be unloaded on their Home Island for 2 gold. But, effectively used, this Sea Monster could be a useful addition to your fleet.

Something really new in this set is Native Canoes and Cheiftans. I’m a bit confused on exactly how these new units work, but from the WizKids previews and discussions elsewhere, the Cheiftan keyword gives you 5 Native Canoes that start docked at a Wild Island. Each canoe is fast, with a speed of at least S+S, and at least 1 cargo space. They cannot explore on the first turn, can’t be assigned crew, can’t ram or be rammed, board or be boarded, pin or be pinned, and sink as soon as they are hit. The loophole here is that you could assign Fireshot/Exploding Shot equipment to a bunch of canoes and swarm a larger foe, hoping that a few would survive the foes initial attack (since the canoes don’t have Captains). Supposedly, the Native Canoes have abilities of their own, as do the Cheiftans, so we will have to wait and see how useful these new ships are.

for an extra boost of speed, there is a new Unique Treasure called the Frond of Fisaga. You can reveal it when you give the ship it on a Move action, on a roll of 5 or 6, you get +L+L to you base move. The downside is that on a roll of 1 or 2, the Frond is spirited away by the wind and lands, face down, on the nearest Wild Island.

The new set comes out tomorrow, so at least we wont have to wait long to see the exact wording of the new units.

Savage Shore Sneak Peaks

We’re are less than a week away from the next Pirates release: Savage Shores. WizKids has posted 2 (yes 2!) sneak peeks of the new set in the past week. In addition, ICV2 posted some info about the new sets and ships.

Savage Shores logoSavage Shores is going to be released in “scavenger pack” boxes, not in boosters. In the box are the equivalent of 3 Savage Shores boosters (between 6-12 ships and crew), 1 Fire & Steel booster, 1 Rise of the Fiends booster, one of 6 preconstructed megaships (visible), and 1 card of one of the two 10 masted junks. Luckily, the cards for the 10 masted junks are matched with the megaships, so if you buy 6 packs (one of each megaship), you will have all 6 cards for both 10 masted junks. This also means that if you are only interested in one of the 10 masters, you can collect only the 3 packs that have cards to that ship.

Let’s look at the ships that have been revealed in the new set.

The Ships:
French WindcatcherLibuelle is a French Windcatcher with a move of S+L, a cargo hold of 6, 3 cannons, and costs only 9pts. Between her speed, cargo hold and cost, she’d be a good gold-runner, but her special ability is that she sinks when she loses her last mast. To keep her away from your opponent’s gunships, I’d put a Helmsman on her so that she can sail away quickly from danger, and include the Event Raft in you fleet build to save any gold and crew in case she sinks. Also, you could have the Libuelle tow the French flotilla Mont Blanc to make your opponent think twice about attacking her.

France also gets the L’épée De L’ange (Angel’s Sword). This 4 masted ship only has 3 cargo spaces (but has a linked captain, see below), 2 and 2 cannons, and a move of L. At 17pts, this ship cannons can’t eliminated (although her mast still can be.) She is linked to Baudouin Deleflote, who not only has the Captain keyword, he has the ability to give any ship in your fleet 2 actions (as long as you don’t give an action to the ship he is on), which is a great ability. Although the combo is pricey at 26pts, especially in 40pt games, it might make a nice addition to a French fleet in larger point games.

There are at least 2 new Turbine ships in the new set: the Valeroso for the Spanish, and the Soul Crusher for the Cursed.

The Valeroso costs just 13pts, moves L, has 5 cargo spaces, and has 2 and 1 cannons. WizKids has not released if this ship has any additional special ability besides the Turbine keyword, although at the low cost for this ship, it is doubtful to be a really useful ability.

There isn’t a lot of information about the other Turbine in the set, the Soul Crusher. This ship costs 21pts and has 3 short range #3 cannons. No word yet on cargo space, special ability or speed. I’m hoping that this ship is at least as fast as the Grinder (from Fire & Steel), because I would love to make an all Cursed, all Turbine fleet.

The Pirates get a new Catamaran, the Cannibal King. At 13pts, with a move of L, 5 cargo spaces, 2 guns, and the ability to take treasure on a successful boarding party, this ship is pretty nice.

The HMS Silent Swan is a new English schooner with 2 cannons, and just 2 cargo spaces. But, her base move of S+S is enhanced by her special ability that allows her to add +S to her base move when she is within S of an enemy ship. At just 10pts, add a Captain and Helmsman (or combo, like Hermione Gold), and you’d have a very fast and cheap hit and run gunship.

ICV2 previewed a couple of new ships, but unfortunately, didn’t list any stats. So, here’s what I’ve been able to infer:

First is the Maui’s Fishhook. This is one of the new “action ships” in the set, and it has a double articulated arm on the front of the ship. It costs 21pts, and has 3 masts (all ). My guess is that the hook works a bit like the Scorpion‘s blade, so that if you can move the hook arm to touch any ship after moving, you can steal either treasure, crew, or cargo from any enemy that it touches.

The Speedy Return is an American Double Catamaran. No information on special ability, speed, or cargo space, but we do know that it has 2 and 1 cannons, and a cost of just 13 points, which is 2pts cheaper than the other Double Catamaran in the game, Polaris.

Overall, Savage Shores looks to be an interesting addition to the Pirates line. At least we don’t have long to wait to see how useful the new ships and crew will be.

Steal the Privateer’s Gold!

On August 20th, because it was my birthday, I ran a special event: Steal the Privateer’s Gold. Each player had 30pts to build a gold-stealing fleet. I, as the Privateer in question, had 100pts to defend my island from my opponents. There was only gold on my Island (no Uts), and we ruled that you could load gold immediately upon docking (no Explorers needed). We had 4 players (besides myself), so it was a pretty equal match.

Privateer Island 1

I had been hoping for more players, and because I wanted the players to have a fighting chance, I used an extra large island (which meant I had more area to guard). My fleet had 3 ships: The Zeus, Lady’s Scorn, and the Sea Dragon Angelica. Basically, I used a combination of Lord Mycron and Emperor Blackheart to give Angelica 2 or 3 actions per turn. Her job was to take out the smaller gold runners, and any submarines. The larger ships were left for the Zeus to deal with.

Two players had fleets with subs, so there were 4 submarines sneaking toward my island. Unfortunately, I moved Angelica too close to a small enemy ship, rolled badly and missed my Swoop Attack roll. That left the Sea Dragon vulnerable, and the rest of that enemy fleet pounced and sank her. 4 Subs, waiting for an openingAnd, since she was my only way of dealing with submerged subs, the 4 subs were able to stop just offshore of my island and wait for an opening.

In the end, we came down to a stalemate: the subs couldn’t un-submerge, since the Zeus was sitting close, and I couldn’t do anything to the subs. So, I ended up moving the Zeus a short distance away, to take care of a small gold runner. All 4 subs popped up and loaded gold from my island. Then, I lucked out and got 3 actions on the Zeus, which allowed me to sink 3 of the 4 subs. We called the game then because of time.

I think that the players would have done better if there had been more of them, or if they had coordinated their actions better. If I run this scenario again, I’ll probably cut down teh amount of points that the Privateer gets, or make some sort of sliding scale for balance.

Doubling up Your Shots

Have you ever wanted to have two (or more) Firepot Specialist on the same ship, so that you’d have more of a chance of burning an opponent’s ship? Up until recently, you couldn’t do it because of the no stacking rule. The rule says that if you have two crew on a ship with the same ability, or one ship and one crew with the same ability, only one ability can function. Well, now you can get around that pesky rule by using Equipment. Continue Reading »

$80 for a Raptor Maw?

Raptor MawThe Raptor Maw is one of the rarest, most sought after Pirates cards. It was supposed to be released as a Mega-card with the Rise of the Fiends set, but WizKids canceled the RotF tins, and so only a few RotF Mega-cards got out (re branded as Fire and Steel). But, the poor Raptor Maw never was released in the US.*

Continue Reading »

Is the Grinder one of the best Cursed Ships?

Several of the Rise of the Fiends Limited Edition ship have been showing up in the Pirates of the Cursed Sea Treasure Chest, including the Grinder (Turbine), Polaris (double catamaran), Terrox (octopus), and the USS Mercury (windcatcher). I’m going to be reviewing each one in the next few weeks.

First up is the Grinder: point for point one of the best ships that the Cursed have. And I’ll tell you why. Continue Reading »

Lots of Pirates

This is a special Monday edition of the blog…mainly because I missed Friday’s post. :)

At last weeks Pirates game, A Price on Yer Head, we had 9 players (and one observer) show up. While this wasn’t a record number of players at our venue, it was a lot more than the normal 4-5 players we regularly get. So, to make sure that everyone played, we split into 2 games of 4 and 5 players each. I was in the 4 player game. Continue Reading »

Forts: Are they worth it?

Are Forts worth including in your fleet? Yes! Sure, WK hasn’t put out any new Forts since Pirates of the Revolution and Pirates of the Crimson Coast, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them. There are pleanty of places online to purchase or trade for Forts, and since lots of player don’t use them, you can typically get them at a bargain.

For one thing, they are free! None of the Forts cost any of your build points, so there is no reason NOT to include one in your build. As long as you have a ship of the same nationality, you can use the Fort. And, with the right ships, you can build a fort VERY quickly, and grab that gold!

The rules for Forts are:

Forts are printed on two cards and are assembled like ships. Fort flags represent cannons, and you can customize a fort by placing flags on either its corners or walls. Forts are not placed during setup; rather, they are purchased and built during the game on wild islands you have explored. A wild island may have only one fort on it at a time.

Building Forts: To build a fort, the following three conditions must be met:
· You must have the fort in your collection.
· You must have an amount of gold points on your home island equal to or greater than the fort’s gold point cost.
· You must have a ship docked at a wild island you have explored in order to build a fort there.

If these three prerequisites are met at the end of one of your turns, you may build the fort as a free action. Take the gold used to pay for it from your home island and place it inside of the assembled fort; this gold still counts toward winning the game. Place the assembled fort on any wild island at which you have a ship docked. The fort must be placed on the island such that two of its opposite corners are completely on the island.

Treasure: If there is any face-down treasure on the island where the fort is built, move that treasure inside of the assembled fort; it is now yours. You may use a ship to load treasure from a fort and move it to another fort or to your home island, but a fort must always have a number of gold points inside of it equal to or greater than its gold point cost.

Shooting: Forts may be given only shoot actions. Shooting with fort cannons is just like shooting with ship cannons; use the indicated ranges and ranks on the flags and measure distance from the flags. Lines of fire drawn from forts are not blocked by other ships or islands.

Abandoned Forts: When a fort is hit, its player eliminates a flag. When all of a fort’s flags are eliminated, it is abandoned and may not be given actions.

Destroying Forts: If an abandoned fort is hit, remove it from the game and place all of the gold that was inside of it back on the island, which reverts to an unexplored wild island.

Imagine this scenario:

  • Rising Sun - Pirate shipOn the first turn of the game, you use Hidden Cove to put one of your ships, the Rising Sun, at the nearest unexplored Wild Island.
  • Using the Rising Sun’s action, you un-dock and re-dock, and then reveal the Explorer on board, and Explore the gold on the island.
  • Grabbing the 2 coins with the largest value, and assuming one is worth enough to buy a Fort, you then use the Rising Sun’s ability “When this ship is given an explore action, you can swap a treasure on the wild island for a crew on any friendly ship.” to transfer one coin back to another ship at your Home Island, and put a crew (probably an Oarsman) on the Wild Island.
  • Dead Man\'s PointThen, at the end of your turn, you use the gold that is on your Home Island to “buy” a Fort, either the Devil’s Maw or Dead Man’s Point, and put it onto the Wild Island where the Rising Sun is docked.
  • All of the gold on that island, along with the gold spent, is put inside the Fort, and is protected from your opponents gold runners.

With a properly built mixed Nationality fleet, you could probably built Forts on a couple of islands early in the game. This will severely hamper your opponents ability to grab gold, especially if they few (or no) gunships. Plus, some Forts, like Paradis de la Mer, are very tough to destroy.

Now, remember, even though the gold in a Fort counts towards Victory, even if you have more than half the gold stored in your Fort(s), the game doesn’t end until you get more than half to your Home Island, or you sink/derelict all of your opponents ships.

Good luck!

Next Page »