Archive for the 'Review' Category

Bigger, badder flotillas


The most recent Pirates set, Fire and Steel, has introduced a couple of new, more expensive Flotillas. Where all of the Flotillas in Rise of the Fiends cost 7pts, several of these new Flotillas cost 9pts. This is actually a good thing, because the new Flotillas have abilities beyond just double-range cannons, and because now you have room to put more expensive crew onto them. And, there is one new Flotilla that just costs 6pts, for you point-pinching Pirates. Continue Reading »

Ultra Speedy 40pt San Cristobal Fleet

Last week, we had a Last Captain Standing 40pt game. There was no gold or no Home Island immunity. This was a pure gunbattle. We had 3 players, including myself, with the other 2 players using 5-masted gunships towing Flotillas. I opted for a different strategy based around the San Cristobal, a very fast ship.

Here is what was in my fleet:

  • San CristobalSan Cristobal (17pt, RotF): If this ship has a crew with the Captain keyword, she gets +L to her base move.
    • Contessa Anita Amore (0pts, CC): Limit, Ransom, +5 build points. This crew cannot leave this ship unless captured or eliminated.
    • Luis Zuan (0pt, RotF): Hostile: Pirates, Loyal: Spain, Captain.
    • Almirante Devante del Nero (3pts, SM): This ship gets +1 to her cannon rolls against Pirate ships.
    • Helmsman (2pt): This ship gets +S to it’s base move.
    • Exploding Shot (1pt, FnS):
  • SlipstreamSlipstream (12pts, MI): Submarine, Mercenary, Crew of any nationality can use their abilities on this ship.
    • Lord Mycron (6pts, FnS): Instead of giving this ship an action this turn, you may give any ship in your fleet 2 actions.
    • Helmsman (2pt): This ship gets +S to it’s base move.

The basic idea for this fleet is to have the Slipstream submerge, hopefully keeping it out of reach of the enemy. While it’s submerged, Lord Mycron gives the San Cristobal 2 actions, meaning the speedy ship can move S+S+L+S and shoot, and then move S+S+L+S away. FOOM!

Trying it out: I tried this fleet in a 3 player gunbattle. My main gunship, the San Cristobal, was the fastest ship on the table. The other 2 players were playing big gunships towing Flotillas.

For the first couple of turns, we head toward the middle of the table. I kept Lord Mycron hidden (face down) on the submerged submarine, and I also kept Luis Zuan and the Helmsman face down to lure the other ships into striking distance. Eventually, One player’s HMS Endeavour got close enough, and I was able to sail in, fire all three L range cannons (I was concerned about cancelers), and sail away. After 2 turns of that, and not doing much damage, I ended my move too close to the Endeavour. That player managed to roll his “5-6 for extra action” ability, sailed up and did massive damage to the San Cristobal.

On the next player’s turn, she rolled a 6 for Davy Jones (OE version), and so she gave a Shoot action to the Endeavour, and sank the San Cristobal. :(

After that, I tried to use the sub’s underwater ram to sink the other players Flying Dutchman, but wasn’t able to roll high enough to knock off a mast. Then, the canceler on board canceled my sub’s keyword, which brought me to the surface, where she was able to shoot and sink me.

The game continued with the slow Flying Dutchman chasing the HMS Endeavour, but eventually, the Dutchman was able to sink the Endeavour and win the game.

I think my fleet is a good build, with some possibilities, but you have to be careful about cancelers and Davy Jones/Emperor Blackheart. If you are playing a game that includes Home Island immunity, you can probably save a few points by putting Lord Mycron onto a cheaper ship and just leaving it docked at home.

The New Improved Oarsman: Better, Stronger, Faster (ok, maybe not faster…)

The New and Improved Oarsman. He’s Better (yes!), Stronger (yes!), and Faster (ok, 2 out of 3 isn’t bad). Who is this new superman among your crew, and how do you use him to the best effect? Read on… Continue Reading »

Morevi – Pirates of the Caribbean Meets Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

For the past few months, I’ve been listening to Tee Morris’ audiobook/podcast of Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword. It’s the story of a fantasy-realm dwarf who falls through a portal and finds himself in 1929 Chicago, complete with Prohibition and Al Capone. Billibub ends up working as a Private Detective in the city, on the trail of the Singing Sword, a dangerous artifact from his home realm.

Anyway, that story has nothing to do with pirates. But, Mr Morris would occasionally mention his plans to rebroadcast another of his books, Morevi: the Chronicals of Rafe and Askana. Unfortunately, he never really mentioned exactly what Morevi was, and I assumed from the title, that it was just another fantasy novel. Since I really wasn’t looking for a fantasy book right now (I’m already partway through listening to the Dresden Files audiobooks and re-reading the Ethshar books), I didn’t check out Morevi until this week.

That was my mistake.

Earlier this month, I finished the Billibub story, and Mr Morris has not started podcasting the second book, The Case of the Pitcher’s Pendant. In the Billibub podcast feed, Mr Morris had put the introduction chapter of Morevi, and on a whim, I listened to it.

Why the heck didn’t Tee mention that Morevi had pirates in it!?!

I was instantly hooked. The story includes a 15th-16th century privateer’s ship that goes through a portal near the Ireland coast and ends up in strange waters with Chinese-style junks, warrior women, and magic. Wow!

So far, I’ve only listened to the first few chapters, but I really like the story so far, although I wish Mr Morris would make things a bit clearer. I’m intrigued about the Portals that are mentioned, and the suggestion that Captain Rafe can travel through the Portals easily, where others can’t. Hopefully, things will be clearer as I get further into the story.

Ok, so the prison won! (Review of the Prison Break Scenario)

Last Wednesday, we ran the Prison Break scenario that I posted earlier. While the scenario was good in concept, in play things went downhill very quickly.

Here's the Prison Island and the surrounding Islands

First off, we randomly picked a Fort from the ones that Privateer had, and ended up with El Castillo del Infanta, which has 5 4L cannons. Now, those cannons don’t sound very good, but in play, we found that you were likely to get hit by at least one or two when you docked at the Prison Island.

An overhead shot of the Prison Islands

We also made some mistakes and underestimated the deadliness of 2 Marines on each surrounding island. Each Marine has a 2S cannon, and we decided that as soon as a ship got within range, then at the end of that players turn the player to their right would get to roll for the Marines and choose where to shoot. Those 2S cannons hit quite a bit in the first round, so after everyone had a chance to act once, we eliminated one Marine from each island. Even so, those Marine were very effective..that is, until we started shooting back at then and killing then off.

Everyone swarms toward the Prison, not knowing what's to comeAnother mistake we made was that the surrounding island were too close to the Prison Island, which led to some nasty traffic jams. And, since some ships were stuck and couldn’t move away, they got shot again by the Prison and Marines. By the end of the game, there were lots of derelict ships.

Prison Break 4We finally ended the game when one player has lost or had made derelict both of her ships. At that point, no one had been able to unload crew on their Home Island. In fact, no one had really left the Prison with any crew, although one player was able to steal crew from several derelict ships, and had 9pts of crew on board.

Things are getting tight!I would like to try this scenario again with a few changes:

  • Only one Marine per Island, and possibly it only shoots once per round (after all players have acted).
  • The surrounding Islands need to be farther out, maybe 2S or even 3S from the Prison.
  • The Prison can also only shoot once per round, and only at ships that are docked. Shots could be spread evenly.

Traffic Jam!

How things ended up at the end of the game

One of the players had a suggestion of having multiple Prisons, but I’m not sure that would work due to space limitations, especially if I spread the Islands out. But, I have an idea in a similar vein (“Sorry, your Princess is in the other castle“) that might work. I’ll post that scenario once I get it fleshed out.

PotCS: Fire & Steel – Switchblade Ships

The new expansion to Pirates of the Cursed Seas came out on April 9th, Fire & Steel. One of the new ship types (besides Bombardiers) is the Switchblade, a ship that has 2 blades that extend from the sides of the ship. Here’s the definition of the keyword:

Switchblade. A ship with this keyword has two “blades” that can be moved so that they extend from the front sides of the ship. After this ship completes a move action or shoot action (or if during a move action), any part of either blade touches an enemy ship (or ships), all those enemy ships are considered to be rammed and can be boarded. If the ramming occurs by blade only, this ship is not pinned. The order that rams and boarding parties are resolved (if there are more than one) is determined by the player whose turn it is. Extending or retracting the blades is a free action that can take place any time when this ship is given a move action or shoot action.

The really interesting thing about the Switchblade ships is that they can ram and board multiple ships during their movement, and won’t become pinned as long as it hits the enemies with just the blades. Normally, a ship’s movement stops as soon a it touches another ship, but Switchblades aren’t restricted like that. Instead, you do the Switchblades full movement and keep track of each ship that it’s blade touch. Then, you can remove masts from each touched ship, and resolve each of those ram and board actions in any order that you want.

There are 5 Switchblade ships in the new set. The British have 2, the HMS Talon and the HMS Salient. France has the Saber. And the Cursed have the Sickle and the Super-Rare Skin Flayer. I’d have pictures, but WK hasn’t updated the card gallery yet, and personally I haven’t had a chance to take a look at the new ships’ stats. I’ll post that info in an upcoming post.

PotCS: Fire & Steel – Bombardier Ships

The next expansion for Pirates of the Cursed Seas, Fire & Steel, is due out on April 9th. One of the new pieces in this expansion is the Bombardier, a ship with a fiery cannon on it’s bow. Here’s the keyword description:

Bombardier. This ship has a special bombardier cannon that is not associated with a mast and can’t be eliminated or targeted by effects. Before the game begins, announce whether the bombardier cannon will be an artillery cannon (using the artillery cannon piece) or a flamestrike cannon (add the flame piece onto the artillery cannon piece); this choice can’t change once the game begins. Use the range/rank die printed on the artillery cannon piece for both the artillery cannon and the flamestrike cannon. Equipment (see my next post – Ed) abilities can’t affect shots made by a bombardier cannon.

The artillery cannon has the Double Shot keyword.

The flame portion of the flamestrike cannon physically measures S, so you can use it to measure range to enemy ships. When a flamestrike cannon hits, replace one of the target’s masts with a fire mast. If the cannon roll for either version of the bombardier cannon is a 1, the cannon jams and can’t be used again until the ship is given a repair action specifically to fix it.

The new set will have 4 Bombardier ships: one for the Pirates, one for the British, and 2 for the French. So far, WizKids has revealed 2 of the Bombardier ships, the Draconum for the Pirates, and the Bombardier for the British.

Draconum - Pirate Bombardier shipThe Draconum, being a prototype stolen by the Pirates, isn’t that great. With only 3 cargo, a base speed of L, Short #3 cannon Short #3 cannon Short #3 cannon, and a #3 bombardier cannon, she is hardly fearsome. Plus, you have to eliminate one of her masts when she rolls a 1 on any cannon roll. At least this ship is cheap at only 13pts.

Bombardier - British Bombardier shipThe British have a nice ship in the Bombardier, though. A base move of S+S, 3 cargo, Long #3 cannon  Long #3 cannon, Long #2 cannon, a #3 bombardier, and the ability to choose which mast is eliminated on a successful hit makes this a scary ship. This ship costs 18pts.

So far, WizKids has not revealed what the 2 French Bombardier ships are, but my guess, from looking at the Fire & Steel checklist, is that they are the Conquerant and the Grand Vainqueur, both at 21pts. Hopefully, they have decent stats and abilities to support those prices.

I’m a bit hesitant to say that Bombardier ships are going to be useful. I really want to see the definition of the “Double Shot” keyword before I pass judgement. But, with the right crew, if might be fun to run around in the Bombardier and set other ships on fire. :)

Scorpion Ships in PotC:RotF

Another of the new ship types in Pirates of the Cursed Seas:Rise of the Fiends is the Scorpion ship. These (mostly) Cursed ships come outfitted with a huge blade on the bow that can be lower to strike another ship. If it hits, a mast is removed from the target. Continue Reading »

Fun with Flotillas!

One of the new ship types that has me excited in the latest Pirates of the Cursed Seas: Rise of the Fiends sets is Flotillas. These stationary gun platforms are meant to be used to protect your trade routes/gold runners, and are cheap at only 7pts each. But, the pros and cons of these units need to be weighed carefully before adding them to your fleet. Continue Reading »

Pirates of the Cursed Seas – Plunder Pack Unboxing

I managed to get my hands on one of the new Pirates of the Cursed SeasPlunder Packs the other day, and I decided to take a few pictures as I unboxed it’s contents. Continue Reading »

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