Archive for October, 2008

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.

Basic Tactic: Crossing the T

This week, I’m going to talk about some basic tactics that you can use in your Pirates game to help you improve your play, and hopefully win more matches. First up is a very basic tactic taken from actual naval warfare: Crossing the T.

Crossing the T involves moving your ship so that all of your cannons can shoot at your opponent, while simultaneously making it harder for him to shoot back at you (without moving). To do this, move you ship so that it is perpendicular to an imaginary line that goes through the center of your opponent’s ship. Think of your opponent’s ship as the vertical portion of a capital T, and your ship is the crossbar at the top. You can do this either to the front or rear of his ship; in fact, positioning your ship behind his ship will make it slightly harder for him to move and shoot back on his turn (assuming that you don’t sink him). You should make sure that all the cannons on your ship are within range of your opponent. If you have L range cannons, position your ship just outside of S range, in case he has a canceler on board, and to force him to move on his next turn if he wants to shoot back (if his cannons are S range). If you’ve positioned yourself right, most or all of your ship’s cannons will be in range of your opponent’s ship, while only the front 1 or 2 cannons of your opponent’s ship will be able to shoot back. The rest of his ship’s cannons will be blocked by the sails of the forward masts (unless the ship is a schooner or junk; see below). Your opponent will have to move his ship in order to shoot back, or else he will have to settle for only firing a few cannons instead of a full barrage.

Now, if your opponent’s ship is a schooner or junk, the sails will not block line-of-fire for the other cannons. So, be careful about the placement or your ship, and try to make sure that even if the farther cannons could fire, your ship is out of range of them.

For added fun, if your ship has one less-than-great cannon (especially a S-4 or S-5), put a Smokepot Specialist on your ship. After you’ve fired all of you good cannons, use the less-than-great cannon to put a fog/smoke cloud between you and your opponent’s ship (if there is room). Then, your opponent will HAVE to move around the cloud shoot at you. Or he might move into it, which is actually better for you: his ship will pop out at the beginning of your next turn, and he will be limited on the position of his ship (because of the dice roll). Many times, his ship will not be in the optimal position to fight after coming out of the fog, and you can take advantage of that.

I’m back, and don’t miss Crusoe tonight

Arr everyone,

Sorry for the blog going dark for the past 2 weeks. I had a very big freelance project that took up most of my freetime…including the time that I would use to write blog posts. But, I’m back now, and new posts will start next week.

Also, although it’s not Pirates, don’t miss Crusoe tonight on NBC. From the previews, it looks like some swashbuckling fun, even if it’s not pirates…