It's a Pirates' Life for me!
Again, if you haven't read about this game, I suggest you read from the beginning.
Sheer Chaos, the likes of which you have never seen
Get the popcorn ready, get your snacks, and get hyped! XD
Play has resumed in force!! The game has seen an absolute EXPLOSION on this Turn 69 that rivals any other single turn in any campaign game! Prepare yourself for the carnage! The scary part is, it will likely only increase dramatically in the future... O_O
The Jade Rebels are after the Pirates in the turn order, and they start their turn with an attack!! The Wiglaf nearly dismasts the Jikininki!
Broken Horn Island is under attack again!! Eight Jade gunships head west as the area southwest of the Roost descends into chaos once more.
(theme music begins)
Here you can see the damage done to the Death's Anchor, Pale Moon, Executioner, Hades' Realm and Sickle:
The Huginn dismasts the captured Brandywine and the Grendel surges forward...
... to capture the ship! The Brandywine has now been owned by 3 different factions in this game. Also notice the other Jade/Viking ships moving north, though that's almost literally just the tip of the iceberg...
ATTACK!!!! The entire Jade battle fleet surges forward in an epic display of seamanship and naval power!!
Though some are many turns away, I count over 50 gunships either in battle with the Cursed or headed towards them!! O_O
I wanted to take some extra pictures to show off the color and diversity among the JR and BC sails, and I think this is the best shot I got:
Previously cooped up by territorial boundaries, the Jade Rebellion war fleet has begun heading straight for the Cursed! Jade Rebel troops watch as dozens of beautiful new Corsair galleys depart the home island:
A nice look at the BC 4 masters:
It seems rather likely that an EPIC battle is about to take place!!!
The Jades attacked for a simple reason: the Cursed look as weak as they have in quite some time. From afar, the Jades witnessed the exodus as Calypso allowed a bunch of Cursed gunships to go through the new whirlpool and into the Sea of Karkuda. The Jades don't know about the Sea of Karkuda, but they assume the Cursed have gone off and may not be back. After coming close to a full-out attack, they have finally decided to carry out plans for one now that the Cursed don't have as many gunships around the Roost.
A view from the Roost itself, as the Cursed see what's coming....
A rare view just north of Broken Horn Island, looking east:
A forest of lateen sails in the distance:
A nice and similarly rare shot looking east across the Sea of Allost at a low angle:
And that is it for the Jade turn! Prepare yourself!! XD
El Fantasma, captain of the Divine Dragon and current commander of the Cursed Extermination Force: "... bring up the weapon..."
A historical artifact of great value and mythology is brought to Fantasma's helm. Fantasma offers a rare smile before his skeletal face turns to a contorted frown of unrivaled malice as he points the "weapon" at the nearby French fleet...
With the power of the sea, the Trident unleashes a massive tidal wave that projects from the Divine Dragon!!
OH MY GOD!!! The wave is fired into the Harbor!! Using my L+L+L ruler and the white S straw, I was able to figure out the damage path of the tidal wave.
Before the damage assessment:
These were taken for maximum effect, as I played the Trident normally and didn't sink anything outright.
From the Cursed view, as the wave crashes into tons of French ships and into the Harbor area itself:
The temporary result of the UT, which is clearly wicked powerful in campaign games with so many ships around....
DEVASTATION IS UNLEASHED!!!!!!
Now we can properly assess the damage. The Jeux was not only dismasted, but also thrown into the Harbor wall due to the lower tonnage of the ship.
The Felicite is dismasted and nearly capsizes:
As you probably noticed by now, the wave attack actually split one of the docks in half!!!! O_O Dock destruction!!
Inevitably, various infantry who were preparing to fight the Cursed died in the blast. Somehow an artillery unit survived on the outer side of the dock, but three infantry units and one artillery unit were lost between the dock breaking apart and the splinters and spars flying through the air.
In total, 15 masts were ruined as a result of the wave caused by Fantasma's wielding of Neptune's Trident. Eight different ships were damaged.
The dock costed the French 10 gold, and I'm still figuring out the house rule around rebuilding it. They will be able to purchase a new dock for the same standard cost, but I think they will need to clear the wreckage first, which will take at least a turn here even with maximum cleanup efforts deployed. Of course, with hostile Cursed ships basically inside the Harbor itself, the recovery process will likely take a while.
IMMENSE WRECKAGE, with debris strewn everywhere:
Of course, the Divine Dragon couldn't sustain the damage output of having 8 ships affected. The Cursed knew the risk and decided it was worth it. Looks like they're right! XD With 8 ships affected, I did 8 "damage" to the DD, with 4 masts eliminated and 4 "hits" to the hull (she would still need 8 more hits on the hull to sink due to the sinking house rule).
With Fantasma's ship suddenly out of action, the Cursed needed to find a way to extricate the DD and avoid losing her to the French. Never fear, the Hellfire is here! XD The DD is towed, but where did she go? If you've read about the Pirate-American battle elsewhere in Karkuda, it should come as no surprise...
... as the Divine Dragon and Bloody Blade are warped back to Allost via "whirlpool towing"! This is now a tactic employed by two factions, and looks to be a true strategy (at least for this game). Here you can also see the Cursed counterattack against the Jades!
Fear worked well here, with the Fenrir and Glorious Treasure being hit by the ability. The Executioner was effective, setting the Glorious Treasure aflame.
It looks as though the JR-Cursed War is back in full swing!!
The Monkey's Paw goes a pitiful 0/5, but the Asgard takes damage from the icewreck (being moved L into it) and the Sickle. Shal-Bala returns to the Sea of Karkuda in order to guard the latest Cursed launch: Namazu. O_O Namazu is a sea monster from the unreleased Return to Savage Shores set with an ability similar to the Neptune's Trident UT. After using the Eye to see the incredible devastation wreaked by the Trident, the Cursed are very impressed with its potential for continual warfare use. You know what that means: a less disposable source of tidal wave attacks! O_O Combine that with copiers Behemoth and Davy Jones, and the Cursed have exclusive access to weapons of incredible power right now.
The Cursed turn was actually quite strategic and well-thought-out. They purposely did most of their activities in Karkuda to see what they needed to send there from Allost. The Banshee's Wail is the ship that came forth to "tow"/send the Bloody Blade back to Allost. The Locker and Pyre have returned to Allost as well, as the Cursed realize they cannot win both fights in two oceans at the same time.
The wave blast was not all the damage sustained by the French! After most of the operations in Allost, the Cursed turned back to Karkuda to finish their assault. Terrox walloped the Geographe for 2 masts on 4/8 shooting, while the Hellfire dismasted the Musarde and Leviathan took a mast off the Dijon. Calim has pinned Le Petit Dauphin, while the Nightmare (at the right) partially makes up for her previous performances, which have been awful. On this turn the Nightmare shot 4/5 to damage 3 different ships! (Petit Dauphin, Marianne, Richelieu)
Looking directly north, here is the last picture from this EPIC Cursed turn. The Silver Coffin shot a mast off Le Lyon, while at the right the Glaive and Baionnette took slight damage.
At the end of their turn, the Cursed let out a bombshell. They told the French something. Fantasma sent a messenger boat over to the French fleet, which was reeling from the wave attack and continual cannon fire/tentacle whipping. The Cursed revealed a HUGE development: the Pirates put them up to it. O_O :shock: This was the deal with the Devil.
The deal was as follows: If the Pirates hire Calypso, the Cursed can use Davy Jones and/or Behemoth to copy her for the rest of the game, on the condition that the Cursed use Calypso's ability to launch a full-scale attack on the French.
A huge secret is revealed! Previously known only to the Pirates and the Cursed (the Pirates came up with the idea), the French now know of the deal. Obviously this is extremely important, as the Pirates and the French are allies!!!! However, this is arguably one of the greatest agreements in naval history.
The Pirates see the French as one of their biggest long-term rivals. With whirlpool travel, the Pirates know about the oceans more than any faction other than the Cursed, who have the Eye of course. However, the Pirates are generally aware that there are 4 "mega factions": Pirates, Cursed, French, and Americans. The Pirates already have a bitter war against the Americans. If they continue that, they may be too weak to take on the French and/or Cursed afterwards. Thus, a "deal with the devil" to pit the other two largest factions against each other!!
From my document where I store the BR's and faction plans/etc: "The Pirates pull off a huge masterstroke of grand strategy, weakening two huge rival fleets with one deal while simultaneously able to focus on their other rival."
With that we move to the Caribbean factions, the English and Spanish! The 4 English gunships in the Sea of Karkuda have a great turn, dealing damage to 4 different Pirate ships. (including a successful BA from the Ark Royal to the Thirty Tyrants)
I must say HMS Victoria is a bit of a favorite of mine. She sails out with some other English gunships, while the King John and Westminster take crew replacements aboard. (hired with cashed in spices from the Antelope) In the background, Admiral Thomas Gunn stands guard northeast of Diamond Rock with a squadron of gunships.
The English battle fleet makes their way towards the whirlpool!
The Spanish continue to attack the Americans at the Castle! They will try to reclaim what is rightfully theirs!! Here the Santa Ana, Vaccaro's flagship of the faction, rakes the Kentucky by the bows and purposely boxes the three American ships in. Although the SA will be exposed to considerable fire from those ships on the American turn, Vaccaro positioned the ship to block those ships from getting out and attacking other Spanish ships as well. Vaccaro now has some good backup too, with the Santo Columba sailing around the northeastern edge of the Castle and going 3/3 to hit with her musketeer and firepot specialist, setting the York ablaze!
Whoa!! The Granada blasts away at the old and weakened northeastern wall of the Castle, and her cannon balls find their mark!! Shots shatter through the old structure, and a huge hole is ripped open! In addition the Granada carries a firepot specialist and the Castle is now on fire!!! O_O
Through the smoke and rubble you can glimpse the Gold Eagle:
However, with all the troops on the Castle, the Americans will likely be able to put the fires out soon.
The Corazon Dorado uses her reroll ability to get Dominick Freda's SAT, allowing her to speed into the area at S+L+S+S+L+S! She hits twice on each action, knocking a mast off the York and United States.
The Americans are surprised by the speed and ferocity of the Spanish onslaught...
... and there's more coming!! Six Spanish gunships in Karkuda have yet to reach the battle area, including three fresh from the Caribbean whirlpool.
With that we move to the Sea of Karkuda factions!
The Mercenaries are back! The doors to the submarine hideout open, and five submarines zoom out! The Mercs have launched the Terror and Barracuda since we last saw them. You may notice dice on a few of the French ships. I have amended the no ram damage rule so that submarines can do damage while ramming, but it counts as a "hit" if the roll is successful and therefore follows the 2 hits per mast rule for elimination. However, I may just go back and change it to no ram damage of any kind. XD
THE FRENCH ATTACK!!!! Reigniting their war with the Americans, the French finally break the indefinite period of truce and let loose their line of battle west of The Flat! This attack is the result of a shared interest the French and Spanish have. As you saw earlier, the French line from the northern wall of the Castle to the northern edge of Karkuda is blocking American gunships from assisting against the Spanish on the eastern side of the Castle. The Americans really want to hold the Castle, and since the French and Americans are still at war, the French assumed the Americans would attack the French on their own turn, in an attempt to break the French line and help out their comrades against the Spanish.
As a result, the French felt that they needed to attack! It was a preemptive strike, designed to knock the Americans off their guard and deny American help against the Spanish, who are fast becoming a solid French ally. I told you the game had become very complex, and this turn is really showing it!
Here the Monaque hits the Sioux and shoots American infantry off the Castle ramparts. The Ville de Paris has set the Pequod ablaze. However, this was just the beginning of French combat operations on their turn....
As you now see more ships get in action! After MANY turns of just sitting within shooting distance of each other, the French and American lines of battle west of The Flat are finally forced into contact with each other. The Hercule dismasted the Buffalo, while the Gaule set the Yankee aflame and the Mont Blanc flotilla damaged the Paul Revere. However, this picture was purposely taken before the devastating Le Superbe was given an action, to show the various ship-to-ship battles starting up.
Blam! The Superbe gets a sac action courtesy of Capitaine Arathiel and a member of his "buffet" (an oarsman of course). She moves south and then north, toppling a handful of masts. The damage she does includes a mast from USS Albany, a ship that is not in range of any other French ship yet but was hit by the Superbe's L-range guns with the use of her ability to shoot through other ships. The Neptune and Martinique are last to shoot here, with the Paul Revere dismasted by the latter. The Hancock, Peacock, and Aaron Burr all take damage as well.
At long last, some of the powerful French 5 masters show their full strength! This renewal of war has left the American squadron in bad shape, but the Americans have both resiliency and one of the biggest fleets in the game. Here you can see how devastating the attack was:
With new knowledge that the Pirates were behind the Cursed attack at the Harbor, the French break the alliance and attack the Pirates!!!! The 6 Pirate gunships who arrived this very turn to recruit French help against the Americans are viciously attacked by the vengeful French!! The Pride is the only ship lucky enough to escape damage.
Lenoir himself joins the fray! Amiral Louis Cartier and Jordan Dumas of the Delacroix join him for more 5 masted French firepower!! The Delight, Ballista, Centurion and Obago lose two masts each, meaning they've each been hit at least 4 times on this turn, showing the accuracy of French gunnery this turn, now driven by anger and vengeance. At the bottom, the Conquerant got her EA to circle around the Spanish ships and double back to unleash her firepower (literally!) at the Obago!!
The flamestrike cannon ignites the Obago!
Total chaos at the Harbor!! O_O
The French begin recovery efforts while fighting the Cursed at the same time. The French had a mixed bag of results in this eastern battle, with most ships going something like 0/4 or 2/2 on the same average cannon ranks. The Nightmare was particularly hard-hit, sustaining two blazes as French ships surrounded the ghostly 4 master. At the upper left, the Grand Vainqueur has moved to an adjacent dock for repairs since the destroyed dock is no longer considered a dock for launching and repairing purposes. The dock is partially sinking, so the Afrique loads the lone artillery unit left on it before it can sink or drift away. At the bottom left, the Republique has begun towing the Musarde and shoots at the Hellfire. Between the catastrophic nature of the Neptune's Trident attack, the current Cursed ships/kraken in the Harbor itself, and a surplus of ships in general, the French have a near-impossible logjam to sort out. A few ships are heading to the back for repairs, but that leaves the newer gunships with no space to sail out.
Just outside the Harbor walls, the French have some trouble connecting on their shots. The Baionnette and Bonne Chance went a combined 1/6 or 0/6 to leave the Juggernaut with all 4 masts still standing. However, the Demon Gate, Cyclops and Silver Coffin all sustained damage. With the help of some stuck gold runners, the French have surrounded the Cursed at their whirlpool entrance location.
On the other side of the whirlpool, the French do reasonable damage. The Cursed are horribly outnumbered, and with war brewing again near the Roost, it's unlikely any reinforcements will come as planned.
The whole Harbor situation. The Cursed have dealt a serious blow, but a numbers disadvantage could mean a French victory.
With the flash this time. The Cursed sea creatures are still healthy, so the Cursed have some staying power in this mess of an area if they decide not to retreat.
Try to make sense of it: XD
The French are reeling but have the ships and firepower to pull themselves out of this mess:
At the far left, the Bonifacio in particular is just STUCK as a result of this mess. Her injured crew are laboring to remove huge chunks of the wooden dock off the deck of the ship, which has only one mast remaining. At the top, some of the French gunships launched last turn may take a LONG time to get out of the Harbor.
Chaos and carnage!
The French are flocking to their lighthouse island, as luxuries are currently the most valuable resource. At the right and top, the French have so many gunships available that many will not even be needed to combat the Cursed...
... which is why the French were able to send so many to attack the Pirates.
As the Obago burns, this turn allows us to see the full might of French power. They are now involved in THREE battles at once! One against the Americans west of The Flat, one against the devious Pirates, and one against the Cursed at the Harbor itself.
Here we see a very rare example of combat that somewhat follows the historical line-of-battle strategy. It almost never shows up in Pirates games, but here it was organically produced when two factions lined up gunships to defend their territory.
The French have the upper hand with the first strike, and we'll see if they can break the American line.
Even with a much-reduced squadron, the French have plenty of firepower to defend The Flat with!
The two cheerleader ships were hardly needed, and the Soleil Royal is not in action yet:
I was sad to see the Paul Revere dismasted, but at least it was at the guns of a worthy opponent: Le Superbe is another of my favorite ships.
Looking from the west at the lines of battle:
The French are beautiful as well as powerful:
The Pequod is surrounded as American masts fall all over the battlefield:
The French situation, showing all three battles:
I thought this shot was particularly good, as you can now see the battle at the Castle as well:
Karkuda is simply a HOTSPOT of activity right now!
Finally, time for the American turn!!
The Americans strike back hard!! The Spanish flagship is nearly dismasted and a fire has broken out! At the right, the Americans can't really get to the Santo Columba yet, but the loss of the Santa Ana could prove disastrous for the Spanish.
Just to the south, the Corazon Dorado suffers a similar fate! No less than five different American gunships gang up to blast the ship to pieces. 7 hits are scored, with just one more needed to dismast the ship. However, the firepot landed by the Sea Serpent may do that on its own.
The Americans do what they can against the French, and it's surprisingly effective! THREE French 5 masters have been set on fire! The Neptune, Monaque, and Ville de Paris are all in trouble from the flames.
The Congress used her first action to tow the Buffalo out of her way and knock a mast off the Hercule. She was later given Preble's AA (a good turn for it!) to knock another mast off. The northern/middle part of the American line was too shattered to put up much of a fight, with the Yankee going 0/2 and the Paul Revere rowing away at S+S. Notice the damage marker on the Superbe's quarterdeck though - the American artillery cannon stationed at the lumber island shot and hit for the first time!
At the heart of the spirited American resistance! The Hancock and Peacock team up to set the Neptune aflame, while the Sioux and Overton do the same to the Monaque. The Pequod really proved her worth, using a musketeer and cannoneer to hit enough shots to not only get through the Ville de Paris' defensive ability, but land a firepot as well!
The Albany had the opposite day at the cannons, as her fire shot backfired to set her aflame.
From the American artillery on top of the Castle looking northwest:
Of course, this view should probably be obscured by the gunsmoke and the smoke rising from the burning ships!
As impressive as the French line of capital ships is, the Americans managed to put a dent in it with their counterattack.
The hottest part of the fight!
The Americans continue their logistics near the long-running southwestern battle. Out of range and with the SCS James Madison proving to be a surprisingly valuable multipurpose ship, the Speedy Return leaves the area. She will head for the Castle to repair, but between the Spanish incursion and the massive width of the Double Catamaran ship type, she may be out of luck for now. Speaking of the Spanish, the Enterprise is headed there since the Pirate battle is too crowded and the Americans will likely win that one. At the lower left, the James Madison dismasts the Freedom with the help of the Hannah being within S. The Vermont has taken up towing duty of the Georgetown, while the Hornet and Mohican are leaving the Castle to assist against the Spanish. The Atlanta and Bartlett have dropped off their army units and now have nothing to do. For now they will guard the southern approach to the Castle (probably a good idea with how crazy the game is getting and how aggressive the French and Spanish are lol) and likely receive captains when the Americans launch again.
The Satisfaction has been dismasted and captured, though many American gunships (especially in the middle of this picture) are unable to be given move or shoot actions as a result of the close-quarters action.
The Americans deal severe damage to the Bruja, Thirty Tyrants and Jaguar's Spirit. The Bonny Kate was captured but has already been chain-towed nearly out of the picture.
The Fly and Shark team up to dismast the Full Moon, as the Pirates are denied getting a foothold even in the far southwest area by Luck Island.
Here you can see the Bonny Kate along with some other captured Pirate ships.
The Philadelphia warped home the Lucky Seven, while the Lenox, Montezuma, and Springfield finish or start repairs. The Concordia may leave the area to join one of the other battles, either against the French or Spanish. At the top, some American cargo ships head north for metals as their lumber island near The Flat is now not only less valuable, but also in trouble from the French.
But Commodore Preble has something to say about that! He pilots the President east, and is joined by two other nice 4 masted schooners, the Saratoga and Hudson.
The French may have gained the upper hand by striking first, but American reinforcements are on the way!
That is about all for the developments on this epic Turn 69, but I took some more pictures just to fully document the destruction.
Two Spanish ships have been set aflame, while the Castle itself has been damaged and burns a bit:
The ultra-powerful squadron of French 5 masters did huge damage to the American line of battle, but American gunnery has made some of those French capital ships finally seem mortal with no less than three separate firepot hits:
The Pirate-American battle is still the largest in the game by the number of ships involved, with carnage stretching from the southwestern tip of the Castle to the southwesternmost point in Karkuda:
The Americans are certainly winning but the Pirates certainly aren't giving up!
Naturally I did forget to mention something else that happened: the Louisiana succeeded at destroying another reef! This makes passage from the American HI to the Castle (and vice-versa) easier. At the right, notice the Intrepid and Franklin heading towards the battle against the French. The French aren't the only faction capable of sustaining three separate battles at once....
At the southwestern whirlpool, it just so happens that the masts have been falling on top of each other for many turns now, to the point where that pile in the middle is about 5 masts high. O_O You can almost see the gunners on the decks of the Ark Royal and Thirty Tyrants trading Broadsides Attacks:
Shattered timber, shredded sails, and slain sailors now characterize Command the Oceans:
Total carnage, with dozens of masts littering the battlefield:
The Sea of Karkuda, with all FIVE simultaneous battles visible:
I got these next few shots by sitting back from the game a bit and zooming in. I like that you can see a lot of what's happening, but it's at a nice angle in between the closeups and high-altitude shots.
This one gives a nice view of the Mercenary activities and the Spanish battle, with all three French battles still visible in the background:
The southwestern corner of Karkuda, with a forest of chaos in the densest portion. The Chesapeake takes a shortcut through the Castle but the Enterprise must go around. It will be interesting to see if the Americans can hit the French in between The Flat and the Harbor if they defeat the Spanish and go north around the Castle.
However, this might be the most stunning scene of all so far. O_O (even though you can hardly see the dock destruction!)
What on earth could happen next??
Between the possible sinkings that could occur soon and the various crew eliminations, another point count will hopefully happen quite soon, possibly on Thursday. The game is exploding to the point where it could actually decrease in size for once! XD The intense combat erupting all over the place has definitely slowed the launch pace, between trade routes getting interrupted, a Harbor invasion, and a lousy resource roll that will last for quite some time (6 more turns). The French are the only faction sitting on considerable gold reserves, but they almost literally cannot have more ships in the Harbor until they get some ships in for repairs and others out into the ocean. XD
Thanks for reading! This will likely be a rarity going forward, since I'll be doing more frequent but shorter reports. I prefer to report on events the day they occur, and it gets a little more stressful when I hype or promise a report for one day but can't finish it until the next. For example, the JR and Cursed faction turns occurred on Saturday (which is when I wrote that part of this report too actually), and of course it was difficult to hold back. However, from a narrative perspective it's good to have these mega reports of epicness once in a while too. Especially for the longer reports, I may start doing full post or "chapter" titles as I did with this one. They won't be particularly imaginative, but more for me to look back on. As you clearly know by now, I have a thing for all things epic. I'll try to make the titles accurate but of course they will stray the line into madness.
Well then! 18 pages in my Google doc and over 100 pictures later, I hope you enjoyed this monstrosity! What a game!