Another in the continuing series of major battles between my playing group. For previous editions:
Battle #6 with links to previous battles
While the scenarios have changed, all have been straight nation fleets, 60 points. All have had at least 6-8 players.
The first battle Davy Jones and the Cursed won.
The second battle was much more messy, and made us change our end condition for these big games. Yet again though, the Cursed and Davy Jones (officially) won.
The third game was won by the "Other" Factions, mostly made up by Barbary Pirates. This was our first game with the "Sea Monster" Scenario.
In the fourth, also with Sea Monsters, the Spanish came out on top.
In the fifth the Spanish repeat as champions.
In the sixth, a Halloween theme with "Sharknados" led the Pirates to finally win a nation battle.
In this seventh battle, we continued on the Holiday theme with a Christmas Tree shaped map. Unfortunately, our American player called in sick at the last minute, so we only had 7 players. The map consisted of home islands on the outside of the tree (one for the star, and three on each side). In between the home islands were icebergs and our usual whirlpools. The center and stem of the tree consisted of wild islands, and more icebergs and whirlpools. Most importantly, the islands were MUCH closer together than our usual nation games. This was due to an ACTUAL Christmas tree in our gaming space.
Finally, we decided to add one more Christmas aspect to the game. At the beginning of each turn, we would roll a die. On a six, SANTA would appear! More die rolls determined which player and ship was targeted. The last die roll however, determined if they were naughty or nice. A 1-3 brought the ship coal, in the form of a UT that took up 1-3 cargo spaces and could only be removed at your home island. A 4-6 however brought free gold from outside the game (again 1-3 coins). While this mechanic did not really affect the game too much (many of the times Santa visited, cargo was already full), it did give minor inconveniences.
We rolled for position and the Cursed player got the worst spot - the star. Davy Jones was at the head of the Divine Dragon, flanked by the Grim Reaper, Fiddler's Green and Sea Duck. On the right side of the tree sat the "Choice" Player (Me) who chose Pirates and had the Lady's Scorn (the good one) with Calico Cat, Darkhawk II, and Amity. Continuing down was the "Misc." player, who bemoaned his lack of Barbary Coast ships and decided to just be a pest for the match and borrowed and used the Shui Xian and the Forward. Finally on the right was the Pirates player, using Emperor Blackheart on the derelict stealing Harbinger, flanked by the Longshanks, Bloody Jewel, and Banshee's Cry pulling the Widowmaker.
On the left side of the tree was France, looking mighty with both La Charlemagne and Le Magnifigue along with Le Descharges. Next came the guns-blazing English with the Gallows, Victoria, and Hound. Finally sat the Spanish led by the super fast San Cristobal flanked by the El Extremadura and two small treasure ships.
Again a roll determined who went first and a moan came from the Choice Pirates who won. Not wanting to threaten the Shui Xian or Davy Jones, he took a cautious approach and moved together toward two close wild islands. Much of the same happened around the board until play passed to Davy Jones who rolled a six on his first roll. Seeing the French getting too close, he commanded the Charlemagne to open fire on the Descharges, derelicting it. It was the start of a very long day for the poor French. Still, the Tricolor vowed revenge and the French and Davy Jones would battle each other for most of the match.
Meanwhile, Emperor Blackheart eventually rolled a six and targeted the other Pirate Fleet, making the Scorn open fire on the Darkhawk. Luckily for the Darkhawk, Calico Cat liked them and the Scorn missed all 4 shots. Blackheart's fleet however had made it to two wild islands. The Harbinger had spotted the Grim Reaper that had gone through a whirlpool to the stem and was headed in for the kill. The Shui Xian, slow without a helmsman, turned toward Calico Cat's fleet, basically boxing in Calico between the French/Cursed battle and the mighty 10 master. The Amity and Darkhawk however manage to bring home gold from two islands.
The Spanish quickly did what they do best, and got to several islands before the English took notice. While the Hound brought gold home, guarded and aided by the Victoria, several double actions for the Gallows brought it to the Spanish. The Gallows easily derelicted the El Extremadura and began towing it home. The Victoria sets up Ramsgate at an island and then escorts the Hound home.
Its at this point a major point happens: the Grim Reaper (no crew) finds both Rum and Plunder at the same island. Rum is worth 6, and plunder results in a 2, which along with the other two unknown pieces promises at least 10 gold on one ship. With the Divine Dragon in a fire fight, all eyes go toward the lonely Reaper. The Harbinger is closest and reaches the Reaper first. Blackheart derelicts and tows her, but cannot teleport until the next turn. It so happens that Davy Jones rolls his second SIX. Knowing that he cannot let the Harbinger teleport his ship back to his home island, he command the Harbinger to sink the Reaper to the locker with all of its gold (which, it turns out was a whopping 15 gold)
The Lady's Scorn meanwhile attacks the Fiddler's Green, knocking it down to one mast. The Cursed ship retreats, and Calico notices that the Shui Xian has shifted toward the French/Cursed main battle area. The Scorn and Darkhawk manuever around the Shui Xian and head toward Blackheart's fleet, which has gone untouched and has a rather large pile of gold already on his home island.
Davy Jones, however, has by this time found Davy Jones' Heart (go figure!) and derelicted the Charlemagne (using the heart to negate Lenoir the canceller) and together with the Fiddler's Green has regrouped at his home island. The Victoria, using the French as a distraction, captures the Sea Duck and tows it back home, now commanding a fleet of 5 ships. The Spanish continue quietly gathering whats left of the gold in the lower left half of the map.
The Amity joins the rest of her fleet and streaks toward the one island that has yet to be explored. Blackheart however also wants the prize. It looks as though a massive battle would erupt if not for two things. Blackheart rolls a six and sends the Amity SSSS away into an iceberg. This victory is shortlived however, as the Spanish employ the Voodoo doll found earlier and successfully cancels Blackheart for a whopping 3 turns in a row. The Amity recovers and makes it to the island first, just ahead of the Bloody Jewel, who turns away scared of the nearby Darkhawk.
Calico at this time breaks away from the group and attacks the nearby Banshee's Cry. Calico misses Widowmaker terribly (Pirate sympathy again), but manages to derelict the Cry. The Widowmaker hits with one shot before Calico streaks out of the her firing range and heads suspiciously toward Blackheart's home island... where El Fantasma is finally revealed. The Darkhawk double moves thanks to Le Requin toward the Scorn to act as a storage unit for the hopefully several gold that is to be stolen.
Blackheart is furious, and charges toward the Amity. The Amity does not have an explorer and as a result is still at the island after loading treasure when the Longshanks reaches her. She is quickly derelicted (the mast lost to the iceberg being very important). The Longshanks quickly takes control of her, as the Harbinger comes into proximity. Calico, seeing the danger, only manages to take one gold before the Harbinger teleports back to the home island with the Amity. The Darkhawk and Scorn retreat back toward their home island.
By this time, very little gold was left on wild islands. The Spanish had retreated back to their home island and pretty much signaled an end to their game. The Gallows had streaked up the Magnifique and had derelicted her alongside the still derelict Descharges. The Gallows manages to take the gold off the Magnifique while the now Cursed controlled Charlemagne streak toward them to try and stop them.
By this time, the Shui Xian was finally entering the fray - the faster Forward had been sunk earlier by the English. The Shui Xian (which by the way was by far the most affected ship by Santa - both naughty and nice) sacs a crew and opens fire on the now VERY crowded waters just below the star of the tree. The Divine Dragon, Charlemagne, and Fiddler's Green all get severely damaged. Davy Jones again gets the luck of the roll with yet another six on his next turn, and commands the Shui Xian to move toward the Gallows and away from him. The Dragon and Fiddler's Green retreat to their home island... only to see the still-hurt Lady's Scorn coming out of a whirlpool right behind their home island.
The Scorn manages to steal two treasures before retreating, and Davy makes it home with one mast. Another Six from Davy moves the Gallows back toward the Shui Xian and eventually, the Gallows, Magnifique, Charlemagne, Hound, and Descharges are all derelict in the same general area.
By the stem, the Victoria and Harbinger were locked in battle around one of the two islands with one treasure left on it. Blackheart was a massive failure at cannon rolls however, hitting twice in 10 shots (he rolled 6 twos!). The result was a derelict Harbinger and a one masted Victoria. The Longshanks tries to help, but comes in too late as the Victoria shoots Blackheart to the locker. The Longshanks takes revenge by sinking the Victoria, and then sets her eyes on that one gold... until the Darkhawk appears out of a whirlpool behind her. Le Requin guides the Darkhawk to a double action and the Longshank sinks.
At this point, the Darkhawk is docked at the island with the last gold coin. The French were eliminated. The Spanish were guarding their home island. The English and Blackheart's fleet were decimated. Calico eyed the Ramsgate and potential home islands. However, seeing that the game had already lasted 5 hours, the controller questioned whether the potential craziness/time of trying to attack a fort and/or steal home island treasure was worth it given what others already had.
So, a count was made, and the English finally revealed that the initial steal of the El Extremadura at the beginning of the game probably won them the game - the ship had 14 gold on it. The English had over 40 gold. Blackheart were next with 32, the Spanish with 28, and Calico only had 24. Davy Jones had 18 and the French and Misc had none. Seeing that it was hopeless, she took the last gold off the island, ending the game.
The English, doing what the Harbinger wanted to do, came out on top and took home the Nation Battle trophy.