"The Windjammer's nimble nature makes her a tough target, but at the cost of reduced firepower."
The Windjammer is a solid Pirate three master from the original set, Pirates of the Spanish Main. She has not been used in a fleet, and she doesn’t have any other Miniature Reviews written about her. The Windjammer is a good ship that doesn’t need a lot of crew to be effective. For 9 points, you get a quick midsize gunship capable of surprising your opponent and helping out your fleet. I like the Windjammer because she is cheap, doesn’t need a helmsman, and has a cool ability. One of the reasons that I'm reviewing this ship before other ships I plan on reviewing is because the Windjammer doesn't need a helmsman, whereas the other ships I've reviewed and the ships I'm planning on reviewing need one to be effective.
Contrary to her name, I would use the Windjammer as a gunship. Although she is fast, she doesn't have above-average cargo, with the same number of cargo spaces as masts. In the combos section I will describe how to use her as a sort of hybrid, but a gunship will definitely be her main function in a fleet.
Strategies and game play:
At 9 points, the Windjammer won't take up a huge portion of your build total. Her effect on game play may not be immense, but she is a nice support ship that can do different things. She can assist your main gunship, escort your treasure runners, take out enemy forts, or run a treasure coin while shooting at enemy treasure runners.
With three masts, I wouldn't suggest trying to use any kind of boarding strategy with this ship.
One obvious strategy that comes to mind, based on her ability, is a fort-wrecker. She is completely immune to them, so unless that ability is cancelled, she can get nice and cozy next to your opponents' favourite fort and blast away until there's nothing left. Forts can seem powerful, which results in players abandoning them and sending their ships off to fight and collect gold. This is the perfect moment for this ship to strike. She approaches when there are no other ships around, and takes out the fort (while not taking any damage herself) before your opponent can respond. Then she slips away, looking for more forts to destroy . This ship is a particularly good choice to use if your opponent uses this annoying fort.
The Windjammer will not be the main focus of your strategy or fleet, but is a good addition to any Pirate fleet looking to add a solid mid-range gunship.
Combos with other miniatures:
Before I go into the crew combos, here's a quick 40 point fleet just to give you an idea of what the Pirates can fit into their build:
-Darkhawk II w/ helmsman and explorer (13)
-Windjammer w/ captain, The Hag of Tortuga, and Tia Dalma (17)
-Raven w/ explorer (11)
-Banshee's Cry w/ explorer (4)
Here we have a nice fast fleet with 12 spaces available for treasure, plus a good gunship equipped with a canceller. They don’t have captains, but the firepower of the Darkhawk and Raven is a nice complement to their excellent cargo.
First off, your basic captain will be required to make this ship the gunship that she is supposed to be. This is a simple setup that brings the total point cost to 12 for a simple gunship. Not bad at all. There may be better options, but this setup may actually be the one that optimizes the performance of the Windjammer. Adding other crew/equipment is fine, but spending a lot of points on a support ship is not a good idea. Naturally, I will still describe other setups to be complete .
For 14 points, you can make her a bit faster with a helmsman. Moving at S+L+S, she should be able to catch most if not all of the enemy ships she targets. At S+L base move, however, this is not necessary.
I think one of the best crew options for this ship is to give her a sac captain. Both Captain Blackheart and Havana Black would work. Obviously you'll have to have some crew to sac. I would recommend at least two one point crew (oarsmen and/or explorers) in order to get your points' worth. You can fit up to three oarsmen on because the first one won't take up any space. In a 40 point game, three extra actions throughout the game would come in quite handy. Up to 6 shots per turn would turn this midsize ship into a formidable foe. Three oarsmen would bring the total point cost to 17.
A sac captain is also how I would suggest running treasure with this ship, if you do. You could use either two explorers, an oarsman and an explorer, or two oarsmen and one explorer. Sac the oarsman to get to the island quickly, and then use the explorer to grab the best gold coin from the island. Then sac the explorer to get home quickly.
If you'd rather roll for extra actions, consider combining Calico Cat with Lady Baptiste. With the captain, this setup maxes out both the points (9) and cargo capacity (3) of the Windjammer. The Promo version of Baptiste combines the captain and reroll abilities into one crew. If you prefer extra actions to the SAT, use this guy.
Another way to maximize the 9 point limit is to use the OE version of the Cat. She gives you world-hater and extra action for just 6 points, when those abilities normally cost 4 and 5 points, respectively. Add a captain and you have a pretty powerful ship for 18 points.
Crimson Angel is another discount crew who gives you SAT + world-hater for just 5 points, when they should cost 7 when together. With the captain this brings us to 8 points of crew, just enough to add an oarsman to sac if any crew-killers are encountered.
To juice up the Windjammer's slightly above-average guns, add Bruce Grey. This crew can be combined with a simple captain, or you can also add a helmsman to max out the point and cargo limits. Captain Barbossa (or Isandro Ramirez) also gives you the captain + world-hater combo, but there's really no point in combining two crew in one (and therefore being vulnerable to crew-killers) unless you are going to add other crew or equipment.
For a variation on the captain ability, you can try Captain Jack Hawkins. For just one extra point, he makes the Windjammer more dangerous in that you can take out enemy crew.
The CC version of Jack Hawkins can provide extra protection against crew killers, and he also provides the SAT ability.
If you use the Reverse Captain ability often and are willing to pay for it, the Pirates have many options: DJC Jack Hawkins, Benito de Soto, and Blackheart.
Even if you don't need a helmsman, a Navigator can be a nice option to have, especially if your other ships are a bit slow.
A canceller is useful in any game of Pirates. For the Windjammer, cancelling an enemy captain when the ship moves into range can win the battle for you. Also, if an opponent has a canceller, they will cancel each other out, so the previous situation won't happen to you.
Any combination of firepot specialists, stinkpot specialists, smokepot specialists, cannoneers, musketeers, shipwrights, oarsmen, fire shot, stinkpot shot, grape shot, chain shot, double shot, and exploding shot (keep in mind that it costs 3 points, not 1) can be an effective way to augment the firepower of the Windjammer. Consider using Hammersmith in order to gain the captain and helmsman abilities while taking up just one cargo space. In this way, you'll still have two cargo spaces and four points left to fill in with any combination of the above options. Perhaps a Firepot Specialist, Stinkpot Shot, and an oarsman, or maybe a cannoneer and a shipwright; it's up to you.
If you find the treasures and have the time to transport them to the Windjammer, Ammunition, Deck Cannon, Dry Powder, Fireworks, and Power Cannons can give her a boost in firepower.
If you have an explorer and want to find the highest value coin, discovering Marksman's Map would be beneficial.
Ways to counteract it:
-Shoot at her with a bigger or better gunship or gang up on her with multiple gunships.
-Cancel her captain and/or ability.
-Capture her and use her against your opponents' forts (this would be particularly annoying to the enemy).
The Pirates have the most ships in the game, so it is safe to say that the Windjammer faces plenty of competition, especially from her own set. There is a plethora of good Pirate three masters, some of them better than the Windjammer.
First, Pirate three masters that move S+L:
-The Longshanks is a very cheap ship that can run three gold coins with an explorer for just 7 points. Also, she has more masts than the average treasure runner (arguably, anyway), and her guns are better than most of your staple treasure runners.
-Also from SM, the Muerta de la Corona is a solid gunship option that also costs 9 points. However, her guns are slightly worse than those of the Windjammer, and her ability is even more specific.
-The Duke is a powerful ship with a nice ability, but she is extremely expensive for a three master, and her guns are only average.
-The Pride is a schooner very similar to the Windjammer, with almost the same guns and the same amount of cargo spaces. However, she pales in comparison to the Windjammer because her point cost is inflated by an ability that only works 50% of the time (and the other 50% of the time, your ship is as good as sunk), and her all-L guns are vulnerable to something like the Duke.
Other three masters that don't move S+L (keeping the focus on gunships):
-The Recreant is good support gunship that costs the same 9 points as the Windjammer. She combines a great ability with great guns, one of the few cheap options for crew-killing.
-Yet another good Pirate three master from SM, the Ladron is the same ship as the Recreant other than her ability.
-With nice guns and a fair point cost, the Accused is a good gunship with a fantastic ability .
-If they weren't so slow, either version of the Empress would eclipse the Windjammer. Their good guns and abilities somewhat make up for it, but I would say the Windjammer is better.
-La Morte de Yarborough combines a powerful ability with solid guns.
-Her guns aren't as good as the Recreant, but the Minerva has a better base move.
-The sniping Selkie is another 9 point gunship that would be a viable option even without that ability.
Ships that have the same ability as the Windjammer:
-The American ship Boston costs one more point for the Schooner keyword, and is otherwise quite similar to the Windjammer.
-El San Salvador only has two masts, but her guns are quite good.
-HMS Greyhound is fast and accurate, but one cannon isn't really enough to do much, even if you won't be shot at in return. Plus, she's only 2 points cheaper than the Windjammer, who can both take more damage and dole out more damage.
-L'Orient is a boring ship with no real redeeming qualities (they should've made her bigger and more historical).
-Pirate, so many crew and ship combos.
-Cheap, and easy to fit into a build.
-Ability that can nullify something like this.
-Fast base move (S+L)
-Average in a bunch of categories, and the victim of competition that results from the Pirates having so many good ships.
-Easy to take out with three masts.
-Ability only comes into play if your opponent uses a fort (and not all players even use forts, let alone in every game).
-Low point cost limits crew options.
Artwork and aesthetics:
The artwork is about average for a Pirate ship from one of the earlier sets. She has greyish sails that have seen their fair share of punishment, and her decks and hull are a dark brown/black colour. Not a bad-looking ship, but nothing spectacular.
I would give the Windjammer an 8 out of 10. She loses points for having guns that aren't wholly suited to the task of destroying enemy ships and forts. However, she is a nice, cheap option to rely on if you're in need of a fast support gunship that is deadly against forts.