Raven’s Neck was the first ship I ever pulled from a pack, but I don’t think my nostalgia will taint this review. I think Raven’s Neck is amongst the better ships released for the game, but is largely forgotten due to absurdly powerful ships like Darkhawk II, HMS London, and Franklin stealing her spotlight. She has a useful ability, great hold space, good armament, wonderful crew selection, and a reasonable cost, held back only by a subpar move speed. Because of her variety of strengths, she can be competent in every role you can imagine her in. Gunship, treasure runner, boarder, interceptor, HI raider, support ship, and so on.
Let’s review every aspect of her to explain why they combine to make her a sublime ship. Her point cost is on par with some of the game’s cheaper 4-masters, and more expensive 3-masters, so she’ll leave enough points for you to outfit your other ships handily too. Her cargo space will allow her to stow two to three pertinent crew on board that accentuate any of her abilities without significantly impacting her ability to empty a wild island or enemy ship of its valuables. Her size means that she’s a tough foe to engage in a fight, be it with guns or boarding. Armament of mixed range means that she’s capable of fighting enemies with both range-defensive abilities. Ships like Cygnet or Bosun's Bane are still targetable by Raven’s Neck due to her split of 3S and 2L range guns.
A selection of carefully chosen crew in different combinations can give her the ability to tackle two or more roles in a game, depending on what it is you want from this ship. Here are some crew that I think are worth mentioning as good pairings
Lucky the Parrot
The Hag of Tortuga
Jocard and the Hag are good additions for lower-cost builds. They maintain her cargo space, but boost your game’s point limit, provided you can’t find somewhere else to stow your build limit booster.
As a multipurpose warship, when paired with Hammersmith and Calico Cat OE, she has L+S move, a captain, a chance at an extra action, and the world hater ability, for 23 points. 2S-1L-1L-2S guns are nothing to shake a stick at, and while her speed is nothing special, the occasional extra action will keep quicker foes on their toes nonetheless. She also maintains 4 cargo spaces for either boarding or gold running. For a cheaper multipurpose slant, Hammersmith and an Explorer cut her cost to 17.
To build her more for treasure running, a simple Helmsman and Explorer can be used, but that fails to make her take advantage of her abilities to their utmost. A combination of Devereaux and a Helmsman will allow her to spy on two coins’ worth of treasure per turn, allowing identification of the game’s most important wild islands within a handful of turns, not to mention that it adds the ability to raid your enemy’s home island if they find themselves in possession of the most valuable treasure. To be sure that you’re going to make it home with that gold, though, you can swap out the Helmsman for Hammersmith again, for a combination warship-runner-raider-support ship.
Devereaux, Lucky, and a Helmsman can take this ship’s intel-gathering capabilities to the extreme, and would be paired best with an intercepting boarder of some kind. You could look at three total treasures, two on either a ship or island, and one on the other.
If you wanted to go nuts and build yourself something extravagant, Jonah, Hammersmith, Emperor Blackheart, and Gentleman Jocard could give you a crazy ship with extra actions to spare, but at 32 points, I can imagine more interesting strategies at that point cost.
While Raven’s Neck isn’t the best ship for making game-breaking strategies, because her only extreme trait is her cargo space, she can still be a potent ship within the confines of some of the game’s less extreme strategies. She isn’t going to win the gold race against a dedicated high speed gold fleet, and she won’t win a fight against some of the ships listed at the top of this page. She’ll lose to cheesing strategies, and she can be chased down with relative ease by the likes of San Cristobal. But dang it, she’ll put up a solid fight in each of these scenarios, and with the strange fortune we sometimes have with die rolls, might even with them on occasion.
Pros: great hold space, good point cost, good armament, useful ability, good crew selection, competent in any role
Cons: subpar move, hard to use in cheesing fleets, needs a Helmsman or extra actions
Art: simple dirty, tattered pirate ships from SM. Not bad looking, but nothing special.
Rating: 8.5/10. Not sure I can give her a 9/10, and certainly not a 10, but she’s better than an 8. Too good to be forgotten, but maybe not quite good enough to be most players’ first choice.