The newest of the non-confrontational treasure swiping abilities, Trogs, along with its Pirate cousin Skyme the Monkey, can pick a ship clean of its treasure with a single successful boarding roll. For my money (or build points), the HMS London’s ability might only affect Pirate ships but it’s such an all-around fantastic gunship that it doesn’t matter. Besides, Pirates are a common enough nationality. Hmm. I should probably stick to reviewing Trogs.
Ordinarily, a boarding roll can eliminate one crew or steal one treasure. Trogs allows you to steal all treasure aboard a boarded ship. Not a bad ability but it’s something I’d be hesitant to spend 5 points obtaining when others out there are far more useful in a far greater number of circumstances. (Admiral Morgan, Amiral Stephan Dupuy, Admiral Alarico Castro) Grr, there I go again. Back to Trogs.
Strategies and game play:
First and foremost, if you want to make the most of your Trogs, you must place them on a ship with enough masts to secure a boarding roll victory. By choosing Trogs, you’re already committed to sneaky tactics so choose a ship with enough speed to get out of harm’s way. A ship carrying Trogs should be more gunship or hybrid than true gold runner. Of the Cursed ships out there, at least six have S as their base move.
Six makes for a fairly steep percentage of new nationality ships to be seaweed-slow. This limits the number of sensible selections available to The Cursed unless you go with the ships that allow Cursed crew or crew of any nationality to be used aboard it. If you want to use a Black Mark crew, do it for a reason other than to utilize Trogs, of all crew.
Cannons can fire multiple times and you’re only rolling against your cannons’ ranks. The success of a boarding party relies on a single roll of a die against your opponent’s roll. (you could call it a “Boardsides Attack”, heh heh). If you’re able to take the mother load from your opponent’s gold runner, good for you… but by hauling that treasure back to your home island, you’re essentially removing a ship from where the action is.
Combos with other miniatures:
- Any ship with the “+1 to boarding rolls” ability couldn’t hurt but naturally it should have enough masts to be competitive in the first place.
- Any ship with the ability to declare boarding rolls from a distance can only help your clean getaway.
- Any ship with the “this ship cannot be shot at by ships within S of it” ability.
- White Crew, combined with Trogs, can strip a ship of crew and treasure in one shot.
- Any crew or ship ability that can grant an extra action or the same action twice (The Headhunter being the only Cursed crew that can do that, FYI).
Ways to counteract it:
If Trogs is played properly, it will be turned face-up when the boarding action takes place and it will be too late to do anything about it. Once face-up, you’ll at least be alert of the ship that carries Trogs, removing the element of surprise.
- Ugly. A far more intimidating countenance than Skyme’s.
- If you can call it a strength, Trogs links to the equally nasty-looking but surprisingly not overcosted Sargasso Nightmare.
- Useless to you on the open sea.
- Useless to you until an opponent’s ship grabs gold, which you don’t want happening in the first place, regardless of the likelihood that it will happen.
- Unless the ship carrying Trogs gets a second action, the ship Trogs raided can fire on it.
Artwork and aesthetics:
In a word, icky. Trogs is one of the few exceptions where, if a card is based on a number of individuals (Castro’s Loyalists), I like to see more than one of the individuals in the illustration. One Trog is enough for me. In regard to their ability, I feel the artwork is a bit off. These guys are too creepy to imagine them climbing aboard a ship, plodding along slowly and then hauling off treasure chests like they were fish-faced movers. If White Crew and Trogs switched abilities, the artwork would be slightly more plausible.
I hate to measure each new crew ability by comparing them to how much more useful they are to cannons (or abilities from older crew that cost the same) but that is the bottom line. The Cursed crew have caused me to scrutinize them in this manner more than any new nationality from a previous expansion. For what it does, Trogs can steal treasure from a ship faster than if you derelicted a ship and then explored it but with fewer chances to do so and (most importantly) it does nothing to protect it from retaliatory cannon fire should it end its turn within firing range. That being said, I must give Trogs a 2 out of 10.
Man, it's ugly.