This is my entry for repkosai's In Search of El Dorado Fleet Challenge.
The former Spanish Empire is in shambles. Their treasure fleets have been sunk by storms, ravaged by pirates, and captured by Englishmen. Their war glories are from an entirely different age. As the dark times move in, the King becomes increasingly desperate and is willing to go to any length to see his country restored to its former position in the world order. He turns to an untouched cache of gold from the 16th century, brought from the New World on Spain's now-lost treasure galleons. With this, he finances an expedition...
What better man to have for the job than a desperate treasure-seeker himself?
Tasked with finding the mythical city of El Dorado, Agustin Covas finds the King's demand right up his alley:
Born and raised in Portugal, Agustin Covas attended the prestigious navigation school founded by Columbus' navigator. He sailed for the New World to distance himself from the Inquisition, but it followed, and he lives in fear of being discovered as a Jew. Covas is compelled to find enough gold to save his people, and so he seeks the mythical city of El Dorado.
After the Inquisition was largely defeated at the hands of an English Armada, Covas was able to return to Spain and enjoy the short-lived period of Spanish Renaissance. However, this didn't last long at all, for Spain was quickly falling behind and excluded once again.
With a desperate (and possibly insane) King financing the journey, Covas had his pick of ships to sail all the way back to the New World, his "old stomping grounds" if you will.
After a number of mediocre experiences aboard small or cramped vessels, Covas saw this as an opportunity to live in luxury for the first time since his school days. With the Rocinante still under construction (just months away from launching, but the King is impatient, mind you!), Covas chose a ship he had watched from afar, the Buscador:
With a grand ship of such large cargo capacity, Covas was able to convince the King that even with a few other "useful" (as described by Covas of course, though the uninformed King had his doubts about that) crewmembers, the Buscador would still be able to bring back any gold found in Lake Guatavita or Lake Parime. Covas was mighty excited by the King's permission, as he knew just the right person to join him!
After two nearly fatal "accidents" at home (possibly arranged by her husband's children, all older than she), the lovely Contessa Anita decided that it might be prudent to take a long trip until her husband passes away and she inherits everything. She has been seen in the company of both Comandante Luis and the pirate Jack Hawkins.
With her ailing husband hanging onto his life through a series of miracles (some claim that the infamous Papa Doc is involved for financial reasons), the more-mature but still-annoyed Contessa Anita is ready for her long trip. Over the years she has seen the deaths of her other lovers, including both Luis and Hawkins. Covas is unaware of her piratical and deadly past, seeing her as a potential partner in the riches that they will acquire on their voyage together. He hopes to wine and dine her, killing two birds with one stone by getting a wife and retiring with riches from El Dorado! (and getting not just one, but two kinds of "booty", if you know what I mean... )
With that, the crew was nearly ready to set sail. In his obsession over the still-lovely Anita Amore, Covas nearly forgot that the King was allowing him TWO additional crewmembers. In great haste he used the King's old gold to hire a helmsman, for he knew that as good a navigator as he was, he couldn't crew the Buscador all by himself. After all, he had never dealt with a "crane" or "hoist" before. Even if he had, in the back of his mind he knew it would be difficult to sail all the way across the Pacific without being "distracted" by Mrs. Amore along the way....
And so, the Buscador set sail for South America with her motley crew. And El Dorado doesn't exist, and that was that. Or, maybe not?!
"WHAT IF THEY GET ATTACKED!?" exclaimed the King, fearing that he had just spent his gold in vain. With almost no money left (and the only money he DID have left was secretly given to him by Anita out of her own personal savings, as she knew how badly undermanned and therefore outgunned the Buscador would be), he turned to the cheapest "gunship" in the annals of Spain:
Capitan Vencinia has become a victim of his own success, having replaced shrewd negotiating with wastefulness and gluttony.
Luckily for Vencinia, no negotiating skills were needed here: the King wanted him for his low bid price! With Spain's finest gearing up for war with the former American colonists (SS flavor! lol), the King didn't have many choices in the first place. Vencinia's best days were behind him, but he could still lead a ship to victory in battle. At least, that was what the King hoped.
The King suddenly remembered that one of his newest possessions could be a potent weapon if only Vencinia could make a quick stop on the way to the New World. He explained the situation, and Vencinia knew what was waiting for him in the West Indies:
First deployed in the Caribbean, the Diablo surprised pirates used to Spain’s “old ways.”
And with that, the Algeciras set sail for the New World hot on the stern of the Buscador. With the frolicking taking place on the Buscador, Vencinia had no trouble catching up to Covas and his ship. A formidable friendship was struck between all four members of the expedition, and although small, it DID feature two of Spain's finest ships and some (?) of their better crew. Covas was thrilled to have a war-proven ship to escort him to El Dorado, and he grew even more secure when informed that they would be picking up a "gunbox" in the Caribbean on their way there.
And so the expedition was complete, and off to find El Dorado! I hope you enjoyed my "story" of sorts, it grew quite a bit larger than I expected when I was able to tie things together in whatever ways I could think of heh.
The fleet is relatively straightforward: with just 25/30 points available, it's tough to have more than 2 effective ships. The Buscador is simply underrated by most, and carries a huge cargo hold, solid abilities, and enough crew to make her a good gold ship. The Algeciras is overused for a reason, but the Spanish don't have any 5 or 7 point ships (considering captain/helmsman necessities) that I liked enough. Throw in Diablo's flavor text, and adding the tried-and-true combo was a lock. I would have preferred a captain on the Algeciras, but the King couldn't afford one. Once it was posted that 0LR +5's were legal for this challenge, they seem almost necessary due to how big of a percentage boost they give you in a small build total. (+20% more points!)
PS: I checked with Woelf about the flavor text on Covas' card, which says Olano as the name at the beginning of the last sentence. Apparently it's an unsolved mystery, but in all likelihood it should say Covas, so that's what I'm hoping was the intent heh. (or else this fleet falls apart real quick in terms of flavor lol)