Pirates Battle Reports for 2013

This is the archive of Pirates battle reports for the year 2013.

Jan — Three Fighters, Two Fights

Three Fighters, Two Fights
Pirates Battle Report

The turnout for our first battle of the new year was rather slight. Midshipman Jake and Bosun Zach were both fighting acute cases of the Freebooter's Flu, and Timothy Arrr was on the mend from a bout with something similar. So it was just Paul the Pirate Prince, the Dread Pirate Richard, and Cadet-Captain Mike who set sail tonight.

Our fleet-building rules were a bit out of the ordinary. Each of us got to use nine masts (no longships or submarines) and five crew; each crew's point value had to be between 1 and 4 points. In addition, we could choose one of the following variations for our fleets: (1) ten masts instead of nine, (2) one ship could be a longship, (3) one ship could be a submarine, or (4) one crew could be worth more than 4 points. Paul and Richard both went for the ten-mast option, while Mike siezed the rare opportunity to use one of his submarines.

Our island set-up was different for us, but not so different from the official rules. 20 island locations were mapped out, and each of us chose where we wanted our home island to be. The other 17 became wild islands with three coins on each.

When the starting cannon was fired, Paul's ships spread out in search of gold. Richard's ships, on the other hand, spread out in search of gold. Mike's ships, just to be different, spread out in search of gold. But once his two bigger ships were loaded, they spread out in search of Richard.

The initial battle didn't go too well for the Dread Pirate. His Belladonna charged at Mike's Ghost Walker, which cancelled Richard's Captain before his ship could shoot. Mike then opened fire and shot three-for-three, leaving a derelict behind. His submarine, the Mercury, was also closing in, but that's when Mike had a thought. "You know what's going to happen?" he said out loud. "You and I are going to beat each other senseless, and Paul's going to win by staying out of it." Richard nodded, but there wasn't a lot he could do about it. So Mike turned away toward Paul's waters, leaving Richard to tow his derelict home and resume his search for gold.

When Mike got near Paul's home island, the Pirate Prince turned the tables on him. The Ghost Walker fired first, but landed only one hit on the Bonhomme Richard, and the big five-master replied by leaving Mike derelict, just like Mike did to Richard. But before Paul could sink or claim the windless windcatcher, the Philadelphia swooped in and used her ability to zip home with a derelict ship. The Ghost Walker began repairing herself, while Mike's sub put a blockade on Paul's island and his little ships set out for some more treasure.

Paul wouldn't allow that; he ignored the sub, which had wandered out of position to check out a gold-laden island, and charged at Mike's home island with both big gunships. Mike barely had time to repair his windcatcher and concentrate his fleet before Paul descended on him like a thunderbolt. What happened next was one for the record books.

Mike shot first, and again, the Ghost Walker scored three hits on the Bonhomme Richard. The tiny Lynx got a fourth mast with a ram, then boarded (she lost, but lost nothing), and the Philly was maneuvering to see what she could do to help. Paul returned fire with the Constitution, stripping the Ghost Walker's masts away for the second time, and allowed the Bonhomme Richard to make a clever move: she twisted so she both rammed the Philadelphia and touched the derelict Ghost Walker. That ram, and the Bonhomme's last cannon, left the Philly derelict, and left Mike in a tough spot. The USS Mercury was racing back to help, but she would be far too late to stop the destruction of Mike's fleet.

But Paul had outsmarted himself. The Lynx rammed the much larger Bonhomme Richard again and knocked down her last mast. This meant that the Philadelphia, even though derelict herself, was now touching a derelict, and she and the Bonhomme whisked each other to safety at Mike's home island. "Grrr," said Paul. His Constitution took the derelict Ghost Walker in tow and watched the wake of Mike's approaching submarine.

The Mercury blew three blasts on her klaxon. "Surface, surface, surface! Battle stations, gun action!" His goal was simple: to sink his windcatcher so Paul couldn't have her, and so his Eternal crew, Ralph David, could bring her right back to life again. But now it was Mike who outsmarted himself. As soon as the first cannonball landed, Paul exclaimed, "Hey, I'm towing her, so she's my ship now!" The Ghost Walker bobbed to the surface at Paul's home island, not Mike's. "Grrr," said Mike. The adversaries had traded ships!

The five-masted Constitution and the three-gunned Mercury began an unequal duel in which both ships suffered, but Mike's sub suffered more. Derelict and unable to move away, he still had one trick to play. The sub dove, which doesn't count as an action, while still in contact with a nearby wild island, and that was Mike's chance to raise the Thompson's Island fort. Paul high-tailed it out of there before he lost any more masts to the fort's cannons.

And while Paul was totally occupied, what of Richard? The Dread Pirate was quick to see an opportunity when it hit him between the eyes; he sent the Belladonna to Paul's defenseless home island and stole a treasure there. This happened at the same time that the Ghost Walker appeared at Paul's home; Richard's raiding crew were startled, to say the least, to see Mike's ship under Paul's flag rise out of the water at the next pier. Paul repaired one mast and set out after the robber. They exchanged hits, but Richard's hit left the windcatcher derelict for the third time in one battle. Rather than finish her off, the Belladonna ran for home; she saw the Constitution headed her way, partially repaired by her Shipwright and looking very put out.

All the gold was claimed by now, so we counted our doubloons. Remember how Mike worried that, if he fought Richard, Paul would win by staying out of it? Well, Mike fought Paul instead, and Richard won by staying out of it. Mike was a pretty close second, though.

The Ghost Walker set a new record by being left derelict three times in one battle. What's more, the admiral who did the attacking the first two times (Paul) was on the receiving end the third time. No ship won battle honors, because all were equally busy, but Mike's Ghost Walker certainly would have earned the "Most Eventful Cruise" Award if there was one.

# # # # #

All this action took up only half our fighting time, so we reset the game area and played again, using the same fleets. Paul went first again, and again, everybody went for gold, and once Mike got some, he went for Richard again. This time, he intended to take the Dread Pirate out of the battle early so he couldn't win again. He deemed Paul the lesser threat because Paul's two ships couldn't possibly gather gold as fast as Richard's four ships. Well, that's what he thought.

What he hadn't reckoned on was Paul leaving his fighting crew home to make more room for treasure. Unmolested, his two big fighters began collecting some high-value coins, even though this wasn't in their job description. Mike tried the same tactic, with similar results, but his eyes were fixed on Richard's fleet.

The Ghost Walker began this fight just like the last one: she cancelled the Belladonna's Captain and shot all her masts off. When HMS Granville approached to help out, Mike's ship did it again, but this time she missed one mast. Richard rejoiced at this; the battle was taking place within S-range of his home island, and as long as one of his ships could move, it could tow the other one home. Mike was distracted from finishing off the Granville by the approach of the Bazana. He picked a fight with her as well, but his L-range cannons couldn't dent the little Spaniard. Richard shot back and took down one Mike's mizzenmast. Mike, miffed, mauled a mast by returning a ram on Richard's raider. (Say that three times, fast.)

After this, there was a lull in the action as Mike and Richard went home for repairs, and everyone's gold ships continued pillaging the abundant treasures that other careless pirates had left lying around. Richard got his fleet together first and set out for revenge against Mike.

His target was the Lynx, the subject of many "missing Lynx" jokes and the proud possessor of one coin that Richard wanted very badly. Mike's submarine dove and rammed Richard's ships in the fantail, one after another, crushing a mast every time, but she couldn't stop them. The Lynx, unable to make her full speed because she was carrying cargo, soon saw that Richard was going to overtake her. She couldn't get home, so she headed for Paul's waters instead, reasoning that it was better for Paul to get her treasure than Richard, since he still saw Richard as the bigger threat.

She was too slow. Richard's Belladonna fired her bow chaser and missed, used a "benny" coin for a free reroll, and got the hit that left Mike's smallest ship derelict. On the next turn, Richard sank her and claimed the coin he wanted so badly. Mike solemnly handed it over, along with the "No Cash Value" medal we award each other when one of us exerts huge efforts to get a 1-point coin.

In another corner of the map, Richard's Bazana started a fight against Paul's much bigger Bonhomme Richard. The Spanish ship's ability kept her safe against three of Paul's cannons, but the other two scored a hit, and the Bazana turned tail and fled before things got worse. Paul's ship continued collecting gold, while his Constitution was about to jump the rest of Richard's fleet, and Mike was on the verge of joining the party.

That's where we ran out of time. We counted our ill-gotten gains, and this time, Mike won, with Paul a close second. Again, no one ship played a huge role in anyone's success, so no battle honors were awarded. But our two games were hard-fought and fun for everyone, and that's the real test of a good battle.

Scribed this day, January Sixteenth,
the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Thirteen,
by Cadet-Captain Mike

Back to the Pirates page