Nan o’ War CH11: Riding the Seasaw

By Rutskarn Posted Wednesday May 24, 2017

Filed under: Lets Play 32 comments

It doesn’t matter if you’re learning to play the piano or how to blast a smoking hole in the breastplate of empire; Practice Makes Perfect. And just like the quickest way to learn piano is to try playing two of them at once:

Ave! True to Keezer!
Ave! True to Keezer!

The best way to learn naval craft is to engage two enemies at a time. What good fortune I stumbled onto this smuggler flotilla!

Okay, maybe I wasn’t looking where I was sailing. Doesn’t matter! I am about to learn some incredibly important lessons about naval combat. Ideally these will consist of the ninja strategies that let me snatch a victory out of these hungry chompers, but I’ll also settle for a simple, “Never do this again.”

Before I can break out any of my higher level strats (firing my cannons, steering my ship, etc) the nearest vessel sails right up and boards me. Once again, my crew of more than twenty men musters a defensive party small enough to agree on a restaurant. Fortunately, I have a secret weapon:

I don’t completely suck at this game.

Happy sails, dumbasses.

I get the same parade of postbattle screens I usually get when I take a ship: here’s who died, here’s what was on the ship that you can fit in your tiny hold, here’s what you’ll have to throw overboard, incidentally would you like to keep the ship you’ve emptied out. And then, once that’s done with…

…right back to the battle. Pretty sporting of the Julius Ceasar[sic] to hang back while we inventoried their friends’ bloodsoaked crates of bananas. But now that we’ve squared away the plunder and collected the wounded and appointed one of the lieutenants to temporary captain of the Dutch name I can’t be bothered to scroll up and check, it’s time to get back to heavy blasts and loud balls. Just call us the Ides of March, punks, because we’re about to give you the same thing we gave your friends!

Three, uh, men.

Tactics time! I’ll open with my first pistol and take out the nearest guy on the gangplank. That’ll even things out to three versus six…

Bam! Then I’ll retreat back to my men on the aftcastle, which is…

…occupied by three enemies, so I’ll just…


Et voila .

Well, that sucked. I came to bury Ceasar[sic], but it seems I only grazed him. Next time I’ll have to work on directing my men’s placement on the…


…why is this battle still going?

I’m steering that ship I captured a minute ago.

Uh. I think I’m…on it, now?

So, connecting the dots here–I was hit by a bullet. And then I fell over, gushing blood, completely incapacitated. And then I just started rolling. I spasm-rolled past the bemused clogs of the enemy up and over the railing and straight into the water, which, apparently, refreshed me so much that I breaststroked to my other ship in the middle of the battle. The ship in question having, if I’m reading this interface correctly, zero crew.

So…now that I’ve flopped aboard, I’m piloting it. And it’s actually maneuvering pretty okay? You have to wonder why this apparently took twenty goddamn men to do a minute ago.

You know, besides the fact that I’ve downgraded from a large sloop to a small, I guess I broke even? Oh, right. I lost my awesome totally irreplaceable crew of well-missed model citizens. I’ll have to remember to send some sympathetic cards back to their stable family units.

So I could cut and run and not have much to be ashamed of. But screw it, I’m going back in. Boarding party of one injured grandma, your last stand is now available. Ramming speed!

Two troops ready for—now where the fuck did he come from?

I’m not sure where they got these numbers, but I can actually work with this. While it’s obviously too much to ask that my teammate contribute anything to the battle before going diving into a musket ball like a circus seal…

…my magic fingers, plus one magic pixel, carry me to victory. Whereupon I get, you guessed it…

So it looks like I’m crab-sprinting alone through the corpses and gunsmoke, one hand on my bleeding ribs, the other gripping a meathook of corned beef, desperately unloading the cargo from my new ship off of my old ship and onto my new ship. And then the moment I’m satisfied…

Let me be frank. I’m up against five dudes here. My own crew consists of a sailor that, best as I can figure, is a member of the enemy crew who went skins out of sportsmanship. Anywhere I stand on this stupid deck is going to become “the thick of the action” because these guys have nothing on their to-do-list but killing me.

Right out the gate my companion makes Caribbean(!) history by successfully killing an enemy. I mow a few more down with my cutlass. Two enemies left! Only, the deck is clear. Where are they…

Splinters fly up from the deck.

Oh. Right. The sniper nests.

I’ll do you a favor and skip the next ten minutes of hugging a mast and trying to score headshots with a colonial pistol. Bottom line:

We win. And suddenly I am rich.

All very interesting. You’d think a fleet would be useful because you’d be able to muster larger boarding parties, control the pace of battles, or pulverize enemies with sustained cannon fire. In fact, they’re mostly just there as a kind of Mario Bros lives system. Guess I learned that ninja strat after all.

And speaking of subtle techniques for overcoming one’s enemies…

“Oho,” I muse over my tropical cocktail. “I think this rinky-dink island chain is about to learn…what sharp teeth grandmother has.”

“Ahaha,” I add.

“Ahahaha,” I conclude, and accidentally quit without saving.



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32 thoughts on “Nan o’ War CH11: Riding the Seasaw

  1. Aevylmar says:

    I was already laughing hard *before* the punchline. Thanks, Rutskarn. Sincerely, thanks a *lot*.

  2. ehlijen says:

    ARGHHH! But also lol!

    Well done, I say, well done post and punchline.

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    What wouldve happened if you lost that battle of retaking your ship?Would you then teleport to the second one,fight the first one again,and once more try to retake your ship?This is crazy.

    Also that ending!I literally laughed out loud!

  4. Mr Compassionate says:

    Godamnit Ruts save your damn game! The world of Caribbean! is confusing enough without non-canon teleporting grandmother corned beef adventures!

  5. Grudgeal says:

    …Are your men killing themselves in that second image?

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      Knowing the AI, probably.

    2. Merzendi says:

      Nope. Genericus the Sailor (TM) exists on every ship. There’s no way to tell them all apart.

      Your way is funnier though.

  6. methermeneus says:

    Was the last ship you fought your original ship? Seeing as it got captured when you did and was, therefore, an event ship?

    1. Viktor says:

      My impression:
      Ruts has Ship A. Enemy has Ship B and Ship C.
      Ship A vs Ship B, Ruts wins. Ruts has Ship A and Ship B, Enemy has Ship C.
      Ship A vs Ship C, Enemy wins. Enemy has Ship A and Ship C, Ruts has Ship B.
      Ship B vs Ship A, Ruts wins. Ruts has Ship B and Ship A, Enemy has Ship C.
      Ship B vs Ship C, Ruts wins. Ruts has Ship B, Ship A, and Ship C.

      Side note, “Ship” no longer looks like an actual word.

      1. Retsam says:

        Yeah, Ruts has “The Good Chair” vs. “Julius Ceasar [sic]” and “Maagd van Dordrecht”. He beats the Maagd, but then loses to the Julius Caesar; it looks like The Good Chair gets captured and renamed “Nelleblad”?

        If not, then a new ship enters the battle when he loses, since you see “Nelleblad joins the battle!” in the “why is this still going?” screenshot.

        Then he beats the [sic] or the Sloop-Formerly-Known-As-The-Good-Chair, (though maybe not in that order for certain.)

        1. Viktor says:

          “So it looks like I'm crab-sprinting alone through the corpses and gunsmoke, one hand on my bleeding ribs, the other gripping a meathook of corned beef, desperately unloading the cargo from my new ship off of my old ship and onto my new ship. And then the moment I'm satisfied…”
          -From directly before the ‘The enemy has elected to board your vessel’ screenshot.

          That would seem to imply he beat his original ship before beating the enemy’s final ship.

  7. 4th Dimension says:

    Soooo basically naval battles are one large sequence of boarding actions.

    Also given what happened this time, I think it’s likely that your stats determine how many men join you in battle like we suspected last time.

  8. Ivan says:

    Wait, no mandatory saves? Ah well, great post nonetheless thank you.

  9. KarmaTheAlligator says:

    What’s the 175b damage mean? 175 billion? Are these nukes? Because for that price I expect nukes (mini-nuke at the least).

    1. Syal says:

      Presumably there are different types of damage for the different weapons. That’s 175 points of ‘blowing people up’ damage.

      1. djw says:

        “blowing people up” would be a funny type of damage, but I’m pretty sure it actually means blunt.

        1. djw says:

          Then again, upon reviewing the screen shot and noting that it is a grenade, maybe it does mean “blowing people up”.

          It does mean blunt in vanilla mount and blade though.

          Also, is it just me, or do grenades seem like a really bad idea for close combat on a wooden boat? I can see where you might want to chuck it on the other guys boat, but you’d need some kind of major league arm strength to pull that of I’d think.

          1. Syal says:

            Ah, vanilla would be the confusion. Warband updated the damage types to ‘Blowing People Up’, ‘Please Stop Doing That’, and ‘Cue The Trombone’.

          2. ehlijen says:

            Grenades were somewhat useful on ships, actually, more useful than on land where the enemies aren’t as cramped together. They don’t do a lot more damage to the hard wood than firing 10lb lead balls into it from cannon. Yes, they might start fires, and you don’t want them anywhere near the magazine, but the more realistic risk was actually blowing your own hand off with them due to lack of training.

            They were primarily used to toss down hatches before storming below decks, I believe.

  10. John says:

    Hey, Rutskarn, does this game in fact have any kind of naval combat whatsoever other than boarding actions? In one of the screenshots, it looks like a couple of the ships may actually be firing cannons, but I note that the ship in the foreground–which I presume is yours–seems to be firing in the wrong direction. You don’t strike me as the type to pass up comedy gold like that so I can only assume that those puffs of smoke are purely decorative.

    1. Merzendi says:

      It does have cannon firing. Actually, it allows you to pick what type of ammo your cannons fire. Solid to hurt the hull, grape to hurt the crew, and chain to damage the rigging.

      There’s also ramming. Which I hope Ruts demonstrates sometime. :p

      1. Viktor says:

        So, if it ends at a boarding action no matter what, why would you use solid ever? Chain slows them so you can start boarding faster, grape means you have fewer enemies to fight when you do, all solid seems to do is make it so you get less loot at the end of the fight. That doesn’t seem beneficial.

        1. Merzendi says:

          If you use solid, you can actually sink them without boarding. It does mean you get less loot, and you don’t have a ship to sell, but you can do it if you don’t have many ground-equivalent troops. It also has the longest range of the three, and can do some damage to crew or rigging, if you’re lucky.

          1. ehlijen says:

            The range is the main benefit; balls fly further and more accurately than spinning chains and clouds of shrapnel. As a pirate, you’ll likely prefer the other types, but as a trader, you’ll want to hit the enemy further out if you can. So ball shot will be in the game, so you might as well make it an option for when the player just wants to sink the navy sloop that’s annoying them on their way home to sell their already full hold of loot.

  11. Genericide says:

    The rest of this post was already great, but that ending was glorious. Took me completely by surprise.

    1. Philadelphus says:

      Yeah, that had me laughing out loud.

  12. avpix says:

    Oh man, that was the funniest entry to date.

  13. Syal says:

    …oh, I just saw there’s still a slot for a horse. I eagerly await Granny Lackbeard leading cavalry charges across two ships.

    Or horses in the crow’s nest, either way.

  14. tremor3258 says:

    I was amused, hit the ending, and was very amused.

    At least you know the ways of ninja-pole-hugging, grasshopper?

  15. eman says:

    Grandma got killed but didn’t die.
    Crew members appearing out of thin air.

    This is a game about ghost pirates, isn’t it?

    1. KarmaTheAlligator says:

      Pirates of the Caribbean(!): the Lackbeard?

  16. NoneCallMeTim says:

    So would a pro strat be to have an absurd number of small ships so that when taking an enemy ship, you can effectively just wear them down by having loads of extra lives?

    -Assuming the number of enemy sailors is finite.

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