A blockade is the most common means by which a flag takes control of an island. A blockade is a large multi-ship sea battle in which factions vie for control of flagged buoys. Unlike regular sea battles, blockades do not involve grappling or swordfighting.
Declaring a Blockade Edit
Flag royalty are the only ones who can declare a blockade. To do this, a member of royalty must be aboard a ship docked at the island to be blockaded. The royalty member must select the "Blockade" button under the Vessel tab. A confirmation box appears and the war chest must be paid at that time. Once that happens, the blockade automatically starts twenty-four hours later.
To blockade a colonized island, the contending flag must have declared war on the flag that rules the island before the war chest is dropped. The declaration of war can not be rescinded until three days after the blockade ends.
Once a flag has declared a blockade, then any other flag may also join the blockade as a contender. The new flag must also pay for a war chest, but it may be paid any time before the blockade ends. There are a few examples of flags having paid a war chest after several blockade rounds have been completed.
A contending flag must have the required level of fame at the time it pays the war chest. The requirement varies depending on the size of the island.
At the present time, the initial war chest may only be paid between Friday at noon Pacific Time and Saturday at noon Pacific Time. Thus, all blockades must begin between noon on Saturday and noon on Sunday.
OceanMasters may create special event blockades that circumvent these rules.
Sinking vs. Non-Sinking Edit
Blockades may be either sinking or non-sinking. In a sinking blockade, sunken ships disappear beneath the waves; the ship and all goods aboard are lost forever. In a non-sinking blockade, sunken ships fade out and reappear at the island where they were last in port, supplies intact. These ships may not re-enter the blockade.
Blockades of uncolonized islands are always sinking. At colonized islands, blockades default to non-sinking. The defending flag may, choose to make the blockade sinking. To do so, the defending flag must declare war on at least one of the contending flags. This can be done at any time. If the blockade has already started, the change takes effect at the start of the next round.
Pirates aboard a ship sunk during a sinking blockade may recieve an injury.
Blockaded Islands Edit
Once the blockade begins, the league point for the island changes from white to a red symbol with a skull and sword. The league point remains red until the blockade ends. For the duration of the blockade, all ships going into or out of port must cross the blockade board in order to reach the other side. The blockade board looks like a large sea battle board, complete with rocks, tides, and whirlpools.
Winning a Blockade Edit
In order to win a blockade, a contending flag must win three of the five blockade rounds. If no contender wins three rounds, then the defender wins; if the island was uncolonized, then it remains that way.
If, after a round ends, it is mathematically impossible for any contender to win, the blockade automatically ends. For example, if the defender wins three rounds, the blockade is over.
Each blockade round is scored separately. Each round takes approximately forty-five minutes and is followed by a fifteen minute break. There is an additional one hour and fifteen minute break between the third and fourth rounds, if the blockade lasts that long.
Winning a Round Edit
The winner of the round is the faction that scores the most points during the round. If the winning faction is neither a contender nor a defender, then the round is scored for the defender. This is true even for uncolonized islands where there is no defending faction.
When a ship enters the blockade board, it is assigned to a faction. Points scored by the ship are added to the faction's total. A ship's faction is determined by the flag it belongs to. If the ship's flag is a contender or the defender, then the ship belongs to that faction. If the ship's flag is directly allied to an existing faction, the ship is added to that faction. If the ship's flag does not meet either of those criteria, then a new faction is created for the duration of the round. This can sometimes lead to confusing lists of factions due to the presence of observer ships watching from the safe zones.
It is impossible for a ship allied to both factions to enter the blockade unless one of the alliance proposals was finalized after the war chest was dropped. War cannot be declared on the ally of an ally.
The blockade board Edit
The blockade board is 20 squares wide and 30 (36 with safe zones) squares long. At one end is a representation of the island. The other end is blank, but leads to the ocean. Ships can leave the board at each end, but not through the sides.
The board is reset at the start of each round. Any ships on the board during the reset are ejected. All ships eject from the safe zone and are ported island-side. However, contender ships remaining in the blockade zone are ejected and deported ocean-side.
Buoys and scoring Edit
During a round, the blockade board has several buoys scattered across it. (Buoys are sometimes confusingly referred to as "flags.") Each buoy has one, two, or three pennants. The number of pennants indicates the point value of the buoy. Buoys are always placed on open water, never on rocks, tides, or whirlpools.Each ship that enters the blockade has the possibility to influence the buoys and score points. Whether a ship has influence is determined by the type of ship and whether it has enough players aboard. (Swabbies and greenies never count towards the number needed.) See the individual ship entries for the minimum number of players required for each type of ship. The zone influence is a circle around the ship. The larger the ship, the larger the circle. If a ship does not have enough players aboard, it has no influence at all.
A buoy is scored for one side when that faction has uncontested influence over it at the end of a turn. If ships from different factions both have influence over the same buoy, then no faction scores points from the buoy.
Above each ship are icons representing how many buoys it is currently influencing, including contested buoys. The icons also indicate the point value of the buoys.
A ship remains in its faction until it leaves the blockade board. This is true even if the ship's deed changes hands or the flag that owns the ship allies with one of the other factions.
Once the round is over, the buoys are removed from the field, although the board remains until the start of the next round.
The safe zones Edit
There are two safe zones, one on each end of the board. Each safe zone is three rows long and is a lighter color than the rest of the board. There are no rocks, tides, whirlpools, or buoys in the safe zones.
When a ship enters the blockade board, the ship is randomly placed along the outer edge of the zone, facing towards the other end of the board.
Once a ship crosses from the safe zone into the main blockade board, it can not return. Any attempt to enter the safe is treated as an attempt to exit out that side of the board. Ships belonging to the contending faction may not put into port at a colonized island. Instead, they "bounce" off the safe zone and find themselves facing back into the board.
Ships in the safe zone can not be sunk. They can not shoot. If they are shot by a ship outside the safe zone, they take no damage. They can, however, be rammed; thus they may be pushed around by other ships, and can even be pushed out of the safe zone.
When a ship is in a safe zone, the Commanding Officer can click the Disengage button and the ship will exit the blockade and return to whichever side (island or ocean) that the ship arrived from. Important exception: If the ship belongs to a contending faction during a blockade of a colonized island, then it is ejected to the ocean side.
Buoys that are not controlled by anyone also have two small concentric circles around their base. Controlled buoys have a single circle around their base. Contested (black) buoys have an eight-pointed star around their base.
Mid-round breaks and watching the score Edit
The duty reports contain the current score. The score is also available under the Vessel tab at any time for those not in a puzzle. Clicking on a faction's name toggles between showing just the name, the ship names belonging to the faction, and the names of the flags belonging to the faction. These lists only apply to ships and flags currently on the blockade board including the safe zones.
Blockade History Edit
Historical Notes Edit
2004-11-22: Weekend restrictions were put in place. Prior to this, blockades could be declared at any time, giving a 24 hour noticce to the defenders.
2004-12-11: Blockades were limited to five rounds, requiring three to win. Prior to this, blockades ran a maximum of twelve rounds. A contender needed seven rounds to win the island. Originally, the twelve rounds were each separated by a one hour break. Later, the rounds were grouped into three rounds separated by a four hour break. A full twelve-round blockade would thus be active for three hours, break for four, active for three, break for four, active for three, break for four, and finally active for three. There was always a fifteen minute break after each round, just as it remains today.
See also Edit
Blockade coordination - Work in progress
- http://www.geocities.com/bwv_668/index.htm - Bifnot's Blockade Strategy Guide for Battle Navigators
- Blockade Nav Videos