The opening balance on the books for Fish Bait is $100,000. The bait purchase of $750 made the “Set Sail” account balance $99,250. These things are important to note when playing Alaskan Storm as it is possible to run out of the money needed to make required repairs during an offseason, and if that happens the game immediately ends and the career is over.
The season opens up on November 6 with a crab population of 13,100,000, a fleet quota of 1,150,000 lbs. and calm weather conditions. Even with that forecast, it is possible to get into rough seas that can cause injury to the crew and dead loss to the crab in the tanks.
Note the fuel quantity of 10,000 gallons: this will become problematic for the overall game at the start of the next season.
Pulling away from the dock for the first outing in this game in over a month I feel quite rusty at the controls and the strategy that I should employ.
Using the plotter I map out four 25-pot strings to account for the 100 pots that I am taking out to sea on this trip. While underway to the head of the first string the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announce the official opening of the season on November 7 at 09:36.
The first pot of the season goes overboard as the tossed buoy bags almost strike one of the pesky seagulls flying about.
This is the first of many mechanical issues that will be experienced during this season.
The last pot goes overboard as I change course and head for the start of the first string we set.
This is the first of many complaints by Kayl: crew management in the game is lightly modeled in the form of providing pep talks, rebukes or outright bribes.
The first string of 25 pots yields 312 keepers for an average of 62 crab per theoretical pot (each pot visually launched and hauled back in represents five pots in the game world), with a high count of 68 which fills the tanks to 6% of total capacity.
String count: 61/56/64/63/68 (all pots were setback).
The second string of 25 pots yields 341 keepers for an average of 68 crabs per pot, with a high count of 83 which fills the tanks to 12.3% of total capacity.
String count: 56/63/71/68/83 (all pots were setback).
The third string of 25 pots yields 358 keepers for an average of 72 crabs per pot, with a high count of 78 which fills the tanks to 19% of total capacity.
String count: 64/73/78/74/69 (all pots were setback).
During this string Kayl officially quits leaving me with a four man crew to finish out the season. Given that the almost guaranteed crewmember injury has yet to occur, Kayl’s desertion makes things more difficult.
The fourth and final string of my initial set yields 440 keepers for an average of 88 crabs per pot, with a high count of 97 which fills the tanks to 27.2% of total capacity.
Because Kayl quit and I know how short the seasons in this game can be, I order the crew to stack all of the pots hauled aboard from this string (much to their grumbling).
String count: 79/83/92/89/97 (all pots were stacked).
Given that I am now shorthanded (which increases the deck work cycle time) and I know with virtual certainty that there will be an injury at some point (taking two members off deck, the injured avatar and the medic which on a five man crew with one deserter already means all work stops) I head back to string three and work in reverse order in an effort to dodge fines for fishing out of season.
With the increased work cycle comes accelerated crew member fatigue which is almost as bad as dealing with an injury. I had to send Josh to get some rack time as he was missing hook throws and would be at increased risk of injury with his energy bar (the red meter) almost depleted.
The second time around on string three yields a measly 128 keepers for an average of 26 crabs per pot, with a high count of 35 which fills the tanks to 29.7% of total capacity.
String count: 14/21/26/32/35 (all pots were stacked).
With Josh’s energy bar almost at half I thought he would have been good to go for the next string, however he immediately began missing hook throws and I had to sit him down again.
It seems that the limit of 1,250 lbs of bait that can be taken on board is not enough for two sets of 100 pots, let alone taking the full boat capacity of 150 pots. There is no way to control the amount of bait used per pot as can occur in real life.
The second string of string of 25 pots yields 325 keepers for an average of 65 crabs per pot, with a high count of 84 which fills the tanks to 35.7% of total capacity.
String count: 52/53/65/71/84 (all pots were stacked).
Four minutes after hauling that last pot of the string up onto the launcher, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announces that the season will officially close in 24 hours. I have one more 25-pot string to pull before the season ends or I will be fined for fishing out of season.
I plot a course for the head of the final string which now has a 46 hour soak on it. Although these pots will yield the highest counts of the trip, the numbers are only marginally better than if they only had a 24 hour soak.
The final string of 25 pots yields 422 keepers for an average of 84 crabs per pot, with a high count of 89 which fills the tanks to 43.9% of total capacity.
String count: 89/87/86/84/76 (all pots were stacked).
During this final string haul the virtually guaranteed crewmember injury occurs taking the deck down to another work stoppage while the medic tends to the injured avatar.
Thanks again Kayl, you prick.
After the medic returns to the rotation, the final pot is hauled aboard and stacked, completing what appears to be a lackluster trip (wait until you see the payday coming).
We dock in Dutch Harbor and the engineer advises there is a list of things that need fixed. Wanting a clean accounting slate, I clear all of the check marks to get back to the $99,250 “Set Sail” account balance when we left the docks several days ago.
While we are offloading the crab into the brailers, Fish & Game announce the official end to the season. With little dead loss and a market price of $4.60 per pound, this may turn out to be a very good pay day.
This is one part of the game that could be tweaked if there was ever an Alaskan Storm 2: once all of the crab is counted, the screen immediately goes to the final after-action report summary; it does not stay on this screen to show the total processor purchase. The only reason I was able to snag this screen shot is because the game paused when the season end message posted.
The Fish Bait had the poorest outing of the fleet; however there still were some decent earnings to go around with a total crew share of $92,042 based on $328,723 in total earnings, leaving me as the boat owner/captain a profit of $236,680. This amount combined with my “Set Sail” account balance of $99,250 should give me a balance of $335,930 heading into the offseason.
With the retirement of my XP gaming machine that this series was originally played on, I moved my career files to the required game folders on my Windows 7 machine only to learn that they were somehow corrupted or otherwise unusable.
This necessitated my starting over from square one, so instead of carrying on as the Shellfish or Polar Bear, I named my new boat the “Fish Bait” which is a name my wife came up with a few years back when I first got the game.
This is the first career where I am using full realism settings in the game, and I believe that is why Josh tired out so quickly (especially once the deserter left us shorthanded on deck).