8 fleet tournament begins after HMS Grand Temple fleet dominates – February 19th, 2013

HMS Grand Temple dominates, and a Tournament with 8 fleets gets going!

I’ve recently played a few more games: a series of three standard (40 points with gold) games between two fleets. The fleets consisted of a Pirate fleet of the Darkhawk II, Raven, and Bonnie Liz, versus a (mostly) Spanish fleet of La Santa Isabel, La San Jose, El Algeciras, and the Carrion Crow.

The first game went to the Spaniards, without much action.

The second game was one the the hardest fought games I’ve been involved in. Three of the seven ships were sunk, a fort was built, there was ramming, boarding, stealing, shooting, and just a great amount of good, honest, pirating . The Santa Isabel managed to trap the Darkhawk in between herself and an island, since I’ve recently implemented the 90 degree rule: A ship can turn no more than 90 degrees for each move segment of their move action. However, the Pirates fought back well, using the fort Dead Man’s Point to derelict the Algeciras. After the Santa Isabel stole all three gold coins (totaling 8 gold) from the Darkhawk, she made for her HI with just one mast remaining. The Darkhawk also only had one mast, and she caught the Spaniard just before she could unload the gold. After taking out the Santa Isabel’s final mast, the Darkhawk took back the gold and made for home. Meanwhile, the Raven was dismasted by the Carrion Crow and San Jose after she rammed the Crow in an attempt to steal a treasure coin. The Crow headed for home (just a few move actions away) with the Raven in tow, but the Darkhawk (now partially repaired, at three masts) sunk her former comrade, ending the game with the odd amount of treasure going to the Pirates, giving them a satisfying victory!

The third game also went to the Pirates, who took advantage of their HI being in a good spot. The Raven made a few nice treasure runs, and the Darkhawk took full advantage of Captain Blackheart, saccing for at least three extra actions. The Darkhawk had Blackheart, a helmsman, an explorer, “Cannonball” Gallows (the 0LR +5 version), and two oarsmen aboard, with a third oarsman on the HI. This way, the Darkhawk would sac two oarsmen on the way to and from a wild island, and pick up another one after she unloaded the gold.

Additional Comment:

Those three games were actually the first three in a mini-tournament. The second series of three involved my HMS Grand Temple fleet (now with the London instead of the Meresman, since I’ve finally acquired her) facing an all-treasure fleet consisting of the Tiger’s Eye, La Dijon, Le Bon Marin, Le Coeur du Lion, Coral, and Rover. It was no contest, with the GT fleet winning all three times in dominating fashion. The UT’s helped a bunch in slowing down the runners, as they’re supposed to.

The final three games pitted the GT fleet against the Pirate fleet with the Darkhawk II, Raven, and Bonnie Liz. This fleet was harder for the Grand Temple and the London to defeat, but the English still won all three games. In addition, there was no English bias involved, as I even made the English HI extra-far-away from the rest of the islands for the last game, to give the Pirates a head start running gold.

It appears that the GT fleet is only to be defeated by fleets utilizing defensive abilities or cancellers .

Additional Comment:

Today (2/3/13) three games were played: 40 point deathmatches between the HMS Grand Temple fleet and the Acorazado fleet. It was the first time the GT fleet faced the Acorazado fleet with the London instead of the Meresman, so I expected the English to do better than before. They didn’t. El Acorazado won all three games, and never lost more than two masts in any one game. Now this fleet is 24-9.

Additional Comment:

2/15/13: I should be able to get my ships out again in the next few days. I’ve recently acquired a handful of the best pieces in the game (Banshee’s Cry, Neptune’s Hoard, L’Artesien, some events, etc.), and look forward to using them.

Instead of one or two huge games, there will probably be mostly smaller actions. The fleets may be very competitive. I’ll definitely try out Norvegia and this beast. There may be a long tournament of standard games, although I’m not really sure quite yet.

Additional Comment:

8 fleets have been created, and they are all standard 40 point fleets designed to win. I tried to put together just about the best stuff I had from each faction, without using the same exact fleets I’ve used in the past. There will be a tournament, with each fleet squaring off against another fleet in a series of three games. Here are the fleets:

English: HMS London, Aberdeen Baron, HMS Hound towing the Gibraltar flotilla.
French: Le Bonaparte + the French trio of super-runners: L’Artesien, Le Bon Marin, Le Pique.
Spanish: La Santa Isabel, La Joya del Sol, El San Jose.
Pirate: Neptune’s Hoard, Bloody Jewel, Banshee’s Cry.
American: Ghost Walker, Carolina, Rattlesnake.
Cursed: Grim Reaper towing the Death’s Anchor, Sea Rat.
Mercenaries: Shui Xian.
Barbary Corsairs: Tiger’s Eye, Algiers, Carthage.

Additional Comment:

Half of the first round has been completed. The Pirates lost the first game to the Shui Xian, but quickly recovered and took both of the final two games to win their series. The Spanish soundly beat the Barbary Corsairs 3-0, but the Corsairs probably could have won the final game.

For the other first round series, the French will face the Cursed, and the English will take on the Americans.

Additional Comment:

The French have just completed a three game sweep of the Cursed. However, the games were very hard-fought; the Cursed didn’t do as badly as they usually do.

Additional Comment:

The English have beat the Americans 3-0, completing the first round of the tournament.

For the semifinals, the Pirates will be pitted against the French while the English take on the Spanish.

Additional Comment:

In the first series of the semifinals, the Pirates beat the French in all three games. Even when the French went first, the Pirates still got to the islands faster due to their sac crew.

In the second series, the English beat the Spanish two games to one. The third game came down to the wire, with the Gibraltar’s guns proving to decisive.

The final round will see the English take on Norvegia!  Read about it here!

Ranking: #001 ships – Flagships of their sets

Originally posted to Miniature Trading on June 22nd, 2018

Ranking: #001 ships – Flagships of their sets

I’ve always thought that the first game piece of each set had to be at least somewhat special in some way. Normally it’s a large rare ship from the signature/featured faction, or just the Pirates of course.

Here I rank the “flagships” or signature ships of each set against each other! This was actually pretty hard!

1. Revenant 
Ranking: #001 ships - Flagships of their sets

A classic to this day, the Revenant is still a devastating gunship. The sheer firepower is the main attraction, but she’s got just enough cargo, speed, and ability to warrant high consideration when choosing a Pirate gunship at any build total.

2. Black Swan 
Flagships

This ship’s looks and ability are her main calling cards. The guns and cargo are strictly mediocre, but S+S at this size makes her pretty good. The Pirates have better options for large gunships, but the Black Swan is an interesting option if you want to go international. Reasons could include Gus Schultz Grim the Savage , etc.

3. Deliverance 

I like the next ship better, but there’s no denying the importance of speed in this game. S+L on a 5 master is amazing. Everything else is average or worse, with the flashy but overpriced Ghost Ship keyword inflating her cost. Still, a combination of captain/helmsman/world hater/action generator can make this one of the more fearsome flagships out there.

4. Divine Dragon 

One of my favorite Cursed ships and a classic in my games, this junk is powerful and quick. Essentially 6 rank-3 cannons moving at S+S for just 16 points, she’s a solid deal. A captain and helmsman are needed, and a rare use of Sir Edmund is perfect to allow Davy Jones to come aboard as well. Tons of great combos also available with the linked Fantasma.

5. Flying Dutchman 

A classic remade into a “Pirate” ship, this behemoth is made for monster setups. You’ll want to really crew her up to optimize her effectiveness; I’d recommend starting with captain/helmsman/world hater/oarsman (the latter to “protect” Eternal) and going crazy from there. XD

6. Nubian Prince 

Almost like the pretty prince in a group of nasty killers, the Nubian Prince would be boring if not for her incredibly overpowered ability. Arguments could be made to move her up or down this list; I’m going in the middle knowing her overall effectiveness is somewhat limited but unfortunately I have to respect how incredible the ability is during gameplay.

Now we get into what I sometimes call “ugly ducklings”. XD Rank these next 3 however you like.

7. Flying Dutchman 

Devastating firepower at both short and long range, this version has always been crippled by a slow base move and a somewhat unfitting ability. Could have been so much more, but still a good option among Cursed gunships.

8. Foresight 

A large Pirate hybrid perfect for Hammersmith / Barstow /oarsman, the Foresight is a bit of an enigma among Pirate ships. Severely outclassed by La Victoire , she would be a star in some other factions. As a Pirate ship, she gets passed on for superior options. Still a fun ship, and I can attest to her capabilities – underrated in my opinion.

9. Fool’s Hope 

Oof. 19 points for just 3 cargo, very average guns and speed, an underpriced ability (Eternal) and an overpriced ability. The second ability just doesn’t add much – you’re going to eliminate a crew or (unlikely) take a treasure anyway. Using a world hater is a great idea, and the Pirates have plenty of other combo crew (like Hammersmith) to make the low cargo work. Still, the PotC Flying Dutchman is considerably better for just one more point, so Fool’s Hope ranks the lowest of these three 5 masters. If she was the same price as her other version, she’d be a bit more interesting. (but still inferior to that FH, so basically lose-lose…)

10. Nautilus 

Tough seeing such a famous ship this low, but she’s not going to be great at getting gold or fighting. She’s often relegated to a bodyguard role in campaign games as part of a super squadron of concentrated cancellers.

11. Grand Dynasty 

An unfitting name for such a lackluster ship. A crippling base move combines with a boring ability to make for a not-so-great “flagship”. Solid cannons and a solid link won’t save her. Grand Temple or Grand Path should have been 001 for this set.

12. Beowulf 

Better than most icebreakers, but still largely mediocre as far as 3 masted ships go. For a few more points you can get one of the powerful Viking 3 masted longships, and Polaris has a better ability that’s perfect for Sigurd Andersen .

13. Krulth from Return to Savage Shores

Another ineffective squid, much meh.

14. He’e 

Awful, awful, awful. Even the Americans have a better creature than this trash. Silly mistake by Wizkids to put this out. No way that gimmicky ability is worth hardly any points. At 9 points (half cost), it would rarely get used. Almost as horrendous as it gets; no redeeming qualities that I can see.

Wizkids Pirates – First physical game in 11 months

Wizkids Pirates – First non-solo physical game in 11 months

Finally played another physical game of Wizkids Pirates for the first time in quite a while!  It was a simple 1v1 game at a 50 point build total with an opponent who hadn’t played for a few years.

I rolled to go first with a mixed fleet of allied minor faction ships:

Grand Mountain + captain, helmsman

Fenrir + captain, helmsman

Pasha’s Delight

 

My opponent went with a Cursed American fleet:

USS Georgetown + captain, helmsman

Pawtucket + captain, helmsman

Nightmare (OE version) + helmsman

 

Here’s the setup; 2 wild islands with about 6 coins apiece.

Pirates CSG

 

4 ships docked at the islands, while the Grand Mountain and USS Georgetown engaged in a gunnery duel.

Pirates CSG

 

While the Fenrir and Pasha’s Delight took the best 3 coins from the two islands, the Grand Mountain sailed into combat, nearly dismasting both captained enemy ships while losing 3 masts of her own.  The luck disparity loomed large in this game, as I was luckier than usual and my opponent missed even with the 2L cannons.

Pirates CSG

 

The Grand Mountain abandoned her pursuit of the Pawtucket to go after the slower and less dangerous Nightmare, but only hit 2/3, allowing the Nightmare to unload all 4 of her coins!  However, with USS Georgetown out of combat, the Fenrir and Pasha’s Delight were able to safely extract the final coins in play without issue.

Pirates CSG

 

In a close finish, my minor faction alliance fleet emerged victorious by a score of 17-15!

Savage Shores – Mini Set Review

Savage Shores

Pirates of the Cursed Seas Savage Shores Scavenger Pack Box

Follow this link to find the Savage Shores!

Mini Set Review

Product: Pirates of the Cursed Seas: Savage Shores

Average auction box price: $21.33 (as of November 2018)

Cheapest place to buy: eBay

Factions: Pirates, English, Spanish, French, Americans, Cursed

Features/New Stuff: Hoists, Native Canoes, cargo masters, navigators, Great Turtles, trade currents

Ben’s Rating: 16/20

Pirates CSG Savage Shores Native Canoes

3 sets of American native canoes in Economy Edition (2015)


Savage Shores (SS, 2008) became the last set of Pirates CSG.  The set was only the size of half of a normal set (just over 50 game pieces), released in Scavenger Pack boxes instead of the normal game packs.  It featured a bunch of new game pieces and ship types despite the small size, and was notable for being the best set for gameplay since at least the Caribbean set.  A small blaze of glory before the game went out of print just days after release. You can find all of the game pieces in the Master Spreadsheet, and I’ve ranked the Top 10 here.

Ratings

– Art: 4/5. Definitely stands out, but some ugly ships keep it from a perfect score. I think the named crew artwork was exceptional.
– Set Quality: 4/5. Some great stuff, mostly good. The sea monsters, lack of generic crew, and somewhat unbalanced pieces (navigators, cargo masters, American canoes, Libellule, hoists) keep it from a 5 for me.
– New Content: 4/5. Canoes and hoists are both fantastic, arguably too much so. Hoists are the most excusable Pokeship (if they are even considered to be one) simply due to how interesting they are in terms of gameplay. Navigators and cargo masters are both frustrating to deal with in large games, but they’re a welcome addition to most players.
– Collectability/Misc: 4/5. The set was almost too easy to acquire, and the box idea caused some consternation among people who didn’t or couldn’t (or still can’t!) complete 10 masters. The SR’s were relatively common as well, but I give the set a 2/3 for collectibility. The Miscellaneous score gets a 2/2 due to the set’s good reputation and a kind of positive farewell after the long decline. The set is generally viewed with very positive vibes due to it being so unique in so many ways, and a beacon of hope that unfortunately never was.
= Overall: 16/20. Very good but not all-time great.

Discover the Savage Shores here!

Below you can check out the entire Set Review Podcast episode for a full overview of all the game pieces.

Fire and Steel – Mini Set Review

Fire and Steel

Pirates CSG Fire and Steel pack

Click to buy Fire and Steel!

Mini Set Review

Product: Pirates of the Cursed Seas: Fire and Steel

Average auction pack price: $1.38 (as of November 2018)

Cheapest place to buy: eBay

Factions: Pirates, English, Spanish, French, Americans, Cursed

Features/New Stuff: Bombardiers, Switchblades, equipment, historical LE’s

Ben’s Rating: 10/20

Pirates of the Cursed Seas: Fire and Steel

The wacky new ship types


Fire & Steel (F&S, 2008) continued the trend of the game delving more into the fantasy aspects, with new ships equipped with movable steel blades and huge flamethrowers.  It was a large set, but a slow and boring one.  There’s just not a lot in the set to get excited about. You can find all of the game pieces in the Master Spreadsheet, and I’ve ranked the Top 10 here.

Ratings

– Art: 4/5. Plenty of variety and good designs, with some ugly ones as well. The named crew portraits seem below average.
– Set Quality: 2/5. The gold standard for mediocrity in Pirates. So much quantity, and so much of it boring and/or below average.
– New Content: 2/5. Another colossal failure that partly led to the game’s downfall. Giant flamethrowers and freaky blades that pop out from the sides of a hull. Not as bad as Scorpions, but two Pokeship designs instead of one is just sad. On the other hand, equipment would have been perfect to introduce early in the game, such as CC or RV. However, at least it was great when it arrived – lots of variety, mostly historical, and good point costs (once you see the errata). The 0-value gold coins are evil but funny.
– Collectability/Misc: 2/5. Somewhat fun to collect due to the sheer number of game pieces, including cool SE’s and LE’s. However, it’s a little TOO hard to collect – beyond the LE’s being pricey, you’ve got a Big 3 of very tough acquisitions – the Chum Maker, Raptor Maw, and the big one, the Obago Deuce (and I’m not even including the SiaB’s!). I would say this is the most boring set, so the intangibles are bad. It gets a 1/2 for Miscellaneous due to the Historical Pack and having just enough cool stuff to be worth investigating.
= Overall: 10/20. The most boring set in my opinion. I still enjoy all the sets, but I usually enjoy this one the least.

Find Fire and Steel here!

Below you can check out the entire Set Review Podcast episode for a full overview of all the game pieces.

VASSAL Campaign Game 4 continues after 5 month hiatus

VASSAL Campaign Game 4 has continued!  Gingerninja is too busy to continue playing, so the remaining three players have divided his three fleets amongst ourselves.

The new turn order – we simply added our new faction to the end of our turns.

Xerecs
1. Spanish
2. Jade Rebellion
3. Hyrulian Conglomerate/The Alliance
4. English

A7XfanBen
5. Pirates
6. Cursed
7. Vikings
8. Barbary Corsairs

PirateAJ14
9. Dutch
10. Americans
11. Mercenaries
12. French

Each “absorbed” faction can launch points at the beginning of their first turn with their new owners to get them to the starting build total of 30.

You can see a video summary of Xerecs’ turn, in which the Spanish had some UT shenanigans with Pandora’s Box, and the English did their first launch.

Here are the UT’s my factions placed on the Santa Isabel via Pandora’s Box:

Pirates: Message in a Bottle
The Pirates flung the SI a short distance to the island with metals that the Pirates have explored, as there are multiple wild islands with no treasure coins, so the Pirates picked that island. I think the controller of the ship would still choose where at the island the ship docked, so I just docked her on the far side of the island away from the Pirates.
Cursed: Runes of Death
Vikings: face down positive UT (they are simply announcing to everyone that it is a positive UT, rather than keep its nature a secret)
Barbary Corsairs: Maps of Hades

 

In this picture, the new Spanish home island is at the top, with the Pirate home island at the bottom.  The Cursed Blade has used Elizabeth’s Piece of Eight to allow the Neptune’s Hoard to move twice, and she has moved astern of the Santa Isabel.

VASSAL CG4

 

The Corsairs launched 3 of their 6 point ships with no crew to fill out the remaining 18 points of their fleet. The Tiger’s Eye explored the island she’s docked at and found (essentially) all negative UT’s: Monkey’s Paw, The Cursed, and the custom Marooned. Since the TE doesn’t have any crew on her I left Marooned face down on the island. She also found Textiles though.  The Cassandra and Dragon have round earthed to the north, while the Vikings gather lumber and escort their turtles home.

VASSAL Campaign Game 4

This does present a strange situation where 3 of my 4 fleets have home islands quite close together – Vikings, Pirates and Corsairs all concentrated in the northern center area of the map.

Rise of the Fiends – Mini Set Review

Rise of the Fiends

Rise of the Fiends pack

Click to buy Rise of the Fiends!

Mini Set Review

Product: Pirates of the Cursed Seas: Rise of the Fiends

Average auction pack price: $1.29 (as of November 2018)

Cheapest place to buy: eBay

Factions: Pirates, English, Spanish, French, Americans, Cursed

Features/New Stuff: Name change (Pirates of the Cursed Seas Pocketmodel Game), Scorpions, red islands/terrain, story inserts, 2 glow in the dark Special Edition ships

Ben’s Rating: 11/20

Pirates of the Cursed Seas: Rise of the Fiends

A Scorpion ship in action


Rise of the Fiends (RotF, 2008) signalled the decline of the Pirates game. New “pokeships”alienated much of the player base and the set was smaller than most that came before it, with an abundance of slow ships.  Only a few of the widely despised Scorpion ships were even produced, and the red islands didn’t make things any better.  Interestingly enough a lot of the regular ships and crew were pretty decent, the saving grace for an otherwise poor set. You can find all of the game pieces in the Master Spreadsheet, and I’ve ranked the Top 10 here.

Ratings

– Art: 4/5. Very colorful ships and crew – many great, but some a bit over the top. Most of the larger ships are quite beautiful. Using different artwork for generic crew is cool, but it does make it a bit confusing and harder to use for new players. Actually one of the most interesting sets for artwork, but too much focus on the red theme was detrimental (mostly with the red island/terrain cards, which look truly disgusting next to any other set’s). I don’t like the cards either – the red and yellow looks great with SM and CC, but combined and brighter it seems unappealing for some reason.
– Set Quality: 3/5. I’ve underrated this set many times, but it has a lot of interesting game pieces. However, there’s a bunch of mediocre stuff as well. Most ships are either slow or have small cargo holds, so it’s not a good set for getting gold at all. There are a few balance issues with the extremes of the set – mostly the San Cristobal and Blood Money being OP, while stuff like Merrow and some of the 1 masters should not have been made.
– New Content: 1/5. I nearly put 0/5 and said “am I allowed to do this?”, but flotillas and the glow in the dark stuff just barely make up for the atrocity of scorpions and the Hostile/Loyal stuff. Scorpions are my least favorite ship type, though the sharks are up there as well. Only one of them stands out, while all the flotillas are usable and quite good. The Hostile/Loyal keywords feel like an unnecessary gimmick to lower point costs (Eternal for one point?), though I do like when flavor text is part of the gameplay. The Turbine and Double Catamaran randomly thrown in at the end of the set really show that the game was completely coming off the rails at this point. The Turbine keyword is underpriced and weird from a historical perspective, while the Double Catamaran ship type is way too wide and big, not to mention awkward. Though the ship types weren’t new, I love the glow in the dark concept.
– Collectability/Misc: 3/5. Another small set, but a decent one to collect. Positives included a cool variety of SE’s and LE’s, some of which are very expensive to acquire. Negatives include a silly rarity distribution with generic crew and an SR pack that was too common. Not much to say about the story inserts. Throw in the mythical Ochobrazo, and it’s definitely a unique set for collectors. The Miscellaneous score is 1/2 since the set is just not that great when you consider everything. Throw in the odd name, “Rise of the Fiends”, and you can’t even find a sea creature outside of an SE kraken nor an abnormally strong Cursed presence. (sure they got Scorpions and a 10 master, but any of the large gunships from the set easily outclass them)
= Overall: 11/20. Not one of my favorites, but the positives of the set are pretty cool.

Get Rise of the Fiends here!

Below you can check out the entire Set Review Podcast episode for a full overview of all the game pieces.

NINETEEN games between El Acorazado and HMS Endeavour – January 13th, 2013

A Classic Matchup for the Ages: El Acorazado vs. HMS Endeavour

I was able to play a few games today, earlier than I expected. I only got out two ships, however, and everything is already put away.

The matchup was a duel for the ages: El Acorazado versus HMS Endeavour. I’ve been wanting to see these two ships (alone) pitted against each other for a long time. Arguably the best defensive ability in the game against arguably the best offensive ability in the game. On paper, it looks like an even matchup, with both ships weighing in at 21 points, both powerful 5 masters. Their abilities are opposites, and most of the time, the crew on both ships were similar.

I expected El Acorazado to win, and I almost wanted her to. As a side note, there was no English bias at work here, since I don’t even know which ship I like better.

Since each game was a quick, one-on-one deathmatch (with HI’s about 5L apart), I was able to play 19 games in around 2 hours.

The first three games saw the ships go at each other bare-bones with the exception of a generic captain. El Acorazado won 2 out of 3.

The next series of 12 games saw the two ships duke it out full of crew. El Acorazado went with her maxed out setup: Luis Zuan (MI version), Admiral Alarico Castro (SM), Nemesio Diaz, Joaquin Vega, Duque Marcus Vaccaro, and a helmsman. HMS Endeavour was crewed with Hermione Gold (MI), Sir Christopher Myngs, Rhys Gryffyn Owen, Christian Fiore, and a helmsman. I would have maxed out the Endeavour’s point cost, but she has 4 cargo spaces. In this stretch of intense games, El Acorazado went 7-5.

Then a series of three games was played with the Acorazado exchanging her helmsman for a shipwright. The idea would be to let the Endeavour fire first, and then repair with a double action as needed. This backfired, as the Endeavour won all three games.

After 18 games, each fleet had won 9. For the final game, the ships went back to their standard crew, from the 12 game setup. HMS Endeavour won the game, but I’m not convinced that she is actually the better ship.

Joaquin Vega was one of the reasons El Acorazado won some of her games. When the Endeavour would shoot first, she would need to have all five guns hit in order to eliminate 4 of the Acorazado’s masts. If she missed even once (with a one), the return fire from the Acorazado would be crippling (since El Acorazado’s ability (and Vega’s) is applied before the ability of the Endeavour, it seems to be slightly more effective than the Endeavour’s ability). Also, when the Acorazado would get the first shot (not often, since she’s slower), she almost always won, because if she hit at least three times, she would automatically win (since the Endeavour would need three shots just to dent the armor of the Acorazado).

Pirates of the Caribbean – Mini Set Review

Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean pack

Click to buy PotC on eBay!

Mini Set Review

Product: Pirates of the Caribbean

Average auction pack price: $3.01 (as of November 2018)

Cheapest place to buy: eBay

Factions: Pirates, English

Features/New Stuff: Rarity based numbering system, different die cutting method, no pennants, UT’s on crew cards, krakens, pack art variation

Ben’s Rating: 12/20

Wizkids Pirates of the Caribbean game

The Black Pearl surrounded by The Kraken in the PotC 10th anniversary game, just like in the movies!


Pirates of the Caribbean (POTC, 2007) saw Wizkids partner with Disney to produce a movie-themed set, with only the Pirates and English as playable factions.  It’s a very unique set, and it changed the design of the ships along with the rarity/numbering scheme.  For me it’s a fantastic collaboration that makes perfect sense given how similar DJC and OE already were to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, but there are some issues.  The lack of a Cursed faction and the collation issues (a whole booster box full of commons, for example) plague the set.  Great idea, imperfect execution.  You can find all of the game pieces in the Master Spreadsheet, and I’ve ranked the Top 10 here.

Ratings

– Art: 3/5. Design changes actually annoyed me, as I found the old look more pleasing and I like using pennants. However, limiting how often the ships break is definitely a good thing. In addition, more rounded hull and mast tabs usually make for easier assembly.
The actual artwork was pretty cool and fun to look at. However, a bunch of it was reused from earlier sets, but the biggest problem was the total failure to make the Endeavour, Dauntless, and Interceptor look ANYTHING like the ships from the movies. An inexcusable gaffe that nearly ruins the experience of playing those ships (so silly looking that the excellent Flying Dutchman and Black Pearls don’t make up for it). Notable for introducing the split card colors which stayed until the end. I did enjoy the crew and UT pictures, as it really ties the movies into the game quite well. I think the kraken design and artwork is about as good as could be expected.
– Set Quality: 3/5. Lots of good ships with a few great ones as well. This gave the Pirates and English that many more options (including very nice crew options), which neither of them really needed. I deducted a point for not having other factions, and another point for the OP stuff (mostly Captain Jack Sparrow, but the Endeavour, Cursed Captain Jack and Kraken Gong have all had somewhat detrimental effects on the game).
– New Content: 3/5. Krakens were quite well done overall, as a relatively playable sea creature that effectively incorporated the movie theme. The Parley keyword can be confusing at first and is probably underpriced a little, but it’s definitely a cool addition to the game and another effective movie tie-in. Going a little deeper, this set also introduced a handful of new “1 of 1” game pieces such as CJS, Calypso, the Hai Peng, and Jailhouse Dog. Most of the unique stuff was either confusing or ruined some of the fun, but there’s no denying the importance of those and other game pieces on modern competitive play.
– Collectability/Misc: 3/5. Mostly negatives here unfortunately – a small set is easier to collect (which can be a good thing), and there wasn’t much extra stuff (SE/LE/PR pieces) to get. The real problem was when the distribution went awry, with some packs having all commons, and in extreme cases, “god boxes” full of SR packs. Throw in just 2 factions, and even the PotC name can’t save the set from having major collectibility problems. However, the partnership with Disney was absolutely perfect for a game like Pirates, so the Miscellaneous score is definitely a 2 and could be bumped to a 4/5 overall if you value intangibles more than collectibility (or are just a huge PotC fan heh). Though, the change to a rarity-based checklist was a negative.
= Overall: 12/20. A great effort with Disney’s help, but with some glaring flaws that make the set quite polarizing.

Find Pirates of the Caribbean on eBay!

Below you can check out the entire Set Review Podcast episode for a full overview of all the game pieces.