Another part of the Q&A series here at Pirates with Ben. This was asked in the Facebook group – a question about
which crew to use.
Best Crew to Use
Captains and helmsmen are the most important. I’m not the biggest fan of explorers but they can be quite good as well. In terms of named crew, anything that gives extra actions is extremely good (SAC/EA/SAT/etc). It does depend on my strategy and the ship though. Empty gold runners can work pretty well, but you’re not going to have an “empty gunship”, so a lot of times the percentage of crew in a fleet is massively biased towards gunships (meaning 75-90% of crew points spent could be assigned to gunships, for example).
C+H necessary to stay competitive
Specifically, if a ship has a base move of S+S or slower, she nearly always needs a helmsman for your fleet to stay competitive (exception is empty gold runner that gets +S with no cargo). Even the recent Savage Shores anniversary game is a good example of this. Gunships always need captains, and almost always need helmsmen too. I cannot emphasize this enough. If you don’t use captains and helmsmen on your gunships, you will not win against competent opponents.
However, a gimmick fleet might go with very little crew or many “abnormal” crew that don’t get pure results, but are VERY fun to use. These fleets often still use captains and helmsmen as a “backbone” of sorts, in addition to the wacky stuff that make them fun and unique. That said, if you’re strictly looking to WIN, you’re better off hammering the basics to ensure optimized fleet building. Personally I get a little bored of winning with the same fleet or strategy all the time, so I like to change it up!
Check out my Building a Fleet page and Gameplay page for more information. You may also find some specific crew on eBay.
Wow! You really know and understand how to be successful playing this game. It sounds complicated to me, but I don’t play any games.
Sounds like people should take your advice if they have a gunship and have a captain & helmsmen if they want to win.
Thanks for sharing.
@Devara Garrison: Thanks for the compliment! I’ve played the game over 400 times, so I’ve certainly acquired a lot of experience, but I still learn new things quite often. It can be complicated, but basic small games using the Start Here rules are quite simple.
And yes, gunships with captains AND helmsmen are one of the simplest yet most effective ways to optimize your fleets for winning.
Thanks for commenting!