Game n’ Grounds – 3 games at 2×60

Game n’ Grounds – 3 games at 2×60


I met up with JW Darkhurst at Game n’ Grounds in LA (Chatsworth specifically) for a rapid-paced trio of casual games. The build total was 60 points and we used the Seattle house rules.

I used a fleet focused on variety and making sure each ship had the Captain ability:
Gale Force Nine + Hammersmith (F&S version), Le Requin, Cannonball Gallows (MI version), oarsman
Le Descharges + captain, helmsman, oarsman
Bazana + captain, helmsman
Griffin + captain

Game n' Grounds - 3 games at 2x60

In the first game, Darkhurst used a Spanish fleet with the LE San Cristobal, La Santa Isabel, and La Joya del Sol.

Game n' Grounds - 3 games at 2x60

The full setup – we both contributed some mysterious islands.

Game n' Grounds - 3 games at 2x60

Gale Force Nine proved valuable immediately, with the S-exploring ability helping Bazana and the Santa Isabel taking damage from the GF9.

Bazana rolled poorly at the MI, allowing Darkhurst to move her away from my home island (HI). However, GF9 got SAT from Le Requin, sailing over to dismast the San Cristobal!

Game n' Grounds - 3 games at 2x60

This particular MI ability gave us a new idea – if you simply redocked the enemy ship and they rolled low again, they could get trapped in a “loop” and get stuck at the island indefinitely! However, I think the only way to make sure of it would be to have Runes of Loki with Nemo’s Plans.

La Joya del Sol explored an MI of her own:

GF9 captured the SC, while Bazana decided to take advantage of her hidden Captain and dismast the Santa Isabel! Griffin is headed home with gold, while Le Descharges heads north to cut off the Joya, taking down half of her masts.

Game n' Grounds - 3 games at 2x60

I ended up capturing the other two Spanish ships as well, with only the Griffin’s gold getting home before the game ended.

  1. Ben: 12 gold
  2. JW Darkhurst: 0

My luck had been far better… for now.


Games 2 and 3 featured the chess clock, with a maximum time of 20 minutes per player per game.  However, we were playing quickly enough that we never ran low on time.

Game 2 featured JW switching to an all-schooner fleet. Since I was traveling (and pressed for time before my trip), I had only brought one fleet and I would be using the same fleet in all games regardless of how many we were able to play.

JW’s Neptune’s Hoard managed to get a quick gold score, while GF9 took on HMS Durham (proxied by HMS Oxford). Taking advantage of round earth to explore in the northwest, Bazana unloads her captain to load an extra coin.

Griffin explored for gold but got saddled with the same negative MI effect as Bazana in the first game.  GF9 gets the better of HMS Durham, but Le Requin wants Descharges to tow the Englishman home so he and Cannonball Gallows can go off in hunt of other schooners.

Game n' Grounds - 3 games at 2x60

Indeed they did, with Neptune’s Hoard the next domino to fall.  However, JW Darkhurst had already unloaded a bunch of gold, including at least one +2 bonus from La Santa Isabel (LSI) and the Barbary Banner UT (worth 5 gold).  Bazana gets me on the scoreboard, but Griffin is forced to sail into less friendly waters.

Game n' Grounds - 3 games at 2x60

I begin to tow my prizes home, with LSI in pursuit of the captured Durham. However, it wouldn’t matter, as JW had gotten so much gold early in the game that the gold race was already out of reach.

Game n' Grounds - 3 games at 2x60

  1. JW Darkhurst: 40 gold
  2. Ben: 36


Game 3 saw JW go back to his initial Spanish fleet with a slight crew change, but with a very different HI + terrain setup compared to Game 1.

Game n' Grounds - 3 games at 2x60

Round 1 saw the fleets sail in opposite directions as exploratory efforts began:

Game n' Grounds - 3 games at 2x60

San Cristobal got SAT and sailed over to sink Le Descharges!

True to the day’s trend, my luck had completely run out. Overall I had far better luck than JW Darkhurst in Game 1, while Game 2 saw it mostly even (JW getting better gold values while I won the battles). Game 3 was the opposite of Game 1, with my luck horrid while JW’s d6 rolling was better than usual.  Requin didn’t give GF9 the SAT, and GF9 proceeded to go an abysmal 0/5 overall (including the ram damage roll), failing to dent the San Cristobal!

Spanish gold begins to pile up as my fleet continues to implode:

At the left, an iceberg nearly hits a docked Joya del Sol. Bazana reaches home safely with gold, but SC has sunk the GF9, leaving Griffin a sitting duck. She redocks, attempting to trigger the 5-6 MI effect (which would have allowed me to move the San Cristobal S+L), but fails.

San Cristobal sinks the Griffin, and the game ends soon afterwards:

Game 3:

  1. JW Darkhurst: 31 gold
  2. Ben: 21


A solid trio of quick matchups at Game n’ Grounds!  Nice board game cafe if you’re ever in the San Fernando Valley!

Game n' Grounds in LA - Wizkids Pirates CSG gaming

USS America Ship Debut! Plus Golden Seas pieces and more

USS America Ship Debut, Golden Seas pieces, and a new “God Piece”


This was a solo game that got pretty crazy. 4 fleets, 60 points (4×60). It featured multiple debuts – a new ship, a new crew from Golden Seas, and a new monstrosity for the ages….

I used the “Restarting Rules” that will be featured in the upcoming set, Pirates of the Golden Seas.  It is a relatively minor rework of the original rules that I also plan to release digitally at some point in the future. Any rule changes relevant to this game will be noted in the battle report as they come up.

Here are the fleets in the order of play! (original game pieces found in the Master Spreadsheet)

HMS Devastator + Charlotte Godspry, captain, musketeer, oarsman
HMS Forge + captain, helmsman
HMS Galway

Both of those Golden Seas pieces have been shown in the Pirates community, but here they are for reference:

HMS Devastator
Nationality: English
Collector’s Number: 012
Point Cost: 22
Masts: 5
Cargo: 4
Base Move: L
Cannons: 2L-3L-3L-3L-2L
Link: Captain Armstrong
Ability: This ship’s cannons may not be eliminated (masts still may be). If derelict, she cannot shoot. If this ship hits an enemy ship on a 5-6, also eliminate one cargo from that ship.
Flavor Text: Reinvigorating England’s presence in the North Sea is the Devastator. Capable of a heavy broadside unmatched by most navies, she sails forth proudly from Devon with freshly minted cannons.
Designed by A7XfanBen, artwork by Gigi

Charlotte Godspry
Faction: England
Point Cost: 6
Ability: Helmsman. This ship’s crew cannot be eliminated unless she sinks.
Flavor text: A determined woman who rarely smiles, Charlotte Godspry had a difficult upbringing and had to claw her way into the Royal Navy. She performed well as a helmsman for many years before taking on her current advisory role. Seen on dozens of ships throughout the year, she trains sailors in many areas, including survival skills. She survived a number of intense battles by dodging falling debris and always knowing where the safest place on the ship would be.
Designed by A7XfanBen


Neptune’s Hoard + Ivory Mask, Coconut, oarsman
Asp + helmsman
Cutlass + captain, oarsman
Ningpo + captain, helmsman

The Golden Seas reveal for this battle report!

Ivory Mask
Ivory Mask - pirate crew from Pirates of the Golden Seas
Faction: Pirate
Point Cost: 3
Ability: Parley. This ship gets +1 to her boarding rolls if she did not initiate the boarding party.
Flavor text: Concealed by mask at all times, this stealthy captain identifies more with pirates than with its own people. Time will tell if that allegiance can be tested.
Designed by A7XfanBen


USS America + captain, helmsman, shipwright, oarsman
Nene-nui + captain
USS Quigley + captain, helmsman

If you haven’t seen her by now, here is USS America!

USS America
Nationality: American
Collector’s Number: USA (ship is not part of any set; a limited-time, Limited Edition ship)
Point Cost: 23
Masts: 5
Cargo: 4
Base Move: S+L
Cannons: 3L-3S-2L-3S-3L
Link: John Barry, John Paul Jones
Ability: Friendly American ships within L of this ship get +1 to their cannon rolls. French crew can use their abilities on this ship.
Flavor Text: When the French were not able to take delivery of the first American-built 74-gun ship of the line due to British blockades, she was welcomed back to the United States with open arms. The mere sight of her produces joyous crowds, exuberant over their earned freedom and eager to pay homage to those who died in the Revolution. A new paint job and armament upgrades make her the finest ship in the fledgling United States Navy.
Designed by A7XfanBen

Now through 11:59pm PST on the Fourth of July, you can buy USS America and get 20% off the other items you order! After that, both the ship and the deal will be gone.

USS America Ship Debut! Plus Golden Seas pieces and more


Barbary Corsairs
Wicked Kareen + captain, helmsman, explorer
Marrakesh + helmsman
Griffin + captain, helmsman, explorer
Morocco + helmsman, explorer
Pasha’s Delight + captain, oarsman

USS America Ship Debut! Plus Golden Seas pieces and more


Fleets were allowed to place 3 terrain each, including up to 1 oversized terrain piece. Terrain selection included some rocks that I haven’t used before – similar to other obstacles you may have seen in past reports.

Each fleet contributed 8 coins, with 7 being of any value or type and 1 being a UT of their choice.  This led to a little strategy, with the Corsairs choosing a bunch of 7’s (with a gold-oriented fleet) and the Americans choosing lower values given their wolf pack attack strategy.

8 wild islands with 4 coins each:

USS America Ship Debut! Plus Golden Seas pieces and more

USS America Ship Debut! Plus Golden Seas pieces and more

The Americans set sail, with their brand-new flagship ready for action:

USS America Ship Debut! Plus Golden Seas pieces and more

The Corsairs are the first to explore:

An overhead view from the southwest, showing the Pirates and Corsairs scattering while the English warships go west via round earth:

USS America Ship Debut! Plus Golden Seas pieces and more

The Cutlass fires the first shots of the day!  However, both miss the Marrakesh.  Neptune’s Hoard reveals Coconut to explore; his Reroll ability should help the NH keep an adequate pace throughout the game.  Not a good ship, but a funky crew setup of combos I wanted to try out.

Wicked Kareen sails over and delivers a broadside to the Cutlass, just barely missing on two cannons.  Marrakesh explores, leaving behind a single coin.

By now the Corsairs had brought home multiple treasure loads from their other ships, Griffin and Morocco.  This netted them a healthy sum of gold, which they would now utilize to construct one of the most epic and crazy game pieces I have ever had the great fortune of bringing to life!!




In my timeline, this Ancient Wonder of the World was not destroyed by earthquakes in the 1300’s….

It survived and has now been repaired and resurrected by the Barbary Corsairs!!

The Lighthouse of Alexandria battle report reveal

Rarely have I been this excited about a specific custom game piece.  I conceived of this concept of an “alternate history” and bringing this epic idea into the game earlier this year.  I was ecstatic to find 3D printable models of it, and quickly developed the concept of a new “god piece”.  It is absolutely meant to rival game pieces like Paradis de la Mer or even the Zeus.  Doing it justice requires a big vision, and this grand display will not disappoint.  The lighthouse concept originally comes from my friend Jeremiah, but I wanted to expand on his Lighthouse keyword and make a wild version of it that could potentially see some crazy uses in future campaign games.

Debut of The Lighthouse of Alexandria

Here are the stats and rules I used for it in this initial “playtest” game:

The Lighthouse of Alexandria
Collector’s Number: 1032 (an LE in my fantasy set, Pirates of the Epic Seas)
Faction: Barbary Corsairs
Gold Cost: 6
Cargo: 5
Cannons: 3L-3L-3L-3L
Ability: Grand Lighthouse. Forward Observer. Mortar. The cannons of this lighthouse are measured from each of its four corners; the cannons may be rearranged as cannons are lost. The bottom segment of this lighthouse does block its own lines of fire. If this lighthouse loses its light, it has additional segments that must be eliminated before the lighthouse can be eliminated (3 total not including the light). Each piece represents a cannon – one for the light, one each for the top half sections, and one for the main tower. When this lighthouse has at least its bottom 3 segments, once per turn you may choose one enemy ship within the lighthouse range (L+L+L) and roll a d6; on a 4-5, the target’s controller replaces one of her masts with a fire mast. On a 6, the target’s controller replaces two of her masts with fire masts.

Grand Lighthouse:
Building lighthouses follows the conditions for building forts. Gold used to build the lighthouse is placed face-up next to the lighthouse and still counts towards a player’s total for victory conditions. A lighthouse cannot use its abilities on the same turn that it is built.

If the Lighthouse has its light, a friendly ship within L+L+L of the Lighthouse gets +S to its base move once per turn (a yellow L+L+L tool can be used to indicate the range of this effect, or a light yellow plastic can be placed under the lighthouse).

Two hits from the same shoot action are required to eliminate the light; when it is eliminated, remove it from the lighthouse. Once a lighthouse loses its light, it loses the L+L+L effect but retains its other abilities. The light is considered the first segment of this lighthouse; once the light is eliminated, the other segments may be eliminated with each successive hit (which do not need to come from the same shoot action). The segments of this lighthouse must be eliminated in order from top to bottom. A lighthouse is eliminated when all of its segments have been eliminated. When a lighthouse is eliminated, the gold used to build the lighthouse remains on the island (face down).

Enemy ships cannot load treasure or drop off crew or equipment from this island. Enemy ships may dock at this island and try to capture the lighthouse. When an enemy ship docks at this island, either player may initiate a boarding party; if so both players roll a d6. The lighthouse controller adds the number of segments remaining and the number of crew in the lighthouse. If the ship wins, the lighthouse is captured. If the lighthouse wins, the enemy ship is considered undocked and loses two masts.

If a friendly ship is docked at the island, it can give up its turn to give a repair action to the lighthouse.

If a lighthouse has cargo space available, shipwrights and musketeers can use their abilities inside a lighthouse.
(based on Jeremiah’s Lighthouse keyword)

Forward Observer: Each friendly ship within the light radius of the lighthouse gains +1 to their cannon rolls. A ship must be within the radius when the cannon roll is made. This ability does not affect ships that move out of the radius and then start shooting.
(designed by Jeremiah)

Mortar: This lighthouse gains a rank 3 cannon with a range of L+L measured from any part of the lighthouse base. This cannon may only shoot once per turn.
(designed by Jeremiah)

Flavor text: Expanding their coastline eastwards to Egypt, the Corsairs were stunned to find this nearly forgotten Wonder of the World in fair condition. Conducting extensive repair work and equipping it with modern weapons, they have turned it into a terrifying monstrosity. It is now considered one of the great strongholds of the Mediterranean, commanding presence for miles around.

Since it is a historical fiction game piece and not accurate to real-life events, I have put it in my Epic Seas set.


As night falls on the ocean, who knows what terrible fate may befall those who dare challenge the newfound power of an Ancient Wonder of the World….

Lighthouse of Alexandria at night


A quick glance at the massive L+L+L range (I’ll abbreviate to 3L for this report, not to be confused with a regular 3L cannon).  The Archimedes heat ray ability is already in range of USS America!  Hence why I added the “cannot use abilities on turn it’s built” clause.  XD  The Corsairs did pay for the lighthouse on time, I just forgot to put the 6 gold face up on the island at first in my excitement to take pictures.  😀

The reach of Corsair influence is now greatly expanded, as the lighthouse commands an incredible presence on the seascape.

Lighthouse of Alexandria at night in Pirates CSG game

A massive triumph for the Corsairs!  Given their proximity to the city of Alexandria and their lack of forts, they felt like the most appropriate faction to give this “god piece” to.  I’ve thought of it in my mind as “the Corsair answer to Paradis de la Mer”.  I’ve also started thinking about making a superpowered campaign game variant, possibly to base entire scenarios around.

I think that reveal deserved a full “intermission”; now let’s get back to the flow of the game!

The Cutlass can’t escape via the fog bank she launched her attack from, so the Pirates go for broke!  Her attack on Marrakesh mostly succeeds, but the boarding result is a tie!  (Restarting Rule: winners of boarding parties choose which result happens and which treasure to take if applicable; losers choose which crew is eliminated)

The first Corsair turn with The Lighthouse of Alexandria is a success!  Wicked Kareen sinks the Cutlass, with Marrakesh arriving home to unload and repair.  Morocco will be giving the Weapons UT to Pasha’s Delight, who is playing the role of lighthouse keeper.  At the upper right, the extra S segment shows that the extreme range of the lighthouse is already benefiting the Griffin on her journey southwards.

The heat ray ability missed on both of its first two rolls – first on Nene-nui, then against HMS Devastator, arriving near home on the right via round earth.  HMS Galway found the Maps of Hades UT, but managed to avoid its negative effect.  The English started the game with just 4 cargo spaces open, but they’re making a killing in the gold game with massive values.  HMS Forge carries two 7’s, with a third on the way from the Galway. HMS Devastator loaded a 3 after Forge explored in the west, giving them a nice total of 24 on just 4 coins if they can get it all home next turn.

Archimedes' heat ray misses HMS Devastator

After the lighthouse was built, the Americans turned around and headed northwest towards an unexplored island. This speaks volumes about the deterrence factor of the lighthouse against even a combat fleet.  With USS America providing a heavy escort, USS Quigley docks there with Nene-nui on the way. With the Morocco’s spying ability, the Corsairs have already seen all the coins on the island and know it’s a hefty sum.  NN found the UT Cotton’s Parrot.  Ningpo takes an L+L potshot at NN with her sniping ability, but misses with a 4.

Indeed, the north is where the action was at this point in the game.  USS America and her support gunships keep the northwest calm, but the northeast will be devolving into skirmishes. Griffin (Corsairs) and Asp (Pirates) both had designs on the island, with Griffin exploring first and taking a 5. The Corsairs offered to leave the 3 on the island for the Asp to pick up in return for the Asp not attacking them, but the Pirates didn’t take them up on that offer with both Forge and America lurking so close by (they probably didn’t believe them either, but the Corsairs were being truthful about the values).

The Asp initiated a boarding party to steal the 5, rather than getting blasted by Forge after exploring to load the 3.  However, Wicked Kareen has followed the Griffin through the whirlpool and into the area, further complicating the situation….

The Galway probably would have joined her English comrades going north, but instead a terrible event has befallen her….

Maps of Hades allows the Americans to control the Galway for a move action, sending her into range of the Lighthouse of Alexandria!  The heat ray magnifies the sun’s rays and lights up the Galway’s foresail!

Archimedes heat ray in action

Pasha’s Delight comes over to finish her off:

Griffin launches a counterattack on the Asp, hitting both shots.  However, her crew’s attempt at a boarding party is a disaster, with the Asp ready for hand-to-hand combat.

Wicked Kareen lived up to her flagship billing for the Corsairs, shooting off the Asp’s final mast and boarding to steal the 5. Asp’s crew were exhausted after boarding the Griffin twice, and could only muster a feeble resistance (1 roll).

However, the dominoes were not done falling in the northeast.  It was finally time for the English to start flexing their might!

HMS Forge surges forth, sinking the Asp (which would end up being fa key moment) and damaging the Wicked Kareen.

The Corsairs fled with their gold, content to let the English take the remaining 3.  They knew they could outpace the English and went to the south via round earth.  The Pirates only have two ships remaining – NH is slowly grabbing a single coin, while Ningpo escorts her.  Ningpo’s captain thought about going north to take another potshot at the Nene-nui, but thought better of it given the looming power and striking distance of USS America.

The fleets bring home gold and regroup in a calm pair of turns:

USS America Ship Debut! Plus Golden Seas pieces and more

At this stage of the game, it was clear that the Corsairs were likely in the lead given the sheer quantity of coins they possessed.  In addition, they had a massive deterrent on their side in the Lighthouse of Alexandria.  The English and Americans decided to agree on a plan.  They would form an alliance, with the goal of taking down the massive lighthouse.  After the destruction of the lighthouse, all bets were off.  This speaks to the immense power of the lighthouse – not even the two most well-armed factions in this particular 4×60 game felt comfortable trying to take on the Corsairs alone.  The Pirates got wind of this plan and were eventually included in the coalition, making it a potential 3-on-1 fight.

The Corsairs didn’t know about such talks of course, but with Morocco’s spying ability they had now seen every single coin on the home islands and felt comfortable with their position.  Here is how it stacked up:
Corsairs: 34 gold, with 6 in the lighthouse
English: 27 gold
Americans: 26 gold
Pirates: 18 gold

Knowing this information, the Corsairs were in an enviable position: theoretically they should win either way.  Even if the lighthouse was destroyed and the English OR Americans got all 6 of its gold, the Corsairs would win either 34-33 or 34-32.  As a result, they felt confident in their ability to come out victorious.  However, there was one thing they didn’t know about… a crew they couldn’t spy on, and an outcome they would not have predicted….

The Americans and English jockey for position.  They were massing on the west side of the map, in order to get as close as possible to the lighthouse with their combined forces before surging west across round earth for a full-scale assault.

The Americans proposed a new clause in the Anglo-American agreement: since the English were ahead of the Americans (they had truthfully disclosed their HI gold totals to each other) and the English HI was closer to the lighthouse island, the Americans should take the northerly attack route. Else the English might have a very quick trip home with all the lighthouse gold – if they could snatch it up of course. The English thought this fair and agreed to take the southern half of the attack formation.

Knowing they were unlikely to win, the Pirates launch a distraction to help their allies on the other side of the lighthouse.  However, Ningpo misses both snipe shots against Morocco.  She is now within range of the lighthouse…

… and promptly gets blasted!

I think now is a good time to explain the Pirate motivations here as the endgame phase began.  With almost no shot at winning, the Pirates were looking to play kingmaker.  They had a favorite horse in this race – the Americans. Earlier in the game, Ningpo had shot at the Americans, who still haven’t returned fire at the Pirates at all.  The English sank the Asp, making the Pirates dislike them. The Pirates despise the Corsairs, having gotten into intense skirmishes and scuffles with them.  As a result, the Pirates would much prefer the Americans win the game instead of the Corsairs (especially) or the English.

Ivory Mask (still face down!) hatched a plan: he could intentionally get shot at by the Americans later in the game and then activate Parley to transfer Pirate gold to the American home island.  It would require the Americans to survive the upcoming battle, but the Neptune’s Hoard could hang back from the conflict and tell the English about the plan instead if the Americans were eliminated (just to make sure the Corsairs didn’t win).

In the meantime, Wicked Kareen dismasted the Ningpo, dooming her to a fiery fate.  The other Corsair galleys gather around the lighthouse, with the other fighters (Griffin and Pasha’s Delight) ready to defend against the eastern onslaught.

TIME TO ATTACK!!  An epic climax was in store as new game pieces and concepts clashed in a wild fray!!

USS America is the only ship capable of getting more than 1 cannon in range of the lighthouse (2 hits from the same shoot action to eliminate the light), but she only shoots 1/3 for no damage!  This did not bode well for the attackers….

Pirates CSG: the battle begins

The Corsairs score massive damage! Another blast from the heat ray lights a blaze on USS America, who takes damage from the Griffin as well.  HMS Devastator loses masts to a mortar shot and a perfect 2/2 from Pasha’s Delight, who I believe benefited from the Forward Observer ability heavily in this game.  Given that they probably didn’t need to retain the lighthouse gold to win the game, the Corsairs went all-out in their attack, boarding recklessly and losing three generic crew.

The Corsairs score massive damage! Another heat ray blast lights a blaze on USS America, who takes damage from the Griffin as well.  HMS Devastator loses masts to a mortar shot and a perfect 2/2 from Pasha's Delight, who I believe benefited from the Forward Observer ability heavily in this game.  Given that they probably didn't need to retain the lighthouse gold to win the game, the Corsairs went all-out in their attack, boarding recklessly and losing three generic crew.

In a surprise to the Ivory Mask, Wicked Kareen surges northwest and attacks the Neptune’s Hoard!  The Pirates were expecting the Corsair flagship to join the fight in the east, but the Corsairs were in full “barbaric mode”, simply attacking anything in sight!  Too scared to reveal his Parley capabilities, Ivory Mask stayed face down as the NH began losing masts.

Indeed, the entire game was quickly turning into a bloodbath, and to make matters worse, night was falling on the grisly scene.  Luckily the combatants had the lighthouse to guide their efforts.

But not for long!! HMS Devastator unleashes a full broadside (6 shots when including Musketeer), shooting poorly but still managing to hit the lighthouse twice and finally extinguish its light!

Some hours later as many hours of fighting pass….

As the sun rises, the tide is turning. USS America’s hardy crew managed to keep her fire at bay even as her cannons blazed. They dismasted and captured the Morocco as the lighthouse tower began to crumble amidst the cannonade.  HMS Forge used her short-range cannons to dismast the Pasha’s Delight.

As the sun rises, the tide is turning. USS America's hardy crew managed to keep her fire at bay even as her cannons blazed. They dismasted and captured the Morocco as the lighthouse tower began to crumble amidst the cannonade.  HMS Forge used her short-range cannons to dismast the Pasha's Delight.

USS Quigley got in on the action and contributed a hit against the lighthouse, with part of the upper tower crashing down and nearly hitting the ship.

The Nene-nui was next up, the last of the 5 ships mustered by the Anglo-American alliance.  She dealt a final blow to the lighthouse, sending it crashing down into the ocean and sending shockwaves through the game!!

The coalition was successful in destroying the lighthouse… but now we would see the true desperation of the endgame phase….

This final chunk of the game was an utter mess that lasted longer than I expected it to. The teeter-totter nature of a typical Pirates CSG endgame was on full display.

The Corsairs continued their boarding attacks, with the Pasha’s Delight and Nene-nui losing their captains.

Wicked Kareen continued to attack NH, with the Ivory Mask growing more and more worried that the plan wouldn’t work out.

Bedlam!!  Shots from Griffin and Forge make the survival of USS America doubtful, but the Americans counter by building Thompson’s Island where the lighthouse stood in hopes of salvaging their flagship!  Due to the timing of a fire mast scuttle, USS America rows at S+S to the island, where the captured Morocco is able to dock. However, the fort was built at the end of the American turn, so the flames don’t extinguish automatically upon the fort’s construction.  HMS Forge has captured Pasha’s Delight, while Quigley eliminates two masts from HMS Devastator!  Quigley’s crew killing ability is negated by Charlotte Godspry’s Crew Protect.

Bedlam!!  Shots from Griffin and Forge make the survival of USS America doubtful, but the Americans counter by building Thompson's Island where the lighthouse stood in hopes of salvaging their flagship!  Given the timing of a fire mast scuttle, USS America rows at S+S to the island, where the captured Morocco is able to dock. However, the fort was built at the end of the American turn, so the flames don't extinguish automatically.  HMS Forge has captured Pasha's Delight, while Quigley eliminates two masts from HMS Devastator!  Quigley's crew killing ability is negated by Charlotte Godspry's Crew Protect.

At the upper left, NH fights back against Wicked Kareen continuously, and the battle is about evenly matched:

USS America is sunk!  HMS Devastator dismasts Quigley, who is towed by the captured (American) Morocco.

The fort sinks HMS Devastator!  Now all three “superweapons” are gone, leaving the outcome of the game up to the supporting casts of each fleet.

In a semi-miracle, Marrakesh goes 2/2 with a pair of 6’s to beat up the Nene-nui! (on cannons of 4S and 5S)  Griffin continues to harass Forge, while NN has shot at Griffin.

Incredibly, Neptune’s Hoard has won her fight against the Wicked Kareen!  The Corsair flagship has lost all her masts and can only row around, with no way to eliminate the final mast on NH.  Ivory Mask (still face down!!) breathes a sigh of relief.  He nearly emerged to use his defensive boarding bonus in an attempt to save Coconut, but none of the boarding scores were close enough for it to make a difference.  His identity still hidden, he lies in wait, only to reveal Parley at the opportune moment so as not to alert the Corsairs to a possible alternate winner….

In a semi-miracle, Marrakesh goes 2/2 with a pair of 6's to beat up the Nene-nui! (on cannons of 4S and 5S)  Griffin continues to harass Forge, while NN has shot at Griffin. Incredibly, Neptune's Hoard has won her fight against the Wicked Kareen!  The Corsair flagship has lost all her masts and can only row around, with no way to eliminate the final mast on NH.  Ivory Mask (still face down!!) breathes a sigh of relief.  He nearly emerged to use his defensive boarding bonus in an attempt to save Coconut, but none of the boarding scores were close enough for it to make a difference.  His identity still hidden, he lies in wait, only to reveal Parley at the opportune moment so as not to alert the Corsairs to a possible alternate winner....

HMS Forge finally gets off a perfect broadside, slamming the fort and dismasting the Griffin. Pasha’s Delight captures Griffin, both of whom are now part of the English fleet.

Morocco narrowly avoids getting wrecked on the reef to bring Quigley back into the fold.  The cannoneers on Marrakesh continue their best day in recorded history, shooting near-perfect to almost sink the Nene-nui!  Thompson’s Island takes a mast off the Forge, meaning that Marrakesh is now the healthiest ship in play.  She also appears to be the strongest in combat right now, making her one of the most unexpected “beast ships” in my history of games.

HMS Forge destroys the fort and dismasts Quigley with a ram!  Pasha’s Delight rows in to dock at the island, meaning the English can automatically dock the towed ship (Griffin) as well.  Griffin gets an explore action, but only loads the 1 (vs. 3 and 5 coins) from the island because the English realize she has a low chance of getting home with any gold.  Ivory Mask watches from afar, hoping the Americans can somehow pull out of the area with a seaworthy vessel despite no masts or fort flags currently standing in their fleet.  He decides to let the Americans in on his plan….

The shenanigans continue! Just rebuild Thompson’s Island!  XD

The best play for the Americans is to build the fort again, providing firepower in an increasingly weak area as well as a key repair base. The continual fort construction is slowly draining their HI, but they’re hoping Ivory Mask will keep his word and help them out with gold in the long term.

After taking some damage, the new Thompson’s Island counterattacks and sinks HMS Forge with great shooting!  Morocco and NN repair, while the English basically accept defeat (in the area at least) and attempt to row their captured and damaged galleys out of the debris field.  Forge captured Quigley before sinking, but the latter probably won’t be an asset with how long it will take to make her serviceable.

Griffin rows towards the whirlpool but is just barely caught and rammed by the Wicked Kareen!  With the help of the Weapons UT, the Corsairs manage to tie the boarding score at 6 against a valiant effort from the Griffin’s English prize crew.  Marrakesh finally ran out of luck, abandoning her anti-American crusade after losing two masts to the fort and/or NN.

Thompson’s Island sinks the Wicked Kareen with a well-placed shot, while Marrakesh is dismasted by NN.  With the Corsairs off their tail, the English successfully navigate the whirlpools to arrive in calmer waters near home.  The multi-stage battle is finally over.

NN unsuccessfully chases Marrkesh around in a whirlpool dance.  In a strange outcome for the English, Griffin is able to dock home her 1 coin as the English reconcile that they will likely finish the game with 3 captured ships and no English ships in their possession.

Morocco picks up some gold from the fort, one of which is the 5 used to build the Lighthouse of Alexandria. She heads northwest to rendezvous with the Neptune’s Hoard, who has been patiently waiting for quite a long time now.

Morocco’s gunports open, with her pitiful 5S cannons about to open fire on the last Pirate ship remaining in play.  Ivory Mask finally reveals himself, and the wealth transfer begins.  Over the course of a few turns, the Americans get the Pirates to Parley 4 of their coins to the American HI.  The Pirates feel decently confident that they’ve ensured a non-enemy will win the game.  They break off the gold siphon with just one coin left to avoid getting shut out.

At this point, the English were gearing up for a three-ship attack on the new Thompson’s Island, while the Marrakesh was considering reefing herself and hoping other players would get eliminated so they could finally count.

Normally the game would go on due to the fort gold being available, but the Americans decided to end the insanity and reveal their entire portfolio of goodies.  A whopping 44 gold now sat on their HI, which was more than any other faction could lay claim to.  The Americans argued that even if the English or Corsairs got the 3 gold still in Thompson’s Island, it would not be enough to catch the Americans (closest possible score being 37 for the Corsairs).  With no home island raiders in play, there was effectively no way to decrease the American gold score. (short of capturing Ivory Mask on the NH and somehow looping in a third party for another intentional Parley transfer to swing the gold race, which would truly be shenanigan central)

With that, the other factions agreed to this sort of “inevitable/stalemate forfeit”, ending the game at last.

The scores:

  1. Americans: 44 gold (47 including Thompson’s Island)
  2. Barbary Corsairs: 34
  3. English: 28
  4. Pirates: 2

USS America Ship Debut! Plus Golden Seas pieces and more

What a game!  The first phase saw a dominant Barbary Corsair fleet aided by a powerful new game piece, but the second phase saw it unravel at the hands of a 3-fleet coalition.  The endgame was wild, as we saw all the factions duke it out in chaos with the Pirates eventually being able to essentially choose a winner via Ivory Mask’s Parley ability.

Given its massive power and ability to influence a game, the following changes were made to The Lighthouse of Alexandria: Cost of 8 gold (instead of 6); the “Archimedes’ heat ray” ability will now place a single fire mast only on rolls of 5-6, instead of one fire mast on a 4-5 and two on a 6.


Very happy to debut USS America and the Lighthouse of Alexandria!  I expect to see both of them again in some future games. Hope you enjoyed the new stuff and the Golden Seas pieces.  Thanks for reading!

UPS 2 vs. HMS GT UPS – The Ultimate Competitive Matchup


The Ultimate Competitive Matchup


With Tournament #3 over and a winner declared, it was time for them to face the winner of Tournament #2 in the ultimate competitive matchup.  This is about as meta a matchup as I can imagine!




Game 1:

Game 2:

Game 3:

With that, it is clear that most matchups between these fleets will come down to the luck of who goes first. Scores by game with Player 1 details Wizkids Pirates CSG - The Ultimate Competitive Matchup

UPS 2 has proved its mettle as arguably the greatest fleet in Pirates CSG history!  Even against the toughest competition it can succeed, and it scored 12 gold in its Game 1 loss – more gold than the GT fleet scored in its two losses combined.

The game and fleet process has been so gamified that most of these “hyper meta” matchups will likely come down to luck more than anything else.  As a result, this might be the last competitive series I play for a while. I do have a few more competitive matchups I’d like to play in 2024, but they will probably be 1-off games.

A peek at the setup:

UPS 2 vs. HMS GT UPS - The Ultimate Competitive Matchup

Thanks for reading!  The competitive play in the first half of 2024 has been fun and informative, and now I feel pretty much completely satisfied with it. The results speak for themselves, and I think I’ll mostly move on to other game types/formats now. (more fleets, other build totals, some house rules, etc.)

HMS GT UPS vs. Altar Abuse | Pirates CSG Competitive Series

HMS GT UPS vs. Altar Abuse


After the conclusion of Tournament #3, I wanted to play some additional competitive matchups.  The first was the Finals matchup that we came within one d6 roll of seeing – HMS GT UPS taking on a different challenger, Altar Abuse.  I plan to continue changing up the battle reports a bit, so this series has shorter videos with a narrative approach rather than full gameplay footage.



Altar Abuse

Game 1:

Game 2:

Game 3:

With that, the upset is complete!  Being able to beat the tournament winner proves that Altar Abuse can crush just about any competitive meta fleet with enough luck. A nasty combo for the ages!

Here’s the setup before Game 1:

HMS GT UPS vs. Altar Abuse

Tournament #3 – Wizkids Pirates CSG competitive tournament (all reports)

Tournament #3

Wizkids Pirates CSG competitive tournament

All Battle Reports

2/11/2024 – 4/7/2024


Tournament #3 (T3) was the third notable Wizkids Pirates CSG competitive tournament I have played.  The first two are T1 and T2, which were played on VASSAL with Xerecs.  T3 had almost no house rules and was played in physical form, so it could be considered the most “pure” tournament I’ve played so far.  I made sure to track all the scores, who went first, and how much gold each fleet collected throughout the tournament. You can see those stats at the end of the final battle report.

Universal Pirate Swan - Competitive Pirates CSG Fleet. Involved in Tournament #3

Universal Pirate Swan, one of the participating fleets

Each matchup would be a best-of-3 series, with the exception of the tournament Finals, which would be a best-of-5. Each fleet had to come with a standard 40 point build, but their +5 selections could be modified as much as they wanted – by game within a series, and changing from one series to the next. The average ocean was about 37 inches wide, 43 inches long.  That is slightly larger than the recommended minimum of 3 feet x 3 feet, but it’s worth noting that the 37″x43″ ocean is not large enough to have all 6 islands at the maximum distance of 6L apart, so if playing a competitive tournament, you may want a larger ocean.

Here are the house rules I used:
-Bonus gold (from +1/+2 abilities) is available for building forts, home island raiding, etc.
-Becalmed doesn’t do anything against ships that can move when mastless – they retain their full (current) base move, as the ability text does not say it is reduced to S.
-Abandoned Crew can be flipped face up on the controlling player’s turn in order to turn them into crew even if their abilities are not used when flipping them face up.

Note about fleet “intelligence”: Fleets have no idea about the other fleet going into the first game of each matchup, but they remember crew and UT’s as best they can for the rest of that series. Fleets don’t “watch” other matchups in the tournament, so every new series matchup is fresh as if the fleets are facing each other for the first time.

I was generally able to play on Sundays from February to April, getting through all 8 series on schedule (including a play-in round since I had 9 fleets I wanted to see get involved, rather than 8).

Battle Reports

3 Games between UPS 4.1 and Kill That UPS | February 11th, 2024 (play-in round)

HMS GT UPS vs. Anti-UPS+UPS | First Matchup of Tournament #3

Saccing Treasure Traders vs. Turn 1 Victory? Tournament #3 Continues

Tournament 3 Continues – Universal Pirate Swan vs. Altar Abuse

American Pirates 4 vs. Kill that UPS – Tournament #3 continues

HMS GT UPS vs. Saccing Treasure Traders – Tournament #3 Semifinals

Altar Abuse vs. Kill that UPS – Tournament 3 Continued

Tournament #3 Finals! HMS GT UPS vs. Kill that UPS!


You can also view all the video battle report footage contained in the BR’s above on my Games playlist.

Tournament #3 Finals! HMS GT UPS vs. Kill that UPS!

Tournament #3 Finals!

HMS GT UPS vs. Kill that UPS

Best of 5 Series

April 6-7 2024

The final matchup of Tournament #3!  Who will win to stake their claim as one of the all-time great competitive fleets of Pirates CSG?



Kill that UPS

Game 1:

Game 2:

Game 3:

Game 4:

Last game of the Tournament #3 Finals - T3 over!

The end of the last game!

The final, completed bracket!  In between each matchup are the scores by game; the higher fleet of each matchup has their score first (bottom fleet is second score) regardless of who went first. For the Finals, the scores underneath each fleet are the games that fleet won.

Tournament #3 bracket, final completed version. Pirates CSG competitive play

Congratulations to HMS GT UPS on a massive tournament victory!  They were a dominant fleet from start to finish, going 7-2 overall and scoring double digit gold in every game except one.  They have earned their place amongst the most competitive fleets in Pirates CSG history.  The combination of UPS strategy with the HMS Grand Temple’s fighting prowess is a devastating combo.

Here is my post-tournament summary.  It includes the goals I had when planning the tournament back in January 2024, as well as the lessons learned and some of the things I noticed.


Are anti-UPS fleets good enough to upend the meta?  Not quite, they’re not as good against power UPS fleets.

If so, can they win tournaments overall even against some non-UPS foes?  Kill that UPS did beat 2 non-UPS fleets, so it is a very competitive fleet. Just couldn’t beat HMS GT UPS.  HMS GT’s durability and firepower proved too much even for a Mycron-powered Angelica.

Determine value of going first (which should equal a worse HI selection): Player 1 had an overall record of 12-11 in this tournament (full stats by fleet at the bottom of this post).  Nearly 50/50 and somewhat inconclusive, but overall it seems that it’s a tossup that could go either way.  There are really easy ways to get around a bad HI location, such as Hidden Cove and whirlpools.

How much does the island/terrain meta affect results?  The terrain meta probably matters more, at least when one fleet wants very little terrain (especially no whirlpools) and the other fleet wants a lot of terrain. Island placement meta matters less with so many Hidden Coves and often lots of whirlpools around. Overall, I was a bit surprised by how little the island placement meta seemed to matter.  It can be very inconsequential if either player wants islands at minimum distance (3L apart), since then even if the other player tries to place each of their randomly selected islands 6L away from the (already-most-distant) island, the “close” player can just place their next island diagonally in between the ones 6L apart, essentially nullifying the 6L distance placement.  If the “far” player gets to place the last island and pick it as the HI of Player 1, this can just incentivize P1 to vote for at least 2 terrain placed per player, which they can use to place a whirlpool next to their (likely/obvious) potential HI location and at least one other whirlpool near the wild islands for easy and quick access to treasure. They could also vote for a lot of terrain, and just place whirlpools near every island so that P2 has no way to ensure they’ll have to sail a large distance to reach an island.

Are either of those previous elements (going first, and island/terrain meta) as or more important than the luck of the treasure distribution? I don’t think so, treasure distribution is probably the most important factor of the three.  Many games were essentially determined by the random distribution of 4 coins per wild island.  Some games were lost because of the distribution (finding a devastating UT that kills essential crew on a flagship), and some were easily won because of the distribution (such as a treasure-based fleet finding no negatives, and instead two 6’s that can win the game 16-0 if both get +2’d).  The “positive vs. negative UT war” was a major factor as the tournament went on, as it became a “luck fest” of whether or not a high-powered treasure runner or UPS flagship would find a negative with or without a “wipe UT” such as the Kharmic Idol or Pirata Codex.  The treasure distribution war probably affected some games even more than the actual fleets involved.  A bad first island can spell doom, but if you go first and can wipe the map of negatives with something like Maps of Alexandria + Kharmic Idol, it becomes free reign on the whole map.


Play-in round: Fleet that went first won each game. Hidden Cove makes island meta less relevant because you can just teleport a full 6L.

First matchup: Anti-UPS+UPS fleet is too scattered. Neither the anti-UPS or the UPS portion of the fleet can be fully optimized due to the build total restrictions, and both strategies suffer for it (this proved even more true as the tournament went on, as the all-in “anti” nature of Kill that UPS proved quite successful). Best to just go all-in on the UPS strategy or a full-scale counter to it.

Forts were less competitive than I thought they would be. There were hardly any fort plays. In T2 there were less combat-capable fleets, so forts held more sway over endgames. Don’t always want to put treasure back on an island. T2 had a lot of fleets that either wanted to extend the game, “lock” up treasure with a fort, or knew the opposing fleet would have a lot of trouble destroying Paradis de la Mer (sometimes all of the above).  T3 had more capable gunships and hybrids – with double actions nearly omnipresent for HMS GT, Angelica, Black Swan, Roanoke and Neptune’s Hoard, there was little incentive to build a fort knowing that it would likely get destroyed. I’d say forts can still be very competitive and useful, but it depends more on the fleets involved and if there’s a gunship in play capable of destroying a fort in a single turn (thus preventing any return fire from the fort, and making the newly-wild-again gold available very quickly after construction).

Tournament felt less tactical than T2 – more luck, less fort plays/etc. Consequence of extreme UT distribution/abuse, and possibly because I’m the only player (vs. playing against Xerecs in T1 and T2). I think I did great not “accidentally” having bias with any fleets or sides, though it may have affected the island meta slightly. However, it’s kind of obvious that a Player 2 is gunning to put your HI far away when they place the last island 6L from any other island and then seed it with reefs/etc.  It felt less tactical partly because a lot of games seemed to be decided on luck elements – a great or horrible first island explored, a fleet always getting their terrain roll during the Setup phase, or sometimes some bad cannon luck.  Heck, the Finals matchup would almost certainly have included Altar Abuse instead of Kill that UPS if the Isle of Fire hadn’t gone off and eliminated the Altar of the Loa in the rubber match Game 4 of their semifinals matchup.  I don’t think Altar Abuse would have beaten HMS GT UPS, but when an entire series can come down to a single 50/50 d6 roll, it starts to make playing the games between certain fleets feel more pointless.  In the case of KtU vs. a treasure fleet, it often just comes down to treasure distribution luck – if the KtU negative UT’s mess up the enemy flagship, they can win by a low score. But if they don’t, it can be hard for them to come back since the opponent can usually rack up a bunch of gold quickly (and then win even if they’re eliminated if they’re ahead by enough).  It felt like a tournament of extremes – killer fleets, extreme treasure contributions by nearly every fleet in every game, and some shutouts and lopsided scores.  T2 was quite different, though we didn’t play by standard rules nearly as much (eventually using a default island+terrain setup every game to save setup time).  T2 had more high-scoring tactical treasure games, which was partly a function of having less high-power hybrids and more Hai Peng or Banshee’s Cry flagships. For example, the “Final Four” of T2 had 3/4 fleets of what I would call “extreme treasure fleets”, whereas T3’s Final Four had 3/4 fleets containing a double-action gunship/hybrid with at least 4 masts.

Kill that UPS has a big weakness in basically deferring the initiative. They’d almost prefer going second, but that opens the door to a UPS fleet getting a ton of gold in rounds 1+2. If they go first and explore with Hyena, she might get trashed by their own negative UT’s. Even if she doesn’t, she might find a positive UT like Pirate Globe that then informs the enemy treasure fleet exactly where to go on their half of round 1, leaving the door open for the treasure fleet to get gold fast before Angelica can intervene on round 2.  Towards the end, it dawned on me that KtU winning would feel a bit odd – it’s simply a killer fleet. That fleet winning would do away with “gold wins the game” to some extent. It didn’t affect how I played the Finals, though HMS GT UPS did get some luck with the treasure distribution and terrain rolls.  For all the complaints about UPS being OP, at least those fleets win games by completing the primary objective – get the most gold.  I think fleets like KtU winning tournaments would encourage more deathmatch-style fleets and wonky extreme fleets, where it’s just genocide via blitzing and negative UT auto-includes. I think it illustrates that Wizkids did a great job creating a tactical and balanced treasure game – though there’s a lot of OP or broken pieces in the meta, it can still be very fun and strategic.

Anti-UPS fleets need more than a double-action dragon to combat the “UPS gunships” like HMS GT, Zeus, etc.  Ships with 6+ masts can take a full-scale attack from Angelica and either walk away to continue getting gold for their fleet, or return fire with 2+ masts (usually doubled via a second action), which can be enough to cripple or kill the dragon.  Even in Finals games where CJS was killed, HMS GT UPS was able to stay in the game and nearly went 4-0 overall in the series.  I have a feeling KtU vs. UPS 5 (with the Zeus) would go similarly – Zeus would always be able to return fire with considerable force even if Angelica goes 4/4, and can kill the dragon in a counterattack a good percentage of the time as soon as the dragon starts missing a shot or two.  If Angelica only gets 1 hit, the game is pretty much as good as over.  Maybe there’s a better hybrid/etc setup than Hyena+crew for the last 16 points of KtU, but it’s hard to get enough damage accumulated on a powerful UPS foe to sway the tide.  It relies on the island setup and arguably the UPS player being slightly dumb, but KtU could theoretically put 7 shots on a “power-UPS” ship if Hyena got Hidden Cove’d to the same island (HC instead of her explorer+oarsman), with Angelica still getting Mycron for a shoot action after flying into range.

Superlatives and Stats

Biggest upsets: I did not expect Universal Pirate Swan to go out in Round 1. They crushed Altar Abuse 20-0 in their first game, but didn’t win again.  I will admit that I didn’t expect Kill that UPS to reach the Finals, given their gauntlet of impressive foes going back to the play-in round.  I thought AP’s 4 would really put them to the test, but KtU still won the series 2-1.  Once they reached the semis I knew they had a decent shot at winning the tournament.  KtU did have a somewhat rough road to the Finals, losing a game in each of their 3 series on the way there (2-1 in each series for 6-3 overall through the semis), and almost getting knocked out by a lucky Altar Abuse fleet.

Biggest surprises: For a very luck-based fleet centered around a single UT, Altar Abuse came incredibly close to making the Finals. Overall I’d say the right side of the bracket contained more surprises than the left side. Going into the tournament, I think I was somewhat expecting to see Universal Pirate Swan vs. AP’s 4 in the semifinals (the opposite of what happened). I thought the island meta and Player 1 vs. Player 2 stuff would matter a bit more, but it was pretty much upended by the terrain meta and treasure distribution.  I was surprised by the lack of fort plays, though for reasons stated above it makes sense that fleets didn’t want to risk them very often.  There were more plays to end games quickly via elimination or suicide than there were plays to intentionally extend the game via fort building.

Check out some fun stats for Tournament #3! These count the pre-tournament play-in matchup between KtU and UPS 4.1, but they don’t count the Game 2 semifinals botch between KtU and Altar Abuse.

Stats for Tournament #3

Bolded stats represent the leader in that category (very fun for me to do, similar to baseball stats with league leaders). We see that P1 had a slight advantage over P2, but it was essentially negligible.  In the Finals, P1 was 0-4, so if a Game 5 had been played there, it might even be 50-50 odds of winning going first vs. going second.  HMS GT UPS proved their mettle in so many ways. They went 5-1 without the initiative. They naturally have the highest winning percentage of the tournament, by far the most gold collected, and the highest gold score per game at 15.1 treasure per game.  They scored double-digit gold in all but one of their nine games, including scoring 11 or more gold in all four games against Kill that UPS, a fleet that usually limits how much gold an enemy can collect in most games. For example, KtU opponents only scored double digit gold in 2/9 games going into the Finals. KtU held AP’s 4 to just 6 gold per game, UPS 4.1 to 6.7 gold per game, and Altar Abuse to 7.7 gold per game.  Comparatively, HMS GT UPS averaged 16.8 gold per game against Kill that UPS, barely losing in their only loss of the Finals.  KtU essentially dragged down average gold scores per fleet in every series it played in, except against HMS GT UPS.  HMS GT UPS winning the tournament also proves how P1 vs. P2 doesn’t matter as much – they were P2 in 6/9 games, presumably getting a worse HI location each of those games.

KtU was the leader in games played and even tied for the lead in wins, mostly due to the fleet getting an extra series via the play-in matchup and due to their inability to sweep any series.  In fact, if not for the lack of a Finals Game 5, KtU nearly played the maximum amount of games available to play for a fleet involved in the tournament (going to a deciding game in each series prior to the Finals).  Understandably, their gold per game number (5.8) is pitifully low for a successful fleet, given their killer nature and elimination fleet strategy.  However, it does look even more pathetic when compared to some of the crazy high-scoring fleets involved in T2.  In the T2 semifinals, UPS 2 managed to score a ridiculous 84 gold over the course of 2 games, more than KtU accumulated in 13 games of T3!

Saccing Treasure Traders had a strong showing, coming in second in gold per game and finishing as one of the only fleets with a winning record.  Universal Pirate Swan will likely be seen again in 2024, but as for the American Pirates, I’ll probably try out more of the AP’s 3/5/6 variants before defaulting to AP’s 4.  The Anti-UPS+UPS and Turn 1 Victory fleets were swept, with major flaws evident in both fleets. As stated previously, Anti-UPS+UPS is too scattered to be wholly effective at either being a UPS fleet or a UPS counter (an increase to 50 or 60 points might make it competitive at those build totals), while T1V was flawed from its creation, as I didn’t know that you couldn’t trade home positive UT’s worth gold with CJS until after the bracket was finalized and the tournament had begun.  UPS 4.1 exemplified what will probably happen when any “old-school” UPS fleet faces Kill that UPS – a treasure win when going first, but likely elimination or a very low gold score otherwise (or if encountering nasty UT’s at their first island).  For that reason, I might not bother playing fleets like UPS 2 or Hai Peng Fort Frenzy against KtU, because I think it would come down to the luck of being Player 1 and the treasure distribution.

The average gold/game number of 19 is in total (436/23), with the average close score being 10-9, 11-8, etc. Overall the scores were a bit lower than I expected, but T2 set an oddly high bar and was quite different due to the fleet strategies compared to T3’s more offensive and UT-based nature.

More T3 stats

This was a fun little exercise – seeing which fleets are better at holding the opposition to a low score. Technically it would be AP’s 4, but that’s not saying much when it’s against a low-scoring fleet like KtU.  Rounding up their scores, we see that KtU had an average per-game deficit of losing 10-6. XD  They can’t care about the stats though, they’re happy with their 7-6 overall record.

No surprise that the champion had the highest score of any game, though Universal Pirate Swan had an impressive debut.  Altar Abuse and Treasure Traders showed their competitive prowess, and I could see them winning some tournaments, especially with the right luck or if it was slightly more casual.

I forgot to mention this in the videos, but one of the typical ocean sizes was 37″ wide, 43″ long.  So for a game where at least one fleet (or especially both) wants islands 6L apart, you’d want a playing surface bigger than the suggested minimum default of 36″x36″.

What’s Next?

This won’t be the end of my competitive Pirates CSG games in 2024, though there won’t be a ton more.  I have a handful of matchups in mind for the next few months, including the inevitable “winner clash” of HMS GT UPS against the winner of T2 (UPS 2).  There is a new challenger!  Can HMS GT UPS continue to climb the ranks and be crowned the best Wizkids Pirates fleet of all time?  Stay tuned to find out!

Thanks for reading and watching, and let me know if you get some Pirates CSG games of your own going!

Questions of the Day: What’s your favorite fleet that participated in T3?
Which fleet do you think would win in a “maximum fairness” simulation of 100+ games per matchup? (with an even distribution of luck in terms of player 1, terrain, treasure distribution, etc.)

Altar Abuse vs. Kill that UPS – Tournament 3 Continued

Altar Abuse vs. Kill that UPS – Tournament 3 Continued

3/31/2024 + 4/6/2024

The second matchup of the T3 semifinals!

Altar Abuse


Kill that UPS

Game 1:

Game 2:

Game 3:

Game 4:

Here is the updated bracket. In between each matchup are the scores by game; the higher fleet of each matchup has their score first (bottom fleet is second score) regardless of who went first.

T3 bracket 7 - showing Altar Abuse vs. Kill that UPS

With that, we are set up for a climactic Finals matchup!  The tournament will conclude with perhaps a matchup that many wanted to see – a high-powered UPS fleet facing off against a high-powered UPS counter fleet!  Thanks for watching and stay tuned for the Finals!

HMS GT UPS vs. Saccing Treasure Traders – Tournament #3 Semifinals

HMS GT UPS vs. Saccing Treasure Traders – Tournament #3 Semifinals


The Tournament #3 Semifinals began with an awesome series!



Saccing Treasure Traders

Game 1:

Game 2:

Game 3:

Here is the updated bracket. In between each matchup are the scores by game; the higher fleet of each matchup has their score first (bottom fleet is second score) regardless of who went first.

Tournament #3 Semifinals first matchup bracket scores

What a series!  Definitely one of my favorites of the tournament so far, maybe my top pick.  Thanks for watching and stay tuned for the last two matchups of the tournament.

American Pirates 4 vs. Kill that UPS – Tournament #3 continues

American Pirates 4 vs. Kill that UPS


The last Round 1 matchup for Tournament #3!

American Pirates 4


Kill that UPS

Game 1: (tried an Instagram live but I think I’ll stick with Youtube live from now on because I prefer the horizontal aspect ratio and IG didn’t pick up my lapel mic)

Game 2:

Game 3:

Here is the updated bracket. In between each matchup are the scores by game; the higher fleet of each matchup has their score first (bottom fleet is second score) regardless of who went first.

American Pirates 4 vs. Kill that UPS - Tournament #3 continues

Congrats to Kill that UPS as they move on to face Altar Abuse!

More competitive play coming soon!