Beauty everywhere – ships, maps, terrain, games, life!

Miniature Trading has been VERY active lately – tons of threads posted in since May 30th!  If you don’t already have an account there, I highly recommend signing up – it’s free to use, a great resource, and the true hub of the Pirates community online.

I am approaching 2,000 total posts on Instagram, so I’ll have to make sure I have a really good picture for that.  XD  I guess.  Haha!  The numbers don’t matter too much, but it’s a lot of posting and whatnot!  Also, check out this board made by another IG user – amazing work!  Beauty is everywhere – you just gotta find it!

I still need to start working on another page, but I’m planning to do more video/audio blogs this week!

I uploaded a new video yesterday.  Check it out below, and then go vote and comment on it!

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfSPoySvEqI[/embedyt]

 

Deal of the Day: Big lot of Crimson Coast.  There are also some interesting auctions up now, so stay tuned!

**Disclaimer: I will be using affiliate links with things like this, so if someone buys from it, I could make a few cents.  XD

 

Pirates CSG Card of the Day

Set number: 4 – Barbary Coast

Collector’s Number: 005 – Crescent Moon

Faction Affiliation: Barbary Corsairs
Rarity: R
Type: Ship
Point Value: 13
Cargo Space: 5
Base Move: S+L
Cannons: 4L-4S-5S-5L
Number of Masts: 4

Galley. Once per turn, you may reroll any die roll you make for this ship; you must use the second die roll result.

Flavor: The devout captain of the Crescent Moon demands that his compass be accurate so that he can face Mecca when praying, no matter the ship’s heading.

Nice!  Got a rare and beautiful Corsair ship from a fine set.  With pretty awful cannons, this is definitely a large gold runner.  She’s actually the only Barbary 4 master with more than 4 cargo, so she’s perfect in that role.  A nice support ship to add to your collection.

Standard 40 point games: Helmsman + optional explorer.  (15/16 total points)

Medium size games (50-100 points): Kheir-ed-din + helmsman.  The Crescent Moon is the only source of the reroll ability in the entire Barbary Corsair faction.  With Kheir’s ability quite difficult to pull off frequently, reroll is the perfect complement.  In addition, Kheir will likely be far from enemy ships during the game, able to give Admiral’s Actions from afar.  (21 total points)

Large games (over 100 points): Kheir-ed-din, helmsman, oarsman.  This gives the two important crew extra protection, and allows the Crescent Moon to not be captured if dismasted.  (the part of the Oarsman keyword not allowing dereliction does not apply to ship type keywords like Galleys and Longships) There’s not much point in adding more stuff, since you’ll want to keep at least 3 cargo spaces open for treasure. (22 total points)

Game Piece Rating: 7.5/10.  The Crescent Moon is what I would call a fine ship.  She’s beautiful, elegant, and has a clear role within the effective Barbary Corsair fleet.  Only her terrible armament and somewhat high cost compared to some of the great BC 2 masted galleys holds her back.

I’d recommend getting ahold of the Crescent Moon – you can find her here.  Beautiful ship and a very nice addition to anyone’s collection or gold-based fleet.

Here she is in my Experimental cumulative game from January 2016.  This picture doesn’t do her full justice – truly one of the prettier ships around.

She’s here!

 

Picture of the Day

You didn’t think I’d miss out on Economy Edition, did you?  XD  Here are three pictures from June 3rd 2015.

The English pulverize the American defense of a wild island, with the Atlanta hit hard and burning fiercely.

However, the Americans were far from out of it, as their new Constitution showed:

Less than a week into the game, and it was already expanding in scope, size, and fun!

Between all the pictures in this blog and the Instagram linked post of that user’s custom board and terrain, I decided to change the blog’s title to one about beauty.  XD  I’ll certainly talk about it more in the future, but I truly feel that Pirates is one of the most aesthetic board games EVER.

 

It’s a Pirates’ Life for Me.

Ben

Thoughts on teaching new players

Thoughts on teaching new players

This post got me thinking about teaching new players and getting people interested in the game.  So far I’m happy to say that I’ve taught 17 different people how to play Pirates since 2015.  However, of those, I don’t think any of them have played Pirates without me, and I don’t think any of them have bought the game in any form.  The latter is partly due to my giving away some duplicates or sealed packs to new players to get them started and hopefully have them excited/more invested once they have their own stuff.

I seem to be successful at the initial stage of the process, where they do seem interested and would like to learn the game.  They also seem to like the game.  However, most of them don’t LOVE the game to the point where they’d sign up at Miniature Trading, or buy their own stuff for example.  New players tend to trail off, partly because they’re busy and don’t want to learn what they see as a very complicated board game.  I understand and respect that.

One of the things I’d like to work on for the future when trying to find potential new players is targeting.  Not everyone will be into the game.  Older folks have issues trying to build the ships, and tend to either give up quickly or say the game is too complicated for them to learn.  Younger people have more exciting things to do and may be busy with too many other activities to devote their time to an out of print game.

In terms of “targeting”, there are certain demographics or types of people I have in mind.  There is a serious trend of young people getting back into the game long after its discontinuation.  Some of the most passionate members of the online community are in the same boat (or ship!) as me – in their 20’s, male, got into the game as a kid, and now back into it after a “hiatus” of a certain number of years.  From the survey results, those same people now have more spending money as they get older, meaning they might be in a buying mode as they come back to the game.  (especially if they sold/lost/got rid of their old collections).  It’s also a demo that could include potential new players who haven’t heard of the game before.

Eventually I hope to do some actual advertising for this game, though it may still be a long way off.  However, I do feel good knowing at least one very specific target demographic to promote to.

If you have experience teaching new players or trying to get people into the game, feel free to comment below.

 

Deal of the Day: Pirates of the Revolution.

eBay has been a bit dry again lately, so here’s a plethora of options to pick from that match the set from the Card of the Day!

**Disclaimer: I will be using affiliate links with things like this, so if someone buys from it, I could make a few cents.  XD

 

Pirates CSG Card of the Day

Set number: 3 – Revolution (RV)

Collector’s Number: 073 – Saratoga

Faction Affiliation: America
Rarity: U
Type: Ship
Point Value: 14
Cargo Space: 4
Base Move: S+L
Cannons: 2S-2S-3S-4S
Number of Masts: 4

Schooner. This ship gets +1 to her boarding rolls.

Flavor: Captain Oswald “recruited” his crew from the Baltimore jailhouse and gave them one law: When you hit the deck of the enemy ship, the survivor goes home a free man.

Here is a classic American schooner, the likes of which we saw many of in the first few sets the Americans were introduced in.  The Saratoga is a good ship without many weaknesses.  Not many 4 masters have base speeds of S+L, and she boasts decent cargo, solid firepower, and a reasonably fitting ability to boot.

How you set up the Saratoga depends on your play style.  I’d recommend focusing on either a gunship or hybrid role.  This ship is a “natural” hybrid in my opinion, since a basic setup of captain+helmsman leaves her with 2 cargo spaces and the attributes (speed, good at boarding) necessary to be a hybrid.

The raider hybrid role suits this ship well.  She has the max speed (S+L+S with a helmsman) to catch some enemy gold runners, and a great chance of winning board parties against smaller treasure ships.  With the boarding bonus, you’re essentially starting off with a boarding score of 5, a considerable advantage against some of the best gold runners in the game that have 1 or 2 masts.  Throw in the Schooner keyword, which makes boarding easier since you can maneuver at the end of the move action.

Most games: Captain + helmsman, optional oarsman.  2 cargo spaces open for gold, whether it’s taken from wild islands or enemy ships.  (19/20 total points)

Sure you could load up the Saratoga, but I don’t see a lot of reason in doing that.  The Americans have a plethora of better gunships that can utilize their limited selection of named crew much more effectively, and besides that, any crew added will decrease the cargo available and take away from the Saratoga’s main strength, which in my opinion is being a fast hybrid.  If you really want to add named crew, this version of Montana Mays would be good for a boarding-based strategy, and after him you could load up some generics such as a firepot specialist to use with the 2S cannons.

Game Piece Rating: 7.5/10.  The Saratoga is a good ship in her class, with speed being her best asset.  However, she has no L-range guns, her cargo is filled up quickly, and she feels a little too pricey with a mediocre ability.  The Americans also have far better ships for specific roles, as the Franklin and Hudson are both much better gunships, while the Providence is a better hybrid for 2 LESS points.  A fine ship, but not necessarily an American player’s best option.

I found the Saratoga on eBay.  There are two other versions of the ship from other sets, and all three are actually quite playable.  This RV version is probably the best, but they’re all solid gunships.

Check out the Saratoga in action – the few times I’ve used her, she’s done well.  That island was made by Ross in AZ if you’d like your own.

The Saratoga in action setting a Pirate ship alight!

 

Picture of the Day

I love so many of the pictures from my Economy Edition game.  It was the most aesthetic game I played at that point in time, and although it has been surpassed by Command the Oceans and arguably the Experimental cumulative game, it’s still great to look at.  This shot is looking north-northwest from above the Cursed position in the south.

3 years ago today!

 

It’s a Pirates’ Life for Me.

Ben

Anniversaries + new content idea

Today is the Glorious First of June!  The beginning of months can be an exciting time, especially now since if there was any doubt about it being summer, that is now gone.  🙂  The battle is one of my favorite to read about in my studies of naval history, and I would like to do a game about it someday.  Either a mockup with pictures, or an actual deathmatch game played from the point in time when the fleets met.

This actually marks the THIRD post of the day!  In addition to my regular Friday battle report, I wrote an article: Destroy a Fort – How to WRECK forts!  It’s a written and slightly expanded version of the youtube video about the same topic.  I probably won’t do this sort of new content idea often, but it was an easy conversion that allows me to have the same content in multiple formats.  I have an Informational category for pages and posts, so I probably won’t do a separate blog of the same type… still a possibility though!

 

Deal of the Day: 18 packs of Mysterious Islands for $29.99 with free shipping.  

**Disclaimer: I will be using affiliate links with things like this, so if someone buys from it, I could make a few cents.  XD

 

Pirates CSG Card of the Day

Set number: 8 – Frozen North

Collector’s Number: 207 – Icicle

Faction Affiliation: Pirate
Rarity: LE
Type: Ship
Point Value: 10
Cargo Space: 3
Base Move: S+L
Cannons: 3L
Number of Masts: 1

Longship. This ship’s crew cannot be eliminated unless she sinks.

Flavor: Rumor has it that Jack Hawkins commissioned this vessel and handpicked her crew.

Here’s a ship I review in the video version of this blog.  Nothing great, but not a terrible ship either.  You can get the Icicle here.

Standard 40 point games: Empty gold runner, or with a captain. (10/13 total points)

Medium size games (50-100 points): Captain, maybe helmsman or explorer.  (13-15 total points)

Large games (over 100 points): Probably not much, since it’s so vulnerable to being rammed or sunk out of commission.  With that ability, you could experiment with putting a 0LR +5 crew or Calypso aboard.

Game Piece Rating: 5/10.  Sure she’s not very beneficial to the Pirates, but there’s not much inherently wrong with this ship.  At 7-8 points she’d probably get a 7/10.  Perhaps underrated, but mostly due to her rarity and factional competitiveness.

 

Picture of the Day

Since June 2015 was basically the month when I played almost every day for Economy Edition, you can expect to see more pictures from that game.  Here you get a nice birds-eye view of a clash between the English and Americans!  More on that later….

High above the action with a view from Thompson’s Island!

new content idea

One of my favorite pictures I’ve ever taken of this game. I love the vibrancy of the colors, along with everything in the frame – a pretty ship, a fort (one of my favorite types of game pieces), along with islands, coins, and reefs!

 

It’s a Pirates’ Life for Me.

Ben

End of May

As we reach the end of May 2018, I’m mostly satisfied with how the new Pirates with Ben is turning out.  I’ve got 13 pages, and this is the 21st blog post.  There are still a bunch of things I’d like to add or improve, but the foundation has been laid.

Unfortunately I am already contemplating going to a 3 days per week format with the blog.  This isn’t from a lack of things to talk about, but more from the standpoint that I have other more pressing things that need to get done.  Even doing the standard 3 features each day takes up a decent amount of time with all the links/pictures/finding stuff/etc.  However, I like the video/audio blogging more than text-based, so hopefully I’ll do more of those.  I will of course update if I do eventually shift to doing this 3 times a week instead of daily.

 

Deal of the Day: Lot of 9 ships and 2 forts from Revolution.  Solid bang for your buck on this one.  It says a lot when the Pride is probably the worst ship there! (though the Dreadnought can only fulfill her potential in large/huge games)

**Disclaimer: I will be using affiliate links with things like this, so if someone buys from it, I could make a few cents.  XD

 

Pirates CSG Card of the Day

Set number: 11 – Rise of the Fiends

Collector’s Number: 031 – Rising Sun

Faction Affiliation: Pirate
Rarity: U
Type: Ship
Point Value: 13
Cargo Space: 3
Base Move: S+S
Cannons: 3S-3L-3S
Number of Masts: 3

When this ship is given an explore action, you can swap a treasure on the wild island for a crew on any friendly ship.

Flavor: The crew of the Rising Sun are wary of Captain Wyung because of his habit of leaving behind crew to make room for more treasure.

You can hear my thoughts on this ship in the recent Rise of the Fiends set review.  I see her as a strange hybrid that can utilize the Universal Pirate Shipping strategy pioneered by darrin.  Since the ability is one of the most confusing in the game, I wouldn’t recommend her for beginners.

Standard 40 point games: Captain, helmsman, explorer.  (19 total points)

Medium size games (50-100 points): HammersmithCoconutCalico Cat, oarsman.  This gives you the potential for 6S speed so you can get to islands faster and explore them to flip stuff around.  The cargo and point limitations work out perfectly, as this combo comes to 13 points and 3 cargo spaces taken up.  Shows off how great the Pirates’ named crew can be. (26 total points)

Large games (over 100 points): Same as the above.  Being a midsize ship with somewhat limited options due to her 3 cargo spaces, and being a ship you’ll probably use for gold with the ability, the Rising Sun isn’t destined to be a monster gunship.  There are some other combos you could try, but the basic captain/helmsman/explorer + SAT w/reroll is going to be your best bet most of the time with this particular ship.

Game Piece Rating: 7.5/10.  An extremely OP ability is what saves this ship from mediocrity, but Captain Jack Sparrow does it so much better on a ship like the Hai Peng.

Get the Rising Sun on eBay!

This could easily be the Picture of the Day, but my Economy Edition game has so many great pictures that I might as well share more than one.  The Rising Sun had a short but interesting life back in 2015, which you can read about in the battle reports.

 

Original caption: The Rising Sun came out of the fog and promptly rolled a 1 while crossing the reef to lose her remaining two masts, leaving her derelict! Unfortunately for the Cursed, Coconut’s explorer ability combined with the Rising Sun’s ship ability let the Pirates transfer a shiny silver 6 worth 18 gold back to the Pirates’ HI right underneath the Cursed eyes! In this way, the Rising Sun’s expedition had turned into a relative disaster, but at least she had just about paid for herself and her crew in the process, if not only making the Cursed more angry.

 

Picture of the Day

This is what Economy Edition looked like 3 years ago today.  EE will probably be the default PotD for the next month haha.  Such an amazing game, and lots of amazing pictures from it.  (not trying to brag about my photography, but more the aesthetic nature of the game/setup/ocean/custom islands and terrain)

I love the early stages of campaign games.  They really have an “adventuring” feel to them that you can’t get from a standard game that only lasts a few hours or less.  Of course, hindsight is key, as you’ll see.  🙂

Anniversaries galore coming up!

 

It’s a Pirates’ Life for Me.

Ben

Blog #20: Community goings-on, the best crew ever, and an aesthetic anniversary

No new changes to the site.  Hoping to do an extra blog post soon.  Future pages still in the beginning stages.

Occasionally I think I’ll feature other people’s content a bit, to spread the love and try to stimulate activity.  Here is some “news” from around the community:

  • Godmason has a new rankings thread up.
  • El_Cazador may be releasing up to THREE new custom sets at some point, the beginnings of which you can see here and here.
  • Xerecs is working on his third set; you can check out the Spanish.
  • Austin Larson uploaded some nice pictures of 10 masters on BoardGameGeek.
  • OzymandiasWhite is making custom islands and posting them at the subreddit.

To top it all off, I should be about to begin a game with MegabyteKnight on VASSAL in a few minutes!  😀

 

Deal of the Day: Pirates of the Caribbean tin with Kraken.  Here is the information on these from the Wikipedia:

  • 2007 – Four different “Pirates of the Caribbean PocketModels ” tins featuring one of four Special Edition “Megacard” Krakens eight “masted” monsters), 10 ships, three terrain cards, five or more crew or treasure cards, two dice, complete game rules. Each of the four distinct tins features cover artwork of one of the main characters from the movie and randomly contained one kraken (A Fearsome Creature, Beastie, Kray-Kin, The Kraken).

**Disclaimer: I will be using affiliate links with things like this, so if someone buys from it, I could make a few cents.  XD

 

Pirates CSG Card of the Day

Set number: 11 – Rise of the Fiends

Collector’s Number: 080 – Helmsman

2 points

This ship gets +S to her base move.

Game Piece Rating: 10/10.  Yup, I’m skipping straight to the rating today.  XD  There is no doubt that helmsmen are the best crew in the entire game.  For the most part, the most important attribute or stat in this game is SPEED.  You can almost never have enough of it, and most ships are without it when they are launched.  Helmsmen can give just about any ship a very needed speed boost.  Unlike the extremely useful Captain and Explorer crew, which are generally best on either gunships or treasure runners respectively, helmsmen are FANTASTIC and pretty much essential to BOTH.  Gunships need them to get the first shot and catch enemy ships.  Gold runners need them to be first to an island and to escape effectively.  When you get down to it, helmsmen are pretty much the backbone of any crew setup or fleet strategy.  Their only real competition comes from captains and cancellers.  Captains are a point more and not very useful to most gold runners, while cancellers are (usually) 5 points and not quite as flexible and downright useful in every game like helmsmen are.  The particular helmsman selected by the random number generator happens to be American, and they are a faction that could really use a speed boost since they have a lot of great gunships and some slowish gold runners.

Fast fleets are also a hallmark of competitive play.  If you’re trying to simply win at all costs, it’s quite likely that every ship in your fleet will have a helmsman, regardless of anything else.  A lot of the best fleets in the game are the fastest fleets in the game, and helmsmen are a big reason why.  One of the biggest mistake I see new players make is their lack of helmsmen.  They sometimes opt for cannoneers or shipwrights, which is understandable given their experience level.  However, it is important to learn how essential speed is to winning games.  If you’re crewing a ship, when in doubt, add a helmsman.  😀

You can find helmsman on eBay, or better yet, just print your own.  (should be formatted for printing, though no guarantees.  You can also switch out some of them for shipwrights/etc if you like.  Point costs directly on the chips help new players learn.  :))  A few of my games have become so large that I don’t have enough helmsmen in my relatively large collection to even play, so I have to rely on proxies.  If you just print your own generic crew, you don’t have to rely on opening packs or buying them.  It’s a great way to get started, and you can give them away to ensure new players aren’t at a disadvantage when they pull a smokepot specialist out of a pack instead of a helmsman.  🙂

 

Picture of the Day

Inevitably a focus on my Economy Edition game, which just started play 3 years ago today.

The Maui’s Fishhook (MF) uses her hoist arm to grab gold from the Arch:

The Americans illegally hired a submarine to be the first in the Lagoon: (check out the battle reports for details! XD)

The MF departs the big triple archway:

The Devil Ray surfaces, alone in paradise:

I love how the “sunlight” glinted off the MF’s shiny areas:

In this game, shiny silver was worth 3 times its printed value, with shiny gold at 2 times its printed value. (due to the shiny silver having more glitter on it XD)  These coins are found on the Silver Explorers from the Ocean’s Edge (gold) and Rise of the Fiends (silver) super rare packs.

 

It’s a Pirates’ Life for Me.

Ben

All about the Podcast

I have finally gotten the Podcast page up and running!  In addition, you may have noticed that the newest episode has been recorded!  Godmason and I were live on youtube for the entire 3 hour Rise of the Fiends Set Review, and we got a few viewers and comments.

The big episode required a bigger post than normal, especially with all the extra details and all various places I promote it at.  Indeed, the “back end” aftermath of an episode can take multiple hours.  I convert the file to an MP3 with Fre:ac audio converter, and then upload it to ShoutEngine and Archive.org.  The MP4 file is usually uploaded to youtube, but in this case the live stream took the place of that upload.  Then, ShoutEngine’s feed distributes the podcast to various other podcast sites and apps, such as iTunes.  Then I format the update post with all the links for Miniature Trading, Pojo, BoardGameGeek, and usually reddit.  Sometimes I post it in the main Yahoo group as well, and this time I posted it on r/podcasting and an extra BoardGameGeek thread!  Then of course, Instagram and Facebook.  Whew!   🙂  Lots of stuff to do for every episode!

As I talked about before, I’ve had some serious trouble getting the Podcast page the way I want it here on my fansite.  After almost literally nothing worked, I finally caved and just did a youtube playlist.

A rundown of the issues:

I wanted to have a page where people could play the audio files (only) in a playlist directly embedded on the site.  Such as a ShoutEngine playlist, or maybe Google Play.  However, both plugins I tried failed, and they are supposed to be two of the best and most popular podcasting plugins.  Complicating matters was the fact that they both wanted me to host their podcast with them, but I’m already using ShoutEngine and Archive.org and don’t want/can’t have another feed to iTunes.  Therefore, I wasn’t able to just dump the RSS feed from ShoutEngine into either of the plugin options, which felt silly because it’s the most basic function the plugins should be able to provide.  You should just be able to install a plugin, paste the rss feed, and get your stuff up on the page you want.

Then there were more problems.  Even when I did try to import the existing episodes from ShoutEngine, one of the plugins wasn’t able to connect to the ShoutEngine host!  I even tried manually just uploading the MP3 files, but there were not one but TWO problems with that!  O_O  One problem said “HTTP error” and the other said the file size was too large.  Honestly the whole thing has been ridiculously difficult, and I’ve had it with trying the various (poor) options.  It seems impossible to get what I want, which is a simple audio feed based on the ShoutEngine RSS.  At this point I’m just going to leave the page as-is with links to the audio sites.  I’ve already spent too much time on it, and besides, I’ve promoted and distributed the podcast ALL OVER THE PLACE.  XD  It’s even still on Podiant and Soundcloud to some extent, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you could find the Pirates CSG Podcast on around a dozen websites and apps.  O_O  XD

 

It’s Memorial Day, so enjoy my patriotic video made for VASSAL Campaign Game 3!  😀

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlUwTBFvgOw[/embedyt]

 

Deal of the Day: 36 packs of OE for $39.99 with free shippingYeah it’s the same as the recent deal, but right now there’s not a lot on eBay that looks as attractive as this.  I already talked about it on the podcast and forum posts, but HWG does have RotF and the Plunder Packs on sale right now.  Perfect timing with the set review!  🙂

**Disclaimer: I will be using affiliate links with things like this, so if someone buys from it, I could make a few cents.  XD

 

Pirates CSG Card of the Day

Set number: 12 – Fire and Steel

Collector’s Number: 048 – Santa Catalina

Faction Affiliation: Spain
Rarity: U
Type: Ship
Point Value: 9
Cargo Space: 2
Base Move: S+S
Cannons: 3L, 3L, 3L
Number of Masts: 3

When this ship hits another ship, you choose which mast is eliminated.
Flavor:  Once, when the skill of the Santa Catalina’s cannoneers was maligned by an English harbormaster, they demonstrated their ability by firing a cannonball through his hilltop villa’s single plate glass window.

Here’s a basic midsize gunship.  Incredibly basic actually.  Just plop a captain and helmsman aboard and you’re good to go.  No cargo left to do anything else, but she’s a solid budget option with adequate speed, firepower, and a combat ability.

Any game size: Captain + helmsman. (14 total points)  You could add an oarsman for insurance since he wouldn’t take up space.  I’m well aware you could increase the cargo in a few different ways, but there’s really no point, so just keep it simple.

This ship has appeared briefly in at least one of my campaign games, but she’s mostly just a ship to pad numbers with.

Game Piece Rating: 6.5/10.  Nothing special, but not bad at all.  She might be slightly above average simply because she’s not a conundrum like some of the ships Wizkids released – her ability and all of her stats flow together to form a very clear picture of what she is: a midsize basic budget gunship option.

I found this ship on eBay.

 

Picture of the Day

Since it’s Memorial Day, what better time to post a picture of the Americans dominating? (spoilers ahead)  They had a very strong showing in Economy Edition back in 2015, where you can see them about to eliminate the English here.

Colorful with the red white and blue!

I played as the Americans in VASSAL Campaign Game 3, which went very well as you saw in the video above.

Utter domination, as has become my penchant in the VASSAL campaign games.

 

It’s a Pirates’ Life for Me.

Ben

Working on some new pages

Hello all, I hope you are doing well and have a great day today.

This is the 17th blog post overall, and I hope to have more video/audio blogs this coming week.

As I get even more serious about my passion for Pirates CSG, I have thought about ads and paid traffic a bit.  According to Gary Vaynerchuk, Facebook ads are still very underpriced, and that is something I’ve thought about before.  I’m also eventually going to be looking into other potential solutions of this nature.

eBay prices are down.  Recently, a Super Rare (SR) pack for Rise of the Fiends (RotF) only went for $6.50!  The Elsinore (a Limited Edition from Frozen North) went for just 99 cents at the minimum bid!  HMS Regent went for $6.51 (not too bad), but some Ocean’s Edge LE’s went for barely more than a dollar each.  Finally, a decent lot of South China Seas stuff went for only ~$10, but that was likely due in part to the shipping cost (it showed $20 for me).  This could be an anomaly more than anything else, but it could also signal a decent time to buy and be on the prowl for good auction deals.

 

Deal of the Day: Big lot of packs, including 19 from South China Seas.  

If you don’t want to spend that much, there is a nice 5-pack variety lot as well.

**Disclaimer: I will be using affiliate links with things like this, so if someone buys from it, I could make a few cents.  XD

 

Pirates CSG Card of the Day

Set number: 3 – Revolution

Collector’s Number: 122 – Pirate cannoneer

2 points

Once per turn, one of this ship’s cannons may shoot again if it misses.

Time for another mini-review of a generic crew.  Cannoneers have been around since the first set of Spanish Main way back in 2004, but understandably they never caught on like the more essential quartet of captain/helmsman/explorer/oarsman.  They do provide a nice little boost to any gunship, but I wouldn’t recommend them too highly.

Cannoneers are not that different from Musketeers, but I like cannoneers better because they provide similar value for 1 less point.  In addition, musketeers give you an extra 3S cannon, which I refer to as “mediocre” because it’s strictly average and I have always had pretty bad luck with 3S guns in general.  Neither crew is always worth the cost.  For more information from the Rules Arbitrator himself, I’d highly recommend checking out Woelf’s comparison of cannoneer vs. musketeer.

Game Piece Rating: 5.5/10.  Really nothing special, and dwarfed by both superior generic crew and special abilities like world hater (+1 to cannon rolls against other ships), which provide much more bang for the buck and apply to all of a ship’s cannons.

You can find cannoneers on eBay.

Campaign games are a great way to get exposure to less competitive crew like cannoneers and the other generic crew you don’t use often.  Take for example some of these English gunships launched during my 2015 Economy Edition game.  Since point costs and being frugal don’t matter as much in campaign games where new ships and crew are introduced, you can afford to splurge on “luxury” firepower options.  XD  Notice how many ships have crew and equipment in addition to the mandatory captains and helmsmen.

Picture of English deckplate area for EE (Economy Edition)

 

Picture of the Day

This is from another game of VASSAL Tournament #2, a hotly contested desperate game that Xerecs and I played a year ago today.

Close, tight, desperate, fun, mathematical, intense – all the things you might hope for in a 40 point tournament game!

 

Today I’m hoping to add a Podcast page, if I can figure out how it works.  So far I haven’t been able to simply input the RSS feed xml thing from ShoutEngine to get a feed or player up.  Eventually I’ll figure something out.  What I just figured out with this post was the picture/paragraph problems I’ve been having.  It was just a matter of changing the picture alignment from “Align left” to “no alignment”.  For whatever reason, that seems to have solved the problem!

It’s a Pirates’ Life for Me.

Ben

FOUR site changes and a SHOCKING Card of the Day!

What have I done with the site since the last blog post?

Changed footer (now has image)

-Makes the site nicer to look at, and puts less emphasis on the text down there.

Changed blog pages to max of 10 posts/page (should make loading them faster in future)

-Now that I’m at over 2 weeks of daily blogging (this is Blog #16), I’ve noticed that the category page for Daily Blog was loading slower.  Especially with youtube videos and pictures embedded, I think 10 should be the max.  I don’t like having to click to different pages for stuff like this, but it might be necessary for load times.  Let me know if the site ever loads too slowly for you.

Added Recent Posts section to homepage

-What I want on the homepage is a line or something, and then the full text of the most recent post from the Daily Blog.  So far I’ve only figured out how to add the recent posts widget that links out to the 5 most recent posts, but it’s a start.  If I can’t figure out the former, the current scheme seems fine.

Unfroze the menu!

-This is the big one I’ve been talking about, and yesterday I finally figured it out!  Now when you scroll on pages, the top menu shouldn’t come with you.  XD  Makes the pages easier to read, and you can take in more of the page you’re looking at without having 15-30% of it taken up by the main menu.  I can also change it back if I make radical changes to the menu style and format, but if anything the menu will only get bigger as I add more pages, so it seems best when fixed at the top.

I’ve also got a new youtube video!  This is another suggestion from the youtube comments.  I should be able to video/audio blog more next week, so I’m looking forward to that.  It’s faster, and possibly provides more reach through sharing.  My first video blog already has about 30 views and 5 likes (more likes than I usually get XD), so thank you all for watching that.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MALQRIfYyGc[/embedyt]

I also like the idea of an “Ask A7XfanBen Show”, which Xerecs has already shown interest in.

 

Deal of the Day: WIZKIDS PIRATES MINIATURES GAME : MEGA STARTER PACK WITH BOOSTERS, TINS & BOX  (only 1 left)

**Disclaimer: I will be using affiliate links with things like this, so if someone buys from it, I could make a few cents.  XD

 

Pirates CSG Card of the Day

Set number: 14 – Return to Savage Shores

Collector’s Number: 051 – Zhanfu + Huang Bai

Zhànfǔ

Mercenary
Points: 25
Masts: 10 (Junk)
Cargo: 6
Move: S+S
Cannons: 4L-3L-3S-3S-2S-2S-3S-3S-3L-4L
Link: Huang Bai

Ability: Junk. Mercenary. Dories. American crew can use their abilities on this ship.

Huang Bai

Mercenary
Points: 5
Link: Zhànfǔ

Ability: Ex-Patriot. Hostile: Spain. Once per turn, you can eliminate one of this ship’s crew to give her an extra action. After looking at treasure on a wild island, you can trade any one treasure from that island for a random treasure on any other wild island. This ship must load the traded treasure.

Flavor: Unwilling to cede the end of the Jade Empire, Huang Bai nonetheless realizes the need to pause and rebuild—as a mercenary. His first customer, America, is eager to pit him and “Golden Axe” against the expanding Spanish empire.

 

O_O  Oh wow!!  First time getting RtSS, the only unreleased set, and what do you know, a 10 master appears!!!!  XD  O_O

Well then.  This will have to be a longer entry than usual, though I’ll avoid doing a full Miniature Review.  XD  If you’re largely new to the game or any of these keywords, you may want the Master Keyword List for this.

The Zhanfu is elite in being the only 10 master that has a base move faster than L.  This makes her stand out immediately, because with a helmsman and extra actions she can FLY at S+S+S+S+S+S (6S!), which is crazy for a ship this large (and quite unrealistic haha).  The Dories keyword allows her to actually get gold for the Mercenaries, though after a captain and helmsman come aboard, she’ll only have 4 spaces left.  Still a decent strategy if you want to use her in small games with gold, but her real strength lies in her ability and super-gunship nature in huge games.

Huang Bai is actually a very good crew.  Sac is perfect for a 10 master, since it can make the Zhanfu deadlier than ever, while his other ability is good for hybrid use.  Though, paying 5 points in general for an Ex-Patriot Sac crew is a solid deal either way.  He could lose the island treasure trading ability and still see lots of usage.  Ex-Patriot is important here because it gives him the opportunity to serve any faction, including ones like the Corsairs and Vikings who never got a single source of the sac ability.  In that regard he’s almost as useful as the incredible Shap’ng Tsai, who essentially gave all factions a sac captain.

*Being a Mercenary ship that can’t dock, a shipwright is a good option for any of the following setups if you can fit one in.

Standard 40 point games:  Captain, helmsman, oarsman/explorer.  This gives the Zhanfu a chance to be a hybrid in a smaller game, with 3 or 4 spaces open for gold and the minor crew to protect the two vital crew.  If you went this route, I’d recommend filling the rest of the build total with at least one gold ship.  If you happen to use the Zhanfu in a 40 point deathmatch, it would probably be better to use some variation of the setups below.  (31 total points)  

Medium size games (50-100 points):  Huang Bai, captain, helmsman, explorer, 2-3 oarsmen.  With 3 oarsmen aboard, you’d only have one cargo space open to start the game.  (since Bai links and the first oarsman doesn’t take up space)  However, your cargo would increase as you began saccing crew, up to a max of 3 if you kept the explorer (who you could also sac of course).  I think this is a potentially underrated 10 master hybrid setup for mid-size games.  The Zhanfu would be flying all over the map causing chaos, yet still able to pull in some profit along the way.  (38/39 total points)

Large games (over 100 points): Huang Bai, Captain Nemo, Ibrahan Ozat, captain, helmsman, oarsman or explorer.  This is the exact setup I used in VASSAL Campaign Game 3.  This maxes out the Zhanfu’s point cap space, with a whopping 25 points of crew aboard.  (spoilers ahead)  This particular setup was devastatingly effective in CG3 , as the Zhanfu spearheaded the eliminations of the French, Spanish, and English.  O_O  Granted, she didn’t face much combat competition in that game, but it still goes to show how effective she can be with the proper crew at her helm/disposal (disposal due to Huang Bai “disposing” of crew with his sac ability).  I also used the Zhanfu in VASSAL Campaign Game 2, where she proved her worth.  I proxied the Shui Xian for the Zhanfu in Economy Edition.  You can tell I like to use 10 masters in campaign games.  XD  Lately on VASSAL, I’ve had a penchant for it.

Shockingly enough, these great crew setups don’t even utilize the Zhanfu’s primary unique ability at all!  There are tons of great American crew that would be a great fit for this behemoth.  Of them, Brent RiceCanceller DNT, and any of the extra action/SAT (same action twice) crew would be the best.  Crenshaw would be a surprisingly good choice as well, since he’d boost the ranges on 6 of the most accurate cannons aboard.  America does lay claim to two cheap Eternal crew, but the Mercenary keyword will prevent it from working, so save it for your Constitution, Enterprise, etc.

Game Piece Rating: 9/10.  How can this ship get much less?  Sure she’s obscenely expensive, but she should be.  Her cost is just low enough to allow usage in reasonably competitive 40 point games, making her a powerhouse at pretty much any build total.  In large games of 100+ points and campaign games, she clearly shines.  Her cargo and cannons may not be the best among her 10 master peers, but speed wins games and is the most important attribute in the game.  S+S speed on a 10 master is nearly criminal, but unfortunately the Zhanfu didn’t quite get away with it since she was never produced.

Huang Bai: 8.5/10.  Sure he has Ex-Patriot along with a somewhat unfitting treasure ability, but giving Sac at 5 points to all the factions is a boon for competitive play.  Bai may not see usage like fellow 10 master commander Tsai (comment below if you get the reference), but he’s underrated simply due to being from Return to Savage Shores.  If he had been a crew from Mysterious Islands or Savage Shores, he’d be much more well-known and respected. (and feared, I might add)

Should I rate them as a combo?  XD  Probably not since Bai is not required (unlike The Headhunter on the Guichuan for example), but they’d still get at least a 9/10 from me when paired.  A really great combo that fans of 10 masters, campaign games, the Americans, and the Mercenaries should try out.

 

Since the Zhanfu doesn’t exist in physical form, the best way to use her is a proxy 10 master or on the VASSAL module.  Here she is in VASSAL Campaign Game 3, where I used her effectively.  (spoilers ahead) In this picture she is about to eliminate the final Spanish presence in the game, and later she would play the main role in knocking the English out of the game (their home island shown at the left).

The Zhanfu acting as a 1-ship elimination strike force.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture of the Day

No game today, but I’ve actually played Pirates both of the past 2 years on this exact date.  Here’s the 10th anniversary of Davy Jones’ Curse game between myself and Xerecs.  (the 10th anniversary was on 5/31/2016)

2 years ago today on VASSAL vs. Xerecs

This picture is from last year, when Xerecs and I finished a game during VASSAL Tournament #2.

During VASSAL Tournament #2 last year!

It’s a Pirates’ Life for Me.

Ben

Going for it.

I really want to make this fansite work well.  I want it to drive traffic and attention to Pirates CSG, since more attention on the game means a higher chance of coming back in some form someday.  I have made some minor changes to the site and will be making more changes today.  You may have noticed the new logo, which I also use for the Pirates CSG Podcast.  The top menu is also a little different – I increased the text size but decreased the vertical padding, so it’s more compact.  I haven’t figured out how to unfreeze it from the top yet, but it’s already better.  Looks like making the default content font pure black worked.  I might keep experimenting with the size.

Great news!  I have Blog #13 (the first video blog) on ShoutEngine, and I’ve already got it on iTunes!  😀  I hope to make this blog as accessible as possible, so you don’t even have to read or watch anything to get the information!

 

DealS of the Day: Lot of American stuff for cheap and free shipping.  I see the Constitution, Ghost Walker, and some OE Special Edition ships, which makes it worth the starting bid of $6 alone.

There’s some other good small stuff out there, such as the Frozen North Limited Edition Elsinore and HMS Regent.

Finally, HWG has sales on the Plunder Pack and 36 pack lot of Rise of the Fiends. (sales could end soon!)

-Also, as I updated the last blog post with, the seller gave a response to my question about the tournament packs in the OE box.

**Disclaimer: I will be using affiliate links with things like this, so if someone buys from it, I could make a few cents.  XD

 

Pirates CSG Card of the Day

Set number: 7 – Mysterious Islands

Collector’s Number: 081 – Le Lache du Calvados

Faction Affiliation: France
Rarity: C
Type: Ship
Point Value: 11
Cargo Space: 3
Base Move: S+S
Cannons: 2S-3S
Number of Masts: 2

This ship cannot be shot at by ships within S of her. 

Flavor: French sailors ordered to serve aboard the “Coward of Calvados” throw themselves into battle with ferocious courage to prove that the ship was not named for them.

You may have heard how much I hate this ability because it’s extremely annoying, overpowered, and slows the game down when trying to figure out if/how you can be in range of pesky ships like this.  That said, the Lache is not a horrible gunship.  She combines largely average stats with a great ability and high price tag.  She won’t nearly be your first choice of French 2 masters, but in big games she could be a nice weapon to have around.

Standard 40 point games: Captain, and probably helmsman.  You need the extra speed, but 16 points is a lot to spend on a mediocre vessel.  If your opponent doesn’t have a lot of speed in their fleet, you might be able to get away with just a captain and run this ship as a hybrid with 2 cargo spaces open.  (14/16 total points)

Medium size games (50-100 points): Captain, helmsman, optional oarsman.  (16/17 total points)

Large games (over 100 points):  Captain/helmsman/firepot specialist.  That 2S cannon at the bow is a good place for a FPS (Firepot Specialist) and spending more than 20 points on this ship is probably a wasted attempt.  (18 total points)

Game Piece Rating: 5/10.  The ship is alright on cargo, speed, and firepower, but her high cost makes her somewhat forgettable.  The ability helps make her stand out, but she just isn’t a great ship.

Get the Lache du Calvados here for under $2!

 

Picture of the Day

Here are the English at their home island at the start of Command the Oceans.  Like the island?  Check out Ross’s Facebook page where you might be able to snag some for yourself!

Going for it.

Truly a beautiful setting. My pictures for this game have come a long way since 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a Pirates’ Life for Me.

Ben