The most passionate ever?

By the title of this post, I mean as a fan of the game, not someone directly involved with production and whatnot.  Sometimes when I look around the online community and think about past fans, it starts to dawn on me that I must be one of the most passionate fans of Pirates CSG since the game was released back in 2004.  The biggest problem that has led to for me, is expectations of others that are too high.  However, I have started to really accept the limitations of things the past few months.  Instead of getting annoyed when someone doesn’t respond to a post I made (that I felt they should have responded to), I’m letting things be as they are.   This relates to the concept of “seeing the world as it is, not the way you want it to be”.

I do realize and accept that others will never have my passion for Pirates CSG, and the level of dedication required to amass some of the pure contributions and statistics that I have accumulated.  As a result, I can’t expect other members of the community to post as much as I do, to give feedback on things as much as I do, or to play as much as I do, especially on the VASSAL module.  I just can’t have the same expectations of others that I have of myself, at least in regards to “piratical activities”, which has become one of my favorite sayings over the past handful of months.  XD  Gary Vaynerchuk talks about this a bit in some of his videos, which can be motivating.

Anyway, just kind of spewing my thoughts on how things have gone and changed of late with my mindset.  I just need to keep being understanding and more lenient with how people are going to do what they’re going to do and I can’t change that by disagreeing with them.  It wasn’t always one or the other for me; from 2011-2014 I was learning a ton and still a relatively new member of the community.  Starting in late 2014 and throughout 2015-now, my activity and posting rate exploded, but unfortunately so did my investment in the community you could say.  This year I have been better with not expecting things in return, and really just accepting that my actions can’t change what other people will do.  Let It Be, I guess.  🙂

 

Deal of the Day: Crimson Coast Mega Pack.  These average about $16.39 at auction according to my eBay price history, though it’s been trending higher of late with the past ~2.5 years being more of a seller’s market than 2011-2015.

-Bonus: PotC on sale at Hill’s Wholesale Gaming.  No telling how long the sale will last though.

**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: 10 – Caribbean

Collector’s Number: 062 – Captain Barbossa

  • Collector’s Number: 062
  • Faction Affiliation: Pirate
  • Rarity: C
  • Type: Crew
  • Point Value: 7

This ship can move and shoot using the same move action. This ship gets +1 to her cannon rolls against non-Pirate ships.
Link: Black Pearl, Hai Peng

Barbossa is a great crew, reminiscent of his excellent performances in the movies.  A world-hating captain, his abilities are perfect for the many great gunships the Pirates have in their huge fleet.  I personally would probably pay 5 or 6 points for the WH (world hater) ability, as it’s one of the best offensive abilities in the game.  He also links to some of the best Pirate ships out there, 4 total when you count all three versions of the Black Pearl.

Setups/combos: Put him on your main gunship in any game size.  Remember that the more cannons a ship has, the more cannons you get the +1 bonus on.  In that case, the Zeus is arguably the best ship to use him on, as he turns her 10 3S guns into 10 2S guns!  O_O   Any versions of the Black Pearl could make good use of him in a thematic movie tie-in, but I’d recommend using him on the damaged version or the Super Rare version, since the first version can be pretty much optimized with a regular captain.  (no need for world hater with two cannons already at rank-1 from just having a captain with the ship ability)

Game Piece Rating: 9.5/10.  Barbossa is about as good as named crew get – two awesome and rather necessary abilities that pair fantastic with any large gunship, good links, very fair cost, and a cool integration with one of the most beloved characters of the biggest pirate media franchise in history.

 

Picture of the Day

After what I talked about in the main topic section, I thought it would be fitting to include my posts per month numbers from Miniature Trading.  I joined the site in June 2011, but didn’t start going crazy until late 2014-early 2015.  Then there was an even bigger surge in my activity in late 2015-early 2016, when I had a crazy run with 7 consecutive months with over 150 posts (equating to about 5 per day!) after never topping 113 prior to that.  O_O  I do find it interesting that 2 of my highest 3 post counts in a month happened in June, and we’re nearly to June again… XD.  It’s funny to see the average posts per month jump from the teens to the hundred-teens in a year.  I do wish I had been more active in 2014, but now I’ve got a solid 6 months in a row of 120+ posts and the most posts on the site.  Not so much bragging as much as proof of my consistent activity, feedback for others, providing value, and stimulating the community with new topics and posts.

Posts per month at Miniature Trading.

 

As a side note, this whole WordPress thing is going alright but somewhat frustrating.  XD  It feels like I have to download a new plugin for every single thing I attempt to do, and then either the plugin doesn’t work the way I need it to, or I have to look up a tutorial on how to get something the way I want.  Even for things that should be simple.  As a result, the process may be even slower than I thought to make this site better than the Weebly site.

 

It’s a Pirates’ Life for Me!

Ben

Origin Story – How I got started with Pirates CSG

Hello again.  Thank you for reading my blog.  I’ll explain how this obsession and fanaticism came to be.

From an early age I was interested in both pirates and nautical themes.  One of those beginner reader books I learned from was about pirates!  In it was a reference to Oak Island, which has turned into a mildly disappointing tv show called The Curse of Oak Island.  Anyway, things really got going in 2003 when I was 8 and the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie came out.  The Curse of the Black Pearl was and still is the most perfect movie I’ve ever seen.  It captured my imagination and inspired me.  Then of course, Wizkids released Pirates of the Spanish Main in 2004.  I’m pretty sure I got into the game in very early 2005, when the unlimited version of SM was in stores, before Crimson Coast (the second set) came out.

At first, I simply opened some packs and was in awe of how cool the ships were.  I didn’t pay much attention to the rules, as I had more fun using the ships as part of “Historical Fantasy Scenarios”, where I would simulate naval battles and campaigns.  There weren’t many rules, but I was quickly becoming a fan of the Royal Navy and they naturally won a lot of the wars.  🙂   In 2005 I randomly found and purchased War at Sea in the Age of Sail by Andrew Lambert (get it for less than $5!), which became an extremely important foundation for me.  I read the book 3+ times as a kid, and really loved it to the point where my focus shifted from piracy to naval warfare between the great nations of the Age of Sail.  This shift completed my change of heart, going away from the evil pirates and embracing the dominance and glorious nature of Royal Navy history.  To this day England is my favorite faction in Pirates CSG, but I enjoy playing as all the different factions.

With that, the trifecta of influences was complete.  Things only got more intense afterwards, with the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy completed in 2006-2007, and many new sets of Pirates coming out each year.  However, after Davy Jones’ Curse came out in 2006, I got away from Pirates and focused on baseball heavily from 2006-2010, as it was my biggest passion in life at the time.  This was more due to loving baseball than DJC being disappointing as a set due to the fantasy elements introduced, but it’s still telling that even as a kid I was not in favor of Wizkids going away from the historical nature of the first 5 sets.

In 2010 or early 2011 I began doing some HFS’s (Historical Fantasy Scenarios) again, marking my return to the Pirates CSG world.  In early 2011 I made a few purchases to expand my collection.  Strikezoneonline doesn’t have Pirates CSG stuff anymore, but I purchased from them and Dave and Adam’s Card World.  After briefly lurking on the forums, I joined the main trio of Pirates sites in June 2011, becoming a member at Miniature Trading, Pojo, and BoardGameGeek, though the subreddit and Facebook group have surpassed Pojo in terms of activity.  From there I have truly taken off, as the numbers show:

After 6 years at Miniature Trading, I’ve done a LOT!

Check out the youtube video I made on this topic, which explains my story as well.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYeW-wXqUvQ[/embedyt]

 

Deal of the Day: Small lot of rares.  From Sweden, but with surprisingly cheap shipping!  If it stays low the next few days, it could be a nice grab.

*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: 10 – Caribbean

Collector’s Number: 004 – Grand Barnacle

Grand Barnacle

  • Collector’s Number: 004
  • Faction Affiliation: Pirate
  • Rarity: R
  • Type: Ship
  • Point Value: 13
  • Cargo Space: 5
  • Base Move: S+S
  • Cannons: 4S,3S,3S,3S,4S
  • Number of Masts: 5

Crew of any nationality can use their abilities on this ship.

This is a pretty good ship the Pirates got, though it’s arguably a slightly lesser version of the Black Swan.  The tough part is how to figure out her best role.  I see her as a hybrid ship, a little bit better than the Pequod from yesterday.  Nothing truly wows you, but everything is at least decent.  The speed allows her to outrace most other 5 mast ships, while the cargo is enough to make her a hybrid ship.  Since the Pirates have the best selection of crew in the game, her ability is largely unnecessary.

For fleet ideas, check out all the fleets at Miniature Trading using the Grand Barnacle.  Xerecs’ Gold Race 2.0 fleet is especially interesting from a competitive perspective.

Standard 40 point games: Hammersmith (captain + helmsman) + Coconut (explorer + reroll) (22 total points)

Medium size games (50-100 points): You could go nearly all Spanish with Master BiancoBianco’s HaulersDominic Freda and a helmsman.  (25 total points, moving S+S+S with 4 cargo open and a host of great treasure abilities)

Large games (over 100 points): Go crazy with international crew if you want.  For example, Duncan Rousseau is one of my favorite crew.  Parley could help keep the ship alive, while the reroll allow the ship to be more effective with shooting and potentially boarding enemy gold runners.  Either way, you’ll want a captain and helmsman to take advantage of the 5 cannons and to boost the speed to a competitive S+S+S.  (~23 total points, depending on crew used)

Game Piece Rating: 7/10.  The Grand Barnacle can be a decent hybrid, but lacks the star quality present on many ships of her type (Pirate 5 masters) and cost (Franklin and Santa Isabel also cost 13 points just for starters).

 

Picture of the Day

This was exactly a year ago today, on May 12th 2017.  A game played on the VASSAL module using my Large Fry – Spanish Swarm fleet.  Not only did my fleet win the game, it also won the The Large Fry Fleet Challenge at Miniature Trading!  A successful fleet indeed.  Check out the fleet and its description to see my process of building a winning fleet despite some important restrictions.  5 masters have always been my favorite ship type, so I was happy to win a challenge that was fitting for me to win.

 

As I continued to build on this site, I’m excited to add both content and new features.  My schedule doesn’t allow me to make a ton of progress all at once, but as a result I’m going to focus on consistently improving things day by day.

 

It’s a Pirates’ Life for Me.

Ben

FIRST BLOG POST!!

Hello everyone!  This is A7XfanBen!  You can simply call me Ben if you want.

Welcome to the NEW Pirates with Ben!

This brand new website is the continuation of my journey into the online world.  It is the first domain I am paying for, and something I plan to eventually develop far more than the original Pirates with Ben, which I will admit is about where I want it to be.  However, I want to do even better.

I have begun using WordPress instead of Weebly.  This is for a variety of reasons.

  1. The hosting I’m using has WordPress as the default system.
  2. WordPress is better than Weebly.  That seems true according to just about everything I have read during the past month as I considered whether or not I wanted to shift my Pirates site.  Weebly is more friendly to beginners, but I plan to learn WordPress over the long haul and would prefer the best system possible.
  3. I really wanted to have a non-weebly domain name at some point.  The free options at Weebly are great but I want to commit to more of a grand Pirates experience, and nowadays my Weebly site is stagnant and sometimes it feels like a chore to edit.  The pricing and features of upgrading within the Weebly system pale in comparison to the better pricing with my current host and the features of WordPress.
  4. I want more security for the future.  By going to the most popular and most-used website platform (WordPress), AND paying for a full standard domain name that is not directly under Weebly’s control, I hope to secure my online Pirates presence for the many years to come.

Now.  A word about how bare this site is.  EVERYTHING is a work in progress right now (as of May 11th, 2018).  I have just begun learning WordPress and often need to look up tutorials in order to figure out how to get things the way I want.  A few weeks ago I began the LONG process of hopefully transferring everything over from the Weebly fansite to this new and improved site.  It could even be months before this site rivals or surpasses the Weebly site, which I understand.  I’m flattered if you spend time at either of them!  However, all new content will go here from now on.  The transition will likely be difficult and lengthy.  I have already looked into various ways of transferring a Weebly site to WordPress, and quite frankly none of them have worked for me.  As a result, it is time to move on from the “easy” “solutions” and build things up again from scratch.  There is no telling how long the process will take, but as a general plan I would like to make progress every single day.  Ideally I will be moving all of the pages from the original site over to here, with some adjustments.

 

The idea of writing about Pirates every day in blog format appeals to me.  It allows me to keep my potential audience up-to-date on things and also allows me to remember things I forgot from the previous day.  I am excited to begin this journey of piratical fandom and share my experience and adventures with you!  This is just the beginning.  There are so many things to work on.  Just today I added a feature that allows people to register on the site.  The amount of plugins within WordPress is crazy.  I already have around 15 with this site and don’t understand some of them.

 

Finally, I really want to expand the scope of piratical operations.  A solid bunch of people have given me props on my website in the past, and I hope to eventually do even better with this one.  I’m hoping to really promote and provide awareness to the game.  Through more content, daily posting, and lots of value provided, I’m hoping to do well with SEO/Google rankings and whatnot.  I would love to expand the operation as much as possible, and possibly bring more nostalgic fans of the game back into the fold.

 

Introducing: Daily Blog Features

-I hope to have these for every single blog post.  At various times, some features may go and new ones may be introduced.

Deal of the Day: Baochuan for $44, with Best Offer an intriguing option.  This listing only has 2 left.  The Baochuan is a special ship, the first 10 master ever released and one of the best hybrid/multipurpose ships in the entire game.

**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

This is directly inspired by both the old Card of the Day reviews on Pojo.com, and by the Random Pirates Piece Discussion at Miniature Trading.  These will function as mini-reviews, and with well over a thousand game pieces released, I’ll be going for quite awhile!  To find a game piece, I will use a random number generator and go from 1-14 on the set # (including Return to Savage Shores!) and then from 1-### for the number within the set.  With that, here is the first Card of the Day on Pirates with Ben!

Set number: 6 – Davy Jones’ Curse
Collector’s Number: 089 – Pequod

Pequod

  • Collector’s Number: 089
  • Faction Affiliation: America
  • Rarity: U
  • Type: Ship
  • Point Value: 14
  • Cargo Space: 5
  • Base Move: L
  • Cannons: 2S-3S-3S-3S
  • Number of Masts: 4

This ship gets +1 to her boarding rolls. She gets +2 instead if her opponent is a sea monster.

Link: Jerky Johnson.

The Pequod is a solid ship.  American fans will likely be slightly disappointed because they can have superior warships like the Franklin and USS Hudson for a lower price.  However, the Pequod still has her uses.  I see her either as a slow hybrid, or a gunship with enough cargo and point capacity to make into a formidable foe.  For example, try giving her a firepot specialist (almost “assigned” to that 2S cannon at the bow for maximum firepower – literally!), a cannoneer, and a musketeer or another specialist crew.  This turns her mostly average guns into an intimidating armament.

With each ship, I’ll do my best to detail how I would use them at various game sizes.  I will recommend one setup each, which will be what I consider the “optimal” setup.  Of course, everything depends on your play style and preferences.  I will be detailing my own later.

Standard 40 point games: Captain + helmsman (19 total points)

Medium size games (50-100 points): captain, helmsman, explorer OR oarsman (20 total points)

Large games (over 100 points): captain, helmsman, firepot specialist, cannoneer, + your choice of musketeer/specialist crew (~25 total points)

Game Piece Rating: 6.5/10.  The Pequod is a nice ship for beginners, but doesn’t stand out to American players who have large collections.

 

If I’m able to, I’ll try to include a picture of the game piece in question being used!  (though, mostly just for ships)

Here she is getting double teamed by two sea monsters!  This was a game where I was able to test out my Monsters, Hoists, and Canoes fleet, which I’d like to use again sometime.  It did well and I won the game, but I’d like to use it in a different ocean setup.  The Pequod was a favorite of my friend from college, who put his pennants the opposite of how I place them nowadays.  I used to put them like they are shown here, but to me it makes more sense for them to be blowing forward with the wind (hopefully!  XD) behind the ship. (as you can see on my ship at the bottom of the pic)

Want the Pequod? Click the picture!

 

Picture of the Day

It’s only fitting that I begin this blogging journey with what I believe is the first picture I ever took of anything Pirates-related.  Here is the outset of my Century of the Empires game, played in June and July of 2013.  Almost 5 years ago!  It’s funny to me since it actually feels like longer ago, but 2014 and 2015 don’t feel all that far away.  Likely due to the college vs. high school divide I suppose.  This game featured a unique circle-shaped play area, so I could sit in the middle and spin around to play the game!  XD  The Cursed Corsair permanent alliance is gathering gold.  At the upper left, Paradise Island lies where the American deckplate area was for both Economy Edition and Command the Oceans.  (more on those later)  If you want to read about the game before I post it on this site, click the picture.

The beginnings of an epic….

 

Disclaimers

I am NOT trying to compete with the various Pirates CSG sites already out there!  This website is a continuation of my journey that started at Weebly.  Pirates CSG is one of my favorite things in life and I want to have my own personal presence on the web that I own and have complete control over.  In fact, I will likely be linking to the existing community sites all the time.  You can always find me at Miniature Trading!

 

Thank you for reading.  As I said, this site is in the beginning stages and will be much better and more fleshed out as I go about expanding it.  Stay tuned for MUCH more!

 

It’s a Pirates’ Life for Me.

Ben