RtSS Fleet Challenge – Cursed

Originally published to Miniature Trading on July 25th, 2012

RtSS Fleet Challenge – Cursed

This is my second entry for woelf’s RtSS Fleet Challenge. This is a Cursed fleet that uses two exciting new Cursed ships, and an existing one for support. The strategy is a balance between running gold with the treasure runner and using the ability of Namazu as much as possible.

Leviathan represents Namazu (here is the link to the original post):
RtSS-003, Rare
Points: 15
Masts: 4 (Sea Serpent)
Cargo: 2
Move: S
Cannons: 3S-3S-3S-3S
Ability: Sea Monster. Give this sea monster a shoot action. A wave S wide and 2L long leaves the sea monster in one direction. Up to 2 masts of every ship in the path of the wave are eliminated. Eliminate one of this sea monster’s masts.

Flavor: Old sailors shiver at the mention of Namazu. Few who have survived its tidal attacks can return to the sea, so paralyzing are the nightmares of the memory.

She will get close to the enemy ships and blast them with her super-duper-wondrous-bizarro thing. Yeah, quite a funky ability. But that’s the Cursed for you!

The second ship, the Sskwa’aluk (what?!), is represented by the Sea Monkey (here is the original post):
Points: 13
Masts: 3 (Windcatcher)
Cargo: 5
Move: L+S
Cannons: 5L-5L-5L
Ability: Wind Catcher. On the turn this ship is pinned, eliminate one crew and one mast from the rammed ship.

Flavor: Crewed entirely by Trogs, this foul vessel actually carries a coral nest beneath her hull. What lives within the nest is known only to the Trogs—and the captives who are lowered into the hull as food.

This ship is your main treasure runner. With an unheard-of combination (at least for the Cursed) of speed (L+S), big cargo hold (5), and bad guns (fitting for a treasure runner), this new Windcatcher can run gold like no other Cursed ship. She has room for an island’s worth of gold, and she has that nasty ability that will make opponents think twice before attacking her.

The third and final ship is not from RtSS, but an LE from F&S, the Lizard’s Sting. With the Hag of Tortuga on board, she will tag along with Namazu to give a needed speed boost. I used the extra point to put an oarsman on, and he will either protect the Hag, or let the Sting keep moving if her one mast is eliminated. This is made a bit more difficult due to her supreme ability. With two cargo spaces left over, she can also help the Sskwa’aluk run treasure.

I added the UT Seastar, represented by Trees (the original post), to incorporate a UT from RtSS. Hopefully one of my ships can pick it up and use it effectively. If the Lizard’s Sting managed to grab it, her already-awesome ability would become even more annoying to the enemy.

RtSS-032, Rare
Unique Treasure
Values: 6,5,4,3,3,2,2,1,1
Ability: Load this treasure face down. When revealed, once per turn as a free action roll a d6. On a result of 5 or 6, repair one mast on this ship.

I think this is a decent enough fleet, at least for the Cursed. It’s a bit weak in almost every area, but the Cursed don’t really excel at very much. It’s a bit strange for the Cursed, as well-a true treasure runner backed by a sea serpent that might not fire her guns at all. If only we could combine this fleet with my other fleet for this challenge. Then you could use the English Native Canoes and their repair ability to keep up a steady stream of tidal wave attacks!

Thanks for reading, comment and vote! I may add a UT or two, but I’m not sure just yet. Thanks for woelf for running the RtSS Fleet Challenge – this was a very fun fleet to create!

Section: Ship #1 (1 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Namazu Ship R
Section: Ship #2 (2 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Explorer RotF 081 Crew C
1 x Sskwa’aluk
Section: Ship #3 (3 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Hag of Tortuga RotF 018 Crew R
1 x Lizard’s Sting F&S 213 Ship LE
1 x Oarsman F&S 123 Crew C
Section: Unique Treasures (1 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Trees PofCC 096 Unique Treasure R


RtSS Fleet Challenge - Cursed

Fleet page at Miniature Trading

RtSS Fleet Challenge – English

Originally published to Miniature Trading on July 14th, 2012

RtSS Fleet Challenge – English

This is my entry for woelf’s Fleet Challenge of Return to Savage Shores (RtSS).

The fleet has 13 masts for just 45 points, and I tried to have all of the actual ship game pieces come from RtSS. The fleet has your standard gunship, a treasure runner/raider that will take advantage of opportunities when they arise, and the new English set of Native Canoes with their funky ability. I wanted to use HMS Goodfellow, but she needs a helmsman, while the canoes are just the right amount of points.

The Fleet

HMS Halcyon + Administrator Scott Bratley, captain, helmsman
HMS Halcyon
RtSS-015, Uncommon
Points: 11
Masts: 4
Cargo: 4
Move: S+S
Cannons: 2S-2L-2L-2S
Ability: When this ship sinks another ship, you can repair one of this ship’s masts.

HMS London, from CC, will be used in place of HMS Halcyon. Almost the same ship, the Halcyon simply has a more practical ability that suits her stats better. She is equipped with the customary captain and helmsman, as well as Bratley, to add 5 points to the build, which brings it to the perfect amount. She will either take out the enemies’ gunship(s) and/or treasure runners. The Halcyon is to be used as a standard gunship, and her repairing ability may be augmented by some native canoes that tag along for the ride.

Elthelfleda + Tribal Chieftain, explorer
RtSS-009, Rare
Points: 16
Masts: 4 (Galley)
Cargo: 4
Move: S+L
Cannons: 3S-4L-3S-4L
Ability: Galley. This ship can move and shoot using the same move action. This ship gets +1 to her boarding rolls. She gets +2 instead if her opponent is a sea monster.

This is the ship that HMS Gallows represents, being the only 4 masted English galley other than the Alexandria. With a built-in captain ability and nice S+L speed, she is ready to go right out of the pack. Her high point cost and combative abilities may make her seem like a pure combat ship, but since you don’t need a captain and helmsman to crew her, I have put an explorer on her to be the main treasure runner. She also will have the chieftain on board.

However, she will see much more use than that. She has room for two treasures, but you’d be crazy to ignore the abilities. She will be a very tough opponent for any treasure runners that sail to the same island as her, since she can blast them with her move-and-shoot, and possibly ram and board as well. The ram won’t do any additional damage, but it isn’t necessary, either, with the Galley keyword. Also, she could be used to chase down any enemy treasure runners and take their gold by shooting at them and boarding them.

Tribal Chieftain & Native Canoes
Points: 12
Masts: X (Canoes)
Cargo: 1
Move: L+S
Cannons: 3S
Ability: Native Canoe. Give this ship a move action but do not move her. Instead, roll a d6. On a result of 5 or 6, you may repair one mast on ships within S of any native canoes.

Represented by the Aberdeen Baron since she has five masts and costs 12 points, this turns the fleet from somewhat interesting into something that hasn’t been done before. That potentially ‘game-breaking’ ability that is unique to this game piece can be used multiple times throughout the game, by each and every canoe.

Here is the discussion that details some of their pros and cons, and their rules questions. There you can see many of their potential uses, and in this fleet they could help out the two main ships quite a lot. They could follow them around and give them repairs when needed, and help run treasure. HMS Halcyon could be turned into a nightmare of a gunship for your opponents, with endless stamina. The Elthelfleda could keep up a steady stream of successful boarding actions against enemy ships with her eliminated masts sprouting back up every turn. I am not familiar with Native Canoes (especially not this set), so if I missed anything important, please point it out.

Unfortunately, I don’t own a single 4 masted galley or any canoes, so it would be quite difficult to try this fleet out in a game by using proxies. I would if I could. That said, however, I think this fleet would do reasonably well between its outstanding durability (13 masts and possibly a ton of repairs) and good speed.

Thanks for reading-comment and vote!

Edit-I have since acquired the Alexandria and the Spanish native canoes, so playtesting this fleet is not out of the question anymore… we’ll see how things go.

October 19, 2016

This fleet is participating in VASSAL Tournament #2!
After losing in the first round this fleet is now 0-2. Of course, there’s not much shame in losing to a UPS fleet. 

RtSS Fleet Challenge - English

Fleet page at Miniature Trading

40 Point Spanish – Mathias01 Fleet Challenge

Originally published to Miniature Trading on May 6th, 2012

40 Point Spanish – Mathias01 Fleet Challenge

This fleet is designed for a regular 40 point game-a combination of fighting and gold-running. I almost made a simple 4-ship Corsair fleet built specially for gold-running, but I decided it was too simple. I have chosen Spanish Main as the set (it is my favourite) and the Spanish are the faction.

The Ships

The first ship is La Resolucion, and she is equipped with the necessary captain and helmsman, because she is the primary ‘gunship’, though that is not all she will do. The Spanish were lucky enough to be the first faction to receive a canceller, Nemesio Diaz, and he is aboard the Spanish ship. La Resolucion will go around harassing enemy treasure runners, and, if possible, steal the highest gold value with her ability by utilizing the UT Shipping Charts.

La Resolucion is set up so that she can move, shoot (weakening the enemy ship), ram, and then steal. If all goes well, she will leave the enemy gold runner derelict or sunk as she makes off with her best treasure coin. Additionally she could tow the ship home at only a small reduction in speed. When an enemy gunship gets too close or tries to attack La Resolucion, Diaz will cancel the opponents’ captain and therefore La Resolucion will be able to strike first.

The second ship is the main treasure runner, the Cazador del Pirata. She has four crew aboard, but still has five cargo spaces available, so she will take the best treasures from two different islands. The helmsman and explorer are predictable, but she also has Master Bianco aboard to help out in the gold department. The oarsman is along to protect her more valuable crew and possibly get her home in an emergency (although he could be placed on La Resolucion to protect her crew instead). Her decent durability (at least for a treasure runner), respectable guns, and pirate-hating ability may make opponents think twice about going after her. Indeed, if you are playing the pirates, she could be used as a hybrid, since she would effectively have nice 2L guns against them.

UT’s and Potential Problems

Shipping Charts has been explained; it fits nicely into the contest (since it’s from SM) and fleet as it will assist La Resolucion in her quest to find and acquire the decisive treasure coin. Homemade Flag is in there to spice things up, and make La Resolucion harder to hit by enemy gunships (the idea was that the UT would make enemy gunships have to come within S of her, therefore inducing the cancellation).

Problems with this fleet include a relatively weak core, since the canceller is the only thing that stands in the way of a big, fast gunship swooping in and severely damaging/sinking both ships. A fellow canceller would of course be problematic as well, but this fleet has some nice parts. A lack of speed would be exposed as well, however.
Once I get my ships out again I will be able to test this fleet against others, since I have all of the pieces except for Homemade Flag. Thanks for reading and voting!

Section: Ship #1 (4 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Captain PofSM SC-CA Crew U
1 x Helmsman PofSM SC-HM Crew U
1 x La Resolucion PofSMU 077 Ship U
1 x Nemesio Diaz PofSMU 094 Crew C
Section: Ship #2 (5 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Cazador del Pirata PofSMU 076 Ship U
1 x Explorer PofSM SC-EX Crew C
1 x Helmsman PofSM SC-HM Crew U
1 x Master Bianco PofSMU 088 Crew C
1 x Oarsman PofSM SC-OA Crew C
Section: Unique Treasures (2 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Homemade Flag PofSMU 100 Unique Treasure R
1 x Shipping Charts PofSMU 097 Unique Treasure R


40 Point Spanish - Mathias01 Fleet Challenge

Fleet page at Miniature Trading

Challenge of Snails: Broadside Heaven

Originally published to Miniature Trading on September 9th, 2011

CoS: Broadside Heaven

This is for Nemo’s Challenge of Snails fleet contest.
My favourite ship of all time is the HMS Lord Algernon, and although not usually very practical, this is a good chance for me to include her. The defensive ability helps the Algernon early on, while the Galapagos’ ability is possibly even more important, giving her a distinct advantage in this particular contest (at least until she gets hit).

The Lord Algernon will be helped by the SAT, with a better chance of success due to Doone. She can be the escort, or sink any enemy ships that have a hold full of gold.

The Galapagos goes out at S+L and takes the best two treasure from two islands.

I originally had both as gunships, but saw a decent opportunity (with Ismail) to have a balance. The biggest vulnerability is when the Galapagos gets hit. Then my gold-running strategy dies quickly. As usual, crew-killers also pose a threat. The Algernon especially can’t afford to lose any crew.

Leave your comments and votes below on this Challenge of Snails entry!

Section: Ship #1 (4 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Captain PofSM EC-CA Crew U
1 x Countess Diana Doone PofBC 208 Crew PR
1 x HMS Lord Algernon PofSMU 043 Ship R
1 x Sir Christopher Myngs PofSMU 058 Crew R
Section: Ship #2 (3 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Explorer PofSM EC-EX Crew C
1 x First Mate Ismail PofBC 059 Crew C
1 x HMS Galapagos PofSCS 048 Ship U


Challenge of Snails - Broadside Heaven

Fleet page at Miniature Trading

HMS Grand Temple – One of the All-Time Great Fleets

HMS Grand Temple Fleet

Originally published to Miniature Trading on August 21st, 2011

In my 500 point game and my recent cumulative game (treasure is spent along the way), my HMS Grand Temple (acquired in the summer of 2011) was atrocious in play, being easily sunk in both games without barely touching my opponent. I was very disappointed with the performances, but since she has great stats and people on here rave about her like she’s a saint, I decided to give her one more chance to prove her greatness. And has she proved me wrong so far!

The main reason I am posting this fleet is because it has been very successful. 29-13, as of 2/17/2017 (and 15-0 before that). This fleet was designed with just fighting in mind, so it is safe to call it a deathmatch fleet. The help she has consists of the HMS London with captain and helmsman, who are let onboard by Administrator Scott Bratley (the backup ship used to be HMS Meresman). The Temple is decked out with OE Calico Cat and OE Lord Thomas Gunn, as well as a helmsman.

The strategy is obvious and fun, but it has worked so far. I stay out of range of all enemy gunships and wait for an extra action from Cat. This is speeded up quite a lot by Gunn, who provides reroll (2/3 EA’s instead of 1/3), and the necessary captain ability. Cat also gives me world-hater, so that two of my guns (S-range) hit 4/6 times, and the L-range guns hit 5/6 times (twos hit  ). The Temple waits till the enemies are close enough, then moves 6S suddenly and swoops in and is able to dismast almost any ship (Harbinger was sunk in one broadside) unlucky enough to be there.

The London is the backup (now that I have acquired her), with 4 guns that hit 2/3 of the time. Before I strike, I position her to somewhat block the lines of fire to the Temple.

The first fleet that was mauled was a fleet with Enterprise, Recreant, and Ladron (with captains, +5 crew). The second fleet, with the Longshanks, Recreant, and Silverback, fell even quicker. Then I destroyed a fleet with the SM Harbinger and SM Sea Nymph. The fourth fleet I don’t remember what ships I used. The last fleet, a swarm fleet with 10 ships, was blown out of the water (I could take out 3-4 ships per turn). All these fleets faced the HMS Grand Temple fleet in a series of three 40 point deathmatches, and all lost. I may not test this fleet again soon, so she goes on hiatus with an undefeated 15-0 record.

Edit: Just added a few nasty UT’s if I run this fleet in a regular game (not deathmatch).

Edit: Fleet’s record is now 18-6, read comment below.

Edit: Switched out Griffin for Lord Thomas Gunn, and made the helmsman English, so a canceler wouldn’t be able to cancel all three crew at once by cancelling the Temple’s ship ability.

Edit (1/6/13): Switched out HMS Meresman for the London, thanks to the suggestion by relvar99. This dramatically improves the potential of the backup ship to aid the Temple, as the firepower more than doubles with twice the quantity (4 guns vs. 2) and added quality (rank-2’s with 2 being L-range). I will test this improved version of the fleet, possibly next month.

Edit (2/2/13): Another series of three games had this fleet facing an all-treasure fleet consisting of the Tiger’s Eye, La Dijon, Le Bon Marin, Le Coeur du Lion, Coral, and Rover. It was no contest, with the GT fleet winning all three times in dominating fashion.

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

This brings the record of this fleet to 24-6, and it appears that the GT fleet is only to be defeated by fleets utilizing defensive abilities or cancellers  .

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

Edit (2/20/13): This fleet beat Norvegia in all three games. The GT was able to crush the treasure runners before they got back home. The devastating UT’s helped a bunch, but the English still won the third game despite not using the UT’s. The fleet’s record is now 27-9.

Edit (1/20/17): After losing in the second round in VASSAL Tournament #2, this fleet’s record is now 29-13 for a .690 winning percentage. At 42 games it’s my most-tested fleet, and not many fleets out there have been put to the test like this one has.

Leave your comments and votes below!

Section: Ship #1 (4 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Calico Cat PatOE 038 Crew R
1 x HMS Grand Temple PatOE 044 Ship R
1 x Helmsman PofSMU 110 Crew C
1 x Lord Thomas Gunn PatOE 054 Crew R
Section: Ship #2 (4 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Administrator Scott Bratley PofCC 046B Crew C
1 x Captain PofSM EC-CA Crew U
1 x HMS London PofCC 034 Ship U
1 x Helmsman PofSM EC-HM Crew C
Section: Unique Treasures (5 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Maps of Hades PofDJC 103 Unique Treasure R
1 x Missionary PofRU UL109 Unique Treasure R
1 x Monkey’s Paw PofDJC 101 Unique Treasure R
1 x Natives PofRU UL106 Unique Treasure R
1 x Wolves PofBCU 103 Unique Treasure R
HMS Grand Temple Fleet

Fleet page at Miniature Trading


HMS Grand Temple comments

Page 2 of the comments

Extra Action Gold Runners – One of My Classic Fleets

Extra Action Gold Runners

Originally published to Miniature Trading on August 21st, 2011

I wanted to create a 40-point standard fleet using at least two fast ships with good cargo holds that would utilize the same-action twice/extra action capability. Here it is.

12/19/14: I’ve edited this fleet to make it better. Now both crew are extra action crew rather than SAT crew because it’s harder to use SAT crew with gold runners.

The fastest ship is the Pirate ship Star of Siam (originally the Raven), and she has Gallows on board for the possibility of moving 6S (S+S+S+S+S+S) per turn, and still has three cargo hold left to take treasure from the island that is farthest away. The oarsman is insurance for the potentiality of becoming derelict or losing a boarding party.

The second ship is the Spanish ship (it is a mixed fleet) La Joya Del Sol, and she is equipped with a helmsman, Capitan Alarico Castro from BC, Vaccaro to help him with the EA, and an explorer.

These are the main ships, and the other is for support.

L’Intrepide was the original support ship for this fleet with a captain and Cissey, but when I decided to use Vaccaro instead of Cissey I needed to cut costs. I wanted to add the Algeciras with Luis Zuan, but since Zuan is hostile to Pirates I had to use a regular captain. In this way I switched out the Raven for the Star of Siam in order to save two points, which let me put a captain on the Algeciras and add Raft back in.

I added UT’s that hopefully I will discover first because my ships are so fast. I also included Raft to fill in the last point and try to provide my runners with any emergency assistance.

When I finished this, I was quite satisfied because I didn’t have to think too hard about how to configure it. Now for the problems that I quickly realized:

1. Counting on the 5-6 die roll at least once in the game isn’t good, I might not get any help from those two.

2. Not enough firepower/no true gunship. The Star of Siam could easily be sunk/dismasted, and if captured with gold on her, I could easily lose the game. The Joya Del Sol is more durable, with four masts, and since she will be carrying the most treasure, this could be very important. This is good, but she can’t really fight back, as she has no captain and all her cannons are rank-4.

3. Bad UT’s. Something like Wolves/Missionary would really throw me for a loop. That would wreck my gameplan while allowing my opponent enough time to sink my runners.

4. All but one ship only takes two hits to be dismasted. A couple of well-placed broadsides from any enemy gunship could destroy my strategy and I would lose. This is where I bank on the EA-bolstered speed of my two runners.

5. The important runners, the Star of Siam and Joya, don’t have escorts. They will be all alone and will have to rely on their speed/Extra Action capability to evade enemy gunships(not easy in enemy territory), mostly because the Algeciras is not designed to keep up with them.

It’s unlikely, but in a best case scenario I can take almost all the treasure in the game while using the L’Intrepide to occupy the gunships while my runners get 5’s and 6’s to zoom to the islands and get back to my HI, ending the game in the blink of an eye!

Edit (12/23/14): This fleet was involved in a game!

Check out this battle report.

The final two games have been played: Battle Report

After this series the fleet is now 1-2.

Another series was played: Battle Report

After this series this fleet is now 1-5.

Edit (9/10/2016): This fleet is participating in VASSAL Tournament #1!

Edit (6/1/2017): After winning a 12 fleet game and participating in both T1 and T2, this fleet’s overall record (counting the 4-4 record before it was modified) is now 9-13 in 22 total games (5-9 as it appears in the fleet below against very tough competition).

Old description:

In terms of options, thought about using the Longshanks with a helmsman (8 points) instead of the Algeciras+captain (6) and du Lion (2). Then I wouldn’t have a single captain, though. I could use the the English ship Plantagenet with Bratley/captain/helmsman while doing away with the Crow and explorer, but I wanted more than three ships. I also could go back to having SM Calico Cat on the Raven, and have the Pirate ship Cutlass with better guns than the L’Intrepide, but I figured that the EA was better than SAT because of the explorer deficit. Options, but I like how it is now. I am testing the fleet very soon, so there may be quick changes made accordingly.

Edit: I tested this fleet against a 40-point fleet with the Asesino de la Nave and the Monte Cristo (both beefed up with crew), and this fleet beat that gunship fleet two out of three times. The fleet was the older version of this fleet, with the Coeur du Lion, Carrion Crow, and Algeciras instead of the L’Intrepide and Dominic Freda. The Joya Del Sol was a target, and not everything worked out. The Algeciras and Le Coeur du Lion were the surprises, the Algeciras doing good damage to the de la Nave, while the Lion’s treasure was the winning treasure once. I noticed that the Sol attracted the most attention, because she had the most gold-carrying capacity, and was captured once and sunk another time. Raven’s SAT wasn’t always relevant, I would roll a 6 but would not need all of the 8S to get to the island. Therefore I think it would be best to use a crew that gives an extra action instead of SAT/helmsman, but I don’t have any crew like this in my collection of pirate crew. The Crow did almost nothing, but the fleet performed admirably, hopefully will run it out again soon.


Like all my fleets, this is by no means a finished product, and I am open to suggestions. I’ve already edited this fleet multiple times and I’m willing to do so again.

Thanks for reading all this stuff…

Comment and vote! 

Section: Ship #1 (2 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Sean “Cannonball” Gallows RotF 020 Crew R
1 x Star of Siam PofR 142 Ship SR
Section: Ship #2 (5 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Admiral Alarico Castro PofBC 071 Crew C
1 x Duque Marcus Vaccaro PofBC 072 Crew C
1 x Explorer PofSM SC-EX Crew C
1 x Helmsman PofSMU 111 Crew U
1 x La Joya del Sol PofSM SS-005 Ship U
Section: Ship #3 (2 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Captain PofSMU 106 Crew U
1 x El Algeciras PatOE 067 Ship U
Section: Events (1 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Raft PofR 037B Event C
Section: Unique Treasures (5 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Cross of Coronado PofR 107 Unique Treasure R
1 x Homing Beacon PatOE 103 Unique Treasure R
1 x Screw Engine PofMI 107 Unique Treasure R
1 x Trees PofCC 096 Unique Treasure R
1 x Turtles F&S 094 Unique Treasure R


Extra Action Gold Runners 1

Fleet page at Miniature Trading


Extra Action Gold Runners 2

Second page of comments

Common Fleet Challenge Entry – A7XfanBen

Published to Miniature Trading on August 8th, 2011


This is my first fleet I have submitted, this one for the Common Fleet Challenge. I used Administrator Scott Bratley to push the points to 50. I would say the HMS Victor and HMS Lord Walpole are almost co-flagships (Victor has shipwright already built in  ). Strategy is quite obvious, just blast away with at least one gunship while the other helps out/guards the Provost. Somewhat simple, a good fighting fleet, although probably not as good in multiplayer games. Advice is welcome, still learning the complexities/combos of game after on-and-off obsession through the years (I like to do a fantasy scenario type thing where fleets are built as the war progresses, not modeled on the game, but history). Please vote, thank you! 


Took out the Meresman and FotG and switched some stuff around to add the common HMS Lady Provost. Now vulnerable to Mermaids, but hopefully people would realize this is overused and don’t want it. I put Ducie Chads on the Victor instead because I like the thought of possibly repairing two masts in one turn, and because Gunn’s ability can’t be doubled (although then the Walpole wouldn’t have a helmsman, if both 5 point crew were on her). Still lacking speed, but hopefully I am getting over my “fighting syndrome”, this is because of the books on the history of the Royal Navy I’ve read.

Edit (3/30/2013): My first fleet of the week! Thanks to all who commented and voted. I forgot to add this in at the time, but back in June 2012, this fleet went 1-2 against a Pirate fleet. I put HMS Lord Walpole outside her usual section so that she would appear on the homepage, since she’s my second favourite ship, after only HMS Lord Algernon.

Leave your comments and vote in the section at the bottom of this post!

Section: Ship #1 (4 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Administrator Scott Bratley PofCC 046B Crew C
1 x HMS Lord Walpole PofSMU 056 Ship C
1 x Helmsman PofSMU 110 Crew C
1 x Thomas Gunn the Younger PofSMU 064 Crew C
Section: Ship #2 (3 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Captain PofCC 129 Crew C
1 x HMS Victor DPotC 054 Ship C
1 x Lieutenant Henry Ducie Chads PofMI 043B Crew C
Section: Ship #3 (3 miniatures)
Miniature Set Number Type Rarity
1 x Explorer PofCC 106 Crew C
1 x HMS Lady Provost PofCC 041 Ship C
1 x Helmsman PofSMU 110 Crew C


Common Fleet Challenge Entry 1

Fleet page on Miniature Trading


Common Fleet Challenge Entry 2

Page 2 of the Comments

Universal Pirate Shipping – The Best Fleet Strategy EVER

Universal Pirate Shipping – The Best Fleet Strategy EVER

Universal Pirate Shipping 2.0

Universal Pirate Shipping 2.0 on the verge of winning the ultra-competitive VASSAL Tournament #2

From a discussion on Miniature Trading in September 2016

You may have heard me mention the “UPS” (Universal Pirate Shipping) fleets before, created by darrin. I am still somewhat puzzled by the lack of discussion, commenting, and voting not just on these fleets, but on the strategy of it all.

Perhaps it’s due to confusion surrounding Captain Jack Sparrow? I didn’t understand the entire “UPS” strategy at first, and I still think that CJS is the most confusing crew in the game. Is it just too cheesy?

Part of what makes me puzzled is just how amazing the strategy is for gameplay. I would argue that it is on par with about anything in terms of pure effectiveness, especially when done correctly. Combined the UPS fleets have a general record of 11-3 in my games, and have completely destroyed other competitive fleets.

Here are the fleets for reference, along with their current records from my games.  The records may not look as impressive as you’d expect, but they are the result of playing against similarly hyper-competitive fleets.

UPS 4.0

UPS 4.0 in action against my EA Gold Runners fleet

Universal Pirate Shipping (UPS 1.0) (1-2)

UPS 2 (15-5)

UPS 4 (4-2)

And another variant:
Darrin’s Gold Race fleet (7-5)

Here is a variant I came up with recently:
UPS 5 (11-5)
(UPS 3 is illegal) 

My UPS 5 fleet has advanced to the finals of Tournament 1. It will also participate in T2, a tournament that will also see fleets like UPS 2, UPS 4, and Hai Peng Fort Frenzy (HPFF) compete. If I had to bet on a fleet to win T2 and therefore be crowned the best existing fleet of all-time, I would pick a UPS fleet. Of course, many games will have to be played to get to that point. But still, Universal Pirate Shipping is simply one of the most effective strategies for winning games, and seems grossly underrepresented and underrated (and possibly misunderstood) by the Pirates community.

2019 Update

UPS 2 won VASSAL Tournament #2, beating another fleet using Captain Jack Sparrow in the Finals.  Further proving that this is the best fleet strategy in Pirates CSG history, and the most-proven way to win games.

The following is the discussion that took place at Miniature Trading in September 2016.

Woelf Responds

Captain Jack Sparrow

Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean set

I think the lack of discussion around the crew isn’t because he’s confusing, it’s because he has one of the most poorly-though-out abilities in the entire game and is ridiculously easy to abuse.

It’s not even clear what that ability is supposed to represent thematically. Maybe it does reference some specific event in one of the movies, but whatever it was, it definitely doesn’t account for how the ability can be used repeatedly to send treasure after treasure home.

There’s no question that a fleet set up to (ab)use his ability will be effective, it’s more a matter of whether your opponent will be able to keep up with it without resorting to something similarly broken and/or without using a fleet specifically designed to counter this.

Good points. However, he isn’t banned (even if he should be, or if the ability should have never been invented in the first place), so his fleets are still (in my opinion) the favorite to win Tournament 2 and be crowned the best fleet of all-time. I suppose there can be a “best non-UPS fleet”, but he’s not the only thing in the game that is easy to abuse. Things like the Banshee’s Cry, sac captains, cheap extra actions, events, and even cancellers have been around longer than CJS’s ability, and are also extremely easy to abuse and are either undercosted or flat-out broken.

However, fleets using any of those things often get considerably higher attention and recognition than fleets using CJS’s ability. That’s what I don’t like – sure it’s cheap, but so are other things in this game that are consistently more popular or even “accepted”.


Most of the others have been “accepted” because they’re easier to use, are much more common, or have a wider range of uses.

Extra actions of any variety are everywhere in the game, and are useful no matter what you’re doing with your ship. Because they’re so cheap and/or easy to use, no one ever has to go out of their way to use them.

Ships like Banshee’s Cry are undercosted for what they do, but even though that’s the “best” one out there, there are a lot of other cheap ships that are close enough to it that banning it wouldn’t solve the problem it represents, it would just shift it to the next ship in line – whether that’s Le Bon MarinLa Monarca or any number of others is open to debate, but like extra actions, they’re “accepted” because they’re widely available to pretty much everyone. Not every nation has one, but others have several so unless you lock in to a single-nation fleet, they’re easy to find.

Cancelers could probably could cost a point or two more, but for better or for worse, they’re game-breakers by design. They make players put a little more thought into what they do beyond just “sail up and shoot the other ship”. Like the other things that are on the borderline of being broken, they’ve become relatively common too, with most nations having at least one or two. Also, a key difference with cancelers is that they can’t win games on their own, because they don’t collect treasure or sink ships – they just make it easier for your other ships and crew to do it (or they make it more difficult for your opponent).

Jack is the weird one because there is nothing else quite like him anywhere else in the game, and because he does directly contribute toward winning (technically the target ship has to unload the treasure, but he’s the reason it’s there in the first place). He’s also not easy to counter with things that are widely available. Negative UTs can hurt him the most, but when you add them to the pool you’re accepting the fact that you might have to deal with them too. Taking out his transfer ship is another possibility, but depending on the board layout that may not be an option until he’s already been used a few times, or even at all.

He doesn’t need to be banned, but that combination of having an effect that’s somewhat overpowered, being kind of weird and confusing about what’s happening, and being one-of-a-kind really limits the discussion about him. A lot of players simply aren’t familiar enough with him, and most that are don’t use him other than to prove the point that he’s overpowered.

Universal Pirate Shipping original

The original UPS fleet, with a proxy in for L’Intrepide

It seems that this is arguably one of the biggest mistakes the designers made – putting that ability on a crew. No UPS fleet uses the Rising Sun or Sol, because of their speed and CJS’s ridiculously perfect matching with the Hai Peng. The ability makes mediocre ships better, but giving it to a crew for essentially just 3 points was what led to the abuse in the first place. (That said, I suppose you could make the Rising Sun or Sol rather nasty if you had Hidden Cove and either a sac crew or Mycron.) 

As a side note, I forget when (as in which set) you started working with Wizkids? During playtesting for the PotC set, did CJS and/or the combo with the Hai Peng ever come up as a concept or potential problem?

I would say that his effect is very overpowered, although at first glance you wouldn’t necessarily jump to conclusions like the UPS strategy.

That last part is part of why I made this thread – no matter how unique, confusing, or cheesy, I think everyone needs to be quite educated on what is arguably the single “best” game piece there is (with the Banshee’s Cry and generic captain/helmsman also in the discussion I suppose).

This discussion also makes me question my knowledge of PotC – if there is a connection, who will be the one to discover it here? pirate shipping


There was some very limited playtesting as far back as SCS, but with most of them the sets were pretty much fully designed by the time I saw anything and whatever input was provided didn’t amount to much.

I didn’t really get involved directly with the designers until RotF, but even then it was mostly just for rules consulting and going over the spreadsheets to see if there was anything obviously broken.

PotC kinda slipped through just beforehand, and I didn’t see anything significant from the set until it was published. I assume there was some internal playtesting, but considering how quickly some of the sets were being cranked out and especially how rushed the PotC set seemed, it wasn’t nearly as much as what was needed.

What are your thoughts?

I welcome all criticisms, questions, etc. What do you think of the Universal Pirate Shipping fleet strategy? Have you played a UPS fleet, or played against one? Do you plan on it? Feel free to nominate fleets that you think could beat a UPS fleet as well. Finally, try to vote or comment on some of the above fleets – as my battle reports have shown, this is one of the most viable competitive strategies in this game, and it doesn’t seem to get enough attention. Thanks!

How to Optimize Your Fleets – Focus on Gold, Speed, Best Abilities

How to Optimize Your Fleets – Focus on Gold, Speed, Best Abilities

Question of the Day: What do you consider the #1 way to optimize fleets for winning?

Focus on gold – better to have more gold runners than gunships because of point disparity, and only gold runner getting crippled can easily take you out of the game.

Always use helmsmen!  Even when you don’t think you need them!

Optimize speed with base moves and helmsmen – speed is most important ship attribute

Try to get extra actions from somewhere – they’re a bit of a luxury, but can massively help win games.  Cheapest and best options are SAT and Sac, likely for gunships. SAT should be combined with reroll if possible (many factions have 0LR rerollers), and Sac requires at least 2 sac crew (preferably 3), usually oarsmen.  Don’t skimp on helmsman for sac food.

Building a Fleet: https://pirateswithben.com/building-a-fleet/

Gameplay: https://pirateswithben.com/gameplay/

If you need to acquire some game pieces to improve your fleets, eBay will often be your best bet: https://goo.gl/CM4rQj


-Admiral A7XfanBen

How to Optimize

Fleet Showcase: The Jades can use Calypso too!

Fleet Showcase: The Jades can use Calypso too!

Here’s another Fleet Showcase video from youtube!

Got this idea during the 12th episode of the podcast.

Pirates CSG Calypso

Get Calypso for your own fleets!

The perfectly costed Tiger’s Paw allows the use of Pirate crew, providing a niche use for one of the game’s lesser ships. Calypso comes aboard, with Ms. Cheng providing a “free” reroll for the ability to maximize the number of whirlpools put in play. Ms. Cheng would be linked to the captain of the Virtuous Wind, since it does not say that the crew have to be on the same ship. The TP will sit at home and create as many lanes as possible to provide opportunities for the other ships. The Turtle Ship keyword should provide insurance against ramming and boarding, making it a relatively safe place for Calypso.

I originally had the East Wind with a captain and oarsman as the main gunship, but then I didn’t have enough points to add the Sea Crane AND the Tiger’s Breath. Well, at that point, why not substitute for the best Jade Rebel ship in the game, the Virtuous Wind? She has a hybrid complement of crew, with 3 spaces left open for treasure. She will be tasked with a big workload – protect Calypso and the Tiger’s Breath, grab gold from islands (including enemy home islands), and fight the best enemy warship if necessary. What I like about the whirlpool exploration strategy is that you don’t need as much speed: since the whirlpools are placed within L of wild islands, you don’t need much speed from there (just S can work depending on the length of the ship’s hull measured out from the whirlpool) to reach the wild island. Hence the explorers instead of helmsmen (my usual preference) on the gold runners. By placing a whirlpool L away from a wild island and as close as possible to an enemy HI, it could be very easy to allow the Virtuous Wind to steal gold. However, as soon as Calypso is revealed, your opponent will know this.

The Tiger’s Breath completes the unintentional “tiger” theme of this fleet, but more importantly gives a true gold runner. The Tiger’s Breath will go into a whirlpool and out of the other on one turn, and then move to dock and explore an island on the next turn. The oarsman was transferred to the TB so she can get home even with bad whirl rolls on the way there and on the way back.

UT’s are pretty basic – I’m counting on the speedy whirlpool travel to allow me to find Jade, and Marksman’s Map could determine where future whirlpools are placed (and help me to know if I should bother raiding an enemy HI). The Protection will make the journeys less treacherous, since a couple bad rolls could really mess with the crew setups and even dismast the Tiger’s Breath.

One weakness would be fellow HI raiders – they can raid easily with all the whirlpools near the Tiger’s Paw, and could use the same whirlpools to make fast getaways.

I definitely want to test this fleet out at some point, since I think it has the potential to get some gold quickly. I was surprised by how effective the concept worked in this game.

Please comment and vote!!!! (on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the best)

Question of the Day: Have you tried using Calypso in a small game? (less than 60 points for example)

-Also let me know if you’d like to see more Fleet Showcase videos!  I could also review fleets that aren’t my own!

The fleet: http://m.miniaturetrading.com/im/showDeck/deck_id/830152/grouping/0/extended_format/true

South China Seas on eBay: https://goo.gl/9RjChU
Calypso: https://goo.gl/BS9QS9
– I HIGHLY recommend getting Calypso – she’s super unique and a ton of fun to use.
Tiger’s Paw: https://goo.gl/TywyQn

Battle Report mentioned: https://pirateswithben.com/the-jades-can-use-calypso-too-a-good-game-may-4th-2018/
Another example of using Calypso in a small game: https://pirateswithben.com/testing-a-gimmick-fleet-june-27th-2017/

Fleet Showcase: The Jades can use Calypso too!

Fleet on Miniature Trading