Trading Pirates CSG – A Great Way to Expand Your Collection!

Trading Pirates CSG – A Great Way to Expand Your Collection!

Trading Pirates CSG

I acquired these pretty ships via trade!

One of my favorite ways to expand my collection is by trading Pirates CSG with other community members.  Often when you open fresh packs, you eventually end up with some duplicates (dupes) of various ships, crew, and other game pieces.  Unless you want to sell them or give them away, trading is a great option that can net you some brand new Pirates CSG plunder in return!  How great is that!

Many Options Available

As of this post in late 2019, there are plenty of options available for trading Pirates CSG.  I just released a Buy/Sell/Trade version of the Master Spreadsheet.  It includes all of the game pieces and is ready for you to use.  Just hit File>Download to make a copy for tracking your personal collection!  Once you have your copy, you can edit it however you wish so the data appears the way you want it.  In my opinion, an even better option can be to have your own shared Google Sheet (just like the one above) that you provide a link to.  That way, people can simply click a link to get your full updated collection ready for trading, rather than having to download a .xlsx file/etc that needs constant re-uploading to be up to date.

What about finding people to actually trade with?  I recommend the Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook Group and The non-eBay Sales & Trades thread.  There you will be able to find many of the current community’s active traders.

There are other options as well!  BoardGameGeek has a trading section for each game.  The Pirates section at Pojo has a sub forum for trading.

My Personal Trading Experience

The main reason I recommend trading so highly is because I have been very successful with it.  Trading Pirates CSG has allowed me to grow my collection on a budget.  It allows you to connect with various other “pirates” in the community of fans.  When I first joined the Pirates CSG community in June 2011, I joined the (at the time) “Big Three” of Miniature Trading, Pojo, and BoardGameGeek.  Most of my trades were through MT, though I did one at Pojo as well.

Just to give you an idea of the scope of potential trading operations, here is my record of trading at MT.  122 total trades, 73 references from fellow traders, and many dozens of ships and crew acquired, nearly all from duplicate stuff I had that other people wanted.  Incredible!

I hope that you can have a great experience with trading Pirates CSG.  Feel free to leave a comment below with your own experiences – if people share some great trading stories, it might get other people to post their haves and wants as well, furthering the community driven game that we love!

Adventure Book – A Unique Item from Pirates CSG

Pirates CSG Adventure Book

The Adventure Book is a unique, one-of-a-kind item that was never fully released.  Only one copy is known to exist.  It sold for $53.33 in an eBay auction back in 2011.  Between the awesomeness of J_ARRRRR_P and Woelf, we now have the entire contents of the book available!  The scenarios were released in 2011, and official Wizkids documents provided by Woelf show most of the stories, save for the last one.  (which J_ARRRRR_P has, and I may be “revealing” for the first time in a podcast or video)

Courtesy of the above users, here are the documents.

Adventure Book Game Scenarios (.doc file download)

Adventure Book Official Documents from Wizkids (.zip folder download)

The writeup on Wikipedia:

2009 – proposed but not released – a “Pirates Adventure Book” box including new ships, crew and treasure: one Pirate fleet with ships Charming Mary and Mercy, and crew Sean ‘Cannonball’ Gallows; and one Cursed fleet including ships Demon’s Heart and Wraith, and crew El Fantasma; also four Unique treasures (a Red, Blue, Yellow and Green ‘Gem Shards from the Eye of the Leviathan’); a new plastic Map with 6 preprinted islands on it, and four “fiction pieces” with scenarios.

Here is the original thread at Miniature Trading concerning the scenarios!  (I think the reason I didn’t comment at the time is because it was my first year getting back into the game and my obssessive nature with it didn’t kick into high gear until late 2014/early 2015.)

Pirates CSG Adventure Book thread at Miniature Trading Page 1

Pirates CSG Adventure Book thread at Miniature Trading Page 2

Pirates CSG Podcast #45: Former Wizkids Product Manager Tiffany O’Brien!

Pirates CSG Podcast #45: Former Wizkids Product Manager Tiffany O’Brien!

You can listen to the audio via ShoutEngine!

You can also listen on Archive.org.

Tiffany O’Brien is one of the key figures of Pirates CSG history, having held multiple important positions at Wizkids while the game was still in print!

Questions thread: https://pirateswithben.com/forums/topic/submit-your-questions-for-pirates-designer-tiffany-obrien/

Questions of the Day:

(Tiffany) What is your favorite set packaging?

(Ben) Did you ever play the SOE (Sony Online Entertainment) digital version of the game?

 

Find her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/skcorynaffit/

Past podcasts: http://shoutengine.com/PiratesCSGPodcast/

Tiffany O'Brien, aka Eileen Brigid O'Brien

Tiffany’s crew, Eileen Brigid O’Brien from Mysterious Islands!

 

Thanks for listening!  Feel free to answer the Questions of the Day below!

 

Take the podcast survey! https://goo.gl/forms/CsnwVmi3qhtqik323

Feel free to rate and review the podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/pirates-csg-podcast/id1258016060

Pirates packs on eBay: https://goo.gl/MfHBQJ

Sign the Petition!  https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/bring-back-pirates-of-the-cursed-seas

Join the Forum at Pirates with Ben!  https://pirateswithben.com/forums/forum/pirates-csg/

 

The following should eventually be updated from ShoutEngine so they will be available when they get the podcast. 

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/pirates-csg-podcast/id1258016060

Overcast: https://overcast.fm/itunes1258016060/pirates-csg-podcast

Google Play Music: https://play.google.com/music/m/Imxc6vplvkqlmagcvkxvi2er2wu?t=Pirates_CSG_Podcast

Blubrry: https://www.blubrry.com/piratescsgpodcast/

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/a7xfanben/pirates-csg-podcast?refid=stpr

SAVED FROM MINIATURE TRADING

This is meant to be a comprehensive post of all the information and data I have saved from Miniature Trading.  All card info (stats, abilities, etc) can be found in the Master Spreadsheet.

I pulled pictures from the Miniature Trading database with httrack in 2018. I should have made it more obvious and available sooner, but now I have gotten shareable links to the folders and whatnot on an alternate google drive account only used for Pirates.

Link to Google Drive folder of MT database pictures in folders

Here is a .zip folder you can download to have all the pictures. It includes all the file sizes that the httrack download yanked from the site. “big” are the folders with the full size pictures. Feel free to make your own copy.

Link to ZIP folder from Google Drive of all MT database pictures

Think I said this last year, but the posts aren’t recent anymore: before I figured out how to use httrack to pull only picture files, I made sure to get full page screen captures of all the Pirates sets from the MT database. So for full redundancy I have that too. Enables us to see pictures as if we are still on MT after the site is gone.

Google Drive folder with full page screen captures of all Pirates database pages

I couldn’t find an easy way to put the miniature pictures into the Master Spreadsheet without a) making every miniature entry massive due to the picture resizing the columns and rows (making it hard to see more than 1 or 2 pieces at a time) and b) doing in a timely fashion that wouldn’t require me to upload all 1,000+ miniatures into the spreadsheet individually (this is probably more doable but arguably pointless due to a; people can easily make their own personalized versions of the Master Spreadsheet if they want).

Google Drive folder with saved MT Forum pages/threads/etc.

-You can change this to List View and sort alphabetically to find things easier.

Folder with Fleets (All of mine are in the Fleets category here)

Folder with Miniature Reviews

Miscellaneous Folder

Folder with original Command the Oceans thread

Folder with a few Battle Reports

Here is a .zip folder of a large httrack download of Miniature Trading.  It is about 1.3 GB in size and contains a TON of stuff.  For all I know there may be enough in there to recreate parts of MT somehow.  No idea how to use it or what to do with it, but I got around to making a .zip copy so I could share it with everyone.

For maximum redundancy here are links to Imgur folders where I have saved some of the above as well.

Pirates CSG Podcast #43: Jason Mical! (former Wizkids Communications Manager)

Pirates CSG Podcast #43: Jason Mical! (former Wizkids Communications Manager)

You can listen to the audio via ShoutEngine!

You can also listen on Archive.org: https://archive.org/details/PiratesCSGPodcast43JasonMical

 

Jason Mical was the Wizkids Communications Manager from 2003-2006.  Questions list on Pirates with Ben: https://pirateswithben.com/forums/topic/submit-your-questions-for-former-wk-communications-manager-jason-mical/

 

Questions of the Day: If you were to name a Pirate ship, what would you name it and why? (from Jason Mical)

What is your favorite flavor text of any game piece? (from Ben)

 

His website: https://www.jasonmicalwrites.com/

His YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/ClassicLetsPlay/videos

Expanse RPG: https://greenronin.com/expanse/

 

Find all the game pieces here:

Master Spreadsheet (stuff from Wizkids): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/18Z-x-z9gaWiKFLk-kw1weamc0A1-NxMN3xLjWWKsUmA/edit?usp=sharing

 

Past podcasts: http://shoutengine.com/PiratesCSGPodcast/

 

Take the podcast survey! https://goo.gl/forms/CsnwVmi3qhtqik323

Feel free to rate and review the podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/pirates-csg-podcast/id1258016060

Pirates packs on eBay: https://goo.gl/MfHBQJ

Sign the Petition!  https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/bring-back-pirates-of-the-cursed-seas

Join the Forum at Pirates with Ben!  https://pirateswithben.com/forums/forum/pirates-csg/

 

The following should eventually be updated from ShoutEngine so they will be available when they get the podcast.

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/pirates-csg-podcast/id1258016060

Overcast: https://overcast.fm/itunes1258016060/pirates-csg-podcast

Google Play Music: https://play.google.com/music/m/Imxc6vplvkqlmagcvkxvi2er2wu?t=Pirates_CSG_Podcast

Blubrry: https://www.blubrry.com/piratescsgpodcast/

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/a7xfanben/pirates-csg-podcast?refid=stpr

 

Thanks for listening!  Feel free to answer the Questions of the Day below!   Jason Mical podcast!

Pirates CSG Podcast #42: MIKE SELINKER, Pirates CSG Game Designer!!!!

Pirates CSG Podcast #42: MIKE SELINKER, Pirates CSG Game Designer!!!!

You can listen to the audio via ShoutEngine!

You can also listen on Archive.org: https://archive.org/details/PiratesCSGPodcast42MikeSelinker

 

Mike Selinker is one of the original game designers of Pirates CSG.

His company, Lone Shark Games: http://lonesharkgames.com/

http://lonesharkgames.com/staff-member/mike-selinker/

https://www.facebook.com/lonesharkgames/

Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Selinker

BGG page: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgamedesigner/604/mike-selinker

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mikeselinker

 

Question of the Day: Do you wish the Dutch had been a faction from the start in Spanish Main?  Would you prefer them as one of the major factions in the game?

The list of questions from the Forum at Pirates with Ben: https://pirateswithben.com/forums/topic/submit-your-questions-for-pirates-designer-mike-selinker/

 

Take the podcast survey! https://goo.gl/forms/CsnwVmi3qhtqik323

Feel free to rate and review the podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/pirates-csg-podcast/id1258016060

Pirates packs on eBay: https://goo.gl/MfHBQJ

Sign the Petition!  https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/bring-back-pirates-of-the-cursed-seas

Join the Forum at Pirates with Ben!  https://pirateswithben.com/forums/forum/pirates-csg/

 

The following should eventually be updated from ShoutEngine so they will be available when they get the podcast.

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/pirates-csg-podcast/id1258016060

Overcast: https://overcast.fm/itunes1258016060/pirates-csg-podcast

Google Play Music: https://play.google.com/music/m/Imxc6vplvkqlmagcvkxvi2er2wu?t=Pirates_CSG_Podcast

Blubrry: https://www.blubrry.com/piratescsgpodcast/

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/a7xfanben/pirates-csg-podcast?refid=stpr

Pirates CSG Podcast #41: GAME DESIGNER JAMES ERNEST!!!!

Pirates CSG Podcast #41: GAME DESIGNER JAMES ERNEST!!!!

Check out this very special episode of the Pirates CSG Podcast with original game designer James Ernest!

Listen to it on ShoutEngine: http://shoutengine.com/PiratesCSGPodcast/pirates-csg-podcast-41-game-designer-james-ernest-74495

James Ernest is one of the original game designers for Pirates CSG. He has his own Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Ernest
Website: https://cheapass.com/
Bio: https://cheapass.com/about-james-ernest/
Check out his free pirate game called Cagway Bay! https://cheapass.com/free-games/cagway-bay/
Rules: https://cheapass.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Cagway-Bay-Rules.pdf

His YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyVH4H2qhHwmuPFQ5HMPgqw
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cheapassgames/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Cheapassjames
At BoardGameGeek: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgamedesigner/61/james-ernest

Today we talk about Pirates CSG and his own piratey projects! Here is the list of questions submitted at Pirates with Ben: https://pirateswithben.com/forums/topic/submit-your-questions-for-pirates-csg-game-designer-james-ernest/#post-3363

Question of the Day: Have you played Cagway Bay? What do you think of it?

 

Take the podcast survey! https://goo.gl/forms/CsnwVmi3qhtqik323

Feel free to rate and review the podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/pirates-csg-podcast/id1258016060

Pirates packs on eBay: https://goo.gl/MfHBQJ

Sign the Petition! https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/bring-back-pirates-of-the-cursed-seas

Join the Forum at Pirates with Ben! https://pirateswithben.com/forums/forum/pirates-csg/

The following should eventually be updated from ShoutEngine so they will be available when they get the podcast.
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/pirates-csg-podcast/id1258016060
Overcast: https://overcast.fm/itunes1258016060/pirates-csg-podcast
Google Play Music: https://play.google.com/music/m/Imxc6vplvkqlmagcvkxvi2er2wu?t=Pirates_CSG_Podcast
Blubrry: https://www.blubrry.com/piratescsgpodcast/
Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/a7xfanben/pirates-csg-podcast?refid=stpr

Thanks for listening!

-Admiral A7XfanBen

Profile picture of Ben

Different Set Editions – A Visual Guide

Different Set Editions – A Visual Guide

Although Wizkids released a total of 13 different Sets over the years, some have multiple editions.  You can find them in the Master Spreadsheet, although there are a few discrepancies I address here.  The information is also on the Wikipedia page, but here I’ll look at the different set editions with pictures.  Feel free to click the affiliate links to buy some packs and simultaneously support the site.

Spanish Main – First print run

This is the faded print run, with the old numbering and rarity system. (ES-009 for English Ship #9, and no rarity color or set symbol in the corner)

HMS Dover Spanish Main

Spanish Main – Limited

Regular coloring/not faded, with the same numbering scheme.

HMS Lord Algernon Spanish Main

Spanish Main – Unlimited

Released shortly after the Crimson Coast set, this version of SM has the regular rarity and numbering system on the cards.

HMS Titan Spanish Main

Revolution – Limited

First version of the RV set.

Le Superbe Revolution

Revolution – Unlimited

Same thing, but with “UL” added in front of the card number to denote the Unlimited version.

Le Soleil Royal Revolution

Barbary Coast – Limited

First version of BC.

HMS Durham Barbary Coast

Barbary Coast – Unlimited

Just like in RV UL, these cards have UL in front of the collector’s number.

Davy Jones’ Curse – First print runs, easily scratched cards

The first print run or runs of DJC had cards that scratched very easily.  This set is infamous for being of poorer quality due to this issue, but it’s easy to find the better version.

Harbinger Davy Jones Curse

Some cards are more easily scuffed up than others – here you can see a very worn out Unique Treasure card.  Although it may look like it’s been through a drying machine, it actually doesn’t take much to damage some DJC cards this much.

Witch's Brew Davy Jones Curse

Davy Jones’ Curse – Good print runs

After the card quality disaster, Wizkids made additional print runs of DJC and corrected the issue.

La Corse Davy Jones Curse

Pack Variations

Not all variations are picture, but I think you’ll get the point.  🙂  Feel free to click the picture affiliate links to buy some packs and simultaneously support the site.  Just realize that the version of the pack pictured may not be what you see in the eBay search results.  🙂

Spanish Main limited version pack (photo courtesy of WalMart)

SM first art

Spanish Main Unlimited – you can clearly see the marker in the bottom left corner.

Pirates of the Spanish Main Unlimited Pack

Revolution Unlimited – the first version of RV simply doesn’t have the feature on the bottom right of the pack.

Pirates of the Revolution Unlimited Pack

Barbary Coast Unlimited

Pirates of the Barbary Coast Unlimited Pack

Davy Jones’ Curse – original pack art.  This is where you’re likely to find poor quality cards that scratch easily.

Different Set Editions Pirates of Davy Jones' Curse first pack

Davy Jones’ Curse – pack art for better print runs.

Pirates Davy Jones Curse second pack

Pirates of the Caribbean – 3 different pack variations

Wizkids Disney Pirates of the Caribbean packs

This is more of a note than anything else.  Similar to the bad quality DJC print runs, there are some South China Seas (SCS) cards that scratch easily.  I have not experienced this issue much with SCS, but other collectors have said that a decent or large percentage of their SCS cards are easily scratched.

El Fantasma South China Seas scratched card

 

I know there is a lot more I could add to this post, but I wanted to cover the basics with mostly my own pictures.  Comment below your thoughts!

English Fleet Review – How Good is the English Faction?

English Fleet Review

English fleet Pirates CSG

My English fleet at the 2014 Fleet Review.

Looking at a faction’s capabilities

In this post, I will examine the strengths and weaknesses of the English fleet.  I will analyze the English faction in a concise but detailed manner.  Hopefully you’ll learn enough to decide whether you’d like to play the English fleet in games!

Since the time I got into Pirates CSG, the English have been my favorite faction.  This is partly due to the large amount of reading I’ve done in regards to the Age of Sail time period.  Throughout the Age of Sail, the Royal Navy was a force to be reckoned with, and by the end of the era, Great Britain was easily the most powerful nation on Earth!

Theme – Time to FIGHT!

English fleet taking on the Spanish

English cannons win the day against the Spanish!

The English are a brawler.  By that I mean that they like to fight, and fight often.  I’m glad that Wizkids made the English faction this way, because it’s very accurate to how the Royal Navy performed in real life.  By concentrating on combat, an English player can dominate the waves.

The English are known for their gunnery excellence.  They have a lot of ships with accurate cannons, both short and long range.  Many of their best gunships are also some of the best gunships in the game!  Therefore, when constructing an English fleet, you’ll want to include at LEAST one gunship, regardless of the build total.  In games with at least 60 points, you’ll probably want 2 or more English warships to wreak havoc on the seas.  The linked Rankings pages give you a good idea of the best ships to choose from.

Loaded at the top

HMS Endeavour Pirates CSG

Good luck beating a loaded HMS Endeavour!

As mentioned above, the English have an incredible group of gunships that can compete with the best from any other faction.  Starting with HMS Titan all the way back in the original set of Spanish Main, the English have had incredibly powerful options from Day 1 in Pirates CSG.  This continued from set to set – HMS London in Crimson Coast, HMS Swallow and HMS Oxford in Revolution, HMS Durham in Barbary Coast, not to mention MANY more.  Throw in HMS Endeavour, one of the best gunships EVER, and you’ve got a fierce faction ready to go to war!

Augmenting the abundance of firepower are some of the best crew in the game.  The English boast numerous extra action givers, from the regular EA (Extra Action) and SAT (Same Action Twice) abilities to both SAC (sacrifice) and AA (Admiral’s Action) crew.  On top of that are some crew that give cannon bonuses, including world haters Hermione Gold (Mysterious Islands version) and Admiral Norrington from Pirates of the Caribbean.  This is just the tip of the iceberg as they say, because the English have a LOT of good named crew.

Better at the gold game than you think!

HMS Lady Provost

HMS Lady Provost, one of the finest 2 masted schooners.

Although the English are one of the best fighting factions in the game, don’t sleep on their gold running prowess!  Not nearly the powerhouse that the Pirates, French, or Spanish are in the gold game, the English can still hold their own when it comes to getting treasure.  They have a variety of decent options.  Some of those can also be used as hybrids (multipurpose ships) with a captain aboard.

Players often discount the English potential for winning games.  This is due to their gold options being lacking compared to the other “Big 4” major factions.  However, the English are still better at getting gold than most of the minor factions and the Cursed.  The exception there being the Barbary Corsairs.

Conclusion – Do you like the English Fleet?

Of course I’m biased – I love the English!  However, they truly are one of the most powerful factions in Pirates.  Indeed, they’ve won 5 huge games, more than any other faction as of January 2019.  I’d love to hear your favorite stories of the English fleet in Pirates CSG games.

Ready to get started playing the English?  You can find them in any set, but you might even get lucky with a faction lot!

Happy Playing!

-Admiral A7XfanBen

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”.

Woelf:

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

Woelf:

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!