Ranking: Sharks

Ranking: Sharks

Ranking sharks is not difficult. Only three sharks were released by Wizkids, not including the Super Rare variant of Squalo with no stat changes.  They were all part of Ocean’s Edge.  Unfortunately, they are generally the worst sea creatures in the game’s history.  This is notable because most sea creatures in general are horrific in gameplay to begin with – often unplayable in remotely competitive settings.  As a result, this is not exactly a “player’s guide”.  However, Tindwunnel of the Discord server asked about this exact topic, which made me want to start making some Rankings again.  Without further ado I will rank the trio of sharks!  🙂

Pirates CSG Squalo 135 Ocean's Edge. Ranking sharks of Wizkids Pirates pocketmodels

1. Squalo (both versions as they are identical for gameplay purposes)

This is the only shark with a single digit point cost. No cargo space for stolen gold, just like the others. Not enough base move to hunt enemies down effectively, like the others. And no special abilities that really make up for the lack of other positive qualities.  You can see how bad these monsters are.  However, I think Squalo is the best because it’s the cheapest, and using Fear while submerged is likely to be of greater benefit than trying to board enemies while swimming at L or S+S speed and only 2 segments to start a boarding party from.

Fear is not a good ability, but it can be a bit nasty, especially if you can affect multiple enemies in a turn with it, or scare off heavily crewed ships with the handy 5 roll.  Using it while submerged in a crowded area has some niche potential. The firepower is decent, with the beast being stronger in the jaws than the tail.  However, at just L speed it’s unlikely to do just about anything without some help.  To that end, good pieces to pair with it are L boosters like The Hag of Tortuga (RotF version), or trade current generators like the Celestine and Master Scribe.

Even as the easiest shark to fit into fleets and with that nifty chance to cancel (via Fear) while submerged, Squalo very rarely sees play.  It was a nice piece to have in my first Other Worlds game.     Link to buy on eBay (as uncommons from OE, these are readily available)

2. CarcharodonCarcharodon shark Pirates CSG 079 At Ocean's Edge sea monster. shark rankings

At 3 points more than Squalo, you’d expect to get considerably more shark for your points in Carcharodon.  However, this is not really the case, as the French shark has less accuracy, speed too slow for a creature that can’t carry a helmsman, and an ability that, while conventionally more powerful than Fear, has little business on a 12 point 2 master.  S+S speed is not usually fast enough to catch much of anything, and though you can “surprise board” by surfacing at the last second, boarding parties are better off when launched from game pieces with higher mast/segment counts.  2 is not a good starting point, though at least you realistically won’t have any crew or coins to lose if the attack is repelled.  The French do have an L booster crew in Jules Arnaud, but making Carcharodon fast enough to catch something is unlikely to be worth it.  It appears I’ve only used it twice, and you can probably guess if its fleets won.     Link to buy on eBay

3. TeachTeach shark from At Ocean's Edge, Wizkids Pirates pocketmodels game 2007 #034

Finally we come to the worst of the sharks, ironically named after one of the most famous pirates of all time.  This one does have slightly better firepower than the others, but it has the least to offer – the highest point cost, and slow speed that does not pair well at all with its Massacre ability.  I did use Teach in the OE 10th anniversary game, but it got absolutely torn apart by El Toro.  My only other memory of it is even worse, when it seemed possessed to attack me as an NPC.  Safe to say, I’m not a fan of the sharks!  However, hopefully someone out there will find this post useful and decide if they are cool enough to collect.  Link to buy on eBay

How would your shark rankings look?  Do you disagree with mine?  I’d love to know your thoughts on them in the comments below!

Ranking: Top 10 Gunships for 40 Point Games

Top 10 Gunships for 40 Point Games

Although I’ve already made a Top 10 Gunships ranking, there have been some requests for a similar list based on the standard 40 point build total.  I agree that it’s a good idea, so here is my opinion it!  Thanks to Arshellan for his great Pirates CSG site used for the ship information!

1. HMS Grand Temple

For a criminally low 15 points, you get awesome firepower, good speed, and insane crew options.  Probably most often used with either EA or SAT with Reroll for 6S speed (assuming a helmsman of course).

2. HMS Titan/Enterprise

I did a quick little exercise to look at a basic comparison of this pair and both versions of the San Cristobal.

With each ship having a crew setup of Captain, Helmsman, Oarsman (+6 points total), and a 0LR Reroller:
HMS Titan: 23 points for L+S+L+S
Enterprise: 24 points for 6S, no L range cannons
San Cristobal LE: 21 points for 6S, all rank-3’s (25 points to get them to rank-2’s)

San Cristobal R: 28 points for S+S+L+Sx2, all rank-3’s (F&S linked de Alva, helmsman, oarsman, Vaccaro)

Based on pure gunship stats, it takes a bit more to get either San Cristobal to the level of the Titan and Enterprise.  You can argue that the 25 point SC setup gives more value than either Titan/Enterprise setup (due to 6S speed AND having some L-range cannons), but these are all so close that it will come down to personal preferences for the other factors involved.

3. San Cristobal (LE version)

4. San Cristobal (R version)

5. Franklin

Getting more into the budget options, this ship allows for easy S+S+S speed with essentially 1S cannons on a 4 master.

The rest of this list feels like a crapshoot!

6. HMS London

Quite similar to the Franklin, just a bit cheaper for worse accuracy. (though the L-range cannons and access to English crew make up for that pretty well)

7. Le Bonaparte

Just trying to be as objective as possible here. In my opinion the most unsportsmanlike ship in the game. Absolute piece of crap.

8. HMS Oxford

For just one point more than the London you get better speed, similar firepower, and slightly more maneuverability with the Schooner keyword.

9. HMS Endeavour

Absolutely devastating damage output and very accessible crew options (you can effectively double her speed and potential mast elimination numbers with only 3 points by adding Sir Christopher Myngs and the 0LR version of Commodore Rhys Gryffyn Owen makes this a beast even in standard games.

10. Soleil Royal

Tossup for the last spot goes to one of the best “cheap” 5 masters.  Extremely good value for points here with lots of firepower, cargo and a great ability.

Soleil Royal and Le Superbe. Top 10 Gunships for 40 point games

Honorable mentions (NOT a comprehensive or ordered list!): Zeus, OE Deliverance, HMS Gallows, Blackwatch, USS Kettering, Harbinger, Revenant, Black Pearl (025 and 026), Le Superbe, La Resolucion, Santa Ana (SCS), El Acorazado (SM), Darkhawk II, HMS Apollo (RotF #201), El Algeciras (OE), La Bonne Chance, Gibraltar flotilla, etc.

Ranking: English Named Crew

Ranking the Top 10 English Named Crew

You can find all the game pieces in the Master Spreadsheet, but crew are easy to copy and paste into the post and don’t take up much space for the discussion of each piece, so I’ve included their most important details in some form. No 0LR +5 crew on these Rankings.

The English are one of the game’s most powerful factions, with a large amount of fearsome ships and competent leaders among their crew. This was a very tough list to make and a lot of it comes down to how you prefer to generate additional actions. Quite frankly, you can scramble the first ~6 spots in ANY order and it would look pretty good. O_O  If you see something you like, feel free to click the affiliate link to see if it’s available on eBay.

1. Thomas Gunn, Hermione Gold (RotF versions)Ranking English named crew - Thomas Gunn
Point Cost: 5. (TGunn links to HMS Apollo, HGold links to Trevor van Tyne)
Ability: Captain, Helmsman. (TGunn has Loyal: England likely made irrelevant by the ship he’s assigned to)

These incredible combo crew didn’t show up until pretty late in the game’s production run, but it’s hard not to rank them #1 here. They give any ship the most essential crew abilities in one cargo space. These two crew alone make the English better at gold running – because of them, nearly any decent English ship can be turned into a hybrid with the cargo saving. Normally the addition of Captain+Helmsman to a ship decreases the cargo by 2 and starts to push her into pure gunship territory, but these crew help the English remain competitive in both small and large games with easy hybrid crew logistics. They should be used with at least an oarsman, since abilities like Crew Killing and Cargo Wrecking can take out both abilities at once.
In fact, I may have to edit my Pirate version to put Hammersmith at #3…

Hermione Gold (Rise of the Fiends)

2. LE Griffin (RotF version; #207)LE Griffin
Point Cost: 7
Ability: If this ship has a crew with the Captain keyword, she gets +1 to her cannon rolls and +S to her base move.

One of the most usable and unique crew in the entire game, this version of Griffin is downright sickening. It is true that his abilities essentially allow for World Hater (+1 to cannon rolls; usually 4 points with the non-faction part) and Helmsman (2 points) to come aboard for 7 points instead of the usual total of 6. However, the key is the stackability. Because Griffin’s ability text is different than both of those regular abilities and has a different trigger (having a Captain), they work in addition to the regular forms of those bonuses. This means that on an English ship that (preferably) costs at least 16 points, you can give said ship +2 to her cannon rolls (likely just +1 against the English) AND +S+S to her base move. O_O (16 points coming from: Captain+Griffin+WH+Helmsman)

The possibilities quickly become nasty here, with HMS Swallow getting up to S+L+S+S speed, just like the San Cristobal. The Shui Xian is probably the best ship in the entire game for Griffin – this results in a 10 master moving L+S+S with all 10 cannons improved at least once, if not twice. Although he may not be fully optimal for small games, LE Griffin is a force to be reckoned with.  The artwork is the same as the common version, so I recommend saving some money (and possibly search time) and just proxying him in.

3. MercerMercer
Point Cost: 3
Ability: Once per turn, you can eliminate one of this ship’s crew to give her an extra action.

One of the least likeable characters in the PotC franchise has a fittingly nasty ability in the game. Although he gets it for a cost of 3 points (instead of the 2 usually seen on Sac Captains), that cost is less OP but still more than usable in the English fleet. I wanted to rank Myngs ahead of him, but the nature of a guaranteed extra action when you need it is tough to beat. You’ll want to use Mercer on a ship with as much cargo as possible, since 3 spots are likely to be occupied before sac crew are added (Mercer+Captain+Helmsman; 2 spots of course if you use one of the crew ranked #1).

4. Sir Christopher MyngsSir Christopher Myngs - Pirates of the Spanish Main
Point Cost: 3. Link: Myng’s Marauders
Ability: Once per turn before you give this ship an action, roll a d6. On a 5 or 6, this ship may be given the same action twice.

Myngs is the original SAT source for the English – one of the best crew from SM, he has been invaluable to the English since 2004. The English also have a plethora of good rerollers to use with him, most of which are least mentioned in this post.

5. Lord Mycron
Point Cost: 6
Ability: Loyal: England. Instead of giving this ship an action this turn, you can give another ship in your fleet two actions.

The source of many competitive game victories and tons of fan hate, Mycron is undeniably useful in the extreme. There is a tailor-made combo for Mycron, where he serves on the Patagonia (1 masted galley from SCS at 4 points) with Robinson, and often the 0LR +5 version of Administrator Scott Bratley (from CC) as well. This 10 point combo (effectively 5 assuming you take advantage of Bratley’s points elsewhere in your fleet) allows the Patagonia to “sacrifice herself” every turn for ANY of the ships in your fleet, giving you maximum flexibility and the potential to shape a game. The extra action is often given to the same ship throughout a game, usually something extremely powerful or useful such as the Zeus/Endeavour/Hai Peng/etc. As long as Mycron isn’t taken out, the best ship in your fleet can get two actions per turn, every turn.

Despite the guaranteed nature of his extra action, I ranked him below Myngs because of the extra cost needed to make him work properly. Mycron realistically has a minimum investment of 10 points (though “5” can be argued due to Bratley’s +5), while Myngs can change or win games as-is at just 3.

Lord Mycron

6. Lawrence, Administrator Scott Bratley (BC version)Lawrence (Barbary Coast)
Point Cost: 5. (Lawrence links to HMS Durham)
Ability: Once per turn, one crew or ship within S of this ship cannot use its ability that turn.

As usual, I wanted to rank the cancellers higher, but the various filthy sources of action generation is a slightly more proven game winner. (Which I would say is partly because extra actions are good everywhere (anywhere on the map) for everything (fighting and gold running/etc), while cancellers are best for close quarters combat)

The English got two canceller crew in one set, making away with a windfall of good stuff in Barbary Coast. Lawrence is more likely to be used because of Bratley’s 0LR +5 version from CC – in fact, using that Bratley to bring in Lawrence is a solid idea for English players. Lawrence also wins this “tie” due to his link to HMS Durham, one of the better English 4 masters.

Administrator Scott Bratley (Barbary Coast)

7. Commodore Rhys Gryffyn Owen, Countess Diana Doone (BC versions)CRGO (Barbary Coast)
Point Cost: 0  (CRGO links to HMS Granville)
Ability: Limit. Ransom. Choose one English crew during setup; this crew is linked to that crew. Once per turn, you may reroll any die roll you make for this ship; you must use the second die roll result.

The 0LR Rerollers combine beautifully with any of the numerous English SAT/EA crew, notably with Myngs for a very cheap source of double actions.

Countess Diana Doone (Barbary Coast)

8. Admiral MorganAdmiral Morgan - Pirates of the Spanish Main
Point Cost: 5
Ability: Once per turn, roll a d6. On a 5 or 6, this ship may be given an extra action.

The EA counterpart to Myngs, Admiral Morgan has been a classic staple of English fleets since the early days of the game. The English have a ton of great ships for him, with plenty of good Reroll support crew (and a few ships) to make him more successful.

9. Commander Spencer Portland
Point Cost: 7
Ability: Once per turn before you give this ship an action, roll a d6. On a 5 or 6, this ship may be given the same action twice. This ship’s crew cannot be eliminated unless she sinks.

Portland combines SAT with Crew Protect. Arguably just as good as Admiral Morgan, I ranked him lower because his ability set and cost make him less flexible. Portland is optimal for use on the largest gunships that will also have a lot of crew aboard. Ideally you would have as many crew abilities as possible on the ship (possibly making use of RotF TGunn/HGold) to protect them, along with Reroll for his SAT. Another great crew for the Shui Xian, or possibly the Endeavour/Swallow/Leicester/etc.

Commander Spencer Portland

The final spot felt like an utter crapshoot, so I decided to be consistent with my other Rankings and prioritize SAT.

10. Admiral Robert Blake, William Dampier, Lt. Henry Ducie Chads (in that order, just barely)Admiral Robert Blake (Barbary Coast)
Point Cost: 5
Ability: Once per turn before you give this ship an action, roll a d6. On a 5 or 6, this ship may be given the same action twice.
+Additional 2 point abilities. Blake: This ship gets +1 to her cannon rolls against Barbary Corsair ships.  Dampier: Pirate crew may use their abilities on this ship. Chads: This ship gets +1 to her cannon rolls against Pirate ships.
(Blake links to All English ships, Dampier links to HMS Malton, Chads links to HMS Botany Bay)

Here we have some 5 point “SAT variant” crew. I gave Blake the tiebreaker because his link to all English ships is so valuable. Dampier vs. Chads is a tossup; Dampier allows for a number of interesting (and possibly unexplored…) crew combos with the Pirates, while Chads hates Pirates and could prove quite useful against the game’s best faction.

William Dampier (South China Seas)Lt. Henry Ducie Chads

Although I didn’t include them on the list, the Captain+World Hater crew (MI HGold and Admiral Norrington) are actually ones I’ve used much more than the crew in the #10 spot. I think it’s partly because if you use Myngs and/or Morgan, you don’t have as much reason to use the 5 point SAT crew unless the build total is high. If this was a “personal” list I would have to include both C+WH crew in my list and possibly even F&S TGunn as well, since historically I have such bad luck when shooting. It’s possible I’m being too determined to avoid personal bias and that the C+WH 7 point crew should be #10 instead.

Just Missed/Extremely Honorable Mentions: Hermione Gold (MI), Admiral James Norrington, Thomas Gunn (F&S), CRGO (CC), Lord Cutler Beckett

Honorable Mentions: Commander Temple (SM), Thomas Gunn the Younger, The Gentleman+Lord Thomas Gunn (OE), Robinson, First Mate Ismail, Mullroy

Ranking: French Named Crew

Ranking: Top 10 French Named Crew

You can find all the game pieces in the Master Spreadsheet, but I’ve included them for ease of reference. No 0LR+5 crew for these lists.

The French are a very well balanced and effective faction.  If you see something you like, feel free to click the affiliate link to see if it’s available on eBay.

Once again I found it to be kind of a crapshoot to rank these. It really just depends on what abilities you need and prefer for fleet building – in which case feel free to throw the numbered rankings out and just look at this French named crew list overall rather than in order.Capitaine Arazure (Rise of the Fiends) - Ranking French Named Crew

1. Capitaine Arathiel, Capitaine Arazure (RotF version)
Point Cost: 5-6
Ability: This ship may move and shoot using the same move action. Once per turn, you may eliminate one of this ship’s crew to give her an extra action. (Arazure also has Loyal: France)

Might as well keep things consistent with the Pirate rankings. Sac Captains are tough to beat!

2. Lenoir (F&S version)
Point Cost: 4Lenoir (Fire and Steel)
Ability: Hostile:England, Loyal:France. Once per turn, one crew or ship within S of this ship can’t use its ability that turn.

This is the only 4 point canceller in the game. The ability is somewhat overpowered at 5 points, so getting it at 4 is a steal.

Or use: Monsieur LeNoir from CC, who has the canceller ability without Hostile/Loyal for 5 points. That version is worth including here, though without his later version, he would probably move down a few spots.

3. Madame LaFontaine, Mademoiselle Josephine Godiva
Point Cost: 0
Ability: Limit. Ransom. Choose one French crew during setup; this crew is linked to that crew. Reroll any die roll, you must use the second result.

I might be ranking these slightly too high, but the French don’t have any SAT/EA crew for less than 5 points. These are extremely versatile crew that can also help out with the AA ability, boarding, Mysterious Island rolls, etc.

Madame LaFontaineMademoiselle Josephine Godiva

4. Amiral Stephan DupuyAmiral Stephan Dupuy
Point Cost: 5
Ability: Once per turn, roll a d6. On a 5 or 6, this ship may be given an extra action.

Classic EA on one of the rare French crew from CC, Dupuy would be even better on a ship with LaFontaine or Godiva.

5. Capitaine Gaston de St. Croix
Point Cost: 5
Ability: Once per turn before you give this ship an action, roll a d6. On a 5 or 6, this ship may be given the same action twice. This ship gets +1 to her cannon rolls against English ships.

This version of Gaston would be #4 if not for the relatively “meh” cannon bonus against English ships that drives his cost up 2 points. I’d prefer the flexibility EA provides rather than a bonus against one faction. However, with 0LR +5 crew de Cissey, you could bring this guy in after seeing your opponent’s English fleet.

Capitaine Gaston de St. Croix

6. Amiral Louis CartierAmiral Louis Cartier
Point Cost: 7
Ability: This ship gets +1 to her boarding rolls. Once per turn, roll a d6. On a 5 or 6, this ship may be given an extra action.

One of my favorite crew from FN gave the French some action generator reinforcements. Cartier has a boarding bonus that drives his cost higher than Dupuy’s and therefore makes him even more suitable on a big boarder like Le Gaule or Saber.

7. Maurice Aristide
Point Cost: 3. Link: Phillipe du Brissac
Ability: One of this ship’s treasures is worth +2 gold when unloaded at your home island.

This can be a tough ability to fit onto a gold runner, but it’s extremely effective and perfect for some of the high cargo French runners like Le Favori.

Maurice Aristide

8. Gentil de la Barbinais
Point Cost: 4
Ability: This ship gets +1 to her cannon rolls against any non-French ship.

World Hater is best used on ships with as many cannons as possible to maximize it; therefore ships like the Celtic Fury, Superbe, Soleil Royal, etc.

Gentil de la Barbinais

9. Capitaine Baudouin Deleflote
Point Cost: 9. Link: L’épée de L’ange
Ability: Captain. Instead of giving this ship an action this turn, you can give another ship in your fleet two actions.

Deleflote is not quite as cost-effective as Mycron, but by putting him on the Ocean’s Edge Coeur de Lion with Princess Arii Auraa (“Princess Vowels”), you can get the combo for just 11 points. This is often combined with +5 crew Jules de Cissey to effectively (not actually) lower the cost to 6 total points, giving you a guaranteed action anywhere in your fleet every turn! In high build total or campaign games you can make a great case for him moving up to the #4 spot.

Capitaine Baudouin Deleflote

10. Amiral Gaston de St. CroixAmiral Gaston de St. Croix
Point Cost: 6
Ability: Once at the beginning of each of your turns, roll a d6. On a result of 6, any ship in your fleet may be given two actions that turn.

AA is another great ability to have especially in larger games, with this version often combined with a Reroll crew (which the French have many of).

Honorable Mentions: Lenoir (RotF – this version has Reroll+Parley for only 4 points; just missed being my #10 pick), Jordan Dumas (BC), Duncan Rousseau (just like RotF Lenoir but without Loyal for 5 points), Lady Roimata (RtSS; with Captain+SAT she would be in my Top 3 if that set were included)

Dishonorable Mention: Ned Lands

Feel free to comment below your ranking of French Named Crew!

Ranking: Spanish Named Crew

Ranking: Top 10 Spanish Named Crew

You can find all the game pieces in the Master Spreadsheet, but I’ve included them for ease of reference. No 0LR+5 crew for these lists.

The Spanish can make a strong case for being the 2nd best faction in the game, and being one of the Big 4 factions along with England, France, and the Pirates, it’s no surprise that their ranks of named crew are impressive. Once again I found it to be kind of a crapshoot to rank these. It really just depends on what abilities you need and prefer for fleet building – in which case feel free to throw the numbered rankings out and just look at this list overall rather than in order.  If you see something you like, feel free to click the affiliate link to see if it’s available on eBay.  Let’s see the Top 10 for Ranking Spanish named crew!

1. Capitán Alarico Castro (SM version)Capitán Alarico Castro - Ranking Spanish Named Crew
Point Cost: 3. Link: Castro’s Loyalists
Ability: Once per turn before you give this ship an action, roll a D6. On a 5 or 6, this ship may be given the same action twice. (aka Born Leader or SAT)

Castro was the top dog for Spain since the early days of the game. The cost effectiveness and versatility of SAT brings him slightly ahead of the more specific use cases of the rest of this list.


2. Victor De Alva (F&S version)
Point Cost: 8
Ability: Loyal:Spain, Captain. Once per turn, roll a d6. On a 5 or 6, this ship can be given an extra action.

Combining two of the best abilities in the game into one crew and therefore one cargo space, this version of de Alva is the perfect crew for a hybrid or gunship. He is perfect for the insanely good San Cristobal.

Victor de Alva

3. Duque Marcus VaccaroDuque Marcus Vaccaro
Point Cost: 0
Ability: Limit, Ransom. Choose one Spanish crew during setup; this crew is linked to that crew. Once per turn, you may reroll any die roll you make for this ship; you must use the second die roll result.

The perfect crew to pair with any EA/SAT/AA crew is a 0LR Reroller. Vaccaro is of course easy to fit into any fleet and very commonly used when Amore is not in a Spanish fleet.

4. Nemesio Diaz
Point Cost: 5. Link: Fernando Sanchez
Ability: Once per turn, cancel the ability of one crew or ship within S of this ship.

The original Canceller, Diaz is a great fit for a number of Spanish ships, notably El Acorazado and the San Cristobal.

Nemesio Diaz

5. BC Castro, BC Dominick Freda, CC El Duque Rafael de Moreno y Rivera
Point Costs: 5-6
Ability: EA or SAT for about 5 points

I ranked these together even though they’re not quite equal; the BC version of Castro is the best of the trio. However, Freda provides SAT for 5 points (still a good cost for such a great ability) along with a cannon bonus against the Corsairs, while Rivera provides EA for 6 points.  Seeing their artwork all in a row kinda makes me feel like they’re all part of the same family. XD

Admiral Alarico CastroDominick FredaEl Duque Rafael de Moreno y Rivera

6. Master Bianco (SS version)Master Bianco
Point Cost: 7. Link: Bianco’s Haulers
Ability: Cargo Master, Secret Hold.

As much as I don’t like the Cargo Master ability, this version of Bianco definitely deserves a spot on this list, and could arguably be higher. Being able to give all Spanish ships in your fleet +1 cargo is incredible, and is clearly a broken ability in large or campaign games. Secret Hold is always nice to have on a gold runner or hybrid, with Bianco being the kind of “grand” crew sometimes missing from the Spanish ranks compared to the other Big 4 factions. (for example, the Spanish don’t have a single AA crew, while the English and Pirates got 2 each)

7. Dominic Freda (RotF versions)
Point Cost: 4Dominic Freda
Ability (common version): Explorer. This ship gets +1 cargo spaces. This crew takes up no cargo space.
Ability (LE version): Explorer. One of this ship’s treasures is worth +2 gold when unloaded at your home island.

Consistently one of the best named crew across expansions, Freda ranks up there with Castro and Bianco as Spanish “all star” crew. It’s worth saying that you’ll probably use these versions of Freda more than the BC version if you have SM Castro, but as I said in the intro, using this list for fleet building is somewhat futile if you need specific abilities for specific setups. In this case both secondary 3 point abilities are extremely good; the +1 cargo version is of course a cheaper card to obtain, but +2 gold on something like the Joya del Sol could be a game winner.

8. Luis Zuan (MI version)Luis Zuan
Point Cost: 7. Link: La Colera
Ability: This ship may move and shoot using the same move action. This ship gets +1 to her cannon rolls against any non-Spanish ship.

I realize I’m a bit biased since this is one of my favorite named crew ever, but I really think that combining these two great offensive abilities into one cargo space gives Zuan the edge over his older self. (by age not by set heh)

9. Luis Zuan (RotF version)
Point Cost: 2
Ability: Hostile: Pirate, Loyal: Spain. Captain.

The only 2 point captain in the entire game, this Zuan might appear in the top 3 on others’ lists. However, it’s not usually that hard to fit Captains into fleets (you generally need to, after all) at their regular 3 point cost, and I’ve actually seen the Hostile: Pirate become a problem when making mixed nationality competitive/”meta” fleets.

Luis Zuan (Rise of the Fiends)

10. Roberto SantanaRoberto Santana
Point Cost: 6
Ability: Loyal:Spain. Once per turn give any ship in your fleet +1 to all of her cannon rolls.

This final pick feels like a total wild card. I wanted to go with the SS version of Bianco’s Haulers, but that would be letting my Guichuan doom setup bias me too much, and this is a Spanish crew list. XD

Santana gives Spain a very valuable “global World Hater” crew, who just like AA crew can generally thrive more and more the bigger the game gets.

Extremely Honorable Mentions: Bianco’s Haulers (SS version; This ship cannot be shot at while docked), Almirante Devante del Nero (BC version; World Hater for 4 points), Duque Alfonzo de Castilla (FN; Captain+Crew Killing)

Other Honorable Mentions: Almirante Carlos Pavón y Miranda, Comandante Antonio de Silva (SM version), Master Bianco (SM version), Joaquin Vega

Feel free to comment below your version Ranking Spanish named crew! 😀

Ranking: Pirate Named Crew

Ranking the Top 10 Pirate Named Crew

You can find all the game pieces in the Master Spreadsheet, but crew are easy to copy and paste into the post and don’t take up much space for the discussion of each piece, so I’ve included their most important details in some form.

The Pirates are the best and most numerous faction in the game, so it’s no surprise that their list is impressive and could easily be extended to a Top 15 or 20. It was tough to make. You could rearrange the list and it would look pretty good – the crew you might pick depends more on the fleet style or your ability preferences than just blindly including crew from the list in order. The one crew I’ll exclude here is the 0LR +5 crew, which for the Pirates are The Hag of Tortuga and Sean “Cannonball” Gallows from MI – all the major factions except The Cursed have at least one 0LR +5, and a strong case could be made to just put those crew at the top of each of these lists.  If you see something you like, feel free to click the affiliate link to see if it’s available on eBay.

1. Captain Jack Sparrow

Captain Jack Sparrow

Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean set

Point Cost: 6. Link: All Pirate ships
Ability: This ship can move and shoot using the same move action. When this ship is given an explore action, you can swap a treasure on the wild island a crew on any friendly ship.

Although there are many more well-known classics from the early days of the game, this version of CJS takes the cake as arguably the best crew in the entire game. He is integral to the UPS (Universal Pirate Shipping) strategy, pioneered by Miniature Trading member darrin and proven in VASSAL Tournament #2 as the best fleet strategy ever. It can be a hard concept to grasp at first, but with the correct fleet setups and support for CJS, his signature ability can end even the most competitive of games in just a few turns, often without an opponent being able to do anything about it.

2. Captain Blackheart/Havana Black
Point Cost: 5 (Havana Black links with Bloody Jake)
Ability: This ship may move and shoot using the same move action. Once per turn, you may eliminate one of this ship’s crew to give her an extra action.

The classic Sac Captain crew is extremely tough to beat. Sac is quite obviously worth more than 2 points in game, even with the oarsmen you have to sac to work it properly. There is almost nothing like a guaranteed extra action when you need it. That level of control on gunships that are already deadly is something many competitive and “meta” fleets are built around. There’s no denying these classics are among the most effective crew ever released.

Captain BlackheartHavana Black

The next handful are a bit of a crapshoot to rank and really just depend on what you need in your fleet.

3. 3 point SAT/Born Leader crew
Calico Cat from SM+RotF, Le Requin from CC, Gunner from FN
Point Cost: 3
Ability: Once per turn before you give this ship an action, roll a d6. On a 5 or 6, this ship may be given the same action twice.

Another classic born in Spanish Main, 3 point SAT is just always nice to have. It’s cheap, effective, easy to include in most gunship setups, and often combined with Reroll (an additional 3 points) to increase the chances of getting the SAT. I ranked them ahead of the next 2 because the cost makes them more flexible/easy to use and because you may not want or need World Hater added on….

Calico Cat (Rise of the Fiends)Le RequinGunner

4. Crimson Angel (OE version)Crimson Angel (Ocean's Edge)
Point Cost: 5. Link: Deliverance
Ability: Once per turn before you give this ship an action, roll a d6. On a 5 or 6, this ship may be given the same action twice. This ship gets +1 to her cannon rolls against any non-Pirate ship.

SAT+World Hater (WH) usually cost 7 total (3+4), but Crimson Angel’s best version gets them into one cargo space for just 5 points. This is one of the best combo crew and discount crew in the game. A perfect choice for nearly any Pirate gunship you’d want to run, with a good link to boot.

5. Calico Cat (OE version)
Point Cost: 6. Link: Cat’s Claw
Ability: Once per turn, roll a d6. On a 5 or 6, this ship may be given an extra action. This ship gets +1 to her cannon rolls against any non-Pirate ship.

Getting even more of a discount (-3 points) than Crimson Angel from OE, this Cat’s abilities would normally cost 9 total (5+4). Although EA is more flexible than SAT and therefore better on hybrids that will be exploring more than gunships, that 1 point can be crucial in competitive fleet builds or even just for adding an oarsman to protect a vital crew.

Calico Cat (Ocean's Edge)

6. Captain Sao Feng/Sean “Cannonball” Gallows
Point Cost: 5 (Sao Feng links to Lian, Park, Empress)
Ability: Once per turn, roll a d6. On a 5 or 6, this ship can be given an extra action.

Another classic the Pirates originally received via Crimson Angel in CC (but for 6 points), these later versions of 5 point EA (Extra Action) are not quite on par with the above action generators for cost effectiveness, but still great crew to use. They’re better than SAT on hybrids and gold runners because they allow you to move and explore a wild island in the same turn without an explorer if you succeed with the roll.

Captain Sao FengSean "Cannonball" Gallows (Rise of the Fiends)

7. Hammersmith (F&S version)Hammersmith (Fire and Steel)
Point Cost: 5.
Ability: Hostile: England, Captain, Helmsman.

Although he’s “simple” by only having generic crew abilities, I would not fault someone for ranking this version of Hammersmith #2 overall on this list. His versatility is unmatched, being the absolutely perfect crew for any Pirate ship with cannons worth shooting. He especially shines on hybrids by saving a cargo space, and on monster setups where you need every slot available for crew and equipment. One thing to keep in mind is that you’ll want an oarsman to protect him a little, since if he gets eliminated you lose both important abilities all at once.

8. Tia DalmaTia Dalma
Point Cost: 5
Ability: Once per turn, one crew or ship within S of this ship can’t use its ability that turn.

I’m worried that these major faction Top 10 named crew lists will all just have the cancellers as kind of a token entry, but the list wouldn’t really be complete without them. Dalma is quite important to the Pirates, as she is the only canceller in their entire arsenal, whereas most of the other Big 5 factions got cancellers in both crew and ship form, and/or got more than 1 crew canceller.

From here on the list felt like even more of a tossup….

9. Genny Gallows (SM version)
Point Cost: 3. Link: Genny’s Red Rampage
Ability: One of this ship’s treasures is worth +2 gold when she docks at your home island.

A game-winning ability that sees frequent usage in some of the most competitive fleets of all time, Genny is best on gold runners with as much cargo space as possible. Find ways to get the +2 bonus as often as possible and you will win.

Genny Gallows

10. The Headhunter (SCS version), Derrik the Red
Point Cost: 6. (The Headhunter links to the Black Heart ship)
Ability: This ship gets +1 to her cannon rolls against any non-Pirate ship. Once per turn, you may eliminate one of this ship’s crew to give her an extra action.

Somehow a bit underrated or possibly not often used, these are two of the best combat crew in the game. Sac is easily combined with some oarsmen for actions when you need ’em, and World Hater is of course amazingly good on any gunship, especially large ones to max out how many cannons are improved. That works well, since you’re likely to get at least 13 points worth of ship if you use one of these – a captain and helmsman (or Hammersmith!) adds 5, and I wouldn’t want to sail out a Sac ship with less than a pair of 1 point crew aboard (preferably 3+ though).

The Headhunter (Wizkids Pirates CSG)Derrik the Red (Pirates CSG)

Now Emperor Blackheart will haunt my dreams for not including him in the Top 10. XD But with basically a guaranteed extra action, I wouldn’t fault someone for wanting to put him 3rd on the list.

Extremely Honorable Mentions: Emperor Blackheart (All-Powerful), Jimmy Legs (Sac), Jack Hawkins (CC version; SAT+Crew Protect), Captain Mission (MI version; EA+Crew Protect), Captain Barbossa and Isandro Ramirez (Captain+World Hater)

Other Honorable Mentions: ‘Don’ Pedro Gilbert, various Captain+Reroll crew that often have better other versions (ex: SCS Calico Cat), AA crew (Laffite and Swann), Calypso, Cursed Captain Jack, Capitaine Chevalle, Gentleman Jocard, Captain Mysion (RotF)

Dishonorable Mentions: Empress (OE)

Feel free to make your own list of the Top 10 Pirate named crew in the comments!

Ranking: Titans

Ranking the Titans

You can find information for the Titans in the Master Spreadsheet, and the rest of the Rankings series can be found here.

The Titan keyword is rather fascinating, as they are the only sea creatures that can carry crew normally.  At the bottom of this post I’ve also included the Pirate Code entry for the keyword, to hopefully clear up any potential issues.


A ship with this keyword printed on its deckplate is a sea creature.
A titan’s movement may be measured from any part of its body. When given a move action a titan may
change its facing during the first movement segment (like a normal ship), but it cannot change its facing during any additional segments regardless of the directions it moves. A titan may move across islands (except enemy home islands) and is docked if it ends its move on an island. A titan may shoot and be shot at while on an island (the island does not block lines of fire to and from the titan).
A titan can be assigned crew.
A titan may be given explore actions to load cargo like a normal ship.
A titan may tow other ships, it may ram (the rammed ship becomes pinned instead of the titan) and it may board like a normal ship.

As usual: If you see a ship you like, feel free to click the affiliate link to see if it’s available on eBay. Some of the pictures are linked to battle reports if you want to see what happened in the action shots.

There are only 3 Titans, so this is a pretty quick list.  They’re all quite different from one another, in terms of point costs, speeds, and abilities, so that makes this even easier.  However, still a bit subjective and possibly dependent on the build total.  I’m not giving Brachyura any bonuses for its weird clone-like super rare barbie glamor glitter sparkly edition.  LOL.

Ranking: Titans

1. RaninoideaRaninoidea from Pirates at Ocean's Edge

Once again the Pirates get the best version of something that probably should have benefited a non-major faction more than them.  Raninoidea (almost as awkward to type as it is to “pronounce”) has the best base move, cargo, AND ability of any of the Titans.  This makes it somewhat clearly the best giant crab.  This purple beast is one of the best examples in Pirates CSG of the “hit hard before they crush you” type of tactic.  It’s likely to cause a ton of damage and possibly some chaos before being killed in short order.  With S+L speed, 3 cargo spaces open for Pirate crew, and a wicked offensive ability, this thing screams to be optimized with a nasty crew setup.  That said, just plopping a captain on can be effective too, since investing even more than the base 21 points into it can be a money pit (due to it being likely to be sunk quickly).

2. Brachyura

The Cursed got a pretty good crab too, albeit not as fast or powerful as the Pirate one.  Brachyura is pretty clearly the middle of the road option, with solid speed, good claws, and a nice defensive ability to let it stay in the fight a tiny bit longer.  The best Cursed named crew are generally better off on their best ships, but even just a simple captain+helmsman setup on this titan can make it worth using.

A simple house rule you could use for the SR version is to give it the Captain keyword; this makes the crab more on the level of Raninoidea without making it OP.

Yes I build my crabs wrong, I like it better that way.

Brachyura attacks the Devil's KissBrachyura, titan, giant crab

3. El Toro

The Spanish crab is the cheapest version, coming in at a pretty affordable 15 points.  You can see why though, with the slowest speed and worst ability of the trio.  It’s perhaps a bit uninspiring overall, but the Spanish do have enough crew to make it pretty dangerous.  If you felt like going really wild with it, you could have SS Master Bianco on another ship to get an extra cargo space via Cargo Master, then load up Luis Zuan (MI; Captain+World Hater), Nemesio Diaz (Canceller), and perhaps a firepot specialist or musketeer.  That said, a crew setup like that is still better off on a ship that can repair and be salvaged after dereliction.  I’d likely go with just captain and helmsman, but at least there are options.  One option I wouldn’t recommend is the link – El Pescador is a sea monster L booster (If a sea monster begins its move within L of this ship, it gets +L to its base move.), but that doesn’t apply to the monster he’s on, and Titans aren’t even sea monsters, they’re sea creatures!  Though I suppose he could work on El Toro if you’re combining them with a multi-faction sea monster squadron.

El Toro rips Angelica's head off in the Ocean's Edge anniversary game

A crowning moment for a sea creature!

From The Pirate Code:

-Titans cannot submerge.
-The phrase “can’t change it’s facing during the move” means that the titan cannot change its facing (heading)
between movement segments, regardless of the direction it moves. However, it may change facing at the beginning
of a move action, using the first movement segment. Effectively, the titan determines its facing and moves forward
for the first segment, and then it scuttles (strafes) sideways, forward, or backward for any remaining segments.
-The Titan keyword overrides the general sea creature rules:
–A titan may ram, board, pin, and tow other ships, including flotillas.
–If it wins a boarding action and has sufficient cargo space, it may steal a treasure.
–It may be given an explore action if it is docked at an island.
-If the Titan keyword is cancelled:
–The titan follows all of the standard rules for sea creatures.
–It cannot be rammed, pinned, or boarded, nor can it ram, pin, board, tow, be assigned crew, or be given
repair or explore actions.
–It cannot be assigned crew, and any crew that were already aboard are removed from the game.
–If it was sitting on an island it becomes “stuck” in place and cannot move until it regains use of the
keyword. Standard line of fire rules still apply, so it will be unable to shoot or be shot at except where parts
of it extend outside of the island.


How did I do?  Any disagreements with the Titan rankings?  Comment below your favorite Titan!

Ranking: Scorpions

The Rankings are back!  After a long hiatus, they are back by popular demand.  You can see all of them here, and there is also a link to that page in the main menu.  Recently someone asked why there wasn’t a ranking for Scorpions.  Godmason took over the Rankings threads at Miniature Trading a few years ago, but we didn’t get to all of the ideas.  I may not be able to do this for long, but I hope to do one new Rankings post per week.

Ranking the Scorpions

The scorpion ship type is one of my least favorite in the game, seeming a bit unrealistic and bearing an uncanny resemblance to Scyther.  However, as someone (I believe at Miniature Trading) pointed out years ago, Wizkids may have based the design on Leonardo Da Vinci’s work.  So there is some kind of historical precedent!

It’s worth reviewing the Scorpion keyword, since it’s rather lengthy:

A ship with this keyword printed on its deckplate has a moveable blade that can slash its enemies.
After a scorpion ship has completed a move action or a shoot action, if it has not rammed an opposing ship this turn it may attack any (one) opposing ship that it can touch with its blade, as a free action.
The attack automatically succeeds and eliminates one mast from the target (no die roll is required, and no
ability can prevent it). The target is now pinned and can be boarded (sea creatures can be pinned but not boarded); the scorpion ship is not pinned.
The blade functions even if this ship is derelict.

Here are the scorpions, found by filtering the one-sheet Master Spreadsheet by the Scorpion ability.  You can see more reasons why I’m not a big fan of them, with mediocre speeds and high point costs for 3 masters.

Ranking Scorpions of Pirates CSG

The tough part about ranking this ship type is that they’re all very similar.  Which one you like best might come down to ability preference.  If you see a ship you like, feel free to click the affiliate link to see if it’s available on eBay.  Some of the pictures are linked to battle reports if you want to see what happened in the action shots.

1. Crusher

Coming in at just 12 points, 3 points cheaper than any of the others, I think Crusher just barely takes the cake in this contest.  She can add a Captain before becoming more expensive than the other scorpions, and combines good cargo with solid cannons.  It might be a more boring option, but simplicity is often better than expensive secondary abilities.  For 17 points (with captain and helmsman, or C+H) the Crusher can be moving an acceptable L+S with room for a couple coins (3 if you use F&S Hammersmith).  Though with 7 points remaining, you have plenty of room in the point cap to do more damage.  Especially since you can board after the blade attack, Diabolito could come aboard to try and Massacre an enemy ship’s crew.

Crusher from Wizkids Pirates

2. Bloody Blade

This is actually my personal favorite, between the artwork and how nasty the ship can be.  Defensive abilities are always a great thing to have, and this one also comes with generally the best cannon armament of the bunch.  This can be a fun little “denial” combo to hit something like the Acorazado with – since the blade attack ignores defensive abilities, it can slice through Joaquin Vega’s ability that the BB has built-in.

Bloody Blade from Pirates CSG

The next three is where it gets even tougher to rank these in my opinion.

3. Scythe

Tied with the next choice for the highest speed, the Scythe is boring in all other aspects – 3S cannons, cargo equal to masts, and +1 to boards.  The artwork makes her a little more fun to use, but this ship is likely to be doing some quick killing before getting quickly killed in return.  Another solid option for a Massacre crew, such as White Crew from DJC.

Pirates CSG Scythe crushes and splinters Typhoon

4. Chum MakerChum Maker

This one is quite rare, but nothing to write home about in gameplay.  I truly believe her ability to be one of the most overpriced in the entire game.  You’ll likely use the blade to board, at which point you’ve already eliminated a mast automatically and hopefully extra with cannons.  You would probably eliminate a crew and not take a coin anyway if you win the boarding (since this ship is somewhat likely to have all 3 spaces occupied), so you likely end up eliminating an extra mast after winning a boarding party with this ship.  That’s great, but really not much more than what would happen if you just won a normal boarding party without the ability.  Chum Maker is 2 points more than Scythe for slightly more range on the mainmast and only a slightly better ability.  I’ll take the cheaper option.

5. Scorpion

I actually like this one more than the two above that move S+S, but I have to do this objectively and realize that the speed difference is significant.  The Scorpion is a fun option having a trio of things I like – more cargo than masts, all L-range guns, and Eternal.  With captain/helmsman/oarsman and maybe a navigator somewhere placing trade currents, she can be pretty dangerous.

Pirates CSG Scorpion in action

6. Pestilence

This one is rather clearly the worst, having no real advantages over any of the other scorpions.  Fear strikes again – if Wizkids had priced it properly, I think 13 points would be fine.

Wizkids Pirates Pestilence ship from Rise of the Fiends

What do you think of my ranking of the scorpions?  Post your own list in the comments below!  😀

Pirates of the Caribbean movies – Ranking them all!

Ranking the Pirates of the Caribbean movies

Pirates of the Caribbean movies are my all time favorite.  I have found no better movie or series that combines action, adventure, excitement, and some historical details so beautifully and perfectly.  I like them so much more than other movies that they almost “break the scale” for me in terms of ranking other movies.  In addition, I usually enjoy even my least favorite Pirates of the Caribbean movie more than any other movies.

In Pirates CSG Podcast #30, I briefly ranked all 5 of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.  You can find that podcast at the bottom of this page, but in this post I wanted to rank all of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies in text form, more comprehensively.  I know this is a little off-topic compared to my usual Pirates CSG focus, but between the 2007 expansion and intense relation to Pirates CSG (exact same theme), I think it’s quite fitting.  Keep in mind that my ratings are comparing these movies against each other – compared to all movies in general, I would rate them all about 9/10 or better haha! (I love them that much)  So without further ado, here is my official opinion on ranking what I believe to be the best movie series of all time!

1. The Curse of the Black Pearl

The first movie is the most classic.  A true swashbuckling film from start to finish, this movie resurrected the pirate genre and spurred a blockbuster series that has lasted 15+ years.  


  • Cast and the characters they portray
  • Historical setting mixed with the right amount of fantasy
  • Understandable plot with twists and turns that make things exciting
  • Multiple climaxes in a way – many peak experiences throughout the movie
  • Unforgettable music, on par with the best in movie history

Cons: None?  I feel that CotBP is the most perfect movie I’ve ever seen!

Ben’s Rating: 10/10

Captain Jack Sparrow

Captain Jack Sparrow

Best game piece from Pirates CSG: Captain Jack Sparrow

This ship can move and shoot using the same move action. When this ship is given an explore action, you can swap a treasure on the wild island with a crew on any friendly ship.
Link: All Pirate Ships

  • Collector’s Number: 058
  • Faction Affiliation: Pirate
  • Rarity: C
  • Type: Crew
  • Point Value: 6

CJS is arguably the best crew in the entire game, as proved by VASSAL Tournaments #1 and #2. You could make a case that he is the single best game piece ever released by Wizkids. When most of the best fleets in the history of the game have this guy as their centerpiece, you know he’s amazing, and you also know that something went wrong. I do find it rather ironic that our beloved character is such a dominant force in the game, since he’s such a major character in the movies as well.


2. Dead Man’s Chest

The second movie was shot simultaneously with the third movie, and DMC does serve as a link to At World’s End while the first movie is really on it’s own in terms of the plot.  While Dead Man’s Chest is another fantastic pirate movie, it’s definitely not as perfect as the first one. (though it would be nigh impossible to match the original of course)


  • We get to see Captain Jack in a completely different state
  • Great amount of fitting humor
  • Davy Jones and his crew are menacing but fun


  • No ship battle
  • Kraken a bit overpowered/excessive

Ben’s Rating: 8/10

Best game piece from Pirates CSG: HMS Endeavour

HMS Endeavour PotC

HMS Endeavour

  • Collector’s Number: 003
  • Faction Affiliation: England
  • Rarity: R
  • Type: Ship
  • Point Value: 21
  • Cargo Space: 4
  • Base Move: L
  • Cannons: 2L,2L,2L,2L,2L
  • Number of Masts: 5

This ship eliminates two masts with one hit.

Flavor text: Lord Beckett’s flagship and the symbol of the Crown’s power, HMS Endeavour is the most impressive warship on the sea.

Sure she didn’t play much of a role until the 3rd movie, but this cannot be avoided.  Just about on par with El Acorazado and the Constitution as the best gunship in the game. Combine the best guns money can buy with just about the best offensive ship ability in the game, and give those to the most offensively-minded faction, and you’ve got a warship for the ages.


3. At World’s End

The 3rd movie is in my opinion the most EPIC, which gets it major points in my book.  The movie is the culmination and grand climax of the first 3 movies, building everything up to some of the most epic moments ever seen in movies.  The humor is still there, the cast is top-notch, and there are few movies that can match its brilliance.  A complicated and difficult-to-follow plot is the only thing that holds it back from being as good as the first movie.


  • EPIC!!  On par with Lord of the Rings for me.
  • Everything you could want in an epic/action/adventure/Disney/pirate movie
  • Climax and payoff of just about all major storylines built up from the start of the first movie
  • Incredible actions scenes including an epic ship battle
  • LUDICROUSLY amazing soundtrack


  • Overly complicated – plot can be very difficult to follow at times

Ben’s Rating: 9.5/10

Best game piece from Pirates CSG: Hai Peng

Hai Peng PotC

An afterthought in the movie, overpowered with the right crew in the game

  • Collector’s Number: 013
  • Faction Affiliation: Pirate
  • Rarity: R
  • Type: Ship
  • Point Value: 13
  • Cargo Space: 4
  • Base Move: S+L
  • Cannons: 3S,4S
  • Number of Masts: 2

Junk. If this ship has a captain crew, she gets +L to her base move.

But where would Captain Jack Sparrow be without a ship? It might not be a ship he even sailed on in the movies, but the Hai Peng is the fastest ship in the entire game, and the fleets involved in T1 and T2 prove how insanely effective it is to pair them up. The only reason the Hai Peng isn’t higher is because without CJS, the HP wouldn’t be as ridiculously good.


4. On Stranger Tides

The 4th movie was supposed to have a smaller budget and reduced cast from the trilogy of 1-3, so I went in with lowered expectations.  That was key to my enjoying the movie, as it turned out to be an (arguably inevitable) serious letdown to most of the fanbase.  With Captain Jack trying to hold up a lesser cast by himself, the movie just doesn’t have the magic, scale, and excitement of the originals.  A “new era” of Pirates of the Caribbean is born after the true high of AWE’s ending scenes.


  • New characters to spice things up (though they aren’t quite as good as those from the original 3 movies)
  • Adventuring theme that may have been slightly lacking in movies 2 and 3


  • A bit “meh” in nearly every way – just not the same for cast, music, plot, action, or emotions
  • No ship battle – in fact, not a single cannon shot I believe!  🙁

Ben’s Rating: 4/10 (still 8.5+/10 compared to all other movies)

With this movie and the 5th one being released after Pirates CSG went out of print in 2008, there were no game pieces from this movie.  However, we can make customs!


5. Dead Men Tell No Tales

If the “lower budget” and different cast made me appreciate the 4th one more, I was overhyped for the 5th movie.  Although fantastic overall, myself and others had many gripes with the movie, from the casting to the plot to redundant repetition.  It’s a fun movie, just not quite as great as the trailers or cast would make you expect.  You can find my full review of the movie here.


  • Humor – St. Martin town scene, wedding scene, etc.
  • Blurring of lines between good vs. bad – you can easily root for the antagonist


  • Wasted star power (Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann, and Paul McCartney are hardly in the movie!)
  • Continuity issues/plot holes
  • Too unrealistic – many bizarre things that were really obvious mistakes
  • Meh characters/acting – even Captain Jack is not the same anymore

Ben’s Rating: 6/10 (still 9/10 compared to all other movies)

Although there aren’t game pieces from DMTNT, I’ve made some customs that you can find at the bottom of the Epic Seas sheet (4th tab).

You can also find all the movies in boxed sets, not to mention the excellent soundtracks.

Here you can hear my opinion during the 30th episode of the Podcast.  I’ve also ranked the Top 10 Caribbean game pieces and the best game pieces from the set with multiple versions.

Check out the other episodes of the Podcast here.


Pirates of the Caribbean celebration game 1

Pirates of the Caribbean celebration game played in 2017 to celebrate the 5th movie and 10th anniversary of the 3rd movie! Click for the battle report!

Ranking: #001 ships – Flagships of their sets

Originally posted to Miniature Trading on June 22nd, 2018

Ranking: #001 ships – Flagships of their sets

I’ve always thought that the first game piece of each set had to be at least somewhat special in some way. Normally it’s a large rare ship from the signature/featured faction, or just the Pirates of course.

Here I rank the “flagships” or signature ships of each set against each other! This was actually pretty hard!

1. Revenant 
Ranking: #001 ships - Flagships of their sets

A classic to this day, the Revenant is still a devastating gunship. The sheer firepower is the main attraction, but she’s got just enough cargo, speed, and ability to warrant high consideration when choosing a Pirate gunship at any build total.

2. Black Swan 

This ship’s looks and ability are her main calling cards. The guns and cargo are strictly mediocre, but S+S at this size makes her pretty good. The Pirates have better options for large gunships, but the Black Swan is an interesting option if you want to go international. Reasons could include Gus Schultz Grim the Savage , etc.

3. Deliverance 

I like the next ship better, but there’s no denying the importance of speed in this game. S+L on a 5 master is amazing. Everything else is average or worse, with the flashy but overpriced Ghost Ship keyword inflating her cost. Still, a combination of captain/helmsman/world hater/action generator can make this one of the more fearsome flagships out there.

4. Divine Dragon 

One of my favorite Cursed ships and a classic in my games, this junk is powerful and quick. Essentially 6 rank-3 cannons moving at S+S for just 16 points, she’s a solid deal. A captain and helmsman are needed, and a rare use of Sir Edmund is perfect to allow Davy Jones to come aboard as well. Tons of great combos also available with the linked Fantasma.

5. Flying Dutchman 

A classic remade into a “Pirate” ship, this behemoth is made for monster setups. You’ll want to really crew her up to optimize her effectiveness; I’d recommend starting with captain/helmsman/world hater/oarsman (the latter to “protect” Eternal) and going crazy from there. XD

6. Nubian Prince 

Almost like the pretty prince in a group of nasty killers, the Nubian Prince would be boring if not for her incredibly overpowered ability. Arguments could be made to move her up or down this list; I’m going in the middle knowing her overall effectiveness is somewhat limited but unfortunately I have to respect how incredible the ability is during gameplay.

Now we get into what I sometimes call “ugly ducklings”. XD Rank these next 3 however you like.

7. Flying Dutchman 

Devastating firepower at both short and long range, this version has always been crippled by a slow base move and a somewhat unfitting ability. Could have been so much more, but still a good option among Cursed gunships.

8. Foresight 

A large Pirate hybrid perfect for Hammersmith / Barstow /oarsman, the Foresight is a bit of an enigma among Pirate ships. Severely outclassed by La Victoire , she would be a star in some other factions. As a Pirate ship, she gets passed on for superior options. Still a fun ship, and I can attest to her capabilities – underrated in my opinion.

9. Fool’s Hope 

Oof. 19 points for just 3 cargo, very average guns and speed, an underpriced ability (Eternal) and an overpriced ability. The second ability just doesn’t add much – you’re going to eliminate a crew or (unlikely) take a treasure anyway. Using a world hater is a great idea, and the Pirates have plenty of other combo crew (like Hammersmith) to make the low cargo work. Still, the PotC Flying Dutchman is considerably better for just one more point, so Fool’s Hope ranks the lowest of these three 5 masters. If she was the same price as her other version, she’d be a bit more interesting. (but still inferior to that FH, so basically lose-lose…)

10. Nautilus 

Tough seeing such a famous ship this low, but she’s not going to be great at getting gold or fighting. She’s often relegated to a bodyguard role in campaign games as part of a super squadron of concentrated cancellers.

11. Grand Dynasty 

An unfitting name for such a lackluster ship. A crippling base move combines with a boring ability to make for a not-so-great “flagship”. Solid cannons and a solid link won’t save her. Grand Temple or Grand Path should have been 001 for this set.

12. Beowulf 

Better than most icebreakers, but still largely mediocre as far as 3 masted ships go. For a few more points you can get one of the powerful Viking 3 masted longships, and Polaris has a better ability that’s perfect for Sigurd Andersen .

13. Krulth from Return to Savage Shores

Another ineffective squid, much meh.

14. He’e 

Awful, awful, awful. Even the Americans have a better creature than this trash. Silly mistake by Wizkids to put this out. No way that gimmicky ability is worth hardly any points. At 9 points (half cost), it would rarely get used. Almost as horrendous as it gets; no redeeming qualities that I can see.