Points in Play + Gold – An Intriguing House Rule

Points in Play PLUS Gold for the win – An Intriguing House Rule

This “points in play” thing is a concept I started really liking in 2017, and now it’s one of my favorite house rules despite needing more time to playtest it.

Canceled user wrote:
Prize Value Ships are valuable beyond their cannons and sails; some have excellent rigging–others have above average food stores on board. Some ships are just better constructed. Set up per usual. For each ship in your fleet roll one of the mini dice: the number rolled represents the ship’s prize value for the rest of the game. Place the die on the bow of the ship for all to see. If the ship is captured and remains in posession of the capturing player until the end of the game, its prize value in gold is added to the capturing player’s total gold. Prize value is only counted if the ship changes hands at least once.

This is an intriguing idea, and could really incentivize capturing ships in smaller and shorter games when it’s usually less practical. However, I find the die roll a bit too random. Perhaps the prize is worth 1/3 or 1/4 of its point value in gold. Or, make it a full 50% (the Bragi could round down to 4, for example) and completely change the game. This could be a way to alleviate the emphasis on getting gold, which is one thing that some players dislike.


On a similar tack, I’m interested in the way the game is played in regards to points afloat and making it more of a practical game. In reality, there weren’t gold-laden islands lying around waiting to be explored ad infinitum. The real value was in resources, political power, and of course winning engagements in a decisive manner.

– Whoever has the most points in play AND gold in play at the end of the game is the winner.

Here’s an example. Two people set up for a 40 point game, so both start the game with 40 points. These points can fluctuate throughout, but you’d rather have that number go up (through captures) than down (through sinkings and deaths). Player A captures two 5 point ships from Player B, giving him a 50-30 point advantage at the end. Player B collects 15 gold to Player A’s 7, resulting in a 57-45 victory for Player A.

This can’t be new, but I also haven’t seen it discussed that I remember. There are variations you could try, such as those in the thread linked above. Perhaps ships are only worth their full point cost if they have all their masts. Each lost mast could be -2 to the final tally.

The problems include making combat too important, and making the treasure game almost irrelevant if low value coins are used. In games with this (or similar) rule, perhaps only coins with a value of at least 4 could be used.

Here is a game played with this house rule!

Please leave a comment below saying what you think of this Points in Play and Gold for the win as a house rule!

Points In Play AND Gold For the Win - July 29th, 2017

The last picture taken from the first game in which I tried this house rule, played against Repkosai and Wifey on the VASSAL module.

Pirates Constructible Strategy Game Online

Pirates Constructible Strategy Game Online

I never got to play the Pirates Constructible Strategy Game Online version released by SOE (Sony Online Entertainment).  I have learned a lot about it from the radio show hosted by RedDragon and Captain Ron.

Available for Download

You can actually grab the game here if you want to mess around with the basics a bit.  I finally downloaded it just now to see what it looked and sounded like.  Made me miss a game I never even played!  Don’t get too excited though – as far as I can tell, you cannot actually play the game at all, just access the fleet builder.

I had some trouble at first.  You can get an error message like the one I got (shown below) if you try to run the wrong file.

Pirates Constructible Strategy Game Online SOE demo error

Luckily someone at the Pirates CSG Facebook group was able to help me out.  You need to go into the directory of files from the download and run “pirates.exe”.  For me the chain was Windows (C:)>Program Files (x86)>Sony>Worlds Apart>Pirates CSG Online>pirates.exe.  Last edited 10/26/2006!  O_O   Very cool!  😀

Flaws Evident

Although the game looks better than the current way to play Pirates virtually, it wasn’t without some flaws.  From the aforementioned podcast/radio show (really good – give it a listen!), it sounds like there were numerous bugs.  Some tactics that were made illegal in the tabletop (“TT”) version were some of the best ways to win in the online version – reverse pinning with a ship that can’t be hit by ships within S of her, getting more than 2 full actions for one ship during a turn, etc.  That would definitely provide a learning curve for someone like me, who has played the main version extensively but without such overpowered tactics being legal.  In addition, the game was flawed due to the lack of sets.  Not all of the sets were available, so fleet building and combos would be limited compared to having the full scope of game pieces available either in the physical version or on the VASSAL module.  Finally, there was a timeout system where you could win the game by taking your turns faster than your opponent, similar to how a chess clock works.  That is definitely an aspect that I would not like to see, so although I wish I had gotten involved (I didn’t know about anything to do with Pirates CSG in the virtual/internet world until early 2011), I love playing on VASSAL due to the freedom it allows.

Check out the trailer for the game here: (not my video of course)


Did you ever play Pirates Constructible Strategy Game Online?  Did you like it?  What is your favorite memory of the game?  Please comment below your thoughts!  😀

How I Got My 10 Masters

How I Got My 10 Masters

Most of this post is from 2017, when it was originally posted to Miniature Trading.  Most of these average prices come from the time I wrote the post.

My 10 master story starts at Pojo, where sariouriel (the creator of Century of the Empires no less) linked to some Amazon stuff. From there I found a Plunder Pack for $25 (the original price I believe), which at the time was an absolute steal because the Delusion was going for over $60 a couple times on eBay. That was in February 2012.

Soon after that on eBay:

4/15/12: Shui Xian: $19.00
5/25/12: Baochuan: $26.02

Last December I became the forum moderator and xeriousone teamed up with wantkrakens to give me a very generous gift – the SCS SR’s from xeriousone, and the Celtic Fury from wantkrakens. An example of hard work and dedication paying off unintentionally for some extra unexpected benefit. And thus, my fourth 10 master.

Last week godmason posted an eBay lot on the subreddit, which I snatched almost immediately because I was afraid someone else would buy it first since it looked like such a good deal. Along with 60+ other ships including some very rare stuff, I had a bargain Guichuan. Broken, but already repaired and ready for action. #5!

I think my history of buying 10 masters is possibly the best example of my collecting strategy overall – possibly more patient than anybody and just waiting and waiting for years on eBay until I can strike to get my deals. (hence my large amount of “best memories” on there compared to the quantity of others)

Delusion: $25 but with 10 ships from OE and the Plunder Pack map (all-time average is $29.44 so I saved about $5 but more like $10+ when you factor in the OE megapacks and the higher cost of the Delusion back in 2011/2012)

Shui Xian: $19, saving about $10 off the average of $28.69 but again that all-time high listing of $61 was around that time so realistically I got an even better deal than the all time average suggests.

Baochuan: $26.02, only a little under the average of $27.53

Celtic Fury: free (saving me $30.71)

Guichuan: $49.99 but realistically just about FREE when you consider the value of the 60+ ships in the lot which included the Crypt, Monkey’s Paw, Samedi’s Curse, Soul Crusher, and two DJC SE’s, which combined could possibly sell for $50 by themselves if they were unpunched. Either way, still technically saving me about $15 off the Guichuan’s average of $64.35.

Zeus (acquired 2019): $10; was going to be free as a gift from a fellow community member, but I didn’t want to take it for absolutely nothing and the $10 helped pay for the shipping. (saving me ~$44.39 off average price of $54.39 as of July 2019)

Total 10 master savings (most conservative number): $105.10 (which could buy me another TWO 10 masters!)

Now I have all 6.  3 were acquired in the first half of 2012, followed by a long hiatus of about 4.5 years before getting the CF and Guichuan within the past 9 months.  It probably goes without saying at this point, but getting all 6 has been a high long-term priority.  Check out my 10 master collection in this video:

The Baochuan is my favorite for a variety of reasons. It looks the most realistic (and I actually think it looks very cool), it’s the first one released, and it’s an amazing ship overall. I love the biggest cargo hold in the game and how it combines with the Treasure Ship keyword. The ship also single-handedly makes an entire minor faction better, since the JR’s don’t have a ton of stuff. Just a perfect flagship, and the most historical of them as well.

Shui Xian is probably my second favorite due to the English being my favorite faction and having the potential for quite decent cannons with one of my favorite crew aboard. The Delusion would probably come next since it was my first 10 and glows in the dark, though I haven’t used it in a while. The CF is overrated and the English naturally have a rivalry with the French, while the Guichuan is completely new to me for playing purposes. I do love the Guichuan’s flavor text (and all of them, actually) and how the ship looks, but S speed and Cursed faction aren’t my favorites lol. Zeus is the best for gameplay but I’ve only used it on VASSAL since I still need to get my physical copy. For what it’s worth, I did enjoy playing the Zhanfu and Fortaleza from RtSS in CG2.

Feel free to check out my tutorial on how to build one of these behemoths:


And here they are:

All 6 10 masters, 10 masted junk ships of Pirates CSG

Admiral A7XfanBen, Master Strategist

Admiral A7XfanBen, Master Strategist

Warning: This may be my most arrogant and self-congratulatory piece of content I have ever made or will ever make for Pirates CSG.  It is a way for me to look back at my best and favorite game moments where my obsession with the game’s strategy and my vast experience with playing the game culminated in big wins.  After hundreds or thousands of hours spent on the game in general, I feel proud of what I’ve accomplished in terms of playing the game.

For a long time I only played solo games.  I didn’t play my first game against a human opponent until January 2015.  Since then I’ve played against a few dozen players, some in physical games but even more on the VASSAL module.  This post documents some of my greatest moments as an experienced and extremely passionate player of Pirates CSG.

VASSAL Campaign Game 1

My first non-solo campaign game featured a ton of amazing moments, and it remains as possibly my favorite huge game.  It was smart for my Spanish to optimize their gold system very early on, purposely launching pretty much all of their ships and crew with gold bonus abilities.  The massive fleet of native canoes peaked at 35 total (7 sets), which helped the Spanish rake in a ton of gold throughout the game.  This allowed them to spend on battle fleets, which were used to take on the other factions.  The Americans were forced to pay tribute, and ironically became a vassal state of the Spanish Empire.  The French put up an amazing fight but were crushed by the strength of the Spanish war fleet.  The Pirates were next.  The Cursed and English were also smashed by my Spanish, who steamrolled through the game.  Even though my English fleet looked superior in the endgame, the Spanish managed to wear them down and pull out a well-deserved victory.  My superior launching strategy (of not saving gold for almost any reason) gave me the win.  Check out the factional analysis in the reflection at the bottom of the reports to get a better idea of how dominant the Spanish were.

Here is the retrospective video for a quick summary of the game, with the Spanish theme of the game playing:

VASSAL Campaign Game 2

This game was short compared to CG1, but still featured some interesting plays.  My theme in this game was attacking the Pirates (the main rival of my English) through whirlpools.  I pulled off multiple whirlpool raids, most of which were successful in general.  The final one was a huge move that swung the momentum permanently to the English side.  At that point I was building up an insurmountable points lead, and the game ended somewhat prematurely after my English intervened in a battle between the Pirates and French.  I was able to use 10 masters and submarines to devastate opposing forces, and eventually controlled seven 10 masters and six cancellers!  I mostly accomplished my goals within the game, which were to capture the Zeus, hinder or eliminate Captain Jack Sparrow, and of course win in the end.  Check out my path to victory in this video:

VASSAL Campaign Game 3

CG3 would be perhaps my greatest test yet.  In CG1 I controlled half the fleets (3/6), and in CG2 I still controlled a third (1/3).  In CG3, I’d be at just 1 fleet out of 6 total, with 5 other players trying to win the game.  I still thrived.  Lying low early due to bad resource rolls for my islands, the Americans watched as the Spanish burned brightly but then fizzled out.  After some long-awaited changes in the resource values, my Americans began to have serious spending power.  As usual, I first concentrated on optimizing my gold system, and then began to steadily launch ships for war.

The game’s turning point was an epic display of momentum shifting – the French crushed the Spanish at the central Gateway island, but then my Americans struck and crushed the French in the same location.  From there it was a matter of eliminating the other factions.  My fleet ranged far and wide, with the Zhanfu and others going to the far west to take out the Spanish and English.  The French were eliminated after trying to invade my home waters through a whirlpool.  I correctly anticipated a betrayal by my Pirate allies, and launched a preemptive strike to take care of that threat to my gold system.  The Cursed were the toughest opponent to beat, but yet another whirlpool strike (like in CG2) with the first shot advantage proved to be decisive.  You can even see my epic opening turn of that conflict here.  A long battle at the Cursed home island eventually saw the American numerical superiority victorious, with a massive wave of cancellation coming to dominate the Frozen North.

This grand victory was my third consecutive non-solo campaign game victory in as many efforts, improving my record to a perfect 3-0 and initiating comparisons to Tom Brady and Thanos in terms of utter dominance and early “championship” success.  At the bottom of the battle reports you can see my long strategy explanation for the game.  In this retrospective video you can see the dominance of the American fleet play out.

200 Point Game of Water World

This is one of those extremely rare games where everything goes according to plan.  My strategy was applied, and it worked flawlessly.  Everything I did went right.  It was a bizarre combination of luck, timing, and good gameplay on my part.

The Guichuan’s heist totaled 22 gold, but in reality the final score was about 35-0. I had won the game in a complete shutout despite the big build total. I only lost one ship, the Celtic Fury (plus one canoe haha). I had captured or destroyed Xerecs’ entire fleet.I was also happy because I was intimidated when I saw the enemy fleet – the Zeus and San Cristobal (by some people’s accounts the 2 best gunships in the game), along with the Baochuan and some of the best gold runners in the game. However, with some negative UT’s, effective crew placement, and brilliantly executed gimmick strategy, I was able to pull off the victory!

Calypso Shutout

To be fair, this was against a slow fleet.  However, it was still one of my most impressive wins, with Calypso going ballistic with whirlpools to give the Pirates every single coin in the treasure distribution for a 55-0 victory!  O_O

In a huge blowout, the Pirates defeat the Spanish 55-0! This is one of the only games I’ve ever played where a fleet gets every single coin in the treasure distribution. No gold was sunk, and the Pirates collected and stole the rest for a massive victory. This game made me want to use Calypso more, and it’s also one of the best gimmick games/fleets I’ve seen.

3 Player Circle of Blood game

This 5-hour long game was captured in full on video, found at the bottom of the battle report linked above.  I scored two massive coups that helped me pull out a narrow victory in the end.  The first involved a brilliant combination of using the Harbinger’s ship-stealing ability in conjunction with the special rules of the scenario, where the first island your fleet explores becomes your home island.  This happened early in the game, but there was a ton of action left.

The second “coup” netted me another capture.  I was able to capture a derelict galley and then row her S+S towards the Europa, who used an extra action and Commander Temple’s ability to warp the galley home.  Making it even sweeter was the fact that the 2 gold runners captured in these incredible game moves are two of the best to ever sail: the Banshee’s Cry and Star of Siam.  Quite the prizes indeed!

This second coup of the game for me was triply effective – it made the Hound less of a target, it got the SoS and Europa out of harms’ way (the Black Pearl), and it gave me another capable gold runner in my fleet. All in all one of my favorite moves I’ve pulled off in this game, showing how important it is to consider all options and really think through how you want to tow or “untow” things to your greatest benefit.

I then captured the Black Pearl a la Captain Jack Sparrow retaking his favorite vessel.  In the end it appeared that my moves were needed to keep me in the race, as I won a narrow 85-81 victory.  Truly a memorable game.

VASSAL Tournament #1 and VASSAL Tournament #2

These massive tournaments full of uber-competitive fleets were played between myself and Xerecs.  23 games in T1 and 53 in T2 combined for 76 games of competitive high-stakes action.  I played my ass off consistently, winning a lot of games and having a lot of incredible strategy moments.  A lot of it was gold calculation and making decisions based on available gold and fort strategy.  Really fun and incredible, and Xerecs had plenty of great moments as well.  I also made the somewhat incredible pick of choosing UPS 2 as the fleet to win T2 before the 16 fleet tournament even started!  (so technically 6.25% chance of picking the right fleet, though UPS 2 was an obvious favorite among some others)  This was based on my prior experience using UPS 2 in physical games and knowing how ridiculously effective, efficient, and overpowered that fleet is.  It was a total crapshoot, but I also won the 16 fleet game (using every fleet from T2) by 1 gold, and you can see footage of that game in my Games playlist.

8 Fleet Game after T1

This game was a bit controversial at the end, but my American Pirates fleet made things right with an impressive victory.  Not necessarily my best game in terms of strategy or specific plays, but it was one of the games I was happiest to win.

Blockade BreakerTwice

That was the first of two games with the “Other Worlds” scenario, where you use whirlpools to access multiple tables to dramatically change the setup compared to most games.  My opponent tried to use gunships to blockade my home island after I returned with gold from the other oceans – that way he didn’t have to brave the whirlpools.  I foiled that real quick.  The Philadelphia’s ability (ship stealing just like the Harbinger and Commander Temple) warped home a capture and I charged right back in.  I proved the ineffectiveness of the blockade strategy, and won in a 32-2 blowout.  I basically did the exact same thing a year later against a different opponent.  That game ended up 31-0 in my favor.

My record speaks for itself.  I have by far the most wins of any player on VASSAL (at least since it’s rebirth in 2016), and I am the only player to win a campaign game on the module that I know of, having won all 3 thus far.

Admiral A7XfanBen, Master Strategiest - VASSAL record as of July 2019

2019 State of the Pirates Community Address

Inspired by the annual “State of the Union” address, as the arguable leader of the current Pirates CSG community, I hope to make this an annual tradition.

2018 was a very dark year for the game of Pirates CSG.  The potential closure of Miniature Trading prompted me to create a new forum on this website, which is an upgraded version of my old Weebly site.  The community has become somewhat fractured, although it was already like that before the Miniature Trading crisis hit.

However, there is plenty of good news.  The forum at Pirates with Ben is up and running, and Miniature Trading is still alive!  Various parts of the community grew in the past year, with the Facebook group surpassing 200 members and the Discord server being created.  However, the scattered community is part of the reason I plan to do things mostly on Pirates with Ben going forward.

Plenty of content is still being created, between my youtube channel and the Pirates CSG Podcast.  It is quite possible that 2019 will see a bit of a decrease in video and audio content overall after the explosion of those in 2017 and 2018.  Of course, there is still plenty to talk about, and plenty of games to play.

There is a lot of uncertainty in the Pirates world going forward.  After a slight dip in some prices, it seems that the market is still one for sellers, with the Shui Xian recently auctioning for $79 and an Obago Deuce commanding a whopping $500 on eBay.  Regardless, it seems like a great time to finish the decade strong!

Feel free to respond to this State of the Community address, and add your own thoughts! 😀

Tom Brady is Thanos, and Admiral A7XfanBen is Tom Brady

Tom Brady is Thanos, and Admiral

A7XfanBen is Tom Brady

Spoilers Ahead

Last night (February 3rd, 2019), myself and many others witnessed a thoroughly unsurprising event.  Tom Brady won his 6th Super Bowl ring, further extending his legacy as the greatest player in the history of football.  As he always does, Tom proved the doubters wrong.  After his previous success, especially the historic comeback against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI, NO ONE should have been betting against Tom Brady.  He is the god of football, and now there is simply no debating that.

Tom Brady is Thanos

With his 6th championship ring, Tom Brady now has as many Super Bowl rings as Thanos has/had Infinity Stones.  At any time now he could do a snap and erase half of all people, or perhaps just half of the NFL.  XD  Tom is now 6-3 in his nine Super Bowl appearances, breaking a tie with Charles Haley for the most championships by a single football player and moving into a tie with the Steelers for the most championships of any TEAM.

Tom Brady is Thanos

TB12 sitting on his throne with an Infinity Gauntlet of Super Bowl rings. (not my picture – full credit to BeatATrexx on Imgur)

Tom Brady and Admiral A7XfanBen

After winning VASSAL Campaign Games 1, 2, and 3, I became “the Tom Brady of campaign games”.  This is because Tom was 3-0 in his first three Super Bowls, and now I am 3-0 in my first three non-solo Pirates CSG campaign games.  You can see how I did it in my Epic Videos playlist.  CG4 has begun, although it is likely to last FAR longer than any of the previous VASSAL campaign games.

There are a number of additional parallels between Tom’s Super Bowl legacy and my own campaign game legacy.  CG1/2/3 were all played in a 2 year period from February 2016 (start of CG1) to March 2018 (end of CG3), which covers the three calendar years from 2016-2018.  It took Tom only 4 years to accumulate 3 wins, similar to how it took me only about 2 years (and one month) to accumulate 3 wins.


In terms of opponents, Tom was a massive underdog to the Rams in his first Super Bowl (SB).  Xerecs and I faced off in CG1, the first-ever VASSAL campaign game.  It could be argued that neither player was really a favorite or underdog.  I did not control the best faction in the game, the Pirates, nor the French, another very competitive faction.  I ended up winning as the Spanish, dominating the game in general.  The Patriots were the favorites in Tom’s second SB, just as I would have to be favored to win CG2 against 2 other players.  The Patriots were also the favorites in Tom’s third SB, just as I would be to start CG3 (as the most successful and experienced player in that game).

Margins of Victory

A more stark contrast lies in the margins of victory, which are necessarily opposite due to the nature of the radically different games.  Tom’s Super Bowls are pretty much always decided by a tiny margin, often by 3 points.  With the shortest VASSAL campaign game (CG1) requiring a full 3 months of play to finish, and with Last Fleet Afloat rules in effect, it’s inevitable that my CG wins would be lopsided at the finish.  However, there were some close moments, notably when the Pirates nearly attacked the Spanish in CG1, when the Pirates had a points lead over the English in CG2, and when multiple factions had better starts than the Americans in CG3.

Thanos and Admiral A7XfanBen?

What if someday I get to 6 victories in Pirates CSG campaign games?  Will I “retire”?  Nope, I’m going nowhere!  I also don’t like to think about what would happen in a “snap” comparison – by the time I win my 6th, it’s possible that half of the current community will be gone.  🙁   Let’s not let that happen!!  😀

What’s Next?

Tom has already stated that he will not be retiring, so a potential 7th ring is already in his sights.  While CG4 and the Caribbean game slowly languish on, I have turned my attention to The Hourly Campaign, a solo campaign game, for want of players.  Thanos will presumably look to defend his Infinity Stones in Avengers: Endgame.

The interesting thing about what lies ahead is that Tom lost consecutive Super Bowls and went a full 10 years before winning his fourth.  Incredibly, something vaguely similar could happen with me, though of course I am confident in my abilities.  It’s certainly possible I may not win CG4, which will likely take multiple years to conclude.  Instead, I will try to break from this “Tom Brady and the Patriots” campaign game tradition and continue my undefeated streak.  😀

Click here to get your Tom Brady Thanos gear!  If you want to beat me in a campaign game, you better buy some packs to get started, cuz I’ve got a 400+ game advantage.  🙂  If you’re like me, the following video will motivate you to WIN.  (not my video; full credit to GoobzTV on youtube)  Finally, it looks like Joseph Vincent is going to make a sequel to his EPIC 5 Rings video.  Edit: It’s here!  Tom Brady – Six Rings (An original Documentary)


Here is my hype video for VASSAL Campaign Game 4.  If I can win it in due time, I would be 4-0 in Pirates CSG campaign games.

Sweet Spot – Best Mast Count for Ships?

Originally posted to Miniature Trading on July 2nd, 2016

Sweet Spot for mast count

HMS Viceroy, an average English 4 master.

Sweet Spot For Mast Count?

A day ago I was randomly pondering if there’s a kind of “sweet spot” in terms of a specific ship type or especially a specific number of masts.

Obviously each mast number has tons of great ships associated with it – but could one be called the “best” or slightly better than all the others?

I contend that ships with 4 masts are just about right. This category includes many of the best ships in the game, and this ship size and point cost is the perfect amount for both gunships, gold runners, and especially hybrids.

I could go into more detail, but I’d be interested to hear others’ opinions.

Pirates CSG Darkhawk II

Tough to beat one of the best ships ever – the Pirate hybrid Darkhawk II.

As for the other ship sizes: 1 masters are far too fragile to ramming, 2 masters are often overcosted for what you get, 3 masters are not quite “line of battle” ships and aren’t quite as good at being hybrids as 4 masters, while the 5 masters that can run gold effectively or play a hybrid role are few and far between. Game pieces with more than 5 masts are generally extremely expensive or used almost exclusively in gunship roles. (3 masters would be my runner up for the “sweet spot” designation)

I’ve always had a huge soft spot for 5 masters – they are my favorite ship type. However, they’re generally used in more of a gunship role. Based on the search function, there are more than twice as many 4 masters as 5 masters, so that speaks to the flexibility of 4 masters (an unfair advantage in this discussion perhaps, but a fact nonetheless). There just aren’t that many purpose-built 5 master hybrids – as good as the SC and Swallow are, a lot of people will still understandably use them as pure gunships. Also, there aren’t any 5 masters with more than 6 cargo spaces, while a few 4 masters have more than 6 (and plenty of 4’s with 6 as well). 5 masters are generally the truest gunships, while 4 masters are (in general) better hybrids while still holding their own in a line of battle full of 5 masters.

What is your opinion of the gameplay “sweet spot” in terms of mast count?  And why??

My Single Year Plays Record

From Miniature Trading in October 2016

My Single Year Plays Record


A game in progress during VASSAL Tournament #2.

Wow! After last night’s 5 games played with xerecs on the VASSAL module as part of Tournament #2, I’ve tied my plays record for a single year at a whopping 75!

My plays by month

Year/ # of plays per year
2011: 32
2012: 58
2013: 75
2014: 28
2015: 56
2016: 75 (finished with 92; update below)

2011 was essentially half a year’s worth of playing, since I mostly did HFS’s prior to June 2011. Things ramped up soon afterwards, culminating in a whopping (I love that word lol) 75 in 2013. February 2013 still stands as my most active month, with 43 total plays. That was partly because of a tournament and the Acorazado vs. Endeavour one-day deathmatch series. After 26 plays last month I’ve got 16 so far this month, putting me on pace for about 30 (likely less though). The 43 plays in a month isn’t likely to be broken anytime soon. My Single Year Plays Record My Single Year Plays Record However, it makes me wonder which month was my highest for total hours playing Pirates. It could certainly be June 2015, since I played Economy Edition nearly every day, and the game literally started on 5/31 and ended on 7/1, almost perfectly encompassing the whole month of June.

2014 was like my “dark year”. I was less active in terms of playing (with less plays than even 2011), as well as other piratical activities. 2014 was also the only year I didn’t play a huge campaign game (regular in 2011, RISK in 2012, CotE in 2013, EE in 2015, CG1/CG2 in 2016). I then rebounded in a huge way in 2015, and expected to hit around 50-60 plays this year, which would establish ~55 as the number I would shoot for in future years (indeed, my average is 54 per year right now). (Since 2011, 2013, and 2014 were aberrations.) But, the World game has been delayed, leading to two big tournaments! The tournaments are definitely the biggest factor leading to the new record, and it’s quite possible 2016 will be my biggest year for a long time, possibly ever, in terms of total games played! I might hit triple digits! Shocked

I record plays on BGG when a decision is reached (aka the game ends), so technically I’ve already broken my record because CG2 hasn’t been recorded yet! Smile Though, the record will “officially” be broken soon, likely with the next T2 game, which funny enough features Norvegia heh.

I like numbers and statistics (*at least for Pirates stuff! lol), so I wanted to make this thread. It also previews some of the end-of-year stuff I have planned. Very Happy


2019 Update

I actually finished 2016 with a whopping 92 plays, which stands as my single year plays record.  2017 was another big year with 76 total plays, making it my second highest single year for plays.  2018 was another dark year but almost inevitable given that the VASSAL tournaments were over and I wasn’t in a position to play many physical games either.  However, I’m glad I’ve been able to do considerable campaign game playing recently, and hope to continue that with The Hourly Campaign.

My Single Year Plays Record

My numbers updated through the end of 2018

Greatest Rivalries between Factions in Pirates CSG games

Originally posted to Miniature Trading on October 9th, 2016

Greatest Rivalries between Factions

As the title says, what are the factions that fight each other the most in your games? Which rivalry has the bloodiest history? Story time!


For me, it has to be Spanish vs. Pirates. For some reason, they almost always seem to be at odds with each other. It’s not on purpose at all, and never has been. I’ve had plenty of the classic English/French wars and plenty of different wars between all the factions, but the Spanish/Pirate rivalry is so consistent, legendary, and brutal that it has to take the cake.

Warning: spoilers ahead!

My “Guide to huge games” thread has links to all the different huge games (1,000+ points total) I’ve played in the past, which I will reference here. The Spanish and the Pirates have been at it since the very beginning. My first two packs contained two Spanish ships and two Pirate ships! My first cumulative game from 2011 was most memorable for the war between these two great factions. The Pirates hated the Spanish so much in that game it was unbelievable. They attacked in full force and effectively forced the Spanish out of the game, although it was partly due to other factions getting involved as well. The Pirates went on to repair their battle fleet and win the game, though the Spanish were the early favorites.

Then came the first 5 player 500 point game. The end of the game was controversial: Davy Jones’ Divine Dragon managed to sink two Spanish galleons right before they docked home gold, giving the Pirates a 48-45 victory! This further fueled the Spanish/Pirate rivalry, with the Cursed acting as a temporary sideshow.

Those games happened in 2011, and although I’m sure there were plenty of smaller games featuring battles between the Pirates and Spanish in the meantime, there was a bit of a “cool down” period. That is, until 2013’s Century of the Empires (CotE) game. That setup had the Americans in between the Spanish and Pirates, which would seem to act as a buffer. However, once the final battles began, the Pirates and the Spanish went at it again, utterly destroying the Americans in the crossfire! The Spanish eliminated the Pirates from CotE, exacting some measure of revenge…

Until the legendary Economy Edition game! After forming an alliance with the Franco-Spanish, the Pirates then proceeded to break their promise in the biggest betrayal in Pirates CSG history. That, coupled with non-allied attacks by the Americans and Cursed, wiped the FS from the game at the hands of the Pirates. This was the ultimate disrespect for the Spanish, and they were sick and tired of being on the losing end of things.

VASSAL Campaign Game 1 changed all that. The Spanish Empire flourished, and the Pirates weren’t ready. The Spanish swept down upon the Pirates at their fort, winning the Battle of the Devil’s Maw and later the battle at the Pirates’ home island. It took a long time, but the Spanish finally eliminated the Pirates and went on to win the game. It was a well-deserved victory for the Spanish, and between the records they set along the way (biggest fleet, etc) and the dominant fashion in which they won (with the exception of the late-game English battle fleet), the Spanish are relatively satisfied with the rivalry for now.

Looking ahead to more epic conflicts, the future is murky. The Spanish aren’t participating in CG2, so the Pirates don’t have to worry about them there. The World game is due to begin at some point, but the home territories of Spain and Singapore promise to keep the factions apart for at least a little longer. Of course, it’s only a matter of time before they clash again.

Even in my latest game they were at it again!

January 2019 update:

Crazy enough, the Pirates and Spanish have home islands near each other in BOTH The Hourly Campaign AND VASSAL Campaign Game 4!  I don’t want to speak too soon, but it’s hard to imagine them NOT clashing in at least one of those games, especially given the history between the two factions.  In fact, there’s already some tension between them in THC….

Xerecs wrote:

There hasn’t been a rivalry like that in any of my campaign games, yet. There have been game to game animosity and hatred, such as Spanish and American in the first and second CoE test games.

In CoE in 15, there were two main rivalries, the Spanish and Pirates; and the Americans and Cursed. The Spanish and Pirates started the first war of the game, with the Pirates launching a small HI raiding squad that was repelled by the Spanish. The Spanish followed the Pirates home and almost eliminated them. They were forced to spare the Pirates due to Cursed activity. Later on after re-building a little, the Pirates assembled a sizable fleet and sailed en-mass on the unguarded Spanish HI. The Spanish responded by fighting their hardest and repelling the Pirate attack, effectively taking them out of the game.

The Americans were dominant in their western part of the sea, putting down the English and expanding their empire. The Cursed launched a significant battle fleet, and used Becalmed twice to get the first shots on the Americans. However the Americans fought back and eliminated most of the Cursed battle fleet, effectively taking THEM out of the game, combat wise. The Americans then fought an English battle fleet, backing the English all the way to their HI, and were eventually proclaimed as winner of the 2015 CoE.

In the Economy game, the Pirates and Cursed were not present,and the great rivalry of that game was the two fold, the Americans and French, and the French and English. Though the Spanish were present, they were not a factor until late in the game, thus taking them out of rivalry contention. The battle between the English, French and Americans dominated that game and made each faction hate the other.

The next campaign game was this year’s CoE, in which their was only one real rivalry: Cursed v. Everyone except the English. The Cursed and Americans contested the middle ocean, with the Cursed pushing the Americans back, for a time. The Pirates tried to take gold and resources from within the Cursed’s sphere of influence, for which the Cursed attacked them with almost everything they had, sinking the Pirate launched Baochuan, and destroying the Devil’s Maw fort for a time. The French sailed south around the English and Spanish and tried to forcibly take Cursed territory, which met with mixed success. The Cursed fought back, but were weakened from the ongoing conflicts with the Pirates and Americans, and Spanish to boot. This resulted in a slow decline for the Cursed, which opened the door to the renewal of the French-English rivalry.

For this Winter’s campaign game, there will be no factional divisions, it will instead be player divisions, with me against my two brothers and perhaps our friend from the Economy game. Thus it will be a rivalry of persons, like CCM’s great campaign in 2011.

Also, the examples don’t have to be from campaign games or anything – I’m aware that Xerecs and I are mostly the only ones that play them. I just remember them a lot better than all the little games I’ve played, and a larger and longer game naturally has more potential for a rivalry than an hour-long game.

As a matter of fact, I can’t really think of specific factional rivalries within smaller games over the long haul – I’ve played so much that everyone has warred with everyone multiple times throughout history! laughing

Greatest rivalries between factions

Original thread on Miniature Trading