English Fleet Review – How Good is the English Faction?

English Fleet Review

English fleet Pirates CSG

My English fleet at the 2014 Fleet Review.

Looking at a faction’s capabilities

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

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

Theme – Time to FIGHT!

English fleet taking on the Spanish

English cannons win the day against the Spanish!

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

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

Loaded at the top

HMS Endeavour Pirates CSG

Good luck beating a loaded HMS Endeavour!

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

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

Better at the gold game than you think!

HMS Lady Provost

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

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

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

Conclusion – Do you like the English Fleet?

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

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

Happy Playing!

-Admiral A7XfanBen

Posted in Informational and tagged .


  1. I had no idea the English Fleet was so strong in CSG,especially Great Britain. 

    A really interesting topic for a site and I am sure you get a lot of support from the gaming community. I know a guy who is mad about the Pirates addition and he spends hours in front of his screen over weekends. I will tell him about this website, unless of course he has beaten me here. 

    • @Michel: Thanks for your comment.  Unfortunately there’s not really support from the gaming community, since Pirates CSG went out of print in late 2008 and a lot of people have moved on and/or forgotten about the game.  However, there is at least some semblance of a community, so that’s nice.

      When you say someone is mad about the “Pirates addition”, do you mean the Pirate faction or something else entirely?  I don’t think I’ve seen someone with that opinion on my site yet, but it sounds interesting to discuss haha!  🙂

      Have fun,


  2. Mostly I am not into the game’s but it so happens that my kids loves games very much this one will be another from the long list of the games they will love .I really like the way you have explained everything to the last details it got me interested also to also try this as I take to my kids  I believe we can have much trying to out gun each other.

    • @charles39: Sounds great!  It is definitely a good game for both kids and adults.  I hope you all will enjoy it.

      It is fun to try and out gun and out maneuver your opponents, especially when you get into the finer strategy aspects like crew (including face down versus face up), strategy decisions on larger battlefields, and bluffing.

      Thanks for checking out my site!


  3. Thanks for a great article, I enjoyed reading your website. Your clearly an expert in your niche as your seemingly endless knowledge of the English Fleet and how they fight. I love how well organized the layout of your website is, it makes for a very easy and enjoyable read.

    • @Jack: Thank you for the kind words about my site.  I’ve spent a considerable amount of time adjusting the layout and look of it, so that’s nice to hear.

      I suppose I have reached “expert” status, but it’s simply due to massive experience starting way back in 2011 (or 2005 technically, when I got into the game).  

      Thanks for the comment!


  4. To be factual I haven’t played this particular game before but reading this review I can’t just imagine how interesting it will be and I am really looking forward to play this game although i have played pirate games but this particular English fleet I really need to have experience in this also.

  5. Hi Ben. Your enthusiasm and knowledge for the pirates game are infectious. I imagine with your experience and strategic tactics that you could out-gun superior fleets even if you had a fleet not as good as this English fleet. I wish you all the fun that you desire when immersed in this game.

    • @Andrew: Thank you. I have managed to win some games with inferior fleets, but winning with the English is usually the most satisfying since they’re my favorite faction.
      Have fun,

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