I only have one person I consistently play pirates with just to be clear. (Although I consider myself fortunate since some people don’t have a consistent play group.
We usually play game types of 80+ point totals with a large amount of gold ~20-40 gold pieces with no specific total. (We definitely play a little loose with the Wizkids rules and set up but keep the keywords consistent with the code for the most part. For example islands may be strung together or closer than what Wizkids says it should be. Adding large amounts of terrain ect.)
The other game type we play is a “campaign” like setup where we determine a number of rounds or gold to be gathered and slowly build up fleets by purchasing them with gold corresponding to their point cost. Each time the round ends we move all ships back to HI and reset gold, perhaps change terrain. Then keep going. This keeps the campaign game from going on for days ( so it’s not a real campaign game as we see several veterans here report on) but a multi hour single game with various stages is fun.
Perhaps campaign is a bad adjective but that is what we usual describe it as.
That at is usually how we play. We often like large games so we can play around with different strategies both outrageous and strategic. Once I made a sub only fleet which I barely lost with. (Didn’t use Mobilis Ben so that’s why I probably lost)