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

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