Origin Story – How I got started with Pirates CSG

Hello again.  Thank you for reading my blog.  I’ll explain how this obsession and fanaticism came to be.

From an early age I was interested in both pirates and nautical themes.  One of those beginner reader books I learned from was about pirates!  In it was a reference to Oak Island, which has turned into a mildly disappointing tv show called The Curse of Oak Island.  Anyway, things really got going in 2003 when I was 8 and the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie came out.  The Curse of the Black Pearl was and still is the most perfect movie I’ve ever seen.  It captured my imagination and inspired me.  Then of course, Wizkids released Pirates of the Spanish Main in 2004.  I’m pretty sure I got into the game in very early 2005, when the unlimited version of SM was in stores, before Crimson Coast (the second set) came out.

At first, I simply opened some packs and was in awe of how cool the ships were.  I didn’t pay much attention to the rules, as I had more fun using the ships as part of “Historical Fantasy Scenarios”, where I would simulate naval battles and campaigns.  There weren’t many rules, but I was quickly becoming a fan of the Royal Navy and they naturally won a lot of the wars.  🙂   In 2005 I randomly found and purchased War at Sea in the Age of Sail by Andrew Lambert (get it for less than $5!), which became an extremely important foundation for me.  I read the book 3+ times as a kid, and really loved it to the point where my focus shifted from piracy to naval warfare between the great nations of the Age of Sail.  This shift completed my change of heart, going away from the evil pirates and embracing the dominance and glorious nature of Royal Navy history.  To this day England is my favorite faction in Pirates CSG, but I enjoy playing as all the different factions.

With that, the trifecta of influences was complete.  Things only got more intense afterwards, with the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy completed in 2006-2007, and many new sets of Pirates coming out each year.  However, after Davy Jones’ Curse came out in 2006, I got away from Pirates and focused on baseball heavily from 2006-2010, as it was my biggest passion in life at the time.  This was more due to loving baseball than DJC being disappointing as a set due to the fantasy elements introduced, but it’s still telling that even as a kid I was not in favor of Wizkids going away from the historical nature of the first 5 sets.

In 2010 or early 2011 I began doing some HFS’s (Historical Fantasy Scenarios) again, marking my return to the Pirates CSG world.  In early 2011 I made a few purchases to expand my collection.  Strikezoneonline doesn’t have Pirates CSG stuff anymore, but I purchased from them and Dave and Adam’s Card World.  After briefly lurking on the forums, I joined the main trio of Pirates sites in June 2011, becoming a member at Miniature Trading, Pojo, and BoardGameGeek, though the subreddit and Facebook group have surpassed Pojo in terms of activity.  From there I have truly taken off, as the numbers show:

After 6 years at Miniature Trading, I’ve done a LOT!

Check out the youtube video I made on this topic, which explains my story as well.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYeW-wXqUvQ[/embedyt]


Deal of the Day: Small lot of rares.  From Sweden, but with surprisingly cheap shipping!  If it stays low the next few days, it could be a nice grab.

*Disclaimer: I will be using affiliate links with things like this, so if someone buys from it, I could make a few cents.  XD


Pirates CSG Card of the Day

Set number: 10 – Caribbean

Collector’s Number: 004 – Grand Barnacle

Grand Barnacle

  • Collector’s Number: 004
  • Faction Affiliation: Pirate
  • Rarity: R
  • Type: Ship
  • Point Value: 13
  • Cargo Space: 5
  • Base Move: S+S
  • Cannons: 4S,3S,3S,3S,4S
  • Number of Masts: 5

Crew of any nationality can use their abilities on this ship.

This is a pretty good ship the Pirates got, though it’s arguably a slightly lesser version of the Black Swan.  The tough part is how to figure out her best role.  I see her as a hybrid ship, a little bit better than the Pequod from yesterday.  Nothing truly wows you, but everything is at least decent.  The speed allows her to outrace most other 5 mast ships, while the cargo is enough to make her a hybrid ship.  Since the Pirates have the best selection of crew in the game, her ability is largely unnecessary.

For fleet ideas, check out all the fleets at Miniature Trading using the Grand Barnacle.  Xerecs’ Gold Race 2.0 fleet is especially interesting from a competitive perspective.

Standard 40 point games: Hammersmith (captain + helmsman) + Coconut (explorer + reroll) (22 total points)

Medium size games (50-100 points): You could go nearly all Spanish with Master BiancoBianco’s HaulersDominic Freda and a helmsman.  (25 total points, moving S+S+S with 4 cargo open and a host of great treasure abilities)

Large games (over 100 points): Go crazy with international crew if you want.  For example, Duncan Rousseau is one of my favorite crew.  Parley could help keep the ship alive, while the reroll allow the ship to be more effective with shooting and potentially boarding enemy gold runners.  Either way, you’ll want a captain and helmsman to take advantage of the 5 cannons and to boost the speed to a competitive S+S+S.  (~23 total points, depending on crew used)

Game Piece Rating: 7/10.  The Grand Barnacle can be a decent hybrid, but lacks the star quality present on many ships of her type (Pirate 5 masters) and cost (Franklin and Santa Isabel also cost 13 points just for starters).


Picture of the Day

This was exactly a year ago today, on May 12th 2017.  A game played on the VASSAL module using my Large Fry – Spanish Swarm fleet.  Not only did my fleet win the game, it also won the The Large Fry Fleet Challenge at Miniature Trading!  A successful fleet indeed.  Check out the fleet and its description to see my process of building a winning fleet despite some important restrictions.  5 masters have always been my favorite ship type, so I was happy to win a challenge that was fitting for me to win.


As I continued to build on this site, I’m excited to add both content and new features.  My schedule doesn’t allow me to make a ton of progress all at once, but as a result I’m going to focus on consistently improving things day by day.


It’s a Pirates’ Life for Me.


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