“Pure Standard” – A Return to Normalcy
For the first time in YEARS I played a game with NO house rules of any kind. Captain Vendari and I met on the VASSAL module for a “pure standard” game. No ban list, no house rules, nothing beyond what Wizkids intended this great game to be. Due to the prevalence of house rules and ban lists in modern game groups that play Pirates CSG, I have even been calling this “hyperstandard” in my head, though in reality it’s basically just “regular Pirates”.
Vendari rolled to go first. These were the fleets: (all game pieces found in the Master Spreadsheet)
San Cristobal + Victor de Alva (F&S version), Luis Zuan (F&S version; Helmsman ability), silver explorer
Bloody Jewel + helmsman, silver explorer
Le Coeur du Lion + Vicomte Jules de Cissey, navigator
UT’s: Kharmic Idol
Black Swan + Captain Jack Sparrow (common 058 version), Bianco’s Haulers, helmsman, explorer, oarsman
Patagonia + Robinson, Lord Mycron, Administrator Scott Bratley
Le Coeur du Lion + oarsmen x2 (1 Pirate, 1 French)
Oarsmen x2 on home island (1 Pirate, 1 French)
Events: Hidden Cove, Raft
UT’s: Jailhouse Dog, Relics
With his 0LR+5 Vendari brought in both crew on the Bloody Jewel. I anticipated seeing at least one face down event in his fleet, but once I saw none in his complete fleet as Player 2 I realized I could save the 2 points I was anticipating for Favor of the Gods. My 5 extra points went towards my events and the HI oarsmen, as I figured the Coeur would need more crew to fling out to CJS.
As Player 2 I placed the final island, putting it on the western side. This was to preserve the southeastern island as likely the worst HI location. We didn’t dive too deep into the strategic meta around island placement, but we certainly talked about it as we set the map up. Vendari also won the roll to determine how many terrain pieces each player would place – he voted 6, I voted 2. He placed 3 whirlpools and 3 reefs, while I added 5 fog banks and 1 sargasso sea. I chose for Vendari to start in the SE corner while he chose for me to start in the NW corner. We were ready to play some old-fashioned normal Pirates!
Victor de Alva was revealed, and Vendari got his EA roll to zip the San Cristobal out towards the center island at S+S+L+S+S+S+L+S speed. The Bloody Jewel headed west as the Coeur generated a trade current.
The UPS machine began revving up. I flipped Hidden Cove to start my turn, and the middle island was the closest. I was wary of Nemesio Diaz on the SC being able to cancel one of my important abilities, but decided to chance it and dock near the SC anyway, knowing that I could force a decisive action very early if there was no canceller. (in hindsight, in a hyper competitive environment I would have studied Vendari’s face down crew setups and total points before taking my turn, which would have shown that the final crew on the SC could not have been more than a 3 point crew) The Black Swan used her first action to redock with cannons in range of the SC. I flipped CJS and shot before exploring, since exploring first could reveal bad UT’s that might mess up the shooting. The Black Swan hit 2/3 (definitely above my average with 3S cannons) and then explored, finding some low value coins on the island. I think it was a regular 2 and the rest silver – 2,1,1. CJS flipped the silver 2 to the Coeur, who was given an explore action targeting my HI to unload it.
With Mycron giving the Patagonia’s action away, the Black Swan then redocked again to fire her port broadside, hitting the San Cristobal 1/3 to take her down to 2 masts standing. CJS flung another coin to the Coeur, but she would have to wait until the next turn to unload it. The Black Swan also loaded one of the 1’s, as I would rather get boarded for it (and possibly only lose my explorer since the loser chooses everything for boarding parties) than have the SC just explore the island and take it.
Vendari got another EA from de Alva, and docked at the island next to the Black Swan. However, I was ready to reveal my “trap card”, with Bianco’s Haulers preventing the Black Swan from being shot at while docked! It was still a decent turn for the SC however, as she was able to use the silver explorer to grab the island’s final coin, then use the EA to sail away to the west. The Bloody Jewel scurried home with treasure after finding both Relics and Kharmic Idol on the southwestern island.
With no canceller or oarsman on the San Cristobal, I had to take her. The Black Swan got another Mycron assist to blast the San Cristobal, ramming at the bow as well. The SC was dismasted, and both players declined to board.
The Bloody Jewel returned home with a 3 and a silver 1 that generated an extra 1 gold from the silver explorer’s bonus.
On my turn the Black Swan started towing the SC, then used both actions to dock at the western island where I explored and flipped home a silver 4 to the Coeur who unloaded it. I then built Paradis de la Mer because it would allow the SC to repair, and because Vendari’s fleet was now likely too weak to be able to contest the gold in Paradis at any point in the future. (a safer play than some fort builds, so a no-brainer in this case) The following turn I got de Alva’s EA (quite the generous guy today!) to repair 2 masts on the SC. However, at this point Vendari decided to forfeit, seeing no path forward for him to win given the momentum swing and how hard it would be to get any more coins home.
- A7XfanBen: 13 gold
- Captain Vendari: 5
Although the game was shorter than I anticipated, it was nice to get back to a regular game of Pirates. It’s been so long since I played with all events being legal and things like the normal boarding rules where the winner has no agency to choose. I think it’s a good idea to do this once in a while, both to satisfy my desire to play competitively and as a way of going old school or back to the roots of the game that Wizkids put out. After all the house rule craziness in recent years, it’s almost a way to “detox” from a bit of “house rule fatigue”. Nothing against house rules to say the least, just kind of a fun experiment to do once in a while, both to actually play (not just theorize) in a competitive meta and almost as a tribute to Wizkids’ original creation.