The Pirates of the Caribbean set marked a number of changes to the game. The ships had new masts that were less prone to breaking, rounder tabs for easier construction, and no more pennant flags. These changes were generally for the better, but the set was marred by a variety of things. These included a collation fiasco with entire booster boxes full of commons (and yes, some full of super rare packs), and just 2 factions despite the Cursed being a strange omission.
I like the set a lot, and think it was a cool business and marketing move for both parties. It’s awesome to see our favorite characters and ships from the movies in the game, and it can lead to fun ironies and cool games.
Here are my Top 10 game pieces from the PotC set:
I’ve played so many games by this point that my entire list can almost be strictly based on game results, which is what matters. CJS is arguably the best crew in the entire game, as proved by VASSAL Tournaments #1 and #2. You could make a case that he is the single best game piece ever released by Wizkids. When most of the best fleets in the history of the game have this guy as their centerpiece, you know he’s amazing, and you also know that something went wrong. I do find it rather ironic that our beloved character is such a dominant force in the game, since he’s such a major character in the movies as well.
Just about on par with El Acorazado and the Constitution as the best gunship in the game. Combine the best guns money can buy with just about the best offensive ship ability in the game, and give those to the most offensively-minded faction, and you’ve got a warship for the ages.
3. Jolly Mon
Captain Jack’s little boat from the first movie, this thing was an ugly addition to the game. It comes as close as you can get to having a free ship, though it’s nearly useless. The problem is, you can easily abuse it by letting it sit at home all game with The Hag of Tortuga aboard. It may not seem like such a pitiful vessel should be ranked so highly, but when it enables you to add an extra 4 points into the game at nearly no downside, it just about becomes overpowered for the net benefit. ( Banshee’s Cry + explorer, Rover + Mermaid , Le Coeur du Lion + navigator, events; the list goes on and on)
4. Hai Peng
But where would Captain Jack Sparrow be without a ship? It might not be a ship he even sailed on in the movies, but the Hai Peng is the fastest ship in the entire game, and the fleets involved in T1 and T2 prove how insanely effective it is to pair them up. The only reason the Hai Peng isn’t higher is because without CJS, the HP wouldn’t be as ridiculously good.
5. Tia Dalma
And where would the best faction in the game be without a canceller? Well, the truth is, still pretty darn good, but having a canceller is like a necessity for a faction. They are usually the best crew outside of the Big 3 generic crew (captain/helmsman/explorer), and sometimes even outperform those guys over the long haul of a solid game. Their versatility and value for your points almost cannot be overstated.
6. Black Pearl
One of the best gunships in the game. With a captain and helmsman for 22 points, capable of moving L+S+S with 2L,1L,1L,2L guns. Throw in extra actions and she’s tough to beat. (Flavor text is one of my favorite quotes from the movies)
A somewhat underrated gold runner, understandable given her faction affiliation. Another example of negative abilities being a net positive for most of the ships that have them.
8. Jimmy Legs / Mercer
Though still underpriced, the sac ability is just insanely good. These two are actually underrated due to the prevalence of sac captains. Mercer is more important due to the Pirate sac captains, but both are very valuable to fleets using them. Similar to the statements on cancellers – they’re just so so good.
This is a “fun-ruiner” UT that I’m not a fan of, but being able to cancel any UT in the game is very powerful. You can even affect gold scores by knocking something like Barbary Banner out of the game.
The last spot was tough, but I had to give it to a unique crew who can dramatically affect a game. This version of Captain Jack has two of the better abilities you can have, and either one can really affect the results of a game. Parley is underrated, especially as a potential offensive weapon, while the other ability is just super obnoxious. This one crew completely altered the strategy of the Cursed faction in VASSAL Campaign Game 1, and likely other factions as well if the Cursed hadn’t “dealt” with him.
Just missed (in no particular order): Captain Elizabeth Swann , Damsel In Distress , Black Pearl (damaged) , Paradox , HMS Hound , HMS Hyena , Lord Cutler Beckett , Kraken Gong , Kray-kin , The Kraken
Honorable mentions, in no particular order: Flying Dutchman , Flying Dutchman , HMS Trepassey , Song , Jack Sparrow , Wicked Wench , HMS Interceptor , Swift , HMS Victor , Calypso ,Captain Sao Feng , Captain Barbossa , Admiral James Norrington , Elizabeth’s Piece of Eight , Dead Man’s Chest , Potions and Brews , Capitaine Chevalle , HMS Phoenix