2018 State of the Pirates community address

Originally posted to Miniature Trading on January 22nd, 2018

Inspired by the annual “State of the Union” address, as the arguable leader of the current Pirates CSG community, I hope to make this an annual tradition.

2017 was a solid year for myself and my fellow pirates. The game at large continues to see fresh players. Many new members introduced themselves at Miniature Trading, the hub of all Piratical content on the web. The subreddit has swelled to 169 readers as of this writing. The Facebook group has 86 members, with new people joining each month.

The community continues to innovate and new things are being introduced even as we approach the 10 year anniversary of the shutdown of Wizkids. Two YouTube channels have sprung up. A podcast is thriving with 15 episodes so far and more on the way.

As far as play goes, 2017 was no subpar year. Things started off with the 2017 Campaign, and continued with the CoEC 2017 game. Then we set an incredible record with SIX different players in the same campaign game, VASSAL Campaign Game 3: Economy Edition. Not long afterwards, the unprecedented Command the Oceans game obliterated the previous record for the largest game in Pirates CSG history. In a fitting end, the year culminated in crowning a new champion at the end of Tournament #2.

Various events have taken place across the lands. An event at Pax Unplugged reinvigorated the interest of at least one former player, and possibly ignited a spark in the minds of various others. An upcoming event at Con of the North may yield similarly exciting results. There have been reports of various players teaching other players how to play.

On the more “futuristic” front, we had a series of impressive developments. No less than 4 surveys have been created, which will help the podcast and video creators going forward, as well as providing important information for a potential long-term relaunch of the game. Getting in touch with some of the corporate employees was a wild ride, and even one of the game designers himself responded! Pirates fans have much to look forward to in 2018, whether it be the possible conclusion of CG3, many more podcasts, more videos, Ocean Terrain Contest #3, and some potential unannounced plans by two of the greatest to ever play the game….

As the game enters its 10th year of being out of print, I urge you not to despair. The general bull market is always nice, and the active gaming community shows that our niche has staying power for the long haul. Beyond that, it’s even possible that the rights to the game will expire in the intermediate-term future.

It’s a Pirates’ Life for me, and I hope it is for you too!  Let me know if you want me to continue this State of the Community address each year in the comments below.

I’m sure I’m forgetting something… must have been the rum. state of the community

All Pirates CSG Surveys – please take!

Pirates CSG Survey (kinda long)

Pirates CSG video survey (short)

Podcast survey (shortest)

The last two require more knowledge of the game, so they’re best taken once you have a decent amount of experience playing.

Rules Survey (longest)

Ability Costs Survey (kinda long but all multiple choice)

Also, feel free to post below any comments or concerns you have. I’m open to adding more questions. I could also add surveys other people run regarding Pirates CSG.  Pirates CSG Surveys

Thanks everyone!

Pirates: 2018 Year in Review

Pirates: 2018 Year in Review

Hi everyone! This is a thread where you can share what Pirates stuff happened over the past year. It can be just about anything, from accomplishments to purchases to cool ideas. If this seems too vague, you can look at mine for an example. There’s also the option of stating your Pirates Goals for 2019.

It will be nice to look back upon the entire year and find joy and amazement in how much we’re capable of. List (possibly with links and/or a short description) everything you accomplished in 2018 in regards to Pirates that you thought was a good thing that happened. Everyone could make their own post and contribute their own things that they did or are currently doing. When I think about this past week for example, I don’t really think much of it, but when I consider everything I’ve personally done in the entire year, I feel amazed at myself! 2018 Year in Review I think others could share that feeling as well if they look back at everything. Also, little things count too, so it doesn’t have to be all about one particular event or anything. Once everyone has posted, we can talk about what we accomplished as a whole forum.

a7xfanben

Pirates Goals for 2018

-At least 8 new players taught: Pathetic, ZERO players taught.  🙁  Darn.
-VASSAL module (get more players on the module, hopefully edit for more ship types, execute on plans with Xerecs): Somewhat successful, The Caribbean Game has begun but no consistency has been established.
-Finish VASSAL Tournament #2: Done!
-Make a bunch of videos for youtube: DONE!  I technically have produced/uploaded 231 videos to youtube in 2018!  O_O
-Make great podcast episodes and have more guests: The podcast doesn’t seem to have a growing audience from the numbers I see on ShoutEngine, but we did have some great episodes including the reveals of Unreleased game pieces.
-Finish stuff for Ocean Terrain Contest #3: I didn’t really do this, but it was because more important priorities got in the way.
-10 year anniversary games (RotF, F&S, SS): These were played, and eventually the Battle Reports for the first two will be restored/redone.
-Try to play at least one game in every month of the year: Another total failure, as I missed four months in a row from July through October.  I also finished with just 11 total plays (not counting The Hourly Campaign and the Caribbean game, which are ongoing), my lowest ever total for a single year by a wide margin since I started playing in 2011.

General accomplishments:
-Made a lot of progress in salvaging Miniature Trading content (database pictures backed up, Master Spreadsheet saved, many threads and other content saved)
-Completed 4 trades
-Submitted 5 fleets
-Wrote 2 Miniature Reviews
-Posted a lot of pictures on Instagram and surpassed 250 followers (as of now)
-Was the driving force behind starting VASSAL Campaign Game 4
-Produced 24 Podcast episodes
-Produced 231 videos for Pirates CSG (including starting a Pirates CSG Blog/Vlog series)
-Tried out a Facebook ad and an Instagram ad – good “reach”, but not many people seem to actually care about the game.
-Made the transition to Pirates with Ben from my Weebly site – up and running, content transferred over, speed is now improved, more posts coming, forum up and working with some members posting, huzzah!!
-Actually made a little money from Pirates through affiliate marketing rather than direct sales – this is important going forward because my time commitment to the game is simply not sustainable financially in the long run….

Games:
-Played 11 games (my lowest ever total, though massively affected by the amount of campaign game playing rather than games that can actually be completed in a reasonable time frame)
-Finished and WON VASSAL Campaign Game 3
-Started CG4
-Started The Caribbean Game
-Started The Hourly Campaign

Pirates Goals for 2019
I’m anticipating a number of potential major life changes in 2019, so I may not be able to do all the things I’d like to with Pirates.
-I’d like to teach at least one person how to play, though of course I’d love to break my record of 7 from 2015.
-Make videos and podcasts about Pirates
-Continue The Hourly Campaign with at least some consistency – although I doubt I’ll play and finish games in every month of the year, playing THC each month and sometimes each week can satisfy my “playing bug” and allows me to be playing consistently.
-Continue optimizing, building, and monetizing Pirates with Ben
-Actually do things that matter in terms of restarting the game – realize that posting on Instagram all the time, playing random games on the VASSAL module, and doing “random” Pirates stuff really isn’t going to move the needle at this point. I’ve done a TON of the “small stuff” over the years, and it doesn’t help much in the grand scheme of things even if it’s fun.

Naval Wars: The Last Campaign (A Pirate’s Story)

Naval Wars: The Last Campaign (A Pirate’s Story)

This is my first attempt at actually “making” a video through editing and putting something together versus just recording. Although the quality may be a joke compared to many of the epic things on youtube, I’ve been VERY excited about it and it’s been AWESOME to make it and watch it. Please give feedback! I want to make more videos like this and improve if possible.

This is a parody of sorts – CG4 is NOT meant as the last campaign game (VASSAL or otherwise) of Pirates CSG. Just wanted to have the title connection. I combined the titles of both “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” to get the title the way I wanted it. (worked out perfectly!)

I got the idea from some of the other epic trailer-style videos, especially these:
NFL 2017: The Last Quarterback – A Star Wars NFL Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrByNSyjB5Y
2018 Yankees Hype Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1h59_bBS3g
Xerecs’ Savage Seas trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnP8hWWd7Sk

I’ve always loved epic stuff so this sort of thing is exactly what I want to create. I LOVE this game and campaign games are my favorite thing about the world of Pirates CSG, so naturally I’m excited about both the past and future of them. I thought it would be cool to showcase my illustrious history of playing campaign games, while using that as a way to preview this upcoming game.

I know there are some inconsistencies with the character parallels, but naturally I have to portray myself as the “First Order” with the other CG4 players as the rebels. With the “it does now”, I was originally going to have that feature my own avatar with the two player 1000 point game post by mastercommander before it, but I decided it would be much better to showcase a current player. Plus, it makes Xerecs seem epic XD, which his games have been. I also was going to have a picture from one of his games fade in right after his avatar first appears, but I think it would be too fast before the next transition. Funny enough my name is Ben, which is perfect for the Ben Solo comparison. (I actually hate Kylo Ren though haha) Baseball is the only sport I really care about at this point, but I’m a Yankees and Patriots fan (go dynasties!!), and Tom Brady was 3-0 through his first 3 Super Bowls, just as I am 3-0 in my first 3 non-solo campaign games, thus why I’m the “Tom Brady of campaign games”. (it also acts as an homage to the Patriots hype videos that partially inspired this one)

Since this is my first real “edited” video, I hope to improve in the future. I already have a solid half-dozen more ideas for this kind of video, but it will take a while to make each of them. Indeed, I was actually going to make retrospective videos for CG1/2/3 before this one, with this video as an epic “finale” of sorts that outdoes all the rest. Naval Wars However, a number of things have led to this being first, although this is the one I’m most excited about anyway.

Disclaimer: Not trying to take credit from Disney or Star Wars. XD

Leave a like and subscribe if you want to see more!  You can see the CG1/CG2/CG3 retrospective videos in the Epic Videos playlist.

Another big “dig” find-art from Adventure Book!

Originally posted to Miniature Trading on May 22nd, 2018

Shocked I seem to have found Darrel Rustvold, a Graphic Designer at Wizkids during the later days of the game’s production run. Ships from the Adventure Book 1 of 1. I assume the 5 master on the right would be the Charming Mary, looks like she was modeled after an HMS Apollo or Morning Star.

This may have been posted here before, so apologies if it’s not new or not new to everyone. Ah yes – these managed to show up on the Scavenger Pack boxes for SS….

art from Adventure Book

Pirates of the Caribbean movies – Ranking them all!

Ranking the Pirates of the Caribbean movies

Pirates of the Caribbean movies are my all time favorite.  I have found no better movie or series that combines action, adventure, excitement, and some historical details so beautifully and perfectly.  I like them so much more than other movies that they almost “break the scale” for me in terms of ranking other movies.  In addition, I usually enjoy even my least favorite Pirates of the Caribbean movie more than any other movies.

In Pirates CSG Podcast #30, I briefly ranked all 5 of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.  You can find that podcast at the bottom of this page, but in this post I wanted to rank all of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies in text form, more comprehensively.  I know this is a little off-topic compared to my usual Pirates CSG focus, but between the 2007 expansion and intense relation to Pirates CSG (exact same theme), I think it’s quite fitting.  Keep in mind that my ratings are comparing these movies against each other – compared to all movies in general, I would rate them all about 9/10 or better haha! (I love them that much)  So without further ado, here is my official opinion on ranking what I believe to be the best movie series of all time!

1. The Curse of the Black Pearl

The first movie is the most classic.  A true swashbuckling film from start to finish, this movie resurrected the pirate genre and spurred a blockbuster series that has lasted 15+ years.  

Pros:

  • Cast and the characters they portray
  • Historical setting mixed with the right amount of fantasy
  • Understandable plot with twists and turns that make things exciting
  • ACTION!
  • Multiple climaxes in a way – many peak experiences throughout the movie
  • Unforgettable music, on par with the best in movie history

Cons: None?  I feel that CotBP is the most perfect movie I’ve ever seen!

Ben’s Rating: 10/10

Captain Jack Sparrow

Captain Jack Sparrow

Best game piece from Pirates CSG: Captain Jack Sparrow

This ship can move and shoot using the same move action. When this ship is given an explore action, you can swap a treasure on the wild island with a crew on any friendly ship.
Link: All Pirate Ships

  • Collector’s Number: 058
  • Faction Affiliation: Pirate
  • Rarity: C
  • Type: Crew
  • Point Value: 6

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.

 

2. Dead Man’s Chest

The second movie was shot simultaneously with the third movie, and DMC does serve as a link to At World’s End while the first movie is really on it’s own in terms of the plot.  While Dead Man’s Chest is another fantastic pirate movie, it’s definitely not as perfect as the first one. (though it would be nigh impossible to match the original of course)

Pros:

  • We get to see Captain Jack in a completely different state
  • Great amount of fitting humor
  • Davy Jones and his crew are menacing but fun

Cons: 

  • No ship battle
  • Kraken a bit overpowered/excessive

Ben’s Rating: 8/10

Best game piece from Pirates CSG: HMS Endeavour

HMS Endeavour PotC

HMS Endeavour

  • Collector’s Number: 003
  • Faction Affiliation: England
  • Rarity: R
  • Type: Ship
  • Point Value: 21
  • Cargo Space: 4
  • Base Move: L
  • Cannons: 2L,2L,2L,2L,2L
  • Number of Masts: 5

This ship eliminates two masts with one hit.

Flavor text: Lord Beckett’s flagship and the symbol of the Crown’s power, HMS Endeavour is the most impressive warship on the sea.

Sure she didn’t play much of a role until the 3rd movie, but this cannot be avoided.  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. At World’s End

The 3rd movie is in my opinion the most EPIC, which gets it major points in my book.  The movie is the culmination and grand climax of the first 3 movies, building everything up to some of the most epic moments ever seen in movies.  The humor is still there, the cast is top-notch, and there are few movies that can match its brilliance.  A complicated and difficult-to-follow plot is the only thing that holds it back from being as good as the first movie.

Pros:

  • EPIC!!  On par with Lord of the Rings for me.
  • Everything you could want in an epic/action/adventure/Disney/pirate movie
  • Climax and payoff of just about all major storylines built up from the start of the first movie
  • Incredible actions scenes including an epic ship battle
  • LUDICROUSLY amazing soundtrack

Cons: 

  • Overly complicated – plot can be very difficult to follow at times

Ben’s Rating: 9.5/10

Best game piece from Pirates CSG: Hai Peng

Hai Peng PotC

An afterthought in the movie, overpowered with the right crew in the game

  • Collector’s Number: 013
  • Faction Affiliation: Pirate
  • Rarity: R
  • Type: Ship
  • Point Value: 13
  • Cargo Space: 4
  • Base Move: S+L
  • Cannons: 3S,4S
  • Number of Masts: 2

Junk. If this ship has a captain crew, she gets +L to her base move.

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.

 

4. On Stranger Tides

The 4th movie was supposed to have a smaller budget and reduced cast from the trilogy of 1-3, so I went in with lowered expectations.  That was key to my enjoying the movie, as it turned out to be an (arguably inevitable) serious letdown to most of the fanbase.  With Captain Jack trying to hold up a lesser cast by himself, the movie just doesn’t have the magic, scale, and excitement of the originals.  A “new era” of Pirates of the Caribbean is born after the true high of AWE’s ending scenes.

Pros:

  • New characters to spice things up (though they aren’t quite as good as those from the original 3 movies)
  • Adventuring theme that may have been slightly lacking in movies 2 and 3

Cons: 

  • A bit “meh” in nearly every way – just not the same for cast, music, plot, action, or emotions
  • No ship battle – in fact, not a single cannon shot I believe!  🙁

Ben’s Rating: 4/10 (still 8.5+/10 compared to all other movies)

With this movie and the 5th one being released after Pirates CSG went out of print in 2008, there were no game pieces from this movie.  However, we can make customs!

 

5. Dead Men Tell No Tales

If the “lower budget” and different cast made me appreciate the 4th one more, I was overhyped for the 5th movie.  Although fantastic overall, myself and others had many gripes with the movie, from the casting to the plot to redundant repetition.  It’s a fun movie, just not quite as great as the trailers or cast would make you expect.  You can find my full review of the movie here.

Pros:

  • Humor – St. Martin town scene, wedding scene, etc.
  • Blurring of lines between good vs. bad – you can easily root for the antagonist

Cons: 

  • Wasted star power (Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann, and Paul McCartney are hardly in the movie!)
  • Continuity issues/plot holes
  • Too unrealistic – many bizarre things that were really obvious mistakes
  • Meh characters/acting – even Captain Jack is not the same anymore

Ben’s Rating: 6/10 (still 9/10 compared to all other movies)

Although there aren’t game pieces from DMTNT, I’ve made some customs that you can find at the bottom of the Epic Seas sheet (4th tab).

You can also find all the movies in boxed sets, not to mention the excellent soundtracks.

Here you can hear my opinion during the 30th episode of the Podcast.  I’ve also ranked the Top 10 Caribbean game pieces and the best game pieces from the set with multiple versions.

Check out the other episodes of the Podcast here.

 

Pirates of the Caribbean celebration game 1

Pirates of the Caribbean celebration game played in 2017 to celebrate the 5th movie and 10th anniversary of the 3rd movie! Click for the battle report!

The Jades can use Calypso too! A good game – May 4th, 2018

Another game was played between A7XfanBen and JohnLock

I went first with The Jades can use Calypso too! JohnLock followed with a Pirate fleet comprising some of the best ships in the game, including the Banshee’s Cry and Hai Peng. 

Once again we had 10 wild islands with 3 coins apiece, and flat earth rules. 

The Pirates took off for 4 different islands, but the Virtuous Wind had already scoured one of them. I purposely went for islands farther from home, knowing I could probably get close gold later. Calypso got into action early, allowing the Tiger’s Breath to explore an island in the south that would have taken longer to get to. 

Here I wanted to try raiding the Pirate home island, but Calypso and Cheng couldn’t come up with a whirlpool in the north. The Virtuous Wind instead headed northeast. 

Seeing both Pirate gunships (Hai Peng and Carrion Crow carried captains) away from the Pirate HI, I decided it was time for the VW’s raid. Throughout this game, both of us had dismal luck with whirlpool travel, and Protection from Davy Jones wasn’t found until the end. 

Having found the Jade UT earlier, I was taking a big risk going to the Pirate HI instead of just going home with the 7 the VW had. Risking both the UT and the 7, the VW only robbed a 1 coin. 

Though the Pirate brigade did turn for their robbed home island afterwards, I decided to “ride out and meet them”. 

Smile

 The Hai Peng had 3 coins aboard, and I figured the VW could win the fight. The Hades’ Flame and Carrion Crow have warped to the southeast, losing masts. 

The Hai Peng rammed the VW instead of docking at the home island, taking off a mast but being dismasted in return by the Wind. This was my golden opportunity to cash in and tow the HP home for a bunch of gold. 

Using a little-known rule, from Page 10 of the Reference Diagrams I confirmed that I could capture and tow the Hai Peng with the Virtuous Wind since the HP was derelict and her bow was already in contact with the VW. The VW moved S to enter a new whirlpool Calypso had created (Clutch Calypso! XD), warping back to the Jade HI in a jiffy! 

Both fleets maxed out their gold scores at the end, specifically the Jades with you guessed it, Jade. XD The VW used the UT to double her old 7 coin into 14 gold after the Tiger’s Paw took the stolen 1. The TP then gave the 1 back to let the VW double that coin too. Good thing, since unfortunately I would need it…. 

In very improbable fashion, the scores end up tied at 58-58!!!! 

The Jades won on both tiebreakers: they led the Pirates in points in play (my favorite tiebreaker, and something that should have been a standard rule) 55-21, and led in masts standing 7-5. 

I’m very happy with how my new fleet performed in its first game, essentially winning against a fleet using some of the best Pirate ships out there. We both made some mistakes; the Hai Peng ramming the Virtuous Wind instead of docking home her gold led to the Jades capturing the infamous junk, while I should have been more conservative actually, since going for the HI raid only resulted in 1 more gold. If the VW had been successful in doubling both the 7 and the 4 from the island northeast of the Jade HI (Carrion Crow eventually got the 4 for the Pirates), the Jade profit would have been 22 instead of 15. However, then I probably wouldn’t have captured the HP, who netted 12 gold from her 3 coins. So many moments, decisions, and strategic moves that matter in the end – one of the reasons I love Pirates so much! 

Overall though, a very fun, close, and strategic game that came down to the… rope? XD See you next time!!