Ocean Play Mat – Many Options for Pirates Players

Ocean Play Mat Options – Which is Best?

A member of the Facebook group asks:

What do you use for a play mat? I’ve used a sheet once but it bunches and moves. Neoprene playmat?

I don’t quite have a favorite ocean play mat, but I’ve used many great options in the past.  In this post I’ll answer this question in detail, providing pictures and analysis for the ocean play mats that I use.

“Official” Options

European Pirates of the Spanish Main ocean play mat map

This is the mat that comes in European packs of Spanish Main (Unlimited Edition).

There are various “official” mats you can use.  For starters, European Spanish Main Unlimited packs contain a basic small plastic mat. (thanks to Holofernes and others for the detailed Wikipedia page)

Gale Force Nine released a vinyl map that you can see here.

Probably the most “famous” is from the Plunder Pack.  However, it’s both the least appealing and not very practical.  Although I DON’T recommend the map, the Plunder Pack itself is quite cool.

Pirates Plunder Pack map

The Plunder Pack map – dull, gray, boring, and prone to excessive creases from folding in storage.

Better Options!

Although the above ocean play mats are better than playing on less nautical surfaces (such as a wooden table or a random rug or carpet), it’s both cheap and effective to get something that really beautifies your games.

The answer?  Basic chunks of fabric.

In 2015 I went to Joann Fabrics and bought 5 different yards of blue fabric for a grand total of about $17.  At about $3/yard, I can honestly say it was one of my “best buys” of Pirates CSG ever (despite not buying any actual Pirates stuff) and transformative for both my games and associated Battle Reports.  Since that awesome purchase, I’ve used almost nothing else in my games.  I’ve attempted to rank them here.

#1 – Light, tropical, textured, “Caribbean” blue

This is a light blue fabric that makes you feel like you’re playing a game of Pirates CSG in the Caribbean!  I call it a “textured” fabric because it’s not a solid blue color, with some variation throughout to make it look a bit more like real water.

Caribbean Sea blue ocean play mat

The English and Spanish feel right at home in the “Caribbean”!

#2 – Silky shiny blue

This one is by FAR the most unique ocean I have.  It’s a completely different material than the other 4 fabrics I use, making it quite distinct.  It’s silky, smooth, shiny, and cool!  It doesn’t fold like the other fabrics, being much more susceptible to sliding around in your hands.  However, you can still wrap or fold it up easily for storage.

Silky blue ocean mat

Gorgeous and luxurious!

#3 – Dark textured blue

This is just like the “Caribbean blue”, but with darker shades of blue.  Creates more of a “deep sea exploration” feel as compared to the more tropical light blue.

dark textured blue ocean

Darker version of the other textured blue fabric.

#4 – Basic light blue

This solid colored fabric is a little more “boring”, but still provides infinitely more thematic element than the brown table below it.

Basic light blue ocean fabric

Starting setup for an “Other Worlds” game.

#5 – Basic dark blue

More of a “navy blue”, this may be the most boring of the bunch, but it still turns Pirates CSG into more of a seafaring experience.

dark blue ocean fabric

Custom islands and terrain can enhance your games even further!

Bigger Options?

If you’re like me and occasionally need a larger ocean (or oceans), there are still various options.  You can use a blue bedsheet that you may have lying around, or bought for cheap.  You could also buy more than a yard of fabric – 2 yards would give you quite a lot of space.

To avoid any extra purchases, you could also simply connect multiple (different) yards of fabric together to create one ocean.  This has the added benefit of creating a “separation” of ocean colors/textures on your map, which can be great for designating a more tropical look or a more menacing deep blue Pacific look.

Here are a few more oceans I’ve played Pirates on:

ocean play mat

Combination of bed sheet and fabric yard used in the Sea of Allost (Command the Oceans).

I’m planning to get even more ocean fabrics in the future, especially shiny ones that look like glossy water.  For example, you could use a big blue photography background for a Pirates ocean!  A simple search reveals tons of great options for affordable prices.  Just one yard can vastly improve your Pirates games forever.  😀

A Question (or two) for You

Which ocean play mat is your favorite?  Do you generally prefer lighter or darker colored oceans?  Comment below and I’ll respond!  Feel free to even rank all of them if you’d like.

Thanks for reading and let’s get in touch about Pirates CSG!  (a7xfanben@gmail.com)

-Admiral A7XfanBen

Need help determining when patents expire/etc

Originally posted on Miniature Trading on July 21st 2016

I’ve looked at the patents that Wizkids had/has a few times now. Being relatively young and rather inexperienced with this sort of thing, I have some questions:

-Is this the best place to go for locating the patents that are relevant to Pirates CSG?

On that list of 12, only the bottom/least recent 5 were filed before Pirates went into production. However, I can’t seem to find much info on which patents are relevant to Pirates specifically.

I’m trying to figure out when the patents related to Pirates expire. I started with this, and also found this page.

This patent seems to list the first two (bottom in the list) patents of the 12 as being relevant to Pirates.

Then I went to http://portal.uspto.gov/pair/PublicPair and pasted 6,899,333 as the patent number with 10243980 as the application number. I don’t really get most of the tabs, but based on the faq/information stuff in the links from a few paragraphs above, it seems that the patents expire if the maintenance fees aren’t paid on time. The last day to pay the fee for that specific patent is less than a year away. O_O (Don’t tell NECA! LOL)

Also, patent number 6,899,332 has two expired “parents”; does that matter?

Also, it appears that anyone can pay the maintenance fees, even as a “guest”. Shocked How does that work? Does the payer receive the right to the patent or does the company/legal entity still “own” it?

Is this research going anywhere or am I way off base?

Thanks everyone.

(By the way, as a member of this forum, you should read “How did they do it?” if you haven’t already.)

~

https://assignment.uspto.gov/patent/index.html#/patent/search/resultAbstract?id=6899333&type=patNum

You can access the information from my links in the first post, but this site has the actual documents you can look at. It’s amazing how much stuff you can find online! I don’t understand much of it, but it appears as though the patents in question (assuming they are the ones relevant to Pirates, perhaps the license is the only thing that matters) are still in NECA’s possession. (looks like they switched banks in 2015, IP “security agreement”)

~

From the Contacting NECA thread:

godmason wrote:
Do we know when the company’s exclusive rights to the property expire?

 

Probably not for a while. After some reasonably deep digging last year, I MAY have located the patent or patents that apply to Pirates.

At the time the fees due this year hadn’t been paid, but from this you can see that they have now been paid, albeit with a late fee. XD (I did not have $7400 lying around last year or else I may have gotten legal help to figure it out further lol) (and now I see this so it doesn’t look like we could have just bought it out anyway)

It seems that this latest “11.5 Year Window” is the last one listed, but I don’t know what it means or when it potentially expires.

I just went and downloaded the Patent Term Calculator and filled it out the best I could. I found out that most patents expire 20 years after the filing date. From the calculator, it says the patent may expire on September 13th, 2022. Shocked Smile (disclaimer: this is assuming I’m even looking at the right patent in the first place, but either way it seems like a “Pirates patent” would expire by 2024 since the game first came out in 2004) I don’t know if NECA/WK can renew or extend it from there, but I do see this:

 

Quote:
An expired patent can only be renewed through an act of Congress, and in rare cases, a patent may be extended for a few years.

 

So hopefully that wouldn’t happen. XD But I don’t know if there are other ways for them to get around it and find loopholes. need help determining

~

Also from Contacting NECA thread:

My message to them about the SCS set going for $482. Said their page had seen it, no message back. (the link DID go to the expired listing, it’s just that eBay has changed their site a bit and now try to link to “suggested” active items when you look at ended auctions)
need help determining

More promising, some messages between another member of the active Facebook group:

irishbandit89 wrote:
need help determining

need help determining

 

And finally, possibly the most promising, another member from here and FB got an interesting response back:

 

juulm wrote:
need help determining

 

(Level 0 users still can’t post pictures need help determining )

So at this point, we should “share our enthusiasm”!  I am about to head out for a while, but plan to message NECA and Wizkids on Facebook (and possibly elsewhere) once I get back later.

NECA Facebook page
Wizkids Facebook page

At this time it is worth a reminder that a Petition to NECA was started and signed back in 2011, but nothing really came of it.  (new petition here)

Some other threads worth checking out from the Thread of Threads:
Could WE restart Pirates?
How did they do it?

Please leave a comment below with your thoughts on these issues!  In addition, if you have any potential solutions, go ahead and share!  Additional questions for the legal side of things that I haven’t thought of are also welcome.  I will respond to all comments and questions.  Thank you!!  

Ben

Best Crew – Optimize your crew complements to WIN

Another part of the Q&A series here at Pirates with Ben.  This was asked in the Facebook group – a question about

which crew to use.

Best Crew

Captain

Best Crew to Use

Captains and helmsmen are the most important. I’m not the biggest fan of explorers but they can be quite good as well. In terms of named crew, anything that gives extra actions is extremely good (SAC/EA/SAT/etc). It does depend on my strategy and the ship though. Empty gold runners can work pretty well, but you’re not going to have an “empty gunship”, so a lot of times the percentage of crew in a fleet is massively biased towards gunships (meaning 75-90% of crew points spent could be assigned to gunships, for example).

C+H necessary to stay competitive

Best Crew

Helmsman

Specifically, if a ship has a base move of S+S or slower, she nearly always needs a helmsman for your fleet to stay competitive (exception is empty gold runner that gets +S with no cargo). Even the recent Savage Shores anniversary game is a good example of this. Gunships always need captains, and almost always need helmsmen too.  I cannot emphasize this enough.  If you don’t use captains and helmsmen on your gunships, you will not win against competent opponents.

Extreme Cases

However, a gimmick fleet might go with very little crew or many “abnormal” crew that don’t get pure results, but are VERY fun to use. These fleets often still use captains and helmsmen as a “backbone” of sorts, in addition to the wacky stuff that make them fun and unique.  That said, if you’re strictly looking to WIN, you’re better off hammering the basics to ensure optimized fleet building.  Personally I get a little bored of winning with the same fleet or strategy all the time, so I like to change it up!

Check out my Building a Fleet page and Gameplay page for more information.  You may also find some specific crew on eBay.

Unsinkable ships – Eternal no more!

This is the first in what could be a nice long Q&A series.  From my Eternal keyword video.

XxMrLimeyxX asks:

Is there absolutely no way to eliminate a ship with eternal built in? And if no does this cause any gameplay issues for smaller games or against opponents with a small variety of ships?

Eternal is underpriced by a point or two, but it’s not as powerful as it sounds. With the right tools and strategy, it’s not a big deal to counter. Best way to sink an Eternal ship permanently is with a canceller. Cancel the Eternal ability right before you take the shot to sink the ship.

Turn the tables

You can also capture Eternal ships and use them against your opponents. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to eliminate any oarsmen on the ship first, since they prevent dereliction and therefore capture. This is one of my favorite ways of dealing with Eternal because you can capture an enemy ship instead of “sinking” it and then immediately scuttle it and try to warp it back to YOUR home island instead of theirs! I was able to do this in CG3.

There are a few niche things you can use to make Eternal less effective too – simply leave the ship with no masts and refuse to sink it. Or use the Periscope UT to cancel the ability like you would with a canceller.

If you don’t have many tools available to help you with the above methods, simply sink the ship as quickly as possible and try to win the game before it comes back.  Repairing an Eternal ship to any level of respectable health (likely 3+ masts for any gunship) can take a while.  Not to mention how long it will take for the ship to get back in action.  By simply blasting the ship away each time it approaches, you can minimize the threat by keeping it repairing at home rather than causing chaos on the battlefield.

Where it DOES get nasty

The tricky part is when you combine Eternal with other defensive stuff – such as a submarine with a canceller aboard as well. Think USS Mercury with both Ralph David (Eternal) and DNT (Canceller), with an oarsman. That’s when it gets a bit OP, but that kind of combo is really only valuable in deathmatches or big games, not so much competitive games with gold.

Eternal mostly only causes gameplay issues in deathmatches. My favorite house rule there is to only allow it to work once. So if Eternal is used in a deathmatch, the second sinking is permanent.

Thanks for the comment and let me know if you have any other questions.

Unsinkable ships

Captured Eternal ship carrying Davy Jones at the lower right after my Americans nabbed him in VASSAL Campaign Game 3 – click for details!

How to repair your ships – for Pirates CSG

How to repair your ships – for Pirates CSG

A question was asked at the Facebook group – how do you repair broken masts?

I do a simple tape job system. I rip off a very small slice of tape and put one on each side of a broken mast. It can still be a bit wobbly or fragile, but usually holds up fine and sometimes can even be taken out and replaced again as normal. If you do this I recommend the very clear tape and not what they might call “transparent” (which is more like a fog color I think).

The few times I’ve tried glue with Pirates stuff it went horribly and I would almost rather just leave masts as-is than deal with any complicated or time consuming solutions.

I have left a few ships damaged for a while (Concord from RV being the main one I remember) – as long as you can see the cannon die marking and there’s some sail, it can almost look cool like the ship is just permanently damaged (depending on the break of course).

Check out this video I made about repairing basic mast breaks.  This solution is especially great for repairing the typical break where you have a mast that has splintered near the base.  With a thin piece of tape carefully applied to both sides to hold it in place, you should have your ship back into action and sailing in no time!

Question of the Day: How do you prefer to repair mast breaks?

Do you want to see more videos like this?

 

Alternative “solution”: Make shipwrecks!

If you have multiple mast breaks, your ship is beyond salvaging, or you simply want to experiment with a different solution, you could repurpose a broken ship as a shipwreck!  I created this Shipwreck Cove and it’s quite a neat aesthetic to have in games.

How to repair your ships

My Shipwreck Cove creation during a game

What is a pokéship?

Originally posted to Miniature Trading on June 23rd 2017

What is a “pokéship”?

crsluggo wrote:
Please excuse my ignorance, but I see this term “pokeship” referenced from time to time on this site. What defines a pokeship? Is it good, bad, indifferent? Is there a set or sets in which they appear frequently? What are some examples of a pokeship?

(NOT laughing at you, I’m laughing at the concept and silliness of it all lol)

LOLOLOLOLOLOL Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing

XD

As far as I know the termed was coined by Holofernes back when the last sets were being released.

You’ve probably heard of the Pokemon phenomenon, which I happened to grow up with and love, hence why it’s even funnier to me haha. (scroll through post heh)

Pirates CSG Scythe Scorpion ship

Scorpion ship literally called “Scythe”

What is a Pokeship

Scyther card from 1999

Pirates CSG Bombardier

The Bombardier uses flamethrower! XD

What is a pokéship?

The mighty Charizard

Pirates CSG Skin Flayer Switchblade

The Skin Flayer, a Switchblade

Kabutops

The hoist is a lot harder to pin down…

Pirates CSG Hoist Buscador

The Buscador, a Spanish Hoist ship

Mawile

Ranking: #001 ships – Flagships of their sets

Originally posted to Miniature Trading on June 22nd, 2018

Ranking: #001 ships – Flagships of their sets

I’ve always thought that the first game piece of each set had to be at least somewhat special in some way. Normally it’s a large rare ship from the signature/featured faction, or just the Pirates of course.

Here I rank the “flagships” or signature ships of each set against each other! This was actually pretty hard!

1. Revenant 
Ranking: #001 ships - Flagships of their sets

A classic to this day, the Revenant is still a devastating gunship. The sheer firepower is the main attraction, but she’s got just enough cargo, speed, and ability to warrant high consideration when choosing a Pirate gunship at any build total.

2. Black Swan 
Flagships

This ship’s looks and ability are her main calling cards. The guns and cargo are strictly mediocre, but S+S at this size makes her pretty good. The Pirates have better options for large gunships, but the Black Swan is an interesting option if you want to go international. Reasons could include Gus Schultz Grim the Savage , etc.

3. Deliverance 

I like the next ship better, but there’s no denying the importance of speed in this game. S+L on a 5 master is amazing. Everything else is average or worse, with the flashy but overpriced Ghost Ship keyword inflating her cost. Still, a combination of captain/helmsman/world hater/action generator can make this one of the more fearsome flagships out there.

4. Divine Dragon 

One of my favorite Cursed ships and a classic in my games, this junk is powerful and quick. Essentially 6 rank-3 cannons moving at S+S for just 16 points, she’s a solid deal. A captain and helmsman are needed, and a rare use of Sir Edmund is perfect to allow Davy Jones to come aboard as well. Tons of great combos also available with the linked Fantasma.

5. Flying Dutchman 

A classic remade into a “Pirate” ship, this behemoth is made for monster setups. You’ll want to really crew her up to optimize her effectiveness; I’d recommend starting with captain/helmsman/world hater/oarsman (the latter to “protect” Eternal) and going crazy from there. XD

6. Nubian Prince 

Almost like the pretty prince in a group of nasty killers, the Nubian Prince would be boring if not for her incredibly overpowered ability. Arguments could be made to move her up or down this list; I’m going in the middle knowing her overall effectiveness is somewhat limited but unfortunately I have to respect how incredible the ability is during gameplay.

Now we get into what I sometimes call “ugly ducklings”. XD Rank these next 3 however you like.

7. Flying Dutchman 

Devastating firepower at both short and long range, this version has always been crippled by a slow base move and a somewhat unfitting ability. Could have been so much more, but still a good option among Cursed gunships.

8. Foresight 

A large Pirate hybrid perfect for Hammersmith / Barstow /oarsman, the Foresight is a bit of an enigma among Pirate ships. Severely outclassed by La Victoire , she would be a star in some other factions. As a Pirate ship, she gets passed on for superior options. Still a fun ship, and I can attest to her capabilities – underrated in my opinion.

9. Fool’s Hope 

Oof. 19 points for just 3 cargo, very average guns and speed, an underpriced ability (Eternal) and an overpriced ability. The second ability just doesn’t add much – you’re going to eliminate a crew or (unlikely) take a treasure anyway. Using a world hater is a great idea, and the Pirates have plenty of other combo crew (like Hammersmith) to make the low cargo work. Still, the PotC Flying Dutchman is considerably better for just one more point, so Fool’s Hope ranks the lowest of these three 5 masters. If she was the same price as her other version, she’d be a bit more interesting. (but still inferior to that FH, so basically lose-lose…)

10. Nautilus 

Tough seeing such a famous ship this low, but she’s not going to be great at getting gold or fighting. She’s often relegated to a bodyguard role in campaign games as part of a super squadron of concentrated cancellers.

11. Grand Dynasty 

An unfitting name for such a lackluster ship. A crippling base move combines with a boring ability to make for a not-so-great “flagship”. Solid cannons and a solid link won’t save her. Grand Temple or Grand Path should have been 001 for this set.

12. Beowulf 

Better than most icebreakers, but still largely mediocre as far as 3 masted ships go. For a few more points you can get one of the powerful Viking 3 masted longships, and Polaris has a better ability that’s perfect for Sigurd Andersen .

13. Krulth from Return to Savage Shores

Another ineffective squid, much meh.

14. He’e 

Awful, awful, awful. Even the Americans have a better creature than this trash. Silly mistake by Wizkids to put this out. No way that gimmicky ability is worth hardly any points. At 9 points (half cost), it would rarely get used. Almost as horrendous as it gets; no redeeming qualities that I can see.

Savage Shores – Mini Set Review

Savage Shores

Pirates of the Cursed Seas Savage Shores Scavenger Pack Box

Follow this link to find the Savage Shores!

Mini Set Review

Product: Pirates of the Cursed Seas: Savage Shores

Average auction box price: $21.33 (as of November 2018)

Cheapest place to buy: eBay

Factions: Pirates, English, Spanish, French, Americans, Cursed

Features/New Stuff: Hoists, Native Canoes, cargo masters, navigators, Great Turtles, trade currents

Ben’s Rating: 16/20

Pirates CSG Savage Shores Native Canoes

3 sets of American native canoes in Economy Edition (2015)


Savage Shores (SS, 2008) became the last set of Pirates CSG.  The set was only the size of half of a normal set (just over 50 game pieces), released in Scavenger Pack boxes instead of the normal game packs.  It featured a bunch of new game pieces and ship types despite the small size, and was notable for being the best set for gameplay since at least the Caribbean set.  A small blaze of glory before the game went out of print just days after release. You can find all of the game pieces in the Master Spreadsheet, and I’ve ranked the Top 10 here.

Ratings

– Art: 4/5. Definitely stands out, but some ugly ships keep it from a perfect score. I think the named crew artwork was exceptional.
– Set Quality: 4/5. Some great stuff, mostly good. The sea monsters, lack of generic crew, and somewhat unbalanced pieces (navigators, cargo masters, American canoes, Libellule, hoists) keep it from a 5 for me.
– New Content: 4/5. Canoes and hoists are both fantastic, arguably too much so. Hoists are the most excusable Pokeship (if they are even considered to be one) simply due to how interesting they are in terms of gameplay. Navigators and cargo masters are both frustrating to deal with in large games, but they’re a welcome addition to most players.
– Collectability/Misc: 4/5. The set was almost too easy to acquire, and the box idea caused some consternation among people who didn’t or couldn’t (or still can’t!) complete 10 masters. The SR’s were relatively common as well, but I give the set a 2/3 for collectibility. The Miscellaneous score gets a 2/2 due to the set’s good reputation and a kind of positive farewell after the long decline. The set is generally viewed with very positive vibes due to it being so unique in so many ways, and a beacon of hope that unfortunately never was.
= Overall: 16/20. Very good but not all-time great.

Discover the Savage Shores here!

Below you can check out the entire Set Review Podcast episode for a full overview of all the game pieces.

Fire and Steel – Mini Set Review

Fire and Steel

Pirates CSG Fire and Steel pack

Click to buy Fire and Steel!

Mini Set Review

Product: Pirates of the Cursed Seas: Fire and Steel

Average auction pack price: $1.38 (as of November 2018)

Cheapest place to buy: eBay

Factions: Pirates, English, Spanish, French, Americans, Cursed

Features/New Stuff: Bombardiers, Switchblades, equipment, historical LE’s

Ben’s Rating: 10/20

Pirates of the Cursed Seas: Fire and Steel

The wacky new ship types


Fire & Steel (F&S, 2008) continued the trend of the game delving more into the fantasy aspects, with new ships equipped with movable steel blades and huge flamethrowers.  It was a large set, but a slow and boring one.  There’s just not a lot in the set to get excited about. You can find all of the game pieces in the Master Spreadsheet, and I’ve ranked the Top 10 here.

Ratings

– Art: 4/5. Plenty of variety and good designs, with some ugly ones as well. The named crew portraits seem below average.
– Set Quality: 2/5. The gold standard for mediocrity in Pirates. So much quantity, and so much of it boring and/or below average.
– New Content: 2/5. Another colossal failure that partly led to the game’s downfall. Giant flamethrowers and freaky blades that pop out from the sides of a hull. Not as bad as Scorpions, but two Pokeship designs instead of one is just sad. On the other hand, equipment would have been perfect to introduce early in the game, such as CC or RV. However, at least it was great when it arrived – lots of variety, mostly historical, and good point costs (once you see the errata). The 0-value gold coins are evil but funny.
– Collectability/Misc: 2/5. Somewhat fun to collect due to the sheer number of game pieces, including cool SE’s and LE’s. However, it’s a little TOO hard to collect – beyond the LE’s being pricey, you’ve got a Big 3 of very tough acquisitions – the Chum Maker, Raptor Maw, and the big one, the Obago Deuce (and I’m not even including the SiaB’s!). I would say this is the most boring set, so the intangibles are bad. It gets a 1/2 for Miscellaneous due to the Historical Pack and having just enough cool stuff to be worth investigating.
= Overall: 10/20. The most boring set in my opinion. I still enjoy all the sets, but I usually enjoy this one the least.

Find Fire and Steel here!

Below you can check out the entire Set Review Podcast episode for a full overview of all the game pieces.

Rise of the Fiends – Mini Set Review

Rise of the Fiends

Rise of the Fiends pack

Click to buy Rise of the Fiends!

Mini Set Review

Product: Pirates of the Cursed Seas: Rise of the Fiends

Average auction pack price: $1.29 (as of November 2018)

Cheapest place to buy: eBay

Factions: Pirates, English, Spanish, French, Americans, Cursed

Features/New Stuff: Name change (Pirates of the Cursed Seas Pocketmodel Game), Scorpions, red islands/terrain, story inserts, 2 glow in the dark Special Edition ships

Ben’s Rating: 11/20

Pirates of the Cursed Seas: Rise of the Fiends

A Scorpion ship in action


Rise of the Fiends (RotF, 2008) signalled the decline of the Pirates game. New “pokeships”alienated much of the player base and the set was smaller than most that came before it, with an abundance of slow ships.  Only a few of the widely despised Scorpion ships were even produced, and the red islands didn’t make things any better.  Interestingly enough a lot of the regular ships and crew were pretty decent, the saving grace for an otherwise poor set. You can find all of the game pieces in the Master Spreadsheet, and I’ve ranked the Top 10 here.

Ratings

– Art: 4/5. Very colorful ships and crew – many great, but some a bit over the top. Most of the larger ships are quite beautiful. Using different artwork for generic crew is cool, but it does make it a bit confusing and harder to use for new players. Actually one of the most interesting sets for artwork, but too much focus on the red theme was detrimental (mostly with the red island/terrain cards, which look truly disgusting next to any other set’s). I don’t like the cards either – the red and yellow looks great with SM and CC, but combined and brighter it seems unappealing for some reason.
– Set Quality: 3/5. I’ve underrated this set many times, but it has a lot of interesting game pieces. However, there’s a bunch of mediocre stuff as well. Most ships are either slow or have small cargo holds, so it’s not a good set for getting gold at all. There are a few balance issues with the extremes of the set – mostly the San Cristobal and Blood Money being OP, while stuff like Merrow and some of the 1 masters should not have been made.
– New Content: 1/5. I nearly put 0/5 and said “am I allowed to do this?”, but flotillas and the glow in the dark stuff just barely make up for the atrocity of scorpions and the Hostile/Loyal stuff. Scorpions are my least favorite ship type, though the sharks are up there as well. Only one of them stands out, while all the flotillas are usable and quite good. The Hostile/Loyal keywords feel like an unnecessary gimmick to lower point costs (Eternal for one point?), though I do like when flavor text is part of the gameplay. The Turbine and Double Catamaran randomly thrown in at the end of the set really show that the game was completely coming off the rails at this point. The Turbine keyword is underpriced and weird from a historical perspective, while the Double Catamaran ship type is way too wide and big, not to mention awkward. Though the ship types weren’t new, I love the glow in the dark concept.
– Collectability/Misc: 3/5. Another small set, but a decent one to collect. Positives included a cool variety of SE’s and LE’s, some of which are very expensive to acquire. Negatives include a silly rarity distribution with generic crew and an SR pack that was too common. Not much to say about the story inserts. Throw in the mythical Ochobrazo, and it’s definitely a unique set for collectors. The Miscellaneous score is 1/2 since the set is just not that great when you consider everything. Throw in the odd name, “Rise of the Fiends”, and you can’t even find a sea creature outside of an SE kraken nor an abnormally strong Cursed presence. (sure they got Scorpions and a 10 master, but any of the large gunships from the set easily outclass them)
= Overall: 11/20. Not one of my favorites, but the positives of the set are pretty cool.

Get Rise of the Fiends here!

Below you can check out the entire Set Review Podcast episode for a full overview of all the game pieces.