Links to All Things Pirates CSG

This is the “list of links” – a post that has a TON of information all in one place.

Game Pieces and Master Spreadsheet variations
Pirates CSG Master Spreadsheet (shared Google Sheet)
Pirates CSG Master Spreadsheet (.xlsx file download)
Total Recosting (my attempt to fix point costs)
Buy/Sell/Trade Master Spreadsheet (File>Download to make your own copy)

Rules
Start Here Rules
Complete Game Rules
Master Keyword List
The Pirate Code (FAQ)
Reference Diagrams

Useful Information
Wikipedia Page (credit to Holofernes and others for creating and updating!)
eBay history spreadsheet (links at the top are affiliate links)

Surveys
Pirates CSG Survey (results)
Pirates CSG video survey (results)
Podcast survey (results)
Preferences Survey (results)
These two require more knowledge of the game; take them only once you have a decent amount of experience playing.
Rules Survey (results)
Ability Costs Survey (results)

Places to Buy
The links to eBay and Amazon are affiliate links. These links are NOT necessarily endorsements in terms of quality of the vendor or in terms of pricing. Some of these may be out of date.
eBay
Hill’s Wholesale Gaming (recommended)
RainTyger Games (recommended)
House Atreides
ChaosOrc
Paladins Game Castle
ddgamezone
BV Traders
All In One Collectibles
Noble Knight
kelz0r.dk
Toywiz
Potomac Distribution
mtgandmore.de
Amazon
Dave and Adam’s Card World
CCGCastle (untrustworthy)

Saved from Miniature Trading
Google Drive folder of MT database pictures in folders
ZIP folder from Google Drive of all MT database pictures
Google Drive folder with full page screen captures of all Pirates database pages
Google Drive folder with saved MT Forum pages/threads/etc.
Folder with Fleets
Folder with Miniature Reviews
Miscellaneous Folder
Folder with original Command the Oceans thread
Folder with a few Battle Reports
Imgur folder of MT Forum pictures
Imgur folder of MT database set pictures
Imgur folder of Rankings threads
Imgur folder of messages shared in Death of MT thread
Imgur folder of Other Fleets

Other Great Places to find Pirates CSG
Not mentioned elsewhere in this post
Facebook group
Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook group
Discord
Board Game Geek
Pojo forums
https://www.pojo.com/pirates/
Cadet-Captain Mike’s fansite
Captain Vendari’s fansite
YouTube channels: A7XfanBen and Xerecs
My Instagram: @piratescsg/
Tumblr
Archive.org
Canon Wiki
Sites visible on the Internet Archive: Miniature Trading, Corsairs of Douglas County

Custom Sets
A7XfanBen: Pirates of the Age of Sail and Pirates of the Epic Seas
Xerecs: Return of Davy Jones  |  Fiends of the Blood Islands  |  Pirates of Spherus Magna
El Cazador: Pirates of the Cursed Seas: The Great Sea  |  Pirates of the Cursed Seas: Rise of the Moon Sorcerer
Pirates of the Cursed Seas – The Vengeance of the Cadet Captain
Riz customs on Facebook
Riz customs on photobucket
Pirates of the Tolling Depths (alanqsmithee)
Pirates: Treachery on the High Seas (vladsimpaler)
Pirates: The Golden Age (vladsimpaler)
Pirates of the Kraken Sea (mr_awesome)
http://custompirate.proboards.com/

Miscellaneous
Command the Oceans original MT pages (missing one page since it was too big to capture)

Trading Pirates CSG – A Great Way to Expand Your Collection!

Trading Pirates CSG – A Great Way to Expand Your Collection!

Trading Pirates CSG

I acquired these pretty ships via trade!

One of my favorite ways to expand my collection is by trading Pirates CSG with other community members.  Often when you open fresh packs, you eventually end up with some duplicates (dupes) of various ships, crew, and other game pieces.  Unless you want to sell them or give them away, trading is a great option that can net you some brand new Pirates CSG plunder in return!  How great is that!

Many Options Available

As of this post in late 2019, there are plenty of options available for trading Pirates CSG.  I just released a Buy/Sell/Trade version of the Master Spreadsheet.  It includes all of the game pieces and is ready for you to use.  Just hit File>Download to make a copy for tracking your personal collection!  Once you have your copy, you can edit it however you wish so the data appears the way you want it.  In my opinion, an even better option can be to have your own shared Google Sheet (just like the one above) that you provide a link to.  That way, people can simply click a link to get your full updated collection ready for trading, rather than having to download a .xlsx file/etc that needs constant re-uploading to be up to date.

What about finding people to actually trade with?  I recommend the Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook Group and The non-eBay Sales & Trades thread.  There you will be able to find many of the current community’s active traders.

There are other options as well!  BoardGameGeek has a trading section for each game.  The Pirates section at Pojo has a sub forum for trading.

My Personal Trading Experience

The main reason I recommend trading so highly is because I have been very successful with it.  Trading Pirates CSG has allowed me to grow my collection on a budget.  It allows you to connect with various other “pirates” in the community of fans.  When I first joined the Pirates CSG community in June 2011, I joined the (at the time) “Big Three” of Miniature Trading, Pojo, and BoardGameGeek.  Most of my trades were through MT, though I did one at Pojo as well.

Just to give you an idea of the scope of potential trading operations, here is my record of trading at MT.  122 total trades, 73 references from fellow traders, and many dozens of ships and crew acquired, nearly all from duplicate stuff I had that other people wanted.  Incredible!

I hope that you can have a great experience with trading Pirates CSG.  Feel free to leave a comment below with your own experiences – if people share some great trading stories, it might get other people to post their haves and wants as well, furthering the community driven game that we love!

Adventure Book – A Unique Item from Pirates CSG

Pirates CSG Adventure Book

The Adventure Book is a unique, one-of-a-kind item that was never fully released.  Only one copy is known to exist.  It sold for $53.33 in an eBay auction back in 2011.  Between the awesomeness of J_ARRRRR_P and Woelf, we now have the entire contents of the book available!  The scenarios were released in 2011, and official Wizkids documents provided by Woelf show most of the stories, save for the last one.  (which J_ARRRRR_P has, and I may be “revealing” for the first time in a podcast or video)

Courtesy of the above users, here are the documents.

Adventure Book Game Scenarios (.doc file download)

Adventure Book Official Documents from Wizkids (.zip folder download)

The writeup on Wikipedia:

2009 – proposed but not released – a “Pirates Adventure Book” box including new ships, crew and treasure: one Pirate fleet with ships Charming Mary and Mercy, and crew Sean ‘Cannonball’ Gallows; and one Cursed fleet including ships Demon’s Heart and Wraith, and crew El Fantasma; also four Unique treasures (a Red, Blue, Yellow and Green ‘Gem Shards from the Eye of the Leviathan’); a new plastic Map with 6 preprinted islands on it, and four “fiction pieces” with scenarios.

Here is the original thread at Miniature Trading concerning the scenarios!  (I think the reason I didn’t comment at the time is because it was my first year getting back into the game and my obssessive nature with it didn’t kick into high gear until late 2014/early 2015.)

Pirates CSG Adventure Book thread at Miniature Trading Page 1

Pirates CSG Adventure Book thread at Miniature Trading Page 2

Pirates CSG Podcast #45: Former Wizkids Product Manager Tiffany O’Brien!

Pirates CSG Podcast #45: Former Wizkids Product Manager Tiffany O’Brien!

You can listen to the audio via ShoutEngine!

You can also listen on Archive.org.

Tiffany O’Brien is one of the key figures of Pirates CSG history, having held multiple important positions at Wizkids while the game was still in print!

Questions thread: https://pirateswithben.com/forums/topic/submit-your-questions-for-pirates-designer-tiffany-obrien/

Questions of the Day:

(Tiffany) What is your favorite set packaging?

(Ben) Did you ever play the SOE (Sony Online Entertainment) digital version of the game?

 

Find her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/skcorynaffit/

Past podcasts: http://shoutengine.com/PiratesCSGPodcast/

Tiffany O'Brien, aka Eileen Brigid O'Brien

Tiffany’s crew, Eileen Brigid O’Brien from Mysterious Islands!

 

Thanks for listening!  Feel free to answer the Questions of the Day below!

 

Take the podcast survey! https://goo.gl/forms/CsnwVmi3qhtqik323

Feel free to rate and review the podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/pirates-csg-podcast/id1258016060

Pirates packs on eBay: https://goo.gl/MfHBQJ

Sign the Petition!  https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/bring-back-pirates-of-the-cursed-seas

Join the Forum at Pirates with Ben!  https://pirateswithben.com/forums/forum/pirates-csg/

 

The following should eventually be updated from ShoutEngine so they will be available when they get the podcast. 

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/pirates-csg-podcast/id1258016060

Overcast: https://overcast.fm/itunes1258016060/pirates-csg-podcast

Google Play Music: https://play.google.com/music/m/Imxc6vplvkqlmagcvkxvi2er2wu?t=Pirates_CSG_Podcast

Blubrry: https://www.blubrry.com/piratescsgpodcast/

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/a7xfanben/pirates-csg-podcast?refid=stpr

SAVED FROM MINIATURE TRADING

This is meant to be a comprehensive post of all the information and data I have saved from Miniature Trading.  All card info (stats, abilities, etc) can be found in the Master Spreadsheet.

I pulled pictures from the Miniature Trading database with httrack in 2018. I should have made it more obvious and available sooner, but now I have gotten shareable links to the folders and whatnot on an alternate google drive account only used for Pirates.

Link to Google Drive folder of MT database pictures in folders

Here is a .zip folder you can download to have all the pictures. It includes all the file sizes that the httrack download yanked from the site. “big” are the folders with the full size pictures. Feel free to make your own copy.

Link to ZIP folder from Google Drive of all MT database pictures

Think I said this last year, but the posts aren’t recent anymore: before I figured out how to use httrack to pull only picture files, I made sure to get full page screen captures of all the Pirates sets from the MT database. So for full redundancy I have that too. Enables us to see pictures as if we are still on MT after the site is gone.

Google Drive folder with full page screen captures of all Pirates database pages

I couldn’t find an easy way to put the miniature pictures into the Master Spreadsheet without a) making every miniature entry massive due to the picture resizing the columns and rows (making it hard to see more than 1 or 2 pieces at a time) and b) doing in a timely fashion that wouldn’t require me to upload all 1,000+ miniatures into the spreadsheet individually (this is probably more doable but arguably pointless due to a; people can easily make their own personalized versions of the Master Spreadsheet if they want).

Google Drive folder with saved MT Forum pages/threads/etc.

-You can change this to List View and sort alphabetically to find things easier.

Folder with Fleets (All of mine are in the Fleets category here)

Folder with Miniature Reviews

Miscellaneous Folder

Folder with original Command the Oceans thread

Folder with a few Battle Reports

Here is a .zip folder of a large httrack download of Miniature Trading.  It is about 1.3 GB in size and contains a TON of stuff.  For all I know there may be enough in there to recreate parts of MT somehow.  No idea how to use it or what to do with it, but I got around to making a .zip copy so I could share it with everyone.

For maximum redundancy here are links to Imgur folders where I have saved some of the above as well.

Different Set Editions – A Visual Guide

Different Set Editions – A Visual Guide

Although Wizkids released a total of 13 different Sets over the years, some have multiple editions.  You can find them in the Master Spreadsheet, although there are a few discrepancies I address here.  The information is also on the Wikipedia page, but here I’ll look at the different set editions with pictures.  Feel free to click the affiliate links to buy some packs and simultaneously support the site.

Spanish Main – First print run

This is the faded print run, with the old numbering and rarity system. (ES-009 for English Ship #9, and no rarity color or set symbol in the corner)

HMS Dover Spanish Main

Spanish Main – Limited

Regular coloring/not faded, with the same numbering scheme.

HMS Lord Algernon Spanish Main

Spanish Main – Unlimited

Released shortly after the Crimson Coast set, this version of SM has the regular rarity and numbering system on the cards.

HMS Titan Spanish Main

Revolution – Limited

First version of the RV set.

Le Superbe Revolution

Revolution – Unlimited

Same thing, but with “UL” added in front of the card number to denote the Unlimited version.

Le Soleil Royal Revolution

Barbary Coast – Limited

First version of BC.

HMS Durham Barbary Coast

Barbary Coast – Unlimited

Just like in RV UL, these cards have UL in front of the collector’s number.

Davy Jones’ Curse – First print runs, easily scratched cards

The first print run or runs of DJC had cards that scratched very easily.  This set is infamous for being of poorer quality due to this issue, but it’s easy to find the better version.

Harbinger Davy Jones Curse

Some cards are more easily scuffed up than others – here you can see a very worn out Unique Treasure card.  Although it may look like it’s been through a drying machine, it actually doesn’t take much to damage some DJC cards this much.

Witch's Brew Davy Jones Curse

Davy Jones’ Curse – Good print runs

After the card quality disaster, Wizkids made additional print runs of DJC and corrected the issue.

La Corse Davy Jones Curse

Pack Variations

Not all variations are picture, but I think you’ll get the point.  🙂  Feel free to click the picture affiliate links to buy some packs and simultaneously support the site.  Just realize that the version of the pack pictured may not be what you see in the eBay search results.  🙂

Spanish Main limited version pack (photo courtesy of WalMart)

SM first art

Spanish Main Unlimited – you can clearly see the marker in the bottom left corner.

Pirates of the Spanish Main Unlimited Pack

Revolution Unlimited – the first version of RV simply doesn’t have the feature on the bottom right of the pack.

Pirates of the Revolution Unlimited Pack

Barbary Coast Unlimited

Pirates of the Barbary Coast Unlimited Pack

Davy Jones’ Curse – original pack art.  This is where you’re likely to find poor quality cards that scratch easily.

Different Set Editions Pirates of Davy Jones' Curse first pack

Davy Jones’ Curse – pack art for better print runs.

Pirates Davy Jones Curse second pack

Pirates of the Caribbean – 3 different pack variations

Wizkids Disney Pirates of the Caribbean packs

This is more of a note than anything else.  Similar to the bad quality DJC print runs, there are some South China Seas (SCS) cards that scratch easily.  I have not experienced this issue much with SCS, but other collectors have said that a decent or large percentage of their SCS cards are easily scratched.

El Fantasma South China Seas scratched card

 

I know there is a lot more I could add to this post, but I wanted to cover the basics with mostly my own pictures.  Comment below your thoughts!

English Fleet Review – How Good is the English Faction?

English Fleet Review

English fleet Pirates CSG

My English fleet at the 2014 Fleet Review.

Looking at a faction’s capabilities

In this post, I will examine the strengths and weaknesses of the English fleet.  I will analyze the English faction in a concise but detailed manner.  Hopefully you’ll learn enough to decide whether you’d like to play the English fleet in games!

Since the time I got into Pirates CSG, the English have been my favorite faction.  This is partly due to the large amount of reading I’ve done in regards to the Age of Sail time period.  Throughout the Age of Sail, the Royal Navy was a force to be reckoned with, and by the end of the era, Great Britain was easily the most powerful nation on Earth!

Theme – Time to FIGHT!

English fleet taking on the Spanish

English cannons win the day against the Spanish!

The English are a brawler.  By that I mean that they like to fight, and fight often.  I’m glad that Wizkids made the English faction this way, because it’s very accurate to how the Royal Navy performed in real life.  By concentrating on combat, an English player can dominate the waves.

The English are known for their gunnery excellence.  They have a lot of ships with accurate cannons, both short and long range.  Many of their best gunships are also some of the best gunships in the game!  Therefore, when constructing an English fleet, you’ll want to include at LEAST one gunship, regardless of the build total.  In games with at least 60 points, you’ll probably want 2 or more English warships to wreak havoc on the seas.  The linked Rankings pages give you a good idea of the best ships to choose from.

Loaded at the top

HMS Endeavour Pirates CSG

Good luck beating a loaded HMS Endeavour!

As mentioned above, the English have an incredible group of gunships that can compete with the best from any other faction.  Starting with HMS Titan all the way back in the original set of Spanish Main, the English have had incredibly powerful options from Day 1 in Pirates CSG.  This continued from set to set – HMS London in Crimson Coast, HMS Swallow and HMS Oxford in Revolution, HMS Durham in Barbary Coast, not to mention MANY more.  Throw in HMS Endeavour, one of the best gunships EVER, and you’ve got a fierce faction ready to go to war!

Augmenting the abundance of firepower are some of the best crew in the game.  The English boast numerous extra action givers, from the regular EA (Extra Action) and SAT (Same Action Twice) abilities to both SAC (sacrifice) and AA (Admiral’s Action) crew.  On top of that are some crew that give cannon bonuses, including world haters Hermione Gold (Mysterious Islands version) and Admiral Norrington from Pirates of the Caribbean.  This is just the tip of the iceberg as they say, because the English have a LOT of good named crew.

Better at the gold game than you think!

HMS Lady Provost

HMS Lady Provost, one of the finest 2 masted schooners.

Although the English are one of the best fighting factions in the game, don’t sleep on their gold running prowess!  Not nearly the powerhouse that the Pirates, French, or Spanish are in the gold game, the English can still hold their own when it comes to getting treasure.  They have a variety of decent options.  Some of those can also be used as hybrids (multipurpose ships) with a captain aboard.

Players often discount the English potential for winning games.  This is due to their gold options being lacking compared to the other “Big 4” major factions.  However, the English are still better at getting gold than most of the minor factions and the Cursed.  The exception there being the Barbary Corsairs.

Conclusion – Do you like the English Fleet?

Of course I’m biased – I love the English!  However, they truly are one of the most powerful factions in Pirates.  Indeed, they’ve won 5 huge games, more than any other faction as of January 2019.  I’d love to hear your favorite stories of the English fleet in Pirates CSG games.

Ready to get started playing the English?  You can find them in any set, but you might even get lucky with a faction lot!

Happy Playing!

-Admiral A7XfanBen

Pirates CSG Rules – Start Here, Complete Game, and More

Pirates CSG Rules

Pirates CSG Rules

My Basic Rules

Here at Pirates with Ben, you can always be sure to find the Pirates CSG Rules in all their various forms and formats.  If you’re a beginner, the Start Here Rules are what you’ll want.  However, that document assumes you only have one pack to start playing, which is part of the reason why I created My Basic Rules that you can use if you’d like (they include some of my own house rules, which I firmly believe make the game better).

Once you have a decent sense of the Start Here rules, you can move on to the Complete Game Rules.  This is a much more advanced version of the game, but the way it’s intended to be played.  These rules are also found in my custom rule set linked above.

Now that you’ve got the main rules, you should be ready to play full games of Pirates CSG without too much trouble.  However, there are some very good supplemental materials that can greatly aid in your playing time.  Woelf‘s Master Keyword List is a classic document containing all of the keywords ever made.  This is great because Wizkids only printed keywords in the Complete Game rules associated with that pack’s specific set.  If you use a copy of the MKL, you’ll never have to search through various Complete Game rulebooks just to find one set-specific keyword.

Unfortunately, Wizkids made a number of contradictions, gaffes, and confusing wordings in the rules and abilities for this game.  That is where another fantastic document from Woelf comes into play.  The Pirate Code (FAQ).  This is a life saver.  Although it’s much larger than any of the other Pirates CSG Rules documents, “the Code” (from Pirates of the Caribbean and of course pirate history) is an incredible resource that will answer nearly ALL of the potential questions you could have about the rules of the game.

Finally, although it’s far less necessary than any of the above documents, the Reference Diagrams (also by Woelf of course!) contain a number of useful tidbits.  Veteran players will not need them for the most part, but they can be quite useful for beginners.  Even after playing hundreds of games, I learned of a towing option I had never thought of or realized before!

Now that you have all of the Pirates CSG Rules, go forth and PLAY!!

How to Optimize Your Fleets – Focus on Gold, Speed, Best Abilities

How to Optimize Your Fleets – Focus on Gold, Speed, Best Abilities

Question of the Day: What do you consider the #1 way to optimize fleets for winning?

Focus on gold – better to have more gold runners than gunships because of point disparity, and only gold runner getting crippled can easily take you out of the game.

Always use helmsmen!  Even when you don’t think you need them!

Optimize speed with base moves and helmsmen – speed is most important ship attribute

Try to get extra actions from somewhere – they’re a bit of a luxury, but can massively help win games.  Cheapest and best options are SAT and Sac, likely for gunships. SAT should be combined with reroll if possible (many factions have 0LR rerollers), and Sac requires at least 2 sac crew (preferably 3), usually oarsmen.  Don’t skimp on helmsman for sac food.

Building a Fleet: https://pirateswithben.com/building-a-fleet/

Gameplay: https://pirateswithben.com/gameplay/

If you need to acquire some game pieces to improve your fleets, eBay will often be your best bet: https://goo.gl/CM4rQj

 

-Admiral A7XfanBen

How to Optimize

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.