How to Play Pirates CSG Solo
Over the years, some players have asked how to play Pirates CSG solo, without any “real” opponents. These are sometimes called “solitaire” games. Although it may sound lame or boring at first, playing Pirates CSG by yourself can still be a great experience. I myself have played more games solo than against human opponents, and perhaps someday we’ll even be able to play against AI.
The most important thing about playing Pirates CSG solo is that you need to treat each fleet equally. Playing favorites is too easy and will just result in your favorite faction or fleet winning the game. It’s extremely important to go into the game with the mindset that every fleet will be designed and played optimally.
When making fleets, be sure that they are at least somewhat equally balanced. That said, it’s okay to have that Cursed or Mercenary fleet as a “Team Chaos” fleet that clearly won’t win.
For the map, decide on a method that doesn’t always benefit the fleet that will go first. Remember to alternate the turn order when placing islands/terrain/etc. Also, consider completely doing away with the conventional setup rules and simply designing a map that doesn’t have an unfair home island location.
As usual, the biggest key is to play each fleet as if they are desperately trying to win. Every single turn. Make every decision that you would make if you actually controlled that fleet against your human rival. Before starting each fleet’s turn, do a quick review of what they’re doing, how they can win, what they should do next, and long term planning. If it’s a game where there is a set amount of gold in play (for example, 1v1 standard with 30 total), make sure to keep track of what each fleet has explored and make strategic decisions based on that (for example, if the first fleet finds 14 gold at the two islands they explore, they know they’ll need to get at least 2 gold from the opponent or elsewhere to win). If it helps, you could even switch your seating position to be in that fleet’s point of view on the map.
There may come a time where you know that an “enemy” ship has the Explosives UT, but the fleet you’re currently controlling doesn’t technically know that. If they should ram the ship to try to steal gold, even if it’s your favorite ship you might lose in the explosion, you have to do it. Or else, live with an “asterisk” game that you know was flawed by playing in a way that doesn’t reflect the reality of the situation. I myself have been guilty of this a few times many years ago. It might start with a “free reroll” when you’re mad a cannon doesn’t hit, but then the other fleet has to get one too – except theirs doesn’t work out. Messing with the “balance” at all just leads to compounding issues and a wrecked game of inconsistencies. Trust me, it’s not worth the mess of trying to unwind what should have happened. 🙂
A Few Tips
- Have rules documents and The Pirate Code ready – you may need to check things often
- If it’s too tempting to “remember” the face down crew in the other fleet (ex: avoiding a canceller), try just having all crew in play face up from the start of play.
- With no audible gameplay discussion needed, feel free to blast Pirates of the Caribbean music (or whatever you want) loudly to get in the epic mood! 😀
What is solo play great for?
- Testing out new fleets
- Competitive play to see which fleet is best – this is because when you play against yourself, there essentially cannot be a competitive disadvantage that can occur when players of unequal skill/experience levels play each other.
- Games that cannot be played with real opponents – for example, games that last for multiple days, or games that are bigger than what your playgroup is interested in or capable of playing.
- Testing custom game pieces – before unleashing your latest crazy custom on your unsuspecting play group, try it out in a game to make sure it’s not too OP (overpowered).
Who should probably not play solo games?
- “Faction fanatics” who only ever play with one faction – good luck keeping it fair! 🙂
- Players who need the social aspect of board gaming to enjoy playing
Last but not least, feel free to check out Cadet-Captain Mike’s post on the topic if you want a more procedural guide.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment below any tips I missed about how to play Pirates CSG solo!
Question of the Day: Do you enjoy playing Pirates CSG solo? Is there anything about it you actually like more than playing with people?
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)
Wikipedia Page (credit to Holofernes and others for creating and updating!)
eBay history spreadsheet (links at the top are affiliate links)
Pirates – Complete Assembly Diagrams (Comprehensive list of build guides, created by E. Kasnick of the Facebook group)
How to Build the Ships – PDF document (with official diagrams, created by C. Neill of the Facebook group)
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 endorsements in terms of quality of the vendor or in terms of pricing. Some of these may be out of date.
RainTyger Games (recommended)
Hill’s Wholesale Gaming
Phase 1 Comics and Games
Paladins Game Castle
All In One Collectibles
Dave and Adam’s Card World
CCGCastle (untrustworthy – there have been multiple confirmed reports of them selling resealed packs)
Saved from Miniature Trading
Google Drive folder of MT database pictures in folders (.zip version)
Google Drive folder of all MT database pictures (all sizes)
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
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
Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook group
Board Game Geek
Cadet-Captain Mike’s fansite
Captain Vendari’s fansite
YouTube channels: A7XfanBen and Xerecs
My Instagram: @piratescsg/
Sites visible on the Internet Archive: Miniature Trading, Corsairs of Douglas County
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)
Trading Pirates CSG – A Great Way to Expand Your Collection!
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.
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!
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 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 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 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/
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.
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. The first two links are folders of the biggest versions of the pictures, sorted into one folder per set. Hardly any of these pictures were taken by me. Google Drive just shows my name as the default creator. If there are any game pieces missing pictures that had been at MT, httrack didn’t pull them.
ALL Miniature Trading database pictures files pulled from httrack
-Here is a 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.
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.
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.
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
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)
Spanish Main – Limited
Regular coloring/not faded, with the same numbering scheme.
Spanish Main – Unlimited
Released shortly after the Crimson Coast set, this version of SM has the regular rarity and numbering system on the cards.
Revolution – Limited
First version of the RV set.
Revolution – Unlimited
Same thing, but with “UL” added in front of the card number to denote the Unlimited version.
Barbary Coast – Limited
First version of BC.
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.
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.
Davy Jones’ Curse – Good print runs
After the card quality disaster, Wizkids made additional print runs of DJC and corrected the issue.
Not all variations are pictured, 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)
Spanish Main Unlimited – you can clearly see the marker in the bottom left corner.
Revolution Unlimited – the first version of RV simply doesn’t have the feature on the bottom right of the pack.
Barbary Coast Unlimited
Davy Jones’ Curse – original pack art. This is where you’re likely to find poor quality cards that scratch easily.
Davy Jones’ Curse – pack art for better print runs.
Pirates of the Caribbean – 3 different pack variations
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.
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!