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.

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

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.