Game Modes for playing Pirates CSG

Game Modes for playing Pirates CSG

Important to note: None of this is official.

Through the years many complaints have been lodged by the Pirates CSG community regarding game pieces that are “too good”, “unfair”, “fun killers”, and the like.  A problem seen in various other collectible games, it’s no surprise that Pirates has its fair share of broken or overpowered game pieces.  One of the biggest issues I see in regards to playing the game is when players do not approach fleet building with similar mindsets.  If no discussion occurs prior to the game on the relative strengths of each fleet or general player intentions, you may end up with a highly competitive fleet wiping the map of a gimmick fleet.  The result can be less fun had on both sides.  In addition, some game pieces have even been deemed “unsportsmanlike” despite no official ban list from Wizkids, their usage often resulting in angry or butthurt players who feel they need similarly nasty things to even compete to a reasonable level of play.  Much more could be said about all of it, but I’ll skip straight to what I think are some “game modes” or formats that I hope players can use to avoid feeling disgruntled.  If players agree to a game mode before building fleets, hopefully all parties involved will enjoy the game even more than they usually do.  😀  I have included Return to Savage Shores (designed but not released) for the sake of completeness.  For reference, all game pieces can be found in the Master Spreadsheet.

Unlimited

Ban List: None.

Rule Changes: None.

Description: Pirates CSG as we all know it – standard, normal, no holds barred, the “proper” game mode for competitive playing, and how Wizkids intended the game to be played.

 

Semi-Limited

Ban List:
Ships: Banshee’s Cry, Le Bonaparte (DJC), HMS Grand Temple, Zeus, San Cristobal (004 version), Sirène
Crew: Captain Jack Sparrow (058 version), Lord Mycron, Capitaine Baudouin Deleflote, George Washington LeBeaux (RtSS)
Forts: Paradis de la Mer
UT’s: Blood Money, Cursed Natives, Altar of the Loa
Events: Mermaids, Hidden Cove, Becalmed
Islands: Mysterious Island #1, #4,#5, #6, #11, #12, #14, Savage Shores islands 103, 105, 108

Rule Changes:
-Treasure is not revealed when unloaded to a home island.
-The “more than half of the game’s starting gold value” endgame condition is not used.

Description: This mode is designed to eliminate the most powerful or broken game pieces in existence.  It would likely make the UPS (Universal Pirate Shipping) strategy much less effective by banning CJS and Hidden Cove.  Some of the biggest fun ruiners in the game are also listed – mermaids, Bonaparte, and Altar of the Loa.  The islands are largely those that bring game pieces in from outside the game or can decide a game on a single d6 roll.  The rule change is to prevent gold bonus abilities from triggering the more than half gold rule (as they add gold to the original 30) – although the gold bonus abilities are extremely good, there are bigger fish to fry at this level of OP/broken.

 

Limited

Ban List: Same as Semi-Limited, plus:
Ships: Darkhawk II, HMS Titan, Bloody Jewel, La Santa Isabel, Enterprise, Nubian Prince, Tiger’s Eye, Virtuous Wind (both versions), Santa Ana (SCS), Behemoth, Slipstream, USS Kettering, Le Coeur du Lion, HMS Endeavour, Hai Peng, Kray-kin, The Kraken, San Cristobal (both versions), Rising Sun, Sol, Morning Star (205 version), USS Morning Star, Frontier, American and Spanish Native Canoes, Libellule, Baochuan+Admiral Zheng He, Guichuan+The Headhunter, Celtic Fury, Shui Xian, Fortaleza, Zhànfu, Fetu, Orphan.
Crew: All 0LR +5 point crew, all crew with the Sac ability (eliminate a crew for an extra action), all crew with +2 gold bonus ability, Davy Jones (both versions), Grim the Savage (FN), Calico Cat (OE), Crimson Angel (OE), Emperor Blackheart, Calypso, Cursed Captain Jack, Griffin (207 version), Master Bianco (SS), Bianco’s Haulers (SS), Captain Charles Richard, Cargo Master (both versions)
Forts: Fortaleza Dorada
UT’s: Natives, Wolves, Pandora’s Box, Nemo’s Plans, Runes of Magic, Runes of Odin, Lost, Dead Man’s Chest (PotC), Kraken Gong, Voodoo Doll, French Royal Decree, English Royal Decree
Events: All
Islands: All mysterious islands

Rule Changes: Same as Semi-Limited, plus:
-The Captain keyword is built-in to the Sea Monster keyword.
-Shipwrights do not take up cargo space.

Description: By far the mode with the most comprehensive changes, Limited is designed to cover most bases in regards to what players see as overpowered.  The rest of the ships with the “UPS ability” are here, along with many of the game’s best overall pieces.  Some inclusions (such as the Runes) are designed to limit the “swinginess” of a game, lessening the direct impact a single game piece or combo can have on the outcome.  The omission of cancellers is largely because they are one of the only defenses against submarines becoming nearly invincible. Whereas Semi-Limited only aims to tamp down on overpowered or broken game pieces, Limited has an additional goal of making the game more fun/fair as well as balanced for a casual audience.

 

Please let me know what you think of these game modes for Pirates CSG in the comments below.  I would especially consider editing the Limited format, with feedback from the player base.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

My 500th Game!

11/18/2022

After about 11.5 years of consistently playing Pirates CSG, I found myself realizing that my 500th game was upon me! (3 BR’s will be posted in the future) I knew I wanted to make #500 special, and decided to do a solo effort since I knew my idea was likely to take 8+ hours, not something I wanted to burden my group with.  It would be a 6 fleet game with each of the Big 6 factions, where gold on home islands could be used to purchase new game pieces from outside the game and add them to the fleet, the main rule seen in campaign/cumulative games.  However, unlike those games where usually the last fleet afloat or points in play decides the winner, the endgame rules for this game would be completely standard!  “Gold wins the game!” (as the PDXYAR group would say)

For the most part I used the Seattle Pirates house rules, with the following exceptions:
-All-Powerful functions as normal
-Lord Mycron is not banned
-Each fleet can only place up to 1 oversized terrain.
-10 coins per island (random treasure coins and random UT’s)
-Pure faction fleets. Gold can be used to purchase any game pieces from any minor faction (Jade Rebellion/Barbary Corsair/Viking/Mercenary), but each of the Big 6 must stay within their own faction for launches (ex: Pirates can only purchase Pirate and minor faction stuff, not English/etc).

The build total was 40 points.  Here are the fleets in the order of play!

English
HMS Nautilus + RotF Thomas Gunn, Bratley (0LR+5)
Edinburgh Trader + RotF Hermione Gold, explorer
HMS Hermes + helmsman
The English focused on good speeds and an armed gold runner/hybrid in the Trader.

Spanish
El Cristal del Obispo + Inquisitor Sebastian Blanco, Alejandro Malaspina, captain, helmsman, tribal chieftain, oarsman
Santa Teresa + Contessa Anita Amore
Spanish Native Canoes
The Spanish wanted to use Malaspina on the first turn so the canoes could redock and grab coins without having to wait a turn when exploring normally. The Cristal was overloaded, so a rare appearance from Blanco helped make the setup legal.

French
Le Gaule + Jules de Cissey, F&S Lenoir, captain, helmsman
St. Joan + explorer, oarsman, towing Mont Blanc
The French were guns-heavy, looking like one of the most intimidating fleets.

Pirates
Panda + Captain Blackheart, The Hag of Tortuga, helmsman, oarsman x2
Barnacle + helmsman, explorer
Zephyr
Fancy
I went with a “classic pirates” fleet where their ships were small and fast, more similar to true Age of Sail historical pirates. They had multiple treasure running options backed by a nasty Panda killing machine.

Americans
USS Stephens + helmsman, explorer, oarsman
USS Lamon + Commodore Matthew Perry, Captain Montana Mays, helmsman
The Americans looked as aggressive as the French, but only had 2 cargo spaces open for gold.

Cursed
Lechim Namod
Loa’s Justice + Sargasso Nightmare, helmsman, explorer, oarsman
Nightmare + helmsman, explorer, oarsman
+oarsman on HI
The Cursed came in at a disadvantage with no 0LR+5 available, and indeed the only fleet to not utilize one. However, Lechim Namod looked to benefit from having Captain as part of the Sea Monster keyword, and was supported by an L booster on one of the two gold runners.

The map with only islands placed:

Setup notes: English and French place islands farther due to higher speeds in their fleets. Cursed want as close as possible resulting in crowded middle. English and Pirates reef the crap out of the tight archipelago in the middle, due to faster speeds (+Hermes ignoring terrain) and small ships respectively. French add some reefs while Spanish and Cursed go mostly for fog. Americans place all three whirlpools. The Cursed wanted MI’s to take effect but none of the other factions did, and they were eventually outrolled (so no MI effects would happen).  I ended up using 30 random UT’s out of the 120 total coins.

The full setup!  😀

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The big reef chain in the middle would likely split capital ship combat into the north and south, potentially making the terrain area a haven for small gold runners looking to stay safe.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Pirates wanted their small ships near the reefs that could barely hurt any of them.  The Cursed picked first and ended up lucky that nobody chose super close to them.  The Spanish chose their HI based on where they thought their canoes could be as close to home as possible, and where they anticipated the English going.  The English picked last but liked their round earth options.  The French and Americans wanted to keep their 5 masters away from the reefs, but close to some nearby wild islands.  Overall each faction ended up pretty happy with their HI result as the game began.

Here’s a video of the first half of the first round of turns!

The Pirates went next, with the Barnacle finding Missionary, which took out both her crew.  They immediately thought about getting the Explosives to the Zephyr, as she had the fastest base move yet lowest cargo of the Pirate sloops, making her an ideal suicide bomber.  The Fancy would join her in snagging coins, while the Zephyr headed east instead of west having seen the St. Joan (with dangerous flotilla in tow) make landfall at the island she originally wanted.

Barnacle sloop explores

The Stephens explores, using Jailhouse Dog to eliminate the Plague UT and save her crew!  The 5-4 off the island show they are the coins loaded by the Stephens, while the rest are left on the island (face up so you can see what else is on it).  Overall a solid island for the Americans, and I think the only wild island in this game with no 1 coins on it.

The Lamon’s activities were captured on camera!

The Nightmare explored to find some nice goodies, but Message in a Bottle would yank her away from the gold!

It docked her at the “Pirate wild island” that the Barnacle and Fancy had plundered, but she avoided reef damage.  The Loa’s Justice (LJ) was off to a better start, loading 14 gold and the Eye of Insanity! O_O  (perfect for the Cursed since they could potentially hire Davy Jones/etc and use the Eye to essentially create a duplicate)  Lechim Namod (LN) laid in wait, aiming to protect the LJ from harm.

A happy beginning for our fleets today!  XD

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

HMS Hermes explores!  O_O  It appears to be a lucrative island, with the Cursed Conch potentially allowing the English to control LN….

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Cristal heads home while escorting the gold-laden canoes, S-exploring the sargasso-like island on the way there.  The Santa Teresa is stuck with Anita Amore aboard and has no room for treasure, so heads home to stay safe in case the Panda tries to go crazy on the Pirate turn.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The French were next!

The Pirates followed and the carnage spread to the north!!

The Pirates launched the Raven’s Neck with a captain and helmsman for 17 total gold!

The first launch of the game!  Time will tell if launching vs. saving is more pragmatic in this tight balance of gold budgeting.

On the American turn the Lamon got another SAT and continued north, this time harassing the English.  However, the ram failed and the Edinburgh Trader defended herself well to win the boarding party!  For this game I generally used the white GF9 tokens for the English, black for the Pirates, and then faction pennants for the other wild island markers.

The 9 gold brought back by the Stephens is the perfect amount for the Americans to expand their fleet and dramatically increase their gold running capability!  The Corsair galley Queen of Sheba is hired, with a helmsman and explorer aboard to make her one of the better runners in play.

The Cursed consider saving for a larger purchase later on, but decide to quickly spend the LJ’s entire haul of 14 gold on the Sea Rat with generic crew.  LN has slunk away into the fog bank, hoping to avoid Lenoir’s Gaule for the rest of the game unless the Cursed can get some canceller support via RtSS Papa Doc.  The Nightmare has explored the middle island.

The Trader’s 12 gold is used to hire Lawrence and launch HMS Trepassey!  The English see Lawrence as a necessary counter to both Lenoir and the Lamon.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Santa Teresa returns to the S-explored island to actually explore it and finds a game changer: Kharmic Idol!  She would have loaded the 3 UT’s in the row underneath it, but the Idol wipes out all face up UT’s in play.  The elimination of the Cursed Conch and Eye of Insanity put a damper on nefarious English and Cursed plans.  In reality I think the Idol would have also eliminated the turtles, if so a big mistake there.  The canoes return home, with their bonuses turning 3’s into 4’s.

The Cristal could get maybe 1 cannon in range of the Panda, so Malaspina decides to return home instead.  The Spanish build Fortaleza Dorada with their HI gold!  Their strategy is to use the fort to protect gold that the canoes will ferry one by one, getting as many +1’s as possible in an attempt to make up for losing their other 3 canoes.  The fort will also provide protection for the canoes, as even the Cristal may not be enough with an additional Pirate gunship (Raven’s Neck) now in close proximity to the Spanish.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Marksman’s Map eliminated by Kharmic Idol had been on the St. Joan, which the French had used to spy Wolves on the island the Gaule would later dock at.  This was part of the French plan – since Wolves would prevent other negative UT’s from affecting the Gaule and her valuable crew, the French felt comfortable exploring the island just to see what else was on it.  It was a true hoard, with 22 total gold along with Relics and Rum!

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The French decide to make the gold even more inaccessible, building Paradis de la Mer with the St. Joan’s pair of coins! (a 3 and 2)  This is a big move on the part of the French and a decent gamble – the French are putting their eggs in one basket, with 27 total gold in the fort.  Part of the French reasoning is that even if Paradis gets destroyed, the French will try to quickly rebuild it – their strategy is to just hold the fort until the end of the game, not bothering to try and kill the Wolves to get any gold off of it.  With the Gaule ready to protect the fort and LN injured, it looks like a viable strategy against a relatively weak Cursed neighbor.  If the French can put some nearby gold into the fort as well, it could become a game-winning kingpin, although risking the all or nothing approach which may see them go from first to last if the fort gets destroyed right before the gold count.

This wide shot shows various other happenings.  Clockwise from top left: Lamon rams a mast off Trepassey then uses SAT to go southeast, the Pirates gather in fog banks with severely anti-Spanish plans, the Nightmare returns home with a little gold while other Cursed ships hide in fog, Americans head for more gold, HMS Nautilus picks up the Cross of Coronado UT, and St. Joan prepares to repair now that she is home safe.

The Pirate plan is to blow up the Cristal del Obispo using the Zephyr’s Explosives!  Following that, they hope that a pincer attack with the Panda and Raven’s Neck could cripple their fort and/or remaining ships.

At the bottom, notice the Trader and HMS Nautilus linking up via round earth to explore the northeast corner… a journey that eventually would have major implications for some factions….

Warily eyeing the Pirates, the Spanish play it safe and take the Santa Teresa home, keep the canoes docked, and put the Cristal in a fog bank.

With the Cursed turn immediately after America’s, a peace agreement was made.  The Americans and Cursed would not fight each other over that island, agreeing to share the gold.  It was a bit uneasy given the firepower each escort had, but this was understandable.  The Sea Rat and LN came out of the fog, with the Sea Rat grabbing 3 coins.

Further north, the Cursed gold runners resume normal gathering operations after premeasuring the Gaule’s movement potential.

Fleet deckplate area showing each ship’s cargo arrangements:

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

Similar to other factions on recent turns, the English play it safe.  The Trader could reach the island off the Gaule’s bow, but instead goes west to explore the island the Spanish canoes started at.  This does allow HMS Nautilus to fully catch up with the Trader, and she has the better cannons of the two.  The Trader loads a 2 and the Mines UT.  At the top right, you can see the Hermes and Trepassey docked at wild islands in the distance.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Pirates have been using the Raven’s Neck to spy on various coins throughout the map, and have spotted quite the coin on the island the Trader nearly went for… the Altar of the Loa.  O_O  They quickly begin scheming on how they can use their knowledge as power, wondering if they should tell the English.  The Spanish are next in the turn order after the English, and thus would be controlled by the English if the latter made a sacrifice at the Altar.  This could benefit the Pirates, as they are ready to strike Spain hard and have designs on the treasure in Fortaleza Dorada.  Upon this discovery I spent a good 5-10 minutes considering the possibilities and ramifications, even just for the Pirates as they are the only one privy to the information as of now.  A huge potential weapon that could destabilize the entire game as soon as it’s revealed!

Pirates spy the Altar of the Loa

Interestingly enough the French also spied on that island’s coins with the Marksman’s Map, but only saw 5 of the 10 which didn’t include the Altar.

The French tried to pull a fast one on the Cursed!

The rest of the round was uneventful, with all four Cursed ships getting or going home and the Zephyr changing fog banks to be closer to her target (the Cristal).

What an island!  The Edinburgh Trader heads south to explore, knowing that Lawrence will cancel Lenoir on the Gaule to allow HMS Nautilus to broadside the French 5 master.  The Trader finds a whopping 5 UT’s, with the Altar being the most consequential.

It was definitely a good time for another video!  Until writing the report right now I didn’t realize I accidentally cheated with the English briefly, as the Trader can’t normally carry 12 points of crew.  However, I think there was a legal way to do it without affecting any part of the rest of the game (ex: drop the Castaway oarsman for the explorer per the free transfer rules).

The English build Ramsgate!!  This was a “coup” of sorts, as it would deny all other fleets from using the Altar, as you cannot dock at an island that has an enemy fort on it.  In addition, it brought much more firepower to bear on the Gaule, who was now facing up to 11 English cannons in the area instead of 6.  Things were getting interesting!

English build Ramsgate fort

The Spanish kowtowed to English demands to “stop being wussies”, moving most of their fleet towards Fortaleza’s gold.  The canoes couldn’t quite make it (1-2mm away), but the Cristal dumped Malaspina to make room for a 4 that she intended to ferry back to the Spanish HI.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The French return fire!!

A brilliant final move segment by the St. Joan to get all of the Mont Blanc’s cannons in range of the Nautilus, coupled with 6/8 shooting overall, smash up the strong English position at the Ramsgate-Altar island.

HMS Nautilus dismasted

Here is the long-awaited Pirate combat turn!

Not as epic as the Pirates were hoping for, but still crippling to the Spanish fleet!

Pirates blast Spanish

A rare view from the northeast: USS Stephens has loaded Barbary Banner from the Queen of Sheba, the Lamon has rammed the Santa Teresa derelict, and the Sea Rat has returned home with gold as the Loa’s Justice repairs.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The French thorn in the English side was growing.  If only the Spanish could be eliminated faster, the next player in the turn order after the English would be the French, which would have been perfect for the English.  However, for now it would simply be ugly.  The English figured they needed to save the Nautilus, and thus the Trader took her under tow while combining with the fort to cripple the Gaule.  In addition, Hermione Gold knew she had Mines hidden on the Trader, which could be used to eliminate the Gaule’s final mast.  However, it would be another turn sitting in range of Mont Blanc, and another turn not using the Altar of the Loa.

English vs. French situation

Having accumulated various coins from different wild islands with the Hermes and Trepassey, the English decide to go all-in on spending and launch HMS Hyena with a complement of 5 generic crew for their entire coffer of 17 gold!  O_O   It will be interesting to see if this cripples the English long-term gold game and costs them a potential win, or if the firepower and sacrificial crew destined to die at the Altar will provide them the means needed to dictate enough of the endgame to ruin other fleets and control the outcome.  The English also bought the ship to provide a third ship with which to fight the French and any other Altar hopefuls, with the trio of Gaule-Lenoir-Mont Blanc providing heavy opposition for the English thus far.

HMS Hyena launched

As soon as the Gaule started moving on the French turn, the Mines UT was revealed, causing the ship to lose her final mast at the end of the action.  However, Mont Blanc shot 2/4 to beat up the Trader.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

With the Gaule now derelict and likely in range of Ramsgate’s L+L range cannon, the St. Joan comes over to assist, towing the flagship and warping her behind the fog bank.  At the upper right, the Cristal has repaired a mast at Fortaleza Dorada, with one canoe fleeing into fog and another loading a coin from the fort to try and deny the Pirates from ever having it.  (Santa Teresa repairs)

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

Unsurprisingly, the Pirates take control of the situation.  The Raven’s Neck sinks the canoe with gold on it and re-dismasts the Cristal, allowing the Zephyr to capture her (one of the Panda’s hits had taken out the oarsman).  The Panda has no good sac fodder left and a dangerous path home to pick up new hires, so Captain Blackheart takes her southeast to shoot at the Nightmare over a reef, dismasting the vessel!  The cargo wrecking also forced the Cursed to make some hard choices with their cargo, choosing to eliminate the Nightmare’s helmsman and a 2 while keeping her oarsman and the other 2. (this way the Nightmare could row into the fog bank on the Cursed turn, then eventually get home and use the 2 to get another helmsman)

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

With the Stephens in range of the Fancy, the Pirates duck the latter into the huge fog bank in search of safer treasures.  The Sea Rat has lost her oarsman to a whirlpool as she goes north in search of loot.  The Americans are bringing home more gold.  They have an inkling that they will have to destroy Paradis to win the game, and thus send the Lamon east to potentially meet up with the Stephens where the Gaule is now.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

Hermione Gold and Thomas Gunn are extremely relieved to see the arrival of English reinforcements.  The Hyena and Hermes are on the scene.  Hyena brings needed firepower and Altar fuel, while the Hermes will start ferrying some gold from Ramsgate back to the English HI.  The English already anticipate needing to build another fort on the Altar island with gold from their HI if Ramsgate is destroyed.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Spanish get some measure of revenge, sinking the Zephyr and captured Cristal!  The fort also hits the Raven’s Neck, which is actually the only real threat the Pirates have against the fort.  The Panda only has L-range guns, and the RN only has a pair of 3S’s that can hit Fortaleza, so the Pirates may need to launch another gunship if they hope to take the fort’s gold.

O_O   Mont Blanc shoots 4/4 to sink the Trader and take Ramsgate down to 1 flag standing!  HGold and Lawrence go do with the ship, a devastating blow for the English.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Fight for Fortaleza ends with the Panda and RN moving on to safer objectives.  Seeing the RN and Barnacle approaching and not wanting to lose their HI raiding gold runner, the Cursed turn the Sea Rat around, go back into the whirlpool, and return home, desperate to conserve their assets.  They’ve played a guarded game, unwilling to lose any units while slowly gathering gold from nearby islands.  The Spanish send their final canoe through a whirlpool to the southwest in search of some leftover “English gold”, but the Fancy emerges from the megafog in hot pursuit.  The Pirates plan for the Panda to return home and restock sac fodder for just 2 gold, while the RN and Barnacle will get the coins the Sea Rat was headed for.  In the meantime, the Queen of Sheba is helping the Americans mount a comeback in the gold race.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

HMS Nautilus repairs at Ramsgate, whose last cannon cannot do anything against the Mont Blanc as it takes two hits from the same shoot action to eliminate the flag (and a third hit overall to sink the flotilla).  HMS Hyena docks at the fort with crew to spare at the Altar, but the English are in an agonizingly terrible position.  They can only control the Spanish through the Altar right now, who are the weakest faction in play by far.  So weak in fact, that the English sacrificing two 1 point generic crew wouldn’t even be worth it, as they could only move around a canoe and the Santa Teresa. Much more appealing is taking control of the French, who the English would control if the Spanish were to be eliminated.  Thus, the English engage in talks with the Pirates to potentially team up and eliminate the Spanish.  The Pirates generally respond that they would like the Spanish out anyway, if the Fancy can hit the last canoe and the Santa Teresa can be captured for a 5 gold Ransom payout.  In the end the English are simply frustrated, as controlling the Spanish feels like a waste since they must spend valuable gold and continually ferry sacrifices to the island in order to use the Altar to eventually, someday get at the French.

In the meantime, the Hermes grabs coins to the north.  However, the Lamon is coming….

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

Mont Blanc destroys Ramsgate!  The French had unknowingly positioned the flotilla in the perfect spot where all of her cannons were in range of the fort, while only the L+L cannon was in range of the flotilla!  Some of the flotilla’s cannons were also sometimes in range of English ships docked there (hence the Trader sinking), meaning the French had accidentally stumbled into a perfect zone control situation where they were slowly crippling English plans!  In addition, the flotilla and Paradis served as a kind of “block zone” against the nearby Cursed HI to the west, making Cursed access to the Altar harder.  Plus, Lechim Namod was still missing two tentacles, making the Cursed scared to take on Paradis.

The St. Joan arrives home with the Gaule, who is repairing. At the lower left, a mini-conflict is brewing as three ships have designs on the low-value coins the Hermes originally saw.  At the top right, the Lamon has rammed a mast off the Hyena.  The English still look like a threat to win if they can control the endgame through the Altar and firepower, so the Americans are enjoying harassing them while waiting for the opportune moment to strike Paradis. (although it could be now with the Gaule repairing, the Stephens is simply too far away)  The Nightmare repairs and “restocks” her helmsman as the entire Cursed fleet happens to be at home.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

A round of relative peace finally ensues, with plenty of low-value gold scraps to go around.  The English surge south, having made a weak agreement to attack Paradis with the Cursed on the following round.  St. Joan has returned to the area via round earth, but it remains to be seen if she will ferry gold from the Altar island to Paradis, use the Altar, take Mont Blanc under tow again, or none of the above….  The Lamon shadows the English movements, further complicating the situation as the submarine is extremely dangerous to both the English and French forces.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Pirates then made an announcement: at the conclusion of this round, the Cursed have a total of 27 gold on their home island.  The Raven’s Neck had used her ability to spy every coin on the Cursed HI, and the Pirates were telling the truth.  This worried the Americans most, who I know had 22-25 at the time and suspected the French to be ahead of them.  Factions made some grumbling about capturing the Sea Rat to use her HI raider ability, but no coalition was formed.

The English started off the next round with a ram, as the gold-laden Trepassey dismasts the Fancy.  The English saw this as necessary, as they had premeasured that the Fancy would be able to ram the Trepassey on her way home before the latter could arrive with gold.  Basically, a game of don’t become derelict first. (neither ship has any crew; Trepassey won the board)

In a very frustrating round of shooting, HMS Nautilus and HMS Hyena both hit 1/2 to not damage Mont Blanc at all!  Ruining an opportunity to cripple the English for good, the flotilla misses all four shots on the English gunships to not do any damage as well!  O_O

The Panda finally gets home and loads up two new oarsmen as fresh sac fodder for Blackheart. At the right, Lamon has rammed another mast off the Hyena, making it even harder for the English to defeat Mont Blanc.  The Cursed think about sending the Sea Rat to raid the American HI while the Stephens is away, but the nearby Gaule on the west side of that whirlpool makes it too scary.

More disaster for the English as Mont Blanc dismasts the Nautilus and the Hyena is dismasted by the Lamon!  The Stephens is transferring a coin to the Queen of Sheba so she can continue east soon to potentially interfere with French or Cursed operations.  The Spanish are camping out the Santa Teresa in a fog bank next to their HI in order to stay alive in the game.  They are rooting for whoever can beat up the Pirates and potentially control them through the Altar (which would be the French as they go before the Pirates in the turn order).  Basically, since the English will control the French if the Spanish are eliminated (bad for the French and therefore the Spanish), the Spanish are both anti-Pirate and anti-English.  More of these interfactional dynamics were present than I can remember, especially due to the presence of the Altar, which shifted how some factions played based on who went before them in the turn order (and could control them), and who went after (and could be controlled).

By this point the Pirates were spying on the coins in Paradis, and decided to remind everyone that Wolves had been found on the island, making it impossible to get the gold without a Marine or musketeer even after plowing through Paradis.  The Americans had kinda forgot about the Wolves, and this would alter their endgame strategy a bit, not wanting to buy anything given how tight the final gold count was looking.

The English experienced a golden homecoming, with the Hyena zooming home on oar power through Jack’s Compass to dock home a 2, the Hermes arriving on the same turn, and the Trepassey not far behind with 4 more gold along with the prize Fancy in tow.  However, considerable English expenditures earlier in the game meant they were facing an uphill battle here towards the end, a battle they were certainly not winning as their purchases got hammered by the French and USS Lamon.

The Pirates were getting desperate as well, with Fortaleza Dorada somewhat likely to win a fight against the Raven’s Neck but the Pirates too poor to launch an effective support gunship with S-range cannons to assist the RN (plus, launching a ship at this point might singlehandedly take a fleet out of the running).  The Pirates decided to up their chances by hiring SM Calico Cat to lead the RN.

At the top center, the Pirates look to be round earthing the Panda towards the Spanish canoe (trying to get her 1 home, +1 it and use the 2 to launch El Raton lol), but potentially also towards the American ships in the south.  Montana Mays redirects the Lamon northwestwards to intercept, leaving the Altar island abandoned for the first time in many hours of gameplay.  The Cursed are nearly done gathering nearby gold, which will bring their total to at least 30.  Le Gaule has finished repairing, an ominous sight.

It was time for an important French turn!

A massive French move that likely dooms any chances the Pirates had of making up ground in the standings!

With that, the Stephens had an easy target.  Finally the big ship was able to loose a broadside, dismasting the Panda.  At the top of the frame, the Cursed have sent the Sea Rat through the same whirlpool as earlier, but this time with their sights set on the now-abandoned Pirate HI….

USS Stephens dismasts the Panda

The Cursed absolutely refuse to take the bait of capturing the Barnacle, as LN’s tentacle will be in range of Paradis’ L-range guns if the squid surfaces to ram the Barnacle derelict.  At the top right, the Hermes returns to the northeast to scrounge for scraps.  USS Lamon turns around again and heads southeast, with a pair of goals: stop the St. Joan from putting more gold in Paradis, and sacrifice crew at the Altar to take control of the Cursed if truly necessary.

The Gaule dismasts the Raven’s Neck!

St. Joan scurries towards Paradis with a couple coins as the fort dismasts the Barnacle:

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Panda is able to row into the huge fog bank, hoping to return to the Pirate HI soon.  The Stephens turns her wrath to the final Spanish canoe, easily sinking it and taking another 1 gold out of the game.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

With one of their final two units out of play, the Spanish decide to finally suicide.  In an attempt to help the French win (knowing there’s not enough in Fortaleza to win and Santa Teresa can’t unload Anita Amore to get more), Anita Amore pilots the Santa Teresa into a whirlpool, emerging right next to the French home island with the teleportation knocking off the sloop’s lone mast.  The Spanish have been eliminated!  Anita hopes to be captured by Lenoir, who can bring the vessel home for a 5 gold Ransom payout.  However, the French also want the Raven’s Neck so they can use her and Calico Cat to hopefully capture the Sea Rat and steal gold to secure a win.  The Spanish have cared little about the outcome for many rounds, having been effectively eliminated a while ago.  They didn’t tell the French about this plan, doing it on a whim.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

Immediately after the French turn where the Gaule captures the Raven’s Neck, the Panda swoops in from the fog and captures the Santa Teresa!  This is an embarrassment for the Spanish and the Contessa, who are now in the hands of the despised Pirates!  O_O

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Sea Rat raided the Pirate HI for a coin!  However, this made the Pirates feel extremely stupid, as they could have spent all their gold last turn on new game pieces to deny the Sea Rat any coins as soon as they saw her approach through the whirlpool.  The Pirates are aggravated and annoyed, and know they have just about no shot at winning now.  So they go “full troll” and spend their 8 gold on cheese ships – Rover, Mermaid, and Banshee’s Cry + oarsman.  Making the situation even sillier is the Pirate desperation to block the Sea Rat from accessing the whirlpool on the Cursed turn – the Panda sacs her helmsman to move out of French waters and back home, with the Hag of Tortuga making sure both ships touched the whirlpool in an alignment that maximized blocking it off from the Sea Rat.  XD   Compounding the ridiculous situation, I believe Captain Blackheart died in the whirlpool travel while Contessa Anita Amore survived.  The French have ruined the Pirates’ endgame schemes, and now they will play spoiler in any way possible.

Pirates launch 3 ships

However, the Sea Rat is able to escape with her Pirate 1 coin into the nearby fog bank.  At the top left, the Hyena has finished repairing to full strength.  The Americans are getting desperate now too, as the St. Joan has deposited her pair of coins from the Altar island into Paradis.  The Stephens round earths to the north, considering an attack on Fortaleza Dorada or simply heading towards the Altar island where the endgame may be decided.

Some interesting developments: HMS Hyena heads for the Altar, the Hermes and Trepassey bring back a couple more 1’s for the English, Gaule gets the RN home to start repairs, the St. Joan retows the Mont Blanc only to be dismasted by a Lamon ram, the Nightmare appears to have designs on the Altar (first Cursed movement towards it), and the Sea Rat returns to Cursed home waters with her stolen coin.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The beginning of the next round saw HMS Hyena dock at the Altar island and sacrifice two crew!  With the Spanish eliminated, the English could at long last control the French fleet!!  O_O  (in hindsight this is not legal, but certainly a worthy topic for a rules debate especially if the player potentially being skipped has no fort (or other unit not capable of movement) in play)

This is the point in the game where the reefings began, and perhaps where the “true endgame” commenced.  It was already devolving into silly and strange shenanigans, and now it would ignite in newly bizarre ways.  Le Gaule was tossed into a whirlpool and thrown onto a reef in the north, but she only lost 1 mast.  The RN wasn’t in range of a reef but was sailed north towards one, with the Hyena’s captain acting as puppetmaster at the Altar of the Loa.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The English use the Mont Blanc to sink the Nightmare!  Bow to the power of the Loa!

Feeling the desperation mounting, the Lamon surfaces, docks at the Altar island, and the Americans sacrifice Montana Mays and a helmsman to the Loa!!  O_O   What has come over these factions??  Are the loa possessing their spirits?

Americans use the Altar of the Loa

The Sea Rat and Lechim Namod are sent through the whirlpool!  The Sea Rat suffers no damage, but LN is nearly killed as her sagging underbelly is ground into powder on the sharp coral reefs.  The Panda returns the Santa Teresa home to the Pirate HI, where the latter repairs immediately as Anita Amore becomes a permanent capture in a dark grimy dungeon where Blackheart kept his sac fodder.  The last of that fodder is the Panda’s oarsman, which gets transferred to the Banshee’s Cry (BC), a ship that already had one.  That means she has two oarsmen aboard… enough for a sacrifice at the Altar….

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

By now ships were almost literally piling up at the only reefable whirlpool, with likely no space left to place any more ships there in sabotage attempts.  The endgame was spiraling out of control, with both the Cursed and French being okay with it ending as soon as possible.

The Loa’s Justice sails out to greet Paradis on her own, hoping the guns will send her to the depths.  The 5 on the Barnacle means the Pirates have successfully scuttled her.

Seizing an opportunity for yet another scrap of pitiful coinage, the English ram the Lamon with the Hyena, triggering the ship’s ability to kill off Commodore Matthew Perry and net themselves another 1 gold.  The Hermes has taken up Altar duties and I think it was time for another English turn of control over the French!

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

Le Gaule dismasts the Sea Rat.  The Cursed did not mind this at all, but the English wanted themselves or the Pirates to steal the Sea Rat and use it themselves to steal coins from at least one of the front runners.  The Pirates have mixed success on their turn trying to kill the ship’s oarsman.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Americans see the game flash before their eyes: the Lamon can load two coins now that her cargo hold is completely empty, and the Stephens can increase the value of Barbary Banner by blasting away at the various English ships in the area!  Perhaps the American comeback story is not yet complete?  The Stephens also had designs on using the Altar, but the Cursed are already quite weak now and the Stephens can be more useful simply knocking off masts to make Barbary Banner more valuable.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Hyena rams to steal a coin from the Lamon.  The loa party continues as the Fancy arrives on the scene with fresh sacrifices!  She sacs her oarsmen to let the English take control of the French yet again!!  XD  And the English rebuild Ramsgate to deny the Americans (and Cursed) from using the Altar, simultaneously “claiming” the island’s remaining gold for the approaching gold count!  O_O

By now things were getting so desperate and short on actions that there wasn’t even much to do with some of the Altar plays.  However, the Gaule was moved onto a reef where she lost her remaining masts, while the Raven’s Neck suffered no damage.

The Panda avoids a shipwreck herself and captures the Gaule!  O_O   LN has shot off the Rover’s mast but the Sea Rat is still under attack.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

The Stephens gets to work, taking out three masts between the Hermes and Fancy!  Each mast eliminated gets them 1 gold via Barbary Banner, getting them closer to a potential winning score.  Can they do it?

However, the Lamon is sunk before she can submerge! (I believe by the Mont Blanc)

USS Stephens goes crazy

The Sea Rat is able to row into the whirlpool for home.

The English sink the St. Joan with Ramsgate, and HMS Trepassey arrives on the scene with fresh crew!  O_O   In what may have been a fourth consecutive turn of control, the English take over what remains of the French fleet, using Mont Blanc to sink the Loa’s Justice!

The Stephens uses one of the last actions of the game to shoot at the English again!  However, it is a major disappointment, as she goes 1/4 to hit the Hyena.

The Cursed are ready to count and dump the Sea Rat’s oarsman on their HI in an attempt to end the game since the ship is derelict (though still capable of future move actions via the oarsman or repairing, so not a proper sabotage).  However, it was over, as I was way past my planned “hard stop end time” of 10pm.  It was 1am and I was having trouble making proper decisions for the fleets.

My 500th game of Pirates CSG!! (November 18th, 2022)

It was time to count!  Here are the counts in play order!

English: 24 gold

Spanish: 14 gold

French: 32 gold

Pirates: 10 gold

Pirate fleet ransom captures for 10 total gold

Americans: 32 gold

The Cursed: 33 gold

O_O  The Cursed win one of the closest games of all time!!  O_O

  1. Cursed: 33 gold
  2. French: 32 (3 units in play – Paradis de la Mer, Mont Blanc, Raven’s Neck)
  3. Americans: 32 (1 unit in play – USS Stephens)
  4. English: 24
  5. Spanish: 14
  6. Pirates: 10

What a ludicrous game and finish!  Unfortunately it comes with an asterisk as the game was not played to true completion, but I still went way past the “time deadline” (at which point I believe the Cursed still would have won).  This mirrors the insanely close results of the recent PNW Weekend Marathon of multiplayer games, making me realize even more than ever before that winning this game is a bit of a crapshoot (for better or worse).  It’s quite likely that any single die roll falling differently in various circumstances throughout the game could have changed the outcome.  Not to mention the “French implosion” – if the Gaule had captured the Santa Teresa that turn instead of the Raven’s Neck, the French could have brought Anita back for 5 gold, plenty enough to win with 37 (perhaps the Panda could have rammed the ST to kill Anita and deny such a result, but Lenoir’s cancelling would have helped by cancelling helmsman or Sac).  The Americans were ONE hit away from victory – if one more shot had hit the Hyena on that final shoot action, Barbary Banner would have been worth 7 gold instead of 6, tying them with the Cursed at 33 and likely winning additional tiebreakers (I think LN was killed by a shot from a Pirate sloop during the last round, leaving both the Americans and Cursed with one unit each – at which point the Americans would win the points in play AND masts standing tiebreakers with the healthy Stephens vs. derelict Sea Rat).

The Cursed won by playing a very guarded and cagey game, being about as safe as I’ve ever seen them play as a faction.  Their sole launch helped them acquire more gold, and they needed every bit of it to win.  The Sea Rat’s HI raid against the Pirates even netted them the 1 coin that made the difference, as without that they would have lost both tiebreakers in a 32-32-32 count.  The Cursed benefited heavily from the setup, which was something they helped to engineer.  The close islands near their HI helped with quick gold runs back and forth, while the terrain nearby made their HI and gold running operations less accessible to some of the nasty gunships wreaking havoc towards the outskirts of the map.  They got a bit lucky choosing a home island first and not having anyone really encroach upon that area with other HI placements.

The Spanish get the last laugh against the Pirates, beating them despite being eliminated before the long and crazy endgame really got going.  The Pirates felt the need to “spend to protect” their gold after the Sea Rat threatened all of it, but still avoided a shutout when the Panda went crazy with kidnappings in the final rounds of the game (going from 0 gold to 10 gold after snagging two Ransom crew).

The English finished with a better score than I anticipated, having spent 29 gold across two separate turns on Lawrence, the Trepassey, and Hyena with crew.  They must have spent at least 4 additional gold towards the end on “Altar Fuel” in the form of cheap sacrifices.  They were way too excited to buy things, and probably could have been in very good position to win if they hadn’t blown a lot of their money.  However, their purchases did help to keep them alive and net them some gold, but not enough at the end.  It’s fitting (and relieving) they didn’t contend directly for the victory, as their turtles (and 10 of the gold used on the Hyena launch) should have been axed by Kharmic Idol.

This was a wild experience for me, and generally “worthy” of being my 500th game despite various frustrations (and tiredness towards the end).  I’m so used to saving being a terrible strategy in campaign games where gold can be used to purchase game pieces, so it was hard to shake that mindset even though I knew that most gold would take it going into the game.  Although the win comes with various “what if” asterisks, the Cursed played a masterful game of correctly managing their money, not making enemies, protecting their gold, and snagging low values over the long endgame to come away with enough to win.

For posterity and my own future reference if I play more games with this house rule, a few lessons:
-The factions that spent more did worse (English and Pirates).
-The factions that bought gunships did worse (English and Pirates).
-The factions that bought gold runners did better (Cursed and Americans)
-It’s hard to know when a game like this will end, so it’s better to conserve gold and make sure you’re consistently in the running than spend early on and have to make up a large differential in a desperate and chaotic endgame where most of the “readily available” coins are 1’s and 2’s.
-If I play with this house rule again I want to have a longer timeline. I played for about 11 hours straight and it wasn’t enough. I probably needed at least another hour to reach a proper endgame condition, which was likely going to be half or more fleets unable to give future move actions (the Cursed had almost taken themselves out, and any more reefings of the Raven’s Neck likely would have eliminated the French). This was at a mere 40 point build total, so to finish a game like this properly I’d probably go down to 4-5 fleets if using the same build total. If using a higher build total (even 50 or 60), I’d cap it at an absolute max of 4 fleets.  Although you could manipulate it by putting less gold out there, less total gold in play disincentivizes purchases even more, and we already saw the big spenders come in 4th and 6th in this game.
-I enjoyed it a lot and recommend trying this style of play at least once! (purchases legal but regular endgame conditions)

Thanks for reading and please comment below your thoughts on the game! 😀

“Pure Standard” – A Return to Normalcy with 1v1 at 40 points (October 30th, 2022)

“Pure Standard” – A Return to Normalcy

1v1 40

10/30/2022

For the first time in YEARS I played a game with NO house rules of any kind.  Captain Vendari and I met on the VASSAL module for a “pure standard” game.  No ban list, no house rules, nothing beyond what Wizkids intended this great game to be.  Due to the prevalence of house rules and ban lists in modern game groups that play Pirates CSG, I have even been calling this “hyperstandard” in my head, though in reality it’s basically just “regular Pirates”.

Vendari rolled to go first. These were the fleets: (all game pieces found in the Master Spreadsheet)

Captain Vendari
San Cristobal + Victor de Alva (F&S version), Luis Zuan (F&S version; Helmsman ability), silver explorer
Bloody Jewel + helmsman, silver explorer
Le Coeur du Lion + Vicomte Jules de Cissey, navigator
UT’s: Kharmic Idol

A7XfanBen
Black Swan + Captain Jack Sparrow (common 058 version), Bianco’s Haulers, helmsman, explorer, oarsman
Patagonia + Robinson, Lord Mycron, Administrator Scott Bratley
Le Coeur du Lion + oarsmen x2 (1 Pirate, 1 French)
Oarsmen x2 on home island (1 Pirate, 1 French)
Events: Hidden Cove, Raft
UT’s: Jailhouse Dog, Relics

With his 0LR+5 Vendari brought in both crew on the Bloody Jewel. I anticipated seeing at least one face down event in his fleet, but once I saw none in his complete fleet as Player 2 I realized I could save the 2 points I was anticipating for Favor of the Gods. My 5 extra points went towards my events and the HI oarsmen, as I figured the Coeur would need more crew to fling out to CJS.

As Player 2 I placed the final island, putting it on the western side.  This was to preserve the southeastern island as likely the worst HI location.  We didn’t dive too deep into the strategic meta around island placement, but we certainly talked about it as we set the map up.  Vendari also won the roll to determine how many terrain pieces each player would place – he voted 6, I voted 2.  He placed 3 whirlpools and 3 reefs, while I added 5 fog banks and 1 sargasso sea.  I chose for Vendari to start in the SE corner while he chose for me to start in the NW corner.  We were ready to play some old-fashioned normal Pirates!

Victor de Alva was revealed, and Vendari got his EA roll to zip the San Cristobal out towards the center island at S+S+L+S+S+S+L+S speed.  The Bloody Jewel headed west as the Coeur generated a trade current.

Pure Standard game of Pirates CSG on the VASSAL module

The UPS machine began revving up.  I flipped Hidden Cove to start my turn, and the middle island was the closest.  I was wary of Nemesio Diaz on the SC being able to cancel one of my important abilities, but decided to chance it and dock near the SC anyway, knowing that I could force a decisive action very early if there was no canceller.  (in hindsight, in a hyper competitive environment I would have studied Vendari’s face down crew setups and total points before taking my turn, which would have shown that the final crew on the SC could not have been more than a 3 point crew)  The Black Swan used her first action to redock with cannons in range of the SC.  I flipped CJS and shot before exploring, since exploring first could reveal bad UT’s that might mess up the shooting.  The Black Swan hit 2/3 (definitely above my average with 3S cannons) and then explored, finding some low value coins on the island.  I think it was a regular 2 and the rest silver – 2,1,1.  CJS flipped the silver 2 to the Coeur, who was given an explore action targeting my HI to unload it.

With Mycron giving the Patagonia’s action away, the Black Swan then redocked again to fire her port broadside, hitting the San Cristobal 1/3 to take her down to 2 masts standing.  CJS flung another coin to the Coeur, but she would have to wait until the next turn to unload it.  The Black Swan also loaded one of the 1’s, as I would rather get boarded for it (and possibly only lose my explorer since the loser chooses everything for boarding parties) than have the SC just explore the island and take it.

Pirates CSG 1v1 40 point standard game

Vendari got another EA from de Alva, and docked at the island next to the Black Swan.  However, I was ready to reveal my “trap card”, with Bianco’s Haulers preventing the Black Swan from being shot at while docked!  It was still a decent turn for the SC however, as she was able to use the silver explorer to grab the island’s final coin, then use the EA to sail away to the west.  The Bloody Jewel scurried home with treasure after finding both Relics and Kharmic Idol on the southwestern island.

With no canceller or oarsman on the San Cristobal, I had to take her.  The Black Swan got another Mycron assist to blast the San Cristobal, ramming at the bow as well.  The SC was dismasted, and both players declined to board.

Pure Standard rules for Pirates CSG game on Vassal

The Bloody Jewel returned home with a 3 and a silver 1 that generated an extra 1 gold from the silver explorer’s bonus.

On my turn the Black Swan started towing the SC, then used both actions to dock at the western island where I explored and flipped home a silver 4 to the Coeur who unloaded it.  I then built Paradis de la Mer because it would allow the SC to repair, and because Vendari’s fleet was now likely too weak to be able to contest the gold in Paradis at any point in the future.  (a safer play than some fort builds, so a no-brainer in this case)  The following turn I got de Alva’s EA (quite the generous guy today!) to repair 2 masts on the SC.  However, at this point Vendari decided to forfeit, seeing no path forward for him to win given the momentum swing and how hard it would be to get any more coins home.

  1. A7XfanBen: 13 gold
  2. Captain Vendari: 5

Although the game was shorter than I anticipated, it was nice to get back to a regular game of Pirates.  It’s been so long since I played with all events being legal and things like the normal boarding rules where the winner has no agency to choose.  I think it’s a good idea to do this once in a while, both to satisfy my desire to play competitively and as a way of going old school or back to the roots of the game that Wizkids put out.  After all the house rule craziness in recent years, it’s almost a way to “detox” from a bit of “house rule fatigue”.  Nothing against house rules to say the least, just kind of a fun experiment to do once in a while, both to actually play (not just theorize) in a competitive meta and almost as a tribute to Wizkids’ original creation.

Wild Game with Storms and Mysterious Islands – 4×80 Weekend Marathon Finale (October 16th, 2022)

Wild Game with Storms and Mysterious Islands

10/16/2022

With the big weekend winding down on a late Sunday night after our “points climax” in the 7×120 game, I brought the LA crew back to Mox Boarding House in Bellevue to join Kyle for the last game in our time together.  As usual, some house rules were used along with these:
-Storm terrain and mysterious islands legal for the 80 point game.
-Lord Mycron legal, but has Limit and Ransom in addition to his regular abilities.
-Custom game pieces are allowed if all players agree to their legality.
-Three islands placed per player.
-Each player can place 3 pieces of terrain during setup (in the same order as islands, per usual), with a maximum of 1 massive terrain and 1 medium terrain per player. (Picture – Massive=7 in top 2 rows; Medium=7 in bottom row)
-The last player in the turn order chooses their home island location first, followed by the second to last player until the first player chooses their home island last.
-Each player must contribute an equal number of coins of any value or type in order to have 4 coins per wild island. (8 coins per player due to 2 wild islands per player)
-Gold bonuses will be applied permanently to the coin in question (ex: a 7 becomes an 8 ). The added value stays with the coin, and the coin can be “used” normally for the purposes of home island raiding, fort building, etc.

Emphasis added!  Prior to the weekend’s start, the players voted to allow both Storm terrain (pioneered by Xerecs and his brothers in the always-epic Century of Economy campaign games) and mysterious islands.  Both of those are some really crazy elements that usually make for a wild game.  They are quite luck-based and therefore best for a casual, almost silly wild game where it’s best to go in with extremely low expectations.

Storms are a Custom terrain piece. At the end of a round of turns, a d6 is rolled. Match the result to the number printed on any Storms in play. Roll the d6 again. Match the result to the number printed around the edge of the Storm and move the Storm L in a straight line in that direction. If two or more Storms collide or move into contact with one another, they merge and move as one Storm. If any part of a game piece touches a Storm, it is immediately placed inside of it. Roll a d6, the result is the number of masts, segments, flags or damage points removed from the game piece. If the result is more than the number of remaining masts, segments, flags or damage points, the game piece is eliminated from the game. If a storm spends more than three rounds over a body of land, it is removed from the game.

Here are the fleets used!

Xerecs (some customs used; Customs Database for more info)
Marhi (proxied by Mobilis)
Intermediaro
Kanoka + Gelu, Pohatu, Onua, oarsman (proxied by Constitution)
HMS Antelope + Robinson, Lord Mycron

A7XfanBen: “GodCrab”
Raninoidea + RotF Crimson Angel, RotF Hermione Gold, LE Griffin, Gentleman Jocard, RotF Gus Schultz
Calim + exploding shot
Coeur du Lion + Jean Desailly, Princess Auraa, Jules de Cissey
Banshee’s Cry + helmsman, oarsman
Rover + helmsman
El Algeciras + helmsman, oarsman

Godcrab fleet Pirates CSG

Kyky
Marie Antoinette + crew
Pandora + crew
Terror + crew
Beast’s Belly + crew
Marianne

L0rdgingerbread
Hai Peng + crew
HMS Lady Provost + crew
Lady Newport + crew
Polaris + crew
Banshee’s Cry

I had some very specific shenanigans in mind and contributed 3 mysterious islands along with some storms which made for a dangerous map (though less busy due to less players).

Wild Game with Storms and Mysterious Islands - 4x80 Weekend Marathon Finale (October 16th, 2022)

For reference, these are the 3 mysterious islands I contributed:

Ships scattered everywhere as the mysterious islands quickly began to take their toll. Raninoidea and the Lady Provost took damage upon docking.  I made sure to make my giant crab Eternal, so any casualties incurred as a result of MI “farming” would not be truly fatal.

Wild Game with Storms and Mysterious Islands - 4x80 Weekend Marathon Finale (October 16th, 2022)

Things quickly got nuts!

The Hai Peng getting essentially auto-eliminated via Pandora’s Box + Lost was just the start.  I had multiple ships docked at some mysterious islands, ready to mind control for maximum chaos.  In this case the cheap ships added to my fleet at the end were not for competitive gold running, but a different kind of “cheese” – mysterious island farmers.  XD    Xerecs closes in on my Banshee’s Cry, with Intermediaro giving some coins to the submerged Marhi.

Another Lost UT was found, bringing more terrain into the game.  However, it was ineffective timing because most ships were docked or in a position where the “S away from other terrain and islands” prevented terrain from being placed directly underneath ships.  Kyle round earthed the Terror and Beast’s Belly to the east, while in the center Xerecs had designs on Cissey’s Ransom keyword.  The Coeur was rammed, but repaired on my next turn.  Calim pinned the Kanoka, but exploding shot backfired to leave the squid headless!  (I’ve been rolling exclusively 1’s with equipment lately…)

Wild Game with Storms and Mysterious Islands - 4x80 Weekend Marathon Finale (October 16th, 2022)

After many turns of redocking to mind control opposing ships, I finally had the Rover actually explore the gold-laden island her and Raninoidea were stationed at.  Bad Maps yanked the island eastwards, dooming the attached Rover in a storm.  Spencer is almost out of ships already with all of my storm and mind control efforts, but the Lady Newport has some gold aboard.

Wild Game with Storms and Mysterious Islands - 4x80 Weekend Marathon Finale (October 16th, 2022)

Unfortunately I don’t have more pictures from this game, but it was a total nightmare for anyone taking it seriously haha.  Storms and MI’s continued to play a big role, eliminating more and more ships until Kyle and Spencer were nearly out of it.  At one point I was able to yank Intermediaro into a storm as well.  Raninoidea was “killed” but returned home via Eternal to repair an arm before heading back out for the endgame phase.  Xerecs had gold-captured Jean Desailly from the Coeur in addition to Cissey for a nice payout of 11 total gold.  Towards the last round I was trying to salvage a weird/flukey second place finish by capturing the Lady Newport and her 10 gold, but Xerecs sank the derelict with the Kanoka after Raninoidea captured it.  Soon afterwards 2 of the 4 players had been eliminated, triggering the “half or more” endgame condition!

  1. Xerecs: 33 gold
  2. L0rdgingerbread: 6
  3. Kyky: 5
  4. A7XfanBen: 0

Xerecs got the win in this wild game a day before his birthday on the 17th, in perfect time to win a prize that Gazerbeam543 had announced before the game – a set of laminated deckplates for various Return to Savage Shores game pieces!

Thus concludes the 2022 Pirates CSG Weekend Marathon in the Pacific Northwest!  😀  Thanks again to all who played, and especially to Xerecs, L0rdgingerbread and Gazerbeam543 for flying up from LA to make it an epic weekend of pure pirating!!  😀

Thank you for reading! If you want to play Pirates you know where I’m at!  🙂

7 Player Game at 120 Points – Pirates CSG 2022 Weekend Marathon (October 16th, 2022)

7 Player Game, 120 Points

10/23/2022

The largest game of the 2022 Pirates CSG Weekend Marathon was a 7 player game with a 120 point build total!  😀  A power outage at Mox Boarding House in Bellevue led us to go to their Seattle location instead. We used these house rules and some additional ones:
-Lord Mycron legal, but has Limit and Ransom in addition to his regular abilities.
-Custom game pieces are allowed if all players agree to their legality.
-Three islands placed per player.
-Each player can place 3 pieces of terrain during setup (in the same order as islands, per usual), with a maximum of 1 massive terrain and 1 medium terrain per player. (Picture – Massive=7 in top 2 rows; Medium=7 in bottom row)
-The last player in the turn order chooses their home island location first, followed by the second to last player until the first player chooses their home island last.
-Each player must contribute an equal number of coins of any value or type in order to have 4 coins per wild island. (8 coins per player due to 2 wild islands per player)
-Gold bonuses will be applied permanently to the coin in question (ex: a 7 becomes an 8 ). The added value stays with the coin, and the coin can be “used” normally for the purposes of home island raiding, fort building, etc.

These were the fleets!

Xerecs (custom Ionic fleet; game pieces found in the Customs Database)
Ignition + Atuam, helmsman, captain (proxied by Kentucky)
Okoto + Ekimu, Ackar, Kinaa, Helyrex, Draxon, captain, oarsman
Three Virtues + Amakav, helmsman, Onua, oarsman
G’Ki + Gukon, helmsman (proxied by Santa Lucia)

Kyky
La Vengeance + crew
La Danae + crew
Black Swan + crew
Conquerant + crew
Seleucis
Ophidious

Cutty
Le Soleil Royal + crew
Raninoidea
Golden Medusa + crew
Kirbac + crew
La Felicite + crew
Coral
La Santa Isabel
Banshee’s Cry + crew
Executioner + crew

Gazerbeam543 (some customs used)
Inarrêtable + Mademoiselle Moulin, Lenoir, Jordan Dumas, Griffin, Helmsman
La Dijon + helmsman, explorer, oarsman
Fetu + Lady Roimata, Madame LaFontaine, Khalid Youssef, Helmsman, Oarsman
Le Coeur du Lion + Princess Arii Auraa, Capitaine Baudouin Deleflote, Oarsman
Mist Walker

A7XfanBen
Baochuan + Admiral Zheng He, Warlord Cavendish, Ms. Cheng, RotF Crimson Angel, Grim the Savage, Bianco’s Haulers, RotF Captain Mysion, helmsman, oarsman
Coeur + Auraa, Deleflote
Floating Stone + Calypso
Neptune’s Hoard + Hammersmith, Tia Dalma, oarsman
Philadelphia + helmsman, oarsman

Witch
El Acorazado + RotF Luis Zuan, Nemesio Diaz, Roberto Santana, Joaquin Vega, helmsman, shipwright
Santo Columba + Christian Fiore, Castro’s Loyalists, captain, helmsman, oarsman
Cazador del Pirata + Fernando Sanchez, captain, helmsman, oarsman
El Duque + captain, oarsman
Bilge + Lord Mycron, Robinson, oarsman

L0rdgingerbread
HMS Titan + crew
La Vengeance + crew
La Santa Isabel + crew
Buscador + crew
HMS Lady Provost + crew
HMS Gallowglass + Lord Mycron

We were ready to set sail!

7 Player Game at 120 Points - Pirates CSG 2022 Weekend Marathon (October 16th, 2022)

Maps of Alexandria was once again found early, revealing the location of all the various treasures.  The Baochuan has marked an island explored and grabbed some gold from it.

7 Player Game at 120 Points - Pirates CSG 2022 Weekend Marathon (October 16th, 2022)

Cutty’s fleet setting out.  What lunacy might Pandora’s Box bring about?

7 Player Game at 120 Points - Pirates CSG 2022 Weekend Marathon (October 16th, 2022)

The Fetu and Dijon were rapidly acquiring some hefty hauls for Gazerbeam’s fleet:

Luckily for me the Neptune’s Hoard had found Elizabeth’s Piece of Eight, but soon afterwards Cutty’s Pandora’s Box exploration would yank in a Pirata Codex to eliminate all face up UT’s from the game!

This shows the “far east” of the ocean where Xerecs’ Ignition has been dismasted by Kyle’s Black Swan.

7 Player Game at 120 Points - Pirates CSG 2022 Weekend Marathon (October 16th, 2022)

In a huge move, Gazerbeam took his custom French 10 master over the edge of round earth to sink the Okoto (Xerecs’ custom Ionic 10 master) with help from Mist Walker!  Southwest of there, the big fog bank is getting a bit crowded.  The Santo Columba has emerged from it and is about to eliminate Cutty’s Raninoidea.

7 Player Game at 120 Points - Pirates CSG 2022 Weekend Marathon (October 16th, 2022)

Peter continues to accumulate gold with the Fetu hoist:

Here it looks like Xerecs was trying to take the Three Virtues back to his home island in a roundabout way, but he couldn’t expect any clemency from me after raiding my HI with his Ionic sloop.

7 Player Game at 120 Points - Pirates CSG 2022 Weekend Marathon (October 16th, 2022)

Indeed there would be swift action, as the NH and Baochuan teamed up to dismast the Three Virtues, allowing the Philadelphia to capture it after Tia Dalma cancelled the ship’s oarsman.

Gazerbeam builds Paradis de la Mer:

custom French 10 masted junk

My next turn was a homecoming, as I hoped that the Three Virtues would be a valuable addition to my fleet after some time spent repairing.

The most notable development here is at the upper left, where Cutty has warped into Witch’s territory using a whirlpool from his Calypso on the Golden Medusa.  Witch has built a Spanish fort in the corner and Cutty may have designs on its gold.

7 Player Game at 120 Points - Pirates CSG 2022 Weekend Marathon (October 16th, 2022)

The available gold in play was already dwindling down a bit, and I wanted to grab some of it in addition to hopefully a home island hoard via Grim afterwards.  I used my Calypso to warp the Baochuan and Neptune’s Hoard into the far east.  The NH was primarily there for protection, mostly via Tia Dalma’s canceller ability.

7 Player Game at 120 Points - Pirates CSG 2022 Weekend Marathon (October 16th, 2022)

In a huge asterisk for the game, Cutty had a car emergency which forced him to take his entire fleet out of play.  Gazerbeam has built another fort near his HI.  Kyle has captured the Ignition with the Black Swan, but the huge sargasso sea is severely slowing his progress in making any use of the prize.

7 Player Game at 120 Points - Pirates CSG 2022 Weekend Marathon (October 16th, 2022)

Spencer had somewhat quietly been playing a very good game, accumulating considerable gold while sinking the Santo Columba with HMS Titan and protecting Mycron by putting the Gallowglass in a fog bank.

I had miscalculated the risk to my ships, as I hadn’t anticipated a multi-canceller multi-player collaboration against the Baochuan and Neptune’s Hoard.  Witch’s Acorazado whirled into the area, with Diaz and Dalma cancelling each other out.  Mycron’s Bilge gave the Acorazado a shoot action, which sank the NH!

7 Player Game at 120 Points - Pirates CSG 2022 Weekend Marathon (October 16th, 2022)

More trouble was on the way, with Kyle’s Conquerant getting an extra action to shoot and ram the Baochuan, taking her from 10 masts down to 1!!  The Baochuan’s defenses (Parley and can’t be shot at while docked) were cancelled by Diaz on the Acorazado and Lenoir on the Conquerant.  Seleucis gave Ophidious a second action to surface and shoot, sinking the Baochuan!

7 Player Game at 120 Points - Pirates CSG 2022 Weekend Marathon (October 16th, 2022)

Witch was playing to sink ships rather than win, and thus took the Acorazado into further combat, sinking the Conquerant and injuring Ophidious.  By now Kyle had captured Xerecs’ final ship, eliminating him from the game.  The Fetu is the latest ship to get stuck in the big sargasso.

Spencer’s Lady Provost was the latest HI raiding threat against me, and she was joined by my Coeur in the fog bank now that Deleflote had a minute to breathe with both of my primary ships out of play.  The Three Virtues had finished repairing, but I knew my chances of winning were quite slim.

Kyle had the unique idea of putting 058 Captain Jack Sparrow (of UPS fame) on La Danae, something I never would have expected.  The Baochuan sinking provided some fireworks, while Ophidious would soon start repairing after an intentional reefing to trigger Eternal.

Witch took the Acorazado near the reef to dismast the Black Swan:

With the help of Lord Mycron, Spencer’s Lady Provost was able to rob a coin from Gazerbeam’s HI and immediately duck into a nearby fog bank for safety, quite the perfect trick as time wound down.  Unfortunately we were fighting another time constraint from various real-life angles, so this marked another game that would not be finished properly.  My HI was raided for the third time (by a third ship and third player!), this time by the Cazador del Pirata with Fernando Sanchez on board.  Gazerbeam now controlled the last 10 master standing and used it to make Witch’s fort abandoned in the northwest.

7 Player Game at 120 Points - Pirates CSG 2022 Weekend Marathon (October 16th, 2022)

The final few turns featured some of the more exciting plays of the game, mostly with desperate boarding attempts.  On the left the Buscador and Lady Provost ram the Cazador del Pirata for stolen loot.  At the right, I used an extra action from the Three Virtues to emerge from a whirlpool and eventually destroy one of Gazerbeam’s forts, freeing up a few coins.  However, this effort was in vain as the Acorazado and Inarretable arrived on the scene and sank the Three Virtues.  On my last turn the Philadelphia rammed the Fetu but failed to win the boarding party.

7 Player Game at 120 Points - Pirates CSG 2022 Weekend Marathon (October 16th, 2022)

Unfortunately the time was up and the game was over!

  1. Gazerbeam543: 53 gold
  2. L0rdgingerbread: 42
  3. Kyky: 18
  4. A7XfanBen: 11
  5. Witch: 0 (still active)
  6. Xerecs: 0 (eliminated)
  7. Cutty: 0 (left game)

Congratulations to Gazerbeam on what looks like a near-perfect game played!  Aggressive gold acquisition early while knocking out an enemy 10 master set him up well for the rest of the game.  Any threat I could muster was quashed by the anti-Baochuan alliance, while Spencer couldn’t quite steal enough gold at the end to make up the difference in coinage.  Kyle played a nice game for a sneaky 3rd place finish.  Witch accomplished his goal of sinking at least 10 ships (11 total), while Xerecs and Cutty were on the wrong end of some devastating broadsides very early in the game.

Here is some game footage!

October 2022 Pirates CSG Weekend Marathon Bellevue WA PNW meetup group picture

 

6 Player Game at 60 Points in Bellevue Washington – October 15th, 2022

6 Player Game at 60 Points

10/15/2022

The Bowens and I returned from our Epic Scale game in Seattle to have dinner with the rest of the pirates and another game!  This would be a 6 player game with the core PNW Pirates and the LA crew.  These are the house rules we used, with more for the weekend marathon:
-Lord Mycron legal, but has Limit and Ransom in addition to his regular abilities.
-Custom game pieces are allowed if all players agree to their legality.
-Three islands placed per player.
-Each player can place 3 pieces of terrain during setup (in the same order as islands, per usual), with a maximum of 1 massive terrain and 1 medium terrain per player. (Picture – Massive=7 in top 2 rows; Medium=7 in bottom row)
-The last player in the turn order chooses their home island location first, followed by the second to last player until the first player chooses their home island last.
-Each player must contribute an equal number of coins of any value or type in order to have 4 coins per wild island. (8 coins per player due to 2 wild islands per player)
-Gold bonuses will be applied permanently to the coin in question (ex: a 7 becomes an 8 ). The added value stays with the coin, and the coin can be “used” normally for the purposes of home island raiding, fort building, etc.

Here are the fleets in the order of play:

L0rdgingerbread
White Rose + crew
Virtuous Wind + crew
El San Jose + crew
Banshee’s Cry + crew

L0rdgingerbread fleet

A7XfanBen “Universal Pirate Swan”
Black Swan + Captain Jack Sparrow (058 version), SS Bianco’s Haulers, helmsman, explorer, oarsman
Darkhawk II + Captain Blackheart, helmsman
Coeur + Deleflote, Auraa, Cissey
Banshee’s Cry + explorer, oarsmen x2
Rover + oarsmen x3 (2 on HI to start game)
Coins: Maps of Alexandria, Marksman’s Map, Pirata Codex, 5 7’s
-The idea was to take advantage of the Black Swan’s “Free Ride” ability to be immune while docked, flip coins home with CJS using the regular UPS (Universal Pirate Shipping) strategy, and then have the DHII pick up the extra crew left on islands and either bring them back home for more UPS opportunities, or sac them with Blackheart to turn the DHII into a menace.

A7XfanBen fleet

Xerecs
Calypsos + Grapple shot, double shot
Morning Star + El Pescador, helmsman, oarsman
La Monarca + Dominic Freda (LE version), oarsman
Mist Walker

Xerecs fleet

Witch
Custom Queen Anne’s Revenge + custom Blackbeard, helmsman, explorer, oarsmen x2
Providence + Dr. Clark Lewis, helmsman, shipwright, oarsman
Devil Ray + Christian Fiore, helmsman
Rover + The Hag of Tortuga
UT’s: Fruit, Cannibals, Wolves

Witch fleet

Gazerbeam543
Hai Peng + Bartholomew Roberts, Gentleman Jocard, explorer
Neptune’s Hoard + Captain Blackheart, helmsman, explorer, oarsmen x2
HMS Patagonia + Robinson, Lord Mycron
Oarsmen x4

Gazerbeam543 fleet

Kyky
HMS Grand Temple + OE Griffin, Admiral Morgan, helmsman, crew
Divine Wind + crew
HMS Clear Wind + crew
Sea Tiger + crew

Kyky fleet

It looked like a fun setup!

6 Player Game at 60 Points in Bellevue Washington - October 15th, 2022

Spencer found Maps of Alexandria on the game’s first turn, which flipped all coins on wild islands face up for the duration of play.  It revealed two 7’s on an island near me, which I was happy to flip home via CJS on my turn.

6 Player Game at 60 Points in Bellevue Washington - October 15th, 2022

Pirata Codex was on an island in the east in between Spencer and Kyle, and could play a big role in some gold running logistics given that Wolves and Plague are also out there.

6 Player Game at 60 Points in Bellevue Washington - October 15th, 2022

On the second round the Black Swan returned home, careful to stay docked somewhere and therefore be “safe” via Bianco’s Haulers.  Still, the Hai Peng looked like a nice target.

Looking from west to east as various ships take advantage of round earth:

6 Player Game at 60 Points in Bellevue Washington - October 15th, 2022

Peter grabbed some coins with the Hai Peng and then ducked into a fog bank with up to 3 other ships potentially approaching that same wild island.  I want the 13 gold near Witch’s HI but the presence of Fruit complicates things a bit.  Most of Xerecs’ fleet continues east, where Kyle has a ship docked and ready to explore the island where the Pirata Codex waits….

6 Player Game at 60 Points in Bellevue Washington - October 15th, 2022

Xerecs makes a play for Lord Mycron’s house-ruled Ransom keyword, capturing the galley with the Morning Star after an assist from his beasties.  I explored the Fruit island, putting it on the DHII.

6 Player Game at 60 Points in Bellevue Washington - October 15th, 2022

Spencer and Kyle gathering some gold:

CJS was busy flinging treasures home as the DHII stayed at the island for protection.  I also wanted the lucrative southwestern island, but had correctly assumed that canceller Christian Fiore laid in wait on the submerged Devil Ray.  I also figured the Providence had a captain and so the move seemed quite risky.  I considered moving both ships into the big fog bank, but by that point the Devil Ray would have been in cancelling range of the DHII so as to cancel her helmsman and prevent her from entering the fog bank, it being more than L away.

Notable developments in the center. Xerecs’ fleet regroups with the Patagonia safe at his home island, Mycron netting a 5 gold payout from Ransom.  Pirata Codex is triggered, eliminating bad UT’s like Wolves.  Peter has built a fort with the Hai Peng.  Kyle uses his HMS Grand Temple to capture Spencer’s San Jose.

6 Player Game at 60 Points in Bellevue Washington - October 15th, 2022

I took my ships back home, not wanting to lose my main ships in yet another fight against Witch.  The other reason behind it was that Spencer was clearly winning, and it looked like the only chance Witch or I had to beat him was to not negate our own games by fighting each other.  Basically, if Witch and I fought over the southwestern island, Spencer likely would have won easily.

The White Rose reveals a firepot specialist and sets the Divine Wind alight!

Xerecs sends his fleet against Gazerbeam’s fort, nearly making it abandoned with Mist Walker:

Witch scooped up the southwestern gold with the Providence while my Black Swan dismasted the Hai Peng.  Calypsos pinned the Black Swan with a ram but couldn’t shoot due to Bianco’s Haulers.  At the right, Spencer looks like the favorite to win but Kyle is towing his San Jose home with the GT.

The northern mess became uglier, with the Morning Star dismasted (I think by the Neptune’s Hoard), NH crippled, and Calypsos and Hai Peng sunk.  Spencer takes advantage of the chaos and Peter’s weakened fleet to raid his HI with the Virtuous Wind.

The gold available in play is dwindling, with the finish near….

Spencer became even more aggressive with the Virtuous Wind, taking it to Xerecs’ HI via round earth.  This would be the end of the junk, as I swooped in to steal the VW’s stolen loot.  The Black Swan and DHII arrived on the scene via Deleflote and Sac respectively, though I think only one of them was able to board successfully.  Mist Walker rammed the Black Swan but couldn’t win a boarding party, with the VW sunk in some kind of crossfire.

6 Player Game at 60 Points in Bellevue Washington - October 15th, 2022

With time running out, desperation increases.

The game truly came down to a single die roll.  Kyle rammed the QAR with two of his ships, stealing one of the coins Witch had stolen from Spencer, but failing the second board (with the GT no less) when Witch rolled a 6 to keep the other stolen coin!!

6 player game of Pirates CSG in Bellevue WA comes down to the wire

  1. Dan: 38 gold
  2. Ben: 37
  3. Spencer: 28
  4. Kyle: 19
  5. Billy: 19 (4 units in play each, Kyle with more points)
  6. Peter 15

A crazy ending to a memorable game!  Yet another insanely close finish!!  This meant that in the 3 5+ player games played so far on the weekend, they were decided by 0 gold (tiebreaker used), 1 gold and 1 gold again!  O_O  If Witch hadn’t rolled a 6 to defend his last coin it would have been in Kyle’s possession and I believe I would have won (unless it was a 1).  This capped an incredible day for Witch as he also had won both of the 3 player 80 point games played while the Bowens and I were playing epic scale.

Alas, the game was marred by some factors, mostly a time constraint and some unfortunate debate/drama over when the last round would take place (so that all players would receive an equal number of turns).  I can’t recall all the details but this was possibly the most riveting game we had during this weekend marathon, a 6 player game marked by various side conversations about strategy and player goals.  It was really fun and interesting throughout, right down to the final player turn.

6 Player Game at 60 Points in Bellevue Washington - October 15th, 2022

Epic Scale with Bowen brothers at Cal Anderson Park in Seattle! | October 15th, 2022

Epic Scale at Cal Anderson Park in Seattle

10/15/2022

After our 5×40 game in Bellevue to start the Saturday, Xerecs, L0rdgingerbread and I sailed off to Cal Anderson Park in Seattle for a game of Epic Scale Pirates!  We used the usual house rules for the weekend, but did away with the setup specifics because it would be a faster and more casual game.  We did a draft to pick our fleets, and this is what we ended up with:

L0rdgingerbread
Grinder + helmsman, oarsman
Shaihulud
Proud Tortoise + helmsman, explorer

A7XfanBen
President + captain, helmsman
Nautilus + captain, helmsman

Xerecs
Enterprise + explorer
Gog-Clocthoth
Le Coeur du Lion

We only did 3 wild islands, with 4 coins on each of them along with some terrain.

Epic Scale with Bowen brothers at Cal Anderson Park in Seattle! | October 15th, 2022

Epic Scale with Bowen brothers at Cal Anderson Park in Seattle! | October 15th, 2022

True to form, 3S cannons were completely useless to me.  The Nautilus immediately attacked, but missed all shots and her ram and board against the Grinder.  Spencer did heavy damage to the sub in his counterattack!

Epic Scale with Bowen brothers at Cal Anderson Park in Seattle! | October 15th, 2022

Our other ships got into an engagement as well, but my “luck” had truly deserted me, with the President failing to dismast the Proud Tortoise with a ram roll of 1!  Even the big foam dice aren’t any good for me!  XD  In the background, Xerecs has explored an island and looks to transfer some of the treasure to the Coeur du Lion.

Unreal!  The Proud Tortoise is immune to the President’s L-range cannons, so Spencer could just keep me pinned and plink away if he wanted to, forcing me to rely on Xerecs’ approaching Enterprise to break up the situation.

President fails ram against the Proud Tortoise

The President loses masts as the Enterprise closes in:

Epic Scale with Bowen brothers at Cal Anderson Park in Seattle! | October 15th, 2022

The President was able to shoot a few masts off the Enterprise while pinned – I didn’t want to make an enemy of Xerecs, but I was worried Xerecs would take out the PT and President in one volley or extra action (EA), which would eliminate me from the game (the Nautilus had been sunk by now).  In the background the Grinder and Coeur have unloaded coins, with Shaihulud stalking Xerecs’ HI.

The Proud Tortoise ran for it, but was just barely caught by the President, who finally succeeded with a ram to dismast the turtle ship.  I captured the PT on my next turn and was back in business to some degree.  I had the PT dump her coins back on the island, as I had some swapping to do if I was going to get any coins home from such weakened vessels.

Proud Tortoise captured by Ben

The coins on the island were somewhat low value (including a 0), so the Proud Tortoise explored it for me, re-dumped her explorer, loaded a crappy coin, and the President redocked for a free explore to load the two best coins from the island.  An interesting sort of HI stalemate is developing between the Bowen brothers in the background.  The Enterprise is headed home both to unload a coin and to repair.

Epic Scale with Bowen brothers at Cal Anderson Park in Seattle! | October 15th, 2022

The President was able to get the coins home to my HI and I believe the Coeur was sunk.

Epic Scale with Bowen brothers at Cal Anderson Park in Seattle! | October 15th, 2022

The President and Enterprise repair, the latter only after some bad fog rolls that forced her to stay hidden because Shaihulud blocked her path home. Spencer has recaptured his PT with the Grinder, but if you look closely you can see I’ve deked him slightly by putting the 0 on her knowing she wouldn’t be fast enough to row home for me.

The Grinder drops the tow to load the final coin worth any value in play (a 1) as American warships repair!

Sometime during this endgame we did a quick count to see if the final coin would matter, which revealed that Xerecs would win in a landslide either way!  However, Spencer was at 8 and I was at 7, so we decided to play out the carnage for fun and to see who might get second place.

The fully repaired President was finally able to shoot a full broadside, smashing up the Grinder:

Spencer dismasted the President on his next turn, dooming my game:

Shaihulud crushes the President schooner from Pirates of the Barbary Coast in Epic Scale pirates in Seattle Washington

Gog-Clocthoth surfaced to snack on some turtle shell panel.  Indeed, it was nearly time for us to return to Mox Boarding House Bellevue for dinner.  XD

Epic Scale with Bowen brothers at Cal Anderson Park in Seattle! | October 15th, 2022

This game of Epic Scale was over!

  1. Xerecs: 21 gold
  2. L0rdgingerbread: 9
  3. A7XfanBen: 7

Xerecs had found a bevy of valuable coins on the island he explored with the Enterprise, which was enough to secure the win!

Huge thanks to the Bowen brothers for flying up from LA and being great friends!!  😀

A7XfanBen, L0rdgingerbread, and Xerecs

2 Minute Turns – 5×40 in Game 2 of PNW Weekend Marathon (October 15th, 2022)

2 Minute Turns in 5×40 Game

10/15/2022

The second game of the October 2022 Pirates weekend marathon was a 40 point game with 2 minute turns for each player.  This was a timer that felt slightly too short for some 50 point games earlier this year, so with less points per fleet it seemed like it would work well.  These are the house rules we use, with the following in effect as well for this particular weekend meetup:
-Lord Mycron legal, but has Limit and Ransom in addition to his regular abilities.
-Custom game pieces are allowed if all players agree to their legality.
-Three islands placed per player.
-Each player can place 3 pieces of terrain during setup (in the same order as islands, per usual), with a maximum of 1 massive terrain and 1 medium terrain per player. (Picture – Massive=7 in top 2 rows; Medium=7 in bottom row)
-The last player in the turn order chooses their home island location first, followed by the second to last player until the first player chooses their home island last.
-Each player must contribute an equal number of coins of any value or type in order to have 4 coins per wild island. (8 coins per player due to 2 wild islands per player)
-Gold bonuses will be applied permanently to the coin in question (ex: a 7 becomes an 8 ). The added value stays with the coin, and the coin can be “used” normally for the purposes of home island raiding, fort building, etc.

Here were the fleets in the order of play:

Xerecs
HMS Oxford + RotF Hermione Gold, Sir Jeremy Rothschild, Powder Pete, oarsman
Intermediaro

Xerecs 40 point fleet

A7XfanBen
Frontier + BC Diamond Nelson Turner, RotF Ralph David, Commodore Matthew Perry, helmsman, oarsman
Morocco + helmsman, explorer
Griffin + helmsman

John
Le Gaule + 3 crew
La Bonne Chance + captain
La Fureur

Gazerbeam543
USS Kettering + Commodore Matthew Perry, captain, helmsman
Bloody Jewel + helmsman, explorer
Le Bon Marin + helmsman, oarsman
Le Pique + explorer, oarsman

2 Minute Turns - 5x40 in Game 2 of PNW Weekend Marathon (October 15th, 2022)

L0rdgingerbread
La Joya del Sol + tribal chieftain, 2 crew
El Martillo de Dios + crew
El Picador
El Raton
Spanish Native Canoes

Looking from east to west, from top to bottom you have the home islands of Gazerbeam, L0rdgingerbread, John, me, and Xerecs.

PNW Pirates game with LA crew

The game was mostly a gold race.  This was unsurprising to me given the relatively low build total and the 2 minute timer.  I myself had specifically built a fleet that I could use effectively within the time constraints, with no extra actions available and no real offensive capabilities to speak of.  My usual penchant for capturing enemy ships and using them in my fleet was a way I would get into trouble with the time limit, so I decided to go all-gold and hope the Frontier’s defenses could outlast any hostile neighbors.  I also figured my opponents would have at least some focus on getting gold, which proved mostly true and helped my fleet survive with less big threats around.

This looks like partway through the second round of turns.  Intermediaro has used its ability to put a coin on the Oxford.  The Frontier is already home with a haul while my 2 masted galleys explore for more, with the Griffin finding Jack’s Piece of Eight and the Morocco getting busy spying 5 times per round.  John and Spencer spread out their fleet resources, with the Joya’s island in the west looking like a potential clash with multiple gunships pointed towards it.

2 Minute Turns - 5x40 in Game 2 of PNW Weekend Marathon (October 15th, 2022)

The Americans get the better of the encounter, crippling the French as Le Gaule is nearly dismasted!  HMS Oxford beat up the Morocco but the galley was able to flee into a huge fog bank.  The canoes have explored and found Marksman’s Map.

2 Minute Turns - 5x40 in Game 2 of PNW Weekend Marathon (October 15th, 2022)

I made the mistake of thinking DNT’s canceller ability would be enough to save the Frontier from damage, but Xerecs swung the Oxford around her port side, got Hermione Gold cancelled, but then was still able to surface and shoot with Intermediaro!  The squid dismasted the hoist, leaving my fleet in some disarray.  However, on my next turn DNT was able to cancel the Sea Monster keyword in order to break the pin, allowing the Frontier to row into the fog bank for safety.

A7XfanBen and Xerecs clash again

The Kettering sank the Gaule!  Gold running continued, with the “reef island” up north looking hotly contested.  Spencer’s canoes have loaded some coins from it, but the French and Americans are arriving on the scene with firepower ready.

2 Minute Turns - 5x40 in Game 2 of PNW Weekend Marathon (October 15th, 2022)

The Kettering survived the reef to sink both Spanish canoes, though it was briefly contested that her move action had started after the turn timer had expired.  The Frontier and Griffin returned home with lots of coins, while the island south of the western reefs looked to become another potential hotspot.  Indeed, the gold was starting to dry up!

2 Minute Turns - 5x40 in Game 2 of PNW Weekend Marathon (October 15th, 2022)

The French sloop on the left had some valuable coins aboard, which both Spencer and I wanted.  The Bloody Jewel stole one with a ram and board.  I wanted to steal the same coin from the BJ, but the Griffin couldn’t quite reach her and settled for ramming the Pique instead.  The Frontier and Morocco are busy repairing to get back in action, but I was losing this mid-game gold race to Spencer and rather worried about it.  The Kettering scared off the Bonne Chance and took the Fureur as a prize.

Looking from the west, the game of millimeters continues as the Griffin can only ram the Pique’s flag, and not the Bloody Jewel:

Pirates CSG in the sun

Xerecs had a nifty setup going in the far east – the submerged Intermediaro used its ability to put a coin on the Oxford each turn, with the latter safely docked at home and able to simply explore the home island to unload!  It was a nice automatic profit system, but one that was probably too slow to accumulate enough gold to win in this runner-friendly game.

The desperation in the west intensifies, with more ramming and boarding.  Both of Gazerbeam’s French sloops are mastless, while the Joya del Sol empties a wild island of its last 2 coins.

The Griffin successfully zips back over the reef and through the whirlpool, and is greeted warmly by the Frontier, who hoists the stolen coin straight to my HI!  The Morocco is fully repaired and my fleet is hopefully ready to make a dent in the endgame.  Gazerbeam has cleaned up in the north, assigning towing duties to his Bloody Jewel and dismasting the Bonne Chance to eliminate John from the game!

assigning towing duties to his Bloody Jewel

This shows Spencer’s fleet in control of some western gold – he is getting many +1’s via the native canoes, stacking up lots of extra treasure that will be very handy in the final count.

Despite the risk I felt like I had to make an aggressive play, and sent the Frontier through the whirlpool and straight into the heart of Spencer’s fleet.  The Picador and Raton rammed masts off her, but her ultimate doom came when trying to sail over the reef.  I think this is the first time I’ve seen a wrecked hoist!  However, in hindsight she should have returned to my home island via Eternal from Gus Schultz, but I had mistakenly thought the keyword didn’t apply to shipwrecks.  Poo!

Frontier hoist is wrecked on reef - Pirates CSG shipwreck

So close to stealing gold from the Joya in a boarding miracle!

The captured Fureur was carrying the final two coins in play, and so the endgame was truly upon us with urgency.  Xerecs managed to position the Oxford out of the Kettering’s cancelling range to sink the Bloody Jewel, freeing the derelict for a fresh owner to tow it.  Intermediaro was there to assist, but Xerecs was potentially facing counterattacks from not just Gazerbeam’s Kettering, but Spencer’s swarm as well.  The Morocco has lost a mast to the whirlpool but explores the wrecked Frontier to get whirlpool fodder crew for the trip back. (Spencer having gotten the rest of his gold home, so no more on the water to steal)

2 Minute Turns - 5x40 in Game 2 of PNW Weekend Marathon (October 15th, 2022)

The Kettering fails to dismast the Oxford and it’s on!  The Oxford snags the Fureur while Intermediaro goes nuts on the longship, knocking off 2 masts and pinning her!

2 Minute Turns - 5x40 in Game 2 of PNW Weekend Marathon (October 15th, 2022)

Things broke up afterwards as ships scattered across the map.  The Fureur explored the Oxford to give the schooner both coins, with the Oxford hightailing it to the north via round earth.  Intermediaro finished off the Kettering and pinned the Joya.  Gazerbeam deferred giving actions to his final ship in play and so was essentially out of it. I sent the Griffin east via round earth to intercept the Oxford.

2 Minute Turns - 5x40 in Game 2 of PNW Weekend Marathon (October 15th, 2022)

We got tangled up in a classic endgame ramming pileup.  The Griffin was able to ram the Oxford, but she lost the boarding party.  This allowed Xerecs to get the final 2 coins home which ended the game!

  1. A7XfanBen: 51 gold
  2. L0rdgingerbread: 50
  3. Xerecs: 20
  4. Gazerbeam543: 10
  5. John: 0

Another incredibly close finish!!  O_O  After the prior night’s game was a 46-46 tie decided by the units in play tiebreaker, the second game came down to the wire at just a 1 gold differential!  I was happy to come away with a win on the weekend, though it may have been the least exciting 5+ player game we played.

2 Minute Turns - 5x40 in Game 2 of PNW Weekend Marathon (October 15th, 2022)

2v2v2 Team Co-Op Game to start the PNW Weekend Marathon! (October 14th, 2022)

2v2v2 Team Co-Op Game

10/14/2022

This is how it began!!  Xerecs (Billy), L0rdgingerbread (Spencer), and Gazerbeam543 (Peter) all flew up from Los Angeles to join the PNW Pirates (generally myself, Witch (Dan), and Kyky (Kyle) along with John and Cutty) for an epic Pirates CSG Weekend Marathon!  I would call it the Pirates playing event of the year for 2022 so far, and never before have I heard of multiple players flying from one location to another pretty much exclusively to play this great game.  Huge thanks to everyone who came out, and especially the LA crew who had to spend a lot more and make detailed plans to make it all work.  We played most of the games at Mox Boarding House in Bellevue.

We planned everything out in great detail through our messenger group (ask me to add you if you’re interested in playing anywhere near Seattle!), from build totals to game ideas to house rules and a game schedule based on timing and availability.  This is the house rule document we use for coordination, with these additional house rules specifically for this weekend marathon where we had about 6 people voting on house rules instead of the usual 3-4.

-Lord Mycron legal, but has Limit and Ransom in addition to his regular abilities.
-Custom game pieces are allowed if all players agree to their legality.
-Three islands placed per player.
-Each player can place 3 pieces of terrain during setup (in the same order as islands, per usual), with a maximum of 1 massive terrain and 1 medium terrain per player. (Picture – Massive=7 in top 2 rows; Medium=7 in bottom row)
-Storm terrain and mysterious islands legal for the 80 point game.
-The last player in the turn order chooses their home island location first, followed by the second to last player until the first player chooses their home island last.
-Each player must contribute an equal number of coins of any value or type in order to have 4 coins per wild island. (8 coins per player due to 2 wild islands per player)
-Gold bonuses will be applied permanently to the coin in question (ex: a 7 becomes an 8 ). The added value stays with the coin, and the coin can be “used” normally for the purposes of home island raiding, fort building, etc.

Time to get into the actual report!  We rolled d6’s to start – whoever got the same result as another would be paired on a team. We didn’t want to do it in advance of the meetup because teams might resemble one 80 point fleet, and because there was already enough pre-game prep that went into each fleet and game planning.  The teams were as follows: Witch with L0rdgingerbread, A7XfanBen with Xerecs, Gazerbeam543 with Kyky.  Apologies in advance if there is any confusion from the weekend’s reports because I switch between usernames and first names, and if various fleets are incomplete because I can’t recall all the details of who played what.

The fleets, in player order.  By some luck miracle the teams were already arranged around the table in the order we wanted so nobody had to move around – Team 1 Player A, then Team 2 Player A, etc, so that there was always two players in between each teammate turn.

Witch (teammate: L0rdgingerbread)
Custom Queen Anne’s Revenge + custom Blackbeard, Lucky the Parrot, helmsman, explorer, oarsman
Devil Ray + helmsman
Princess + The Hag of Tortuga, helmsman, oarsman
UT’s: Cannibals

A7XfanBen (teammate: Xerecs)
Raven’s Neck + Hammersmith, The Hag of Tortuga, Lucky the Parrot, explorer, oarsmen x2
Longshanks + helmsman, explorer, oarsmen x3
Bloody Jewel + helmsman, explorers x2, oarsmen x2
UT’s: Altar of the Loa, Pandora’s Box, Castaway, Maps of Alexandria, Marksman’s Map, abandoned oarsman, abandoned shipwright, Wine

Gazerbeam543 (teammate: Kyky)   Fleet name: Faster Without Cargo
Intrepid + Commodore Matthew Perry, Tribal cheiftain, captain, helmsman
Ébat
HMS Trepassey
French Native Canoes

L0rdgingerbread (teammate: Witch)
HMS Dover + 4 crew
Sea Crane + Zheng Li Kwan
Winds of Vengeance + crew
Dragon

Xerecs (teammate: A7XfanBen)
Neptune’s Hoard + Hammersmith, SM El Fantasma, oarsman
Intermediaro + stinkpot shot

Kyky (teammate: Gazerbeam543)
Revenant + 5 generic crew
Pandora + The Hag of Tortuga, 2 generic crew

Xerecs and I were hyped to finally work together after SOO many games played, with nearly 100 contests on VASSAL and various games this year in LA.  It remained to be seen if various fleets had any synergies, but that was part of the fun we had to figure out as we went along.

Here is the ocean!  For home islands, Billy and Spencer are at the upper left. The middle from left to right is Kyle, Peter and me. Dan is at the upper right.

2v2v2 Team Co-Op Game to start the PNW Weekend Marathon! (October 14th, 2022)

Witch took the first actions of the epic weekend and we were off!

And immediately UT’s deal crushing blows!  Pandora’s Box and Plague nearly ruin the Raven’s Neck for good, but I yanked in an Altar of the Loa to control Gazerbeam’s fleet!!  O_O  The Trepassey lost her mast to a whirlpool, the canoes were flung towards the doom of a massive sargasso sea which promised to never let them escape, and the Intrepid lost most of her masts after being flung through a whirlpool and straight onto a reef.  I got lucky on the island in general, finding Turtles as well, right next to my home island.  It was a grand display of aggression and gimmick chaos, also serving as a wake up call that it was now game on.  XD  My strategy was working well, as it had been my intention to use the Box to bring in a second Altar since I couldn’t count on finding the “primary” one with so many wild islands to explore.  Luckily I triggered the Box right away and was able to set up the epic combo on turn 1.

Altar of the Loa UT wreaks absolute havoc

We would soon get rid of the extra turtle (coin proxy), but the 10 turtles had very little distance to swim in order to net 10 gold for Xerecs and I.  Now the question was: would the public location of the Altar trigger a chain reaction where players might race to it in order to control the turn of the player after them?

On the second round the Bloody Jewel sacrificed her other two spare crew to the Altar, giving me another turn of control over Peter’s fleet.  The Intrepid was moved back through a whirlpool towards the Plague-ridden Longshanks, as I hoped to capture the schooner.  The Longshanks had captured the Trepassey on my turn, giving the English sloop the Plague.  Plague would limit how much I could control the next fleet via the Altar, as I was planning to sac crew from the Longshanks for additional turns of control.  Three of the French native canoes were moved into the sargasso sea of doom, meaning they would be tangled and stuck for the rest of the game!

A7XfanBen most evil player?

Spencer was snagging some gold in the northwest:

Woelf’s clarification on the spying abilities was a bit shocking to me, as I had always played it as once per round on the controlling player’s turn.  Thanks to Witch and others for bringing up the wording, as we would play it correctly the rest of the weekend with spying able to happen on every player’s turn.  This makes them even more viable and I could see the 2 point spyers being worth it as a result.  There was a funny moment on the first turn where Witch used his Lucky the Parrot to spy one of my crew, which was Lucky the Parrot. “Pieces of Eight!” XD

As the turtles arrive home, the Bloody Jewel looks for gold while the Raven’s Neck is sent through whirlpools to try and dump her Plague in one.  Xerecs and Witch have gotten some coins home, while Kyle’s ships head towards Spencer’s gold runners. The Longshanks was sunk near the center, dooming my plan to use the Intrepid and Trepassey as prizes.  Gazerbeam is relieved to finally take a turn with his fleet, moving his remaining 2 canoes over a reef in search of gold.

Team Co-op Game

The whited-out coin is a Plague proxy, and you can see what I was dealing with on the Raven’s Neck.  If I could eliminate that UT on a “bad” whirlpool roll, I could transfer her coins to the Bloody Jewel without danger (the latter still carrying her valuable helmsman) and avoid the Rats penalty on the regular coins aboard RN.  Nemo’s Plans (a gift from Xerecs via Pandora’s Box) was nice to have, though we should have coordinated better on which UT we would each contribute.  I was somewhat hell-bent on the Altar to pull off my gimmick strategy lol.

Raven's Neck with lots of coins

Maps of Alexandria was found, revealing the southeast island (at the bottom right) to be rather valuable at 12 total gold with a Cross of Coronado too.

It also revealed the location of my “original” Altar of the Loa, dormant on an island in the southwest.  Xerecs and I were constantly using the spying ability throughout the game and sharing information with each other to game plan, and did consider revealing the Altar location (before the Maps were found) to the team of Gazerbeam/Kyky in case they would be able to use it to control Spencer or Witch’s turn(s).  At this point there was a LOT going on, both in terms of team strategy and inter-team politics.  So much that I can’t remember half of it haha!  Definitely a fun time, and getting a bit tense as the endgame approached….

Kyle’s Revenant back to full strength.  Wine could throw a wrench into the plans of any team trying to end the game sooner rather than later…

From the east looking west.  Peter’s Intrepid has made the harrowing journey home to repair.  Dan and Spencer look like the favorites to win, though Xerecs and I might have enough gold to at least contest it.

2v2v2 Team Co-Op Game to start the PNW Weekend Marathon! (October 14th, 2022)

The Bloody Jewel got the RN’s coins home after I finally rolled badly enough in a whirlpool to toss Plague overboard.  The BJ had also found two other face down coins of note… two abandoned crew.  O_O  I told Xerecs this, as it meant the BJ could use the Altar for another turn of control over Peter’s fleet.  This was a secret worth keeping, as I don’t think others in the game anticipated both of the coins on the BJ not unloaded to home to be essentially crew that I could sac at the Altar.  This was another way to gamify the Altar that I had intended during my fleet construction when thinking about UT’s – include at least 2 abandoned crew so if you run out of normal crew, you can find more to keep the mind control going.  XD  This was also my intent with Castaway (to bring in a recruiter crew who gets flipped for a second crew, then sac both), which backfired when Spencer found it and brought in SM Genny Gallows for +2 gold to some of his coins.  XD

Peter was able to get some revenge, with the Intrepid dismasting the Raven’s Neck, but only after missing horribly the turn prior (his luck was horrific in this game, so not a fun start to the weekend.  Though being the player to my left was random and not my intent, as I hadn’t thought about who would be a potential “Altar victim” before the game started).

Xerecs’ Neptune’s Hoard (NH) took 2 masts off HMS Dover.  SM Fantasma (aboard the NH) has designs on Witch’s HI, which is currently protected by the Devil Ray and Princess but not the dangerous QAR.  With the unfortunate constraint of time ticking down toward when the game had to end, I had some ideas for the endgame.  However, my worst fears were realized when Kyle sent his Revenant in the direction of the 12 gold in the southeast.  I think we had 45 minutes or less left in the game at this point, and I saw building a durable fort on that island as the best play Xerecs and I could make to contest Dan and Spencer’s combined gold total.

2v2v2 Team Co-Op Game to start the PNW Weekend Marathon! (October 14th, 2022)

The Intrepid sunk the Raven’s Neck, bringing me down to just the Bloody Jewel.  She went to the Altar island, but at this point Peter’s fleet was too weak to gain much advantage by controlling it for a turn.  We would need other help, so I planned things out with Xerecs, knowing that the gold swing on HMS Dover (2 coins and I think 7 gold) or the NH raiding Dan’s HI would not be as much as a fort control play for the 12 in the southeast. Xerecs made a clutch move by surfacing Intermediaro to blast and pin Dan’s QAR, taking advantage of the Sea Monster-Captain house rule with some equipment while also stealing back a coin the QAR stole from his HI.  The squid fought well and eventually the QAR was sunk!  This was a big move that helped Xerecs and I, as it took an HI Raider out of the game and meant she also couldn’t interfere with our fort plans.  Luckily the Revenant was too slow to dock at the SE island.

2v2v2 Team Co-Op Game to start the PNW Weekend Marathon! (October 14th, 2022)

To some extent, my “deke” of keeping both abandoned crew face down on the Bloody Jewel paid off.  The Revenant came for the BJ, but was only able to dismast her!  Then I flipped the abandoned shipwright to put a mast back up. I sacced two crew for a final turn of control over Peter’s fleet, but the Intrepid and Ebat needed extra actions through the whirlpool to do anything about the Revenant, which they didn’t have. The real key was that this BJ distraction allowed Xerecs’ weakened NH (from combat with the Dover) to round earth to the southeast and build The Devil’s Maw on the island with gold from Xerecs’ HI!  As part of her explore action, the NH dumped the 3 she had acquired recently into the fort, knowing it would be better protected in the fort.  Indeed, the last round was upon us, and even though the NH was dismasted and (I think) sunk, the fort was left intact, meaning all the gold in it would count for Xerecs and I.

2v2v2 Team Co-Op Game to start the PNW Weekend Marathon! (October 14th, 2022)

Unfortunately the game ended with a time constraint though there was still gold in play/etc.  Spencer had also been clutch at the end, picking up a coin near the giant iceberg with the Winds of Vengeance.  It was time to count!

  1. Dan and Spencer: 46 gold (6 units in play)
  2. Ben and Billy: 46 gold (2 units in play) (including 22 gold on my HI, 1 on Billy’s HI, 2 on Intermediaro, and I believe 21 in The Devil’s Maw)
  3. Peter and Kyle: 8 gold

O_O  Holy cow what a finish!!!  O_O  Incredibly against all odds the gold scores were a high-scoring TIE at 46, leaving it up to the tiebreaker of most units in play!  Dan and Spencer got that one easily and thus are the winners of this Team Co-Op Game!

Truly an unbelievable game.  It kills me to write this out because of how many things could have gone just slightly differently to give Xerecs and I the win.  XD  That said, we played our heart out as a team in the endgame and I think we did things optimally in the final hour of the game.  If we had coordinated better and Barbary Banner was placed on the RN instead of Nemo’s Plans, that 5 gold would have been enough.  But my Castaway UT gave Spencer Genny Gallows, whose bonuses made enough of a difference for their team to win. I should try to agonize less over what-ifs and care less about winning haha.  Unfortunately Peter and Kyle had to play from behind at the outset largely due to the Altar play; “everything that can go wrong will go wrong” as Gore Verbinski said about filming the PotC movies.  I will say I’m a bit less likely to use the Altar in future multiplayer games, both because you are limited in who you can control (only the next player in the turn order) and because wrecking Peter’s fleet didn’t do enough to win the game for Xerecs and I.  Congrats to all on a game well played and a wild start to the big weekend.

PNW Pirates with LA Pirates

Marysville Library Game – 2×60 on October 2nd, 2022

Marysville Library Game

10/2/2022

I played with a friend at the Marysville Library board game meetup.  These are the house rules used for the “PNW Pirates”, though most would not be relevant today as it was my opponent’s second game.  She rolled to go first with a Franco-Spanish fleet:
El Toro + captain, helmsman
Catedral del Mar + captain, helmsman
Mercure + captain
La Cazadora + helmsman

Spanish fleet

I followed with the English:
HMS Sultan + captain, helmsman, chainshot specialist, fire shot, double shot
HMS Ajax + captain, helmsman
HMS Bath + helmsman
HMS Greyhound

English fleet

4 wild islands with 4 coins apiece, with 3 terrain placed per player.

Marysville Library Pirates CSG game

After the Cazadora explored to take two coins, the Mercure repositioned to shoot a mast off the Sultan while grabbing a third coin from the island.  El Toro has arrived through the whirlpool to block HMS Bath.

Marysville Library game - Pirates of the Spanish Main

I decided I wanted to play it risky and try to blast El Toro out of the game in one fell swoop.  However, true to form as could be, my cannon luck was abysmal.  Broadsides Attack missed.  The Sultan set the Mercure alight and dismasted her with the ram roll, but double shot backfired, leaving the schooner with just one mast standing.  I decided to blast away with the Greyhound and Bath as well, but the ships combined to go 0/3 against El Toro, leaving me wide open for a devastating counterattack.

Marysville Library game - Pirates of the Spanish Main

Le Mercure set aflame by HMS Sultan

El Toro dismasted the Ajax, allowing the Bath to flee into fog and the Greyhound to escape to my HI.  With the Mercure burning to the waterline, her gold could not be salvaged by the Sultan, who sailed home hoping to evade the dangerous crab nearby.  The Catedral is gathering some gold for the Franco-Spanish.

A bit later and El Toro has explored a fresh island, allowing the Cazadora to grab gold from it more quickly. The crab’s positioning led me to scramble for the island the Greyhound was originally aiming for, with the goal of protecting them with the repaired Sultan on the return trip if necessary.

Marysville Library game - Pirates of the Spanish Main

The luck shifted a bit during this middle phase of the game, with the Toro’s captain directing a 1/4 shooting performance against the Bath, leaving her to return home safely with 3 coins on my next turn.  The Sultan redocked and shot some crab claws into the sea, setting the crab aflame!  I think this is the first time I’ve seen a crab on fire!

HMS Sultan sets El Toro alight

As the Spanish continued to pile up gold, El Toro would not go down quietly.  It extinguished its flaming appendage only to be set aflame once more!

Ugh!  El Toro puts the fire out again!  The crab’s giant claw dismasts HMS Greyhound with a ram, frustrating my endgame plans.

Normally I would have built a fort on the island the Greyhound explored (in order to extend the game for HMS Bath to do enough home island raids), but I didn’t want to suddenly introduce a new mechanic that would have been an unfair advantage since I hadn’t told my friend about it.  Instead my plan was to load coins and camp in fog to extend the game, allowing HMS Bath to steal more gold and turn the tide of the gold race!  By now the Catedral had lost her helmsman to the whirlpool, meaning that both of my movable ships had a speed advantage over her.

Marysville Library game - Pirates of the Spanish Main

This is where we ran into the time constraint of the library closing – the game took about 2 hours, longer than expected as usual. The Bath was able to dock home a stolen coin, but soon afterwards my bad luck struck again.  HMS Sultan came out of the fog bank to shoot at the Cazadora, but rolled 3 1’s to set herself alight!!  Crazy enough, on the next turn I went to dock her home and rolled a 2, meaning the fire spread and she was derelict!  The game was over.

  1. Franco-Spanish: 20 gold
  2. English: 13

This was a solid game that turned out closer than I had thought. The Bath had stolen a 2, so it would have been 22-11 with no HI raiding.  HMS Sultan burned to the waterline with 5 gold aboard.  The game was affected by a few asterisks, such as El Toro not rolling for whirlpool damage early in the game, and the very rushed endgame.  It was still a fun game though, and a good one for my opponent to learn about how the endgame rules can be manipulated for maximum benefit.  (she did start thinking about sabotaging her own ships to end it faster with the gold lead, but didn’t need to as I basically played myself out of it with the Sultan burning herself to a crisp…)