Pirates: 2022 Year in Review

Pirates: 2022 Year in Review

Hi everyone! This is a thread where you can share what Pirates stuff happened over the past year. It can be just about anything, from accomplishments to purchases to cool ideas. If this seems too vague, you can look at mine for an example. There’s also the option of stating your Pirates Goals for 2023.

It will be nice to look back upon the entire year and find joy and amazement in how much we’re capable of. List (possibly with links and/or a short description) everything you accomplished in 2022 in regards to Pirates that you thought was a good thing that happened. Everyone could make their own post and contribute their own things that they did or are currently doing. When I think about this past week for example, I don’t really think much of it, but when I consider everything I’ve personally done in the entire year, I feel amazed! I think others could share that feeling as well if they look back at everything. Also, little things count too, so it doesn’t have to be all about one particular event or anything. Once everyone has posted, we can talk about what we accomplished as a whole community.


Pirates Goals for 2022 (set last year)
-I played way more than 10 games and way more than 5 physical games.  No games on water but I did play outside (both epic scale and tabletop) and in 4 different major cities: Seattle, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Portland Oregon.
-Organize a Pirates CSG community event in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) for a date or weekend in the second half of the year: Accomplished in mid-October with the PNW Weekend Marathon.
-Play my turns in CG4 when/if I am able: No turn available for me to play in CG4 this year.
-Teach at least one person how to play the game: Taught one friend how to play.
-Improve Pirates with Ben: Not accomplished.
-Be able to make replica ships (3D printed with artwork on them): Not done.
-Release videos that bring value to the game’s fans. Record cool Pirates CSG stuff: This was done, though I feel a lot of the videos were random or circumstantial (oh hey I’m playing let me record, or hey I got this lot, I’ll record the unboxing) rather than intentional and valuable.
-Release at least two podcasts. Continue trying to get special guests on (former Wizkids employees/etc): Only one podcast released, and I didn’t get any former Wizkids employees on.

General accomplishments:
-Met up with 25 people in person to play or talk about the game (3x as many different people played with compared to 2021!).  Further developed my knowledge of the game, especially regarding underrated or underutilized parts of the strategic meta, especially around the Setup rules and using everything possible to your advantage.
-Brought the Pirates CSG community together physically more than ever before with various meetups, scheduling various games and meets even in cities not my own.
-Gave away various packs to curious onlookers in public games, and gave away a bunch of stuff from the Holiday Booty Contest.
-Continued collecting, including high priority wants such as HMS Phoenix and Tasmanian Devil.
-Due to my online presence as the biggest (public) fanatic of the game, I received some amazing gifts – a 1200+ ship lot in Olympia WA, and the Epic Scale Fleet from Captain Redgoat of PDXYAR fame in Portland OR.
-Released 39 videos and 1 podcast.
-Had a ton of fun making new fleets and coming up with new combo ideas. Some still to be tested out in future games.
-Contributed to the Scan Project.

-Played 50 games, my most since 2017 and more than I played from 2018-2021 combined! (42 across those 4 years)
-The majority of the games were in person, with I think 48 of the 50 being physical games and only 2 virtual.

Pirates Goals for 2023
-Be able to make replica ships. (3D printed with artwork on them)
-Release videos that bring value to the game’s fans. Be intentional about video topics and improve my production/editing/video quality aspects.
-Release at least two podcasts. Continue trying to get special guests on (former Wizkids employees/etc).
-Improve Pirates with Ben. (specifically, the signup issues with spam/bot accounts, and increasing the site’s presence online)
-Play at least one game in every month of the year.
-Play my turns in CG4 when/if I am able.
-Teach at least one person how to play the game.
-Give away some of the free stuff I’ve received to players.

Overall in 2023 I’d like to focus more on what’s best for the game and community long-term, rather than slipping into the “ease” of simply playing a lot because it’s fun.

Feel free to comment below with your own 2022 Year in Review!  Or post your submissions for the 2022 End of Year Awards!

Dragon Slaughter – A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Dragon Slaughter

A Fitting Finale


I met up with Witch, Phillip and Chris at The Game Shelf in Kent WA for our final games of 2022!  The first game would be the main one, with a build total of 100 points.  We used these house rules and all game pieces can be found in the Master Spreadsheet.  It would be the “Washington finale” for my friend Witch (for now), as he is moving to Portland Oregon in the new year.

I was hyped to use one of my “scariest” or most potent gimmick fleet ideas – one I developed from a fleet I used last December.  The idea was to abuse not one, not two, but all THREE of the Mycron-type named crew, with the “American Mycron” crew of George Washington LeBeaux (GWL) from Return to Savage Shores (RtSS) with the three sea dragons that exist.  It really is a perfect storm of “dragon slaughter” – three dragons, and three essential named crew to allow ALL of them to be given two actions every turn.  O_O  I knew the fleet wasn’t likely to be very effective at winning since I had 88 points invested in the grand combo, but I had been looking forward to trying it out for months.

Three Headed Dragon Fleet (100 point version) “Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon Fleet”
(55) Dragons: Angelica, Shal-Bala, Raptor Maw
(10) Patagonia + Robinson, Lord Mycron
(13) Le Coeur du Lion + Princess Arii Auraa, Capitaine Baudouin Deleflote, Didier Vidal (look for cancellers/etc.)
(12) Banshee’s Cry + Jonah, Anamaria, RtSS GWL
(10) Dragon + Lucky the Parrot, helmsman, explorer
UT’s: Missionary, Wolves, Curse of Davy Jones, Enemy of the State, Bloody Gold, Savage Natives, Scurvy, Monkey’s Paw

Normally I would use Annapolis with GWL for the final “home ship”, but I don’t have the Annapolis in my WA collection and BC would make for a better gold runner if I needed her to snag some.  The two spyer crew were specifically included to look for cancellers, as cancellers can completely nullify dragons by cancelling the Sea Dragon keyword which prevents them from moving at all.  Dragon is a nice gold runner that kept things very on-theme, but made for a few confusing moments during the game.  The UT’s were all negative, as my main goal was dragon slaughter.  It was my first time using both Bloody Gold and Savage Natives, the LE versions of the RotF UT’s Blood Money and Cursed Natives that have the negative abilities of the latter but without the faction biases (and therefore can hurt everyone).  The scariest part about this fleet was that I could basically sic the dragons on a single target out of nowhere and there was very little they could do about it.  In a full-scale assault, I could put 12 shots on a single target with guaranteed first-strike advantage.  O_O   Add in their abilities, and those shots might eliminate up to 4 cargo and 1 crew as well.  I’ve also been rewatching The Hobbit movies lately, so it was even more thematic!

It also brought back fun memories from childhood.  😀  In reality, I knew the “dragon slaughter” theme was likely a double entendre, as there might be dragon slaughter at some point, but the dragons were also very likely to get slaughtered. This became even more evident after seeing the opposing fleets.  XD  They can be quite fragile and of course cannot repair.

The night before the game I thought of something new to me – leaving crew on the home island during the first round or until you need them to avoid spyers like Lucky the Parrot being able to see them (especially on opponent turns when you go last).

Witch went first with the Jade Rebellion (dice represent quantity of crew per ship):

Chris came with BOTH Savage Shores 10 masters:

Phillip came with an impressive Pirate fleet:

Wizkids Pirates CSG fleet

I was actually ecstatic to go last, as it meant I placed the final terrain and picked my home island (HI) first.  I put a fog bank right next to the island I wanted, which the “home ships” would duck into early in the game to basically guarantee that I preserved my ability to give double actions to the dragons for as long as the dragons survived.  My “Blue Eyes Ultimate Smaug” trio set up in intimidating fashion, but these 10 masters would be a LOT to handle.

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

I quickly got to work spying 2 crew on every player’s turn, revealing this on the Zeus: Captain Blackheart, OE Calico Cat, Tia Dalma, explorer, firepot specialist, helmsman, oarsman x2. Within the first few rounds I also spotted a captain on the DHII, explorer on Cassandra, and (for Chris’ fleet) MI Eileen Brigid O’Brien and shipwright on the Celtic Fury, and Lawrence, SS Shap’ng Tsai and explorer x2 on the Shui Xian.  There were also two copies of Christian Fiore in play, on Witch’s Virtuous Wind and the Celtic Fury.  Basically, four cancellers that could all individually freeze any of my dragons in place if they got too close.  The spyers were really paying dividends, but they were revealing some nastiness the dragons might not be able to contend with.

At least they had a target in the first round!  The Neptune’s Hoard was sailing separate from her Pirate counterparts, and therefore got a taste of the dragon slaughter – dismasted with all her crew killed!!  O_O

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

However, the Dragon (ship) found Wolves on the island closest to my HI, meaning it would be quite difficult for me to get much gold at all.  The Virtuous Wind only went 1/3 against the Celtic Fury in the southwest corner, and was followed by an unsuccessful attack by the Grand Mountain, whose captain was cancelled by Christian Fiore.  The dragons fly back home to allow all three of my home ships to duck into the fog bank for protection.  The Dragon is looking to capture the Neptune’s Hoard and give me another gold runner.  The Noble Swan and Antelope have explored.

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Shui Xian comes through the whirlpool and dismasts the Dragon!  Captain Nemo captures the ship’s helmsman!

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

More dragon slaughter as Angelica gets a move+shoot double action to sink the Tiger’s Breath!  I had used spyers to see her carrying a 7 and 4, which was likely to get “plussed” to a total of 17 gold with the Pirate Sea Crane at Witch’s HI (who I had also spied, finding Genny Gallows aboard).  The TB was one of the most isolated targets this round, and I just couldn’t let her get home with all that.  Shal-Bala and Raptor Maw teamed up to sink the Noble Swan, eliminating even more gold from the game!

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Gold runners are having a horrific time so far today!

The “actual” dragon slaughter begins – Grand Mountain gets an EA from Count Gustov to take three segments off Angelica!

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

The dragons regrouped in the southeast, near a wild island my Banshee’s Cry might try to grab gold from (especially now that Angelica was so weak that it might not need as much support from GWL/etc).  Shui Xian captured the Dragon and towed her to Mercenary home waters in the northwest.  I was reluctant to pursue them because Celtic Fury was very nearby due to round earth, but even more because I didn’t want to expend the dragons in a futile attack on a 10 master.  At this point I had 9 “cannons” left between the three dragons, which is obviously less than a healthy 10 master, and my historically poor shooting luck made me want to conserve assets.  I also have found it disheartening to lose combat assets early in a large multiplayer game, as opposed to keeping them safe long-term and being able to exert more influence over the endgame.  There were also some rumors of an anti-dragon collaboration, and I wanted to get some gold if at all possible.  So, the dragons could just guard the SE island until the BC could arrive.  Celtic Fury has explored the SW island, allowing the Grand Mountain to regroup with the VW and repair with a shipwright.

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Fleets regrouping:

The Banshee’s Cry dumps Anamaria and GWL on my HI as Raptor Maw escorts her to the southeast via round earth.  Phillip has begun repairing the Neptune’s Hoard at his HI, but Cassandra finds a second copy of the Wolves UT in the north.

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

This was not a fight I liked my chances in….

Pirates CSG Raptor Maw sea dragon

I decided to chance it with Banshee’s Cry, knowing she wouldn’t make it.  I was very curious about the coins on the island.  My negative UT’s struck again, as Bloody Gold prevented the ship from loading either coin worth value.  Zeus dismasted her afterwards.

With a swoop and a slam, the partially repaired Neptune’s Hoard is sunk by Shal-Bala and Angelica!  More dragon slaughter!  The endgame was near, and it was time to go all out.

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

However, before Phillip can get any revenge, Chris and Witch appear on the scene!  The Celtic Fury carries Yeshaji Angria, and looks to raid Phillip’s HI!  The Shui Xian sails over round earth to make a threatening display!  The Grand Mountain and VW appear in the SE corner, making a massive climax likely inevitable!!  O_O  There’s something that can overshadow a three headed dragon triple threat – three cancelling 10 masters!

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

DHII shot 1/4 against the dragons, with the Zeus sinking the Antelope and crippling the Celtic Fury!

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Shal-Bala and Angelica are given actions to swoop attack the DHII and then fly back to my HI.  The DHII got swooped!  Another Pirate ship dismasted.

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

The captured Dragon then rammed the Zeus and blew her up with the Explosives UT!!  O_O

Angria had designs on Pirate gold, but they are dashed as the dragons rush to the scene!  The CF is dismasted as the dragon slaughter continues!

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

The Jades capture my Banshee’s Cry, but Bloody Gold demands a hefty sacrifice to give up either of the island’s coins.  A combination of cannon fire, dragon fire, and explosive fire has brought total wreckage to Pirate home waters.

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Rather than risking a dicey trip home with gold unlikely to win the game, Witch goes the bloodthirsty route and slams the Shui Xian, taking her down to 3 masts standing after Lawrence and the VW’s Fiore cancel each other out.  The carnage continues to mount!

The dragons continue swooping, this time dismasting the Cassandra and eliminating Phillip from active contention.  Angelica sinks the Celtic Fury and the Mercenary HI raider threat of Yeshaji Angria.  Shui Xian docks at the SE island.

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Grand Mountain attacks the dragons, killing Shal-Bala and injuring Raptor Maw:

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Shui Xian sacrificed Captain Nemo and Lawrence at the Bloody Gold island to load both of its coins (5 and 4), then took the whirlpool back home to the northwest.  However, the dragons coveted the gold with a deep sickness, and couldn’t let it fall into human hands.  Angelica and Raptor Maw used the last of their strength to fly over and dismast the ship with another swoop+fire attack!  Dragon slaughter yet again!

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

With both Phillip and Chris out of the game, the “half or more” endgame condition was triggered!

  1. Phillip: 23 gold
  2. Chris: 14
  3. Ben: 0 (4 units in play)
  4. Witch: 0 (2 units in play)

Wow!  An interesting game with an unsurprising ending, as Phillip had snagged the Spices UT and some other treasures early in the game.  Despite being a target of the dragons throughout, he managed to pull off a victory.  Chris had a very intimidating fleet and was in the running the whole time, but dragon slaughter proved to be too much as they dismasted the CF before she could HI raid, and sank the SX before she could return gold home.  If the “bloody 9” had gotten home, I think Chris would win a 23-23 tie based on units in play.

Although I wanted to get some gold, my own negative UT’s (Wolves and Bloody Gold) fittingly spoiled that goal.  However, I was extremely happy with how I was able to utilize the dragons, crushing various gold runners and sinking some ships.  I was very happy with how long they all lasted too, with all three influencing the endgame and finishing the game with two (barely) alive.  Someday I might try a 150+ point fleet that can more competitively utilize this gimmick idea!

Game 2

We had time for a second game at 40 points.  I didn’t have a second fleet ready, but it was easy to scale down to one multi-action dragon with similar gold runners. Phillip went first with the Zeus the cheapest Pirate ships in the game (BC, Rover, Mermaid, Jolly Mon), while I went second with this:

Raptor Maw
Patagonia + Robinson, Lord Mycron
Dragon + helmsman, explorer
Banshee’s Cry + explorer, oarsman

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Witch went third with HMS Granville, HMS Hyena, and the Mermaid.  Chris went last with the Speedy Return and American native canoes.  The setup was tighter overall, with heavy terrain clustered around the middle archipelago of close islands.

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Phillip was sick of dragons and rammed the Patagonia with the Zeus, winning the boarding party to kill Lord Mycron!  Raptor Maw swoops to eliminate two masts while the Dragon shoots off a third.  Patagonia and Banshee’s Cry flee into the fog bank.

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

What a scene!

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

The Mermaid found Wolves near the middle as fleets scattered for treasure:

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Zeus scares off the Raptor Maw who flies to the south by my gold runners.  The canoes load up, finding 9 gold via Sunken Treasure.

The Zeus whirls into the south and sacs, but only goes 2/7 against Raptor Maw!  My forces flee to avoid the hulking behemoth, living to fight another day.  Chris gets some gold home and becomes the early favorite to win.

Dragon Slaughter - A Pair of 4 Player Games (December 30th, 2022)

Zeus sacs again to chase down the Speedy Return, who engages to no avail, missing all shots!

The Dragon returns home 11 gold for me as the Patagonia captures the Jolly Mon after the latter rammed her mast off.  At the left, Witch has eliminated the Wolves via Trevor van Tyne (“TvTyne” as I like to call him), allowing the Hyena to load the island’s gold.  Blackheart tries to blast the Speedy Return, but is cancelled by DNT.

Speedy Return dismasts Witch’s Mermaid, my Banshee’s Cry loads the Mines UT, and in some bizarre setback of horrific luck, Zeus finds the Ghostly Encounter UT and Phillip rolls four 1’s in six rolls to eliminate nearly all of the ship’s crew!!  O_O  (including Captain Blackheart and the helmsman, completely crippling the ship)

The Speedy Return went after my Banshee’s Cry and did dismast her, but at the cost of her 3S cannon when the Mines exploded (it’s a trap!). My Banshee’s Cry still had her oarsman, but could not reach the safety of the huge fog bank and settled for the whirlpool instead, which unfortunately killed the oarsman and left her derelict in the northeast.  Dragon speeds east with the help of SM Calico Cat, who the Dragon found (via the Castaway UT) earlier in the game.  Raptor Maw guards her the best it can.  In the northwest, Zeus has loaded gold but is harassed by the American canoes on her long journey home.  Granville and Speedy Return engage each other in a lengthy fight, but neither is very successful between inept gunners and the Speedy Return’s defenses.  (Speedy Return was a powerhouse in this game, with an impressive setup of DNT, OE Montana Mays for SAT+Crew Protect, Wayne Nolan for Reroll, plus Captain Charles Richard, helmsman and chieftain.)

My ships (including the captured Jolly Mon) scrounge around for gold scraps as the action continues in the west, with both Speedy Return and Granville taking some damage.

With an SAT from Mays, the Speedy Return zoomed over to take a mast off the Dragon and got within S of Raptor Maw to cancel the Sea Dragon keyword, effectively dooming the beast.  The crippled Zeus arrives in home waters via the whirlpool.

Sea dragons and cancellers don’t mix!

With the help of Calico Cat, I believe I was able to board the Zeus 3 times in the last 2 rounds to try and steal her treasure, but couldn’t win any of them, allowing the Zeus to dock home her gold (including Ghostly Encounter, which was only worth 2 gold after it took a huge toll on Phillip’s flagship).

  1. Witch: 30 gold
  2. Chris: 29
  3. Phillip: 19
  4. Ben: 15

It was a fitting end for Witch in likely his last Washington game while living here, pulling off another super tight multiplayer win.  He did get extremely good coins, but Powder Pete also made a difference aboard HMS Hyena, showing once again that gold bonus abilities are incredibly good.

With that we bid him farewell for now and look back on a great year of playing the game against a multitude of amazing opponents.  2022 had by far my most plays since 2017 – thank you to all who indulged in this great game with me this year!  With that I turn my attention to other projects and ambitions, but I will be back on the seas playing again at some point….

Tactical Games against Witch – December 28th, 2022

A Trio of Tactical Games


I played a trio of tactical games against Witch, a formidable opponent and good friend.  He will soon be moving to Portland Oregon, so we decided to have a few 1v1 games after a memorable year of playing together.  The build totals would increase each game: 40, 60, 80.  We use these house rules with a couple mentioned exceptions, and all game pieces can be found in the Master Spreadsheet.  The fleets for each game are listed in the order of play.

For the 40 point game, we agreed to use standard treasure rules with each player contributing 8 coins worth 15 gold – mostly because it was possibly the only time we’d ever face each other in a 1v1 40 point game (as close as we would get to standard).

English Pirates (Witch)
HMS Dauntless + Commodore Peregrine Stern, Dr. Clark Lewis, Brother Virgil, Countess Diana Doone (SM version), helmsman, oarsman
Banshee’s Cry + Lucky the Parrot (proxied by Lightning)

Fleet for Pirates CSG: English Pirates (Witch)

Guide Grim to the Goodies (Ben)
Cassandra + FN Grim the Savage, RotF Crimson Angel (common version), helmsman
Morocco + helmsman, explorer
Le Coeur de Lion + Jules de Cissey, captain, helmsman
Coins: 2×7,1
Terrain: Fog!

This is actually a dumbed-down version of the original fleet I made which I still haven’t finished.  In a competitive or standard environment the Coeur and her crew would be swapped for things like Hidden Cove or more gold runners/etc.  The idea is to “guide Grim” by spotting up to 4 coins per round with the Cassandra and Morocco’s abilities.  Through a filtered search of the various game pieces, I found that Cassandra is one of the most optimal ships to carry Grim the Savage in a small game – very high cargo, decent speed, proper faction that only needs one cargo space to bring him aboard with the “Free Ride” ability, and a cap of at least 11 points so a helmsman can fit as well.  This version of the Coeur is obviously inferior overall compared to the “du” version, but she’s one of my favorite French ships and packs a decent punch.

Guide Grim to the Goodies

I knew I wanted places to run in the case of a Grim hoard, so I placed 3 fog banks for my terrain.

Tactical Games of Pirates CSG

Witch had a spyer of his own, using Lucky the Parrot to spot the various crew in my fleet.  Dauntless used an early EA from Stern to snag a couple coins from the middle island, with the reef a joke to Dr. Clark Lewis’ navigation expertise.  Mermaid and Morocco have deposited gold, while the Cassandra round earths towards the Banshee’s Cry (BC).

Tactical Games against Witch - December 28th, 2022

At the top left there is a 0 coin on that NW island.  Morocco has checked out some leftovers from the Endeavour and found a pair of 2’s, which would bring me to 10 total.  I explore the SE island with Cassandra, finding Kharmic Idol (Witch wanted to knock out any UT’s I contributed, but I put in none tonight!) and three more 2’s.  This alerted me to the fact that I should win with 16 gold if I could just get Cassandra back safely.  As a result, the Coeur went on a heroic mission to sacrifice herself for the cause, blasting a mast off the Dauntless and blocking her path south as much as possible.

Tactical Games against Witch - December 28th, 2022

Jules de Cissey was killed in action to give Witch 1 gold, but the victory was completed soon afterwards.

  1. Ben: 16 gold
  2. Witch: 15

Game 2 featured some “D-tier” ships, as we had both agreed to a game between rather silly fleets.  We had also agreed to not use our normal gold house rule, instead opting to try out Redgoat’s realistic gold doubloons that he gave to me back in August 2022.  They were chosen randomly, with no UT’s present.

Spanish (Witch)
Napolitana + Capitán Alarico Castro, Castro’s Loyalists, RotF Luis Zuan, helmsman, oarsman
El Duque + helmsman, explorer
El Minnow + Fernando Sanchez, oarsman
Picador + Duque Alfonzo de Castilla, Duque Marcus Vaccaro

This was a pretty bizarre fleet that really shocked me with the placements of Alfonzo and Fernando.

This was a pretty bizarre fleet that really shocked me with the placements of Alfonzo and Fernando.

“Island of Misfit Toys” (Ben)
Burning Man + captain, helmsman
Asp + Bonny Peel, helmsman, oarsman
HMS Bletchley
Le Colibri + helmsman, explorer
Terrain: Reefs!

My fleet is listed in the order I chose the ships, though realistically the Asp was the flagship. Burning Man is just a terrible LE that I will have a hard time justifying in any other kind of game. Her and Asp are some ships I’ve been wanting to try out though, with Asp being the lesser half of the RV SR ships as Star of Siam gets all the attention. Her 11 point cap was perfect for a basic Bonny Peel setup, with the +1 to boards hopefully helping the ship capture some crew. Bletchley and Colibri are very ineffective gold runners I had convenient, so they were included to have a bit of a 1 master and L-immunity theme. A bit of a random name for the fleet, but fitting for the Christmas season. I also want to get back into the habit of naming my fleets more often, as it makes them a bit more fun to wield and can get into some fun lore and flavor experiments.

"Island of Misfit Toys" fleet

One of many amazing gifts from Redgoat – as close to real pieces of eight as I’m likely to use in this game!  They have a pretty authentic feel to them, and make satisfying clink sounds.

Redgoat PDXYAR real gold coins

Various ships scattered for gold:

Tactical Games against Witch - December 28th, 2022

I had a rather expensive fleet (SR, DJC LE and two rares), but would it be remotely effective?

Tactical Games against Witch - December 28th, 2022

Picador shows no fear but gets slammed by my gunships in the west!  She loses a mast, but more importantly Bonny Peel captures the Duque Alfonzo de Castilla in the boarding party!

Colibri and Bletchley return to the “reefed” island for additional loot, but to my surprise Fernando Sanchez has been hiding out on El Minnow!  O_O  He steals a 5 from my HI!  Napolitana stands guard while Duque ferries coins from the northeast.

Tactical Games against Witch - December 28th, 2022

I was going hard on Picador to not only capture both of her crew for a total payout of 10 gold via Bonny Peel, but to capture the ship as well.  Burning Man was wise to try and stay clear of Napolitana’s impressive striking range in the case of an SAT.

It took a bit of time but Bonny Peel had both her captures along with the Burning Man taking Picador as a prize.  Napolitana has rammed the Bletchley, but the latter just repairs the mast on my turn.

I was relieved when Asp and Burning Man docked at home a few turns later, netting me 10 gold from the Gold Capture/Ransom payouts.  However, of the 10 actual gold I had unloaded from coins, Fernando Sanchez had already stolen half.  With no HI raider of my own, I had some catching up to do in the gold race, and might have to rely on a fort if the Minnow’s L-immunity and turtle shell panels proved to be too much against my meager firepower.

With an SAT from Castro, Napolitana zoomed all the way down the ocean from the north and rammed Colibri derelict.  However, I made sure to scare her off on my turn, with Bletchley ramming a mast off and building Paradis de la Mer.

Tactical Games against Witch - December 28th, 2022

However, this prompts Witch to build a fort of his own – Fortaleza Dorada.  In a game with such small-scale firepower, the forts represented huge challenges and made it increasingly unlikely that the game would end with the “all gold unloaded to HI’s” condition.  I partly felt the need to build the fort to deter El Minnow, who still came back for more and stole a 1 before getting rammed (unsuccessfully) by the captured Picador.  One oddity I thought of when building Paradis was that I only had 5 (unspectacular) ships in my fleet, but they were each from a faction that have forts available to them, meaning I could build any one of the 10 forts in the game.  I thought about building a second fort after potentially ferrying some gold back to my HI, but decided it was too risky against the Napolitana since then my fleet would have to be split defending two forts instead of just one.

I was tentatively hoping to suicide my fleet while the Duque was carrying gold home from Fortaleza, as it looked increasingly unlikely that I would be able to win with gold long-term.  However, I still had 5 ships and some of them were 1 masters that would probably need enemy help in order to derelict/etc.  Picador shoots 2/2 to smash the Minnow’s turtle panels.  I turned the rest of my fleet around, knowing that even a full-scale assault on Fortaleza was unlikely to succeed with such crappy cannons (and some unable to hit the fort due to its L-immunity).

My extreme ineptitude with ramming and boarding the Minnow continued, as various 1’s were rolled much to Spanish amusement.

With even the Minnow’s stolen 1 looking like a lost cause, I decide to play for a gold count as fast as possible.  Asp gets dismasted by Napolitana, while Bletchley heads to Fortaleza to face her 3S cannons.  The Minnow saga continues, with me choosing to eliminate a crew (Witch chose Fernando Sanchez) partly to see what he would do with the choice between him and the oarsman.

Duque got her coins from Fortaleza home, likely dooming my game.  I managed to capture the Minnow (recapturing my 1 coin) but lost the Asp and Colibri to the Napolitana.

Witch played into my desire to end the game ASAP more than I thought he would, eliminating my fleet from active contention, but it was in vain!

  1. Witch: 36 gold
  2. Ben: 26

The Spanish had acquired some valuable loot, which was plenty enough to overcome Bonny Peel’s early game gold captures.  Each fleet ended with a fort in play, and I believe that no gold was lost to the depths in this game.  Witch had won the misfit match!

Game 3 featured the highest build total (80 points) and probably the most competitive fleets.

Spanish Treasure Galleons (Ben)
CC La Santa Ana + LE Dominic Freda, helmsman, oarsman
Concepcion + SM Castro, Duque Marcus Vaccaro, RotF Luis Zuan, helmsman, explorer, oarsman
Acorazado + Sebastián Rojo (RtSS), captain, helmsman, shipwright, oarsmen x3
Coins: all 0’s!
Terrain: Fog + whirlpools

I’ve been wanting to use a fleet with all 0 coins for a while, as this year I finally have enough (minimum eight) to use exclusively 0’s.  I’ve thought about doing it in a multiplayer game, but 1v1 provides the best opportunity to influence the total amount of gold in play, which I was trying to minimize here.  The 4 masted galleons would use their +2 bonuses on as many coins as possible, while the legendary Battleship would stand guard and ruin any foes with a potential “surprise Sac”, an ability unavailable to the Spanish in regular expansions.

Spanish Treasure Galleons (Ben)

French (Witch)
La Corse (DJC version proxied by Le Bourbon) + Amiral Louis Cartier, Mademoiselle Josephine Godiva, captain, helmsman, shipwright, oarsman
La Lyon + CC Lenoir, captain, helmsman, oarsman
La Dijon + helmsman, explorer
L’Intrepide + Maurice Aristide
Carcharodon (custom version for 8 points with no Massacre ability)

Pirates CSG French fleet

There is also a whirlpool just southeast of the French HI which isn’t visible in some of the pictures but played a large role in the early game positioning meta.

Santa Ana found a strange island just south of my HI: Cannibals, Wine, and two 0’s.  The Cannibals ate her oarsman, but the Wine could come in handy.  Of course, the 0’s were no issue for Dominic Freda, who later unloaded one of them for 2 total gold. I made a gaffe with the Santa Ana by taking both 0’s initially, later re-exploring the island to dump one of them because I really wanted to +2 every coin I brought home (or at least all the 0’s because they’d be worthless without it).  Castro was fully in league with me tonight, as he must have been sick in the prior game while serving Captain Witch.  He came out of the the gate in this game on fire, as I may have gotten the first 4-5 SAT’s in a row with him here (with help from Duque Marcus Vaccaro rerolling of course).  The first SAT helped the Concepcion speed out to the SW island and back with a 4, which was turned into a 6.  The other coins on that island were 4,4,0, making it a prime target of my efforts in the early game.  In the southeast, the Intrepide is about to find the Wolves UT, as Witch’s UT inclusions backfired a bit.  Of course, he did have Dijon to trade it away.  The French gunships round earth to the west, though they are still close to the eastern whirlpool and therefore a threat to anything near my HI that isn’t docked.

Castro got another SAT and I had to ponder my options for a bit.  Eventually I settled on zipping to the south via round earth to load both of the 4’s in the southwest (free transfer to dump the explorer at home before moving), hoping Witch wouldn’t get an EA for La Corse.  He did though!  La Corse rounded the island, shooting and ramming to take off 3 of the Concepcion’s 4 masts and steal one of the 4’s!

However, my luck held strong as I gleefully sped into the giant fog bank, then used an SAT and rolled a perfect 2 in order to emerge next to my HI and dock home a 4 for 6 gold!  Santa Ana had been busy too, just at a far slower pace.  La Dijon had traded a coin away from the NW island earlier in the game, putting what must have been something undesirable on the island just south of my HI.  Fearing Plague, I dumped Santa Ana’s two remaining crew (Freda and helmsman) and went back to explore the island.  It was just a 0, so I had been wrong about finding a negative UT.  Having no reason to load the coin and bring it home only to unload it for no value, Santa Ana wasted turns simply going back home, loading up her crew, and ferrying the coin home.  She was doing her job… just extremely cautiously.  XD

The French are now trying to maximize their own bonuses, as coins are individually transferred to the Intrepide so Aristide can up their values by 2 each.  The Dijon has flung the Wolves to the NW island, giving the French access to the other coins in the southeast!  With both players knowing the value of being cagey, neither fleet is willing to risk a double action attack through the whirlpool to interrupt each other’s progress.

The guarded and cagey strategies continued on both sides – I know Witch too well to get into a hasty fight with him and lose, and he’s way too good of a player to make simple mistakes that open the door for me.  At one point he had the last “non-Wolves” gold in play about to return to his HI, at which point he was assuming the game would end, with neither player having a musketeer or Marine.  However… the only revealed crew on the Acorazado at this point was the helmsman.  Rojo had been lying in wait the whole game, and I wanted to get as many other coins “plussed” as I could before risking my entire fleet on the Wolf-hunting gamble.  This late in the game though, the time seemed right.  Acorazado slowly sailed behind the Santa Ana, who by now had done a large crew swap with the Concepcion, leaving the Concepcion with just a helmsman and explorer as the Santa Ana took aboard Castro, Vaccaro and Zuan to optimize her for a late-game Wine raid.

Rojo is finally flipped, the Wolves are killed in one shot, and the Santa Ana loads the final coin!

The problem now was that I had no clue who had more gold, so I needed to make victory more likely by not just getting the 0 (+2) home, but using the Wine effectively to do a dramatic flip in the gold scores.  This seemed very risky and difficult to pull off with the French still fluttering around their HI.  Santa Ana transferred the “final” coin to the Concepcion for safekeeping, with the latter immediately sailing into the huge fog bank that helped her earlier.  Welcome to Pirates with Ben (in fog)!  XD

The French then seemingly charged my HI, which allowed the Santa Ana (with yet another SAT from Castro!) to whirl to the French HI and exchange the Wine for a 7!  Acorazado followed for protection.

Tactical Games against Witch - December 28th, 2022

Cartier failed to give La Corse an EA on the French turn and the French couldn’t reach the Cassandra effectively.  I believe Castro then got another SAT and sped home with the 7, with the Concepcion emerging from fog to up my score by an additional 2 gold.  From the coins I saw on the French HI, I knew it was essential to steal with the Wine.  The game was over, though we had a brief fight afterwards just for kicks since almost no combat occurred during this game.  Acorazado had her captain cancelled by Lenoir (aboard the Lyon!  I was leaning more towards Corse) but sacced with Rojo to deal just 2 hits.  The French would have sunk her partly due to a pin from Carcharodon, but it didn’t matter.

  1. Ben: 27 gold
  2. Witch: 16

The game was far closer than the scores suggest.  Before the Wine and the final 0 (+2 via Concepcion) were resolved, Witch was winning 23-18.  It could have been 23-20 in Witch’s favor if the Concepcion had simply come home.  Once I had the 7 on the Santa Ana and saw Witch’s score drop to 16 (against my minimum of 18), I knew I was likely to win since I would try to sink the 7 if I couldn’t return it home.  Witch had been worried all game that an HI raider was on the Acorazado.  I was worried that Lyon had a double action crew as well, or that the F&S version of Lenoir was on the Corse (either way Acorazado wouldn’t be able to fight both at the same time without a canceller of her own).

This was a pretty interesting game that saw both players extremely cagey and cautious, each of us knowing that the other had some nasty facedown crew ready to wreak havoc if a full-scale fight occurred.  Perhaps it’s fitting that we won’t be able to play each other much more in 1v1 games, as I think this result is somewhat inevitable between such evenly matched players.  It arguably comes down to the simple luck involved, which was completely on my side in this game.  I would estimate Castro’s SAT worked something like 10/13 times, while my fog exit locations avoided the big reef and even Witch’s UT’s didn’t help him at all.  Cannibals was inconsequential, Wine won me the game, and crazy enough I randomly had a Marine ready for Wolves even though I didn’t contribute it and there were no other ways to eliminate them.

Thanks for reading about these tactical games full of gold and crew intrigue!  The PNW Pirates will be playing our final game of the year on Friday 12/30 – an epic 100 point multiplayer match!

Santa Slaughter – Christmas Evil! (December 18th, 2022)

Santa Slaughter – Christmas Evil


For years I have wanted to play a holiday themed game in December using the Sleigh and Captain Whitebeard.  I’ve never liked the game pieces because they’re broken and illegal to use, but it’s been on my bucket list for long enough and I finally acquired them a year or two ago.  However, in addition to the house rules normally in effect, this game would feature some more:

-Sink the Sleigh, 25 gold is put on your HI and can’t be removed from it. Eliminate Whitebeard (separate from sinking), and receive 10 gold that also can’t be removed.
-Sleigh starts with 10 random non-UT’s. Each non-Whitebeard fleet can contribute a UT or two but the rest of the gold was random to save time.

Without further ado here are the fleets in the order of play! All game pieces can be found in the Master Spreadsheet.

Sea Rat + helmsman, explorer, oarsman
Nightmare + helmsman, oarsman

Jarvis + BC DNT (canceller), RotF Ralph David, captain
USS Maryland + DJC George Washington LeBeaux, Wayne Nolan, helmsman

Cygnet + RotF Hermione Gold, BC Bratley (canceller), oarsman
HMS Rye + explorer
-towing Gibraltar

Wicked Wench + F&S Hammersmith, oarsman
Red Curse + Tia Dalma, MI “Cannonball” Gallows, captain, helmsman

Whitebeard’s Raiders
Sleigh + Captain Whitebeard

Captain Whitebeard had the unfortunate distinction of rolling poorly and would go last, which got the other factions excited about what could happen with all of them doing their best to hinder the Sleigh throughout the first round.  There was a massive amount of factions scheming together and trying to come up with ways to best the Sleigh and Santa.  However, each faction had their own goals of winning in mind as well, so not every ship or crew choice was solely with “Santa Slaughter” in mind.  I did take some inspiration from Xerecs’ game in December 2020.

The Cursed aimed to copy the “Ho Ho Ho” ability with Behemoth to freeze the Sleigh in place, but had a couple gold runners including a home island raider.  There was some HI raider prevalence, because the factions anticipated that as soon as the Sleigh got an action, Whitebeard would redock the Sleigh to unload his 10 coins for a 1st turn windfall.  Talk about unfair!  XD  As a result, some HI raiders found their way into the fleets in anticipation of stealing from Santa’s hoard after he gets taken out.  The Pirates went with a pair, but still made sure they had a canceller as well.  The English were the most hardcore about taking down Whitebeard, stacking their fleet with two cancellers, a ship that can’t be hit by the Sleigh’s L-range cannons, and a flotilla to pour in a heavy fire.  They looked intimidating but started the game with only 1 cargo space open.  With the Cursed opting not to include one of their L-movers, the Americans nearly felt obligated to include GWL as a way to move the Sleigh away from her home island.  Wayne Nolan would be there to assist, likely making the Maryland a camped out support ship in the early game.  After those 16 points were spent, they had just enough to add a nice combo – the Jarvis can’t be hit by L range guns, has a canceller to cancel the Sleigh’s defenses, and Eternal to boot.

Here is the setup at the end of island and terrain placement.  The 4 factions who don’t call the North Pole home all teamed up and collaborated – islands close together to minimize the Sleigh’s base move and cannon range, with whirlpools peppering the map so the various cancellers and L-immune ships could reach the Sleigh as early in the game as possible to try and force a decisive group action to take down Santa. Whitebeard placed 3 fog banks, seeing the odds stacked against him.  Knowing he would pick his home island (HI) first, he put a couple near an island in the southeast but they were quickly covered with terrain from the other factions.

Fleet area:

Whitebeard chose his HI to be near the undisturbed fog bank (which he placed as the last terrain of course), but was quickly seeing Pirate and English flags very close by.  With Santa surrounded so quickly in the setup process, the Americans and Cursed felt a little more freedom to branch out and surreptitiously give themselves a better chance in the long term gold race.  There was a lot of fear and anticipation around what Whitebeard was capable of, so each decision felt like a potential mistake – would all four factions have to surround him to give themselves a chance?

Santa Slaughter Pirates CSG game

Some closeups of the fleets in play order!

Cursed ships

The Sleigh in all her glory!  How would she perform in her first game for me?  I definitely anticipate this being a rare occurrence, though maybe I’ll try to bring her out every other holiday season or something.

Sleigh ship Pirates CSG with Captain Whitebeard Wizkids Pirates 2005 holiday promo

The Cursed got things started by copying the Rye’s cancel ability and whirling into position off Whitebeard’s HI.

Then the Maryland flipped GWL and rolled for L moving!  The first roll wasn’t enough but Wayne Nolan bailed him out with a 6!  The Sleigh is moved L away from her home island, straight towards the waiting cannons of the English!!  O_O

Santa Slaughter - Christmas Evil! (December 18th, 2022)


With Bratley and the Rye canceling the Sleigh’s defenses, the Cygnet and Gibraltar shoot a combined 5/8 (coming down to the last shot!) to sink the Sleigh and Captain Whitebeard!!

Santa Slaughter - Christmas Evil! (December 18th, 2022)

The English thought about trying to capture the Sleigh, but figured Behemoth would cause problems for them if they attempted it.  Besides, they now had 25 gold permanently on their HI and the Sleigh went down with 21 gold on her, less than what fleets were expecting.

With that, the game had been reset on the very first round.  Although the English now had a decided advantage in the gold race, it was basically a regular 4 fleet game from then onwards.  At the right, both Pirate ships and Cursed gold runners have docked at wild islands.

Santa Slaughter - Christmas Evil! (December 18th, 2022)

The second round featured the Pirates getting scared, but for good reason.  The submerged Behemoth whirled near their HI, with Canceller copied for pretty much every round of the entire game.  In this case, Red Curse had no explorer and would likely have her helmsman cancelled to prevent her from returning with gold from a wild island even if she didn’t get hit first.  Complicating matters was the Cygnet sailing north, who also had a canceller aboard not to mention S+S+S speed with some firepower. The Red Curse simply returned home, hoping the Wicked Wench would find good treasures on her island. The Jarvis explored, finding a 6 for the Americans while HMS Rye heads north in the west.  The Sea Rat docked home a nice haul of 13 gold for the Cursed on three coins.

GWL strikes again!  However, this time it is far less consequential (compared to being instrumental in the English sinking of the Sleigh), with the Nightmare being pulled away from the Cursed HI so the Jarvis can shoot her.  The Jarvis only goes 1/3.  The Sea Rat is taking the safe fog route to the “terrain island” down south, while Behemoth heads east to make sure the Jarvis knows her place.

Santa Slaughter - Christmas Evil! (December 18th, 2022)

Sea Rat finds some goodies!  The gold is boring, but the UT’s could be huge – Cursed Conch essentially gives the Cursed a Mycron, which they’d love to put on the Nightmare as she is less valuable than the Sea Rat.  Runes of Odin is probably not the only rune in play… although they were included with the goal of taking down the Sleigh with an Odin Missile, perhaps the combo can still be pivotal….

Wicked Wench did indeed find an incredible island – Runes of Magic,+6,6,2!  She returns the 14 gold as the Red Curse comes over to grab the rune.  The Pirates and Cursed don’t know that the other has half of the epic rune combo, but they’d both like to have them entirely within their control….

Santa Slaughter - Christmas Evil! (December 18th, 2022)

The Rye found some good coins in the northwest, returning one of them home.  She also dumped her explorer to open up her other cargo space, as she anticipates making trips back to that same island to slowly drain it.  Cygnet explored the island Red Curse originally wanted, but is full and can’t take any coins, turning west for a possible American threat.  The Pirates see that door open and send both of their ships west, happy to finally have their home waters free of big threats.  Behemoth has chased away the Jarvis and the Nightmare repairs from the attack.  With L-moving options fewer than on the first turn or two, the Maryland drops GWL to open up a cargo space and search for treasure.

Whoa!  The Cygnet turns around to go back east, and is joined by the Rye and Gibraltar as conflict looks imminent!  The English want to protect the gold on that island the Pirates have headed back to, and build Ramsgate on it right in front of the Pirates’ faces!

English build Ramsgate

With the islands so close together, Ramsgate’s L+L cannon is able to blanket the Pirate HI.  However, unbeknownst to them, the Cursed and Pirates were hastily making a deal….

ODIN STRIKES AGAIN!!  An icy Odin Missile descends from the heavens and blows up the Cygnet!!  One big play followed by another!  At the beginning of the Pirate turn, the Cursed agreed to flip Runes of Odin to bring in the iceberg, then the Red Curse flipped Runes of Magic to move it into the Cygnet.  The English had gotten out to an early lead and were still looking very strong, so the other factions certainly felt the need to knock them down a peg or two.

Odin Missile hits Cygnet

Then the big Pirate gunships close in on the fort, but only hit thrice in eight tries!

Almost like Pirates of the Caribbean, with a “future Black Pearl” firing on an English fortification:

Sailors on the Rye look on in horror as their flagship is sunk by an unholy iceberg and their new fort is smashed by cannonade:

The Americans may have a slightly wonky fleet, but they came to play! Premeasuring that the Sea Rat can dock at their HI and steal their 6, DNT (still facedown) orders the construction of Thompson’s Island now that the Jarvis has explored the far southeastern island.  Knowing that Behemoth now has a range of at least L+L with the Nightmare giving her actions to Behemoth via the Cursed Conch, the Maryland has moved over an island to distance herself and has explored as well, loading a 4 and the Wine UT.  This means that 3 out of the 4 remaining fleets have HI raiding capability.

Well-trained English gunners ring true again as Gibraltar and Ramsgate go a combined 5/6 to sink the Red Curse!!  (Tia Dalma and Rye cancelling each other out)

English sink Pirate ship the Red Curse

With just one ship left and no way to give it extra actions, Hammersmith (on the Wicked Wench) realized the Pirates were basically screwed.  Since it’s not the ship being given the move action, a flotilla can shoot immediately after exiting a whirlpool.  Therefore, even if the Wicked Wench (WW) whirled towards home, the English could follow and blast her.  They could stick it out and fight the English, but Wicked Wench could not get enough cannons in range to sink Gibraltar without Hammersmith’s captain ability being cancelled by the Rye.  It seemed as though the best option was to whirl to the southeast and overlap the fog bank upon exit, getting sucked in automatically.  WW lost a mast in the process but lived to see more rounds.

With no gold to steal from the American HI, Sea Rat settles for some leftovers the Jarvis found.

The Rye returned home with the best coins from the Ramsgate island, which happened to be a pair of 6’s!  This increased their HI gold score to 38, even more than the Cursed may have been anticipating.  The Cursed made a public announcement that they had equal to or less than the amount the English had before the Rye’s dropoff (26), in the aims of getting some allies to fight or steal from the English with.  They were telling the truth, though they had exactly 26 gold lol.  Because of this, the Cursed and Pirates agreed to team up once again.  The Cursed promised not to loose Behemoth on the Wicked Wench and even assist the WW in destruction of the Ramsgate fort if the WW could raid the English HI and thereby decrease their gold score.  At the right, the Sea Rat, Jarvis and Maryland have all returned home with some coins.

The Americans were included on the anti-English coalition talks, and they did agree to be a part of it… but they weren’t exactly eager to get into a brawl with the Rye and Gibraltar.  Besides, they had more local gold to secure!  USS Maryland found Turtles on the last island to be explored!  I finally have 10 copies of the UT (made by Woelf for the Fire and Steel set), and can play it as originally designed!  (the UT was supposed to be printed with 10 turtle coins, but something changed before the set was printed – I’m thinking that a designer realized that the “game in every pack” would be a bit confusing if someone had only turtles for coins!)

Turtles Unique Treasure from Fire and Steel Wizkids Pirates of the Cursed Seas pocketmodel game (UT designed by Woelf)

Jarvis also gathering gold:

Top down view looking west showing ship movements:

Wicked Wench and Behemoth team up to destroy Ramsgate!  With the coalition building momentum and the English looking weaker, DNT and Ralph David (both still facedown!) agree to pilot the Jarvis over round earth to assist as well. Maryland has actually L moved the WW closer to the English HI, a rare instance of the ability being used to “help” an opponent.  All three captained ships now in play are all in opposition to the Rye and Gibraltar, who had ducked into a fog bank for safety to see how things play out.  Things were rapidly becoming more complicated as the endgame approached, so much so that I had to pause and think about the “geopolitical situation” a few times, despite the fact that only a handful of ships remained in play.  The English were hoping that WW would raid the English HI, get unlucky on the random coins taken (the coins being 6,6,4,4,2), and then get immediately set upon by the Jarvis and/or Behemoth, with the Rye and Gibraltar possibly able to clean up the scraps and recoup some gold.  However, there was a much different option – triggering the “half or more” players eliminated endgame condition.  If the Cursed or Americans backed out of the coalition and sank or captured the WW, 2/5 original fleets would be out, needing just one more to trigger the end of the game.  Rye could drop Gibraltar’s tow in the fog bank (making it lost forever and removing it as a unit of play that can be given future actions), ram the iceberg to derelict herself, then scuttle (needing a 5-6 though) and hope to sink next round.

For a few reasons, the English decided to simply return home and attack.  This was because as soon as the WW raided 3 coins from the English HI, that gold swing alone might lose the English the game, especially if the gold fell into the hands of the Cursed long term.  By attacking the WW directly, the English were also hoping to speed up the endgame by potentially eliminating the Pirates themselves, though it would take an additional turn since Gibraltar’s 4 shots could only dismast the WW and not sink it.

The Rye has returned!  Gibraltar shoots 3/4 against WW!

The Wicked Wench has just enough movement (L+S) to dock at the English HI for a raid, but her helmsman is cancelled by the Rye!

The Cursed knew better than to finish off the WW, loosing Behemoth on the English with a double action to sink the flotilla and dismast the Rye!

The coalition stays strong as Jarvis moves in to capture the Rye and the English are eliminated!!  O_O   The English plan backfired, as all three members of the coalition needed to eliminate the English specifically and none of their own in order to keep their chances of winning the game alive.  With the English HI gold up for grabs, things were about to get interesting.  The coalition has been a success, but now the members will inevitably turn on each other.  Complicating the situation is the “half or more” endgame rule – all three factions now have the same goal of threading the needle between making sure they have enough gold to win, before potentially eliminating any one of the three remaining fleets in play.

HMS Rye captured

Due to the positioning of two ships ramming the Rye last turn, Wicked Wench has no place to dock and raid the English HI!  Hammersmith simply turns for home to repair, or to hinder the Sea Rat, who was sneakily making progress on the former Ramsgate gold.  DNT is finally forced to reveal himself to cancel Behemoth, further complicating the situation overall since the Americans now have 2 cancellers in the area with the addition of HMS Rye.

Maryland drops GWL at the American HI for the second time and makes a beeline for the Cursed HI with Wine aboard!  (note that all the turtles have swam ashore 🙂 )

Behemoth sinks the Jarvis, but Ralph David reveals himself to save the ship from a watery doom!  Behemoth sank the Rye soon afterwards.

Ralph David Eternal crew Rise of the Fiends Americans

Perhaps Behemoth sinking the Jarvis could be a small blessing in disguise, as the ship repairs at the American HI and is on the Maryland’s route back home if she can transport the stolen 6 safely!

Not a chance!  The Cursed Conch and the whirlpools have given the Cursed impressive striking power, as Behemoth whirls into the area and dismasts the Maryland!  The white straw on the Maryland is a reminder to myself that the Americans rolled well to scuttle her, but the Cursed will make sure they get their 6 back.  Sea Rat whirls home to avoid the WW but loses a mast during transit.

The Cursed expected to keep the Nightmare in fog the rest of the game to keep giving Behemoth double actions, but since Behemoth can’t tow, the Nightmare would be more valuable this turn.  She emerged to capture the Maryland, with Sea Rat docking home more than 6 gold on her own I believe.  But the Jarvis sailed over and sank the Maryland – down goes the 6 coin!  In hindsight perhaps Behemoth should have stayed on the surface and moved southeast to block lines of fire from the Jarvis, but then Behemoth may have lost 2 segments to Jarvis and I think Jarvis had an angle of attack around the south part of the fog bank to get at least one cannon in range of the Maryland through that route.

As Wicked Wench repairs, Behemoth dismasts the Jarvis and leaves her there to struggle with scuttle rolls!  I’m pretty sure the derelict Jarvis with Eternal Ralph David aboard does not trigger the “half or more” endgame condition because the Jarvis can be given future actions (such as repairing, and then moving/etc) once she is scuttled successfully.  The Sea Rat repairs her mizzenmast, as her crew prepare for an important mission… the WW is not the only HI raider left in play….

The climactic moment that many factions thought would come sooner in the game!  Wicked Wench and Sea Rat converge on the English HI looking for loot!

But Behemoth gives the Cursed a huge advantage!  It takes WW down to 1 mast standing, purposely not dismasting the ship or sinking it.  Dismasting WW could backfire if her remaining facedown crew is not an oarsman (it is, but the Cursed can’t know that, another aspect of playing solo) and causes the ship to be a derelict too soon, while sinking WW would surely end the game before the Cursed are comfortable with such an outcome.  Sea Rat raids the English HI, only getting a 2 on the first coin.  With Behemoth copying DNT for Canceller once again (the only one left in play, and luckily for the Cursed, now faceup with the Rye sunk!), the Cursed shut down the WW’s HI Hoard ability!!  O_O  Access denied!!

Love how you can see a mast from the Jarvis under Behemoth’s translucent parts

At this point the Jarvis was failing all her scuttle rolls, effectively removing the Americans from having agency in the fight over English treasure.  Sick of being on the wrong end of the Cursed, the Pirates and Americans team up!  At this point they would actually rather have the English win than be bested by the Cursed at the end, so they try to eliminate the WW.  WW loses her mast to a whirlpool on her way to be sunk by the Thompson’s Island fort!  However, the Cursed go next and see right through this plan, with Behemoth whirling to the area and being given an extra action via the Cursed Conch (on Nightmare) to knock two flags off the fort!  The fort’s remaining three cannons boom, but they all miss!!!  O_O  The WW is still alive!

The Wicked Wench rows into the whirlpool to try and eliminate her oarsman, but rolls to avoid doing so!

That gave the Cursed another turn to redock at the English HI with the Sea Rat, who eventually was able to steal both 6’s from the English HI for a whopping 14 total gold!  On the round of her third consecutive theft, WW finally tossed her oarsman in a whirlpool, thus finally ending the game as the round ended and the Cursed would be up next.

The Cursed played a masterful game, dominating the endgame and finishing as the only fleet with masts up – their fleet nearly intact!

  1. Cursed: 46 gold (14 on Sea Rat stolen from English HI)
  2. Americans: 35 (25 on HI, 10 in Thompson’s Island)
  3. English: 32
  4. Pirates: 14
  5. Whitebeard’s Raiders: 0

Wow, what a game!  In a contest that could have been dominated by the theme of Whitebeard’s Christmas, an early Santa slaughter allowed the other 4 factions to shine instead, making for a mostly normal multiplayer game.  The sheer volume of HI raiders and cancellers that Santa provoked in the fleet building process had a big impact on the game, but in the end the Cursed were able to prevail.  Cursed Conch helped turn Behemoth into a dominant force, though the beast also benefited greatly from being able to copy an enemy canceller on pretty much every round of the game.  Sea Rat did the heavy lifting in the gold race, eventually being the only ship to successfully HI raid (Maryland was sunk) to give the Cursed another multiplayer win.  The Americans were really in it, playing the dark horse from start to finish.  The English got out to a huge lead early and only relinquished it after being eliminated by a 3-faction coalition.  The Pirates always felt like they were on the verge of something big, but were consistently spoiled by the English and Cursed.

Interesting to note that the scores are the same as the play order. I think the game would have been quite different if Wayne Nolan’s reroll hadn’t bailed out GWL on the first round to yank Santa into harm’s way.  Here he didn’t stand a chance!

The Importance of using proper L and S measurements vs. full card lengths.

Measurements of L and S compared to full card measurements

This year I’ve noticed many players measuring L and S incorrectly, usually by using a full card length of a ship deckplate on the top side or using a crew card to measure.  Various third party accessories have also become quite popular, as sometimes a deckplate card leaves some maneuverability or angles to be desired, such as when trying to determine a close measurement or for premeasuring move actions.  I got my vernier calipers out to see what distance differences there are between S, L, full card lengths often used in their place, and some extra straws and tubes I’ve been using.  Disclaimer: Measuring with or without the black border lines on the S and L segments may produce slightly different measurement results.

I used the back of a spare Martinette deckplate that I’ve been using for years as my primary measurement tool, as well as an HMS Goliath deckplate to confirm accuracy given that my official card has been exposed to so much playing that perhaps it isn’t 100% accurate anymore (this experiment determined that to not be the case, though I should swap it out if more finish comes off to the point where I cannot determine the endpoints of S or L).

I measured L at 83.8 millimeters.

Pirates CSG L segment measuring 83.8 millimeters

Using the other side of the calipers with the Goliath card, I measured the same 83.8mm.  It may look like the number should be higher, but that’s because the calipers are slightly above the card and I couldn’t get a camera angle showing it head on at both ends.

Next was the test using the entire length of the card.  This came in at 89.2mm, a 5.4mm bonus compared to L actual!

Measuring S and L segments

In a separate test on the wrong side of the Goliath card, this number was confirmed:

Measuring S and L segments (Pirates CSG)

S was next.  The official distance comes in at 57.5mm.

Measuring S and L segments (Pirates CSG)

The Goliath S segment measured exactly the same.

Measuring S and L segments (Pirates CSG)

Now came another full card test.  Standing the Martinette deckplate on end and pinching the calipers to it, we see a measurement of 63.7mm!

Measuring S and L segments (Pirates CSG)

Perhaps this measurement was slightly off, but the “inside calipers” still showed the Goliath card at a similar number.  If you average these two measurements to approximately 63.5mm, that means that measuring with the full width of a Pirates card gives you a 6 millimeter advantage compared to using the proper S distance!  As anyone who has played the game surely knows, that can easily be more (sometimes much more) than the difference between: docking vs. not docking; being in or out of range for cannon shots; being in or out of cancelling range, etc.  Even if you don’t add up how big these differences would compound over the course of a full game, any one instance of these measurement differences could be the difference between winning and losing.

Now it was time to test some unofficial segments.  Fittingly enough, I did not make any of these myself, though I have used them in games somewhat consistently, though I still try to use my deckplate most of the time.  That I didn’t make them is not to clear my name of any wrongdoing, as I have played many things wrong in the past and will likely accidentally screw up additional rules (hopefully just minutiae) in the future.

An S straw I received years ago in an eBay lot measures 58.1mm, very close but still .6mm more than 57.5mm.

An L straw from the same lot actually came in slightly short at 83.6, .2mm less than the 83.8 “official” measurement.  Vernier calipers closed over both ends to show it’s raised off the surface for the best possible measurement.

Measuring S and L segments (Pirates CSG)

Next was the string of metal tubing that Captain Redgoat gave me.  The silver S tube measured 58mm, .5mm more than what we saw from the official segment.

The L tube measured 84.2mm, .4mm above the 83.8mm from the card L.

Measuring S and L segments (Pirates CSG)

I think a fair question to ask is: what could be considered “close enough”?  I would posit that a difference of .5mm or less is fine for most games and all casual play, simply because the difference is barely (or not) perceptible to the naked eye and that distance is likely to be mis-measured anyway due to slight shaking of hands when a ship is placed at the end of a segment, or the slight movement of a hand above a ship measuring the distance to see if a shot can be made.  In addition, I think the benefits of having accessories and convenient tools for players outweigh the slight differences, not to mention other elements such as bumping the table, “undoing” move segments and trying to estimate where the ship’s bow had started, and other accidental calculation errors.

However, I think it would be fair for any player playing competitively or for any kind of prize to request full enforcement of using strictly Wizkids official deckplate cards for all measurements during a game.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway is to not measure with full card lengths, as this gives such a player a decided advantage.  In addition, I highly recommend comparing any accessories you may have to the L and S segments on a Wizkids card, and trimming or editing them so they’re as close as possible to standard measurements.

Lastly, I welcome any community feedback regarding my measurements, if you have made your own and they differ, or what your group considers “close enough” as far as unofficial measuring accessories.

Gaming in Seattle – 5 players, 60 points! (December 9th, 2022)

Gaming in Seattle – 5×60


This report is a summary of a 5 player, 6o point game played at Oasis Tea Zone in Seattle Washington as part of a U-District Board Game Meetup.  We use these house rules, and game pieces can be found in the Master Spreadsheet.  Chris went first with the Jade Rebellion, Phillip second with the Spanish, myself third with The Cursed, Kyle fourth with a mixed fleet, and Witch fifth with the Americans.  There is bias towards my own position/view on the game.

Due to the table shapes, the ocean was a long rectangle:

Gaming in Seattle - 5 players, 60 points! (December 9th, 2022)

The Baochuan gets the first action of the game:

This was my Cursed fleet:
Pyre + Sargasso Nightmare, RtSS Papa Doc, helmsman
Coins: Plague, Missionary, Wolves, Odin’s Revenge, Curse of Davy Jones, three 1’s

I made sure to pick up some “goodies” on my trip to New York.  🙂  I grabbed some things from my original play collection, including my named crew+UT tin, along with Behemoth and a few other things.  It was nice to be able to contribute Odin’s Revenge and to be able to use an expensive beast like Behemoth.  I was changing my mind and going with a Spanish fleet before the game, but decided to stick with my original plan when I saw Kyle and Phillip (the players on either side of me) pull out Spanish ships as well (to avoid having so many from the same faction).  I believe this was the first time I maliciously targeted a specific player in a multiplayer game, and will likely be the last.  Witch has won a shockingly disproportionate amount of multiplayer games in recent months (a testament to how good a player he is), so much so that I’ve been feeling the need to “intervene” and try to give the other players a better chance in one of the 4+ player games.  This also felt like the best time to do it since it was Chris’ first game with us and Phillip hadn’t won in our group games yet.  In addition, it was a bit of an experiment – would it even work?  Or would Witch still come away victorious?  I had also been wanting to use an L booster with multiple sea monsters, specifically on a submerged submarine with cancelling so as to make the L booster as immune as possible.  With the recent reunion with Behemoth, all the stars were aligned for me to play a simple attack strategy, something I do once in a great while to change things up.  However, I do have less fun with it than trying to win normally and this was no exception.

Odin’s Revenge strikes early!  However, the timing makes it mostly irrelevant, as most players simply spend the first round repairing at home.

Odin's Revenge Unique Treasure

At the right, an island is missing as it’s been yanked away by Bad Maps.  Witch was using a custom American 1 master proxied by the Seminole: 1 cargo, L+L speed, 5S cannon, ability: “Once per turn, this ship may look at one face down cargo on any ship.”

The Providence avoids reef damage with Dr. Clark Lewis to explore a nearby wild island.  My speedy submerged forces round earth into American waters.

The Baochuan whirls to the other side of the map:

The custom Seminole finds Wolves near the round earth boundary, further restricting Witch’s access to treasure.  I had stayed off his HI for a turn or two before getting bored and round earthing towards some wild islands.  The Americans seemed scared to leave their HI with the Cursed so close.  My combos were fully revealed by this point, with Sargasso Nightmare increasing Shaihulud’s speed to S+L+L and Behemoth to L+L.  Combine that with their abilities and it was a frightening trio.  Behemoth could copy Shaihulud’s ability to shoot at submerged submarines to target USS Mercury, or copy RtSS Papa Doc to cancel any defensive abilities.  Both monsters have all rank-2 cannons and they could surface, move quickly, then shoot (with our house rule) and ram.  At one point I copied the spyer ability to see the final crew on the Mercury (11 points of which had been revealed, so still 5 available for canceller DNT), but it was just an oarsman.  Commodore Peregrine Stern and Wayne Nolan weren’t having much luck generating EA’s for the Mercury thus far.  With the Jades heading east, the competition for gold was elsewhere…

Gaming in Seattle - 5 players, 60 points! (December 9th, 2022)

The Baochuan was on a tear, S-exploring islands and stacking up coins in her legendary cargo hold.  Phillip and Kyle were doing solid in the gold game but it was becoming apparent that Chris might run away with the game if the Baochuan returned home with all her loot, especially since he also controlled what appeared to be the only HI raider in play (Virtuous Wind).

Gaming in Seattle - 5 players, 60 points! (December 9th, 2022)

Shaihulud trades one of its segments to eat the custom Seminole’s rigging.  The Americans stay at home to avoid getting slammed by the Cursed.

Gaming in Seattle - 5 players, 60 points! (December 9th, 2022)

The Baochuan returned through the whirlpool, meaning she was nearly home!  The Tiger’s Eye had taken off some masts but the Jades looked poised for a huge windfall if they could make it through one more round.  Behemoth and Pyre moved towards the 10 master, but I kept canceller copied (through Papa Doc) in case I would need it for defense.  I could have copied Helmsman to get closer to theoretical cancelling range, but then I wouldn’t have the cancel ability in the first place.  Important to note: “-A copied ability remains in effect until the beginning of your next turn.”  This is part of why I was so hesitant to copy anything other than canceller, because I would have to spend the other 4 player turns wondering if Behemoth might get cancelled to the surface, or if I would regret not copying it for some other reason.  What I didn’t bother disclosing was that I wasn’t really after the Baochuan – I would have much rather fought the Americans.  Plus, by this point there was open discussion about teaming up to take down the Baochuan (as is right since the other players wanted to win), which is exactly what happened to me in the 7×120 game in October.  I didn’t want an exact repeat of that (with the people teaming up to take down the Bao nearly the same), so I was not really wanting to pin the Baochuan with Behemoth anyway.

With some delicate maneuvering, Chris just barely manages to get the Baochuan home while staying outside of Behemoth’s cancelling range (Behemoth still submerged).  This was partly due to making sure to measure the cancelling range of S with the physical white segment on the card, compared to using the full length of the card.  This is something I plan to bring up more consistently – I see too many players using full card lengths for measuring purposes when S and L are actually a bit shorter than that.  As all players know, that can make the difference between being able to dock at home, take an extra shot, be in range of a canceller, etc.  AKA, sometimes the difference between winning and losing.  In addition, lately I’ve seen a lot of unofficial measuring devices such as sticks/straws/etc.  Those are fine but should be made exact so as to not be longer or shorter than the official segments.  For that reason and being more old school with the game than many current players, I will probably always default to using a card in general, though the straws/etc can be extremely useful for premeasuring.

With the endgame upon us, the Americans begin to leave their house at last.  The Tiger’s Eye follows the Baochuan through the whirlpool.

Le Bon Marin headed home with two coins.  El Rosal’s crew has been killed by the Plague (given to her by another Spanish ship in Phillip’s fleet), while the Virtuous Wind had bad luck with that fog bank, rolling a 4 two out of three times to emerge straight onto a sargasso sea where she got stuck once.

Shaihulud surfaced and avoided reef damage to attack the submerged (and therefore undocked) USS Mercury, landing one hit that was ignored due to the sub’s ability.  The Mercury surfaced to return fire and kill the beast!  The Providence rammed the Tiger’s Eye, with a desperate endgame likely given the main hoard of treasure was (likely) safe in Jade hands.

The Providence whirled to some action in the east, but Behemoth copied Commodore Stern, got an EA, and followed the Providence and sank her!  The Tartessos, Tiger’s Eye and USS Maryland are caught up in a skirmish over some gold that is unlikely to affect the outcome by much.

The Pyre came through the whirlpool in order to give the Sargasso Nightmare’s +L boost to Behemoth, who sank the Bon Marin and her 3 total gold.  This left Behemoth exposed to USS Mercury, and in the endgame Stern was catching fire with EA’s, one of which was used here to help the sub kill Behemoth.

That’s the last picture I have for the game, but more events occurred.  Chris was masterfully raiding Phillip and Kyle’s HI’s for extra gold with the Virtuous Wind, then transferring the coins to the (mostly) repaired Baochuan for safekeeping.  USS Mercury had loaded up the Frond of Fisaga earlier in the game and was nearly able to use it at the perfect time.  However, the sub was still out of range to do something meaningful about the final gold remaining in play.  The Jades got it home and it was over!

  1. Chris (Jade Rebellion): 62 gold
  2. Phillip (Spanish): 18
  3. Dan (Americans): 9
  4. Kyle (mixed): 1
  5. Ben (Cursed): 0

Chris is off to a great start with our PNW Pirates group, finishing with more than twice as much gold as all other fleets combined!

With that, I’ll probably take a break from Team Chaos/Lawful Evil for at least a game.  XD

2×60 on VASSAL – December 7th, 2022

2×60 on VASSAL


This game was Kyle’s first on the VASSAL module!  We set up for a 2×60 game using our regular Seattle Pirates house rules.  All game pieces can be found in the Master Spreadsheet.  He went first with the French:

Le Superbe + Capitaine Arathiel, Jules de Cissey, helmsman, explorer, oarsmen x2
Tepant + captain, helmsman
Le Bon Marin + helmsman
Le Pique + captain
Marianne + Maurice Aristide

I followed with an English fleet from RtSS:
Elthelfleda + Captain Nemo, helmsman, oarsman (got this idea from Ochobrazo2298’s game)
HMS Halcyon + RotF HGold, RotF Trevor van Tyne, 0LR+5 Bratley, cannoneer, oarsman, grape shot
HMS Goodfellow + helmsman, explorer, oarsman
Coins: Weapons, Seastar, Dead Man’s Chest (PotC version), English Royal Decree, four 5’s

The setup:

2x60 Pirates CSG on the VASSAL module

Both fleets headed out for gold, with the Superbe exploring first and the Pique preparing to grab a coin from her.

2x60 Pirates CSG on the VASSAL module

Elthelfleda and Goodfellow loaded some solid coins including the Seastar UT, but a French blockade looked to be brewing.

2x60 Pirates CSG on the VASSAL module

Knowing I had a good amount of “extra firepower” available on the Halcyon in the form of musketeer+cannoneer+grape shot, I charged for home after seeing she would be in range of the Tepant.  She went 4/4 to dismast the Eternal Frenchman!  I went straight for home with my other ships as well to put as much pressure on the Superbe as I could, forcing her to make potentially tough decisions on what to shoot at.

2x60 Pirates CSG on the VASSAL module

However, I had been too aggressive with the Goodfellow and wrongly guessed that an action generator on the Superbe would have already been revealed.  Capitaine Arathiel took the helm and piloted the Superbe to a game-changing attack, sinking HMS Goodfellow and her 10 gold (+Dead Man’s Chest UT) and then taking the Halcyon down to 1 mast!  Great maneuvering by Kyle ensured she stayed out of the range of any potential canceller on the Halcyon.  On my turn I weighed various options, with perhaps docking the Halcyon at home being the smartest.  However, this would allow Kyle to scuttle the Tepant while I tried to get gold from the Mercenary Elthelfleda to my HI via the Halcyon, and letting the Superbe run wild.  He was also amassing good gold through Maurice Aristide, so my chances were dwindling.  Halcyon continued the fight, taking a mast off the Superbe and using grape shot to whittle down her sac options a bit.  Elthelfleda headed straight for Tepant, knowing it was the key to getting some gold home and/or staying alive in the game.

Superbe sank the Halcyon, then sacced her helmsman to ram the Elthelfleda and take her down to 1 mast remaining! (and stealing her 5)  With Mercenary again preventing the E from docking at home, I used Seastar unsuccessfully and then captured the Tepant, who explored the E to grab her oarsman in anticipation of getting home on my next turn.

The Tepant was able to get home rowing S+S (avoiding a sinking at the hands of the Pique sniping at her), but at the cost of losing the Elthelfleda to the Superbe.  In the meantime the Bon Marin was transferring another coin to Marianne, who upped its value by 2 with Aristide.  The game was all but over.

At this point it was worth counting up the gold on Kyle’s HI and the gold remaining in play.  It revealed that I could only hope to ever get 4 gold by some miracle, while Kyle already had way more than that on his HI!

  1. Kyle: 17 gold
  2. Ben: 0

A lopsided 2×60 game but a good introduction to VASSAL!  Kudos to Kyle and his effective French fleet, using pieces synergistically and saccing to devastate the English position at the opportune moment!

Americans vs. Pirates at 60 Points – November 30th, 2022

Americans vs. Pirates


I played against a friend in another game heavy on learning and introducing new game mechanics/keywords/etc.  We mostly used these house rules, and all the game pieces can be found in the Master Spreadsheet or Tilorfire27’s database.

I rolled to go first with the Americans:
USS Constitution + captain, helmsman, tribal chieftain
Destiny + Wayne Nolan, Brent Rice, captain, chain shot
Hessian + helmsman, shipwright, oarsman
American Native Canoes
UT’s: Weapons, Enemy of the State, Power Cannons, Marines

My opponent fielded the Pirates for the first time:
Raven’s Neck + captain, helmsman
Mystic + captain, helmsman, oarsman
Skipping Stone + captain, helmsman
Bonny Kate

This was the setup!

Americans vs. Pirates

My goal early on was to keep my canoes at a safe distance so they could get an island’s gold home, likely via round earth.

On turn 2 I sent the Destiny into action for the first time!  That’s right, this was my first time using her!  However, it was abysmal.  Even with the help of Brent Rice and Wayne Nolan motivating the gunners, she went 0/4 (not even at sniping range) – the Skipping Stone didn’t even need to attempt rolls from the Catamaran keyword to ignore any hits!

Americans vs. Pirates at 60 Points - November 30th, 2022

The “canoe island” held 2 of my 4 UT’s, with Marines doing nothing and the regular coins being a 3 and 2.  The Constitution touched the native canoe that loaded Power Cannons, in preparation to explore next turn.

Americans vs. Pirates at 60 Points - November 30th, 2022

The Skipping Stone slams the Destiny, taking out 2 masts and killing Brent Rice in a boarding party!  Raven’s Neck has explored the central island while the Mystic docks in the east.  My opponent was spying two coins every round of turns, and thus had a good idea of what coins the Hessian might find soon.

Americans vs. Pirates at 60 Points - November 30th, 2022

Canceller to the rescue!  I redocked the Hessian in order to get within S of the Skipping Stone, cancelling the Catamaran keyword.  Then the Destiny reversed her luck, getting consecutive 6’s with her shot and ram to dismast the vessel!  She also won the boarding party to eliminate the Stone’s captain.  I had also considered just exploring with the Hessian, but with the Raven’s Neck having found Weapons in the center, we both knew Enemy of the State would be on the Hessian’s island.  The Destiny likely wouldn’t have done any damage to the Skipping Stone if I hadn’t cancelled Catamaran, so it was better to redock and hope for a reversal of fortune, which I was happy to get.

Hessian cancels Catamaran keyword of Skipping Stone (Wizkids Pirates CSG)

After another round, the Americans have whittled the Pirate fleet down to 2 ships!  The Constitution used Power Cannons to sink the Mystic, while the Destiny captured the Skipping Stone and began towing her towards the newly built American fort, Thompson’s Island!  The Hessian finally explored, finding Enemy of the State + 7,4,1, while a single canoe docking a 3 coin at my HI was enough to build the fort.  Forts were available to the Pirates this game as well, just not as optimal to build.

Americans vs. Pirates at 60 Points - November 30th, 2022

The Hessian also dumped her shipwright, but neither oncoming ship would likely need it if they simply repaired at the fort.

I briefly considered dumping the Hessian’s gold in the fort and just protecting it until the Pirates would be eliminated, but then remembered how much I love the special ability of the American native canoes.  The Hessian headed for home as the canoes sprung into action, moving the 7 coin all the way to my HI where it was docked by a canoe already headed home!  The Skipping Stone was repairing, anticipating a conflict with her old fleetmate the Raven’s Neck.

Americans vs. Pirates at 60 Points - November 30th, 2022

The Bonny Kate has loaded the coin the Mystic didn’t have room for, but is threatened by the approaching Constitution.

Americans vs. Pirates at 60 Points - November 30th, 2022

The Hessian couldn’t dock at home due to Enemy of the State, but the canoes solved that issue quickly, yanking her last two coins off to put another 5 gold on my HI. The Raven’s Neck was approaching, while the Bonny Kate and Constitution went west.

The RN rams the Hessian but her captain gets cancelled.  The Hessian loses her mast and helmsman in the ensuing chaos, but is able to row away on my next turn as more capable vessels take over the battlefield.  One canoe snags the negative UT as a free action while others in range of the RN start blasting away, hitting 1/2.  Destiny hits 2/2 (without Brent Rice!) and the Skipping Stone rams to make the RN derelict.

Pirates CSG battle in action

Constitution continues to pressure the Bonny Kate, but can’t quite get in range.

Americans vs. Pirates at 60 Points - November 30th, 2022

Raven’s Neck is captured but the Bonny Kate gets her coin home.  At this point we decided it was practical to call it, because it was extremely unlikely the Bonny Kate would have even gotten a shot in against Thompson’s Island, much less destroy it by herself and get the 3 in it all the way home.

Americans vs. Pirates at 60 Points - November 30th, 2022

  1. Americans: 17 gold
  2. Pirates: 9

A solid game that featured plenty of abilities, UT’s, a few turns of decisive momentum swings and good strategy talk throughout!  A few oddities occurred, especially the Destiny shooting far better without Brent Rice aboard.  Power Cannons were meant for the Destiny, but the Constitution certainly made perfect use of them, sinking 10 gold from the Mystic.  Stay tuned for more adventures!

A Pair of 3 Player Games in Tacoma Washington (November 26th, 2022)

Pair of 3 Player Games


I met up with Witch and Phillip for some 60 point action in Tacoma Washington!  We ended up with a pair of 3 player games, though the second would be short and sweet due to venue hours.  Terracrux Games is a great place to play with plenty of table space.  We used our house rules.

I went first in Game 1, followed by Phillip (Pirates) and then Witch (English Pirates).  I tried out a French fleet that used a trio of my favorite French 3 masters.

Le Descharges + Capitaine Gaston de St. Croix, Madame LaFontaine, captain, helmsman, oarsman
Le Triton + helmsman, explorer
La Bonne Chance + captain, oarsman
-towing Mont Blanc
UT’s: Abandoned captain, shipwright, oarsman, Knights of Malta Banner, four 5’s
Terrain: Whirlpool x2, big fog bank

Le Triton was just in range of docking at an island south of me on the first turn.  I wanted to hit that one before Phillip’s gold runners could potentially hit it, especially since his 5 masters were unlikely to brave the reefs to attack me.  The island was a gold mine, with treasure values of 7,5,5,4 for a whopping 21 gold.  Due to the importance of getting all 4 coins home, Descharges came over with an SAT from Gaston to grab the final coin.  Bonne Chance sailed SSE for flexible positioning.  Phillip’s turn has begun with La Victoire looking to round earth to the southeast soon.

Pair of 3 Player Games in Tacoma Washington (November 26th, 2022)

Witch sails out some of his ships, exploring with HMS Hyena.  His Rover uses Lucky the Parrot to spy on some crew.  I am very happy to dock all 4 coins at my HI without interference.

Phillip quickly showed his bold and aggressive play style (Witch and I’s first time playing with him), with both 5 masters sailing into action.  The Revenant sacced with Captain Blackheart to blast 2 masts off HMS Granville, while the Victoire (led by Capitaine Arathiel) blasted 2 masts off La Bonne Chance to the south.  However, retribution was coming, as the Revenant was crippled by HMS Dauntless (with Mercer aboard for a 3rd Sac crew!) after Lucky the Parrot timely spotted Tia Dalma (canceller) face down on the Revenant.  Phillip had doubled up on cancellers, with Lenoir aboard La Victoire cancelling the Mont Blanc’s flotilla keyword, preventing it from shooting through itself and the Victoire only losing 1 mast as a result.  I sent Le Descharges towards the whirlpool in an attempt to steal gold from Phillip’s Bloody Jewel, but she got stuck in the sargasso sea.

Captain Blackheart goes for blood, saccing to sink the Mermaid with a pair of 2L shots that pass through the Dauntless with the help of the Revenant’s ability.

Revenant dismasts Mermaid

Likely to be slammed next turn regardless, Phillip’s Banshee’s Cry rams the Granville but rolls a 1!  At the top right, HMS Dauntless makes the Revenant a derelict.  The Descharges gets free from the seaweed, while Bonne Chance and Mont Blanc emerge from fog to shoot poorly at the Victoire after the latter loaded up some gold from the southeast island.

Pair of 3 Player Games in Tacoma Washington (November 26th, 2022)

Victoire turns around and beats up the Bonne Chance and Mont Blanc before saccing to turn for home.  Witch sinks the Revenant with the Dauntless.

Pair of 3 Player Games in Tacoma Washington (November 26th, 2022)

HMS Granville dismasted the Banshee’s Cry and docked at the northwestern island.  Le Descharges rolled a 3 to emerge from the huge fog bank and got her SAT.  She went nuts and sank the Hyena and Granville!  However, this opened the area for Witch to get revenge, with Mercer saccing so the Dauntless could sail over and dismast the Descharges, who rowed into the fog.  Triton is headed northeast for more coins but gets stuck in the sargasso.  I flipped the oarsman on Bonne Chance, who is slowly rowing home with the flotilla – which is actually not legal, which I didn’t realize until writing this report.  Because flotillas don’t allow any abilities of the ship or its crew that affect its base move to function, Oarsman will not allow a ship to tow a flotilla (The Pirate Code also confirms this under Flotilla).  Still learning after 500+ games!

After some repairs, La Victoire gets into a battle with HMS Dauntless!  The Bloody Jewel joins in with her abandoned captain but misses both shots.

Le Triton barreling down on my home island with a pair of 1 coins:

Le Triton Pirates of the Crimson Coast

The Bloody Jewel had sunk a homeward bound Descharges, which is why LaFontaine’s 1-gold Ransom payout has appeared on Phillip’s HI.

La Victoire emerges victorious and captures the Dauntless!  However, the Bonne Chance can contest the final coin in play.

La Victoire finishes the task she started earlier in the game, sinking both the Bonne Chance and Mont Blanc (thankfully before she could shoot anything else, as the flotilla should have been sitting in the southeast).  However, Le Triton has sped over to get in on the action, ramming a mast off the Bloody Jewel since she can’t quite make it to the island to load the coin!

I believe La Victoire then sacced Thomas Gunn (acquired from the captured Dauntless) to dismast the Triton, eliminating me from active play.  Witch had his Rover go through a few whirlpools to see if she could lose her mast to remove himself from contention so that the final coin wouldn’t count if Phillip hadn’t loaded it onto one of his ships (since at that point half or more players wouldn’t be able to give future move actions), but consistently rolled high to keep the Rover intact.  Phillip got the coin home and the game was over!

  1. Witch: 25 gold
  2. Ben: 25
  3. Phillip: 16

O_O  Another ludicrously close game, continuing the recent trend!  Witch and I both had 1 unit left in play for the default tiebreaker.  However, although my Triton could theoretically explore again for me at some point in the game, Witch’s Rover was fully capable of being given a move action had the game continued any longer.  Therefore the future action was more available to his ship than mine, and he also would win the masts standing tiebreaker 1-0.  I would have to rely on the points in play tiebreaker, at which point I would have won 12-2 (Triton still had her helmsman aboard).  However, I think it makes more sense to continue down the units in play default tiebreaker rabbit hole rather than going to other options.  If the Triton was capable of movement with 1 mast standing I would have argued harder for the points in play tiebreaker to apply.  This might be the first game I’ve played that was decided by a second tiebreaker – definitely a rarity as even when the gold scores are tied, the units in play usually seals the deal without having to look at which units are capable of which actions, or how many masts they have/etc.


Game 2

We only had about 45 minutes for a second game, so we decided on 1 wild island, with each player putting 4 coins of their choice on it.  Phillip rolled to go first, followed by Witch and I.  Phillip went with a Cursed fleet, Witch brought out some American Pirates, and I stuck with the French but swapped a few UT’s.  In hindsight, I should have done different UT’s based on going last, but it would certainly make things interesting.

Pair of 3 Player Games in Tacoma Washington (November 26th, 2022)

Phillip’s fleet looked intimidating, with both the Divine Dragon and Executioner. (Grinder was given the first action – no Ex-Patriot crew)

Witch’s fleet had Providence, President, Maryland, Rover and Mermaid.

I placed the last terrain so I was able to put a non-reefed fog bank near my HI.  Facing a likely attack from the Executioner on round 2, I hid all my ships to make sure they’d have a chance to do something.  (Witch thinks it should be renamed “Pirates with Ben in Fog” lol)

Grinder was the first to explore, getting the Eye of Insanity and Neptune’s Trident!  O_O   The Executioner had OE Fantasma onboard, and took a couple coins before saccing for home.  The Descharges emerged from the fog bank with an SAT from Gaston, getting in shooting (but not ramming) range of the Grinder, dismasting her with a big broadside.  I was able to finagle the Bonne Chance into position where her last S move segment flipped the ship around to get a few of Mont Blanc’s cannons in range, but of course I missed with both.  Le Triton explored the island to see the final 5 coins, which were all 1’s!  This left no doubt in my mind that it was Phillip’s game to lose, and it was likely that Witch and I would have to team up to have any chance at stopping him.

Pair of 3 Player Games in Tacoma Washington (November 26th, 2022)

In a huge move, Phillip turned the gold-laden Executioner around to blast the Descharges!  The Grinder used Neptune’s Trident to devastate the Bonne Chance and Providence, also hitting the Mermaid and Mont Blanc!  (asking in the rules thread if the flotilla should have been affected or not)

Pair of 3 Player Games in Tacoma Washington (November 26th, 2022)

Due to the speed of play that was the last picture I took, but here’s a video some Cursed vs. American action shortly afterwards:

Much ramming and boarding happened in the desperate endgame as time ticked down.  Eventually the Executioner actually lost both of her valuable 5’s, with the Triton stealing one after dumping her crew on the island.  The Triton was dismasted but the Descharges explored to take 7 of her 8 gold, but was later sunk.  The Bonne Chance was dismasted but ended up with a 5 she shouldn’t have been able to steal, with the Triton’s helmsman already filling her lone cargo space.  Witch grabbed the final two 1’s from the island with the Providence, getting them home.  The Maryland stole a 3 from the Grinder, and eventually got it home after stealing it back from the Divine Dragon.  The Executioner continued sinking ships as the chaos continued, as Phillip was bent on taking souls.  This knocked the total gold in play to a minimum, though the Cursed had squandered their advantage by being so bloodthirsty.  In the end, Witch won as usual!

  1. Witch: 5 gold
  2. Phillip: 2
  3. Ben: 0

A fun pair of 3 player games on a cold night!  Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more action!

A7XfanBen, Witch and Phillip at Terracrux Games in Tacoma WA

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.


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.



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.



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.