The Barbary Corsairs are one of 4 “minor factions” from Wizkids Pirates CSG. The others are the Jade Rebellion, Vikings, and Mercenaries. These factions are sometimes referred to as minor factions because they had a very limited release of game pieces – primarily in their “feature set”, which for the Barbary Corsairs was the Barbary Coast set. As a result, they have less ships and crew than the major factions that saw game pieces across many of the sets.
The Corsairs are primarily a gold running faction. They do not usually excel in combat. This is partly because they have many poor cannon ranks across the 38 ships in their fleet, and because they lack any ships larger than 4 masts. However, the goal of the game is to get the most gold, so they’re actually relatively competitive compared to the other minor factions, especially the Vikings and Mercenaries. I’ve found that the Corsairs are often underrated because players sometimes write them off due to their lack of combat capability. However, this is a mistake, because the Corsairs have many fast ships, often with large cargo capacities and for cheap point costs.
The Barbary Corsairs have some of the prettiest ships in the game!
All of their ships can be found here, and I’ve ranked their best gunships and gold runners. The Corsairs have a number of notable ships, with the Tiger’s Eye being the most prominent. She is widely agreed to be the best Barbary Corsair ship in the game – one of the ships that is simply stacked in just about every category. Their best warship is probably the Janissaries’ Blood, one of their seven 4 masted galleys. A few of my favorites that I received in my first pack of Barbary Coast are the Algiers and Griffin, two of their better gold runners. Other stalwarts worth mentioning are the Queen of Sheba (only 6 points) and Morocco (gold runner with island spying capability). Some of their 1 masters are overpriced, but most of them are playable.
Unfortunately, Barbary Corsair crew are not a strength of the faction. They do have a few good ones though – their leader Aruj Barbarossa gives Captain+Gold Capture for 10 points, and is usually placed on one of their flagship 4 mast galleys. Kheir-ed-din’s AA (Admiral’s Action) ability is well suited to the Crescent Moon’s built-in Reroll ability, especially in larger Corsair fleets. However, Jack Hawkins is arguably their best named crew, giving you SAT (Same Action Twice, same as the Born Leader keyword) and the ability to use Pirate crew on his ship for 5 points. Murat Rais is a classic “World Hater” best used on one of their larger ships in order to get his cannon bonus applied to more shots throughout a game.
I do wish Wizkids had done justice to Dragut – just one read of his opening paragraph on Wikipedia suggest he should have been one of the most powerful named crew in the game. I think John Ward could have been better too, or at least cheaper – much more usable at 1 point than 3.
I made a video about how to make the most out of the Barbary Corsairs as a faction! You can check it out here:
I’d probably rate the Barbary Corsairs as a faction at a 6/10. They are very capable of winning small games. However, their lack of combat options, named crew, and overall small release in just 1 set out of the 13 produced really holds them back. I’d probably give them a 2/10 for combat, 8/10 for gold running and 7/10 for intangibles or “other”. However, they are fun to play and really gorgeous to look at!
I’m curious – what is your opinion on the Barbary Corsair faction? Do you like them? Have you enjoyed playing as them, or are they too weak in the fighting category for your taste? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Gravity Feed Box – Pirates of the Caribbean 24 pack box
Recently I managed to acquire my first gravity feed box of Wizkids Pirates product – a 24 pack booster box of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean set. It features the image-changing effect of the Flying Dutchman on the front, showing the ship at various stages of construction.
The PotC characters featured on the pack art for the set are on the sides:
I realize it’s not the most special item, but still a pretty cool and unique part of the game’s packaging history. The kind of thing you have just to have the unique box. I generally like regular booster boxes more than the gravity feed box style, but it’s a solid concept. The Pirates of the Caribbean set is also a pretty decent one, with various impressive game pieces and incredible characters in it. If you’d like, you can help out the website by buying some packs through the eBay affiliate link.
This is the quick unboxing video I did:
I got it for about $200 from Poland. I partly bought it since these gravity feed box items seem quite rare. The only other set I’ve seen them from is Fire and Steel, and I’ve only seen a couple of those. One F&S gravity feed box sold on eBay in 2023. Here are the pictures from it (not my pictures!):
The supercollector karakas529 also has one of the boxes:
Here is the Buy/Sell/Trade facebook group where I found the box for sale. (Please make sure to answer the membership questions and agree to the group rules if you request to join the group!)
Have you come across any gravity feed boxes of Pirates packs at any point in your life? I’m curious to know if they made them for any other sets!
Ahoy mateys! I met up with Kyle for a pair of epic scale games, as we were Seafair Pirates for a day! Seattle Seafair is an annual tradition featuring hydroplanes and the Navy’s Blue Angels, and we figured it was a great event to showcase an outdoor game in the beautiful summer of the Pacific Northwest. We played at Aubrey Davis Park on Mercer Island, getting a good view of the jets on numerous occasions. It was also a great opportunity to get more attention on the game, and I handed out about 9 OE packs to about 5 interested parties throughout the afternoon.
When I play epic scale it’s usually a very casual game, so although we used a few of the usual house rules, they were mostly confined to the terrain changes. We did a draft to pick our pieces, with 80 points for the first game. Most of the past epic scale games have seen a crazy mishmash of factions for most of the fleets, so my goal with the draft was to have a bit more of a faction theme this time around. I rolled to go second, so I drafted first. I ended up with Revenant, Emerald Rose (a custom 3 master made by PDXYAR, the originators of the epic scale fleet), Grinder and A Fearsome Creature for a Cursed Pirate fleet. I was tempted to pick the 11 point Flying Dutchman as my final ship as the more pragmatic option, but couldn’t resist using a kraken in epic scale for the first time! That meant I had 23 points to spend on crew, so I got Emperor Blackheart for the Revenant, who would also have a captain. Emerald Rose had a captain and helmsman, with helmsman and explorer on the Grinder.
The Emerald Rose is a really nice looking ship! At some point I’ll have to repair her port quarter main deck area, but it works fine for now with the quarterdeck attached to hold the port side in place.
Kyle drafted HMS Interceptor, President, Nautilus and Proud Tortoise for a wide variety of ship types.
4 wild islands with 4 coins each; we placed 5 terrain each.
On the second turn, Emperor Blackheart got a 5 with All-Powerful! He sent A Fearsome Creature through a whirlpool, then used the second action to move away from the exit whirlpool to surround the Proud Tortoise!
So close to the gold! But the turtle ship is likely doomed.
Kyle flips Mercer to give HMS Interceptor a Sac action coming out of a different whirlpool!
Emerald Rose is dismasted and her captain killed in the ensuing boarding party!
Proud Tortoise scored a hit, but was no match for the kraken.
The turtle ship was ripped apart by the giant tentacle arms, with wreckage strewn about.
Grinder had picked up a couple coins from an island near my HI, but the whole island was only worth about 4 gold (I think the coins were 2,1,1,0). She hid in nearby fog on the way back home to avoid the dangerous President, but more action was brewing in the east!
Blackheart brings the Revenant through the whirlpool and uses his extra action to move and shoot, taking advantage of the ability to shoot through ships. However, she only goes 1 for 5! (even with some interested little kids providing their “newbie luck” and rolling some of the the dice for me heh – they rolled better when Kyle attacked lol)
I filmed the second action of the Interceptor’s counterattack:
Blam! Just like that, most of the Pirate fleet is decimated.
President sails out of the fog bank and sinks the Revenant!
Interceptor captured the Emerald Rose but dropped the tow to search for treasure. President and Nautilus began setting up a blockade of my home island, which in the past has sometimes signaled that I will win the game….
A Fearsome Creature guards the whirlpool to let Grinder collect more gold in peace.
The remainder of my fleet whirls home with 2 coins on the Grinder, who loses another mast to whirlpool travel.
However, the President sinks the Grinder and her coins!
With only the slow kraken left in play, my best hope was to surround the HMS Interceptor and sink her gold before she could unload it at home, or just end the game as soon as possible. Interceptor was moving L+S (rather than L+L+S) with a mast missing, which helped a bit.
Incredibly, on the first attempt to dash the poor kraken on the reef next to Kyle’s HI, I rolled a 2! This eliminated all of A Fearsome Creature’s remaining segments, killing the beast and ending the game!
Cursed Pirates: 3 gold
Mixed alliance: 0
It was a bit of an odd game and abrupt ending, so we decided to play another. This time we’d have 60 points to make a fleet using mostly only the stuff we had already drafted. The setup would have 3 wild islands instead of 4, and 4 terrain placed per player instead of 5. The kraken and submarine were removed from the fleets, with a few small crew edits as well. Kyle had a ton of room for crew so he took Lawrence and an oarsman (latter proxied by Fitzgerald as we were already using the rest) and put them on his HI.
This time I rolled to go first.
HMS Interceptor provided some deja vu on Kyle’s first turn, saccing to dismast the Emerald Rose! This second sacking of the cool custom made by PDXYAR angered the Cursed Pirates, who vowed revenge!
Indeed, retribution came swiftly. Blackheart whirled into action once again, with his Revenant much more accurate on the cannon volley this time around. Revenant moved to tow the Emerald Rose out of the way of Grinder’s aft gun, so I had all 8 available cannons in range between both of my shooting ships. Grinder hit 1/2 on the President.
Mercer threw the Interceptor’s captain overboard to propel the ship home via the whirlpool (Sac needed to reach the whirlpool with 2 actions at S+S speed). President followed, but Emperor Blackheart’s rage was not satisfied. He followed them back, determined to win a conclusive engagement. President survived, but Interceptor did not.
Carnage all over the park today!
President began repairing, Proud Tortoise headed home with gold, and Revenant headed away from danger and toward a new island.
Grinder was towing the Emerald Rose home for repair, with the Revenant whirling back to home waters.
Proud Tortoise raced northeast to try for more gold, but would be looking at facing the entire fleet of dangerous rank-2 cannons in the Cursed Pirate fleet on the return trip.
The game ended soon afterwards – Emperor Blackheart got a 6 to toss the President into harm’s way, where the Emerald Rose finally got some personal revenge, blasting her apart and sinking her with help from the Revenant. On the next turn he got a 5 for All-Powerful, allowing the Grinder to corner the Proud Tortoise and shoot away her shell panels. At this point Kyle conceded, with no way of getting the PT home alive. I knew I had 7 gold on my HI and Kyle couldn’t have more than 6 (he had one coin and I mentioned to him that PDXYAR didn’t make any 7 coins for epic scale), so I didn’t need to keep the PT alive and collect more gold to ensure victory.
Cursed Pirates: 7 gold
Mixed alliance: 5
The pictures don’t show it but there was quite a crowd by the time we left!
We also had a great view of the Blue Angels throughout the games – pictures don’t do it justice but we saw some really cool low flyovers as well.
-Revision to the Duplicates Rule (changes underlined): -There cannot be duplicate Wizkids ships in play until a faction has purchased every single standard ship (including flavor duplicates (such as all three versions of the 5 master HMS Apollo, for example, but not including customs)) available to them. Once a faction has every official Wizkids ship in its fleet in play, that faction can launch duplicates of those official Wizkids ships. Only one duplicate ship is allowed, but if a faction has two of every ship in play, they can begin a third set of duplicates. However, once a ship is sunk, it MUST be replaced before duplicates can be launched again (This is also known as the “complete the fleet” rule). Unreleased game pieces designed by Wizkids are not included in the Duplicates Rule. Wizkids faction fleets cannot have duplicate custom ships. Since the Dutch and Conglomerate factions have no official Wizkids ships, their entire fleets of custom ships are subject to the Duplicates Rule. For example, if ALL custom Dutch ships are in play at once, they can begin a second set of each custom Dutch ship.
-Minor revisions to the Resources errata and how they work (changes underlined): -Resources are represented through tokens; players may choose whatever kind of tokens they wish as long as all players agree. Ships can carry any number of any resource types up to their cargo limit. After a ship rolls for the resource type and loads resources, the ship will load face-up gold coins that correspond to the numbered resource (for example, a ship with lumber on board would have 1’s). When the ship unloads the resources at the home island, the 1’s (in this case) may be unloaded just like treasure. At any point during a player’s turn (usually at the beginning of the launch phase, after the play phase ends), any resources on the home island can be swapped out for the value of the resource in gold. If the value of lumber was 4, the 1’s are swapped for face-down gold 4’s on the home island (HI), which can then be used to purchase ships and crew during the launch phase at the end of the turn. Players may use UT tokens to represent total gold or resource quantities on their home islands, but should keep in mind that a UT worth 400 gold could be stolen by a home island raider with a single open cargo space.
-2 hits/mast rule addition: Flotillas must be hit 4 times overall in order to eliminate their flag (none of the hits have to come from a specific shoot action).
-Encampment clarification: Abilities that remove explored island markers eliminate encampments.
-Face-up Unique Treasure can be loaded and unloaded to and from islands as part of the free transfer rules. (slight clarification)
-Ships can load face-down treasure and resources from their home island with an explore action. Face-up Unique Treasure can be unloaded to islands as part of the free transfer rules. Ships can load face-up Unique Treasure from their home island as part of the free transfer rules.
-If both players agree to it, opposing ships can touch without ramming, boarding or pinning. While touching, they can be given an explore action to transfer cargo freely between them.
-Submarines can do ram damage while both surfaced and submerged.
-Only up to 3 copies of each unique set of native canoes can be in play at a time.
-There are currently only two storm terrain in play, but I have added their rules to the main post as well. From Xerecs’ Century of Economy games: Storms are a Custom terrain piece. At the end of a round of turns, a d6 is rolled. Match the result to the number printed on any Storms in play. Roll the d6 again. Match the result to the number printed around the edge of the Storm and move the Storm L in a straight line in that direction. If two or more Storms collide or move into contact with one another, they merge and move as one Storm. If any part of a game piece touches a Storm, it is immediately placed inside of it. Roll a d6, the result is the number of masts, segments, flags or damage points removed from the game piece. If the result is more than the number of remaining masts, segments, flags or damage points, the game piece is eliminated from the game. If a storm spends more than three rounds over a body of land, it is removed from the game.
Additions to the Ban List: Odin’s Revenge, Kharmic Idol, Pirata Codex, Flood UT, Missionaries UT (those last two are customs)
Clarifying which tokens are for each type of island upgrade:
Encampment: Faction color token used to mark islands explored (under Markers)
Fort upgrade: Shipyard token (under Structures)
Lighthouses=Taverns (under Structures)
Town=Infantry unit (these last three all under Army Units)
Trading Port=Cavalry unit
Military Port=Artillery unit
Starting this turn, factions may start naming islands if they want to. Especially islands they’ve explored or taken control of through island upgrades. For example, an obvious one is “Whirlpool Island”, the island surrounded by whirlpools south of the Spanish HI.
Custom Sets inplay (by the end of this report) with abbreviations and creator name. (from now on, only the set abbreviation will be used for the launch phase specifics – that way you can find the customs used in the Customs Database if desired)
Age of Sail (AoS), Epic Seas (ES) – A7XfanBen
Return of Davy Jones (RoDJ), Fiends of the Blood Islands (FoBI), Spherus Magna (SpMa) – Xerecs
Great Sea (GS), Rise of the Moon Sorcerer (RotMS) – El Cazador
Dark Tides (DT), Seas of Doom (SoD), Eldest Seas (ELS) – JW Darkhurst
Vengeance of the Cadet Captain (VotCC) – Cadet-Captain Mike
Back to War (B2W) – The Grandmaster/PointlessArrow
Dutch East Indies (DEI) – Avery
Treasure Trove of Fenrir (TToF) – Woelf
Lost Isles (LI) – Shockwave
Obsidian Isles (OI), Siren Islands (SI), Oceans of the Apocalypse (OotA) – projekt355
Islands of Ice (IofI), Age of Extinction (AoE), Search for Golden Shores (SfGS), Rise of the Rebellion (RotR) – Pirate Captain Andrew/DoubleAAsauce
Baltic Sea (BS) – Skelebone
Treacherous Waters (TW) – Ochobrazo2298
Pirates Who Never Met (PWNM), Pirates Who Spent Too Much Time Together (STMTT) – Gazerbeam543
Forgotten Coast (FC) – Riz
Treachery on the High Seas (T), The Golden Age (TGA), – Vladsimpaler
Kraken Sea (KS) – mr_awesome
Lighthouses by The9ofSpades
Pirates of the Sendoran Coast (SC) – Captain Vendari’s customs
That’s a whopping 34 custom sets being used! Nearly all custom creators of Pirates CSG game pieces are represented in CG4 by the end of this turn and report!
The Story So Far
Here is a video describing the general events of the game over the first 5 years of its existence – from April 2018 to spring 2023.
If you’d like more details of some of the early stages of the game, you can also check out Xerecs’ CG4 BRs and the ones I did linked above. If you just need a quick recent events refresher, here’s the last report.
Here are a few things I held back from saying in previous reports that seem fine to reveal now….
Very old (probably from 2019): Jade Rebels probably pissed at the Pirates after Dungeon gave Plague to the Virtuous Wind.
5/8/2020: Dungeon explores island SW of Archipelago, uses Pirates’ extensive spying network to strategically trade Davy Jones’ Key for a Necklace of the Sky (latter grabbed from the middle Archipelago island).
7/13/2020: The Cursed lie to the Spanish that an anonymous source told them that the Americans were coming to attack them. The Cursed are looking for a reason to look pissed at the Spanish so it looks more natural when they go on the offensive.
7/24/2020: “The Cursed Pirates are teaming up to harness the power of the Norse gods to unleash true Hell upon the seas.”
Here is a color-coded “faction locations” map picture from the last round, before PirateAJ14 and Xerecs took their latest turns. The main colored areas are labeled with each faction, with the Pirates having some additional clusters of ship activity in the dark gray areas and The Cursed having a presence next to the Spanish HI.
Here is a giant map picture also showing the entire ocean, this one taken after PirateAJ14 and Xerecs’ latest turns before I started my turn. The Americans have continued to retreat eastward away from the Cursed, while the Spanish have mostly made all speed away from the Cursed 10 masters launched next to their HI.
After a 2 year wait from my previous turn, it was finally time for another epic session of CG4 chaos and carnage! I do recommend watching the play videos for this turn, as I explained things in much more detail and avoided any music-only combat footage and whatnot. I’m trying to make better battle reports (especially for CG4), so feel free to give feedback in the comments at the bottom!
The playing aspects of my turn took a whopping 51 hours, which doesn’t include the time spent planning and strategizing before playing, which was about 12 hours. Then add 9 hours for this battle report, and we get a grand total of 72 hours on this CG4 turn overall. O_O (up from about 42+ last turn)
196 Ships, 4697 Points in Play
The Pirates eagerly started another gigantic turn. Becoming more infamous with each passing round, they have used their “Infinite Money Glitch” to become the richest faction in the history of any Pirates CSG game. “Arcane abuse” has completely destabilized all notions of parity, leading to a bizarre situation where many factions may have to team up quickly in order to stop piracy from taking over the entire sea.
Tensions between the Pirates and their neighbors (the Corsairs and Vikings) began four years ago when the factions were fledgling fleets, content to slowly build up a foundation of strength. Now that tension is boiling over into all-out war. It is too soon to say what will ultimately transpire, but the possibility of a prolonged and bloody war is certainly there.
Beginning of turn Abilities and Effects
It was time to start! Each of my CG4 turns begins with much anticipation and excitement. However, there is always a lot of “housekeeping” to do – remembering and reviewing where things left off, consulting my notes for strategic ideas and order of operations optimizations, etc. There are also a number of “beginning of turn” abilities or effects that are resolved early to start getting a picture of what the turn will look like. This involves rolling for all of a faction’s AA (Admiral’s Action) abilities, as well as any Arcane rolls they can do.
The Pirates were disappointed to only get 1/9 AA’s, but their EPoE (Elizabeth’s Piece of Eight) was acting as a guaranteed “Mycron” via the Jolly Mon (a ship who of course was hidden in a fog bank next to their home island). They then used their Global Surveillance Program (GSP) to spy on some Barbary Corsair assets, to make sure they knew full well what they’d be getting into if they committed to a full counterattack on the Corsairs.
The GSP is now better than ever since spying can happen on every faction’s turn! (multiplies spying efforts by 12!) I think it will be best to just do it at the beginning of each faction’s turns for all the factions that took their turn before the current faction playing.
Next it was time for the Arcane rolls! If you’re unaware of this particular “theme” of CG4, I explain it in full in this video:
UT #1: Hidden Trove. UT #2: Evenstar. (both placed on Shadow Thief) UT #3: Eye of Insanity (placed on Sphinx).
393 ships in play x2=786 gold from Hidden Trove. x3 w/Evenstar=2358 gold. x2 w/Silverback John=4716 gold. +876 they already had=….
O_O Another new record! The most gold ever raked in by a single faction in a single turn. The Pirates estimate their “gold burn rate” at a minimum of 1200 gold per turn, which allows them (hopefully) at least 4 turns of megalaunching without having to use Arcane rolls for gold production. Now they can bring in other UT’s next round….
Trove optimization: 1 Trove + Evenstar = 3 Troves. x2 from John=4716. Vs. bringing in a Trove every turn. No Evenstar-1572 gold (Trove doubled with John)
Evenstar gives 3x gold in the short term to allow for more choice flexibility in the long term. Better than having to constantly bring in Troves to support the crazy spending sprees.
A new “Eye of Insanity meta” is starting to emerge. Each EoI can be used to copy the Arcane, through the Cursed version of Davy Jones. This can be used to bring in additional copies of Nemo’s Plans and Runes of Thor, which can be used to guarantee that those EoI Arcane rolls are 6’s on future turns, which can be used to bring in additional Eyes on other ships. Of course, at any point the Pirates could decide to stop simply “optimizing the system” and go into full brutality mode, bringing in many copies of devastating UT’s such as Neptune’s Trident in one turn and placing them on various attack ships. The combos and possibilities are nearly endless, and the Pirates and Cursed both have a long list of UT’s that they’d like to bring in….
I got in touch with Woelf to answer a question about the Eye of Insanity UT: “A crew targeted by the Eye retains its original ability, so it would still count normally toward other abilities regardless of what got copied.” I asked this because the Sphinx gets +1 to her d6 rolls with a Captain aboard (per her ship ability), but she might have to use that Captain with the Eye. With that ruling answered, she can still succeed at copying the Arcane on a 5 or 6 due to the +1, even if the Captain is used with the Eye.
These “eyes” also pair well with the idea of the Global Surveillance Program….
At long last it was finally time to start giving out normal actions to the other 193 ships in the Pirate fleet!
The Smiling Jim took the Plague from the Noble Swan (lower left of the next picture), finally freeing the prize from her last negative UT. The Noble Swan explored the Smiling Jim to give her Runes of Wealth, a UT that was needlessly taking up a cargo space on a ship that will probably need it for something else in the future.
The Pirates are optimizing their “chain exploring” system at their metals island. They’re going to have ships at both ends of each line have either the Dinghy equipment (which allows you to explore an island or ship within S as a free action) or an “unload within S” ability. That way, no ships in the chain have to remain docked for the chain exploring system to work. This frees up space at both islands, which is great for maximizing how many ships can be launched from those islands. It also opens up a sea lane where ships can easily traverse from the east or west side of those islands to the other without having to sail all the way around the chain. The Pirates expect to have the optimized system finished next turn, at which point their metals income will be automated, likely at 6-7 metals per turn. This is so they don’t have to spend as much time giving actions to their resource runners, and also to minimize traffic jams near those launch points. However, with their near-unlimited gold income via Hidden Trove funding, there is a chance the Pirates will abandon resources altogether and simply outfit those resource runners with crew and equipment so they can fight if needed.
The tavern token that the Raven unloaded at the Pirates’ textiles island last turn is now a full-fledged Plumb Point Lighthouse! This means that all Pirate ships within L+L of the lighthouse get +S to their base move during that action, kind of like a giant trade current.
The Stormy Night rolled a 5 for her ability with the help of a reroll from Norman Spells. It allowed the Pirates to move any enemy ship S into terrain (therefore the enemy ship must already be within S of a terrain piece). The Sultan’s Riches was the easiest target – a Barbary Corsair resource runner approaching a storm. She got sucked in, and had the misfortune of rolling a 4, sinking the ship instantly! She went down with a helmsman and 3 textiles tokens, eliminating 6 points from the Corsair fleet.
The Blackleaf’s Studding Sails equipment malfunctioned, taking down her mizzenmast with it.
Iolkos, captain of the Bombay (custom 6 masted junk), has sent a strange “dowry demand” to Ekimu, the Grand Admiral and Supreme Commander of the Ionic Navy (part of The Conglomerate faction). He did not specify to whom he wishes to be married, having spied no female crew in the Conglomerate fleet at the time of the letter.
The Pirates realized they had made a gaffe with The Leviathan, though not a consequential one. Since the ship “sank” via Eternal scuttling, her Nemo’s Plans and Neptune’s Trident UT’s were removed from the game. It definitely makes The Leviathan less of an automatic (and broken) superweapon, and the Pirates will be more careful about how they use her in the future.
Here’s a broad overview of the Pirate-Corsair situation, showing the Corsair attack from last turn at the center left. The northern half of the Pirate HI is just out of sight to the upper left, while you can see the English HI southeast of the Corsair HI. Things were about to explode.
The Pirates declared war on the Barbary Corsairs on July 3rd!The massive counterattack would now commence!! Here is the video if you’d like to see the raw footage of the entire assault, with both my narrative explaining everything and background music. A picture+caption summary is below if you prefer that.
After the damaged ships moved out of the way as best they could, The Slash (custom 4 master) got things started! She carries my good friend Captain Randy, who was ready to take the fight to the Barbary Corsairs! Both bow cannons hit the Great Desert, a sign of good luck for the Pirates to start the battle so well! Not including the Great Desert, you can count 8 Corsair ships (including the flotilla and two submarines) in the main Corsair attack force. The Pirates wanted to neutralize as many of them as possible. Various options were considered for this counterattack – including committing as few forces as possible. However, the Pirates realized that although going all-in on the counterattack might delay their short-term plans for the WSG (to be revealed soon!), it would be better to completely smash the Corsairs, neutralize the threat, and teach them a harsh lesson.
As the shots began to ring out across these battle-torn red waters, both sides gritted their teeth for the carnage to come.
Next up was the Shadow’s Hand, who carried the Shadowed One – a devastating custom crew from Xerecs! His primary ability: “Give this ship a shoot action. A beam S wide and 2L long leaves this ship in one direction. Replace up to two masts with fire masts for every ship in the path of the beam. This ship cannot be given an action on its next turn.”
A “fire beam” attack of godlike power!! It was time to unleash one of the many Pirate Weapons of Mass Destruction!
6 ships are set alight for a total of 11 fire masts! O_O
Now it was time for another flame weapon! Though far less powerful, it’s one that probably all of us know….
The Queen Anne’s Revenge greek fire attack! From my “movie version” custom from Pirates of the Epic Seas: “Once per turn, you may eliminate one of this ship’s crew to shoot a flame S wide and 2S long directly forward of the ship’s bow. For every ship in the path of the blast, replace one of that ship’s masts with a fire mast.” HMB Sayyida is set alight as the Nubian Prince and Anubis become raging infernos!
With the flashy WMD’s providing some serious firepower, now it was time for the conventional weaponry of the massive Pirate fleet to get to work. Vortex and Slave Revolt set upon the Crown Jewel (Corsair 10 master), eliminating 4 of her masts. With the latter’s Crew Protect cancelled by the Vortex, Vincenzo Gambi led a boarding party from the Slave Revolt to massacre all of the Crown Jewel’s crew. A large number of effective Corsair crew were killed in action: Gazim, Ardagundas, Murat Rais, Sheik Al-Wahed, helmsman, oarsman.
Flotillas took some shots at the Sayyida, while the Crescent Rose used Extended Range (via my Powder Kegs equipment), shooting over the top of a burning submerged submarine to damage the Elephant flotilla. The Misfortune’s Keep sailed into the fray, though her captain ability was cancelled by the Anubis (which is what the Pirates wanted, having intentionally waited until now to approach the Anubis). At the bottom of the frame you can see some support ships doing towing logistics in order to get the derelict Splinter out of the way, making room for gunships to surge forth.
One last look at the severe carnage before the sinkings began:
The Pirate attack was in full swing. More gunships poured into the area, sinking the Anubis, Elephant, and Majestic. This opened a gap that allowed more shots to fall in range of the Crown Jewel, which quickly became a wildly burning mastless hulk. Despite the Crown Jewel’s Iron-Plated Hull equipment preventing some damage, the sheer volume of cannonade put forth by the Pirates crushed her in one turn. At the right, that’s a brand new iceberg brought in by Odin himself! It was an Odin Missile! The Pirates used their Rune combo to eliminate the Grand Desert from the game. Sickening devastation.
With the Slave Revolt and Shadow’s Hand both getting second actions coming out of the whirlpool, I felt that this round was a proper time to finally reveal the meaning of WSG… a foreboding acronym that the Pirates began using amongst themselves years ago….
WHIRLPOOL STRIKE GROUP
A terrifying concept whose true power has still yet to be seen… the WSG is at the core of Pirate combat philosophy. It’s what they’ve been building towards for years now. A massive, multi-faceted strike group that can utilize whirlpools to hit enemy targets anywhere, anytime. There are a number of key pieces to the WSG, among them the Tempest – the custom 5 master that can create a new whirlpool anywhere on the map if she rolls a 6 with her ability. Many of the recent Pirate launches were specifically to build up the WSG, as it fast becomes the largest battle fleet in Pirates CSG history. At the end of last turn I estimated the total size of the force at 50+ ships, with more being launched every single turn.
The criteria for a “WSG ship” is simple – either a ship that can generate its own second action (via Sac/EA/SAT/etc), or supply/support ships that have abilities like the Cheerleader ability (+1 to cannon rolls for friendly ships nearby), or high-cargo supply ships that carry extra oarsmen and shipwrights to replenish the attack ships when they run low on crew or equipment. It is a vast enterprise that the Pirates have been working very hard to optimize. They realize how costly whirlpool travel can be – going into enemy territory and coming back via whirlpool can easily cost a ship an oarsman and a mast, not to mention any damage or casualties sustained while fighting abroad. For that reason, the Pirates have invested heavily in a large supply chain network. They have many ships whose sole purpose is to resupply ships with oarsmen (primarily Sac-powered ships that have a high burn rate of oarsmen, losing them both in whirlpools and while generating extra actions), as well as shipwrights so that combat ships can repair themselves if whirlpools take out some of their masts. The idea is to have a self-sustaining combat force that can fight anywhere at any time for prolonged periods.
There is a massive number of attack ships dedicated to the WSG. Nearly every single “action generator” ship and crew in the Pirate arsenal of game pieces has been launched as a “WSG attack ship”. This is due to the sheer quantity requirements of the WSG – many EA and SAT rolls fail every turn, and sometimes Sac-powered ships have to hang back to replenish their sac fodder stores with new oarsmen. As a result, large numbers of gunships with similar action generation tactics are on hand to keep the strike group strong and flexible. Ex: If 8/10 SAT ships fail to get their SAT rolls, perhaps the EA ships will get luckier to bail them out. Or, Sac ships will make up the difference with their guaranteed double actions. This is also because whirlpool attacks are inherently limited by the 2-action limit: one action is always required to go through a whirlpool, meaning that a ship can only ever be given one additional action on the other side where the combat will occur. As a result, large numbers of attack ships help the odds of a whirlpool attack success by making sure there is enough firepower to achieve decisive victory over the enemy, preferably on the first turn of the attack.
Recently the Pirates have begun to realize just how expensive and demanding it will be to keep the WSG operating in full for many rounds on end. Sometimes supply ships may have to follow the attack ships through whirlpools to attack zones, depleting their stock and strength more quickly. Therefore, the Pirates have begun to launch “resupply” ships – ships that will supply the suppliers. This is to optimize the flow of oarsmen and shipwrights that help keep the gunships healthy and ready for action at all times. As more combat occurs, the demands on the WSG supply system will grow and cargo logistics become quite complicated. My CG4 tracking spreadsheet has a row for nearly all the ships in each of my fleets, with many ships in the Pirate fleet having notes about “needs S+O” (for example) to remind myself that next turn that ship should be supplied with a shipwright and oarsman if possible.
Lastly, the WSG has some extremely powerful weapons in it. If the main bulk of action generator ships cannot do the job… there are WMD’s to back them up. The Pirates have four 10 masters in play right now, as well as various superweapons like the Shadowed One that can provide ample firepower as a last resort if they are not part of the main initial assault. The Pirates are flexing their might, and we could see the WSG become quite the deterrent force over time. With the ability to create whirlpools at will and surge through them with game-changing firepower, no faction on the sea is safe from potential Pirate wrath.
ALL OUT WAR. The Pirates have slaughtered the Corsairs in a grand display of strength. At the upper right, 9 ships (most or all from the WSG) came out of the brand new whirlpool created by the Tempest near the Corsair/English spice island! They wreaked absolute havoc, smashing up the Corsair resource runners and effectively cutting off Corsair access to that valuable island. At the bottom of the frame, Plague of the West got a second action to eliminate masts from the Corsair runners gathering textiles. At the left, one of the most ominous signs of all – the Zeus and Hera have returned home from their excursion to Spanish waters. They’re getting a few brief replenishments but staying near whirlpools in case the Pirate fleet needs their flagships. Off their port sides, you can see newly minted ships of the WSG making their way to the whirlpool area. Another handful of ships wait in the fogpool nearby, primed and ready to enter that whirlpool next round. At the far left, a squadron of 10 warships (mostly stock gunships launched last turn) makes their way around the west side of “Textiles Island” to take up position against the growing Viking fleet in the north.
That marks 6 Corsair ships sunk by the Pirates this turn, with 3 additional ships dismasted and 7 ships partially damaged. By my count the Pirates had 20 ships fire shots at the Corsairs, with 16 Corsair vessels either sunk or damaged. At long last, the full scale combat of CG4 can begin….
The Pirates would also like to make a few PSAs known. They have generally been iterated to the other players, but just for full disclosure:
-Attempts to eliminate the Arcane will be met with extinction.
-Jailhouse Dog (reusable once per round with Nemo’s Plans) will be used to cancel out Fountain of Dreams if it is brought in. Not playing JD to cancel Hidden Trove or Evenstar.
-When using the Sac (Sacrifice) ability where crew are eliminated to gain extra actions, keep this in mind (from the Pirate Code) regarding Captain Davy Jones’ ability to possess crew on 6’s: “If a ship (or crew) has the ability to eliminate a crew to gain an extra action, this ability may be applied. If the roll is successful, the crew is placed on this ship normally and the ship does not gain the extra action because the crew did not remain eliminated.”
Captain Davy Jones is on the Slave Revolt in the Pirate fleet, and he will choose to roll whenever any non-Pirate or non-Cursed game pieces try to use Sac. The Pirates also have some auto-6 capability, so if some high-stakes combat occurs, there is a chance they might use that to force rolls to 6’s in order to shut down Sac for a ship or two (very unlikely however).
As usual, the Pirates went on a massive spending spree across their 4 launch points. Many new customs will see play for possibly the first time ever! Any custom game pieces launched will have their set abbreviation in parentheses so you can use the reference near the beginning of this post to see who they’re from and in the Customs Database if you want to check them out in full (ctrl+h works really well to find things quickly). There are a few exceptions for very commonly used generic customs, such as Dinghy from PointlessArrow’s Back to War (B2W) set and Gilded Figurehead and Streamlined Hull from Woelf’s Treasure Trove of Fenrir (TToF) set.
Skull Valley: 10 ships, 329 points
Bane (SoD) + Mr. Constantine (BS), Gilded Figurehead, oarsman (she also will have Vesok aboard)
Golden Medusa + Henry Every (OotA), CHO, shipwright (30)
Dark Trance (STMTT) + Three Eyed Roger (STMTT), CHO, shipwright (26)
Cunning Calypso (OotA) + Raveneau de Lussan (AoS), helmsman, shipwright, oarsman (21)
Devil’s Float (STMTT) + Captain Leviathan (BS), Dinghy, shipwright, oarsmen x2 (34)
Grim Spectacle (STMTT) + Captain Sally Silver (OI), Master Gunner Jarvis Johns (OI), The Mad Finn (BS), helmsman, shipwright, oarsmen x2 (46)
Royal Rover (SI) + Hugh S. Shine (RotR), Rosie Richards (SI), captain, shipwright, oarsmen x2 (38)
Pyorremyrsky + Edward Lewis (B2W), CHO, shipwright (28)
Zloty Kot (BS) + CHO, shipwright, exploding shot (22)
Spirit of Freedom (BS) + CHO, shipwright (17)
Gilded Figureheads (32)
Home Island: 15 ships, 284 points (504 points with island upgrades included) Southern half: (7 ships, 129 points (349 including the island upgrades))
Banshee’s Cry + HE, 3 coin, and fort upgrade (49)
Blinding Sun (STMTT) + Karmiine Klovisk (SC), helmsman, Dinghy (23), carrying town and military port (MP) upgrades (60)
Fickle Fiend (STMTT) + helmsman, explorer, oarsman (14), carrying town and military port (MP) upgrades (60)
Pirates Booty (STMTT) + helmsman, explorer, oarsman (13) carrying town and military port (MP) upgrades (60)
Rum Stealer (STMTT) + Evil Scott (STMTT), CHO (25) WSG supply
Blubber (RotR) + H, oarsmen x4 (12)
HMNV Naval (AoE) + helmsman, Dinghy, shipwright x4, oarsmen x3 (32)
This picture also shows the ships launched from the Metals military port (MP), detailed below.
The Mercy and Fancy are dedicated “tugboats”, while those next three are mainly for defending the Arcane. The Arcane is so valuable that she is beginning to have her own defense squadron, which may reach over a half-dozen ships. The Vikings’ recent Hidden Trove acquisition has made them a serious threat to the Pirates’ western border, so the Pirates are beefing up the stock gunship squadron launched last turn with more weapons.
Here we start to see the true scale of the WSG – simply launching half a dozen supply ships for the grand scale of the venture. Just those new ships alone carry 20 oarsmen and 12 shipwrights. However, the Pirates want all their supply ships to have a “permanent shipwright” aboard in addition to any extras meant to be given away – that way the supply ships can repair themselves after whirlpool travel, not just the gunships. The WSG attack ships are likely to operate wholly at sea for very long periods of time, while the supply ships might come back to a launch point eventually to replenish their cargo, or simply be resupplied en route by yet another ship in the supply chain.
Textiles MP: 6 ships, 223 points
34 points of crew and equipment for various ships that docked on the play turn: Darkhawk II, Dragon, Star of Siam, Triton’s Fury, Raven, Pandora, Agnis Crystalis. Anti-Viking Defense Squadron
Cat’s Curse (SI) + Calvin the Wicked (SfGS), Los Diablo Rojo (OI), CHO, FPS, shipwright (46)
Fallen Eagle (BS) + Scout the 3rd (STMTT), CHO, shipwright (31)
Polska (BS) + Kazimierz Lux (BS), HSO, FPS (30)
Death’s Hand (BS) + Anne Bonnie (SI), captain, oarsman, Bow Chasers (AoS) (33)
Revenant + CHO, 2 equipment (30)
Gruesome + CHO, FPS (19)
The Pirates finally let a bunch of their older ships dock at this MP in order to come in for repairs and/or get some needed cargo. On recent turns the Pirates just wanted to max out their launches no matter what, but now they finally feel somewhat satisfied with the size and power of their fleet. This will allow many Pirate ships in need of things to come in and get them rather than waiting off the coast as endless new ships are built in rapid succession. It could be said that the Pirate policy of “maximum launching” is over, but of course it might resume in a crisis situation. Every launch point will still likely resemble spokes of a wheel for many more rounds, as eventually I may want the Pirates to control every single ship ever made for them, both Wizkids and custom. O_O You can see where the WSG attack ships have gone east, diverging from the weaker anti-Viking squadron that heads northwest. Both have formed impromptu lines of battle.
Launch Totals for the turn: 44 ships, 1111 points (1331 points including island upgrades)
Overall Fleet Size: 240 ships, 5797 points (at least 6017 total including upgrades)
51 Ships, 2171 Points in Play
The Cursed also start their turn with various d6 rolls – over a dozen with more every round!
Hidden Trove was now worth 864 gold (388 ships in play after the Pirate combat, but then they launched 44 ships for 432 total). Tripled with Evenstar=2592 gold. Plus what they already had=3943 gold. Just like the Pirates, The Cursed wanted to guarantee megalaunches for a few turns, estimating their burn rate at no less than 1000 gold per turn (so this should cover them for at least 3 turns, potentially less if they put up enough launch points). The Cursed got 5 AA rolls to work (+Barst, a Mycron crew), giving their burgeoning fleet a lot of flexibility.
Magnesis yanked the Ivory Star into the Gauntlet of Pestilence fog bank next to the Corsair home island, killing her oarsman in the gloom.
The Cursed are on a frenetic pace with both launches and island upgrades, upgrading their custom “whirlpool forts” (Figlar Castle and Gunos Fortress, two of each in play) at breakneck speed. To that end, they realized they’d have to do some logistical “magic” this turn. Using one of their trade currents, the Dinghy equipment, and an intermediary ship to support bridging the gap, they managed to get both island upgrades from the Devil’s Child to the Sea Duck, and the DC’s fort upgrade to the Gerudo Gale, the latter of which was already docked at the Gunos Fortress needing the upgrade. Originally the DC was going to upgrade both the island and the fort afterwards, but the Cursed really want to expedite how fast they can get launch points up, specifically the whirlpool forts. Soon they will have no less than FOUR upgraded forts that can essentially megalaunch from any whirlpool in play. O_O Talk about weaponizing terrain! Arguably just as intimidating as the Pirate WSG….
The shipyard token is placed and The Cursed will be able to launch from this fort next turn!
The Spanish get slammed!
The Spanish have been crushed. 7 ships sunk, 1 ship captured, 4 ships left in play. 2/3 of their fleet was wiped out in one turn by the 10 master strike squadron. O_O The Pirates also have their “Anti-Spanish Squadron” sailing north towards the Spanish HI…. War is upon us indeed.
A familiar voice whispered from shadow, aboard the Devil’s Kiss of the Pirate fleet…
“The Dead have taken command of the sea….”
The killing was not over yet. It was time for a new menace to reveal itself….
TaaW=Terrain as a Weapon
Also known as: Weaponizing Terrain
In yet another instance of the Pirates getting help from The Cursed (or vice versa), the Sargasso Nightmare teleported into the area to provide some extra firepower support, making The Cursed an enemy of the Barbary Corsairs if they weren’t already.
Nearly all terrain types have now been weaponized. The Pirates can create whirlpools at will and surge forth deadly legions. The Cursed continue to build up their fog hopping squadron, which will be larger and more deadly than ever before. Odin Missiles rain down from the sky every turn as icebergs from the heavens sink ships. Now even seaweed is something to avoid, because you never know when a swampy Cursed fiend will pop out and shoot you.
The Cursed and Pirates will be using increasingly aggressive rhetoric in their dealings with other factions as their patience continues to wear thin.
All Shall Perish.
Home Island: 6 ships, 210 points (390 including island upgrades)
For Wisp: helmsman, oarsman, Dinghy (6), +42 for gold+fort upgrade token.
For Maman Brigitte: Streamlined Hull, oarsman (4)
For USS Mercury: equipment (14)
For the Grand Misfortune: Melegaunt (ES), Streamlined Hull, exploding shot, stinkpot shot, chain shot (11)
Obsidian Sun (OI) + Maleficent (OotA), helmsman, oarsman (18)
Pale Moon + Lilith (OI), Tzilacatzin (RotMS), Gilded Figurehead (26)
Insidious (STMTT) + Rapunzel (SI), helmsman, shipwright, Dinghy, oarsmen x3, gold, fort upgrades x2 (26 for ship, 92 additional)
Cursed Chalice (SI) + Merrow, Tidal Fiends, helmsman, Dinghy, oarsman, gold, fort upgrade (21 for ship, 46 additional)
Voodoo Child (STMTT) + Marie Laveau (STMTT), Vodyanoy (BS), Chirox (SpMa), HS, oarsmen x10 (66)
Bloody Cutlass + helmsman, shipwright, Dinghy, oarsman (18)
From Figlar Castle #1: 11 ships, 532 points
End of Days (ES) + Lord Hellsing (ES), Carnal Sinner (ES), Wraith (SS version), Madame Maria (RoDJ), Dhornikov – Prime Executioner (ES), SO, Streamlined Hull (TToF), smokepot specialist, stinkpot specialist, grappleshot specialist, exploding shot, grapple shot, chain shot (114)
Calamity (ES) + Acronius The Calamitous (ES), Jolly the Skull (OI), Phantom (OI), Skell (RoDJ), Streamlined Hull, shipwright, oarsmen x4 (88)
Cataclysm (ES) + Volgaad The Volcano God (ES), Sorcerer Jafar (OotA), Deranged Spider (ES), Vamprah (SpMa), Streamlined Hull, helmsman, shipwright, oarsmen x5 (95)
Blood Sacrifice (MS) + CHS, oarsmen x3 (27)
Moctezuma’s Revenge (MS) + helmsman, Streamlined Hull, shipwright x3, oarsmen x5 (36)
Rat’s Circle (IofI) + CH, oarsmen x2 (17)
Eternal Curse (ELS) + CHS, Dinghy, oarsmen x3 (31)
Arabian Nights (OotA) + The Nightsister (OI), helmsman, shipwright, Dinghy, oarsmen x4 (38)
Spinax (SoD) + CHO, shipwright, Dinghy (26)
Specter (OotA) + Lord Icarus of Destral (DT), Heir to the Satanic Temple (ES), CHOS (36)
Krikun (BS) + helmsman, Dinghy, shipwright x2, oarsmen x3 (24)
One of the most sickening and incredible launches of the game sees The Cursed spend over 500 gold at a single fort. The 10 master expenditures average 99 points each. Even more sinister… it appears that The Cursed may be building their own WSG….
From Figlar Castle #2: 12 ships, 318 points
Farore’s Cataclysm (GS) + Vaati (GS), CHO, Gilded Figurehead (38)
Fiend’s Plot (ES) + CHO, shipwright, Streamlined Hull, Gilded Figurehead (27)
Banshee’s Wail + “Screaming” Mimi, CHO (29)
Dance + Tabitha McWarren (F&S version), helmsman, oarsman (19)
Crypt + Heiress of the Apocalypse (ES), helmsman, oarsman (22)
Siren’s Stone (B2W) + CHO (21)
Black Jar (OotA) + CHO, shipwright x3 (25)
Mauled Mermaid (SI) + Captain Nachtmare (OI), oarsmen x4 (29)
Hellish Stench (ES) + Maxis Penumbra (SoD), oarsman (20)
Man O War (AoE) + helmsman, smokepot specialist (10)
Hanging Tree (RotR) + CHOS (19)
Flesh of Oman (RotR) + Icarax (SpMa), Kaulu Kaikamahine (SI), HSO (48)
The Necromancer placed in fort (ES) (11)
This Figlar Castle whirled into the middle of a fog cluster, which was perfect for what The Cursed had in mind. They’ve put in play a “mover squadron” full of abilities that can wrench enemy ships around against their will.
Cursed PSA that all the other factions know about: The Cursed now have SS Wraith in play (aboard the End of Days), meaning there are two “d6 possess” abilities in play. From the Code: “-If a crew is eliminated and multiple different players have this ability available, each may attempt the die roll using the normal player turn order, starting with the current player, until a roll is successful or all able players have rolled.”
Following through the play order, the Pirates will roll first followed by The Cursed. Just like the Pirates, The Cursed are intentionally going to use this to try and impede Sac and similar abilities from the other factions.
Launch Totals: 29 ships, 1060 points (1240 including island upgrades)
Overall Fleet Size: 81 ships, 3245 points (3721 including upgrades)
20 Ships, 488 Points in Play
Since they didn’t have nearly as many beginning of turn rolls as the Pirates or Cursed, I decided not to record the start of the Viking turn. This proved to be a mistake, as the Vikings pulled off a grand coup of luck.
The Vikings got a 6 with All-Powerful Thor! They had tons of options for it, with many hundreds of enemy ships in play, including some nasty pirates nearby. They didn’t want to bring in the legendary Fountain of Dreams UT as they didn’t fully trust all of the other factions – too many variables with what could be brought in.
In the end, the Vikings took control of the Cursed Flying Dutchman! They got a 6 for Kalfu (“Once per turn roll a d6. On a 6 you may change the result of any die roll to a 6.”) (!!!)
The Flying Dutchman roll to bring in a UT and place it on an enemy ship didn’t work, so the roll was forced to a 6 to bring in a Hidden Trove!!
It was placed on HMS Alexander!!!! O_O
The Vikings have immensely helped the English by giving them a massive windfall, with Hidden Trove to be worth over 900 gold on the next English turn!!
This was a grand moment of much anticipation. For a few years now, the Vikings and Corsairs have started to consider “gift Troves” for other factions by using their copiers to copy the Cursed Flying Dutchman instead of the Arcane, allowing them to place a UT from outside the game on an “enemy” ship instead of their own ship. However, the Vikings did not expect it to come from All-Powerful, which allowed the Vikings to control the FD and effectively use All-Powerful to copy the FD’s special ability. The English could be rich as soon as next round, and perhaps the greatest thing for the possible “allies” is – there’s no Pirate or Cursed turn in between in which it could be stolen by one of the major powers. An interesting thing about the Pirate-Cursed cooperation is that they go after each other in the turn order, so all 10 of the other factions have their turns in between, uninterrupted by the “great evils”. It’s a double-edged sword because it also allows the Pirates and Cursed to potentially execute absolutely devastating coordinated attacks in back-to-back fashion. However, in the case of UT generation it may help.
This is also a massive deal because it could change some of the power dynamic in the northeast. The Pirates have likely irked the English of late, sending the Blackleaf into the northeast corner with island upgrades to possibly take over the spice island the Corsairs and English have been profiting from. That island was explored with a Dinghy on the Pirate turn, meaning the Corsairs and English are quickly running out of time to prevent yet another Pirate launch point from surrounding their home waters. In addition, the Corsairs have been severely weakened, and could really use some help. They have made contact with the English about combating the Pirates together, but until now the English had very limited means to do so. If this turn made it look like the Pirates were about to completely take over the northeast corner, this Hidden Trove gift from the Vikings to the English could change or delay that. The Vikings also like this outcome for the sake of their positioning. They are located just west of the Pirate home island and textiles MP. The Corsairs are their allies on the eastern side of the Pirate launch points. However, the Corsairs have been so badly beaten that the Pirates might be able to turn all their home waters might against the Vikings, which would mean a quick and certain Viking defeat. However, if the English (east of the Corsair HI) build a battle fleet that draws Pirate attention, the Vikings have a better chance in any local combat zones.
The Vikings had wanted to give a Trove to… the Spanish! They have been on a “gift list” of both the Corsairs and the Vikings for a few turns now. This turn was almost the perfect moment for it, with the Vikings feeling somewhat secure with their new launches and an “extra” crack at the UT generation shenanigans via the lucky 6 on Thor’s All-Powerful. It was all set for the Spanish to get rich instead of the English… until the Vikings realized that no Spanish ship was within docking distance of the Spanish HI. If a Hidden Trove was placed on a Spanish ship, it would have to be at sea where it was likely to be stolen by the Pirates or Cursed (or someone else) before the Spanish could get it home. The Vikings didn’t want to waste their luck on that, and so pivoted to the English instead.
Next it was time for the Viking copier, Jord. Having already given out a Trove to a possible future ally, the Vikings would definitely be copying the Arcane to try and benefit themselves.
Jord rolls to copy Arcane. First Gilded Figurehead, then Jord, then Reroll via Shayna Deux:
*** <a7xfanben> rolls White D6 ->  ***
*** <a7xfanben> rolls White D6 ->  ***
*** <a7xfanben> rolls White D6 ->  ***
Another successful roll!! Used to place a Hidden Trove on the Timperswayd!! O_O 😀
With that, the Vikings raked in another huge windfall, increasing their gold reserves further so they could launch for multiple turns without fear of bankruptcy.
This picture shows most of the Viking ship movements. Their recently launched warships are headed south towards a fog cluster, where the Muninn attempts to spy on Pirate movements to the east. Some of their “lumber squadron” has broken off from their usual trade route to join up with the main force, as the Vikings anticipate needing all the ships they can spare in a possible battle with the Pirates – which they anticipate could be coming soon. Even some resource runners are turning east, simply to beef up numbers and provide support as tugboats or block ships. There is little need to run the lumber trade, with Hidden Troves providing a steady supply of gold from which to fund the fleet.
The Barbary Corsairs and Vikings have been reaching out over the past few years in regards to forming alliances with some of the other factions in play, possibly to combat the Pirates together. However, the Vikings have a more… brusque approach when it comes to communicating. XD It remains to be seen if that impacts their alliance hopes, not just with the English, but other factions as well….
Launch Phase: 6 ships, 195 points (347 including upgrades)
For Timperswayd: Dinghy, town+MP upgrades (3+60)
For Noble Glacier: Shayna Deux (already in play), helmsman, equipment x3 (5)
9x Gilded Figureheads (9)
Eagle’s Brood (LI) + HSEO, Dinghy, gold, fort upgrade (22 + 48 for gold+upgrade, 70 total)
Ratatoskr (IofI) + HSO, Dinghy, gold, fort upgrade (21 + 44 for gold+upgrade, 65 total)
Berserker (IofI) + Blakenos Arnfoot (ES), CHO, Dinghy (29)
The Norse Anvil (LI) + Kould the Conquerer (IofI), CHOS (40)
Naegling + Wilhelm Hadraade (OotA), Galnarl the Terrible (ES), helmsman, oarsman, Streamlined Hull (36)
Ruby Ice (ES) + Zaura Vikman (LI), Powder Kegs (ES), oarsman, stinkpot shot (30)
Without revealing their exact plans, it’s clear that the Vikings are investing heavily in the upgrade game. They hear about what the Pirates and Cursed are doing, and want to get a slice of the pie. There are only so many islands in play (36 wild at the start of play), and the Pirates and Cursed appear to be snatching up a fair number of them. In addition, the Vikings are severely hampered in their launch phases by the physical size of their ships. With most of their ships available being oared, their average ship width is quite big, comparable to the Corsairs and all their galleys. This means they can’t launch as many ships per turn because they run out of space at their home island sooner than most factions would. As a result, more launch points are needed to get the Viking fleet built up at an adequate speed.
Overall Fleet Size: 26 ships, 683 points (895 including upgrades)
22 Ships, 422 Points in Play(down from 30 Ships, 575 Points in Play at the end of their last turn)
The Corsairs are down in the dumps. They have been absolutely devastated by the Pirates and Cursed, losing 8 ships and 153 points in the time between their last turn and this one. Morale has never been lower. Even compared to when the Corsairs lost a battle squadron to the Pirates years ago. Some of their best fighters perished in the Pirate counterattack, and there is absolutely no way the Corsairs can launch enough new warships to keep up this war effort against the Pirates right now, especially if the Pirates keep pushing east to the Corsair HI.
The Barbary Corsairs attempted to bring in a UT…
Making matters even worse, the Corsairs failed to get the roll – the only one of my factions to not bring in any UT’s this turn. The black days are upon them… depression and hopelessness are starting to set in across some parts of the Corsair fleet. They do not have the gunships available to defend their resource system, which has come under attack by the Pirates and the WSG. (I may be upbeat in the above video, but the Corsairs are anything but)
The Corsairs did their best to regroup and reprioritize, negotiating a tense truce with the Pirates on some strict terms. The Pirates agreed not to attack next turn if the Corsairs made concessions – they would not fire a single shot against the Pirates this turn, nor would they launch a 10 master or a full battle squadron (some new ships could have captains, but not all). The Corsairs are angry at the Pirates, but are more sad and shell-shocked than anything else. They currently also have a female leader (Galina) who is mourning the loss of many Corsair captains, including Gazim, the admiral who perished when Vincenzo Gambi mercilessly slaughtered the crew of the Crown Jewel. The Corsairs are actually rethinking their strategy a bit – their plan just one round ago was to push the Pirates to the brink and wage all-out war with tons of gunships launched from their home island. However, facing extinction, the Corsairs realize they should play the long game and try to get off the Pirates’ radar a bit.
The Nubian Prince was the only burning ship capable of movement, but her fire spread even further above deck, completely engulfing the ship in flame. The Crown Jewel and both submarines are doomed. With those 4 ships all very likely to sink due to the automatic scuttle next turn, it would bring total casualties from the Pirate attack to 10 Corsair ships sunk, 12 if we include the pair of ships sunk by The Cursed. The warships launched last turn sail out to form a wall line of defense against any further Pirate encroachment, with 3 war galleys north of the iceberg and one east of it. The Crescent Moon pulls into port to stock up on some cargo the Corsairs have been planning to give her. Corsair resource runners generally headed east to a rendezvous point near the new whirlpool by the spice island. With nowhere to run or hide, the Corsairs are praying the Pirates don’t go back on the truce and attack them next turn. It is a rough time when your life depends on trusting fickle pirates.
However, the turn was not without hope. Receiving an AA from Kheir-ed-din, the Djinn of the East sped through the new whirlpool and emerged in an area completely new to the Corsairs – and for that matter, any faction. She is the first ship to take The Vortex, a reef formation shaped by a whirlpool in the middle of it. This is a distinct feature of the map, though unlikely to see much use due to the obvious dangers. However, the Corsairs were desperate, and the whirlpool was near an untouched wild island they may have designs on. It’s in between Viking and American outposts, and far from any Pirate or Cursed influence so far.
Launch Phase: 6 ships, 208 points (374 points including upgrades)
Gilded Figureheads x10
Nephila: added Dinghy and shipwright (5)
Crescent Moon: shipwright, oarsmen x2 (4)
Zeitgeist (RotR) + Prince Numidia (RotR), Baahir The Brave (PWNM), Dinghy (30)
Orion’s Belt (SfGS) + Pallamir (ES), Bomb Box (ES), HSO, Dinghy, gold, town and MP upgrade (28+60)
Rabat (ES) + Cleopatra The Wise (PWNM), HSO, Dinghy, town and MP upgrade, gold, fort upgrade token (33+106)
Camel (SfGS) + helmsman, shipwright x2, Dinghy x3, oarsmen x3 (36)
Dieu-Le-Vuit (LI) + Ramoran (ES), CHSO, Dinghy, stinkpot shot (30)
Anubis (OotA) + Rajastos (ES), Vorash (ES), HSO, Dinghy (32)
The Corsairs got busy launching just as many ships as the Vikings did. 4 new 4 masted galleys, as well as a large new submarine and a schooner! They were digging deep into all the various new custom game pieces that have been added to the Customs Database since the last CG4 turn (much like my other factions). Indeed, the sheer quantity of sets and customs out there at this point is likely to satisfy even the smallest of minor factions. This Anubis is a 4 master, not a relaunch of the cancelling 3 master sunk earlier in the round. Although the relaunching rule would allow for the Corsairs to get some of the best combat assets back quickly, I simply dislike the flavor implications of relaunching stuff that just sank less than a round ago.
Overall Fleet Size: 28 ships, 630 points (961 including upgrades)
Starting this round, I am attempting to track ships and points in play for each faction on an action-by-action basis. This means that whenever a boarding party results in crew elimination, I immediately subtract that crew’s point cost from that faction’s point total in the spreadsheet I use for the game. It does make combat take a little longer, but I expect it to be fully worth it as it eliminates the need to go around the map at the end of my overall turns and count up everything each faction has in play. This will likely result in some minor discrepancies in the numbers over time as a few crew or equipment eliminations or additions might be missed once in a while, but it’s worth the time saved. The last full point count took about 4 hours, so I’d prefer to avoid doing that each round. I know tracking the points in play is not required, but I really love keeping track of how big each fleet is and seeing the crazy records grow with each round.
Here are the latest faction totals! I know a lot of it is extremely lopsided, but that may change a bit over time if more “gift Troves” can be handed out or procured. There are three fleets in the 25-30 ship range that have the best hope of contending with the Pirates (and/or Cursed). However, almost half the factions (5/12) have less than 10 ships in play. Of course, perhaps that makes them less likely to draw interest from the power factions, possibly allowing them to slip under the radar. The Pirates’ percentage of points in play actually decreased slightly this round, but they could still become a ridiculous statistical anomaly in that regard – if they cross 50%, they’ll be just one faction out of twelve and still in control of a points majority!
Last turn saw this game become the largest in Pirates CSG history. This turn, the game broke through the 10,000 point threshold. O_O For some years now I have fantasized about playing a game that went into 5 figures worth of points in play. After my Command the Oceans campaign game in 2017 passed 9000, I began to think it was inevitable. Now we have reached it! However, we didn’t just get to 10K points – we blew past it, reaching an astounding 11,721 total points in play.
We are indeed in the Reign of Terror. It remains to be seen just how allied the Pirates and Cursed are, but they currently control over 9000 points, nearly 80% of all points in play. They also own 69% of all ships afloat, meaning you could double the fleet sizes of all other factions and they’d still have more. Next round is likely to see The Cursed become the second fleet in play to reach 100 ships, truly a huge milestone for any massive campaign game fleet. In the meantime, the Pirates will continue their assault on the record books. Already the biggest fleet ever, they will easily blow past 6000 total points next round and look to eventually become the first 300-ship fleet. O_O
Stats by player. Things have ballooned to a size not seen before. Technically I did control more ships during CTO in 2017, but that game never reached a 5 digit point total. Now I’m not the only player playing, and I still control over 10000 points. O_O
10 masters in play: 24 – 4 new this turn, all Cursed. (16 Cursed, 4 Pirate, 2 Viking, 1 Corsair, 1 Conglomerate)
WSG: Whirlpool Strike Group
TaaW: Terrain as a Weapon
Burn rate: Total gold spent per turn by a faction. Good for a faction to know for when they’ll need more Hidden Troves or are likely to run out of gold. Variable by the turn but generally in the 1000-1200 range for the megafleets that have 3+ launch points.
Here is the grand map! I recommend opening it in a new tab and zooming in to view in full size to give yourself a tour of this crazy game. You’re looking at the first documented Pirates CSG game to surpass ten thousand points. This picture shows nearly 12,000 points in play.
With that, another one of my mammoth turns is in the books! This round saw brutal and decisive attacks on the Corsairs and Spanish by the Pirates and Cursed. Both battles appear to be over, with capitulation nearly inevitable in the short term. However, the Vikings have rivaled the Conglomerate and Corsairs as perhaps the third most powerful faction, even “playing god” to decide who gets rich this turn! Could the Hidden Trove gift to the English backfire, or will the English be eager to join the cause against the Pirates and ally with the Vikings and/or Corsairs? What could happen next? I’d love to hear your predictions in the comments!
As dusk sets across the ocean, a voice of black speech whispers across the waters… “All Shall Perish.”
Comment below your thoughts on the game, predictions for what will happen, and how I can improve my reports! If you’d like to support my efforts with Pirates CSG, feel free to check out my Patreon or buy things through the affiliate links throughout my website. Thank you so much for reading about this game and following along with the epic developments! 😀
20 years ago to the day this game was played, it all began. The movie that changed lives and made fortunes. The movie that led Jordan Weisman of Wizkids to make a Pirate game – the birth of Pirates of the Spanish Main and the CSG subgenre of board games. To celebrate The Curse of the Black Pearl 20th anniversary, Xerecs and I played a 50 point game on VASSAL using only game pieces from the Pirates of the Caribbean set! A brief summary follows, with a full video recording of the short game at the bottom of this post.
He went first as the Pirates, while I followed with the English. I wanted to restrict my fleet to only game pieces actually seen in the first film of the series, which got me to 45 total points using various crew on HMS Dauntless and HMS Interceptor, adding Mercer to get to 48. They would be facing off against the Black Pearl and Hai Peng.
Ragetti helped the Hai Peng snag some Plunder early, while Interceptor used her speed to reach an island quickly as well. However, my own Marines must have been brainwashed by some natives, as they shot and killed the guvna! Governor Weatherby Swann was eliminated. Only upon making this report and seeing the video do I realize that I accidentally cheated on the following turn, with Interceptor sailing home when she should have been stuck at the island due to the hangover from Rum.
On the Interceptor’s sail home, she was intercepted by the Black Pearl! The epic battle happens again!! Black Pearl took off two masts, but the English returned fire for the same on their turn!
However, this time “Commodore” James Norrington was there to intervene! HMS Dauntless came whirling onto the scene, with Mercer tossing Murtog overboard to fuel the ship’s extra action, which sank the Pearl!
From there it was a race to get gold home, with Hai Peng’s blazing speed impeded by the Jail UT which had removed her crew and therefore the captain and helmsman speed bonuses. HMS Dauntless returned to the southwest via whirlpool to explore, but found TWO Aztec Medallions! One of them eliminated the other coins from the island, though I should have flipped the Jailhouse Dog to reverse that.
HMS Dauntless came through a whirlpool again, with Mercer sacrificing Mullroy to sink the Hai Peng! However, the Pirates had won 11-10!
I also played some PotC music on violin that day to celebrate the anniversary, and saw the movie in theater at night to cap the grand day of piracy! 😀
Although I’ll only be playing VASSAL Campaign Game 4 on the Fourth of July, I was able to get a “finishable” game in over the holiday weekend. One of my friends happened to play the game as a kid, and another learned how to play today in their first game. We played a 3 player, 40 point game at Moon Dragon Games in their Egyptian Room – a cool and unique nook of a game store if you ever find yourself a bit north of Seattle.
We kept it simple with no named crew, terrain, forts or UT’s. Flat earth rules with only 3 wild islands and 5 coins per island. Here are the fleets in turn order:
L’Amazone + captain, explorer
La Mezquita + helmsman, explorer
The Cursed Pirate
Executioner + captain
Lady Newport + helmsman
USS Sea Tiger
Constitution + helmsman
Hannah, towing Minuteman flotilla
Hannah is quite a strange ship, being quite fast for a “cheerleader” and one of the most expensive two masters in the game. For a while I’d been wanting to pair her ability with a flotilla, combining the extra firepower with the fast towing speed. An undercrewed Constitution was a good way to fill out the points while paying tribute to the Revolutionary War, especially given that July 2nd is the date of “The Resolution for Independence”.
We were ready to set sail!
2 rounds in: The Amazone, USS Sea Tiger and Executioner all headed north for treasure. Morgawr submerged and escorted La Mezquita southwards, though they were shadowed by the Lady Newport. Both American ships dock at a wild island, to explore next turn.
The Frenchman and Pirate explored, with the Americans breaking for home. However, they were cautious to stay out of Morgawr’s ram range, not wanting to get pinned with gold aboard a few yards from home. Minuteman took a few 4L+L potshots at Mezquita but missed.
Amazone returned home with 2 coins, while Executioner and Sea Tiger headed back with their loot. The Americans docked home their 5 coins between the 2 ships, with Minuteman blasting masts off La Mezquita. The early stages of this game saw quite a few ships changing headings often – more than I usually see.
The Frenchman and Pirate strike a deal to team up against the Americans, but there is a clause where the Pirates can’t take the last coins from the north. Negotiations quickly run awry, with the Spanish miffed that the Executioner sailed into her path home for repairs. The Americans are feasting on Minuteman’s Extended Range, blasting off half the Executioner’s masts. The latter is probably the only ship in play that can realistically make a run at American firepower by her lonesome, but now she is damaged.
With Morgawr lurking and the Amazone having a captain aboard, the Americans were content to sit and wait until the northern gold (the last available coins) inevitably came southwards. Minuteman blasted a mast off L’Amazone and sank La Mezquita. The Lady Newport explored in the north, with the French trying to revise the deal so they could still team up against the Americans as the Pirate brought gold home.
However, as PDXYAR always said, “gold wins the game”. Lady Newport and Executioner loaded up, and it was time for some late-game havoc. The Americans surged east, with Minuteman hitting 3/3 to sink the Sea Tiger. Constitution departed the home island as well, with her crew confident in their abilities to defeat Morgawr.
L’Amazone repairs as carnage erupts in the center. Morgawr sets Constitution alight with its fire breathing attack, but the American crew are in full hero mode, putting it out on the ship’s very next action (the white 6). Hannah rams Lady Newport and steals her 3 coin, though the Minuteman fails to dismast the schooner even with Hannah’s cheerleading bonus, meaning Hannah is still pinned.
The Amazone sails out and is able to get some shots off, hitting the Constitution once. However, American guns are winning the multi-player battle, with Constitution pouring in a heavy fire against Morgawr. Serpent guts are blown everywhere as shots ring out at a rapid pace. Hannah gets lucky and dismasts the Lady Newport with a 4S shot, while Minuteman makes the Executioner derelict.
L’Amazone captured the Executioner, with the latter transferring her coins to the Frenchman with an explore action. However, Minuteman sent the Amazone to the depths and Constitution killed the beast Morgawr to end the game!
Americans: 11 gold
Cursed Pirate: 10
A close-fought and action-packed intro game! After last year’s strong showing by the English, the Americans are back on top in what has become nearly an annual summer tradition. Perhaps next year will see the return of the Anglo-American rivalry of old!
Shane’s in-game crew, Thane Hartless from Mysterious Islands (#302, a Limited Edition Mercenary reroller)
Very excited to have Shane Hartley on the podcast! He was the Art Director and one of the graphic designers for Wizkids Pirates CSG throughout the production run, one of the core members of the team. He also made it into the game – you probably already knew him as Thane Hartless from Mysterious Islands!
My friend and I played a relatively basic 2 player 80 point game yesterday, 5/7/2023. It was a tight game with some fun moments.
I rolled to go first with the following fleet. Empty Sky was a recent acquisition from my adventures in Tampa. She was on my short list of ships to try out, with this being the first time I’ve used her. As always, the game pieces can be found in the Master Spreadsheet.
Empty Sky + Commander Albert Crenshaw, Gus Schultz (RotF version), captain, helmsman
Black Pearl (SR version) + Wesley, captain
Soul Crusher + helmsman, explorer
Fancy + captain
I wanted to include non-Pirate crew to use the ES’s ability, specifically crew whose abilities don’t show up in the Pirate ranks. Thus, extending all the S-range cannons to L range, and using one of the cheap Eternal crew to keep an American privateer theme. I also thought about Commander Temple but realized I’ve used him and other ship stealers a bunch in recent years. Wesley was also included solely because I’ve never used him. Soul Crusher and Fancy were a convenient pair of ships to grab to fill out points and add some gold running capacity.
My friend has a small Franco-Spanish collection, and I let them borrow a few named crew:
El Toro + The Mask, helmsman
La Catedral del Mar + captain, helmsman, oarsman
La Cazadora + captain, helmsman
Pescados de Plata + Dominic Freda (RotF common version), helmsman
Le Mercure + explorer
Both fleets happened to have S-boarding crew, but the weirder oddity was that 4 of the 9 total ships used had the Fear keyword! Perhaps not the scariest fleets, but with some unique stuff out on the ocean. 🙂
Round earth, 3 terrain per player, 4 random coins on each island (no UT’s), crew face up since I made both fleets and didn’t want that informational advantage.
Soul Crusher and Fancy headed for different islands, with Black Pearl and Empty Sky escorting them. Pescados and Mercure drain the eastern island, while possible confrontations await near two of the other islands.
A round and a half later, and Wesley uses the Black Pearl to engage the giant crab! The Pirates won the S-boarding party 10-9 (!), but I mistakenly retconned it due to not reading the whole Pirate Code entry (no boarding). Shooting well, BP blows off 3 of 4 arms. Soul Crusher lost a mast to the reef in her desperation to reach home with 9 gold on my second turn, and here braves the reef again (this time taking no damage) to snag the last two coins from the contested island. More Spaniards are approaching….
El Toro rams a mast off the Black Pearl! La Cazadora advances to within range of Soul Crusher but out of the BP’s current range, shooting 2/2 to dismast the turbine.
Black Pearl rolled for Fear, getting a 5 to disable abilities on the Cazadora. She then killed El Toro and damaged the Cazadora. Soul Crusher then rolled for Fear, getting a 6 to slow the Cazadora on her next turn! I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen both effects of Fear apply against a single ship in the same turn of a regular game. It may have happened in one of my campaign games, but definitely a rare occurrence. It actually helped my plans too, as I had originally considered taking the Soul Crusher back over the reef to get home, even with no masts.
However, as much as I liked the thought of my first-ever Turbine shipwreck, a slowed and captainless Cazadora would not be in range of anything if SC just moved southeast with her L+S total movement (Turbine keyword preventing dereliction, so she was capable of full movement).
During this major scuffle, the gold runners had been making trips to and fro. Pescados, Mercure, Fancy and Empty Sky all dropped off coins. Empty Sky temporarily dropped Crenshaw and captain in order to do so, but at the top of this next picture you can see she’s gone back to the island to pick them up again. Soul Crusher got home with her gold as well, having survived both the reef and a Spanish pest.
The Catedral has engaged the Pearl, shooting 2/3 before losing 2 of her own masts in the counterattack from a shot and ram! Wesley uses S-Board against the Catedral but is slayed by the Spanish inquisition sailors for his efforts! With the other 3 islands empty, it looks like the SW island will be the final fight of the game.
Fancy sped east but missed her L+L range sniping potshot against the Pescados. Empty Sky returned home as Soul Crusher repaired. The Spanish closed in on the final coins, with three ships converging on the SW island. La Cazadora was one of them, but her job was to finish off the Pearl, which she effectively did with a ram, winning the boarding party to eliminate the BP’s captain.
The Spanish have been weakened, but most of their ships can outrun the relatively slow Pirate fleet.
Indeed they did, with the Pescados carrying home the final coin via round earth to avoid the approaching Empty Sky and Fancy. As you can see from the coins, the scores made for a tight game!