These battle reports concern the following:
Fleet Challenge: Sink The Battleship
4 competitors would face the Spanish Main version of El Acorazado in this setup to determine the winner of the Sink the Battleship fleet challenge!
First up: The Dread… (Xerecs)
The Acorazado maneuvered to get the first shot, and took out three masts.
The Dreadnought returned fire twice with all cannons but missed a few times! This left the Acorazado with two masts, which was enough to sink the Dreadnought with an SAT. The Patagonia was also eliminated, and Xerecs was out of the challenge!
Next up: Allies in Fire (Volt)
The Acorazado maneuvered, staying close to her home island and waiting for a chance to strike.
She struck the Victor, since I believed the Victor’s Exploding Shot to be the most dangerous weapon that I could not cancel or deal with. The Fortune had to come within S to shoot firepots, and so the Victor was sunk.
Volt’s fleet struck hard afterwards, and there was simply too much to cancel. I decided to cancel the Fortune’s captain if she came within S range, but in the meantime the Glorious Treasure and Maryland eliminated masts. The Battleship was soon ablaze!
The Acorazado didn’t get Castro’s SAT, so she had to stand and fight. Dismasting the Glorious Treasure and Coeur was the best I could do.
The smaller ships closed in and dismasted the Acorazado! Volt’s fleet has beaten the ship in 4 turns!
The third challenger: Gonna Sink You!
With no extra action or canceller capabilities, it was difficult for the smaller ships to get the first shot. The Acorazado struck with a double action, and purposely shot a mast off each of the two masters, meaning that their guns would be completely useless for the rest of the battle.
The ships had no choice but to ram. All 4 rams failed, and the Acorazado quickly destroyed the fleet and claimed a second victory in three games!
The final test for the Acorazado: Cheeseland VS The Battleship
The Swallow made sure to stay out of the Acorazado’s range.
The Acorazado simply sailed away from the Swallow, looking to frustrate the English and leave her vulnerable. The Swallow took the bait, but not only because Griffin and Lawrence were frustrated – they knew that Thomas Gunn’s fleet had already beaten the Acorazado in 4 turns, and time was running out. They had to make a move in order to make El Cazador victorious. Sailing up to the Acorazado on the third turn, they loosed a Broadsides Attack and missed with a 1!
The Acorazado only hit 3 times after failing to get the SAT from Castro. This opened the door for the English, who could tie Volt’s fleet if they sank the Battleship this turn. Turn 4 proved to be the climactic (or anticlimactic) one: the Swallow hit with her first broadside (a 4), but missed with her second on a 3!
Turn 5 wasn’t necessary, but the Acorazado finished off the Swallow just to prove a point. Not only did the Acorazado win 3 out of the 4 games with a considerable point disadvantage, she had also sunk or dismasted 3/5 of Volt’s fleet in her only loss!
@El Cazador: I forgot to copy and paste the chat transcript for the final game before I closed VASSAL. What’s funny is that I forgot about the Swallow’s strategy at first: before undoing the turn, I had the Swallow sail up and broadside the Acorazado on the very first turn (with her second action, after the Acorazado had gone first). However, that BA roll was a hilarious 1. Looks like the Swallow needs some more gunnery practice!
Volt has sank The Battleship and won the Fleet Challenge!! Congratulations! Now it’s up to you to determine the next challenge. Thanks again to all who entered.
The Acorazado faced another English fleet (created by El Cazador) in a deathmatch. This one tried to utilize the Gargantuan’s reverse captain ability, L-range guns, and double cannon bonus (via TGunn the Elder and Griffin) when combined with Mycron on the Patagonia. The Victor served as support with more L-range firepower.
The Acorazado decided to chance an early attack, and hit 2/2 against the Victor.
This is meant to be a comprehensive post of all the information and data I have saved from Miniature Trading. All card info (stats, abilities, etc) can be found in the Master Spreadsheet. You can still view Miniature Trading via the Internet Archive. Example: Pirates CSG Forum. You can navigate to many old threads and even some fleets and miniature reviews, but many URLs were never archived.
I pulled pictures from the Miniature Trading database with httrack in 2018. The first two links are folders of the biggest versions of the pictures, sorted into one folder per set. Hardly any of these pictures were taken by me. Google Drive just shows my name as the default creator. If there are any game pieces missing pictures that had been at MT, httrack didn’t pull them.
ALL Miniature Trading database pictures files pulled from httrack
-Here is a folder you can download to have all the pictures. It includes all the file sizes that the httrack download yanked from the site. “big” are the folders with the full size pictures. Feel free to make your own copy.
Before I figured out how to use httrack to pull only picture files, I made sure to get full page screen captures of all the Pirates sets from the MT database. So for full redundancy I have that too. Enables us to see pictures as if we are still on MT after the site is gone.
I couldn’t find an easy way to put the miniature pictures into the Master Spreadsheet without a) making every miniature entry massive due to the picture resizing the columns and rows (making it hard to see more than 1 or 2 pieces at a time) and b) doing in a timely fashion that wouldn’t require me to upload all 1,000+ miniatures into the spreadsheet individually (this is probably more doable but arguably pointless due to a; people can easily make their own personalized versions of the Master Spreadsheet if they want).
Google Drive folder with saved MT Forum pages/threads/etc.
-You can change this to List View and sort alphabetically to find things easier.
-I also re-posted them under the Miniature Trading Forum Threads category.
Here is a .zip folder of a large httrack download of Miniature Trading. It is about 1.3 GB in size and contains a TON of stuff. For all I know there may be enough in there to recreate parts of MT somehow. No idea how to use it or what to do with it, but I got around to making a .zip copy so I could share it with everyone.
For maximum redundancy here are links to Imgur folders where I have saved some of the above as well.
Pirates CSG Podcast #44: News, Current Market, Favorite Strategy, Customs and More! (with Xerecs)
You can listen to the audio via ShoutEngine!
Questions of the Day
A7XfanBen: What is your favorite memory of Miniature Trading?
Xerecs: To players and collectors of the game, would you ever consider making custom game pieces, and make a model for them, using either pieces of existing ships, or use other materials to bring you creations off the paper?
Century of Economy (CoEC) 2019: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLY5ESzOKns5gkP98K49iP–589KmYKaNf
Bizarre Bottleneck Game: https://pirateswithben.com/bizarre-game-with-4-fleets-at-50-points-june-21st-2019/
4 Fleets at 100 Points: https://pirateswithben.com/4-fleet-100-point-game-june-14th-2019/
Legend of the Giant Turtle: https://pirateswithben.com/legend-of-the-giant-turtle/
Pirates of Spherus Magna: https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/176124/pirates-spherus-magna
Wayback Machine: https://archive.org/web/
Game Essentials: When playing, try to have the Pirates documents available for reference. Find them all on the bottom of my homepage: https://pirateswithben.com/
Vendari’s Action Phase Variant: https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/62118/pirates-action-phase-variant
Somali Cruises: http://www.somalicruises.com/
Find all the game pieces in the Master Spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/18Z-x-z9gaWiKFLk-kw1weamc0A1-NxMN3xLjWWKsUmA/edit?usp=sharing
Take the podcast survey! https://goo.gl/forms/CsnwVmi3qhtqik323
Feel free to rate and review the podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/pirates-csg-podcast/id1258016060
Pirates packs on eBay: https://ebay.us/S14uSE
Sign the Petition! https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/bring-back-pirates-of-the-cursed-seas
Join the Forum at Pirates with Ben! https://pirateswithben.com/forums/forum/pirates-csg/
The following should eventually be updated from ShoutEngine so they will be available when they get the podcast.
Thanks for listening to Pirates CSG Podcast #44!
Universal Pirate Shipping – The Best Fleet Strategy EVER
From a discussion on Miniature Trading in September 2016
You may have heard me mention the “UPS” (Universal Pirate Shipping) fleets before, created by darrin. I am still somewhat puzzled by the lack of discussion, commenting, and voting not just on these fleets, but on the strategy of it all.
Perhaps it’s due to confusion surrounding Captain Jack Sparrow? I didn’t understand the entire “UPS” strategy at first, and I still think that CJS is the most confusing crew in the game. Is it just too cheesy?
Part of what makes me puzzled is just how amazing the strategy is for gameplay. I would argue that it is on par with about anything in terms of pure effectiveness, especially when done correctly. Combined the UPS fleets have a general record of 11-3 in my games, and have completely destroyed other competitive fleets.
Here are the fleets for reference, along with their current records from my games. The records may not look as impressive as you’d expect, but they are the result of playing against similarly hyper-competitive fleets.
UPS 2 (15-5)
UPS 4 (4-2)
And another variant:
Darrin’s Gold Race fleet (7-5)
My UPS 5 fleet has advanced to the finals of Tournament 1. It will also participate in T2, a tournament that will also see fleets like UPS 2, UPS 4, and Hai Peng Fort Frenzy (HPFF) compete. If I had to bet on a fleet to win T2 and therefore be crowned the best existing fleet of all-time, I would pick a UPS fleet. Of course, many games will have to be played to get to that point. But still, Universal Pirate Shipping is simply one of the most effective strategies for winning games, and seems grossly underrepresented and underrated (and possibly misunderstood) by the Pirates community.
UPS 2 won VASSAL Tournament #2, beating another fleet using Captain Jack Sparrow in the Finals. Further proving that this is the best fleet strategy in Pirates CSG history, and the most-proven way to win games.
The following is the discussion that took place at Miniature Trading in September 2016.
I think the lack of discussion around the crew isn’t because he’s confusing, it’s because he has one of the most poorly-though-out abilities in the entire game and is ridiculously easy to abuse.
It’s not even clear what that ability is supposed to represent thematically. Maybe it does reference some specific event in one of the movies, but whatever it was, it definitely doesn’t account for how the ability can be used repeatedly to send treasure after treasure home.
There’s no question that a fleet set up to (ab)use his ability will be effective, it’s more a matter of whether your opponent will be able to keep up with it without resorting to something similarly broken and/or without using a fleet specifically designed to counter this.
Good points. However, he isn’t banned (even if he should be, or if the ability should have never been invented in the first place), so his fleets are still (in my opinion) the favorite to win Tournament 2 and be crowned the best fleet of all-time. I suppose there can be a “best non-UPS fleet”, but he’s not the only thing in the game that is easy to abuse. Things like the Banshee’s Cry, sac captains, cheap extra actions, events, and even cancellers have been around longer than CJS’s ability, and are also extremely easy to abuse and are either undercosted or flat-out broken.
However, fleets using any of those things often get considerably higher attention and recognition than fleets using CJS’s ability. That’s what I don’t like – sure it’s cheap, but so are other things in this game that are consistently more popular or even “accepted”.
Most of the others have been “accepted” because they’re easier to use, are much more common, or have a wider range of uses.
Extra actions of any variety are everywhere in the game, and are useful no matter what you’re doing with your ship. Because they’re so cheap and/or easy to use, no one ever has to go out of their way to use them.
Ships like Banshee’s Cry are undercosted for what they do, but even though that’s the “best” one out there, there are a lot of other cheap ships that are close enough to it that banning it wouldn’t solve the problem it represents, it would just shift it to the next ship in line – whether that’s Le Bon Marin, La Monarca or any number of others is open to debate, but like extra actions, they’re “accepted” because they’re widely available to pretty much everyone. Not every nation has one, but others have several so unless you lock in to a single-nation fleet, they’re easy to find.
Cancelers could probably could cost a point or two more, but for better or for worse, they’re game-breakers by design. They make players put a little more thought into what they do beyond just “sail up and shoot the other ship”. Like the other things that are on the borderline of being broken, they’ve become relatively common too, with most nations having at least one or two. Also, a key difference with cancelers is that they can’t win games on their own, because they don’t collect treasure or sink ships – they just make it easier for your other ships and crew to do it (or they make it more difficult for your opponent).
Jack is the weird one because there is nothing else quite like him anywhere else in the game, and because he does directly contribute toward winning (technically the target ship has to unload the treasure, but he’s the reason it’s there in the first place). He’s also not easy to counter with things that are widely available. Negative UTs can hurt him the most, but when you add them to the pool you’re accepting the fact that you might have to deal with them too. Taking out his transfer ship is another possibility, but depending on the board layout that may not be an option until he’s already been used a few times, or even at all.
He doesn’t need to be banned, but that combination of having an effect that’s somewhat overpowered, being kind of weird and confusing about what’s happening, and being one-of-a-kind really limits the discussion about him. A lot of players simply aren’t familiar enough with him, and most that are don’t use him other than to prove the point that he’s overpowered.
It seems that this is arguably one of the biggest mistakes the designers made – putting that ability on a crew. No UPS fleet uses the Rising Sun or Sol, because of their speed and CJS’s ridiculously perfect matching with the Hai Peng. The ability makes mediocre ships better, but giving it to a crew for essentially just 3 points was what led to the abuse in the first place. (That said, I suppose you could make the Rising Sun or Sol rather nasty if you had Hidden Cove and either a sac crew or Mycron.)
As a side note, I forget when (as in which set) you started working with Wizkids? During playtesting for the PotC set, did CJS and/or the combo with the Hai Peng ever come up as a concept or potential problem?
I would say that his effect is very overpowered, although at first glance you wouldn’t necessarily jump to conclusions like the UPS strategy.
That last part is part of why I made this thread – no matter how unique, confusing, or cheesy, I think everyone needs to be quite educated on what is arguably the single “best” game piece there is (with the Banshee’s Cry and generic captain/helmsman also in the discussion I suppose).
This discussion also makes me question my knowledge of PotC – if there is a connection, who will be the one to discover it here?
There was some very limited playtesting as far back as SCS, but with most of them the sets were pretty much fully designed by the time I saw anything and whatever input was provided didn’t amount to much.
I didn’t really get involved directly with the designers until RotF, but even then it was mostly just for rules consulting and going over the spreadsheets to see if there was anything obviously broken.
PotC kinda slipped through just beforehand, and I didn’t see anything significant from the set until it was published. I assume there was some internal playtesting, but considering how quickly some of the sets were being cranked out and especially how rushed the PotC set seemed, it wasn’t nearly as much as what was needed.
What are your thoughts?
I welcome all criticisms, questions, etc. What do you think of the Universal Pirate Shipping fleet strategy? Have you played a UPS fleet, or played against one? Do you plan on it? Feel free to nominate fleets that you think could beat a UPS fleet as well. Finally, try to vote or comment on some of the above fleets – as my battle reports have shown, this is one of the most viable competitive strategies in this game, and it doesn’t seem to get enough attention. Thanks!
Originally posted to Miniature Trading on October 9th, 2016
Greatest Rivalries between Factions
As the title says, what are the factions that fight each other the most in your games? Which rivalry has the bloodiest history? Story time!
For me, it has to be Spanish vs. Pirates. For some reason, they almost always seem to be at odds with each other. It’s not on purpose at all, and never has been. I’ve had plenty of the classic English/French wars and plenty of different wars between all the factions, but the Spanish/Pirate rivalry is so consistent, legendary, and brutal that it has to take the cake.
Warning: spoilers ahead!
My “Guide to huge games” thread has links to all the different huge games (1,000+ points total) I’ve played in the past, which I will reference here. The Spanish and the Pirates have been at it since the very beginning. My first two packs contained two Spanish ships and two Pirate ships! My first cumulative game from 2011 was most memorable for the war between these two great factions. The Pirates hated the Spanish so much in that game it was unbelievable. They attacked in full force and effectively forced the Spanish out of the game, although it was partly due to other factions getting involved as well. The Pirates went on to repair their battle fleet and win the game, though the Spanish were the early favorites.
Then came the first 5 player 500 point game. The end of the game was controversial: Davy Jones’ Divine Dragon managed to sink two Spanish galleons right before they docked home gold, giving the Pirates a 48-45 victory! This further fueled the Spanish/Pirate rivalry, with the Cursed acting as a temporary sideshow.
Those games happened in 2011, and although I’m sure there were plenty of smaller games featuring battles between the Pirates and Spanish in the meantime, there was a bit of a “cool down” period. That is, until 2013’s Century of the Empires (CotE) game. That setup had the Americans in between the Spanish and Pirates, which would seem to act as a buffer. However, once the final battles began, the Pirates and the Spanish went at it again, utterly destroying the Americans in the crossfire! The Spanish eliminated the Pirates from CotE, exacting some measure of revenge…
Until the legendary Economy Edition game! After forming an alliance with the Franco-Spanish, the Pirates then proceeded to break their promise in the biggest betrayal in Pirates CSG history. That, coupled with non-allied attacks by the Americans and Cursed, wiped the FS from the game at the hands of the Pirates. This was the ultimate disrespect for the Spanish, and they were sick and tired of being on the losing end of things.
VASSAL Campaign Game 1 changed all that. The Spanish Empire flourished, and the Pirates weren’t ready. The Spanish swept down upon the Pirates at their fort, winning the Battle of the Devil’s Maw and later the battle at the Pirates’ home island. It took a long time, but the Spanish finally eliminated the Pirates and went on to win the game. It was a well-deserved victory for the Spanish, and between the records they set along the way (biggest fleet, etc) and the dominant fashion in which they won (with the exception of the late-game English battle fleet), the Spanish are relatively satisfied with the rivalry for now.
Looking ahead to more epic conflicts, the future is murky. The Spanish aren’t participating in CG2, so the Pirates don’t have to worry about them there. The World game is due to begin at some point, but the home territories of Spain and Singapore promise to keep the factions apart for at least a little longer. Of course, it’s only a matter of time before they clash again.
Even in my latest game they were at it again!
January 2019 update:
Crazy enough, the Pirates and Spanish have home islands near each other in BOTH The Hourly Campaign AND VASSAL Campaign Game 4! I don’t want to speak too soon, but it’s hard to imagine them NOT clashing in at least one of those games, especially given the history between the two factions. In fact, there’s already some tension between them in THC….
There hasn’t been a rivalry like that in any of my campaign games, yet. There have been game to game animosity and hatred, such as Spanish and American in the first and second CoE test games.
In CoE in 15, there were two main rivalries, the Spanish and Pirates; and the Americans and Cursed. The Spanish and Pirates started the first war of the game, with the Pirates launching a small HI raiding squad that was repelled by the Spanish. The Spanish followed the Pirates home and almost eliminated them. They were forced to spare the Pirates due to Cursed activity. Later on after re-building a little, the Pirates assembled a sizable fleet and sailed en-mass on the unguarded Spanish HI. The Spanish responded by fighting their hardest and repelling the Pirate attack, effectively taking them out of the game.
The Americans were dominant in their western part of the sea, putting down the English and expanding their empire. The Cursed launched a significant battle fleet, and used Becalmed twice to get the first shots on the Americans. However the Americans fought back and eliminated most of the Cursed battle fleet, effectively taking THEM out of the game, combat wise. The Americans then fought an English battle fleet, backing the English all the way to their HI, and were eventually proclaimed as winner of the 2015 CoE.
In the Economy game, the Pirates and Cursed were not present,and the great rivalry of that game was the two fold, the Americans and French, and the French and English. Though the Spanish were present, they were not a factor until late in the game, thus taking them out of rivalry contention. The battle between the English, French and Americans dominated that game and made each faction hate the other.
The next campaign game was this year’s CoE, in which their was only one real rivalry: Cursed v. Everyone except the English. The Cursed and Americans contested the middle ocean, with the Cursed pushing the Americans back, for a time. The Pirates tried to take gold and resources from within the Cursed’s sphere of influence, for which the Cursed attacked them with almost everything they had, sinking the Pirate launched Baochuan, and destroying the Devil’s Maw fort for a time. The French sailed south around the English and Spanish and tried to forcibly take Cursed territory, which met with mixed success. The Cursed fought back, but were weakened from the ongoing conflicts with the Pirates and Americans, and Spanish to boot. This resulted in a slow decline for the Cursed, which opened the door to the renewal of the French-English rivalry.
For this Winter’s campaign game, there will be no factional divisions, it will instead be player divisions, with me against my two brothers and perhaps our friend from the Economy game. Thus it will be a rivalry of persons, like CCM’s great campaign in 2011.
Also, the examples don’t have to be from campaign games or anything – I’m aware that Xerecs and I are mostly the only ones that play them. I just remember them a lot better than all the little games I’ve played, and a larger and longer game naturally has more potential for a rivalry than an hour-long game.
As a matter of fact, I can’t really think of specific factional rivalries within smaller games over the long haul – I’ve played so much that everyone has warred with everyone multiple times throughout history!
What was your original collection?
Originally posted to Miniature Trading on June 29th, 2016
I got into this game back in 2005 (soon after CC came out I believe, but I only remember SM packs in the store), and I purchased a small amount of stuff from the first 6 sets, excluding SCS of course.
This is my original collection of 49 ships that I hold dear to my heart, and these ships are the truest veterans in my entire collection of ~800 punched ships. They’ve been involved in the first-ever Historical Fantasy Scenarios I had, as well as numerous regular games. This was all I had until 2010 or 2011.
Batavian Bat (first 2 packs)
Muerta de la Corona (first 2 packs)
El Ladron x2
Carrion Crow x2
The first and biggest ship(s) of each faction were the flagships. The battles between the two Gargantuans vs. the Enterprise and Magnifique were legendary, with the Lord Walpole and Birkenhead often giving the English a victory late in the battle. The amount of Pirate ships sometimes led to a coalition between all the other factions to take them out. The Raven and Mercure were overly fast scout ships that no other fleet could match. In the end, my love of the English usually made them prevail, but it was a fun time indeed.
Of course, your original collection may be quite different than mine, especially if you bought hundreds of ships at once to start out. It could even just be the first pack or first 5-10 packs you opened, or like me, the first batch you had for quite some time before acquiring more stuff much later on.
So, what was your original collection?
My other posts from the thread:
Imagine the gaming experience a player would get if they received an RV pack with Banshee’s Cry, Santa Isabel, and Don Pedro Gilbert! They would forever be disappointed with everything else….
If I had to pick “my” flagship, it would have to be HMS Lord Walpole. HMS Lord Algernon is technically my favorite ship, but more because I wanted it so bad back in the day. That being said, HMS Birkenhead was always right up there with the Lord Walpole, while La Magnifique or the Broken Key would be my top non-English flagship back then.
@Xerecs: Your post reminded me of something I meant to put in my first post of this thread.
The Belle Etoile was simply lost as far as I know. I believe L’Eroica was lost as well, though she may have been badly damaged during construction, after which point I may have thrown her out. The Straw Man was not so fortunate… I had a really bad day and decided to take out my wrath on what I considered my worst ship (from a gameplay, HFS, and artwork perspective). I crushed it in anger, sitting and possibly stomping on it, which I later regretted. I have since acquired another one, but I don’t think I’ve used it and I don’t think I will. With those 3 it would have been 52 ships.
Also, we have some similarities – we both got a Santo Columba, Swamp Fox, and others very early on. I’ve talked extensively about how my collection has grown in a Pojo thread. Ironically that thread was posted 5 years ago yesterday. It also confirms that I did indeed come back from my long hiatus in 2010 rather than 2011. I may have lurked here longer than I thought (perhaps more than the month that I recall), but I don’t remember much of it haha. I bought 55 ships from Strikezoneonline for $10 (+ $10 shipping) in order to get as much quantity as possible. This was literally just to have as many ships as possible for my Historical Fantasy Scenarios. That purchase is also where my 8 Mayfair’s came from.
To think I played HFS’s for almost an entire year (on and off of course) before I joined Pojo… you should have seen it. My room was completely different back then, between then and Century of the Empires (2013 – the first game I took pictures for). There was a lot of what do you call them… “natural obstructions” which made for deep harbors and interesting interactions between fleets. The only thing I specifically remember is a very low circular table that made for a sort of cave/overhang with at least one or two harbors attached to the supports beneath it. Ships would sail from these harbors in lines of battle to engage each other in epic battles on the high seas… it was only around 6 years ago, but when almost everything in your Pirates CSG career has happened since then, it becomes quite nostalgic. For a week or two now I’ve been thinking about recreating that atmosphere for another “flashback” opportunity… I don’t know how epic I can make it, but it will certainly shed light on the sheer scale of it all…