Teaching a Player and their first game!
It’s been too long since I was teaching a player how to play Pirates! I met up with my friend for her first game. I made both fleets and we would generally be using my Basic Rules that do away with ram damage and change a few other things. I gave perhaps a bit more insight into the strategic elements of the game than I usually do when teaching people how to play the game, which I think it can definitely expedite a player’s learning curve. All game pieces can be found in the Master Spreadsheet.
I rolled to go first with a Cursed Junk fleet:
Death Wind + captain, helmsman
Sea Rat + helmsman
Demon Gate + helmsman
Sailing against me were the Spanish:
El Toro + captain, helmsman
Pescados de Plata + helmsman
La Cazadora + helmsman
I wanted to keep the crew basic. We used terrain and round earth but no UT’s. 4 coins per wild island and the iceberg would move on every single player turn to avoid having it be even more irrelevant than expected.
All four wild islands were quickly explored by our various 2 masters, with the Death Wind and Demon Gate hiding in fog on the way home to avoid getting grabbed and slashed by El Toro.
Those junks got home, but soon the Sea Rat came under attack by the Spanish, with El Toro round earthing to dismast and pin her!
With the gold dwindling to just a 2 on the Sea Rat and a pair of coins on the northeastern island, I decided to have the Death Wind “sprint” for the latter while the Demon Gate would distract and block the Spanish from interfering. However, I made a large gaffe when the Death Wind went from the wild island to the fog bank without exploring to take the gold first! The Demon Gate towed the Sea Rat, but was quickly dismasted by El Toro, with the Pescados de Plata capturing the Sea Rat (the only game piece in play with the HI Raider ability…).
The titan crushes Cursed junks!
The Pescados towed the Sea Rat home through the whirlpool, with the latter losing her 2 coin to the swirling depths. However, the Spanish were mostly just wanting to use the HI Raider ability. Having already been touching the Demon Gate, El Toro captured the ship and then immediately dropped the tow, moving L+S towards the final coins in play. At this point I saw the Spanish as having the better endgame odds, with far more units available and a HI Raider against just my Death Wind. I kinda thought I might be ahead in gold, so I was starting to envision El Toro dismasting the Death Wind and triggering an endgame condition sooner rather than later (though I did brief the Spanish player on the endgame rules, and how people often trigger endgame conditions prematurely without thinking through all the repercussions and how gold is counted/etc).
My gaffe with not exploring the island at the right time became a real issue as the Cazadora came in to load the final two coins. The Death Wind combined a boarding win and her ability to steal both, but a repaired Sea Rat was potentially a bigger problem than any upcoming clash with El Toro on the trip home. Soon afterwards the Sea Rat did steal a coin from my home island, frustrating me as it put another coin in play. El Toro came over and dismasted the Death Wind, ending the game! It was certainly an interesting time to count up gold, as none of the three coins on ships would count for either player.
- Hayley’s Spanish: 20 gold
- Ben’s Cursed: 17
In the end the Sea Rat capture proved clutch for the Spanish! She took a 5 off my HI, meaning I would have won 22-20 if not for the theft. In addition, various other interesting endgame scenarios could have happened. When the Death Wind dismasted the Cazadora, she hit 2/3 with her 4L cannon missing. If that shot had hit, the Cazadora would have sunk before the 5 could be stolen, ending the game with all available gold unloaded to HI’s! Plus, if the Death Wind had somehow survived, those 4 gold could have mattered in some way (especially if she had grabbed the coins from the island instead of forgetting to do so). In the end, it was a very fun game and a great introduction, with excellent gameplay on behalf of the Spanish for someone’s first ever game of Pirates CSG. Teaching a player how to play this game pretty much made my day. Kudos and as always, more games await! 😀