Thoughts on teaching new players

Thoughts on teaching new players

This post got me thinking about teaching new players and getting people interested in the game.  So far I’m happy to say that I’ve taught 17 different people how to play Pirates since 2015.  However, of those, I don’t think any of them have played Pirates without me, and I don’t think any of them have bought the game in any form.  The latter is partly due to my giving away some duplicates or sealed packs to new players to get them started and hopefully have them excited/more invested once they have their own stuff.

I seem to be successful at the initial stage of the process, where they do seem interested and would like to learn the game.  They also seem to like the game.  However, most of them don’t LOVE the game to the point where they’d sign up at Miniature Trading, or buy their own stuff for example.  New players tend to trail off, partly because they’re busy and don’t want to learn what they see as a very complicated board game.  I understand and respect that.

One of the things I’d like to work on for the future when trying to find potential new players is targeting.  Not everyone will be into the game.  Older folks have issues trying to build the ships, and tend to either give up quickly or say the game is too complicated for them to learn.  Younger people have more exciting things to do and may be busy with too many other activities to devote their time to an out of print game.

In terms of “targeting”, there are certain demographics or types of people I have in mind.  There is a serious trend of young people getting back into the game long after its discontinuation.  Some of the most passionate members of the online community are in the same boat (or ship!) as me – in their 20’s, male, got into the game as a kid, and now back into it after a “hiatus” of a certain number of years.  From the survey results, those same people now have more spending money as they get older, meaning they might be in a buying mode as they come back to the game.  (especially if they sold/lost/got rid of their old collections).  It’s also a demo that could include potential new players who haven’t heard of the game before.

Eventually I hope to do some actual advertising for this game, though it may still be a long way off.  However, I do feel good knowing at least one very specific target demographic to promote to.

If you have experience teaching new players or trying to get people into the game, feel free to comment below.


Deal of the Day: Pirates of the Revolution.

eBay has been a bit dry again lately, so here’s a plethora of options to pick from that match the set from the Card of the Day!

**Disclaimer: I will be using affiliate links with things like this, so if someone buys from it, I could make a few cents.  XD


Pirates CSG Card of the Day

Set number: 3 – Revolution (RV)

Collector’s Number: 073 – Saratoga

Faction Affiliation: America
Rarity: U
Type: Ship
Point Value: 14
Cargo Space: 4
Base Move: S+L
Cannons: 2S-2S-3S-4S
Number of Masts: 4

Schooner. This ship gets +1 to her boarding rolls.

Flavor: Captain Oswald “recruited” his crew from the Baltimore jailhouse and gave them one law: When you hit the deck of the enemy ship, the survivor goes home a free man.

Here is a classic American schooner, the likes of which we saw many of in the first few sets the Americans were introduced in.  The Saratoga is a good ship without many weaknesses.  Not many 4 masters have base speeds of S+L, and she boasts decent cargo, solid firepower, and a reasonably fitting ability to boot.

How you set up the Saratoga depends on your play style.  I’d recommend focusing on either a gunship or hybrid role.  This ship is a “natural” hybrid in my opinion, since a basic setup of captain+helmsman leaves her with 2 cargo spaces and the attributes (speed, good at boarding) necessary to be a hybrid.

The raider hybrid role suits this ship well.  She has the max speed (S+L+S with a helmsman) to catch some enemy gold runners, and a great chance of winning board parties against smaller treasure ships.  With the boarding bonus, you’re essentially starting off with a boarding score of 5, a considerable advantage against some of the best gold runners in the game that have 1 or 2 masts.  Throw in the Schooner keyword, which makes boarding easier since you can maneuver at the end of the move action.

Most games: Captain + helmsman, optional oarsman.  2 cargo spaces open for gold, whether it’s taken from wild islands or enemy ships.  (19/20 total points)

Sure you could load up the Saratoga, but I don’t see a lot of reason in doing that.  The Americans have a plethora of better gunships that can utilize their limited selection of named crew much more effectively, and besides that, any crew added will decrease the cargo available and take away from the Saratoga’s main strength, which in my opinion is being a fast hybrid.  If you really want to add named crew, this version of Montana Mays would be good for a boarding-based strategy, and after him you could load up some generics such as a firepot specialist to use with the 2S cannons.

Game Piece Rating: 7.5/10.  The Saratoga is a good ship in her class, with speed being her best asset.  However, she has no L-range guns, her cargo is filled up quickly, and she feels a little too pricey with a mediocre ability.  The Americans also have far better ships for specific roles, as the Franklin and Hudson are both much better gunships, while the Providence is a better hybrid for 2 LESS points.  A fine ship, but not necessarily an American player’s best option.

I found the Saratoga on eBay.  There are two other versions of the ship from other sets, and all three are actually quite playable.  This RV version is probably the best, but they’re all solid gunships.

Check out the Saratoga in action – the few times I’ve used her, she’s done well.  That island was made by Ross in AZ if you’d like your own.

The Saratoga in action setting a Pirate ship alight!


Picture of the Day

I love so many of the pictures from my Economy Edition game.  It was the most aesthetic game I played at that point in time, and although it has been surpassed by Command the Oceans and arguably the Experimental cumulative game, it’s still great to look at.  This shot is looking north-northwest from above the Cursed position in the south.

3 years ago today!


It’s a Pirates’ Life for Me.


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