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How do you play?

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Avatar for anchorarms

Joined: 22 Jul 2017
Posts: 10

Subject: How do you play?   PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:17 pm Reply with quote

Pirates CSG has no game board, instead relying on any table or large flat surface the players have. Because of this, environmental factors can change the gameplay or cause set up issues. Are there any special methods or set up styles you use to work around the games delicacy or ways to negate environmental issues?

For example:

I have all my ships punched and stored in boxes for easy access, and all my deckpates neatly stored as well.

Home islands are always on the edge of the map.

Instead of punching out crew for use, I keep them with their card and place it on top of the deckplate of the ship the crew will be used on and then slide it down enough to see the ships ability, and then i put other crew on top of that crews card enough to see the ability. This makes it easier to store crew cards and see their abilities in game more.

I also do not remove masts, unless for firepots, from any ship. Instead we write out the masts of our ship on paper and cross out the masts that were eliminated.

We also typically play faction specific fleets but thats just personal preference.
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Avatar for xerecs

Joined: 22 May 2014
Posts: 1917

Subject:    PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:36 pm Reply with quote

I play on a table, usually including a leaf for campaigns to make the ocean bigger. I once played a campaign on the floor of a huge room in my house, and the map was a rough rectangular shape that was about 20x20 feet I think. However, I've only done tat once, and I'm not going to do it again, for obvious reasons. Now that I use table(s) to play campaigns, I typically put a blue sheet or towel down on the table to make a blue 'ocean' for the ships to sail on.

As for gameplay itself, crew are punched out to cut down on loose floating cards, by now I've memorized or know each ability well enough to not their card in front of me. After a game, we do our best to return crew to their cards. I only apply this to named crew, generics are punched out and kept in a little box.

I remove masts when ships take damage, I find the process of writing out on a card the masts for each ship to be time-consuming and un-neccessary, and another thing I have to think about as opposed to my strategy for the game.

I usually don't have home islands on the edge of a map, mainly because of this or other pieces like that.

Like you, I punch my ships and have them in a box, and deckplates are stored in card protectors in a three ring binder.
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Avatar for xeriousone

Joined: 13 May 2011
Posts: 582

Subject:    PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:34 pm Reply with quote

I have many built ships, forts, etc.. stored for the time being in a couple of envelope boxes (roughly the size of a business letter on the top and the size of a standard envelope deep)
We play on whatever table is convenient (if you don't have a convenient single table then 4' x 8' boards make a great ocean size placed on top of a couple of level surfaces)
We don't remove sails and don't punch crew cards ship deckplates go at the top with any relevant crew in a row underneath. We mark all damage by placing a mini dice for each sail, in the same format as they sit on the ship, in front of the deckplate if a sail is on fire we mark it with the a fire under the dice.
Islands are placed by random toss (including a random flip beforehand to determine side up and a spin in the placement toss). Home islands are based on picking the closest island to your current seated position. We pick 5 islands per player (random reach in a blind bag choice)
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Avatar for a7xfanben

Joined: 27 Jun 2011
Posts: 4872

Subject: Re: How do you play?   PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:48 pm Reply with quote

I love how you aren't limited to a map or board, I think it's one of the coolest aspects of the game. I did have some environmental issues before I started taking pictures, when my room was less organized and I had a low table that provided some interesting space constraints where ships could partially sail underneath a bit. I miss that old setup in my room a tiny bit, but most of my games nowadays are played on VASSAL or on a table with a blue fabric for the ocean. (I got 5 different types of ocean fabrics at Joann's for about $17, and it was one of the best purchases I've made for this game)

I have all my copies of ships punched and stored in boxes, with the exception of recent acquisitions that I don't usually build until I play them. Duplicates are kept unpunched in separate areas for trading, giving, selling, or maybe even making customs or doing something else with them. I like having my deckplates in binders with 9 pocket pages so I can flip through a faction at a time and find a ship easily.

I think there's a lot of value in changing up your games, so I don't always have home islands close to the edges. That might be the case for flat earth campaign games, but otherwise it can be fun to have HI's close together or chosen in reverse turn order like I enjoy doing, in which case they could be any of the islands in play.

I punch all my crew because I don't like having the cards around for playing when there is enough other things to set up. However, I do admit that having a 100% punched crew collection can be annoying when I spend time looking through the bags (all kept in a large PotC tin) to find a single crew I need. I like having the crew chips on the deckplates of the ships during play. Like Xerecs I've played a ton so I don't usually need the ability text handy. Speaking of which though, I do like to have a copy of the Master Keyword List and Pirate Code (and my Basic Rules/the Complete Game rules) handy so I can reference them if needed.

No offense to anybody of course, but I just find the whole "not ever removing the masts" thing overrated. I understand trying to preserve the ships as much as possible, but when you can get deals for less than $.50/ship and it's just plastic that you can even repair or glue if needed, I find it very satisfying to remove them as they're meant to be and show the damage. For a hardcore player like me, I would hate to not see the masts falling overboard (carnage!) and be able to actually repair the ship when it needs it. Almost like real life as usual - ships were absolutely pulverized and sometimes unseaworthy by the end of major fleet engagements, so to fight battles and not see debris and masts everywhere is just too unrealistic for me. Besides, I do battle reports with pictures for pretty much every game I play at this point, and I would consider the aesthetics of the game VERY compromised if the masts were all in place during the whole game. I just love the naval warfare aspect of the game, and with plenty of ships, plenty of duplicates, and enough passion for the game to spend money on replacements if it ever got to that point, I'm not afraid to take masts out of almost any ship. One thing I try to avoid is taking out a mast that has already broken and has a good tape job, since I don't want to rebreak it or have to tape it up again (often the ones that break off near the base where the die picture is). I think experience plays a role here too - I broke more ships when I was younger and when I hadn't built as many ships. I almost never break masts when removing or replacing them nowadays; ironically when I break things now, it's usually because of overconfidence from how many ships I've built and battles I've fought and repaired from. XD (you should have seen my Historical Fantasy Scenarios from back in the day - some battles had hundreds of masts taken out and replaced in a single day, let alone multiple times throughout the scenario! Wish I had pictures, but this gives a decent example of what an average battle back then would look like.)

I prefer when people play faction specific, but newer players usually have to mix and match to find a suitable combination of ships and crew at the given point level. With a large collection I'm just used to playing single faction for thematic and historical reasons. The biggest exception for me would be competitive tournament-style fleets and permanent alliances for campaign games.

xeriousone wrote:
Islands are placed by random toss (including a random flip beforehand to determine side up and a spin in the placement toss). Home islands are based on picking the closest island to your current seated position. We pick 5 islands per player (random reach in a blind bag choice)

I like the random toss idea, but I haven't found it effective yet. The few times I tried it, it didn't result in a fair distribution, and it gets weird with islands landing on top of each other or rolling off the table. Laughing Now that you mention it, having each person get the island closest to their seat is how I've done a bunch of physical non-solo games over the past couple years. Definitely helps with maneuvering and logistics.

With two separate players that were both pretty adept strategically, I did play some games where it was a constant moving around the table type thing. It was fun though, since we were both pretty into the game when we played. I sometimes did it to get different picture angles, but sometimes we both did it because we needed to see a new angle of attack or get the movement card in the right position to move something without knocking over an arch lol. (which are extremely lightweight and prone to bumping) Not much beats having a competent strategist on the other side of the table, especially if they surprise you with their interest in the game and it becomes a bit of a chess match with the superior player or tactics usually winning. Smile
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