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All 13 PCSG sets, ranked.

 
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Subject: All 13 PCSG sets, ranked.   PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:54 am Reply with quote

Keep in mind, this is my opinion. Some of you have more experience with some of these sets than I do. This was written in a relatively short time, and without really referencing the sets online, so this is all from my memory and immediate experience with these sets. Feel free to criticize my conclusions and offer your own. I may edit in an RtSS review once I look at the stats of the set.

I used four criteria to judge the sets. Art, for the ship and crew designs, and the card backgrounds. Set Quality is for how good, how playable the pieces in a set are. New Content rates the new content introduced in a set, mostly its implementation and how good it is. Collectability and Miscellaneous categories are there to account for how easy it was to acquire the associated PR/SE or mail-in offer ships, and other factors in the quality associated with the sets, such as the improved ship piece designs that started with DPotC, or DJC's quality control issues.

Spanish Main
- Art: 4/5. Three factions are distinct— Pirates are ratty, Spain has a grey-red-gold motif, England has uniform ships with light hulls and cream colored sails. Cards are nice to look at, though relatively dull when compared to later sets.
Set Quality: 4/5. Ships varied from forgettable to strong, even OP (Darkhawk II). Was not severely power crept.
- New Content: 4/5. Consider the entirety of the set, rules included, as its new content. Minor flaws existed in SM, but they weren’t bad enough to stop us from getting interested.
- Collectability/Misc: 3/5. Some promotional ships existed, as well as tattoos and busts. Collecting could be difficult due to odd distribution practices, and the SM/SMU split was never really needed, even though it made the checklist less confusing.
= Overall: 15/20. Teething problems existed, but much of SM has stood the test of time.

Crimson Coast
- Art: 3/5. French ships lacked any regular signifying traits other than the Fleur de Lis. Not quite as concise as SM, but not as adventurous as later sets.
- Set Quality: 4/5. Some solid ships, but some are also just pack filler content. Some crew are stellar, some are trash. The introduction of Forts are what take this set from 3/5 to 4/5.
- New Content: 3/5. Schooners and forts are good new additions, though the schooner keyword was initially overpriced. The small introduction of three decent American ships was welcome. Terrain added a nice new element to the game. France lacks any sort of defining faction traits, whereas Spain/England/Pirates were reasonably well defined.
- Collectability/Misc: 4/5. Improved checklist over SM, and less external promotional content made the game much easier to collect.
= Overall: 14/20. Not quite as good as SM, but what’s good about it has remained good, and has made it still desirable today.

Revolution
- Art: 5/5. Huge variety of ship designs, pretty new blue cards, more adventurous crew designs.
- Set Quality: 4/5. Large number of ships and crew that remained useful, even alongside later expansions, with some being simply OP (Banshee’s Cry).
- New Content: 4/5. Events were semi-useful, though a bit unfair at times. American faction is effective, as they seem to have excellent large ships, but their small ships often lack effectiveness. Four masted schooners are a welcome addition.
- Collectability/Misc: 4/5. Another case of an unnecessary R/RU split. Little promotional content available on the side, though the special edition ships from the boxes were a good way to add collectable content without making it hard to get.
= Overall: 17/20. Great overall, but the occasional unbalanced piece and R/RU printing runs prevent it from being perfect.

Barbary Coast
- Art: 4/5. Corsair ships are beautiful, but other factions aren’t so lucky this time, as some ships look dull. Cards appear almost to be a more orange version of the SM cards.
- Set Quality: 3/5. The stars of the show, the Barbary Corsairs, are somewhat ill defined, and are one of the game’s weakest factions. The other factions get some solid pieces, though.
- New Content: 3/5. Corsairs are a weak faction. Galleys are a good idea, but almost seem to have more weaknesses than strengths in practice.
- Collectability/Misc: 2/5. The promotional cards being alternate crew printed in a more traditional card style was a great idea, but another odd split of BC/BCU (BCU seems to be rarer, funny enough) and the flimsy design of galleys make for significant weaknesses to the set.
= Overall: 12/20. Some good stuff, but lots of forgettable content and easily broken ships.

South China Seas
- Art: 5/5. Huge variety of artwork. Creative, yet keeps the factions distinct.
- Set Quality: 5/5. Almost every ship and crew is feasibly worth playing.
- New Content: 3/5. Junk keyword is useless except on six/ten masted ships. Turtle ships are a tad underpowered, even though they’re often cheap. The lack of any four or five masted junks gives the Jade Rebellion a gaping hole between its smaller ships (1, 2, 3 masts) and its larger (6, 10 masts) ships.
- Collectability/Misc: 5/5. SCS promotional ships (200-217) and the Baochuan are widely circulated, and are still somewhat easy to find today. Glad Force Nine was once more common, though.
= Overall: 18/20. Lots of excellent content. Unfortunately, the combination of the set’s high quality and lack of an Unlimited run has made this a very hard set to collect.

Davy Jones’ Curse
- Art: 4/5. Many of the new Cursed crew and ships are as unearthly as can be, but the dark colors appear to have taken over most of the set, which severely reduced variety between the factions.
- Set Quality: 3/5. A number of this set’s ships and crew are good, but they are overshadowed by a largely mediocre offering of ships.
- New Content: 2/5. The Cursed really didn’t need to be a separate faction. They could have easily been folded into the Pirate faction. Sea monsters were overpriced for what they are— disposable offensive units.
- Collectability/Misc: 2/5. The promo ships (200-217) were rare from the start, and the Guichuan, though desirable, was somewhat hard to justify getting, as it required buying many packs of a mediocre set. This set also was known for printing errors, as many cards came scratched and scuffed from the factory.
= Overall: 11/20. Gimmicky, but a small number of worthwhile cards prevent this set from being a washout.

Mysterious Islands
- Art: 4/5. The rusty metal hull appearance of the cards was always appealing to me. Many of this set’s ships are striking in appearance, but the submarines are often similar enough to each other that they do let the set down a bit.
- Set Quality: 1/5. Mercenaries are, hands down, the worst faction released. Their inability to dock at their home island forces them into combat-only roles, but their high prices, and boarding/gold focused abilities make them weak at this. Their focal unit, the submarine, is often overpriced, and with how often the rest of the set is geared toward countering Mercenaries or submarines, there are too few viable units. They do exist, but they are the minority.
- New Content: 2/5. The Mercenaries are a bad faction, and most submarines are lame, but a couple are excellent ships. Mysterious Islands are an unenthralling mechanic.
- Collectability/Misc: 2/5. The Message In A Bottle Pack was good, and required fewer packs bought than the Guichuan, but was still semi-reliant on luck. The promotional ships (200-217) were largely bad, not to mention hard to find.
= Overall: 9/20. Lots of weak or irrelevant units. The interesting concept and good art can’t make up for a largely weak execution. This set was clearly not well thought out before release.

Frozen North
- Art: 4/5. The card art and the Viking ships are well designed, but some of this set’s other factions did not appear to receive the same attention.
- Set Quality: 3/5. By and large, this set is not full of high quality units. They’re not embarrassingly bad, but many are just not worth using when compared with the better ships of other sets. The Viking ships are overpriced and sometimes have unfitting abilities.
- New Content: 3/5. Icebergs are a welcome addition to the terrain of the game, but they aren’t nearly as big a threat as they seem to be on paper. Unless you cover your play areas with them, they rarely effect the outcomes of games. Longships are effective, but expensive, so their offensive capabilities are not always worthwhile when their high prices and lack of durability is taken into account. Icebreakers are of niche use. They’re useful if your game board is covered with densely packed icebergs, but for the most part, they are not nearly as useful as competing ships of a similar size.
- Collectability/Misc: 3/5. Equally as hard to get as Mysterious islands content, but the 200-217 set is better than MI’s promotional ships. Some are weak, some are great.
= Overall: 13/20. Another victim of weak one-off factions. Fortunately, the novelty and potential of the Viking faction makes them just worthwhile to play.

Ocean’s Edge
- Art: 4/5. Some older ships receive a second appearance, as do some characters. Many ships are unique and attractive, but not particularly adventurous with styling.
- Set Quality: 3/5. Some excellent pieces, but also some weak pack filler content, and some meant to be good, but not quite so in practice.
- New Content: 3/5. Sea dragons are just too expensive for an expendable unit. They’re tactically potent, but also high risk. Titans, again, are expensive, and their strengths aren’t necessarily worth their high price.
- Collectability/Misc: 3/5. Not an extreme amount of peripheral content, and much of it is still easily acquired. OE was so widely printed that the Zeus was not particularly hard to acquire. EDIT: just found out about its 200-217 set, which I didn't know existed. I have rarely, if ever never seen them up for sale or trade, so I'm knocking the score down a bit.
= Overall: 13/20. A decent set that would have been better remembered if it was a bit rarer. Overall, though, it’s still a good set to use to introduce new players, due to its low cost and handful of solid units.

Caribbean
- Art: 2/5. It was the first of the new era of artwork. The ships looked fine for the most part, though the artwork was often uninspired. The lack of artwork on crew cards made for less interesting cards to look at. Some of the art makes the set feel as if it was rushed to coincide with the film release.
- Set Quality: 4/5. Surprisingly, much of this set was either playable, or or even flat-out good. The simplification of the factions to just England and Pirates meant that Wizkids was forced to make the majority of ships worth using. The overall lack of generic crew do hurt the set, though.
- New Content: 3/5. Another instance of expensive units that are meant to be potentially expendable. Yes, they’re powerful, but they require a particular crew pairing to reach their full potential, which increases their effective cost.
- Collectability/Misc: 5/5. The tertiary collectable units, specifically the krakens and Flying Dutchman, were relatively easy to acquire in their day. The updated design of the ship pieces made assembly significantly easier, and breakage less common.
= Overall: 14/20. A highly approachable, well-balanced set, but it lacks most of the established characters we love from the game’ history.

Rise of the Fiends
- Art: 4/5. A new, soft art style arrived with this set. Ships are unique, and crew are well illustrated, but the card art is dull, though functional.
- Set Quality: 4/5. Some of this set’s unique units are truly among the best in the game, while others are filler content.
- New Content: 4/5. Scorpions are overpriced, for the most part. Some are good, some are just there to tick a box on your checklist. Flotillas are excellent in some strategies, as they’re a cheap boost to firepower.
- Collectability/Misc: 2/5. Some of the PR pieces were never made available outside of demo sets sent to magazines. This made set completion nearly impossible if you didn’t know someone who had one of those sets. Some excellent SE units could be had from one of this set’s value boxes.
= Overall: 14/20. A solid, if small set, but let down by some filler pieces and hard-to-get promotional items.

Fire & Steel
- Art: 5/5. Huge variety of beautiful, creative ships and crew.
- Set Quality: 3/5. Some truly great units, but most are average.
- New Content: 4/5 Bombardiers are decent, with some good strategies and excellent pairings with Flotillas. Switchblades are overpriced, though with proper crew, they can be devastating offensive ships.
- Collectability/Misc: 2/5. The promotional ships of this set were difficult to acquire, and became exceedingly rare over the years.
= Overall: 14/20. Not a particularly exciting set when it comes to gameplay, but easily one of the most imaginative sets released.

Savage Shores
- Art: 5/5. As creative as Fire & Steel. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as big.
- Set Quality: 4/5. Even some of the less significant pieces in this set are still perfectly useable. Many are unique enough to earn their place in fleets.
- New Content: 4/5. Native Canoes have tremendous offensive capability. Every Hoist is a useful ship due to their unique abilities, and large cargo holds. The new island varieties are much more interesting takes on the island effects first introduced in Mysterious Islands. Cargo Masters are exponentially better in larger fleets, and it is a shame that RTSS never came out, to add more of them for the other factions. Navigators are the only underwhelming new piece, as they would be more useful if they boosted move speed by L instead of S.
- Collectability/Misc: 5/5. If you bought all six boxes, you had a high chance of completing the set. With fewer than 60 pieces in the set, it was easily the smallest set released. It would also grant you two ten masted ships, and one of the game’s best treasure runners.
= Overall: 18/10. Smell, but full of good units, with great art. It is disappointing that RtSS was never released, as it surely would have been as good.


Best to Worst:
18/20: Savage Shores
18/20: South China Seas
17/20: Revolution
15/20: Spanish Main
14/20: Fire & Steel
14/20: Caribbean
14/20: Crimson Coast
14/20: Rise of the Fiends
13/20: Ocean’s Edge
13/20: Frozen North
12/20: Barbary Coast
11/20: Davy Jones’ Curse
9/20: Mysterious Islands
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Subject:    PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:58 pm Reply with quote

Awesome, another idea for a Rankings thread! Very Happy

Here is my opinion on the order, without going into detail. At some point I may do the same thing with your method, in which case I'll be intrigued to see if any rankings change. Though, I think I'd judge things a bit differently - for example, balance can be just as important as how good the pieces are for playability, while collectibility could include how fun a set is to collect (in which case SCS can be frustrating and potentially break the bank). You could even have other categories, such as constructibility (OE can be rough, let alone 2 masted junks in general). Also, I might change the weights of the categories.

For me, I would say the first 6 sets and the last 7 sets are in two different groups - quite difficult to distinguish within the groups, but no set from the final 7 can truly compare to any of the first 6. (for now Wink) The toughest part was spots 8-12, although I could arrange my top 4 in any order and I wouldn't have a big problem with it.

1. Spanish Main
2. Revolution
3. Crimson Coast
4. South China Seas
5. Davy Jones' Curse
6. Barbary Coast
7. Frozen North
8. Savage Shores/Return to Savage Shores
9. Mysterious Islands
10. Pirates of the Caribbean
11. Ocean's Edge
12. Rise of the Fiends
13. Fire and Steel

Now that I'm done ranking them here, I'm looking forward to doing it in more detail later, hopefully soon. I think it would be intriguing to rate every single ship, crew, and UT out of 10 for every single set. Then rank the sets based on the average of each game piece (to avoid OE having a higher score due to quantity). Of course, that would take a LONG time heh.
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Subject:    PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:05 pm Reply with quote

Yeah, my rating system is far from perfect, and it doesn't really reflect the interest level I have in the different sets. My favorites in my mind are actually MI, SCS, and DJC, but the former two are hard to find, and the first and third have an unfortunate shortage of quality units. They're not completely absent, but they're in the minority. I think I adjust my OE score as you were typing your post reply, so have a second look.

I'd agree that the first and second half of the game's printing run are somewhat difficult to compare. CC through DJC formally introduced one new faction each, and just a couple new unit types. After that, the game REALLY started to break the boundaries of the existing canon— I wouldn't consider the Cursed introduced in DJC to be all that adventurous, as ghost ships existed since SM. The introduction of submarines, vikings, more sea creatures, and all these crazy new mechanical ships like the hoists, switchblades, bombardiers, and scorpions started to break new ground, not all of it good.

BRB, gonna find the RtSS set and review it.
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Subject:    PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:12 am Reply with quote

Here are my rankings based on the same criteria. However, I have some different opinions on how to apply the different categories, which you can tell from my comments. Also, I'm almost treating the Collectibility as /3 and Miscellaneous as /2 for the total of 5 for that score. This is partly to add extra points for overall set greatness, or "likeability". (Also, I had a little too much fun bashing stuff in the "new content" section, so some of my comments there can be taken with a grain of salt haha)

Spanish Main
- Art: 4/5. Great historically-based artwork that set the foundation for how the hulls and decks would look for the rest of the sets. It may look bland nowadays but I've always liked the historical theme of Pirates a lot. The cards are the perfect parchment color for the 17th/18th century.
- Set Quality: 5/5. Tons of great ships, most of which are at least playable today. Large numbers of ships per faction meant that each was quite competitive. The standout ships are some of the most beloved and useful in history.
- New Content: 5/5. Tough not to give a 5 here - without this set, there's no game. Things were fun right from the start, with enough abilities and combos to keep things interesting.
- Collectability/Misc: 4/5. Relatively easy to find, both back then and today. Not extremely difficult to get a full set, and rares were plentiful enough to keep you happy and not get bored with the typical rarity of CCG's. Loses a point due to the somewhat inferior numbering system used in the first print runs, which becomes more confusing with the Unlimited edition's release.
= Overall: 18/20. The gold standard and foundation for everything that came afterwards. Still a fan favorite!

Crimson Coast
- Art: 4/5. More nice historical designs, with slightly more flair than SM. Nice red background on the cards.
- Set Quality: 5/5. Large quantity of good or great ships for all main factions. For me, the forts make it from a 4.5 to a 5. Also, some rather memorable UT's.
- New Content: 5/5. The final entry to the "Big 4", France was immediately established as a powerhouse faction. Terrain was a HUGE addition, while forts were a great mechanic - very aesthetic and fun, while providing a nice diversion from the usual naval affairs.
- Collectability/Misc: 5/5. Picked up where SM left off with the faction-based checklist. A perfect little introduction to the super rare concept, and plenty of fantastic commons and uncommons for people with less money to spend. Almost loses a half point due to the cards seeming to fingerprint easily, but perhaps that's just my experience.
= Overall: 19/20. I actually prefer SM, but CC could be considered a more "perfect" set.

Revolution
- Art: 5/5. Absolutely agree with godmason above - simply fantastic!
- Set Quality: 4/5. The "best" set for gameplay, but unfortunately it was plagued by a small handful of OP (and arguably game-breaking) pieces. Also, I haven't seen it discussed much, but the small Spanish representation and lack of inspiring named crew don't help.
- New Content: 4/5. The Americans are the highlight, with events as the lowlight. Another batch of interesting UT's and the SR pack help make things interesting.
- Collectability/Misc: 4/5. Collectibility gets a 3/3 here, but a point is lost due to the overall "likeability" being lower than SM and CC in my opinion. Indeed, the named crew options are rather atrocious for 3 out of the 5 nations, while the massive mistake that was events has not been fully corrected (banhammer please).
= Overall: 17/20. The favorite of many old-school players, and for good reason. The reasons listed above keep it from being the best set ever.

Barbary Coast
- Art: 5/5. Tons of great artwork - the Barbary Corsairs are arguably the prettiest faction, while the crew art feels very thematic.
- Set Quality: 4/5. The Corsairs are the strongest minor faction in the game and arguably better overall than the Cursed, one of the eventual Big 6 factions. Many other quality ships from the other factions, and the set feels very balanced overall - a return to normalcy after some problems in RV. However, the lack of the Pirate faction and (for me at least) the lack of any larger (4 or 5 masted) square rigged ships hold this set back from being a standout.
- New Content: 4/5. Corsairs and galleys are welcome additions, but sometimes the set feels rather lackluster, especially in comparison to the first 3 sets. However, the combination of good named crew, fun UT's, an awesome SR pack, and new editions of SM crew make up for the set being a little boring.
- Collectability/Misc: 3/5. The Corsairs hogged almost all of the rare ships, while the cardboard crew PR's were somewhat obnoxious and bizarre after the already-established crew chips. IMO, this set feels like the least likable of the first 5, so it loses a point for miscellaneous/intagibles as well, partly due to the above deficiencies.
= Overall: 16/20. Interesting and cool, but doesn't stand the test of time as well as SM/CC/RV.

South China Seas
- Art: 5/5. Godmason already nailed it: "Huge variety of artwork. Creative, yet keeps the factions distinct." Very colorful, pretty, diverse. Throw in the crew and UT's, and possibly the best set for artwork.
- Set Quality: 5/5. Absolutely amazing - as I've said before, I've fallen in love with this set over the past year and a half or so. The brief return of events can't even keep it from a perfect 5, especially with the surprisingly good PR's and the cool SR pack.
- New Content: 5/5. I agree that the Junk and Turtle Ship keywords were somewhat underwhelming, but the Jade Rebellion faction makes up for it. Throw in the first 10 master, and there's not much to dislike.
- Collectability/Misc: 3/5. The hardest set to collect by far - commons from SCS can be harder to acquire than rares from other sets. It's simply tough to get, and not quite as much fun to acquire since it will usually cost you a lot. However, this can also make you appreciate the ships more, as you'll treasure them. The common PR's make for a truly bizarre rarity distribution, as they can be cheaper than commons!
= Overall: 18/20. Probably my favorite set of the last 2 years, but imperfect due to collectibility problems and the return of events.

Davy Jones’ Curse
- Art: 4/5. The wacky advent of the Cursed highlights an underwhelming set for artwork. However, the crew art, American ships, and SR pack certainly keep the score from being a 3.
- Set Quality: 4/5. This set began the long slow decline of Pirates CSG. A reverse power creep started, and wouldn't be reversed back until the final set. Sea monsters stink in-game, and the set features more boring ships than previous sets. However, a nice selection of named crew and a few standout ships per faction make it somewhat memorable.
- New Content: 2/5. The Cursed have always been the worst faction of the Big 6, even with their introductory set. Sea monsters have always been overpriced. A large portion of the existing customer base was alienated by the overemphasis on the supernatural and magical elements, which is arguably what started the end. Very close to a score of 1, if not for the inherent "coolness" factor.
- Collectability/Misc: 4/5. A point deducted for the low quality first print runs, but otherwise a fun one to buy. All 6 major factions for the first time, which leads to much collecting. I'm actually glad the Guichuan and LE's are rare (they should be), and the SE boxes and cool SR pack are great reasons to buy DJC.
= Overall: 14/20. The beginning of the end. The glory days of Pirates were over, with the dark cloud of Cursed madness threatening to take over the beloved game. OK, I'm being too dramatic! Heh, definitely a good set but the reputation is somewhat horrible between how many people left the game soon afterwards and the scratching issues.

Mysterious Islands
- Art: 3/5. Some boring ships with a small handful of incredible standouts (including those little-known SE's), along with decent artwork overall. Submarines were the highlight of the set, but they're very lackluster and even hard to tell apart. I also didn't enjoy the boring gray cards, though it fits with the Mercenary faction. (perhaps a tropical look would be too much)
- Set Quality: 3/5. The Mercenaries introduce an interesting dynamic to the game, and some of their game pieces have affected fleet-building ever since. Each faction got some solid if unspectacular ships, but plenty of mediocre/boring ships were introduced as well.
- New Content: 2/5. I enjoyed the Mysterious Islands, but some of them can be OP. The Mercenaries have always been the worst faction in the game, and submarines are often either useless or borderline OP (think deathmatches, marines, cancellers, etc). Novelty and excitement barely keep the score from being a 1. (for the second set in a row - when a lot of people can agree that the new stuff stinks, you know things are in decline)
- Collectability/Misc: 2/5. Not entirely collectible, between the low playability and lackluster PR's (with the exception of the MiaB pack). The miscellaneous score has to suffer as well - this set can be rather boring and hasn't stood the test of time that well for me. It doesn't help that this set came out at a bad time - soon after the general brilliance of the "golden age" and when DJC (a superior set) and its sales likely set expectations too high. In addition, I noticed that the ships are generally more brittle than usual, which is especially bad for newer players.
= Overall: 10/20. As godmason said, bad execution. Perhaps more playtesting could have improved the new mechanics.

Frozen North
- Art: 3/5. Pretty much all of the longships are interesting, but most of the regular ships are not. The repetitive UT's and mostly boring named crew don't help. However, the French and Americans have some very pretty ships, and I think the rather dull look actually fits the theme rather well, keeping the score from being a 2. Though the white look of the cards is also very thematic, it's hard not to prefer the vibrancy and color of the first 5 or 6 sets in terms of cards.
- Set Quality: 3/5. FN continues the trend of more mediocre ships where MI left off. I've noticed that the named crew, UT's, and LE's seem either fantastic or terrible. Plenty of playable ships, just not a lot that people prefer to use. In addition, I believe Cadet-Captain Mike proved that this was the slowest set for ship speeds.
- New Content: 1/5. Wow... where do you even start with this one? Icebergs are by far the most obnoxious terrain type - of course they should damage your ships, but moving them at the beginning of each player's turn has consistently been the most-forgotten aspect of gameplay in my experience. They're annoying to no end, and they look silly compared to the reefs and sargassos because they would never be flat. Then we have the Vikings, where the historicity of the set comes into question. Many people have lamented the Viking faction even more than the Mercenaries, simply because the timing of their exploits in real life is so far from the Age of Sail. However, I think the Longship keyword takes the cake for worst new content in this set. Viking longships didn't even carry cannons as far as I know, but here they get the most potent offensive ability in the game just because they have small ships. The Vikings would be far better off with a different version of the keyword while functioning as a swarm nation.
- Collectability/Misc: 4/5. Not much to say here, other than the fact that FN remains one of the pricier sets.
= Overall: 11/20. A decent set strictly from a gameplay perspective. A rather strange direction to take the game in, and the reverse power creep continues.

Ocean’s Edge
- Art: 1/5. The ugliest ships are from this set. Overall the artwork is quite boring (Le Musarde lol - even the French got it), with a couple standouts (Zeus). Some of the ships are absolutely garish, and not in a good way (Salte el Tiburon).
- Set Quality: 3/5. A lot of mediocre and extremely boring ships. However, I didn't give a 2 because there are some absolutely amazing finds here - the brief return of 6 masted junks, a few cool SE's, two All-Powerful crew, surprisingly playable sea creatures, and some good 5 masters (except for the "new" Acorazado). In addition, the sheer quantity, especially when including the SE's and LE's, gives a ton of options for playing, which is great.
- New Content: 3/5. Titans are the best sea creatures by far, and can be rather good. Sea dragons aren't so hot, but they're also few in number. The sharks are absolute trash, so thank Wizkids for not releasing any more in later sets (or condemn them for even releasing them in the first place!). Catamarans have always seemed overrated to me, and their disproportionate size looks silly. Windcatchers have always seemed like a glorified 3 masted schooner, but the ones that came out are certainly interesting to play. I happen to love whirlpools, despite them not being realistic at all. Obviously a ton of new stuff - once again the sheer quantity helps the score because it gives options and pleases most people to some degree even if you only like one or two of the new things.
- Collectability/Misc: 5/5. I rate the collectibility as a 3/3 easily, and though I would normally put the miscellaneous score as 1/2, the collectibility is so high that I'm giving the overall category 5/5 (collectibility breaks the scale heh). The biggest set ever, extremely cheap packs (great for new players), very easy to get most of the main set. SE tins rereleased some older ships, while they and the SE's weren't terribly difficult to find. Throw in megapacks, the legendary Zeus, and a tough LE set to collect, and you have a crazy collector's dream while still being the most accessible set to new players due to how common it is and the low price.
= Overall: 12/20. A set famous for being very diverse, common, and cheap. The prevalence of OE makes it very easy to get sick of; I have once again tired of it after a short renaissance last year.

Caribbean
- Art: 3/5. Design changes actually annoyed me, as I found the old look more pleasing and I like using pennants. However, limiting how often the ships break is definitely a good thing. In addition, more rounded hull and mast tabs usually make for easier assembly.
The actual artwork was pretty cool and fun to look at. However, a bunch of it was reused from earlier sets, but the biggest problem was the total failure to make the Endeavour, Dauntless, and Interceptor look ANYTHING like the ships from the movies. An inexcusable gaffe that nearly ruins the experience of playing those ships (so silly looking that the excellent Flying Dutchman and Black Pearls don't make up for it). Notable for introducing the split card colors which stayed until the end. I did enjoy the crew and UT pictures, as it really ties the movies into the game quite well. I think the kraken design and artwork is about as good as could be expected.
- Set Quality: 3/5. Lots of good ships with a few great ones as well. This gave the Pirates and English that many more options (including very nice crew options), which neither of them really needed. I deducted a point for not having other factions, and another point for the OP stuff (mostly Captain Jack Sparrow, but the Endeavour, Cursed Captain Jack and Kraken Gong have all had somewhat detrimental effects on the game).
- New Content: 3/5. Krakens were quite well done overall, as a relatively playable sea creature that effectively incorporated the movie theme. The Parley keyword can be confusing at first and is probably underpriced a little, but it's definitely a cool addition to the game and another effective movie tie-in. Going a little deeper, this set also introduced a handful of new "1 of 1" game pieces such as CJS, Calypso, the Hai Peng, and Jailhouse Dog. Most of the unique stuff was either confusing or ruined some of the fun, but there's no denying the importance of those and other game pieces on modern competitive play.
- Collectability/Misc: 3/5. Mostly negatives here unfortunately - a small set is easier to collect (which can be a good thing), and there wasn't much extra stuff (SE/LE/PR pieces) to get. The real problem was when the distribution went awry, with some packs having all commons, and in extreme cases, "god boxes" full of SR packs. Throw in just 2 factions, and even the PotC name can't save the set from having major collectibility problems. However, the partnership with Disney was absolutely perfect for a game like Pirates, so the Miscellaneous score is definitely a 2 and could be bumped to a 4/5 overall if you value intangibles more than collectibility (or are just a huge PotC fan heh). Though, the change to a rarity-based checklist was a negative.
= Overall: 12/20. A great effort with Disney's help, but with some glaring flaws that make the set quite polarizing.

Rise of the Fiends
- Art: 4/5. Very colorful ships and crew - many great, but some a bit over the top. Most of the larger ships are quite beautiful. Using different artwork for generic crew is cool, but it does make it a bit confusing and harder to use for new players. Actually one of the most interesting sets for artwork, but too much focus on the red theme was detrimental (mostly with the red island/terrain cards, which look truly disgusting next to any other set's). I don't like the cards either - the red and yellow looks great with SM and CC, but combined and brighter it seems unappealing for some reason.
- Set Quality: 3/5. I've underrated this set many times, but it has a lot of interesting game pieces. However, there's a bunch of mediocre stuff as well. Most ships are either slow or have small cargo holds, so it's not a good set for getting gold at all. There are a few balance issues with the extremes of the set - mostly the San Cristobal and Blood Money being OP, while stuff like Merrow and some of the 1 masters should not have been made.
- New Content: 1/5. I nearly put 0/5 and said "am I allowed to do this?", but flotillas and the glow in the dark stuff just barely make up for the atrocity of scorpions and the Hostile/Loyal stuff. Scorpions are my least favorite ship type, though the sharks are up there as well. Only one of them stands out, while all the flotillas are usable and quite good. The Hostile/Loyal keywords feel like an unnecessary gimmick to lower point costs (Eternal for one point?), though I do like when flavor text is part of the gameplay. The Turbine and Double Catamaran randomly thrown in at the end of the set really show that the game was completely coming off the rails at this point. The Turbine keyword is underpriced and weird from a historical perspective, while the Double Catamaran ship type is way too wide and big, not to mention awkward. Though the ship types weren't new, I love the glow in the dark concept.
- Collectability/Misc: 3/5. Another small set, but a decent one to collect. Positives included a cool variety of SE's and LE's, some of which are very expensive to acquire. Negatives include a silly rarity distribution with generic crew and an SR pack that was too common. Not much to say about the story inserts. Throw in the mythical Ochobrazo, and it's definitely a unique set for collectors. The Miscellaneous score is 1/2 since the set is just not that great when you consider everything. Throw in the odd name, "Rise of the Fiends", and you can't even find a sea creature outside of an SE kraken nor an abnormally strong Cursed presence. (sure they got Scorpions and a 10 master, but any of the large gunships from the set easily outclass them)
= Overall: 11/20. Not one of my favorites, but the positives of the set are pretty cool.

Fire & Steel
- Art: 4/5. Plenty of variety and good designs, with some ugly ones as well. The named crew portraits seem below average.
- Set Quality: 2/5. The gold standard for mediocrity in Pirates. So much quantity, and so much of it boring and/or below average.
- New Content: 2/5. Another colossal failure that partly led to the game's downfall. Giant flamethrowers and freaky blades that pop out from the sides of a hull. Not as bad as Scorpions, but two Pokeship designs instead of one is just sad. On the other hand, equipment would have been perfect to introduce early in the game, such as CC or RV. However, at least it was great when it arrived - lots of variety, mostly historical, and good point costs (once you see the errata). The 0-value gold coins are evil but funny.
- Collectability/Misc: 2/5. Somewhat fun to collect due to the sheer number of game pieces, including cool SE's and LE's. However, it's a little TOO hard to collect - beyond the LE's being pricey, you've got a Big 3 of very tough acquisitions - the Chum Maker, Raptor Maw, and the big one, the Obago Deuce (and I'm not even including the SiaB's!). I would say this is the most boring set, so the intangibles are bad. It gets a 1/2 for Miscellaneous due to the Historical Pack and having just enough cool stuff to be worth investigating.
= Overall: 10/20. The most boring set in my opinion. I still enjoy all the sets, but I usually enjoy this one the least.

Savage Shores/Return to Savage Shores
- Art: 4/5. Definitely stands out, but some ugly ships keep it from a perfect score. I think the named crew artwork was exceptional.
- Set Quality: 4/5. Some great stuff, mostly good. The sea monsters, lack of generic crew, and somewhat unbalanced pieces (navigators, cargo masters, American canoes, Libellule, hoists) keep it from a 5 for me.
- New Content: 4/5. Canoes and hoists are both fantastic, arguably too much so. Hoists are the most excusable Pokeship (if they are even considered to be one) simply due to how interesting they are in terms of gameplay. Navigators and cargo masters are both frustrating to deal with in large games, but they're a welcome addition to most players.
- Collectability/Misc: 4/5. The set was almost too easy to acquire, and the box idea caused some consternation among people who didn't or couldn't (or still can't!) complete 10 masters. The SR's were relatively common as well, but I give the set a 2/3 for collectibility. The Miscellaneous score gets a 2/2 due to the set's good reputation and a kind of positive farewell after the long decline. The set is generally viewed with very positive vibes due to it being so unique in so many ways, and a beacon of hope that unfortunately never was.
= Overall: 16/20. Very good but not all-time great. RtSS is sort of included since it's so similar.


Best to Worst:
19/20: Crimson Coast
18/20: Spanish Main
18/20: South China Seas
17/20: Revolution
16/20: Barbary Coast
16/20: Savage Shores/Return to Savage Shores
14/20: Davy Jones' Curse
12/20: Caribbean
12/20: Ocean's Edge
11/20: Frozen North
11/20: Rise of the Fiends
10/20: Mysterious Islands
10/20: Fire and Steel

Compared to my original or "favorites" list, CC jumps to the top spot! As I expected the top 4 are all very close, with the "perfection" of CC and the flaws of RV narrowly keeping them from a 4-way tie. SS climbed ahead of DJC, while FN and MI dropped a bunch. Very interesting. It will be interesting to see how my favorites change over the years, and if I edit any of the ratings to reflect more comprehensive experience with the sets.
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godmason
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Subject:    PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:36 pm Reply with quote

It's basically agreed among everyone that SCS and Revolution are two of the best, with CC/SM close behind. It's a shame that SCS is so hard to find, given that it is one of the better sets.
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hiddenelephant
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Subject:    PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 5:49 pm Reply with quote

I never collected SCS or Revolution. While I do like the idea of the Jade Rebellion, the junks were a pain to assemble. And I've never liked the Americans being in the game, as it really messes with the historical theme. It's funny that I like the Cursed and Sea Creatures, but dislike the more realistic Americans. I'll chalk that one up to having a more "Pirate Fantasy" ideal of the game, where it's the Brits, Frenchies, Spaniards, Pirates, and a whole mess of the weird ones and floating aboat in the ocean.
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godmason
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Subject:    PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:17 pm Reply with quote

hiddenelephant wrote:
I never collected SCS or Revolution. While I do like the idea of the Jade Rebellion, the junks were a pain to assemble. And I've never liked the Americans being in the game, as it really messes with the historical theme. It's funny that I like the Cursed and Sea Creatures, but dislike the more realistic Americans. I'll chalk that one up to having a more "Pirate Fantasy" ideal of the game, where it's the Brits, Frenchies, Spaniards, Pirates, and a whole mess of the weird ones and floating aboat in the ocean.
I'd chalk it up to the whole universe being pirate fantasy. SM had ghost ships, didn't it? I would say everything from the submarines to vikings and cursed aren't too far out of line.
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morgull

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Subject:    PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:37 am Reply with quote

When I wan playing tournament and campaignes, my favorite was Revolution, because it has the best Pirate faction ships (Black Swan, Bloody Jewel, Banshe´s cry...) and the Events!!.

CC and SCS are so good too.
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Subject:    PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:25 pm Reply with quote

morgull wrote:
When I wan playing tournament and campaignes, my favorite was Revolution, because it has the best Pirate faction ships (Black Swan, Bloody Jewel, Banshe´s cry...) and the Events!!.

CC and SCS are so good too.

Revolution came out right when I was both in my pirate-obsessed phase as a kid and when I was learning about the American Revolution in elementary school. I still think it has some of the best American ships.
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woelf
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Subject:    PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:54 pm Reply with quote

a7xfanben wrote:
Revolution

- Set Quality: 4/5. The "best" set for gameplay, but unfortunately it was plagued by a small handful of OP (and arguably game-breaking) pieces. Also, I haven't seen it discussed much, but the small Spanish representation and lack of inspiring named crew don't help.
The vast majority of that discussion (and by "discussion" I mean incessant ranting) happened back on the old WK boards, but the aftereffects lingered for a long time with the tired old "Spain got shafted!" comments every time a new set came out. Those complaints even inspired an old fleet of mine.

Spain didn't get much for quantity in that set, but they more than made up for it with quality. Three of the four ships are some the best in the entire game, and the fourth is pretty decent too. They even got a great fort to go along with them.
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Subject:    PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:31 pm Reply with quote

woelf wrote:
The vast majority of that discussion (and by "discussion" I mean incessant ranting) happened back on the old WK boards, but the aftereffects lingered for a long time with the tired old "Spain got shafted!" comments every time a new set came out. Those complaints even inspired an old fleet of mine.

Spain didn't get much for quantity in that set, but they more than made up for it with quality. Three of the four ships are some the best in the entire game, and the fourth is pretty decent too. They even got a great fort to go along with them.


Yeah, unfortunately I wasn't on the old WK forum, and I was mostly referring to how many people nowadays don't talk about the Spanish in RV. I've seen your fleet and vlad's rant, but lately it hasn't come up as much.

I don't think I've seen anybody criticize RV for the named crew. Marines were new so that's understandable, and the Pirates and Americans did pretty well. However, it feels like a big letdown if you hear about how great the set is (considered the best ever by some) and then go through each of the named crew. For me it's sometimes puzzling why the set is preferred over CC and SCS (and SM perhaps).
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