This week, I’m going to talk about some basic tactics that you can use in your Pirates game to help you improve your play, and hopefully win more matches. First up is a very basic tactic taken from actual naval warfare: Crossing the T.

Crossing the T involves moving your ship so that all of your cannons can shoot at your opponent, while simultaneously making it harder for him to shoot back at you (without moving). To do this, move you ship so that it is perpendicular to an imaginary line that goes through the center of your opponent’s ship. Think of your opponent’s ship as the vertical portion of a capital T, and your ship is the crossbar at the top. You can do this either to the front or rear of his ship; in fact, positioning your ship behind his ship will make it slightly harder for him to move and shoot back on his turn (assuming that you don’t sink him). You should make sure that all the cannons on your ship are within range of your opponent. If you have L range cannons, position your ship just outside of S range, in case he has a canceler on board, and to force him to move on his next turn if he wants to shoot back (if his cannons are S range). If you’ve positioned yourself right, most or all of your ship’s cannons will be in range of your opponent’s ship, while only the front 1 or 2 cannons of your opponent’s ship will be able to shoot back. The rest of his ship’s cannons will be blocked by the sails of the forward masts (unless the ship is a schooner or junk; see below). Your opponent will have to move his ship in order to shoot back, or else he will have to settle for only firing a few cannons instead of a full barrage.

Now, if your opponent’s ship is a schooner or junk, the sails will not block line-of-fire for the other cannons. So, be careful about the placement or your ship, and try to make sure that even if the farther cannons could fire, your ship is out of range of them.

For added fun, if your ship has one less-than-great cannon (especially a S-4 or S-5), put a Smokepot Specialist on your ship. After you’ve fired all of you good cannons, use the less-than-great cannon to put a fog/smoke cloud between you and your opponent’s ship (if there is room). Then, your opponent will HAVE to move around the cloud shoot at you. Or he might move into it, which is actually better for you: his ship will pop out at the beginning of your next turn, and he will be limited on the position of his ship (because of the dice roll). Many times, his ship will not be in the optimal position to fight after coming out of the fog, and you can take advantage of that.