Wow. This entire product line appears to be the work of a single designer who deserves A LOT of credit for his labor of love to the pirate genre. A long time GM, I prefer my RPG genres to each feature a distinct ruleset. I hate playing RPGs that share rules, it just feels cheesy to me. I've been looking for a pirate RPG for years, but because of wanting a distinct ruleset and a mostly-historical approach (no spells, undead crew, or made-up islands) it's been a long, fruitless search. Historically based pirating is such an amazingly rich RPG playground, it's mystifying there hasn't been more entries in the genre.
And then I found this. Bravo, Mr. DeMille! While the design is, as it states right up front, deliberately simple (there's a d12 roll for anything) the product line covers THE ENTIRETY of what you need. The scope is really impressive - I did not expect to find the entire world of pirating presented, from Asia to the Caribbean to the Barbary Coast. Nice! The designer clearly dug deep into pirating history, and general period history, and it shows.
That said, the ruleset is a little TOO simple and abstract in areas, to my taste. Mostly regarding ship-to-ship combat. I feel it's essential for the players, as officers of the ship, to each have a meaningful role in ship operations (the helmsman, the boatswain, the cannoneer, the doctor, the carpenter, etc) and for it to be a shared survival effort with alot of tension. It also needs to have some level of tactical specificity, due to the all important effect of the winds which can make or break an engagement. As the rules stand, there is no stated adjustment for winds, for range to target, for which side of the ship is facing the target, for a ship's combat speed unless fleeing, there are no different cannon sizes, etc. So while I fully agree with the overall design direction of being story-focused more than dice-focused, and allowing the GM the freedom and responsibility to weave that story - I think the game would benefit from more detail in the ship combat section in particular. So my home brew version does just that. I mean, ultimately, what RPG doesn't require the GM to tweak it to his taste?
I also love the style of these books, from using classic period artwork to the rambling prose of the writing. It's like listening to an old salt sitting on a barrel telling you all about "'tis here piratin' game". Admittedly it can be annoying when you just want to get to the meat of it, but it's appropriate flavor that's fully appreciated. Finally I'll add that the books could greatly benefit by more examples of rules in action - there's precious few.
Overall, a wonderfully conceived and presented pirate game, from someone who clearly loves the material as I do. The game will live on with flying colors at my house. And for that, I give a hearty "Yarr!"