Sid Meier's Pirates strategy guide

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Philippe Gloaguen
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Please note:

The solution is based on the American version of the game, so there may be differences for the Spanish version.

CREATE YOUR OWN CREW

A good crew is key to trying to become a renowned and feared pirate. The more men you have under your command, the greater the targets you can attack and the lower the chances of being defeated. Obviously, to maintain a medium / large crew, more resources (food, money) will be needed. You will start your adventure with 40 men who you can increase in two ways:



Recruiting some in a tavern;
Recruiting a captured ship's crew;

The amount of men you can take with you depends on your rank and the satisfaction of your other men. Few want to join a dissatisfied crew whose captain does not pay the bills and does not give enough food.
Another factor to consider is the size of your boat. Obviously, no more men can be boarded than our ship can carry. Your men are evenly divided among your ships. Damage to a ship results in a decrease in capacity. Beware of the men you are taking to your flagship, sometimes the automatic redeployment risks leaving you with a small number of men right in your flagship. This would prove particularly serious before a fight ... you seriously risk finding yourself attacking an enemy ship with a handful of men.
But we were talking about happiness. This is basically determined by three factors: the size of the crew, the size of the loot owned divided between your men and the duration of your last expedition. Basically the longer an expedition, the more your crew will want to be satisfied, or the loot collected will have to increase proportionally. A long expedition that yields a few pennies will completely displease your men, especially if they are very large in number. This reaction is also the reason why it is useless and harmful to have more men than can be satisfied. Moreover, remember that you will also have to feed them and that food costs. One hundred useless men therefore lead, for example, to a decrease in happiness and an unjustified increase in costs. The result of poor crew management is mutiny.
A good chance, if you see that the situation is getting unmanageable, is to divide the loot and create a new crew. The drawbacks are that you will be left alone with one ship and that it will take you about 6-7 months to start a new expedition. On top of that you will have to go looking for new members for your crew, but if the split loot was substantial you shouldn't have any problems doing this. The advantage of doing this is that happiness will always be high.



GOLD AND LOOT

Money is almost a secondary goal for you. But ideals don't hold up with air and, as written above, your crew won't think twice about blowing you off the ship if you don't provide them with adequate supplies. The methods for earning gold and loot are as follows:

- Looting Ships You will spend most of your pirate time doing this activity. Each ship you board and manage to fold contains various kinds of goods that you can place in your loot. Keeping some factors in mind is essential in order not to waste time and resources: Indian warships never carry much gold, often they don't carry it at all. Assault them only if you are trying to get the approval of the European nations; even warships generally carry little gold, but often have a good amount of goods to take; nameless pirates can take a good amount of goods and gold with them, it is always worth going against them; merchant ships often have a fair amount of gold but an excellent amount of goods, the only problem is finding a place to unload everything; Escorted merchant ships, if they are escorted, it is for a reason. They are generally very rich ships; ships with immigrants on board or with a new governor on board often have an excellent amount of gold; ships that carry military salaries and treasure ships allow you to quickly raise money without having to sell goods; named ships are generally very rich; Named pirate ships are generally the richest, especially if the name is that of a really famous pirate (for example by attacking Henry Morgan's ship you could find a real fortune on it). Aside from the excesses, you will find us on board at least 12000 gold pieces.



- Plunder the cities

Plundering a city requires a large crew, but allows, in the case of a large city, to obtain large loot. Don't bother with small towns because it's not worth it. The richest cities are not automatically the most defended. Especially if a city has recently gotten rich. The best ones to loot are the rich ones, but the prosperous ones are also great targets. Let the modest ones perish. Some tricks for raiding cities are: make sure you talk to mysterious travelers and stop at ports whenever you can, so you always have fresh information on the status of the different cities; when you attack a city you try to have a greater number of men or, at least, equal to that of the soldiers who defend it; one way to weaken a city's defenses is to go to adjacent Indian settlements or nearby pirate haunts by convincing them to attack. Especially the Indians are very convenient to use, because they attack the cities but leave the money, the pirates, on the other hand, in case of victory, would empty it. So use them only if you are sure they will lose the fight; if a city is particularly large and rich it may be a good thing to attack it twice in a row, the first attack, perhaps, will cost you more lives but the second will be a real walk; when you see a governor of a city leave the port follow him to his new destination, as soon as you enter the new city it will become richer and it will be time for you to attack, since the defenses will still be the same as before.

- Selling goods


Goods can be obtained in two main ways: by buying them from merchants in cities and by looting captured ships. How you get them is your business anyway, the important thing is to know how to sell them in the right cities. By just cities we mean those where you can maximize your earnings. The important thing is therefore to buy low and sell high. The best results are obtained: selling in cities belonging to nations for which you are a colonel or, better still, a marquis; rich cities pay better and have more consistent gold reserves, if you turn to small cities you could run into the unfortunate thing of having to keep unsold goods in the hold. Unfortunately, the best cities to sell in are Spanish. Unfortunately, this is due to the fact that, given the quality of many Hispanic cities, it will be cheaper to loot them than to trade in them, so learn about the best cities in other nations. For example Curacao (Germany), Guadeloupe and Martinique (France) and Barbados (England); if you are on the side of the Spaniards, however, you will find that you can make a lot of money by selling goods in their ports; the fake mustache and the theatrical disguise (they are objects) allow you to sell in Spanish cities even if they are hostile to you.


- Selling ships

When capturing a ship at sea, don't just consider what it is carrying. It too has a more or less high value. Selling a ship can yield good profits. But keep in mind: Don't damage your loot. Having to repair a ship costs money and often nullifies the profits, this means that if you want to sell a ship it is better to board it without firing too many shots; a mayor, however, can get cheaper repairs, keep that in mind; a duke can upgrade their ships for free, if you are lucky enough to be dukes in any nation never forget to upgrade the ship you are about to sell; you can have a maximum of eight ships in your fleet, plan to return to a friendly port when you are close to this threshold (preferably where you have a high rank).

Carry out missions

The most important source of income in Pirates! They are the missions. There are many different ones, some random and some fixed. Here is a short list of missions that yield excellent rewards: catching criminals on the run (the rewards range from 1000 to 5000 gold pieces), a mission that is easy to do and to take (dance with the governor's daughter); find buried treasure (between 2000 and 10000 gold is earned), talk to travelers in taverns to get a map; find a lost city (fruit 50000 gold pieces), really difficult mission, to get it collect pieces of the map by recovering family members or kidnapped daughters of some governor, otherwise dance perfectly with a beautiful daughter; Eliminating the Marquis de la Montalban, the main mission of the game, very difficult, requires a lot of preparation but how can you refuse 100000 gold pieces?

RANK AND PROMOTIONS

One of the most important aspects of your fame score is the rank you get with each of the four nations. Moreover, the higher the rank with a nation, the more advantages you will get in its ports. To be promoted by a nation, you have to make sure that it is happy with you. To do this you can:

- Attack a ship belonging to a nation at war with the one you are trying to win graces.
- Loot a city at war with the one you are trying to win graces for.
- Capturing a city for a nation. It doesn't matter if it's a rival or not.
- Damage, capture or sink a pirate or Indian ship. It makes all nations happy. The value depends on the fame of the sunken ship.
- Sinking, capturing, or stopping an enemy ship to a nation.
- Escort a special ship to its destination (e.g. help a governor to reach a new city).

Of course, helping one nation could annoy another. The impact of your actions on different nations depends on the selected difficulty level. If you make a nation happy it may decide to promote you. The points needed for the promotion also depend on the difficulty level selected. Here are some tricks to get promotions faster:

- always know who is at war with whom and decide your alliances accordingly. For example, if England is at war with Spain and France by attacking it, the favors of two nations will be obtained.
- When a nation appoints you Duke you have no other promotions to get. Now is the time to work for the enemies and try to become dukes with them too.
- To make a nation forgive you, attack its enemies, whoever they are, or use the support of Jesuit ships to get a good word out about you. If you want you can also pay to get "cleaned up". To do this you will have to penetrate an enemy city in secret.
- Hunt Indians and pirates to put yourself in a good light with the nations. Remember that by doing this all four nations will become kind to you. If you want, if there are no pirates or Indians around, you can go to their lair and incite them to attack a city, but as soon as they leave the port, attack them and destroy them. It is a "bastard" tactic but for this very reason it works very well. - Go often to your benefactors to check if there is any promotion coming up. If you haven't been promoted yet but you're almost there, you'll get a clue about it. Don't delay too long in checking because you will always get one promotion at a time and the extra points accumulated will not be kept for the next promotion. - When you have a rank with a certain nation and it becomes hostile to you, you will lose the bonuses deriving from it but not its level.

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