P I R A T E S !Complete Documentation courtesy of THE ENFORCER OF VISION FACTORY
Sid Meier's PIRATES! Copyright 1987 Microprose software, INC. Being a complete and comprehensive account of the Great Age of Buccaneering in the West Indies between the years 1560 and 1700.
INTRODUCTIONIt was an era of new kings and empires, of new tests of strength and power. It was a day when a man could rise from humble beginnings and be knighted for brave and daring service to the Crown. Now you can be such a man in PIRATES!, a game of hot-blooded swashbuckling across the Spanish Main.
You are transported to the Caribbean as it was in the heyday of smugglers, privateers, buccaneers and pirates. All the skills real men needed for survival and success are present, in real-time action!
In PIRATES! you navigate the wide Caribbean by guess, compass, and occasional sun sights with your astrolabe. In peace or battle, your sailing skill can spell the difference between a profitable journey and a watery grave. And if it comes to battle, you must do what real buccaneer Captains did - lead your men from the front, sword in hand, until you meet and defeat the enemy commander. This is a new type of game, an action simulation. Your game activities are based on how men actually did them, such as sailing ships and dueling with swords.
The Caribbean is a canvas of grand adventure, from the treasure-laden ambushes of Sir Francis Drake to the piratical plunderings of the notorious Henry Morgan (whose name still graces a brand of Jamaican rum). Like these men, you can discuss politics with provincial governors, sneak into towns for clandestine smuggling arrangements with local merchants, cross swords with vicious noblemen of all nationalities, rescue helpless waifs from vile slave plantations, even find a beautiful wife! When you accumulate sufficient treasure, land, honors, and satisfaction, you can take a pleasant retirement appropriate to your gains.
PIRATES! brings alive the grand scope of a venturesome and bygone age. As in every MicroProse simulation, extensive research into the details of places and people, ships and battles brings you unparalleled realism. PIRATES! goes beyond simple fantasy and touches the reality of an exciting page in history.
If you prefer to learn PIRATES! while playing, consult your "Captain's Broadsheet". If you like to understand the concepts before you begin playing, turn to "In the Beginning" and read all of Book I.
BOOK I Instructions to Captains ::::::::::::::::::::::::
IN THE BEGINNING... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The stars of new Kings and Emperors are rising in Europe. New opportunities abound for the ambitious man. There are reputations to be made, fortunes to be won, beautiful women to wed, and with royal favor you may even gain a patent of nobility. "Duke of the Realm" has a fine sound to it, does it not? These are days when glorious careers can come from a humble start.
To begin your adventure, load the game (see your "Captain's Broadsheet" for specific instructions, including troubleshooting instructions if you have trouble loading). To make a choice, move the pointer on the screen (using your joystick, mouse, or keyboard cursor keys, as appropriate) to highlight the option you prefer. To select the highlighted option, press the joystick trigger. You need not wait for the "Press to Continue" message. A WORD ABOUT YOUR GOALS - From a humble start, you are seeking to make your fortune in the West Indies so that you can retire to a life of wealth, ease, and high status. The quality of your retirement is a sum of your personal fortune, your rank, your lands, your reputation, the wife you marry (if any), and whatever especially pleasing events befall you during the course of your adventures.
After any voyage, when you return to port and divide up the plunder, you can then retire. If your health permits, you can leave retirement and take up adventuring again, should you wish to try for more. As you learn the game make a few "trial retirements" to understand this. See "Your Career on the High Seas" for more information about your retirement and future happiness.
You can save a retired character in a "Hall of Fame". You must have a properly formatted save-game disk for this. Use the save-game routine (available at any port under check information) to format a disk. See your "Captain's Broadsheet" for more information on saving games.
INITIAL OPPORTUNITIES - A new player should select START A NEW CAREER.
Start a New Career begins a complete adventure, from your first arrival in the New World to your well-earned retirement. This is the "standard" game, and can continue for quite some time.
Continue a Saved Game allows you to resume any game in progress. Do not insert the save-game disk until instructed on screen. See the "Captain's Broadsheet" for how to create and use a 'saved game' disk.
Command a Famous Expedition is a "short game" where you command just one expedition. These expeditions are usually large, but end whenever you divide the plunder. Famous expeditions are not for a novice - doing as well as the historical model can be a very challenging task.
FAMOUS EXPEDITIONS - Battle of San Juan de Ulua The Silver Train Ambush (John Hawkins, 1569) (Francis Drake, 1573)
The Treasure Fleet The Sack of Maracaibo (Piet Heym, 1628) (L'Ollonais, 1666)
The King's Pirate The Last Expedition (Henry Morgan, 1671) (Baron de Pointis, 1697)
A new player should try a career rather than a famous expedition. Each expedition is a short, self-contained adventure that ends when you divide up the loot. In reality these expeditions were commanded by an experienced, skillful leader. To do well, you also should be an experienced leader.
John Hawkins, 1569: This is a fairly difficult situation. You have a large, powerful squadron, but are in a totally Spanish Caribbean. The only friendly ports are tiny anchorages. In reality, Hawkins tried to be a peaceful trader (sometimes at gunpoint - a most peculiar combination), and failed. See Famous Expeditions for additional background information.
Francis Drake, 1573: This is a very difficult situation. Like Hawkins, you are faced with a completely Spanish Caribbean, but now you have a small force. In reality, after a few false starts, Drake's boldness and bravery made him successful. See Famous Expeditions for additional background information.
Piet Heyn, 1628: This is a fairly easy situation. You have a balanced task force, and are admirably positioned to intercept Spanish treasure galleons off the Havana or in the Florida Channel. Equalling Heyn's feat of ambushing the entire Treasure Fleet will take a combination of good luck and persistence at the right place and time. See Famous Expeditions for additional background information.
L'Ollonais, 1666: This is a fairly easy situation. You have many potentially friendly bases and militarily weak Spaniards. However, duplicating L'Ollonais' achievement of conquering and plundering the entire Maracaibo region may prove taxing. See Famous Expeditions for additional background information.
Henry Morgan, 1671: This is a very easy situation. You have overwhelming forces, various friendly bases, and an enemy already weakened by earlier raids. Morgan captured Puerto Bello and sacked Panama. With any luck, so can you. See Famous Expeditions for additional background information.
Baron de Pointis, 1697: This is another very easy situation. You have powerful forces, while the Spanish are at their lowest militarily. Duplicating de Pointis' capture and sack of Cartagena isn't too difficult. See Famous Expeditions for additional background information.
SELECTING AN HISTORICAL TIME PERIOD - The Silver Empire (1560) Merchants and Smugglers (1600) The New Colonists (1620) War for Profit (1640) The Buccaneer Heroes (1660) Pirates' Sunset (1680)
A new player should answer No, Thanks. This automatically gives you the most advantageous era for piracy: The Buccaneer Heroes (1660).
The Caribbean and the Spanish Main were a changing environment as military and economic power waxed and waned, new colonies appeared and old cities declined. The region gradually changed from total Spanish dominion in the 1560s, to a wild frontier for European colonization, and eventually to a cosmopolitan nexus in a new global economy.
The Silver Empire (1560): In this era the Spanish Empire is at its peak. all the colonies (with one lonesome exception) are Spanish, all the major ports and trade are controlled by Spain. However, Spain's gains have been so great other Europeans are attracted to steal and plunder whatever Spain cannot protect. Because of Spains great power, this is an extremely challenging era, and should not be attempted by novices. See THE SILVER EMPIRE (1560 - 1600) for more information.
Merchants & Smugglers (1600): This era is very similar to The Silver Empire, but Spain is slightly weaker. A few abortive non-Spanish colonial ventures have begun, but the Caribbean remains essentially Spanish. Another change is the predominance of the Dutch smuggling trade. Like the 1560s, this era should not be attempted by novices. See MERCHANTS & SMUGGLERS (1600 - 1620) for more information.
The New Colonists (1620): This era sees the first successful colonies founded by the enemies of Spain, while Spanish power continues to decline. With these colonies prospects for piracy and privateering are improved. Life is fairly challenging for would-be pirates and privateers. See THE NEW COLONISTS (1620 - 1640) for more information.
War for Profit (1640): This era is the heyday for small, independent buccaneers. The Spanish military and economy are at their nadir, while new European colonies are blooming throughout the Antillies. This period is a golden age (literally!) for the independent and resourceful man. It is an enjoyable era for players of al skill levels. See WAR FOR PROFIT (1640 - 1660) for more information.
The Buccaneer Heroes (1660): These decades are the peak of swashbuckling adventure in the Caribbean. Spanish wealth is reappearing, but Imperial military power remains a joke. European colonies and ports abound, fortune-hunting sailors crowd the taverns, searching for lucky Captains. This classic age makes piracy a pleasure for players of every skill level. See THE BUCCANEER HEROES (1660 - 1680) for more information.
Pirates' Sunset (1680): This era is the last for Caribbean pirate adventuring. European nations now take seriously events in the Caribbean. Navy warships are on patrol, Letters of Marque are harder to find, governors are less tolerant. Enjoy this era while you can, for it is the end of an age. This period is somewhat tough for novices but interesting and challenging for all others. See PIRATES' SUNSET (1680 - 1700) for more information.
SELECTING A NATIONALITY - English Buccaneer French Buccaneer Dutch Adventurer Spanish Renegade
A new player should select English Buccaneer. Specific roles available vary from period to period (no Dutch role is available in 1560). The role you choose determines where you start, what ship(s) you have, the size of your crew, your initial wealth and reputation, etc. Your initial nationality does not require you to support that nation (many of France's admirals in the Caribbean during the 1680s were Dutch buccaneers!). Your acts speak for you: if you deeds please a nation, a governor may reward you. If you anger a nation, a governor can order his harbor forts to fire on you!
English is often a useful nationality. This nation supports privateers into the 16th Century, and just as generously supported private colonization ventures in the next Century.
French is the second classic Nationality for pirates. Although this nation provides less support to its sons overseas, it also gives them more independence and more freedom of action. Furthermore, the growing 17th Century French colonies on Western Hispaniola and Tortuga are ideal pirate bass.
Dutch is an exciting and different nationality. Except in the 1620s, the Dutch sailed as traders to the Caribbean, not as warriors. Of course, once in the Caribbean, more than a few supplemented their trading with more violent and profitable pursuits. As a rule, Dutch traders tried to stay on the good side of the French and English, although this was not always possible.
Spanish is the most challenging nationality. As a Spanish renegade you start in a weak position, although in 1680 you can play the interesting role of Costa Guarda - the Spanish Caribbean coast guard who often acted liked pirates themselves! In either event, Spanish origin is a pleasant change and refreshing challenge.
Your Name - Type in any name you wish, but you are limited to nine characters. Press the 'Return' key to finish your entry. DIFFICULTY LEVEL - Apprentice Journeyman Adventurer Swashbuckler
A new player should choose Apprentice. This gives you the easiest and most helpful environment for learning.
Apprentice gives the player maximum "aid" from expert subordinate officers on board the ship. This makes play easier, but whenever the party's loot is divided, all these experts take rather large shares, leaving little for you.
Journeyman is moderately easy. The player's subordinates are less expert (although still quite good), but your share of the loot is larger.
Adventurer is moderately difficult. Your subordinates are mediocre, but your share of the loot is very good.
Swashbuckler is extremely difficult. Your subordinates are 'drunken gutter swine' of precious little value. Of course, your share of the loot is the largest possible.
SPECIAL ABILITIES - Skill at Fencing Skill at Navigation Skill at Gunnery Wit and Charm Skill at Medicine
New players may select what they please. Apprentice difficulty level insures that all activities are fairly easy.
Skill at Fencing gives you well-trained reflexes that make enemy actions and reactions seem sluggish by comparison.
Skill at Navigation make travel on the high seas faster and easier.
Skill at Gunnery aids you during naval battles, making your broadsides more likely to land on-target.
Wit and Charm is useful when dealing with governors and others of high station.
Skill at Medicine helps you preserve your good health longer, and to suffer less from injuries. As a result, your career can last longer.
YOUR STARTING TALE: TREASURE FLEETS & SILVER TRAINS -
As your early life unfolds, you are asked for a crucial piece of information: when the Spanish Treasure Fleet or Silver Train arrives at a particular city. The itinerary varies from year to year. The itineraries appear in chronological order later in this document. Be sure you have the correct year, and don't mistake the Treasure Fleet for the Silver Train, or vice versa. If you answer the question correctly, then events will unfold to your advantage. If you answer incorrectly, you are warned about an unpromising start. Heed the advice and start over, otherwise you'll find your situation most bleak.
Spain & Peru: At times the Treasure Fleet is not in the Caribbean, but in Seville, Spain, preparing for another journey. similarly, at times the Silver Train is not in the Caribbean, but in Peru, loading silver and gold there. In both cases it is inaccessible to you. You'll have to wait until it reappears in the Caribbean area.
HISTORICAL FOOTNOTES - From the 1530s onward, Spanish ships suffered from privateers and outright piracy, not only in the West Indies, but also in the Atlantic. Spain's solution adopted informally in the 1560s, was to "convoy" ships together in one powerful fleet.
Each year the fleet ("flota") sailed from Seville in Spain, carrying passengers, troops, and European trade goods to the Spanish colonies of the new world. However, its principal purpose was returning silver from the mines in New Spain (Mexico) and Potosi (Peru) to the Spanish government in Europe. This vast wealth made the returning fleet a tempting target. Privateer and pirate ships frequently followed it, hoping to pick off stragglers. This was a dangerous business, since a well-handled war galleon could (and sometimes did) turn the tables and capture a pirate! Similarly, the mule train roads along the coast of Terra Firma (South America) moved silver and other goods toward the major ports of Cartagena, Nombre de Dios, and Puerto Bello. These trains carried produce and specie destined to be loaded aboard the treasure fleet.
(1560) THE TREASURE FLEET THE SILVER TRAIN ------------------ ----------------
Cumana - Early October Cumana - Early April Puerto Cabello - Late October Borburata - Late April Maricaibo - Early November Puerto Cabello - Early May Rio de la Hacha - Late November Coro - Late May Nombre de Dios - Early December Gibraltar - Early June Cartagena - Late December Maracaibo - Late June Campeche - Late January Rio de la Hacha - Early July Vera Cruz - Early February Santa Marta - Late July Havana - Early March Cartagena - Early August Santiago - Late March Panama - Late August Florida Channel - Late April Nombre de Dios - Early October
(1600) Cumana - Early October St. Thome - Early April Caracas - Late October Cumana - Late April Maracaibo - Early November Caracas - Early May Rio de la Hacha - Late November Pureto Cabello - Late May Santa Marta - Early December Coro - Early June Puerto Bello - Late December Gibraltar - Late June Cartagena - Early January Maracaibo - Early July Campeche - Early February Rio de la Hacha - Late July Vera Cruz - Late February Santa Marta - Early August Havana - Late March Cartagena - Late August Florida Channel - Late April Panama - Early September Puerto Bello - Late October
(1620) Caracas - Early September St. Thome - Early March Maracaibo - Late September Cumana - Late March Rio de la Hacha - Early October Caracas - Early April Santa Marta - Late October Puerto Cabello - Late April Puerto Bello - Early November Gibraltar - Early May Cartagena - Early December Maracaibo - Late May Campeche - Early January Rio de la Hacha - Early June Vera Cruz - Late January Santa Marta - Late June Havana - Late February Cartagena - Early July Florida Channel - Late March Panama - Late July Puerto Bello - Early September
(1640) Caracas - Early October Cumana -Early April Maracaibo - Late October Caracas - Late April Rio de la Hacha - Early November Gibraltar - Early May Santa Marta - Late November Maracaibo - Late May Puerto Bello - Early December Rio de la Hacha - Early June Cartagena - Early January Santa Marta - Early July Campeche - Early February Cartagena - Late July Vera Cruz - Late February Panama - Late August Havana - Late March Puerto Bello - Early October Florida Channel - Late April
(1660) Caracas - Early September Cumana - Early March Maracaibo - late September Caracas - Late March Rio de la Hacha - Early October Gibraltar - Early April Santa Marta - Late October Maracaibo - Late April Puerto Bello - Early November Rio de la Hacha - Early May Cartagena - Early December Santa Marta - Early June Campeche - Early January Cartagena - Late June Vera Cruz - Late January Panama - Late July Havana - Late February Puerto Bello - Early September Florida Channel - Late March
(1680) Caracas - Early October Cumana - Early April Rio de la Hacha - Late October Caracas - Late April Santa Marta - Early November Maracaibo - Late May Puerto Bello - Late November Rio de la Hacha - Late June Cartagena - Late December Santa Marta - Early July Campeche - Late January Cartagena - Late July Vera Cruz - Early February Panama - Late August Havana - Early March Puerto Bello - Early October Florida Channel - Late April
FENCING & SWORDPLAY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Early Modern Europe was a willful and violent age. You discouraged thieves, righted injustice, protected your family, and maintained your honor with a sword. Whether challenged to a duel, or fighting your way through a tavern brawl, skill with cold steel was simple survival. BASICS OF CONTROL - The descriptions here assume you are using a joystick (stick). If not, see the "Captains Broadsheet" for your equivalent controls.
You are on the right side of the battle scene, your opponent is on the left.
To Attack, push the stick left, toward the enemy. Push high for a high attack, horizontal for a mid-level attack, low for a low attack. Hold the trigger before and during the attack for a slower but more powerful slashing attack.
To Parry, do not push left or right. Just push up to parry high attacks, leave centered to parry mid-level attacks, and push down to parry low attacks.
To Retreat, push the stick right, away from the enemy. You parry while retreating, and like normal parries, these can be high, mid-level, or low, depending on stick position.
To Pause, press the pause key. To resume fencing, press it again.
Attack High Parry High Parry High (slash w/trigger) and retreat \ | / \ | / Attack mid-level \ | / Parry mid-level (slash w/trigger) ------ Parry ------ and retreat / mid-level \ / | \ / | \ / | \ Attack Low Parry Low Parry low (slash w/trigger) and retreat
CHOOSING YOUR WEAPON - Three types of swords are available: rapier, cutlass and longsword. For all three weapons, a slash is twice as effective as a normal attack, should it hit. Of course, slashes take longer to execute. Your opponent also has different weapons. The color of your opponent's shirt indicates the weapon he carries.
The rapier is a long, thin, flexible weapon with a sharp point. It can be maneuvered easily and thrust into a target with accuracy. It has a longer reach than any other weapon, but its strikes do the least damage (that is, you must hit more often to defeat the enemy).
The cutlass is a short, heavy, curved cleaver with a mean edge but short reach. Cutlass hits can be devastating (twice as damaging as a rapier) making it a popular weapon among untutored fighters.
The longsword is a classic weapon of medium length (longer than a cutlass, shorter than a rapier). Its attacks do more than a rapier, but less than a cutlass.
THE PRINCIPLES OF FENCING - Combinations: Like all active men of your time, you are a trained swordsman. Attacking and defensive movements, including wrist, arm, body, and footwork are as automatic as throwing or kicking a ball. Put together, these motions form "combinations" that allow you to attack, parry, or retreat in various ways. Each combination takes one to two seconds to execute.
In battle, victory depends on selecting the best combination. If you recognize an attacking combination fast enough, you can block it with a defensive combination, or counterattack with a combination that exploits his attack.
A "hit" occurs whenever an attack connects. You'll see a flash and a hint of blood when you hit. Each hit weakens your enemy and demoralizes his followers.
Retreat from battle is easy. Just select retreat combinations until you move off the screen. This ends the battle. Of course, you lose whatever you were fighting over and your reputation suffers. On the other hand, when facing a skillful enemy, retreat is often better than defeat!
Panic & Surrender occurs whenever a leader in "panic" is hit. It also occurs in large battles when a leader's forcer are reduced to just one man, and then he is hit. Striking a man who surrendered is an unchivalrous deed that may inspire him to rise and fight on.
Novices are advised to select a cutlass and just keep attacking, high, low, and middle, relying on the large damage done with each hit. However, if you'd like to defend yourself with some parry combinations, a weapon with more reach, such as a longsword or rapier, is recommended.
COMBINATIONS - Each combination is different swordfighting maneuver in combat. As a fencer, you select a combination and your body automatically makes the appropriate moves.
All attacking combinations include forward-moving footwork. Therefore, to advance against your opponent, select an attacking combination. Similarly, all retreating combinations cause you to back away from your opponent.
Slashing High takes the longest period of time to execute, but has an extra- long reach. If it hits, this combination does twice the damage of a normal attack.
Slashing Mid-Level is a faster slash, but slower than normal attacks and parries. If it hits, this combination does double the damage of a normal attack.
Slashing Low is the fastest slash, but has a slightly shorter reach. If it hits, this combination does twice as much damage as a normal attack.
Attacking High is a moderately fast attack that exploits the point rather than the edge of a weapon. It has a longer reach than mid-level or low attacks and slashes. If it hits, this combination does half as much damage as a slash.
Attacking Mid-Level is the second-fastest attack. It also emphasizes the point, rather than the edge. Therefore, if it hits this combination only does half as much damage as a slash.
Attacking Low is the fastest attack, but has a slightly shorter reach than normal. Like high and mid-level attacks, it uses the point. Therefore, if it hits this combination only does half as much damage as a slash.
Parrying High counters any high combination, attack or slash. As high attacks are slower developing than mid-level or low, defensive fighters rarely stand "on guard" in a high parry.
Parrying Mid-Level counters any mid-level combination, attack or slash. This is a classic "on guard" position to which many swordsmen return. A fencer can move from this position to any other position very quickly.
Parrying Low counters any low combination, attack or slash. Experienced swordsmen periodically stand "on guard" in a low parry, since low attacks can develop very quickly.
High Parry & Retreat combines the standard high parry with backpedal foot movements that move you away from your opponent.
Mid-Level Parry & Retreat combines the standard mid-level parry with backpedal foot movements that move you away from your opponent.
Low Parry & Retreat combines the standard low parry with backpedal foot movements that move you away from your opponent.
LEADERSHIP IN BATTLE - Only a few of your battles are man-to-man duels. Most of the time you are leading your stalwart crew against the enemy. As you duel the enemy leader, your crewmen are also fighting.
Morale: Your hits against the enemy leader, and his against you, change the morale of each side in battle. Morale levels run from WILD! (the best) downward through STRONG, FIRM, ANGRY, SHAKEN and finally PANIC.
Number of Men: As you fight, a battle rages around you. The rate each side suffers casualties depends on their strength and their morale. If morale is fairly equal, a force with superior numbers will inflict more casualties. However, an inferior force that has high morale can avoid casualties and inflict serious losses on a larger force with very low morale. Therefore, morale can be more important than numerical comparisons.
Retreat & Surrender: You can lead your men into a retreat from battle by retreating yourself. Surrender occurs when you inflict sufficient hits on an enemy leader in "panic" or when you've reduced the enemy to just one remaining man and then hit the leader (regardless of morale). Of course, the same could happen to you.
THE MEMOIRS OF CAPT'N SYDNEY - Many a buccaneer captain is nothin' but a big bully. Unschooled in fencing, he'd carry a sharp cutlass and swing away, knowing that a spine-splittin slash do'd more than a half dozen rapier thrusts. I hear Blackbeard himself, who always used a cutlass, was run through several score times by a rapier before he fell. He'd not lasted so long with a cutlass in his gizzard, mate!
Well, I'm no fencing master, but I had some schoolin' in the art of cold steel. I'd use a cutlass to terrify poor, inept merchant Captains, slashin 'em up and chopin' 'em down quick as a slipped anchor. 'Gainst most opponents I preferred me longsword. Toledo steel it was, with a fine balance and nice edge. In a serious fight I'd not slash much, since it slowed me down and exposed me too long. Now I know rapiers are all the rage now, and their extra reach is right handy. But it takes too bless'd long to do in the opposition with an overgrown pin!
Now if'n I 'twas leadin' my men 'gainst greater numbers, me tactics did change. I remember bein' boarded by a war galleon commanded by an Admiral or Count or somethin'. Long fancy name, he had. sure to be a good fencer, I thought, and he was. But outnumbered as we were, I had ta' strike quick like, get the battle goin' our way, or me mates would've been slaughtered up right quick.
So I's grabbed a cutlass and charged that Don, howlin' like a demon. I shrugged off a couple rapier pricks and got right in eye-to-eye, slashin' at 'is legs. That took some stuffin' out of him right quick! With them papists all shaken and panicy like, it didna' take long to polish 'em off.
HISTORICAL FOOTNOTES - The Common Man as Warrior: In this turbulent time there were more clergymen than sheriffs! A man protected his own property and person against thieves and banditry, since the kingdom often could not. It was the rare man who went without some weapon. Noblemen settled disputes "quietly" in duels, rather than through open warfare (a medieval practice the Crown frowned upon). Commoners used staves, clubs, crude spears, large knives and such. Where available, the heavy cutlass was an ideal weapon for a stout but untutored fighter.
The Colonial Frontier: Life in the colonies was even more unruly than the homeland. This was This was especially true of the English and French colonies, largely populated with convicts, fortune hunters, deadbeats, religious fanatics, and other people the homeland was happy to see off. Furthermore, in the colonies the landholder might be absent or nonexistent. In Europe every square inch of land was part of some nobleman's demise, and he or his family usually lived just up the road, ready to enforce ancient feudal custom and law.
Firearms existed in this era, but were still newfangled weapons of slow speed and dubious reliability. Throughout the 1500s firearms were fired with a slow-burning match. Reloading was a long, laborious process that required two minutes or more, complicated by the need to handle loose gunpowder while you held a lighted match! The flintlock and trigger (invented in 1615 in France) was used by hunters, sportsmen, and probably buccaneers by 1630. However, it was not reliable enough for military use until 1670. In battle you might carry a loaded pistol or three, but you relied upon your sword, not your guns. Note that the musketeers of Dumas' Three Musketeers (based on events in the 1620s) generally used their swords, despite being members of the most elite firearms unit in the entire French army!
TRAVELLING THE CARIBBEAN ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Caribbean is a wide, warm, and pleasant sea. Idyllic tropical islands and lush jungled shores contain in its steady currents. Stretching over three thousand miles, the water is a broad highway between mainland ports, island towns and hidden anchorages.
Continue Travels Party Status Personal Status Ship's Log Maps Cities Take Sun Sight Search Save Game
You can see information about your situation by selecting CHECK INFORMATION while in town, or by pressing the joystick trigger, mouse button, or return key (depending on your computer) while travelling around the Caribbean.
Continue Travels returns you to your previous activity.
Party Status shows what your group owns and the attitude of your men (happy, pleased, unhappy, or angry). Beware of mutiny if the men remain angry too long. Expect defections if you run out of food.
Personal Status shows your standing with each nation, and personal details about your age, health, wealth and reputation. If your health is poor, you will be forced to retire soon.
Ship's Log recaps your activities and travels, with notes about special information you found. If you're confused about recent events, consult your log. Maps is a file of all your map fragments to buried treasures and other hidden locations. Initially you have none. You'll find that all maps have the objective (buried treasure, hidden plantation, etc.) in the center. Unfortunately, it's a secret map, so parts may be missing. Once you follow a map to the spot where you think the object is to be found, you must spend time SEARCHING for the object (see SEARCH option, below).
Cities provide all available information about the various towns and cities in the Caribbean. Just point to a name and press the joystick trigger, mouse button or return key (as appropriate) to see more information. If an important event (such as a pirate attack or a new governor) radically changes information about a town you'll find "no information available" until you either visit the town or purchase new information from a traveller in a tavern.
Take a Sun Sight allows you to spend the day plotting your position with the astrolabe. An explanation of this technique is found later on in this document.
Search means you'll spend a day searching for treasure or other hidden things at your present location. If you're in the right spot, and have the appropriate map fragment, you'll find what's there. Without a map fragment you always find nothing. This option is not available if you are at sea or in a town.
Save Game allows you to save the game in progress. This option is available only if you are in a town.
GETTING AROUND TOWN - Visit the Governor Visit a Tavern Trade with a Merchant Divide up the Plunder Check Information Leave Town
Visit the Governor: A visit to the governor's mansion may be useful. He can tell you with whom his nation wars and allies. He may make special offers or awards. With luck and sufficient prestige, you may meet his daughter. However, the governor does not spend much time entertaining coarse sea dogs like you. Once you have visited the governor of a town, don't expect to gain admittance again soon.
Visit a Tavern: Taverns are a place where you can recruit additional men for your crew, hear the news, purchase detailed information from travellers, and perhaps meet new and interesting people. You can visit a tavern again and again, drowning your sorrows in drink while time passes. however, you'll notice that new crewmen aren't interested in signing up with an old sot.
Trade with a Merchant: This option is explained in more detail below.
Divide up the Plunder: As Captain, you get a fixed percentage of the party's wealth (the percentage varies with difficulty level). The remainder is divided among the crew. Furthermore, not only is the plunder divided, but also the ships, stores, goods and cannon on them. The crew always disperses with their newfound wealth, leaving you with just your flagship and its share of the provisions and armament. After refitting your ship (which takes a few months) you'll have to rebuild your band from scratch.
Check Information: This shows information about you, your party, and the current situation (see the preceding subsection for details).
Leave Town: Your party departs from the town, ready to either set sail or march away overland, as you prefer.
TRADING WITH MERCHANTS - The merchants in a town can buy and sell food, European goods, and the current export crop (hides, tobacco, or sugar, depending on the era). They can repair or buy ships and cannon, but almost never have any for sale.
To buy or sell any item, move the pointer up or down to select the line with the proper item. Then move the pointer left to move items onto your ship (the appropriate amount of gold is automatically given to the merchant). Move the pointer right to sell items to th merchant (the appropriate amount of gold id automatically moved from the merchant to you). When items are bought and sold, the amount of space left in your hold is also adjusted automatically.
In addition, if you have more than one ship, you can sell the extras. If you have any damaged ships, you can pay for their repair. I If you sell too many ships, you may start trading with negative space in your hold (more cargo than room). In this case you must sell at least enough items to bring the space up to zero.
TRAVEL BY SEA - When travelling your party moves over the land and seas of the Caribbean. See your "Captain's Broadsheet" for a detailed description of the controls.
Set Sail: If you ship is on the coastline and your party of men is touching it, you can set sail. Use the Set Sail control to select one of the eight possible directions to set sail.
Sailing: Once you have set sail,, controls change. You will remain on course if you do not change the controls. In addition, you can turn right (starboard) or turn left (port) as you desire, like a real ship.
Speed: The speed of a ship depends on how the wind blows against it. Travelling directly into the wind is always slowest. Travelling with wind coming diagonally from the rear is generally the fastest. Each type of ship has a different "point of sailing" (the wind position at which the ship develops maximum speed). What with shifting winds and periodic storms, sailing requires more than a little judgement and skill.
If you have a fleet of many ships, the entire fleet travels at the speed of the single largest ship.
Pause: To pause your travels (to deal with the minor details of life outside the Spanish Main) press the Pause key. To resume, press it again.
Weather: The clouds travelling overhead indicate the direction of the wind, which varies significantly. Clouds are storm fronts that provide strong, fast wind if you are near, but may trap our ship if you sail too close.
Shoals & Reefs: You can see where the sea breaks across shallow reefs and shoals. If you pass over these, one of your ships could lose its bottom. Pinnaces and sloops have a very shallow draft, allowing them to sail across the hazards without risk.
Anchoring: You can only anchor in shallow, coastal water. Do this by sailing directly up to the coast. The ship automatically stops and your crew disembarks. If you anchor at a town, you have special choices (see Arriving at a Town, below).
Getting Information: Press the Get Information key to temporarily pause your travels and get information (see INFORMATION, earlier in this document).
Minimum Crew: It takes at least eight (8) men to sail a ship. If you have fewer than eight men per ship, your men will abandon one.
OVERLAND TRAVEL - When your party is on land, you can move in eight directions. See your "Captain's Broadsheet" for details on controls. Of course, the land is mostly trackless jungle, swamps and mountains, making overland movement very slow.
When moving on land your party can carry only as much as you can fit into your ships.
ARRIVING AT A TOWN - Sail into Harbor Attack Town Sneak into Town Leave Town
Sail into Harbor means that your ships sail peacefully up to the quays. This option is available only if you arrive at the town by sea. If the town is guarded by a fort, the fort may open fire on your ships if that nation is hostile. If the nation is wary, the fort generally will not fire unless the governor personally dislikes you.
March into Town means that your entire party walks into town openly and peacefully. This option is available only if you arrive by overland travel.
Attack Town has different effects, depending on whether you arrive by land or by sea.
If by land, you will attack the town overland. If the town has a fort with a large enough (and brave enough!) garrison, they may sally out and meet you outside in a land battle outside of town (see PIKE & SHOT, later in this document). Other times the troops may sit in the fortress or town, forcing you to lead your men against them in close-quarters hand to hand combat (see FENCING & SWORDPLAY).
If by Sea, you flagship will have to fight a naval battle against the fort (see BROADSIDES, later in this document for details). Your goal is to sail your ship to the shore near the fort, so you men can land and storm the seaward side of the fortress (see FENCING & SWORDPLAY). Naturally, this is rather dangerous, what with the fort's guns firing at you!
Sneak into Town means that you hide your ships in a nearby cove and creep into the back streets at night with a few trusted men. If you are afraid of fire from the forts, this is an excellent way to get inside and do some quiet business. However, if your reputation is large, you may be recognized and attacked. If that happens, you must fight your way out of town, or be captured and imprisoned.
When you sneak into town, the need to keep your identity secret prevents you from recruiting men in a tavern. In addition, the party's loot is left behind in the ship, preventing you from dividing the plunder.
Leave Town returns you to travelling about the Caribbean.
TAKE A SUN SIGHT & FIND YOUR POSITION - "Shooting the sun" with an astrolabe is a technique for finding your latitude. A latitude scale appears on the side of your map of the Caribbean for easy reference.
Controlling the Astrolabe: See the "Captain's Broadsheet" for information on how to control the Astrolabe. It can be moved left or right, and it's platform can be moved up or down.
Using the Astrolabe: your goal is to move the astrolabe beneath the sun and raise the platform so it just touches the bottom of the sun. To get an accurate reading, you must do this at noon (when the sun reaches its highest point). Many Captains take multiple sunsights during a day, to insure they get a good noon sighting.
Note that cloudy weather makes sun sightings difficult.
Dead Reckoning Longitude: Longitude (east-west position) can be found only through dead reckoning. If you're an apprentice captian, your expert sailing master provides a dead- reckoning estimate. Otherwise, you must make your own guess, based on how fast you've been travelling east or west.
THE MEMOIRS OF CAPT'N SYDNEY - On me first voyage, sailing as a 'prentice, al seemd easy. I'd just order the course and we'd sail there. If'n I was uncertain about our position, we'd take a sun sight, d'ye see, and the sailing master'd reckon out Longitude nice as you please. But come time to divide the plunder, and I found my officers were getting three pieces o' eight to my one. No profit in that, thinks I, and go 'venturing next time with fewer officers.
Well, it took me a bit o' times to learn better those chores that'd come so easy before. But 'twas all worth it, the time I sailed from Port Royale to Curacao, sou' by sou'east, and made a dead perfect landfall! But bi'god a long tack to windward, to the Caribbees say, 'twas always a tiresome bit. After we'd got Providence isle back from the Dons,...oh, Santa Catalina they call it now?...anyway, that harbor made a nice place to divide the loot and sell off those slow prizes. I'd just hold onto me handy sloop. A quick refit we'd be off upwind to Barbados, see, with not one square-rigger to slow us down!
And I got right sneaky about getting what I wanted at ports. As any sailor knows, any ol' anchorage'd do for repairs; but to move plundered sugar and goods, my favorite device 'twas sailing to some big, wealth port, then sneak in to talk trade with the merchants. Spaniards weren't much for this in the rich towns, but narry an Englishman, Frenchman, or Dutchman lived who'd not do business wi' honest Capt'n Sydney! Let 'em sense a profit, and they'd be at yer rail and hand what the gov'ner thought!
And mate, I remember those times I'd visit the gov'ner hi'self. Got the true lowdown on war and allies and the like, sometimes even a dinner, or a nice rank if'n he liked me. Aye, and his ugly daughter, all religious like...she'd all be fawnin' on me, happy to tell every little secret in her blessed little heart. Well, I'd a more sense than marryin' the dear, let me tell ye!
Ah, well, then I got famous, and had ta' stop al this sneakin' bout. I was too well known. If the gov'ner took a dislike ta' me face, one step into town and guards'd be swarming. Price of success, mate, took half the pleasure out of life.
GEOGRAPHICAL FOOTNOTES - Weather Patterns: The Caribbean is a warm ocean. The water surrounding the islands stays a constant 77 degrees F. This steady sea temperature maintains a pleasant climate on the surrounding land, although weather and elevation cause notable variations. The most extended period of bad weather occurs in the summer and fall, from June to November, with hurricanes not uncommon in the later part of this season.
In all seasons, the prevailing winds are trade winds coming from the east. Of course, local, temporary variations are not uncommon.
Channels & Passages: The classic sailing pattern in the Caribbean was to enter through the Caribbee Islands (Lesser Antilles), put into ports along the Spanish Main (the coastline of Terra Firma), swing northward into the Yucatan Channel northward to catch the North Atlantic prevailing westerlies back to Europe. Along this route the Florida Channel was the point of maximum danger. Unwary captains could be driven upon the Florida coast, or tack too far upwind and become lost in the treacherous Bahama shoals.
BROADSIDES: THE TACTICS OF SEA BATTLE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ENCOUNTERS AT SEA - Sail Ho! Your first sighting of an enemy ship is its sails and masts coming over the horizon. Continuing your voyage is a nearly foolproof way to evade any encounter. Investigating the sail means you automatically close on the other ship.
Ship in View: If you investigated the sail, you'll now see the whole ship. If you sail away now, you may evade contact, but maybe not. Instead you can continue investigating, which closes the range further, allowing you to determine the ship's nationality.
See Her Colors: After the other ship hoists its colors, you can try to sail away peacefully, come alongside and talk over the latest news, or attack her. If the ship is a pirate or pirate-hunter, it may recognize you and attack, regardless of your choice.
Select Your Flagship: if a battle occurs and you have more than one ship, you can select which will be your flagship. The ship you select fights the battle. In the example ========================================== to the left, you have four ships in "We have 44 men and 10 cannon ready for | your fleet: a merchantman, two battle. Winds are light. Which ship will | sloops (one damaged), and a you command?" | pinnace. Any one of these can be Merchantman | your flagship. Consider your choice Sloop | carefully, since the type of ship Sloop (damgd) | you're sailing can be important in Pinnace | battle. ==========================================
The number of men and guns available for battle is a theoretical figure. If your flagship is small, you'll find the number of men and guns limited by the capacity of the ship. See "A GAZETTEER OF SHIPS" for information about each type of ship. Furthermore, it takes four (4) or your crewmen to man each gun. If your crew is too small, you may have fewer than the maximum number of cannon available.
The ship you select remains your flagship until the next battle.
BATTLE AT SEA - When an encounter leads to battle, the scene changes to a ship-against-ship duel. The color of a ship's hull matches the color of it's name below. See the "Captain's Broadsheet" for specific control information.
Sailing: Maneuvering in battle is similar to travel by sea. You can turn right, turn left, or remain on course.
Change Sails: You can either Set Full Sails for maximum speed in battle, or Reduce to Battle Sails for lower speeds with much less risk of rigging damage. You begin battle with battle sails set.
Fire Broadside: Push the Fire Broadside key to shoot. Your gun captains automatically fire the side of the ship nearest the enemy. Remember, your guns are mounted along the left and right sides of the ship. Therefore, to aim your guns, you must turn the ship so its side faces the enemy.
After a broadside is fired the gun crews reload as fast as possible. Reloading speed depends on morale of your crew. A happy crew loads faster than an unhappy one. Enemy reloading speed depends on the quality of their crew (warships, pirate-hunters, and pirates have better quality crews than peaceful merchantmen and cargo fluyts). Reloading is temporarily halted if you change your sails - the gun crews are needed to aloft to handle the sails.
The effect of gunfire varies with the number of guns firing, and the size of ship hit. For example, an broadside from a 20-gun ship into a galleon may have little effect while the same into a pinnace might leave her a flaming wreck.
Pause: Press the Pause key to halt the action, and again to resume it.
Escape From Battle: To escape from a naval battle, sail away from the enemy. Once the distance between ships is large enough, the battle ends automatically. In addition, in a long action, nightfall may end the fight.
If you escape from battle and the enemy ship is undamaged, you may lose a ship to enemy pursuit. This is only a danger if you have two or more ships.
Grapple & Board: If you sail your ship alongside or into the enemy, the ships automatically grapple for a boarding battle. You must lead your men into the fight. See FENCING & SWORDPLAY, for more information.
PRIZES & PLUNDER - Prizes: When you win a battle at sea, you can either take the enemy ship for your own (send a prize crew), or you can just take its cargo, while burning and sinking the ship itself. After the battle you'll get a report about the enemy ship's armament and capacity, as well as the empty space remaining in the holds of your fleet.
In general, taking a ship prize is useful, since you can sell the ship as well as its cargo at a friendly port. This disadvantages are that a slow- sailing prize will slow down your entire fleet (Spanish galleons and badly damaged ships are especially slow sailers). Furthermore each prize requires eight (8) men to handle it. This means eight fewer men available for battle on your flagship.
For example, if you capture a 100-ton merchantman and you only have 80 tons of space available in your fleet now, and the merchantman is full of cargo, you won't have enough space for everything. On the other hand, it's unlikely the merchantman will be completely full, and she may slow down your fleet considerable. If speed is important to you, perhaps you should sink her.
Plunder: Regardless of whether you take the ship prize or sink her, you must decide what you wish to plunder and call your won, and what you wish to leave behind (throw overboard). You'll automatically take all the gold from the ship. Compared to its value, gold weighs virtually nothing, and therefore doesn't affect your cargo capacity.
Transferring goods to your ship, or throwing things overboard, works just like trading with merchants. To transfer items to your ship, move the pointer up or down until it is on the correct line, then flick it to the left to move things to your ship, or to the right to leave things behind.
AMPHIBIOUS ASSAULTS ON TOWNS - If you sail into a town and select Attack Town, you begin an amphibious assault on that town. In an assault, your flagship must sail up to the fort guarding the town, touching land as close to the fort as possible. If you land too far away, the men will refuse to march and the assault ends in failure. If you land close enough, the men jump ashore and storm into the fort, leading to a fight on he battlements (see FENCING & SWORDPLAY). The number of men participating in the assault is limited to the number that can fit on your flagship.
As in normal sea battles, you can retreat (end the battle) by sailing away.
THE MEMOIRS OF CAPT'N SYDNEY - Captains todays are all lily-livered cowards! In my time, 'twas was the mark of a Captain that he could take a galleon with a pinnace. Aye, I did it meself off Yucatan. 'Twas a laggardly galleon from the Treasure Fleet, beating upwind to Havana. We took the weather guage, danced around her broadsides, gave her a few cannonades into the stern, and boarded 'em. Our firen' had the Dons half demoralized already - I bloody'd 'em some, and the battle was done.
Tis my opinion that yer main choice is the flagship. 'Gainst a fore'n'-aft rig ye need similar, sloop preferred. Otherwise they'll just escape upwind. Taking down fluyts and merchantmen 'tis oft a job for a fore-'n'-aft rig, but it's right dangerous using such 'gainst a frigate or galleon. A couple broadsides and yer swimmin' with wood chips. Besides, in strong winds a square rigger on broad reach outruns a fore-'n'-aft. Suchlike times, I oft take a square-rigger meself, so the swabs don' take a powder and disappear over the horizon.
When I'm engagin', I always rig full sails and get a broadside into 'em quick t' slows 'em down. With all me sail set, I dance 'bout 'em smartly. 'Course, this is right dangerous work, wince I canna' afford to take any fire, elsewise I'll lose plenty of sail and perhaps a mast. I've seen other Capt's just run broadside to broadside under battle sail, poundin' away. Then I'se knows fellows who hardly fire a cannon. They sail up and board directly, trustin' t' cold steel. So 'tis really a matter of temperment, d'ya see?
Me most terrifyin' battle was the time we sailed into Caracas, lookin' to storm fort from seaside. Those two forts mounted 24 cannon. I'd a merchantman for the flag, givin' an even match in firepower. But we was approachin' with the wind on the quarter or towards the bow some. I had me choice of sailing bow in and taking it wi' no chance a' reply, or turning a broadside but falling off downwind. We tride a couple braodsides 'n' knocked out a few guns, but lost a mast. Soon we was a' fallin' off seriously, the hull leakin', and no way back upwind. Befor' we was sunk I put back out to sea, poorer but wiser. 'Twas for the better anyway - the bloomin' fort 'ad me outnumbered!
HISTORICAL FOOTNOTES - LeGrand's Galleon: In 1635, Pierre Le Grand and 28 men were lost somewhere off the west coast of Hispaniola, rudder broken and their pinnace leaking. At dusk they sighted a towering Spanish galleon. They crept up to her in the twilight, keeping under her stern and away from the formidable broadside power of the huge ship. Finally close enough, Le Grand and his men bored holes in their unseaworthy craft and climbed up the Spaniard's stern in a do-or-die assault. They captured the surprised Spanish Captain in his cabin, playing cards. He was sure that a paltry pinnace was no threat to him!
Best Speed: Different ships make their best speed in different directions. Fore-and-aft rigged ships (Pinnace, Sloop, Barque) do best on a broad beam reach, or a beam reach. Square-rigged ships (all others) do best on a broad reach or running broad reach. In light winds smaller ships are often faster, while in strong winds bigger, heavier ships sail faster if the wind is in an advantageous position. See the GAZETTEER OF SHIPS for more information.
The Weather Guage: A ship upwind (closer to the wind source) than another has the "weather guage". With this advantage a ship can run downwind and rapidly attack its opponent, while the enemy must laboriously tack upwind to reach it. The weather guage was especially valuable protecting for smaller ships. Their for-and-aft sails allowed them to sail into the wind faster. These ships often had oars to permit movement directly into the wind. A small ship with the weather guage can tack back and forth across the bow or stern of a much larger ship, firing broadside after broadside with impunity.
PIKE & SHOT: THE TACTICS OF LAND BATTLE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The English, French and Dutch pirates were no fools. They knew that the wealth carried by Spanish ships originally came from Spanish towns. But gaining these riches meant they had to overpower small armies of Spanish regular and militia troops, then storm powerful fortresses.
BATTLE ON LAND - When your party marches overland into a town and selects "Attack the Town", the town's defenders may form a small army, march out, and meet you in open battle. If the defenders are especially cowardly or weak, no land battle occurs - your men storm into the fort or the town's streets.
IMPORTANT: Controlling your forces on land is different from all other activities. Pike & Shot warefare is quite unlike other fighting. Please read the following instructions carefully and see the "Captain's Broadsheet" for details.
Giving Orders: In a land battle your party is divided into two or three groups. You can give orders to each group separately, or give the same order simultaneously to everyone.
The SELECT A GROUP key shifts your control from one group to another. The currently selected group changes color on the map, and their strength and morale appear below. Press again to select another group.
MOVE ALL GROUPS controls move all groups (not just the selected group) in one of eight directions. This is the only way to move your force as a whole.
Pause: Press this key to pause the battle. Press it again to resume the action.
Combat: Your men fight automatically when in range. You do NOT have a "fire" or "attack" control. After all, a band of pirates is hardly a disciplined land army! Your men can fight in two ways. They fire muskets a short distance, or they melee with the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. In melee combat, everyone participates, not just those armed with muskets.
Musket fire occurs when your men are stationary. Each group selects the nearest enemy within range and fires. If no enemy is within range, that group doesn't fire. Remember, your men cannot fire while moving!
Melee Combat occurs whenever your men move directly into an enemy group, or vice versa. You can continue moving while the melee rages. Although your party and most defenders are on foot, some larger Spanish towns field cavalry forces that move fast and are excellent melee fighters on open ground. Cavalry, however, lacks long-range muskets and is hindered greatly in woods.
Visibility: Men in woods and within a town are invisible to the opposition. You'll notice that enemy troups disappear in such situations. When you are in woods or a town, the enemy loses sight of you. Use this to your advantage by hiding a group along the edge of a woods or town, then luring the enemy in range by exposing another group.
Terrain Effects: Woods, town buildings, and marshlands slow down all troops. In addition, woods and buildings provide cover from enemy fire. This means the troops take fewer casualties and cannot be hit at long range. Enemy forces have small coastal boats available, allowing them to sail quickly over water. Your men, however, must wade through the shallows.
Morale: Each group has a separate morale level. Morale ranges from STRONG (the best) to FIRM, ANGRY, SHAKEN, and finally panic (the worst). When a group panics they run away from the enemy, regardless of orders.
Significant casualties will demoralize a group, while a respite from combat restores morale. Troops out of battle recover their morale faster than troops under enemy fire or attack.
The Final Assault: Your goal is to move your men onto the enemy fort. When you do this the open field fighting ends and a swordfight on the ramparts decides whether the enemy surrenders the city, or your attack fails (see FENCING & SWORDPLAY).
Retreat: You can retreat from the battlefield by moving off the edge of the map with all your groups. This ends the attack.
THE MEMOIRS OF CAPT'N SYDNEY - Me best battle was gettin' revenge on Caracas for the beatin' their fort gave me flagship. We went ashore a bit east and marched along the coast. Some Spaniard, gov'ner or some such, rallied their troops and marched to stop us. Well, we split into two groups. The quartermaster and all our best musket-men took cover in the edge of a woods, overlookin' a marsh. Then me with a smaller bunch danced around in a field just beyond the marsh, howlin' and carryin' on.
Thinkin' us weak and stupid, the Spaniards charged toward us. Their cavalry hit the marsh first and blam! They was droppin' like acorns in a storm. In a minuted we'd 'em decimated and panicking back to town. Then we danced and yelled some more and their infantry came up. The Dons stopped in the marsh and returned fire, brave like, but we had the cover, and when me mates came up, we had more muskets too. They tried to close to hand-to-hand, but it 'twas slow goin' in the marsh, and they was droppin' fast.
Well, we keep tradin' lead with those Spaniards 'till they tired of it and started home. Withe a yell we poured out of the trees in hot pursuit. 'Twas a long chase, but we overran 'em in the town just below their fort, cuttin 'em up somethin' fierce. Stormin' the for was child's play then, as they'd hardly a man left for the garrison!
I don' pretend to be a great general. Me and my mates don' know a refused flank from a countermarch. But those Don's fall for ambush like bears to honey. Worked like a charm every time. "Cept the time one of our parties lured them out into the wilderness while the other sneaked to town and stormed the fort whilest they were away! But that, matey, I did right rarely. I always preferred to bury them papists outside the walls, rather than face them hand to hand within their fort. After all, fort stormin' 'twas a right chancy business; belike 'cause the men insisted that I take my place at the head of the stormin' party!
HISTORICAL FOOTNOTES - Pike & Shot Warfare: Land warfare in the 16th and 17th Century saw the supremacy of infantry restored after the long reign of the mounted knight. In Europe the Spanish Tericio was the great military system of the 16th Century, as formidable in its day as the Roman legions. The Tercio was a solid block of pikemen, 16 or more ranks deep. It developed an awesome power charging forward, as well as nearly invincible bristling defense against cavalry. Men with firearms (arquebuses and the heavier muskets) formed loose groups at the corners, giving supported fire and softening the enemy for the pikemen's punch. Bayonets did not exist and a firearm took over two minutes to reload. Therefore, when close action threatened, the musketeers retired behind the pikemen. Spanish Tercios were built f well-drilled, professional soldiers, ready to instantly perform the complex drill evolutions that maneuvered the cumbersome blocks of pike and their supporting musketeers. This military system was widely copied in Europe throughout the 16th and 17th Centuries. As firearms improved, the proportion of musketeers gradually increased.
In the West Indies the slightly faster-firing flintlock musket was popular among privateers and buccaneers decades before regular troops were issued the weapon. The buccaneers had uncommon accuracy and skill with their weapons because they relied on them for hunting ashore. Buccaneer firepower was among the most accurate on earth at the time. Furthermore a risk-all, gain-all attitude made buccaneers ferocious opponents in melee. No wonder many Spaniards ran from the crack-shooting, cutlass-wielding berserkers of Tortuga and Port Royale.
The great weakness of the buccaneers was cavalry. Their firepower was insufficient to stop an organized, disciplined cavalry attack. However, Spanish cavalry in America was an undisciplined militia force of local notables more interested in preserving their wealth than killing pirates. Even in the defense of Panama, where the Spanish had 100 to 200 horsemen, the mounted arm was timid and indecisive, with many desertions before and during the battle.
Drakes Assault on Cartagena, 1586: One late winter afternoon, Francis Drake in his 30-gun galleon flagship Elizabeth Bonaventure led a fleet of ships to Cartagena, fresh from the plundering of Santo Domingo. His ships anchored in the roadstead, outside of the range of the forts. That night, while the Spanish prepared for a naval attack into the harbor, Drake disembarked over 1,000 men onto the harbor large outer peninsula and marched over the sandpit connecting this to the city proper. There his men cut through a fence of poisoned barbs, waded out to sea to avoid the gunfire from Spanish ships anchored in the harbor, and finally charged the 750 defending Spaniards. The hand-to-hand melee swirled back into the city, where the Spanish finally broke and surrendered (or ran). Victorious, Drake's men plundered it all. Eventually the Spanish governor raised 110,000 ducats (a vast fortune) as ransom for Drake's departure. Drake agreed, as he and his supporters preferred money to ownership of a plundered city.
The Defense of Panama, 1671: When Don Juan Perez de Guzman, President of Panama, organized the city's defense against Henry Morgan's buccaneers, his "army" consisted of two companies of Spanish regular infantry (each about 100 men), plus militia companies of Spaniards, mullattoes, free blacks, mestizos, and zamboos (various Spanish-African-Indian racial mixtures) which may have totalled 800 or more. The pure-blooded Spanish militia was largely mounted, carrying pistols and swords, theoretically capable of a battle-winning charge over the open ground north of the city. The remainder served as infantry, many with no weapon better than a crude pike (12' or longer pointed pole). None of these had sufficient military drill to move in the dense, formidable blocks of pikemen that won battles in Europe. Indeed, few had sufficient discipline to withstand more than one or two volleys of musket fire. Curiously, in battle the native Spaniards were the first to flee (many of them departed before the battle started) while the free Blacks were among the most stalwart defenders of the city.
BOOK II LIFE IN THE WEST INDIES :::::::::::::::::::::::
YOUR CAREER ON THE HIGH SEAS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A MERRY CREW "ON ACCOUNT" - Buccaneers and pirates are unique: they were a democratic group, governed by voting, in an age of absolute kings and imperious aristocrats. Among pirates, spoils are divided fairly and equally. The Captain gets extra shares, but only because he takes larger risks. His crew is said to sail "on account" when they are paid by shares of the loot, instead of by wages.
At the Start: Each voyage means a new start for the Captain and crew. you will have one ship, recently cleaned and outfitted, some initial funds from your financial backers (about 10% of the last voyages' profit), and a core of loyal crewmen.
Recruiting Crewmen is done in taverns, and sometimes from captured ships. If you sneak into town you cannot recruit in taverns (recruiting is a very public activity). Recruiting from captured ships is easiest if the capture is a pirate, or a ship with a very large crew.
'On Account': Your crew is not paid wages. Instead, at the end of the voyage, the party's profits are split. Each man will get his fair share. Until the division of ;plunder, the Quartermaster is keeping an 'account' for each man from which are deducted expenses for his clothing, penalties for crimes and misdemeanors, gambling losses, etc. The term 'sailing on account' refers to this complex process of bookkeeping. This approach is also sometimes known as "No Purchase, No Pay"!
As Captain, be careful to distinguish between the entire party's wealth (displayed in Party Status) and your personal wealth (displayed in Personal Status). Certainly your crew knows the difference! During the course of a voyage, the party's wealth is the combined profit of the voyage. It is the property of all and strongly affects crew morale (see below). At the end of the voyage, when you divide up the loot, each man gets his fair share. Only then do you get your share, which appears in your Personal Status money.
Morale: The attitude of the crew varies from HAPPY (the best) to PLEASED, UNHAPPY, and ANGRY (the worst). The more money the party has, the happier they are. The crew attaches little importance to captured ships, goods, and other items. Their eyes are on gold! In addition, the crew is impatient. As the months pass, they want to disband and spend their loot, or (if you don't have much loot) they start thinking about joining some other Captain. The only way to keep them happy is to keep collecting more and more gold. It's difficult to keep the crew pleased for more than a year, and almost impossible to keep them pleased for two years or longer.
When the crew is unhappy or angry, they will start deserting whenever you visit port. If they are angry too long, they mutiny. This means you must fight to remain Captain.
Note that it is easier to keep a small crew happy than a large crew. This is because with a small crew, each man's share is larger, making him a happier fellow! Also note that converting plundered cargo to gold helps keep morale high, especially if you sell at a town with high prices.
Dividing the Plunder: When the cruise ends and you Divide up the Plunder, don't be surprised when the men disperse to enjoy their wealth. Also remember that everything is split fairly, including the ships, cannons and, cargo. As Captain, you retain only your flagship. Therefore, it's advisable to sell everything except your flagship before dividing the plunder.
A fixed percentage of the party's gains go to the officers. Each officer's share is worth a bit over 2%. Therefore an apprentice Captain with two shares gains 5%, a journeyman with four gains 10%, an adventurer with six gains 15%, and a swashbuckler with eight gains 20%. Note that the size of the crew has no effect on the Captain's share. This is to discourage Captains from leading their crews into massacres! In addition, a flat 10% is returned to the patrons and sponsors of the voyage as their profit. Generally, the Captain's financiers will make this money available again as capital for the next voyage.
Shares to the crew are an equal distribution of everything remaining. The size of each crewman's share affects the Captain's reputation. If the shares are large, the Captain's prestige is enhanced. If the shares are small, the Captain's reputation suffers, making it harder for him to recruit new crewmen.
GAINS & GOALS - An Age of New Beginnings: This is an era of privilege. A man of high rank or title lives under different laws than the commoners. More importantly, this is an age of social mobility. Old families with the wrong religious beliefs, incorrect political views or insufficient wealth disappear from the national scene. Even the royal houses change frequently. England's royal family was the House of Tudor to 1603, the House of Stuart to 1649, the Cromwellian Commonwealth to 1660, the House of Stuart again to 1688, and then the House of Orange!
Onto this stage of turmoil and change, a single man of energy and boldness can grasp power and prestige for generations to come. A common seafarer from an undistinguished family, such as Francis Drake, could gain titles of nobility, rank, honors, and immense prestige.
What to Seek? Planning for a happy retirement means seeking as much of everything as possible. Personal wealth is always valuable. Land is also useful - among the nobility, for example, land is considered the measure of a man. As a rule, the more you accomplish at a rink, the more land you receive when you are promoted to the next higher rank. In addition your reputation, your family (including a wife, if any), and your health all contribute to your future happiness.
When to Retire? Roving the seas is an enjoyable and exciting life, but a wise man keeps an eye toward retirement. Eventually wounds from battle and the taxing demands of sea voyages affect your health. If your health is poor, helpful friends will advise retirement. Heed their advice - if you ignore them life becomes more and more difficult, until one day you are unable to recruit a new crew for another voyage. In general, your career is limited to five to ten years of active endeavor. However, waiting until you're at death's door is not a good way to start a happy retirement!
THE MEMOIRS OF CAPT'N SYDNEY - Me voyages were always a fine balance between the men's temper and their strength. It took time t' build up a fleet of three or four ships and a sturdy band of a few hundreds. By the time all'd be assembled, they'd be right and hungry for plunder. I had'a please 'em quick with some fine, large stoke. Like plunderin' a city or three. If'n I didn't, they'd get so surly as t' be unreliable in battle and desertin' at every port. Eventually, ye must either accomplish some grand design, as I did at Campeche, or just put in, divide the swag, and hope the next cruise be better.
Me biggest disappointment always was settling accounts after a cruise. I'll grant it 'twas all done democratic and fair-like, but 'tis none the less frustratin' to be already thinkin' pon the next expedition, and here me fine fleet scatters!
Reputation was my most treasured possession. A few successful cruises gave me much in others' estimations. Havin' the good word about helped raise new crews, even if the last voyage 'twas a bit thin on the pickin's. Of course, maintainin' a big reputation required ever bigger exploits. In the fact, that a' why I retired. I just couldn't top me own adventures! Still, a large reputation was a godsend in later life, let'in' me escape mortification more than once.
HISTORICAL FOOTNOTES - A Captain's Qualifications: Among buccaneers the Captain was elected by the crew, not appointed by government or owners (as is common on military or commercial vessels). He was the man the crew agreed was best for the job. I If the crew decided the Captain was inept, they would replace him with another of their number. Often the new candidate dueled the old for the Captaincy.
In the crew's mind, the Captain's most important skill was leading them in battle. For this they wanted bravery and ferocity more than they wanted tactical genius. However, the best Captains, such as Henry Morgan, had both.
Outside of battle, when dealing with governors and other officials, the Captain acted as 'front man' to represent the group. Although pirates professed disdain for the privilege and status of the aristocracy, often their Captains were former military men, merchants or aristocrats with a 'lordly manner'.
Finally a Captain needed a good reputation, with numerous past successes to his credit. It was his name that brought new recruits aboard. This experience was doubly valuable since most of the really good plans for profitable expeditions were conceived by veteran Captain.
Henry Morgan was a Welsh adventurer. Although his origins are uncertain, he probably came to the Antilles in 1655 as part of the invasion force that captured Jamaica. He advanced both as a militia officer (on land) and a privateering leader (at sea). In 1667 he was commissioned as Admiral of Privateers by the English governor at Port Royale. In the next few years he plundered numerous ships and cities, including Puerto Bello. Then, in 1671, he took Panama, the richest city in the New World.
Patrons who benefited financially from his Panama expedition included Sir Thomas Modyford (Governor of Jamaica), George Monck (the Duke of Albemarle, Modyford's aging but influential patron at Court), and James Stewart (Lord High Admiral, the Duke of York, and incidentally, the brother of Charles II, King of England since his restoration in 1660). Despite the Treaty of Madrid (in 1670) where England pledged to stop attacks on Spain, none of these notables refused their share of the expedition's reward! Morgan was officially "arrested" (probably to mollify the Spanish ambassador) but not confined. He travelled in aristocratic circles, was toasted everywhere, and consulted on West Indian policy by the King's advisors. In 1674 King Charles II knighted him Sir Henry Morgan. He was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica, where he lived a pleasant life amid his large plantations.
COLONIAL LIFE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ THE GOVERNOR - Towns with a population greater than six hundred citizens have a governor. His residence is the seat of government, and the center of news and intrigue for the colony. A governor's attitude toward you begins with the "official" attitude of his nation toward your activities. However, any particular favors you have done for him are remembered, as well as any especially nasty things you have done to his city (such as plundering it!)
You can curry favor with a governor by capturing pirates in waters near his port and then returning that pirate to him. Conversely, a governor is dismayed if you capture his nation's ships near his town, and is especially unhappy if you've plundered his town. When a governor is hostile to you, he will order any harbor forts to fire upon your vessels as they sail in. In general, if the governor's nation is hostile toward you the forts usually fire. If the nation is wary, the governor's personal attitude and the size of your force are deciding factors. The nation may not be wary, but the governor may still remember past transgressions toward his area.
Therefore, consider your actions carefully, especially in the vicinity of rich non-Spanish ports.
Ranks & Titles: The governor of a town is responsible for protecting and guarding it from attack. But all too often, he has no money, no naval forces, and pitifully few land troops. So, he commissions loyal subjects to aid him, giving them military ranks and authority. Naturally, a governor favors men who have proved their bravery and worth by fighting then enemy, while ignoring those who have done nothing for his cause.
The military ranks a governor bestows are, from lowest to highest:
ENSIGN of Privateers, a junior officer or aide CAPTAIN of Privateers, commanding a ship MAJOR of a Colonial Militia, commanding a company COLONEL of a Colonial Militia, commanding a regiment ADMIRAL of Privateers, commanding a fleet
After military ranks, a governor might use his influence at Court to promote patents of nobility for valued associates. Naturally, you must perform large and significant services to gain such bounty. From lowest to highest, these title are:
BARON, a minor title, but a knighthood none the less COUNT, a title of some prestige and power MARQUIS, a title of significant prestige and power DUKE, a title of great prestige and power
EUROPEAN POLITICS - Whenever you attack a nation's ships or towns, that nation becomes ill- disposed toward you. A few attacks may make it wary, while many attacks make it hostile. Naturally, don't expect advancement from a governor of a wary or hostile nation.
However, if your target is at war, the target's wartime opponent will applaud your actions and those governors may reward you. For example, if England and Spain are at war, attacks on the Spanish will make the Spanish wary or hostile, but make the English very happy.
If nations are allied, attacks on a nation are remembered and disliked by its ally. For example, England is allied with Holland but at war with Spain. If you attack English towns or ships the Spanish governor will be delighted and the English angry. In addition, England's ally Holland will also be angry. This is because the Dutch are concerned about attacks on their ally. However, if you attack Spanish towns and ships, the English governor will be delighted, but the Dutch won't care: The Dutch are still at peace with Spain, and thus unwilling to reward military activities against her.
Although declarations of war, peace and alliance are public knowledge, ends of alliances are not. Of course, when former allies declare war, it's a safe assumption that the alliance is over! Otherwise, to learn the "inside news" about a nation's politics, visit one of its governors. Even if you sneak into town, the governor's mansion remains the best source of news.
PIRATE AMNESTY - When a nation offers a pirate amnesty, it is willing to forget its former hostility toward pirates. Each governor of that nation is empowered to offer former pirates a pardon for their activities, although sometimes the pardon can be expensive. When seeking an amnesty, be careful about sailing into harbor. Although the nation may offer an amnesty, a local governor may still distrust you enough to open fire. This is especially likely if your force is large, or you have made attacks in the vicinity. If you sneak into town you usually have a better chance of getting to the governor and convincing him to provide the amnesty his nation promises.
THE TAVERN - The first time you visit a tavern openly your reputation will precede you. Men often approach you, hoping to join your crew. Subsequent visits while in port will not yield additional recruits. Men are attracted to heroes, not drunks!
You can purchase information from travellers who have recently visited another town. They will know the state of the town's population, economy, and defenses. If you are looking for somebody believed to be at that town, they usually remember if he's been seen there recently.
Finally, the tavern is a center for public news of all sorts, and a home for old pirates and other rumormongers.
LOCAL MERCHANTS - The lifeblood of any colonial town is trade. The strength of the local merchant community is proportional to the town's economic strength and population. A strong merchant community has many goods for sale, and plenty of money to buy yours. It also has higher prices. Small, poor towns have the lowest prices, but their merchants are poor also, with tiny warehouses.
Economic experts find the 16th and 17th Century Caribbean a most peculiar place, especially on the Spanish Main. Complex and restrictive trade laws, combined with peculiar and unnatural population patterns, produce unexpected situations. Most importantly, individual towns often have special markets and needs, causing especially high or low prices for certain items. All these effects are transitory, but while some patterns only last days or weeks, others can last for years.
Merchants are usually happy to trade with privateers, pirates and smugglers. After all, a profit is a profit! Merchants in Spanish towns are an exception.
SPANISH TRADE RESTRICTIONS - Towns and cities on the Spanish Main have four levels of economic vitality. This affects the affairs of their merchants. In Spanish towns it is illegal to trade with anyone other than Spanish merchants who sailed from Seville and are properly accredited by the Spanish government. However, local governors and merchants often ignore this tiresome legality, especially if the economy is suffering. As a result, traders in towns may ignore what the national government says and instead develop their own opinions, based on your deeds in that area.
Struggling towns are in economic difficulties. They will trade with almost anyone, regardless of laws, excepting only pirates whose reputation in that area is extremely evil. Of course, prices and quantities of goods are usually quite low.
Surviving towns have either small or depressed economies. The Spanish usually trade with foreigners whose local reputation is fairly decent. Prices and quantities of goods are modest.
Prosperous towns have large, strong economies. Prosperous Spanish towns only trade with Captains of high repute. Prices are fairly high and goods are available in reasonable quantities.
Wealthy towns are at the peak of the economic spectrum. These Spanish towns almost always follow the letter of the lay. Prices are high and goods are plentiful.
THE RISE & FALL OF COLONIES - All other things being equal, colonies slowly prosper and grow, gaining economic strength, which attracts population, who in turn hoard wealth, which obliges the government to install troops and forts to protect this wealth. Traders and smugglers help this economic growth with their buying, selling and carriage of goods. But pirates, buccaneers and privateers taking ships from waters near the colony will hurt its economic growth.
Indian attacks will deplete the soldiers guarding the town, but leave the population and economy unaffected.
Pirate raids on a town take whatever gold the pirates can find. The raid also damages the economy.
Malaria and other diseases reduce both the troop garrison and the number of citizens. This tends to slow down or even stop economic growth.
Gold mines cause a one-time upswing in the economy and add large quantities of disposable gold. The gold mine is usually just a short-lived alluvial wash in a nearby stream or river, but it invariably generates a "gold rush" mentality boom town.
THE MEMOIRS OF CAPT'N SYDNEY - God's truth, I started honestly enough, carryin' good European manufacture to the Indies. But the big, rich towns with nice prices were all Spanish, and those thieven' Dons just wouldn't let me into market. I found a few smaller towns that'd do business, privately, but me profits suffered. But at the next city some papist blueblood, blind 'im, recognized me for English and I rotted for six months in a foul dungeon, tortured by their damnable Inquisition, 'til me crew rescued me. Betwixt times, the filthy Dons had taken my ship and cargo, every last ounce of it. So I had to make my own justice. We took a handy pinnace a' lyin' in the harbor, mounted a few guns, and taught those Spaniards a lesson!
I've a Dutch friend who maintain the best route to fortune is friendly trade. He buys low, transports it, and sells high. He keeps his crew low and pays 'em off regularly, bankin' his profits. 'E even claims the towns benefit from his trade 'n' such. Well, I tell ye, I'd not sail the Main with twenty men and four cannon, no siree! But then, I trust to steel 'n' gunpowder, not to accounts ledgers.
Anyway, I've never forgotten that Spanish dungeon, and made 'em pay dearly for it. I'd keep abreast of the news, matey. A couple Indian attacks or plagues and they'd be ripe for the pluckin'. Attackin' 'em after a pirate raid wasn't so smart. They'd be cleaned out, but the garrison'd be reinforced and smartin' for action.
The King, God bless 'em, is right obligen' in havin' convenient wars. Me Letters of Marque are all proper and legal, but I've a 'known fellows who'd get some clerk for forge up any ol' thing. One dunderhead had a Letter a' Marque alright - a Letter t' kill sheep! Didn't stop him none from goin' after the Spanish a'course.
Most of me victories left me wi' more plunder in food, tobacco, sugar and goods than it did shin' gold. I 'member one cruise where I chanced upon Trinidad, lookin' to sell a bit a' loot. Had a right nice fleet, then. We landed up the coast and marched into town. Some insolent Spaniard said something that got me back up. Well, quick as a wink we had the garrison locked in its own dungeon and the citizens cowering behind their doors. We were enjoying ourselves in the mansion of the gov'nor, who'd disappeared right sudden. Then a delegation of the leading citizens visited us. They begged us to rein-in our men. I confess some were gettin' a' tad enthused in their plunderin'.
We thought on it. One of the leading merchants was part English, so we said that if they flew the Cross of Saint George, pledged themselves to the English Crown, and appointed that part-English merchant their governor, we'd settle down and respect their property, legal as you please.
Shortly after that I took a wound in a battle off Margarita, curse it, and was laid up for a while. I never did find out how long Trinidad remained "English". Pe'haps not so long. But I ne'er heard of me friends having trouble there again. I'd like to emphasize, though, that we had a powerful lot of men, and the populace 'twas right small. With us fewer, or them more, it'd a' never happened.
HISTORICAL FOOTNOTES - No Peace Beyond the Line: In 1493 and 1494 the only two European powers exploring the world (Spain and Portugal) agreed to a "fair" division of responsibility along a north-south line 270 leagues west of the cape Verde Islands. In the Treaty of Tordesillas, Portugal gained authority over the eastern Atlantic, the African coast, and what became the African route to India. Spain gained authority of the western Atlantic and the entire New World except the tip of the Brazilian coast. Supported by a Papall Bull, Spain claimed this gave her sole possession and control over the Americas. Unfortunately for Spain, the English, Dutch and French governments never recognized the legality of this line.
The result was that English, French and Dutch traders and colonists constantly "invaded" Spanish regions where their presence was illegal by Spanish law. However, Spain never installed sufficient military strength in the region to consistently enforce her laws. So, even when European nations were at peace, the constant smuggling and colonization could cause small battles at any time. Worse, each time European nations went to war, an orgy of privateering and piracy exploded across the West Indies.
Privateers: In the 16th and 17th Centuries royal governments were desperately short on funds (useful taxation techniques, such as universal income tax, had not been invented). Building warships, much less maintaining and crewing them, was so expensive that even powerful battleships doubled as cargo carriers in peacetime. What few did exist were needed in home waters. Colonial governors got little or no military forces. Most colonies relied on a local militia for their defense. Not until the 1680s did a nation base a regular squadron of warships in the Caribbean for use year-round.
Because nations had little or no fleet, in wartime the crown 'commissioned' private ships to become its navy. These "freelance" warriors were not paid wages. Instead, they kept a large percentage of whatever they captured. The official authorization for this was the "Letter of Marque". Ships operating with a Letter of Marque were "privateers". The English fleet that defeated the Spanish invasion Armada (in 1588) was almost completely composed of privateers.
In an age of poverty and limited wealth, privateering was one of the few ways to make a quick fortune. Those men who sailed with Francis Drake on his 1572-73 privateering voyage to Nombre de Dios (where he captured the Silver Train) returned rich for life. A crewman's share from the capture of just one merchantman was often more than a sailor's yearly wage in peacetime. A privateer Captain known for skill and success had little trouble recruiting.
Beyond the benefits to the crew, privateering was big business. Wealthy merchants and noblemen put up the money for a voyage, and earned a percentage of the "take" in return. The gains were also split with the crown (the "price" of a Letter of Marque). The sale of prizes and captured goods was a godsend to merchants, who resold it for a profit. This created a prosperous colonial economy. In the 1660s and 1670s the prime industry of Jamaica was neither sugar nor tobacco, but piracy!
The Buccaneers: These men were a special breed who appeared in the West Indies during the 1630s and 1640s, and remained a feature there throughout the century. Most buccaneers were fugitives from English and French colonial ventures. Many colonists came to the Americas expecting to find a paradise full of easy wealth. Instead they were indentured servants on harsh tobacco and sugar plantations. Some were violent criminals sentenced to "transportation to the colonies". Whatever their origin, they left the tiny colonies to live free and easy among the islands.
Buccaneers learned two vital skills to survive outside of an organized colony. The first was seaman ship. They were experts at building small canoes or pinnaces, and quite skilled at sailing them from island to island. The second was marksmanship. Their livelihood was hinting wild animals and cattle. In fact, the name "buccaneer" is derived from their method of curing meat over an open fire.
In didn't take long before buccaneers combined their skills of seamanship and marksmanship, taking to the seas in search of treasure and wealth. The Spanish colonies, militarily weak and economically failing, were easy targets for buccaneer attacks. The old tradition of "No Peach Beyond The Line" lent quasi-legality to their activities, while their use of non-spanish ports as trading bases helped the new colonies grow. It wasn't difficult for a British, French or Dutch governor to condone buccaneering on the principle that the best defense against Spanish aggression was a good offense, especially an offense by troops who provided their own pay, and profit to the colony as well!
The buccaneers had a free-wheeling, democratic spirit. They were hard- living, violent men, ideally suited to the hard and violent life on a new frontier.
The End of Piracy: By the 1690s and 1700s nations offered privateering commissions less and less often. National navies were larger now. The financial advantages of peaceful trade were recognized as more valuable than the occasional profits from a privateer's plunder.
Buccaneers and old privateers, with legal and quasi-legal avenues closed, continued anyway. they turned truly pirate and roamed the seven seas, looking for rich ships with weak defenses. But it was increasingly difficult to find men willing to finance new ventures, while naval warships gradually chased down and destroyed the existing pirates. By the 1700s pirates were disappearing from the Caribbean, by the 1710s the North American and West African coasts were too hot for them, and by the 1720s even distant Madagascar and the Indian Ocean were closing. An age of adventure on the high seas was over.
A GAZETTEER OF SHIPS CIRCA 1690 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Among the myriad types, sizes and rigs of ships sailing the Caribbean, nine basic approaches to shipbuilding can be discerned. Although each ship was individually designed and build, shipwrights learned by copying one another, producing ships of remarkable similarity. These general types are summarized below. However, expect to meet the exception more often than the rule!
DEFINITIONS - Burden, in tons, refers to available cargo space, after deduction for food, water, crewmen, and other common materials and stores. This should not be confused with tonnage that describes the entire weight-carrying capacity of the ship when completely unloaded.
Speeds are given in leagues (about 2.5 miles) travelled during a watch (about four hours). The first value is best speed in light wind, the second is best speed in strong wind.
Best Point of Sailing refers to the wind direction in which the ship makes its best speed. Each type of ship has a different point of sailing.
Beam Reach | Broad Beam Reach | Close-Hauled Beam Reach \ | / \ | / Broad Reach \ | / Close-Hauled \ \ | / / \ \ | / / \ \ | / / Running Broad \ \ | / / Close-Hauled Reach \ \ | / / into the Eye \ \ \ | / / / \ \ \ | / / / \ \ \ | / / / Running \ \ \ | / / / Into the eye Before the Wind \ \|/ / of the Wind +------------------------- + -------------------------+ / /|\ \ / / / | \ \ \ / / / | \ \ \ / / / | \ \ \ / / / | \ \ \ Running Broad / / | \ \ Close-Hauled Reach / / | \ \ into the Eye / / | \ \ / / | \ \ / / | \ \ Broad Reach / | \ Close-Hauled / | \ / | \ Broad Beam | Close-Hauled Reach | Beam Reach | Beam Reach
* SPANISH GALLEON *
7-15 Leagues..........Best Speed Broad Reach...........Best Point of Sailing 36 Guns...............Maximum Number of Heavy Cannon 20-24 Guns............Typical Number of Heavy Cannon 288 Men...............Maximum Personnel 275 Men...............Typical Crew and Passengers 160 Tons..............Cargo Space
Galleons are the largest sailing vessels on the Spanish Main. Originally they were created because one large ship was cheaper to build than two smaller ones. However, large ships were much less maneuverable, which increased the chance of shipwreck, not to mention hindering them in battle. Galleons are slow to turn, and are especially poor sailers close-hauled. Tacking into the wind is very difficult with this type of ship. Still, the enormous carrying capacity and powerful armament makes the galleon a formidable opponent in battle.
* SPANISH WAR GALLEON *
7-15 Leagues..........Best Speed Broad Reach or........Best Point of Sailing Running Reach 32 Guns...............Maximum Number of Heavy Cannon 28-32 Guns............Typical Number of Heavy Cannon 256 Men...............Maximum Personnel 250 Men...............Typical Crew and Passengers 140 Tons..............Cargo Space
War Galleons are similar to mercantile types. They have less cargo capacity, but more guns and crewmen. The most important difference is that war galleons are crewed by soldiers and commanded by noble officers, making them brave and formidable opponents in battle. Due to their better crew, war galleons are slightly faster than merchant Galleons on a running broad reach, but otherwise just as ponderous and unmaneuverable as their more peaceful cousins.
Only the most powerful warships can expect to engage a war galleon and succeed. The preferred Spanish tactic with these ships was to run alongside the opponent, fire one broadside at point-blank range, then board for hand-to-hand combat.
* FAST GALLEON *
9-12 Leagues..........Best Speed Broad Reach or........Best Point of Sailing Running Reach 28 Guns...............Maximum Number of Heavy Cannon 24 Guns...............Typical Number of Heavy Cannon 224 Men...............Maximum Personnel 215 Men...............Typical Crew and Passengers 120 Tons..............Cargo Space
The northern European powers refined the basic Galleon Design, revising the sail plan for more flexibility, then reducing the upperworks and hull shape for better seakeeping. The resulting ship was smaller than a Spanish galleon, but faster in light winds and considerable more maneuverable. However, it suffers the universal disadvantage of all galleons - poor speed when close-hauled. Still, its superior maneuverability and seakeeping showed when the English fast galleons and smaller craft defeated a Spanish fleet of conventional galleons in 1588.
* FRIGATE *
9-12 Leagues..........Best Speed Broad Reach or........Best Point of Sailing Running Reach 28 Guns...............Maximum Number of Heavy Cannon 26-28 Guns............Typical Number of Heavy Cannon 224 Men...............Maximum Personnel 190 Men...............Typical Crew 120 Tons..............Cargo Space
Square-rigged frigates are fast sailers, fairly handy to maneuver, and faster than most square-rigged ships when close-hauled. A frigate is extraordinary useful for patrols and independent cruises. Almost all frigates are built for the Crown as naval warships. With their well-drilled and professional crews, frigates are dangerous opponents at any time. Most pirates and buccaneers disappear over the horizon whenever a frigate appears.
* MERCHANTMAN *
9-12 Leagues..........Best Speed Broad Reach...........Best Point of Sailing 24 Guns...............Maximum Number of Heavy Cannon 6-12 Guns.............Typical Number of Heavy Cannon 198 Men...............Maximum Personnel 20-45 Men.............Typical Crew and Passengers 100 Tons..............Cargo Space
Square-rigged merchantmen are a trader's dream. They have large cargo capacity, space for numerous guns for use in dangerous waters, and plenty of room for crew and passengers. Furthermore, where appropriate they can be sailed with a smallish crew to save money.
Most merchantmen are peaceful traders, disinclined to fight. They tend to have large cargos and sometimes a bit of wealth. Privateers and pirates always look forward to capturing a "juicy" merchantman. However, some merchantmen have been converted to pirate ships, with stronger armament and a ferocious crew of cutthroats. These ships are extremely dangerous.
* CARGO FLUYT *
9-12 Leagues..........Best Speed Running Reach.........Best Point of Sailing 20 Guns...............Maximum Number of Heavy Cannon 4-12 Guns.............Typical Number of Heavy Cannon 160 Men...............Maximum Personnel 12-24 Men.............Typical Crew and Passengers 80 Tons...............Cargo Space
Fluyts were invented by the Dutch around 1600, then widely copied throughout northern Europe. Essentially a smaller but much more economical merchantman, it can be sailed with a tiny crew (12 to 15 men is not uncommon). A fluyt has large cargo spaces, but a draft so shallow it can enter rivers, coves and small harbors unsuitable to large craft. It's sailing qualities are equivalent to a merchantman, although the best point of sailing is slightly different.
The smallest of the square-rigged ships, fluyts make poor warships. Almost always they are manned by peaceful traders who often surrender after a broadside or two. They are unpopular as pirate ships.
* BARQUE *
9-12 Leagues..........Best Speed Broad Beam Reach......Best Point of Sailing 16 Guns...............Maximum Number of Heavy Cannon 4-6 Guns..............Typical Number of Heavy Cannon 128 Men...............Maximum Personnel 12-36 Men.............Typical Crew and Passengers 60 Tons...............Cargo Space
The largest for-and-aft rigged ships, barques are a traditional design similar to many Mediterranean merchant and war craft. Many barques are built in the Caribbean, rather than in Europe. Barques are good sailers for quiet seas, but all too easily come to grief in a rough ocean crossing. This means that few Barques return from the Caribbean to Europe, as the North Atlantic west-to-east route is often stormy.
Barques are the slowest close-hauled sailers among fore-and-aft rigs, and the least maneuverable. However, the advantages of the rig are so great that Barques still surpass all square-rigged ships in both departments. Furthermore, barques carry oars, allowing them to row straight into the eye of the wind. Due to its large size and good handling, a pirate barque can be a formidable adversary.
* SLOOP *
9-10 Leagues..........Best Speed Broad Reach or........Best Point of Sailing Broad Beam Reach 12 Guns...............Maximum Number of Heavy Cannon 4-6 Guns..............Typical Number of Heavy Cannon 96 Men................Maximum Personnel 8-12 Men..............Typical Crew and Passengers 40 Tons...............Cargo Space
Another Dutch design that gradually appeared during the 1630s and 1640s, the sloop (or jact, or schooner) became very popular in the Caribbean. It is extremely fast and exceptionally maneuverable - better than almost any other ship in light winds. Close-Hauled it sails very fast, and under oars it can move directly into the wind. Most importantly, sloops have a shallow draft, allowing them to sail over shoals with no risk. The main weakness of a sloop is that in strong winds it is considerable slower than a large square-rigged ship. The only advantage is its maneuverability and its superior speed close-hauled or into the wind.
Despite its modest size and cargo capacity, a sloop's maneuverability is so great that many buccaneers prefer it to larger, more powerful craft. Indeed, in recent years the English Royal Navy has built a number of sloops for its own use as pirate-catchers.
* PINNACE *
9-10 Leagues..........Best Speed Broad Beam Reach......Best Point of Sailing or a Beam Reach 8 Guns................Maximum Number of Heavy Cannon 2-4 Guns..............Typical Number of Heavy Cannon 64 Men................Maximum Personnel 8-12 Men..............Typical Crew and Passengers 20 Tons...............Cargo Space
Until the advent of the sloop, pinnaces were the primary small craft of the Caribbean. Like a sloop, a pinnace is very fast, very maneuverable, and with a draft that permits sailing in shoal waters. Sailing upwind (close-hauled) it is even faster than a sloop, and much faster when rowing into the wind.
However, a pinnace is also much smaller than a sloop, with minuscule capacity for cargo and guns. Still, many a pirate raid was conducted in tiny pinnaces crammed with fighting men. Drake himself abandoned his merchantmen in favor of pinnaces when raiding on the Spanish Main.
BOOK III THE GOLDEN ANTILLES :::::::::::::::::::
FAMOUS EXPEDITIONS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ JOHN HAWKINS AND THE BATTLE OF SAN JUAN DE ULUA (1569) - Your Forces: One Slow Galleon: Jesus of Lubeck One Merchantman: Minion Four Pinnaces: William and John, Swallow, Angel, Judith 308 men. Political Situation: Spain is at war with France and England.
Your Prospects: You have a formidable squadron, but the flagship is a cumbersome, unmaneuverable galleon of the Spanish type. As you approach the Spanish Main, your big decision must be: peaceful trade, or warlike raids?
Peaceful trade means you can use the smaller Spanish ports to reprovision and perhaps even recruit additional crew. However, it also means that the rich larger ports are closed to you. Unfortunately, the profits from peaceful trade are modest, especially so given your large crew and the slowness of your flagship.
Warlike raids offer a better prospect for immediate gain, but your fleet isn't strong enough to attack the truly great cities such as Santiago, Santo Domingo, or Panama. For repairs you can use the privateer anchorages at the tip of Florida and in the Bahamas. These places have few provisions, but captured Spanish ships could provide those. Your biggest problem will be selling captured goods and replacing crewmen lost in battle.
Historical Chronicle: Inheritor at age 21 of an English shipping firm, John Hawkins voyaged twice to the West Indies (in 1562 and 1564), selling European goods and African slaves to smaller Spanish towns. In 1567 he organized his third and largest expedition (this one) around the galleon Jesus of Lubeck.
On the Main, Hawkins found the Spanish increasingly unwilling to trade with him. The Spanish home government was aware of Hawkins' voyage, and was putting pressure on the colonials to obey the letter of the law. Hawkins resorted to forcing open the marketplace at gunpoint in a few ports, and was chased out of others by gunfire from forts.
Disappointed by the Main, Hawkins set sail for Havana, but a storm blew his ships far into the Gulf of Campeche. The only harbor where he could repair his ships was San Juan de Ulua, the island anchorage for Vera Cruz. Unfortunately for Hawkins, the day after he arrived the Spanish treasure fleet appeared, armed to the teeth with war galleons and troops. After a few days of organizing, the Spanish attacked Hawkins in harbor, destroying most of his ships and scattering the rest. These sad remnants, without food or water, struggled home to England. Hawkins got home on the Minion with only fifteen men left in his crew.
After this voyage, Hawkins became a staunch enemy of Spain, serving England as treasure and controller of the Navy, an admiral on the Victory against the Spanish Armada, leader of raids against Spanish South America, and finally as Member of Parliament. He died in 1595 at age 63.
FRANCIS DRAKE AND THE SILVER TRAIN AMBUSH (1573) - Your Forces: One Merchantman: Pasha One Pinnace: Swan 73 men. Political Situation: Spain is at war with England.
Your Prospects: Only a man with foolhardy bravery would dare attack the Spanish Main at the peak of its might and power with a paltry 73 men on board two small ships. Making any profit from this venture will be most difficult. A cautious man would adopt a trading strategy, calling at smaller Spanish ports and building both his wealth and his crew before beginning to raid and plunder. Only someone as bold as Drake himself would immediately begin raiding and plundering, trusting to luck and good fortune.
This is an extremely difficult expedition for a fighter. You must rely on your superb and charismatic leadership to overwhelm enemies in hand-to-hand combat before they wipe out your tiny forces. Exploit and maintain the high morale of your small band. Always seek to meet the enemy leaders sword to sword and defeat them quickly. Needless to say, skill in fencing is advised.
Historical Chronicle: Drake arrived on the Main in June, 1572 with two small ships. Within five days he raided Nombre de Dios, carrying off a huge pile of silver from the governor's house before a musket ball wound overcame him. Next he captured a ship off Cartagena (the city itself was too strong to attack). By September he was back in the Gulf of Darien, taking Spanish ships to replenish his provisions and trying to ambush the Silver Train between Panama and Nombre de Dios. But that the winter he failed: the Spanish were alert to his threat.
Drake returned to his distant and secret base at the Isle of the Pines (at the southwest end of Cuba) and reorganized. He gathered up reinforcements from friendly French privateers and Cimaroon rebels. (Cimaroons were African slaves who escaped the Spanish). In March 1573 he returned to Darien and finally ambushed the Silver Train at Nombre de Dios, taking a fortune in gold. He had to leave behind another fortune in silver because it was too heavy to carry! Drake sailed swiftly for England and arrived at Plymouth on Sunday, August 9, 1573. A mere thirty Englishmen returned with him, but each survivor was rich for life.
In 1577-80 Drake raided the Pacific coast of Spain's American empire, then returned via Asia, circumnavigating the globe. With Hawkins he was an admiral of the fleet that defeated the Spanish Armada (1588), but died of disease in 1596 (at age 56) after an attack on San Juan, where some Spanish treasure galleons had sought shelter.
PIET HEYN AND THE TREASURE FLEET (1628) - Your Forces: Four Fast Galleons: Vergulde Valk, Hollandia, Dolfijn, Haarlem Two Sloops: Tijger, Postpaard 700 men. Political Situation: Holland is at war with Spain and allied with England. France and England are also at war with Spain.
Your Prospects: You command a powerful if cumbersome squadron, vanguard of the great Dutch privateering fleet. The Spanish Treasure Fleet is an excellent goal. However, it's late in the season. You must start hunting immediately off Havana or in the Florida Channel. You'll undoubtedly find a variety of smaller ships, but if you're lucky and persistent, you may find the treasure galleons. If you miss the treasure fleet, don't be shy about raiding a Spanish port or two. Your forces are not especially maneuverable, buy they are quite powerful. This is a situation where a good plan, patient execution, and more than a little luck are the keys to success.
Historical Chronicle: Piet Heyn was already a famous Captian when he sailed under Admiral Willekens and led the 1624 attack that captured the Spanish colony of Sao Salvador (Bahia) on the Brazilian coast. Although the conquest only lasted one year, the Dutch gained invaluable expertise in producing fine sugar from sugar cane, knowledge they spread around the Caribbean in the succeeding decade. By 1626 Sao Salvador was producing for Spain again, so Heyn raided it again! In 1628 Heyn sailed for the West Indies with a powerful warfleet of nine large warships and five jachts (sloops). He cruised along the Main, then swung up to th north coast of Cuba. Off Havana he finally sighted the Spanish treasure fleet of forty to fifty sail. He quickly captured nine small stragglers while the rest escaped in all directions, two running aground in the process. Four royal treasure galleons fled in Matanzas Bay on the Cuban coast. Heyn pursued them ran his ships onto the shoals alongside the Spanish, traded broadsides and boarded. The battered and demoralized Spanish either surrendered or fled ashore, leaving 46 tons of silver in Dutch hands. This loss ruined the Spanish economy and gave the Dutch government much-needed funds at a critical point in the Thirty Years War.
There was great rejoicing in Amsterdam when a fast jacht sailed into that port carrying the news of Heyn's fabulous victory.
L'OLLONAIS AND THE SACK OF MARACAIBO (1666) - Your Forces: One Sloop Five Pinnaces 400 men. Political Situation: France is at war with England and Spain, and allied to Holland. In addition, England and Holland are at war.
Your Prospects: Your force is strong in men but weak in naval power. Therefore, like L'Ollonais, your best prospects are in attacks on ports rather than captures at sea. All but the strongest Spanish cities are within your grasp. Beware the fragile morale of your men. These Tortuga buccaneers are impatient for riches. They will not tolerate long, fruitless cruises. But still, a target must be selected with car. One disappointment an mutiny is not far off.
This expedition is challenging but not extraordinarily difficult. However, you must exercise good judgement at the start, and then execute the plan quickly and confidently.
HISTORICAL CHRONICLE: Arriving in the Indies as an indentured servant to the planter in French Hispaniola, Jean-David Nau came fro the Les Sables d'Ollone in Brittany. When his indenture was up in 1660 he immediately went to Tortuga; within a few years he was commanding his own buccaneer voyages. Nicknamed L'Ollonais ("the man from d'Ollone"), he was one of the most ferocious and inhuman pirates who ever lived.
In 1666 the terror and prestige of his name was enough to collect a fleet of small boats, crowded with men, bound for Maracaibo. he surprised the forts and took the city by storm. Despite a bloody plundering that lasted a fortnight, the town yielded only modest amounts of gold and silver. His next stop was Gibraltar. The Spanish there mustered a powerful militia, but after a difficult fight in marshy ground, L'Ollonais' buccaneers prevailed again. The town was thoroughly sacked, inhabitants tortured and killed, and ruins left in the Frenchman's wake. Six months after departing, L'Ollonais arrived at Tortuga with enough plunder to return to France a wealthy man. But he had expected riches beyond imagination.
So L'Ollonais mounted a new expedition to the coast of Nicaragua and Honduras. Despite escalating barbarity and cruelty, he found so little that his companion ships sailed away,leaving his tiny band forlorn and hungry. L'Ollonais and his men went inland, raiding Indian villages for food. This final bit of nastiness was his undoing. Jean-David Nau's muttering and mutinous crew deserted him when vengeful Indians ambushed the party. Grievously wounded by poison arrows, he was clubbed to death.
HENRY MORGAN, THE KING'S PIRATE (1671) - Your Forces: One Frigate: Satisfaction Two Merchantmen: Lilly, Dolphin One Barque: Mayflower Two Sloops: Fortune, William One Pinnace: Prosperous 600 men. Political Situation: England and France are both at war with Spain.
Your Prospects: You have a formidable force for either land or sea fighting. You could seek additional recruits and food, or you can immediately venture against almost any place in the Indies with good prospects of success. Your greatest immediate difficulties are procuring enough food to keep your men fed, and enough plunder to keep up morale. This is an expedition that appears easy initially, but can become rather challenging.
Historical Chronicle: Henry Morgan was a successful privateer and buccaneer leader. He had sacked Puerto Principe, plundered Gran Granada on the far side of Nicaragua, overwhelmed the fortifications of Puerto Bello, and followed in L'Ollonais' footsteps at Maracaibo and Gibraltar, although both places yielded little wealth and plenty of hot fighting with aroused Spanish defenders.
On August 24, 1670, Morgan sailed as Admiral of Privateers under the auspices of Governor Modyford of Jamaica. He rendezvoused with French buccaneers from Tortuga and western Hispaniola, swelling his forces to 2,000 men or more, making him strong enough for any venture. His goal was Panama, richest city of the Spanish overseas empire. Sailing upriver and then marching overland, he arrived outside the city in January, 1671. Here the governor of the province, Don Juan Perez de Guzman, had collected his troops and militia.
On the plains outside the city the two forces fought a pitched battle. The Spanish lost. The city was taken, plundered, and ultimately burned to the ground. However, the loot was disappointing. Many of the richest Spaniards had fled with their families and wealth, rather than staying around to defend it.
The sack of Panama was Morgan's crowning achievement. He wisely retired while still ahead. Although Modyford lost his governorship and was imprisoned because of the affair, Morgan received a knighthood. He retired on Jamaica an honored and wealthy man. He died of too much drink in 1688, at age 53.
BARON DE PONTIS AND THE LAST EXPEDITION (1697) - Your Forces: Five Frigates One Sloop 1200 men Political Situation: France is at war with England and Spain.
Your Prospects: Your force is the most powerful ever on the Spanish Main. You are free to select the target of your choice and strike. The real question is, how much treasure can you carry off?
This expedition is a pleasant romp, suitable for commanders who enjoy the 'sure thing'. To obtain a suitable challenge at all, select Swashbuckler difficulty level. After all, in the real expedition both de Pontis and du Casse were wounded in battle!
Historical Chronicle: In March 1697 Baron de Pontis was in Saint Domingue (the French colonies of Western Hispaniola) with thirteen warships of the royal French navy under his command. Louis XIV's France was simultaneously at war with England and Spain, and running short of men, ships and money. The Baron's goal: Cartagena. His purpose? To strike a crippling blow at Spain as well as securing a large treasure to support the French war effort.
Jean Baptiste du Casse, the French colonial governor since 1691, was ordered to support de Pointis. He collected hundred of local buccaneers and privateers under the command of Jean Bernard Louis Desjeans, who had sailed with the French privateering fleets of the 1680s.
The French expedition arrived off Cartagena in April and began reducing the Spanish defenses. Outlying forts were seized, often with the buccaneers in the vanguard, while the fleet moved up behind in support. Isolated and demoralized, the Spanish fell back on the city. The French deployed and opened fire with powerful 24-pounder and 36-pounder siege mortars, demolishing the city's fortifications. On May 6, 1697, governor Don Diego de los Rios y Quesada surrendered Cartagena. Baron de Pointis carried off all the available wealth, paying the buccaneers at the same rate as his own men (which was a pittance compared to a privateer-style division of plunder). Worried about a powerful English squadron known to be hunting him, de Pontis sailed for home with a treasur worth 20 million Livres in his hold.
The buccaneers, upset and angry with their tiny share, returned to the still prostrate city. There they sacked, pillaged, raped and tortured until the residents coughed up another 5 million Livres worth of plunder. Meanwhile de Pointis was intercepted by Neville's English fleet south of Jamaica, but the French outmaneuvered the English at night and escaped.
The sack of Cartagena in 1697 was the last great expedition involving buccaneers. It wouldn't have occured without de Pointis' powerful and well- equipped invasion force. Nations were now fielding regular army and navy units in the Caribbean. The pirate's freedom of the seas was at an end.
ANOTHER AGE ~~~~~~~~~~~
Around 1500, when Spain discovered the Caribbean basin, Europe was just emerging from the Middle Ages. Most people were peasants, farmers scratching out a bare living form the soil, ruled by a small but powerful class of aristocratic landlords. Some people lived in the towns and cities founded in the Middle Ages, but townspeople remained a small percentage of the population. Their trade and industry only made a marginal impact on the lives of the vast majority. A rare few made their living "on the road" as peddlers, beggars, sailors and thieves. To the majority they were a source of tales, or warnings for children ("Be nice or Black Bart the highway man will eat you for dinner!")
The period from 1550 to 1650 is sometimes termed "the Iron Century" because ordinary people's lives became so harsh. Europe's population had been growing rapidly since the early 1400s. Around 1500 the number of people began to exceed the amount of available farmland. Trade and manufacture had developed sufficiently so some peasants with little or no land could do part-time weaving (the source of much clothe in Europe), or move to towns and cities to seek employment in business centered there.
These enterprises could absorb only some of the surplus population. So, some young men found employment in mercenary armies that served competing causes in the growing Catholic-Protestant conflict. Unfortunately this employment did more damage than good, for armies then were not as polite as today. Soldiers lived off the land, ruining the farms and livelihoods of the peasants. This destroyed the economic substructure upon which all depended. The intense religious hatreds added an extra measure of ferocity to the struggles, international or civil, causing devastation and death wherever war occurred.
As the 16th Century came to an end, overpopulation, war, and the growing taxes brought unprecedented poverty to most areas of Europe. Villages were torn between the lucky few who had enough land to support their families, and the insecure majority whose survival depended on a fortunate growing season and sufficient extra work. Swarms of paupers huddled in slum quarters of towns, while beggars and brigands infested the countryside. Vagabonds, the rootless poor, became an unmanageable problem, straining Europe's charitable institutions and swamping its courts.
Brigands were beggars who stole instead of asking. They often fared better as a result. They were just one group of many criminal elements who found in lawlessness an escape from grinding poverty. In towns they practiced burglary and larceny; in the countryside they worked as highwaymen and thieves; and at sea they operated as pirates. Thieves worked alone or in small bands, brigands in moderates sized bands, while pirates operated in larger groups because they needed to crew a sizable ship. Sometimes pirates even worked in fleets of several ships.
The Mediterranean had long known pirates, who went so far as to organize mini-kingdoms on the Barbary coast of North Africa. The New World opened new opportunities for piracy. But whether they operated as thieves, brigands, or pirates, all these men struggled to survive in a harsh and unfeeling world by preying on others. They redistributed wealth from those who had it but could not protect it, to those who didn't have it but had the power to seize it.
A brigand or pirate might begin his career in order to survive, but he often continued it to prosper. In a society torn by religious hatred and war, with governments still weak and uncertain, success bred success and power respected power. A brigand band could join an army as a group of mercenaries. A pirate might well drift in and out of service of a government. Governments found it expedient to use pirates against their enemies, while pirates found it profitable to ply their trade with a royal seal of approval, a privateer's Letter of Marque. Perversely, a pirate might find himself fighting alongside a Count or an Earl, championing the cause of a king about whose goals and needs he knew little and cared less. However, notable service could bring notable rewards: wealth, land, legitimacy, and perhaps a title of nobility! A man who began as a poverty-stricken nobody might rise to rub elbows with the old aristocratic families who had led the realm for generations.
The mounting cycles of war and poverty climaxed in 1618 with the outbreak of the Thirty Years War. What began as a religious strive in Germany became a constitutional struggle as the Habsburgs tried to consolidate their hold on that land. Holland, Denmark, Sweden, and ultimately France intervened to help the German Protestants frustrate this plan. The international melee turned vast areas of Germany into wasteland. Entrepreneurs stepped in where kings and emperors were weak. They created huge mercenary armies that swarmed across the countryside like a plague of locusts. This was the heyday of the mercenary and the freebooter, as soldiers and captains sold their services to the highest bidder and switched sides when the time seemed ripe.
But even the greatest of the mercenaries was defeated in battle by a well- organized national army (that of King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden), recruited through national conscription and supported by national taxes. The French also used a national army fashioned after the Swedish, and the English Civil War, which raged separately on that tormented isle, was won by Cromwell's "New Model Army" formed on the same principles. As the 17th Century approached its midpoint, the age of the mercenary and pirate was waning in Europe. Within a few decades this new national power and organization would extend into the Caribbean, driving out the buccaneers and pirates.
The rise of national governments brought new taxes, oppressive new central administrations, and government bureaucrats whos powers rivaled that of the old nobility. A series of revolutions in Spain, Portugal, Italy, and France, and near-revolutionary constitutional conflicts elsewhere showed how the lower classes and local nobles resisted the new order. But the powerful national governments emerged victorious. No longer would the state tolerate independent agents using the techniques of war. Armies were firmly under royal control, disciplined and supplied from depots. Navies were directed to put down piracy as well as to fight with other countries. The France of Louis XIV, the Sun King, epitomized this new order.
Meanwhile, the colonies around the Caribbean were no longer serving as silver mines for the Spanish Empire. Instead, the new English and French colonies, the "Sugar Island", formed the cornerstone of a triangular trade network involving Europe and Africa. This was the most important of many economic developments that helped Europe sustain its growing population in the later part of the 17 and 18th Centuries. Conditions were still hard for many, but prosperity grew as the economy found new forms and new energies.
This wealth was little endangered by pirates, for long before it reached its peak the naval vessels and royal courts of the various European kingdoms had all but eliminated piracy from the high seas. The age of the freebooter was gone. The age of the bureaucrat had begun.
- Edward Bever, PhD (History)
THE SILVER EMPIRE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
INTRODUCTION - The Spanish Empire reaches its peak in this era, both in Europe and in the New World. The empire is built on mountains of silver bullion from New Spain (Mexico) and Peru. This bullion finances Spain's imperial glory, but also encourages misguided economic policies that will soon ruin the country.
The secondary export from the Indies is hides of uncured leather. Spanish colonial grandees prefer ranching large herds to managing farms and plantations. Ranches are equivalent to the property noblemen own in old Spain.
Holland, a province of this far-flung empire, begins its revolt against Spanish rule into the 1560s. England, ruled by Elizabeth I (1558-1603) develops an anti-Spanish policy as well. France had been and will remain consistently anti-Spanish, surrounded as it is by Habsburg territory (the Habsburg family controlled the Austria and Spanish thrones, whose territory included a considerably amount of Italy as well).
Spain in this era is the only European nation with large, populous colonies in the New World. With the exception of one abortive venture at St. Augustine, the other European powers have nothing more than temporary anchorages and tent towns, casual bases for privateering and smuggling that appear and disappear with the season.
CITIES & TRADE - Spanish Colonies: Cartagena, Panama, Santiago, and Santo Domingo are the great and powerful cities of the Spanish Main. All except Panama have impressive fortifications, and all have large military garrisons. Prices for everything are high here; European goods are in especially high demand but Spanish trade laws are firmly enforced. San Juan (on Puerto Rico) is very nearly as large as the major cities.
Havana is a growing port that during this era becomes one of the new, great cities of the region. The increasingly frequent stops by the treasure fleet boost Havana's economy. Vera Cruz and Nombre de Dios are unhealthy cities that are only populous and wealthy when the annual fleet is in. At that time vast wealth fro Peru (to Panama) and New Spain (to Vera Cruz) is being loaded onto the ships.
Larger, politically important cities with a craving for European goods include Campeche, Cumana and Maracaibo.
The towns in economic difficulties, and therefore more likely to trade with foreigners, include all ports on underdeveloped Jamaica and Hispaniola (except the capital Santo Domingo), and the lesser ports of the Main, such as Santa Marta, Gibraltar, Coro, Puerto Cabello and Margarita, although the last is rich only from its declining pearl fisheries. The inland capitals of Villa Hermosa and Gran Granada are still economically weak. Both were in the front lines of Spanish conquest just a few years previously.
Trinidad is tiny, but already beginning its unique role as a transshipment point between Atlantic carriers and local Caribbean trade, an activity illegal by Spanish law, but nonetheless profitable. Smugglers find a ready supply of cheap European trade goods, and good market for selling hides.
Other Colonies: The only non-Spanish colony is the new French one at St Augustine (in Florida). A few additional French and English privateering bases exist in the Florida Keys and bahamas. These have an erratic population and uncertain wealth. No agriculture exists, so food supplies are uncertain.
The only official colonial governor of either nation exists at St. Augustine. Unless other colonies grow or change colors, be sure to remain friendly with the French here. All non-Spanish promotions, titles, and land must come from him.
PROSPECTS FOR SUCCESS - A successful career in this period requires exceptional skill and guile. All the major ports are Spanish controlled, forcing one to either trade with them (as Hawkins tried), or to capture them by assault (Drake's method). Trading eventually improves the economic status of the towns, making them more likely to obey Spanish laws and shut you out! Conquest is difficult, especially against well-populated cities, and often is undone by a Spanish counterattack. Furthermore, once you initiate warlike actions and the Spanish become hostile, you must wait for a "Pirate Amnesty" before attempting a trading strategy once more.
You must husband your crew carefully. AVoid dividing up the plunder for as long as possible. Recruiting new crewmen can be extremely difficult.
The English Seahawk: With solid backing from your monarch, you have a powerful and flexible force. This is fortunate, since you'll need to find quick profits to enlarge your tiny coffers.
The French Corsair: Your small, fore-and-aft rigged craft is no match for a well-armed war galleon. If you encounter men of good reputation or high rank, discretion is definitely the better part of valor. Even if you survive the encounter, your crew may be so depleted that recruiting replacements may take months.
The Spanish Renegade: You start in a regrettably weak position, and must take risks at almost every turn to improve your fortunes. This is not the life for the fainthearted!
MERCHANTS & SMUGGLERS 1600-1620 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
INTRODUCTION - After the 1590s the Spanish Empire begins a slow slide into decay and chaos, both militarily and economically. Misguided economic policies combined with a shortsighted aristocracy, redoubled by a powerful and restrictive church, will doom Spain for centuries to come.
In the Americas, expensive fortifications and garrisons ahve increased, but silver shipments and Spanish-owned merchant ships are fewer. Most astoundingly, the empire in America is literally an empty one. Diseases brought by Europeans to the New World have inflicted a century of horrifying plagues. The Caribbean basin has been depopulated. In New Spain (Mexico) the Indian population plunges from 25 million in 1500 (before the conquest) to less than 2 million in 1600. Food supplies are short for lack of farmers, and mine output falls for lack of workers. Spaniards in New Spain totaling more than 100,000 by 1600. Worse, virtually no Spaniards are productive members of society - they expect to live a grandiose live, with slaves and Indian peons serving them. The same pattern repeats throughout the Caribbean and along the Spanish Main.
Conversely, England and France are growing, vital nations. In this era both have new kings who seek peaceful relations with Spain. Although this reduces the opportunity for privateering and piracy, neither monarch discourages colonization. The reputation of riches, pleasant climate, and emptiness of the Americas all beckon. A miscellaneous assortment of Frenchmen and Englishmen start new colonial ventures.
The Netherlands, after decades of rebellion against Spain, are virtually victorious. More amazing, Holland is an economic miracle. Out of war, peaceful and profitable enterprises spring. With new ship designs (the Fluyt), joint- stock companies, and the twelve years truce, Dutch commercial interests are exploding world-wide. However, at this time the big Dutch companies are mainly interested in Indonesia and Asia, leaving the West Indies to smaller operators.
CITIES & TRADE - Spanish Colonies: The cities of Cartagena, Havana, Panama, Santo Domingo and Santiago are the capital cities of the West Indies. Each is populous, rich, well fortified, heavily garrisoned and intolerant of foreigners. Here tobacco and European goods command premium prices.
Puerto Bello has replaced Nombre de Dios as Panama's Caribbean port for the Silver Train and Treasure Fleet. Vera Cruz continues to serve the vast inland areas of New Spain. Both cities are still unhealthy, which limits their growth and economic success.
The majority of the Spanish Main and inland Central America is now economically viable. The smaller towns of the Main frequently grow tobacco and welcome smugglers. The hinterlands of Hispaniola are another area where tobacco smugglers are welcome.
Trinidad is in its heyday as a wide-open smuggler's port. Local Caribbean smugglers can sell their tobacco for decent prices, then buy European goods from Atlantic traders in reasonable quantities. The Spanish governor, without harbor forts and served by a laughably small garrison, can do little but take lucrative bribes and look the other way.
English Colonies: Early colonies exist on St. Lucia and Grenada, although both are at considerable risk from the cannibalistic Caribe indians. Both need regular imports of food. No large tobacco plantations or organized defense exist yet.
French Colonies: No French colonies exist, but old privateering anchorages with small "tent camp" towns can be found in the Bahamas. Here there is no local agriculture. Food costs are dear, precious little is available to supply a ship.
Dutch Colonies: Although Dutch fluyts are common traders in these waters, no Dutch ports ("factories") exist. This is because the monied interests in the Netherlands are busy financing colonial ventures in the East Indies (notably Indonesia). The Dutch spend most of their time trading in smuggled goods with the smaller Spanish colonies. Trinidad is their unofficial home port in the New World.
PROSPECTS FOR SUCCESS - Difficulties in this era are similar to the 1560 period. Furthermore, Europe is tending toward peach, dimming the prospect for privateering profits. With the dearth of friendly ports and peach in the offing, you should seriously consider searching for friendly Spanish ports and smuggling goods between them and Trinidad, with occasional trips to the new English colonies or the old French privateering anchorages to the north.
The English Explorer: The situation and strategies for this era are not unlike those of the previous decades. Do you settle into a life of peaceful trade and smuggling, or do you seek out a war and go on privateering expeditions? Your large crew suggests privateering, but the capacious merchantman with its sluggish sailing qualities and weak armament makes trading attractive too.
The French Adventurer: Your ship and crew are will suited to privateering. However, the lack of strong, friendly ports is a serious handicap when recruiting men or selling captured goods. Conquering a few Spanish ports and installing friendly administrations should be a high priority.
The Dutch Trader: Your ship is admirably suited to mercantile endeavor, but sluggish and underarmed for battle. While trading keep the crew under twenty (but not below eight, as that's the minimum to operate a ship). Pay them off and recruit new ones periodically to keep morale high. Use Trinidad as a base and experiment at various Spanish cities. Discover which governors are tolerant, and which will open fire. Privateering against the Spanish is tricky business - and you will lose trading privileges until Spain offers an Amnesty.
The Spanish Renegade: The renegade's life, never easy, is quite difficult in this era. Only the most courageous should undertake this course.
THE NEW COLONISTS 1620-1640 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
INTRODUCTION - Europe is ablaze with a new and bloody war between Protestant and Catholic (the Thirty Years War). The decay of Spain's American empire continues. Towns and cities are financially weaker, with fewer troops than ever. The economy and culture is stagnant. Spanish ranches, plantations and mines are increasingly dependent on slave labor imported from Africa.
Holland is now the world's leader in mercantile shipping. Dutch companies finally turn their attention to the West Indies. The renewed war with Spain offers many opportunities for the large join-stock companies to finance military expeditions against the Spanish. The old English and French privateering anchorages swarm with Dutch warships.
In England a new round of colonial ventures is fueled by declining economic opportunity and growing intolerance for radical Protestants (such as the Puritans). After the demise of St Lucia and Grenada colonies, and the near death of Virgina, new and stronger colonies are being founded. These colonies will persevere.
France, in the grip of Cardinal Richelieu, is slipping once more into civil war between the Protestant Huguenots and the Catholic government. Throughout the 1620s French Huguenots flee France and found colonies in the New World. Then, in the 1630s, France enters the cataclysm in Germany: The Thirty Years War.
CITIES & TRADE - Spanish Colonies: The cities of Cartagena, Havana, and Panama remain the capital cities of the West Indies. Santiago and Santo Domingo, the old capitals, have declined to a secondary position, though each is still rich by American standards.
Many cities on the Main are economically viable, but few are prosperous. Tobacco is a cheap export crop at some towns. The more backward towns in the hinterlands of Jamaica and Hispaniola are primarily victualing and watering ports.
Trinidad remains a popular smuggling port where European goods are plentiful and fairly cheap, having come across on trans-Atlantic traders, while good prices are paid for tobacco. However, this port is being overshadowed by the new English colonies to the north.
English Colonies: Barbados, the first successful English colony in the West Indies, is growing fast. Increasingly, English ships use it as their home port in the Caribbean. As at Trinidad, merchants serving the trans-Atlantic trade will pay good prices for tobacco. The colony on Nevis is newer and smaller. The new venture on Providence island off the Mosquito Coast, deep in the heart of the Spanish Empire, is the premier base for privateers and pirates raiding the Main.
French Colonies: On the shared island of St Christophe (St. Kitts to the English), the French have the upper hand. This colony is largely Catholic, while the unofficial but growing presence in northeast Hispaniola is largely Protestant. These enterprising Huguenots have already claimed Tortuga off the coast, as well as establishing Petit Goave.
Dutch Colonies: Fully fledged Dutch colonies are sparse. Along with the traditional Bahaman and Floridin privateering anchorages, the Dutch have begun a "factory" (trading town) on an island positioned right in the center of the Spanish Main: Curacao.
PROSPECTS FOR SUCCESS - The new colonial ports are a godsend to privateers, who now have legal employ thanks to renewed warfare in Europe. Pinnaces and Baraques with piratical intent are everywhere in the Caribbean. Spanish strength continues to wane, especially at sea. A well outfitted force can even attempt to capture the Treasure Fleet on the high seas.
Still, one must watch political developments closely. Spain is quite capable of mounting periodic counterattacks to wipe out intrusive colonies or troublesome privateer bases.
The English Adventurer: Don't be shy about privateering against the Spanish. After building your reputation, fortune, and fleet you can venture ashore and try your hand at plundering the smaller towns and cities. Opportunities about for a man of boldness.
The French Huguenot: Your Barque is a handy vessel for the Caribbean, and well suited to privateering against Catholic Spain and its hated Inquisition. Tortuga and Petit Goave are ideal bases, deep in Spanish territory and only a short sail from the Florida Channel and its yearly treasure fleet.
The Dutch Privateer: you have a very powerful force, but there is a lack of Dutch bases. Therefore, cultivate friendship with the French and English (regardless of your government's opinion, if possible). Can you duplicate Piet Heyn' feat of 1628 and capture the Spanish treasure fleet?
The Spanish Renegade: As in 1560 and 1600, the life of a renegade is unenviable, but conditions are somewhat improved. The non-Spanish colonies are few, so it's wise to remain friendly with England, France and Holland.
WAR FOR PROFIT 1640-1660 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
INTRODUCTION - In Holland, Germany and France the last great religious war of Europe (the Thirty Years War), begun in 1618, is degenerating into famine, plague and starvation across a landscape of ruins. England, having avoided European disasters, is on the brink of its own ruinous civil war that will result in a short but brutal military dictatorship by Oliver Cromwell and his Protestant armies. Of all the European nations, Spain is the worst position. Economic and political conditions in he homeland are so bad that provinces are revolting against a bankrupt and ineffective government.
Disasters in Europe breed new opportunities in the West Indies. Spain colonies are at their military and economic nadir. Freebooters and privateers, experienced from the European conflicts, can pillage and plunder the helpless Spanish with ease, and with precious little interference from European governments. Non-Spanish colonies are growing everywhere, fueled by boatloads of refugees. While some settle into the plantation economy, others take to the buccaneering life. Meanwhile, the crafty Dutch are making a fortune by carrying the trade goods among these new colonies. Peaceful trading may not be as profitable as privateering, but it's a safer business.
CITIES & TRADE - Spanish Colonies: The richest Spanish cities remain the great capitals of the region: Panama, Cartagena, Havana, and Santiago. These continue to have wealthy economies and high prices. San Juan and Santo Domingo are prospering, but remain populated by old, aristocratic families with expensive tastes. Both cities are will fortified and garrisoned. All other Spanish cities are barely prospering, if that. Towns in the hinterlands are on eh verge of disappearing under the tidal wave of immigration from England, France and Holland.
English Colonies: Barbados is the unofficial capital of the English West Indies. It is a traders dream. European goods are freely available, sugar sells for premium prices, and the local merchants are wealthy and well-stocked. The colonies on St. Kitts and Nevis are economically strong and well populated while Antigua, Montserrat, Bermuda, and Eleuthera are newer, smaller colonies with little population, low prices, and tiny warehouses.
French Colonies: Guadeloupe and Martinique are the major colonies in the Caribbee Islands (Lesser Antilles). However, all eyes are drawn to that well fortified haven of privateers, buccaneers and outright pirates: Tortuga. Already this name inspires terror. Mainland Hispaniola French colonies are developing slowly at Petit Goave. French privateers still use anchorages in the Florida Keys to plunder Spaniards in the Florida Channel, as well to descend upon the north coast of Cuba.
Dutch Colonies: Curacao is the Dutch equivalent of Barbados. This large, rich, well-defended free port offers good prices for sugar and sells quantities of European goods in return. A second international free port is developing at St Eustatius, while sleepy St. Martin is a placid place for sugar planters and other peaceful fellows.
PROSPECTS FOR SUCCESS - Opportunities abound and success awaits. Spain is almost always at war with somebody, and not uncommonly with everybody! Since Spanish military power is a joke, the opportunities for privateering and outright plunder are legion. After a rich cruise against the hapless Spanish, no voyage is complete without a wild party at Tortuga, Barbados, or Curacao.
The English Adventure: As a privateer, everything is in your favor. A plethora of friendly English colonies are ready and willing to buy your plundered goods, while the taverns are brimming with sailors seeking a berth with a successful Captain. Smiling governors will shake your hand and bestow land and honor for your efforts. Isn't life grand?
The French Privateer: Privateering is a growth industry with great profits for the French, as with the English. Tortuga is the ideal base for such activities, sitting between Santo Domingo, the great cities of Cuba, and the rich fleets passing outbound through the Florida Channel. Down a pleasant beam reach to the south lies the heartland of the Spanish Main and the usually friendly port of Curcao.
The Dutch Trader: Tired of war, many Dutchmen prefer the peaceful role of trading. The new and growing French and English colonies offer many opportunities to a savvy merchant. Trade routes between the large, rich colonies and the new, small ones yield easy profits. One can also trade with the poorer Spanish cities, who have cheap sugar and food that sells for premier prices on Curaca or Barbados. Of course, the lure of privateering for the English or French remains strong!
The Spanish Renegade: This is one of the two eras (the other is 1660) where the life of a renegade can be fairly pleasant. Raiding the Spanish is a rewarding occupation, war or no war.
THE BUCCANEER HEROES 1660-1680 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
INTRODUCTION - The military decline of the Spanish Empire continues when senile King Phillip IV is succeeded by the lax and inept regency for Charles (Carlos) II, who in 1665 becomes King at age four. Although Spanish America is left without military protection, bureaucratic interference in its economic affairs diminishes also. This, combined with renewed output form the silver mines, starts an upswing in the Spanish-American economy.
England, France and Holland are now strong colonial powers. Jealous of Holland's commercial success, England begins economic war against Holland with the Navigation Act (1651) and the Staple Act (1663), legislating trade limits that would ruin the free-trade Dutch merchants. This causes three shooting wars within twenty years. Meanwhile, Louis XIV has finally taken control of France with the death of Cardinal Mazarin in 1661. The "Sun King's" aggressive foreign policy sparks almost constant warfare with England, Holland, and Spain as frequent opponents. In short, Europe is a dogfight of international intrigue and warfare, with enemies and allies changing as frequently as partners in a court dance.
In the Caribbean, governors face new threats from all directions. St. Eustatius changes hands ten times between 1664 and 1674. The home governments provide virtually no military forces, so the governors ask buccaneers, privateers and pirates to guard their colony and carry the fight to the enemy. These sensible, profit-oriented warriors are often difficult to control.
CITIES AND TRADE - Spanish Colonies: Panama, Havana, and Cartagena endure as the three greatest Spanish cities, rich, well fortified, and well garrisoned. Still sizeable but of declining importance are Santiago, Santo Domingo, and San Juan. The remaining Spanish towns are beginning to prosper again, but are so weak militarily that all are prey to buccaneers and pirates.
English Colonies: Barbados remains the great English colony, with St. Kitts close behind. Captured from Spain in 1655, Jamaica is the home of Port Royale, the new English buccaneer haven in the midst of the Spanish empire, only a short voyage downwind from the French colonies on Hispaniola.
French Colonies: In the Caribbee Islands (Lesser Antilles) Guadeloupe and Martinique are the main bastions of French power, while around western Hispaniola Tortuga, Port- de-Paix, Petit Goave, and Leogane are buccaneering stongholds amid the growing wealth of French sugar plantations.
Dutch Colonies: Curacao remains the premier Dutch colony and one of the greatest free ports in the world. St. Eustatius almost surpasses it, but conquest and reconquest by numerous expeditions has damaged its economy.
PROSPECTS FOR SUCCESS - This era is sometimes called the "Golden Age of Buccaneering". There's plenty of warfare to legalize your actions, and a plethora of rich Spanish and non-Spanish ports to either raid or use as bases, as you prefer. Because of her military weakness, Spain's ships and towns are the popular target for buccaneers and pirates of all nationalities.
The English Buccaneer: Port Royale makes an excellent base of operations, while Barbados is still the best place to dispose of large amounts of loot at a very good price. The main disadvantage of Port Royale is that recruiting a good crew often requires side-trips to the French buccaneer towns on Hispaniola, while a base in the Caribbees give you access to many English ports for quick, easy recruiting.
The French Buccaneer: Privateer or pirate, it is wise to leave one or two nations alone, so you have potential trading partners in case an unexpected peace breaks out. You'll find recruiting especially easy in the vicinity of Hispaniola, with four separate French buccaneer ports within a short sail.
The Dutch Adventurer: Dutchmen of this period weren't shy about offering their services to other nations, and were always looking for the main chance - a venture with profit, be it peaceful or warlike. Don't ignore the excellent prospects for peaceful trade. Above all, remember that Barbados and Curaca are two richest ports in non-Spanish America, good fore either trading or selling a looted cargo.
The Spanish Renegade: Although a renegade's life is never easy, this era is a bright spot on a dark sea of danger. Privateering or piracy against Spain is, of course, the recommended course.
PIRATES' SUNSET 1680-1700 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
INTRODUCTION - Europe is as full as ever of tumult and warfare, rapidly shifting alliances and strange political bedfellows. But the depredations of the buccaneers in the Americas have taught politicians and military men a lesson. Warriors who fight for profit can ruin the local economy. Meanwhile, nations have bigger and more powerful fleets and armies, big enough so troops can be spared for important colonies in the West Indies.
All this spells the doom of privateering and the buccaneers. Spain may be ruled by a deformed idiot (the unhappy product of excessive intermarriage by the Habsburgs), but despite this the pirates disappear, chased from the seas by an English naval squadron based in Port Royale. Letters of Marque are harder and harder ot get. Buccaneers of all nationalities flock to the French flag in 1684 when it offers Letters of Marque again.
Economically, this is an era of rising wealth and trade for all nations in the Caribbean. Although some piracy remain, the road to the future is one of peaceful trade and smuggling.
CITIES & TRADE - Spanish Colonies: Havana, Panama, Cartagena, and Santiago are still important cities, despite the raids and misfortunes of the last century. Caracas has risen to prominence as the main harbor serving inland Terra Firma (South America), while Santo Domingo and San Juan have slipped to a second rank, isolated among the growing French and English island wealth.
English Colonies: Port Royale, Barbados, and St. Kitts are the great English ports, with the other English Caribbees sound and healthy trading posts. The Bahamas are the new colonial frontier. Nassau, for example, is a wide-open pirate haven. A small English colony has even sprung up at Belize in Honduras!
French Colonies: The French colonial empire has not changed its shape greatly in two decades. Guadeloupe and Martinique remain the twin economic capitals, now equal to the largest English ports. Tortuga is declining but the Hispaniolan towns of Port-d-Paix, Petit Goave, and Leogane are all thriving.
Dutch Colonies: As with France, the shape of the Dutch dominions also is constant: Curacao is the great free port, St. Eustatius is recovering from wartime disasters and trying to live on trade with the recalcitrant English nearby. St. Martin, the northerly satellite, continues to expand quietly its plantation economy.
PROSPECTS FOR SUCCESS - Prospects in this era appear as good as the 1660s and 1670s. However pirate- hunting warships appear more frequently, while the non-Spanish ports are larger and better fortified. Indeed, the fairly equal distribution of strong and weak ports throughout the Caribbean means the prospects for trading are the best in fifty years. If you do pursue a bellicose path, take advantage of pirate amnesties when offered, so you are prepared for a sudden outbreak of peace.
The English Pirate: Well, mate ye always wanted a life of piracy. Try it on for size now! Novices are encouraged to try a voyage or two in the 1660s first, to get the feel of privateering, before embarking on a career of high seas crime. Beware the navy pirate hunters!
The French Buccaneer: Privateering commissions are legally available still. Take advantage of them to raid the Spainish. Of course, it pays to beware of the Costa Guarda pirate hunters.
The Dutch Adventurer: As a peace-loving free-trade Dutchman, you should think long on the advantages of trading and smuggling. Dutch ports are few, and although England and France have laws prohibiting trade with you, in reality the laws are ignored. Even the Spanish can be coaxed into trading more often than not. Of course, some of your compatriots made their reputation by sailing as privateers for France. In fact, two admirals of the French privateers in 1685 are Dutchmen!
The Spanish Costa Guarda: Now that the English and French colonies are as rich as the Spanish, it's only appropriate that they taste some of their own medicine! The only difficulty is evading those French, English and Dutch warships that so inconveniently clutter up the seascape.
APPENDICES :::::::::: _______________________________________________________________________________
GEOGRAPHICAL INDEX ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Latitudes and Longitudes given in this index are consistent with the B&H map, included in this package. While quite good for the era, the measurements on this map are very inexact by modern standards. All founding dates are approximate.
Antigua: 21 degrees N, 62 degrees W. Colonized in the 1640s, this island is a small pleasant backwater with a classic plantation economy. In the 18th Century it will become one of the two great navel base for the British Royal Navy in the Caribbean.
Barbados: 18 degrees N, 59 degrees W. The first major English colony in the Caribbean (in the 1620s), Barbados is the economic capital of the Caribbee Islands (Lesser Antilles) throughout the middle and later parts of the 17th Century. Caribbean traders will find European goods numerous and the selling price of tobacco and sugar quite good.
Belize: 21 degrees N, 88 degrees W. This small but hardy settlement of logwood cutters appears in the 1680's in a region conceded to be Spanish, but as yet uncolonized. Its stubborn presence will cause diplomatic problems for decades to come.
Bermuda: 30 degrees N, 65 degrees W. Settled in the 1640s, Bermuda built its early economy on shipwrecks, thanks to the many treacherous reefs that surround the tiny island.
Borburata: 16 degrees N, 67 degrees W. This modes city on the Spanish Main is noteworthy only in the late 16th Century. Thereafter it is sublimated in the growing power and importance of Caracas.
Campeche: 23 degrees N, 90 degrees W. A well-established "old" Spanish city with aristocratic tastes, Campeche is an important port serving the inland provinces of southern New Spain and Yucatan. European goods fetch good prices here.
Caracas: 16 degrees N, 66 degrees W. This city rises to prominence at the end of the 16th Century. It is the main port for inland farms and plantations, and home of many important Spanish families, who have expensive tastes in European goods.
Cartagena: 16 degrees N, 75 degrees W. This is the largest port city of the Spanish Main, and after the 1590s a supposedly impregnable fortress. Here the treasure fleet winters before its return voyage via Havana and the Florida Channel. It has a powerful garrison of troops and a thriving economy with little need for illegal trade and smuggling.
Coro: 17 degrees N, 70 degrees W. This small city on the east side of the Gulf of Venezuela thrives in the 16th Century, but after the 1600s it is overshadowed by the new ports to the east. During its brief heyday Coro is a good source of hides and tobacco.
Cumana: 16 degrees N, 64 degrees W. The main port city of New Andalusia, it forms the eastern anchor of the Spanish Main, the last major harbor and fortress. It is a good market for European goods. This does not prevent it from indulging in smuggling and other nefarious pursuits from time to time.
Curacao: 17 degrees N, 69 degrees W. First used in the 1620s, this island becomes a great free port under Dutch control. Spanish produce smuggled from everywhere along the Main are bought here by Dutch merchants, who happily exchange them for European products that can be profitable smuggled to the Spanish.
Eleuthera: 26 degrees N, 76 degrees W. At first just an anchorage for privateers, Eleuthera becomes and English colony eventually. In the 17th Century it really never grows, remaining a backwater haven for pirates, privateers, and the other riff-raff who hide among the Bahamas.
Florida Channel: 26 degrees N, 80 degrees W. The powerful Gulf Stream current has cut this channel along the southeast coast of Florida, forming a safe path past the Bahama shoals. Each year in the spring or summer the Spanish treasure fleet passes up this channel from Havana, bound for the North Atlantic Westerlies and the trip home.
Florida Keys: 26 degrees N, 81 degrees W. Among this chain of tiny islands and reefs are transitory anchorages for privateers of varying nationalities. No permanent colonies are found here - it is too close to powerful Spanish Havana.
Gibraltar: 15 degrees N, 71 degrees W. This city is a modest-size port for the inland farms and plantations of Caracos province. The horrifying rape and pillage of the city by L'Ollonais and again by Morgan destroyed its economic vitality, making it a nonentity by the 1680s.
Gran Granada: 17 degrees N, 86 degrees W. Situated on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, this is the largest and wealthiest city of the Honduran provinces.
Grand Bahama: 28 degrees N, 79 degrees W. This island in the northern Bahamas is used periodically as a privateering anchorage. It does not become an English colony until the very end of the era.
Grenada: 17 degrees N, 61 degrees W. A group of English colonists attempt settlement here in the 1600s, but fail and the colony disappears by the 1620s.
Guadeloupe: 20 degrees N, 61 degrees W. Colonized by the French, Guadeloupe becomes economically viable in the 1640s. Along with Martinique it is the cornerstone of French power in the eastern Caribbean. In the 1660s its fortress and garrison are increased as part of France's new interest in overseas colonization.
Havana: 25 degrees N, 82 degrees W. One of the old cities of Cuba, during the middle 16the Century it grew rapidly because th Treasure Fleet used its harbor for a last provisioning before the dangerous journey back to Spain. Havana is a rich town where all mercantile activity is done strictly according to law. Prices are extremely high.
Isabella: 23 degrees N, 71 degrees W. This tiny port town was initially established by Columbus himself, but fades in and out of existence as disease takes its toll. At the start of the 17th Century it is officially abandoned by the Spanish Government, its residents forced to resettle around Santo Domingo.
La Vega: 22 degrees N, 71 degrees W. This smuggler's haven of the early and middle 17th Century serves the inland ranches and farms of northern Hispaniola. Prices are low and the law nonexistent, save the law you make with the point of your sword.
Leogane: 22 degrees N, 73 degrees W. One of the new French buccaneer ports of the 1660s, Leogane serves the unofficial but rapidly growing French presence in western Hispaniola.
Maracaibo: 16 degrees N, 72 degrees W. This is the chief port on the Gulf of Venezuela and guardian of the Maracaibo Lagoon (also known as Lake Maracaibo). As such it has more than its share of aristocratic families, with expensive tastes in European fashion.
Margarita: 17 degrees N, 63 degrees W. In the early 16th Century this island was one of the richest pearl fisheries in the world. Unfortunately, the pearl beads are now fished out. Margarita is a shadow of its former wealth, withe ports abandoned and many families moving to bigger and richer mainland cities, such as Cumana an Caracas.
Martinique: 19 degrees N, 61 degrees W. Colonized by the French, Martinique becomes economically viable in the 1640s. With Guadeloupe it is the cornerstone of French power in the eastern Caribbean. In the 1660s its fortress and garrison are increased as part of France's new interest in overseas colonization.
Montserrat: 21 degrees N, 62 degrees W. This English colony, founded around 1640, remains one of small plantations and gentleman farming, a pleasant port of call with no especially important characteristics save low prices.
Nassau: 26 degrees N, 77 degrees W. Since the mid 16th Century this Bahaman island has been a pirate anchorage. An English colony, officially begun in the 1680s, soon degenerates into a loud, squalid pirate haven full of verminous and evil men. The port is named "New Providence", to distinguish it from Providence Island ("Old Providence").
Nevis: 21 degrees N, 63 degrees W. This pleasant island, separated from St. Kitts by a narrow channel, was populated by the English at about the same time - the 1620s. While St. Kitts becomes a port of some importance, Nevis remains more agricultural, with pleasant plantations rolling across sun-drenched mountainsides.
Nombre Dios: 15 degrees N, 79 degrees W. This town is the Caribbean port for Panama and Peru throughout the 16th Century. However, it is sited in an unhealthy swamp, is almost impossible to fortify, and is plundered mercilessly by English sea hawks. At the end of the 16th Century it is abandoned and a new port (Puerto Bello) established nearby.
Panama: 15 degrees N, 80 degrees W. This large city links the wealth Spanish realms of Peru with the Caribbean. All trade with Peru is by ship on the Pacific coast, with Panama the terminus. Panama is linked to a Caribbean port (Nombre de Dios in the 16th Century, Puerto Bello in the 17th) by a mule train over the mountains of the Darien Isthmus.
Petit Goave: 22 degrees N, 73 degrees W. Among the many small and informal French Huguenot settlements on the Western Hispaniola, this is the first (in the 1620s) to gain repute as an important port. but as the 17th Century continues, planters and plantation lords push out the rude buccaneers, gradually civilizing the raw colonial frontier.
Port-de-Paix: 23 degrees N, 73 degrees W. This later French Huguenot settlement becomes a significant port in the 1660s, and by the 1680s is the informal capital of the French colonies in the Western Hispaniola
Port Royale: 21 degrees N, 77 degrees W. In a natural harbor on southeast Jamaica lies a curving spit and sandbar. By 1660, just five years after the English conquest of Jamaica, the spit is covered by Port Royale, a booming, rollicking, buccaneer town. Its reputation was so evil that when an earthquake destroyed it at the end of the Century, colonials and Europeans alike considered it an act of divine justice.
Pruerto Cabello: 16 degree N, 68 degrees W. This secondary port along the Spanish Main is a city of note through the 1620s. Ultimately, however, Caracas takes most of its business, while the new Dutch free port at Curacao destroys the rest.
Puerto Principe: 24 degrees N, 78 degrees W. This was one of the first cities on Cuba. It represents the strengths of Spanish America: a wealthy city surrounded by ranches and a cattle economy.
Providence: 18 degrees N, 82 degrees W. Also known as "Old Providence", it is first settled by an English colonial venture in 1620. The tiny island quickly becomes a base for privateers and pirates operating deep in the Spanish Main. The island is such a danger to Spain that a major expedition is mounted in 1640 to recapture it. This is successful, and to this day the island remains knowns by what the Spanish renamed it: Santa Catalina.
Puerto Bello: 15 degrees N, 80 degrees W. By 1600 this city replaces abandoned Nombre de Dios as the Caribbean port for Panama and the Viceroyalty of Peru. Each year, when the Treasure Fleet arrives to pick up the Peruvian silver, Puerto Bello becomes a rich boom town. Weeks later, when the fleet departs for Cartagena, it lapses into malarial somnolence once more.
Rio de la Hacha: 17 degrees N, 73 degrees W. This is one of the two major ports for the Colombian highlands (Santa Marta is the other). It does a thriving trade in export goods: first hides, then tobacco.
San Juan: 22 degrees N, 66 degrees W. This is the great port city of Puerto Rico, and one of the most powerfully fortified of all cities in Spanish America. San Juan was settled early and remains a bastion of old Spanish aristocracy. Prices for all goods except food are high, and most times Spanish law is vigorously enforced. Ultimately it becomes a base for Costa Guarda raids on the Caribees.
Santa Catalina: 18 degree N, 82 degrees W. When Spaniards take Providence Island from the English in the 1640s, they rename it Santa Catalina. Although the island is valueless to Spain, a garrison is maintained to prevent it from falling into English hands once more.
Santo Domingo: 22 degrees N, 70 degrees W. This is the great capital city of Hispaniola, one of the largest and oldest in the entire American Empire of Spain. In the 17th Century its power and importance are fading, but the Spanish aristocrats and ranchers remain vigorous enough to defeat an English invasion in 1655 (disappointed, the English invade and conquer Jamaica instead).
Santa Marta: 17 degrees N, 74 degrees W. Along with Rio de la Hacha, this is the other principal port serving the Colombian highlands. Large farmsteads nearby mean this city has low food prices, as well as reasonably priced hides and tobacco.
Santiago: 23 degrees N, 76 degrees W. This is the original capital city of Cuba, and remains a large, strong city until very late in the era. Like all the great Spanish cities, prices are high while Spanish trade law is vigorously enforced.
Santigo de la Vega: 21 degrees N, 77 degrees W. This is the main Spanish town on Jamaica before the English conquest. Spanish Jamaica was a tiny backwater, of little economic or military importance.
St. Augustine: 30 degrees N, 81 degrees W. Originally a French colony in 1560, Spain attacks and captures it, massacring the Frenchmen and establishing their own fortress and garrison to discourage other Europeans. St. Augustine is of such small importance that nobody bothers to dispute Spain's ownership.
St. Christophe: 21 degrees N, 63 degrees W. First colonized in the 1620s by a combination of Frenchmen and Englishmen, the Frenchmen are ascendant on the island in the early days. Later the English predominate and their spelling of the name is commonly used: St. Kitts.
St. Eustatius: 21 degrees N, 63 degrees W. Settled in the 1640s by the Dutch, this island becomes one of the great free trade ports in the heyday of Dutch mercantilism. Unfortunately, its poor defenses and powerful English and French neighbors make it one of the most fought-over islands. The political and military turmoil badly damage the economy.
St. Kitts: 21 degrees N, 63 degrees W. By the 1640s the English gain the upper hand on St. Christophe. When the English are predominant, this English name for the island is commonly used. The island develops a significant port that does a thriving trade with all nationalities.
St. Lucia: 19 degrees N, 61 degrees W. English colonists settled here in preference to South America in the 1600s, but were quickly wiped out by their own ineptitude and the ferocious Carib Indians.
St. Martin: 22 degrees N, 63 degrees W. This island is colonized by the Dutch in the 1640s. It remains a quiet, peaceful plantation isle for the remainder of the 17th Century.
St. Thome: 15 degrees N, 61 degrees W. This tiny town, deep inland along the Orinoco River, acquires a small Spanish garrison about 1600. This is in response to Sir Walter Raleigh's abortive expeditions up-river.
Tortuga: 23 degrees N, 73 degrees W. First settled by French buccaneers and Huguenots in the 1620s, it is built up and fortified into a great pirate base of the 1640s and '60s. Despite Spanish attacks, it survives as long as the buccaneers and pirates remained strong, but disappears as their power wanes.
Trinidad: 16 degrees N, 61 degrees W. Theoretically a Spanish colony, this island never has a large population, nor much of a Spanish government and garrison. Its heyday as a smuggler's paradise is in the first years of the 1600s.
Vera Cruz and San Juan de Ulua Harbor: 23 degrees N, 96 degrees W. This city with its island anchorage is the main port for the great inland Viceroyalty of New Spain (also known as Mexico). Once a year, when the treasure fleet arrives, this otherwise unhealthy city becomes a rich boom town.
Villa Hermosa: 22 degrees N, 93 degrees W. This inland city is the capital of Tobasco province, a southerly but nontheless rich region of New Spain.
Yaguana: 22 degrees N, 72 degrees W. In the 16th Century this town is a small port serving the Spanish west coast of Hispaniola. It is officially abandoned and its population deported at the end of the century as a punishment for excessive smuggling.
* CAPTAIN'S BROADSHEET *
A QUICK START - For your first game, the following "Quick Start" is recommended.
Starting Options: Begin your first game with the following selections (starting selections are described in detail early in this document).
1. Welcome: Start a New Career. 2. Special Historical Period?: No. 3. What nationality are you?: English 4. Type Your Name (No more than 9 characters) and press 'Return'. You are an: Apprentice. Special Ability: Skill at Fencing.
TREASURE FLEET OR SILVER TRAIN: You must know when the Treasure Fleet or Silver Train arrives. Refer to the chart listed at the end of Pirates.Dox.1A LEARN BY DOING - Some Players prefer to learn by experimentation. To do so, just read the notes below and refer to the Controls summary in this broadsheet. If you are confused, refer to the indicated sections of the manual for more details.
Pause: The space bar pauses the action. This is handy while learning.
Your First Duel: The joystick controls your fencing tactics. You see these tactics acted out on screen. You don not control each specific wrist, arm, body, and leg motion.
In Port: Explore the port and the options available before leaving for your first cruise. However, do not divide up the plunder yet.
Cruising the Seas: Push your joystick in the direction you wish to set sail. Once sailing, leave the stick centered to remain on course, pull it left or right to turn in that direction (just like the rudder of a real ship). For information while sailing, press the trigger. If you're lost, one of the information options is a "sun sight" with your astrolabe.
Fighting Ships: If you encounter and fight an enemy ship, read the section that describes your options. If you pull alongside, a boarding battle with swordfighting may occur.
Finishing Your Voyage: Return to port, sell your gains to the merchant, visit the governor for any rewards, then Divide The Plunder. After that, select retirement. This ends the game and shows your score. Don't worry! You can come out of retirement again (health permitting).
SAVING GAMES & HALL OF FAME - You need an extra, blank disk to save PIRATES! during play. You cannot save any information on the game disk.
Saving the Game: To save the game, enter any town and Check Information. The option list includes Save Game. Select this option and follow the instructions. PIRATES! save-game disks use a special format. You must use the format option offered in Save Game, a normally formatted disk will not suffice. Note that formatting a disk prepares it for saving games, but does not actually save anything.
The Hall of Fame: Having a formatted disk is necessary to record your final score on the Hall of Fame. The same disk can hold both your saved games and the Hall of Fame.
* THE ART OF COMMAND *
Joystick........................Move pointer (changes highlighted option) Trigger on Joystick.............Select highlighted option. Space Bar.......................Stop music.
Trading & Moving Goods ----------------------
Joystick up-down.................Selects item to be traded or moved. Flick Joystick Left..............Buy or take item for your party. Flick Joystick Right.............Sell or abandon items held by your party. Trigger on Joystick..............Exit.
Fencing & Swordplay -------------------
Joystick Left.....................Fast attack high, mid-level or low Joystick Left & Trigger Down......Slashing attack high, mid-level or low Joystick in Center................Parry (blocks attacks) high, middle or low Joystick Right....................Retreat and parry high, mid-level or low Space Bar.........................Pause and resume
Note: Joystick height (upward, horizontal, or downward) controls height of attack or parry (high, mid-level or low). For example, the joystick left and upward is a fast attack high, while the joystick left and downward is a fast attack low.
Marching Overland -----------------
Joystick (any direction)..........Party marches in that direction. Joystick Trigger..................Get information. Space Bar.........................Pause and resume.
Sailing the Caribbean ---------------------
Flick Joystick (any direction)....Set sail (joystick controls direction) Joystick left.....................Turn left (port) while sailing. Joystick right....................Turn right (starboard) while sailing. Joystick Trigger..................Get information Space Bar.........................Pause and resume.
Note: You can anchor safely anywhere on the coast and disembark automatically. However, any travel over shoals (reefs) may be fatal.
Sea Battles -----------
Joystick Left.....................Turn left (port) Joystick Right....................Turn right (starboard) Joystick Up.......................Full sails (raises all sails for max speed) Joystick Down.....................Battle sails (reduces risk of gunfire damage) Joystick Trigger..................Fire cannon broadside Space Bar.........................Pause and resume
Land Battles ------------
Joystick Trigger..................Change highlighted group Joystick..........................Move the highlighted group only Joystick & Trigger Down...........Move all groups simultaneously (Automatic When Stationary).......Group fires (Automatic When Stationary).......Group fights hand-to-hand with enemy Space Bar.........................Pause and resume
Taking a Sun-Sight with the Astrolabe -------------------------------------
Joystick left-right................Move Astrolabe under sun Joystick up-down...................Raise-lower astrolabe platform Joystick Trigger...................Exit Space Bar..........................Pause and resume
* THE POWER OF OBSERVATION *
National Colors ---------------
Red.................................England Green...............................Netherlands (Holland) Dark Blue...........................France Cyan (Light Blue)...................Spain
Fencing & Swordplay -------------------
The color of the shirt indicates who and what is fighting.
White Shirt.........................You, with whatever weapon you selected Yellow Shirt........................Enemy with a cutlass Purple Shirt........................Enemy with a longsword Green Shirt.........................Enemy with a rapier
Sea Battles -----------
You can distinguish friendly from hostile ships by color.
Black Hull, White Sails.............Your Ship Brown Hull, Yellow Sails............Enemy Ship
Land Battles ------------
You can distinguish one group from another by color.
Black...............................Your highlighted (selected) group Gray................................Your other group(s) Red.................................Enemy Group
NOTES & MEMORANDA ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PIRATES! began as a glimmer in an historian's eye. Here at MicroProse we knew that the buccaneering era in the Caribbean would make a fabulous game. However, to do the era justice, we had to invent a new type of action/adventure simulation.
Superficially, PIRATES! appears to be an arcade-style game. The sailing, ship battles, and swordfights all run in real-time where your actions and reactions must be quick, decisive, and correct. But upon closer examination, each aspect of the game is based around the actual principles of that activity.
Sailing controls work like a real ship's rudder, and sailing speeds depend on the ship's hull, rigging, and the strength of the wind. When playing at "Swashbuckler" reality level, there is no game assistance for sailing into the wind (as there is at lower levels). The difficulties of tacking into the wind and the importance of catching each wind change is quite evident. You'll also see the grave flaws in the galleon ship design (bigger is not always better). Try sailing a galleon from Vera Cruz to Havana, and then up the Florida Channel to St. Augustine. You'll soon see why so many Spanish Captains came to grief in those waters!
Similarly, swordfighting is deceptive. You do not control motions per se, but instead select "combinations" for attack and defense. This approach to fencing is based on the sports of Eppe, Foil and Saber - modern equivalents to duelling. If you're familiar with those, you'll soon see the similarities between those modern competitions and what happens in PIRATES! Fighters close for a quick flurry, then spring apart again.
Strange as it may seem to us in the 20th Century, the buccaneers really did insist that their Captain fight at the forefront. They didn't want a leader who'd stand back and give orders, they wanted somebody who'd risk his neck alongside them! Surviving commentary show that personal leadership and duels between commanders were not infrequent in boarding and storming battles.
The game does simplify the options and possibilities inherent in West Indian colonial life, in order to streamline game-play. Even so, colonial port society actually centered around three main elements: recreation (the "taverns"), trading (the "merchant"), and politics (the "governor"). Recent excavations and mappings of Port Royale (destroyed by earthquake in 1692) demonstrate the truth of this.
We must confess to adding a few minor elements of romance and adventure. After all, no voyage would be complete without buried treasure maps, evil Spaniards, and beautiful women! Actually, even the governor's daughter represents a feature of the period: inside political information. In real life, as in the game, confidential information gained through personal connections can be an invaluable aid.
To some our choice of period may seem strange. The most famous pirates, such as Edward Teach (Blackbeard) were in the 1700s through 1720s. However, those men were psychotic remnants of a great age, criminals who wouldn't give up. They were killed in battle or hung for evils no European nation condoned. There was no political intrigue or golden future to their lives, just a bullet or a short rope. We found them unattractive and uninteresting compared to the famous sea hawks and buccaneers that preceded them.
PIRATES! was a fascinating and challenging game to create. We're confident you'll find it enjoyable. We also hope you'll find it an enlightening window to life in another age.