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About Rainier

PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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'Sid Meier's Pirates!' (Xbox) Dev. Diary #6 - Screens

by Rainier on July 18, 2005 @ 2:18 p.m. PDT

In Pirates! you take the leading role of a Pirate Captain in the 17th century Caribbean trying to become the most revered and feared pirate in history - exploring high seas and exotic ports, overtaking enemies in fierce naval battles, engaging in duels and attempting to seize valuable booty. This final designer diary features Sid Meier himself giving gameplay tips for playing the game.

Ahoy Mateys!

As you begin your daring quest to become the most famous pirate captain in history, I thought you could use some tips and tricks from this old sea dog. So, here are some top secret nuggets of gold to help you live the swashbuckling adventure of a lifetime:

  • Pick your starting skill wisely. Many first-time players choose obvious skills like fencing or gunnery, both of which can be extremely helpful when you're first learning the game. However, once you've pillaged and plundered or charmed and duelled your way to a more advanced level, you may want to choose skills like medicine, which can help you live longer, or navigation, which increases your fleet speed, so you can get rich faster by say...finding the buried treasure first or defeating the enemy ships and confiscating their booty...are you with me??
  • Vary your shot types in ship battles. Chain shot targets enemy sails and is more likely to immobilize an enemy vessel, making it easier to capture. Grape shot targets enemy crew and can improve your chances of defeating the enemy captain in a duel. But, be careful not to destroy an enemy ship during battles, because then you won't reap the rewards of a victory (like food, gold, extra crewmen etc.), instead you'll end up with a pirate hunter on your tail.
  • Hungry? Have a warship! Learn to distinguish between merchant and military vessels. Merchant vessels are loaded with valuable cargo you can sell, and are not generally well-defended. Military vessels don't usually carry much loot or goods, but can be a lifesaver if your crew is starving, because they're always loaded to the gills with food.
  • Grab the floaties! You can collect crewmen who've been thrown into the high seas by sailing over them in ship battles. And, you get small amounts of gold for collecting ejected cargo bobbing in the water.
  • Fear the fast flapping flag! The faster a port's flag whips in the wind, the more aggressive they'll be towards you. Also, by observing how tattered a port's flag is, you can get a sense of the general prosperity level of that port.
  • "Count" your dough! The rank of "Count" carries with it the benefit of free ship upgrades in your nationality's ports, and also allows you to sell any ship, no matter how damaged and battered, for full price! This is a great way to make lots of money on an enemy ship you've pounded into submission during a battle. Just tow it into port and sell it for top dollar!
  • Rubies are a girl's best friend! Always buy ruby rings if they're offered to you, as they will help you to progress to the next stage of courtship with a governor's beautiful daughter. Once you've won over the daughter with your swashbuckling charm, she'll give you secret information and access to special items you wouldn't otherwise get.
  • In land battles, protect your officers! They have the strongest attack rating and can overcome most enemy units one-on-one, but if surrounded, they can be worn down and routed easily.
  • Go Buccaneers! Use your buccaneers to soften enemy units for attack, before engaging with your infantry. You'll get a morale bonus for attacking a weakened unit.
  • Don't forget to flank! Attacking a unit from the side or behind gives a massive flanking bonus that can make all the difference.
  • Two left feet? If you find that despite your best efforts, you just can't seem to get the hang of dancing, start off with the "Wit and Charm" skill, and get the dancing slippers as quickly as possible.

So there you have it my seafaring friends! Now set sail and have fun conquering the Carribean!!

Author: Sid Meier, Director of Creative Development, Firaxis Games

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