You can choose from several historical game-eras available. For your first few games we suggest that you choose the default era : The Buccaneer Heroes —1660 is the only era available on Apprentice difficulty.
There are four nationalities to choose from. You begin with a "Letter of Marque" from your choosen nation, making you a legitimate privateer in its interest. This is important in the early portion of the game as all of that nation's cities are opened and friendly to you. As the game progresses you can purchase or be given "Letters of Marque"
from other nations. It is not unknown for a pirate to turn on his own nation if he gets a better offer from somebody else!
English is one of the easiest nationalities to play in the default era (The Buccaneer Heroes-1660). You start the game with friendly ports in highly useful locations, and since England is almost always at war with Spain, you can usually gain quick English promotions by attacking Spanish vessels and cities.
France too has a number of strategic ports - Tortuga is a great place from which to harass southern Cuba - and she's often at war with Spain.
This is not the easiest nation to play. The Dutch have far fewer ports than the other nations (though Curacao makes a fine base for trading with or attacking Spanish cities on the Spanish Main). Further, the Dutch are not quite as often at war with their neighbours, so Dutch promotions can be hard to come by.
This may be the toughest nationality to start with. Spain has by far the most ports on the game, which leaves you fewer targets to attack (a problem only if you wish to remain loyal to Holy Spain). Likewise, the juiciest target vessels in the Caribbean are often Spanish: if you want to remain loyal, you'll have to make your fortune attacking the less wealthy English, French, and Dutch ships. On the other hand, Spain is nearly always at war with somebody - privateering can be extremely profitable.
Type your pirate's name into the space indicated.
Choose one of five difficulty levels:
• Apprentice (the easiest level) •Journeyman • Adventurer • Rogue • Swashbuckler
The difficulty level affects a number of aspects of the game. The higher the difficulty level, the tougher your opponents in action sequences - ship battles, dueling, and so forth. In addition, it is harder to recruit crewmen and keep them happy at the higher levels. On the other hand, as the difficulty level rises you get to keep a larger portion of the booty when you divide the plunder. Once in the game you can raise or lower the difficulty level only when you divide the plunder.
Choose Your Skill
The following skills are available to you:
This helps your pirate in one-on-one duels against enemy swordsmen.
This helps your pirate defeat enemy ships in sea combat. Navigation
This helps you get better speed at all point of sailing. Medicine
This "skill" delays the effects of aging on your pirate.
Once you have chosen you pirate's skill, you are ready to play! The scene changes, and you find yourself at sea, just outside of a port of your nationality.
Sid Meier's Pirates!'
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