The Let's Play Archive

Sid Meier's Pirates!

by FirstAidKite

Part 1

Har! My name is Bartholomew Bonneyread Goonham, the greatest pirate to sail the Caribbeans! I've got your attention so you had might as well listen! I wasn't always the Demonic Dutch you know! I had to earn that name, just as I earned ever other name I've got, be it Longbeard or Cannon Charmer! So listen to my tale of greatness, of triumph, of the legacy that I, Captain Bart B. "Longbeard" Goonham, left behind! This is my tale of pirates!

I already told you that the ludicrously evil Marquis de Montalban had enslaved my entire family. I was but a young boy then, naive and stupid. I was unable to do a blasted thing at the time but fend for my own self as my beloved family was stripped away from me! Do you realize how that feels, to have your entire family be taken? It would have been more merciful for the Marquis to have done them in right then and there! Of course, a man like that lets his greed lead the way. Any way he could stand to make a quick piece of eight was fine by him!

It was ten years from that day that I finally considered myself able bodied enough to locate my family. I'd been working at the docks for a long time, you see. Anything to keep me out of the watchful eye of the Marquis himself. I grew strong! Various captains of assorted kinds taught me the ways of a true sailor, from swordfighting to sailing and even operating the cannons themselves. A good lad I was. One day, I heard the captains talking about setting up a recruitment station down at the tavern in hopes that many of the drunker folks would inadvertently sign up. This was my chance.

I went straight to the tavern, a strong man of eighteen years, and signed up. It was the year 1600. Merchant ships sailed the seas all too often. A Dutchman called me over to the table and asked me to sign up under his command as the Dutch were the least powerful nation of the Caribbean islands, according to this bugger at least.

And on that ship I sailed, a Dutch Fluyt known as "Revenge" to most folks. I made my way up the ranks of that ship, eventually made boatswain by the captain himself! Unfortunately, the captain had taken ill. He had something wrong with him. Some of his teeth had fallen out and his skin was spotted with deep purple marks. During my promotion to boatswain, I was rushed out due to a sudden bleeding of the nose. I didn't see the captain for a few days after that until the news invariably was delivered. The captain of the Dutch Fluyt "Revenge," Captain Hadd Dok Leer, was taken from us. A sad day upon the ship it was, and out of it, I was promoted as the new captain of the ship as one of Captain Hadd's last requests. The other request was that his body be unceremoniously dropped off the stern of the ship.

[Ship Lessons 101: The sides of a ship are all named and thusly, when not referring to cardinal directions, directions are referred to depending on where the front of the ship is. The ship's front or the hull is known as the bow in nautical directions. The opposite of the bow, the back of the ship, is the stern. The left side of a ship when looking at the bow is port and the right side of the ship when looking at the bow is starboard. In other words, if I were to say that there was a rock off of the portbow, that would mean that there is a rock in front and to the left of the ship.]

[Ship Lessons 101: A boatswain in most forms is sort of a jack of all trades of the actual deck of merchant ships, often working with the deckhands to manage things and such. They may also be a third or fourth mate, meaning that in every other case of the captain's death, the boatswain would most likely not be the next captain. An example of a boatswain in popular legendI'm sure the first mate of our ship would be rather angry right now.]

I sailed that ship and I sailed it well, though controversy of how I obtained such a position as captain ran rampant around the Revenge. I could do nothing more than hope for the best as we reached our destination, St. Martin, a relatively popular sugar port under Dutch power.

We docked in the bay and began to unload our precious cargo. Brought in a pretty sum of 1000 gold.

[Welcome to port. I'd rather not have to show this over and over again every time I go to port so I'll explain now. At later ports, unless I find something really interesting, I'll just stick with stating what I did. So first, let's investigate the governor.]

Having made it to town, I felt the need to inform the governor of Captain Hadd's death so that the information can make it back to his wife and kids, so I went to the governor's mansion.

He took the news with a heavy heart, admitting to having been a friend of Captain Hadd. Angry, he decided let loose his rage in the form of a Letter of Marque.

He was asking me to be a privateer for him.

[Ship Lessons 101: A Letter of Marque is basically a license to kill. You receive the letter and suddenly you can get away with all sorts of illegal things, as long as it's against the people the letter specifies, be it a person, a clan, a nation, or two nations.]

[Ship Lessons 101: Privateers were legal pirates. They were basically pirates that were allowed to be pirates in their home territory as long as their acts of piracy were made against enemies of that particular nation. Not a call to arms, but more of way to annoy the other nations you disliked.]

[You'll notice my no doubt great timing on this particular screenshot, thus creating what is the only documented evidence that the Dutch ever created levitating grapes.]

I took my leave and decided to check on my crew. They were all at the local tavern, drowning their sorrows in beer whilst cheering about the successful delivery.

[The tavern is another place you can visit in every port. Each tavern has at least 3 inquiries. I say 3 because while the max events to occur in the tavern is 4, occasionally, you will not find any people in the tavern attempting to sign up for a ship.]

[The first of the things you can do is talk to these guys. They won't always be there, but this is one of the few ways to increase your crew.]

We had lost a few people upon the voyage so I gladly welcomed seventeen aboard. Perhaps one of them will even be great enough for the position of boatswain! Ho ho!

[This is the second of the things you can do in the tavern. This is the Mysterious Traveller. He will always have some form of information, be it info on the prices of items in other cities or perhaps information regarding the location of various treasures.]

I recalled the name of Jack Rackham and decided to pay the 400 coins for the lovely prize.

It wasn't entirely too helpful, I remember! Hahaha! I wanted to punch the man, but he never told me a lie. This is indeed a treasure map!

[The third thing you can do in the tavern is talk to the barmaid. Sometimes she has useful information such as ships that supposedly are carrying valuable things. Other times, she'll just hit on you.]

What an ugly old hag that woman was! Ah, Dutch ladies do not age well.

[The bartender also will occasionally hand out some useful information, though he generally just tells us about the governor's daughter being a beauty.]

That intrigued me at the time, but having remembered the barmaid who was standing right next to me, I decided against going to investigate the governor's daughter regardless of current age! Har!

[And that's all there is to do at the tavern. From this point on, I'll cut out the tavern bits unless the Barmaid, Bartender, or Mysterious Traveller have anything to say that is important. I do not consider trading prices important. I will, however, touch upon any crew additions I gain.]

The crew had chipped together enough for a nice brew for their new captain. They gave their cheers to me, calling me Captain Barty. A strange name indeed, lad! The crew seemed to enjoy my presence a lot more. Even the old first mate seemed to grow on the idea of me being the captain. Looking back, it was probably because he was drowning in a mug.

I decided to go see what the merchant had for sale.

[This is the merchant. There are three types of items. There's food, which is absolutely essential in keeping your pirates happy, healthy, and wise. Next we have guns/cannons which are useful for fighting in ships. The more you have, the more firepower you've got in a battle. The third type of item encompasses the remaining items of sugar, spice, goods, and luxuries. They serve no real purpose other than selling for money.]

That merchant was a strange one. Had ninety nine tons of sugar but not a single gun. Uninterested in the rest of his wares, I left to go check on the Revenge before calling the crew back.

[The port allows you to look at each of the ships in your fleet, which has a max of 8 ships, and repair them or upgrade them. For example, this guy is able to upgrade our ships with cotton sails which make them sail faster. However, due to a certain pointless section of Rackham's treasure map, I can't afford it.]

The ship seemed fine, but I was short on change so I was unable to get the cotton sails. A captain's life is both cruel and unusual in the oddest ways.

[Now to explain the next two options on the original list. Dividing the plunder means that you are getting rid of all of your ships, most of your crew, and splitting up the cash. In this way, you pass several months of in-game time and also get to start anew. You can also alter the difficulty level from here after you have divided the plunder.

Checking the status simply brings up a large menu of various things. I'll explain that now.]

[The main status screen shows us our starting date, our age, our health, the crew's happiness, what our fleet currently is lugging about, and any special items we've acquired. Special items exist solely to make the various minigames and such of Pirates! easier.]

[This is our fleet status. From here, we can select our flagship, examine what sorts of special crew members we've picked up, and rename our ships. Remember, if you want to have a ship named after you, participate in one of the 7 contests in the OP.]

[This be our own status, a list of our accomplishments to some extent. This is only for telling us how much progression we've made in the various categories, all of which should be fairly self-explanatory.]

[This is the Captain's Log. It lists everything of importance that we've done up to this point. At the end of each update will be a summary of the more important events in the Captain's Log.]

[Our list of treasure maps is right here. At the moment, we only have a small piece of one map. You've seen this one before.]

[Here is the map of the Caribbean sea. The red X is us and there are a few text blurbs about various events, often overlapping each other and making them unreadable as a result.]

[These are the Top Ten Pirates. Apparently, I'm a pirate of sorts by simply existing. The names row is rather obvious, but the columns, not so much. I'll go through each column and explain.

The first column is devoted to how much gold that pirate has plundered. The second column is devoted to how many ships that pirate has captured. The third column keeps track of how many towns that pirate has ransacked. The fourth column will tell us how many promotions that pirate has earned. The fifth column shows how much of a treasure hunter that pirate is by showing the number of treasures they've dug up. The last column is devoted to how many unique items that pirate has. Our goal is to reach the number one spot and keep all of our digits above their digits.]

[Next, we have ourselves the in-game Pirate-O-Pedia, an encyclopedia of all of the things in the game, be they in-game items, towns, pirates, characters, et cetera. Let's have a look at an example, shall we?]

[Fascinating, isn't it? I'll be showing these off whenever we come up against something I deem important enough to teach you guys about it.]

[These are the System Options. The game has an odd glitch that often occurs involving the game crashing. Opposite to common sense, the way to solve this is to turn up the graphical quality meters to max. Curious indeed. From here, we can modify our sails and flags, though I quite like how I've got them currently set, as well as quit the game. The CD option is only selectable when at sea and exists only to save and load games.]

Yar, that was two week vacation in St. Martin! I called the crew back to the ship after a lovely rest and we decided to go sailing, though to where, only the wind could say. I was given a Letter of Marque and could only imagine what I could do with the blasted thing. I've still got that letter hanging on my wall, framed between glass.

The Choice

Today's choice brought to you by Piratical Parodies Inc, makers of The Pirate Who Loved Me, Trains, Planes, and Pirate Ships, and that great classic, Hookablanca.

Where do I go from here? We have three choices.

1. Follow the Dutch ship to San Juan and fight some Spaniards.
2. Look for some Brits to blast.
3. Buy some sugar and sell it somewhere for profit.

Only you guys can decide my next course of action, so get those votes in and I'll see you next time on Sid Meier's Pirates!