2004 Ship Brig

A Brig-Class Ship.

The Brig Class is a family of ship designs featured in Sid Meier's Pirates! (2004). It includes the Brigantine, Brig, and Brig Of War. All three of these Ship Types share the same physical appearance, and have similar characteristics.

Brig-Class ships are mid-sized warships that offer exceptional versatility: they can engage in potent cannon-play, but are nonetheless quite quick and agile. They perform well in various wind conditions, both on the Sailing Map and during Naval Combat.


The Brig Class is a set of three Ship Types. Collectively, they are known as "Brig-Class Ships", and sometimes simply as "Brigs".

Each of the three ship types is referred to as a "Variant" of the Brig Class.

  • The Smallest Variant is known as a Brigantine.
  • The Mid-sized Variant is simply called a Brig.
  • The Largest Variant is called a Brig Of War (or BoW for short).

Although all variants share the same 3D model, they can be distinguished by size. The Brigantine is the smallest of these, not much larger than a Sloop. The Brig of War is the largest of the three, rivaling a Merchantman in size.

All ship characteristics are also similar between these variants. The Brigantine, being the smallest, can hold less Cargo, Crew and Cannons than the others. However, it is slightly faster and more maneuverable. The Brig of War, the largest variant, holds more Cargo, Crew and Cannons, but is slightly slower than the others. The Brig sits comfortably in the middle, having "average" statistics compared to the other two.

Visual AppearanceEdit

2004 Ship Brig 3.4

A Brig as seen inside the game.

Brig Class ships are mid-sized combat vessels with hybrid sails. They vary greatly in size, fitting in between the small Sloop Class and the larger Frigate Class.

These ships sport two masts. The fore-mast carries three Square Sails, while the mainmast carries a single Square Sail at the top. Another fore-sail is hung from the prow of the ship. A large spanker sail is set aft, and the ship also features several staysails (small, triangular sails) strung between each of its masts.

The larger Brig Class ships can sometimes be mistaken for Merchantman Class or Frigate Class ships at a distance. The aft spanker sail is the easiest way to distinguish a Brig from a Merchantman, and the smaller number of masts help distinguish it from a Frigate.

Sailing PropertiesEdit

The combination of Square and Triangular sails on Brig-Class ships gives them great adaptability to wind conditions.

Like other Square-Rigged ships, they can sail very well at all forward Points Of Sailing, such as Before The Wind, Running Broad Reach and Broad Reach (the latter being their Best Point Of Sailing).

However, the triangular stay-sails allow a Brig-Class ship to maintain good speed at more acute angles, allowing it good speed at Broad Beam Reach and reasonable speed at Beam Reach. It can also negotiate sailing Close-Hauled, though at some loss of speed.

These stay-sails also provide the Brig-Class ships with surprising maneuverability for their size, greatly outperforming other mid-sized ships like the Merchantman Class or Fluyt Class. In addition, the existence of these sails means that the Square Sails can be Reefed to provide a better turning-rate at the expense of speed.

As a result of all this, the Brig is a good ship for getting around, and for engaging a wide variety of enemies at wind conditions that would be unfavourable for most mid-sized or larger ships. While they are generally slow when sailing Eastwards, they make up for this with impressive firepower and hull capacity. Brigs also make great auxiliary ships in the Player's Fleet for carrying extra men and cargo: they can usually keep up with any larger ship, regardless of sailing direction.

Combat PropertiesEdit

Brig Class ships present a good combination of speed and firepower, making them exceptionally adaptable to different combat situations. Well-armed, they can engage in cannon-play, but can also rely on their speed and turning rate to out-maneuver enemies their size or larger.

The Brig Class ship often switches tactics depending on its prey. Smaller ships can be damaged with cannons, at which point they usually become too slow to present a further problem (and can be out-maneuvered). Against larger ships, the Brig can use acute wind-angles to gain the advantage or escape as necessary.

The Brig Of War, being as heavily-armed as a Frigate and only slightly less Durable, can take on any opponent with ease. The smaller variants, while weaker, benefit from better maneuverability and are better used for taking on smaller prey. Overall however, the Brig's primary prey are merchant vessels, anywhere from Barque Class to Merchant Galleon Class.

Learning to change Sail States at critical moments in the battle can be very helpful. The Brigantine is considered the smallest ship that can utilize this properly, to gain a sudden increase of turning rate to bring its guns around or otherwise outwit an enemy. With Reefed Sails, a Brig-Class ship can even out-turn a Sloop, given enough initial velocity.

Most importantly however, a Brig-Class captain needs to capitalize on versatility, learning to employ different tactics against different ships, or even to change tactics in mid-battle as the positions of both combatants change, as wind conditions change, or as either ship becomes damaged.