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Sid Meier's Pirates! Wiki

Starting Ship

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When beginning a new campaign in any version of Pirates!, your choice of Era and Nationality will determine the type of ship(s) you receive upon game-start.

Starting Ship types range from tiny Pinnaces to Frigates to hulking Fast Galleons. In the original game it is even possible to have more than one ship as soon as the game begins.

Your Starting Ship can have an enormous influence on your campaign during the first stage of the game. Some Starting Ships are player-favourites, meaning that the player is immediately in a position to terrorize anything he comes across. Other Starting Ships can be downright obstacles, possibly putting the player in a position where capturing a better ship would be difficult at best.

In addition, other Starting Conditions may also apply, determining gold on hand, the number of men under your employ, cargo on board, or even Rank with various nations. Together all these factors determine the difficulty of getting your career moving early on, making some era/nation combinations harder to get started than others, and effectively serving as "extra challenge".


Icon Pirates1987 Header Pirates1987Pirates! (1987)Edit

In the original game there are 6 eras and 4 nations to choose from, but only 6 Ship Types are used as possible Starting Ships. However, there are quite a few combinations that will have the player starting with more than one ship.

Furthermore, the original game offers several Famous Expeditions, which are basically advanced scenarios that start off with specific parameters that are quite unlike those used for regular campaigns. In these scenarios it is common to have several Starting Ships in your fleet, including even Frigates, not to mention a large amount of men and cargo as appropriate.

Note that in most circumstances, era/nation combinations will also enforce other Starting Conditions, making it more difficult to say which combination is more "difficult" than others just by examining your Starting Ship type(s).

Campaign Starting ShipsEdit

"Pirates! (1987)" Campaign Starting Ships
Era Nation Ship(s)
1560 English Seahawk
French Corsair
Dutch Not possible
Spanish Renegade
1600 English Explorer
French Adventurer
Dutch Trader
Spanish Renegade
1620 English Adventurer
French Huguenot
Dutch Privateer
Spanish Renegade
1640 English Adventurer
French Privateer
Dutch Trader
Spanish Renegade
1660 English Buccaneer
French Bucaneer
Dutch Adventurer
Spanish Renegade
1680 English Pirate
French Buccaneer
Dutch Adventurer
Spanish Costa Guarda


Famous Expedition Starting ShipsEdit

"Pirates! (1987)" Famous Expedition Starting Ships
Expedition Name Starting Ships
Battle of San Juan De Ulua (John Hawkins, 1569)
The Silver Train Ambush (Francis Drake, 1573)
The Treasure Fleet (Piet Heyn, 1628)
The Sack of Maracaibo (L'Ollonais, 1666)
The King's Pirate (Henry Morgan, 1671)
The Last Expedition (Baron De Pointis, 1697)


Icon Pirates2004 Header Pirates2004Sid Meier's Pirates! (2004)Edit

In Sid Meier's Pirates! (2004), the chosen combination of Era and Nationality will produce one (and only one) specific Starting Ship for the player when the game begins.

The different combinations produce one of 10 different Ship Types, including one ship type that is otherwise extremely rare (the Mail Runner). Since the game has a total of 27 different Ship Types, 17 types will never appear as Starting Ships.

Campaign Starting ShipsEdit

"Sid Meier's Pirates! (2004)" Starting Ships
Era Nation Ship
1600 English
French
Dutch
Spanish
1620 English
French
Dutch
Spanish
1640 English
French
Dutch
Spanish
1660 English
French
Dutch
Spanish
1680 English
French
Dutch
Spanish

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