FAQ/Walkthrough by WDeMarco

Updated: 01/28/01 | Printable Version

Pirates! Gold FAQ/Walkthrough for Sega Genesis
First Edition - 1/28/2001 
By Weed DeMarco
email: Hombrehomme@yahoo.com

This document Copyright 2001 by Weed DeMarco
Please do not bootleg or reproduce this work in any and all unauthorized 
ways.
If you want to post it on a website (provided that it can be accessed 
for free) send me an e-mail.
Let's leave the piracy in the game, okay!

1. INTRODUCTION
---------------

IMHO this game is great fun.  It doesn't take very long to learn the 
basics, and the replay value is practically limitless.  All of the good 
components from the NES version are here, along with several 
improvements (namely a map).  Music is very good, but sound effects are 
a bit weak.  Graphics are strong, but many images are simply re-colored 
and repeated.  I've always been partial to Pirate themes and I think 
this game is really good stuff.

This guide is mainly to help out newbies and people having lots of 
trouble with the game.  Veterans and Experts may find something new to 
try; or they may just laugh at me.  I am also assuming that you know the 
rough basics to the game and are only looking for a little help or a new 
perspective.  This guide will only focus on the New Career option.  I 
don't find that commanding a famous expedition is nearly as much fun.  
However if enough people out there show interest in them, I could be 
persuaded to make some additions. Please feel free to send me questions, 
comments, criticisms, or any other kind of input to my email address: 
Hombrehomme@yahoo.com. 

I just hope that if you like the game you'll enjoy this guide.

2. GETTING STARTED
------------------
There are several options given on the Main Menu screen.  Select Start a 
New Career to get started.  There are six different time periods to 
choose from, and each one is very different from the other.  I will 
provide a brief overview of each of them in just a little while.  On the 
options screen, change categories by moving the highlight up or down.  
Change settings in the individual categories by pushing left or right.  
Use the A and B buttons and left and right directions for entering your 
name.  Use the C button to toggle between upper and lower case letters.  
I like to use names that match the Nationalities; ex. Bordeleau for 
France and van Kessel for Holland, but that's just me.  Feel free to use 
your own family name if you like, and enjoy the Sega version of Sailor's 
Hornpipe playing in the background.

3. SPECIAL ABILITY
------------------

So which special ability should I choose?

This all depends on what you want to get out of the game, as well as 
your own strengths and weaknesses.

FENCING - This skill makes you a better sword fighter.  This is the most 
important technique to master in the game.  A good choice for newbies 
and people having trouble winning duels.

NAVIGATION - This skill makes it easier to sail the seas.  I suppose 
that it allows you to travel safer and faster, but I've never really 
used it.  I think it's a waste.

GUNNERY - This skill improves the accuracy of your ship's cannon fire.  
Helpful for those who really enjoy blasting forts and ships with 
continuous broadsides.  I don't find it particularly useful, simply 
because you can have a very successful career without firing a single 
cannon.

WIT AND CHARM - Brown-nosing!  This skill is useful when talking to 
Governors and their Daughters.  Basically it makes you more charismatic.  
I suppose that it makes it easier to curry favor from the Governors and 
thus receive more land and promotions, but I am unsure of just how much 
effect it has.  Truthfully I think it only makes it easier to find a 
"better" wife.  This skill can be fun; perfect for you Casanova types!

MEDICINE - Good for promoting general health and adding to your 
longevity.  As you age your abilities begin to diminish slowly, but 
noticeably!  This skill lessens the harmful effects of aging and helps 
you to recover from wounds (especially if you get captured or 
shipwrecked).  A good skill to choose, especially if you plan on having 
a long career.

I usually pick MEDICINE, because it will allow you to have a longer 
career and thus make more money!  But FENCING is a good choice for any 
player and probably the best for newcomers.

4. HISTORICAL TIME PERIODS
--------------------------
I will give a brief overview of the various historical time periods in 
chronological order.  Also there will be descriptions of the different 
nationalities.  As a general rule of thumb, don't lose your first fight 
before you're made captain.  If you do, just reset and start over again.  
Different difficulty levels will have various effects on the game.  
Comments made here reflect the APPRENTICE level of difficulty, unless 
otherwise noted.

1560 - THE SILVER EMPIRE
This period is characterized by a Spanish Empire that has grown rich and 
fat on, you guessed it, Silver!  Spain pretty much runs the whole show 
here.  They have nearly every town and almost all of the loot.  You can 
play as a Spanish Renegade, An English Seahawk, or a French Corsair.  
Holland is currently unavailable.

SPANISH RENEGADE
You'll start out in a Spanish port; usually San Juan, Nombre de Dios, or 
Borburata.  You'll be at a disadvantage from the start.
TITLES: None
CREW: 60, pleased
GOLD: 1000
FOOD: 10 tons, lasting 42 days
CANNON: 6
SHIPS: One Pinnace
There's not much going for you right now.  You don't have any ranks yet, 
but any Spanish Governor should provide you with a Letter of Marque 
fairly easily; but you'll have to pay.  Don't spend any gold until 
you've gotten it.  If you managed to start out in San Juan, you'll be 
closer to the French and English ports.  But there isn't much profit in 
attacking them.  For an interesting twist, try some friendly trading 
between the French and English, then turn on the Spanish!  If you don't 
anger the French, they'll reward you for being a traitor.

ENGLISH SEAHAWK
After winning your first duel, you make landfall in a "friendly port".  
It almost always seems to be Trinidad, which is Spanish controlled.  
Luckily for you the Spanish don't see you as a threat, well not yet at 
least.
TITLES: English Captain
CREW: 156, pleased
GOLD: 1000
FOOD: 20 tons, lasting 32 days
CANNON: 20
GOODS: 50
SHIPS: One Fast Galleon and one Pinnace
You start with a fairly large force, but they're not very happy.  You'll 
have to find some booty fast before morale slips even more.  At higher 
difficulty levels the crew will be unhappy and some will desert when you 
leave port (taking some of the gold).  Not a good way to start a career.  
Try selling some of your goods to a friendly merchant with high prices.  
Only St. Augustine, which lies far to the north and is French held, has 
a Governor who will issue promotions.  Your best bet is to try and make 
friends with him.  The English ports of Eleuthera and Nassau are weak.  
Don't rely on them for much help.  French towns don't fair much better.  
The easiest way to get rich is to team up with the French and attack 
Spain.  When you get stronger try to capture a large Spanish town and 
install an English governor.

FRENCH CORSAIR
After the duel you'll start out in one of the French ports, hopefully 
St. Augustine.
TITLES: French Letter of Marque
CREW: 80, happy
GOLD: 4000
FOOD: 30 tons, lasting 96 days
CANNON: 6
SHIPS: One Barque and One Pinnace
You have a smaller crew than the English Seahawk, but you also have more 
gold and higher morale.  Feel free to make friends with the English, 
especially if they declare war on Spain.  For France open warfare has 
already been claimed, so start looting!  Once again try to capture a 
strong Spanish town and install your French governor.  This will provide 
you with a better trading port, and a good place to recruit more 
sailors.

CONCLUSION
This time period is rather difficult, especially for the Spanish 
Renegade.  I would suggest against a newcomer starting in this era.  But 
if you want to try it pick the French.  No matter who you pick, keep a 
close watch on your food supply.

1600 - MERCHANTS AND SMUGGLERS
The period is similar to the last one.  Spain is still the top dog, but 
is starting to backslide.  French and English ports are still weak and 
poor, don't look for much help here.  Now you can set sail as a Dutch 
Trader.

SPANISH RENEGADE
The same Modus Operandi as before.  Try to side with France and then 
turn on your homeland.
TITLES: None
CREW: 60, pleased
GOLD: 1000
FOOD: 10 tons, lasting 42 days
CANNON: 6
SHIPS: One Pinnace
Most of the time you start out in either San Juan or Caracas.  You will 
probably be at war with France as well.  In order to make money use the 
war to your advantage, and join the French against Spain.  But there's 
no French Governor to help you out.  You'll have to overpower a Spanish 
port and put in the French Governor yourself!

ENGLISH EXPLORER
After you've beaten your old captain, your ship puts in at Trinidad.  
Prospects will again be lean as the English ports are weak.
TITLES: None
CREW: 80, pleased
GOLD: 2000
FOOD: 18 tons, lasting 60 days
CANNON: 8
GOODS: 30
SHIPS: One Merchantman
Your best option is to attack the Spanish again.  But don't look for too 
much help from England or France at the start.  Wars have cooled down a 
bit, and Governors are few and far between.  Try trading a bit in 
Trinidad before you really offend Spain.  Your Merchantman is ill-suited 
for war, commandeer a more suitable vessel quickly!  Once again try to 
take over a Spanish port and establish a new English foothold.  Your 
position here is weaker than in the previous time period.

FRENCH ADVENTURER
You'll usually end up in Grand Bahama with your stolen ship.  Spain and 
France will most likely be at war.  
TITLES: None
CREW: 40, happy
GOLD: 5000
FOOD: 10 tons, lasting 64 days
CANNON: 8
GOODS: 10
SHIPS: One Barque and One Pinnace
Consequences are again similar to the Silver Train days.  But you've 
lost the town of St. Augustine.  Take over a Spanish one.  Trade your 
extra goods as soon as you can.  Your party is well equipped for 
attacking Spain, so get going!

DUTCH TRADER
Ah! A new flag to serve under.  Don't get too excited though, things are 
still tough.  You'll probably start in Trinidad.
TITLES: None
CREW: 20, happy
GOLD: 8000
FOOD: 20 tons, lasting 256 days
CANNON: 6
GOODS: 25
SHIPS: One Cargo Fluyt
You're all set to go trading.  Trinidad will be receptive, but there 
isn't much promise here.  You've got a small crew, but a lot of gold.  
They'll be happy for a while.  To make any real profit, ditch the 
trading gig and attack the Spanish.  Try to install a governor from any 
nation that is at war with Spain.  Don't forget to lose the sluggish 
Cargo Fluyt before you go off pirating.

CONCLUSION
This time period is probably even harder than the last one.  Not 
recommended for the faint of heart.

1620 - THE NEW COLONISTS
Spain is continuing to weaken, but still has the richest ports.  
England, France, and Holland have established towns with governors.  Pay 
close attention to who's at war with who, it can change depending on 
which nation you sail for.

SPANISH RENEGADE
The life of a Spanish Renegade is still difficult.  However you may be 
able to find more enemy ports to raid now.
TITLES: None
CREW: 60, pleased
GOLD: 1000
FOOD: 10 tons, lasting 42 days
CANNON: 6
SHIPS: One Pinnace
You'll probably start out in either Caracas or San Juan.  But there is a 
chance that you may begin in Puerto Principe.  Spain will probably be at 
war with France, so you can always fight for them.  As usual it's easy 
to get a Letter of Marque from Spain, and you can try and wipe out the 
foreign colonies of all three nations.

ENGLISH ADVENTURER
Your career usually starts in Nevis or Eleuthera, but the later is a bit 
of a disadvantage.  More than likely Spain will be at war with England.  
Happy Hunting!
TITLES: English Letter of Marque
CREW: 40, happy
GOLD: 4000
FOOD: 18 tons, lasting 115 days
CANNON: 10
SHIPS: One Barque
Barbados and Providence are the only ports with governors, so try to 
head for one of them as quickly as possible; preferably Barbados.  Try 
selling plundered goods in Barbados and Curacao.  It's quite possible to 
use Providence as a base for raiding the Silver Train and Treasure 
Fleet.

FRENCH HUGUENOT
Various wars will be raging when you arrive in port.  Find out who 
France is at war with, and then pick sides with the rest.
TITLES: None
CREW: 56, happy
GOLD: 4500
FOOD: 12 tons, lasting 54 days
CANNON: 8
GOODS: 10
SHIPS: One Barque
Pay close attention to the wars, and get your French Letter of Marque as 
soon as you can.  Sell the goods in Barbados for some quick cash.

DUTCH PRIVATEER
Holland is slowing becoming a legitimate presence in the Caribbean.  
You'll start out in good shape for combat.
TITLES: Dutch Letter of Marque
CREW: 175, pleased
GOLD: 4000
FOOD: 20 tons, lasting 29 days
CANNON: 22
SHIPS: Fast Galleon
You're well armed and ready to go.  Holland will probably be at war with 
Spain.  Try to side with either France or England.  One of them will 
probably go to war with Spain sooner or later.  They may attack each 
other as well, this gives you more opportunities.  Buy food before 
setting out from Curacao, you have a lot of men.

CONCLUSION
The balance of power is beginning to shift away from Spain.  Wars are 
breaking out all over.  Pick a country and start looting.  This time 
period is easier than the first two, but still it's no free ride.

1640 - WAR FOR PROFIT
Spain is really starting to fall apart.  However there is still enough 
wealth around to make raiding her profitable.  France, England, and 
Holland are all growing.

SPANISH RENEGADE
Conditions are actually pretty good now.  Less military clout in the 
Spanish ports makes for easy pickings.  Most likely you will begin in 
Puerto Principe or Caracas.
TITLES: None
CREW: 60, pleased
GOLD: 1000
FOOD: 10 tons, lasting 42 days
CANNON: 6
SHIPS: One Pinnace
You can easily get a Letter of Marque and start raiding the enemy, but 
don't bother.  Side with a foreign power yet again.  Finally the life of 
a Spanish Renegade is rewarding indeed.

ENGLISH ADVENTURER
Starting out in either Barbados or Nevis, you'll usually find England at 
war with Spain.
TITLES: English Letter of Marque
CREW: 40, happy
GOLD: 4000
FOOD: 18 tons, lasting 115 days
CANNON: 10
SHIPS: One Barque
Barbados is one of the best trading ports around.  It's rich and well 
supplied, but Nevis and St. Kitts aren't far behind.  Frequent open 
warfare against Spain by many nations gives you plenty of opportunity 
for success.  Enjoy!

FRENCH PRIVATEER
France had also become strong over the years.  Martinique and Guadeloupe 
are fairly wealthy ports, and Tortuga is a great pirate town.
TITLES: French Letter of Marque
CREW: 48, happy
GOLD: 3000
FOOD: 12 tons, lasting 64 days
CANNON: 10
SHIPS: Two Pinnaces
Like England you have many opportunities here.  Check with the Governor 
to see just who France is at war with.  More than likely she's fighting 
England or Holland in addition to Spain.

DUTCH TRADER
Curacao is a fantastic trading port, and its location makes plundering 
Spanish towns quite enjoyable.  Oddly enough you will probably start in 
Trinidad.
TITLES: None
CREW: 20, happy
GOLD: 8000
FOOD: 20 tons, lasting 256 days
CANNON: 6
GOODS: 25
SHIPS: One Cargo Fluyt
In Trinidad you can talk to the governor to learn about current events, 
but don't bother with the Letter of Marque.  Set sail for Curacao as 
soon as possible.  Get a Dutch letter of Marque and sell your goods.  
Trading isn't nearly as profitable as looting, so lose the Cargo Fluyt 
fast!

1660 - THE BUCCANEER HEROES
England, France, and Holland are now very successful.  Flags of all 
nations are found flying over wealthy ports.  Pick your country and pick 
your enemies.

SPANISH RENEGADE
This is probably the best time period for the you.  Wars rage 
everywhere, and the Spanish towns are even easier to raid.
TITLES: None
CREW: 60, pleased
GOLD: 1000
FOOD: 10 tons, lasting 42 days
CANNON: 6
SHIPS: One Pinnace
When you start out, usually Caracas, you need to talk to the governor 
and find out who is at war.  Feel free to continue fighting for other 
countries, but it's not necessary this time.  You may luck out and find 
Spain and another nation fighting against a common enemy.  Use this to 
your advantage.

ENGLISH BUCCANEER
The English Ports are even stronger, making recruiting and trading easy.  
More than likely England will be at war against Spain and Holland.
TITLES: English Letter of Marque
CREW: 40, happy
GOLD: 2000
FOOD: 14 tons, lasting 89 days
CANNON: 8
SHIPS: Sloop
Barbados is still one of the wealthiest ports, but St. Kitts and Port 
Royale are also healthy.  Pay close attention to the wars, nations will 
shift alliances rather frequently.  Your sloop makes an excellent 
pirating vessel.

FRENCH BUCCANEER
Martinique and Guadeloupe are fairly wealthy, while Tortuga remains a 
pirate headquarters.
TITLES: French Letter of Marque
CREW: 48, pleased
GOLD: 1000
FOOD: 13 tons, lasting 69 days
CANNON: 8
SHIPS: Sloop
France will more than likely be at war with Spain and England.  Try to 
make friends with the Dutch while attacking your enemies.  Use Curacao 
for you main trading port.

DUTCH ADVENTURER
Curacao and St. Eustatius are two of the best ports around.  While St. 
Martin is fairly successful in its own right.  War with England is 
likely.
TITLES: Dutch Letter of Marque
CREW: 40, happy
GOLD: 2000
FOOD: 20 tons, lasting 128 days
CANNON: 6
SHIPS: Sloop
Begin waging war against England, and try to stay on the good side of 
the French.  Barbados should be your first target.  Loot the Spanish as 
usual.

CONCLUSION
This time period is quite possibly the most active.  You can be very 
successful with any nation, although France is probably your best bet.  
No matter who you sail for, stay posted on current events.  This is the 
best time period for players just starting out. 

1680 - PIRATE'S SUNSET
The final historical time period is similar to the last.  Control of the 
Caribbean is spread fairly evenly between France, England, and Spain.  
But Holland isn't too far behind.

SPANISH COSTA GARDA
Now it's time to make England and France pay!  Raid their ports freely 
and still receive strong support back home.
TITLES: Spanish Ensign
CREW: 50, happy
GOLD: 2000
FOOD: 11 tons, lasting 59 days
CANNON: 8
SHIPS: One Sloop
Wars will not be quite as frequent as before, but you can still team up 
with another nation.  Try selling plundered goods in Havana.  You can 
also try Curacao or Barbados, depending on who you've sided with.

ENGLISH PIRATE
There's a good chance that you'll be at war with France.  Barbados and 
St. Kitts are excellent places to sell plunder and recruit sailors.
TITLES: None
CREW: 56, pleased
GOLD: 1000
FOOD: 12 tons, lasting 54 days
CANNON: 8
SHIPS: One Sloop
Bone up on current events before picking sides.  It may be more 
profitable not to side with England, but this is unlikely.  Loot Spain 
as usual.

FRENCH BUCCANEER
You are likely to be starting out in the middle of a raging war with 
Spain and England!  Looks like your friends and enemies are already 
chosen for you.
TITLES: French Letter of Marque
CREW: 48, pleased
GOLD: 1000
FOOD: 13 tons, lasting 69 days
CANNON: 8
SHIPS: One Sloop
If France is at war with England and Spain, you'd be wise to make 
friends with Holland.  With luck Holland will declare war with England, 
giving you two nations to fight for.  If this happens you'll receive 
promotions and land grants like crazy.  A great opportunity here!

DUTCH ADVENTURER
France and England will probably be at war.  Attack one and side with 
the other.  While you're at it, attack Spain.
TITLES: None
CREW: 40, happy
GOLD: 4000
FOOD: 15 tons, lasting 96 days
CANNON: 8
GOODS: 15
SHIPS: One Sloop
Decide who you are going to side with quickly.  England has more wealthy 
ports to raid, but these ports are also good for selling and trading.  
Curacao still provides a great base for raids against Spain.

CONCLUSION
This can be a pretty fun time period.  Wars may not be quite as common, 
but enough to help you turn a profit.  Don't underestimate the value of 
trading and selling plunder in this time period; no matter who you sail 
for there will be plenty of rich friendly ports.  This time period is 
also a good pick for a newcomer.

5. HOW TO MAKE MONEY
--------------------

There's plenty of opportunity for making money in this game.  From 
raiding enemy ships to digging up buried treasure, each has positives 
and negatives.  

TRADING COMMODITIES AND SELLING PLUNDER
This is very basic stuff, but often overlooked because it usually 
doesn't provide a big, quick payoff.  Making a profit in trade means 
that you will have to buy items for low prices and then sell them for a 
higher price.  This will take a lot of time and provide marginal 
profits; it should be your last resort.  However if you sell products 
which you have looted from ships and towns, you'll have an easier time.  
Food, Goods, Cannons, Ships, and whatever special cargo exists in your 
time period will turn a modest profit.  You won't get rich quickly this 
way, but you can supplement you gold cache nicely.  Try to sell in the 
ports that have the wealthiest merchants.  They'll have higher prices, 
and more money to buy with.  If they don't have any money, they won't 
buy your plunder.  Cannons and ships can always be sold to the 
Shipwright.  Don't underestimate the value of the extra cannons you have 
stashed away.  It's also a good idea to sell any damaged ships that you 
don't use in combat.  They'll slow you down.  Be careful not to sell too 
many ships unless you're going to divide the plunder.  Selling ships 
reduces your cargo space, and if you're not careful you may have to dump 
excess cargo overboard when you leave port.


RAIDING SHIPS AND TOWNS
Successful raids on enemy ships and towns have many benefits.  Most of 
the time you'll steal gold itself, but you'll also get large quantities 
of plunder to sell.  Generally a larger ship will have more gold, but a 
town has more gold than a ship.  Fat Merchantman and Cargo Fluyts 
sailing around rich ports will have the most gold.  Galleons can be very 
fruitful as well.  Pay close attention to a town's economic status.  
Naturally you'll want to raid the richest ones.  Buy information given 
by the travelers in taverns if you need to.  And pay attention to the 
news; a gold mine near a town will briefly increase its prosperity.  
Don't attack a town that's got too many soldiers for your crew to 
defeat.  It's better to build up your strength first.  Also your attacks 
on the enemy will please your governor, resulting in promotions and land 
grants which will increase your score.  If you're lucky enough to 
capture a town, you can install a governor from any country you like.  
Thus making promotions more likely; and land grants even larger.  Raids 
will be your most common source of income.


THE TREASURE FLEET AND THE SILVER TRAIN
The Treasure Fleet and the Silver Train are quick scores that provide a 
big payoff.  They will only be found in Spanish towns, and only at 
certain times.  Pay attention to information provided by contacts and 
captured notables.  They'll clue you in on where you can find these cash 
cows.  They move from town to town depending on what time of year it is.  
But sometimes they are in Spain or Peru and you can't raid them.  Wait 
for them to show up again.  You must successfully raid the town in which 
they are located to capture them.  If you manage to catch one in a rich 
port, you could pull in 80000 gold!  It is possible to find them both in 
the same town, a rare opportunity to make a ton of money.  If you find 
out that one of them is in a town far away from where you're at, sail to 
a town further down the "line" and work your way back to the original 
town; make sure you hit all ports in between.  If you just set sail to 
the first town, it's likely that your target has moved on.  If you're 
trying to be friendly with the Spanish, you'll have to pass on these 
two.  A good reason not to side with Spain!  The Treasure Fleet and 
Silver Train will provide you with a quick hit of cash, but they're not 
always available for looting.  Be careful and be sure to time your raids 
well.


BURIED TREASURE/TREASURE MAPS
Sometimes you will find an individual in a tavern selling a treasure 
map.  Buy it.  The cost is usually around 500 gold, but the treasure is 
from 5000-13000 gold pieces.  Well worth the investment in the map.  The 
map will show you where the treasure is buried, and also which town it 
is located near.  It shouldn't be very hard to find it and dig it up.  
If you have trouble, look at the map of the Caribbean accessible through 
the "cabin screen".  Just hit the C button while sailing or when walking 
around in town.  Find the town that is mentioned on the treasure map and 
look for distinguishing geographical features.  When you get to the spot 
where the treasure is located, dig it up by pressing the A button.  Like 
the Treasure Fleet and Silver Train you get one quick payoff here, but 
it's not always available.  The payoff here is considerably lower, but 
the risks aren't very high at all.  A wise investment.


LOST INCA TREASURE
The lost Inca Treasure is the hardest "quest" in the game.  But if you 
are successful, you'll earn 100,000 gold.  The hard part is finding out 
where the heck it is.  To do so you will have to find a family member 
first.  Sometimes a friendly governor will tell you that so and so 
(usually a Spanish Aristocrat) may have information about where one of 
your relatives is being held in captivity.  He'll also tell you which 
town they were last seen in.  Head for that town as quickly as you can.  
On the way to the town, you may come across an enemy ship with crew 
members who can provide you with more up to date information on this 
guy.  Sometimes he is still in the same town, but sometimes he has moved 
on.  The crew will inform you on the latest location.  Track him down!  

If he's in a friendly town, just sail into port and visit the tavern or 
the governor.  You'll fight a duel with him.  Defeat him and he'll give 
you a map showing the location of the plantation on which your family 
member is being held captive.  If he's holed up in an enemy town you 
have two choices.  You can try to sneak into the town and catch him at 
the tavern or governor's house.  More than likely you will have to 
successfully raid the town, in which case you will automatically enter 
the duel.  Again you must defeat him to receive the map.  

Use this map just like the buried treasure map.  Things will be harder 
now, because there is no town name to give you help.  You'll just have 
to go by the geography.  This can be very difficult.  If you can't 
figure it out, try to track down another nobleman with information.  If 
you have made friends with many governors, you shouldn't have too much 
trouble finding out where these rapscallions are hiding.  Visit as many 
friendly governors as possible; with luck you may blindly stumble across 
one of these guys while bar hopping.  Win another duel and receive 
another piece of the map.  Again study the map carefully, looking for 
mountains, lakes, swamps, shoals and islands.  As you play the game 
more, you will become more familiar with the geography; making your job 
a lot easier!

Once you've nailed down the location of your captive family member, find 
them by moving your crew over the spot and pushing the A button.  It's 
just like digging for the buried treasure.  When you find them they will 
tell you about a lost Inca treasure and provide you with a piece of a 
map.  Here we go again.  This will be the same deal as when you for 
looking for your family member.  The small portion of the map will give 
you a rough idea of where to look.  Find the location and dig it up just 
like the usual buried treasure.  Again try to familiarize yourself with 
the geography; this takes a lot of game playing, but it will make things 
much easier.  If you still need help, you'll have to track down another 
lost family member; repeating the entire process of hunting down 
noblemen with inside information, and using the new maps.  The next 
family member will provide you with another piece of the same map.  Find 
all four pieces and you'll also get the name of the closest town.  This 
whole process can take a very long time.  It is quite likely that you'll 
get too old before you find everybody.  Just do your best.

But within this quest is a golden opportunity, literally.  The game is 
really designed so that you find all four family members (sister, 
father, mother, uncle), then use the completed map to dig up the 100,000 
gold piece lost Inca Treasure.  However it is possible (but incredibly 
difficult) to get four separate 100,000 gold treasures!  If you manage 
to dig one up with only one piece of the map, the next rescued family 
member will provide you with a map piece to a completely different 
treasure!  In this way, you can find a map to a different treasure with 
each family member rescued.  But you have to find the treasure and dig 
it up before you rescue the next family member.  An extremely difficult 
and time consuming endeavor, but well worth it.  This is why it is so 
important to learn the geography.  Not only can you save a lot of time 
searching for family members and the treasure, but you can earn up to 
four different treasures.  The biggest payoff in the game!

In this regard lies the only cheat in the game that I know of.  Once you 
have discovered the exact location of a lost family member, save the 
game in a friendly port.  Then set sail for the plantation and rescue 
them.  Look at the map that they give you very carefully.  With luck you 
may recognize the location immediately, or at least have a good guess.  
If you are clueless as to where it is, reset the game, reload the saved 
game and rescue them again.  You'll be given a different map this time.  
Keep resetting and reloading until you receive a map that you recognize.  
In this way you can almost guarantee a crack at all four treasures!  You 
can even use the save and reload technique when hunting down nobleman.  
Save the game before going to the town, and if you don't like the map 
they gave you, try again.  This may take an enormous amount of time and 
patience on your part, but it saves a ton of game time and provides you 
with a lot of gold.  It is still exceedingly difficult to pull off, but 
you'll get better at it the more you play.

This cheat isn't exactly within the bounds of good gamesmanship, but 
we're playing with pirates here aren't we?  Many times a family member 
and/or the treasure will be located near Florida and the Bahamas.  These 
waters are dangerous because of all the shoals, so be careful.  If you 
wreck a ship, you'll lose some of your hard earned gold!  No matter how 
you do it, rescuing all four family members and finding the lost 
treasure is very hard; but it also provides the biggest reward.  Not 
only do you get a big gold payoff, but you get a higher score for each 
family member rescued.  The higher the score, the higher the rating when 
you retire.

6. SAILING AND FIGHTING
-----------------------

In this section I will discus different tactics that will help you 
become a successful pirate.  You may have already noticed that the game 
provides you with many choices concerning this topic.  There are many 
different ships you can use, and several swords as well.  You can attack 
towns from land and sea; and you can either ram enemy ships or blast 
them with cannonfire.  I'll start with the ships.

SAILING
As you probably guessed the various ships have many different 
characteristics.  Speed, maneuverability, and cargo capacity are all 
different.  For the most part a smaller ship is quicker and more agile, 
but it is less sturdy, holds less cargo, and carries less men than a 
bigger ship.  So it's really up to you to make the choice.  

Do you want speed over power?  If so then stock up on Pinnaces, Sloops, 
and even Barques.  These boats turn quickly and sail into the wind 
faster than larger vessels.  Furthermore, Pinnaces and Sloops can safely 
sail over shoals without fear of shipwreck; a distinct advantage when 
searching for treasure and lost family members.  But they don't carry as 
many men, cannon, or cargo.  This makes them less favorable for trade 
and selling plunder; they just don't carry much stuff.

When I play, I prefer to have a fleet of the smaller vessels; Pinnaces, 
Sloops, and Barques.  They are far superior when fighting other ships 
and when attacking a town.  You can avoid cannon fire rather easily with 
them.  The main drawback is that you don't have as many men when you 
reach the town, or collide with the other ship.  If you're attacking a 
Frigate or Galleon with 200 or more men, it isn't a bad idea to hit them 
with multiple broadsides before boarding them.  If you are adept at 
swordfighting, you can easily overcome the disadvantages.  My ideal 
fleet for raids and treasure hunting would be made up of Sloops and 
Pinnaces only.  This way I could sail anywhere quickly. Be careful when 
taking on Galleons of all forms, favorable winds will make these ships 
faster than you!  They may be able to run you down quicker than you 
think. 

If you prefer to have larger and more powerful warships, try stocking up 
on Fast Galleons or Frigates.  These ships have decent maneuverability 
for their size, and they can carry large crews and many cannons.  I 
would highly recommend against using Cargo Fluyts, Merchantman, or 
Galleons in combat.  They are large and unforgiving.  Never attack a 
town by sea with one of these dinosaurs, you will regret it.  If you do 
opt for the bigger ships, try to have at least one small ship in your 
armada.  One Barque would be sufficient.  Remember, the only way to get 
more ships is to capture them in combat.  So try not to damage them too 
much in the fight; especially if you plan on using it for your flagship.  
It's a good idea to sell excess or unwanted ships to the shipwright.  
Just remember to keep track of your cargo capacity.  Damaged ships can 
be sold as well (at reduced prices), or repaired if you want to keep 
them in service.

ATTACKING SHIPS
When you are sailing you will randomly encounter other sailing vessels.  
Investigate them to find out what kind of ship it is, and what country 
it belongs to.  Sometimes you will find other pirates, or dangerous 
pirate-hunters.  Select the Close For Battle option to start the fight 
scene.

You ship is the brown one, no matter which side of the screen your name 
is on.  Raise sails for quicker sailing, but this will make your ship 
more vulnerable to damage from enemy cannonfire.  If you are having 
difficulty with avoiding hostile fire, stick with battle sails until you 
get better at it.  

The main point is to keep your ship away from the sides of the enemy 
vessel.  Cannons only point out the sides of the ship, so don't sit 
here.  If you have a more agile ship then your opponent, this shouldn't 
be a problem.  Luckily a bigger ship doesn't take as much damage from 
the smaller ones.  The best way to win a battle is to ram the enemy as 
quickly as possible.  This will start a duel with the enemy captain.  
Win the duel and you can take the ship, plunder goods, and sometimes 
even recruit defeated sailors.  

If you are severely outnumbered you may want to fire several broadsides 
into the other ship to even up the sides.  This is especially important 
if you are having difficulty swordfighting.  No matter what the 
circumstances are you can still shoot at the enemy.  Ramming them 
immediately is just quicker and easier.  If you are good at winning 
duels, you'll easily be able to capture Galleons armed with 250 sailors 
with only a 64 man Pinnace crew.  If you shoot too many holes in their 
ship they will sink; and you won't be able to claim any booty.  So 
unless you are feeling very bloodthirsty avoid this.

ATTACKING TOWNS BY SEA
The most important thing to remember when attacking a town by sea is: 
Don't get shot by the fort's cannons.  I know it sounds silly for me to 
say this, but most forts have a lot of cannons and they will inflict 
huge loses on your crew.  Don't waste your time trying to return fire.  
You won't be able to cause much damage.  The best thing to do is to 
raise sails and charge the fort as quickly as possible.  Many times the 
wind will be blowing from an unfavorable direction.  Just keeping 
plugging away and be sure to avoid the cannons.  Try to land your ship 
as close as possible to the fort.  If you make a landfall too far away, 
your men will refuse to march and you will have to withdraw.  Try to use 
the smallest ship possible when attacking.  Smaller ships perform better 
under poor wind conditions, and they can be maneuvered in hazardous 
waters more easily.  Unfortunately small ships will limit the amount of 
men in your attacking party, so you better be good at swordfighting.  
When you reach the fort you will have to duel the captain.  When you 
defeat him you can loot the town.

ATTACKING TOWNS BY LAND
You can also attack a town from the land.  Simply land your ship near 
the town and move your men into it.  Land attacks are tricky, and many 
times you will suffer huge casualties.  Don't try this unless you have a 
large force to command.  On the plus side, a larger force will increase 
your chances of capturing the town.  If you do manage to capture an 
enemy town.  Put a governor from your favorite nation in power. 

Since you are leading a pack of sailors in combat against trained 
soldiers, things are going to be tough.  Remember that you can only fire 
your muskets if you are standing still.  Trees will provide you with 
some cover, but stay out of the swamps.  The blue lines in the grass 
will signify a swamp, and they will slow you down.  Being stuck in the 
swamp makes you target practice.  

The best tactic that I have found when storming the fort is to carefully 
work your way around the enemy troops and into the fort.  Many times 
they will have several different squads of men.  Try to avoid the 
largest one if possible.  Place all of your men together, and move them 
in unison by holding down the A button while moving the directional pad.  
You will probably get shot at on your way, especially by the garrison 
that has remained in the fort.  Move as quickly as you can into the fort 
to begin the duel with the captain.  Sometimes the enemy will charge 
with cavalry.  Avoid them at all costs because they will slaughter you.  
If you hear a little bugle call you are in trouble.  

FIGHTING DUELS
You must become very good at this if you have any chance of succeeding 
in the game.  Without a doubt it is the most important skill to master.  
Luckily you can practice duels from the main menu screen.  Here you can 
engage the enemy at any skill level with any sword of you choice.

Which sword should I use?

Again this is a matter of personal choice.  I almost always fight with 
the Rapier.  It doesn't hit for very much damage, but I strongly believe 
that it's speed and length more than make up for lack of power.  I would 
never pick the Cutlass.  It has poor range and takes an agonizingly long 
time to strike with.  As your pirate ages he becomes even slower when 
swordfighting.  Unless you are the world's greatest swordsman you will 
never beat a guy wielding a Rapier with your Cutlass.  You will be way 
too slow to strike or even parry.  Some people prefer the Longsword 
because of it's balance in all categories, but I highly recommend using 
the Rapier instead.  Experiment with different swords and pick what's 
best for you.

A slashing attack will inflict more damage than a thrust, but it's a 
slower move.  If you're equipped with the Rapier going up against a 
Cutlass, slash away.  The huge difference in speed and range will make 
up for the slower attack.  High attacks also have a longer range, but 
are slower to execute than low attacks.  High attacks with a Rapier are 
like a good jab in boxing.  They'll frustrate you're opponent and keep 
them away from you.  Try practicing this technique.

As soon as a fight begins, I try to connect with a high slash.  Most of 
the time this will hit.  Plus the computer tends to attack high first, 
and you will already have your sword up to defend.  A good way to attack 
is to lead with a high slash then follow it up with a low thrust.  If 
these attacks connect, thrust high and then low again; keep repeating 
high and low thrusts until you are victorious.  Sometimes your opponent 
will get the jump on you, or land a wicked combo.  Back off a little and 
parry by pushing the C button.  When you're opponent pauses, quickly 
attack.  With practice you should become fairly proficient at dueling.  
It's an important skill, but thankfully not too difficult to master.

7. DIPLOMACY
------------

When you talk to the governors of friendly nations, they will tell you 
who they are at war with.  Attack their towns and ships, and the 
governor will reward you with promotions and land grants.  Land will 
make you a richer person, and higher ranks will make it easier to 
recruit men, and woo influential women.  All of these will increase your 
score when you retire.  Try to get as many titles from as many different 
nations as possible.  Make governors even happier by completing their 
missions.

If a governor asks you to take a mission, accept it.  Most of them are 
easy.  You'll be asked to deliver a letter, rescue somebody, send a 
message to a spy, or capture a pirate.  If the letter is going to a 
friendly town, just go to the tavern to meet that recipient.  If you 
have to give the message to a spy, or rescue somebody, simply raid that 
town.  The spies and captives are always located in an enemy port.  To 
capture a pirate just sail around the town where he's causing problems.  
Eventually you will run into him.  Board his ship and defeat him in the 
duel.  When you have completed the mission, just return to the governor 
who sent you out.  He will thank you for the job, and sometimes give you 
a promotion.  Just keep track of where you need to go, and where the 
mission originated from.  I like to write it down.  Example 1: Pirate so 
and so near Barbados for Port Royale.  This means that the Pirate can be 
found around Barbados, and I need to take him back to the governor in 
Port Royale.  Example 2: Letter to spy in Havana for Martinique.  Take 
the letter to the spy in Havana, then return to the governor in 
Martinique.  You get the idea.

Many times you will be introduced to the governor's daughter.  Pay close 
attention to the rank and status of her suitor.  Check your rank from 
the same nationality.  If you out rank him, you will probably be able to 
marry her right off the bat.  If not, just "make pleasant conversation".  
Making conversation to the same woman many times will make it easier to 
marry her.  But try to have a rank as high as or higher than her suitor.  
If she accepts your proposal you will have to duel the suitor.  Lower 
"ranking" woman will fall for your charms and agree to be your 
informant.  When you visit them they will tell you what they know about 
the location of the Treasure Fleet and Silver Train.  If you have chosen 
WIT AND CHARM as your specialty, it will be much easier to impress the 
woman, allowing you to marry them even when you have a lower rank.  
Finding a wife will increase your score at the end of the game.  Try to 
marry a woman with a high ranking suitor.  These more prestigious women 
will provide more points at the end.  Hint, the woman with the cat and 
the umbrella provides the most points.

8. CONCLUSION
-------------
Hopefully these hints and guidelines will get you on the right track.  
There are many different aspects of the game that you will need to 
become proficient at, but the basics are easy to learn.  Keep practicing 
and soon you'll be a great success.  Good Luck!