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Port Royale or Tropico?

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IncendiaryDevice

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Which is the most stable, non-buggy and most able to retain interest and complexity for the most amount of time?

Port-Royale.jpg


vs

37852.png
 

Galdred

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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
Aren't they very different? Port Royale is mostly about getting a large fleet and going corsair or pirate with it. The town building aspects are rather secondary.
Isn't tropico a city builder?
I didn't play it, but I had a great time with Port Royale 1, capturing English warships, and using them to live off the sea.
I think PR 2 and 3 don't allow you to play with lots of ships, though, so I would stick with the first one.
 

Harpsichord

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Port Royale is a Patrician clone, emphasizing trading and maritime affairs.

Tropico is a small scale city builder where influencing and catering to the thoughts and attitudes of each individual in aggregate wins you the game.

That said, while Port Royale is going to keep you entertained longer if you're looking for some serious crunch, Patrician 3(and even 4) is a much better game. All of the piracy stuff is still there(if you choose to take advantage of it at least, I ignore it mostly), and the economy building aspect is more complex iirc.
 

imajia

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Strap Yourselves In
I'd say both are worth their money. Tropico has the advantage of a more linear progression than PR. In Tropico you build stuff, let the game run and build new stuff you then can afford. In PR you have to trade...trade...trade...trade and then the real game starts. Which then takes way longer than the average Tropico game.
If you like taking notes where goods have a better price, then PR might be a better choice.
If you like city builders, then Tropico might be a better choice.
If you want to try different approaches quickly, then Tropico is a better choice.
 

Jazz_

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Tropico 1 is pure chill in videogame form, that soundtrack always puts me in a good mood. I played it centuries ago but it isn't just a city building sim, there's also the political simulation aspect, as far as I remember you can set policies, declare laws, etc. I remember larping as a communist dictator and putting farmers and doctors on almost the same salary, and I would send doctors to work in the farms every now and then to make them understand the plights of the proletariat, Mao-style.
 
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mondblut

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That said, while Port Royale is going to keep you entertained longer if you're looking for some serious crunch, Patrician 3(and even 4) is a much better game. All of the piracy stuff is still there(if you choose to take advantage of it at least, I ignore it mostly), and the economy building aspect is more complex iirc.

Patrician 3 is generally better than Port Royale 1, but PR1 has better combat. The best by Patrician/PR standarts, anyway. Patrician 4 is awful.
 
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IncendiaryDevice

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Port Royale 1 is a truly amazing game, I can't stop playing it :D

No idea what the riddles mean, but other than those I'm beginning to work everything out. Never did like riddles anyway.

Edit: Hey, wow, even completed a riddle now. And found the hideout.
 
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IncendiaryDevice

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Wow, what a ride!

1stResultb_zpsatvjmq8h.png


1stResult_zpsoxh5vmpa.png


Battles on difficult setting.

Start year 1st Mar 1570, date of award 14th Aug 1573, so 3 years, 5 months, 13 days, not bad for a first complete game. Likely nowhere near min/max tho.

Total hours played probably 50-60 somewhere, say average estimate 55 hours, and still left me wanting more.

Only managed to solve 2 riddles all game and those accounted for pretty much all my failed missions. A lot of them ask you to "Draw a circle around something or other then sail east" or whatever and I have absolutely no idea what it's referring to. The only other failed missions I remember that weren't a riddle were the guy looking for the eye of the storm, where I went where he asked but there was no storm, and one of those get me X amount of goods by such and such date, nowhere does it say at what level they are fully satiated, you get the same problem with the wedding feast where it doesn't specify actual quantities and you just have to guess.

It seems there are a whole lot of different ways to play this game, but for this game I chose to be a pirate-basher first and foremost. I stared in the minuses until I'd taken out a couple of pirates and sold some ships, then never really looked back, my final fleet consisting of 1 Battleship (Ship of the Line) and 9 Galleys. I did some trading here and there, but mostly because it would be silly not to when stopping at ports to load up on new sailors anyway after every sea battle. After getting the hideout it was more a case of trading goods to buy goods for my hideout. I built a few businesses and rented a few residential areas, but nothing sprawling, just at the start location and my hideout - some rum, cocoa, hemp and a little bit of sugar and a trickle of bricks.

After taking out the first few regular unnamed pirates I moved onto named marque pirates, selling them back to their nations for huge gold but shafted reps. After that it was bee-lining the main quest and Axelsmith, occasionally being interrupted by killing more pirates who'd kidnapped my wife, again, and again (probably the only really annoying regular game event). When I wasn't high enough rank to move the main plot then I'd do some tavern missions and collect map pieces etc, but also took the moment of peace to clear out some of the named pirates with wanted notices. Once the main quest was over I concentrated on Governor missions until the end of the game, one of which was more pirates to clear out!

Maybe next time I'll be a proper pirate? Or perhaps a pacifist trader? Or maybe a tavern helper? Who knows, but what I do know is there's still loads more game left to explore. So thanks for the recommendations everyone and for helping me discover another great game from the golden age of gaming :)

Edit for some sounds selections:






& parrots:





But liked all of them really, these just stuck out as particularly memorable.
 
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Skunkpew

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There's also Tropico 2: Pirate Cove which might offer an experience for you closer to what Port Royale does. Unfortunately the exploration and fighting aspects in Pirate Cove are done off-screen and I find the city building gets a little tedious after six or seven missions.
 

Moose23

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Heyyy, that's the one with the catchy as hell main theme, and the economy based on slave labor and prostitution. Good times.

(Alright, bit of an exaggeration there, but I can't think of another game which made me think "I need more whores.")
 
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IncendiaryDevice

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I'm about three quarters way through my second game and the rough edges are beginning to show a bit more. Well... when I say rough edges... the problem is the game is too bereft of rough edges... it's...

Overbalanced!

Yes, that chestnut that's currently in vogue to be a bitching target is this game's biggest flaw. I had a sneaking suspicion it might be and that's now confirmed.

For my second game I chose to be a peaceful trader. I would do my utmost to avoid conflict and just numbercrunch my way to victory, buying cheap, selling dear, taking maximum advantage of the game's supply and demand system combined with hearty self-production of the goods most in demand via building farms and mills etc. I was a corporate magnate in two towns with 12 businesses and five residences. I spend hour after hour running my goods between ports, back and forth like a good hamster in the wheel, each month showing a noticeable increase in wealth. Because I was lugging so many goods about I was attacked by pirates a couple of times and gained some boats that way, but I also had to buy some boats here and there.

And this is where the game isn't so fun. While the combat itself is very well done and you have the ability to alter the course of a battle with your own skills, the battle side of the game is totally out of balance with the trading aspect. In effect, playing towards combat is OP whereas playing towards trading is just a nearly pointless grind. And the reason trading is such a grind is because trading is overbalanced.

Using battles to increase wealth:

You have to buy Cutlasses - 40gp each, one for each sailor, so a total of 400-800 x 40gp and, because you will be hopefully winning your battles then you wont be losing many of them, you probably lose about 20 per battle. So Cutlass cost = 800gp per 3 game weeks.

You have to pay your sailors and captain - for about 400-500 sailors (average post-battle levels from 5 or 6 decent mid-range ships) you're looking at an employment cost of about 15,000 per week. So Sailors cost = 45,000 per 3 game weeks.

The game also has general maintenance costs, which is a cost related to what buildings would probably cost in upkeep IRL-kinda-thing. For plain sailors the only cost will be storage unit costs, as you can't demolish storage units. One of these costs about 500gp a week. So Maintenance costs = 1,500gp every three weeks.

So total upkeep = 47,300 every three weeks.

Why 3 weeks? Because the game makes you wait far too long in the repair shop (balancing...). After any naval battle your ships will have lost health, and health doesn't regenerate by any means other than at the repair shop. Repairs cost about 800gp per day and any ship with a noticeable red chunk in it's health bar will take anything from 12 days to 18 days to repair. So the timespan economy of one naval battle is 3 weeks.

So repair costs = about 12,000gp

So total cost of battle = about 50,000gp every three weeks based on an average of five mid-range ships.

And what do you get in return? Normally a bounty for a Pirate and some ships to sell (plus usually free better ships to upgrade your flotilla with, selling off the smaller redundant ones).

Selling price of 4 decent mid-range ships = about 85,000-120,000

Bounty for the Pirate's head = about 20,000-50,000 (double that if you want to shaft your reputation and attack marqued pirates instead of wanted pirates, at the cost of slower future sailor recruitment)

So reward = 105,000 - 170,000. And sometimes you can suffer few enough loses to your sailors and health that you can do two pirates in a row, making your 50,000 outlay bring back 210,000 - 340,000gp every three weeks.

And this is all quite hassle free and just involves scooting your ship out into the sea, having a battle, going back to repair, going to sell your repaired unwanted ships, recruiting new sailors and Cutlasses, rinse and repeat every three weeks. It's easy, fun and quick.

Using trading to increase wealth:

Oh boy, where do I start...

As a trader you'll still have to bare all the costs that a battle master will have to bear. Same sailor costs (to avoid pirates), same Cutlass (initial) costs but thankfully fewer replacements needed, Same (initial) maintenance costs but with the added 'bonus' of this figure increasing exponentially if you start any of your own businesses.

So total upkeep costs = 46,500 every three weeks + an additional 75,000 every three weeks for your additional workers and another 6,000 every three weeks for your increased maintenance costs = 127,500 every three weeks.

And your reward is products which you can attempt to sell at 'best price' totalling approximately:

Rum: 35x650 = 22,750
Cocoa: 15x450 = 6,750
Hemp: 10x500 = 5,000
Sugar: 50x160 = 8,000
Cotton: 40x120 = 4,800
Fish: 85x350 = 29,750
Salt: 20x350 = 7,000
Tobacco: 25x1,000 = 25,000
Cloth: 35x450 = 15,750
Wood: 100x70 = 7,000

So even at best price (or near) that = 131,800 every three weeks (or there abouts - sometimes you simply can't get best price and sometimes you just want to clear space). Which, as you can see, all seems rather pointless for all the fuss. To which the biggest fuss is having to ship your own goods between your own ports to enable other products to get made - such as Rum which requires both Sugar and Wood to produce, and the sugar is grown at a different place to the Rum and Wood. Also, you'll still need to buy some ingrediants, such as for the Cloth, which requires Cotton... and Dyes, and Dyes cost, even at best price 160gp per unit.

My stats for this part aren't fully accurate as I don't have the production sheet in front of me, but it should be clear that even if I've remembered wrongly by a whopping 50%, it's still a paltry sum when compared to battling your way to wealth, with a lot less room for error if you make any kind of detour from a plan or click 'sell 100' instead of 'sell 1' as you skip through your sales screen, constantly swapping between moving 100s of units and selling 10s and selling 1s. I remember once selling my 200 sugar instead of putting it in the stock room, just from natural human error of 0.3% (you have to make hundreds of micro-actions) and basically stopping Rum production for 3 weeks, for example.

On top of this, in order to get best price you have sail from port to port, over the course of 10-20 different ports per every three weeks, which stops you from doing other things, like mini quests and main quest, and you have to do it on a constant basis, stop for even one week and your carefully earned 90,000 will vanish before your eyes in minutes. So on top of finding the best place to sell your goods, you still have to buy from all the ports you visit (and because you might as well) to get additional sales along the way, and in most respects its only really this aspect which creates profit of any interest. And, of course, different areas of the map have different needs but you can only visit one area in any 3 week period.

And just when you think you can cope with this horrible situation of small but steadily increasing gains, the game throws you a real curveball - you suddenly need to spend 2 weeks out of action to repair your ships. And this doesn't only happen after a fight when you can sell ships to pay for the inconvenience, oh no, your ships deteriorate naturally over time, just from sailing around and, if you let them get too ragged the crew mutinies and you can't leave port until you've repaired them. And here lies the final nail in the coffin of the trader route.

Even if you had no businesses and just sailed from port to port buying and selling with the minimum overheads, you've still got to take a one or two week forced absence from trading, wiping out 100,000 within a flash. Even if you've found your hideout and get free ship repairs, it's the lost time which is the killer. Because with trading, time is money.

And as if that wasn't enough, buying (upgrading to) new boats costs a fortune, upwards of 50,000-100,000 for a decent mid-range boat.

Via the trading route I had to work my ass off to go from 90,000gp bank account to 470,000gp bank account to the point where I just had to give up out of both boredom and frustration. I just stopped, sold all my businesses, sold all my remaining stock, went out and killed 5 pirates in 4 outings and am currently at 1,000,000gp, with an extremely strong flotilla.

The trading game versus the battle game gives you these kind of playstyles:

fredgraph.jpg


With the blue line being the battle economy and the red line the trading economy, except the micro-analysis of the trading economy would look like this:

mrd0rs.jpg


As any sense of progress gets almost, but not quite, obliterated every week as the weekly costs get removed from your total.

So, on the face of it, the game does indeed offer many different ways to play, but, unfortunately, it's primary selling point beyond combat, that of a trading simulator, is woefully cumbersome, unwieldy, boring, repetitive and altogether way too soul destroying to be considered any kind of genuine game option.

So while even after playing two games there is still stuff to explore, such as the pure pirate route and the marque route, both options are still primarily combat routes and once those are tried there doesn't leave much replayability, what with both the pure trading and trading with businesses routes both being pretty much no-goes. And while 200 hours is still a good chunk of time to get from a game, enough of a chunk to still make this a superb game, it's still not going to be a better game than a Civilisation game because, while its a better and more enjoyable game, it simply doesn't have that replay value, and when people buy strategy games it's the replay value which is their true value.

In terms of a game, I give this game a hearty 9/10, in terms of a strategy game, I give this game 6/10.

It's as if someone spent months balancing the trading aspect to over-perfection and inertia while leaving the battle aspect untested and over-powerful. At this moment in time I can't envisage there being any reason to trade in this game at all, at least once past the first initial stages of building a relatively strong first 3 or 4 ship flotilla.
 
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IncendiaryDevice

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Yeah~ I skipped straight to PR2.

I wouldn't class PR1 as a skippable game, it is huge fun, almost perfect in many respects, just not in a massively replayable sense.

Asking if you've played it. Also wouldn't mind KKK on it, looking at meta critic user scores 1 and 2 are similar and 3 is bad.

I'll probably go there next, but you'll have to wait a month or two as I'd still like to try out the marque and pure pirate routes in PR1. Maybe someone else can iterate the improvements in this regard with PR2 in the mean time?
 

Comte

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One difference I can remember is that in PR2 you only control 1 ship at a time in combat.
 
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IncendiaryDevice

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So I've made my first tentative steps in taking advantage of being a marqued pirate. A marqued pirate is where you buy a marque from a nation to allow you to pirate one specific other nation without any drops in reputation from all the other countries aside from the one you're beating the crap out of.

You can't do this right off the bat as they charge you about 25k for marque, plus some nations have to be at war in order to have a marque available.

So I started with a few trades to get the cash up, a brief bit of hamster wheel, nothing too mind-numbing, until I had bought cannons, cutlasses and crew for my boat and the purchase of a second boat and it's cannons, cutlasses and crew. I then went round and took out the first batch of wanted pirates until I had four decent boats and about 70k, at which point I bought a marque... against France, of course.

The idea here is to loot the French ships rather than steal them. At first this seemed like a lot of fun, disrupting their trade routes and filling up my ships with lots of wondrous bounty, ocassionally taking a boat here and there. Unfortunately, the designers have decided to bork this avenue with a healthy does of balancing as well. After you've looted about three vessels and stack of 10 ships entitled "Military Convoy" appears out the mist like the Flying Dutchman and drops you into combat. And this convoy is filled to the brim with top tier boats and men. Whatever you have, it will have better, and by a huge margin (I'm even more convinced than ever now that the game is riddled with level scaling).

At first I tried to manually view this military convoy, just to see if it's head boat was good but the rest of the ships were shit. Nope, they were all great ships. I pressed the escape button but the enemy ships got most of mine and I had to reload. Doing the exact same thing again, only this time selecting auto battle instead of manual and all my ships escaped unharmed and I could sail back to my home port.

Which is all kind of bizzare really. Why impose this blocker after such a few engagements. Why make it a magically appearing spawned convoy instead of applying some kind of logic where it has to sail from it's home port, you know, the fun of some genuine cat and mouse using skill. Why does it let you get away so easy if its there as a blocker, what's the point of it.

Anyway, after a few ransacks Holland declared peace with France and my marque ended. My flotilla had improved nicely, but nothing dramatic, just an extra Military Frigate (a unique unit not available from the in game ship-sellers) and a Caravel as the picks of the bunch and some nice loot which helped pay for repairs and whatnots, but I wasn't sensing any really exciting profits at this stage, it all seemed very carefully manipulated to stifle quick growth.

During the lull I went back to doing the next round of wanted pirates, vastly improving my stock of boats and getting some more rewards. But the only thing that really boosted my finances was coming back from the final battle with 10 ships and no cargo other than cannons when I solved a riddle and it rewarded me a boatful of rum. So I sailed back to my home port with 4 new boats and 716 units of rum! Even at rock bottom prices rum sells for over 30k per 100.

I decided to have a go at one of these big 10 stacks, just to see what would happen. The rum put me to half a million and so I had money to burn on 1,000 crew members and 500 new cutlasses. Low and behold, after my first couple of encounters with the French (who Holland had redeclared war on in the meantime, thankfully) the 10 stack showed up. Only this time the 10 stack didn;t have capacity for 1,000 men, the anti had now been increased to 1,500.

I was out gunned, outmanned, but what the heck, you can but try just for the lols.

I had 1 x military frigate, 3 x Carracks and 6 x Caravels. The AI had 8 x Galleons and 2 x Carracks. Needless to say...

Marque1_zpsmroxflqb.png


And at the end of the battle it was 4 of mine trying to trap the last one of his boats that only had 10 sailors left on it. It was almost a massacre. And this is the hardest setting for battles, meaning that at this mid-way point in the game I already have and invincible navy, because there isn't enough other ship upgrades in the game to post any challenge, what with there being only one upgrade after Galleon. Even if the AI fielded 10 x Ships of the Line, I think its safe to assume I'd win.

There is a problem with this though... because the maximum ships you can have in one stack is 10, then when 10 ships fight 10 ships there's no room left to take any for selling. It can only work for free upgrades, which will still cost both sailor wages and repair cost/time.

I think maybe the game wants me to loot one or two ships and then head home and wait a bit then come and do it again. I'm not fully sure how this marque thing is supposed to function in a way the developers wanted it to, but I'll test out a few more runs and see if any patterns emerge. On the face of it, other than working towards a stunning upgrade to you flotilla (which kinda makes the game a bit more boring anyway in gradual improvement sense), using the marque still doesn't seem to compete for either the fun or profitability of just hosing down pirates. As it stands at this point, just another aspect which looks to be a fun and unique option but is just another pretty pointless hamster wheel of little return, which will also permanently screw your relations with a nation. After my first raids the French put me on Respected to Ignored to Unpopular to Hated status. Even after my second batch of pirate killing my rep with them remained at Hated, and nothing boosts rep more than pirate killing.

It would be more fun if you actually noticed the French navy declining or if the AI had some kind of economy of their own to adhere to, but everything you do is just the equivalent of respawns in a Diablo game, so you don't get any sense of greater evil from going this route either.
 

Comte

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Have you thought about trying out Patrician III? Its by the same company that did Port Royale
 
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IncendiaryDevice

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Is that crammed with level scaling and unpleasant balancing as well?

Just as an example of how this game loves the above two things: In my first game, the second battle on the main quest involved me fighting 4 x below average ships, in my latest run with the super-fleet (but only took 6 ships so I'd have room to cart the 4 home) it decided to present me with an opposition of 7 x average ships. So not even the main quest is hand placed.
 
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IncendiaryDevice

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One or two further positives to report and one or two further negatives:

Positive:

I experimented with the automatic trade routes today. This is a dynamic system which lets you set-up a second (or more) convoy(s) which will perform all your repetitive trading for you. You separate a ship from your convoy, select it, hire a new captain, load him up with cannons and sailors and then fill out the automatic trade route screen, press activate and off he goes, doing the rounds for you. I guess it will be fun fine tuning this so that the oceans are full of your automatic convoys. However, this does basically admit therefore that trading is so repetitive and dull that the only way to enjoy it is to fully automate it while your human convoy goes off to do more entertaining stuff.

Likewise, I experimented with hiring pirates. Same malarkey as with a new captain, separate a ship from your convoy then select the ship and hire the pirate. Only this time there's no forms to fill in, you just select which countries you want him to pirate and off he goes, a random sum appearing every now and then in your profits until the game forgets they exist. The extent to which this is more or less profitable than just selling the ship I've no idea, but I suspect it's probably quite neutral/balanced without discovering the perfect set-up for them, which could be fun trying to find out I guess.

I took on a quest to attack a town and so attacked a town for the first time, which was fun. It gives you a whole new battle screen where, if you choose fight by land, your sailors have an on-land pitched battle with the town's sailors. Made for a fun change. However, it's all automated once you hit start with just some odd buttons to mash during combat which supposedly do something tactical. Numbers seem the most important element besides any strange allusions to player skill.

Negatives:

I thought, wouldn't it be fun to completely take out a country's towns, so I bought a marque and attacked a town independent of any mission. Doing it like this, however, meant my team started at 50% health for some bizzare reason and even though I still almost won, the AI pipped me to the post. I simply re-invaded immediately and won anyway. Very odd. But the kicker is that in this instance you don't get the option to take the town, you automatically just loot the place for a measly couple of 100k. Very anti-climactic and no territory stealing available. Also, initially I tried to attack by sea instead of land, to try that out, and my boats just sat there and wouldn't budge, like a prosper character glitched in a pile of rocks. I hit every button on the screen to no avail, so I've no idea if it's just bugged for me or if it's a feature that came with the game.

In the game where I collected the super-fleet really early I got to Captain level quite relatively quickly, the last promotion before the final promotion of Admiral. I then completed the entire main quest from this point, and the entire main quest didn't provide enough XP to get to Admiral, and this included doing some other stuff on top. Doing the entire main quest plus a few more named pirates did manage to get France back from hated to ignored however, so you're not completely fucked if you get to the hated rep with someone, just mostly fucked.

Some of the gameplay mechanics are hyper frustrating. The zenith of such an example happened today when I tried to start a new trade convoy from my hideout. When you separate a ship from your convoy it doesn't take any sailors or cannons with it. And there's no easy way to move sailors from one convoy to another, the only way to do it is through the city buy/sell screens. Moving your sailors from you convoy into this screen makes some of them vanish like a bad slot machine taking its percentage and, in the worst case scenario, just stealing all of them into the ether. So I was stuck with two convoys which refused to leave port, one because it had no sailors other than the captain and one because they mutinied because I'd let some sailors go. No option but to reload a save and restart the convoy in a town which had plenty of sailors available, then get it back to my hideout without any cannons to then load up the cannons from my storage. What a rigmarole! What a lot of reloading! [edit: I might have missed something 'obvious' here, I'll test it later 2nd Edit: Nope, that didn't work either.]



Oh yeah, and you might wonder why I'm sperging so much on this game. Well, there's fuck all about this game on-line, so hopefully its now here if anyone needs it, I mention something that someone wants to know etc. The only other source for anything useful is gog's forum, and even after years on there the forums really don't tell you that much that's useful. Like Medieval: Total War, this game got released just before 'people' discovered the internet and their current owners no longer promote them on their in-house forums.
 
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adddeed

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Try Patrician 3 man, you'll enjoy it. Port Royale (while still excellent series) is Patrician Lite.
 
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IncendiaryDevice

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Thanks for the high effort recommendation, I really enjoyed being alerted to something that was said as lamely 3 posts ago.
 

adddeed

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So did you try it or not?
 

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