Personal Compuer Games


Author: SM
Publisher: Cases Computer Simulations
Machine: Spectrum 48K

Published in Personal Computer Games #2


Now this one really is fun... The year is 1587, and Spain is financing her Armada by running gold from the Americas back to Europe.

You are, in fact, a licensed pirate. Your job is to patrol the seas and grab as much of the Spanish gold as you can. If you can't actually get your hands on it, you can at least sink the ship carrying it and prevent Spain getting the benefit.

A game may consist of 60, 10, or 140 turns, and there are three levels of difficulty for each number of turns. The game is won once you have stopped a certain amount of gold from reaching Spain (35,000 gold pieces at the easiest level; 145,000 at the hardest).


If successful, you are knighted, and your hated rival Francis Drake becomes your cook. Fail, and you are humiliated while Drake goes on to write his name in the history books.

To aid you in your task, the Spectrum displays a detailed map of the Atlantic, together with copious information on the weather, armament, cash, cargo, men, damage to the ship, number of victories and defeats, number of turns, and so on. When your lookout spots a ship, you are told its type (merchant, galleon, troopship, warship), and you then make the decision to attack or retreat, based on the relative strengths of the enemy and your ship.

If you attack, you are given the option of firing or boarding. In either case, the battle is enacted graphically, with the two ships closing together, and somewhat stylised plumes of water as cannonballs splash into the sea. If the battle looks to be going badly, you can choose discretion and head for the nearest port for repairs or more men.


Hitting another ship results in your craft sinking, whereupon you are ignominiously drummed out of the service. There are also uncharted islands, abandoned ships, and strange mists to investigate. These can bring rewards, or disaster.

This is the sort of game for which a computer is ideal, and this particular simulation gave me hours of enjoyment.

It's sufficiently difficult to hold one's interest for a long time, and the concept behind it is novel, and well thought out. Great fun.


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