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Age Of Sail: Real-Time Ship Battle Simulator
PC Based Computer Game (Released 1996)

Features of the Game Include

  • Ability to command world famous ships like The Victory, Constitution, Constellation, Bonhomme Richard, Espanol, Guerriere, Vengance, and Saratoga
  • Ability to play and entire campaign (from 1775-1820), begin as an Ensign and work your way to Admiral in the British, French, Spanish, or American Navies.
  • Ability to take part in over 100 pre-created scenarios, including but not limited to the battle of Trafalgar, Camperdown and Cape St. Vincent.
  • Complete Scenario Editor, with over 2,000 historically accurate ships representing all major and minor countries, lets you create instant naval combat to your specifications.

Company and Game Information.

This Game was released by Talonsoft (a small software company founded in 1995, given to Strategy, Action, and Simulation games) in an effort to produce an accurate, challenging, yet realistic sea battle simulator. Having never actually played the game I cannot say as if they accomplished this, however I can give you all of the technical requirements that show that they at least tried to accomplish it.

System Requirements*

  • Windows 95 or 3.1
  • 100% PC Compatible
  • 486 DX/33 minimum
  • 5 MB minimum hard drive space
  • Double speed CD-Rom required
  • 8 MB minimum RAM
  • Microsoft Compatible Mouse
  • All Windows compatible sound cards
  • 256 color SVGA, Supports 640x480 or 1024x768 screen resolutions

Age of Sail: A Historical Overview

An exact date is hard to give on this topic being that the "Age of Sail" basically consists of the entire time that trade was dominated by wind powered ships. One thing is absolutely certain about the Age of Sail however, and that's that it shaped the lives of many people, for better or worse.

The Age of Sail definitely helped to influence trade as a whole in a very positive manner. Due to the creation of large navies, it not only allowed goods to be moved around the globe much faster than ever before but people as well. It also gave birth to the first inklings of organized crime, coined a term still used today - Piracy.

Pirates have the unique distinction in history to be one of the few criminals where it was actually difficult to tell whether or not they were actually breaking the law. There was in existence an entirely different force that used the same methods and tactics as pirates however they were government funded groups called Privateers. So the difficulty for the authorities became distinguishing a pirate from a Privateer.

There were however also honest men, men that worked their way across the sea time and time again. Although weather or not you were pirate, privateer, or just a typical crewman you had pretty much the same life to deal with.

Over a period of hundreds of years, seafarers (be they honest or otherwise) shared many common experiences. Men living at sea had much to endure. Cut off from normal life on shore for months, even years, they had to accept cramped conditions, disease and poor food and pay. Above all, they faced the daily dangers of sea and weather.

More Specifically seafarers had to face some terrible punishments for their misdeeds. Seamen could be 'tarred and feathered', tied to a rope, swung overboard and ducked or 'keel-hauled' (dragged round the underneath of the ship). Flogging was the most common, though, with the whole crew often being made to watch. A rope's end was used, or the infamous 'cat o' nine tails'. A seaman found guilty of mutiny or murder would be hanged from the yard arm.

There was also the issue of feeding the men; the typical fare was salt beef or pork, cheese, fish, ale and some form of ship's biscuit. In the days of the early explorers such as Magellan and Columbus, food was cooked 'barbecue' style on the open deck, but later on given design evolution, a ship had its own kitchen, known as a 'galley'. The quality of the food was often deteriorated because of storage problems, lack of ventilation, and poor drainage. It was also affected by the presence of rats and other vermin on board. Biscuits were often filled with maggots and weevils.

There was a great deal of sickness at sea. Seamen were often cold and wet, rats carried disease, and the poor diet not only caused malnutrition but specific illnesses such as scurvy. Scurvy was caused by a lack of vitamin C in the diet. Not everyone recognized the discovery made by Sir Richard Hawkins in the late 16th century that daily doses of orange or lemon juice could prevent this terrible disease which rotted the skin and gums and caused teeth to fall out. Illness also came from eating too much salt with the ship's meat. As well as injury from shipboard accidents, there was risk of death or maiming in times of battle. Ships' surgeons worked in cramped and filthy conditions with no anesthetic for patients having amputations. Infection and gangrene was commonplace.

On top of all of these problems seamen's pay was poor, even when compared with the small wages earned by – for example – common laborers, on shore. By the end of the 1700s, pay on a Naval ship was less than that on a merchant ship. However, as well as their basic wages, sailors would expect to have a share of prize money or booty from captured enemy vessels.

Terms coined then that we still use.

"Toe the Line"- Meaning to line up literally toes to the line

"Groggy"- One who had drank too much of the legendary drink was 'groggy'

"Pooped" The ships back being momentarily swamped by rough waters

Thanks for taking a minute to learn why it really might be a pirates life for you.

*(Not impressive specs. but bear in mind it's 1996)

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