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Port Royale 2 is a fun trading simulator with a lot of piracy and naval warfare thrown into the mix. If you want to master this game and become the champion of the Caribbean, then you should look at my little guide below. I usually play as England, but I will try to keep my guide to Port Royale 2 as non-nation specific as I can.
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Your startup in Port Royale 2 is one of the more difficult parts of the game. You need to get some gold flowing before you can really start some of the more lucrative trade routes. There are a few things to keep in mind for your general trading though.
The categories of goods are fairly simple. There are Governor/Viceroy towns and colonial towns. The Governors' towns receive shipments of imported goods from Europe. These imported goods are worth a lot to the colonial towns, but fairly cheap if you arrive shortly after delivery. The same transport conveys take the colonial goods away from the town to sell in Europe. Food and consumer goods are also worth exploring, but it can often be tricky to get a good margin on these.
The simplest way to know whether you are getting a good deal or not is to look at the price margin between buying and selling. A surplus is indicated by nearly identical buy and sell prices.
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A Strong Startup
Your first step in your governor's town should be to start trading. Have your ship buy some imported goods or manufactured goods that are produced in the city. Take these to the surrounding colonial towns. Buy up any colonial goods that should be in surplus in these towns. Keep trading these goods until you get a little nest egg of roughly 30,000 gold extra.
This opens up a new opportunity. The colonial towns around your starting town will probably start producing vast surpluses. You will not be able to immediately trade these at your hometown for a good profit, until a transport convey comes and takes the town's supply away. You should have basic financial stability by this point though. Just dump the colonial goods into your warehouse and order it to automatically sell them when the price is above your average cost. This will let you maximize your profits effortlessly. Once you get a little more money, you can order your warehouse to automatically buy tools, wine, and spices when their prices are below 600. That way, you won't miss any deals and you won't have to watch the town for arriving transport convoys.
This should let you amass a lot of early wealth with simple trading. Once you get enough money you can start to make investments. A governor's town can support four of your food farms. Build four wheat or fruit farms. Put them right next to each other to form the plantation and save a little space. At full capacity, the farm will produce 10 barrels of food per day at roughly 77 gold a piece. Your warehouse can automatically sell this for 88 gold without oversupplying the town. That's 100 free gold a day.
Remember to build residences too. Each business will need one home. A worker always brings his wife and two children with him. If you don't build the home, then the city will. There's no reason to let that happen. A filled home will earn you 70 gold a day with no effort. All of this helps offset your growing operating expenses. You should also consider buying residences from the town. Owning all of the houses in a town will give you considerable daily income without any work.
Once you have been trading for a bit, you might want to buy another ship, switch convoys, and send your original ship out as an automated trader. Your first captain should have gained the required 4 experience points from your manual trading. Just pick all of the friendly cities you see in a reasonable area. As long as there are some governor's towns and a few colonial towns in the route, your captain will be able to make a neat little profit with very little effort.
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Going to War
The time will come when you need to shift to war. Your early trading operations are mainly just a way for you to fund your war fleet for the next stage of the game. Your target needs to be chosen carefully. I'll give you a rundown of your possible opponents in Port Royale 2. You obviously shouldn't go to war with your home country. You will need a letter of marque from your governor before you start any raiding. Any actions without one will cause the countries to see you as a pirate. You will lose a lot of reputation quickly.
Spain – They are a big nation that runs half of the map at the start of the game. They are a tough opponent with strong military convoys that patrol most of the map. If you attack them, you need to be ready to take a lot of losses in raids against your trading ships during and after the war. They will continue to attack even after the war is over and you can't do anything to defend yourself. Their traders do have the best ships with the most goods though and capturing a Spanish military convoy will set you up with good pirating ships for the rest of the game. A good buccaneer could make a lot of money quickly and ride out the aftermath.
England – They are another serious opponent in the game. I usually play as England, so I don't have a lot of tips. The biggest bonus is that they use a number of ships of the line in their convoys. This means that you will have a shot at getting the best ship in the game easily. Their traders are also fairly well supplied and they tend to keep to compact trade routes between the eastern islands.
France – A tough target due to their position. If you are playing as the Spanish or the Dutch, then you may be able to do it. Your only real option is to set up a forward base at the Florida Keys and ambush their ships in the trading lane between their separated colonies. Their main cities are just too far away from a friendly port for serious raiding.
Holland – A beautiful target. They are the easiest target in the game. Their traders also tend to have slow ships with a lot of goods. They have the weakest military convoys, which is actually a bit of a curse. Capturing ships in military convoys is the best way to build your fleet. Their Carracks aren't bad though and they are quite easy to capture. They are also so compact in their patrol routes that your traders will barely be affected.
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As you earn more and more money from your war fleet, you need to also build up your trading empire. Keep training captain and watch their experience grow as you have them manually trade. Turn them into automatic traders as soon as possible to make your empire grow. You can have them do manual trading as part of it though.
One profitable option is to order your warehouse to buy cheap import goods, but have them buy a maximum of 100 of each. You don't want to overstock. Then order your automated ship to come to your governor's town, pick up the maximum amount of these import goods, and then go on its way. It will sell these imports for a profit as part of its normal route.
You can also do other simple things. Building your own farms to produce colonial goods is quite profitable. They just need .1 tools a day to do it, which usually amounts to cheap goods. Raiding an enemy transport colony or winning a few wartime missions will give you access to plenty of free tools. Just remember to bus some of them over to your farms every once in awhile. Then just pick up the goods and drop them in your warehouse. Automated selling can sell them for high profits right after the transport convoys empty the town's stock.
Everything else should be pretty simple though. Just keep building and buying goods to make more and more effortless profit.
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Buccaneer Tips - Starting Out
Starting out as a buccaneer can be tough. You can usually buy a military frigate from your shipyard. This will be a decent starting ship. Outfitting it with some cannons, a full boarding crew, and ammo won't cost more than about 15,000.
Your first step is to buy your letter of marque from the governor. It will cost a good bit of your income, so make sure that you are ready. It is invalid once the war is over. If you can't buy one even though your country is at war, then it means that the conflict is about to end.
Once you have your letter and your target, just sail out to their territory and park on a trading route. You will be able to get a few attacks in before the country knows that you are at war with them, so make the first few count. Try to hit larger convoys if you can. You will still only have to fight the one escort ship that's guarding them and it won't run away. Just fire some grapeshot into the ship and board it. Taking on single ships is easy, but you have to be able to catch them before they run away.
Sea combat isn't that hard. Just keep the wind at your back and chase down the ship. If you have to fight it first, then weave back and forth to deliver broadsides from alternating angles. If you can't visualize this, then just watch your enemies in a few battles. They usually do it to you when they can. Once you have more crewmen than the other ship, just click the boarding button and ram the other ship.
Capture a few ships and go back to your hometown to sell the ships and their cargo. Rearm and go back out once you're done. If you see a military convoy heading for you, then dock in the nearest town. It can be a hostile town. Just getting into a town will be good enough to lose them. Just wait a day and come back out.
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Buccaneer Tips - Making it Big
The easiest way to vastly improve your war fleet is to play dirty. The military convoys do fight. They go on patrols, attack other convoys, and often raid your trading routes and fight your government's military convoys.
If you want to get better ships, just tail an enemy convoy. If the war is active, you will see a damaged convoy limping home for repairs at some point. Swoop in on the dying convoy to beat the few remaining sailors and capture the damaged ships. A quick repair job will give you a significantly better fleet. This is also an easy way to take out military convoys and weaken a nation without much trouble.
As your fleet grows, you will be able to go on longer sustained assaults. Once you start doing this, you need to decide on a forward base. Pick a town and use it to ditch all of your ships that you capture. If you have a warehouse in the town, use that. If you don't, have a captain form an impromptu convoy and use that as a warehouse by transferring goods between the ships. Have him make a run to your home town to drop it off some goods, distribute others for trading, and sell the captured ships.
You can also use this town to repair your ships. You should never sell war galleons or liners. Store the damaged ships at your forward base and have them be repaired. You can then just swap out your damaged ships for the fresh ones waiting for you. This will let you raid for longer periods of time to make the most of your letter of marque.
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Bucaneer Tips - The Big Leagues
Once you are a true force to be reckoned with, you will have some unique opportunities. The first one is to take out an enemy buccaneer. Winning the dual will let you capture the buccaneer and ransom them back to a nations governor for roughly 150,000 gold. Talk to your governor and watch the news to see the location of the buccaneer in the war.
You can also raid or capture a town. Raiding a town is easy. Bulk up your convoy to have 10 ships so that you can carry away all of your loot. Hire as many sailors as you need. You should have about 300 more fighters than the town to be sure of victory. Go into the ships special menu and tell it to attack towns upon entry. Then sail in and wait for the attack menu.
You have the option to attack by sea or by land. Sea is pretty annoying and you'll probably be sick of sea based attacks during pirate hunting missions later on in the game. An attack by land is preferable, if you have enough cutlasses and muskets to arm your men. You will probably have a ton of both. Military convoys usually carry extra cutlasses and muskets. You probably accumulated a lot of them by now.
The fly in the ointment is the potential for a military convoy. If one is in the town then you will have to fight it before you can land. I personally suggest that you just cancel the attack and wait. Try another town or wait by the port for a few days. The convoy should leave or undergo repairs soon. Swoop in and attack while the town is undefended.
The fighting is simple. Order your swordsmen forward and use them to rush the enemy musketeers and shield your musketeers from the enemy swords men. Make sure that you keep ordering them to attack. They might not automatically pick a new enemy when their current target dies. Keep your musketeers firing until the town guard is dead. You may still have to beat the Town Commander in a dual though, so be ready.
Once you build up a substantial landing force, you can just rush the gate and destroy it by overwhelming the enemy. This will help you save some of your sailors' lives.
Annexing a town in Port Royale 2 is a little different, but not by much. You don't need to bother with 10 ships, unless you just need the extra room for sailors. Go to your nation's viceroy to check and see if he'd like for you to capture a town. In order to capture a town, your nation has to be strong and the enemy has to be weak. This is determined by the ratio of towns-military convoys. If they have one convoy for each town, then they are normal or strong. If they are short a convoy or two, then they might be weak. Check the nation's tab in your journal to see. If you want to annex a town and the situations aren't right, then you can shift them to your favor. Go out and hunt down some damaged military convoys to lower the nation's number. If your country isn't strong enough, then the viceroy will ask for you to give him a suitable convoy. The easiest way is to capture a full convoy and turn over the damaged ships. He'll outfit and repair them.
Once all of this is done, you just have to attack a town. You do have to leave at least one viceroy town for the nation. If you capture the viceroy's town, then the viceroy will relocate to an available governor's town. Defeat the town guard or break down the gate in the usual way. The game will offer you the choice of looting the town or annexing it. Chose to annex it and report back to the governor. You will eventually be granted your own town. More on that later in the guide though.
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Buccaneer Tips - Peacetime
It may seem crazy, but there are periods of peace. Your nation will eventually just not be at war with anyone. The problem is that your war fleet is quite costly when it's just sitting around doing nothing. The country you attacked will also remain hostile and continue to attack your ships. They also can't fight back without being viewed as disgraceful pirates. Remember to remove the warship status of the ships in your war fleet if one of the country's military convoys approach. This will limit them to just looting the goods without damaging your ships.
One option in peacetime is to look for missions. There are usually a couple of missions that involve escorting someone past pirates. Just hop from town to town and check the inn. These pay well and are a good way to get some extra ships in peacetime. Hunting pirates in general is another option though.
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Peacetime - Attacking Pirates
The first thing to do is repair your reputation. Look around the map for any pirate hideouts that have been discovered. Killing a pirate is a great way to make money in peacetime and repair your reputation with all of the nations. Attacking a pirate is simple. Just look at their hideout on your map. It would be very unlikely for no one to have seen a pirate hideout. If no one has found one yet, then just sail around and look for a hideout. They are discovered when any ship in the game spots a pirate ship docking at it.
Click on the hideout to make sure that all of their convoys are at home. The pirate will manage to escape if a single one of his ships still exists. Attack the hideout and be ready to fight his fast convoy. I suggest that you just focus on sinking his ships. Pirate barques are incredibly hard to board, but easy to sink with a few broadsides. If any of the ships manage to flee, then you need to just win the battle and flee from the raid. Destroying the hideout won't accomplish as much if any ships escape. Keep attacking until you manage to destroy or capture their convoy. The next part is the most difficult.
As pirates gain wealth, they build more harbor cannons. You have to destroy all their harbor cannons. The problem is that your ships don't aim, they just fire broadsides. The harbor cannons fire a single devastating shot. Only bring liners and war galleons to these fights. If they have more than five, you will probably have to just do as much damage as you can and retreat. Destroyed cannons will stay destroyed and you can swap out the damaged ships for new ships, give the crew a few days of shore leave to recoup morale, and try again.
The secret is to sail against the wind at a good range. The cannons slightly out range you, so you will need to take a bit of fire before you can cause any damage. Come at them at an angle to maximize the damage. A few good broadsides from a liner will destroy them. Just keep sailing in little circles near the edge of their range. Have your ships flee when they drop below 25%. Losing a ship drastically decreases your profit.
Once all the cannons are destroyed, you will storm the hideout and dual with the pirate. These are usually hard duals. Just stay focused and block a lot. Keep attacking until you win. You should receive anywhere from 200,000 to 1 million gold for a successful raid.
Have your damaged ships report back home for repairs. Remember to talk to a governor to receive your reward for killing the pirate ships. You don't receive anything extra for destroying the actual hideout.
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Late Game: A Town of Your Own
Once you capture about 3 enemy towns for a nation, they will offer you a town. You can pick one of four spots. Try to pick one that's close to your existing routes. You will start off with only 25% of the land available for construction. More and more of it will be opened up as you capture more towns. There are 16 towns in total if you work with all four nations through the course of the game and effectively help them conquer the entire Caribbean.
Your town is very special. The big bonus is the Palace. It acts as an infinitely large warehouse. This means that you can now just bus all of your spoils of war here without fear of overfilling a warehouse. You will have to provide your own citizens, wood, and bricks to start construction though. The tab for special buildings is full and allows you to build your own shipyard, inn, and church. Once your shipyard is built, you will be able to repair your ships for free. This is obviously pretty useful.
Other than that, it's a standard town. You can build harbor cannons and hire soldiers to protect it. There are several industries possible and a lot of room for growth.
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Once you have a full raiding fleet at your disposal, the game is basically yours to play around with. You can do whatever you want. You can crush Spain. You can make Holland the ruler of the Caribbean. You can return to old enemies, befriend them, gain letters of marque from them and help them regain their position in the Caribbean. You can build up your personal towns to rival those of your nation. You can buy up all the residences in the game. You can bankrupt local traders by creating massive surpluses in locally produced goods. The choice is really yours.