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This article is about the unit. For other uses, see Pirate (disambiguation).

A dangerous Pirate.
—In-game description

The Pirate is a trainable outlaw in Age of Empires III available in the maps Amazonia, Caribbean, Hispaniola, New England, Orinoco, Patagonia, and Saguenay.

Before the Definitive Edition, the Spanish can train Pirates (as Buccaneers) from Galleons and the Saloon regardless of map with the Spanish Gold Home City Card.


Pirates are an outlaw unit armed with a sword. While cheap in terms of coin, they require six population (four with the Theaters Home City Card). They are fast and have a high resistance to melee attacks, which, along with their 4x multipliers against cavalry and Shock Infantry, makes them a cheap response to opposing cavalry.

Pirates are especially useful in the Commerce Age, when they outdamage both the standard Pikeman and the Qiang Pikeman. Indian players should never use the Pirate, as both Rajputs and melee-stance Sepoys can perform the same role while being both cheaper in terms of population, and more powerful in raw damage.

Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Cavalry, Shock Infantry
Weak vs. Light cavalry, artillery
Hit points Infantry Breastplate.png Infantry Breastplate (+10%)
Thin Red Line.png Thin Red Line (+20%, British only)
Corselet.png Corselet (+25%, Knights of St. John and Spanish only)
Cree Tanning.png Cree Tanning (+5%)
Maya Cotton Armor.png Maya Cotton Armor (+20%)
Navajo Weaving.png Navajo Weaving (+5%)
Folk Heroes.png Folk Heroes (+20%, Europeans only)
Atonement.png Compunction (+35%, Asians only)
Attack Counter Infantry Rifling.png Customized Merc Weapons (+30%, John Black's Mercenaries only)
Carib Kasiri Beer.png Carib Kasiri Beer (+10%)
Mapuche Tactics.png Mapuche Tactics (+50% siege attack)
Zapotec Cult of the Dead.png Zapotec Cult of the Dead (+20%)
Yoga.png Yoga (+5%)
Master Lessons.png Master Lessons (+10%)
Folk Heroes.png Folk Heroes (+20%, Europeans only)
Atonement.png Compunction (+35%, Asians only)
Speed Military Drummers.png Military Drummers (+10%)
Tillys Discipline.png Tilly's Discipline (+20%, Germans only)
Inca Road-building.png Quechuan Mountaineering (+20%)
Apache Endurance.png Apache Endurance (+5%)
Sight Town Watch.png Town Watch (+2)
Creation speed Standing Army.png Standing Army (-25%)
Folk Heroes.png Folk Heroes (-50%, Europeans only)
Inca Chaquis Messengers.png Quechuan Diet (-25%)
Train cost Mapuche Ad-mapu.png Mapuche Ad-mapu (-10%)
Penalties Thin Red Line.png Thin Red Line (-25% speed, British only)
Coffee Trade.png Coffee Trade (-10% speed, Dutch only)
Tillys Discipline.png Tilly's Discipline (+10% cost, Germans only)
Corselet.png Corselet (-15% speed, Knights of St. John and Spanish only)
High Crusade.png High Crusade (-5% hit points, Knights of St. John only)

Home City Cards[]

Lizzie's Buccaneers[]

A pirate in the New World.
—In-game description

In the Act I: Blood campaign, Pirates (as Buccaneers) can be trained from Lizzie's Flagship during The Fountain of Youth and Spanish Treasure Fleet scenarios. They are slightly more expensive and lack the heavy melee resistance of their outlaw counterparts, yet they have more hit points, speed, and use fewer population.

During the Spanish Treasure Fleet scenario, a lot of them can be trained very quickly due to the captured Spanish Galleons' coin production. They are an adequate replacement for the Inca that are freed in the beginning as they have better hit points. They are essentially fodder units used to keep the Spanish and Boneguard units from attacking more valuable targets such as the Scottish Highlanders, Falconets and Mortars.

Treasure Guardian[]

The Treasure Guardian variant of the Pirate has unusually high hit points. It is recommended to tame these units due to the long time it takes for an Explorer, War Chief, or Monk to defeat it.


Age of Empires III[]

Definitive Edition[]

In-game dialogue[]

The Pirate and the Buccaneer speak Kabyle language using dialogue files of the Barbary Corsair. Except for the Pirates trained by Haiti, who use the British Mortar dialogue files.


  • Although the history section of the game and its icon shows the Pirate with a pistol, it uses a sword in-game instead.
  • Pirates are the only outlaw or treasure guardian unit characterized by five different appearances: Caucasian with a solid-color shirt and a whole body, Caucasian with a solid-color shirt and a hook for one hand, Caucasian with a striped shirt and a whole body, Caucasian with a striped shirt and a peg leg, and African with a vest and an eye patch. This last appearance resembles the Pirate's unit portrait.


Pirates, or buccaneers, are sailors who prowl sea lanes, killing sailors, capturing ships, and looting cargo. The centuries following the Spanish plunder of the Aztec, Inca, and Maya was the golden age of piracy. Spanish galleons, wallowing low in the water from all the treasure taken onboard, were returning from the Carribean to Spain, where the gold would fund wars against the French, the Ottomans, and the Dutch. The treasure galleons were slow, fat targets, very well-defended and wholly irresistible to pirates. In 1628, five years after he had arrived in the West Indies, Piet Hien, a Dutch trader for the West India Company, could not resist taking on the treasure fleet. He managed to corner part of the fleet in the Bay of Matanzas and captured millions upon millions of guilders in gold, silver, and trade goods.

Some pirate bands were highly democratic, electing their captains and making important decisions by vote. Food, drink, and wealth were split between all crew members, with larger shares going to officers. Pirates disabled while crewing a ship were given a large lump sum as compensation. There were very harsh punishments for stealing from or striking crew members, and gambling was generally restricted.