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Seeking to beat the Ottomans to the mysterious Lake of the Moon, Morgan sails for the New World... but is forced to make an unexpected stop.

Pirates! is the third scenario of Act I: Blood in Age of Empires III. The Knights of St. John begin a voyage to the New World, but encounter pirates on the way.


In the cutscene Library of Stone: Morgan and Alain discover the real reason the Ottomans had attacked Malta. After Alain is conveniently able to decipher the Circle of Ossus writing he sends Morgan to the New World to stop the Ottomans from getting their hands on this "Lake of the Moon".

In the cutscene Lizzie the Pirate: The Knights of St. John are waylaid by a band of pirates, led by Elisabet Ramsey. Her Fire Ships severely damage the knights flagship and sink its escorts. The knights are stranded until help arrives and they can force their way past the heavily fortified pirate base.

Like the previous scenario, there is no access to the Home City, and no shipments can be sent for. Experience collected here, though, is handy for when it is possible to select Home City Cards and send for shipments.

Starting conditions[]


Primary objectives[]

Secondary objectives[]

  • Build a second Town Center (500 XP)




  • Lizzie's Pirates (Flag Pirates Pirates) - The first attack by the enemy consists of two Fire Ships that ram the player's starting ships. Other than them, they also have more Fire Ships at their disposal, as well as Privateers. Land forces include Pirates, Skirmishers and Carib Blowgunners, who are disembarked via Canoes. Their base is sited to the west island.
  • Caribs (Native Americans) - Consisting of hostile natives (including Carib Blowgunners and Canoes), they are found in the player's island, as well as in the southernmost island. They will occasionally raid both on land and land from canoes.


This scenario has an unusually large amount of treasures with 9 in total, excluding objective treasures:

In addition to treasure, the map has crates of supply commonly found scattered about, especially near pirate mining operations. They are generally guarded though.


Naval supremacy strategy[]

You begin with a handful of military units, resource crates and a Covered Wagon for building your new Town Center. It will prove to be your greatest weapon repeatedly during this battle, though your Flagship will be no slouch either.

The strategy runs mostly on naval superiority, the town center anti-ship attack, and Galleons as mobile Barracks. Building up your base is once again not overly important, however the position of your town center is of utmost importance. Initially you can get by with just crossbowmen. Do not use cavalry such as hussars at all during this battle, they are weak against pirates. They have no such multipliers against crossbowmen (Ranged Infantry), and pirates range limitation lessens the dangers to crossbowmen. Also for the first little bit you do not want to spend coins on rodeleros, stockpile it for getting to Fortress Age as quickly as possible (this seems to be the trigger for more ships and armies being sent to you automatically from Malta). 15-20 crossbowmen should be enough for the first ten or fifteen minutes of the game when used with Morgan's swashbuckler attack.

Note: Difficulty - on the hard difficulty, caravels lack the durability to take the bulk of the punishment, always try to have a galleon or the flagship taking the hits. Natives are not overly dangerous on easy and moderate, they are only dangerous on hard due to relatively large numbers by comparison. However after one large raid they will typically stop attacking.
Note: Pirates do not possess any type of cavalry, so pikemen will be useless in this battle except as siege troopers.
Note: Fishing - even after the pirate docks are destroyed, enemy fishing boats will continue to spawn, they have a limitless and free supply on any difficulty. Their appearance is restricted by time, taking much longer to appear than training a fishing boat which costs wood. The enemy only uses their docks for training warships. Any fishing boat is capable of squeezing through the northern gap at the rear of the pirate base to hide in the self contained bay, large ships cannot enter at all unless a dock is built to train them inside. Enemy fishing boats will only hide here, they will not begin gathering fish, instead they prefer trying to fish near your town center or the eastern side of the map.

Speedy strategy[]

Technically all you must do to win this scenario is collect all three navigation charts, the time taken to win can be reduced to a mere three to five minutes to achieve victory. Do not worry about placing your town center anywhere specific, have it begin constructing right away. The hardest one to acquire is inside the pirate base (near their town center), with focused determination you can have Morgan and a small squad commit suicide in order to claim it. All of them will die, but with luck not before Morgan gathers the chart.

Land at the northern end of the pirate base (near their docks), skirt the shoreline while moving west, proceed southwest still hugging the shoreline and behind some houses to approach the treasure guardian (southeast) from behind the enemy defenders (mostly guarding the gates). Kill him quickly and grab the chart before Morgan is knocked unconscious. Settlers can gather the remainder while escorted by a ship and a handful of units. Leave the settler bunkered inside until it's got a clear run on the chart once the guardian is dead, do not be afraid to put them in harms way to achieve the goal.


Campaigns in Age of Empires III
3Icon48px Age of Empires III
TutorialMaster the Basics · Try a Game
Act I: BloodBreakout · Into the Caves · Pirates! · The Ottoman Fort · Temples of the Aztec · A Pirate's Help · Spanish Treasure Fleet · The Fountain of Youth?
Act II: IceDefend the Colony · Strange Alliances · The Rescue · The Seven Years' War · The Great Lakes · Respect · Warwick's Stronghold · Bring Down the Mountain
Act III: SteelRace for the Rails · Hold the Fort · The Boneguard's Lair · The Lost Spanish Gold · Bolivar's Revolt · Journey Through the Andes · Last City of the Inca · Last Stand of the Boneguard
3WCIcon48px The WarChiefs
Act I: FireWar Dance (War Ceremony· The Rescue · Breed's Hill · Crossing the Delaware · Saratoga · Valley Forge · The Battle of Morristown · The Battle of Yorktown
Act II: ShadowThe Bozeman Trail · Red Cloud's War (A Reckoning· Claims · Ambushed! (Urgent News· Turning Point (To Stop a War· Trust · Battle of the Little Bighorn (Battle of the Greasy Grass)
3ADIcon48px The Asian Dynasties
Act I: JapanThe Siege of Osaka · Uprising! · Clearing the Road · Last Stand at Fushimi · The Battle of Sekigahara
Act II: ChinaTo Finish a Fleet · Storming the Beaches · Lost Ships · A Rescue in the Wilderness · No Empire Lasts Forever
Act III: IndiaInto the Punjab · Fires of Calcutta · Resist! · Raid in Delhi · Company Confrontation
Age3DE Icon Definitive Edition
Historical BattlesAlgiers · Christopher da Gama's Expedition · Chuvash Cape · Raid on the Caribbean · Fort Duquesne · Battle of New Orleans · The Burning of USS Philadelphia · Grito de Dolores · Battle of Queenston Heights
The Art of WarEarly Economy · Treasures · Home City Shipments · Booming · Build Orders · Early Defense · Early Offense · Land Battle · Naval Battle · Artillery
Event scenariosBombard Brawl
Age3DE Icon The African Royals
Historical BattlesThe Battle of the Three Kings · Fall of the Hausa · The Era of the Princes
Names in brackets are the scenario's name in the Definitive Edition.