Sea battle

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(Redirected from Battle navigation)

Sea battle (also known as Battle Navigation or colloquially Bnav) occurs when one ship attacks another during a pillaging run. When one player-controlled ship attacks another player-controlled ship, this is called PvP. Regardless of the ships involved, the sea battle is played the same way.

The general goal of a sea battle is to shoot the other ship as much as possible and then grapple it. In sinking PvP, however, the goal may instead to be to sink the other ship rather than grapple. Also, traders may wish to flee rather than fight.

There are three stages of sea battle: pursuit, navigation, and boarding.


To begin a sea battle, one ship must pursue the other. Any officer aboard his or her own crew's ship may initiate pursuit. This is done by selecting a target ship on the open sea and pressing the "Attack" button under the Vessel panel.

The crew rank (sailors, imperials, etc.) of the crew of the ship selected is also displayed on the vessel panel. Player crew ranks increase through PvP wins.

Only one ship may be pursued at a time. In order to intercept the target, the two ships must have the same approximate course and speed. If the target ship gets too far away from the attacker, the pursuit is automatically canceled. Vessels stopped at a league point may not pursue other vessels, and other vessels may not initiate a pursuit against them.

When a player ship is being pursued, the pirates aboard that ship receive a warning of the form, "You are being pursued by '<ship>'." When an interception occurs, the pirates receive the message, "You have been intercepted by the <ship>!" Similar messages appear aboard a player ship pursuing a target.

Once an interception occurs, the navigation stage begins.

Navigation stage

A typical battle navigation board.
Tooltip showing lifetime of movement tokens.

During the navigation stage, the commander of each vessel guides his or her ship around the sea battle board, which is 24 squares across in both directions. The navigator schedules the actions to be carried out on the next turn by dragging a series of tokens on the battle navigation interface. The next turn is divided into four "phases": In each of these phases a navigator can schedule a movement or maneuver token, as well as either one or more gun tokens or a single grapple token. They have thirty-five seconds to plan each turn. Once the timer runs out, their moves are executed and planning for the next turn begins. While planning, the other pirates aboard the vessel work to provide their commander with sailing and gunning tokens. These tokens are used by the commander to move the ship and fire the guns.


All actions that the ship can undertake — movement, firing a cannon, throwing a grapple, and executing a maneuver — are represented by tokens.

In informal usage, "token" is often used to refer specifically to a maneuver token (and, if used as a verb, it can also refer to the act of obtaining such tokens), whereas a "move token" or simply a "move" refers to a movement token. A gun token or a grapple token is often referred to as a "gun" or a "grapple" respectively.

Movement tokens

Sailors and riggers produce movement tokens, which allow the ship to move forward, turn left, or turn right. The higher the vessel's bilge meter, the slower the movement tokens are generated. While a commander may save movement tokens from turn to turn, they will eventually disappear if left unused for five turns. A tool tip is displayed by hovering the mouse over each token type in the battle navigation window. This tip indicates how many tokens of that type will be discarded if unused for each turn.

There is a special type of movement token, known as a maneuver, only available to ships in a multi-ship environment, such as a blockade, flotilla, or Sea Monster Hunt board. These tokens require effort from all three duty puzzle areas; sailors and riggers contribute a third of this effort, as do carpenters and patchers, and finally bilgers. Once earned, maneuver tokens allow a ship to perform incredible feats.

Gun tokens

Gun tokens are produced each time a gunner loads a cannon. Each gun token allows the commander to fire one cannon ball at an enemy. Cannons may be loaded outside of battle. For each gun loaded, the commander gets one gun token; this may be fired to the left or right of the ship. Unlike movement tokens, these tokens do not expire over time. Firing a cannon decreases the number of available gun tokens by one. All cannons have a range of three tiles.

Note that the placement of the gunnery stations aboard a ship do not affect the number of cannons which can be fired per side. For instance, a sloop has two guns on each side (for a total of four), but may fire four shots from the starboard side in a single turn.

Grapple tokens

There is also a third type of token: a grapple token. It is similar to a gun token, which is used to fire a loaded cannon, in that a grapple may be thrown off either the left or the right side of the ship. Unlike the gun token, however, the grapple can only be used on one side for each movement phase. Furthermore, if a grapple token is placed for one phase during a turn, gun tokens may not be placed on either side during that phase. The navigator has an unlimited supply of grapple tokens, and throwing one does not expend any of the ship's resources.

The grapple has a range of one tile. If it hits an enemy ship, it is considered "grappled". When this happens, the sea battle moves on to the boarding phase.

Placing a grapple does not affect the status bar above a ship during a sea battle, in contrast to movement tokens and gun tokens. Thus, a ship can have four grapples placed, and as long as it is not moving or firing during that turn, appear as though it is taking no action that turn. For example, even if a brigand appears to have run out of moves, they may still have placed up to four grapple tokens.

Note that the grapple tokens are not available to navigators during blockades, flotillas, and Sea Monster Hunts, as players are not allowed to board other ships at these locations.


A turn consists of four phases. During each phase, the commander may choose to play a movement token, fire some number of cannons (determined by the size of the ship) off either side of the ship, or attempt to grapple the other ship. The commander is not required to make any moves, however. In any given phase he or she may move, fire cannons or grapples at the other ship, or both, or neither. Gunning and grappling tokens may not be played on the same phase. As the commander schedules actions, the activity bar above the ship, visible to the other vessel, fills. A good commander uses the tokens available to him or her judiciously to take advantage of the situation at hand while keeping enough in reserve for later turns. Each phase plays out as follows: First, any movement tokens scheduled for that turn are played. Next, if a boat is resting on a special sea tile, such as wind or a whirlpool, the ship is moved once according to the rules of this tile. If this movement places the ship on another special square, it has no effect for this phase, but will act during the next phase if the ship remains there. Finally, any cannons or grapples scheduled to be fired this round are shot off. It is important to note that some ships may only play movement tokens on three of the four phases of any given turn, though the boat commander may choose which phase the ship rests. This is done by dragging the octagonal icon to the phase in which he wants the ship to rest.


Ships may take damage during sea battle in four ways:

  • They may be hit by cannon fire,
  • they can try to move into a board square they are not allowed to (namely, those occupied by rocks or those off the edges of the board),
  • they may be rammed by the other vessel, and
  • by regular wear and tear.

All damage other than wear and tear will cause unbreakable black blocks to appear at the bottom of the crews' sword fight puzzle during the boarding phase or, if fighting barbarians, as a gray block at the top of the rumble puzzle. Optimally, the commander will cause a great deal of damage to the enemy ship while protecting his or her own, putting the other players at a significant disadvantage during the sword fight or rumble.

End of navigation stage

The navigation stage can end in one of three ways, disengagement, sinking, or boarding.


If one ship is unable to cause damage to the other ship for some period of time, the undamaged ship may choose to disengage, returning both vessels to sailing at sea. The disengage counter starts at ten turns each for the vessels. For each cannon ball that hits a vessel, two turns are added to that ship's disengage counter. When the counter reaches zero, that ship may choose to disengage. If the counter is at zero and the ship is hit on that turn, the counter goes up, and the ship must again wait to disengage.


Main article: Sinking

In PvP battles when a state of war exists between both ships' flags, or in a sinking blockade, flotilla, or Sea Monster Hunt, battle navigation may be ended when one ship takes full damage and sinks. In this case, the sinking ship is not only removed from the navigation board, the vessel deed is converted to a ship in a bottle. All commodities, pieces of eight, and charts are lost with the ship. If the bottle is not restored before it decays, all furniture will be lost as well.


If, however, one ship is able to grapple the other, all puzzling stops and the sea battle moves on to the boarding stage. It is important for pirates not to move from one room to another aboard ship while in between stages, or, due to a bug, they may not be included in the melee.

Boarding stage

During the boarding phase, the members of each ship's crew engage in a multiplayer swordfight or rumble. Teams receive damage penalties depending on how many times their ship was damaged during the navigation phase. Furthermore, if the ship is out of rum, the crew will have rum sickness: in swordfight, the leftmost and rightmost columns of the puzzle will be unavailable, filled with rum jugs, while in rumble the glove aiming is slightly modified. Once a player has been knocked out, he or she has nothing to do but watch the rest of the fray and cheer on his or her teammates. The sea battle ends once all members of one of the two teams have been knocked out, thus losing the battle.

Teaming is an important part of the fight. The commanding officer may issue specific instructions about targets and how many players should team on that target.

Winning and losing

A portion of the contents of the losing ship's hold and booty are transferred to the booty chest of the winning vessel. If the losing ship was a brigand vessel, there is a chance a new chart will be placed on the winning boat's navigation table. If both ships involved were player ships, then an entry is made on each crew's sea battle record page. All pirates aboard both ships at the end of the battle receive credit for an additional battle for the booty split, which will be represented as a ship icon. Pirates must remain aboard the ship until the end of the battle to receive credit for it! Brigands and barbarians take 10% of the commodities in the hold, and 20% of the pieces of eight in the booty. In a PvP scenario, the winner takes 25% of the hold and 50% of the booty.

Damage chart

The following chart shows how to inflict maximum damage on a ship of any class, using a specific size shot.

Ship Name Max SF/Rumble Damage Full Damage
Small Med Large Small Med Large
Sloop 6 4 3 10 6.667 5
Cutter 7.5 5 3.75 12 8 6
Dhow 7.5 5 3.75 12 8 6
Fanchuan 7.875 5.225 3.9375 13.125 8.75 6.5625
Longship 9 6 4.5 15 10 7.5
Baghlah 12 8 6 20 13.333 10
Merchant brig 12 8 6 20 13.333 10
Junk 15 10 7.5 25 16.66 12.5
War brig 15 10 7.5 25 16.667 12.5
Merchant galleon 18 12 9 30 20 15
Xebec 21 14 10.5 35 23.333 17.5
War galleon 15 10 7.5 25 16.667 12.5
War frigate 30 20 15 50 33.333 25
Grand frigate 36 24 18 60 40 30
Chart compiled from YPP Forum information.[1]

This next chart shows the amount of ram damage a ship does in terms of a cannonball equivalent (e.g. being rammed by a merchant brig does the same amount of damage as one small cannonball). Hitting a rock does exactly 3 SF blocks worth of damage to any ship. See Ramming for a detailed chart on rock damage, and collision mechanics for detailed information on how collisions are resolved.

Ship Name Equivalent no. of hits by shot size Size class
Small Medium Large
Sloop 0.5 0.333 0.25 Small
Cutter 0.5 0.333 0.25 Small
Dhow 0.5 0.333 0.25 Small
Fanchuan 0.5 0.333 0.25 Small
Longship 0.5 0.333 0.25 Medium
Baghlah 1 0.667 0.5 Medium
Merchant brig 1 0.667 0.5 Medium
Junk 1.5 1 0.75 Medium
War brig 2 1.333 1 Medium
Merchant galleon 2.5 1.667 1.25 Large
Xebec 2.5 1.667 1.25 Large
War frigate 3 2 1.5 Large
Grand frigate 4 2.667 2 Grand

Hitting an enemy vessel with a cannonball does two kinds of damage—it damages the boat and it damages the pirates onboard the boat. Damage to the boat makes it more difficult to sail and may sink it. (see below) Damage to the pirates onboard makes it more difficult for them to swordfight or rumble.

To sink a ship, it must become fully damaged. Because Carpenters and Patchers make repairs during battle, more shots than specified will probably be required for "full damage". This is not a factor in "SF/Rumble damage", as it reflects how hurt the pirates onboard are, and therefore how difficult their swordfights or rumbles will be, not how damaged the ship actually is.

While pillaging, there is a maximum effect that damaging the opponent can have on the swordfight or rumble. Shooting a ship more than the "Max SF/Rumble Damage" will further damage the ship (which remains after battle) but will not affect the swordfight. Shooting a ship after it has received "Full Damage" has no effect (unless at war, see below) other than preventing the opponent from making any repairs while in battle.

If the encounter is a PvP battle between flags at war, a ship is permanently sunk if it reaches maximum damage.

During a blockade, a ship is sunk if it reaches maximum damage, but is not lost forever, unless the battle is a sinking blockade.


A player can practice Battle Navigation with the navy. The player must be subscribed and have Narrow or more experience in Navigation on subscription oceans or have Narrow or more experience in navigation on doubloon oceans. Practicing with the navy does not require the player to purchase cannonballs.

Known bugs

Ultimate list

Cerulean Emerald Ice
Jade Meridian Obsidian


Spoiler warning: Details about trophies are hidden below.

The following trophies are related to battle navigation:

Historical notes

  • With release 2015-04-28 came the ability to hide navigation moves from anyone who does not hold officer priviliges. This feature was requested by players to address the issue of alts spying on ships' moves during important battles.
  • Prior to release 2004-04-28, the mechanics behind grappling and ramming did not exist. The boarding phase began when both ships occupied the same square on the sea battle board. Additionally, prior to this release, the edges of the board acted like winds that pushed ships back onto the board.

External/other links

Icon duty puzzles.png Duty Puzzles
Icon bilge.pngBilging | Icon carpentry.pngCarpentry | Icon navigation.pngDuty Navigation | Icon gunnery.pngGunnery |
Icon patching.pngPatching | Icon rigging.pngRigging | Icon sailing.pngSailing | Icon treasurehaul.pngTreasure Haul
See also: Sea Battle