After a few games, I've come to utterly love this mod, and would love to see it expanded! That being said, there are some things I wanted to note. First, I want to emphasize the need to create additional nations in the game. I played a game using the Huge Western Hemisphere map, using 2 random leaders from each nation. The game, which ended up having the 3 privateer leaders and 5 regular leaders, was an EXTREMELY intense battle, where I was fighting at least one ship each turn, even when I only kept ships within my own territory (around Brazil). Pirate vs. pirate wars are constant, as we fight to control the seas against one another. Long story short, the game is intense, and amazing! It's 1533 on a marathon time scale, and I'm still fighting to control just my small corner of the ocean due to the huge traffic in the region. For this reason, I would love to see this mod integrated with a mod that added one or more non-pirate nations into the game. In contrast, I tried playing a 4-nation game, and it just became cumbersome. My 4-nation game (also in a huge Western Hemisphere map) had the bad luck of placing England and France in southern Brazil, just south of my Northern Brazil headquarters. One privateer was set on sentry just outside their colonies, giving me a secure watch over trade there (I later put a second privateer on, just for safe keeping). Spain colonized in Venezuela, so I sent a second privateer outside their gate, setting up a colony near Spain so my privateer could unload its cargo and return to patrol in one turn. Two privateers, and trade to Europe has been stopped dead. Then the game got boring, and I quit. It's hard playing a pirate-focused game when there's no ships to raid anymore. Here, I want to note one other oddity: Harder difficulty games may actually be easier to play. Opponents set on harder difficulty ratings will produce more resources, allowing increased naval traffic throughout the game. That means more innocent targets to pillage. Second, the Dutch privateer is super-overpowered. In total, he gets +1 movement, +10% strength, and +100% experience for the privateers. In my games, I've been able to easily create massively experienced Dutch pirate fleets, even on harder experience levels. One or more of these bonuses need to be removed (You could probably give the Dutch only +100% experience and they would be completely playable, or get rid of the experience bonus altogether). Third, the anti-pirate check needs to be expanded. In my 8-player Dutch game, I work to trigger the pirate hunters coming to take my fleet down. Why? Because pirate hunters have got nothing on me! A single 10 attack, +100% against pirates ship vs a 10 attack, +85% attack pirate fleet (fully upgraded with Veteran), and a 75% chance of withdrawal. My strategy involves sending two fleets against the pirate hunter. The first will knock down the ship's strength. More than likely, the result will be a slightly damaged pirate hunter (around 1-3 attack gone) and my ship withdrawing. Then my second fleet moves in (with a buccaneer), and I'm allowed to capture the pirate hunter. I'll have managed to trade a buccaneer for a ship which will be able to shut down privateer raids by itself, rarely ever even being threatened by the computer. I suggest a few possible modifications to the pirate hunters. First, it might be advisable to give players a non-pirate alternative to fighting pirate fleets, which can hit 18 power relatively easily. My thought was a 5 power, +300% vs. Pirates ship. Second, the national response to pirates is completely underwhelming when my pirates have pretty much ended legitimate trade. Is it possible to make the number of pirate hunters sent out dependent on the number of privateers and fleets around? Third, would it be possible for pirate hunters to similarly create large scale fleets, or be able to upgrade their leadership capabilities just like pirates? In addition, if you put the privateer system into perspective, it shows that privateers have a MASSIVE advantage over non-privateers. First, let's get one thing straight: Unlike normal military systems, privateers have a permanent return on investment, so they don't operate under the normal system where large standing armies drain an economy. That being said, upgrades to privateers are economic boosts, increasing the rate of economic return by increasing the probability of successful raids). The privateer economy can only be currently countered through military force. Now, let's compare that to a conventional economic model. If I plan on trading with Europe, it is essential that I first secure trade routes. That means as a prerequisite to setting up that trade route, I have two choices: overcoming or avoiding the pirates. Negotiating doesn't work because privateers can raid anyone, regardless of national affiliation. I can avoid pirates fairly easily with good nation-building strategies. My current trade system involves fast galleons hopping from one city to the next, not spending a moment in the ocean. Although this works for me, the AI isn't programmed to do that, and random maps won't always allow me to do this. That leaves the normal option, overcoming pirates. The pirate nations already have an advantage in this, both by having that first privateer from day 1, and by having leader upgrades to the privateers. Add to that the fact that privateers are extremely cheap (the first purchased privateer costing 1500, the second costing 2550). The game really doesn't have a non-pirate ship that can answer the privateer. That means the norm in naval warfare will be privateer vs. privateer wars, in which the pirate leaders will excel. The only alternatives to European trade which don't involve naval trade are trade with Natives or other colonies. That's fine, but limited. Plus, in the long term (when taxes are +50%), even the European trade network is limited for non-pirates (pirates will be smuggling resources to Europe, whereas legitimate nations can't dodge the taxes unless they got into the pirate game). Fourth, the mod seems to be missing one key feature of piracy. In a previous game which I threw out for being too easy, I established a strong internal economic cycle. One colony was producing the rum necessary to fund my privateers, plus producing more than enough to export. Three colonies were producing about +40 food per turn, and the last was a 3-colonist buccaneer-heavy colony which I would ship food to, producing new buccaneers. There was just one slight problem. I had all these extra buccaneers, which I was putting on my pirate fleets to hijack enemy ships. Everything was going fine, until I stopped for a moment to ask myself why I was doing this stuff. Buccaneers can only steal pirate hunters or transport ships. Since all my privateers can transport goods, I don't need too many galleons to transport people. These ships can all be converted to privateers for the purpose of creating flotillas, but that's a limited use. Long story short, I would love to be able to sell ships back to Europe. Long story short, I'm having a blast with this mod. Normally with Colonization, my sole goal is economic growth. With this mod, I find myself completely neglecting my economy for the sake of grabbing more pirates for my expanding economy. Where I usually create multiple cities with well-established trade routes, I'm now instead simply using my colonies to create more buccaneers to take control of the seas. I relish in knowing that I've been able to leave my opponents in a perpetual recession, with my largest adversary being a Spain colony with about 5 population total in both their cities. However, I wonder whether I got this victory cheaply. Being able to blitz my opponents from day 1, there is always something running in the back of my mind, asking me if I fought for this, or if the game is inherently built with a pro-pirate advantage to such a degree that it's almost impossible for the AI to overcome. Side questions: Does privateer combat increase your military points? If you modded the point system so that privateers/flotillas/buccaneers would help only your Captain score instead of the military score, it would create two different score trees: the pirate-only score, and the non-pirate combat score to create a distinction between privateer training and legitimate military warfare, and to prevent privateers from conquering two great person groups. Also, there were two other oddities I noticed in one game. I played a tiny "play now" map. After exploring the entire map, I found that there were no other European colonies in the game. I didn't see any ships of any sort (not even other privateers, which would explain the lack of other nations). Second, I stopped declaring war on other nations because the land combat got one-sided. For some reason, it seems like the AI doesn't stock sufficient weapons anymore. It could just be that my privateers have caused their economies to stagnate, allowing my armies to easily take them down. However, I've had entire wars where I took control of 100% of enemy colonies without having to fire a bullet (all colonies simply have 0 weapons). It seems problematic that a nation under external duress from privateers would sell all its weapons to natives, rather than stockpiling at least the basics.****Correction: I ran a game, allowing a couple nations to develop without raiding their coasts. The AI will still build up weapons stockpiles. So there's no problem, and the explanation was simply that I monopolized European trade. Update: On Governor difficulty, reached the point of no contestable fleets just now: 3 pirate hunters and 1 fully upgraded flotilla (just lost my second flotilla fleet to a pirate hunter that caught me off guard...) Still seems easy... I haven't even really been managing the economy aspect of the game. I'll try upping the difficulty.