Ranking the Factions

Ranking the Factions

Factions-Overall
1. Pirates
2. Spain
3. France
4. England
5. America
6. Barbary Corsairs
7. Jade Rebellion
8. Cursed
9. Vikings
10. Mercenaries

Factions-Fighting
1. England
2. Pirates
3. France
4. Spain
5. America
6. Cursed
7. Jade Rebellion
8. Mercenaries
9. Vikings
10. Barbary Corsairs

Factions-Gold
1. Pirates
2. Spain
3. France
4. Barbary Corsairs
5. England
6. America
7. Jade Rebellion
8. Cursed
9. Vikings
10. Mercenaries

11 Comments

  1. Maybe it was on explained on MT but I’m still surprised to see France listed at #3 in the Top Faction ranking. Particularly because of their relatively weak crew selection. Is it due to the English lacking a strong gold game? I seem to also recall a recent discussion on the Podcasts highlighting France as the 4th among the major Pirate factions so would you consider France and England overall equals with just specific (and perhaps opposite) strengths and weaknesses?

    • @Jeremiah: That’s a good way to put it – they’re not polar opposites as factions, but France is ALWAYS underrated. The community seems to hate the French (especially some of the more prominent members), which has led to them getting trashed in recent years from what I’ve seen. They are a fantastic faction and their named crew options are better than people realize (2 sac captains for example, more than the Spanish and English combined).

      When I listed the French 3rd in this Ranking, I was looking at overall excellence. The French are a lot better at getting gold than the English, and since that wins games, I do believe they’re better than the English in most games. The scale tips the other way in campaign games, where the English have shined and the French have faltered a bit. France has a lot of great gunships too, and they’re definitely better than the English in smallish games (100 points or less). England has the edge in huge/campaign games, but almost nobody plays those, so it’s a little excessive to consider the English better just based on that. (plus I don’t want my English bias to affect the Rankings, and the French deserve more love than they get)

  2. I would also agree with you that the French receive far less love amongst the major factions. Historically speaking, didn’t the French (in general) have larger cannons and faster ships? Regardless of fact, they rank 3rd in my top factions to play.

    • @El Tiburón, Jack: The French may have had larger cannons at some points; I recall reading that either the French or Spanish (possibly both) phased out their 36 and/or 42 pounder cannons later than the British did. (for example, HMS Victory carried 32 pounders on her lower gundeck at Trafalgar.)

      It was generally known that the French were a bit better at ship construction, to the point where the British intentionally copied ship designs from captured French ships. However, the British were the early movers on copper sheathing their hulls, making their ships more durable and a bit faster than without it.

      Thanks for commenting!

      • Hi Ben! This is my first time posting.
        I know this is an old comment thread, but I was reading your comments on the French’s supposed superiority in shipbuilding, and I thought back to reading this article a couple of years ago. Thought you might find it interesting.

        http://www.navweaps.com/index_tech/tech-057.php

        Thank you for this amazing and expansive website! I’m glad to see someone put so much effort into helping other people learn and enjoy the game!

  3. The British generally had France’s navy’s number historically. I don’t associate France with having any particular advantages in their navy, but they were probably second in the world from ~1700-1800 and their victory over Britain at Chesapeake Bay sealed Britain’s loss in the American Revolution.

  4. Love this site and all the info available! great stuff! Especially the historic context. Thanks Ben! French fleets won quite a few tournaments years ago. Le Coeur de Lion(2pts) ,Le Bon Marin when paired with Le Superbe/Le Soleil Royal defined the early competitive metagame. great value for points! English/Spanish gunship hybrids weren’t winning lots of tournaments until HMS Grand Temple and San Cristobal were released.While some argue San Cristobal was the final nail in the coffin for the gunship combat, I think it was necessary to give Spanish a top tier fleet to combat Pirates and French!

    • @Ghost of Draddog: Thank you so much! Not surprised to hear how well the French did, though they don’t get much love from the current community.

      Indeed, the San Cristobal definitely changed competitive play. However, ships like La Monarca, La Santa Isabel, and the Joya del Sol meant the Spanish were competitive from early on. They definitely have a big 5 master disparity with some incredible ones at the top and some poor 10 masters as well.

      Thanks for commenting!
      Ben

  5. Do you think that the Mercs would lose a death match against the Vikings then? Subs and 2 10 Masters seem pretty solid in combat to me… Tasmanian Devil/Forward are also decent ships. Not to mention the Mercenaries having a canceller and a ship with built in cancelling. I feel like combat is the only thing the mercenaries are any good at. Just curious about your opinion! 🙂

    • No. Good points. I made these lists many years ago and will revise it so the Vikings are below the Jades and Mercs. I think at the time I was overrating the effects of the Longship keyword (powerful but “glass cannons”) and the Mercs not being able to repair (though they could bring shipwrights and/or use forts in a mixed faction fleet).
      Thanks for commenting! Some of my older rankings could probably use some changes. 🙂
      Ben

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