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The next Europa Universalis 4 expansion lets you become a pirate

Europa Universalis 4: Golden Century lets you break free from stuffy empires and gives you pirate republics to run, plundering the coast and robbing ships. Or, if you’re a narc, you can try to civilise the seas, fighting off the pirates and establishing order. 

Small island nations can choose to become pirate republics by picking a new decision, and historical events can also introduce new pirate republics to the map. Nine of them can appear, spread across the Caribbean, Barbary Coast, East Indies and Madagascar. Within the republics are different factions, like buccaneers and smugglers, and as the name suggests, the pirate leaders don't have absolute rule; they've got to deal with pesky elections. 

Golden Century also throws in a few more naval-themed features. You can appoint flagships, for instance, which beef up the vessel in question, in turn giving the fleet more combat and trade power. If you’re sick of the same old ships, you’ll also get 17 new Iberian ship models, 17 new Berber ship models and some new army units, too. 

Iberian nations can let religious orders govern, reducing unrest and making it easier to convert people. Colonial powers can also settle their colonies with minorities from back home, basically shipping them off to make sure the nation stays cohesive. It’s a dick move and makes pirate’s life seem all the more seductive.

As much as I’m very much looking forward to being the thorn in the side of the old powers, swanning around the sea with my fancy tricorn hat, I’m not quite ready to be dragged away from Crusader Kings 2: Holy Fury and its animal kingdoms. Pirates are great, but you know what would be better? Dog pirates. Duck privateers. Go on, Paradox. Finish what you started.  

Golden Century is due out on December 11 and will set you back £7.19/$9.99.

Fraser Brown
Fraser is the sole inhabitant of PC Gamer's mythical Scottish office, conveniently located in his flat. He spends most of his time wrangling the news, but sometimes he sneaks off to write lots of words about strategy games.