First Rate Ship of the Line (ETW Unit)

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First Rate Ship of the Line (ETW Unit)
1st Rate.png
1st Rate
Unit Size
264 men
102 guns
Melee Attack
Ranged Attack
Charge Bonus
Recruitment Cost
Upkeep Cost
Turns to Build
Unit Limit
Building Requirements
Steam Drydock
Technology Requirements

1st rate thumbnail.pngThe first rate is the largest type of “ship of the line of battle”, intended to be the centre of any fleet. These are very expensive and powerful vessels.


While these warships are among the most powerful vessels afloat, they are poor sailors, being both slow and unresponsive. This is not a serious shortcoming because, armed with around 100 cannons firing 32-, 24- and 18-pounder balls on their three decks, they can fire a terrible and destructive broadside. They carry a crew of over 800 sailors, gunners and marines and have more artillery than most land armies. Their cost, however, is a drawback and few navies can afford to build or maintain more than a handful of them.

Historically, first rates were never common, and hardly ever sent to overseas stations. They existed purely to fight in set-piece battles, and were not used for mundane duties such as protecting merchantmen, policing the seas and hunting down privateers.


With their one hundred or so cannons and their large complement of crew, first rates can easily overpower nearly any other ship in a direct engagement. First rates are also extraordinarily difficult to sink in most circumstances; they also have high morale and inspire lesser ships around them. These qualities all make them very suitable as admiral's ships. However, they are slow and unwieldy, and faster, lesser ships may be able to outwit and defeat them. First rates are some of the most expensive units to build and maintain, so it is ill-advised to construct too many of them. The building requirements are steep, too: steam drydocks are required to build them, which in turn is only acquired late in the technology tree with numerous prerequisites.