There are three possible results from combat. You can either capture the pirate, or he captures you, or the fight ends in a tie (with both of you weaker). If your player captures the pirate his confidence is increased. If the pirate captures your nav then the pirate's confidence is increased. The more confidence a player has the stronger he is.

The key to winning swordfights is to wear down the pirate before trying to capture him. Normally it's best not to try to capture until you have a 70% chance of winning. Until you have good odds attack him cautiously (best done using the expert options of the combat dialog) to reduce his energy (strength).

Energy Cost of Combat

When using:
20 Either a cautious attack or defense
25 Either an aggressive attack or defense

To attack, a person must have 25 energy.


90% chance of a tie if both sides choose cautious, have about same energy, and are in clear terrain..
10% chance of a tie if both sides choose aggressive, have about same energy, and are in clear terrain..

When one side chooses cautious & other chooses aggressive:
60% of a tie if both sides have about the same amount of energy and are in clear terrain. If a side has between 50% to 99% more energy then 10% better. 100% to 199% more, then 20% better.
200% to 299% more, then 30% better
. …and so on.

The chance of a tie can never be less than 10% or more than 90%.

For combat only, energy can never be under 1. Less than 1 will be treated as, and displayed as 1.

Choose Cautious when attacking if you want to wear down the pirate so that another nav can finish him off.

Choose Aggressive if your odds are good enough to capture him.

How Combat Strength is determined

Combat Dialog explained

Attack (with Expert Options) Dialog explained

Defend (with Expert Options) Dialog explained