Ship sailing into thick fog.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Why Can’t Skull and Bones Just Tell Me What All These Sailing Terms Mean?

Knowing where to look when your crew calls out is helpful in Skull and Bones.

A full-on sailing game instead of a more swashbuckling-centric adventure like Tortuga: A Pirate’s Tale or the Assassin’s Creed game it’s based on, Skull and Bones expects us to be seafaring savants. NPCs shout directions using marine terms; for us nautical novices, it can be frustrating. The game should have included a tutorial on nautical navigation.

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Skull and Bones’ Tutorial Leaves Out Important Information

While it’s a small piece of the game, the crew consistently points out items in your surroundings using marine sailing lingo. From shipwrecks to nearby forts, vessels with interesting cargo, or storms, they give useful information as you focus on steering the ship. But what does it all mean?

Crew callout while sailing.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

For those who sail, have been around ships, or generally know navigational terms, this further enhances the immersion. However, not all of us (myself included) know what the sides of a ship are called. Port? Starboard? Which way is which? I really don’t feel like pulling out my phone.

Without a quick rundown somewhere in the game, either as lore or a less immersive set of menus, these callouts leave me distracted as I try to figure out what’s happening around me. Even though it’s a minor feature, hearing constant callouts doesn’t point me in the right direction, and I’m left swinging my camera in a full circle to find what’s so important.

Skull and Bones doesn’t hold your hand regarding navigation, with the initial tutorial acting more as floaties than rudders. Moving your ship makes sense, and general navigation is pretty straightforward. You’re told how to sail, and technically, you can steer your ship however you want.

But when I need to “trim the sails,” I don’t know if that means running them up or down for changing weather conditions. Skull and Bones also neglects to tell me that costs crew stamina. As does “bracing.” Or that each has its own stamina bar. I had to look a lot of this up on Google to figure it out. And it’s a missed opportunity to fully cater to the game’s wide-ranging community.

Skull and Bones Sailing Terms and What They Mean

Crew callout during Plundering.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

For those like me who need a crash course in sailing lingo, here’s what your crew’s most commonly used words mean.

  • Bow: Front of the ship
  • Port: Left side of the ship
  • Starboard: Right side of the ship
  • Stern: Rear of the ship
  • Trim: Adjusting the sails to fit changing conditions
    • This increases speed at the cost of crew Stamina

Though it’s not necessary to look at or interact with the callouts given by your crew, having an understanding of ship terms improves immersion and gameplay. Considering all of the other things Skull and Bones teaches us through tutorialization, leaving these key definitions out of the game only underscores how important having them included is.

Skull and Bones should have included a tutorial for ship and marine navigation terms. For help gathering Pieces of Eight, finding resources, or learning how to start the game over, sail over to our guide hub.

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Ashley Erickson
Ashley, otherwise known as Glitchiee, is an avid gamer of RPGs, TTRPGS, farming sims, and survival crafting games. Playing since she can remember, she started on the SNES, GameBoy Color, and collection 1st gen Pokemon cards. Using her passion for gaming, she's written about games for a combined total of 2 years.