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"In the meane time a Cannon was discharged from the Admirall of the gallies, which being the onset of the fight, was presently answered by the English Admirall with a Culuering; so the skirmish began, and grew hot and terrible, there was no powder nor shot spared..."

— Phillip Jones, "True report of a worthy fight, performed in the voyage from Turkie, by fiue ships of London, against 11. Gallies, and two frigats of the King of Spaines, at Pantalarea within the Streights" (1586)


In game

Carrack TaP.png
Carrack — Vital statistics

Super-heavy naval unit with powerful splash-based attack, but questionable mobility and build speed.

Prereq: Build time HP LOS Attack Attack speed Movement
Upgrade of
  • Level 1: Caravan Train Commerce
  • Absolutism Politics
  • BombardmentFortification
270 13 16 2.6s

Roundship rkc.png

Cost Created from Armour Weapon range Specialty
Base Ramp Pop
Timber: 60;
Ore.png: 60
Timber: 1;
Ore.png: 2
2 Estaleiro.png 4 0–10
  • Moderate attack bonus versus buildings.
  • Poor turn speed.

Scotland.jpg England.jpg French.jpg Burgyndy.jpg Norse.jpg Spain.jpg

Overall strategy

Carracks are Imperial-era ships, available to those factions that front the north Atlantic. While the Carrack is a near-analogue for the lanternas and deals the same amount of damage as a lanternas over time, the Carrack has more hitpoints and better armour than the lanternas but doesn't build nor move as fast. Players who access Carracks thus will have to take into account that while they are substantially more powerful, their slower build time might put them at a disadvantage compared to those who rely on faster lantern galleys. Also, the Carrack has slightly inferior range and firepower than a lantern galley, but can sport more guns, meaning that over time, the overall damage it deals will be equal to that dealt by a Lanternas, and also has a limited splash ability, so the Carrack is best used for ship-to-ship battles where its powerful broadside attacks can be brought to bear on the foe.

Because of their slow speed and construction, a player constructing carracks should not rely fully on them, but build three to six for massing sea power, and escort them with a variety of light vessels and fire ships. As War Galleys and Lantern Galleys are fast-moving ships, use a variety of ships to force galleys into your Carracks' field of fire, where their devastating broadside attack will sink them in less than a minute.

The Portuguese, being masters of carrack construction, have access to two different vessels. The first is a cheaper but weaker ship, called the nau and replaces the cog; the second is a carrack called the São Gabriel. This ship is the best heavy ship, but has the same cost structure as a lantern galley, and has the carrack's knack for endurance awhile retaining the lantern galley's propensity for mobility. The São Gabriel was one of the ships in da Gama's fleet that reached India; similar ships would be used by French and Spanish explorers in the New World: the Santa María, which brought Columbus to America, was a carrack; it was also thought that la Dauphine, de Verrazano's ship which reached the Atlantic coast of North America, is thought to be a carrack.

Unit summary

  • Battleship Bulk — Carracks, if you use them, are slower than lantern galleys and more expensive. Those who have access to them need ships such as War Galleys to screen them while in transit and during battle.
  • Armada — Carracks are an absolute must for the Spanish arsenal, given their ability to generate heavy ships from their dockyards. In sufficient number, Carracks will decimate anything that crosses their path.
  • I Don't Like To Slay Alone — Against the more agile and far-shooting but more fragile lanternas, Carracks need the support of light ships and fire ships.
  • São Gabriel-class carrack — The Portuguese do not build carracks or lantern galleys; but instead have access to two different heavy ships. The nau is a heavy vessel which replaces the Cog but has stats similar to the Carrack and which is subsequently replaced by the São Gabriel-class carrack, a carrack with better firepower, speed and range, making it the best heavy ship type in the game.


A carrack was a three- or four-masted sailing ship developed in 15th century Western Europe for use in the Atlantic Ocean. It had a high rounded stern with large aftcastle,forecastle and bowsprit at the stem. It was first used by the Portuguese and Spanish to explore and map the world. It was usually square-rigged on the foremast and mainmast and lateen-rigged on the mizzenmast. Carracks were ocean-going ships: large enough to be stable in heavy seas, and roomy enough to carry provisions for long voyages. This made carracks suitable as "floating command centre"/supply depot for faster but smaller caravelas. Similar ships would be used by explorers as their flagships in the New World: the Santa María, which brought Columbus to America, was a carrack; it was also thought that la Dauphine, de Verrazano's ship which reached the Atlantic coast of North America, was a carrack.

Carracks, however, had teething problems related to their architecture. While they were good in blue-water environments, they weren't as flexible as galleys in littoral theatres when they were becalmed. It is true that Portuguese carracks smashed Venetian-style galleys off the Indian coast in 1509, yet in 1538 Ottoman galleys succeeded in driving off a larger Christian armada, headed by 50 galleons (a modified version of the carrack) off Preveza in present-day Greece. Additionally, carracks faced issues concerning their size and stability: Mary Rose, an English carrack, was lost during a battle with French galleys, when she accidentally started taking on water; another ship, Great Michael, nearly bankrupted the Scottish crown with her exorbitant upkeep cost and price. Carracks thus were used alongside galleys until more sophisticated sailing vessels became available to replace both in line duty.