A ship carries a complement of a thousand men, six hundred of whom are sailors and four hundred men-at-arms, including archers, men with shields and crossbows, who throw naphtha. Three smaller ones, the "half", the "third" and the "quarter", accompany each large vessel [which] has four decks and contains rooms, cabins, and saloons for merchants; a cabin has chambers and a lavatory, and can be locked by its occupants.
— Ibn Battuta, Rihla
The South Sea Barque is the most powerful warship in the Asian warfleet. In comparison to Western warships, the South Sea Barque can be best explained as costing more wood but requiring less metal, and is also the most devastating, given its size and potential armament (being mostly on par with that of the Portuguese Gabriel-class carracks) but it is by no means top dog. Although it is resistent given its hitpoint score, it is still a heavy ship and not easily moved around, but it has more admirable performance than a Carrack in a one-on-one duel.
Furthermore, its heavy wood cost means that this ship can often temporarily drain your ability to construct further ships, even though it has a sharply discounted metal cost. Also, it is not directly accessible in the Imperial Era: South Sea Barques, given their size, cannot be built at a Dockyard -- a Naval Cantonment must be created to accommodate them.
Nevertheless, the South Sea Barque is useful for an Asian player trying to raise the stakes in a naval confrontation, but building it is best only if you have a very strong economy. In battle, it shares the attack of the Lanternas with the shot frequency, line of sight and range of the carrack, meaning that although it can be a very powerful unit, it is by no means that useful against fortresses as it can be outranged by them, although with sufficient numbers the South Sea fleet can easily destroy castles with little afterthought. Equally, as the Asian penchant for wonders goes, it also has another special ability that is only evident once a certain wonder is constructed.
- Very powerful heavy warship, costing more wood but requiring less metal.
- High Seas Heavy Hitter — With a powerful, fast-hitting but medium-ranged attack, the South Sea Barque can be a very powerful unit in ship-to-ship combat, although assaulting enemy fortifications may pose problems.
- No Cost Spared — Although the South Sea Barque costs less metal to construct, its ramp costs in timber are sufficiently high to prevent the construction of smaller ships in your fleet.