Game Blog: Meet the Crew


In this post, we’re going to take a look at the classes of crew you can recruit on your ship.
Here is the lineup:


Because Abandon Ship is a strategy game, we spent time establishing silhouettes from the game camera view first, so the crew were easily distinguishable at a glance. Once these were locked down we created the above concept art, so our artist could create the models.
From the left, we have:
1) Male Player Captain
2) Marine
3) Gunner
4) Navigator
5) Sailor
6) Surgeon
7) Female Player Captain


Crew Experience

There are 5 skills that crew gain experience in:
– Navigation: This affects the rate at which the Manoeuvre Bar increases.
– Reloading: The speed with which weapons are reloaded.
– Repairing: How quickly that crew member can repair section damage.
– Melee: Effectiveness when engaged in hand-to-hand combat.
– Healing: A Surgeon-only skill, this is the rate that the Surgeon can heal injured crew.


These map to the crew classes, so a Navigator is best at Navigation, a Gunner at Reloading, Sailor at Repairing, Marine with Melee and Surgeon with the Healing skill.
All crew start out with Level 1 experience in each skill, except in their specialist area, where they start out at Level 2.
The crew can gain experience by performing actions. For example, a Gunner that gets lots of practice at emergency repairs will quickly level up his ‘repair’ skill, pairing nicely with his existing specialisation in reloading.
Crew max out at Level 4, apart from in their area, where they can achieve Level 5 proficiency.
By making sure the right crew are doing the right jobs, you can squeeze extra efficiency out of your ship, which could mean the difference between victory and defeat.
Let’s take a look at each class…



We wanted to distinguish the Enemy Captain from the Player one, so there is a unique model for this.


The Player Captain is the most important crew member, because it’s you!
Early on in development, we liked the idea that “As long as the Captain is alive, there is always hope”. This was based around the concept that ship destruction is not the end, and that it would be interesting to follow the player’s journey after that point, whether it be on the lifeboat or stranded alone in the water.
We put safeguards in place so that the Captain can never unfairly be killed, prematurely ending the game. This is because we didn’t want a scenario in which you were doing fantastically well, had invested several hours in a playthrough, but a disastrous moment resulted in Captain death and a frustrating game over scenario.
Being knocked to zero health puts a Captain in an unconscious state (as opposed to crew, who can die if they’re not stabilised in time). This means that the Captain will either recover after a battle – if your ship survived – or will end up stranded if it was destroyed.
As you would expect, the Captain is adept at any standard task, and so starts at Level 2 for Melee, Navigation, Repair and Reloading skills. He can reach Level 5 in any of these. The only thing a Captain can’t do is heal other crew members.




Marines are hired swords. They are professional fighters who pride themselves on combat prowess, and continually practice their swordsmanship to ensure peak, lethal performance when called upon.
If you like to board the enemy, or need to repel boarders, your Marine should always be where the fighting is thickest.


Under that muzzle-flash is a Gunner, performing his duty admirably.


A Gunner is a well-oiled machine when it comes to cannon reloading, although it can be morbid work. Life seems cheap when you continually see the explosive effects of your skills on an enemy crew.
With their proficiency in reloading, you want your Gunner manning a weapon at all times.



It is easy to dismiss the Sailor as a generic crew member, but their excellence in ship maintenance is a valuable asset.
When part of the ship is damaged, making sure it’s your Sailor who repairs it will get you fighting fit again at the fastest possible rate.


The Navigator, doing what he does best.


Although Navigators tend to be the more studious members of a crew, they are well respected. The entire crew’s life is in a Navigator’s hands when piloting through treacherous waters or a sudden storm.
Manning the wheel means the Manoeuvre Bar is recharged at a faster rate, which means you can ram, flee or turn the ship around sooner.





Surgeons are used to making tough decisions, fast. If they need to take a man’s limb to save their life, they will do so without hesitation, remorse, and often without even a rope for them to bite down on.
Because Surgeons are the only class able to heal crew outside of the Sick Bay, other crew members can carry on with their duties in the meantime. This means the Gunner can still reload and get off that vital shot without having to run off to the Sick Bay to heal themselves.


Baker certainly has a high opinion of himself…


Each crew member comes with a randomly generated skin colour, bio and name. The name is either generated from the default list or the newsletter subscribers (more on that on a future post!)
You can rename crew if you wish. We know some people like to rename them after friends and then tell them how they triumphed, or the noble/embarrassing sacrifice they made.
We plan to add extra customisation options in an update during Early Access, so that you can choose things like your Captains skin colour and gender (at the moment, only a male captain is available).


Recruiting Crew

While you can gain crew as a reward from quests or events, you will predominantly recruit them from a Tavern when you visit port.
Sometimes, you will come across crew that have extra skills above the default values, often in their non-specialist area. Naturally, these veterans of the sea are more expensive to hire than their rookie colleagues.



We hope you enjoyed this look at the Crew. Interesting strategies can arise from both your own crew selection (like going in for lots of Marines if you like to board) and the make-up of the enemy crew (facing a ship with multiple surgeons makes your anti-personnel ship setup a lot harder). We look forward to hearing the tales of your own crew’s glorious victories and desperate defeats!




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