Friday, April 10, 2009

Pirates vs Ninjas

I was watching an episode on Ultimate Warrior on Spike TV and got inspired.

Ultimate Warrior is one of several shows that tries to use computer simulations to answer questions about who would win unlikely fights. Other variations have matched animals (lion vs tiger) and dinosaurs. This one takes different warriors, evaluates them, and predicts most likely winners. The episode that I watched matched a Roman gladiator against an Apache warrior. The Apache won.

So, pirate vs ninja - who would win?

This really depends on how you define the match up. Each has very different strengths and weaknesses.

In straight, hand-to-hand fighting between individuals, the ninja would win. Pirates were self-taught fighters. Ninjas were trained assassins. Also, the main time the two fought would probably be at a time and place of the ninja's choosing (probably at night when the pirate was drunk) giving him an advantage.

On the other hand, put them 100 yards apart in broad daylight with a sober pirate and things change. Many pirates started out as buccaneers, hunting wild cattle. They were very good shots. A pirate could get off a couple of well-aimed shots at a ninja before the ninja could get within reach. There are things that the ninja could do to avoid being shot but they would slow him down, giving the pirate time for more shots. A ninja with a bow would have a chance but arrows are not as disabling as gunshot wounds.

What about a ship full of pirates vs a ship full of ninjas. Again, the pirates have the advantage. European ships and cannons were the best in the world. Pirates boarding a ship full of ninjas would still have an advantage. Ninjas had a variety of weapons but few of them worked against a large organized force. Those that did were as likely to hinder the ninjas as pirates. The weapons favored by pirates worked well against a massed enemy in cramped spaces. The two-handed sword that ninjas used needed space to swing or you would hit a comrade. Cutlasses were short and heavy to overcome that problem. The ninjas would still be better trained but a pistol or blunderbuss goes a log way in nullifying that advantage. That's after a swivel gun or two decimated the ninjas before the pirates boarded.

Just to be fair, there is also the possibility of a group of ninjas boarding a ship at night. The ninjas would have the advantage here since the pirates would be disorganized and probably drunk.

In general, though, cultures with guns tended to triumph over cultures with hand weapons.

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