No its a bad game.
the AI is stupid on your team...the enemy AI is oddly supremely smart.
The game is setup to be cheap with most levels having you with one less boat then the enemy.
Pilfer curses do not spawn randomly for the enemy they spawn whenever they need them.
Luck is the matter of course you have to be completely lucky that your AI is smart, the enemy AI all ways takes the chance to upgrade when its there, your AI allies will all most never do it unless they need to heal at your pirate cove.
Just got back from playing hard level 3-3 *dread pirate spork* the majority of time my 2 AI allies were stuck at old hatville cause one was going in the other was going out, they spent over 6 minutes there doing that while the enemy AI ships went and captured things. Me not caring anymore of how hard the game is went on a crate and village killing tour.
4 times in a row I had enough resources to upgrade a ship 4 times in a row I sped to my pirate cove to upgrade and watched as the enemy AI killed a merchant ship and just happened to get a pilfer curse stealing my wood so I couldn't upgrade.
In the end after they captured 5 towns, the entire enemy AI fleet was maxed in upgrades because they kept pilfer cursing me as I grabbed crates and killed villages for gold, and trees and old hatville offered up ALE they pilfered me to the point they were completely upgraded, my allied ships completely ignored upgrade ship abbilities when I had them.