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-   -   Surprising battle outcomes (http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showthread.php?t=24888)

PDF July 14th, 2005 05:41 PM

Surprising battle outcomes
Got the game 2 days ago, and I'm really hooked so far !
The game controls, squadrons orders et al are really well thought and make a breeze playing serious fleet engagment, that's very enjoyable ! The interface could be made somewhat better, but that's a small quibble.

Still after some games I'm a bit surprised and disappointed at how battles turn out : "shoot the mast and board the deck" looks to be a guaranteed win...
In fact in maybe 5-6 battles I've never seen a ship sink (except a fireship!), and ships hulls are incredibly sturdy : 150-200 points vs 5 per mast; even raking close tange double shot doesn't make significant hull damage, where mid-to-long chain sometimes drops a mast.
So every time I just have to load chain, to slow the enemy, then run after it and grapple - much too easily due to the sequenced turns...- and send a boarding party with all available crew. And even without additional crewmen, I've stormed a 2nd rate SoL with a 5th rate this way, my 12 marines vs more than 50 !!.

That doesn't sound right, Trafalgar wasn't Actium !!
[img]/threads/images/Graemlins/Cold.gif[/img] Is that a normal game behavior ?

I did play the tutorial battles, then 4 battles of the Huzzah campaign, now I'm also in the French Bourbon Navy campaign. Normal AI balance.

Andrew Lonon July 15th, 2005 10:23 PM

Re: Surprising battle outcomes

Hummm. 12 winning over 50 does not sound right at all. One quick check… Boarding rules are heavily affected by the ‘Difficulty Override’ setting. If ‘Difficulty Override’ is set to any of the negative numbers (-1 or –2) then boarding becomes very easy. So: Make sure you have ‘Difficulty Override’ set to 0 or higher.

The next thing that can affect boarding (although 12 Vs 50 is still a bit extreme) is the combination of Quality and Moral of the combatants. A Quality 10 and Moral 10 ship can achieve dramatic boarding victories against a low quality and/or low moral ship.

Oh, about sinking. Battles in the age of sail were often decided with neither side even loosing a single ship, and ships sinking as a result of combat was the exception rather than the norm. The wood hulls of these ships can absorb a lot of damage, and it is almost impossible to do significant damage below the waterline. The water bounces the shot up, or slows it down before impact. Add to that the fact that removed masts and debris makes the ship float up, and less likely to sink due to the damage sustained. Maybe try upping the Damage Factor if you want to see more sunken ships, and what not.

See if that helps and let me know.

PDF July 17th, 2005 07:38 AM

Re: Surprising battle outcomes
Thanks Andrew for your reply,

Surely you must be more knowledgeable than me about how really behave the ships of the era : my references are more other wargames (WS&IM being the main one) than real history !
Still I'd have thought that hull damage, located near the waterline (for example done by the lowest deck guns, the biggest ones IIRC) would have caused considerable flooding, slowed ship and eventually caused capsizing. Wasnt'it the case ?

About damage factor, I will try at +1 but as rigging is already very vulnerable at 0 I fear it'll be worse ...

About boardings the diff setting was at 0, and I was playing very high quality/morale US ships vs an English SoL - for which I can't see the crew quality, but I suppose it was rather correct (as it was an Englishman) http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/images/smilies/wink.gif Will try again with +1 and post my result.
And what about the totally irrealistic "ramming" that only occurs due to phased play (I mean, when for example I ram from behind a ship going FASTER just because "it's my turn") ? Can you devise some countermeasure (having faster ships move first, "delaying" collisions till end of turn, whatever...).
Lastly a question : did really the special ammos such as linked shots, cannister et al. exist in the late 17th and early 18th ? I thought they were a late 18th invention...
Same about gun ranges : weren't they shorter in the earlier eras ?


PvK November 25th, 2005 08:40 PM

Re: Surprising battle outcomes
In WS&IM, don't most ships "strike colors" (give up fighting) when they run out of hull points, but not actually sink?

I seem to remember the rules saying that zero hull remaining in WS&IM indicated that the ship was incapacitated and its crew was having to spend all its time dealing with the damage, bailing out water, etc., but not actually sinking. Seems to me that the chance of actually sinking or blowing up was rare and an optional advanced rule not even included in the main rule sections.


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