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RE: Harbour Build Limits

 
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RE: Harbour Build Limits - 10/20/2008 6:57:47 PM   
j-s

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Marshall Ellis

So change times BUT not cost?
I need a few more to chime in.


Original cost for ship was 10 and for cavalry 15.
Ships are too expensive, at least heavy ships.

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RE: Harbour Build Limits - 10/20/2008 7:48:13 PM   
Mardonius


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quote:

ORIGINAL: HanBarca

quote:

ORIGINAL: Marshall Ellis
Does everybody agree with 12 and 9 build times (Hvy then Lt)?


I'm not so sure it's a good idea....I cannot say I find it illogical, as build times are probably too high, but there's something fishy about it.

The only suggestion is to leave the ship costs unchanged; creating a fleet is and must remain a difficult and insanely expensive task.




Although I usually agree with Hanbarca, I rejoin his comment that the fllet should be insanely difficult to build. I will get some hard data so I am not writing out of my backside, but there real dificulty is less cost (though certainly considerable) and more training, which requires years at sea.

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RE: Harbour Build Limits - 10/20/2008 8:24:06 PM   
Mardonius


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mardonius


quote:

ORIGINAL: HanBarca

quote:

ORIGINAL: Marshall Ellis
Does everybody agree with 12 and 9 build times (Hvy then Lt)?


I'm not so sure it's a good idea....I cannot say I find it illogical, as build times are probably too high, but there's something fishy about it.

The only suggestion is to leave the ship costs unchanged; creating a fleet is and must remain a difficult and insanely expensive task.




Although I usually agree with Hanbarca, I rejoin his comment that the fllet should be insanely difficult to build. I will get some hard data so I am not writing out of my backside, but there real dificulty is less cost (though certainly considerable) and more training, which requires years at sea.


OK here is what I got in about 20 minutes of research:

1799 to 1804 period

Frigate: Large US one around $300k. Small US 200k
SOL 400 to 500K. Say 500 K including crew bounties etc.
Gunboat: $10,500
Source: http://64.233.169.104/search?q=cache:C49u_2l2a3wJ:www.scribd.com/doc/2399409/The-Atlantic-Monthly-Volume-07-No-44-June-1861-Creator-by-Various+%22cost+of+a+ship+of+the+line%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=4&gl=us

Do a search on costs or ships and you’ll see the numbers

Each British man cost £26 to train as a infantry soldier in 1795 or so. Assuming each factor equals 1500 men, then each infantry facots cost £39k pounds.
Source:
http://books.google.com/books?id=xiV5Q7uupVUC&pg=PA130&lpg=PA130&dq=%22raising+a+regiment%22+cost&source=web&ots=4zt8RVpXvm&sig=0I6BPlzjIZSgHlqbnHO6A-YKRds&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=9&ct=result#PPA131,M1
page 130, see foot notes

Exchange of US Dollars to British Pounds during this period is roughly rate 5 to 1
http://www.likesbooks.com/money.html
(OK, not the most scholary source, but it will do for rough numbers as those love novels are a huge genre and well researched. )

Therefore, a regiment of 1500 men costs about 190, 000 dollars or just under half of a cost ship of the line, minus the ship’s crew.

In our EiA World, an infantry regiment costs $3. Based on our rations, a ship of the line (heavy Ship) should cost around $7 or 8 at most.

A frigate (light ship) should cost $3 or $4.

Note that these numbers discount maintenance costs, but these are mostly ignored in EiA for both Land and Sea forces.

Therefore, it is not unrealistic to significantly lower the costs of building a navy.

If anybody wants me to research build times, I will do so.

best
Mardonius

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RE: Harbour Build Limits - 10/20/2008 8:25:41 PM   
Jimmer

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Marshall Ellis

So change times BUT not cost?
I need a few more to chime in.


Cost could change, too, and it would get my blessing. But, cavalry prices should go up to match.

However, please remember that this should all be "optional", not mandatory. IF you can swing that, that is.

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RE: Harbour Build Limits - 10/20/2008 9:06:21 PM   
fvianello


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Really nice research Mardonius!
Despite that the conclusions (8$ for a heavy ship and 3$ for a light one) leave me with some doubts that I'll try to summarize:

Historically, since the Greek era building a fleet was one of the most expensive and long tasks a city or nation could embark upon.

Talking of simulations, I cannot remember a single good strategic abstract game where a trireme/line ship/dreadnought/battleship/carrier factor wasn't by far the most expensive and longest item to build (with maybe the only exception of fortresses and atomic bomb).

In other words, making heavy ships only slightly more expensive than artillery and a lot cheaper than cavalry is definitely too much in my opinion.

Moreover, shouldn't this be an Empires in Arms or Empires in Harm conversion ? I'd stick more or less to the original rules when possible...Of course if the changes are optionals or editable then they're welcome.



< Message edited by HanBarca -- 10/20/2008 9:11:05 PM >


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RE: Harbour Build Limits - 10/20/2008 10:00:51 PM   
fvianello


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Here's some unit costs from Crown of Glory, definitely several generations ahead compared to EiA:

Heavy ship: 200 money, 0 horses, 60 labor, 1 population, 20 iron, 100 timber, 40 textiles, 6 upkeep, 15 turns
Infantry: 50 money, 20 horses, 20 labor, 2 population, 20 iron, 0 timber, 0 textiles, 2 upkeep, 3 turns
Cavalry: 100 money, 80 horses, 20 labor, 1 population, 10 iron, 0 timber, 0 textiles, 4 upkeep, 6 turns

The "message" the game wants to give the player here is the same as EiA: "it's gonna cost you a LOT of time and a LOT of everything to build a navy"

< Message edited by HanBarca -- 10/20/2008 10:03:24 PM >


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RE: Harbour Build Limits - 10/20/2008 10:40:39 PM   
Mardonius


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quote:

ORIGINAL: HanBarca

Really nice research Mardonius!
Despite that the conclusions (8$ for a heavy ship and 3$ for a light one) leave me with some doubts that I'll try to summarize:

Historically, since the Greek era building a fleet was one of the most expensive and long tasks a city or nation could embark upon.

Talking of simulations, I cannot remember a single good strategic abstract game where a trireme/line ship/dreadnought/battleship/carrier factor wasn't by far the most expensive and longest item to build (with maybe the only exception of fortresses and atomic bomb).

In other words, making heavy ships only slightly more expensive than artillery and a lot cheaper than cavalry is definitely too much in my opinion.

Moreover, shouldn't this be an Empires in Arms or Empires in Harm conversion ? I'd stick more or less to the original rules when possible...Of course if the changes are optionals or editable then they're welcome.





Thanks Hanbarca. There does need to be some balance effect, of course. IMO, most of this balance effect is captured by the long construction times... even in fast programs wood seasoning was essential. See the Great Lakes Campaign (Sacketts Harbor, NY) for some good examples.

Alos, did I mention we should get rid of the light ships unless we revamp the naval combat? They have no place in a Ship of the Line Battle unless ou take them at 3 to 1 or so casualties and 1 to 3 efficacy.


Caveat: the following is only of interest to people who need a life , like me

In truth, though, the really long construction times/inordinate costs don't hit the world until the dreadnaught age.
My historical specialty is the classical Greek/Persian/Peloponnesian War era... Corinth went from about 0 to 90 triremes in 434 to 431 BC. Its colonies and minor allies added another 60 during the same time. They were still outclassed by the Athenians but that is a different matter. The Spartans (classless bafoons) did the same thing several times int he 411-407BC era... but they needed Persian money.

best
Mardonius


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RE: Harbour Build Limits - 10/20/2008 10:41:24 PM   
Mardonius


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quote:

ORIGINAL: HanBarca

Here's some unit costs from Crown of Glory, definitely several generations ahead compared to EiA:

Heavy ship: 200 money, 0 horses, 60 labor, 1 population, 20 iron, 100 timber, 40 textiles, 6 upkeep, 15 turns
Infantry: 50 money, 20 horses, 20 labor, 2 population, 20 iron, 0 timber, 0 textiles, 2 upkeep, 3 turns
Cavalry: 100 money, 80 horses, 20 labor, 1 population, 10 iron, 0 timber, 0 textiles, 4 upkeep, 6 turns

The "message" the game wants to give the player here is the same as EiA: "it's gonna cost you a LOT of time and a LOT of everything to build a navy"



I like the upkeep concept.

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RE: Harbour Build Limits - 10/20/2008 11:02:19 PM   
fvianello


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I like the upkeep thing too, particularly for fleets at sea, but I fear that charging it too much could bring to some unwanted effects..

quote:


My historical specialty is the classical Greek/Persian/Peloponnesian War era... Corinth went from about 0 to 90 triremes in 434 to 431 BC. Its colonies and minor allies added another 60 during the same time. They were still outclassed by the Athenians but that is a different matter. The Spartans (classless bafoons) did the same thing several times int he 411-407BC era... but they needed Persian money.

Well, 4 years IS a lot of time to build 90 ships, particulary considering that Corinth was one of the great powers of the era and the fact that the athenian navy had about 600 ships; that means that building a navy able to confront athens would have taken at least 16 years for corithians.

BTW, I too was going to use Sparta as example :)


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RE: Harbour Build Limits - 10/20/2008 11:24:06 PM   
Mardonius


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Warning: More esoteric Greek history

quote:

ORIGINAL: HanBarca

I like the upkeep thing too, particularly for fleets at sea, but I fear that charging it too much could bring to some unwanted effects..

quote:


My historical specialty is the classical Greek/Persian/Peloponnesian War era... Corinth went from about 0 to 90 triremes in 434 to 431 BC. Its colonies and minor allies added another 60 during the same time. They were still outclassed by the Athenians but that is a different matter. The Spartans (classless bafoons) did the same thing several times int he 411-407BC era... but they needed Persian money.

Well, 4 years IS a lot of time to build 90 ships, particulary considering that Corinth was one of the great powers of the era and the fact that the athenian navy had about 600 ships; that means that building a navy able to confront athens would have taken at least 16 years for corithians.

BTW, I too was going to use Sparta as example :)



The above period concerning the Corinthian Navy was actually about three years... I'll double check... the original sources are a bit unclear as there are two campaigns. The Athenians, at this time, had around 200 triremes, including two colonies in the eastern Aegean. The only other standing Greece Greek (Syracuse in Sicily had a force too) Navy was Corcyra (Corfu) of about 90 triremes. Also, only Athens had first class naval tactics (diekplous/pieriplous) vice land battles at sea.

Considering that Corinth had only the West (Ionian Sae/Gulf of Corinth) to worry about and could move ships, if needed, across the ithmus of Corinth, 150 Triremes is a first class navy in size, if not skill.

To my knowledge, Athens never approached more than 350 Triremes... I think the highwater mark was the Syracuse Campaign. I'll break out my Kagan and review.

best
Mardonius

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RE: Harbour Build Limits - 10/21/2008 6:52:52 PM   
fvianello


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You're probably right about 300 - 350 triremes for the athenians navy under Pericles (in other words, at its peak)....I've found only one reference talking about 600 and it looks like it has no historical sources behind it.

Anyway, 10-12 years to build 270 triremes is a LOT of time :)

< Message edited by HanBarca -- 10/21/2008 6:53:13 PM >


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RE: Harbour Build Limits - 10/21/2008 10:03:58 PM   
Mardonius


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One bit of hard data that I have found so far is that Corinth did build a fleet quite rapidly. 75 Triremes in 437/6 BC for use against Corcyra. Granted that Corinth was wealthy, but the main stumbling blocks I keep seeing are keeping the ships crewed and the ships crews paid. The actual ships are not that dear, from what I can tell. I will review Themistocles expenditures right before the Persian Invasion... I know he added 150 or perhaps 100 Triremes to Athens in the 482 BC era. He tapped into the new silver mines so it was expensive... but, once again, the costs I have seen have much more to do with maintenance rather than construction.

Per Kagan's Pericles of Athens:
Athens had 1,000 Talents of income… 400 internal 600 external empire.
6000 talents in silver in treasury. Another 500 in uncoined gold and silver… 40 more on the Statue of Athena p 232 Pericles. To put these numbers in perspective, a talent will cover the costs of feeding/paying 200 men to operate a trireme for one month. Given that there are 8 sailing months a year, one trireme will take 8 talents to operate for a year. Athens had 200 ships in service in 431 BC. At one talent a month for 8 months per year, this equals 1600 talents for naval expenses alone. So Athens -- the wealthiest of the City States -- can only keep actively cruising and paid for around 140-150 Triremes at most without going into deficit spending or raising tributes (which they did). Of course, if you limit naval campaign times, you can increase the size of the sustainable fleet. Unfortunatley, the best times for sailing are also some of the best times for farming.

Also, correction to my earlier, Corcyra (Corfu) had 120 triremes in the 435BC timeframe.

I'll shut up now...

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RE: Harbour Build Limits - 10/22/2008 1:38:21 AM   
Jimmer

 

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Don't shut up! I'm learning stuff reading this. This is called "fun"!

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RE: Harbour Build Limits - 10/22/2008 12:57:59 PM   
Marshall Ellis


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Me too!


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RE: Harbour Build Limits - 10/22/2008 1:30:18 PM   
Mardonius


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Well, at the risk of throwing a spanner in the works, I was before and am certainly more so a proponent of lowering the construction costs of ships in EiA to around 8 or so for SOL and around 4 for light ships. I would, however, count light ships as 1/3 combat and 3/1 casualties but they should have some significant bonus on naval evasion (+2) or blockade running, if we get those rules. Until then, I would not want to use light ships as they would and do skew combat.

Here is another piece of data (hard) that really makes it clear that SOLs are overpriced in time (to a moderate degree) and and price to a large extent.

France had 69 Ships of the Line in 1815. That is after quite a few defeats in the Napoleonic period.

See http://books.google.com/books?id=w5N-c7YMrJYC&pg=PA5&lpg=PA5&dq=france+navy+%22ships+of+the+line%22+total&source=web&ots=2yE5t7V8VM&sig=MHdSwC6ovjHNNarLr4y41N4Xpc0&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=10&ct=result#PPA3,M1
page 3

Even if one of our EiA players lost no French ships from 1805, the cost of building the extra ships of the line (somehere around 35 ships, I would guess) to reach that 69 total would be $420, or around an entire years tax based income. No player I have ever played with has ever spent this amount... And this omits significant building programs in Holland (15 Ships of the line) and a few in Naples and Venice.

No EiA player could expend this amount, particularly if they were campaigning in/against Spain, Russia, Austria, Prussia etc.


Here is a partial list of French Ships of the Line Launched from 1805-14. 30 total.
French Ships Launched during our period (From Wikipedia)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_French_sail_battleships
• Later Dauphin Royal class (118-gun ships, continued)
o Austerlitz (launched 1808 at Toulon) - Condemned 1837 at Brest
o Wagram (launched 1810 at Toulon) - Condemned 1837 at Brest
o Impérial (launched 1811 at Toulon) - Renamed Royal Louis April 1814, renamed Impérial March 1815, renamed Royal Louis July 1815, condemned 1825 at Toulon
o Montebello (launched 1812 at Toulon) - Rebuilt 1851-52, stricken 1867, BU 1889 at Toulon
o Héros (launched 1813 at Toulon) - Condemned 1828 at Toulon

Bucentaure class 80-gun ships designed by Jacques-Noël Sané, a modification of the 8-ship Tonnant class. 21 ships were launched to this design, of which 16 were afloat by the end of 1814
o Robuste (launched 1806 at Toulon) - Burnt October 1809
o Ville de Varsovie (launched 1808 at Rochefort) - Captured by the RN in April 1809 and burnt
o Donawerth (launched 1808 at Toulon) - BU 1824
o Eylau (launched 1808 at Lorient) - BU 1829
o Friedland (launched 1810 at Antwerp) - Transferred to the Dutch Navy in August 1814 and renamed Vlaming, BU 1823
o Sceptre (launched 1810 at Toulon) - Condemned 1828
o Tilsitt (launched 1810 at Antwerp) - Transferred to the Dutch Navy in August 1814 and renamed Neptunus, BU 1818
o Auguste (launched 1811 at Antwerp) - Transferred to the Dutch Navy in August 1814 and renamed Illustre, BU 1827
Téméraire class (74-gun ships, continued)
o Argonaute 74.
o Marengo 74 - Captured by Britain 1807
o Brave 74 - Captured by Britain and foundered, 1807
o Diomède 74 - Wrecked 1807
o Charlemagne 74 (1807)
o Commerce de Lyon 74 (1807)
o Anversois 74 (1807)
o Illustre 74 (1807)
o Audacieux 74 (1807)
o Duguesclin 74 (1807)
o César 74 (1807)
o Thésée 74 (1807)
o Albanais 74
o Dalmate 74
o Hymen 110

• Pluton class - A revised design for Téméraire class, by Jacques-Noël Sané, described officially as "the small model" specially introduced to be constructed at shipyards lacking the depth of water required to launch 74s of the Téméraire Class.
o Pluton (launched 1805 at Toulon) - captured by Spain 1808, retained the same name, later renamed Montañes, BU 1816.
o Rivoli (launched 1810 at Venice) - captured by the RN in February 1812, and added to the RN as HMS Rivoli, stricken 1819.


Here is a list of French Ships of the line in 1816, showing 55 SOLs and a whole lot of Frigates (Ligth Ships)
http://www.shipscribe.com/marvap/ships16.html


Just some thoughts from a mid-level naval officer.

Mardonius

< Message edited by Mardonius -- 10/22/2008 2:37:37 PM >

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RE: Harbour Build Limits - 10/22/2008 4:32:12 PM   
fvianello


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quote:


Even if one of our EiA players lost no French ships from 1805, the cost of building the extra ships of the line (somehere around 35 ships, I would guess) to reach that 69 total would be $420, or around an entire years tax based income. No player I have ever played with has ever spent this amount... And this omits significant building programs in Holland (15 Ships of the line) and a few in Naples and Venice.


Here's one....as Russia, I've spent 300$ in ship building (23 heavy and 3-4 frigates), dedicating my whole economy to the navy for 1 year. Spain did more or less the same (with french help of course).

BTW, this was the "Operation Agamennon" I once talked about; we cashed in money for almost a year, then expended all of it suddendly in a single eco phase ;)

As I already said, I think this the historically correct effort for a nation wishing to contest the Great Britain's sea supremacy; of course, not every nation could afford even half of that (that's why Prussia and Austria had no navy)

< Message edited by HanBarca -- 10/22/2008 4:34:28 PM >


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RE: Harbour Build Limits - 10/22/2008 4:42:24 PM   
Mardonius


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Hello Hanbarca:

Yes, this is a marked achievement... but you were not fighting all over Europe and building a huge infantry/cavalry/and artillery army at the same time, as France was historically. France could not dedicate its entire economy, only a relatively small portion thereof.

Even by the historically based $7 to 8 per heavy ship (see above research), ships are still very expensive, more than twice as much as and Infantry Unit that has two times the Manpower involved.

Also, the reluctance of the Germanies to build ships is already incorporated into their limited counter mix and naval penalty. I, of course, would be an advocate of offering to change these and other counter limitation for a price in time(training) and money...

In short, the game will be a lot more dynamic/exciting if we enter the realm of naval contest as well. Britain will still have a huge advantage -- she can build too and has the counter mix and die rolls to win most fights -- but the threat of Spain gettign the chance to add the Portuguese Fleet or France the Venetian or Danish will be a real rather than theoretical threat.

best
Mardnious

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RE: Harbour Build Limits - 10/22/2008 5:23:47 PM   
Mardonius


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Here is another data point.

In 1813, France had more than 100 SOLs

See http://books.google.com/books?id=nEQ7FUAdmc8C&pg=PA809&lpg=PA809&dq=cannons+toulon+fortifications+navy&source=web&ots=LiA2TivKJl&sig=Az7aRRv0wvrqee1bjZ1-q1YuoKc&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=10&ct=result#PPA810,M1

A Dictionary of Military History and the Art of War By André Corvisier, John Childs, John Charles Roger Childs, Chris Turner
Page 810

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RE: Harbour Build Limits - 10/22/2008 11:39:20 PM   
fvianello


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Looking at the same sources (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_French_sail_battleships) it seems that the average time to build a 118 or 80 guns was 1-2 years (I looked at the data for Bucentaur, Neptune and Montebello)

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RE: Harbour Build Limits - 10/23/2008 12:51:30 AM   
Mardonius


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quote:

ORIGINAL: HanBarca

Looking at the same sources (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_French_sail_battleships) it seems that the average time to build a 118 or 80 guns was 1-2 years (I looked at the data for Bucentaur, Neptune and Montebello)



Good info. Time of construction could be awhile if there was no rush and/or seasoned wood was not available. About 15 miles from my home is Sacket's Harbor, NY...on Lake Ontario. Keels on two SOLs (110 and 102 guns) were laid in Jan 1815 and they were nearly complete in March of 1815 (42 days) when word of the peace with Britain reached the US. See http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/line/sotl.htm#1813-2

best
Mardonius

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RE: Harbour Build Limits - 10/23/2008 8:39:31 PM   
Mardonius


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Warning: More Greek History...

I found a reference to the cost that Athens paid to build/commision her fleets:

"From 483-410 BC Athens commissioned 1,500 triremes at a cost of 15,000 talents"

Ref: http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/war/Trireme2.htm

So this means that each Trireme cost ten talents, on average, to commission. Not sure if any crew costs are included therewith.

If it costs one talent per month (see above discussion) to crew a Trireme, then the cost of construction is equalled to by the cost of operation in ten months. I believe that this data point advances the argument that the true cost of Athens Navy was in operation/maintenance and less so in construction.

best
Mardonius

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RE: Harbour Build Limits - 10/23/2008 11:03:19 PM   
fvianello


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I agree, maintenance was (and is) probably a big slice of the overall cost of a fleet.

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RE: Harbour Build Limits - 11/5/2008 7:45:56 AM   
RJCowan

 

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If a new recruit may join in this educational discussion...

First, to add to the classical era evidence: do I recall correctly that, over the course of the First Punic War, the Romans invented having a fleet (copying a Carthaginian trireme that washed ashore after a storm), lost that fleet, built another fleet, lost it, and finally won the naval war for Sicily with their third fleet?  Carthage's navy was just bled dry and ended up with less experienced crews than the Romans.

Which leads to a really difficult to code idea:  Austria and Prussia have penalties because their fleets do not have a seagoing tradition, no experience.  There is no way in the game to improve on that, no matter how many ships they build or how many battles they <cough> win.  Britain has an advantage in combats due to experience, no matter how many fleets they lose.  So, could a fleet counter accrue "experience points" by spending time at sea?  There are many games that can deal with the arithmetic of keeping track of "this corps has 2 veteran pts with xp = 10, and you just added 5 new pts with xp = 0, so the corps is now average xp = 2.9", and that's really not much different than the shifting morale of an EiA corps as casualties are taken.  This would cover the training issue of the large French fleets sitting at anchor unused in 1814...even outnumbering the British fleet, they would have been butchered due to lack of experience at sea.  And it would allow for those fleets without high experience to eventually get it, and those with it to lose it in a major fleet loss.

Now, how to deal with some fleets having an experience bonus and some not, I'm not sure...if British fleets are stacked with Austrian, don't the bonus and penalty offset each other?

Second, I have believed for years that EiA made a serious error in understating unit maintenance.  On land, it leads to massive armies that were never seen historically, because all the money goes to building new units.  At sea, the same effect is possible if ships are built instead of troops.  The only real limitation on strengths come from the limited counter mix, and even that can be circumvented through piling infantry/militia as massive garrisons on every town, and leaving ships in ports instead of in fleet counters.

If a more "accurate" cost of maintaining corps, fleets, even garrisons were implemented, the sizes of armies would have an ultimate limit.  Once an army approached the size where all the money went to maintenance, no more army could be built...and building more would mean failing to meet the maintenance cost (risking bankruptcy).  The same is true for navies.  And while it would be prohibitively painful to try to account maintenance on a basis of troop strength rather than number of corps, in a computer game it should be no more difficult than a corps basis.  "France has 126 infantry in corps and 44 more in garrisons for 170 infantry at $0.1/quarter maintenance = $17, moving on to artillery."  And many of the cost differentials that are used to push building more infantry than cavalry, say, are not really historical.  As HanBarca mentioned above from another game, the ingredients for a cavalry regiment, while more than those for an infantry force of the same manpower, is not four times as great.  But the maintenance very well may be (salaries are higher, replacement horses are bought more often, fodder is needed, and a whole lot of leather goods have to be kept up).  It will be this factor (if you don't constrain horse production) that limits cavalry force size.

Finally (yay, he's almost done!), EiA was just bizarre in giving a maintenance cost penalty for being at sea, but not for being in a blockade box.  The British fleet had been beaten to trash by 1814 (and was very happy with their new French-built fleet, thank you very much) by the long years of blockading.  Those ships were always being rebuilt and restored, at a significant fraction of construction cost.  An accurate representation would actually have ships being "half-sunk" or some such term randomly every month on blockade or at sea, returning to port to be restored, and leaving only part of the "paper strength" available for blockade on any given day.  This is probably more trouble than most players want to deal with (though I don't really care how hard the computer has to work), so a simpler alternative is to pay more maintenance for blockading ships and represent the restoration costs that way.

How's that for a first submission...at least three controversial suggestions in one shot.

(in reply to fvianello)
Post #: 53
RE: Harbour Build Limits - 11/5/2008 12:43:27 PM   
Mardonius


Posts: 654
Joined: 4/9/2007
From: London, UK
Status: offline
Hello RJ:

Great Points and excellent historical example in the First Punic War. Moreover, I think you are spot on all three points. The experience level for sailors may be too hard to code -- or perhaps not-- but the thought process is correct and if it is doable should be investigated as an option.

We don't do an adequate job of maintenance costings... once something is built it is almost free. Historically, armies and navies were limited to certain sizes due to economic and manning limitations. for the most part, these don't exist in EiA. I think it would be rational to decrease the costs, for example, of fleet construction and increase the cost of maintenance.

Armies should probably have a higher maintenance cost, but this would involve some thought as to how to handle various unit types. It seems that both on land and sea the designers of EiA made a choice -- conscious or otherwise -- to roll maintenance costs into construction costs, which exposes us to the problems you noted. It would not be hard to design a mechanism to take into account national limits of maintenance... say pay double maintenance costs/halve available manpower for units beyond a certain threshold, quadruple maintenance costs beyond a second threshold/quarter available man power etc or something like this.

Per the Blockade Box, you are right on. I know that some sailor types (Del, I believe) are ardent supporters of this reduced maintenance cost, but they are, frankly incorrect. I have significant amount of source material that demonstrates the extreme costs of blockades, and both of the cases I have researched (GB in 1798 outside Toulon and the US outside Tripoli in 1804) are in the relatively less tempestuous waters of the Mediterranean. These increased costs would also capture losses to storms at sea, in my opinion.

Anyway, I think you are on the right track. Mind you that the EiA Playing community tends to be very very conservative, even in the face of actual facts that show the pre-existing rules are contrary to history. They claim things like game balance etc. I think they are mistaken here, as when anyone gets ahead there is enough power extant in the other 6 powers to stop them, barring perhaps GB at sea.

I really am a proponent of the reduced naval construction costs for this reason more than any other: it would make the game more dynamic and fun. Too often now it ends up as everybody beating up on France and then waiting. They don't go after GB because of the time and expense. Britain can be defeated at sea as shown by the US Navy and the French in the Indian Ocean. All it takes is recruiting the merchant marine sailors, spending money on ships, time at sea, and a thirst for victory. Or so is my opinion after 16 plus commissioned years in the naval service.

best
Mardonius


quote:

ORIGINAL: RJCowan

If a new recruit may join in this educational discussion...

First, to add to the classical era evidence: do I recall correctly that, over the course of the First Punic War, the Romans invented having a fleet (copying a Carthaginian trireme that washed ashore after a storm), lost that fleet, built another fleet, lost it, and finally won the naval war for Sicily with their third fleet?  Carthage's navy was just bled dry and ended up with less experienced crews than the Romans.

Which leads to a really difficult to code idea:  Austria and Prussia have penalties because their fleets do not have a seagoing tradition, no experience.  There is no way in the game to improve on that, no matter how many ships they build or how many battles they <cough> win.  Britain has an advantage in combats due to experience, no matter how many fleets they lose.  So, could a fleet counter accrue "experience points" by spending time at sea?  There are many games that can deal with the arithmetic of keeping track of "this corps has 2 veteran pts with xp = 10, and you just added 5 new pts with xp = 0, so the corps is now average xp = 2.9", and that's really not much different than the shifting morale of an EiA corps as casualties are taken.  This would cover the training issue of the large French fleets sitting at anchor unused in 1814...even outnumbering the British fleet, they would have been butchered due to lack of experience at sea.  And it would allow for those fleets without high experience to eventually get it, and those with it to lose it in a major fleet loss.

Now, how to deal with some fleets having an experience bonus and some not, I'm not sure...if British fleets are stacked with Austrian, don't the bonus and penalty offset each other?

Second, I have believed for years that EiA made a serious error in understating unit maintenance.  On land, it leads to massive armies that were never seen historically, because all the money goes to building new units.  At sea, the same effect is possible if ships are built instead of troops.  The only real limitation on strengths come from the limited counter mix, and even that can be circumvented through piling infantry/militia as massive garrisons on every town, and leaving ships in ports instead of in fleet counters.

If a more "accurate" cost of maintaining corps, fleets, even garrisons were implemented, the sizes of armies would have an ultimate limit.  Once an army approached the size where all the money went to maintenance, no more army could be built...and building more would mean failing to meet the maintenance cost (risking bankruptcy).  The same is true for navies.  And while it would be prohibitively painful to try to account maintenance on a basis of troop strength rather than number of corps, in a computer game it should be no more difficult than a corps basis.  "France has 126 infantry in corps and 44 more in garrisons for 170 infantry at $0.1/quarter maintenance = $17, moving on to artillery."  And many of the cost differentials that are used to push building more infantry than cavalry, say, are not really historical.  As HanBarca mentioned above from another game, the ingredients for a cavalry regiment, while more than those for an infantry force of the same manpower, is not four times as great.  But the maintenance very well may be (salaries are higher, replacement horses are bought more often, fodder is needed, and a whole lot of leather goods have to be kept up).  It will be this factor (if you don't constrain horse production) that limits cavalry force size.

Finally (yay, he's almost done!), EiA was just bizarre in giving a maintenance cost penalty for being at sea, but not for being in a blockade box.  The British fleet had been beaten to trash by 1814 (and was very happy with their new French-built fleet, thank you very much) by the long years of blockading.  Those ships were always being rebuilt and restored, at a significant fraction of construction cost.  An accurate representation would actually have ships being "half-sunk" or some such term randomly every month on blockade or at sea, returning to port to be restored, and leaving only part of the "paper strength" available for blockade on any given day.  This is probably more trouble than most players want to deal with (though I don't really care how hard the computer has to work), so a simpler alternative is to pay more maintenance for blockading ships and represent the restoration costs that way.

How's that for a first submission...at least three controversial suggestions in one shot.


(in reply to RJCowan)
Post #: 54
RE: Harbour Build Limits - 11/5/2008 8:12:27 PM   
Jimmer

 

Posts: 1968
Joined: 12/5/2007
Status: offline
Be cautious about applying historical realities. This game is good not because of its details in terms of historical accuracy, but because it successfully abstracts the historical situation into terms that can be comprehended in a 40-page manual (the original one) by marginally above-average intelligence players. Just about everything is abstracted, and such was done for playability.

If you are designing one of the most complicated games ever made, you can either do it accurately and have it not be playable, or you can abstract it until it becomes playable. Could it be better designed? Possibly, now that computers can do much of the bookkeeping for us.

All actions with remove abstraction ALWAYS come with a playability penalty, if the game was designed well in the first place. One must make sure that balance is maintained, or the game or some facet thereof becomes unplayable.

For example, the EiH addition of light fleets and transports. It was less abstract and more "accurate" and/or detailed. But, there have been huge costs in terms of the game. These costs were not noticed by the designers of EiH, possibly because they had too small a set of players helping them playtest it. But, they lead to impressively a-historical results, like France putting all of her light ships on piracy duty against the allies, and Great Britain unable to do anything about it. Talk about a-historical! Wow.

That's just one example among dozens. Thus, it is wise to be careful about making de-abstracting changes.

_____________________________

At LAST! The greatest campaign board game of all time is finally available for the PC. Can my old heart stand the strain?

(in reply to Mardonius)
Post #: 55
RE: Harbour Build Limits - 11/5/2008 8:44:03 PM   
Mardonius


Posts: 654
Joined: 4/9/2007
From: London, UK
Status: offline
Hi Jimmer:

A couple of points, if I may.

Although I used history as my example to justify the reduced cost, if I saw no benefit of an option to reducing the naval costs I would have left the matter lie. However, I believe that reduced naval construction costs would make the game more vital, fun, and entertaining.

As things are now -- not even counting for the inaccuracy of the pricing per historical precedent -- the game usually, if almost always, ends up with only Britain having a chance to sweep the waves. That gets a little boring. In a game where historical naval build costs existed, the danger presented by France getting control of an extra minor's fleet would be manifest, vice theoretical.

Certainly GB's advantages at sea should be preserved. But they should not be insurmountable, as they are in most games. They should be challengeable just as Napoleon's army was on land. In truth, it was done of Virginia by the French Fleet in 1781 at the Battle of the Capes and by the US in War of 1812.

I would counter your point about balance must being able to be maintained with the argument that the balance is currently out of line, in favor of Britain's fleet. Reduced naval pricing would, perhaps, bring that back in line. But of course, GB can build too so the game would take on a new and vital dynamic. You might even see GB garrisons in the home islands.

Per the LS, I am no fan as they exist now. Perhaps some minor naval rules could make then viable but as they exist now, they are worrisome. And I would agree that GB should be able to engage any privateer, but that sounds like a Mantis posting.

Best
Mardonius


quote:

ORIGINAL: Jimmer

Be cautious about applying historical realities. This game is good not because of its details in terms of historical accuracy, but because it successfully abstracts the historical situation into terms that can be comprehended in a 40-page manual (the original one) by marginally above-average intelligence players. Just about everything is abstracted, and such was done for playability.

If you are designing one of the most complicated games ever made, you can either do it accurately and have it not be playable, or you can abstract it until it becomes playable. Could it be better designed? Possibly, now that computers can do much of the bookkeeping for us.

All actions with remove abstraction ALWAYS come with a playability penalty, if the game was designed well in the first place. One must make sure that balance is maintained, or the game or some facet thereof becomes unplayable.

For example, the EiH addition of light fleets and transports. It was less abstract and more "accurate" and/or detailed. But, there have been huge costs in terms of the game. These costs were not noticed by the designers of EiH, possibly because they had too small a set of players helping them playtest it. But, they lead to impressively a-historical results, like France putting all of her light ships on piracy duty against the allies, and Great Britain unable to do anything about it. Talk about a-historical! Wow.

That's just one example among dozens. Thus, it is wise to be careful about making de-abstracting changes.



_____________________________

"Crisis is the rallying cry of the tyrant" -- James Madison
"Yes, you will win most battles, but if you loose to me you will loose oh so badly that it causes me pain (chortle) just to think of it" - P. Khan

(in reply to Jimmer)
Post #: 56
RE: Harbour Build Limits - 11/5/2008 11:59:21 PM   
fvianello


Posts: 536
Joined: 8/6/2002
From: Italy
Status: offline
quote:


First, to add to the classical era evidence: do I recall correctly that, over the course of the First Punic War, the Romans invented having a fleet (copying a Carthaginian trireme that washed ashore after a storm), lost that fleet, built another fleet, lost it, and finally won the naval war for Sicily with their third fleet? Carthage's navy was just bled dry and ended up with less experienced crews than the Romans.


True, but the first punic war lasted 24 years; that means that Rome, the greatest power of the era, needed at least 5-6 years to build a fleet able to challenge a power that already had a fleet.

_____________________________

H. Barca,
Surplus Consuls Dispatcher

(in reply to RJCowan)
Post #: 57
RE: Harbour Build Limits - 11/6/2008 3:43:25 AM   
RJCowan

 

Posts: 13
Joined: 11/5/2008
Status: offline
I'm not sure Rome was yet one of the greatest powers during the First Punic War, though obviously it was on its way.  But your point of time needed is valid.

Then again, our game can last 11 years.  So that's time for the Austrians to build a fleet, lose it, and build another.  Or the French, who at least can claim to be one of the greatest powers of their era.

And Jimmer, none of these suggestions I've tossed out should be taken as any more than suggested options. The "classical" game rules should always be available and default. But now that a computer is doing our record keeping, it would be a shame not to take advantage of that in areas where Harry correctly decided that "this bookkeeping is too much trouble for the players". What is not a viable suggestion in a manual game may be painless to the players in a computer game.

< Message edited by RJCowan -- 11/6/2008 3:54:53 AM >

(in reply to fvianello)
Post #: 58
RE: Harbour Build Limits - 11/6/2008 4:04:30 AM   
Jimmer

 

Posts: 1968
Joined: 12/5/2007
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: RJCowan
And Jimmer, none of these suggestions I've tossed out should be taken as any more than suggested options. The "classical" game rules should always be available and default. But now that a computer is doing our record keeping, it would be a shame not to take advantage of that in areas where Harry correctly decided that "this bookkeeping is too much trouble for the players". What is not a viable suggestion in a manual game may be painless to the players in a computer game.

Oh, absolutely. And, I'm NOT saying "don't do them". I'm saying "be cautious". It's easy to unbalance a game. And, the more abstract the game is to start with, the easier it will be to unbalance it.

But, there's a critical mass of players that, once achieved, will be able to develop these kinds of scenarios, and then possibly have Matrix build them (as options) for a wider playtesting.

_____________________________

At LAST! The greatest campaign board game of all time is finally available for the PC. Can my old heart stand the strain?

(in reply to RJCowan)
Post #: 59
RE: Harbour Build Limits - 11/6/2008 2:47:28 PM   
Mardonius


Posts: 654
Joined: 4/9/2007
From: London, UK
Status: offline
Hi Hanbarca:

Good point about the 24 year length of the First Punic War. If you look at the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars as one continuos war, which I think is accurate, our period runs from late 1792/early 1793 until 1815, or approximately the same period. I think it is only a matter of time -- given this project continues to catch wind -- that we can play the whole campaign.

best
Mardonius

quote:

ORIGINAL: HanBarca

quote:


First, to add to the classical era evidence: do I recall correctly that, over the course of the First Punic War, the Romans invented having a fleet (copying a Carthaginian trireme that washed ashore after a storm), lost that fleet, built another fleet, lost it, and finally won the naval war for Sicily with their third fleet? Carthage's navy was just bled dry and ended up with less experienced crews than the Romans.


True, but the first punic war lasted 24 years; that means that Rome, the greatest power of the era, needed at least 5-6 years to build a fleet able to challenge a power that already had a fleet.


(in reply to fvianello)
Post #: 60
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