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RE: Playing GB - 3/3/2010 2:41:14 AM   
NeverMan

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Dancing Bear
I don't like the split into light and heavy ships.


Yes, I agree, it's horrible...particularly the transport fleets.

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Post #: 31
RE: Playing GB - 3/3/2010 11:57:37 AM   
pzgndr

 

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quote:

I think the EiH3.0 naval combat rules were better, no?


There are EiH v4.0 rules out there that should probably be referenced, not v3.0. There's a lot more detail in the EiH rules than the advanced naval combat rules in The General, which might be nice at some point but not a priority.

The new EiH fleet types are not so important as the other issues Dancing Bear originally raised. Activation of minors, port blockades and proportional losses are more important issues to resolve.

(in reply to Dancing Bear)
Post #: 32
RE: Playing GB - 3/3/2010 3:20:32 PM   
Mardonius


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Dancing Bear

I'd like to see a chit based naval combat. I have played with the General rules and liked those, but don't know about the EIH3.0 rules. I don't like the split into light and heavy ships.


I don't think the problem is the split between heavy and light ships; the problem is how it was done. There is very little difference in their combat capabilities as is. This is most problematic. Yet, if Light Ships had lessened combat efficacy, say bonus to movement and interception/evasion and a real privateer role (vice the poor system we have now) they could be very viable.

Much like corps are divided into INF/CAV Fleet counters could be divided into HS/LS composite fleets, with perhaps LS Squadrons for independent operations. Anyway, I think this is doable without straying from the current combat engine, as it is designed for Land Combat with a few naval tweaks.

The transports really do stink the way they are now and should be eliminated with the same transport rules from the original game adopted instead.

back to work...

_____________________________

"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 Dancing Bear)
Post #: 33
RE: Playing GB - 3/7/2010 9:11:18 AM   
Skanvak

 

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quote:

Yes, I agree, it's horrible...particularly the transport fleets.


Ah yes, get rid of the transport fleet would be good they represent nothing.


_____________________________


Best regards

Skanvak

(in reply to Mardonius)
Post #: 34
RE: Playing GB - 3/8/2010 1:06:42 PM   
delatbabel


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The problem with all of the chit based naval combat rules I've seen (including the one from The General and variants of it) is that they don't accurately reflect combat of the (post-1st-June) era between ships of the line at sea. They recreate naval combat as it would have been fought by armies, guns, and horses wearing floaties.

Unfortunately for most of the non-British nations of the time, especially in the "Black Dick" & Nelson era, naval combat between ships of the line pretty much involved:

* British fleet spots enemy fleet.
* Two fleets form lines.
* British fleet annihilates enemy fleet.
* Rinse, lather, repeat.

Mostly this was due to better seamanship (British sailors were greatly more experienced than any other navy), better gun handling, and far better tactics. Trafalgar and Aboukir Bay in particular showed that only the British admirals had any real idea of how to win a battle against roughly equal forces, and from a tactical point of view the other navies may as well have dropped anchor in some far distant port, or surrendered.

There were some victories against the British during the era, in particular the Americans fought some successful frigate (== light ship) engagements during the War of 1812, but nothing much really went against the British in the larger battles fought at sea. In particular the battles of 1st June, Aboukir Bay, Cape St Vincent and Trafalgar were pretty much whitewashes. Since nearly the entire of the 1805 campaign is fought in the post-Trafalgar era, a better simulation of the naval war might be:

* Skip ahead to October 1805.
* Great Britain has fleets. Other powers do not.
* Great Britain can use fleets to transport troops to lightly defended coasts and ports only. Other powers can not.

The problem from the point of view of EiANW is that although the above scenario recreates combat of the time accurately, it doesn't make for a particularly fun game.

So from an overall point of view although a set of advanced naval rules might be fun to play, in fact it doesn't add anything to the game from a realism point of view. I haven't seen anything that would compel me to do so.

The main problems that I see in terms of realism are:

* British naval superiority doesn't really translate that well to coastal superiority. You can't really land a force in a heavily defended port such as Toulon or Cherbourg, siege the city, sieze the port, cut the anchor cables and scuttle the fleet or send it out to certain death under the guns of the blockaders, without the army in the adjacent area noticing and arriving to stop you.
* British naval superiority doesn't really translate to transport capability. Firstly, there weren't really the number of ships available to transport 4-5 good sized corps over long distances. The times it was tried there were some attritional losses which aren't taken into account in the game. Secondly, it's not really possible to depart, say, Edinburgh and arrive in St Petersburg or Gibraltar in March or November, reliably, without the fleet being blown off course, scattered, or losing some ships along the way.

Some day I'll write up a set of variant naval movement, combat and transport rules that take this into account but at the moment it's just a bundle of ideas.

_____________________________

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Del

(in reply to Skanvak)
Post #: 35
RE: Playing GB - 3/8/2010 2:03:25 PM   
Mardonius


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Hello Del:

I think you hit on some very good points in your note. In fact, I'd agree with the spirit of your "The main problems that I see in terms of realism are..." and below comments. I think they are either spot on or a darned site close thereby.

But you miss the boat in historically deterministic perspective of Great Britain invincible at sea. And though you do cite the one on one US Frigate Engagements wherein the British were usually worsted, you do not cite the Great Lake Naval Campaigns where the British were either worsted (Erie) or stalemated (Ontario). For an brief synopsis of the Eire Campaign, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Lake_Erie
The same thing happened on Lake Champlain in the US Revolutionary War, where a US fleet at anchor neatly trounced an invading British fleet. And though this was in a different continent, the ships were pretty much the same as they are in our game period, carronades excepted.

I mentioned this last to emphasize that had The French anchored a bit closer to the coast at Aboukir Bay, the outcome could have been a whole lot different. As it was, one British Ship did run aground. This battle could have turned out a whole lot differently than it did. French (and Spanish) ship designs were, for the most part, better than GB's. You are correct in quote]ORIGINAL: delatbabel
Mostly this was due to better seamanship (British sailors were greatly more experienced than any other navy), better gun handling, and far better tactics. [/quote]

but this is not necessarily an insurmountable obstacle. Much of the Spaniard crews that participated in Trafalgar were conscripts from Cadiz who had no prior seamanship or gunnery practice. But what if they had been? Or if the French had put a concerted effort into training their Navy back to the standards of Pre-revolutionary France, which often parried and sometimes bested the British Fleet (see Battle of Virginia Capes of Yorktown in 1781... only 24 years before our game starts).

Seamanship can be learned. The Americans had no gunnery experience; indeed no Navy before the 1790s (or better said, a hiatus between the American Revolution and the 1790s). Yet they oft bested the British, despite their great numerical inferiority. Why can not the French do this? Certainly, they have obstacles: time, money, training. But there should be no proscription upon them from trying and no prescription that says that they -- or the Russians, Spaniards, Turks, Danes, or Dutch etc -- will fail.

There are examples of non-naval powers becoming naval powers in wartime. See Rome in the First Punic War. See Sparta in the Peloponesian War. All it takes is time, money, and dedication. It was not a hopeless, preordained, deterministic outcome. For a glimpse of the French Navy and its concerns at this time see http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:8H_hKDywpZMJ:naval.histofig.com/French-Sail-of-the-Line-in-the.html+french+fleet+1813&hl=en&gl=us&strip=1

regards
Mardonius (Varick)




_____________________________

"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 delatbabel)
Post #: 36
RE: Playing GB - 3/10/2010 2:32:31 AM   
borner


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seamanship can be learned, yes, but that is hard to do when blockaded in port. This was a huge issue for the French and Spanish. In the current game it is hard for GB to win as big a victory as they could historiclly. As for picking chits at sea, that has never seemed a good idea.

(in reply to Mardonius)
Post #: 37
RE: Playing GB - 3/10/2010 3:09:19 AM   
Dancing Bear

 

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The last couple of posts have great points about realism and fun. I don't think we are looking for a vast increase in the amount of realism, but a game has to have enough realism to suspend disbelieve before it can be fun.

My main compliants with the current system are with a) the light-heavy ship split (technical), and b) the abuse of minor fleets (political). Neither of these not seem to be realistic or fun in the current game.

For A) I'd rather get ride of the light ships, but if that can't be done, then introduce proportional losses between ship types, so light fleets are simply not cannon fodder. A simple official matrix scenario with the original ship type only would suffice here.

For B), I think that proportional losses between nationalities (to prevent minors taking all the losses), and restictions on what nations minor fleets can fight (i.e. they are not automatically at war with all the nations hostile to their controlling major power, which is a very common house rule), would go a long a way to fixing this and stop minor fleets being used for absurb things.

For issues like transport of corps, I think the original board game rules that reduced movement for fleets carrying corps would help.

Beyond these issues, more realism is probably not going to be more fun.

(in reply to borner)
Post #: 38
RE: Playing GB - 3/10/2010 12:04:15 PM   
delatbabel


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From: Sydney, Australia
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quote:

ORIGINAL: borner
seamanship can be learned, yes, but that is hard to do when blockaded in port. This was a huge issue for the French and Spanish. In the current game it is hard for GB to win as big a victory as they could historiclly. As for picking chits at sea, that has never seemed a good idea.


I agree entirely.

You might argue the point that if the Spanish and the French had better tactics, better leaders, better seamen, etc, they could have beaten the British but the simple fact is that they did not, and did not. Of all of the Spanish sailors at Cape St Vincent, less than 100 had been to sea previously (prior to the term of service which ended at the Cape), and the Spanish admiral Don José de Cordóba had never commanded a fleet in battle prior to the action (and didn't command a ship at all afterwards).

In terms of picking chits: I agree. The common formations at the time at sea were line, line, line or line. The British managed to win Cape St Vincent by forming line while the Spanish were still divided. Nelson routed the allied French/Spanish fleet at Trafalgar by *not* choosing line, or more correctly, by choosing a formation that Villeneuve had no answer to. The simple fact is that the British were able to win these battles by being better sailors, and being lead by better commanders -- in both battles they were outgunned, at Cape St Vincent by 2:1 (discounting the fact that in their panic the Spanish forgot to load some of their guns, and left the tompions in many others).

In terms of Varick's earlier points:

The Lake Erie battles were small ship actions -- sloops, brigs, etc. No ships of the line. Similarly there were a few frigate actions around 1812 where the Americans beat the British, but the Americans had zero battleships at the time and so battles between ships of the line were not fought. Foolishly or otherwise the British believed that it was "dishonourable" for a first rate to engage a frigate. The American Frigates were larger than the British frigates, being mostly 40 guns to 32 or fewer, and guns can count for a lot.

The British had a large and active merchant marine at the time, and the majority of British sailors were pressed or volunteered from this service, and hence knew how to sail a boat. The overwhelming majority of the French and Spanish sailors were pressed landsmen or from the army. This makes an enormous difference -- handling a ship under sail is hard enough, managing to do it while under fire takes experience, and the Spanish and the French did not have that.

The Americans, despite their lack of a navy prior to the 1790s but also had a merchant marine. They relied entirely on volunteer crew, however, which may have lead their crews to be smaller, but almost if not as experienced, and more committed.

The French prior to the revolution did have some experience at sea, but much of that experience had its head chopped off during the revolution. Hence the enormous gulf between 1781 and 1805. Yes, the British were beaten at sea but not by post-revolutionary France and not by Spain during the EIA period. Remember that the British and French combined their forces against the Netherlands in the 1680s and lost!

You might argue that had the French chosen better tactics at Aboukir Bay, anchored closer in or further out or even in a different location, things might have been different. If they had more experienced seamen things might have been different. If they had a better Admiral, things might have been different. However the simple fact is that the French had few experienced seamen, an Admiral of limited experience, few other officers of note (Villeneuve being one exception), and really had no clue where to anchor. The British were lead by Nelson who was both unorthodox and experienced (a dangerous combination) and the rest is history. You and I fighting the battle on a tabletop, given an appropriate set of naval combat rules and some counters and dice might come to a different outcome, which might even be fun. Brueys and his French sailors were never going to achieve that against Nelson -- Brueys had never commanded a fleet in battle before, and had never commanded a ship in a major naval engagement, despite having fought in several as a lieutenant or equivalent rank.

Anyway, back to the original discussion -- more realism is certainly not necessarily going to be more fun. Unless you are British and enjoy kicking puppies.

Dancing Bear has some good points, in particular, and to expand:

* Introduce proportional losses. The loss ratio between heavy to light ships should be in the ratio of heavy to light ships of the enemy. e.g. if you engage an enemy of 30 heavy and 10 light ships, and you lose 8 ships, then you must lose 6 heavy and 2 light ships. If you have insufficient heavy ships then you lose light ships in a 3:1 ratio -- so if you only had 5 heavy ships then you would lose those 5 heavy plus 5 light ships.

* Introduce proportional losses between nationalities. If you have 10 Swedes and 30 French fighting, and you lose 4 ships, then you must lose 1 Swede and 3 French.

* Reduce the effectiveness of light ships in battle. It's hard to put a number on this. If you're thinking realistically, a frigate with 24 x 6 pounder guns doesn't stand a chance against a first rate of, say, 80 x 24 pounders. The frigate will be blown out of the water before it even gets much into range. 2, 3, or even 4 frigates will suffer much the same fate. I'm not sure at what point the odds tip against a single heavy ship, although I note that the British first rates were reluctant to stand close to Cadiz because it was protected by gunboats mounting a single 24 pounder gun.

* Light ships don't actually move faster, but they do manoeuvre faster, and they are quicker to get in and out of port. In a strategic sense that probably means they cover more ground over the course of a month than a first rate does so perhaps some movement bonus is appropriate.

I would like to see a system which represented the British use of sloops and signal ships. e.g. a light fleet in a blockade box or other sea area, which successfully intercepts an enemy fleet, can call on another friendly fleet in an adjacent sea area which can then move into battle before it occurs. I'm not sure how you'd program that, though.


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Del

(in reply to borner)
Post #: 39
RE: Playing GB - 3/10/2010 6:11:04 PM   
Ashtar

 

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Fifteen minutes of standin applause fot delatbabel
In particular
quote:

The problem with all of the chit based naval combat rules I've seen (including the one from The General and variants of it) is that they don't accurately reflect combat of the (post-1st-June) era between ships of the line at sea. They recreate naval combat as it would have been fought by armies, guns, and horses wearing floaties.


and all the consideration about the too easy landing and winter sea transport (when playing with winter movement, GB is even more effective, since it can teleport troops around as ever while France army is two times slower).

Also I agree that light ships effectivenes should be greatly reduced. My humble proposal was at least to give a -1 to combat die roll to sides where heavies are not almost twice the lights. And maybe to give a wind gauge roll advantage to a side with twice the lights of the other one, but here I am unsure.

Finally, concerning seamanship learnin. Yes, it is possible, but then it would also be possible to improve ones army gaining French-like or GB-like morale for your land troops. Since EIA is not Civilization, this is not possible just investing money/time. Actually under EIA alternate dominant powers optional rules, powers can gain or loose by dramatic territory loss/gains the dominant power status that France and GB enjoy at the start of the game. By gaining dominance, some powers like Spain gain a +1 bonus to naval combat. Others, like Russia, gain morale for their troops...

(in reply to delatbabel)
Post #: 40
RE: Playing GB - 3/10/2010 7:01:51 PM   
Mardonius


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Ashatar:

Minor point... but it may matter some day . Actually, under the EiA Dominance Rules (as they are currently written) no power can gain naval bonuses. Great Britain can lose some or all of its seaward bonus but no power (even Spain) gains any naval advantage from gaining dominant status. I would think that this is a nice to tinker with rule, perhaps giveing the player the option if he wants naval or landward dominance.

Secondly, one does not need the time span of "Civilization" to improve one's navy. Certainly multiple years and probably 10 to 15 plus years, but basically enough to train a naval officer corps/warrant officer corps. It has been done before and within a generation's time. (See Sparta and Rome.) Probably could be accelerated by bringing in sailors from the Merchant Fleets (which, for France at least) were abundant at the start of hostilities. Sea access is, indeed, a problem though. Of course, no blockade is fool proof, but there is only a certain amount (perhaps the majority) of seamanship and gunnery that can be learned in harbor or on land.

Anyway, just some thoughts and observations.


best
Mardonius

_____________________________

"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 Ashtar)
Post #: 41
RE: Playing GB - 3/11/2010 12:53:13 AM   
Dancing Bear

 

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Unfortunately deviating too far from the original rules draws fire from many quarters. I'd just like proportional losses (both between ship types and nationalities) to fix the politically unrealistic actions that often happen). The later was an optional rules in the original game, but almost everyone I played with used them, so should be widely acceptable.

(in reply to Mardonius)
Post #: 42
RE: Playing GB - 3/11/2010 2:03:59 PM   
Mardonius


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True, DB, the dominant powers were an optional rule and true most times they were played with in at least my games. But we did amend them slightly here and there; the required peace rule was readily omitted.

Couple of points as to sticking to the original EIA rules: I know of no one who ever played the rules without some interpretation or house rule. Therefore, I am confident that optional rules will be accepted by this game playing community. Moreover, some rules are more equal than others. Although there has been a lasting discussion on the inadequacies of the naval combat system, for example, I have yet to hear one person -- including me -- complain that the price of cavalry was reduced from $15 in the board game to $12 in the PC game.

Moreover, in several discussions I have had with Harry Rowland (co-author) he readily favors the chance to play with some optional or variant rules to spice the game up. The game was (and is) a creative endeavor. It is not some immutable scripture.

So long as these are agreed to before hand and do not disrupt the ability for another group to go back to the core rules, I see no reason why one would not accept options to the original rules, particularly if the original rules are ill conceived, as the dominant power rules are at least in part, in my opinion.

regards
Mardonius

_____________________________

"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 Dancing Bear)
Post #: 43
RE: Playing GB - 3/12/2010 12:17:50 AM   
pzgndr

 

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quote:

Moreover, in several discussions I have had with Harry Rowland (co-author) he readily favors the chance to play with some optional or variant rules to spice the game up. The game was (and is) a creative endeavor. It is not some immutable scripture.


Roger that! I fully support providing classic EiA map and OOB, but there has to be more in a computer wargame able to handle multiple game options.

As usual, this discussion has gone off on a tangent arguing about advanced naval rules as an OPTION, an OPTION some are not likely to ever use but they'll argue against them anyways to spite others. And implementation of an advanced naval combat OPTION is not a priority right now regardless. Proportional losses is much more important to implement. A few modest naval fixes will go a long way for the time being.

(in reply to NeverMan)
Post #: 44
RE: Playing GB - 3/15/2010 4:40:00 PM   
AresMars

 

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I echo Dancing Bears comments - More then the 3 options outlines in the General are not needed...

I also agree that a breakout of the ships are not relevant (sorry Naval boys) - reducing the number of fleets ot the orginal number and assigning "ship equalivants" makes more sense....

What I would also like to see are the following;

[My personal likes] increased costs for creating fleets (ie. from 1 to 5), same with CORPS (from 1 to 3), establishing depots (1 to 3), playtesting of these ideas and the COSTS of ships factors for balance
[Existing Optional Rules in Game] naval transport limited to 10 Factors PER FLEET counter, reduced naval range when stacking and transporting, naval evasion


(in reply to Dancing Bear)
Post #: 45
RE: Playing GB - 3/16/2010 10:14:18 AM   
delatbabel


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Increasing the cost of creating corps hands the game to France.  We tried this in a playtest once.  France has the largest corps and therefore can afford to build fewer of them and still have a large army.

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Del

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Post #: 46
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