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Tradewinds Ted
02-15-2014, 17:49
Just posted this on BoardGameGeek too:

I know there have been some complaints that it is hard to learn to maneuver the ships at first, and there has also been some misunderstanding on how the red bordered "taken aback" maneuvers work, so perhaps a variant that makes this part of the game even harder seems like madness, but please hear me out:

One concern I have is that you never miss your tack. Any ship can turn through the wind, in just a couple of turns, maybe three turns at most, and while it will likely have to drift backwards a bit, the ship facing will still continue toward the desired angle. In addition, at any point after the start of that sequence a ship can use the veer 5 maneuvers to go straight (backwards) and still be able to resume turning in either direction as desired.

I propose limiting that movement. On the first turn in the red "taken aback" zone, play the rules as written. But if on the second or later turn taken aback the wind is coming over the port bow, the ship must use the red 6+ taken aback maneuver, drifting back and turning to starboard. If instead the wind is coming over the starboard bow, then the red 4- taken aback maneuver must be used, and the ship will drift back and turn to port. In the rare circumstance where the ship is headed exactly into the wind, then the 4-, 5, or 6+ taken aback would be applied, based on the maneuver chosen.

This would better simulate missing a tack, where the ship would need to "fall off" the wind a bit, to gather momentum before trying to turn through the wind again.

From what I can see of the A, B, C, D decks out now, any ship still ought to be able to get across the wind successfully past the midpoint if starting from a close-hauled position, and turning smartly. But not if you dawdle and for example choose to try straight (veer 5) somewhere along the way! It also might be more difficult if caught by an unexpected and unfavorable wind shift along the way, but really that should make it difficult to tack successfully, this would improve the simulation!

Please give it a try. if you think it is too harsh, then at least consider imposing this restriction starting with the third turn taken aback.

:steer:

Bionic Wookie
02-16-2014, 18:42
Just posted this on BoardGameGeek too:

I know there have been some complaints that it is hard to learn to maneuver the ships at first, and there has also been some misunderstanding on how the red bordered "taken aback" maneuvers work, so perhaps a variant that makes this part of the game even harder seems like madness, but please hear me out:

One concern I have is that you never miss your tack. Any ship can turn through the wind, in just a couple of turns, maybe three turns at most, and while it will likely have to drift backwards a bit, the ship facing will still continue toward the desired angle. In addition, at any point after the start of that sequence a ship can use the veer 5 maneuvers to go straight (backwards) and still be able to resume turning in either direction as desired.

I propose limiting that movement. On the first turn in the red "taken aback" zone, play the rules as written. But if on the second or later turn taken aback the wind is coming over the port bow, the ship must use the red 6+ taken aback maneuver, drifting back and turning to starboard. If instead the wind is coming over the starboard bow, then the red 4- taken aback maneuver must be used, and the ship will drift back and turn to port. In the rare circumstance where the ship is headed exactly into the wind, then the 4-, 5, or 6+ taken aback would be applied, based on the maneuver chosen.

This would better simulate missing a tack, where the ship would need to "fall off" the wind a bit, to gather momentum before trying to turn through the wind again.

From what I can see of the A, B, C, D decks out now, any ship still ought to be able to get across the wind successfully past the midpoint if starting from a close-hauled position, and turning smartly. But not if you dawdle and for example choose to try straight (veer 5) somewhere along the way! It also might be more difficult if caught by an unexpected and unfavorable wind shift along the way, but really that should make it difficult to tack successfully, this would improve the simulation!
:steer:

This would be a distinction without a difference. I agree that tacking was an inherently difficult proposition. Success or failure would be more a factor in crew quality and a number of other factors. The "falling off" is accounted for in the cards as they are. Even the Spanish could perform a tack, although they could be missed due to unusual wind shift, crew quality, battle damage, or bad seamanship on the part of the Sailing Master, Captain etc.

I am uncertain how crew quality can be crow-barred into the rules as written, unless one were to change the RAW to indicate a ship having lost masts could not tack, but remain in "irons". Another though would be to include a chance to miss maneuvers but that would require a randomizer, which is not in keeping with the flavor of the RAW.

The game works well as it plays. It is an inherently limited model of the period, but then all games are.

Tradewinds Ted
02-17-2014, 02:06
This would be a distinction without a difference. I agree that tacking was an inherently difficult proposition. Success or failure would be more a factor in crew quality and a number of other factors. The "falling off" is accounted for in the cards as they are. Even the Spanish could perform a tack, although they could be missed due to unusual wind shift, crew quality, battle damage, or bad seamanship on the part of the Sailing Master, Captain etc.That is exactly what this variant is intended to model more closely. Even with this variant tacking is ordinarily still possible for every ship, but now wind shifts, battle damage, poor crew quality, and poor seamanship could all make it more difficult, and result in sometimes missing a tack, all without adding any additional randomizer.
- The effects of wind shifts are pretty obvious and are outlined above.
- Battle damage has an effect because the maneuver that begins the tack might not provide enough of a change in the desired direction to allow the tack to complete successfully.
- Even crew quality is taken into account if you are playing with optional "untrained crew" rules, and the action that is missed is the adjustment of sail state for the last movement prior to being taken aback, and it might not be possible to have enough of an initial change in direction.
- Poor seamanship is reflected if the maneuver that begins the tack is poorly planned and does not provide enough of a change in direction, particularly if a straight (veer 5) move was planned after that.

fredmiracle
02-17-2014, 02:32
The proposal makes sense to me. The idea that you could sort of "hang out" indefinitely in a taken aback state, maintaining control of your course and dodging back and forth at will, doesn't seem to jive with my understanding of how these ships actually sailed. Either you get far enough around and complete the move, or you have to give up the maneuver and start again.

Bionic Wookie
02-17-2014, 12:01
Perhaps we have been playing it wrong, or I misunderstand the present rules, but I thought that once one places a maneuver card and one discovers that one is "in irons" and has to switch to a red card, then one chooses a red card within the limits of "veer" and applies the first "hour glass" maneuver on the card. IIRC that card moves the ship backward slightly. The second "hour glass" is used depending upon the angle of the wind to the mainmast. If the angle is wrong, then one has missed a tack and falls off in the unintended direction. I have done this with my French SOL in a battle last week. It was very embarrassing and lead to the second ship in line smacking into my stern and causing me to take enough damage to sink. (Fill in discussion from another thread concerning the extreme damage resulting from fire, gunfire or ramming).

Note: I do not have the rules, maneuver cards or game with me to refer to for confirmation.

fredmiracle
02-17-2014, 13:03
Perhaps we have been playing it wrong, or I misunderstand the present rules, but I thought that once one places a maneuver card and one discovers that one is "in irons" and has to switch to a red card, then one chooses a red card within the limits of "veer" and applies the first "hour glass" maneuver on the card. IIRC that card moves the ship backward slightly. The second "hour glass" is used depending upon the angle of the wind to the mainmast. If the angle is wrong, then one has missed a tack and falls off in the unintended direction.

It's a fine distinction, but in the normal rules, every turn YOU get to choose which red card gets played--it's never selected based on the wind. This is because every turn you play a normal maneuver card, as per usual, and then it gets converted into a red card based on its veer, for as long as you remain taken-aback.

So in principle you could sort of bob back and forth in the red zone, or just keep backing straight up, for as long as you want. Which doesn't feel very realistic to me.

So the house-rule proposal here is that once you get to two hourglasses, the *wind direction* determines which red card you get, rather than the normal maneuver card that *you* chose.

Tradewinds Ted
02-17-2014, 17:37
Fred - thanks, that is exactly it.

Tim - It sounds like the way you were instinctively playing the game is pretty much the same as the house rule I've proposed. It just makes more physical sense.

DeRuyter
02-19-2014, 11:51
The proposal makes sense to me. The idea that you could sort of "hang out" indefinitely in a taken aback state, maintaining control of your course and dodging back and forth at will, doesn't seem to jive with my understanding of how these ships actually sailed. Either you get far enough around and complete the move, or you have to give up the maneuver and start again.

Usually once a tack is failed you fall off and have to build up sufficient speed to try again. OTH one could perform a maneuver calling "boxhauling" which is to continue to bear off until you end up wearing the ship around with the wind passing through the stern. Kind of hard to do if you are trying to sail in formation!

csadn
02-19-2014, 15:20
Given how difficult these things are to maneuver anyway, do they *really* need any more obstacles to handling?

Tradewinds Ted
02-19-2014, 17:37
Given how difficult these things are to maneuver anyway, do they *really* need any more obstacles to handling?Well, I'm suggesting yes they really do. :steer:

I did admit many would consider it madness to complicate the maneuvers further, but I've missed my tack enough times when out sailing that it just feels wrong that would never happen in a sailing game.

Tradewinds Ted
02-19-2014, 17:52
Perhaps a slightly more acceptable version would be to allow the straight veer 5 taken aback card to be used any time a veer 5 card was selected while in irons, but any turning maneuver on the 2nd and later turn of being taken aback would result in drifting back and turning downwind, as described above. Careful rudder control and sail handling might make drifting straight backward possible while at a small angle to the wind.

This would allow slightly more choice of movement, to possibly bring guns to bear on an opponent, or avoid a shoal, but ultimately would still present the same restriction of not being able to continue to complete the tack once that action had been delayed. (unless there is a favorable wind shift meanwhile!)

Bionic Wookie
02-19-2014, 18:16
OTH one could perform a maneuver calling "boxhauling" which is to continue to bear off until you end up wearing the ship around with the wind passing through the stern. Kind of hard to do if you are trying to sail in formation!

Not being a sailor, what is the difference between "boxhauling" and "wearing ship"? Forgive me if this is too far off topic, but I thought they were essentially the same thing.

Coog
02-19-2014, 18:48
Box hauling is a tighter maneuver where you let the wind take a square rigged ship aback and you steer sharply so that the ship turns around while backing.

fredmiracle
02-19-2014, 21:08
Given how difficult these things are to maneuver anyway, do they *really* need any more obstacles to handling?

Hmm, my response to this houserule came from this place: I'm not much of a sailor, but I have a hunch from reading fiction that one can't simply stay in a taken-aback position indefinitely and maneuver at will. It doesn't seem to me that the ships worked that way, so it seems to improve the historical feel.

What's less clear to me is whether, in practice, the rule isn't needed because the game has enough "penalties" baked in for being taken aback that no one would ever try backing their way around the board in ahistorical fashion. Don't have the game experience to know about that yet...

DeRuyter
02-20-2014, 10:03
Hmm, my response to this houserule came from this place: I'm not much of a sailor, but I have a hunch from reading fiction that one can't simply stay in a taken-aback position indefinitely and maneuver at will. It doesn't seem to me that the ships worked that way, so it seems to improve the historical feel.

What's less clear to me is whether, in practice, the rule isn't needed because the game has enough "penalties" baked in for being taken aback that no one would ever try backing their way around the board in ahistorical fashion. Don't have the game experience to know about that yet...

Well, actually you can stay hung in irons for quite some time. Very frustrating in light winds I can tell you! Ships often deliberately come head to wind to effect repairs, change sail or take on boats. A square rigged ship could also back sail to remain relatively stationary. What you shouldn't be doing is steering backwards around the board, the wind will push you on to a new course and you'd start forward movement again.

Also my understanding of the Standard Game rule is that you don't "choose" the red card. The card you use is based on the veer number of the selected forward maneuver, first the single hourglass forward and then if still in the red the second hourglass to the stern at which point you'll more than likely turn out of red. As I understand it this is Ted's issue with the rule, that you always make your tack (you never fall back in the original direction of travel).

Eric

fredmiracle
02-20-2014, 11:32
Well, actually you can stay hung in irons for quite some time. Very frustrating in light winds I can tell you! Ships often deliberately come head to wind to effect repairs, change sail or take on boats. A square rigged ship could also back sail to remain relatively stationary. What you shouldn't be doing is steering backwards around the board, the wind will push you on to a new course and you'd start forward movement again.


that's where I'm out of my depth. The proposed houserule *sounded* a bit more accurate. Basically it seems to be doing that "pushing you onto a new course" thing. But I lack the knowledge to comment with any real authority.



Also my understanding of the Standard Game rule is that you don't "choose" the red card.


you choose it in the sense that you pick a maneuver card knowing that it's veer will determine what happens if you are taken aback

DeRuyter
02-20-2014, 12:59
that's where I'm out of my depth. The proposed houserule *sounded* a bit more accurate. Basically it seems to be doing that "pushing you onto a new course" thing. But I lack the knowledge to comment with any real authority.



you choose it in the sense that you pick a maneuver card knowing that it's veer will determine what happens if you are taken aback

Correct. What I meant to say was that your choice of red card is limited based on your prior maneuver card. So you can't freely choose which direction you sail in after you are taken aback. So if you turn into the wind intending to tack and don't made it out of red on the first hourglass you continue in the same direction, except that now the wind is pushing the ship backwards as she falls off onto the new tack and then you continue forward on your new course. So I didn't see much choice in that, in order to remain moving backwards in different directions.

fredmiracle
02-20-2014, 13:33
So if you turn into the wind intending to tack and don't made it out of red on the first hourglass you continue in the same direction, except that now the wind is pushing the ship backwards as she falls off onto the new tack and then you continue forward on your new course. So I didn't see much choice in that, in order to remain moving backwards in different directions.

It's always seemed like a lot of choice to me, but maybe I'm overstating the extent to which one can predict whether one will end up "in the red" at a given point in time. Of course wind shifts could always mess you up, and you might miscalculate, but it seems like once you've been playing a while, it wouldn't be too hard to figure that you're going to be in the red and plan accordingly. Which, I've been conjecturing, could include some odd multi-turn backing moves if you want to get cute.

But as I say, it's all theoretical and maybe wrong, since I'm STILL waiting to return to the same country where my toys (oh yeah and family and life :happy:) are so I can actually try this darn game

DeRuyter
02-22-2014, 14:33
I thought I would post several diagrams which may help this discussion or any dealing with tacking and other maneuvers. These diagrams are courtesy of "Seamanship in the Age of Sail" by John Harland. An excellent if expensive reference.

Here is a standard tack in a square rigged ship. In SoG this would be represented by making the maneuver with the first red card, or at most the second.


9149


This one would represent the ship not executing the maneuver well and going backwards, which was more the norm for unhandy ships. This is what is represented by the second red card.


9151



This is wearing.


9153


This one is interesting because it is used to avoid a collision, something we all want to do in SoG!


9152


This is a boxhauling maneuver which was previously mentioned because it is used if you fail the tacking maneuver. I supposed this may equate to needing more than 2 red cards to turn though the wind which IMO would be considered a failed tack.


9148


So far I have not decided whether to add a house rule to simulate a failed tack. I am leaning against it, however one could use it as a scenario special rule if weather conditions such as light wind or heavy seas made tacking more difficult.

Eric

Coog
02-22-2014, 14:43
Great post Eric!

fredmiracle
02-22-2014, 14:59
Thanks for the post!

I thought it was interesting what it said about light wind making tacking problematic. It would be neat if light winds, aka "minimal sail" made tacking harder. I don't think it does, from what I can see in the rulebook examples, it looks like you get the same *angle* on the turn in all wind conditions, you just go a different distance (?)

DeRuyter
02-23-2014, 18:56
Thanks for the post!

I thought it was interesting what it said about light wind making tacking problematic. It would be neat if light winds, aka "minimal sail" made tacking harder. I don't think it does, from what I can see in the rulebook examples, it looks like you get the same *angle* on the turn in all wind conditions, you just go a different distance (?)

You are correct, the wind state rules in SoG are very basic and just alter the distance for the most part. If you under full sail in high wind you can take sail damage. This may not be a bad thing in keeping with a fast playing game, etc.

John Paul
02-24-2014, 03:31
You are correct, the wind state rules in SoG are very basic and just alter the distance for the most part. If you under full sail in high wind you can take sail damage. This may not be a bad thing in keeping with a fast playing game, etc.

Just so happens I pulled this very book off the shelf the other night to help make sense in my own mind how the Red Cards actually work in the game, and found after some reading and studying the diagrams it did clear things up somewhat! As you've stated in game terms it's very basic and simplified in extent, but it makes sense now that I had the chance to read and get my head around what the card represents in reality!! The book is just about a "Must Have" if you game in this period!!!

Beowulf03809
02-25-2014, 14:00
And it's really nice to see that these "red card moves" are realistic and historical to at least a degree. There was a comment made in one of our games basically to the effect that they were interesting and fun but not realistic. I think it was mostly in reference to the double-glass red moves. I may print the graphic and book reference to show for the doubters.

:rum:

John Paul
02-25-2014, 20:48
For those of you who own a copy of the book "Jack Aubrey Commands" check out the painting on the dust jacket. It clearly shows all the ships preparing to tack into the wind! So it gives you a pretty good idea how the sails were set to perform the maneuver!!

Bionic Wookie
02-28-2014, 17:47
Fred - thanks, that is exactly it.

Tim - It sounds like the way you were instinctively playing the game is pretty much the same as the house rule I've proposed. It just makes more physical sense.


Well ummmm urummmm hmm ---Heck Yea! I guess I am smarter than I look! LOL (OK, I am being proud - my Beloved Wife is standing behind me laughing uproariously - really embarassing! LOL)