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fredmiracle
02-18-2015, 14:49
People have said tacking is too easy in the game--no chance of failing, etc.

But the other thing about tacking is it takes a lot of crew ready to shift things around at the correct moments (right?)

So how about this house rule:


Each ship has a new type of action chit: "tacking." If a ship would either start or end its planned move in the taken aback red zone, and it did not plan a tacking action, then its movement card is replaced with a randomly chosen two-broken-mast card (representing the ship thrashing around)


This would make players at least plan a bit more carefully for tacking, make players a bit less eager to tack, and would create some difficult decisions as a player starts taking crew casualties

Jason
02-18-2015, 15:15
When I first read about a test to tack in Warhamer Historical's Trafalgar I was a little bit shocked - why, you say, should there be any difficulty, any able sailor can tack. However, learning more and more on the subject especially on this very forum, I have been a little bit haunted by the historical thruth, that tacking was no easy manouver.

Your idea seems cool. Although I wonder, if it wouldn't be more accurate to always select a broken mast card that steers away from the wind. My little sailing experience suggests, that when you loose momentum and do not make it across the wind, you use staysails to turn the bow away and start gaining speed for another attempt, and the ships hull drifts away as well. On the other hand, a failed attempt wouldn't accidentally allow a tack to go through anyway, if you select a random card that follows the desired turn direction.

Broadsword56
02-18-2015, 16:10
While we're on the tacking subject,

Does anyone have any ballpark idea how many minutes it would have taken an average-skill crew to tack an unrated, 3-masted ship in a medium wind?
A lot of variables there, I know -- but I'm just trying to get some sense of a baseline time, which might take shorter or longer depending on other factors.

fredmiracle
02-18-2015, 17:24
learning more and more on the subject especially on this very forum, I have been a little bit haunted by the historical thruth, that tacking was no easy manouver.

my feeling exactly


I wonder, if it wouldn't be more accurate to always select a broken mast card that steers away from the wind. My little sailing experience suggests, that when you loose momentum and do not make it across the wind, you use staysails to turn the bow away and start gaining speed for another attempt, and the ships hull drifts away as well. On the other hand, a failed attempt wouldn't accidentally allow a tack to go through anyway, if you select a random card that follows the desired turn direction.

good point, that seems like an improvement for sure

Kentop
02-18-2015, 17:38
While we're on the tacking subject,

Does anyone have any ballpark idea how many minutes it would have taken an average-skill crew to tack an unrated, 3-masted ship in a medium wind?
A lot of variables there, I know -- but I'm just trying to get some sense of a baseline time, which might take shorter or longer depending on other factors.

I'll take a wild guess and say for a trained crew, it takes about 10 to 15 minutes from the time you give the order to prepare to tack to actually tacking and setting the sail. Tacking is more than just turning through the wind, it usually meant falling off maybe two or three points to pick up some speed and then turning into the wind. The most time consuming part is getting everybody ready to let go or haul every running rigging rope on the ship. Almost all of the crew (including marines) would be involved. You can't just snap your fingers, even with a highly trained crew. All the ropes on one side of the ship have to be let go and all the ropes on the other side must be hauled, then both sides must secure the lines and start trimming the sails. You had officers assigned to each mast and below them, different crews for different sails on that mast. They all had to be ready and they could only go as fast as the slowest crew. You literally had to wait until everybody was in place and ready. That takes time.

Nightmoss
02-18-2015, 20:50
People have said tacking is too easy in the game--no chance of failing, etc.

But the other thing about tacking is it takes a lot of crew ready to shift things around at the correct moments (right?)

So how about this house rule:


Each ship has a new type of action chit: "tacking." If a ship would either start or end its planned move in the taken aback red zone, and it did not plan a tacking action, then its movement card is replaced with a randomly chosen two-broken-mast card (representing the ship thrashing around)


This would make players at least plan a bit more carefully for tacking, make players a bit less eager to tack, and would create some difficult decisions as a player starts taking crew casualties

Certainly fine for house rules, but if you start making SGN more of a prototypical simulation and less of a game then I'm thinking your average gamer isn't going to want to play it.

fredmiracle
02-18-2015, 21:08
Certainly fine for house rules, but if you start making SGN more of a prototypical simulation and less of a game then I'm thinking your average gamer isn't going to want to play it.

In general I think this is true, and I'm basically spitballing, not promising even I will use this rule. But I do start to think that Ares missed the boat a bit by not differentiating tacking and wearing more. The red zone handling doesn't seem to capture the tough choices captains faced historically, and as such loses a layer of interesting tactical decision making.

John Paul
02-18-2015, 21:38
Certainly fine for house rules, but if you start making SGN more of a prototypical simulation and less of a game then I'm thinking your average gamer isn't going to want to play it.

I agree with Jim on this the more suggested "changes" are made to move the game in the direction of actual simulation the less of a game it becomes, and less likely to appeal to gamers who don't want to fuss with the nuances of sailing and fighting a rated sailing vessel. The simplicity of the game is what makes it attractive especially to those with a modest interest in the period.

David Manley
02-19-2015, 00:06
Thats a fair point, that said some of the simplest naval wargaming rules for the age of sail do manage to cater for this very easily and adding somehting to cater for this would have made agood advanced rule. Failure to tack was a significant issue in the manoeuvre of ships of the period (still is in some cases) and is one of those features that is, IMHO, worth recreating. The "problem" is, I guess, that in a more regular set of rules it would be a simple die throw with a modifier for crew quality and damage. Of course the ethos of SGN is to avoid the use of dice. There are so many cases where having a pot of six chits numbered 1 to 6 (or ten numbered 1 to ten) would have been so helpful :happy:

David Manley
02-19-2015, 00:07
...... I do start to think that Ares missed the boat a bit by not differentiating tacking and wearing more......

Its not as if it wasn't suggested during development...... :happy:

John Paul
02-19-2015, 22:24
Thats a fair point, that said some of the simplest naval wargaming rules for the age of sail do manage to cater for this very easily and adding somehting to cater for this would have made agood advanced rule. Failure to tack was a significant issue in the manoeuvre of ships of the period (still is in some cases) and is one of those features that is, IMHO, worth recreating. The "problem" is, I guess, that in a more regular set of rules it would be a simple die throw with a modifier for crew quality and damage. Of course the ethos of SGN is to avoid the use of dice. There are so many cases where having a pot of six chits numbered 1 to 6 (or ten numbered 1 to ten) would have been so helpful :happy:

I would like to think that at the early stages of SGN there were a few extra cards in the ship deck that provided for such maneuvers as a proper port and starboard tack. However, during development it was determined within the confines of the 4' x 6' playing area would the emphasis be the ability of players to sail circles around each other just out of gun range, or should it be on using some basic maneuvers, get along side the opponent, and let broadsides be the determining factor in the outcome of the game. It would seem the later won out in the name of playability.

Would making some changes to ship maneuvering as mentioned make that much difference in the game? Probably not, though to my mind it might add somewhat significantly to the time it takes to play a single game/scenario. This could be more significant when novice "sailors" who have almost zero knowledge in what it takes to maneuver ships at sea in this period are involved in a game. Thus, even though they have an interest in playing the game the time needed to try and figure out just "how" to play might dissuade them from actually committing to buy it let alone play.

Your point as to how other age of sail rules cater to the learning curve of sailing a 3 masted war ship at sea is well taken, but I think even in those cases the rules are written in a manner for those who have some basic knowledge of the period. In fact I have a set the author of which, and yourself share the same name. Though I'm sure that's just a coincidence! :happy:

To my mind this is just one of those trade offs between an accurate portrayal for a game in this period, and a fast play enjoyable type of game of the period. Nothing wrong with either one, and both can be just as fun! It's just a matter of flavor to taste you could say! Both are right, and none are wrong!

Kentop
02-19-2015, 23:33
To my mind this is just one of those trade offs between an accurate portrayal for a game in this period, and a fast play enjoyable type of game of the period. Nothing wrong with either one, and both can be just as fun! It's just a matter of flavor to taste you could say! Both are right, and none are wrong!

Fast play being the opposite of accurate portrayal? I have noticed a trend among the old salts on this site to engage in apologetics when anyone points out something wonky or missing in the rules (and that happens with alarming frequency here). This game won't last long if ARES doesn't sit up and take notice. In a historical game such as SOG, it is better to err on the side of accuracy or you risk losing the people who bought the game in the first place. If you want fast play, may I suggest rocks, paper, scissors?

David Manley
02-20-2015, 01:35
Fast play being the opposite of accurate portrayal?

Personally, and as a wargamer and rules author both amateur and professional for nearly 40 years I don't believe that "fast play" is the opposite of "accurate portrayal". Some of the most accurate games I've encountered in terms of effect have been very simple, streamlined systems. Some of the most inaccurate have been horribly complex systems which by the very nature if their burgeoning rulebooks gave themselves the air of accuracy but which were anything but.

When I'm looking at an existing set of rules and tinkering for "accuracy" I try to make it a rule not to introduce anything that increases the level of complexity or goes against the design intent of the existing rules. hence whilst I personally would overhaul SGN and introduce a host of events and outcomes that could be resolved very quickly and simply with a die throw I would be loathe to suggest them here as it runs counter to the diceless ethos of the system.

David Manley
02-20-2015, 01:38
....In fact I have a set the author of which, and yourself share the same name. Though I'm sure that's just a coincidence! :happy:

it might not be, I have been publishing for 25 years now :) But I know there is another David Manley in the US (on the West Coast I believe) who has also published a set of AoS rules in the not too distant past.

fredmiracle
02-20-2015, 02:03
Obviously there is a lot of art to making a good game, tough tradeoffs that have to be made, and no system will please everyone. I do respond to a simple, elegant and internally-consistent system, but it also really needs to capture the historical flavor, and help me feel that my experience parallels the experience of historical participants in its important parameters.

That's the perspective from which I'm beginning to think tacking is a sufficiently important parameter that hand-waving it was a mistake. In re-reading Hornblower with my son, or reading historical accounts, it's clear that taking the decision to tack in battle was a "BIG DEAL." The red-zone handling kinda sorta captures that, but only to a rather limited degree. It leaves me feeling like a significant piece of the experience of commanding a ship in battle (and not just a little technical detail that is rightly below the game's notice) is not mapped into the game...

Jason
02-20-2015, 04:14
I agree in general with the comments that side with preserving the simplicity of the game. SGN simplicity is an outstanding factor in making the game so popular, especially among casual gamers, or sea-enthusiasts that are no gamers at all but are passionate about sailing and thus enjoy this easy beer-and-pretzels fun.

On the other hand, in my personal opinion, the advanced rules of the game have a lot of options that overburden the play with not so important decisions that slow the dynamics of the game, without added benefit. To make tacking more challenging, even only as an advanced option for players who want to utilize it for the sake of greater accuracy, would add an element of challenge-succes dynamic that is an important factor of satisfaction in games theory. The proper way to do it would be by including an option in existing mechanic of the game, without dice-throws, tables, or new cards. In this regard, Fred's proposal fits perfectly, as it doesn't add any new step to the sequence of play. The chit that prepares crew for tacking is in fact taking the 25% share of all crew action that would belong to some other chit instead, and consumes time that would otherwise go to resolving the other chit effects.

I believe that current mechanics do a very bad job in portraying tacking, because instead of making it a challenge, they promote sailing into the wind every possible turn, because 1) staying in irons gives you opportunity to position your unit for an upcoming broadside in a favorable spot 2) turn your ship with the second hourglass card in the manner that you can fire two broadsides one after another. Seriously, that's the easiests way in the game to turn the ship around so it fires one broadside after another aggainst the same target.

I don't say it isn't fun. It's just inaccurate. :wink:

csadn
02-20-2015, 18:02
How Hard Can It Be to just say "If Tacking, no firing"?

7eat51
02-20-2015, 22:43
This game won't last long if ARES doesn't sit up and take notice.

I would disagree. This game might not last long among a certain group of players who might not be too drawn to SoG for other reasons, as previous discussions about 1:1000 scale, etc. have shown. I believe SoG, like WoG before her, are designed for the causal player who wants a fair level of feel, rather than for war-gamers per se. What I find rather amazing is the breadth of appeal; I have had war-gamers and non-war-gamers play at the same table with equal enjoyment.


whilst I personally would overhaul SGN and introduce a host of events and outcomes that could be resolved very quickly and simply with a die throw I would be loathe to suggest them here as it runs counter to the diceless ethos of the system.

Please, suggest away.

Personally, I like the development of house rules. I can employ them as I see fit based on the goal of any given gaming session. I have benefited from being a member of both sites by learning from the depth of knowledge and experience of others, and seeing how that knowledge and depth get translated into house rules.

Up to this point, I have found the basic and standard rules sufficient for many enjoyable gaming sessions. We, sometimes, play with a couple of the advanced or optional rules, but most of the folks I play with are content without too much added beyond standard.

Dobbs
02-21-2015, 10:43
IMHO the red cards represent a tack that did not go so well. During the first hourglass, the captain uses his ship's dwindling momentum to keep pushing through the eye of the wind. If that is not enough, for the second hourglass, he has the crew boxhaul the rig and push the bow the rest of the way through the wind as the ship is blown backwards by the backing sails. It is similar to backing the jib and putting the helm over the other way on a modern sailboat, only a tad more complicated. As far as introducing a probability factor, it would have to be a fairly remote chance of failure. These captains were professionals responsible for an important part of their country's strategic well-being (Victory alone had a greater weight of shot than Napoleon's entire army at Waterloo). Would you risk that on something with a 1 in 6 failure rate?

I like the idea of not being able to fire while using red cards, but all in all, I think the rules are a good compromise between playability and reality.

Dobbs
02-21-2015, 10:46
To liven things up, one could always add a level of randomness, and if things do not turn out favorably, the player could randomly draw one of the other two red cards and use the 2nd hourglass maneuver for what his ship ends up doing.

David Manley
02-21-2015, 12:03
Would you risk that on something with a 1 in 6 failure rate?

Depends on what you call "failure", it could, for instance, be a delayed execution rather than the ship going into irons. I agree that for an average crew in benign conditions the chances should be very low, but throw in green crews, adverse weather and sea conditions and (especially) rigging damage and it becomes MUCH harder t accomplish (which explains why wearing was often the preferred option)

Jason
02-22-2015, 07:48
Ok, so first thing, I'd like to state that I'am by far on the side on keeping things simple, and I believe that SGN is a fun game that does pretty good job as it is, a simple and non-demanding game about sailing. I would go against making it a detailed simulation. That said, I believe that there are certain thing that could be done better, and one of them is this tacking issue. Not because it doesn't portray sailing a full-rigged ship accurately and in technically correct manner. Because it takes away a challenge, and some important tactical decisions, that could give you more fun from the game, because something could go wrong (in the same time accomplishing it would give you more satisfaction).

I'd like to show you an example of what I mean with some silly pictures ^_^

Here, two ships close in for an exchange of broadsides. With a carefully planned maneuver, player commanding the leeward ship goes beating with an intention to tack.
13069

The ships both fire their broadside, and the leeward player executes the 2 hourglas card.
13070

Now the smart captain can fire second broadside, turn after turn wrecking havoc on the deck of enemy vessel.
13071

IMHO this kind of swift maneuvering is something with an aire of aerial combat, left in mind of designers from their previous projects, and looks like a well exectued immelman. It doesn't convey how hard it was to handle the burdensome beasts that SOLs were.

Here, let's see what would happen if the ship would miss its tack and has to fall off the wind. 13072

It turns its vulnerable stern towards the enemy and is prone to be obliterated. It losts its momentum and has to fall from the wind to gain speed. The daring maneuver didn't work and the smart captain has to pay for it. 13073

Look, this way, I believe, players would have to consider more what they want to do, and the game would play more... realistically?

I have a thought on my mind. Lets say that for the maneuver to be succesful, a player has to draw B damage chit. If the number exceeds the ships burden, it has succesfully tacked. To the number draw, you could add some modifiers, like if the crew was prepared +1, if the ship had a good momentum +1, +1 if on full sails, or negative, -1 if the wind is weak, -1 unskilled crew or something else - maybe, add how many hand you still have on the deck?! This way a fresh ship would tack easily, but with some battle damage already taken, it might fail, or if it a burden 6 1rst rate, even with fresh crew has a possibility of failure. This way, a sloop or frigate would tack almost every time for sure, but commanding a 1rst rate, players would have to take into consideration that wearing might be the better option.

Another idea - when missing your tack, randomly select one from two red cards that fall from the wind - this way, a badly handled SOL could be hung in irons for two or three turns, like a sitting duck, and for a frigate, one good push would have her back beating and having wind in her sails.

Take a look further - this would give frigates an insane edge over SOLs in terms of manouverability - keeping you frigate windward would be such a beneficial strategy, and a wise commander could exploit this advantage so much! I can see so much potential in this rule.
And besides, it doesn't add any complications or steps to existing gameflow. The rule with randomly selecting red cards is the same as tacking with a broken mast.

Reasuming - i see SGN as a great game, and by no means I propose this as an unwanted disturbance to balanced and fair original rules. It is by all means a house rule that might be fun to try out for everyone interested in having a more accurate sailing chalange. Besides - this are some vague thoughts, and i submit them here for critique and brainstorming :))

7eat51
02-22-2015, 11:26
Jan, I like your logic a lot, and I think the addition of the pictures was extremely helpful in understanding and appreciating your point. :thumbsup:

When running games, I would prefer not to look at a chart and modifiers; keep it quick because the gain of realism might not offset the cost in game-play momentum. When playing solo, I have the luxury to explore greater intricacies, so charts are fine. I use them when playing WoG and really enjoy the effects.

I have played games in which the GM spent much time consulting charts and rolling dice; after a while, I started checking out of the game's story, and each turn became separated from the previous and subsequent turns. Too often, the game never reached the conclusion because only a few, highly-detailed turns were completed.

csadn
02-22-2015, 16:16
Umm, guys -- I do believe I covered this in one sentence: "If tacking, no firing". (Tacking here defined by "wind coming through front of base".)

Nightmoss
02-22-2015, 22:55
Remember, you go to the two hour glass move after the one hour glass move. Only in the Basic Rules do you go directly to the two hour glass move. In Standard and Advanced Rules your first tack movement would still be in a forward motion and you wouldn't get that freebie broadside. Recalling Keith's tip for remembering the sequence; One is in front and two out behind (or words to that effect).

It's still very interesting to read these posts to see where some new house rules might be taking SoG.

Jason
02-23-2015, 03:05
Jan, I like your logic a lot, and I think the addition of the pictures was extremely helpful in understanding and appreciating your point. :thumbsup:

When running games, I would prefer not to look at a chart and modifiers; keep it quick because the gain of realism might not offset the cost in game-play momentum. When playing solo, I have the luxury to explore greater intricacies, so charts are fine. I use them when playing WoG and really enjoy the effects.

I have played games in which the GM spent much time consulting charts and rolling dice; after a while, I started checking out of the game's story, and each turn became separated from the previous and subsequent turns. Too often, the game never reached the conclusion because only a few, highly-detailed turns were completed.

Thank you, Eric. I also don't like charts, and try to avoid them at all costs. However, one of my ideas (add number of hands/crew actions still available) to the chit drawn, requires no tables, and seems fun. I don't want the game to get complicated - I've been designing game rules for more than a decade, and very early on I've came to the conclusion that the simpler rules often give you more realistic experience - real life is not a chart of probabilities and everything can happen :)

My reason for thinking about these rules is that during the first games that I've played, and scenarios that I've set, I presumed that a windward position, and tactics of gaining -attitude towards the wind, give you an edge. And I learned - they don't. You just have to close on enemy and go around in circles.
The game doesn't have any mechanics baked in that would represent the weather gauge, and from reading AoS novels I had always imagined that struggle to gain the better of enemy in terms of weather gauge.

The problem I can see here, is that the game was designed to be played on small mat, and sailing out of it amounts to surrender. We all know that it is totally contradictory to historical reality, but it requires the rules to allow free movement down and up the wind so the game doesn't end in players struggling to not be pushed out of the ring by The Game :wink:

So what I've proposed here certainly has sense only if you allow the game to be moved along with playing surface, and deeply messes with original rules.



Umm, guys -- I do believe I covered this in one sentence: "If tacking, no firing". (Tacking here defined by "wind coming through front of base".)

That's a fine, simple rule that would make tacking no-so-nice, but I don't see how being hung in irons would prevent the gun crews from firing.

Jim - As you can notice, I've started the sequence with the leeward ship already tacking (first hourglass forward move to the right). Then the second broadside is executed after the second hourglass move (backing).

Dobbs
02-23-2015, 11:24
From "William Falconer's Dictionary of the MarineReference Works"

"BOX-HAULING

BOX-HAULING, in navigation, a particular method of veering a ship, when the swell of the sea renders tacking impracticable. It is performed by putting the helm a-lee, to throw the head tip to windward, where meeting with great resistance from the repeated shocks of the waves on the weather bow, it falls off, or turns to leeward, with a quicker effort, and without advancing. The aftermost sails are at this time diminished, or perhaps altogether deprived of their force of action, for a short time, because they would otherwise counteract the sails forward, and prevent the ship from turning. They are, however, extended as soon as the ship, in veering, brings the wind on the opposite quarter, as their effort then contributes to assist her motion of wheeling.

BOX-HAULING is generally performed when the ship is too near the shore to have room for veering in the usual way."

In other words, square-riggers preferred to jibe rather than tack if possible, because you were guaranteed to get from one side of the wind to the other faster. If you had a big clumsy ship (like a 74) and it would take more than one turn to get out of the "no-sail-zone", on the second turn, the captain would "boxhaul the yards" to have the wind blow the front of the ship over the rest of the way as it drifted backwards. It was more complicated than turning away from the wind, but it was standard practice, and (I think) represented very well by the second hourglass on the cards (where the ship almost invariably falls below close-hauled at the end of the maneuver). You could have a senario with a poorly designed ship that was dis-inclined to turn to weather. Any captain would be aware of his ship's deficiency before engaging the enemy, as he would have practiced and would know avoid putting his vessel in the red zone in a pressure situation.

Nightmoss
02-23-2015, 11:50
From "William Falconer's Dictionary of the MarineReference Works"

"BOX-HAULING

BOX-HAULING, in navigation, a particular method of veering a ship, when the swell of the sea renders tacking impracticable. It is performed by putting the helm a-lee, to throw the head tip to windward, where meeting with great resistance from the repeated shocks of the waves on the weather bow, it falls off, or turns to leeward, with a quicker effort, and without advancing. The aftermost sails are at this time diminished, or perhaps altogether deprived of their force of action, for a short time, because they would otherwise counteract the sails forward, and prevent the ship from turning. They are, however, extended as soon as the ship, in veering, brings the wind on the opposite quarter, as their effort then contributes to assist her motion of wheeling.

BOX-HAULING is generally performed when the ship is too near the shore to have room for veering in the usual way."

In other words, square-riggers preferred to jibe rather than tack if possible, because you were guaranteed to get from one side of the wind to the other faster. If you had a big clumsy ship (like a 74) and it would take more than one turn to get out of the "no-sail-zone", on the second turn, the captain would "boxhaul the yards" to have the wind blow the front of the ship over the rest of the way as it drifted backwards. It was more complicated than turning away from the wind, but it was standard practice, and (I think) represented very well by the second hourglass on the cards (where the ship almost invariably falls below close-hauled at the end of the maneuver). You could have a senario with a poorly designed ship that was dis-inclined to turn to weather. Any captain would be aware of his ship's deficiency before engaging the enemy, as he would have practiced and would know avoid putting his vessel in the red zone in a pressure situation.

Funny you should mention Box-Hauling. I'm reading Post Captain by O'Brian and Aubrey just box-hauled the HMS Polycrest. I believe he did so because he was dangerously close to shore, but your definition just made the move more understandable in context of the novel. Thanks!

Dobbs
02-23-2015, 12:31
That's exactly it! Outside of tactical uses, it gives a captain an option for turning a cumbersome vessel through the wind while making minimum leeway toward a potential danger. Just imagine using the ship cards to turn from having the wind square on your port beam to square on your starboard. If you jibe or wear (turn away from the wind), you end up moving several inches further downwind before you have changed course. At least by box-hauling (the second hour-glass), you are moving away from the danger (all-be-it slowly).

csadn
02-23-2015, 16:13
That's a fine, simple rule that would make tacking no-so-nice, but I don't see how being hung in irons would prevent the gun crews from firing.

As pointed out: Tacking requires pretty-much-every hand on the rigging; the crew will be too busy trying to maneuver to take a shot.

Dobbs
02-23-2015, 16:54
I might point out that merchant ships could probably tack, and didn't have gun crews to pull from...

7eat51
02-23-2015, 23:00
The problem I can see here, is that the game was designed to be played on small mat, and sailing out of it amounts to surrender. We all know that it is totally contradictory to historical reality, but it requires the rules to allow free movement down and up the wind so the game doesn't end in players struggling to not be pushed out of the ring by The Game :wink:

So what I've proposed here certainly has sense only if you allow the game to be moved along with playing surface, and deeply messes with original rules.

Lately, we have been playing on a larger surface, using blue felt for the playing boundaries. It opens up more possibilities than the smaller mats. With the exception of writing scenarios for the solo campaign, I will probably continue to play on larger surfaces; like you pointed out, I don't like the automatic surrender due to crossing the edge.

Dobbs
02-24-2015, 18:52
How about this:

Tacking: For each turn a ship spends playing a red bordered card, its sail setting counter is moved one to the right. It can drop to “Struck Sails”, though the ship continues to move normally while using red bordered cards. Once movement reverts to blue bordered cards, the ship must move for that turn at the speed that the counter dropped to. If the counter dropped to “Struck Sails”, the ship is stationary for the first card after the last red bordered card. The ship can gain one sail setting per turn afterward.

For those who play with crew actions, there would have to be a crew chit designated to bringing the ship's speed back up.

Jason
02-25-2015, 00:59
That is a very good interpretation of original "tacking action" rule proposed by Fred. Well done :thumbsup:

John Paul
02-26-2015, 02:07
Fast play being the opposite of accurate portrayal? I have noticed a trend among the old salts on this site to engage in apologetics when anyone points out something wonky or missing in the rules (and that happens with alarming frequency here). This game won't last long if ARES doesn't sit up and take notice. In a historical game such as SOG, it is better to err on the side of accuracy or you risk losing the people who bought the game in the first place. If you want fast play, may I suggest rocks, paper, scissors?

Fast-Play and Accurate Portrayal are not mutually exclusive. Though in recent years Fast-Play has come to mean more often then not that accuracy is compromised, abstracted, or ignored to varying degrees.

As has been pointed out by several posts Captains/Sailing Masters tended to Wear ship rather then tack particularly when their ship was engaged in action with an enemy vessel. Woe befall on the Captain that was forced into a tack while engaged, as it meant crew would be pulled from their guns to handle the ship. Any Captain that decided to make a tack while engaged with an enemy more then likely would end up surrendering his ship no matter if he made the tack or not!

I believe the folks at ARES are the only ones who can rightly state why an accurate means of tacking doesn't exist in SoG.

I think the suggested change of not being able to Fire when playing a Red maneuver card would fix the Tacking problem rather easily, as it simulates the need to pull crew from their guns to handle the ship.

John Paul
02-26-2015, 02:15
Lately, we have been playing on a larger surface, using blue felt for the playing boundaries. It opens up more possibilities than the smaller mats. With the exception of writing scenarios for the solo campaign, I will probably continue to play on larger surfaces; like you pointed out, I don't like the automatic surrender due to crossing the edge.

I've thought that if a ship is forced to leave the playing area it should be allowed to reenter two or three turns later, and say two to three base lengths from it's original point of departure. I don't care much either for the automatic surrender deal.

fredmiracle
02-26-2015, 09:25
I've thought that if a ship is forced to leave the playing area it should be allowed to reenter two or three turns later, and say two to three base lengths from it's original point of departure. I don't care much either for the automatic surrender deal.

We are definitely "shifters"--if a ship is about to go off the edge, we move all the ships an equal amount so there is space. In theory this wouldn't work if the ships were widely spread out across the map, but in practice I can't recall that ever happening...

Jason
02-26-2015, 15:07
As has been pointed out by several posts Captains/Sailing Masters tended to Wear ship rather then tack particularly when their ship was engaged in action with an enemy vessel. Woe befall on the Captain that was forced into a tack while engaged, as it meant crew would be pulled from their guns to handle the ship. Any Captain that decided to make a tack while engaged with an enemy more then likely would end up surrendering his ship no matter if he made the tack or not!
.

That was pretty well said. Thank you.


I've thought that if a ship is forced to leave the playing area it should be allowed to reenter two or three turns later, and say two to three base lengths from it's original point of departure. I don't care much either for the automatic surrender deal.

I cant even consider this surrender rule. It just contradicts the very foundation of man's desire to sail: freedom of the high seas.
So whenever need arises, I dont hesitate to shift the playing area (although I usually play on a blue bed sheet on the floor 1x2 meters)
On the other hand, I do rarely play just "meeting engagements", it happened maybe once or twice to test the rules. Most of the time we set up a scenario - a raid, running a blockade, damaged ship running for cover of shore batteries... so there is rarely a need to shift the playing surface, as the point of scenario is to get form point A to point B for one side to win.
Perhaps that is why I seek more challenge in sailing itself, like harder tacking - to make those chases more interesting. It's hardly useful in a typical slugfest.

John Paul
02-26-2015, 22:26
I cant even consider this surrender rule. It just contradicts the very foundation of man's desire to sail: freedom of the high seas.
So whenever need arises, I dont hesitate to shift the playing area (although I usually play on a blue bed sheet on the floor 1x2 meters)
On the other hand, I do rarely play just "meeting engagements", it happened maybe once or twice to test the rules. Most of the time we set up a scenario - a raid, running a blockade, damaged ship running for cover of shore batteries... so there is rarely a need to shift the playing surface, as the point of scenario is to get form point A to point B for one side to win.
Perhaps that is why I seek more challenge in sailing itself, like harder tacking - to make those chases more interesting. It's hardly useful in a typical slugfest.

Whether you want to shift ships, or in some other way keep ships IN the game I think is the best way to play the game! I understand why ARES put the rule in the game, but it just seems to be an over simplified way to accomplish the intent! Although the rule as it is does prevent a Captain that finds his ship in trouble from just running away to save face!

Upon reading your prior post with the diagrams I recalled an engagement the USS Constitution had when she took on two 32 Gun British frigates which were escorting a convoy. At the height of the engagement the Constitution found herself in a position with the sterns of the opposing frigates facing in her direction. She raked one nearly dismasting her and resulting in that ship striking her colors, she then did a Starboard Tack maneuver to bring her guns to bear for another raking shot on the second enemy frigate again causing severe damage on the enemy vessel. Though as that ship had the wind she was able to get away before Constitution could catch her with another broadside. If I remember right, the Constitution then went after the three ships in the convoy capturing two of them. At the moment I can't recall the name of the action!!!!!

My point is, I haven't come up with a good answer to the lacking of Tacking in the game. As shown in your diagrams above allowing for a "gamey" situation as you noted doesn't really meet with the intent of the game. There should be the means to allow players to handle the challenge of properly handling their ship in a more realistic manner. There have been some good suggestions made above in how to better make that possible, and I guess the more we knock this thing around the closer we will get to a satisfactory means of making it work!

Banana_Joe
04-06-2015, 08:48
What about leave the red maneuvers like they are written in the rules.
Just reduce the sails to 0 once you are out of the red zone.
This would slow you down and makes you spend crew action with the tokens and mechanics allready in the game.

Northern Wolves
12-07-2015, 21:53
Some really good ideas here, I've been using the home rule of:

1. Having to use two crew actions for sails the entire time you are in the red and one for the first turn upon coming out. This represents all the work and extra crew that goes into tacking. So you just play the sail change chits while in the red, but don't actually change your sail setting. This way if you are undamaged and not repairing or pumping, you can fire, as you still have 2 actions to fire or reload, on the other hand, having 2 actions used up during a tack it could be bad if you have lost any sort of crew or are pumping or repairing, it makes it a dangerous maneuver to intentionally undertake.

2. The first turn after completing the maneuver (typically the 3rd turn) you must play the 5 red card forward, this simulates the time it takes to accelerate from the turn.

Question I haven't had it happen yet, but I wonder what one would do if you ended up in the red after a 5 veer card? The card for that is straight forward and straight back, there is no rule or option to get out of that currently, as the red card for a 5 veer is 5 itself, repeating the backwards motion after the 2nd turn.

I believe I would use a rule where on the 3rd turn of the 5 veer card you must choose the red card that wears you back towards the wind.

7eat51
12-07-2015, 22:44
Thanks for resurrecting this thread, Mike.

Neil and I were talking the other day (thank you Skype) about running simplified games at cons when new players are at the table and there is a time limit; this is what I experience at Origins. I would like to run a more involved game sometime, but one which does not require much on the part of players to manage. A simplified set of house rules would be greatly appreciated - rules that would be easy and quick to teach, remember, and employ. Reading through these posts has been a bit energizing along this line.

Something to talk about sometime via Skype, Neil. It would be enjoyable if others ever want to do a Skype conference call to kibitz on such things.

Union Jack
12-08-2015, 18:57
The two things I like from all the discussions which I think would make the tack a nice house rule or rules:

1. For each red card played sail setting decreases by 1. A task is required to increase sail So theoretically you could maintain sail settings but it would take two tasks. One to change sails for the tack and one to maintain speed.

2. The ability to fire a single broadside with 2 tasks to reload it.

Therefore all 4 tasks are taken up. 1 to Change sails for tack, 1 to maintain sails and speed and 2 to reload a fired broadside due to reduced manpower available. (Firing would not take as many crew as the guns are already assumed loaded).

This then leads on to another question:

If you don't maintain speed could you fire the second broadside?

Bligh
12-09-2015, 03:06
I think that on having now read more on the subject I'm inclining to the simple rule that whilst tacking, the red card means that all hands are engaged in ship handling and no other task may be undertaken.
Rob.

Union Jack
12-09-2015, 05:07
In agreement there Rob. Seems the simplest way to deal with it. I'm anything for sticking to KISS (the principle not the group).


I think that on having now read more on the subject I'm inclining to the simple rule that whilst tacking, the red card means that all hands are engaged in ship handling and no other task may be undertaken.
Rob.

7eat51
12-09-2015, 23:41
KISS (the principle not the group).

My first album purchase was KISS Alive. I'm not proud; I am just saying.

FUNK FU
01-16-2016, 18:10
Am new to the game, but not to sailing and Naval warfare.

I think the stress of tacking is covered rather sutbly in the rules, by the mere fact that you have to plan 2 moves out. Your first move has to get you as close hauled as possible, otherwise your next, Tacking turn will not pass you through the wind and you will be in irons. It takes 3 turns of concerted planning to pull this off.

As for firing whilst on a red card, you always should be able to, as it a) was a valid tactic to swing the ship about to bring the opposite battery to bare, and B) unlike merchantmen, Man O' Wars had a dedicated gun crew and tops crew. The gun crew never manned sails at quarters, instead the tops crew supplemented the gun crew unless called for (which allowed smaller ships to be able to fire dual broadsides, or reload a disengaged side whilst the gun crew works the engaged side)

Kentop
01-16-2016, 18:31
If you are turned into the wind, your entire crew, including gun crews and marines, are manning sails to turn the ship. There is no such thing as a "dedicated" crew aboard a sailing ship. As a marine or gunner, you had better know your station under the masts and when to haul and let go under orders.

Bligh
01-17-2016, 01:58
Thanks to Dave Manley, having just read "Seamanship in the age of sail" by John Harland, where he lists the positions and duties of ships crew and Marines for just about every eventuality on board a ship, I am even more inclined to go along with what Ken says.
Maybe it is O.K. for gun captains to pull a lanyard on loaded guns, but I would not allow reloading whilst in Irons at least.
Rob.

Herkybird
01-17-2016, 03:52
I would agree, however, I would say for an even simpler option, maybe say if the wind is blowing from the red direction, no shooting is allowed.

This would allow ordering as normal, but would punish players who get into irons just to get a good firing angle! :question:

12francesco34
06-13-2016, 04:01
I may have found this video on this forum (i can't remember :wink:), but i think it explains tacking a square-rigged vessel very well

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxCKGS_bLKI

from my dinghy sailing experience i know that a fundamental factor for tacking is speed: so i think that a ship of the line (veer 5 or less) using backing sails (or for whatever reason using the shortest arrow) should not be allowed to tack

then my idea about tacking is this: you maneuver as usual, but in the turn you're passing head to wind you have to plan two actions (they could be raising and lowering sails). if you don't do that you should use a red card straight or going on the other direction (choose randomly) using the arrow with TWO hourglasses. This should represent the ship drifting away with sails still set and should need some proper timing as it is in reality
when tacking in strong wind and not planning the tack/planning it too early you should take a C token to represent structural damage to rigging

Bligh
06-13-2016, 04:45
What a very well illustrated example of Tacking and wearing ship Francesco, and a welcome first posting.
I would say that your idea for actions during a tack should be included as an optional rule.
It would certainly take up a crew action.
Thanks for posting such an informative clip.
Rob

jophan
09-21-2016, 04:09
I see one problem with proposing some sort of penalty for tacking, and that is when playing with the optional rule for change of wind direction. You can suddenly find yourself taken aback without having intended to, because the wind shifted suddenly. I imagine that a capable captain would have noticed when the wind gradually changed and adjusted the navigation accordingly. If there's a penalty to tacking, perhaps a tweak to the wind direction rule could be that any change in wind direction comes into force the next turn, not the current turn? (That might be a desirable house rule in any case, of course.)

Bligh
09-21-2016, 04:48
Good point Johan.
I always apply the rule straight after the next card is picked Johan. if a Captain is sailing that close to the wind that he cant get out of a couple of degrees change of direction, he gets all he deserves, :steer:as I found out to my cost recently.:shock::help::smack:
Rob.

Nightmoss
05-11-2019, 08:38
Just dropping in to share a very nice YouTube video that was posted on The Miniatures Page. Didn't want to start a new thread on tacking and wearing so I'm appending this post to one started by Fred. I found the step by step explanation well done. Cheers!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxCKGS_bLKI

Bligh
05-11-2019, 09:57
Thanks for the clip Jim and good to hear from you.
I will pop the clip into the stickies.
Rob.