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Thread: Ship damage question

  1. #1
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    Default Ship damage question

    Forgive the dumb question but I have not played this for a long time. As I understand the rules, the damage boxes on the ship mat are always filled according to the ships burden. If it is 3 then the first box will be filled when damage chits equal 3 or more and that will always continue until all boxes with numbers in them are filled and the ship is disabled or sunk. I was wondering .... instead of sticking with the same burden, should it not take less damage points to fill the boxes as the ship gets progressively knocked about?

    (I was thinking of the plus one damage rule from Wings of Glory)
    Last edited by Baxter; 02-12-2020 at 16:42.

  2. #2
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    You are correct about the rules for assigning damage, Gary. However, the ship surrenders when the last box is covered by a damage counter, not necessarily filled up to the burden value (page 18 in the rulebook).

    I think that the value needed in damage counters to fill a box is set at the burden value for all boxes to keep the system simple. However, you could apply a different system as a 'House Rule', see whether it improves the game and make a report.

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    The burden of the ship represents the total damage which it can sustain before it becomes unsailable Gary. This is not a progressive weakening of the structure but rather the cumulative destruction done in total. As such it is not actually connected to the damage done each firing but rather the breaking point at the end of the game.
    The real measure of attrition is the progressive weakening of the crew and the number of tasks they can complete or repairs they can make before the ship becomes untenable and their morale goes.

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    I agree fully with Rob. When handling the progressive weakening you could have many variables that you vary. If you want to have a higher burden first, you should probaly also adjust firepower ratings to vary as the damage progresses. Higher at first but more rapid fall off early on and slower for the rest. It's all just a question of what variable you hold constant.

  5. #5
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    A bit late here but if this helps think of the burden as the ships armour class and damage threshold

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    If anything I'd argue that the ability to absorb more punishment with little further degradation of function should probably increase over the course of the battle.

    The first gun carriage hit will certainly remove a gun from action for a while if not permanently... but after half the guns are disabled, there is a 50% chance overall (and maybe up to 100% chance on the engaged side (reduced in part because some shot will pass through and through)) that the gun just hit is already out of action. The same for injury to masts and spars - important when the mast is capable of carrying sail, but once shot away or out of control from cut rigging, additional injury to it only makes fishing harder once repairs are undertaken post-battle, and may prevent full restoration of the rig until replacements can be prepared from the available sticks, or new stores are taken on at a friendly port.

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    While that is true, a ship is out of the action well before all guns iare gone on one side. The general chaos of battle will lessen the effectivity of the guns much more than just the destroyed guns. This doesn't even include the loss of efficiancy working heavy, hot guns for hours while stepping in the blood of your friends with no rest.

    Interesting enough Burden is also the attack value when boarding. There's not much room for small weak vessels overcrouded with boarders as pirates were.
    Last edited by TexaS; 04-15-2021 at 01:25.

  8. #8
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    Its worth noting that the "damage" relates as much to the breakdown in crew morale, will to fight and combat effectiveness as it does to structural damage - moreso perhaps. So don't get hung up on the idea that a ship reduced to its last hull box is on the verge of collapse and sinking, it generally isn't (especially for the larger rates), its more that the crew have had enough.

  9. #9
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    And yet, you track crew and 'hull' and rigging casualties separately. There is some inconsistency in that reasoning. Are there also morale rules, taking another bite from the same apple?

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    Its not inconsistent, crew "casualties" really represents the ability to deploy manpower effectively. There is a sense of double accounting, but nobody is saying that when your crew units reduce to zero that everyone is dead or injured, again it is a reflection that the crew has become combat ineffective

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    In modern military terms, it's the difference between a "Mission Kill" vs a "Hard Kill." Mission Kill is when an asset is damaged beyond ability to continue mission, say a dive-bomber squadron at Midway that only has a quarter of its strength make it back to the deck and land in flyable-again condition. Even assuming the majority of the crews are somehow picked up, not enough planes to fly and deliver a punch means the squadron is functionally destroyed. Hard Kill would be like Orient at the Nile--an MK can eventually be come back from with time, manpower and expense, an HK means you have to start over from scratch. (Example, USS Arizona was the only "Hard Kill" ship at Pearl Harbor, other than the old Oklahoma which sank in transit back to the West Coast the US government went to great, possibly even unjustified, lengths and expense to get every other ship that was sunk or damaged there back into fighting condition if not outright improved. And while the juice wouldn't have been worth the squeeze, if the political will had been there even Arizona could have been hauled up to rebuild, they would have had to replace the entire forward roughly 1/3 of the ship, everything from B Turret to the stempost.)

    Personally, I'd like to see some more mechanics about struck or foundering ships for the game--reality is they don't just ghost off the battlefield, wrecks and struck vessels are still navigation hazards and shot blockers that need to be worked around, plus every so often a crew rallies, like a taken ship's crew rising against their captors and retaking command.
    Last edited by Diamondback; 04-15-2021 at 10:48.
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    That is why I have my sinking ship models DB. In all our games if a ship strikes, to ensure its capture two sea boats must be launhched to make it secure losing one box of men from the winning ship, which can then depart for more action. if this is not done and the capture can reasonably be put to rights it may continue to deploy what action cards it can in order to become servicable and then make off. Major mast or rudder repairs preclude that, but the capturing ship will not know that unless a prize crew are dispatched, not always possible in the heat of battle. If a ship is sinking it will also stay on the table, and gradually subside beneath the waves, after which it ceases to be a hazzard unless in an estuary or on a sand bank.

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    The other question would be, would you put a boarding party on a ship to scuttle it and make SURE the other guys can't salvage or retake it? Also, if the player controlling the struck ship has another adjacent, would your rules allow for taking crew off and using them to reinforce the rescuing ship?
    Last edited by Diamondback; 04-15-2021 at 10:51.
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    In the vast majority of AoS games that I've played (and all the rules I've written) it is extremely rare for a ship to be sunk. That is generally only going to happen if it suffers a single shattering very heavy broadside, or if it is on fire. In most cases the ship will strike, so it remains on the table and drifts. "Scuttling" a struck ship was possible, often by fire and usually in cases where there was no prospect of taking it as a prize. But the loss of prize money was, of course, frequently a good reason not to do so. Struck ships were expected to remain so unless the enemy made off and left the struck ship alone, to do otherwise was a stain on the honour of the captain. It occasionally happened, USS President being an example where she struck to Endymion, then made off whilst the British frigate sorted her own damage out and sought to find a boat that would "swim"

  15. #15
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    In cases like that it is up to the honour of the other player. I would always try for the prize if at all possible. No Captain wants a disgruntled crew, nor an antagonistic Admiral because they have been deprived of prize money. Most games that I play with Captain Kiwi or Captain Smithers have always been decided by consent, and a discussion about what would be the most likely outcome in real life. It seems to work wherever the rules do not give a directive for an oddball situation. Consensus rules.

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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