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Thread: Disturbing trend shipmates.

  1. #1
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    Default Disturbing trend shipmates.

    It is a bit disturbing to see that for the third month running we have had fewer than 100 posts on the Anchorage. Are we running short of ideas, and playing fewer games? I was also half expecting an influx of new ship painted models with the advent of the printed ships. This also seems to have dried up of late.

    Rob.
    Last edited by Bligh; 08-03-2022 at 13:57.
    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.

  2. #2
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    Ah, if I only had access to printed ships!

    That is disappointing. We'll just have to do better next month. I have a few adventures in the works.

  3. #3
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    Good for you Dobbs. You actually supported us very well this month. I will try and get my last exploit at Dubrovnik written up over this week.

    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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    Perhaps we need an app released on Steam, IOS and Android to stimulate interest. There was one released for Wings of Glory a couple of weeks ago that seems to have bumped up numbers. Playing solo you can play a game in 3 minutes!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dobbs View Post
    Ah, if I only had access to printed ships!

    That is disappointing. We'll just have to do better next month. I have a few adventures in the works.
    If only Keith hadn't folded... a 3d printer and a "master license" for Henry's and Simon's portfolios to get distro running on this side of the Pond would make logistics immensely easier and coulda printed him money.
    --Diamondback
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    Historical Consultant to Ares, Wings and Sails - Unless otherwise noted, all comments are strictly Personal Opinion ONLY and not to be taken as official Company Policy.

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    Ahh yes, my apologies for my tardiness in this respect, I have a couple of projects that need writing up and yes I have plenty of hulls in the shipyard.
    But other worldly things have interfered, but a light on the horizon for me, from 1Oct goung into semi retirement so will have a lot more time to do these projects.

  7. #7
    Admiral of the Fleet.
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    Don't believe it Chris. Retirement is one of the most demanding periods of your life. You will wonder how you ever had time to go to work!
    Rob.
    Last edited by Bligh; 08-02-2022 at 13:14.
    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.

  8. #8
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    I forget whose Law it was, but there is one about "workload and expenses expand to fill available time and budget." Expect CINC-House to decide that your time is now HER time and consume it with a neverending Honey-Do List...
    --Diamondback
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    In addition to the already mentioned, I have to add the newbie perspective. This is a somewhat expensive game. Starter sets are rarely available in Europe, and when they are, they are overpriced. Buying more ships is expensive, and the models aren't as beautiful and detailed as 3D printed or the Black Seas ones, if you are somewhat skilled in modelism (I'm not, but definetly want to take a shot at it). The maneuver deck system, even if it's the core of the game, it's also a burden, as buying a different ship to the ones you own means buying an official Ares mini or trying to get a spare deck (you can scan and print, but need an original).

    I'm looking at the alternative rules created by Dobbs and I'm liking them, but that makes me consider buying Black Seas as movement templates and rulers are parte of their system, and the ships are bigger. Is it worth to buy this game with close to no new content? Will I end up tired of the card system due to not being able to make any ship I want and being forced to buy at least an original for every type of ship? Most people are recommending me Black Seas and other games instead of this one, and I'm still doubtful. However, when you take into account the old players might be busier, and the community isn't really growing, you get why the trend is to go down.

    That's my un informed 2 cents, always up to debate. Also appreciate help with my question on the newbies forum.

  10. #10
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    Hi Felix,
    Ok a lot of what you are saying is correct, ref the ships.
    Yes you would need to buy at least one of each type of model to get a set of movement cards, this is the one real down factor I agree.
    No matter how much you may hope this will change, believe me it will not.
    Also we have found that the last two waves the ships are smaller than they should be, plenty of threads here that explains what has happened.
    You are also correct in that ships in Europe are hard to find, in Uk we still have a few outlets but prices are variable, afraid I got no idea about your countries availability.
    Now we diverge, I have bought the Black Seas starter set and have bought a couple of their other ships. In my humble the larger ships, frigates and above are nice agreed. Their brigs etc I think are not so good and do not look the part.
    Another down side, for me at least is the sails, which are paper, sorry what a load of duff. Acetate ratlines, again not the best in my opinion and they do not come with the correct amount only having enough for the lower masts.
    Ok Ares dont have any at all so you have to make them or by Langton models brass etched.
    For me I quite like the scale of 1/1000 the size is enough for me and the table size allows more manoeuvre also they are take out of the box and play, no painting required so you buy and ready to go. Black Seas need assembly and require painting before play.
    Cant say about Black Seas as never played but have read through the rule book.
    The main reason I chose Sails of Glory was I was looking for a set of rules I could play and not have to go through reams of tables or extra rules.
    Sails I was up and playing, the basic game within minutes. Attending many wargames shows in the uk over the past 10 years putting on Sails games we have had players complete novices, understanding the rules within 10 mins, a big plus. You can then add as many rules that you like.
    If you are looking for a detailed Napoleonic Naval game, Sails is not that game. But if you are looking for a set of rules that gives you the flavour of naval warfare in Napoleons time, for me it hits the spot. When you get to the advanced rules, plenty of detail and variations available.
    The combat system with the chits, although arbitrary , I like as it gives enough detail to show the combat deterioration and also has variation in the chits for misses and special damage. Again hits the spot for me.
    There now available a number of 3d hulls, if you have a printer which readily raises the number of ships you can have, bases , there is a source in the UK that I have found to get these made, it really is the manoeuvre decks that are the sticking point.
    One question you ask is is it worth buying the game.
    For me yes, I have a large number of ships with another 70 plus hulls printed ready for adding masts and sails. It is a fun game and personally I have been playing since it first apeared, yes I did the kickstarter, and still look forward to playing, the down side for me is I am not able to get to a club to play. Also it is a period that is not to everyones taste and lastly, I believe, people thing as it is wind based the rules are difficult. Every show we have attended I have never yet had anyone say the game was bad, may not be to the players taste but all say they enjoyed playing, so that is a big plus.
    Have you played Black Seas and compare the enjoyment to Sails of Glory?
    To help with the rules in our files section you can download a player aide I made which gives a sequence of play with rule book pages annotated. If you cant find drop me a pm.
    Apologies for the tirade, but I am a fan of Sails of Glory.
    If I can help with any question feel free to contact me.
    Enjoy

  11. #11
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    My system of play allows you to get two ships cards out of one pack Felix. Each pack has two of each card excepting the taken aback and broken mast cards. They are easy to duplicate but I just hold one set of that particulsr card in a central pool to be used by players if needed. The rest of the pack I split in half so I get two packs of one of each movement cards. Then I add a card which says hold your course. If you wish to play two of the same cards after each other the second one is the hold your course card, and you simply play that with the card you put down last again.

    Of course this also means that it halves the number of cards you need to go through to find the one you want to play and also thus speeds up the game.

    Here is an example of my extra card. Feel free to use it if you wish.



    Rob.
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    Last edited by Bligh; 08-03-2022 at 14:25.
    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 can't say about noneof the games, as I have played neither. However, I've downloaded both rulebooks and I'll read them over to see exactly where the differences are. I thought Black Seas was simpler, but I have learnt that it has too different advanced rules that you can introduce gradually. I can say I hold no grudge against the chits/cards system, it's a little bit like rolling dice but there is no need to check anything for special damage.

    I'm getting a few resin printed planes (I don't have a printer) soon, if I find good 3D models I must say I prefer those over the Black Seas style of assemblable minis, that for sure. The major drawback is the price and availability, I think. Also, there are people that prefer to be able to manage groups of ships, even if it's not fleets.

    I'm being recommended by lots of people Black Seas, Id love someone to point the advantages of one system over the other, not taking into account the minis.

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    Although I have not played Black Seas, I have played their other naval game for coastal actions, Cruel Seas, although I enjoyed the few games I played its not a game I have gone back to due mainly to keep looking up the charts for damage, this is not to say Black Seas is too difficult. I think Sails is a simpler system, except for the delayed actions, but these are not difficult either if you use the correct sequence. But this may well be due to my familiarity with Sails and less so with Black Seas, pity you are not here in UK so we could run you through a few games.
    Try having a read through the threads on some of the After Action Reports to see games in play

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    I have been thinking about this. My little gaming group of usually four people do not play Sails much at all mainly because it takes too long to get through a game. We meet at 7.30pm and like to be finished by 9pm at the latest so any game that runs for more than 90 minutes is not good for us. I guess I need to look at alternative rules or ones that can be time controlled. Wings of Glory for us is the best game because it is usually fast and furious. I also have Oak and Iron which in some ways I prefer but a game of that usually takes around 3 hours.

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    I like SoG because I feel that it does a good job of recreating the feeling of sailing on a tabletop. Of all the commercially available games, I think it does that the best. I haven't played the other games, but in perusing their rules, they haven't gripped me the same.

    I do agree that SoG can easily eat up an afternoon, but I like the ponderous build to a climax and plan for the time. If I want to game and am short on time I reach for a different game or make do with the fighting the opening exchanges. Truth be told, I've fought a fair number of battles that were called just after the first bloody nose, and found them very satisfying.

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    I have to say that for me there are two things that I want out of a game. I want beautiful models and a good sailing feeling of the game.

    To me the black sea ships look bad. I first saw the brig and frigate set, and having sailed brigs I didn't really get into the miniatures. They have the wrong shape of the hull and are cartoony with oversized ship's names and figureheads. The paper sails makes my blood boil. I have even had discussions with Henry about his 3D printing sails. I really hate the 2D look of sails. When you put a piece of fabric into the wind it billows. It forms a double curved surface. You can never replicate that with paper or etched metal sheets (unless you use a mushroom smithing anvil thing). Thankfully Simon's 3D printable sails set is good. The size may be a problem if you want to play big battles but may fit small one on one frigate action quite well.

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    Honestly, I've never played a game of Sails of Glory that I didn't thoroughly enjoy. It doesn't matter if I win or lose, I always have fun, and that makes it one of my favorite games, even if it's not as popular as I think it ought to be.

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    If Jonas and Dobbs with real sailing experience under their belts think that the feel of Sails of Glory is better then I am happy with my own assessment of the game.

    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.

  19. #19

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    I've - again - dropped off the radar screen (I know that's a bit anachronistic for the age of sail), but I have been doing a lot of naval skirmish stuff (as mentioned in the August Workbench post). I will try to get my last 2015 Campaign AAR done. I would like to wrap that up and get onto the 2016 scenarios. Plus I need to get back to building my 17th century ships which I will when the official Mad for War rules are published - soon we're promised.

    As for lessening interest - that's what happens when a manufacturer stops supporting the game. It can't be changed. As for a "digital" version, well, I have mixed feelings about that. It's good in that it's easy for someone to get into the game and get a game played. However, it's bad in that it's easy to get into the game (i.e., a player has very little invested in it) plus it seems to me that "digital" games consume far more time than one realizes which is the addiction factor. But people can do as they please. My worry is that it will suck people away from the tabletop side. Slitherine has had tabletop and digital versions of games and it never seemed to me that people went from digital to tabletop. FYI - I was hooked to an online 24/7 medieval combat game with in game purchases. I saw where that was going and quit. But that's just my perspective - others will have different ones.

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    I've been buying up Black Seas models lately. They are releasing new models every few months. Xebecs, Russian ships, 6th rates, etc. Downside is I'm never going to get them all painted and rigged.

  21. #21
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    So far this month I have been busy getting things ready for Britcon on this coming weekend. I will post a report after the event.
    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.

  22. #22
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    Some thoughts from the perspective of someone new to SoG but not new to gaming:

    1. Appeal of SoG:
    Why did I buy the game? The ships looked good when I happended on an ongoing game at a games fair. Secondly, I liked the movement concept. Thirdly, the rules range from easy (Basic Game) to straightforward (Standard/Advanced).


    2. Pricing:
    The Starter Set (I got it for 70 or 80 Euros, can't remember) is a tad less than double of what you pay for a standard "Euro Game". As the SoG player base seems to be mainly around 50 years of age, this is usually not the biggest issue as throughout life this is the period in which people have probably the best "spending power". Additional ships packs seem - in part - somewhat pricey to me: Between 20 to 25 Euros for an HMS Victory is something. After all, the miniatures are plastic and not pewter. Of course, there is the "standard" paint job in which the models come, which I reckon is applied manually. This might add to the price.

    Compared to other games I play, overall, SoG is not pricey. Of course, it allows for sinking serious amounts of money into it, which might be especially true if you go into modifying ships, building terrain etc. Yet an ASL (Advanced Squad Leader) Core Module, of which there are 16, might cost you up to 240 US$. Current cost of a rulebook is close to 100 US$. So measuring ASL vs. SoG, the cost of a 'complete kit' of ASL is massive, for an admittedly much more extensive game.

    But you could also pit SoG against other games: Magic - The Gathering for example. Its very business model makes it costly because at its core you "need" to buy stuff that you - don't need. Otherwise, no way to the rare and very rare important card, except if you pay outrageous prices on the secondary market.

    Computergames anyone? Well, in the past, you bought a game and it was yours. Nowadays, you pay for subscriptions - whether you play the game or not. And many computer games are designed in a manner that urge you make repeated in-game purchases - for real money. Much money spent, but in the end, you own nothing. Opposed to that, every ship-pack you buy is yours.

    Then there are numerous other hobbies which are not game related. Books, sports, you call it. If you add up the cumulative cost to maintain them, it is likely you'll find that games as SoG or even ASL cannot only compete but are cheaper overall and in the long run.
    As long as you don't opt to travel to conventions during which you have to pay for hotels, food, getting there and back again. If you do that, however, then 80 Euros for a Starter Pack of SoG is not an issue.


    3. Community:
    Not many posts in the forum despite this being the place for the SoG-Nerds and rules gurus. Alas, I find it not surprising.
    First of all, SoG is a niche game. The initial price might appear high for the young ones - currently, (as of Jan. 2023) I set it at 80 Euros for the Starter Box plus another 40 for an ocean map. They are prone to fall for an intial 40 Euros followed by an uncharted amount of In-App purchases which obfuscate the true cost. You don't "see" SoG anywhere - you have to stumble on it or actively have to search for games like it. So first access is not trivial. Next, the medium of a forum is - alas - considered outdated by many. One could say that the "Golden Days" of forums have passed. Facebook came and went, now it is Discord. For the purposes of the game, forums are better suited - especially as a resource with a chance of being structured on top of that. The younger ones do not "grow up" with forums any more, they don't even use FaceBook, the former "must have". Instead, forums are - in my experience - kept up by the old hands that know their worth and who are at the same time reluctant to chase, for good reason, after the newest App with the masses every two or three years. This is why forums eventually bleed out and lack fresh blood by influx of new and younger players. Despite still being the best tool to support a game as a resource to turn back to.

    4. Support of the game by the manufacturer:
    This is an issue. I bought the Starter Box, I bought a number of ship packs along with some other stuff (kind of recklessly without having seriously tried the game before). Very soon I realized, that I neede "Ship Mats" for actions with more that four vessels. Nowhere to be had (as of Jan. 2023). My first impression after browsing through this forum is, that the issue persists already for a couple of years. Despite extra "Ship Mats" are what I rate to be an essential component. Not good.

    Well, of course, you can scan stuff, photoshop them, redo them from scratch better than the original - the typical nerd stuff. But this should not be required to lay your hand on the stuff you want.

    In games with a long history and a not too small but dedicated player base, these issues can be overcome. Once more I draw on ASL as an example. The manufacturer for many years used to be very slow to publish new products or get core components which were out of stock back into print. People were waiting on some things for a decade. Unbearable as it was, some of the geeks and nerds (which I mean not derogatory but rather as a badge of honor) came up with solutions. They designed scenarios, they came up with extra rules the finally also created additional counters and boards. From humble beginnings, this turned into TPPs (Third Party Producers). This meant something of a grey zone regarding to copyright issues etc. In the event, it kept the game alive until the original manufacturer / its successor recovered. It was the TPPs which brought new innovations, some of which were incorporated by the official manufacturer this way or the other later. Today, there is what one could call a symbiotic relationship between the official manufacturer and TPPs. Of course, the people and designers behind scenarios are in some cases the same for the official manufacturer and TPPs, which both rely on the input of grognard dedicated players.

    This is basically the same for SoG. I glean than the grognards around here have come up with rules for boats, booms, house-rules, and other things. They 'advise' Ares on ship types etc. They create new kit in the form of superior wind-roses and all sorts of stuff. In a way it might not be wrong to say that a core of grognard players have surpassed the original designers of the game. The "survival" of the game really rests with these grognards who keep the fire burning.

    A danger could be, though, that the player base for SoG is too small, the period since SoG exists up until now too short to ensure long-term survival.


    5. What can be done?
    One would need to create visibility among the suspectible. Games fairs like Spiel in Essen, Origins in the US or smaller conventions of the right sort are places where you can get people prone to such games to get in contact with them. This is how I found out about the game.

    Yet another time I will fall back on ASL to relate what I think to be an important observation:
    Due to the insane complexity of ASL, it was often difficult to find opponents playing the game nearby. So eventually, ASL players which were savvy programmers developed a "virtual game board" that allowed people to play via the internet. No computer opponents, no AI. It would have to be two real persons communicating over a written log (then) and Skype or Discord (today) why shoving virtual counters across virtual boards. The framework for this is VASSAL (https://vassalengine.org/) which was originally created for VASL (Virtual ASL) but has turned over time into a platform for hundreds of virtual adaptations of "cardboard" games.

    Today, among the ASL community, it is the common opinion that VASSAL/VASL has been vital for the continuing prosperity of the game. It costs nothing. It provides all 20,000 plus counters, all 100+ boards etc. It brings together opponents from all over the world who were often isolated before. It has been a pillar in forming a world-wide community. Practically, you can try the game there and will find grognards ready to teach you. They will make the game much more accessible because while playing you "see" which parts of the hundreds of pages of rules are vital in the beginning. And if newbies "draw blood", they buy the physical components of the game from the manufacturer. It is a great symbiosis.

    In fact, after having bought SoG, my first reflex was to see if VASSAL supported a SoG module. Alas, there is none there. I found instructional youtube tutorials etc. but no "virtual playing environment" for SoG. Theoretically, what is possible for countless other games could become possible for SoG. What would be needed is a SoG grognard who happens to be savvy in programming and willing to develop a SoG module for VASSAL. Maybe chances for this and to get things running are slim. But it might be a path to save SoG from long-term oblivion.


    Lt. Bush
    "Jeder Krieg, auch der siegreiche, ist ein Unglück für das eigene Volk, denn kein Landerwerb, keine Milliarden können Menschenleben ersetzen und die Trauer der Familien aufwiegen."
    Helmuth von Moltke d. Ä.

  23. #23
    Admiral of the Fleet.
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    Thanks for your evaluation of the game and its base.
    Some of these shortcomings have been mentioned before, but not quite so comprehensively in one place as this.
    I would welcome comments from any other shipmates on this.

    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.

  24. #24
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    I'm afraid Lt Bush is right, there will be no new players because the core starter sets are pretty much unavailable, you can still get ships but there are fewer now than say 2 years ago and I don't think I've seen ship cards for sale at a reasonable price for a long time. If the manufacturers don't support the game it will eventually die. I don't mean support it with new and exciting product, that doesn't seem to be Ares way but I mean support it with existing bog standard stuff.

    I do like the rules and feel that for small scale ship actions they work well, being simple enough to pick up and play a game without getting bogged down in complex rules and damage tables etc. Where the game shines is in using the many scenarios posted on this forum, most of these involve a few ships and give exciting and enjoyable games, they are the only reason I started playing and posting here.

    I know it's been said before but really Ares should make the rules, damage counters and movement decks freely available to keep the game alive and then be able to capitalise on the player base when they release new models but to be honest I don't think they see a future for the game and so are concentrating their efforts elsewhere and it certainly isn't on WoG either.
    Cheers

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexaS View Post
    I have to say that for me there are two things that I want out of a game. I want beautiful models and a good sailing feeling of the game.

    To me the black sea ships look bad. I first saw the brig and frigate set, and having sailed brigs I didn't really get into the miniatures. They have the wrong shape of the hull and are cartoony with oversized ship's names and figureheads. The paper sails makes my blood boil. I have even had discussions with Henry about his 3D printing sails. I really hate the 2D look of sails. When you put a piece of fabric into the wind it billows. It forms a double curved surface. You can never replicate that with paper or etched metal sheets (unless you use a mushroom smithing anvil thing). Thankfully Simon's 3D printable sails set is good. The size may be a problem if you want to play big battles but may fit small one on one frigate action quite well.
    Henry has revised his sail and mast set several times and it is much better than the original free version. I also found another set specifically for the Black Seas frigate and brig which is a big improvement. Although in fairness the cut of sails did change during the period leading to much less of a billowing look once fully set. I agree with you on the Warlord ships, frankly the rules are a bit "hollywood" as well, but that is true of most of their rules. Having said that I have seen some very well-done Black Seas ships. For example:

    https://jjwargames.blogspot.com/sear...All%20at%20Sea

    He also uses a modified version of the Too Fat Lardies "Kiss Me Hardy" rules for squadron and fleet battles. KMH works well for a games convention where you may find miniatures gamers put off by all the chits used by SoG.

    Quote Originally Posted by William Bush View Post
    Some thoughts from the perspective of someone new to SoG but not new to gaming:

    snip

    Computergames anyone? Well, in the past, you bought a game and it was yours. Nowadays, you pay for subscriptions - whether you play the game or not. And many computer games are designed in a manner that urge you make repeated in-game purchases - for real money. Much money spent, but in the end, you own nothing. Opposed to that, every ship-pack you buy is yours.



    In fact, after having bought SoG, my first reflex was to see if VASSAL supported a SoG module. Alas, there is none there. I found instructional youtube tutorials etc. but no "virtual playing environment" for SoG. Theoretically, what is possible for countless other games could become possible for SoG. What would be needed is a SoG grognard who happens to be savvy in programming and willing to develop a SoG module for VASSAL. Maybe chances for this and to get things running are slim. But it might be a path to save SoG from long-term oblivion.


    Lt. Bush
    First as to the VASSAL issue. I think that platform caters more to boardgames, as you noted for ASL. I think miniatures gamers use Table Top Simulator as a virtual platform instead and I believe there are modules (free) for SoG. TTS can be had for $15 or so on sale and most of the modules are free. I played a virtual battle of Trafalgar during the pandemic using Osprey's Fighting Sail rules.

    Second, I will quibble with you about computer games. I have yet to see a subscription based wargame and I have way too many games in my Steam account. You may be thinking of the large MMO games which are free but to get ahead you can buy a premium account; World of Tanks is the big example. In the PC wargame space you do sometimes get DLC or modules that you can choose to buy after the base game. For example, a game called "Valor and Victory" based on a board game, a simplified ASL if you will, is set in the Normandy campaign but you can buy a module for the Arnhem campaign or Stalingrad. The base game is $20 and the modules half that or less.

    https://store.steampowered.com/app/9...alor__Victory/

    However, most games are still a one off purchase and are far less than a comparable board game. For an example related to SOG you have "Ultimate Admiral Age of Sail" which offers a campaign game as well as tactical fleet sailing set during the American Revolution complete for about $30. There are exceptions of course, you might be familiar with Gary Grisby's War in the East2 $80- expensive for a PC game, but you get a very detailed complex game for the money. Bottom line though is that you own all the games and of course they take far less storage space! (Thinking about my bins of 1980s vintage games - including ASL! )

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    I agree totaly with you John.
    If Ares concentrated upon the Starter sets, basics, and ancillary chits and mats, anyone wanting to expand their fleets could use the growing numbers of existing printed ships to satisfy their needs.
    Money for old rope.

    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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    By far the best support I've experienced is by Firelock games. Sure, skirmish level pirate games are bound to attract lots of players but their stuff, especially ships, are expensive. Still, that doesn't seem to stop anyone. Firelock's "corporate" Facebook has 24K followers. There are 7,500 in the 28mm skirmish group, "Blood & Plunder - Buccaneering across the Spanish Main". Fair enough, but they also have "Oak & Iron", 1/600 battles - closer to SoG; and that Facebook gamer group has 2,500. Plus there are a few supplementary groups like "Blood & Pigment", etc. that provide articles and Youtube videos analyzing factions, tactics, how to scratch build stuff, etc. That's just to show what is possible despite. I think the key is a critical mass of passionate people. Full credit to Firelock for building that critical mass and keeping it going.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vagabond View Post
    I'm afraid Lt Bush is right, there will be no new players because the core starter sets are pretty much unavailable, you can still get ships but there are fewer now than say 2 years ago and I don't think I've seen ship cards for sale at a reasonable price for a long time. If the manufacturers don't support the game it will eventually die. I don't mean support it with new and exciting product, that doesn't seem to be Ares way but I mean support it with existing bog standard stuff.
    I can report that as a newbie I had no troubles of finding Starter Packs and Ship Packs, even most Accessories with the (important) exception of Ship Mats in the net. Prices varied significantly for the same articles. This is probably because at some places the same articles have been on offer for a long time without need of being replenished and updated to current higher prices in the process.

    What a manufacturer should do is indeed to keep the critical components continuously available.
    IMHO these are a) the counters b) the ship mats c) the Starter Set.

    For the rules it would be sufficient to make them available as a PDF. They are not long and thus can be printed on a standard printer at home without difficulty if need be. In fact, I found the rules in the net as a PDF. So we are fine here.

    At any time, at least some ships must be available. Some models, bases, movement profiles, etc. are vital. It is not necessary to keep the whole line of Ship Packs available. But there should at least be some of each type (i.e. from the small sloop through the 1st rate).
    If some Ship Packs go out of production, so be it, as long as now and then new one are issued or old ones reissued.

    Advances in 3D-scanning and 3D printing will allow dedicated players to create their own models for use with SoG. These could be offered as Third Party Products. I am no professional regarding copy right, but I can see no infringement in doing so. The ship models would be - without doubt - the most difficult parts to produce.

    Cards for movement profiles are much simpler. In this area, too, by creating them not exactly alike Ares products but 100% compatible with SoG would probably be fine with regard to copyright.

    Beside the ship model the most difficult part of a Ship Pack to produce would be the thick card-stock damage/crew profile (and all thick cardstock components of the game for that matter). I know from TPPs in the ASL area that printing counters - and having it done well - is challenging. Money is involved, precision required on all sides, and a certain amount of bulk to make it worthwhile. Bulk to cut down on cost could be critical for purposes of SoG. If one would refrain from producing counters and other components on thick cardstock, one could of course print on paper/thick paper easily at home and then glue that on cardboard, finally cutting out the components with scissors. Not as nice. People did not like that approach very much in the field of ASL.

    So, creating game components for SoG as a TPP is a challenge, but not impossible.
    For some game components such as scenarios, movement profiles, rules it is not difficult.

    So even if there is suboptimal support from Ares, dedicated and committed grognards can conceivably fill in that gap.
    In fact, my impression is that in part, they have already done so.

    I have not throughly sounded out the depth of this forum, but I noticed the following:

    - Grongnards were in contact with Ares to discuss and define ship-values and characteristics. Some new Ship Packs were created at least partly based on these exchanges.
    - Grognards have created extensions to rules: Gunboats, booms, boats, landing operations vs. batteries etc. If brought into format, what keeps them from becoming Third Party Products?
    - Grognards have created various models on an individual basis. Some pieces will remain unique as some elaborate upgrades to ships with amazing paint jobs. Some could also me made available for a wider audience: Models of the ship's boats for landing operations (via 3D-files for free) or as a product which can be purchased, i.e. the 3D-printed boats/bases along with appropriate cards & rules as a set for example. My first reaction when I saw some pictures of these in some thread was to check out if these could be purchased as Accessories.

    As contacts between Ares and grognards exist, it could be possible to find out the attitude of Ares towards such TPPs: Is Ares hostile so such things? Or it is benevolent, figuring that in a "live and let live" approach that accepting TPPs might also promote the sales of the components that they still produce themselves.



    Quote Originally Posted by Vagabond View Post
    I do like the rules and feel that for small scale ship actions they work well, being simple enough to pick up and play a game without getting bogged down in complex rules and damage tables etc. Where the game shines is in using the many scenarios posted on this forum, most of these involve a few ships and give exciting and enjoyable games, they are the only reason I started playing and posting here.
    I agree. Learning ASL without a tutor in isolation as a non-native English speaker was hell - to put it mildly.
    SoG is much more accessible. If you want learn by tutor, though, in SoG you need a face-to-face opponent as there seem to be no virtual interfaces available as far as I am aware of.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vagabond View Post
    I know it's been said before but really Ares should make the rules, damage counters and movement decks freely available to keep the game alive and then be able to capitalise on the player base when they release new models but to be honest I don't think they see a future for the game and so are concentrating their efforts elsewhere and it certainly isn't on WoG either.
    Cheers
    Indeed. But if they don't, rules, movement decks and maybe even damage counters could be created in a 100% compatible version (in line with copyright) as TPPs by some of the grognard players around here. They already do similar things on an individual basis.


    Lt. Bush
    "Jeder Krieg, auch der siegreiche, ist ein Unglück für das eigene Volk, denn kein Landerwerb, keine Milliarden können Menschenleben ersetzen und die Trauer der Familien aufwiegen."
    Helmuth von Moltke d. Ä.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeRuyter View Post
    First as to the VASSAL issue. I think that platform caters more to boardgames, as you noted for ASL. I think miniatures gamers use Table Top Simulator as a virtual platform instead and I believe there are modules (free) for SoG. TTS can be had for $15 or so on sale and most of the modules are free. I played a virtual battle of Trafalgar during the pandemic using Osprey's Fighting Sail rules.
    This is a good point.

    In fact, I do own a couple of hundred pewter miniatures which I used in the Pen&Paper roleplaying context. But these were always only a few at a time. I remember one day I contemplated to paint them, but when I did the math of how long it would take to do it well, I recoiled. In general, I have more fun playing than doing handicraft and painting. This is probably why I have never played any table-top games as of yet. In turn it did not occur to me that a platform such as VASSAL might indeed exist for table-tops as well

    I might check out Table Top Simulator for SoG, thanks for the lead.


    Quote Originally Posted by DeRuyter View Post
    Second, I will quibble with you about computer games. I have yet to see a subscription based wargame and I have way too many games in my Steam account. You may be thinking of the large MMO games which are free but to get ahead you can buy a premium account; World of Tanks is the big example. In the PC wargame space you do sometimes get DLC or modules that you can choose to buy after the base game.
    Yes, I was thinking of those large MMOs. I dropped out of computer games many years ago when the hype had everything go to "real time" instead of round-based. I hated the hectic rush.


    Lt. Bush
    "Jeder Krieg, auch der siegreiche, ist ein Unglück für das eigene Volk, denn kein Landerwerb, keine Milliarden können Menschenleben ersetzen und die Trauer der Familien aufwiegen."
    Helmuth von Moltke d. Ä.

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    I just punched in on ebayuk, sails of glory starter sets. 3 results for the US, 2 for Germany and 1 for Australia. None for the UK.

    Cheapest price £98.00 plus import duty which I'd guess at about £20 + from the US, German prices even higher. I know Ebay is a peculiar place and not always indicative of market prices but even so!

    Ships are still available but if I was a retailer and had ships for sale but there was not much chance of selling them to new customers because starter sets are in short supply I wouldn't stock Ares products again, it's not a good business proposition.

    As a case in point, Zatu Games have in the past held quite a few ships in stock. They currently list 2 ships in stock, and for Wings of Glory they list 4 planes. Obviously I don't know why this is but it's not a healthy situation.

    Fortunately I'm not in the market to buy any more ships or accessories , something I'm pleased about, although Mrs V would say that's because I have too many already.

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    After a few more ships, I'm going to be in the same situation John.
    It is going to be one new ship in, one old one out.
    With regard to the Aries stance on cardstock items Lt Bush, Ares have never minded copies of their products being made as long as they are for personal use only and not for resale.

    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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    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowDragon View Post
    By far the best support I've experienced is by Firelock games. Sure, skirmish level pirate games are bound to attract lots of players but their stuff, especially ships, are expensive. Still, that doesn't seem to stop anyone. Firelock's "corporate" Facebook has 24K followers. There are 7,500 in the 28mm skirmish group, "Blood & Plunder - Buccaneering across the Spanish Main". Fair enough, but they also have "Oak & Iron", 1/600 battles - closer to SoG; and that Facebook gamer group has 2,500. Plus there are a few supplementary groups like "Blood & Pigment", etc. that provide articles and Youtube videos analyzing factions, tactics, how to scratch build stuff, etc. That's just to show what is possible despite. I think the key is a critical mass of passionate people. Full credit to Firelock for building that critical mass and keeping it going.
    I would echo this sentiment. I have the good fortune to attend conventions where Firelock further supports their games with tournaments. The lead designer Mike Tunez is an approachable guy and wants to get the history right. While the game is "pirates" it is not "Disney pirates".

    Quote Originally Posted by William Bush View Post
    This is a good point.

    In fact, I do own a couple of hundred pewter miniatures which I used in the Pen&Paper roleplaying context. But these were always only a few at a time. I remember one day I contemplated to paint them, but when I did the math of how long it would take to do it well, I recoiled. In general, I have more fun playing than doing handicraft and painting. This is probably why I have never played any table-top games as of yet. In turn it did not occur to me that a platform such as VASSAL might indeed exist for table-tops as well

    I might check out Table Top Simulator for SoG, thanks for the lead.




    Yes, I was thinking of those large MMOs. I dropped out of computer games many years ago when the hype had everything go to "real time" instead of round-based. I hated the hectic rush.


    Lt. Bush

    Totally agree with you on the movement to RTS games. An outgrowth of the fast twitch shooter games like COD. I think there is a new trend in importing hex based board games to the PC and even turn based strategy games in general. As an ASL player you may be interested in this trend. I mentioned one, another good tactical squad based game is "Lock n Load Tactical Digital. You buy the base game and then modules depending on what era or front interests you.

    https://store.lnlpublishing.com/

    As I noted before Slitherine/Matrix Games is a big publisher in the turn based wargame genre.

    You bring up the advantage to the prepainted SoG ships or WoG aircraft (also the Star Wars models from FFG) in that it appeals to the gamer who does not want spend time modelling. Miniature gamers who don't have time to paint often will get pro painters to do it for them, but of course this raises the costs tremendously, especially with ship models. The Ares ship pack are a bargain in this respect!

    3d printing is becoming more of a force in the hobby (it is a hobby in and of itself frankly!). Printing and selling the ships is not a problem because they are historical models. Unlike say Warhammer or Star Wars models - although I have seen a lot of models that look suspiciously like 40k space marines or Imperial Storm Troopers with different names. If anyone is going after copyright on this, it would be Games Workshop! As to ship mats and other accessories that may be problematic. Personally, I like using an erasable ship record like the one Dobbs made versus the chits and ship mats from Ares.

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    We generally use modified mats faced with transperseal for shows which speeds up the action by dispensing with chips totally, and the whiteboard marker pen damage indications can be wiped after each game. It is also my habit of producing mats for my individual fortifications. Here are a couple of examples.

    Rob.
    Attached Images Attached Images    
    Last edited by Bligh; 01-27-2023 at 13:55.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by Bligh View Post
    We generally use modified mats faced with transperseal for shows which speeds up the action by dispensing with chips totally, and the whiteboard marker pen damage indications can be wiped after each game. It is also my habit of producing mats for my individual fortifications. Here are a couple of examples.

    Rob.
    These look very nice!

    Especially against the background of unavailable Ship Mats, this approach seems to be a sensible alternative.

    Are there some templates available for a default "Ship" or "Battery" that would allow one to edit and create one's own for the Ship Packs missing Ship Mats for download anywhere?

    Lt. Bush
    "Jeder Krieg, auch der siegreiche, ist ein Unglück für das eigene Volk, denn kein Landerwerb, keine Milliarden können Menschenleben ersetzen und die Trauer der Familien aufwiegen."
    Helmuth von Moltke d. Ä.

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    Thanks for the Rep William and PM sent.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by Bligh View Post
    Thanks for the Rep William and PM sent.
    Rob.
    Admiral,

    please allow me to return my thanks and gratitude to you for the same.
    I will revel in the memories of being addressed to hand you the salt for the rest of my career, if you take my meaning.

    I made haste to despatch an answer to your message.

    Lt. Bush
    "Jeder Krieg, auch der siegreiche, ist ein Unglück für das eigene Volk, denn kein Landerwerb, keine Milliarden können Menschenleben ersetzen und die Trauer der Familien aufwiegen."
    Helmuth von Moltke d. Ä.

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    My dear Bush, think nothing of it, after all we are all in the same boat, fighting against the great usurper Bonaparte.

    Bligh.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by Bligh View Post
    My dear Bush, think nothing of it, after all we are all in the same boat, fighting against the great usurper Bonaparte.

    Bligh.
    Excuse me Sir but I happen to sail in the great man's navy and it will be carronades at dawn if you continue this line of invective.

  39. #39
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    Name your time and place Jon Vagabond you old braggart.
    Your Second can provide the 98.





    Bligh.
    Last edited by Bligh; 01-31-2023 at 02:17.
    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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