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"Chase Phase of Naval Engagements" Topic

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Cosmic Serpent23 Nov 2017 2:20 p.m. PST


I'm looking to see if anyone has any recommendations for rules for handling the initial chase part of Napoleonic naval engagements? I'm looking for something that would help me play out a pre-scenario "chase phase" part of a naval engagement. They could be part of other rule sets, either tactical combat rules or even more strategic level rules sets.

Something akin to two ships identifying sails on the horizon, one having the windward advantage, and each shipping having to decide if it wanted to engage or run, then determining whether based on speed of the given ships the pursuer who sought engagement is able to catch the other ship who wishes to avoid an engagement.


Stew art Supporting Member of TMP23 Nov 2017 3:29 p.m. PST

I've bought a lot of AoS rules lately.

The one that has the most detailed sailing mechanics that would actually make chasing interesting is "captaincy" on wargame vault.

In most AoS games, if you took out the shooting at each other parts, it'd be a very bland system. In Captaincy the sailing system is a whole game within itself.

Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian23 Nov 2017 7:27 p.m. PST

I give each ship a speed value that falls within a range. For example, If I am gaming with my 1/900 War Artisan ships, they may range in base speed on a tack from say 6 to 9 inches per turn. A slow ship is obviously a 6, a fast a 9 and the rest are 7-8.

Then in a general chase situation, each ship gets a D6 roll. 1 subtracts 2 inches that turn, 5 adds two inches while a 6 adds three inches and any other result is normal movement. A few bad rolls and a laggard or a common sailer can fall behind, and a few good rolls and a greyhound can stretch out pretty good.

whitejamest23 Nov 2017 7:42 p.m. PST

Post Captain has a mechanic for generating a scenario that will determine the relative orientation of the two ships. It will also generate the weather, which will have an impact on which sail set the ships can safely employ. If one of them wants to push its luck, that may make for some interesting consequences. A ship may lose a mast to the strain of high winds, which could cause the rigging to fail further. In addition each turn the ships roll to see if they have an unexpected +1 or -1 to movement, owing to the vagaries of the wind.

You can also use the challenge and identification rules if you want. A ship will not fire on an unidentified ship without first issuing a challenge, which can give an unscrupulous sneak a nice chance to improve his position before hauling up the colors.

It's a fun set with a lot of possibilities, I'd recommend checking it out.

BrianW23 Nov 2017 9:53 p.m. PST

I would second Post Captain for the setup of a battle. Also, Gina Willis has written a set of grand tactical rules for her upcoming boardgame A Glorious Chance that are designed to interact with Post Captain. They can be found at:

I would suggest checking them out as well.

Cosmic Serpent23 Nov 2017 11:04 p.m. PST

Thanks a bunch, these are some good suggestions and places to start. If anyone else has any good suggestions, please let me know!

Sundance Supporting Member of TMP24 Nov 2017 7:35 a.m. PST

You could use the sailing rules from Wooden Ships and Iron Men. The chase phase could last several hours or even over night. It almost doesn't matter what rules you use for it if you accept it as being representative and not trying to model each move accurately. As the wind shifts over time, captains would have to decide if they are going to try to maintain their original course or steer to try to escape the pursuer or what have you. Players would have to have particular goals in mind when starting the game or it wouldn't really work too well regardless of what rules you used. If both players want to engage, the pursuit phase wouldn't matter at all except for maneuvering for the weather gauge. WS&IM uses hexes, and typical moves are 2 to 5 hexes depending on size of ship and relative wind direction. You could start the pursuit at 25 hexes or so and see how it goes, or try a longer range, but it will just lengthen the game, probably with little or no change to the outcome. Just some things to consider when working on the idea.

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