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"Abstracted rule sets for fleet actions" Topic

9 Posts

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477 hits since 11 Dec 2018
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Darkfine11 Dec 2018 2:21 p.m. PST

Hello all, new here and apologies if this is a dead horse but I stumbled upon Heart of Oak and it looks pretty good for a lower ship count game but what I'm really after is something that can handle 10 or more ships a side in 2 or 3 hours.

Basically Battlefleet Gothic on the high seas I guess.

Dexter Ward11 Dec 2018 2:41 p.m. PST

Osprey's Fighting Sail set fits the bill. We only made one change; the result which sinks a ship instead inflicts 3 damage. That results in more ships striking their colours rather than sinking.

Bozkashi Jones11 Dec 2018 2:43 p.m. PST


I'd love a set in which the Admiral's concerns were paramount i.e. forming a plan, getting the ships into battle order and signalling are the key.

There seem to be lots of rule sets which put the player in the role of Hornblower or Aubrey, in command of individual ships or small squadrons (which I also enjoy), but fewer for fleet actions.

And for me 'simple' or 'fast play' rules are not necessarily the answer if the squadrons automatically stay in perfect station and always do what the player wants, then they are not reflecting the difficulties of commanding fleets under sail, which tends to come down to the gradual erosion of central control as ships engage. With perfect control anybody can be a Nelson, which is not as it should be.


David Manley11 Dec 2018 3:41 p.m. PST

I'm working on a set that covers these aspects, but is a little way off being ready

Bozkashi Jones11 Dec 2018 3:51 p.m. PST

So pleased to hear that David!

Funnily enough, spurred by this post I went and got Paul Hague's books off the shelf. His book 'Naval Wargaming from Ancient Galleys to Modern U-boats' (1992) does actually contain rules for action under sail and specifically covers ships not being able to keep station perfectly and control of fleets being limited by the signal book.

I love Paul Hague's books and 'Sea Battles in Miniature' (1980) was an inspiration for me as a child, but much as he had many good ideas and was firmly rooted in the historical challenges of the period ('playing the period, not the rules'?), I'm afraid to say that the rules tended to be a bit cumbersome.

I look forward to seeing yours, cheers!


rmaker12 Dec 2018 12:05 p.m. PST

Don't Give Up the Ship.

Stew art Supporting Member of TMP12 Dec 2018 4:09 p.m. PST

I haven' played it (because I don't have enough ships for fleet actions yet) but Fire as She Bears 2nd edition is for large actions. I've read the rules and there are elements of Admirals trying to keep ships in formation.

also check out Form on Admirals Wake. This uses hexes but one can do 10 ships a side but there's not a lot of command friction, it's the activating card deck that provides the friction.

DM's Form Line of Battle can do 10 ships a side and uses a plain sea board, but while the skill of the admiral will play a part it's not the main concern.

as I say, I'm not too great with fleet action rule sets yet.
maybe 1 day when my collection is larger.

-Good luck!


platypus01au12 Dec 2018 6:50 p.m. PST

If you are looking for something akin to Battlefleet Gothic, then Osprey's Fighting Sail are the rules for you.

While it could be described as a game "based" on Age of Sail, it certainly gives a fun game for 10 or more ships in two hours or so. The Fighting Sail Facebook group has some files with rules amendments if you wish a longer, less "bang-your're-dead" feel.

If you feel you want to get more into it later, then you can explore some of the other rules that were suggested. Luckely with AoS rules you can use the same ships!

IMO, it is not a good idea to throw a new player into a complex game, even if that game provides a superior* game. My first AoS rules basically assumed I could sail a square rigger!

Hope that helps,
*whatever that is

Blutarski13 Dec 2018 12:07 p.m. PST

Modelling age of sail pre-battle maneuvers at fleet level will be a very tall order indeed. "Abstraction" will very likely be capitalized in 36pt font. Maneuvers at the fleet level are denominated in days rather than hours of engagement time. In addition, changes in wind, weather, visibility, etc. must be addressed in considerable detail.


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