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Subject: What's up with the ship selection? rss

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Apex
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What's up with the ship selections for the initial release when taking the starter kit and the initial wave of ship packs into account?

None of these ships seem to have any relation or make much sense when viewed as a group.

There are a few who were escapees from Aboukir Bay. Many of the ships served largely boring careers.

The Courageuse was a footnote in many campaigns, but not a real player. It's a ship that started life as a 26 gun Fifth rate Frigate and later got reclassed down to a 22 gun Frigate and was then captured a year later... It took ONE prize, the privateer Morning Star, and that was the highlight of its career.

Why not the Semillante which had an EPIC battle with the Terpsichore during which the ships got close enough that a grenade was tossed onto the British vessel, immediately went down a deck and exploded in a powder keg which knocked out guns and caused a major fire. The Terpsichore chased down the Semillante and got in enough damage that the Semillante needed to run which necessitated cutting away the boats and throwing cannons overboard to outrun the Terpsichore. Even after its escape the Semillante was so badly damaged it never served again.

The Defiance seems MUCH more like a ship you'd feature in an initial release. It was in many famous engagements including Copenhagen and Trafalgar.

The Genereux is boring as well. Aside from its battle with the Leander there's nothing of note about that ship! Why not the L'Indomptable which had a pretty storied career featuring participation at The Glorious First of June, Algeciras Bay, The Gut of Gibraltar, and Trafalgar? This is a ship that sustained 800 casualties and lived to tell the tale until the subsequent storm broke the anchor chains and the ship was smashed upon the rocks and sunk the following day. Keep in mind that this 80 gun ship squared off in the line against a 100 gun British ship... Pretty amazing and brave stuff. Instead we get the Genereux which was present at ... a failed convey escape in which it was captured and its captain was court-martialed (and acquitted). It was a PR victory for the British because it was one of two ships that escaped The Nile...

My request would be that more time is spent in the research of the ships provided in each wave to build upon the previous and provide opportunities for historical engagements. There are some incredible duels and stories out there. Sadly, the French ships in the starter box just don't share those stories.
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Larry Doherty
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Ah but just perhaps, you could rewrite history with these ships.
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Lance Kazmark
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You know what's even boring...not having the freaking game
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Martin Gallo
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Perhaps they were selected for play balance considerations rather than historical engagement possibilities?
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Kevin Duke
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I know one big factor was 'class.' They wanted ships which were of a style that many other ships were made like, so that the capabilities would be similar and the physical production would not be too difficult.

Didn't we get 'middle of the road' '74s, which is a reasonable place to begin?

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Mayor Jim
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magnusofnarnia wrote:
You know what's even boring...not having the freaking game


LOL! ...still waiting on mine shake
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Lance Kazmark
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Jeepers Jim we have been waiting so long I feel like I know you
 
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The Game Steward
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Still waiting here in Oakland, too. Sigh.

But on the issue of the ship selection, the previous commenter was correct that one of the top criteria for ship selection was ships that had the same physical characteristics, rather than historical interaction.

That's not to say that Ares is unaware of the history of these ships, but the initial sculpts were designs that could be used to represent the most ships reasonably accurately, by just swapping in a new ship card. Each additional wave will add more variety, and likely more historical continuity as well.
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Michael Sweazey
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medlinke wrote:
What's up with the ship selections for the initial release when taking the starter kit and the initial wave of ship packs into account?

...Many of the ships served largely boring careers.

The Courageuse was a footnote in many campaigns, but not a real player...


The Genereux is boring as well...

...There are some incredible duels and stories out there. Sadly, the French ships in the starter box just don't share those stories.


They have been real players and definitely not boring in my games so far.
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Mayor Jim
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magnusofnarnia wrote:
Jeepers Jim we have been waiting so long I feel like I know you


DD...We'll have to start our own "club"...SoG late arrivers? arrrh
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Apex
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GreenLaborMike wrote:
But on the issue of the ship selection, the previous commenter was correct that one of the top criteria for ship selection was ships that had the same physical characteristics, rather than historical interaction.


I don't buy this for a second. Consider for a moment that historian David S.T. Blackmore wrote in his book Warefare on the Mediterranean in the Age of Sail: A History, 1571 - 1866 that "...ships of the line of all nations were virtually identical in terms of design and capability, neither side had a clear advantage of weapon system or speed of maneuver." (Page 71)

The Courageuse
* Fifth Rate
* 32 Gun Frigate
* French Concorde Class

HMS Terpsichore
* Fifth Rate
* 32 Gun Frigate
* English Amazon Class

These ships carry the same rating and guns.

HOWEVER, upon closer inspection we'll find that:

a) The French carried 60 more crew-members (280 compared to 220) A 22% difference in available crew.
b) The English carried 18-Pounder guns where the French only carried 12-Pounders (Typical of British & French ship differences though) but it makes a difference when you consider that...
c) Assuming the lighter guns COULD be effective, the nearly 100+ ton weight difference with the British ship being far heavier partly, and most importantly, owing to the density of British Heart of Oak from which the British ships were built.

Now - to my argument about the Semillante being a better choice than the Courageuse...

* The Semillante is only roughly 50 ton lighter than the Terpsichore.
* The Semillante carried only 10 more crew than the Terpsichore.
* The Semillante actually fought a very typical ongoing battle with the Terpsichore with the French vessel fleeing (typical of era doctrine for the French since blockade running and scouting were so critical).

So ... I don't really buy the whole Ares picked these particular 4 ships for their physical characteristics. It's true that they picked two fifth rate ships, but the similarities end there by and large and a better more informed pick was easily available simply by looking at the two ship's history which is easily accessible via a Google search.

I agree that this is the first wave and we'll see plenty more ships over time. I agree that I have the product in hand and some others still do not. This article doesn't cheapen either of those viewpoints.

I'm merely calling out what appears to be a poor design decision with the initial release. An obvious better choice was available with 10 minutes of Internet research.

Let's look at the Defiance:
74 Gun Third Rate Ship of the Line
Crew: 600
Elizabeth Class

Let's look at the Genereux:
74 Gun Third Rate Ship of the Line
Crew: 700
Téméraire Class

A few notes here:
* One thing I really like about seeing the Genereux is that it is of the Temeraire Class. There were 64 ships built in this class making it a VERY recognizable and easily changeable ship for Ares. This only highlights what a lousy choice the Courageuse is because there were only THREE of those ships made.
* These two ships are remarkably similar in everything except their crewing which isn't as starkly bad a choice as the Courageuse vs. Terpsichore.
* These two ships throw roughly the same lead at each other in a broadside (Genereux 904 lbs. of full broadside shot vs. Defiance 780 lbs. of full broadside shot)

A quick note ... why would I suggest that the British are throwing roughly the same when they're at a 14% disadvantage with every broadside?

The British could reload a 3.5 tonne gun in 90 seconds which was far faster than the French. This was owed largely to the British allowing for gunnery training while on convoy duty or on blockade duty.

The other reason this is a fair fight, even at a disadvantage is that the French didn't shoot to sink British vessels - Their doctrine was to fire into the rigging and disable British ships ability to pursue the French.

So a French ship that even far outgunned a British ship was typically not a large concern for the superior trained British seamen, officers, and Captains. This brings me to my next point ...

Perhaps the L'Indomptable is a stretch, but again, it's a far more interesting ship than the Genereux.

Remember that part of the spread of the game will be showing off cool ships and telling their stories to those who play. Demo'ing Wings of Glory back in the day was all about letting people be The Red Baron and later Eddie Rickenbacker. Telling the stories of the paint jobs and writing on the wings like Kempf's name with "Kennscht mi noch?" (Do you still know me?).

So being able to put out the Terpsichore and Semillante and saying, "These two ships fought a battle over three days." Is much better than saying "Oh, yeah these two ships never fought, but this one was so shitty that the French downgraded it's guns to a 22 gun ship and later turned it into a prison vessel!"

The L'Indomptable's story is pretty incredible and again, while not a perfect pairing with the Defiance they were both at Trafalgar so a hypothetical conflict could be intriguing and certainly better than ... "Hey, this is the Genereux which survived the epic rout of the French at Aboukir Bay and then got captured a few months later in a PR coup for Admiral Nelson when it was too slow trying to escape the British."

On the plus side, as I said for the Genereux The Temeraire Class is WIDELY the most popular 3rd rate design in the French Navy so you can make that ship basically anything you want by cooking up some new cards. However, the first wave does have the Spartiate which is also a Temeraire Class.

This is a SUPER long explanation to show that ship selection matters and that it can be a huge selling point for the game or it can be a glossed over detail.

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The Game Steward
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I won't dispute any of your details, but issues of what size guns or how many crew are not really relevant to the point of whether the ships LOOK alike. Did they look alike such that a repaint of the same sculpt (at 1:1000 scale) could reasonably pass for more ships than another design could?

You raise an interesting issue about there only being three Concorde class ships built. Can't speak to why Ares chose that particular class if it was so limited in production, unless it was visually very similar to other classes of ships for which the sculpt resembled enough to represent.

However, I know that the creators of the game - and those who were involved in the historical research - are not completely ignorant of French naval history. The issue of ship selection was discussed way back in March and April when the Kickstarter was live, although I don't recall the specific reasons for selecting the Concorde class of ships.

You could also raise the issue over at www.sailsofglory.org. Lots of knowledgeable folks there could explain it better than I ever could.

Edited to add:

I don't know if you are aware that each ship is double/sided, so the Courageuse also comes with a ship mat/card for the Unite (I don't know how to type an accented e). This is in contrast for the other sets of ships based on the Concorde class: La Concorde/Junon (KS Exclusive), Hermione/La Constante, and the British ships HMS Concorde/HMS Unite (no accent on the e). So these are the 8 ships represented by the Concorde class sculpt, for what it's worth.



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Apex
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I am aware. I have them in hand. My suggestions didn't change the class except for the L'indomptable.
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Mayor Jim
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Keith, nice bit of research there...however; from my landlubbers point of view...it's a GAME that I happen to be interested in (whenever the heck it actually arrives)...not an historical simulation. Your research certainly shows what could have made it a lot more entertaining aka WoW/WoG series. But, having said that, it is what it is whistle...maybe future releases will concentrate on developing some of the finer points you so nicely brought out.
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Jeffrey Nolin
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Well, from a marketing point of view, since the OP already has these ships from the KS, he'll be primed to buy those ships he really wants when they become available. Many of us, probably, don't know nearly as much, so it's not an issue. Besides, perhaps, it wasn't the ships themselves, but the captains and their opponents, which, for us, means me and my mates, who as someone said have yet to make history.
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Roberto Di Meglio
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Keith, I understand your point. We have similar discussions all the time for Wings of Glory, both between the designers/editors of the game, and the public.

There are many different criterions we use. In the case of Sails of Glory, we first started to take into account in a broad sense the type of ships we wanted to feature - in the case of Series 1, 74 guns SOTL and 32-34 guns frigates (which I think it's difficult to deny it's a good starting point).

Then, we looked at specific classes of ships inside that group, looking for a class that
1) is well-documented (so we can create an accurate replica)
2) has at least one representative of renown
3) has enough representatives in the class to be able to show several variants (initially 3, later extended to 6)

Within those parameters, we avoide to add ships of a different class as one of the "variants" - we prefered to feature a more historically obscure ship of the same class, that a different ship of another class.

If we'd taken your approach, somebody would be complaining that we were featuring a ship of another class, while there was a perfectly good historical candidate to use...

And in any case, if you accept a model as a good proxy for a more famous ship, you can use it to simulate a historical engagement - we are doing this in the forthcoming booklet of historical scenarios, were we are proxying some of the historical ships with similar ships from the current range.

 
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Apex
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Your stating rates for 3rd and 5th rate make total sense. The 74 gun ship was the backbone of the war without a doubt.

You're also right that you're never going to make everyone happy regardless of the tack you take with this ship. (har har)

I think I was expecting something that'd be immediately easy to sell during a demo like the original Wings of War Deluxe Edition. As I've conceded, this is the first of many waves. It was smart to keep it French and British since that's mostly what people think of despite the Spanish having a formidable fleet at the time as well...until Trafalgar...

I've watched the X-Wing line take off despite that game just not being any fun to play. It may be GREAT for tournament play because of the templates, point build system, and a variety of smaller details that gear it toward organized play. X-Wing is not, however, a game that adequately recreates the excitement and soul of the Star Wars franchise.

Sails of Glory, being a post X-Wing and Wings of Glory release, has some First Rate expectations to live up to. One, it's the first of its kind and truly opens up Age of Sail gaming to everyone in the same way that Wings of War/Glory did for WWI air combat. There are a ton of well loved rules and miniatures out there already, but Sails of Glory brings it to the masses in an accessible way like none other.

To that end, the demo teams are going to have to sell this thing to their fellow local gamers to a) get it on shelves broadly, b) keep it on shelves, and c) to continue growing your consumer base. So, when the Starter Box lacks a splashy release it makes it a little more tricky. Yeah, I have everything from the KS, but people I'll be demo'ing the game to will not. It's easy to put the starter box in someone's hands and convert a sale when the game is fun (check) and there's something cool there that that gets them harpooned (not so much) from within the component list.

To liken it to Wings of Glory... Those Albatross minis sold out WAY faster than the Rolands. The Dr.III's of the first series sold out as fast as they could be printed. They were iconic and the pilots were well known. The paint jobs are far better and they're just cooler minis with far more interesting pilots. Likewise, when I got into Wings of Glory I paid something like $40 for our old pal Manfred. That's the kind of draw that a starter box should have in it.

Once people are hooked, you're right, they will take advantage of the 6 variants and appreciate the classes selected.

One good story matchup for the starter box would have been a great addition.
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medlinke wrote:
I've watched the X-Wing line take off despite that game just not being any fun to play. It may be GREAT for tournament play because of the templates, point build system, and a variety of smaller details that gear it toward organized play. X-Wing is not, however, a game that adequately recreates the excitement and soul of the Star Wars franchise.


Not to derail the thread, but I have to agree. Not as impressed as I thought I would be.
 
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Steve Duke
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with X wing?
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sduke wrote:
with X wing?


Yes. :-)

I've played SoG, and I am excited about this game - I meant X-Wing.
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Yeah to be clear -

X-Wing = Lame
Sails of Glory = Not Lame

laugh
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Nevin Beaver
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I haven't done a lot of research into it, but I was under the impression that all of the Series 1 ships were involved in the Battle of the Nile.
 
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Apex
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That is not the case.
 
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Russell Lowke
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They seem to be avoiding "second rate" (80 to 98 gun) ships. Second rate ships "had a reputation for poor handling and slow sailing."

Genereux is a 74 gun ship, which fits nicely what they're trying to do, while L'Indomptable has 80 guns and doesn't quite "fit the mold" so to speak.

Notice they're printing 74 gun "third rate" and, 118 and 100 gun "first rate" ships, but 90ish gun "second rate" ships seem to have been omitted.
 
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I am hoping the next wave to be announced will include some British 2nd Rates and/or French 80 gun third rates, as both are very useful for several historical/semi-historical scenarios.
 
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