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1805: Sea of Glory» Forums » General

Subject: Blockades rss

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Phil Fry
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Several people have contacted me regarding some of the design issues for 1805: Sea of Glory. As 1805:SoG is one of the first age of sail games to look at naval warfare from the operational point of view (rather than the tactical), I thought I would share the design philosophy on Boardgamegeek (with a mirror post on Consimworld).

Although at the heart of 1805:SoG is a game of breakout and pursuit, blockade plays an important role. If the British can keep the French and Spanish bottled up, they will win the game. If the French and Spanish can breakout and form a combined fleet, even the Royal Navy will be hard pressed in keeping them out of the Channel or from raiding far-flung British interests.

During the late 18th and early 19th centuries two schools of thought argued over the proper blockade of enemy ports. The British Admiralty was torn between the concepts of close blockade and loose blockade. Close blockade advocated placing ships close to the harbor mouth trying to discourage enemy fleets from attempting a sortie. Loose blockade placed the blockading force just over the horizon, almost daring the enemy to come out. Nelson was a proponent of the loose blockade.

The danger with a close blockade was a naval force with less sea room was more likely to suffer an accident during harsh weather due to the proximity of the lee shore. The danger with a loose blockade was that the enemy might get out without being spotted.

In game terms, forces on close blockade will take more wear damage during harsh weather (causing a quicker return to a friendly port for refitting, or the actual loss of individual ships.) If the British are using close blockade a French/Spanish player may only sortie one block from the port (and it cannot be a "fog of war" block). If the British are using loose blockade, they are less susceptible to wear damage, but the enemy may sortie two blocks (one of which may be a "fog of war" block). Spotting and interception are more likely for a force on close blockade than loose blockade. The advantage of a loose blockade is that the force in port does not know what waits over the horizon.

In the map snippet in the images section, the hexes 2013, 2114, 2212, and 2213 are all part of the loose blockade zone outside Toulon. For purposes of spotting and interception, a force in any of those hexes is considered to be in all of those hexes. Hex 2113 would be the close blockade hex.

Storms or squalls will eventually blow the British off station, leaving no forces left to blockade the port. If the French player acts quickly enough (ie has the initiative for the turn) he’ll have a chance to sortie three blocks from a port (two of which may be "fog of war" blocks) before the scattered British can resume the blockade.

If you are interested in following the development of the game, you can find us at the Consimworld forum: Boardgaming > Individual Game or Series > Gunpowder (Other) > 1805: Sea of Glory.
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Charlie Sheppard
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Thanks for the update. I'm really looking forward to this one.

Regarding blockades, is it possible to "stack" blockades by placing one fleet on close blockade and another on loose blockade? Was that ever done historically?
 
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Phil Fry
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charshep wrote:
Regarding blockades, is it possible to "stack" blockades by placing one fleet on close blockade and another on loose blockade? Was that ever done historically?


Good question. Short answer, yes. In fact, one of the developing tactics is to place a frigate on close blockade and a fleet on loose blockade. Of course this will wear out a frigate pretty quickly and the British never have enough frigates.

Another trick is to place one frigate on close blockade and another frigate on loose. The French player can see the composition of the close blockader, but not the loose blockader. This is sometimes done so the bigger ships can race back to a friendly port to refit.

Since the game uses blocks to hide the identity of the forces involved, how you set up your blockades is very important. Vessels on close blockade can see the enemy at anchor (called "counting masts") and in turn be seen by the blockaded force. The composition of any blocks on loose blockade is not known to the other player.
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Phil Fry
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My father (circa 1945). He navigated B-24's (5thAF 22ndBG) in the Pacific Theater.
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The forum on Consimworld has been moved to: Boardgaming > Individual Game or Series > Gunpowder (Napoleonics) > 1805: Sea of Glory.

The new location seems to better reflect the theme of the game.
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