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Subject: Suitable for Fantasy Naval? rss

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f s
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Hello everybody,

Ganesha Games SOBH engine is quite fast normally, I like that. Seems, this game should play fast, which would be great.
Now: How well-suited would the game be for representing fantasy naval warfare of the type found in Man-o-War or Uncharted Seas?

A few questions, if I may:
- Does the game include rules for ships that are not propelled by sailing, but by oars or engines (and do not rely on the wind)?
- Is there boarding/melee?
- If so, can ships have different qualities in shooting and in boarding?
- Are there rules for ramming? Can ships be made especially good at ramming?
- Can you simulate submarines?

Thank you very much!
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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Yes to all of your questions.

But I for one am not happy with the movement rules. They're a bit fiddly, inflexible, and unrealistic. If rules are going to be that fiddly, they should grant more flexibility and realism. Or if you don't care for realism, the rules should be less fiddly. One way or the other!

But otherwise, a fine system, covering every one of your points.
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f s
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Wow, that was quick. Thank you, Steffan.

Could you explain what you dislike so much about the movement rules and how are they fiddly? Is it the sort of fiddlyness that takes time? Or that get on ones nerves?

In a fantasy game, I am not terribly concerned about "realism" (as in "historically authentic"). But I would like things to more or less make sense. The normal SOBH movement system would be terrible for a sailing game - I would expect the wind to make the difference plus I would like oars or steam vessels to make a more or less constant speed.
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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Yes, he adapted the normal SOBH movement rules to this genre. I *love* those movement rules for individual fighters!

They don't work here. While the wind can change direction, it can never increase or decrease in force. Ships move Short, Medium, or Long distances depending on rigging type, and/or oar type, and angle to the wind. Due to the wind, you cannot move partial measuring sticks: exactly full stick length.

The fiddliness is determining angle to the wind pretty much every turn. It's rarely obvious, so you get the gauge and hold it over the ship. You can't let out sails, and if you take them in, you move the full length of the next shorter stick - and then the sails magically go back to where they were next turn!

It's probably better for galleys, but to be honest that's not my genre. I'm a sailing ship kind of guy, and these just don't satisfy me.

But there are Special Rules for everything you asked for, and they have a whole chapter on fantasy creatures and vessels, such as Nemo's sub, the Flying Dutchman, Greek sea gods, kraken, sea dragon, etc. Not only Special Rules, but sample creatures/ships spelled out with all applicable Specials listed. And yes, there's a whole section on ancient galleys and ramming. The book is worth the low cost because everything but the movement rules is quite lovely.
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f s
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Thank you very much.

Sounds like the rules might work for fantasy - I just have to see whether the wind rules are ok with me in practise.
In comparison to the alternatives (Man-o-War and Uncharted Seas - there really is nothing else I know of. Strange Tydes is a different kind of animal), that still sounds un-fiddly. And naval always was a second or third rate interest of mine and I do not feel competent or motivated enough to write my own rules.
I guess, I should try them.
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omnicrondelicious
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To echo Steffan's very helpful answers, yes to all of your queries.

I have yet to find a sail game that isn't fiddly and/or cumbersome, and after trying several that I found quite tedious, was happy to hear about G&G. The SOBH engine is all about simplification and minimal gamestate tracking over turns, so I'm OK with the compromises G&G makes.

I agree it's not without issues: I don't like how often the wind changes (doubles seem to come up pretty often, especially in bigger battles), and comparing the angle of the wind to the model is annoying (we usually found ourselves moving the ships in the direction of the 16 compass points. If you do that intentionally, it gets really easy to figure out the ship speed.). But it scratches the fast & fun sail itch for me.
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f s
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Thank you.
And I agree - naval rules including wind seem to be a pretty mixed bunch.

How many ships per side do you play? How long does that take?

I have now bought the rules and they seem to recommend a very low count of about 5 ships or so per player. Can it handle more without bogging down?
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omnicrondelicious
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We've never done more than 5 ships each. I think our longest game was 90-120 minutes but we had lots of ships and were new to the system (well, I guess we still are since I've only played a handful of games).

I don't think the game scales too well beyond 6 ships each - it's definitely a skirmish game. With some house rules (wind change frequency reduction, squadron orders) it could probably work.
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