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U-Boat Leader» Forums » Rules

Subject: Is there any targeting mechanic? rss

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Aaron B
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I am considering picking up this game as I tend to enjoy reading about the subject matter. ...was wondering though, is there any targeting mechanic involved or is it just a "To Hit" dice roll kinda thing?

For instance is there a Firing Solution or any consideration of AoB, target speed, distance, etc? ...granted might be a tad difficult to simulate a mechanical targeting computer.

 
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Ernie Olsen
Canada
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xljedi wrote:

For instance is there a Firing Solution or any consideration of AoB, target speed, distance, etc? ...granted might be a tad difficult to simulate a mechanical targeting computer.

Like in Silent Hunter III? No, it's totally abstract. You have odds depending on distance and number of torpedoes and crew skill, and you roll dice. But I'm curious, how would you implement Firing Solutions into a board game.
 
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Aaron B
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Mellonhead3013 wrote:
xljedi wrote:

For instance is there a Firing Solution or any consideration of AoB, target speed, distance, etc? ...granted might be a tad difficult to simulate a mechanical targeting computer.

Like in Silent Hunter III? No, it's totally abstract. You have odds depending on distance and number of torpedoes and crew skill, and you roll dice. But I'm curious, how would you implement Firing Solutions into a board game.


Dunno yet... can't even really say it might be possible. But might give it some thought.
 
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Ernie Olsen
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To answer my own question, in WWII the subs (for all countries, I believe) had a mechanical calculator which worked out the trigonometry between the sub and the target and output the necessary firing angle for the torpedo in order for it to make a successful interception. The calculator had the formulas hard-coded on a series of wheels geared together, and the crew input the speed, AOB (angle of bow) and distance of the target.

Distance was calculated by a 'stadiometer' (spelling?) which was simply markings in the periscope view that was used to gauge the height of the target ship and compare it to a list known values for that type of vessel. From what I've read, distance was also simply guessed at.

The speed was calculated by taking a couple of bearings of the target, timed with a stop-watch and using the distance to figure out the target speed. The officers were trained to do the math in their head.

With the above data the crew calculated the target's course. The AOB was calculated by plotting the target's course against the sub's course. Like distance, the AOB was sometimes simply guessed at when pressed for time in the heat of battle.

The possible errors in each step, added together, were the undoing of many a U-Boat's firing solution. Which is why we roll dice in U-Boat Leader.

Creating even a simple mechanical computer in a board game would be expensive, and even though you could replace it with printed tables, using them would be tedious. Speed, distance and AOB are too abstract in any game short of a table top miniatures simulation.

But, since U-Boat leader is abstracted, you could simplify the computer. In U-Boat Leader there are only a few possible speeds, so lets make all targets have one speed relative to the U-Boat, and we know that all torpedoes are launched from one of only three distances. That leaves only the AOB. So for our computer, imagine a cardboard wheel that spins on a printed circular chart. Around the edge you spin the wheel to set the AOB. On the wheel are three 'windows' that show the torpedo setting for each of the three possible distances.

How could this be used in a game? When you choose a target you also draw a card from a 'targeting deck'. The card depicts a generic merchant ship, but the each card depicts the ship from one of many different angles (not to many, be reasonable). You would have to guess the AOB from the picture and enter it into the 'computer'. You would read your 'firing solution' from the window that corresponds to your distance from the target. Then you compare your firing solution to the actual firing solution (Not sure how the card would hide that info) and that would reveal the accuracy of your shot. No dice necessary.

The nice thing about it is, the more you play, the more accurate you would become at guessing the AOB from the pictures. A built-in experience mechanic.




 
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Gregg Whisler
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Has anyone played the game submarine? I haven't but I think that torpedoes were tracked on board. What kind of "targeting" mechanic did that game use?
 
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Richard Agnew
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gkwhisler wrote:
Has anyone played the game submarine? I haven't but I think that torpedoes were tracked on board. What kind of "targeting" mechanic did that game use?


I played that game a lot in the late 80's to early 90's. Great game, but it required a lot of patience.

As Submarine used a hexagonal map to facilitate movement and combat, you had to align the bow of the sub towards the port or starboard side of the target ship to ensure a higher percentage hit.

Movement and combat actions were pre-plotted the turn(s) before execution. D66 charts were used for to hit and damage tables.The sub skipper counted off the distance (in hexes) to the target, then plotted the firing solution, torpedo speed, and path to the target. Torpedoes could be plotted to make 90 degree course changes during each leg of their journey to the target. The German FAT torpedoes would make several 180 turns after running so many turns, then be removed if they didn't hit anything.

You had to calculate how far the torpedo could travel each turn until it reached the target. Hopefully the target would not change course before the torpedo arrived.

Angle on bow was a critical aspect of hitting the target. IIRC, 45-60 degree angle hits resulted in the highest detonation probabilities. A 90 degree angle gave the highest hit chance, but tended to result in a higher number of 'dud' hits. 'To hit' probabilities decreased commensurate with decreasing angle on bow degrees. Hit probabilities were nearly impossible with direct 'on bow' or 'on stern' shots.

If you scored a non dud hit, you then rolled on a chart to determine damage inflicted. You could roll on an optional cargo chart which could affect damage received. Timber laden ships required 3x the damage to sink, conversely fuel tankers and ammunition cargos were almost assured to be destroyed with a single hit.

That's basically the gist of the targeting procedure in Submarine, or at least as best as I remember it. I'm sure current players will correct any inaccuracies on my part.

 
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