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Sunday, March 07, 2004

The Battle of the Virginia Capes (rather off-topic)

I recently joined the "WoodenWalls" Yahoo group, after finding that another group was dominated by gamers (men, in fact) who were only interested naval wargames from about 1890 to the modern era. In fact, I found I was not welcome, and pointed to "WoodenWalls".

"WoodenWalls" is mainly populated by miniature sailing naval wargamers. Quite naturally, they are mainly interested in late 18th and early 19th Century battles. One gentleman said that he could "only dream of" fighting the Battle of the Virginia Capes. I guessed that might be a pre-defined scenario for Privateers Bounty. That proved to be the case, although it had a strange name "Battle for the Chesapeake".

I expected that I could just run it, and win. I thought I would start with the British fleet (of 19 ships of the line), and was being handily beaten by the "computer". I thought, "OK", and tried the French. I was was losing rather badly, and gave it up.

I tried, again, later, the French, and won 79% to 0%. I did not like how many immobile ships the French had, scattered across the scene of the battle, but I felt like I understood how to win in this era of large, heavily-armed ships.

What I did differently was to establish groups (CTRL-digit), and assign them the line formation, closely spaced. I also maneuvered by smaller groups (not necessarily the official groups). I essentially circled around the outside of the British fleet, hoping to be in position to rake as many as possible. I actually had several groups around the periphery. Fairly quickly, I reached a "tipping point", and the battle turned into a "mop-up" operation.

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