Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Gaming with 17th Century ships
After having done sufficient 18th Century naval wargaming to have a better sense of it, I can say, definitively, that 17th Century gaming is quite difference. The cause is the small size of 17th Century ships, compared to 18th Century ships.
In a battle simulation such as the Battle of the Saintes, ships shed masts and rigging, fairly easily, but they have considerable resistence to being sunk. That is not true in 17th Century battles, as most ships are sunk by gunfire, while quite a few blow up, either from fire or gunfire.
What this means is that quite different tactics are required. While I don't recommend (at least in Privateers Bounty) sailing in line, close to the enemy, who is also in line, and trading gunfire at close range, you can do it for a while. In a 17th Century simulation, you would be rapidly decimated, and would quickly lose, if you have the smaller, more lightly-armed ships. They are the first to be lost under sustained gunfire.
I do believe there are considerable benefits to fighting in line (at least by squadron), but I would try to be in a position to rake, and to minimize the chance of receiving heavy gunfire. If you do sail in line, keep a distance between your ships and the enemy ships, so they fewer can turn and fire broadsides.