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Friday, March 05, 2004

A revelation--Frank Fox would have expected this

I just fought the Battle of the Kentish Knock scenario, as usual, with me as the Dutch. I only set the difficulty to "Medium". I did something quite different. Instead of trying to break the English "line", I fought in "line".

I almost always maneuvered the fleet as a whole. The only time I maneuvered individual ships was when they got into an awkward position, at the ends of the fleet.

I did ALL maneuvering by setting "destination points". I have given up on any other way of maneuvering ships. This is a much better system, if for no other reason, you can visualize how the course will take the ship, by the light blue line that is show.

The final result was 85% of the Dutch fleet was still in action, while the English fleet was totally destroyed. Remember that the English had the Sovereign (90 guns) and Resolution (88 guns), so you can see the magnitude of this accomplishment.

How the battle progressed:

Dutch %English %Remaining English
87%19%Little President, Sovereign, Vanguard, Lion, James, Diamond, Nonsuch, and Ruby
87%14%Little President, Sovereign, James, Diamond, Nonsuch, and Ruby
85%11%Little President, Sovereign, James, Nonsuch, and Ruby
85%9%Sovereign, James, Nonsuch, and Ruby
85%7%Sovereign, Nonsuch, and Ruby

Frank Fox is a big advocate for fighting in a single line. I have been a big advocate of breaking the line and concentrating against ships. I did not fight this battle in a single line, but I kept sailing back and forth, aligning the general axis of the Dutch fleet at right angles to the English, as much as possible. The AI used in Privateers Bounty really facilitates this, as the enemy ships generally head towards you, so you can easily rake them. In the fine detail, the AI works pretty well, maneuvering the "enemy" ships so as to rake your ships, so it is not so easy as it might be to deal with the enemy fleet.

My intent is to run more experiments, with the Dutch fighting so that they are generally sailing, as a fleet, at right angles the general English course. I will report on the results, when I have more than a single datapoint. I will also try running with the difficulty set to "Hard". My Battle of the Kentish Knock scenario seems a good testbed, as the English ships are generally much larger. I have found if I misjudge, that I can easily lose the battle.

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