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Saturday, July 31, 2004

There are now five sheets of English ships for the First Anglo-Dutch War

I just added a fifth sheet of English ships at The series is alphabetical by ship name, and includes all the ships that were used in my Privateers Bounty scenarios up through the Battle of Portland. The series starts with the hired ship Acorn (22 guns) and goes up to the Culpepper (30 guns). I will continue to add to the series for both Dutch and English ships, as time permits.

Could a 2D game work for 17th Century Naval Wargaming?

Lets suppose that we would build a 2D game for 17th Century naval wargaming. We would need a map (I would say a larger map and a detail map). We would need to represent fleets on the large map and squadrons or divisions on the detail map. We should be able to look at divisions and see what ships are in them. We need to have game turns. We can specify maneuvers and where to fire, at the start of a turn, and then execute the turn. At the end of a turn, we need to be able to see the status of our fleet. We need to know that prior to planning our next move. It would also be good to allow for fighting campaigns. The larger scale map should help that. I would have the entire Northwest Europe, the Baltic, and be able to see the Mediterranean Sea. Perhaps there needs to be an overall map, a regional map, and then the detailed map for the battle. We need to continue to consider what is needed, as there is a good possibility that something can be done in the next year (sorry it is not sooner).

Friday, July 30, 2004

I have a new Dutch ship drawing

I will put in a little time this weekend on creating more sheets of Dutch and English ship drawings. My priority has to be game programming, however. I have an assignment with a naval wargame company that has priority. In the back of my mind, I am formulating what a 2D 17th Century naval wargame could be like. I say 2D, because the development time and effort are so much less. Admittedly, what we all want is a great 3D game with realistic ship 3D models. We want to be able to refight the battles of the First, Second, and Third Anglo-Dutch Wars. We want the play to be intuitive and easy to control. We want the AI to be good, so that we can run solo games. With the hardcore 17th Century community so geographically diverse, I have trouble seeing how we could pull together teams easily. There are gamers from the US, UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Russia, and the Far East. The time zones, alone, boggle the mind. As I hope to be in a 40-hour a week job, soon, I will have greater difficulty in gaming at odd hours. I am pretty much an early to bed, early to rise person. Many people do not fall into that category, and run noon to 7 or 8am. That is not me, however.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Maybe we can get by with a 2D game for 17th Century naval wargaming

I am starting to come around to the view that we could still have an acceptable simulation with a 2D game, rather than a "full-movement, 3D simulation". If we could be satisfied with a 2D game, we could have one much more quickly than we could have a new 3D game (to replace Privateers Bounty). I would be curious to know what readers might think of such a thing. For example, we could "beef up" something like General-at-Sea, and make an interesting 2D game. For map movement, we might want to group ships, but for combat, since we are computerized, we could have individual ships represented.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The text from the cover of Hendrick de Raedt's pamphlet from 1652

The cover of Hendrick de Raedt's pamphlet says: Lyste, Van de Schepen van Oorloge Onder het beleyt van den Admirael Marten Harpertsz. Tromp, En op den 4 Augusty 1652 onder Hitland present geweest, en door een groote storm-wint van den andere geraeckt. Mitsgaders de Lijst Van de Schepen die door de harde Windt van den Admirael afgedwaelt sijn, en tegenwoordich leggen in Hitland voor de Baey van Schalaway, den 10 Augusty 1652. 't Amsterdam Gedruckt by Gillis Joosten, in de Nieuwe-straet, 1652.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The Fourth English Sheet

I just made available the fourth in the series of English warship sheets at I will be adding to both the Dutch and English sheets, as I have time.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Wargame sheets in PDF format

I expect that you will be able to download from a PDF version of my Dutch and English sheets of ships for wargaming. I have given permission for them to provide that version, although it doesn't seem to be available, as yet.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

I working on more drawings

Tonight, I finished the initial artwork for a 120ft (LGD) English warship. The first application will be for the Anthony Bonaventure (36 guns). I had started English sheet 4, and immediately found that I did not have a suitable 120-ft ship drawing.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

There is a new English ship sheet for the First Anglo-Dutch War

I just finished and uploaded Sheet 3 of English ships for use as wargame pieces in the First Anglo-Dutch War. I will be adding more Dutch and English ships, as I can get to them. The immediate goal is the supply sheets with all the ships for both the English and Dutch for the first war, and then eventually, to add ships for the second and third wars.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Finally, pictures from the last Battle of Plymouth scenario for Privateers Bounty

I now have the pictures deployed for the Battle of Plymouth scenario that I ran on Privateers Bounty on July 14th. This was a simulation run where I commanded the English at the Battle of Plymouth (about 45 strong) against De Ruyter's fleet (under AI control, and of about 30 warships plus fireships). I had the difficulty level set to "High", and ran the timescale at the highest speed. I maneuvered the English as a single group, and used the helm. As has been the case, in recent simulation runs, I have never tacked, but always wore, by turning in an outside loop, downwind. This prevents what I consider to be a bug in Privateers Bounty from being an issue. If you tack, you will be caught "in stays", head on into the wind, and will be stuck there for some time, unable to maneuver. You DON'T want to do this. The remedy is to wear, not tack.

English ships crossing at the Battle of Plymouth

Here is a picture of the English crossing the in front of the Dutch, so that they can rake them as much as possible. The English are under full sail (except for damaged ships). On the left is the heavily damaged Ruth (30 guns), which has lost her foremast and mainmast. The Vanguard (56 guns) is already dismasted and is behind the Dutch Drie Coningen (36 guns). The Increase of London and Thomas and William, with many others seen in the distance are under full sail. On the extreme left is the surrendered VOC ship, the Vrede (40 guns).

Increase of London, Thomas and William, John of London, the Mayflower, the disabled William and the Vanguard in the distance

Here is a picture of the English in the foreground with the remaining Dutch in distance. The day is growing later. In the foreground in the Increase of London (36 guns), which has lost her mizzenmast. In front of her, closer to the Dutch, is the Thomas and William (36 guns), which has lost her foremast. Other English ships can be seen in the distance. The most heavily damaged are the dismasted William (40 guns) and the 2nd Rate Vanguard (56 guns). Also visible are the John of London (32 guns) and the Mayflower (32 guns).

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Now, the big test would be to command the Dutch at the Battle of Plymouth

It would be instructive, I believe, to command the Dutch at the Battle of Plymouth. In my last battle, I mopped up the Dutch with the English, using my favored tactics. Can those tactics work for the Dutch, when they are outnumbered? The Dutch also had the disadvantage of starting out to the leeward, while the English have the weather gauge. I will try that scenario out, this afternoon, and report on the results.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I just ran the Battle of Plymouth scenario, where I commanded the English

Partly as a sanity check and partly just to "keep my hand in", I just finished running the Battle of Plymouth scenario, in the Privateers Bounty simulator. I commanded the English, I had the difficulty set to "Hard", and ran with the speed set far to the right (so that time passed quickly and ships moved quickly across the screen). The English all had their full sails set. I set the entire English fleet as a single group, and maneuvered with the helm, after the first few minutes.

I shut the simulation down when the sun had set (about 8pm). At that point there were 71% of the English and 19% of the Dutch left. It was a devastating defeat for the Dutch. There may have been as many as 7 Dutch ships left afloat. There were at least 30 English ships.

What I did was to diligently follow my rule: keep to the windward, always steer as close to the wind as possible, to keep my fleet clear of the Dutch. I always wore rather than tacked. In other words, I always turned onto the opposite tack by turning downwind, and turning about 240 degrees (at least).

When I was clear of the Dutch main body, I steered the English fleet along the edge of the Dutch, so that many ships would have the opportunity to fire. There is a great advantage to watching the point of contact between the fleets, and steering to both stay clear and yet be able to fire, preferably raking fire.

At the beginning of the battle, the Dutch, under AI control were able to "pick off" stragglers. Necessarily, when a fleet is not in good order, maneuvering will cause ships to scatter. The closes to the Dutch fleet were gradually surrendered and then sunk.

A very few English ships, such as the 2nd Rate Vanguard, were immobilized but still able to fight. The maneuvering English main body kept the AI control for the Dutch from finishing off those immoble ships. There may have been as many as four ships immobilized but still fighting, when I shut down the simulation. I will be posting some of the four photographs that I took of the battle.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

I am working on a spreadsheet of English ships for the First Anglo-Dutch War

So as to be able to put together more "sheets" of drawings with data, I am working on a spreadsheet. I had also done the text to go on the backs of the "tents", up to the Diamond. I seem to be on a roll, so I will do as much as possible, and make the results available for downloading on The spreadsheet includes values for use with Iain Stanford's new system for General-at-Sea value calculations. I have finished up to the Guinea frigate (32 guns) (as she was known before the Restoration). The list I am using is what ships are used in my Privateers Bounty scenarios. I probably will augment that list, as I can.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

I'm working on a third English ship sheet

My latest project was a drawing for the hired merchant ship, the Acorn (22 guns). My working assumption about armament is 14-sakers (5-1/4pdr) and 8 minions (4pdr). I already have a spreadsheet that covers the calculations for the Acorn. The Acorn was hired from 1649 to 1654, but we don't have any information about captains. The Acorn served with the fleet, in 1652, but after Dungeness seems to have been relegated to convoying or patrolling.

Friday, July 09, 2004

I haven't wanted to do miniatures gaming on a hex grid

If I am going to do miniatures gaming, I expect to have to measure with some ruler and move ships that way. If I was boardgaming, I could see using a hex grid, but that would be the only time I would consider such a thing. I could see that for the tiny fleets of the late 18th Century, where you might have a dozen ships on a side, that you might consider the hex grid, but when you are like me, where I want to have 70, 80, 90, or 100 ship fleets for 17th Century gaming, I just wouldn't even have thought of using a hex grid for anything but the large scale map, where I moved prior to placing fleets on the floor (no table is big enough, even at 1/3000 scale).

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

My Privateers Bounty scenarios can now be downloaded

My Privateers Bounty scenarios can now be downloaded from They are there, along with the start of Anglo-Dutch Wars naval wargame pieces.

Monday, July 05, 2004

I just made available some sheets of wargame pieces for the First Anglo-Dutch War

At, I have placed a link to a page of links to sheets of wargame pieces. They are designed to be used as "tents". You can print them with a color printer onto "index" (card stock). Cut out the pieces and fold along the center mark, to make a "tent". On the front side is the ship drawing, to scale, and on the back is ship information.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

My critique of my last simulation run

My main criticism of my last simulation run, of the Battle of Plymouth scenario, was that I closed too quickly with the Dutch. When I have been successful, I tried to get further to the windward, before letting the Dutch approach. I would aggressively turn to the windward, when going on the opposite tack, to attempt to keep the Dutch from closing. The simulation run turned into a disaster for the English, due to the Dutch being able to close with and rake the English ships.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Narrative of the Battle of Plymouth scenario, recently run

In this running of the Battle of Plymouth scenario, the battle started, as always, with the English to windward, running down on the Dutch. As I was in command, as we approached the Dutch, I commanded the fleet to turn to port, to present broadsides to the advancing Dutch. Almost immediately, it was necessary to reverse course, to keep the English fleet athwart the Dutch advance. Immediately before wearing to the starboard, I ran the English a little more to the windward, before putting the fleet helm over to starboard. Right after turning to port, I felt like we needed to try to get more to the windward, again, as the Dutch were so close. The situation was dicey, as the Dutch were too close. Both sides were taking losses. Very quickly, both sides were reduced to 91%. Somewhere along the way, the Dutch actually had a higher percentage left.

As English commander, I was struggling, to be honest. Part of the problem was that I was using a different mouse than I had been using. This one was a wheel mouse, while what I had been using had a soft lever that behaved somewhat like a wheel.

I eventually got a feel for the new mouse, and concentrated more on keeping the English fleet off from the Dutch, and on wearing back and forth, to windward. The problem was that, as usual, the English fleet had become scattered, and some of the Dutch were mixed into the English formation (or grouping).

This battle was turning into one of those nasty "fights to the finish". Still, as I got more serious about maneuvering, the Dutch started to really suffer losses. They were down to 56% while the English were at much greater strength. Things were looking fairly good, although now the English were really getting decimated. The English were reduced to 40% while the Dutch were all the way down to 19%. At least the English were up 2-to-1.

The time was after 5pm, and the sun would soon be getting lower. By 5:30pm, the English were starting to appear to be in trouble. Most of the English ships were dismasted. There were a few Dutch ships that were still fully mobile. The English were about 31% to the Dutch 19%. I gave up and shut down the simulation.

As I have said, the English hired merchantmen that predominated in Ayscue's fleet were quite marginal. This was a battle between two second line fleets. De Ruyter's was tasked with convoying up and down the Channel. Ayscue's was tasked with interfering with Dutch trade in the lower end of the Channel. The main English fleet had only been recently formed, and had been engaged in a wild goose chase to the Shetlands. Most of the regular warships were with Blake's fleet, and were the worse for wear, after their stormy voyage. The only good thing was that the Dutch were in worse shape. The lords of the States General were so displeased with Tromp, that he was fired and Witte de With appointed in his place (although only temporarily, as it turned out).

The English ships are starting to be heavily damaged

The English ships are really starting to take heavy damage. Ships are dismasted while others sink.

Earlier, the English ships are crossing rear of the withdrawing Dutch

The English ships are crossing the rear of the withdrawing Dutch fleet. The English maneuvering had caused the AI control to take the Dutch fleet away from the attacking English fleet.

Some comments about the Battle of Plymouth (I have been unpacking books, so I have not had the opportunity, yet, to post pictures)

I will post pictures from my last Privateers Bounty simulation run, sometime in the next day. I think that some comments are in order.

I ran the battle simulation up until about 5:30pm. At that time, the English were ahead, but had suffered a great number of lossed. Only 20 minutes (gametime) earlier, they were at 40% to the Dutch 19%. Percipitously, the English strength had fallen to 33%.

I have more sympathy, now, for Sir George Ayscue's situation. He had a second-line force made up mostly of hired merchantmen, many of them small. The hired merchantmen had low-quality crews and were lightly arned, in many cases. About the best of the hired merchantmen was the William (about 40 guns). The William was 700 tons, so was almost the size of the new 3rd Rates, such as the Speaker. I may well be not giving the William enough credit, giving her an armament of only 40guns. I could imagine 48 or 52 guns.

Friday, July 02, 2004

I will be writing about a really odd Battle of Plymouth simulation run

I ran the Battle of Plymouth scenario, where I commanded the English. I took pictures that I will be posting, a few here, but most at The English were winning, when I shut the simulation down, about 5:30pm, but the battle was really ugly. I'll tell you more about it, tomorrow.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Are there players out there for networked Privateers Bounty?

I have not been really thinking about such a thing, but I know that there is at least some interest in using multiplayer, networked Privateers Bounty. I would be curious to know how many people would be interested in such a thing.

I happen to be more focused on understanding 17th Century battles, especially those of the First Anglo-Dutch War. I have found running simulations with Privateers Bounty to be quite useful, even though they are "solo" games against "AI".

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