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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Wargaming 1648-1720

Wargaming in the 1648-1720 period is a great challenge, due to the large fleets that were employed during this period. If you insist on fighting fleet actions without the help of a compupter, then you must follow some strategy like that employed by Iain Stanford in "General-at-Sea", where the game mechanisms are simplified and the ships are grouped. There is a slight possibility that if you had large teams of gamers, you might be able to use more detailed rules, but I am doubtful.

One alternative is to fight small actions, either small, independent squadrons or else small parts of larger fleets. If what you really want is to be able to fight the Battle of Portland or the Battle of the Gabbard, you would end up being pretty dissatisfied.

The ultimate would be a simulation game with 3D models that was paced to allow large numbers of ships on each side. Barring that, at least a simulation game that used a plan view map as the display would be adequate. You would want to have some degree of artificial intelligence employed, probably at the ship level, as well as for the squadron commander. I can see such a game written in Smalltalk being possible. The main difficulty is the level of effort involved and the cost to pay developer's time. I suspect that such a game would not be commercially viable, as everyone wants a flashy 3D graphics interface.

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