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Friday, January 25, 2013

Making Rules for 1/72 scale ship combat

Well I was going to do this myself but I am struggling. Making rules is something I can do... when I have an outline to expand on but from scratch is hard. I have started making some rules for what I can small scale land combat, for which I am utilizing a heavily altered version of the modern combat rules I have. I have also requested a copy of Ion's (Archduke Piccolo) rules, he says he has a machine copy :-). But for naval combat I am not even going to bother looking for rules in 1/72 scale but create my own, with help. Wind, currents and weather all play a HUGE part in naval combat and so far I have avoided them. I have come up with a formulae for the turning circle though...

A Ship's tightest possible turning circle has a radius (in normal circumstances) of half its length. however of coarse that's not the main problem the problem is the formulae which of coarse is 0.5(2π x o.25L). L= length there are of coarse several modifiers that affect the distance.

  • damaged rudder x1.8
  • damaged hull x1.6
  • damaged rigging/sails x1.7 (unless ore/steam powered)
  • streamline hull x0.7
  • bulky x1.2
  • over loaded x1.2
  • travelling at high speed x1.5
  • travelling at reasonable speed x1.2
  • travelling at a slow speed x0.9
  • deep draft x1.5
  • shallow draft x0.8
  • contrary currents x1.9
  • contrary wind direction x1.8
  • Wind aids turn x0.7
  • current aids turn x0.8
  • Ship is using ores x0.5
Note that when more than one factor is effecting the ship that the decimals are added with the factors below 1.0 having the difference between the number and 1 used (i.e 0.9 becomes -o.1). So when a ship with a normal turning circle of 50cm is affected by contrary winds but is travelling at slow speeds turns as tightly as possible the turning circle is multiplied by 1.7 so the equation to find the distance it will cover becomes o.5(2π x(50 x 1.7)) the end result is that it will cover a distance of 267 cm! this of coarse is taken off the distance the ship can cover in that turn.
But the distance covered by a ship during a turn also depends of the weather, the amount of sails and their size the ship has, and also the speed of the ship the previous turn.
Now you may be wondering what I mean by reasonable speed, high speed and slow speed... High speed is the speed a ship travels when its at full sail and the winds are favouring it. Reasonable speed is when its using more than 1/2 its possible sail power and the winds are in its favour or the ship is using full sail but the winds are not giving it full power. Normal speed is when its either using around 1/2 its sail power and the winds are favourable or when its using a greater amount of sail but the winds are not favouring it. slow speed is when the ship is either using below 1/2 its sail power or the winds are contrary. The actual speeds them selves are determined by eye, how many sails and how big they are and the shape of the ship... if its wide then its slower and if its got lots of sails and their huge its very fast :-) nice and simple.
As for ore power, well I think that the number of ores must determine its speed. what that speed is I have no idea.

But there is still so much to figure out! and of coarse there is the factor of gun on the ship. BUT all crew and guns will be affected by complementary land rules... the other ones I am making.


  1. I think a little bit of explanation might be called for, Gowan. I read the 'formula' 0.5(2(pi) x 0.25L) as (pi)xL/4 which is (very) approximately 0.8L. But I don't know what L is (boat length?) nor what the expression (pi)xL/4 equals (turning circle radius?). Of course you want the radius modified according to the factors you have listed, and but also the length of arc described by the vessel along the circumference of that circle.

    You could try a 'quick and dirty' solution that goes like this:

    1.For any vessel, from row boat to line-of-battle ship, its standard minimum turning radius is 0.8x (suppose) rounded (up) to the nearest cm (i.e. R = 4L/5 cm).

    2.When turning, the speed of the vessel determines the turning circle, and how far around the appropriate turning circle the vessel travels

    3.The minimum radius of the turn may be modified by several factors, such as speed, weather etc (see list above).

    3A. For any of the factors that aid turning, reduce the turning circle to 2L/3 cm). These are not cumulative. [EXAMPLE: A streamlined vessel 30cm long makes a turn at moderate speed. its turning radius is 2L/3 = 2x30/3 = 20cm.]

    3B. For any of the factors that hinder turning, add L/5. These are cumulative. [EXAMPLE: an unhandy vessel 30cm in length is overloaded, travelling at high speed into contrary currents. Its minimum turning radius is 4x30/5 = 24 cm. But L/5 (6cm) is added for each unfavourable factor: total 18cm. So the turning radius becomes 24+18cm = 40cm.]

    3C. A favourable factor will cancel one, and only one unfavourable factor.
    4. This radius is the minimum. There is no reason why a vessel might not turn at a wider radius, provided the forward move distance is not exceeded according to its speed.

    This just gives a starting point, and is pretty rough and ready. The numbers you might consider a bit too friendly to the ships involved, but you could always double the effect of the unfavourable factors, or make any other adjustments you see appropriate.

  2. your idea for factors is far better than mine. I think that is a better way of doing things. as for friendlyness, hmm you may be right but of coarse there is the issue of turning space and on some layouts that could be a problem.

    another thing I should consider is damage... should it be in different degrees of damage for instance
    light damage no effects
    moderate damage = add L/5
    heavy damage = add 2x L/5
    Extreme damage (close to sinking) = add 3x l/5
    sinking = add 5x L/5 ( possibly better as water in the hull will effect movement drastically.

    similar effects might be done with speed currents and wind but thatnks I'll change my rules as you system or finding the radius of the circle. then I use the equation to find the curcumference of the cicle (2πR) which then will tell me how far a ship will turn. this is important because just like land combat if a ship cannot complete a turn in one turn then it can only go so far.