Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Turning Ships

Sometimes, we just have to scratch an itch.  I've had this copy of Wooden Ships & Iron Men sitting on my bookshelf for about ten years, meaning to do something with it . . . and very late last night, while packing a box, I opened it and got started.

This is all on the wiki now.  It's fairly clumsy, full of notes that say "I'm going to make better rules for this later."  I've only worked on it about four hours (including content in the links).  But we have to start somewhere with these things.

UPDATE:  I've been adding continuously to linked data on the wiki since putting up this post this morning: so there is more general material for reading, for those who are interested.

All ships, regardless of size, must make turns in 60-degree angles, as determined by the naval hex map. In Figure 1 below, the master of a gig running with the wind decides to turn right with the beginning of the combat round. The ship's movement at the start of the round is three naval hexes. The arrow shows the intended direction of the turn.

Figure 1

When the turn is made, it is important to remember that while the front of the ship turns to the right, the back of the ship continues to move in the ship's former direction. The stern's momentum is always along the path that the bow has already travelled. In Figure 2 below, the old position of the ship is shown in white, after the ship has changed direction to the right a distance of one naval hex:

Figure 2

Until the stern has occupied the hex where the bow was when the ship began the turn, the ship cannot make another turn. This means that the bow must now continue the turn (in the direction shown by the arrow), until the stern 'catches up.' In Figure 3 below, the ship has completed the turn, with the previous attitude shown in white:

Figure 3

The ship is now free to move straight ahead or again initiate a turn to the left or the right (which would then be completed the following round).

Note that if the ship were to continue turning to the right, it would begin its next turn with an attitude exactly between a close-hauled and a reaching wind. In such cases, always consider the ship's speed to reflect theworst of the two possible options.

A very large ship can take two, even three combat rounds to complete a single turn. This reflects the unwieldy nature of these ships. (Rules that will allow a greater latitude with the movement of ships, that do not require full 60 degree turns, will be given later, along with more precise rules regarding the speed of the ship under various wind directions).

Swinging from Head to Wind

A ship that is pointed directly into the wind has no movement. However, a ship with this attitude can be allowed to swing into or away from the wind. Figure 4 below shows a ship that has swung from having its head to the wind (shown in white) to where the bow has moved one hex to the right (note that the foremast is not considered, only the front of the ship that rests on the water):

Figure 4

Like in the example above, this leaves the ship halfway between head to the wind and close-hauling - and because we are using the worst of the two attitudes, the ship is still treated as though it has its head to the wind. Another round must be spent letting the bow move completely to a 60-degree from the wind attitude:

Figure 5
At this point, the ship is considered to be in a close-hauled attitude, enabling it to move 1 hex the next round (1 knot of speed), most likely ahead or to the right. It can move to the left again (moving forward a hex, not swinging), though this would change its attitude back to what it has in figure 4 - and so it would have to swing again before it could move normally.

Note that when a ship is swinging INTO the wind, it is the stern that swings and not the bow:

Figure 6

See Ship Travel & Movement

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