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Koro

Brute force

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I've played through both of the campaigns now using mostly brute force to capture all enemy ships in every battle. I've sunk maybe 1 or 2 ships in each campaign and lost 1 or 2 as well to the enemy.

Once I started facing bigger ships than my own, it's possible to gank up on them with two ships and so on using grape shot only.

It seems a bit too easy to just board enemy ships and capture them. More men is pretty much a guaranteed win

It also meant I experienced very little naval combat shooting broadsides since it turns in to a chasing game instead.

What's your experience with this? 

Capturing ships also seems to be really helpful since it gives reputation and then you can use that reputation to buy ships that you also have the option of selling to make money off f.x.

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Disclaimer: I have recently started to play this game (and i am already at 70 hours played, thanks coronavirus) and i currently only play on easy difficulty for sea and land battles.

I captured more ships playing the american campaign than i did in the british campaign. In the american campaign you need to capture them (especially in the beginning) to do all those side missions. They give you most of your money and also reputation. But in order to do that you need lots of ships. After the initial spree of capturing ships in the american campaign i start to sink more ships. Which can be tricky sometimes, not because i'm not able to do it, but because there is a certain ship that i want to capture and i don't want the crews from all the sunken ships to get on that one ship i want to capture.

So i have to keep the enemy ships alive on purpose until i captured the ship i want and then it's time to clean up. Or i have to capture all of them which can be costly in terms of lost men and weapons. During the british campaign i captured only certain ships, everything else was sunk. Simply because there is plenty of money and reputation to go around and certain ships that i wanted (like the Diana class frigate) could be bought. I especially made sure to capture the Diana class frigate i spotted in my american campaign. I tried to capture the Arrogante in Fireworks during the british campaign but after a couple of failed attempts i decided it was best to just burn the ship. Maybe i will try it again with a different approach.

And as much as i like collecting ships, it's not a viable option because you start bleeding money in terms of upkeep really fast in the american campaign. It takes a bit longer to reach that point in the british campaign but once you're there you start to get rid of everything right away. And if i don't need the money and/or reputation from captured ships anyway, why bother capturing them in the first place? Then there is also the cost of capturing ships to consider. Not just in terms of how many men and muskets you have to replace but also in terms of a reputation to money ratio. Meaning how much reputation does it cost to add the ship to my fleet and how much money can i get for selling it. Will it make sense to capture a brigg, add it to the fleet for 6 reputation points just so i can sell it for like 2000? Will that amount of money get me anything i really need right now? And how much money will it cost me to replace the men and muskets i lost during the boarding action? That has to be factored in as well. Which means my net profit might be less than the 2000 i sold the ship for, after spending those 6 reputation to add it to my fleet so i could sell it in the first place.

Currently i have more questions in that regard than i have answers. But as a general guideline i would say that it is worth capturing ships, especially if you need them or want to use them (like a Diana class frigate in the american campaign) but i don't know if it is worth to capture all the ships. Because you have to factor in the money you spend just to be able to capture those ships. Cost for ship repair, men, muskets (muskets with high melee damage cost more money), boarding upgrade (the 3rd tier one costs around 15k) and maybe even bringing a troop transport along. So take what you need but be careful. Too much of one thing is never a good thing. 

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Imo it is good, that capturing ships or pounding them to submission is easier than to sink them, because it was like that back in the days.

For me the gameplay concerning this topic feels good right now.

But i’ve only played the british campaign once so far, so my expirience is very limited.

Edit: Played it on medium, both sea and land battles.

Edited by Navalus Magnus
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Just keep in mind what difficulty are you playing in and remember for each of us whom play this game that some of us might not do as good as you did so to change anything from what you mean in your topic may throw the balance off in this game for the most of us?

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On 3/26/2020 at 5:47 PM, Koro said:

I've played through both of the campaigns now using mostly brute force to capture all enemy ships in every battle.

Historically it was far more likely for a defeated ship to be captured than sunk - both because of boardings and because straight up surrendering. There's nothing wrong with that.

There's nothing wrong with you rageboarding everyone at your heart's content if that's your "tactic". You're compromising in other areas if you go for that route (insanely expensive in the long run because of officers, crew and equipment replacements, possibly boarding equipment instead of other combat oriented ones, crews filled to the max meaning less weight for bigger guns, and a forced compromise in the ship's top speed and maneouverability, long term crew experience going off the drain after losing 60% of it's numbers in each rageboarding action, etc). Is that optimal?. No. Does that work?. Yes. It's a doctrine that demands a lot of tactical thinking in order to get going?. No.

Does any of that mean it should not be allowed?.

Hell no.

Wether you perceive it or not you're paying a cost in other areas for being strong in a particular one - that one being boarding. That doing so allows you to mindlessly board everyone without even taking your time to softening them up first doesn't come for free, as even if you don't notice it, you'll be paying a price for it (and a hefty one at that). Which means, it's working as it should.


Is it a "cheap" tactic?. Well that depends: you know, in military terms, human wave mass attacks were a thing too. Were they "cheap tactics"?. Well not in terms of actual human life costs - but hell they could be really effective (ask the wehrmacht in the Eastern Front). It's not a subtle way of waging war, has the same finesse as a wood chopping axe and is as elaborate as a wooden shoe. Even nowadays there's a lot of disdain for commanders that indulged in the old tactic of "sending more men to the front that bullets had the enemy". While the tactical criticism is right one can hardly discuss it's effectivity - as long as you have a lot more men to throw to the grinder than the enemy you don't necessarily need to be subtle when doing it in order to win. You can discuss the methodology and it's morale, but you can't discuss the results.

Same here. The "rageboarding" doctrine is what most people do because they have a tremendously limited knowledge of actual viable tactics of the age of sail- and this one is the "path of less resistance" so to speak.You only need to learn to point your ships to the nearest one with less crews, and board. No need to pull fancy maneouvers, evolved tactics or advanced thinking. It's only natural that people who don't know better go that route.

That doesn't mean it should be somehow "penalized". Because that same route, while being the "simplest" in tactical terms, It's also the "path with extraordinary costs" as you're going to be spending fortunes to replace crews and officers after each battle when you could just be using solid tactics to force surrenders instead of going for boardings against fully crewed ships with topped off morale. Not to mention that again, you're compromising your ship's loadouts and maneouverability by filling them to the brim with crewmen for those boarding.

Al of which means it should be possible to go that route. As long as if it means you're paying the according price. And the game is perfectly correct in allowing it because it forces you to pay that price. 



TL:DR: rageboarding is "easy" but far from optimal. Brute force in military history has been used a lot of times to great effect. I don't see why it shouldn't be allowed here at all, as going that route forces you to compromise in many other areas - as it should be the case.

Edited by RAMJB
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So basically whatever floats your boat (pun intended)

It's working for me so far, got 6 3rd rates and a trophy lined up along with 3 full troops ships and some smaller vessels going in to the beta branch now.

I'll try another way perhaps to see the change. I quite like the "free" ships since you get the option of either selling them for reputation or spending some reputation for money if you need extra.

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I don't like it. Rageboarding is an one-dimensional solution to a multiple layered problem that comes at quite a hefty cost. but that I don't like it doesn't mean that isn't legit and should be "fixed". You can't fix what isn't broken in the first place, wether you like or not.

I have done it in the past, yes. A fair guess is that everyone has. My first playthroughs in the sea were much forced through boardings on unsoftened ships, but that's before I became accustomed to the game's controls, nuances and representation of many different things. Once I became familiar with them, I became confortable enough to use more tactically evolved solutions to the same problems (having a lot more fun in the process, needless to say).

Finally those "free" ships you talk about can get equally without rageboarding. That a possible solution for the problem of fighting the enemy doesn't involve boarding it from the get go doesn't mean there won't be a boarding later on during the battle...or that the target won't surrender.
Either way you'll capture it. That money you win by spending rep on taking control of trophys and selling them you can do it anyway if you use a different approach. Those "Free" ships would be yours anyway (most, at least), and you could get them "cheaper". I don't have that 6 SOL lineup you talk about, but that's not because I didn't capture them. I did but I didn't keep them, I sent them back to the admiralty or paid the admiralty point price to sell some and futher improve my existing lineup. In general I never keep more than one 3rd rate and one razee in my active lineups, the rest of the mix made out of 5th, 6th and 7th rates. More than that becomes overkill, unnecessary, and a massive burden on your upkeep costs.


At any rate and once more, the large lineup of trophies doesn't compensate for the vast ammount of resources you'll spend on renewing wasted crews and officers in rageboarding, those you won't have if you look for different, more tactically refined solutions that would yield the same trophies anyway.
If you win battles through skill and not force, your crews experience will be higher across the board (as you're not losing a massive ammount of it with each battle), so will be officers. Money wise you'll spend more on repairs (as battles will drag longer in average), but that's a lot less costly than replacing crews. Tactically wise you'll be able to field ships with heavier guns or more maneouverable ships (using the tonnage you don't spend in massed crews in bigger guns, or freeing it), and have a better choice of ship upgrades that make for better rounded combat capabilities (as with the rageboarding option one slot should permanently be the boarding tools, reducing the flexibility on the rest), making for a stronger, more capable, and far more flexible force.

You can see "rageboarding" is not a tactic I find very attractive. But once more that's simple, and that it cancels a lot of tactical challenges other doctrines force on the player, doesn't mean it shouldn't work, as it comes with a big penalty attached to it and is far less resource efficient than winning battles with other means (which include capture - just not after a couple grape volleys to then board).

Edited by RAMJB
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I feel like anyone who 'rageboards' as standard tactic is yet to experience the joy of unloading a full raking broadside from a 3rd rate armed with 24pdr, 32pdr and 64pdr carronades into the stern of an enemy ship. 

Once you try that you will realize how much more cost effective it is to outmanouvre your opponent and beat him into submission with your guns.

Edited by matnjord

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