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Manual- Ultimate Admiral age of sail


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So during this pandemic quarantine I got really deep into this game and I love it. It was a steep learning curve for me as I did not know what certain ships/units were and were not good at doing. But I learned, and now I want to impart this to you

 

Part I- the premise

 

The premise of this game is to obtain, by purchase and by capture, a massive fleet such as the Imperial French and british fleets of the 17th-19th century, the Golden Age of Sail. Along with that are expeditionary forces (armies) that can be used to capture cities, forts, and overseas holdings much as was done during the history of colonialism.  So, with this, you will be in charge of both fleets, and armies (and sometimes simultaneously). This guide should be a primer to get you to understand more about how and why the game functions how it does.

 

You have multiple ways to go in this game. Every battle you fight you get some reputation and money that you can use to buy things or research tech, and also career points you can add to facilitate career (such as cheaper repairs or faster training or cheaper guns)

 

 

Part 2- Age of Sail- Ship types

 

The Age of Sail was the era between the 16th and 19th centuries where empires and nations were won and lost with control of the sea. It was the era of frigate captains and battles like Trafalgar. It was wooden ships and iron men. And to start the guide for the game, I will commence by explaining the types of ships available.

Ships of the line (hereby SOL,- 1st, 2nd, 3rd rates)

            -First rate- big battleships of over 90 guns (cannons) Think L’Orient , HMS Victory

            -Second rate- battleships between 80-90 guns

            -Third rate- the ubiquitous ship of the line of the era, the common 74-gun ship. In this game you get 78 and 68 gun ships. In reality you’d get 80s,74s,64s.

            -Fourth rate- Your heavy frigates or razees. Think USS Constitution. In this game so far I have gotten 46 and 52 gun frigates

            -Fifth rate- your basic frigates.  Your 38 gun ships such as HMS Shannon or USS Chesapeake.

            -Sixth rate- your small frigates/corvettes. I’ve gotten 28 gun ships.

            -Unrated ships- Your brigs/sloops. 18-24 guns.

 

 

 

·       Merchant ships- usually have no guns. Only good for carrying troops.

 

 

Part 3- Age of Sail- Weapons

 

So there are land weapons and naval weapons. Right now we will speak of naval weapons, of which there are two types

 

Naval artillery- these are the cannons on the ships. They are either long guns or carronades.  Long guns are your stereotypical long cannon on wheeled wooden carriages. Carronades are short barreled guns that fire a big shot. So, for example, while a 68 lb long gun might weigh 2.5 tons and take 14 men to operate, a 68 lb carronade is 1/3 of that and takes 5 men. They are on slides rather than wheeled carriages and weigh significantly less.

 

Naval guns are described by poundage. So, for example, an 18-pounder gun does not weigh 18 pounds. It weighs a ton and shoots an 18 lb cannonball.

           

4-pounder, 6-pounder

Tiny and useless, for small brigs or merchant ships

9-pounder

Decent gun. Usually for small frigates and brigs, or on the upper deck of SOLs

12 pounder

A good frigate gun. Maindeck guns for any frigate in the game or a mid-deck gun for a smaller SOL

18 pounder

Good gun. Historically, the main deck gun for a big frigate or the upper deck gun for a third rate SOL.

24-pounder

Possibly a frigate maindeck gun in game (heavy, so you might not be able to carry extra guns) and also lower deck of SOLs

32 pounder

Lower deck on SOLs

 

 

Naval weapons- your muskets that are required to arm your crew

 

Artillery types

 

·       Borgard guns- expensive and heavy and lousy accuracy. Better than nothing for initial era guns

·       Armstrong guns- average at everything (cost, weight, accuracy). Fairly good standard gun of the game

·       Blomefield guns- an upgraded Armstrong gun

·       Woolwich gun- accurate brass artillery piece

·       EIC guns- East India company guns, for use on the large merchant ships of the day. Usually accurate. Usually also light, thereby having short range and hitting power. In the game the EIC does many carronades.

·       Desauglier/JH King guns- these are small brass cannons. Useful for merchant ships or tiny brigs.

·       French rebored brass gun- these are brass 32-pounder artillery. Long range badasses for the lower deck of your big ship

Naval ammunition

·       Round shot- regular round cannonball. Also called solid shot. Used to bust holes into enemy ships

·       Grapeshot- consists of multiple smaller balls in a can or bag. Turns cannon into giant shotgun. Does not work as well if the armor of a ship is not destroyed

·       Chain and bar shot- two pieces of cannonballs held together by a bar or a chain; used to wrap around masts and cloth sails to destroy them.

 

 

Naval firearms

·       Sea service muskets- shorter barreled weapons for use in an enclosed area on a ship.  Common types in game are the British ’38 with or without bayonet, the French Charleville 1728 with the same, and the British ’78 sea service, with the same.   I don’t know if equipping the men with regular length muskets cause issues in game but maybe it increases reload time or something

 

 

Part 4-Crafting a fleet

 

To craft a fleet you can do research (using money + reputation points) to get technology, then you can either purchase or capture enemy ships to supplement your fleet. I recommend capture. It’s cheaper.  I also recommend sinking much career points into things like less technological research requirements and lowering costs of repairs/weapons that way you can access cutting edge technology quickly and your ships will cost you less.

 

There are too many different techs for me to list so I will list a few. These techs work by you applying them to your ship. For example

          -Boarding kit II- consists of pistols and blunderbusses. Allows you to kill more enemy in boarding

          -Gun carriage standardization- causes carriages to be made to just one set of specs and therefore guns weigh 15% less when you mount them on ships

          -Theoretical sails and rig studies- allows for studying of aerodynamics and crafting of sailing rigs that allow your ship to sail 10% faster

          -Hammocks- increase troopship capacity by 20% and armor decreased by 8%

 

One thing I do recommend is that when you have multiples of ships you don’t want them all to do the same thing. In real life ships were known for different things. USS Constitution was known for gunnery and armor, Chesapeake was a good sailer, for example.  If you have three frigates, give one of them a boarding kit and another a sailing modification and the third a gunnery modification such as lesser weight so you can carry bigger guns.  You can also use one thing to help another, for example, give an SOL increased hammocks AND gun carriage standardization so it frees up even more space to add extra crew.  Or give a frigate the rudder improvements as well as sailing rig so it’s even faster and more agile than it is now.

 

In the Harbor you can arm and modify your ships. I tend to arm my ships in this manner-

·       Carronades- they go to corvettes, some merchant ships and for secondary guns on frigates. I’ve also begun to put them on the top deck of SOLs for serious close range beatdowns.

·       4-, 6-, and 9-pounders- I rarely use these except for merchant ships

·       12 pounders- I use them on small frigates

·       18-pounders- use them on the 42 or 46 gun frigates if I have enough

·       24-, 32- pounder. On ships of the line only so far.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 4- naval tactics

 

          Here are some definitions to understand AoS naval combat better

 

·       Weather gage (windgage) the fleet with the wind behind them. They are faster and more maneuverable

·       Leeward- the fleet with the wind away from them. They are slower and less maneuverable.

·       Keeping the weather gage was desirable in naval combat because with the wind propelling them a captain or admiral could decline or accept combat as he wished

·       Dead run- when your ship is running directly before the wind. Ship is at its fastest

·       Reach- when the wind is coming at an angle from behind the ship. It can be 90 degrees to the side, or angled from the back.  Ship can be fairly fast or medium depending on its sailing capability

·       In irons- when your ship is turned into the wind and cannot go. Like running into a wall.

·       Broadside- all the guns on a side of a ship firing. The game is realistic in that to do a broadside the guns do not all fire at once, as in reality, faster gun crews fired quicker than slower gun crews, and guns with line of sight fired quicker than those who did not.

·       Spread- how far the cannonballs spread out when you fire.  Some ships have tight spreads and some have wide spreads. This can mean a lot if you have a wide spread, fire a 20 gun broadside, and only 7 of them hit.

·       Rake- to cross the front or back of an enemy ship and deliver fire.  You could fire your entire broadside and they could only reply with a few stern guns or chasers.

·       Line of battle- where all the big ships, third rates and up, lined up in a singular line front to back and fought by broadsides. The idea was each ship in line is to fight his direct opponent and it was theoretically easier to control if everyone was in one long line and shooting.

·       Dismasting- when one fires enough chain shot or solid shot into an enemy ship that their masts fall down. Therefore they cannot maneuver.

·       Boarding- when you close with an enemy ship and attach ropes to it and climb aboard it with your seamen to fight the opposing seamen and capture it.

 

So, naval combat in this game depends on the wind, which direction is indicated by a big fat arrow on the top left hand side of the game screen.   This can cause you to be able to maneuver effectively or not. Test your ship’s maneuverability by sailing it around by clicking the arrow. In the bottom left hand corner there is speed. When your ship is running with the wind in its favor, the speed will be faster. When it’s not, the speed will be slower.  When it is in irons, the speed will be in the negative.


Also, be careful of striking other ships and hitting other ships. This causes damage to your ship, just as it would in real life if your car hit someone else’s car.  You don’t get damage points off because you struck a friend.  So make sure you are careful when sailing multiple ships as they can get in the way of each other.

 

When you are sailing, you have multiple sails on one mast. From bottom to top, they are

·       Mainsail (also called courses)- the biggest sails near the deck

·       Topsail- one sail above

·       Topgallant sail- one sail above

·       Royal sail- one above that (if fitted)

·       Jibs/staysails- triangular sails at the front and in between the masts that are to catch the wind at a certain angle to help with turning and agility

So for example, on the foremast of a ship, you have- foresail, foretopsail, foretopgallant, and foreroyal with jibs or staysails attached

 

So the ship’s speed can be adjusted in this game with varying levels of sail reefing. The levels are 0, 25,50,75, and full speed.  Bear in mind that it takes time for a ship to come to a stop so you must slow or stop BEFORE you reach your intended destination. Let us say that you have an enemy frigate dismasted and at your mercy. You wear ship and want to come down on his stern and blow his ass out.  Well you don’t sail up to the stern then slam on the 0 speed button. You sail up to the stern then when you are there, maybe about 1 bowsprit length from being behind the stern, you then slow the ship, and when it comes to a complete stop it will be at the position you wished.  You can also double click on your intended location and the ship will auto anchor when it arrives.

 

You can aim your artillery by left clicking your mouse and it will bring up the aiming complex. It’s an enlarged picture of your opposing ship.  Then you can right click anywhere that shows a little target symbol and a little red dot will show up there, meaning that your gun crew will now fire at that area. Coming down from behind to rake the stern? Plant that red dot directly on the stern windows. See your opponent about to lose his last mast by the board? Plant that dot right over the mainsail and let it rip. Now bear in mind the accuracy and speed of your men will be affected by their experience, condition, morale, or any modifications such as fire control system or wadding or double shot.  Also, remember that depending on the type of gun you are firing, damage is commensurate. If you're firing on an SOL with a 9-pounder frigate you will see your cannonballs mostly bounce off. If you are firing on a 12-pounder frigate with a 24-pounder frigate, prepare to see  the splinters fly.

 

 

So there you have it. The basics of sailing action in this game. I will come back to this later to do land actions.

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21 hours ago, william1993 said:

Weather gauge (windgage) the fleet with the wind behind them. They are faster and more maneuverable

This is not entirely correct. Having the weather gauge is when a ship has any position upwind of the other vessel.

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2 hours ago, Captiva said:

This is not entirely correct. Having the weather gauge is when a ship has any position upwind of the other vessel.

And therefore has the initiative:

Those who are upwind can decide if they want to get to gripps with the enemy, stay at a certain distance or even try to run away.

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