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US Campaign (Too many SOL engagements)


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Love the game, absolutely fantastic work you've done.  I've completed both American and British campaigns on hard and have several suggestions to improve the game further listed below.

BLUF: More frigate(s) vs frigate(s) duels, commerce raiding, and snatch and grab missions while outrunning the larger British fleet (keep them on your heels).

There should be a heavier focus on developing a fledgling American fleet and surviving to raid British shipping while dueling with their escorting frigates or corvettes.  Each frigate you acquire (built or captured) should feel like a national asset for congress, not a stepping stone to your future fleet of 78 gun SOLs.  As it stands now it doesn't take long before the campaign requires you "eliminate" on a regular basis British SOLs, and in doing so capture and build your own American fleet of SOLs...to battle even more British SOLs...even on hard this was too easy and felt unrealistic, it takes you out of the atmosphere of being a small navy using your frigates for hit and run  while trying to survive.  I could get behind the idea of capturing a couple SOLs and using them, but never to go toe-to-toe with the British fleet to control the sea...except when the French fleet arrived.  As the Americans you should at best be able to achieve temporary control of the sea to conduct amphibious raiding operations or sink/capture merchant ships. 

I recommend the following:

1. Reduce the number of SOLs encountered.

2. When SOLs are encountered do not make them a requirement for being eliminated.

3. Always make it a requirement to finish sea battles by either completely eliminating the enemy or by retreating.

3a. By forcing one of these two options it requires players to figure out how to save/protect their prizes and damaged ships.  Numerous missions had these options and they were so much more satisfying.  When they were not required and the battle simply ended when all objectives were met (such as sink/capture 10 of 15 SOLs) I found myself gaming the system for the fastest win so my captured / damaged ships didn't sink before I hit finish even though there were still 5 more SOLs to fight...it would have changed my calculus when deciding to sink or attempt to board and capture enemy ships, or to protect my damaged ships. 

4. Recommend improving AI for ships (both under player or computer control) to allow automatic aiming on enemy vulnerabilities based on aspect, range, and ammo loaded - allow the effectiveness of this to be directly attributed to the officers intelligence.  This would alleviate much micro management required for medium to large engagements.  On more than one occasion I found myself trying to control the broadside and steady a ship once in a position to rake the stern so the automatic shooting doesn't miss all over the place.  This was enjoyable to manage for 2-3 ships at a time, but when 5-10 ships are engaged simultaneously it was a wasteful use of time and resulted in many missed opportunities.  This would be preferable to letting the AI totally control the ship on my behalf, because unity of effort and maneuver is most important to control...I would like to think I could rely on my officers to at least aim the guns and shoot at the most advantageous time.  

Looking forward to seeing this game continue to develop!

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