Thursday, 3 December 2009


To knock the rules around again I have made a cocktail from as many sources as possible. The game process should be SIMPLE, LOGICAL,HISTORICAL.

There seem to be distinct phases in the process

1) Exchange of missiles at distance. At this point the harpax gets its surprise in because it can start the next phases early.
2)Close manoeuvre to come near to the target.
3)Grappling if this is desired. Hooks are thrown onto the enemy ship. The harpax would now be winding the target closer on windlasses.
4) Once the ships are close enough a close 'firefight' occurs and the side which dominates can either clear grapples or make an attempt to get troops onto the other ship. Use of a 'Raven' is not dependant on the fighting at this point, if a chance is there the thing can just be dumped onto the enemy deck.
5) Sometimes boarding may be attempted haphazardly with men jumping or stepping over to the other ship. Otherwise boarding bridges are set in place and the attackers cross. Defenders may come forward to fight so there is fighting on the bridges.
6) Attackers gain the upper hand, kill or capture all the enemy deck-soldiers. OR the defenders tip the bridges off and sever all grapples.
7)The target gets free OR the cleared ship crew surrender. The sailors and oarsmen are largely at the mercy of the winners and kept to move the prize. Some instances show ship crew fighting - but badly - some show them being massacred, but on the whole they seem to have been somwhat apart from the combat. They were defenceless trapped in their seats and not trained to fight marines/legionaries. If a ship started to sink the lowermost oarsmen would be lucky to escape alive.

This gives me a model for a game process which is iterative and can be broken-out of by either side if they get a sufficient advantage.

IF close enough THEN SHOOT-OUT
FAILS - carry on no change
FAILS - bridges lost, grapples cut - both free to manoeuvre
..........OR Target can board Attacker ....
SUCCEEDS - THEN Deck Fight on target
SUCEEDS - THEN WIN or continue next round.

'Close enough' should be the point at which a ship is in a positíon to set grapples and get men across, NOT when it is at maximum grappling distance. This avoids any ideas on contesting grappling - a tug-of-war contest is difficult to make rules for. The harpax may need a rule like this but best to leave that as a special case.

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