Thursday, December 04, 2003

Anglo-Dutch War Computer Gaming

I would be interested to know if there are any alternatives for computer naval war gaming in the age of sail. The most obvious choice, for the present, is Akella's Privateers Bounty. You must be satisfied with late 18th Century ship images, rather than the distinctive 17th Century look. You also must be prepared to compromise on armaments, as our present understanding of ship definitions seems to require a single gun type on each location. There are up to three tiers of guns, as well as the forecastle and quarterdeck. There is the possibility of abusing the carronades by pretending that they are guns, instead. I'm not sure that there is that much difference between a short, chambered Dutch gun and a carronade, anyway. That would not be appropriate for all Dutch guns, but there are definitely some would fit.

A feature of this game is that you had best manouver groups of ship, rather than many individual ships. Even with a "hot" computer, the calculations involved with manouvering many individual ships will overwhelm processing. I learned this the hard way with the scenario for the opening battle of the First Anglo-Dutch War (the Battle off Dover, on May 29, 1652). The Dutch had 42 ships in Tromp's fleet against 21 English ships.

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