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Thread: A Test of my Revamped Solo Mechanism

  1. #1
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    Default A Test of my Revamped Solo Mechanism

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    A while back I started work on a solo system where the ship was aware of which tack it was on. I liked what I had, but thought it could be simplified and the ship given better tactics.

    This shows the first full run. Both ships are AI.

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    First blood! I didn't keep track of damage because movement was what I was interested in. I just paid attention to who got to fire more and more efficiently.

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  2. #2
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    The reason that the one ship has an upside down movement card is because of my house rule that when you turn into the red arc you lose one movement for each red card played. If you use a two hourglass red, your ship is stationary on the turn after it leaves the red arc as it switches from blowing backward to going forward.

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    Here you see one of my modified sideslip cards in play.

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    ...and HMS Amphion carries the day. USS Brandywine just always seemed to be one broadside behind. Maybe it was the value of Amphion having the weather gauge to start?

  3. #3
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    Looks interesting Dobbs.
    Has it solved the problem in the usual solo rules of the downwind AI ship tending to shy away from action, and get hounded by the upwind ship?

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bligh View Post
    Looks interesting Dobbs.
    Has it solved the problem in the usual solo rules of the downwind AI ship tending to shy away from action, and get hounded by the upwind ship?

    Rob.
    I think so? The AI ship should always choose something close to the most advantageous orientation relative to the opponent's anticipated move.

    That maneuver where the American frigate almost sailed off the edge of the table but instead rounded up and tacked was all AI and not fudged by me.

    The only real challenge I have yet to resolve is how to adjust the ship's play based on damage. Since we play with side specific damage I want the ship to be inclined to turn a heavily damaged side away from the opponent. That's proving to be a trick without getting clunky.

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    Here's the most current set of rules:

    SoG Solo Tables - Sailing Master 1d6.pdf

    SoG Solo SM Bearing Template.pdf

    If anyone gives them a try, let me know how it plays for you. And, of course if you have any questions, you can post it here or PM me.


    THERE IS A MORE RECENT VERSION OF THESE RULES NOW ON POSTING #24.
    Last edited by Dobbs; 03-04-2020 at 16:36.

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    I only tried out your last version once, I'm a bit embarrased to say and even worse I forgot to tell you the results. Now it's too long ago for me to remember the details.

    I'm very happy to see you have finished them for all to use. I will try to make time for a new trial.

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    I‘m not a solo play fan for SoG, but it‘s cool that you try to improve the mechanics.

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    I wasn't much into solo play either until I read Richard's (Herkybird) post where he and a friend played a co-operative game against 2 AI ships. I downloaded his system and it started me thinking about how I would make self play rules.

    https://sailsofglory.org/showthread....roggy-Frigates!

    I've really lost ground and now watch as my mechanism plays itself!

  9. #9
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    I tried the first version of your solo system, playing Ares' historical scenario "On Equal Terms". I've play-tested three other solo-rulesets quite a bit. I really liked your system. I found it to produce the most unpredictable movement in a good way - the three games played out quite differently, which meant I found it hard to predict how the solo ship might move in given circumstances. And despite being unpredictable, the solo ship generally moved in a sensible way. It was quite a challenge lining up broadsides while not getting hit. One of the games lasted 28 turns! I look forward to following the progress and trying out the new set of rules when I get a chance!

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    I must say that I have enjoyed playing against Captain Kiwi a few times where he controlled a squadron and I the AI enemy. it takes the strain off trying to deal with both sides especially when quite a few ships are involved.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fabbe View Post
    I tried the first version of your solo system, playing Ares' historical scenario "On Equal Terms". I've play-tested three other solo-rulesets quite a bit. I really liked your system. I found it to produce the most unpredictable movement in a good way - the three games played out quite differently, which meant I found it hard to predict how the solo ship might move in given circumstances. And despite being unpredictable, the solo ship generally moved in a sensible way. It was quite a challenge lining up broadsides while not getting hit. One of the games lasted 28 turns! I look forward to following the progress and trying out the new set of rules when I get a chance!
    Thanks for your feedback, Andrew! If you liked the last one, I think you'll like this one even better. I decided that using two dice gave too many choices, so I simplified the tables to use one die. Also I think tacking works better now.

    In case anybody already downloaded the rules, I just reposted them after making a note that if you choose not to play with my modified sideslip rules, on the yellow tables just replace any sideslip cards with a regular straight 5 card. The sideslips on the green tables stay.

  12. #12
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    New rules loaded and ready for a try out Dobbs.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Last evening, the privateer brig Lacey Anne met the sloop of war HMS Swan off of Love Point on the Chesapeake Bay (you can tell by the brown water).

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    Both ships are AI, and once again, the English have the weather gauge.

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    At this point, after escaping being entangled, the master of Lacey Anne decided she was too knocked about for commerce raiding and retreated up the Patapsco river to Baltimore, hiding under the guns of Fort McHenry.
    Last edited by Dobbs; 02-14-2020 at 10:24.

  14. #14
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    Another very explicit demo Dobbs, with very believable movements.
    Thanks for posting.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Today I decided to see how my solo play mechanism would do against me.

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    The AI has HMS Amphion. I am bringing USS Saratoga to the table for her first encounter, a breakout from the Chesapeake.

    Amphion has the weather gauge and bears down on me. I bring Saratoga up closehauled on a starboard tack.

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    Saratoga gets off a full broadside while Amphion returns the favor with a partial broadside.

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    I gain the weather gauge but Amphion makes me pay for it.

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    Last edited by Dobbs; 02-29-2020 at 17:23.

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    I tack Saratoga to try and draw Amphion after me.

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    My plan pays off and I get in a solid bow rake!

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    Instead of finishing her tack, Amphion luffs up then bears off, raking me in the stern in return

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    As Saratoga completes her tack back to port, I give Amphion another broadside and decide to head for the open ocean. I gave better than I got.

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    ...but not much better...

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    Last edited by Dobbs; 02-29-2020 at 17:20.

  17. #17
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    Looks as if things could quite easily have gone against you there Dobbs.
    That clearly shows the improvements you have brought to the AI system.
    Can't wait for your next forray.
    Rob.
    Last edited by Bligh; 03-04-2020 at 00:48.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  18. #18
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    Hi Dobbs,

    Just to make sure I'm reading the charts correctly...for example, the table with the title caption, "Yellow - Port Beam - Starboard Tack", means:

    1) The AI ship is on a starboard tack (wind blowing from the AI ship's starboard yellow zone.

    2) The ship to which the AI ship is reacting (closest enemy ship) is off the port beam of the AI ship.

    3) The rows relate to the bearing of the enemy with respect to the AI ship. So, suppose the AI ship is heading NE (compass point 4), then the row used is:

    a) Parallel if the enemy ship's bearing is from NbE to EbN (compass points 1 to 7, i.e., +/- 3 points with respect to the AI ship)
    b) Reciprocal if the enemy ship's bear is from SbW to WbS (compass points 17 to 23, +/- 3 points with respect to the opposite direction of the AI ship, which is SW or compass point 20)
    c) Port if the enemy ship's bearing is from WbS through to NbE (between compass points 23 to 1 - going clockwise)
    d) Starboard if the enemy ship's bearing is from EbN to SbW (between compass points 7 to 17)

    Apologies if I got any of the seadog language wrong.

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    Yes Paul, that's exactly right, except a point is 11.25 degrees, so a ship is on a parallel course to the AI ship if it is 4 points (45 degrees) to either side of the AI ship's course. It would make more sense if a point was 15 degrees, but that would make it too easy!

    Incidentally, putting your hands together thumb to thumb at arms length, the distance from pinky to pinky is roughly a point.

    In "1)" you stated from where the wind was blowing, but I think you have it right in that the "tack" is the side the wind is blowing against.

    Oh, and thanks for the rep!
    Last edited by Dobbs; 03-03-2020 at 16:12.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dobbs View Post
    Yes Paul, that's exactly right, except a point is 11.25 degrees, so a ship is on a parallel course to the AI ship if it is 4 points (45 degrees) to either side of the AI ship's course. It would make more sense if a point was 15 degrees, but that would make it too easy!

    Incidentally, putting your hands together thumb to thumb at arms length, the distance from pinky to pinky is roughly a point.

    In "1)" you stated from where the wind was blowing, but I think you have it right in that the "tack" is the side the wind is blowing against.

    Oh, and thanks for the rep!
    My confusion was thinking that your bearing template related to the enemy ship's relative bearing. For the template it +/- 3 points, but on re-reading your instructions it does not say to use the bearing template. But I got it now. The enemy ship's relative bearing is in 4 quadrants of each of 8 points (parallel, starboard, reciprocal and port - with parallel centred on the AI ship's bearing). Easy.

    Yes, I did mean the side the wind is blowing against.

    The rep is well deserved for all of your hard work and willingness to share.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowDragon View Post
    My confusion was thinking that your bearing template related to the enemy ship's relative bearing. For the template it +/- 3 points, but on re-reading your instructions it does not say to use the bearing template. But I got it now. The enemy ship's relative bearing is in 4 quadrants of each of 8 points (parallel, starboard, reciprocal and port - with parallel centred on the AI ship's bearing). Easy.

    Yes, I did mean the side the wind is blowing against.

    The rep is well deserved for all of your hard work and willingness to share.
    Yep, the Bearing Template is just used to determine in which arc of the AI ship the player ship is. An imaginary line through opposite corners of the AI base can accomplish the same thing, but some folks like widgets.

    I suppose a name other than Bearing Template would be better?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dobbs View Post
    Yep, the Bearing Template is just used to determine in which arc of the AI ship the player ship is. An imaginary line through opposite corners of the AI base can accomplish the same thing, but some folks like widgets.

    I suppose a name other than Bearing Template would be better?
    The name of the template is fine. At most a sentence or phrase to clarify the relative heading (e.g., parallel = within 45 degrees / 4 points of the AI ship’s heading).

    Looking forward to using the charts.

  23. #23
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    I like the name of the template too Dobbs. It is an answer to a template without a proper name and explains it's function excellently.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Here's a clarified set of rules. Thanks to Paul for the suggestion. Included is the unchanged Bearing Template with its name also unchanged.

    SoG Solo Tables - Sailing Master 1d6.pdf

    SoG Solo SM Bearing Template.pdf

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dobbs View Post
    Here's a clarified set of rules. Thanks to Paul for the suggestion. Included is the unchanged Bearing Template with its name also unchanged.

    SoG Solo Tables - Sailing Master 1d6.pdf

    SoG Solo SM Bearing Template.pdf
    Perfectly clear now. All those years of working with NATO and officers with English as a second language pays off. A good example of misunderstanding is the word ‘mobilize’. For some it means to collect the resources you need for a project but for the German officers it meant national mobilization for WWIII.

    There’s also a story of how the army, navy, marines and Air Force interpret the order to ‘secure a building’.

    https://www.strategypage.com/humor/a...s/20020406.asp

  26. #26
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    A good joke, Paul!

  27. #27
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    Sounds about right to me Paul.
    Armed Forces in Canada must work to pretty much the same set of rules as we do then.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    A test of the AI in this AAR

    https://www.sailsofglory.org/showthr...1006#post91006

    The only question I had were '0's on the AI charts. I haven't gone through other manoeuvre decks to see if there is a 0 veer card, but these 2 decks didn't have such a card, so I used the next available number higher than that. I think that was right.

    I did use regular sideslip instead of Dobbs' sideslip for yellow zone for one ship on one turn. I should have used a regular straight '5' according to the AI directions but I haven't got my brain that far downwind yet

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowDragon View Post
    A test of the AI in this AAR

    https://www.sailsofglory.org/showthr...1006#post91006

    The only question I had were '0's on the AI charts. I haven't gone through other manoeuvre decks to see if there is a 0 veer card, but these 2 decks didn't have such a card, so I used the next available number higher than that. I think that was right.

    I did use regular sideslip instead of Dobbs' sideslip for yellow zone for one ship on one turn. I should have used a regular straight '5' according to the AI directions but I haven't got my brain that far downwind yet
    You are exactly right, Paul. The tables are made based on the most maneuverable ships. Less maneuverable ships use the closest card to the rolled number.

    Yup, if not using my sideslip cards, yellow sideslip cards just become regular straights. Thanks for playtesting!

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dobbs View Post
    You are exactly right, Paul. The tables are made based on the most maneuverable ships. Less maneuverable ships use the closest card to the rolled number.

    Yup, if not using my sideslip cards, yellow sideslip cards just become regular straights. Thanks for playtesting!
    Great. If there's anything weird I terms of the AI card selection in the AAR, ask because it probably means I screwed the AI.

  31. #31
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    Greetings all. I'm awaiting some new ship arrivals to add to my starter set so I can start playing some of the solo campaigns. As I'm waiting, want to start getting familiar with using AI rules in solo game. Do these work best for 1-on-1 engagements, or how could they beat be used for multiple ship actions? Are there certain scenarios that work well/don't work well for using AI? Thanks from a newb!

  32. #32
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    Hi Jim.
    One on one is a good starting point whilst you get used to them.
    When handling larger actions, I rule that the ships all mirror the senior flag commands until the first shot is fired and then go onto the AI chart for each ship. You may als find it an advantage to do one move at a time instead of choosing two cards as this can lead to needless false moves by both protagonist squadrons and a vast waste of your gaming time. Basically you will need to exercise your I in the AI when things look too silly for words. I just take a reality check and move in a sensible fashion without giving an unfair advantage to either side if possible.
    You will undoubtedly come up against anomalies but one of us is sure to have worked out a suitable finesse for the situation, or if not it will undoubtedly lead to an interesting debate, so don't hesitate to bring up anything you come across.
    The most important thing is that you enjoy the voyage.

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    March 22, 1779 Off Newport, Rhode Island

    Having spent the winter bottled up in the Providence River, the colonial frigates Brandywine and Saratoga receive word that the blockade has been dispersed, leaving only two British frigates off of Block Island. A fair wind serves and a breakout attempt is made...

    Suzanne and I played the Colonials. AI handled the British.

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    The British claw to windward to cut off our escape to the open sea.

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    The first salvos. Who can pass up a fair fight with the Royal Navy?

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    It starts to heat up...

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    More to come later...
    Last edited by Dobbs; 03-23-2020 at 06:00.

  34. #34
    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Great to see another action Dobbs.
    Also that I have been preempted by your use of lighting up your cannon fire.
    Don't it look fine sir!

    Bligh.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  35. #35
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    Brandywine wears, right into a broadside from Amphion. Unfortunately, the camera jiggled from the concussion of the broadside.

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    A more dramatic angle of the same shot.

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    This scene is moments before Saratoga fires a telling rake at extreme long range into Concorde, scoring two rudder hits.

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    Brandywine hammers away at Amphion while Saratoga completes her tack. Concorde staggers to windward as her crew works to repair her rudder.

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    Saratoga sails into a meat grinder, getting her lovely green paint seriously marred, but is able to dish back to both sides.

    ...at this point, 2 bells sounded on the first watch, and the game was called to prepare for bed.

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    The butcher's bill (the British are marked in blue):

    I was very satisfied with how the AI handled. This is the first time I've tried it with two ships. No fudging of courses was necessary.

    The smoke is all Suzanne's doing - cotton balls, blinky earrings with the backs cut off, and dabs of mascara to add smudges to the clouds. My contribution was the big stark white cloud that distinctly looks like cotton balls.
    Last edited by Dobbs; 03-23-2020 at 04:13.

  36. #36
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    Neatly done Dobbs.
    Suzanne gets the Rep then!
    I have four spare blinky earrings left.
    Must order a few more now.
    The mascara tip is a good one too.
    Thanks.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  37. #37
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    Awesome report! Likewise, the broadsides are excellent. Can I ask about the ship logs you used? IAM intrigued!

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bligh View Post
    Neatly done Dobbs.
    Suzanne gets the Rep then!
    I have four spare blinky earrings left.
    Must order a few more now.
    The mascara tip is a good one too.
    Thanks.
    Rob.
    Agree. Suzanne gets the rep and perhaps more blinky earnings.

  39. #39
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    We just need a post to give it to her on Paul.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  40. #40
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    NEWSFLASH:

    Before you all run out and buy mascara, Suzanne just corrected me. She used eyeshadow for the color and hairspray as a fixative on the cotton.

  41. #41
    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Thanks Dobbs.
    No shortage of mascara will be detected in the supermarkets then!
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimBlkHwk View Post
    Awesome report! Likewise, the broadsides are excellent. Can I ask about the ship logs you used? IAM intrigued!
    Here's a link to versions I made a couple of years ago:

    https://sailsofglory.org/showthread....-Damage-Charts

    If you're interested, I can upload the latest ones.

  43. #43
    Admiral of the Blue.
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    I would love to add the updated ship logs to your earlier ones Dobbs.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bligh View Post
    I would love to add the updated ship logs to your earlier ones Dobbs.
    Rob.
    I just downloaded the posted Damage Charts to see if I changed anything over the last two years, and the answer is no. The charts have stood the test of time. Those are the most current versions.

  45. #45
    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Thanks Dobbs.
    This next 9 weeks may be a good chance for mew to give them another looking over.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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