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Thread: USS Constitution versus HMS Sybille

  1. #1
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    Default USS Constitution versus HMS Sybille

    This game is my 2nd game. I'm using just the basic rules plus it's my first try of Dobbs AI. After this I will have a go at the standard rules.

    The inspiration for the game are the single ship actions involving the USS Constitution and British frigates during the War of 1812. The opponent I choose is the 44 gun Hebe class HMS Sybille (it says 34 on the card). It's not a fight I expected Sybille to win and she didn't but she did better than I expected. The initial wind and ship positions, just outside of long range, were based on the Avalon Hill scenario in Wooden Ships and Iron Men for the Constitution versus Guerriere. I used AI for both sides.

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    Turn 1 & 2: The Constititution turns to investigate the unknown frigate while the Sybille moves upwind to try to gain the weather gauge versus the larger frigate.

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    Turn 3: Sybille fires a partial broadside at long range to discourage her pursuer but it has little effect on 'Old Ironsides'.

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    Turn 4: Old Ironsides accepts the challenge and returns the honours.

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    Turns 5 to 9: Sybille finally gains the weather gauge. With the choice of engaging the more powerful frigate or not, Sybille's captain decides honour will not allow him to withdraw without at least a try. Sybille turns and heads towards the Constitution.

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    Turn 10: Withholding fire until within close range both frigates fire devastating broadsides from their forward batteries at each other. Surprisingly Sybille gives nearly as much as she gets.

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    Turn 11: The gunners on both ships reload while from the yardarms marines snipe at the opposing crews.

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    Turn 12: Both ships then turn away from each other as their captains re-assess the mettle of the foe. (It was a surprise to me but I went with hit.)

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    Turn 13: Both ships then turned back and fired - a full broadside for the Constitution which does little ship damage but devastates the Sybille's crew while Sybille with a partial broadside proves that 'Old Ironsides' might be a little rusty.

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    Turns 14 & 15: The ships reposition themselves onto parallel courses and exchange long range broadsides. Sybille heavily damages rusty 'Old Ironsdies' but her crew losses mount.

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    Turns 16 & 17: Neither captain willing to withdraw, they close for a close range broadsides. Sybille continues to ravage the hull of 'Old Ironsides' but down to almost no able crew, the captain of the Sybille strikes her colours.

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    The final tally on the ship boards.

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    Assessment of the AI. There were times when I wondered what it was doing as the ships jockeyed for position at long range or just out of long range. I nearly quit the game when they both turned away from each other but I'm glad I didn't. The overall game played reasonably enough for the similar engagements of the Constitution versus His Majesty's frigates. Full credit to the Sybille for doing better than I thought she would.
    Last edited by ShadowDragon; 03-17-2020 at 14:51.

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    A nice example of the action between the two ships.
    I never understood why Sybille was rated 34 as even in French hands when built she was never less than a 42 gun ship. With the addition of Carronades by the British she must have packed quite a punch.

    One question is about move ten where the two ships exchange broadsides. Was Constitution within the arc of Sybille's broadside because from the picture it looks as if only her forrard battery is ranged in?
    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
    A nice example of the action between the two ships.
    I never understood why Sybille was rated 34 as even in French hands when built she was never less than a 42 gun ship. With the addition of Carronades by the British she must have packed quite a punch.

    One question is about move ten where the two ships exchange broadsides. Was Constitution within the arc of Sybille's broadside because from the picture it looks as if only her forrard battery is ranged in?
    Rob.
    I wonder if it's a typo and should be '44' since the reverse card, HMS Amelia, is rated 38 guns on the card but has a lower firepower on the ship boards.

    I've edited the text so that it's clear that it's partial broadsides for both which is why Sybille only got to draw 2 chits.

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    A "box stock" Hebe is only a 38, but can go up to 44. UK Ledas are only rated as 36's from one less UD gun pair, but can go higher with secondaries on the gaillards.

    An 18-pdr 36 upgunned to 44 on one side, versus a 24-pdr "44" that in practice usually carries closer to 60 and is built like an SOL to boot. In practice, until Endymion the British response to Humphreys superfrigates was to razee 74-gun SOL's into 58-gun superfrigates for a more level playing field, though as far as I recall such a meeting never happened.
    --Diamondback
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowDragon View Post
    I wonder if it's a typo and should be '44' since the reverse card, HMS Amelia, is rated 38 guns on the card but has a lower firepower on the ship boards.

    I've edited the text so that it's clear that it's partial broadsides for both which is why Sybille only got to draw 2 chits.
    Thanks Paul. That clears that one up.
    I had also noticed the oddity of the ship mats, but never chased it up. Too busy playing with the other ships I guess.

    Thanks also DB for reminding us about those super Frigates. That is what I based my HEIC Nottingham on.
    Rob.
    Last edited by Bligh; 03-18-2020 at 04:48.
    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.

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    Thank you for the great A.A.R., Paul!

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    Very nice AAR. A couple of us tried something similar a few years back (myself and Bill). Thread is here if you'd like to catch it. HMS Sybille was the definite choice for HMS Guerriere stand in.

    https://www.sailsofglory.org/showthr...s+constitution
    "It's not the towering sails, but the unseen wind that moves a ship."
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    Thanks, everyone, for your kind feed back. I will have a look at that AAR, Jim.

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    I just had a look back at it, and am glad to say that a few new shipmates are doing what I hoped for when I posted this there. "I wish a few more members would emulate you in displaying their games."
    Well done to you. Please keep them coming.
    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
    I just had a look back at it, and am glad to say that a few new shipmates are doing what I hoped for when I posted this there. "I wish a few more members would emulate you in displaying their games."
    Well done to you. Please keep them coming.
    Rob.
    Since I've none around here to game with - and, of course, we're all hermits now - I only play solitaire. So I do it as much for the AAR as the game itself. Will eventually get to the campaigns once I get the standard rules down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowDragon View Post
    Since I've none around here to game with - and, of course, we're all hermits now - I only play solitaire. So I do it as much for the AAR as the game itself. Will eventually get to the campaigns once I get the standard rules down.
    This really makes me wish we had a Play-by-Post system or a suitable app... that was one good thing about Axis & Allies hexes, it was easy to do forum PbP.
    --Diamondback
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    For the first time ever I am in a position to play by E-Mail DB as I now have a dedicated games table that can be left set up for as long as it takes.

    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 ShadowDragon View Post
    Since I've none around here to game with - and, of course, we're all hermits now - I only play solitaire. So I do it as much for the AAR as the game itself. Will eventually get to the campaigns once I get the standard rules down.
    The AAR's are the part I like doing the most and reading, especially if the poster starts to develope some of the characters. I am hoping to personalize some of my Captains and crew this coming year.
    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 ShadowDragon View Post
    Thanks, everyone, for your kind feed back. I will have a look at that AAR, Jim.
    Thank you for the rep, Paul.
    "It's not the towering sails, but the unseen wind that moves a ship."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bligh View Post
    For the first time ever I am in a position to play by E-Mail DB as I now have a dedicated games table that can be left set up for as long as it takes.

    Rob.
    Rob, didn't Eric try playing SoG via email way back towards the beginning of the games release? I might be wrong in recalling this, but I did find an ancient thread where email options for Sails of Glory were discussed. Tabletop Simulator and Vassal are two options that are mentioned.

    https://www.sailsofglory.org/showthr...ghlight=vassal
    "It's not the towering sails, but the unseen wind that moves a ship."
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  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowDragon View Post
    Since I've none around here to game with - and, of course, we're all hermits now - I only play solitaire. So I do it as much for the AAR as the game itself. Will eventually get to the campaigns once I get the standard rules down.
    If you have the USS Bonhomme Richard I'd certainly enjoy seeing you battle against HMS Serapis (although I do not know which current SoG ship could substitute for Serapis?).
    "It's not the towering sails, but the unseen wind that moves a ship."
    –English Proverb

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmoss View Post
    Rob, didn't Eric try playing SoG via email way back towards the beginning of the games release? I might be wrong in recalling this, but I did find an ancient thread where email options for Sails of Glory were discussed. Tabletop Simulator and Vassal are two options that are mentioned.

    https://www.sailsofglory.org/showthr...ghlight=vassal
    Not sure Jim.
    Although I was a founding member, I did not do anything on here for the first couple of years, until I had time off from the Drome.
    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 Nightmoss View Post
    If you have the USS Bonhomme Richard I'd certainly enjoy seeing you battle against HMS Serapis (although I do not know which current SoG ship could substitute for Serapis?).
    This is something that DB posted in 2016 that mentions Serapis.

    At this point, I'm starting to think we should treat Hull Boes and Burden as two sides of one integrated stat, so here's a holistic overview proposal with existing releases in bold. Note, I am recommending that Razees go higher Boxes/lower Burden and possibly take a Veer penalty too in light of their heavier structures and SOL underwater hulls.
    Official/
    Estimated
    Boxes x
    Burden
    Rate Rating & Type Ships/Clesses
    Estimate 12x7 1 140 four-decker Santissima Trinidad
    Official 12x6 1 120 120 SGN106 Ocean
    100-120 SGN108 First Rate
    100 SGN201 First Rate

    98 SGN201 as 1810 Boyne 98
    Estimate 11x6 2 84-98 All non-1810 Boyne 90/98s
    Razee Royal William 84
    Estimate 10x6 3 80 and Large 74
    Official 10x5 3 Middling/Common 74s 74m SGN102 Temeraire
    74m SGN112 Gautier 74
    74c SGN104 Slade Common 74
    Official &
    Estimate
    10x4 3-4 64-70 SOL
    50-60 cruisers and razees
    Old 68-70s
    64 SGN109 Artesien
    Old 60 mini-SOLs
    58 razee-74 frigates
    56 ex-EIM cruisers
    50 SGN110 Portland
    Official &
    Estimate
    9x5 4 50-60 24# frigates 58 SGN202 Constitution
    50-gun frigates
    Estimate 10x3 5 44 cruisers
    38 razee-64 frigates
    Roebuck 44 (Serapis)
    Razee 64's (Indefatigable)
    Official &
    Estimate
    9x4 5 18-pdr 38-44 frigates 38-44 SGN105 Hebe family
    Official &
    Estimate
    9x3 5 18pdr 32-36
    12pdr 36
    SGN101 1777 Concorde up-gun
    Official 9x2 5 12pdr 32 SGN103 1773 Amazon
    Estimate 8x2 6 20-28 post ships/corvettes/
    "bastard frigates"
    Official 7x1 Unrated 14-18 sloops/
    brigs/etc.
    18 SGN107 MSS Thorn
    14 SGN107 Swan
    Estimate 6x1 Unrated anything below 14 guns
    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 Nightmoss View Post
    If you have the USS Bonhomme Richard I'd certainly enjoy seeing you battle against HMS Serapis (although I do not know which current SoG ship could substitute for Serapis?).
    I do have the USS Bonhomme Richard and will likely do a game using the standard rules - once I've read through them and understand them. I'm also intending to do some Great Lakes inspired scenarios (i.e., not exactly a replay of battles). I have bought one of every SoG ship except the original Starter kit as that's not available. Yes, I went all in and just ahead of the virus too.

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    As a proxy Serapis, I'd use a Portland, take the starting Main broadside and Burden down by 1 each.

    In pure paper stats, Serapis should be slightly better in both armament and hull (purpose-designed man-o-war vs EIM), with the crew making the difference. Historically, Serapis struck with both ships on the verge of sinking, and it took both crews working together to patch her up and get into port.

    EDIT - Some more current work: "Two-decker 44's should probably slot in somewhere between a Portland and a Hebe, maybe around Historical BHR plus or minus a little--leaning toward "minus" since BHR had to fight one of these (Serapis), a ship-sloop (Countess of Scarborough) AND a mutinous "American" frigate ALL AT ONCE and *still* managed to take Serapis as prize before sinking."

    An 18-pdr 2-deck 44 should probably be like a less maneuverable 18pdr 44-gun frigate. Something like:
    Burden 4, 9 Boxes, Veer 6, O deck, Main guns 4-4-4-3-3-2-2-1-X.
    Last edited by Diamondback; 03-20-2020 at 12:06.
    --Diamondback
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  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bligh View Post
    Not sure Jim.
    Although I was a founding member, I did not do anything on here for the first couple of years, until I had time off from the Drome.
    Rob.
    Thanks, Rob. I could easily be faulty in my memory. Regardless I do hope Eric is doing well. I don't think he's posted here in years?
    "It's not the towering sails, but the unseen wind that moves a ship."
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  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bligh View Post
    This is something that DB posted in 2016 that mentions Serapis.

    At this point, I'm starting to think we should treat Hull Boes and Burden as two sides of one integrated stat, so here's a holistic overview proposal with existing releases in bold. Note, I am recommending that Razees go higher Boxes/lower Burden and possibly take a Veer penalty too in light of their heavier structures and SOL underwater hulls.
    Official/
    Estimated
    Boxes x
    Burden
    Rate Rating & Type Ships/Clesses
    Estimate 12x7 1 140 four-decker Santissima Trinidad
    Official 12x6 1 120 120 SGN106 Ocean
    100-120 SGN108 First Rate
    100 SGN201 First Rate

    98 SGN201 as 1810 Boyne 98
    Estimate 11x6 2 84-98 All non-1810 Boyne 90/98s
    Razee Royal William 84
    Estimate 10x6 3 80 and Large 74
    Official 10x5 3 Middling/Common 74s 74m SGN102 Temeraire
    74m SGN112 Gautier 74
    74c SGN104 Slade Common 74
    Official &
    Estimate
    10x4 3-4 64-70 SOL
    50-60 cruisers and razees
    Old 68-70s
    64 SGN109 Artesien
    Old 60 mini-SOLs
    58 razee-74 frigates
    56 ex-EIM cruisers
    50 SGN110 Portland
    Official &
    Estimate
    9x5 4 50-60 24# frigates 58 SGN202 Constitution
    50-gun frigates
    Estimate 10x3 5 44 cruisers
    38 razee-64 frigates
    Roebuck 44 (Serapis)
    Razee 64's (Indefatigable)
    Official &
    Estimate
    9x4 5 18-pdr 38-44 frigates 38-44 SGN105 Hebe family
    Official &
    Estimate
    9x3 5 18pdr 32-36
    12pdr 36
    SGN101 1777 Concorde up-gun
    Official 9x2 5 12pdr 32 SGN103 1773 Amazon
    Estimate 8x2 6 20-28 post ships/corvettes/
    "bastard frigates"
    Official 7x1 Unrated 14-18 sloops/
    brigs/etc.
    18 SGN107 MSS Thorn
    14 SGN107 Swan
    Estimate 6x1 Unrated anything below 14 guns
    Thanks Rob. DB's usual attention to detail for sure.
    "It's not the towering sails, but the unseen wind that moves a ship."
    –English Proverb

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diamondback View Post
    As a proxy Serapis, I'd use a Portland, take the starting Main broadside and Burden down by 1 each.

    In pure paper stats, Serapis should be slightly better in both armament and hull (purpose-designed man-o-war vs EIM), with the crew making the difference. Historically, Serapis struck with both ships on the verge of sinking, and it took both crews working together to patch her up and get into port.

    EDIT - Some more current work: "Two-decker 44's should probably slot in somewhere between a Portland and a Hebe, maybe around Historical BHR plus or minus a little--leaning toward "minus" since BHR had to fight one of these (Serapis), a ship-sloop (Countess of Scarborough) AND a mutinous "American" frigate ALL AT ONCE and *still* managed to take Serapis as prize before sinking."

    An 18-pdr 2-deck 44 should probably be like a less maneuverable 18pdr 44-gun frigate. Something like:
    Burden 4, 9 Boxes, Veer 6, O deck, Main guns 4-4-4-3-3-2-2-1-X.
    Thanks DB. I just pulled out the Bonhomme Richard ship card and had forgotten there are two versions on each side. I do hope Paul sets up a battle. It would be interesting to see what happens.
    "It's not the towering sails, but the unseen wind that moves a ship."
    –English Proverb

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmoss View Post
    Thanks DB. I just pulled out the Bonhomme Richard ship card and had forgotten there are two versions on each side. I do hope Paul sets up a battle. It would be interesting to see what happens.
    Weaker version is Historical--the stronger is my best guess on how John Paul Jones had WANTED to arm her but couldn't get enough guns.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bligh View Post
    For the first time ever I am in a position to play by E-Mail DB as I now have a dedicated games table that can be left set up for as long as it takes.

    Rob.
    It occurs to me that two or more players playing against an AI would work through email or even through posting here move by move. All players being on the same side, no one would have anything to hide. Of course, the person truly present would have some work cut out for them, but what else is there to do?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dobbs View Post
    It occurs to me that two or more players playing against an AI would work through email or even through posting here move by move. All players being on the same side, no one would have anything to hide. Of course, the person truly present would have some work cut out for them, but what else is there to do?
    It's do-able. Would each player need to have a parallel table set-up with a master table?

    I do like the Wings of Glory WWI campaign with a scenario posted at the start of each month and everyone involved posts their AAR that month. It's not interactive but it's fun to see the results of everyone for the same mission.

    FYI - I'm ready to test the standard rules with the Dobbs modified side slips. It will be USS Thorn versus HMS Swan - sort of based on the USS Wasp versus HMS Reindeer.

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    I often play AI for Captain Kiwi when he does solo. I can then tutor him in all manner of aspects of the game.
    I should have been doing the same for Captain Smithers on Saturday but the lockdown meant that he could not come over.
    must try and get a game with Speedwell Lass. Family members in the same house are not isolated as yet.
    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 ShadowDragon View Post
    FYI - I'm ready to test the standard rules with the Dobbs modified side slips. It will be USS Thorn versus HMS Swan - sort of based on the USS Wasp versus HMS Reindeer.
    That's a good one! Might I suggest if you draw chits, subtract 2 from all of the numerical damage? It makes the little boats last longer (I feel it represents the smaller guns better. 16 18 pdrs do a lot more damage than 16 6 pdrs).

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    I was picturing one table with the person running it taking pictures and posting them. A second table could be used to help the person who's not really there visualize it (and play with minis).

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dobbs View Post
    That's a good one! Might I suggest if you draw chits, subtract 2 from all of the numerical damage? It makes the little boats last longer (I feel it represents the smaller guns better. 16 18 pdrs do a lot more damage than 16 6 pdrs).
    Dobbs, I've been toying with a similar idea for a while I'll throw out for your consideration...

    For each Rate the target ship is LOWER than the firing ship, draw one less Damage chit (to a minimum of 1 draw.) For each rate HIGHER, draw one MORE but also reduce all damage drawn by the same number (to a minimum of 1 unless drawn chit is a 0).
    --Diamondback
    PMH, SME, TLA, BBB

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diamondback View Post
    Dobbs, I've been toying with a similar idea for a while I'll throw out for your consideration...

    For each Rate the target ship is LOWER than the firing ship, draw one less Damage chit (to a minimum of 1 draw.) For each rate HIGHER, draw one MORE but also reduce all damage drawn by the same number (to a minimum of 1 unless drawn chit is a 0).
    Diamondback, I felt that the Ares gunnery system was only weak on the smaller ship end.

    If I might plug my method, it is simply if the historical ship was firing less than 9 pdr long guns, subtract 2 from any numeric damage drawn. If the ship is using primarily 9-12 pdrs, subtract 1. It applies to all targets.

    Obviously, the probability on specialty hits doesn't change, but those are lucky shots. So your sloop may get a mast hit on a 1st rate, but you're not going to scratch the hull.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dobbs View Post
    That's a good one! Might I suggest if you draw chits, subtract 2 from all of the numerical damage? It makes the little boats last longer (I feel it represents the smaller guns better. 16 18 pdrs do a lot more damage than 16 6 pdrs).
    If I understand correctly I should subtract 2 from each chit's value, so chits with 1 or 2 are treated as '0's. For the sloops with burden = 1, only chits that are 3 and above are 'hits' on the hull. Seems reasonable.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowDragon View Post
    If I understand correctly I should subtract 2 from each chit's value, so chits with 1 or 2 are treated as '0's. For the sloops with burden = 1, only chits that are 3 and above are 'hits' on the hull. Seems reasonable.
    You got it, Paul!

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