Friday, March 15, 2013

Miscellany - Of Ships and Burning Oil

Wasn't feeling well last night, so no real post today.

I've been reading up on naval tactics and strategy with the idea of getting some context for Starmada and Full Thrust.  Found two interesting things that kind of mirror our experiences with Starmada.  First, from wikipedia:
Naval tactics throughout the 16th century and well into the 17th century, however, was focused on countering the oar-powered galleys that were armed with heavy guns in the bow, facing forwards, which were aimed by turning the entire ship against its target. Though far less seaworthy than sailing vessels and highly vulnerable to boarding by ships that rode higher in the water, the galleys were a serious threat due to their ability to aim accurate heavy gunfire low in the hulls of larger sailing ships.
So there is historical precedent for G-arc superweapons!  Doesn't make them any more fun, though :\

The other interesting point was a discussion of the continued usefulness of aircraft carriers in the missile age, with arguments made here (caution - pdf), here, and here.  I thought it was neat to see kind of the same discussions we had go down in the Real World.

Also, looking at ACKS again, I think we were playing military oil wrong the entire time.  We were applying fire damage every round for standing in a burning area, which (as we noted at the time) was strictly better than using oil as a single-target weapon for 1d8 damage for each of two rounds.  However, further inspection shows that oil spread on the ground covers only a 5' diameter rather than a 10' diameter, which means that there're large non-burning areas in a 10' square containing fire.  Also looks like area-deployment of oil require careful pouring, rather than throwing, so it can't be done at range.  So I think the tradeoff is that poured deployment requires either pouring oil in the front line (in which case intelligent adversaries will realize what you're up to) or pouring in the rear and then retreating, which yields ground, while thrown oil can be used to immediate effect from the rear but has lower damage potential.

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