Steel Castles sourcebook in the yards!

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Tyrel Lohr
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Re: Steel Castles sourcebook in the yards!

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Fri Jul 01, 2016 2:27 pm

Ah, the Tsushima Sector supplement, right? :)

Tying in With a Purpose and the mission objectives should give each player something to do before things escalate to all out war. It would also be interesting to have two different phases to the game: the build up before Tension hits 100, and then the actual Great War afterwards where everyone is just flailing around and jockeying for position.
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Re: Steel Castles sourcebook in the yards!

Postby Charles Lewis » Thu Jul 07, 2016 7:08 pm

So here's my first pass at generating some stats, without torpedoes factored in:

Majestic, 1894, Battleship, DV 17, AS 8, CR 6, CC 3
Canopus, 1896, Battleship, DV 11, AS 8, CR 6, CC 3
Dreadnought, 1905, Dreadnought, DV 16, AS 10, CR 7, CC 3
Colossus, 1909, Dreadnought, DV 15, AS 11, CR 7, CC 4
Royal Sovereign, 1911, Dreadnought, DV 17, AS 14, CR 8, CC 4

Edgar, 1890, Cruiser, DV 6, AS 5, CR 4, CC 2
Monmouth, 1900, Cruiser, DV 7, AS 6, CR 5, CC 2
Warrior, 1904, Cruiser, DV 10, AS 6, CR 6, CC 3
Courageous, 1916, Cruiser, DV 6, AS 9, CR 7, CC 3

Cambrian, 1914, Light Cruiser, DV 4, AS 2, CR 3, CC 2
"D" Class, 1916, Light Cruiser, DV 4, AS 3, CR 3, CC 2


I've purposefully left off the AF rating as I'm not planning to introduce fighters or carriers into the setting. They didn't play much of a role except for scouting and land strikes anyway. It wasn't until after WWI that Billy Mitchell, and others, worked to prove that aircraft could be used to strike warships. Also, since I'm not trying to work within the ship design model, I don't want to spend time trying to keep these compatible outside the setting.
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Re: Steel Castles sourcebook in the yards!

Postby PaulB » Fri Jul 08, 2016 6:25 pm

Just wondering how do you plan to model the Torpedo Boat / Destroyer / Battleship dynamic? Or is that less important?

I'm not sure what mechanics there are in VBAM to facilitate that.
Torpedoes would obviously be good against Capital ships, but less effective against more manoeuvrable opponents like enemy destroyers and light cruisers. On the other hand, there would need to be some way for screening vessels to protect Battleships against enemy destroyers.

Maybe Destroyers can actually be treated as fighters in some way? And the secondary 6" guns on say a battleship or on a light cruiser could represent their AF factor in targeting the quicker moving boats.

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Re: Steel Castles sourcebook in the yards!

Postby Charles Lewis » Fri Jul 08, 2016 9:33 pm

That remains to be seen. That's why these test stats don't include torpedoes. Once I figure out how I want to handle those, the rest ought to fall in place. :)
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Re: Steel Castles sourcebook in the yards!

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Fri Jul 08, 2016 9:55 pm

Destroyers as fighters would be a very interesting split. That way you could have your heavy guns (AS) that are able to penetrate the thicker armor of capital ships, while light guns (AF) are only useful against less heavily armored targets. In that case, you'd have to decide if AS could still be used against the destroyers or if it isn't effective enough to engage them.

As for torpedoes, it could be a case where you roll a d6 to see what percentage of torpedoes hit their target, and have each hit do a free point of directed damage. Alternatively, you could have the torpedoes auto-hit but be able to be fired upon using AF guns to "shoot them down" before they impact.
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Re: Steel Castles sourcebook in the yards!

Postby murtalianconfederacy » Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:19 am

IIRC, the heavy guns onboard the heavy combatants simply didn't have the turning ability to engage the TBs or destroyers as they made their runs (although this is from a pre-dread viewpoint). I'd say AS should be unable to target the fighter-destroyers, or maybe halve their effectiveness (because a 12" or 15" shell smacking a destroyer or TB is unlikely, but if it does--bye-bye HMS Bloody Unlucky)

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Re: Steel Castles sourcebook in the yards!

Postby Charles Lewis » Mon Jul 11, 2016 3:16 pm

Turret rotation speed is a factor, certainly, especially as the range closes. However, the bigger issue is that your standard armor-piercing shell will over-penetrate something light like a destroyer; i.e. it will likely pass through the ship and unless it hits something vital, will likely cause minimal damage in all actuality. Destroyers-as-fighters does solve that, but I need to to convert some destroyers and see what that looks like.

Of course, there's also the matter that even in the few fleet engagements that there were, destroyers never really threatened the main battle line, so I've got to balance what was and what could have been and make sure it feels right.
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Re: Steel Castles sourcebook in the yards!

Postby Charles Lewis » Wed Aug 10, 2016 5:15 pm

PaulB wrote:Maybe Destroyers can actually be treated as fighters in some way? And the secondary 6" guns on say a battleship or on a light cruiser could represent their AF factor in targeting the quicker moving boats.


That notion has been bubbling around in the back of my brain for quite a while now, and I can't find a good argument against it. I don't want DDs and other light combatants to be too fragile or too powerful, and slotting them in the place of fighters might just do the trick.

Here's how a few shake out; secondaries still factor into main armament, but they provide the sole firepower for the close-in defense.

1911, Royal Sovereign, Dreadnought, DV 17, AS 14, AF 6, CR 8, CC 4
1905, Dreadnought, Dreadnought, DV 16, AS 10, AF 2, CR 7, CC 3
1911, Queen Mary, Battlecruiser, DV 13, AS 11, AF 4, CR 8, CC 4
1906, Invincible, Battlecruiser, DV 10, AS 10, AF 3, CR 7, CC 3
1916, Courageous, Cruiser, DV 6, AS 9, AF 5, CR 7, CC 3
1904, Warrior, Cruiser, DV 10, AS 6, AF 2, CR 6, CC 3
1917, Carlisle, Light Cruiser, DV 4, AS 3, AF 1, CR 3, CC 2
1913, Arethusa, Light Cruiser, DV 5, AS 2, AF 1, CR 3, CC 1

I will probably need to either recalculate AF for light cruisers, or simply given them a blanket exception that would allow them to use AS against light craft since their primaries are 6" guns (or smaller). There are also a couple of Cruiser classes that are only armed with 6" guns (Diadem and Monmouth) that will also need that taken into account.

I have yet to actually stat out a destroyer (I haven't had as much time to throw at this as I thought I would over the summer) so I can't judge yet whether these numbers are appropriate, but I think this a good track to follow.
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Re: Steel Castles sourcebook in the yards!

Postby PaulB » Wed Aug 10, 2016 7:07 pm

Cool. Maybe a ship like the Arethusa would have the Carrier trait as well, representing that it's a Destroyer Leader (if you went the DD for Fighters route). Similarly maybe some of the destroyer leaders, like the Marksman or Faulknor classes would be represented as ships.

Assuming that one only wanted fighter-type DDs led by either Tenders (for Russo-Japanese style deployment) or Destroyer Leaders/Light Cruisers.

I'm not sure how you'd represent torpedoes though, or at least the ideas of those secondary guns used against torpedoes or the idea of ships evading them as the Royal Navy did at Jutland when they turned away. Maybe that's outside the scope of the game.

In the other wishlist thread, I did suggest a special ability where a unit depletes its DV to raise its attack value. A torpedo could potentially another fighter, like DV 1 AS 0 with Disposable(4) where it does 4 AS when it attacks but is destroyed. Giving the enemy the chance to shoot it down. But then it would be fighters launching other fighters which, sounds very messy. Or maybe DDs have some one or two use ability that boosts their AS, representing those torpedoes being launched. After which they have only their 4.7" guns or whatnot.

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Re: Steel Castles sourcebook in the yards!

Postby Charles Lewis » Thu Aug 11, 2016 3:20 pm

The thing with torpedoes is that even battleships carry them. So it's not just the possibility of "fighters carrying fighters." Some sort of limited use mechanic, though, will have to be incorporated as there was generally no provision to reload in the middle of a battle.
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Re: Steel Castles sourcebook in the yards!

Postby Charles Lewis » Thu Sep 01, 2016 2:01 pm

Finished converting the rest of British fleet (not counting auxiliaries.) In spite of all the different classes of destroyers built, at this scale they stat out into 3 slight variations of each other that basically equate to pre-war, early war, and late war designs. That will simplify that immensely, especially given their likely enhanced role as attrition units in Steel Castles.

Now to sort out torpedoes, and then on to the rest of the navies!
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Re: Steel Castles sourcebook in the yards!

Postby PaulB » Thu Sep 15, 2016 12:45 am

Great to hear you're still progressing.
I've been reading Dreadnought by Robert K Massie. Very good read if you've not read it already. Next up I may grab his Castles of Steel book which is said to be a rough continuation.

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Re: Steel Castles sourcebook in the yards!

Postby Charles Lewis » Thu Sep 15, 2016 2:17 pm

Oh yeah, I've read both. Where do you think "Steel Castles" came from? :wink:

Dreadnought is exactly why Jackie Fisher is my avatar, as well as my interest in this period of naval history.

I need to move on to the rest of the fleets, but I haven't had time to resolve the torpedo question yet. Still, having the basic stats sorted out for the Royal Navy is a big hurdle to have gotten past.
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Re: Steel Castles sourcebook in the yards!

Postby PaulB » Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:42 pm

Well I figured that was the connection but didn't want to assume anything. I know that Castles of Steel is actually a Churchill quote from one of his visits to the fleet.

I need to move on to the rest of the fleets, but I haven't had time to resolve the torpedo question yet. Still, having the basic stats sorted out for the Royal Navy is a big hurdle to have gotten past.


Yeah, if you have it narrowed down to a few ideas you may just need to try them out in the combat resolution system and see what works best. I'll see if I can think up any suggestions.

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Re: Steel Castles sourcebook in the yards!

Postby Charles Lewis » Fri Sep 16, 2016 1:30 pm

I think I know what I want to do, I just need to test it out. Assuming it works as I think it will, I'll be able to move forward promptly from that test. :)
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