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Cargo boxes for merchantmen

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#21 HalC



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Posted 31 October 2018 - 08:46 PM

Hi Brian,

  my username first three letters along with roadrunner and com should do the trick.  Thanks.  :)


Too bad they don't have a email contact feature for this forum.  :(


Thank you for the help and the effort you put into this.



#22 Brian Weathersby

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Posted 31 October 2018 - 10:27 PM

You're very welcome Hal.  There should be a message inbound to you shortly.

#23 HalC



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Posted 01 November 2018 - 12:16 AM

Got it - thank you Brian.  I appreciate your kindness.


For what it is worth, I think you and I got into the hobby about the same time.  My first introduction to Age of Sail was Heart of Oak, the scenario in which the French were trying to get supplies and men to Ireland to aid starting a revolt.  It may have been a hypothetical scenario, but that was back when I was just fresh out of High School in 1980 or so.


But I was hooked by BEAT TO QUARTERS (Command Perspectives) by Barry Fox.  There was something I liked about being able to take a known tonnage of a hull, doubling it to create a hull damage value, and then having each individual cannon inflict damage equal to its poundage of throw weight.


Since then, I've judged any age of sail game (be it role playing games like RUN OUT THE GUNS, ICE's PIRATES (Campaign Classics), GURPS SWASHBUCKLERS or what have you, against that standard.


Then I picked up Post Captain.  Sadly, I've not yet had the chance to play it against anyone face to face, but would love to have that opportunity.  In the meantime, I'm writing VB.NET coding to see if I can emulate a table top game using a computer to do so.  Since it is for my own use and not to be redistributed, I don't much worry about anyone's panties getting into a twist one way or another.  Sadly, when I contacted the owner of FGU about creating a web page dedicated towards the use of GURPS rules in conjunction with Heart of Oak, I would have thought the guy would LOVE the chance to sell his product to even ONE person who wanted to use it with their GURPS campaign.  Instead, I got a flat "No, we do not permit you to use our product name in conjunction with GURPS".  So, No biggie.  I used it all of twice for my own campaigns before I simply dug up my misplaced copy of Beat To Quarters (Command Perspectives) and started to use that in lieu of Heart of Oak.


Want to know my secret on how to use HoO with a role playing game?  If every 50 lbs of throw weight equaled 1 "box"  on the "long Gun" list, then it also stands to reason, that every 50 lbs of throw weight that impacts on a ship is equal to the hit of a single "Long gun" box in HoO.  If I wanted to?  I could probably use that same philosophy with Post Captain.  After all, if a player character cannon crew successfully inflicts 3 hits against the enemy hull or sails - that is the same as a single battery of three successfully striking the target.   Having to roll against player character skills for hull repairs, or rigging repairs, or even simply pumping water back out works for me.


Now, my REAL dream as far as Age of Sails wargames or role playing games go?  Is a serious attempt at a campaign game system.  VICTORY BY ANY MEANS is sorta nice, but it just doesn't really do it for me. 


As for Post Captain?  I like it from what I've read of it.  Sometime within the next week, I'm going to print out the ship counters (likely will colorize the sheets so that the Brits will be Red, the French blue, and the Americans white.  Mount the printed ship counters atop some heavy cardboard, and presto, instant miniatures to try the game with.

#24 HalC



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Posted 01 November 2018 - 06:22 PM

On the basis of Brian's excel spreadsheet, the following ships were unique in their tonnage and/or mast/rigging type.  Those who wish to create their own merchant ship templates based on the information provided in the various documents for Post Captain in the download section, might wish to use this list for randomly generated merchants.


Sloop:  40 
Sloop:  60
Brig:   90
Brig:   150
Brig:   160
Brig:   200
Brig:   250
Brig:   260
Brig:   280
Brig:   300
Brig:   350
Ship:   250
Ship:   260
Ship:   270
Ship:   300
Ship:   340
Ship:   350
Ship:   400
Ship:   500
Ship:   550
Ship:   600
Ship:   700
I'm guessing based on the information provided in the other pdfs, that the Merchant Brig from the templates is actually a 400 ton hull based on the fact that it has a total of 6 hull squares.  A 300 ton brig would copy that same "hull" sheet, but have 1 hull box less in the normal hull area (seems the must pump bolded boxes are equal to 1/2 total hull boxes rounded up).  I would also imagine that the number of hold boxes would have to be reduced as well.  If a 400 ton hull has 180 tons cargo capacity, one would expect that a ship that is 75% of its original size, would have 75% of its cargo capacity, or 13 to 14 hold boxes.  Am I on the right track here?

#25 Cpt M

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Posted 02 November 2018 - 08:36 PM

"Am I on the right track here?"


Well.... Yes, no and it depends... 


After reviewing much of the information available regarding the merchant ships of the period, Lonnie and I were not able to discern any real "pattern" as to hull size and cargo capacity.  This is additionally complicated by the definition of carrying capacity used during the period (see the discussion further up this thread).  So any hard and fast "rules" are nearly impossible to develop since there are always notable (and many) exceptions.  So your assumptions may well be correct in some cases and not in others.  Bottomline is that this a messy and convoluted area that seems to defy logic!    

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#26 HalC



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Posted 02 November 2018 - 11:44 PM

(Looks to the left, looks to the right, and smiles as it seems safe to do so)

Since there seems to be no rhyme not reason, I shant tell them how I got the numbers. If asked, I'll just say ancient Mariner's secret and point upwards saying in a loud voice. " Squirrel! "

#27 Brian Weathersby

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Posted 03 November 2018 - 12:40 AM


I suspect you are right about age and entry.  I started naval miniatures between 1980-82 when I was in high school. My rules were Heart of Oak, and the ships were Skytrex and Navwar.  Unfortunately, none of those ships survived the various moves over the years.  I do still have my original rules, though.  I had Beat to Quarters, but didn't have the wind gauge that went with it so never could play it, unfortunately.  I went away from Age of Sail at some point, and that lasted until about 2000.  I just had to come back to my first love.  I mean, the first book I remember my father reading was Hornblower and the Hotspur, so where my choice of gaming was concerned I don't think I ever had a chance.  :huh:


I think Post Captain is every bit as good as the earlier rules and better in several ways.  After all, this set has the advantage of 30+ more years of rules development and streamlining.  The sailing model takes a try or so to get your head around at first exposure, but it's genius.  No more of this, "you move 7mm and I move 9mm" like HoO.  And the wind indicator gauge for determining slow medium or fast movement is so elegant that I just look at it and go, "****, I wish I had thought of something like that."  Of course, I know to make something that elegant and simple takes a whole LOT of work.  The charts are well-designed enough that after a turn or two players can pretty much run movement and combat by themselves.  Funniest thing of all is that when I tell people, "It's part of the General Quarters family" people immediately go, "Oh, OK then."  I really think that having GQ attached to it helps in the acceptance area a bit.  They stand on their own though; I've already had a couple of people tell me that these are becoming their favorite rules to play.  Best of all, these people are not necessarily hard-core Age of Sail gamers like so many of us are.


What I think the game is missing is some sort of grand tactical module that lets you play out the hours/days of maneuvering before the battle.  I've done some thinking about it, and think that 1/2 hour per turn and 1,000 yards per hex would be about right, as you could pretty much port the movement system and points right over.  Maybe a later project, who knows?

#28 HalC



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Posted 04 November 2018 - 09:15 AM

This may or may not be the thing to say, but...


Back in the day when SJGames was new, and created GURPS, I found a need for modern day weapons - not just the few that was included in the game.  So, I went digging around stuff that I had, until I found AFTERMATH and its rules for designing guns.  Then I found an M16 value built in AFTERMATH rules and used it to compare against the M16 in GURPS.  Worked like a charm for when i needed it.  Point is - there is nothing like adapting and making rules you need when you need them.  Just because it wasn't crafted by the original authors doesn't mean that they're not good.  It simply means that you created it and it made sense to you.  Put your ideas out there so that others might have a look see, and maybe use it for their own needs.  Maybe someone will come up with an idea on how to make it work better and refine your idea.


if only 25% of the L-GUN hits in Heart of Oak die roll result when dealing with small ships like cutters and the like - why not simply use the fractions as numbers until they add up to 1?  Little things here or there that you can consider for your own games might be worth examining in your house rules.  ;)

#29 Brian Weathersby

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 09:35 PM

Oh, I'll put it out there eventually.  First though, I have to inflict it on playtest it with some friends.

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