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suliman

Ship boarding in a pirate game?

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Hi

Im making a adventure/strategy game similar to sid meiers pirates. It's set in the 17th century Caribbean. 

Typically when you board an enemy ship in such games you can keep it. However this makes aquiring new ships rather trivial, as boarding ships is the main gameplay mechanism and as such, you frequently board ships.

Would it seem very strange if you are never given the option to keep the boarded ship (add it to your convoy)? You instead board ships simply to steal plunder and new ships can only be aquired by buying them from shipwrights in ports.

Edited by suliman

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If you win and capture a ship, you should have to split your crew to sail each ship.

If each ship is half crew, they are both half as powerful and half as fast.

The only way to have both ships at full power is to buy full crew for both which takes some amount of grinding to pay for more crew.

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It begs the question what DOES the player do with it (instead)?

Just selling it immediately seems the easiest solution,

pulling it to port(behind the main ship) and selling it there would be more realistic but would make the game harder to make and it wouldn't add exciting gameplay.

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Who do you "sell" the ship to at high seas?

I'm thinking you just leave the ship where it is (after stealing some of the cargo). You don't need to massacre the defeated crew either.

I know in real life pirates would often try to keep both their original ship and the boarded one (splitting the crew between them) but this messes up the gameplay a bit for me:) Aquiring new ships is connected to wealth and faction relationship so stealing any ship you come along doesn't suit that.

Edited by suliman

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Yes that is another method to handle it logically. But i'm not sure it is fun gameplay to deal with that.

Maybe captured ships could be directly added to some "pirate haven inventory" and you deal with expensive repairs later (or salvage for some resources). This could be a good way to aquire unique/rare ships that couldn't be bought in ports.

Edited by suliman

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Should several ships be able to join the boarding action and the crews added together in the fight? Or should only one-on-one ship boarding combat be allowed?


I'm thinking it could be messy to allow several ships clogging up like that. But it's a bit strange to prohibit it.

Also, how to make boarding combat more interactive? I have no "fencing mechanics" as in Sid Meiers Pirates. Instead the crew numbers just tickle down until one side yields (the game is 2D with simple overhead graphics). Any way to make it more active for the player? Use some command-skills with cooldown maybe?

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Allowing boarding from either side of a single ship seems reasonable, but the real question then becomes how do you want to deal with multiple-multi-ship boarding events? IE: Player A brings two of their ships to either side of player B's first ship, then B reinforces with a second ship of their own... Should A be allowed to bring in a third ship? Should A be able to bring in a third ship and park it against their own to have its crew reinforce an existing attack?

 

As for dealing with capturing ships, I think that comes down to a crew management and risk management system:

- You can Sail a tall ship with as little as a half dozen people. You're not going to do it well, or respond to changes in wind all that quickly, and struggle to travel as fast as you normally could, but you could still get a ship back to port. 

- Then there is the question of crew: Do you press members of the previous crew under your own command while capturing the ship? Do you put a half dozen of your men in charge as officers and sail the new ship with the old crew and maintain efficiency? Do you take some of the new crew onto your previous ship for lower level work to free up more of your existing crew to be moved to the new ship? How much risk of mutiny is there in either case? - How loyal is the crew and captian you've placed on the newly captured ship? (If they're pirates, then why not let them bugger off with your ship when you're not looking?)

 

If you choose to avoid the risks of an uprising from the old crew, what do you do with them? Will all your crewmen go along with the idea of just tossing them overboard, or could that cause unrest and raise a mutiny risk from your own crew?

Whether tossing them overboard, leaving them in boats, enslaving them, or dumping them in the nearest port, how do you manage the two ships with your current crew? Do you put a handful on the new ship and have it barely effective for anything more than getting from A to B (And struggling to do even that), or do you more evenly spit your crew, leaving more work to be done on both ships? Fewer hands on deck to man the rigging, fewer to handle the and reload guns, fewer to carry out the general duties to keep a ship in shape and well ordered, fewer men on hand to repel boarders... etc. Or maybe you keep one as a near skeleton crew to maintain the effectiveness of your main ship, but saddle yourself with a lagging pig you then have to protect if you want all of the cargo and such...

Or maybe you just strip the newest boat of anything of value that isn't nailed down and can be stuffed into your main, steal/dump all their shot and powder, and sail off with a friendly wave and 'thank you for the stuff'?

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