July 08, 2019

Rule the Waves 2 Game 1 - July 1902

Gentlemen, your policy has guided us to victory over Italy. Although we fought no decisive fleet battle, good strategic choices lead to Italy's defeat in only four months. We have assumed control of the former Italian territories of Rhodes and Sardinia, and can now look forward to improved respect in the eyes of the world.

However, this leaves us with serious choices to make. The budget has been slashed to below its prewar level, and we will have to suspend some construction. Germany and Austria still threaten us, although tensions there have fallen somewhat, too.

Our current fleet

Ships currently under construction. Suspending a ship's construction reduces costs, but not quite to zero.

The new Mediterranean bases

The research situation

The monthly summaries are as follows


Laid down 3 300-ton minesweepers (1x3" gun, 19 kts) and 2 more destroyers, Claymore and Hache. Italian raiders sink two merchant ships, one in the Med and one in West Africa. Cruiser action off Brest, which the Italians decline, giving us 825 VP. Fleet battle off Bordighera (Franco-Italian border), which the Italians also decline, giving us 9630 VP. Enemy raid on coastal installations at Isle du Levant, which actually goes through. Even better, it looks like most of our battle fleet is there. Unknown ship sighted early, and the fleet turns to intercept. Engagement begins with firing at two Marco Polo class CAs, although the battleships then come into range. Fire is most ineffective. Several hull hits on our ships that miss the belt, confirming the wisdom of our switch to wide belts. At last the range closes to under 5000 yards, and the guns begin to hit regularly. It even looks like we're knocking their main guns out, at least temporarily.

At one point, their lead division gets directly in front of ours, and we turn to cross their stern, and the T of the rear division. This brings our lead division very close to their second division, the range falling to as little as 1,500 yards. Unfortunately, they seem to gain the upper hand in hitting, and one damages the rudder of Redoubtable. To make matters worse, a misunderstood signal takes our second battleship division out of the chase. After a long pounding engagement, we're beginning to run low on ammo, and first division is beaten up pretty badly. Heavy rain and approaching darkness cut visibility dramatically, and we don't want to risk a night action.

During the turnaway, several of our ships blunder into theirs. B Devastation nearly collides with an enemy battleship, while destroyer Catapulte pumps a torpedo into a Napoli class battleship. B Devastation then does ram another Napoli. She is hit by a torpedo and goes down like a stone. Both Napolis are lamed, although we haven't managed to actually sink either one yet. CL Chateaurenault is torpedoed. Finally, the last battleship gets away, and both sides turn for home.

The finally tally is one battleship sunk each, with them also losing a destroyer and us a merchant ship in the early phase of the battle. Total score is slightly in their favor, and their gunnery looks to have outperformed ours somewhat. VP is 2462 to them, 2266 to us.

We gain 260 VP for blockade. Italy has laid down an AMC and 3 KE, the US a B, UK a KE. UK commissions 5 DD and a B.


DD Sabre commissioned. Raiders sink 5 ships in Med, 1 on South American East Coast.

Attack launched on Italian convoy near Sardinia. Our force is 3 B, 2 CA. Unfortunately, we fail to intercept, and it's credited as a victory to Italy because of the surviving merchant ships. 786 VP for them. Italy has laid down 2 DD, 3 KE, 1 AMC. Refitting 1 CL with heavier guns. Japan and USA lay down CAs, Germany a CL. 260 VP from blockade. 2 more DD and a minesweeper laid down.


Abortive peace negotiations result in no change to situation. Breakthrough: 6' rangefinder. Raiders sink 2 ships in Med. Raid on coastal shipping in Strait of Messina with 2 CA. We encounter a pair of enemy CAs, but this time it looks like we have the upper hand in gunnery. Soon, the force was trapped off the Italian coast, and we began to pound them. A torpedo attack didn't work out, and the cruisers eventually escaped into the safety of Messina itself. We then went hunting for other ships, damaging several transports and sinking one, which, when combined with the destroyer we sunk earlier, gave us the two we needed. At this point, we withdrew to not endanger our victory. End result is a major victory. +1 Prestiege, 1480 VP vs 342 for the enemy.

Germany and UK lay down Bs, Italy 3 KE and an AMC. Italy and AH are building coastal batteries. Germany commissions a B, US a CA.


Construction of 6" coastal battery in Tunisia complete. 3 minesweepers commission, along with DD Mousqueton. They sound us out about a negotiated peace with us gaining the border areas, which our political leadership decides to accept. We take Sardinia and Rhodes from Italy.

Germany, UK lay down Bs, UK commissions 2 DDs. All war-only ships (AMCs and small KEs) are sold off.

January 1903:

1903 is upon us, giving us a chance to build on the glorious victories of 1902. War with Germany looms, a situation that has been recognized by our financial lords and masters. All ship construction has been resumed, and we expect most of the vessels currently under construction to commission within the next year.


We commission 2 DDs, DD Sabre finishes working up. US and UK commission a CA each, UK also a CL. Italy reported to have invented Early coastal submarines.


14" gun (-1 quality) researched. Germany & US laid down Bs, UK, AH, US lay down KEs. US commissions 2 CLs.


We commission 2 DD, DD Mosqueton finishes working up. An increase in naval spending is authorized to counter the threat of Germany. Medium wing turrets (twins up to 10" possible) developed. US commissions 2 CL, UK a CL and CA. 1-month delay to B Solferino. (When this happens, you aren't charged for that month.) US lays down 2 DD. Construction on CA Dupleix resumed.


Plans for Japanese B Sagami stolen. 2 DD finish working up. US lays down 1 DD, commissions 1 CL. 1-month delay to DD Hache.


CL Isly commissions. During trials, she has trouble reaching her design speed. (Class is capable of 21 kts, not 22 kts.) DD Claymore also commissions. Breakthrough: face-hardening for armor. Germany has increased their naval budget. AH halted B construction due to financial difficulties. Italy laid down a KE, USA a DD and CA. AH commissions a CA. Construction resumed on CL Alger.


2 DD commission, one a month early. (Don't know how this is costed.) A crisis breaks out in the Balkans, and we decide to back our ally unconditionally. Breakthrough in side drums for machinery. Germany commissions a KE and CA, lays down replacements. 2 DD finish working up. UK and Italy commission CLs. CA Desaix resumed.

The big challenge for the coming year is for our shipbuilding plans. We should probably plan for whatever is to replace Jeanne d'Arc on the slipway now, so the designers have time to prepare it for building. It could be anything from a minimum-change variant, possibly shrunk to take advantage of new weight-saving technologies to something faster or with more guns or armor. Or it could be a battleship, probably based on the Solfierno design. Or it could be a lot of CLs and DDs. I'm not going to do sketches right now, but I'll provide them on request.

1903 Sketch Designs

It's based on a Solfierno, with 14" guns, scaled up to the maximum our docks can hold, with more speed and reduced secondary armament

A lightly-updated Solfierno

The fast 14" battleship

The up-armored 14" battleship

A minimum-change Jeanne d'Arc

The 9" cruiser with wing turrets

An Isly variant, but significantly cheaper thanks to changing technology.

An oceanic minesweeper.

A 17,000 ton derivative of BC-03-I, with armor reduced to keep it under the weight limit


  1. July 08, 2019ADifferentAnonymous said...

    Nice job there! Winning a war for the loss of one B and one DD is a pretty nice deal.

    Shame about the budget though... I don't want to delay Solferino any further, since we're down a from the war and 19 months is already a long time. Maybe delay two Jeanne d'Arcs and an Isly, with one of the Jenne d'Arcs first in line for resumption?

  2. July 08, 2019bean said...

    That comes out to -94/month, which is very reasonable, and will go positive next month as the destroyers complete. We can restart one of the CAs in five months, and probably the second CL very shortly thereafter.

  3. July 08, 2019DampOctopus said...

    Do I understand correctly that the Italians' decision to decline a fleet engagement earned us 9630 VP, while the actual fleet action only earned 2000 VP or so for each side? Assuming these VP determine the outcome of the war, this single choice of theirs seems to have won it for us.

  4. July 08, 2019ADifferentAnonymous said...

    I suppose it makes some sense that declining fleet action is heavily penalized. Seems a bit odd for the AI to do that, but I guess now we know where our in-game Italians stand in the Italian-cowardice-stereotype debate.

  5. July 08, 2019bean said...

    Pretty much, yes. As a player, it's a really good disincentive to just turning down battles where the odds are against you. And I really should have gotten more points for the one at Messina, which should have seen two CAs killed.

    Also, we didn't lose any destroyers.

  6. July 09, 2019John Schilling said...

    "B Devastation then does ram another Napoli ... both Napolis are lamed, although we haven’t managed to actually sink either one yet"

    So, you're saying we might have doubled our tally of enemy battleships sunk if we'd equipped our own mighty ironclads with rams?

    Seriously, I'm more impressed that one of our 19th-century protected cruisers survived a torpedo hit.

  7. July 09, 2019Protagoras said...

    How good were torpedoes in 1902? I presume if it just hadn't gone off or something there would have been some notification, but the survival of the protected cruiser could be a result of the smaller torpedoes with smaller charges of less powerful explosives than would later be the case (plus some luck).

  8. July 09, 2019bean said...

    So, you’re saying we might have doubled our tally of enemy battleships sunk if we’d equipped our own mighty ironclads with rams?

    Technically, yes. That was a weird battle. Night had just fallen, and I think it was raining, so I'd ordered the lead division to head for home. Then Devastation, which was IIRC leading the second division comes blundering straight in to the middle of the enemy formation. I'm terrified, at least until the Napoli eats a torpedo, at which point I bring the fleet back in to make sure it goes down. Then Devastation collides with the other one. Not a huge problem, but then it sinks instantly from a torpedo hit, which I've never seen. I pounded that Napoli for a while, but it got away.

    Seriously, I’m more impressed that one of our 19th-century protected cruisers survived a torpedo hit.

    I was astonished by that, too. The game does model impact locations, and my guess would be that it happened to hit, say, the bow, which has lots of compartments and not much buoyancy. I've seen big ships take two torpedoes fine in one battle, and then be seriously lamed by one in another battle that happens to hit on a bulkhead or something. I didn't check that, but it was at about 50% flooding when I opened it up to look a turn or two later, because I was of course wondering how it had survived. So to answer Protagoras, it definitely detonated. "Hit by a dud" is a thing, and I've seen it, but it looks different.

  9. July 09, 2019ADifferentAnonymous said...

    So aside from which construction, are there any choices we should be considering before next year starts?

    We could reconsider research priorities, but at least from the posted information, it doesn't seem like our fleet showed any particular glaring deficiencies (aside from the narrow belts, which we've already addressed). Unless that "fleet tactics" category would help with our maneuvering woes, in which case I vote for high priority on that.

    (And oops about my reading comprehension as to who lost a destroyer)

  10. July 09, 2019Evil4Zerggin said...

    We do need to decide who to antagonize next. If we can keep them well ahead in tension, I suggest Austria so we can ~~beat them up for easy reparation money~~ further our security interests in the Mediterranean.

  11. July 10, 2019bean said...

    The fleet would generally say it was low on firepower. Fire control and guns are already high (and I'm baffled that we still have yet to see a new gun, but I guess it's just that game) but we could prioritize shells.

    Also, TDS (which are the one thing under damage control you don't automatically get when it's researched) would probably be something they'd put a lot of effort into after Devastation. Or maybe not, given the only other vessel of ours to get hit by a torpedo...

    The lack of good C2 is one of the most serious problems in the game. Even in the 50s, units out of sight of the flagship switch to AI control, and trying to get a destroyer attack on an enemy ship is often an exercise in frustration.

  12. July 10, 2019bean said...

    Because I'm going to be on the road over the weekend, I'm going to play the rest of 1902 starting now. I'm adopting ADA's fleet suspension plan.

  13. July 15, 2019bean said...

    I've finally gotten January 1903 up. Sorry for the delay, but I've been on the road.

  14. July 15, 2019David W. said...

    14″ guns sound like a real boost, finally. What does a ship look like that’s designed around them? I assume it has to be a battleship not a cruiser?

    Germany looks like rather more of a challenge than Italy.

  15. July 15, 2019ADifferentAnonymous said...

    Hmm, Germany's numbers look kinda scary. What does War Plan Black look like? I'm thinking we deploy as much as we can (while still meeting obligations) to Northern Europe to try to force Germany to fight a European war instead of a global one. Given their many cruisers and our many colonies, the latter seems like a bad time.

    If that's the plan, we probably want either torpedo-oriented destroyers if we think we can field effective ones, or else more battleships. Since our department seems to have reached a torpedo-skeptical consensus, maybe let's sketch a 14" battleship?

    Also, probably cut intel on Italy to medium and raise it to high on Germany?

  16. July 15, 2019bean said...

    A Solfierno armed with 14" guns comes to 16,300 tons, but that's somewhat overgunned, at a cost in ROF and accuracy, and the game recommends 17,000 tons. That gives us either an extra knot of speed or an extra half-inch of both belt and deck armor.

  17. July 15, 2019beleester said...

    The Solferino has an 11.5-inch belt and I think we're still mainly expecting 12-inch guns, so I think the extra knot is the better choice. We know the Italians were planning a 19-knot battleship, so 20 knots should put us ahead of the pack.

    I'm also curious what a CA would look like with 1903 technology. Could those new wing turrets we researched allow us to fit some more 9-inch guns onto them?

    Lastly: How do our colonial forces look, now that we've got our first dedicated colonial cruisers rolling off the line? Can we save any money by fiddling with overseas deployments?

  18. July 15, 2019David W said...

    Can I get my e-mail edited out of the post above (the one where I proposed a 14" ship design)?

    I don't think I agree with extra speed on the battleship. There's not much point in being faster than our line of battle, and our budget doesn't stretch to the point where we could afford to scrap older, slower ships any time soon. Better to have more fighting power in the line than be able to have one ship escape battle (the US battleship philosophy, if I've understood Bean's explanations).

  19. July 15, 2019bean said...

    @David W

    Done. And yes, that is more or less the US philosophy.


    We’d need a 16,000 ton ship for that, which is about 2600 tons more than the Jeanne d’Arcs. So again, a big upgrade in size. On 16,100 I can fit 4 wing turrets and a 22 kt speed.

    And we could use those CLs to replace a pair of CAs. The one in West Africa definitely, and probably another one, too.

  20. July 16, 2019Evil4Zerggin said...

    A shame about the Isly speed. I think you can do a "null"-rebuild to effectively re-roll the speed trials at a cost of a few percent of the ship's normal cost. Though I'm not sure you even pay maintenance during the rebuild, so it might even end up close to a wash cost-wise.

    I'm not a fan of wing turrets, you're basically paying for two turrets of which only one will get to fire at a time. Maybe we should prioritize Ship Design so we can get a third centreline turret.

  21. July 16, 2019bean said...

    I'm pretty sure we can't do the reroll thing. I've upgraded a lot of ships that had low trial speeds and didn't get faster when I did a rebuild.

  22. July 16, 2019bean said...

    Oh, and regarding the numbers in the almanac, remember that we're about a half-cycle behind the other powers due to the lack of shipbuilding in 1900. They've finished most of the 1900 program and have laid down replacements which won't commission until 1904/1905. We'll get most of our ships this year and be able to lay down more.

  23. July 16, 2019ADifferentAnonymous said...

    Ah, that does change things.

    Makes me wonder: can we build a worthwhile de facto battlecruiser? The manual says a CA can mount up to 11" guns and 12" armor, so I don't think the class limits will stop us. I do think the original motivation for a 2-in-1 cruiser-hunter/fleet-battler applies to our situation, just not sure how the costs work out.

  24. July 16, 2019bean said...

    I believe we could even build an actual BC right now, so long as it only had two turrets. It would switch over when we breached the class limits for CAs. I can definitely do sketches for an 11" CA, just to see what it looks like.

  25. July 17, 2019bean said...

    I've just loaded up a set of sketches for the 1903 program based on the discussion here. Let me know what you think.

  26. July 18, 2019Evil4Zerggin said...

    Another round of docks perhaps?

    Regarding the B designs, I'd be tempted to use the last few hundred tons on main battery ammunition.

  27. July 18, 2019ADifferentAnonymous said...

    Hmm... So in terms of total cost, that BC is around 4:3 with the 14" battleships. On a tactical level, I wouldn't consider it worth the costs, but at least one AAR I've read has concluded that the BC designation makes a big difference in the strategic simulation, in that the BCs will show up in "cruiser battles". So I would seriously consider BC-03-I.

  28. July 18, 2019bean said...

    The AAR is correct. Battlecrusiers will show up in cruiser actions, and it's fast enough and well-armored enough to be extremely formidable in such engagements. After we get proper dreadnoughts and battlecruisers, we can transfer them to secondary theaters, where they will eat most raiders for quite a few years.

    I'll try to get a BC on 17,000 tons with reduced armor up later today.

  29. July 18, 2019Alexander said...

    I'd be quite pleased to see some early battlecruisers built. If we give them decent armour they can be either (expensive) additions to the battle line, or cruiser killers. Is there any chance they'd still be in service by the time we start building fast battleships, or is that decades away? We'll probably want to have battleships armed with/armoured against 14" before too long.

    Since a few of our ships took damage in the war, is there anything we can do to improve them while they are being repaired, or are they too small/old to be upgraded? Do we have some outdated armoured cruisers that could be stripped down for colonial work? Or would new builds be better and cheaper than trying to drag out the life of a ship that has seen better days?

  30. July 18, 2019bean said...

    You can't refit colonial facilities for some reason (or you couldn't the last time I tried, at least), and all of the ships are fully repaired by now. I haven't done any refits yet because nothing worth refitting has been discovered yet. I'm sure that a 23-kt battlecruiser won't be front-line and super-fast for very long, but it's going to be useful as a station ship for a while.

  31. July 18, 2019Alexander said...

    I'm sure it that by the time our battleships are faster than 23 knots it'd be worn out anyway. How many years before it's weapons and armour are so obsolete it can't face enemy battleships?

  32. July 19, 2019bean said...

    Probably 10 or so. 4x14" guns isn't really enough, but it's also not nothing by any means.

    Also, new BC sketch is up.

  33. July 19, 2019Alexander said...

    This isn't really relevant yet, since we can't build them without further research, but how does the firepower of a 2x2 14" ship compare to a 4x2 14" dreadnought, assuming we give it comparable fire control? Is it twice as much (in direct proportion to the number of guns) or does having more turrets mean we can find the range quicker through bracketing? We'd prefer the 4x2 ships anyway, because they won't be anywhere near twice the cost, but if two pre dreadnoughts have the same firepower, and we've already built them...

  34. July 19, 2019ADifferentAnonymous said...

    I quite like the price tag of BC-03-II. If someone can reassure me that it still has enough armor to survive a fleet battle, it has my vote.

    Also, do we want to lay down three BCs in the coming year (I do), or mix it up with something else?

  35. July 19, 2019bean said...

    I believe it's immune to current 14" projectiles outside of 7,000 yards. The IZ will be better against smaller projectiles, which is the majority of what it will face.

  36. July 19, 2019bean said...


    I can't remember offhand how the game handles turret numbers for spotting and the like. Overall, the BC designs aren't great ships, but they're also not horrible. They'll be decent in frontline service for the next decade or so, and probably pretty useful in Southeast Asia for a decade after that. And at that point, an extraordinarily farsighted man might suggest that we'll be thinking about operating aeroplanes from ships, and need hulls to convert.

  37. July 19, 2019ADifferentAnonymous said...

    Okay, that's quite good. I approve of the design then.

  38. July 19, 2019bean said...

    OK. Play for 1903 has begun. I'm going to produce BC-03-II, as that seems to have the most interest behind it.

  39. July 19, 2019Evil4Zerggin said...

    4x2 14″ dreadnought

    I don't think we have the tech to build such a thing yet. More than two turrets would require either the BB wing turrets tech (which would result in only half of the additional turrets contributing to a broadside) or the three centreline turret tech (which would only get us to 3x2, but is more efficient).

  40. July 19, 2019bean said...

    We don't have either, and didn't develop either during 1903. We did, however, end up in a war with Austria-Hungary. Somehow, Norway fell apart. We tried to take over, but they beat us to it, and we ended up in a war over it. Fortunately, we had a treaty with Britain, and Germany seems to be staying out of it for now. I was really not expecting that. This is much more violent than my previous games.

  41. July 19, 2019Alexander said...


    Sorry, wasn't suggesting we build dreadnoughts now (they were what the "can’t build them without further research" was referring to). I was thinking about whether battlecruisers might usefully fight alongside dreadnoughts in the future, and to what extent having such a small main battery would limit them.


    I imagine that the game is designed to lead to conflicts - if you successfully deterred any would-be aggressors and defused any tense moments that could still be a fun game, but most players probably want to see how their fleet handles battle.

  42. July 20, 2019Evil4Zerggin said...

    Sorry, I missed that somehow. I think speed and armor are more important than firepower for future-proofing; if they have those, they can at least stand in the line and not get sunk, even if they don't do much damage.

    Though I think it will be hard to squeeze out a huge amount of long-term use at this juncture regardless. The two-turret limit will be a big handicap in efficiency, as will (AFAIK) our lack of any heavy guns of above -1 quality.

    Tension is largely driven by events. Choices that increase tension are also generally beneficial in terms of budget and prestige.

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