November 22, 2019

Rule the Waves 2 Game 1 - May 1915


So far, the war with Italy goes well. We have taken some damage, but dealt significantly more in return, and Germany has remained neutral. We have also used airplanes at sea, and are poised to bring more planes into the fleet with our new AV conversions. However, we are faced with a number of choices, most notably over the direction of our future shipbuilding programs. The Rouen class battlecruisers complete in a few months, and we presumably want ships to follow them on the slipway, particularly as two new CLs are also about to commission.

Our current fleet

Ships under construction

November 1914

We commission 2 SSC. CL Friant finishes reconstruction. Breakthrough: Torpedo protection II. Italian DD Zeffiro hits a mine in the Med and sinks. Our subs sink 3 merchant ships, while theirs get 2, as well as a trio from surface raiders. The British damage BB Cristoforo Columbo in a battle we don't participate in. AH and US lay down CLs, UK a BC, Italy lays down 9 KE, 1 AMC. Germany commissions CL, UK a BB.

Convoy defense in the North Sea. CL Friant and destroyers encounter a trio of enemy CLs, although superior firepower manages to give us more or less the upper hand. Unfortunately, a rudder hit sends her circling, and the Italians pull away as night falls. The darkness also protects the convoy, and it ends with a major victory for us. 704 VP for us, 59 VP for them.

December 1914

Research: 7" gun (quality 0). Our subs sink 1 enemy merchant. Their subs and raiders get none, and we sink 2 subs. 240 VP for blockade. Italy lays down 9 KE, Germany 2 KE, US 1 BB. Japan commissions BB, AH 2 DD. We lay down 2 SSC.

Cruiser action off Brest. We really must speak to the British about Gibraltar again. CLs Friant and Coetlogon encounter an Italian CA, and engage briefly at long range. A CL enters the fight, and they damage it, then go in pursuit of the Italian ships, which head for the open Atlantic. Eventually, the CL breaks off from the CA (Intelligence thinks the Italians may be stupid) and our ships close in to pound her, as they've slowed her with several hits from Friant's guns. Eventually, she is overhauled and torpedoed. Unfortunately, during the mopping-up, she torpedoes one of our destroyers before going down herself. Ultimately, it's a major victory for us, 542 VP to 127.

January 1915

Our spies steal plans for Japanese BB Yamashiro. Each side's subs get 3 merchants at a cost of one of their own, but we thwart their surface raiders. A-H lays down BC, Italy 3 KE, 1 AMC. AH commissions 3 DD. 260 VP for blockade.

CA Latocuche-Treville intercepts one of their raiders in the Med. It turns out to be one of their older and weaker CAs, but it still seems to gain the upper hand in the gunnery engagement, and Latocuche-Treville breaks off after its speed is reduced to 10 kts and the aft turret is destroyed. Eventually, both ships are sunk by their mutual damage. Enemy minor victory, -1 prestige, 1102 VP for us, 1510 VP for them. (Also, sorry for forgetting screenshots.)

February 1915

We commission 2 SSC. CL Cassard commissions, and is found to easily surpass her design speed. Italy offers a peace deal, which we give cautious approval to, but it flounders. Breakthroughs: Improved longitudinal framing, Seaplane carrier. Their subs sink 2 merchants at a cost of one of their boats, while their surface raiders get 6. Germany lays down 1 KE, Italy 6 KE. Italy commissions 7 KE, 1 AMC. 250 VP for blockade.

The Italians decline to meet our fleet in the Straits of Sicily, netting us 9605 VP.

March 1915

4 SSC laid down. Design work begins on DD Commandant Bory, a close variant of the Bouclier. Breakthrough: 5+ centerline turrets. Our new flying boat D.41 is ready for service, although it has gained weight during development. Our subs sink 2 merchants, theirs sink 1, and their surface raiders get 4. Germany lays down KE, Italy AMC, US BB. Italy commissions 10 KE. 250 VP for blockade.

CL Coetlogon intercepts an Italian CL near Gibraltar. We close to gunnery range, and soon gain the upper hand, pounding them mercilessly until the Italian cruiser sinks. Major victory, 640 VP for us, 102 for them.

April 1915

4 DDs of the Commandant Bory class laid down. Breakthroughs: Gyro stabilizer, improved triple turrets. Enemy subs claim 4 merchies, and the surface raiders 6, while our subs get only 1. Germany lays down 2 KE, Italy 1 AMC, Japan 1 BC. Germany and AH commission CLs, Italy 2 AMC, 2 KE, US 1 BB. 240 VP for blockade. CLs Galilee and Cosmao begin rebuilds to AVs.

Italy declines to attack a convoy in the North Sea, giving us 375 VP. We stage a coastal raid on the area near Taranto, with three BBs, 3 Bs, and supporting vessels. This battle is notable as the first-ever deployment of shipboard aircraft during a naval action, although the planes don't do anything. We sink a TR, then a KE, before encountering the main Italian fleet. After an exchange of gunfire, BBs Caiman and Bouvet are torpedoed, and we begin to withdraw. A third TR is sunk during the action. Minor victory for the Italians at the Battle of the Gulf of Taranto, -1 prestige, 1734 VP for us, 2120 VP for them.

For fairly obvious reasons, there won't be a game post next week, and I plan to replace it with sketches of BC, BB and CL designs. Maybe others if you want them.

1915 Shipbuilding Plan

Our designers have produced a number of sketches to guide our future shipbuilding plans. We'll provide them in descending order of size.

An evolution of last year's BB designs.

A 14-gun ship, somewhat more sensible than the 16-gun BB-14-II.

For some reason, it chose to classify this 28-kt design as a battleship. I do not know why.

An evolution of the Nancy, with a better TDS and more ammo

A design with a thicker deck than BC-15-I.

A long-range BC with only two quad turrets.

A variant of BC-15-I with a thicker belt.

A long-range 8" cruiser intended to hunt commerce raiders.

A variant of the Destrees, carrying a single seaplane

A fleet cruiser with all guns on the centerline

A slightly smaller fleet cruiser version.

A variant of the D'Assas with all guns on the centerline.

Our latest destroyer

A torpedo-heavy destroyer, sacrificing one of its guns to do so

A 31-kt destroyer with lots of room for future upgrades and the same torpedo broadside as the pre-Bory DDs.


  1. November 24, 2019Alexander said...

    Any more info on the battle off Taranto? Specifically the torpedoing of our battleships. Are we short of destroyers to screen them?

    I suspect we'll end up going for more city type BCs, Commandant Bory DDs, and some CLs, possibly a few cheap ones along the lines of D'Assas, for trade protection in the Med. I'm not sure what the game will let you build in terms of fast battleships - I think I recall you saying that if you want to have a belt more than 12 thick it is no longer a BC, and that BB speed is capped by year, so it might not yet be possible to build a ship tougher than a Nancy that could keep up with them, regardless of dock size. There might be an argument for more armoured cruisers, after the loss of Latocuche-Treville, though I'd prefer them to be fast enough to evade the many 12" gunned BCs in service. It would also be worth thinking about the future possibility of converting such ships to CVLs as we design them.

    The current US construction of 8 BBs is pretty impressive - they've got a big budget, but that's twice as many capital ships as we're building, and they have BCs on the way too. Germany has a lot of money to throw around too, and given their weak destroyers we might be able to ward off their battle line with torpedoes, though we'd surely take losses doing so. Would submarines help here? The foreign ships we've seen the designs for recently (Kongo and Satsuma, both Japanese) don't look too impressive, but I suppose there are plenty of ships out there we don't have the specs for.

  2. November 24, 2019ADifferentAnonymous said...

    So this brings up a question about overall BB/BC doctrine.

    I get why it's useful to have a main force of BBs and a smaller supplementary group of faster BCs. But if BCs become our main force, a smaller supplementary force of slower BBs doesn't sound that useful.

    So I'm thinking we should either keep our BB force at least equal to our BC force, or give up on BBs altogether until they can make 28 kts.

    Based on the last round of sketches, I'm inclined to go the latter route, but with a little trepidation about departing from historical precedent. Though I suppose Fisher is on our side?

    Also, Germany's lack of destroyers jumps out at me as well. Not sure how the design tradeoffs in DDs look these days, but it might be worth building some dedicated torpedo attackers if there's significant room to optimize that way.

  3. November 24, 2019bean said...

    The problem off Taranto was the AI mishandling the destroyer screen, not insufficient destroyers. I don't have the patience to run them manually in general, although I may try it the next time we have a major fleet action.

    The BB issue is that the game handles ships classified as BCs and BBs differently. In particular, ships with BC classification show up in cruiser actions, while BBs don't. That's why I didn't want to produce BCs early on. On the other hand, BCs sometimes miss fleet actions. That said, the BC belt limit appears to have been raised some time between Lille's design and now. I just tried a design with a 12.5" belt, and it classified as a BC. Eventually, 28-kt ships will start being BBs instead of BCs. Can't remember exactly when, but it's not too far away, as it classifies my ships of 26 kts as BBs.

    I often suspect that there is some cheating on the part of the AI in terms of budget. Re the US specifically, their newest existing BB is of the Neptune arrangement, with 13" guns and a 14.5" belt. Not an easy customer, but less powerful than our BBs or the new BCs. The German ships are significantly weaker, even if there are more of them.

    We could do more on torpedoes. It would be easily be possible to build a DD with an 11-tube broadside. The problem is that the AI is pretty bad at using torpedoes.

  4. November 25, 2019Alexander said...

    So it would be fair to say that swarming torpedo attacks are not something we should plan on using, simply because they require much more patience and attention compared to commanding a comparable tonnage of battleships? I'm fine with not going in that direction, because it sounded like the sort of thing that might work better in a game than reality - pitting destroyers against battleships might be tough on the crews. Can you think of any counters that might work despite the issues with AI?

    How does the game classify a 27kt ship with a 13" belt? The boundary between BB and BC matters if the game would treat Hood as having more in common with Courageous than a QE, and try to use it accordingly. There is a chance that the next battleship we build will spend more time fighting alongside the 21kt Irresistibles than our city type BCs. At the same time they'll be at least 5 years younger, and we'll want to have a faster battle line at some point. Any idea when the maximum speed for BBs will reach 27kts, 28kts etc. Is it possible to 'save edit' a ship's hull symbol while changing nothing else?

  5. November 25, 2019bean said...

    The game won't let you issue direct orders to any ship not in visual range of your flagship(s). Yes, even in 1950. So that sharply limits what we can do with DDs.

    I don't know when the BB speed line will reach 27/28 kts, but it's easily possible to edit a ship's classification from BC to BB. In fact, the game will offer to let you do that during refits when the speed line has passed the ship's speed. I generally haven't done so because I want them classified as BCs for use reasons, but we could absolutely keep pumping out 28 kt ships and transition them over to BBs when the speed line catches up.

  6. November 25, 2019Alexander said...

    Well if we can just reclassify them, let's keep up with the 28kt ships, and designate them as BBs if we find they aren't showing up often enough in fleet battles.

  7. November 26, 2019bean said...

    Actually, it will classify some 28-kt ships as BBs. I got one with a 13.5″ belt and 3.5″ deck. No clue why it’s so inconsistent, but I’ll be offering up a 28 kt BB in the forthcoming design post.

  8. November 30, 2019bean said...

    Ive posted the sketches. Apologies for the delay, but I'm on the road.

  9. November 30, 2019DuskStar said...

    Having a 28 knot BB design seems to nicely resolve that debate - tech must be really moving fast to catch up to our requirements that quickly!

  10. December 01, 2019Protagoras said...

    I don't like to do too much exploiting quirks in the game, but I still tend to like BB-15-III just because it's a 28 knot ship that has gotten classified as a battleship.

  11. December 01, 2019bean said...

    I don't really view it as exploiting quirks. Note that this is being driven by how the game uses the two different types of ships, which we have no control over. If this was real, we'd have that control, and the BC/BB distinction wouldn't matter.

  12. December 01, 2019Alexander said...

    Even without worrying about whether we classify it as a BB or BC, that third design looks like a fine ship, and since we want some new BBs that can keep up with the city type BCs it seems an easy pick. I'm a little concerned about the capital ship situation. Lille is very impressive, but we're well behind Germany not just in numbers but also total tonnage. We can't afford to start building more than two now, but could we look into starting a third some time before the Nancys are done, since otherwise we're looking at a two year gap between commissionings? Conversely we are doing relatively well in destroyers and light cruisers (though some are rather old), and might be able to manage a year where we build fewer. We could still afford a couple of the cheaper CL-IVs and some destroyers (I vote for the more balanced 31kt design, due to the AIs issue with torpedo attacks) once the Destrees and Commandant Bory classes are completed.

  13. December 01, 2019DuskStar said...

    One thing I'm not totally clear on - are there any economies of scale when making many of a single design of ship? Does the 100th of a class of DDs cost less than the first?

  14. December 01, 2019ADifferentAnonymous said...

    Seems hard to go too far wrong with that 28-kt capital ship family. I'm probably in favor of BB-15-III to inaugurate the fast main battle line--la vitesse est la cuirasse!--but it may be worth talking a bit about the deck vs. belt armor trade-off. Though I expect that neither current engagement ranges nor foreseeable developments in aviation justify a deck armor focus.

  15. December 01, 2019Evil4Zerggin said...

    One thing I’m not totally clear on - are there any economies of scale when making many of a single design of ship? Does the 100th of a class of DDs cost less than the first?

    Not much. There's a fixed cost in the design study (which IIRC replaced a 10% cost increase for the first ship of a class in RtW 1), but that's not much compared to even a single ship.

  16. December 02, 2019bean said...

    I think there may be a slightly higher chance of the "experience with this class has let us accelerate" event triggering with big classes, although I'm not sure if that just takes an extra payment out of the budget. Wouldn't be surprised either way.

    As for BB-15-III, we could probably pay for a third if we skipped cruiser construction. Particularly if we manage to boost our budget by winning a battle or something, we won't be losing money, and our reserve is high enough we'll have some breathing room after the war ends.

  17. December 02, 2019ADifferentAnonymous said...

    Looks like a 3xBB class will be fiscally kinda tight but IMO still worth it. We can afford a bit of slowdown in other areas.

  18. December 02, 2019DuskStar said...

    Not much. There’s a fixed cost in the design study (which IIRC replaced a 10% cost increase for the first ship of a class in RtW 1), but that’s not much compared to even a single ship.

    Hmm. IMO it would be interesting if they added some sort of exponential cost decrease mechanic - like "every time you double the number of ships in a class that have been produced the cost to build one goes down by 5%, starting from 1". So the first ship in a class would cost 1000, the 2nd 950, the 4th 902.5, the 8th 857, 16th 814... Not enough to ever become game breaking (you'd need 2^16 to hit a 50% reduction), but enough to be significant for destroyers and noticeable for capital ship classes.

  19. December 03, 2019bean said...

    That's a way to handle costs I've seen in the real world (see here) although it's less applicable to ships because they often incorporate significant updates and those that aren't are usually built in parallel. The big issue in game is how to handle minor updates. For instance, the Commandant Bory is a Bouclier with one twin torpedo mount exchanged for a triple and longitudinal framing. How much do we reset the learning curve for that?

  20. December 04, 2019bean said...

    The basic plan for today is to buy 3 of BB-15-III, and nothing else in the immediate future. Other than that, I'll continue the war against Italy, and hope that Germany stays out.

  21. December 04, 2019ADifferentAnonymous said...

    Sounds good. Looking forward to seeing that "Total BB tonnage" nearly double!

  22. December 04, 2019DuskStar said...

    And with (if I'm interpreting things correctly) the world's largest battleships, too.

  23. December 04, 2019bean said...

    Right. Play has concluded. Unfortunately, we weren't able to fit the third battleship into the budget. Not quite sure what happened there. Money does weird things. We do have two Saint Louis class BBs under construction, along with new airbases. The war was pretty quiet. Lots of fighting raiders, which we usually did pretty well at.

  24. December 05, 2019Alexander said...

    I didn't expect we'd have enough to start three right away, but with the Destrees and Commandant Bory classes finishing next year there ought to be room to begin a third well before the Nancys are done. I suppose that would constrain our choices for this year, since we'd have to be quite careful not to commit to a lot of other lengthy projects. What did we spend the rest of the budget on? I don't think we had any ships needing a director refit, and the middle of a war might not be the best time for that anyway.

  25. December 05, 2019bean said...

    A fair bit of the budget was soaked up by aviation expansion. We have bases in Dunkerque, Brest, and Corsica, and are building one in Tunisia. I'll probably stick one in Algeria next, which should give decent coverage of our area of operations.

  26. December 06, 2019Alexander said...

    The airbases (suitability modernised) should be around longer than the battleships, so that's not a bad investment - is the Algerian one planned for Oran to cover the approach to the straits, or does the way the game works mean that doesn't matter? Depending on the cost of the base, range of aircraft etc. there might be an argument for a base in Sardinia too.

  27. December 06, 2019bean said...

    First, apologies. I was busy last night and didn't get November 1915 put together. It'll be up later today.

    The airbase is planned for Mers al Kebir, as I've had several raider interceptions in that area, and it might convince them to let fewer things through the Strait of Gibraltar. I really want Malta as an airbase, but the British are the responsible party there.

  28. December 06, 2019ADifferentAnonymous said...

    My assumption at this point is that the game just has no concept of Gibraltar restricting transit between regions. I figure the developers never found time to implement strait-forcing battles and decided against making hostile-controlled-Gibraltar completely impassable like Suez and Panama.

  29. December 07, 2019bean said...

    Oh, I'm quite sure that's what it is, although it's produced some rather amusing results. At this point, I'm basically bringing it up as a running joke.

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