Napoleonic Wars OnLine

Placed Alongside The Enemy

Rules Summary

This document provides an overview of the rules of Placed Alongside the Enemy (PATE), the naval combat module of the Napoleonic Wars OnLine (NWOL). It does not give the reader enough information to play PATE, but provides a quick introduction to the game and how it is played. After reading this document, the reader will eventually want to consult the full PATE Rules prior to playing PATE for the first time.

1. Map
PATE is played on a map covering the Mediterranean, Baltic, and Caribbean Seas, and portions of the Atlantic Ocean. Click to see the European map, the Caribbean map, or a sample game map showing units. The map is divided into sea areas, and sea areas can have one or more ports connected to them. Click for a list of sea areas or a list of ports. Each port is divided into the harbor and the coastal waters. If ships are displayed in a sea area or a port on the map, then clicking on the ships will reveal some information about them.

2.  Ships
There are four types of ships in PATE: flagships (first and second rates, with three gun decks), ships of the line (third and fourth rates, with two gun decks), frigates (fifth and sixth rates, with one gun deck),  and transport groups (unarmed). Each ship has a nationality and a number. For example, BR1SL is the British first ship of the line. Ships also have names (transport groups normally do not). Each ship is rated for number of crew and Marines, quality, experience, stores, and damage to hull and rigging. Each ship has a commander and a deputy commander; the deputy can send orders for the ship if the commander does not. Transports can carry land units (see the GITM rules) and supplies for those units, and are rated for carrying capacity. 

3.  Turn Sequence
PATE runs in turns. Players send orders for each of their ships each turn. At the start of each turn, ships can repair damage, ships in port can load stores, and transports can commence loading or unloading units and supplies. Then, combat occurs between groups of hostile ships that are located together. After that, ships move in two phases. Between the two phases, winds may shift and storms may occur. After the second movement phase, ships have a final opportunity to move to ports, and transports that commenced loading or unloading units and supplies complete the loading or unloading. At the end of the turn each player receives a report on the turn's events and the position of his or her units for the start of the coming turn.

4.  Submitting Orders
Players send orders to PATE using the PATE orders submission form on the distance-simulations website. Players may submit orders on the form in any combinations they desire. If both the commander and the deputy send orders, the commander's are used; if a player sends more than one set of orders, the last set received is used. Default orders are used if none are sent.

5.  Detection
Ships can detect other ships automatically if they are in contact with one another. Two ships in the same port are automatically in contact, whether they are in the harbor or the coastal waters of the port. Two ships in the same sea area may or may not be in contact with one another. Two ships in the same sea area but not in contact with one another cannot detect each other.  Last, ships will obtain information about the location of enemy ships from merchant captains or land observers, and this information will be included on the ship's end of turn report. When hostile ships are in contact with one another, one group of ships will be to windward (upwind), and one will be to leeward (downwind). Ships can send orders indicating whether they wish to seek windward or leeward gauge (position) if they come into contact with enemy ships. They can also send orders to pursue enemy ships contacted (abandoning their movement orders to do so) or to attempt to evade contact if enemy ships are sighted.

6. Movement
At the start of combat, ships that are in harbors can sail out of the harbor to engage the enemy. If the ships in the harbor do not sail out, ships outside the harbor can sail in to initiate combat. After combat, ships can move from port to sea or from sea to port, and can move one sea area, in each phase. Damaged ships may not be able to move. In the second phase, ships attempting to sail upwind or sail perpendicular to the wind may not be able to move; ships moving downwind will always move in the second phase unless damaged. A ship will move together with all friendly ships with the same orders with which it is in contact (whether one of those ships is attached to another or not) unless it is ordered to sail alone. Each port has a channel which requires a ship to sail in a particular direction to enter or leave port. A ship may not enter or exit a port if it must sail upwind to do so and either enemy ships are present or winds are light. A ship in a harbor may not leave the port if enemy ships are in the coastal waters of the port, and a ship entering a port may not enter the harbor if enemy ships are present in the coastal waters (this permits the enemy ships to blockade the harbor).

7. Combat
Two groups of ships in contact with one another can engage in combat. Ships may be ordered to fire at enemy hulls or at enemy rigging. Firing at hulls offers slightly more combat power than firing at the rigging, but firing at rigging increases the odds that enemy ships will not sink and can be captured as prizes. Ships may be ordered to engage at range or at close quarters; engaging at close quarters increases the intensity of battle, and the chance that ships will be sunk or captured. Ships may be ordered to engage in line of battle to or attempt to break the enemy's line when at close quarters. Attempting to break the enemy's line will greatly increase a fleets combat power if the attempt succeeds, but will greatly reduce it if the attempt fails. Prior to combat, each side may attempt to escape the battle unless the battle takes place in a harbor. If battle takes place in a harbor, the shore defense guns of the port will also engage in the battle (they cannot engage in battles in coastal waters). Ships may automatically escape as long as the number of ships remaining to fight is at least half the number of enemy ships remaining to fight. Otherwise there is a chance to evade; the chance is higher for ships to leeward. Ships remaining in battle take damage to their hull and rigging. If hull damage reaches 5, the ship sinks. Losing ships which do not sink either flee the battle area, or are taken as prizes. 

8. Supply and Repair
At the start of each turn, ships in port can load stores. Ships which run out of stores while at sea will not fight efficiently and may mutiny (not yet coded). Ships which are damaged, either in battle or by storms, can repair damage. Ships in port repair one point of hull damage and five points of rigging damage per turn; ships at sea repair one point of rigging damage per turn but cannot repair hull damage.

9. Transporting Units and Supplies
Transport groups can transport units and supplies. To load or unload units, the unit must be coming from or going to a GITM location which is accessible to the transport. To load into a transport in a harbor, the unit must in the GITM tactical square of the port, or the same GITM strategic square but not the same tac square if no enemy units are present. To load into a transport in the coastal waters of a port, the unit must be in the GITM strategic square of the port or a strategic square closer to that port than to any other port on the same sea area. To load or unload supplies from a city, the transport must be in the harbor of that city. To unload supplies into a corps HQ, the corps HQ must be in a position from which it could load onto the transport. Loading and unloading take one turn; the loading/unloading commences at the start of the turn and finishes at the end. If the transport moves or fights during the turn, the loading/unloading is disrupted and does not take place. GITM units which load may not move on the turn they load; units which unload may move in tactical phase 5.

Page maintained by Stephen Schmidt. Last modified 6-27-06.