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Re: strike the colors rule

From: Glenn M Wilson <triphibious@j...>
Date: Tue, 02 Jan 2001 20:16:45 EST
Subject: Re: strike the colors rule

On 2 Jan 2001 15:28:30 -0800 writes:
>On Tue, 02 January 2001, wrote:
>> No, no, a thousand times no. I hate this rule. This is not the 
>> wooden ships and iron men era. How many ships "struck their colors" 
>in WW1 & 
>> WW2?
>The flip side of the question is how many times in World War II did 
>two fleets meet where both sides lost all of their escort craft and 
>all but one or two capital ships? This is pretty common in FT pick-up 
>The problem with any naval wargame is that players will play to the 
>last ship. Losing a ship is less important than losing a scenario. If 
>there is the slightest chance that a ship will do major damage to the 
>enemy, even though it means certain destruction for the ship, the 
>player takes it. There is no reason not to. Losing the scenario with 
>10 ships destroyed is no different -- in players' minds -- to losing a 
>scenario with 100 ships destroyed... they still lost. The tactical 
>game doesn't take into account the importance, and rarity, of the 
>ships as strategic assets.
>This is true of naval games and sci fi starship games. I've seen it 
>argued that the only way to properly play naval games is as part of a 
>strategic campaign. That's the only time you see players try to 
>protect ships during a losing battle. It's the only time you see both 
>players willingly disengage after having dealt and received what many 
>in FT would consider minor damage.
>The "strike the colours" rule tries to bring this sort of situation 
>into play by not letting players waste their ships. It's essentially a 
>morale rule. It's the same reason Stargrunt players aren't allowed to 
>waste their squads to the last man (though the morale rules are too 
>forgiving IMO).
>I've used the rules in one shot games and I don't mind them. It helps 
>simulate "the big picture". Perhaps more of a SG2 type of rule is 
>needed, though, with differing motivation rules. 
>Certainly ships shouldn't surrender during a "last ditch attempt to 
>save Earth" scenario. On the other hand, a squadron commander should 
>be shot if he loses all of his destroyers to a chance encounter with a 
>battlecruiser on a simple patrol mission. In the FT tournaments I've 
>helped run, a ship loses after half of the fleet is destroyed -- 
>points wise -- which essentially mimics a "we've lost too many ships, 
>time to bolt!" situation. Still, in "real life" most of those fleets 
>should have left MUCH sooner than before half the fleet is destroyed.
>Allan Goodall -
>Get your FREE personalized e-mail at

Maybe the answer is a rule that if you DON'T withdraw at a (secret to
enemy) level of losses (mechanism TBD) that you automatically lose the
scenario.  It seems that the scenario design needs to reflect this and
not just in the victory conditions side - but this is not just a FT
problem <grin> by any means!

Good thing that people don't have the morale of some rules/lead armies
(or there would be no one to provide the next generation of warriors. 

{aside - one day a coworker who did her Masters on the
Cherokee/Tsalagi/etc. of the decades just before the Trail of Tears time
said: "The Cherokee of that time had only two groups that were of
paramount worth - warriors and mothers of warriors."  Since I knew she
was a social Liberal at heart I looked up, put a quizzical look,  on my
face and said "Isn't that still really the only groups of value?" as
earnestly as I could...  The initial look on her face before she knew) I
was baiting her was worth the flack she gave me all week (she was my
project lead...) I have to admit.   (Well it  really *was/is* true but
it's not that simple.  <grin>}

How does that tie?  Well, any warband leader (Ani Yu-niwa or any other
group) who lost 25% of his people, no matter how many 'enemy' he killed,
would probably have been given a hint as to where the nearest cliff was
located.  And that he should use it post haste.  Yet how often do we
callously spend 50+% of our forces to achieve a tactical goal in our

Gracias, Glenn/Triphibious
You don't have to be French to be a 'frog', or even human!
Nektons - Real Marines!
Starguard, Dirtside 2, Full Thrust, Ratner's Space Marines, Stellar
Conflicts and Uprisings, and Full Thrust/2nd.  Resistance is everything!

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