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Author Topic: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)  (Read 20297 times)

Weltall

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Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
« Reply #30 on: August 12, 2016, 03:23:06 PM »

When I switched to 0.7a, the first ship that I got as a choice to board, was an Astral. It happened at a time I had only two little frigates, after a won joint battle. I was literally shocked that I got such a choice as my first ship on the new version. Little I knew through how this was the first and last time I would get anything bigger than a destroyer, before after two plays, I raised the % to 15.

Luck can be really awesome when it goes well. People cant believe they got something so awesome.. but what happens when you go to a casino and keep playing all your money until none is left? No one feels happy about never winning after all.

But obviously, like people want to salvage with their own skill, they would obviously want to board with their own skill. If anything, a mixture of both luck and skill, always makes it feel more right.

PS: I love Hammerhead, even if it is supposed to not be good. It is an awesome ship!
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Dezgard

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Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
« Reply #31 on: August 15, 2016, 01:39:47 PM »

List of all ships appear after a battle pick one to board :P ofc only ships that didn't get totally destroyed.

Or once you nail all the ships fly up to the one you want and (dock) then end battle and that will be the ship that pops up for boarding :P
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Zapier

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Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
« Reply #32 on: August 20, 2016, 08:15:55 PM »

Spoiler
(things)

I'm not jumping into this conversation as-such (fake edit: okay, I am), but I'd be interested in hearing this without using the word "fun". In discussions about experiencing games, "fun" is used like the word "good". X is good. Y is bad. Z is good. This points at a part of the game and says Good or Bad but doesn't say why.)

Disclaimer: I don't speak for an official dev position here and wouldn't talk about Alex's position on the matter without his permission in the case that I even knew what his final intentions were. So: purely speaking for myself here.

You mention randomness, and I think that's a good start on the question -- thing is, RNG = bad doesn't quite say why it feels bad in this circumstance. Certainly games have made random challenges feel good. It sounds like you're getting at is a desire for controlling the boarding target. And currently this is frustrating (un-fun!) because you can see a juicy target but only very rarely actually get it and have no way of having any control over that result. Surely games successfully pulled off mechanics with a very low chance to acquire something and it's worked. So why not here?

Say you could do targeted boarding easily: giving the player to ability to possess any ship they beat in a fight means they'll very rapidly acquire the ideal set of ships. It's a classic videogame problem of "I beat the bad guy who has a machine gun, so why don't I get his machine gun to use?" - if the game just gave you everything you wanted, it can break pacing and challenge. Starsector seems to want to pit the player against superior ships without actually giving those ships to the player because a skilled player will always beat an equally equipped AI. Give them what the last AI had will just bring endgame ennui all the faster.
How can Starsector get away with what it seems to be trying to do?

One answer to this is "it's not a completely finished game". Certainly the higher-level mechanics in the works will help.

Many suggestions involve a lot of feature-creep like boarding minigames or expanding the scope of combat to have a sub-level of assault shuttles and ship invasions. Starsector is a game that's fairly clear about what it's about - space battles - and what it's going to be better about - campaign-level gameplay - so I don't think extremely detailed sub-features are a useful route to solving this problem.

MoO2 comes to mind as an example: why does it get away with what it does? A. Perhaps because it blows up ships completely when they are killed and doesn't even hint at any recovery (unless the player specifically engages with the marines/boarding mechanic in the game). A side-note to keep in mind: MoO2 combat was turn-based and had far inferior AI and less sophisticated tactical battles therefore could way more easily add a boarding component to combat than Starsector ever could.

A thought: Imagine a Starsector that never had the ability to recover destroyed enemy ships in any manner at all. Might that be more satisfying if you never knew the boarding feature existed at all?
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Coming late to this discussion and not really feeling up to reading comments and opinions made after these posts, I wanted to add in my reasoning why I always wanted a bit more detailed boarding mechanic.

David, in his post, I think had it best for my position when talking about how I'd love to see some sort of minigame kind of feature that doesn't necessarily lend itself to the current development goals and plans. I want it simply because I think it would be fun and the ways I imagine it without all the complexities of having to build it in mind, is something that just adds more life and detail to the universe I'm living and fighting in. It was never about needing to be able to capture my favorite ship or that rare ship or even so much about increasing the odds. My want comes from a simple immersion factor.

Much like the now current officers made me care a bit more about various ships I have aside from my flagship, I kind of wish I 'cared' about my crew a bit more and my marines. Getting to see their fate played out in every detail with perhaps named or unique crew and marines popping up is just part of my ideal which is generally unattainable. From X series to Homeworld and even Space Empires or other 4X space games I always have this desire to have a kind of outpost or fleet that struggles to maintain itself and seeks to capture and acquire means to strengthen, repair or enlarge itself to be a sustainable post. So, boarding mechanics just go with that to me if I could somehow help alter and increase the effectiveness of my resources used as any good fleet commander would want.
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RickyRio

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Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
« Reply #33 on: August 30, 2016, 11:16:30 PM »

My take on the original question.

Personally I would want more detailed boarding mechanics only such that trying to capture ships can be a more selective process instead of pure random chance. This allows players agency to try to steal larger ships instead of say, grinding up the credits (and standing) to purchase it outright, instead you spend say ~1/2 of the ships cost on the ships and troops to capture it. The issue with this in the current game is these ships tend to be in larger fleets, and if all ships have an equal chance to be boarded at the end of combat, you are going to have to fight a fleet like that (chance to attempt boarding a ship x Number of ships in average fleet) times to be successful, there needs to be more game play to better represent trying to board a ship.

My own idea on the subject would be a boarding ship, that can board a ship when it is between 0 to half hull. (so destroyed to heavily damaged) getting it to board the other ship before it is disabled puts it into a disabled state, forces a boarding action against it after the battle (if you hold control and the boarding ship is not destroyed), and gives a bonus to boarding it. Boarding an already disabled ship forces a boarding action with a moderate chance the ship is too damaged to be taken and instead rewards increased supplies/resources for successful boarding.
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ArkAngel

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Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
« Reply #34 on: August 31, 2016, 09:48:46 AM »

I completely missed this conversation it seems. Anyway, as it stands, I'm actually okay with the current boarding mechanic, though some choice on the players part would be nice.

I actually like the idea of combining gothar's and tartiflellete's idea

Being able to choose what ship you board, only it requires a character skill leveled to repair  more advanced ships and larger ship classes. Add in tartiflette's idea about salvaging taking time, maybe like how installing com sniffers used to work. Include the requirement of tugs, or a repair gantry to move/repair the salvaged ship, and it creates an interesting boarding mechanic. A lot like how exploration works really.
The only real problem would be the poor pirate, that can't really afford a gantry or a tug.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2016, 09:51:25 AM by ArkAngel »
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Machine

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Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
« Reply #35 on: August 31, 2016, 08:15:11 PM »

Due to thread necromancy I'll take this chance to put my two cents in, and actually give a general idea of what I think about the current skill system.

First boarding so far feels a lot like release day Diablo III, by being completely RNG related, and when you actually got a set piece you wanted, it rolled main stat of a different class. It was not fun, required a lot of grinding, and it was probably geared towards the use of the auction house. It was rewarding though I probably still have my Inna's belt stored in a mule character. Blizzard "fixed" this by making drops weighted, catered to what you play, and giving you a reliable way to get the items in the form of greater rifts.
I could see this working for Starsector, as an example I usually prefer high tech ships and energy weapons. After destroying a fleet with some mixed ships and weapons, the game could detect what I'm using and give me weighted loot, so maybe tactical lasers get a doubled change to be part of the loot in contrast to machineguns (since I don't have a ship that can use them), and for boarding the wolves in the fleet get preference over the lashers, even further the game could detect that I have no cruisers, despite attacking fleets which have them, and offer me to board one (if you currently have the means to do so)
This would work, better what it currently is, but it is also horrible by forcing you on a set path...

Honestly, I think the system needs to be scrapped and then reimplemented, and actually be tied to newer systems, specially salvaging. So I'll propose something, based in multiple stuff I've read while lurking on the forums, I'll do so by presenting a fictional after combat scenario...

Incoming wall of text, open at your own peril.

Spoiler
So my fleet has just defeated a Tri-Tachyon fleet, as soon as the battle finished I get presented the classic loot menu we all know and love. I get the chance to pick up supplies, miscellaneous items and some floating weapons. This is also where the first point of frustration happens in the base game as I might not get the chance to loot that sweet plasma cannon (in this case I might actually reload and repeat the fight if it was easy, if it wasn't well I would get frustrated a bit; heh, I've even done this just to get some tactical lasers).

Until now, no changes, but after selecting your "quick" loot you get presented a screen with all the disabled ships in the conflict, including yours. Here the game would assign a first pass of RNG and give every ship a visible indicator of how intact it is and how strong is the surviving crew. You would be presented the choice to either leave, scrap some of the ships for extra loot (how nice, a second loot pass where I might get the plasma cannon I wanted) or try to board and salvage some of the disable ships which would need marines/crew, a ship capable of performing repairs, and maybe tugs.

No big changes yet... not really, I'm proposing that every single ship is made available to be "captured", however how costly (marines/crew/maybe even ships) and how long it takes me to do so is what the RNG pass controlled.

I choose to scrap the ship which had the plasma cannon and to board and salvage a medusa. At this point if I was not prepared to do this I would get quite costly, since I didn't have a boarding capable ship (a dedicated shuttle, with a specific hull mod), or a lot of marines, I sent my own medusa and boarded with crew, they get overwhelmed and I get a new popup menu, the ship is going to self destruct, either I send more crewmen and risk my ship to get damaged in an explosion, or decline and accept my loses. Since the game gives me an approximate chance of being successful depending on how many troops I send, I decide to maximize my chances up to the maximum it would allow me, this time I send an overwhelming number of crewmen, as the game gives a 80% chance of success. After committing to board again, a new window appears and informs me that the enemy crew was eliminated and my loses, it also says that the target ship was heavily damaged... not good.

Now I get back to the disabled ship screen, I can see now that the medusa I boarded has no crew strength left, and is ready to be repaired, it's intactness dropped severely though. Considering I was prepared to repair my own ships by having a couple of tug and a salvage rig, I decide to repair the medusa and one of my own ships that was disabled. The game informs me that due to my skill level and fleet composition to scrap 1 ship, repair to moving condition my wolf and the medusa I would need to spend 5 days in total on the debris field. I take accept.
Back to the campaign map, a small transient feature has appeared in the system right below my fleet, a large debris field, if I click on it with my fleet I get back to the disabled ship list and I can order some changes, but I don't.

1 day has passed and the ship with the plasma cannon was scrapped, because my salvaging skill was low, and I set the salvage rig to repair the medusa, I just get some extra supplies, and a tactical laser, there are 4 days left in the counter to repair the medusa and 3 for the wolf. 2 more days pass and my wolf is back online, but since its intactness was low, it became a (D) variant, I'll need to repair it properly on a friendly base (either one of my own outposts, or in Jangala because the Hegemony is favorable to me and I've invested some points in a diplomacy skill).
Also on the third day an independent scavenger fleet appeared, they kept their distance since I was first, they have a good relationship with me and my fleet is bigger.

On the fourth day a new Tri-Tachyon fleet appears, since I didn't scrap all the ships some of the still living crew manage to send an SOS, had I had a high tech skill in communications I might have been able to detect it before. The fleet is larger than mine, and meanwhile I could take on it, my fleet is low on supplies. I decide to leave.

The Tri-Tachyon fleet pursues me for a while, and as it does so the independent scavenger runs to salvage the now medium sized debris field, some of the less intact vessels left unattended had exploded on their own, some of the more intact ones with a strong crew presence managed to repair their ship and left, I allowed them since I didn't want to wasted CR by engaging them.
As soon as I'm somewhat far away from the site and the independent started salvaging, the enemy fleet returns to the debris field, scaring the scavenger away. I keep watching, 2 more days pass and the debris field is gone, the Tri-Tachyon fleet repaired and scavenged the rest of the fleet, I check its composition it now has a medusa (D).

I decide to engage it, after all now my ships are back to full CR and I'm better at combat than the AI, even if I don't take into account my combat skill, and more importantly I still have surplus redshirts.

Well that's the end of my ramblings. In my dream game that's how I would go have it go. Despite not having the proper skills and marines, I still manage to run a somewhat efficient salvaging operation by using skills that are less related but still useful, and supplying those that I lack with ships. I know it would mean some big changes, but I'm pushing for more integration between combat, the campaign map, skills and actually more equally valid alternative paths to do something. I've never really liked when games makes something impossible because I didn't pick some specific skills. Well I guess it's fine for shorter non sandbox games, in those I do a second run with a different setup.

Apologies for the large wall of text, and I hope this has some internal consistency and makes enough sense, keep in mind english is not my first language... heh, 3 pages on word, well I had fun doing so though.
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« Last Edit: August 31, 2016, 08:17:22 PM by Machine »
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Serenitis

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Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
« Reply #36 on: September 02, 2016, 12:55:46 AM »

Quote
Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics
Because they are masochists, and want to inflict thier complexity fetish on everyone else. :P

The current mechanic is almost fine.
All it needs is some way of selecting or influencing the ship which "wins" the boarding roulette.
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woodsmoke

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Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
« Reply #37 on: September 02, 2016, 12:17:20 PM »

I wouldn't mind something a little more detailed than the current mechanic. Honestly, I kinda' miss the more dynamic approach from 0.6 - as much as it sucked to lose a ship to a self-destruct, it at least kept things interesting. Boarding now is just a numbers game: if you have enough marines and an open fleet slot you'll capture everything every time. It's boring.

I always thought it would be fun to retool a shuttle and/or freighter to be a boarding craft, maybe a hullmod to that effect; something similar to the Valkyrie but which actually exists in the damn game. :p
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Megas

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Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
« Reply #38 on: September 04, 2016, 06:56:54 PM »

Boarding today is simple and mostly works alright.  (I like simple and reliability.)  It is a bit too cheap thanks to easy access to marines worth 233 credits.

All I want is to pick the one ship I want to board if multiple ships are eligible for boarding (and I cannot board them all like in the 0.5x days).  That one ship is yours (if you have enough marines), and the remaining ships either flee or get disabled and salvaged.  Also, anti-save-scumming either made foolproof or abolished.  Current save-scum deterrence simply extends the time of each reload attempt (instead of saving next to target fleet, you save two weeks in-game time ahead and fight a full battle, but still takes much less to grind than for other games, and it is so worth it once you board that rare Hyperion or Onslaught XIV that you cannot obtain any other way).

Boarding in 0.6x was hideous, enough that few posters here got banned for their uncontrolled outrage.  Chance of success for hard dock and boarding a useful warship was 37.5% at best.  (25% self-destruct, then 50% chance of success afterwards.)  If you were lucky, you board on the first try.  If not, you could spend over an hour replaying battles and fail boarding attempts more than ten times in a row (each with 37.5% chance of success) before you succeed.  Assault teams only had 9.375% chance of success and required too many marines to be a viable option.  I abhorred boarding during the 0.6x era once I experienced multiple failures in a row even with the most favorable save-scumming conditions.
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Bastion.Systems

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Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
« Reply #39 on: September 05, 2016, 02:35:07 AM »

So, just popping in to say that I don't want detailed boarding mechanics. I don't really see the point, maybe make disabling ships less random, but please no stupid minigame.
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woodsmoke

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Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
« Reply #40 on: September 05, 2016, 10:08:31 AM »

Boarding in 0.6x was hideous, enough that few posters here got banned for their uncontrolled outrage.  Chance of success for hard dock and boarding a useful warship was 37.5% at best.  (25% self-destruct, then 50% chance of success afterwards.)  If you were lucky, you board on the first try.  If not, you could spend over an hour replaying battles and fail boarding attempts more than ten times in a row (each with 37.5% chance of success) before you succeed.  Assault teams only had 9.375% chance of success and required too many marines to be a viable option.  I abhorred boarding during the 0.6x era once I experienced multiple failures in a row even with the most favorable save-scumming conditions.

Oh, I won't argue with the numbers being horrible, I just miss the greater range of outcomes. I thought selecting a boarding craft was kinda' fun*, and a ship self-destructing during boarding or being damaged beyond repair always felt right to me. It adds a little bit of flavor that fits perfectly with the feel of the game. IMO, the problem wasn't with the fact they happened, but the frequency with which they did so. I'd really like to see Alex tweak the numbers to be less punishing and restore those features to the game.

*Granted, once I really understood how it worked my boarding craft were almost exclusively shuttles and small freighters, so when the inevitable explosion happened I was really only out the marines rather than the marines and one of my combat ships, which was apparently a lot more of an issue for other players.
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Jay2Jay

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Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
« Reply #41 on: September 05, 2016, 09:12:22 PM »

What about a surrender mechanic, like in Sid Meier's Pirates? Or do something like give each ship a numeric value that can only be drained with certain weapons, but they still damage the ship so ships with more advanced tech have a higher chance of being destroyed.
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mitthrawnuruodo

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Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
« Reply #42 on: September 06, 2016, 12:00:36 AM »

I will add my vote to those asking for more control. And by control, I mean the ability to choose as boarding targets, and not tactical control of a boarding operation.

There is no conceivable logic or rational as to why out of the 25 ships with several cruisers and battleships that I disabled, and took care not to destroy, throws up ONE measly frigate to board at the end. Why this ship? Why only ONE max?! Makes no sense at all.

I will take a mechanic that rewards weighted decision-making over random luck any day. To people saying how the random (and extremely low) probabilities makes for a more "fulfilling" experience, I have to disagree. There is no thought, strategy or "gaming" involved on your part to get that one rare ship. You are not overcoming a challenge. You do not improve your "boarding skill" with each failed attempt. You simply get lucky, or you do not. Its just tedium and waste of time.

Some or all of the following will do for me -

1. Specifically mark ships for boarding during / at the start of the battle to increase the chances of those ships showing at the end.

2. Give multiple boarding options (if not for ALL not-destroyed ships) at the end based on the size of the original fleets involved in battle. Player has to consider to the predicted losses, and decide based on risk vs reward.

3. Allow simultaneous boarding attempts on multiple ships.


+1 for surrender mechanism as well. It will add a little bit more of realism, which is always welcome.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2016, 12:08:42 AM by mitthrawnuruodo »
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Serenitis

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Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
« Reply #43 on: September 08, 2016, 02:54:39 PM »

Use a modified version of the "old" logistics pool to control boarding. (Also, bring back logistics :P)

Have each ship in a fleet contribute toward a pool of "points" or however you wish to describe it.
Every ship can contribute something, but some ships are naturally better suited to the task of docking and delivering angry shooty spacemans into other ships. These would be your shuttles, armoured transports, and other specialised vessels.
And whatever they contribute scales with thier current CR.

At the end of a battle you have won, all your ships have thier "pirate points" added up and modified by CR, which gives you your pool for this battle/instance.
Then all the disabled ships from the defeated fleet are presented to the player using the "deploy" dialog or something similar, with each ship costing a certain amount of points to recover - bigger ships and more intact ships = more points required.
The player can then pick as many ships to board as they like so long as they have the "points" left to do so. So you might choose to take a handful of frigates, or you might prefer to use all your resources to recover the cruiser you just put holes in.

This gives the player agency in what is currently a frustrating luck-bound endeavour while not overly skewing the difficulty/balance (as ships are generally not worth boarding unless you specifically want a particular one).
The only significant balance change would be that rare/desirable ships would become easier to acquire, which could in turn be balanced by making them exceedingly fragile and prone to outright destruction.
Also, this same mechanic could be flipped around and used against the player if they get beat down. This would have to be watered down though, in order not to be completely obnoxious.
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Megas

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Re: Why so many people want detailed boarding mechanics (my best guess)
« Reply #44 on: September 09, 2016, 05:11:29 AM »

I am not sure if Logistics is a better idea, if re-implemented the same way as 0.6x.

During 0.6x, I never touched Leadership until both Combat and Technology were maxed.  This meant I would have 20 Logistics, enough for three or four frigates or one Conquest; and remember that crew required Logistics too.  Before 0.65, leveling up past 35 was slow, and I might get Leadership 5 for 60 Logistics if I was serious at leveling past 40.  Unfortunately at the time, loot was so generous (to offset outrageously expensive supplies) that my fleet composition was locked to mostly Atlases and a few Medusa.  At 0.65, leveling via food runs, and other commodities to a lesser extent, was so generous, that leveling beyond 70 was realistically possible, and having all of those skills was very VERY FUN!  Getting 10-10-10 was not hard, and I could roam with a big frigate fleet or a somewhat smaller fleet of big ships (but due to Navigation, frigate fleet led by Hyperion was the best at nearly everything other than commodity hauls).

However, with the coming skill revamp and Industry, Logistics as before would be a terrible strain for those who do not want Leadership.  20 Logistics was not enough to support even a single battleship (without taking CR penalties) - I loathed that!  With so few Logistics, the player has no choice but to solo all opponents.

P.S.  One thing I like about removal of Logistics is I no longer need to count personnel and fiddle with numbers to avoid losing bonuses or taking penalties for exceeding some Logistics count.  Crew and marines also counted toward Logistics, not just ships.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2016, 05:49:14 AM by Megas »
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