Internet Rules

This page gives the modifications that are made to the rules of Wooden Ships & Iron Men as a boardgame to suit Internet play.


Playing an entire turn of Wooden Ships & Iron Men at once is quite difficult. Many decisions depend on the outcome of previous phases in the turn. The alternative would be to play each turn in two or more separate rounds, but that would drastically slow down the game.

In the article Wooden Ships by Mail, Leonard Carpenter suggests an alternate order of turn sequence that we will also use for Internet play. I made two small modifications; one is that the melee and loading phases are kept in the same order as in the board game. The other is that the wind phase is placed at the very end of the game turn.

Please bear in mind that the game has been designed to be played on a board, and the rules have been written accordingly. Please contact me if you have any questions regarding the game rules.

Rules in Effect

We will play accoring to the advanced game rules. Aditionally, the following optional rules are in effect:

Not all of these rules are applicable in all scenario's.


Sequence of Play

We will use the following sequence of play, to allow for one mailing per game turn:

Rake Determination

The rake determination rules in the basic and in the advanced gamerules have been designed for playability. We will use neither of them. Instead, we will use a compromise. A ship is considered to rake its target if either one, or both the hexes it occupies are in the shaded area in the image below.

rake determination

Depicted is the target ship, with the area that the firing ship must be in in order to rake her hull.

Captured Ships

When a ship is captured, any still unexecuted orders that the previous owner issued for that ship are canceled immediately. Any remaining melee is still fought, since the capture is considered to take place only after all melee has been resolved.

If a ship started the game under the British flag, it does not carry chain shot. If a non-Britisch crew were to capture a Britisch ship, it still cannot fire chain shot. If a Britisch crew were to capture and use a non-Britisch vessel, it may fire chain shot.

Errors and Corrections

The game application is being developed as you play, and it may look and behave slightly different each time you open it. The implementation of the game rules is very complex, and I am bound to make a host of mistakes. Please doublecheck all your orders after they have been processed. Contact me for any irregularity or question you have.

Errors that may be corrected without influencing the game are corrected as soon as possible. You will receive e-mail about the correction that has been made.

Errors that have only a small effect on the game are corrected after consulting the affected players. All players will receive an e-mail with a description of the problem and with the solution that was chosen.

Each e-mail will have an automatic acceptance date. If you receive such an e-mail and you do not agree with the correction that has been made, you have until that date to respond and veto the change. Vetoed changes are put to a majority vote, as described below.

To correct errors that cannot be corrected without great impact on the game will be put to a majority vote for the players. You are kindly requested to vote in fairness. Winning the game because of a technical problem would not have my preference. If the player's votes tie, I decide what action to take myself.