Why we need better transport sculpt designs


  • 2019 2015 '14

    New Transport sculpts! This is the one sculpt we need that has not yet been provided by A&A, or by any of the supplemental game piece sellers.

    A flat topped transport unit that is large enough and wide enough to actually transport (seat) standard units. For a design I favor something elliptical, with a single smoke stack in the middle (to pick up and slide the loaded transport.) On the bow side of the stack, a space large enough for a single infantry unit. Aft, a space that is slightly wider to allow tanks, artillery, aaaguns, or mech to actually sit on the transport. So basically a transport large enough to do its job and actually transport those units.

    I would be happy just with a well designed generic sculpt that we could paint in whatever color was required.

    This unit should be a priority, over any other expansion or supplemental sculpts, since it would provide a real functional need that has been missing from this game for a long time.

    Functionality is the key. A well designed transport sculpt that could be used this way is at the top of my wishlist for new units.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Off the top of my head, I think the two general types of ships that would most closely match these requirements would be lake freighters (the type used on the Great Lakes) or oil tankers.  Both tend to have long, flat decks.  Lakers would be a better choice than tankers because they’re more general-purpose vessels, and thus a better choice for carrying troops and equipment rather than bulk liquids.


  • 2018 2017 2016 2015 Customizer

    @Black_Elk:

    New Transport sculpts! This is the one sculpt we need that has not yet been provided by A&A, or by any of the supplemental game piece sellers.

    A flat topped transport unit that is large enough and wide enough to actually transport (seat) standard units. For a design I favor something elliptical, with a single smoke stack in the middle (to pick up and slide the loaded transport.) On the bow side of the stack, a space large enough for a single infantry unit. Aft, a space that is slightly wider to allow tanks, artillery, aaaguns, or mech to actually sit on the transport. So basically a transport large enough to do its job and actually transport those units.

    Functionality is the key. A well designed transport sculpt that could be used this way is at the top of my wishlist for new units.

    I agree about this and I am very surprised that HBG has not made any yet. Granted they are a rather boring unit. I see nothing wrong with the current method of having cargo sitting in the SZ next to the transport. However, it would be interesting to see a concept.


  • '14 Customizer

    They could have done better with Germany’s transport they look like flat fishing boats.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @cyanight:

    They could have done better with Germany’s transport they look like flat fishing boats.Â

    It’s actually a pretty decent rendition of the actual ship type it represents:

    http://www.german-navy.de/kriegsmarine/ships/auxships/dithmarschen/history.html


  • Customizer

    Wouldn’t a transport ship piece that is wide enough to sit units on it take up too much space on the board? Especially if you had a large fleet of them preparing for a large invasion. Those sea zones would get really crowded.


  • 2019 2015 '14

    For me it is more about the lone transport, or transports splitting in many directions. But I believe you could balance them in different ways. For example, you could position units on the flat perpendicular and group them more horizontally. Basically in terms of the space requirement AAA guns and Tanks would be the biggest space hogs, but I still think it would be possible to make a reasonable transport that wasn’t too terribly wide. Unit crowding and chips will always be an issue I suppose, but I don’t think you’d have to make the transports all that much wider or longer, its more an issue of getting some nice flat sections where they could rest. It may seem minor, but a lot of players I have gamed with have made this complaint. Not just because the transports can be confusing sometimes by type (the latest Anzac liner for example, many people think looks more like a warship, even if it basically looks like the titanic.) I think the problem is usually that the smoke stacks, width and flats can vary wildly by nation. I would make the hull lower, so it has a more solid center of gravit, and as flat as you can get away with. I think the ground units could spill a bit over the side, so long as the ship was stable (carriers are already like this, esp. with the Tacs on board.) Basically a Transport that functioned more like runty carrier deck, except for ground units. A transport that was lower, a little beefier and had a stack in the middle so it’d be easier to grab (since gripping from the side would wobble.) The more consistent the better, if there is a basic ship type that could work for all nations that would certainly be ideal for me. Transports are not a unit I get particular excited about in terms of national distinctiveness or a bunch of detail. I’d be happier with something I could hitch a ride on. Sure, you’re not going to launch D day with a bunch of separate transports. But for the lone transports out in the Pacific or transiting around Africa, or stuck in open water somewhere, I think it would look much cooler if the transport was scaled such that units can sit on top of them 🙂


  • 2019 2015 '14

    Wobble is a major issue for all small ships. It could be corrected with base stands. Squared off blue bases that matched the color of the water. So you could “lock” the rectangular bases of ships or units together. I’m kind of amazed after all this time that we still don’t have squared off bases for all units. Squared and flat bottomed for all units is the best for sliding!  (Think infantry locked in squares instead of circles,  but extend that to all unit types.) Honestly, how much precious game time is spent picking up pieces that tip over or fall on their sides? Being able to lock and push ships more easily would be a huge help. (Think subs, they are almost always tipping, at least all of them except the new Anzac sub which seems stable. They could have an easy base with a tiny mm blue extension and be so much more stable!) As for the transports, if the blue bases were done right, the transport could probably increase the functional flat area without really being all that much wider on the visual, since part of the unit could rest on the blue base.

    It’s possible to base out the standard A&A units but very time consuming. And even then the standard transports still lack a decent flat for unit currently. I thin you gotta take it back to the sculpt design to make progress on this.


  • 2018 2017 2016 2015 Customizer

    @Black_Elk:

    Wobble is a major issue for all ships. It could be corrected with base stands. Squared off blue bases that matched the color of the water. So you could “lock” the rectangular bases of ships or units together. I’m kind of amazed after all this time that we still don’t have squared off bases for all units. Squared and flat bottomed for all units is the besr. (Think infantry locked in squares instead of circles,  but extend that to all unit types.) Honestly, how much precious game time is spent picking up posses that tip over or fall on their sides? Being able to lock and push ships more easily would be a huge help. (Think subs, they are almost always tipping, at least all of them except the new Anzac sub which seems stable. They could have an easy base with a tiny mm blue extension and be so much more stable!) As for the transports, if the blue bases were done right, the transport could probably increase the functional flat area without really being all that much wider on the visual.

    It’s possible to base out the standard A&A units but very time consuming. And even then the stand transports still lack a decent flat for unit currently

    Other than the occasional sub, I have never had issues with ships regularly tipping over. And with subs it really doesn’t matter all that much.

    I had a thought that instead of altering the shape of the transport itself, or putting the units in the middle of it, it may be possible to create some sort of rectangular base which extends farther out to the sides (like wings) so that you could place one unit on each. This would solve both issues of placing them on the transport and the stability factor. I can’t imagine it would look worse than a misshapen, elliptical transport with the pieces on top of it.

    Still brings up the space issue as the footprint of such a design would be just as big, if not bigger, than making a transport wider with spaces for units on top.

    Transport.png


  • 2018 2017 2016 2015 Customizer

    Now that I look at it, it is rather odd looking. Don’t like it.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    If we’re talking about just one ship in a sea zone carrying just one or two units, there’s not much potential for confusion.  If we’re dealing with a situation in which a large number of transports in a single sea zone are carrying a large number of units, the simplest solution would be to keep all the transported units physically off the board and to represent their presence on the board via one or more markers.  This is basically the principle of the task force markers that were used in the original A&A Pacific game.

    There would be two basic approaches.  If you consider the transported units to be a single group, all you need to do is plunk the sculpts into a pile off the board and to put a small marker – anything would do – next to the group of ships transporting them.  If, on the other hand, you want to track in detail which-unit-is-aboard-what-ship (so you can figure out what troops and equipment get lost when ship X gets topedoed, for instance), then you’d need to put a little numbered (or lettered) marker next to (or under) each ship, and a corresponding marker off the board next to each unit or pair of units being transported.  Scrabble tiles could be pressed into service in that role, as one possible quick-and-dirty solution.  For a more elegant, you could use HBG’s cardboard naval task force markers, of which it has a wide selection.

    In any case, this would fix the transportation problem without having to replace the ships themselves (or until replacement ships become available, if you want to look at it that way).


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