A quick and dirty description of how sailing speed works in this game.
Table of Contents
Explanatory Guide to Sailing Speed Mechanics
This guide is intended for players who are unsure of how sailing speed works since it’s slightly mysterious if you’re only looking at a ship’s move stats. Results are based on in-game experimentation only, so it’s possible this will not be 100% accurate. If you find any discrepancies or have better/additional info, feel free to post in the comments.
Sailing speed can be seen on the little white sail at the bottom of the interface buttons on the right side of the screen.
A couple things to be aware of to start with:
- Speed is determined by the slowest ship in the fleet, including upwind/downwind stats.
- Speed is locked at 3 if any ship has 0 crew, and no other factors will raise/lower this.
Assuming all your ships have crew, you can expect to move at the following speed most of the time, based off your slowest ship.
- +4 base speed regardless of your ship’s stats.
- +1 if you have above 50% morale.
- +2-3 boost once you start moving a slight amount of time in the same direction ((you will basically always have this) ???? on why it’s sometimes 2, and sometimes 3)).
- Your ship’s base move stat.
- Your ship’s downwind OR upwind stat, depending on if you’re going with or against the wind.
-2 if you’re going directly against the wind.
Other factors can temporarily modify your speed.
- -1 if you’re overloaded on cargo.
- -1 if there’s a storm (rain).
- +7 briefly if you sail through a gust (white cyclone buffer).
- +6 briefly if you sail through a launch buoy.
- -6 very briefly if you sail through a gale (dark gray cyclone debuffer).
This guide is about sailing speed on the overworld map, but as a quick note, ship speed in combat is just each ship’s base move stat, with -1 if going against the wind.
Examples and Implications
The main takeaway for me is that slower ships are not nearly as bad as they seem. You will basically always have 7-8 base speed. I’ll call it 7.5 for brevity in the following examples.
base speed = 4 (base) + 1 (morale) +2–3 (boost) = 7.5
Your ship’s movement stats are directly added to this. So, a ship with half the movement stats of a fast ship performs far better than expected.
Another implication is that running undercrewed ships is not the disaster it appears to be. If you just captured several ships and don’t have enough units to crew them properly, assigning them 1 crew each will reduce their move stat to 1, but they’ll maintain their full upwind and downwind stats, and you’ll still get the base speed, so you should still be able to make it back to port at a surprisingly decent clip, suffering only a flat -2–3 speed malus rather than the 75% or so reduction you might expect.
Now for some examples. I’ll include ship movement stats in the format x/y/z, where x = move, y = downwind, z = upwind.
Your fleet has 1 Cog (3/3/1) and 2 Caravels (4/4/2). Only the Cog’s speed matters. Expected speed:
downwind = 7.5 (base speed) + 3 + 3 = 13.5
upwind = 7.5 (base speed) + 3 + 1 – 2 (wind penalty) = 9.5
If you had 3 Caravels instead, you would only move 2 faster in every direction.
downwind = 7.5 (base speed) + 4 + 4 = 15.5
upwind = 7.5 (base speed) + 4 + 2 – 2 (wind penalty) = 11.5
Turns out you’re getting less than expected out of the supposedly much faster Caravel’s (though, the 4 vs 3 move in combat is certainly helpful).
Now, let’s say you’ve got a thing for chonk, and you want to run around with a Glacier (2/2/1), an absolute chungus, but also the slowest ship in the game.
downwind = 7.5 (base speed) + 2 + 2 = 11.5
upwind = 7.5 (base speed) + 2 + 1 – 2 (wind penalty) = 8.5
Definitely slow, but not nearly as bad as expected. You’re still about 75% as fast as the zippy Caravel fleet despite having exactly half the move stats. Overall, this means it should be less of a disaster than expected to include slow ships in your fleet.
Just keep in mind that a ship’s combat speed is its move stat with no modifiers aside from -1 for fighting the wind. The Glacier in particular, the only ship with base 2 move aside from the Sailboat, will still be glacially slow (get it? hur hur) in combat.
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