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Mostly of value. I had never once thought about the problems of keeping a submarine level when firing torpedoes, let alone simply moving around. So for me this kind of stuff was a definite plus.
Thank you! As a former technical writer I love these, but I know better than to think I speak for more than myself!
I liked most of them, mainly because of how it affected the tone. It was somewhat a boy's own adventure book, but the inclusion of the fiddly engineering aspects kept the book a little grittier. Knowing that the characters had to keep in mind all those other factors meant that their achievements were all the more remarkable.
(Also, on the technical subject, can someone move these question threads to the correct category?)
Yes, the engineering details were clear and illuminating. It helped convey the constant danger they were living in and the constant effort needed to simply stay alive.
Well - I think we all agree on this!
Relating this to gaming: how do you make this gameable without having things bogging down into endless fiddling around with numbers? Where's the gaming fun in maintaining the trim levels in an attack on an enemy convoy?
Taking inspiriation from The Watch, you could run attacks by having a set of stations/roles, such as "Strategise/firing solutions", "lead the attack", "hold trim and depth", "watch their backs", and so on. Each PC takes a role (extras doing "watch their back" which is a general "extra pair of hands to deal with stuff" role) and makes one skill roll. Success means things go well; failure brings about a complication: someone's injured, the batteries are depleted, the trim is off, the submarine is spotted, etc. That might trigger follow-on events in the fiction.