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Revision as of 19:06, 2 November 2007 by Loopydoopy12 (talk | contribs) (Historical Notes)
A typical gunnery puzzle

Gunnery is the duty puzzle responsible for loading a ship's guns. When a cannon is loaded in the puzzle, a cannon becomes available to the commanding officer to shoot in battle nav. The number of loaded guns is indicated by the Cannon counter.

Basic Gameplay

Bucket, Shot, Powder, Wad

The goal is to correctly load the four guns, as quickly as possible. The gunnery pieces are sent out in all four directions from the wooden barrel, in random order, until there are two of each on the board. When a piece is used, another of that type will be sent out the barrel. If the ship has no cannon balls, you will stop getting shot pieces and cannot load any guns. Pieces travel in a straight line until they strike a fixed obstacle (such as a crate, gun, or gunwale), at which point they turn right. If turning right is impossible, they turn left, and if neither is possible, they reverse direction. If one piece runs into any other piece both reverse direction.

The pieces must be loaded in correct order: powder, wad, shot. The fourth piece, the bucket, is used to clean out a gun after it has been fired, or if the wrong piece has been placed in a gun. This is accomplished by placing arrows to direct the flow of pieces. An arrow can be placed facing any of the four cardinal directions, the movement of a piece travelling over an arrow changes to its direction. It is necessary to place an arrow in front of the gun barrel to finally move the piece into the gun. A player may have up to three arrows at a time on the board; after adding additional arrows, the oldest one will be removed.

Like most puzzles, the difficulty of the gunnery puzzle when you enter it is set relative to your past performance. Gunnery lacks the difficulty meter and progressively increasing difficulty the other duty puzzles have; doing things "right" will very slightly raise the difficulty, and doing things "wrong" will very slightly lower it. The higher the difficulty, the faster the pieces move. See this section for more details.

Note: In old versions of the puzzle, you could waste cannonballs if you misload them into the cannon or throw them overboard. This is no longer true, it is now impossible to "waste" cannonballs in the gunning puzzle.

Playing in the Navy

When playing the gunnery puzzle in the navy, the guns will not be fired, so after loading the four guns, you should abandon the game, go back to the deck, and re-enter the puzzle. When you re-enter, the guns will be empty again. You must have at least Narrow experience at Sailing, Carpentry, and Bilging to get the gunning mission.

But I Wanna Gun! (Gunning on Player Ships)

Many officers in charge are very picky about who gets to gun on their ship. This is due in large part to the game's design. On a sloop, only one person can gun at a time--if that gunner is doing poorly, the offensive capabilities of that ship will be drastically hindered. On larger ships, multiple people can gun at once but a mediocre gunner can still tie up four cannons that could be filled in less time by more skilled players.

If you do ask to gun and you are refused, it is unwise to repeat your request--many officers find repeated requests to gun annoying. Repeatedly pointing out that all Sailing, Carpentry and Bilging stations are full is also likely to annoy the officer in charge. Many officers would rather have an empty gunning station or two instead of allowing a less skilled gunner to tie up a gunning station. Do not constantly beg to gun. It is better to ask once and, if refused, patiently wait for a non-gunning station to open or to politely ask if a current sailor/carpenter/bilger would like to trade places after the next sword fight.

Having a good gunning puzzle standing and asking politely can be very helpful in convincing a captain to let you gun on a ship. Players with Able, Distinguished and Respected ratings will find it difficult to get permission to gun on player ships. Those with Master, Renowned, Grand-master, Legendary and especially Ultimate ratings may find that officers will ask them to gun--even if they haven't asked to gun. Advice to players who get rejected: Gun with the navy until you reach Master.

Hints to Gunning

Gunning isn't something that takes seconds to master. Like any other puzzle in the game, gunning takes practice and unless you are willing to take the time to practice, you aren't going to get it. Here's some things that could help you:

Beginner Tips

  • Look out for a good board. If you find yourself in a good board don't give it up. A good board is a board in which you can circulate all the gunning pieces to all the cannons without hang-ups.
  • Get into a rhythm. Keep the pieces moving and keep the guns loaded. If you keep your rhythm going you should notice an increase in the speed of the pieces. This will help you dramatically if your cannons are being fired constantly.
  • Don't scatter pieces. Make sure that all the pieces you need are constantly passing all the cannons so that as soon as its fired you can reload. Don't reach for pieces at the last minute.
  • Prepare yourself before the battle. As you engage an enemy, if you are gunning, find a good board and get into a rhythm. Its a good idea to keep the guns loaded before a battle and then start looking for a good board while engaging an enemy.

Advanced Tips

  • One of the fastest ways (if not the fastest) to control your arrows is by using the WASD keys on your keyboard to pick their direction and the mouse and mouse buttons to place them. When adept with this control scheme you can quickly change the direction of your arrows without taking your finger off the mouse button (to use the scroll wheel) or having to click and drag to pick their direction. This makes it much easier to pick out a single piece from a packed row of moving pieces without loading any the pieces which come before or after it into a cannon. This becomes extremely important at higher standings because the pieces move much faster then at lower standings.
  • Don't board sit (unless on a Sloop or Dhow), that is remain on a single board after you have loaded the cannons. Sitting on a board means you can't load more then 4 cannons at a time, this can be very bad if you're gunning a larger ship that is short on gunners. Example: if 2 gunners on a War Brig all board sat only a maximum of 8 of the 16 guns could ever be loaded at one time.
  • Loading all 4 cannons on a board is not required to score well. If you can load 2 or 3 cannons swiftly, do so and then find another board. Your score in gunning is based on the amount of time spent on a board with fired guns (you may sit on a board with all guns loaded without penalty) divided by the number of guns you loaded. Example: Loading 4 guns in 40 seconds will score the same as loading 2 guns in 20 seconds or 3 guns in 30 seconds.
  • When you first jump on a board quickly survey it, if you can make a loop around 2 or more guns using only 1 or 2 arrows go for it, if not jump off quickly and find a better board. If you jump off quickly enough your standings wont be affected. Repeat this until you find a suitable board.
  • During a Sea Battle jump on a board as soon as a turn in which guns will be fired starts, don't wait for the actual firing of the guns. This way you have a better chance of getting cannons which have been fired and you have more time to load them before the next turn in battle.

Historical Notes

Until release 2004-07-09, gunning was most easily practiced on a training ship rather than a navy ship.

In Beta release 2003-11-22, the options to fill two or six cannons at once were removed, only allowing loading of four cannons at once.

In Beta release 2003-10-27, the gunnery puzzle's scoring was modified to ensure higher ratings meant faster guns.

The two piece limit per piece at one time was introduced with Beta release 2003-10-22.

Gunnery was connected to sea battle (firing guns means reloading them) with Alpha release 2002-11-08.


Gunnery is most similar to the game ChuChu Rocket!, originally for the Dreamcast, which also has constantly moving pieces which you guide with a limited number of arrows. Important differences include collision between pieces, the requirement that the pieces enter the goal in a certain order and the lack of a multiplayer mode.

Known Bug

Ultimate list

Cobalt Hunter Ice Midnight Opal Sage Viridian


Spoiler warning: Details about trophies are hidden below.

The following trophies are related to gunnery:

External/Other Links

Icon duty puzzles.png Duty Puzzles
Icon bilge.pngBilging | Icon carpentry.pngCarpentry | Icon navigation.pngDuty Navigation | Icon gunnery.pngGunnery |
Icon patching.pngPatching | Icon rigging.pngRigging | Icon sailing.pngSailing | Icon treasurehaul.pngTreasure Haul
See also: Sea Battle