I'm struggling to see the value currently in having 2 ships on the same hex. There is a very negative drawback that an enemy ship attacking gets to attack all ships on the same hex with 1 attack. There is no attacking bonus (or defending bonus) for stacking ships on the same hex. However, logically thinking, there should be a benefit / bonus to bringing multiple ships up against a smaller number of enemy ships / settlement.
The Bosser buccaneer provides a +1 bonus to ships in adjacent hexes. This, combined with the drawback above, has led me to keep my ships 1 hex apart whenever possible.
Given the current game mechanic where it is far smarter to have 1 ship with 10 attack and 4 defend than it is to have 5 ships with 2 attack and 5 defend, I'd like to propose the following:
Create a "fleet / armada" effect:
- When 2-4 ships are stacked on the same hex, it creates a "fleet." Fleets gain a +1 bonus to attack and defend, per ship in the fleet. Thus, if you have a 2/4/2 ship stacked with a 4/8/4 ship, and a 3/4/5 ship, they would end up being 5/4/5, 7/8/7, and 6/4/8, respectively. While they still would take damage against that 10/12/4 ship, all of a sudden, because they are stacked in a fleet, they're actually doing some damage to the gargantuan ship.
- When 5+ ships are stacked on the same hex, it creates an "armada". Armadas gain a +2 bonus to attack and defend, per ship in the armada.
- The Bosser can be enhanced to provide a +2 in fleets, and a +3 in armadas
- Alternatively, a new buccaneer, "Captain" can be created that provides a +1/+2 bonus to all ships in a fleet/armada, but provides no bonus when a ship is alone.
Essentially, as I've been playing through a lot of skirmishes and the limited real-people games, I've found that having 1 "attacking" ship per sector is all I need to sweep through opponents. A 14/32/8 ship is nearly unstoppable. While it should be really difficult to take that kind of a ship down, it shouldn't be impossible. This seems like a fun, interesting, and intriguing way to bring some balance.