Game Rules - How to
Win by controlling cities for Victory Points:
The key to victory in Lost Admiral Returns
is to control as many coastal cities as possible for as long
as possible during the battle. Each city you own will
give you Victory Points (VP) EVERY turn you own it.
These points are accumulated throughout the game, and compared
to your opponent's VP total at the end of the battle. If
you can outscore the opponent enough, you win! Every
battle has two sides, simply labeled "Red" and "Yellow".
To claim a coastal city as your own, you
must keep a transport or armed-transport (AT) in that city's
harbor hex at the end of a given turn. If you are the
only player with a transport there, and your transport is
still alive at the end of a "turn", you get the VP value of
that city added to your VP total. You also gain the
resources for that city, and resources are covered further
down in this webpage.
Each game turn you will get to move any or
all of your ships up to their maximum movements points, and
then fight combat for all hexes where you encounter the
enemy's ships. Transports are protected from
participating in combat IF there is a friendly warship
(non-transport) to fight the enemy in the same hex. So
it is advisable to keep an "escort" with transports when
Defeating the enemy's warships with your
warships is not so important as claiming cities with your
transports. In other words, you can be losing the fight
between war fleets, and still win the battle if you can hang
on to enough cities long enough to outscore your opponent.
As a result, finesse will win the day as often as brute force.
Buy time for your transports by delaying enemy ship movements
wherever possible. Sneak your transports and their
escorts around enemy fleets to capture distant neutral cities
and hold on to those cities as long as you can, keeping an eye
out for raiding enemy warships. In fact, send some
warships of your own raiding the enemy's distant cities,
bypassing the violent clash of larger warship groups where
Each game turn consists of the following
(see Battle Setups further down in this chapter for more on
- Red moves
- Combat for all ships (both sides fire
once) after Red's moves.
- Yellow moves
- Combat for all ships (both sides fire
once) after Yellow's moves.
- City ownership is adjusted based on
transports, VPs are awarded along with city resources, newly
constructed units are placed in cities, and a new turn
starts (with Red new moves)
- Turns continue until the end of the
battle, usually between 12 to 30 turns total.
Ships available for conquering the oceans:
Units come in several different flavors in
LAR. You have capitol ships, used in your war fleets to
smash the enemy's lines and win victory for a given area.
Smaller warships serve as auxiliaries to the capitol ships, as
escorts for transports, and as fast raiders against distant
enemy cities. Transports and armed-transports do the
actual turn to turn job of occupying cities and claiming those
city Victory Points for your side.
Most ships move 2 hexes per turn, taking
them a while to move from their starting locations to
worthwhile nearby cities or enemy forces to attack.
Smaller ships tend to move faster, making them better at
flanking, raiding enemy cities, or (for ATs) at claiming
cities. During movement, your ships will have to stop
when they enter a hex containing an enemy unit. If your
ship started the turn in a hex with enemy units, you will be
able to move out of that hex (if you want).
You will normally not be able to see an
enemy ship until you enter that unit's hex with one of your
own units. The exception to this are your CVs, which
reveal enemy surface units out 2 hexes from the carrier at all
times during your turn. You will also still be able to
see enemy units that you just fought in the previous combat
There is a "stacking limit" of up to 2
friendly ships per hex (small square / brick on the movement
map) that is enforced at the end of each movement phase.
If for some reason you have more ships than allowed in a stack
at that time, the extra ships are destroyed.
Fortunately, you can have any number of ships in a city harbor
as long as you have a live transport (or AT) in that same hex.
You do not need to own the city to get this unlimited stacking
ability for that hex.
For all ships, refer to the
chart page for details on their abilities,
or better yet, print out the
printer-version damage charts
so you can keep them beside your computer.
(CV) are used as the eyes, ears, and hammer helpers of the
fleet. They are the only ship in LAR that can spot
enemy ships outside of their own hex, up to a distance of 2
hexes away. They can not spot submerged submarines
this way. Additionally, Carriers give a bonus of +1 to
damage for all nearby (within one hex) combat attacks
against enemy surface ships. Again, this bonus does
not apply against enemy submerged submarines. Carriers
do quite a bit of damage in combat, but are easily sunk by
most types of other warships. They cost $21 at the
start of a battle.
(BB) are the core offense unit for war fleets. They do
large amounts of damage to just about any other type of
warship, and are hard to sink. Their Achilles heal is
that they can not hurt submerged submarines, meaning that
help from friendly Destroyers or PT Boats is needed for
Battleships to survive enemy submerged submarine attacks.
They cost $20.
(CR) are smaller versions of Battleships, good at
everything, but excelling at nothing. They are able to
fight with submerged submarines, but are rather costly to
use in this way. They cost $15.
(SS) are the bane of capitol ships, able to kill such ships
in only a few shots, and costing quite a bit less than the
cost of a CV or BB. Submarines are easy prey for
Destroyers and PTs when the submarine is submerged.
While surfaced, they can move 3 hexes per turn, but are
vulnerable to capitol ships. They cost $12.
(DD) are very versatile. Moving 3 hexes per turn and
able to kill submerged submarines in one shot, they make
excellent escorts for capitol ships, transports, and are
good at raiding distant enemy cities. Capitol ships
quickly kill Destroyers. They cost $10.
- Patrol Boats
(PT) are inexpensive ships that can move 4 hexes, making
them great for scouting enemy locations, and raiding distant
enemy cities. They are helpless against capitol ships
and Destroyers, but are good Submarine hunters. They
(TR) are the cheapest way to keep ownership of cities.
Simply "Anchor" them in a city harbor and keep them safe to
keep earning that city's VPs every turn. The are
killed in one shot by every type of warship out there.
They cost $3.
(AT) are better than Transports, being able to move 3 hexes
per turn (rather than 2), and can kill Transports in one
shot, and fight PT boats on equal terms. They cost $8.
are usually beefed up versions of Carriers and Battleships,
though there are rumors of other types. They usually
can take more damage before sinking, and can be outfitted
with a wide variety of special modules giving them unique
abilities such as moving faster, performing better in all
aspects of combat, or perhaps denying the enemy VPs for
their nearby cities, repairing nearby friendly ships, or
other very useful tricks. See the
Flagships chapter for more information.
During movement and combat, your Flagship is shown with a
small colorful nationality flag of one sort or another
flying over it.
- Mission Ships
appear in the game as regular ships with a small green flag
flying over them during movement and combat. These
ships are usually under your control, and are part of any
special missions you are undertaking in the battle.
The are usually given to you at the start of the mission, or
"created" from some of your normal ships when you do certain
mission steps, such as picking up lost crewmembers from a
water zone in the "Rescue" mission. When mission ships
are carrying cargo for the mission (such as rescued people)
they will often revert to being normal, non-mission ships
after delivering that cargo to the desired destination (such
as a home city for the "Rescue" mission).
Cities vary in value:
All cities are normally worth between 200 to
500 VPs each turn. Only 200 point cities are able to
construct new ships during the battle. Each owned city
will generate a certain number of resource points for the side
that owns them. These resources are Materials,
Leadership, Engineering, and Armaments. Each type of
ship takes a different mix of resources to construct, and will
require two turns to finish before appearing on the battle map
in the 200 point city where they were "built". Capitol
ships take 3 turns to construct.
"Home" cities are the cities that Red and
Yellow start the battle owning. These cities have a
special "home" flag next to their ownership flag, and
sometimes serve a distinct role in special missions, such as
the destination port for rescued crew members. These
home cities are also worth TWO TIMES their normal VP value to
the enemy side, if captured by the enemy. This bonus
makes enemy home cities worth the trouble of capturing.
Battle Setups set the pace for the whole fight:
Each battle you fight will have certain home
cities and total forces for each side to start with. The
Classic Maps have predetermined strategic positions for Red
and Yellow that favor one side or the other. For
instance, Red has the upper hand in Map #1, while Red will
often do a fighting retreat on Map #9. Random maps have
unique setups for every battle, and can favor either (or
Total forces usually range between 200 to
500 points ($$) of ships for each side. These ships are
purchased via the Unit Selection menu, and placed in the home
cities for that side. Total home cities for each side
will range from 1 to 6 or so, depending on the type of battle
An official "Win Ratio" is determined for
the battle based on the starting setups and type of map.
This ratio represents how many more VPs one side will have to
score compared to the enemy side. The ratio can be as
high as 100% or more (meaning that side must score two times
as many VPs as the other side). Most battles will
require a more modest ratio of 20-60%. For instance, Map
#1 requires that the Red side score 28% more VPs than Yellow
just to "barely win". If Red outscores Yellow by a ratio
of 48%, the extra 20% is considered to be the "won-by"
percent. The more you outscore your opponent, the bigger
your victory, as long as you exceed the "win ratio" assigned
to your side for that battle.
At the end of a battle, Rewards are given to both the
Victorious side, and to the losing side:
Rewards are given to both sides based on how
well they did in the battle. The winner will tend to get
more rewards than the loser, but the losing side will get
slightly different types of points than the winner.
Reward points are normally used to
flagships, and to progress in the
Save the Admiral Campaign. Click on
those two keywords to learn more.
The struggle for Victory Points is just one
part of how rewards are given. Additional points are
awarded for completing any
involved for that battle. And you will regain a certain
percent of the value of any flagships you used in that battle
as new points to spend in future battles.
Complete many battles to explore all parts of LAR:
Every battle you complete will hone your
battle skills, and prepare you for tougher battles. Play
on a range of different maps to increase your officer's rank.
Win battles by larger "won-by" percents to increase the
quality of your officer's rank. After mastering a few
normal battles, you can start helping the Admiral in the Save
the Admiral Campaign. You can also practice special
missions in regular battles by selecting one during the
"Battle Options" stage of starting a battle.
Actions available during movement:
Much of LAR battles are commanded from the
movement menu. Below is a list of all actions available
during movement. These actions either affect your
currently selected unit, allow you to switch to moving other
units, or let you access other helpful menus for additional
- Right click on
new ship - Lets you select that ship to move
- Left click on a
map hex - Tells your current ship to move to that
hex. Red buoy markers will surround the hexes your
ship can actually reach this turn. If you click on a
hex that your ship can not reach this turn, the game will
prompt you to click a 2nd time on that target hex to confirm
that you really want your ship to move towards that hex.
- Right click on
an empty hex - Brings up a popup menu of all
actions available to you from the movement menu, including
"no action" to close out the list of options.
- Stop current
ship [S key] - Marks current ship as "Stopped"
for this turn, even if it still has movement points left.
You will not be prompted to move "stopped" ships by the
game, though you can still manually select the ship again
during the current turn by right clicking on it. LAR
will help you remember what units you still need to move
this turn by auto-prompting you to move units that can still
move, one after another, until you are done moving all your
units. By "stopping" a ship, you are telling the game
that you do not want to move that unit any further this
turn, regardless of how many movement points it might have.
You can quickly "stop" your current ship by left clicking on
it twice in a row.
- Anchor (or
un-anchor) current ship [D key] - Lets you anchor
or un-anchor the currently selected ship. Anchoring
ships will let you avoid accidentally moving the ship out of
it's current hex, as you will have to un-anchor first before
trying to move. You can also change the current
anchoring status of your ship by right clicking on it twice
in a row.
- Surface (or
submerge) submarine [U key] - Lets you change
your submarine's surfaced status as long as it has only
moved 0 or 1 hexes so far this turn. Submerge when
faced with enemy capitol ships like Battleships or Carriers.
- Wait to move
current Unit [N or W key] - Lets you tell the
game that you want to come back to the current ship and move
it AFTER you have moved all of your other ships for this
turn. LAR will immediately prompt you to move a
different another ship that you have not moved yet.
- Center on
current unit [C key] - Centers map view on
current unit. Useful if you have scrolled the view
quite a ways away from where your unit is waiting to move.
- Select Previous
Unit [P key] - Lets you swap back and forth
between the currently selected unit, and the last unit you
moved. Useful for going back quickly to your previous
unit, and anchoring it or seeing what enemy units it might
- use Build Menu
[B key] - Brings up a build menu for constructing new units
at any 200 point cities you own. You will also need a
variety of different resources generated by cities you own
to construct the new ships.
- List all ships
[L key] - Lists all the ships you own, what cities they are
nearest to, and also describes the resources that each city
generates per turn.
- Flagship Menu
[G key] - Brings up the Flagship menu, where you can see
more details about any flagships you are using in this
battle, along with your progress towards any bonus rewards
for the good (or bad) performance of your flagships.
- Zoom map view
[Z key] - Toggles map view between a 5x5, 10x10, and 20x20
view of hexes. Note that the full screen mode will
show even more hexes per zoom level.
- Change Mini-Map
labels [I key] - Changes the labels for cities on
the mini-map. You can choose to display the full name
and value, show just the first letter of the name, or have
no labels at all.
- Swap to Full
Screen mode [M key] - Swaps movement menu layout
from the normal view to a "full screen" view. The
movement map view will fill up the entire screen, and all
action buttons will be hidden, accessible only by keyboard
or using the right click popup menu.
- view Damage
Chart [? Key] - Shows a master list of all ships
and the damage they can inflict on other ships during
- use Damage
Helper mode [/ Key] - Toggles a helper mode that
will display numbers on top of enemy ships to indicate how
much damage your current ship could inflict during combat.
Useful for choosing what enemy ship's hex to move into.
- view Battle
Statistics [T key] - Brings up a menu showing a
history of your performance in the current battle.
Tracks how many ships were lost for both sides per turn, VPs
earned per turn, resources earned, and also shows a summary
of where your ships have moved on the map.
- Save game
to resume later [V Key] - Saves the current game and returns
to the main menu. You can reload your game later
either from the top menu of the game, or from the "load
- Project Battle
Results [Q Key] - If you have completed at least
half of the turns for this battle, you have the option to
"project" the battle results and get your reward points
immediately. Use this option if you are happy with
your current win percent, or perhaps to quickly end a losing
battle and collect your rewards for having fought the battle
(even though you lost).
- use the Escape
menu [ESCAPE key] - gives you access to the
program options and toggles, along with the choice to
immediately exit back to the top game menu, or exit the game
directly back to your windows desktop.
Done button [F or E
key] - tells LAR that you are done moving units for this
turn, and are ready to start combat (if any) and then let
your opponent move their ships. Note that the first
time you press this button, the build menu will be displayed
to remind you to build units. Click on the Done button
a 2nd time, while the build menu is still open, to totally
end your movement turn.
Special Notes on various rules:
Below are a variety of special notes about
subtle rules in LAR sometimes not covered above...
enemy cities - You can deny the enemy side the VPs for
cities they would otherwise own in two ways. You can
have a special "neutralizing" flagship nearby, OR you can
move a warship and transport of your own into that city
harbor. If you can keep your transport alive to the
end of the turn (and assuming the enemy still has their
transport or AT), you will "neutralize" the city, so it
belongs to neither side. This means that the VP points
and resources for that city will not awarded to either side.
Note that if a 200 point city is neutralized this way, any
ships being built there will be (bitterly) lost.
Transports - During combat, transports that are
in the same hex as a friendly warship will be "protected"
from combat, and the enemy will not be able to fire at them
until the defending escort is killed. This buys the
transport an extra turn to flee in. Note that if no
warships are present in a combat hex with more than one
transport, BOTH of those transports will be exposed to enemy
- Sneaky submerged
Submarines - When submerged, submarines are
"sneaky" in that they will not appear on the movement map
during the enemy's movement turn UNLESS they are revealed by
a sub hunting ship that enters their hex. Sub hunting
ships are Destroyers, Patrol Boats, and Cruisers. Note
that any other type of ship can enter or pass through that
sneaky submarine's hex without seeing or knowing about the
submarine, UNTIL the combat phase following that side's
movement. During combat, the submarine will reveal
it's presence and attack the surprised ship, often to the
detriment of the enemy's war plans. And submerged
submarines are the only unit that can keep moving after
entering an enemy occupied hex, as long as non of the enemy
units are a "sub hunting" DD, PT, or CR.
- Resources on
Maps - are randomly distributed at the start of a
battle. These resources will sometimes bunch up on
certain cities, making those cities vital to have for
building ships. Armaments tends to be the most crucial
element needed for ship building, so be sure to locate the
best cities for armaments during your battles.
- Repairing Ships
- If a damaged ship of yours ends it turn in a friendly city
harbor, the ship will be repaired up to two points of
damage. This is a good way to remove battle damage
before a ship sinks, and return to the fight with longer
- Special Plays
- you will sometimes earn "special plays" from STA Campaigns
in LAR. These plays can be used in any Battle to give
yourself a boost up on the enemy, such as calling for a
small group of reinforcements to help your side, or spying
on enemy locations, or stalling some enemy movement for a
turn, or even making some enemy units turn traitor, joining
your side. These plays are best used in tough STA
Campaigns, so save them for when you need them the most.
Use these plays by right clicking on the "CF" green Command
Fleet button found on the movement menu for LAR.
Speculations and Feedback:
Various subtle rules and new features are
added to LAR all the time based on player feedback. So
if there is something about LAR that you wished was different,
a special flagship ability you would like to see, a neat
special mission you think should be added, an optional rule
that would be great for LAR, or any other suggestions you want
to make, use your "Journal Button" in the upper left of the
game (and upload your journal when Updating LAR) or email the
suggestions directly to
For other parts of the manual, use the menu bar on the left:
The manual has various chapters dedicated to all parts
of the game, and new sections will be added periodically as new material
and updates are made to Lost Admiral Returns.
Please use the menu bar on the left to navigate the
If you have questions, please
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and look for help there.
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