Tuesday, 22 May 2018
Monday, 21 May 2018
How many of us, I wonder, have 'tweaked' a set of wargames rules? I am willing to bet that most of have at one time or another and I for one am an inveterate 'tinkerer'. I mentioned briefly in my last post about the ongoing gridded playing area for my forthcoming refight of the Battle of the Denmark Strait. I have the MDF board required and merely need to paint and grid it or I can use the cloth I have and just grid that as a stop gap.
Well, at this stage I am going to do neither.
I shall refight the battle on a normal playing surface - I say normal but perhaps for me that should be abnormal as pretty much all of my games these days are on a grid of some kind - using a scale of 3" to one square. This would give an average WW1 dreadnought a move of 9" whilst the 18" guns of Yamato would reach 27". For the size of models and playing area I am using that would be fine but with a critical advantage over the grid based version.
Manoeuvring. As in being able to - rather being able to more effectively.
At this stage all I would need to do is to change the rules for turning and think about how to tackle submarines and minefields though the latter two are hardly essential at this stage.
The biggest advantage of doing this for the Denmark Strait refight is of course the angle of approach between the two sides at the outset of the action. I can accurately set the forces up at the correct heading far more readily than using a square grid. It also means that considerations concerning firing arcs can be better reflected. I am not saying that I have abandoned the idea of using the square grid for Barry Carter's rules but in the interests of getting the action fought I may well use the non-gridded option.
In respect of the models I am using I shall be basing the remainder of the Royal Navy and Kriegsmarine ships over the next few days and the plan is to have them all painted (there are 52 ships remaining of which 28 are destroyers) ideally by the end of next month.
The range of ships available is limited and the quality variable (as are the scales between types) but for all that they scrub up rather nicely. I am looking forward to adding some missing ships from the Historical Boardgames range to increase the choice available but the big addition will be the Italians in due course. This will consist of ships, aircraft, tanks, artillery and infantry.
The key part of that last sentence is "in due course...."
Of course it is....
Sunday, 20 May 2018
I had hoped to get a sheet of MDF cut but time was against us - which was just as well as I discovered a 5ft by 3ft in the shed! All it needs is painting and grinding and will then be real to use. In the meantime though I could always grid the cloth I have or could even - and this came to me yesterday afternoon - use Barry Carter's rules without a grid and merely use multiples of 3" for movement and firing. I would need to add in some turning rules but I reckon this has some mileage in it especially as it would serve to open the table up for more manoeuvring.
I was able to finish the four ship models I will be using for the Denmark Strait refight so without further ado here are the stars.
Friday, 18 May 2018
The battle will be fought using the rules outlined in Barry Carter's book Naval Wargames and the work of extracting the salient points to put together a play sheet is now complete. I shall get the damage cards ready for the four ships - Hood, Prince of Wales, Bismarck and Prinz Eugen - and then there is the small matter of a 3" square gridded playing surface. I have a cloth I could use although it is a little on the dark side. The plan is to get some MDF cut into 2ft squares and painted in a suitable colour with the grid added using a permanent marker. Carter himself used boards of 20" by 25" so using a two foot square board instead would be fine. That is the Bank Holiday job (and visit to Wickes) sorted then!
At the risk of offending the naval purist I have opted for a uniform early war overall grey finish with the British being in a darker grey than their German counterparts. The models were undercoated in acrylics, the grey was Humbrol enamel (simply because I still have tins and tins of the stuff!) and the decks were Vallejo. The grey was then selectively (and carefully) highlighted in a lighter shade of grey and then topped with white. Being a rather slothful type I did not even bother to wash the models before painting them (actually I forgot to do this) but there were no adverse effects in respect of paint coverage.
In the meantime I have been revisiting the book you see at the beginning of the post to get me in the 'zone' so to speak.
Thursday, 17 May 2018
Neil supplied the British and a more than passable impersonation of Colour Sergeant Bourne....
Sadly I was only able to stay for a few moves although I should mention that the Egyptians had rather a lot of reinforcement arriving - both horse and foot.
Both Neil and Chris are very good figure painters so seeing them locking horns over the wargames table always means the game will look good. Chris said he kind of got a little addicted to painting Bashi Bazouks and the numbers seemed to go beyond what he originally intended whilst Neil has in mind some additional cavalry for the British.
To finish up with Chris gave me a couple of TMWWBK laminated play sheets whilst Neil kindly gave me a copy of the additional rules he found on the net somewhere.
Many thanks chaps for these and also for the spectacle - sadly my photos have not really done it justice!
Wednesday, 16 May 2018
To support the rather mysterious 'mini project' mentioned in my last blog post I have been revisiting an old friend for inspiration. The old friend in question is the book pictured above.
Barry Carter's book is certainly old school and the fact that his rules use a square grid may raise a few eyebrows from die hard naval wargamers but for all that this is a cracking read. I had an ulterior motive when I picked this up to read as I wanted to look closely at his suggestions for rules - and I am very glad I did.
As a rule naval wargamers can be a rather pedantic bunch. I mean no offence when I say this but let's be honest, there is an element of geekiness about being able to quote technical specifications about one's chosen battlefleet - from main gun calibre down to bunker capacity via barbette armour thickness and wardroom cutlery. I have no problem with this and will spend many happy hours looking at technical specifications from Conways or Jane's Fighting Ships - it is all part of the fun really.
I mention the above with my tongue firmly in my cheek but it is true and it does serve to colour how we like to see our ships represented on the tabletop. I believe that Barry Carter would subscribe to this theory as his rules are quite 'intimate' in how they tackle ships. Firing is handled on a '1d6 per barrel' basis and damage is recorded by using hit points that increases as the firing gun calibre gets larger. Ships are given a 'sinking rate' which is not calculated based on any formula I can see - rather it is based on the gamer's own research on how durable a given ship would be. The author says "How the reader arrives at a sinking rate for each ship is a matter of personal preference. I like my battleships to have a rate in the range 700 to 1,200 points." There is small sample of selected ship types with his suggested sinking rates which can serve as a guide for other classes.
Aside from a small mini painting project in support of my next game I have also been stripping the rules out of Barry Carter's book into a convenient playsheet. Actually it is four sides of A4 but is far more convenient to use than thumbing through the book. This is virtually finished as all that remains are the sections on minefields and submarine operations
I shall be using these rules for my next game and the mini project involved pressing ahead with a number of WW2 ships from the Axis and Allies collection I have amassed. the ships are painted and varnished and I only need to tackle the bases and draw up the ship cards and that part is ready. I will also need to get a square gridded playing area sorted out. I have a cloth I can use but it is a little on the dark side however it will suffice in the absence of anything else.
I am rather excited about this and hope to be running the action over the forthcoming bank holiday weekend.