Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Naval Rules Considerations

My ongoing Naval rules project (formerly tweaking DBSA into a gridded format and extending the result into the Great War) has hit a small but significant issue. Should firing be dealt with by a single die roll or on a barrel by barrel basis? Or even, should it be a combination of the two? From a fun perspective rolling great numbers is enormously satisfying but I cant help feeling that with lots of ships on the table this may be a little onerous. The single die roll is a little more clinical and is certainly tidier but that then means that more modifiers need to be applied to 'load' the result into something meaningful.

As I am trying to achieve a fast play set for large actions I think the single die approach will be preferable - perhaps with the possibility of multiple hits dependent on the dice roll. I am also moving away from the use of a d6 for this as the spread of results feels better using a d10.

I also need to consider the impact of damage and how best to simulate it and its effects. At the moment I have a number of options under investigation for this and the driver is the need to dispense with record keeping other than using damage markers on the models base. All of my ships have fairly generous bases so placing hit markers or counters is not a problem - the actual counters will be aesthetically designed (I am planning something along the lines of the Litko damage markers for smoke and fire etc) so will not ruin the look of the game. The problem with this is of course, the number of such markers that will need to be moved around on the table when a ship starts taking damage. Under DBSA the largest number of markers a ship could have on its base would be 3 - a black cripple marker and 2 x white damage markers. This is OK as far as it goes but when you start factoring in 32,000 ton Queen Elizabeth class battleships it stretches the system a little. I think that having up to 5 or 6 markers for such a ship is about as far as you could sensibly go with these - I am not keen on having markers with numbers on for multiple hits as they can be mistaken in the heat of battle. I realise that there could be a 'fog of war' issue here but that is not something I am going to pursue due to the scale of the action.

I also want to differentiate between damage types - at a simple level it will be either flood or fire damage. Each hit will be rolled for and the effect will be one of either of the two types mentioned. Each of these damage types will have a scale of progression in terms of effects and at a simple level, flooding impacts on speed whilst fire impacts on firing. If a enough water gets on board the ship sinks and enough fire rages then there is a very good chance of the ship exploding - either way it would game over. Red markers signify fire whilst white could be for shell splashes or flooding. A black marker would signify a cripple. This would also raise the issue of damage control but that is easy to factor in.

Despite the apparent uncertainty about the above I am fairly close to having a draft version ready and will use this with the Balkan Fleets in due course. I will need to get the 1914/1915 Russians for the Black Sea ready in order to give the Goeben some opposition but in the meantime I have a plan for using some old Minifigs ships for a hypothetical Balkan War set in 1912/13. Much to ponder methinks!

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