Friday, 23 April 2010

20,000 Leagues Under the Aquanef at Salute

I am really excited about the forthcoming release of Aquanef by Wessex Games. The rules are designed to allow gamers to fight naval actions during the latter half of the 19th century incorporating both submarines and sea monsters and using Aeronef. Aquanef themselves are what Victorians imagined submarines would look like – the most famous example of course being the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. The game mechanics will be familiar to Aeronef players and as such the set represents a logical extension of that set with many similarities in terms of game mechanics and background. I am a great fan of submarine games but this has usually been confined to board games as representing surface and subsurface activity on the tabletop is not an easy undertaking. From what Steve Blease is describing on his blog it would appear that a viable solution is available in the shape of using upturned plastic beer glasses and old CDs. The CDs are ‘seascaped’ and placed on the top of an upturned beer glass (or should that be beer plastic?) with the ship model placed on top. The complete assembly is moved as per normal – this represents the surface element of the game. The subsurface side can consist of models on the usual ‘flying’ bases – using different height stems for the Aquanef may be a possibility in order to represent different depths. A complexity will arise of course when tackling and action that encompasses subsurface, surface and air elements using this method – an alternative I imagine would be to use half pint glasses for the surface elements and pints for the aerial with the subsurface kit on ordinary flying bases. As an aside, with some careful modelling there is no reason why a model, suitably prepared, could not be used as a spaceship, a dirigible and an Aquanef – that makes for very economic gaming with the same models being used for three different genre! My plan is to experiment with this approach and so my tried and trusted ‘plastic-aircraft-bomb-with-scrap-bits-of-sprue-added-and-based-on-a-flying-stand’ technique will once again be on the model tray in due course.

Steve Blease is running an Aquanef game at Salute with, I believe, Matthew Hartley, so to anybody with a passing interest in VSF please pass by and take a look. Certainly the pictures released thus far on his blog: are very inspiring! I am hoping that lots of pictures get taken of this game as I am really keen to see how the CD idea works out for representing surface and subsurface units. The models that Steve has produced for the game are also featured and very nice they look as well. I was really taken with the underwater scenery idea and so have a mental note to visit our local Aquarium shop – Swallow Aquatics – for some further inspiration. It all looks really effective and I am really sorry not to be going to Salute to see it in action.

A similar approach with the models could be used for another period of interest, which for me would be enormously tempting (and as an additional project I suppose!) – this being a WW2 German U Boat Wolf Pack attacking a convoy. The only problem I envisage is the fact that full hull submarines (i.e. not the usual waterline types) are hard to come by unless you use 1/600th or 1/700th. One to think about for the future perhaps but in the meantime I am keen to try VSF style sub and subsurface warfare using Aquanef as published. It should also give me the stimulus to tackle the 1/2400th scale ACQ models I have that featured in my previous post.

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