Friday, 4 June 2010

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Naval Rule Writer

Readers of this blog will no doubt be familiar with my ongoing trials and tribulations in my attempts to either devise from scratch or tweak existing versions of any number of 20th century naval wargames rules. I have spent a lot of very enjoyable time researching, reading and constantly experimenting in my search to find what will be the ideal set of wargame rules for the period 1890 to 1945 at sea and have thus far met with limited success. I have looked at grid based systems, zone based systems and conventional table top systems. I have considered using counters for damage recording as well as the more usual ship record chart and am now in all honesty probably little closer to achieving my aim than I was at the start. This has by no means been a failure though as the whole rule writing experience has been a very informative one and I have certainly learned a lot from it.

I believe that most wargamers are inveterate rules tinkerers and so I have been merely following one of our hobby’s most popular traits and long may that continue! However, this eternal tinkering has come at a cost in terms of the effort expended and has quite often been to the detriment of pure gaming time. With this in mind then, I have decided that I am going to stick with the commercially available rules I own and use the most applicable set depending on the circumstances of the game and players in question. I want to focus more on scenario and campaign design rather than the seemingly endless rule tweaks and designs as my available gaming time is limited and so this is the path I would prefer to pursue.

In a sense, this decision sits firmly in the ‘rationalisation’ compartment of my hobby as recently demonstrated in my ‘Mediterraneanisation’ of the collection. At the present time then, aside from Axis and Allies: War at Sea I also have General Quarters parts 1, 2 (covering WW1 and 2) and 3 (although not the new WW1 version) and a set called Battle Stations! Battlestations! as the naval rules ‘in the ready locker’ so to speak. The latter rules are devoted to WW2 and have some very interesting ideas contained therein – not least of which is the use of counters for damage rather than ship charts. They also include, rather unusually for a naval set, fleet morale rules.

My naval challenge then is to concentrate on scenario and campaign design and to translate these ideas into a tabletop reality via which ever set is deemed appropriate.

No pressure then…………….;-)

4 comments:

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

Ogrefencer,

Don't get too downhearted; you have achieved wonders so far and will get there (or somewhere nearby at least) in the end!

All the best,

Bob

Ogrefencer said...

Hi Bob,

As ever many thanks for your continued support and kind words. I think that the phrase frustrated is probably more accurate than downhearted if only because I seem to keep going around in circles with only moderate returns for the effort expended! I dare say though that in due course I will be 'tweaking' rules again - it is just that at the moment I want to concentrate on the scenario and campaign design aspect rather than the actual game mechanics. Thats the plan anyway..........

All the best,

Ogre

Ogre

Chris J said...

I guess this should be obvious from your many postings about A&A War at Sea, but do you consider the models to be worth the money? Initial comments from back when the game first came out were that the ships were of different scales, and often were very poor representations. Were these comments off base, or were they spot on, but the problems were then corrected? If it's the latter, what do I need to look for to ensure that I'm not buying the early, bad models?

Ogrefencer said...

Hi Chris J,

The models are variable in quality - both in terms of finish and the paint job. Scale and detail are also a problem although not massively so. These are wargames models and not collectors and so I am happy to use them as such. As to value I would have to say that yes I think they are worth the money but I can also see that they would offend the purist! Some of the rare models are quite expensive at around £10 but then these are not likely to be in needed in quantity. They will never win any prizes for detail and accuracy but as long as you use them in the manner for which they are intended i.e. game markers, then you will not go far wrong.

All the best,

Ogre