Friday, 17 June 2011

Morschausering a Portable Naval Wargame

After having reread and pondered over my previous post on the subject I spent some time today considering exactly how I would go about 'Morschausering' a set of naval rules. My first thought was list those facets I would not be needing to consider and I came up with the following:
  • No record keeping on paper for ship damage
  • No detailed 'critical hits'
  • No marginal ship types
  • No penetration tables
  • No detailed weapon types
Having gotten that out of the way I then considered exactly what I wanted to include and came up with the following:
  • High level generic ship types
  • Single d6 driven combat
  • Use of markers for damage
  • 'Combat Power' being reflected by defensive and offensive capabilities
  • Hex based - easier to use!
My thoughts at the present time are leaning towards having a number from 1 to 10 for a ship's Combat Power with generic types typically being covered by a spread of numbers with the lowest for a given type being the oldest or worst example, the middle numbers being 'par for the course' and the highest number being reserved for the most modern or best example of the type. These are not carved in stone but it serves to give a framework to work on.
The generic types of ship I am considering using are as follows (these are for the period 1890 to 1918 - I have yet to consider aircraft):
  • Battleships
  • Cruisers
  • Destroyers.
Obviously within each generic heading there are many sub-types but I am leaning towards using the Combat Power to reflect the actual ability of the ship in question. As an example, a light cruiser will have a different set of values to a heavy cruiser or a pre dreadnought battleship will look very different from a dreadnought version.
Gunfire will use a single d6 and currently I am considering assigning hits based on the score by which a ships defensive combat power is beaten. When a ship has sustained damage markers equal to its defensive Combat Power then it is sunk and removed from play. At the present time I am considering having the firing ship take its offensive combat power, deduct the target ships defensive combat power to give a d6 modifier to be added or subtracted to or from the roll of a d6. The modified roll determines the scale, if any, of the damage inflicted. This means that a top drawer dreadnought (say for example with an offensive combat power of 10) would be expected to make short work of an old pre dreadnought (as an example with a defensive combat power of 5) as, all things being equal, it starts with a whopping +5 modifier to the roll of a d6. The higher the firing ship can score; the more damage it can inflict. I will include a selection of d6 modifiers for such things as range etc as well as some firing prohibitions. Damage effects will be very simply handled - for each hit sustained a ship has its Combat Powers reduced by one starting with the largest number - when this reaches the same level as another category then that will also be reduced each time a hit is scored.
For example, a dreadnought (HMS Unlikely) has a defensive combat power of 9 and an offensive combat power of the same amount with a secondary power of 4 and a speed of three. It has sustained 3 hits which means that the offensive power is now 6 (as is the defensive power as this was the same number) and the secondary power is untouched. It then receives a real clobbering and suffers a further three hits. This takes the main offensive and defensive power to 3 and so the secondary batteries and speed are now also included in the reduction. A further hit (bearing in mind the ship has a speed of three) will reduce all capabilities by one.
Movement will be alternate and firing simultaneous with speeds up to 6 hexes and gun ranges up to 8. I intend restricting turning for all except destroyers which will hopefully allow them to last longer than is usual in most naval games!
I will include initiative and rules for weather and night combat but I suppose the most important thing is to ensure that the end result stays true to the spirit of Morschauser's original concepts as far as possible - although to the best of my knowledge he never designed a set of naval rules.

Funnily enough, much of what I have written previously with my earlier sets - especially the factors used - can be readily dropped into this set as the only real difference is in the combat system which will be a whole lot simpler.

I have the basic ideas for this already 'scoped' and so will probably be in a position to run a first play test fairly soon. I will of course post the results and I am hoping that when ready, this rule concept will enable me to undertake all of those pet projects I have had lurking in the 'to do' list.

Third time lucky then....;-)


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


Your ideas make a lot of sense, and are not dissimilar to my own tentative ideas ... so we are both thinking along similar lines.

I suspect that you will be ahead of me when it comes to developing a set of Morschauser-based naval wargame rules, but I hope that I am not too far behind you.

I look forward to comparing our ideas.

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Bob,

Sounds like a plan! I hope to have a first draft cobbled together over the weekend (as mentioned, an awful lot of the spadework is already in place and can be used more or less as is) and I would like to be able to run a Black Sea based playtest fairly soon.

As your tentative ideas are running along similar lines to mine then that can only be a good thing and augers well for the future - I like to think that means that we must be doing something right!.

All the best,


Peter Douglas said...


Looks like you're well on your way - I agree with Bob that's there's a lot of good ideas in there. Looking forward to more.


David Crook said...

Hi Peter,

Many thanks for the support! There is a lot of 'stuff' I already have ready in respect of ship specs etc from my previous rules efforts and I must admit I did smile to myself when I realised that much of it can be readily ported into the Portable set.

I hope to have the first draft ready soon with a view to playtesting as early as next weekend.

I will keep progress on this reported on the blog so lets see how it pans out.

All the best,