Readers of this blog will no doubt recall all the trials, tribulations and agonising I have gone through over the last couple of years trying to design a set of grid-based naval wargames rules. After much work, numerous blind alleys, the odd flash of inspiration and a series of spectacular headaches I managed to produce a DBA based variant, a Morschauser inspired set (that is being very generous as just about the only thing the rules had in common with anything Morschauser related was in the use of a square grid!) and most of a Memoir 44/Battle Cry based set - of which Bob Corderoy's version(s) were far more complete than my own efforts.
The work that went into this sets was both interesting and thought provoking and I learned an enormous amount from the process, ably assisted along the way by the inexhaustible patience of numerous members of SEEMS and the comments and observations from the blog universe.
The sets I have described above all work reasonably well - in fact the 'Morschauser' set I am very proud of - but in the light of what Bob Corderoy has achieved with his Portable Wargame:
I cant help feeling that my efforts thus far have swung a little too far from what I had set out to achieve in the first place - devising a non-record keeping set of grid based naval wargame rules of a level of detail and complexity that could sit alongside of, and to share a common game mechanic background with Jo Morschauser's systems for land warfare.
I suppose my question then is very simple - if Jo Morschauser ever designed a naval wargame how would he have done it?
For me, the concepts behind the Portable Wargame are absolutely 100% in line with my own gaming aspirations - they are simple yet challenging to use and are equally at home being used for solo play or for a club night knockabout. Above all though, they 'feel' right for the period under consideration and are robust enough in design to be able to cope with any amount of 'tinkering' for sub-period or scenario specific reasons.
This is exactly what I would want from a naval version as I really like the idea of gaming across land and sea (and air?) using rules that are of a common background. Impossible? I don't think so but it would certainly require something of a leap of faith to achieve as, for the most part, naval game rules tend to work on a different basis to land rules and rightly so.
What does all this mean then? I am thinking that if I want to achieve this level of rules homogeneity then I will need to undertake drafting a set firmly camped in the Morschauser universe as these are my preferred choice for land games. This is further complicated by the fact that I would need three such sets - Ironclads (for the ACW), pre dreadnoughts and 1905 plus. I am convinced however, that a core set of rules could easily be used up and down the timescale with the tweaks applicable as and where needed for period specific features.
Much to ponder methinks - and many lunchtimes grafted to my netbook!
PS I am not a fan of U2 as such but whilst drafting this post I was reminded of one of their biggest hit songs:
"I still haven't found what I'm looking for...."