Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Sea Battles in Miniature by Paul Hague (1st edition)

I am quite sure I have owned a hard copy of this book at some point in the past and recently acquired an electronic version of the same. What I do have in hard copy form (rather a photocopy thereof) is the rules chapter for WW1 that were used by the author in the Battle of the Texel 1916 - the following chapter of the book. After some pottering about last night (I have the beginnings of a head cold and so suddenly felt very lethargic!) with the blocks I sat down with a large mug of tea and the aforementioned photocopied pages in order to reacquaint myself with Mr. Hague's work.
I am very pleased that I did.
The old chestnut of damage for large ships (armoured cruisers and larger) is tackled in Hague's book in two ways of which only the critical hit method need concern us. The damage a ship can sustain is a clever mixture of both a progressive damage and a specific nature - basically you roll an effect dice for each hit with 1 to 4 being a standard hit (more of which later) and a 5 or 6 a critical hit. The critical hits require a further d6 roll with 5 and 6 being a turret hit, 4 a bridge/conning tower hit, 3 a director hit, 2 a rudder hit and 1 the dreaded magazine hit.
Turret critical hits will knock out a main turret whilst the other critical hits have varying effects and in the case of 1 and 2 requiring a further d6 roll.
Secondary weapons are damaged on a progressive basis (ships from an armoured cruiser upwards are rated at 2 boxes per 1,000 tons and a further 2 boxes per inch of maximum belt armour with German ships receiving a further 20% to the total) with the number of guns on a broadside being divided by the number of hit boxes. This will mean that each broadside has the same number of guns at all times which makes life a little simpler. Speed is not reduced until a ship has sustained fifty percent damage and then it is reduced incrementally as half of the ships hit boxes are divided by four for this purpose.
What this all means then is that a ship could be sunk by gunfire whilst its main guns are undamaged or it could have all its guns knocked out but still be steaming at a fair rate. As a viable damage system this is probably as good a compromise between total progressive damage or individual shell damage as you can get and I wish I had looked at this in more detail much sooner.
Light ships do not use the critical hit system but instead rely solely on progressive damage which I have no issue with as the rules are pitched firmly at 'big ship - big battle' level.
The rules are designed for use on a tabletop and so some tweaking would be needed for use on Hexon but (especially in respect of ship speeds) essentially they are there or thereabouts in terms of being ready to use.
I recall that there was a second edition of this book of which sadly I have no knowledge but will now be on the lookout for.

8 comments:

Paul of the Man Cave said...

I would think a 6 for Light ships would be a critical, then rolling on another table with significantly worse effects possible. Not much additional complexity, but small ships were worse affected by impacts, if they could be achieved on the smaller, faster target

Peter Douglas said...

David

Love this little gem, it's full of good ideas. I used the WWI as the genesis of my WWI homebrews.

Have fun

Peter

Conrad Kinch said...

Very good - have you played any games recently?

David Crook said...

Hi paul,

Egad sir! that is a cracking good wheeze and no mistake - I shall apply what is left of the brain cell and see what comes out!

All the best,

DC

David Crook said...

Hi Peter,

I remembering using these rules in the 80s and had forgotten about really. They are great rules as they are and with a little TLC could be just the ticket.

All the best,

DC

David Crook said...

Hi CK,

Sadly not for about three weeks when I took part in a gladiatorial combat using the new Warhammer Gladiator rules. It was great fun and I was suitably entertained.

I plan to have a solo run out this weekend of the Block rules 'twixt the Bulgarians and the Turks.

I really fancy getting a naval game at some point at the club as well.

All the best,

DC

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Paul Hague's book is a good favourite. Read a library copy but never owned it. I enjoyed his first edition better than his second.

Where did you come by the electronic version (kindle or a Pdf)

David Crook said...

Hi Geordie,

It is in a PDF and all I did was to google the title and I found it! It is a huge file though!

I remember seeing the second edition but do not recall reading it.

All the best,

DC