Yup, I have had another go at them!
I should qualify this by stating that I always intended to have a set of naval rules that mirrored as far as possible the mechanics of MoB so that a seamless gaming experience would be the result. This was an important consideration for me as I have a number of combined arms ideas in the pipeline and so having some rules with a common background would be a big advantage. I also wanted the rules to be usable as a standalone naval set.
Is this practical, or even possible? I have tried various ideas around this but the results have always thus far managed to deviate into a purely naval set. These have worked pretty well overall but there was always the nagging feeling that something was not quite right - almost as if they were in some way a starter and that the main course was still in the kitchen. After the recent Battle of Fort Duvet I got to thinking again that perhaps a new approach was needed because although Bob's rules have provision for naval support of land operations it is very much as an add-on. This may be the correct approach and the rules as they stand are fine but, for the reasons mentioned above I wanted to take them a step further.
I have taken this opportunity to go back to basics and guess what? I am really glad I did because an idea struck me which has had a profound effect on the whole process.
The dice in use with MoB use icons rather than numbers (which are easier to read than numbers although the same results could easily be obtained using regular d6) and so I got to thinking that perhaps using icons for parts of a ship rather than troop types would be a good idea. What I have come up with is as follows:
- Infantry = Hull
- Cavalry = Engines
- Artillery = Artillery
- Flag = Crew
- Crossed Sabres = Additional Hit
I have classed Close Range Combat as being in effect a melee but at range rather than adjacent depending on the calibre of ordinance being used. There are varying effects in play for the hits scored which will add a little naval flavour to the action. I have incorporated an activation sequence so that the action is very much an interactive experience which should make for some challenging tactical situations as the only way a ship can engage in close range combat (assuming it has not fired in the artillery phase) is to be successfully activated - if it is not then it may only move. Mention of the artillery phase is something that Bob used with MoB and is such a good idea as it really encourages players to think about how they use it. In naval terms it is also a very useful game mechanic as it is the only certain way a ship can get to fire in a game turn because it may be unsuccessful in activating the Close Range Combat facility which could leave it in, shall we say, a tactically compromising position!
I am hoping to test the draft of these rules with the ACW models later today and of course, the action will appear on the blog in due course.