Friday, 13 November 2015
Refighting an Ancient Naval Battle
Okay then. I have most of the models and terrain, the rules I plan to use and sufficient research material upon which to base the project - so I am in pretty good shape, right?
All of the four areas mentioned need work - and lots of it. Taking each area individually makes the whole look a little less daunting and so this is the plan of sorts.
The terrain is relatively straightforward and is merely a case of, in effect, replicating the hexed playing area from Richard Nelson's book. there are a number of photographs of the game in progress so this should be easy enough to do. Nelson used a smaller hex size than I am and also a larger playing area but I am thinking having the reduced size would be no great loss as pretty much all of the conflict was in a confined space. The land will be represented by use of the appropriate Heroscape tiles and, I will crave a certain degree of artistic licence here, a couple of 1/1200th buildings from Rod Langton's range. I rather fancy the notion of a Greek temple or two dotted about....;-)
The models are of primary consideration and the last of these I plan to acquire this weekend from Navwar. That will leave me with some 54 triremes to paint. The models will be based on 40 by 30mm bases - I shall be using those available from Essex Miniatures for this - and I will be naming the models by contingent for example Sparta 1 or Ionia 4. Each contingent will have a designated flagship which will also be marked. I will be producing the models with the mast deployed rather than left off (which would be more historically accurate) as it will mean that I will not have to fill the large hole in the middle of the main deck! I also plan to use 15mm ancient greek shield decals (available from Essex Miniatures and produced by Veni, Vidi, Vici) on the sails for a further piece of artistic indulgence. The first step with this part of the project remains the trip to Navwar and then the grand assembly and undercoat.
The rules are taken straight from Nelson's book but I will need to type these up and produce a quick reference sheet and the fleet lists. This should not be too difficult and has the advantage of being something I can do on the train. The rules need to be extracted from the text as they contain a number of examples of play and what could be considered designer's notes which means that they occupy a chapter rather than a couple of sides of A4. For clarity I can reference his fleet action rules from which the book set were derived if required.
The research aspect will of course mean reading, reading and more reading. I have a modest section in my library devoted to ancient naval warfare and a couple of titles specifically on Salamis. These will be revisited as will some of the histories that cover the period - Herodotus being the main one for the present. I will also take a look at a couple of rule sets that have Salamis as a scenario as this can be useful as well.
I am rather excited about undertaking this project at last and hope that the techniques employed will serve me well for some similar ideas I have in mind. I have some later ancient galleys from the Punic and Civil Wars period so the potential is there for some more refights - Actium springs to mind. I would also certainly envisage using Heroscape for some river based naval action from the ACW in 1/2400th but I also have a couple of 'wind and water' ideas as well - and probably not what you would expect!