It was a strange evening last night when I eventually returned to Chez Crook and too late to do anything meaningful. SWMBO had one of her headaches (mercifully not frequent but quite debilitating when they do make an appearance) so retired early on leaving the lounge to myself, one of the three cats and the Christmas tree. I resolved to get something done in order to take advantage of having time of my own as, if I am honest, I was feeling pretty flat about matters gaming related in the light of my recent decision re the Jutland project. My decision was made for all the right reasons and I have no regrets but I do have that nagging feeling that Jutland and I will reunite once again in the future - it what shape though I cannot tell.
Charles Litka very kindly commented on my last post with some interesting ideas and experiences - especially playtesting the 2nd edition of Jutland some 50 years ago! It was a pleasure to read and one expression he used struck me as summing up everything I am trying to achieve in terms of naval wargame rules - in fact I used it for the title of this post (many thanks Charles!).
Emboldened by his comment (and others - thanks to Dave and Ken) and with the lounge to myself I decided to finish up sorting out the collection of Jutland related magazine articles and the folder that they now live in. It was a very therapeutic experience and I rediscovered several important pieces. I should mention that I have everything written on Jutland that appeared in the old Avalon Hill General and Boardgamer magazines on a very useful CD that features the same for all of the Avalon Hill naval titles. I also own a facsimile copy of the Avalon Hill gamers guide to Jutland. What I rediscovered though was something entirely different.
Some time ago (and I wrote a blog post about it) I purchased a whole series of replacement game counters from a chap based in Canada. these included replacements for the original game and supporting a series of articles that appeared in the General and the Boardgamer. As well as additional types for the North Sea there are also counters (and scenarios) for the Baltic, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The Mediterranean set is of particular interest as you get the French, Austrians, Italians, Black Sea Russians, Turks and the RN. Not only do you get the ship counters and control sheets there is also a complete set of plot maps for the Mediterranean and a detailed campaign/scenario set of rules. Of particular interest is the use of colliers as well as formation counters for use on the map itself. Finally, there is also provision for the use of light cruisers as individual ships.
With the North Sea additions there are a number of interesting tactical and strategic scenarios including a 1906 'What if' featuring lots of pre-dreadnoughts, a 1914 'What if' when the RN and Germans had virtual parity in capital ships for a short while and two scenarios featuring the return to Germany of Von Spee and also of the Goeben and Breslau.
Having been enthused by all this lot I figured it was about time I cut the counters out - 8 sheets of them - and actually used them. Remember that Jutland is in effect a miniatures game in a box and the counters (scaled at 1/4800th) can be readily substituted for models. A couple of things struck me whilst sorting through all this lot. Firstly, the game badly needs a playsheet - especially with the advanced and optional rules, both official and unofficial. This is something I have in hand and it will make life a whole lot easier than referring across multiple magazine articles during a game. Secondly, and most importantly, Jutland really is a naval warfare game that is 'more drama, less accounting'.
In short then, perhaps I should be making use of what I have for what it is rather than trying to fashion something I have not.