I mentioned in passing in a previous post that one of the key elements of the set of 'Portable style' naval wargames rules would be that ships are rated as per the three categories in the title above. In its simplest form within each category there is a norm, a superior and an inferior rating, depending on the class of ship being modelled. It is early days yet but I am currently working on the base value for each category being 3 so, for example, an inferior battleship (say an unmodernised WW1 vintage type) would have a rating of 2 for each category whilst something like the Iowa might well be 4 in each case. It is entirely possible for a ship to have varying capabilities so again, for example the Bismarck might be rated 3 for her artillery (i.e. the norm), 4 for her protection (not so much for her armour but she was pretty well put together) and 3 for her speed, again the 'norm'. I am still tinkering with this but am so far resisting the urge to add too much in the way of additional complexity.
Combat will be quite simple in that d6 are used and the number rolled depends on the rating of the firing ship and whether or not it had suffered any damage. I am using the old Axis and Allies system whereby you 'roll a 6 for two hits and 4 or 5 for 1 hit'. Ships can only be potentially damaged if the firing vessel scores sufficient hits to equal or better the targets protection rating. The eagle eyed amongst you will note that high rolls and plenty of them are a must!
I say potentially damaged as I shall be incorporating damage control into the combat system. On the subject of damage well I have a simple solution for this. ALL ships can suffer 4 damage levels and are sunk on the fifth. The levels and subsequent effects are taken from Battlestation! Battlestations! and I think this is a really neat idea. Simply put level 1 damage is largely superficial with no effect on the ships capabilities. Level 2 reduces every category by one third and level three by two thirds. Level 4 is essentially dead in the water with zero combat capability. Level 5 is sunk. Simple but very effective in my opinion.
Movement will be simple enough, even using the planned square grid. Even the old diagonal dilemma will not be a problem simply because the movement distance are quite low so any distortion is minimal. I have factored in a nifty mechanic to solve this in any event - it also applies to the firing as well, both guns and torpedoes
Naturally I will be taking into consideration the full range of weaponry and protection levels as they vary between ship types and classes - there will also be restrictions in place as to what can engage what. This will allow for the effects of heavier or lighter weapons against heavier or lighter armour - either by adjustments to the dice being rolled or even the number of dice being rolled. Again, this is very much at the planning stage so this will let you know how this develops. I will also be allowing for WW2 'chrome' - you know, things like Radar Fire Control and similar. I will be featuring aerial operations and submarines in due course but for the moment my main priority is to get the basic surface rules sorted.
And paint some models of course....