Monday, 19 February 2018

Firepower - Protection - Speed....Part 1

I am not sure about the rules in use or the location of this game - perhaps someone could volunteer an answer? - but I was rather tickled to see a grid in use. Fred T. Jane's game perhaps?

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!

Love 'em or hate 'em there are some rather nice ideas in this set.

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....


Maudlin Jack Tar said...

So far it sounds simple enough for me to understand! Looking forward to reading the full rule set. The ships in the previous post are nice.

Phil Broeders said...

You should definitely check out General Quarters 1 & 2. Each ship has a Defence Value (the better armoured it is, the higher the value). The attack value of the ship is measured in 4 boxes, as is hull integrity / speed.

As shots are fired you roll d10 to hit (low is good) and 2d6 of different colours (blue for guns, red for hull) - again low is good.

You compare the AF of the ship against the DF of the target and the ratio determines the effect (so a battleship with AF of 24 hits a destroyer with a DF of 2, its going to be bad. But a destroyer with an AF of 4 is not going to scratch the paintwork of a battleship's DF of 28.

So you can hit but do no (or slight)damage. Or miss entirely. As ranges close the chance to hit increases. As hits are registered they can decrease the fighting impact of the target ship. Hull hits also reduce speed, armament hist reduce the fighting capability. We've often seen ships stripped of their guns but no damage to the hull and vice versa.

The rules also allow for critical hits so there is always a chance of a catastrophic (or at least annoying) hit where the rudder jams, fire control is lost, the bridge is hit or a magazine explosion (rare but very satisfying).

Our favourite naval rules by far.

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


I think that the photo may be American in origins, possible from the Naval War College. I've seen similar photos of sessions held there.

I like the simplicity of your design ideas, and I think that your design philosophy will reap dividends. By keeping things simple you should end up with a very workable set of rules. They won't appeal to the naval rivet counters (or should that be weld counters?) but that is because they seem to be obsessed with the minutiae of warship design and not their tactical use.

All the best,


Mel Spence said...

I think the photo was taken at the US Naval War college

David Crook said...

Hi Maudlin Jack Tar,

I am aiming to draft a set of rules that align with the concepts and degree of complexity seen in the Portable Wargame. They are intended to be simple in execution so will not suit everybody.

The ships are rather nice if functional in appearance. the more I see them the better I like them!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Phil,

I am a huge fan of GQ1 and 2 and have fought many really good games using them. I will be borrowing a couple of ideas from them (in fact your comment prompted one of them!)but the rules I am designing are intended to be a simpler alternative and more importantly, will fit in with the Portable Wargame concept.

I shall still use GQ1 and 2 for games at the club etc as they are my favourite commercially available set.

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Bob,

I like those old wargaming photos although everyone always looks so serious!

For sure these rules will offend the purist but they are being designed with a specific goal in mind and as long as the flavour is there the details can be, how shall I put it? Fudged....

Many thanks for the kind words.

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Mel,

Many thanks old chap!

All the best,