Wednesday 21 February 2018

Firepower - Protection - Speed....Part 2

An oldie but a goodie and with a good use of a gridded playing surface.
Work on the WW2 naval rules continues apace. I have the theory mapped out so now it is merely a case of putting this into practice. In a nutshell the key elements I am working to can be described as follows.

Firepower – Protection – Speed.  


The Firepower category includes main guns, secondaries, torpedoes and AA. The normal rating for this is based on 4 with weapons deemed superior or inferior to the norm adding or subtracting 1 respectively. Ships will have a rating for each type of weapon they carry - this will be based on the nominal category of weapons carried so, for example, Bismarck would have capital guns 4 (that is the norm for her type) and cruiser guns 3 (not quite up to cruiser norm). I was tempted to lump everything together but some naval wargame habits die hard! The resultant number is the amount of d6 rolled when engaging the enemy so, for example, the Bismarck, rated as normal for her 8 x 15” guns would roll 4d6 when firing. The target type adjusts the number of d6 being rolled with the types being Capital ships, Cruisers and Destroyers. Note that carriers could be classed as either Capital or Cruiser types depending on the class being represented. Using the example above should the Bismarck be firing her main guns at a destroyer she would roll an additional 2d6. There will be situational modifiers that will also adjust the number of d6 rolled. A roll of a 6 is 2 potential successes (and a reroll) whilst 4 and 5 equal 1. Gun ranges have yet to be decided but my thinking at this stage is for Capital ship guns to have a range of 4, Cruiser level guns 3 and Destroyers 2 (bear in mind this is a grid based rule set). Again these can be adjusted to allow for superior or inferior weapons. I have been deliberately vague with these as superior or inferior types represent greater or lesser numbers of barrels or larger or smaller calibres or indeed any permutation thereof. 


This is based on the ship type and represents a composite rating based on armour, tonnage and structural integrity or, as I like to put it, what feels right. For example using the Bismarck again (and why not, she was a famous ship) I would happily rate her as a 5 where the norm is 4. This is not so much for her armour but reflects her overall structural integrity – she was very strongly built after all. The number 5 is important in this example because in order to cause a potential change to the damage level of a ship the firing player must score 5 or more successes. Essentially for every 5 successes against the Bismarck she will take one potential level of damage. I say potential because I am including a mechanism for damage control whereby a hit could be nullified by the correct roll of the d6. Assuming the hit ‘sticks’ and is not negated then the damage level penalties start kicking in. Remember all ships have four overall damage levels before they are sunk. At the moment I am weighing up the GQ 1 and 2 Hull and Guns damage approach against the gradual ‘death of a thousand cuts’ route.


I have frequently tied myself up in knots (no pun intended although with second thoughts….) over the thorny subject of ship speeds and do you know what? I cannot be bothered anymore as many quoted speeds were usually taken from the ship trials and so are artificially high. I realise this will offend the purist but I am not going to stress about it. The base number for speed will be 4 with the usual superior and inferior adjustments. Our friend Bismarck sits happily at 4 whilst HMS Nelson would be a 3. I have a number of ideas around how ships move on a square grid and I shall be using diagonals. I have this clear in my mind but translating it into the written word is proving a little challenging at the moment! 

These are the basic parameters I am working to and for sure there are a lot of gaps at present. Once I can get the core system down on paper and a few games under my belt it should make a lot more sense. Some of the numbers quoted  may need revising – I  am torn in respect of the speed norm – but only testing will determine if this is necessary. 

The rules are being designed to be used on a grid measuring 12 by 8 so I want to keep movement distances and ranges down so that there is a reasonable amount of sea room for manoeuvring outside combat distances. With the models I shall be using I am looking at a grid size of 3” so the fighting area will be 3ft by 2ft. This can of course be expanded to suit and in fact Barry Carter in his book on naval wargaming does exactly that with his geomorphic boards.

All in all then it is a fairly positive start to this project so I need to get a move on in terms of painting some models for some playtesting. Actually I can make use of some counters for this if needs be so that may well be the route I follow in the short term.


Unknown said...

Yup, Keep coming back to Carter and Hague when other rules start to give me headaches - Carter in particular has an unbridled purity and simplicity that maintains more than just "old school" charm. Good luck with your take on it - I'll read with great interest.

David Crook said...

Hi Eric,

I must confess to having a soft spot for both as well in fact Hague's WW1 rules have given me some really good games over the years. My set is being designed with a specific aim in mind and I hope the rules will reflect that.

More to follow in due course.

All the best,


Justin Penwith said...

Are you considering using the "exploding 6" idea, of re-rolling 6s to ever greater effects? This would allow for catastrophic hits, such as the Hood suffered.

David Crook said...

Hi Justin,

I certainly am! In combat when rolling for potential successes a roll of a 6 means not only a score of wo but also a further roll. I may impose some restrictions around this but it is one of my mechanics for the moment.

All the best,