Wednesday 27 June 2018

Gridded Naval Wargames and the ACW

The latest offering from the pen of the indefatigable Bob Cordery….

….with the contents contained therein.
It is always nice to get home after a journey - and it is even nicer when a parcel arrives! So it was when we arrived from Corfu on Monday and I received a copy of Bob's latest book - Gridded Naval Wargames.
It has been a long road to get to this stage but well worth the effort in my humble opinion and it is a worthy addition to the Portable Wargame series. If I am honest I actually think this is the best of Bob's titles - whether it is because he has developed and honed his writing style and technique or because the subject matter is close to my heart I cannot say but this is a superb work. As an introduction to the steam, iron and steel era of naval warfare this books ticks an awful lot of boxes. To begin with, not only are there no less than 6 sets of rules contained within its pages but there is also a 'how to' guide to making basic ship models, discussions about the use of various grid types, technical and tactical developmental notes as the period advanced through the years and also the rationale behind the game factors for various types of ships. There is an extensive bibliography as well as a number of actions fought using the rules including combined operations (with a nod to a similar game run by the late Donald Featherstone). Finally, there are some suggestions around taking the rules into the Dreadnought and carrier ages meaning of course, the use of aircraft.
A newcomer to the period could do a lot worse than buy this book and even seasoned old sea dogs will find plenty of inspiration within its pages. Gridded Naval Wargames is available from Lulu in hard and soft back editions and as a Kindle version on Amazon.
One of my favourite ACW naval books
Of course being armed with Bob's book alone would not be sufficient to embark upon some nautical wargaming adventures unless one had some historical background to work from. So it was that I acquired my third copy of the above title. I am flushing with embarrassment at this point as my original version is now in the hands of Mr Fox when I rather rashly decided to offload all my ACW naval kit. The second copy (an ex-library version) went to Mr Hardman - along with a few ships, since (mercifully) returned - and the third version is now sitting in the bookcase where it belongs.
I guess this could be described as a valuable lesson in the art of thinking, or in this case NOT thinking decisions about disposing of wargaming material through clearly enough!
I have a varied collection of as yet unpainted Peter Pig 1/600th scale ACW warships designed for use along the rivers and so Bob's book is a very timely prompt about the period, arriving as it did when Jack Coombes did. Synchronicity in action eh?
Thunder Along the Mississippi does exactly what it says on the tin and covers the river battles up to the fall of Vicksburg. There is a sequel called Gunfire Around the Gulf (again, in the hands of Mr Fox - what was I thinking?) which I shall try and lay my hands on covering the naval war up until Mobile Bay as I recall. I also have the Mahan volumes covering the Gulf and inland waterways on my Kindle (free from Project Gutenberg) whish will provide some more historical perspective as well as the four volumes of Battles and Leaders.
For now though I have my hands full painting WW2 ships but the temptation to jump straight in afterwards and tackle the 40 odd ACW ships is a real tease for sure.
In the meantime though I would like to extend my congratulations to Bob for producing yet another excellent title and I would encourage anyone to but a copy, if only so that Bob will keep on producing them!


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


Thanks for the very effusive review of my recent book. I take it that you enjoyed it!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Bob,

I meant every word - without a doubt this is my favourite in the series! The book has given me heaps of ideas and is a very welcome addition to the naval section of my wargames library.

Very well done Bob, great job!

All the best,


alastair said...

I must look out for the Thunder on the Mississippi book. I also have a load of unpainted PP ACW ships that are long overdue attention. Now I'm off to Gutenberg to look up the Mahan book!

Jim Jackaman said...

I'll have to take a closer look at that. Very interesting!

Archduke Piccolo said...

Akll this has got me wondering whether to hoik my scratchbuilt ACW riverine out of the drawer where they have sat unused these 20 years and more. I think I fished them out for a blog posting about 5 years back, and that is all the action they have seen since I moved into this house in 1997.

I still recall an action from before then, during which I, as commander of the Confederate squadron, sank four vessels - two of them my own. One gunboat went down after ramming a Union ironclad, and the following CSA boat found itself unable to avoid a collision. The other missed an enemy vessel it attempted to ram, then found itself heading for shore at high speed and no room to steer clear or time to throw all astern full. So that gunboat turned itself into a pier...

Great game though!

David Crook said...

Hi Alastair,

I would not say that Thunder is the definitive word on the subject but it certainly is a very good primer. Mahan goes into more detail and best of all, is free!

All the best,


Jonathan Freitag said...

Bob’s latest looks interesting.

David Crook said...

Hi Jonathan,

I reckon it is the best in the series so far and if it does not inspire you I would be really surprised!

All the best