Friday 8 May 2009

Naval Estimates

I have enjoyed naval wargames of all shapes and sizes over the years and for the most part they all have one thing in common namely, the use of a ship chart. This is the mechanism by which the vital statistics of a ship in terms of speed, weapons, damage, armour and in some cases a whole of other stuff is recorded. As sure as eggs are eggs you can guarantee that when the next hot set of rules comes out then the die hard naval gamer is faced with a mountain of paperwork in the shape of, you've guessed it, new ship charts. I admit that with the growth of the PC and associated printer owning gaming fraternity it is not quite as onerous as it once was - calculating Fletcher Pratt ship cards by hand is a joy second only to inserting wasps up ones nose - but is still a chore. For this reason I was delighted when Phil Barker came up with his DBA based Damned Battleships Again (DBSA for short). This set of rules uses markers for damage and vessels are fairly generic in nature and concentrate on the Pre Dreadnought era. They have spawned a couple of derivatives - one concentrating on the Russo-Japanese war and the other on the 1930s as well as a dedicated Yahoo group. This group is really useful as there is a number of modifications to the basic rules as well as a version covering the ironclad era - great for the ACW. I am currently working on a gridded version of the original set as well as an extension to run from 1905 to the end of the Great War. Early playtests using the Turks, Italians and the Greeks have been encouraging although I want to try a standard grid rather than the offset version. I will add the results to the files section in due course.

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