Saturday, 30 January 2010

HMS Warspite's Long Shot

In my previous post I made mention of the Long Shot special ability attributed to HMS Warspite. For the life of me (and to my shame and embarrassment!) I could not remember in which battle this took place. So, after some hurried consultation of the library I was able to remind myself of the fact that HMS Warspite hit the Italian Battleship Guilio Cesare at the prodigious range of 26,400 yards during the Battle of Calabria or Punto Stilo as the Italians refer to it which took place on 9th July, 1940. It is a useful ability to have and has discomforted the Italian Navy on more than one occasion although it can only be used once a game. I guess the best solution to the use of this card would be to get into range quickly whereby you are able to reply!

Ship special abilities within the Axis and Allies: War at Sea game are certainly in the 'curate's egg' category - some are quite sensible whilst others are less so and the annoying thing is that some things are classed as 'special' when in fact they should be available to all ships rather than just a named few. The best example of this is 'Lay Smoke' - this is something that all ships are capable of, not just those with it listed as a special ability.

I have often considered tabulating all the ships details currently available and using my own discretion as to what special abilities are available and to whom. Failing that, dispensing with them completely and just using the raw ship data for any games. Once again, the core mechanics of this system are simple and robust enough to handle a degree of tinkering and so that may be a task for the future.


Paul O'G said...

As long as they arent too unbalancing, I think special abilities bring great flavour to a game and give individual ships andunits colour and character. I can see a Carrier with 'fast launch' or a'crack-shot' squadron of diverbombers or a submarine. Long Shot is great too, with historical precedent. After all, the playerstill has to put the ship or unit into a position where its abilities are best used.

David Crook said...

That is a good point and I have no objection to them in principle - its just that having a historical 'one off' represented in every game makes it to my mind an extra ship ability. I fully agree that a player needs to get his ship in the position whereby he can make use of the ability. I just think overall that some of the abilities have been applied for the sake of applying them and that they are inconsistent - ship abilities (for example, making smoke) should not be lumped in with historic events as I think they should be apart.

It's the naval wargamer rather than beer 'n pretzel player in me that has caused this apparent conflict of interest I suppose!