Monday, 8 February 2010

Morschauser Afloat - Back to (very) Basics

After having considered the entire Morschauser Naval rules situation over lunch today I came to a number of decisions about how I want to take this forward. The first point was that I needed to ensure that the rules maintained the simplicity of Morschauser's concepts and this means moving away from the rivet counting so beloved by most naval wargames rules. Originally I had wanted to model ship specifications for individual types in some detail but this is, on reflection, contrary to how Morschauser would have tackled the subject. I could imagine that he would have had generic ship classes i.e. Battleships, cruisers etc which is fine where the types are broadly similar within a category but we all know that one man's Queen Elizabeth class dreadnought is most certainly not another mans Nassau class. With this in mind I have opted to have generic classes for ship types but to reflect the differences with numbers of attack and defence dice rather than the superior, normal or inferior ratings. I am currently compiling a list with the dice ranges per ship type of main, secondary, torpedo and tonnage/armour ratings. I have taken some liberties with some of the assumptions in my thinking but overall, as long as the relative differences between types are maintained then I should be only fairly solid ground. A example would be that I am giving the aforementioned QE class dreadnought 10 attack dice for its main battery of 8 x 15". An Iron Duke with 10 x 13.5" will have 9 dice; as will those 12" armed later dreadnoughts with 12 guns or more. Ships with 10 x 11" or 12" will have 8 dice and so on down to those with only six guns on a broadside having 6 dice.The number of dice is sometimes the same as the number of barrels but this is coincidental rather than planned! the same process will be applied to all the other ship classes as well as for the number of defence dice so all I need to do is to 'shoehorn' ships specifications into the number of dice of the range in question. It sounds a lot more complex than it is.

I am absolutely happy about movement - it works and is effective and when the use of 'blind' cards is introduced it will make it a whole new game.

Firing has been simplified in that paired 6s at a ships extreme range, 6s at interim ranges and and 5 and 6s when close in are the order of the day. DD and TB are now harder to hit - especially with secondaries - which will give them a little more survivability and ensure that players will need to be alert to the THREAT of torpedoes.

I rationalised that big ships would not be so good with secondary fire as the main focus would be on the big guns. Smaller ships would be better dealt with by the use of smaller ships as they would have more appropriate training in small scale actions - tenuous I know but logical if you think about it.

Torpedoes are deadly but are not easy to hit with and undamaged ships at speed can usually avoid them assuming they can see the attacking ships. As a battleship captain seeing an enemy destroyer flotilla looming out of the smoke at 5,000 yards will mean evasive action and a deluge of secondary fire which may or may not be effective but will certainly look good!

So the work to re Morschauser the rules has not been difficult but it has needed a fresh approach to try and dovetail with the level of ease of use of the system. More to follow in due course.


SteelonSand said...

I think you've hit the nail on the head there, Ogre, it's the requirement to 'genericise' and therefore simplify the ship statistics that is always going to be at odds with representing some differences to the various vessels, and leaving some variation and interest - something i've struggled with in the wide classifications of Damn Battleships Again - hard to represent 1900 era pre-dreads in all their many colours. Hopefully your ideas about dice will be a good solution - I'll be interested to see how it turns out - BTW, you're going to need buckets of dice.... :-)

David Crook said...

Thanks SoS. It is surprising how difficult it is to change your mind with stuff like this as for nigh on 30 years I have played naval games requiring a 'rivet counting' approach in distilling ship classes. DBSA seemed to swing too much away from this which was fine where nominal types of ship were similar. This period is rich in a mixture of old and new technologies and so such differences cannot easily be ignored. The problem of course is how to easily mirror them within a set of rules whilst trying to remain faithful to the flavour of the original system. By varying the number of attack and defence dice used I think I may have addressed this issue - if not definitively then certainly recognisibly.

Oh and yes, I will need buckets of dice but that is in keeping with 'letting the dice decide'!

As ever, many thanks for your thoughts.

All the best,