Friday 30 April 2010

Panzer 8 WW2 Naval Rules

Whilst on the train on the way home yesterday evening I took the opportunity to have a closer look at the naval rules produced by Panzer 8 and mentioned in my previous blog entry. This reinforced my opinion that there is potentially a very interesting and challenging set of rules waiting to be bolted on top the basic system and so I am going to spend some more ‘cerebral’ time over the weekend messing about with them; in between the various painting tasks I have scheduled.

I had a look on the Panzer 8 website last night and found a couple of battle reports of actions using the author’s rules and they seemed good fun – both fast playing and with results that looked feasible. Certainly from a club night perspective they have a lot to offer and should I be successful in my attempt to expand the core system into something more palatable to the traditional naval war gamer then it will be a project worth tackling.

The one thing that I need to be careful of with this exercise is that in attempting to add additional ‘chrome’ to the rules I avoid the trap of upsetting the flavour and balance of the system as devised. I want to maintain the simplicity of the original but to have a more ‘rounded’ rules system. Fortunately, the ‘chrome’ will not be too onerous to formulate and neatly breaks down into bite-sized chunks.

Movement – I may introduce a rule whereby a ship has up to three moves allowed depending on type. A turn costs one move. This means that a ship with a move of two could turn and then move one zone or move two zones if facing the correct way; with a move of three they could turn and move two zones or turn, move and turn again or even move three zones if facing the correct way. A ship not turning stays where it is. This rule will allow for variations in ship speeds and manoeuvrability based on their historical capabilities. In connection with movement I may introduce an initiative procedure in order to add some unpredictability into the game turn.

Combat – The main thing that will be needed here is provision for guns smaller than 8” in calibre – not only for light cruisers and destroyers but also for secondary weapons. Provision will also be needed for AA weapons as well as torpedo combat. I am happy with the combat mechanics as they are and so little or no change will be needed in that respect. A few additional firing modifiers will be needed but again, nothing major.

Damage – The existing system of separate Turret and Hull hits is fine as it stands but I am tempted to replace it with the US system of hits being described as D1, 2, 3 or 4 with sunk being the fifth level. This will have implications for combat and will ensure that only one type of damage marker will be required. Damage effects can therefore be linked to the D level and combat etc adjusted accordingly. This will need some careful thought but is certainly viable.

Ship Factors – This is probably the biggest single area for revision. Ship Attack Factors will need to allow for secondary weapons where applicable as well as torpedoes and AA. Movement will be based on type as mentioned above. Defence Factors are a lot more complex as tonnage, build and armour will need to be considered. Assigning one point per 10,000 tons is OK when dealing with the bigger ships but anything less will be horribly vulnerable – single hit heavy cruisers anybody?

Air Power – Ship borne AA guns and the use of fighters need to be factored in and some variety in respect of aircraft types would be in order – the basic combat mechanics are fine as they are though; simple and to the point and will need little change. Carriers should not ordinarily appear within a tactical action in any event and so if one is unlucky enough to find itself in range of a battleship then it has been poorly served by its commander!

Submarines – The whole submarine and ASW thing is a game all of its own and whilst not usually relevant in a surface fight will obviously need to be considered in the context of convoy actions. The use of zones will make the process simpler when dealing with submerged submarines.

Quite by chance last night I noticed that the rug on the floor of the new Man Cave is divided into forty squares – eight by five – so I have an instant zone based playing area of the suggested size of 160cm by 100cm. Ignoring the squares I have the eight zones needed and by placing a selection of models on the rug I was able to see how such an action would look and the short answer is – absolutely fine. The only downside is the colour: beige…………………………………..;-)

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