Thursday, 29 April 2010

Rules without Frontiers, Games without Tears.........

Following on from my recent post about ‘Relative Position’ naval war games; I have managed to track down the fast play rule set using zones to regulate movement and combat I had mentioned. The rules are by Panzer 8 and are available as a free PDF from The naval rules (there are a number of other interesting sets contained within the PDF) are very fast play and are primarily designed for early war gun actions using ships sized at heavy cruiser or larger. Basically ships are able to move one zone a turn and can be either broadside to the enemy, facing towards or away. A ship that is broadside on is presumably ‘stationary’ although maintaining position would perhaps be a more accurate description. Weapon ranges are given in terms of zones and although scales are not quoted I would take a single zone as being roughly 5,000 to 6,000 yards. Ships have an attack and a defence factor and gunfire is a two step process – a single roll to hit or ‘straddle’ the target and then opposed rolls for damage. Damage is either T for turret or H for hull with the damage being marked as points of either type. There are critical hits so the almost obligatory chance of HMS Hood going bang is represented. Air power is represented with carriers allowed a strike per 10 aircraft at a maximum of two strikes per turn. There are no rules for AA fire or for the use of fighters. Ships that are smaller than a heavy cruiser do not feature and so the light cruisers and destroyers required as escorts and scouting parties are conspicuous by their absence.

The playing surface consists of eight zones – four a side – and ships may not cross into the oppositions half. The suggested size of the playing area for 1/3000th is 100cm by 70cm with the zones being 12.5cm each. Obviously for 1/1800th (the scale of the War at Sea models) these would need to be larger – I would think that perhaps 20cm per zone and 100cm wide. That would give an overall playing area of 160cm by 100cm or just under a 6ft by 4ft table. In fact you could probably just use the 6ft by 4ft as is and scale the zones accordingly. Ships are placed however the player prefers within each zone so formations can be represented quite handily.

The obvious amendments and additions to the basic system look something like this:

Increased number of ship types and more representative attack and defence factors
Secondary and AA weapons
Smaller calibre guns i.e. less than 8”
Ship torpedo attacks
Increased variation between ships of the same notional type
Air power – escorting and defending fighters
Submarines and ASW

Now I realise that this lot looks pretty intimidating but I don’t think the suggested tweaks will cause huge amounts of extra work. The author’s website includes a forum to discuss the rules presented and so I will be utilising this in order to ensure that my efforts to upgrade the core system are in tune with his intent.

I realise that this is yet another set of naval rules I shall be playing around with and so, as a long term naval war game enthusiast I will offer no apologies for this!

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