Saturday 9 October 2010

Memoir 44, Battle Cry! and Thoughts of a Naval Nature

I suppose it was inevitable that this path would be trodden by me at some point. Readers of this blog will have no doubt noted my enthusiasm for the Command and Colours series of games - especially Memoir 44 and Battle Cry. There are a whole host of variants and sets derived from the core concepts available and indeed, I have recently mentioned Te Wapen - a fantasy variant by Phil Dutre as well as my own ramblings associated with the Vietnam conflict. The one thing that does not appear to have been covered though is naval games. I am aware that the War of 1812 game published by Worthington Games called Honor and Glory (note the US spelling of Honour!) covered some of the naval side but I am interested in affairs afloat from 1890 to 1945. A casual comment to my old friend Bob Cordery further served to get the creative juices flowing and so I am now embarking upon devising a Memoir 44-ish variant covering naval actions in the age of steam and airpower - doubtless with some thoughts and ideas from the aforementioned Mr Cordery liberally sprinkled in the mix.

Once again the spectre of ship types looms large in the thought process - do I go down the generic type route with good, bad or ugly variants or do I tailor individual classes? At this stage I am leaning towards the former - simply because it would be more in keeping with the Command and Colours philosophy and game mechanics. I already have much of the spadework ready for this and am planning on using two sides of A4 for the entire rule system with fleet lists to follow on in due course. the biggest challenge would be in recording hits and I have a number of ideas to try with that - none of which require any record keeping.

To be honest, I find myself at the stage of my wargames career where I want games that are simple yet challenging and if possible with a core game mechanic that is easily portable to other periods and genres. The Command and Colours system is just one example and although I suspect they would probably offend the purist I personally enjoy them and their ease of use makes a refreshing change from the more complex sets of rules available. The complication within a wargame should exist in the players head as he attempts a dazzling tactical masterstroke designed to rout his opponent rather than over a heated debate about the rule on page 47, paragraph 6 sub section 8!


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


I have plenty of ideas, and hope to put them down on paper - or on my blog - sometime soon. There may be a bit of a delay, as I have spent today visiting relatives (father and father-in-law) and tomorrow I am wargaming in central London ... but with a bit of luck (and a following wind) things should appear fairly quickly.

All the best,


Paul O'G said...

Cracking plan - especially for the pre-dreadnought era (and for which some bolt on VSF additions would work well)

I completely agree about being generic, which as you say is in keeping with the intent of the rules. I therefore humbly suggest you divide ships into:

Escort Squadrons - Frigates, Corvettes, Torpedo Boats, Destroyers

Cruiser Divisionss - light, heavy, protected, auxilliary

Individual Capital Ships - Battleships and the odd Carrier

Then if there is anything particualr about a class, you can add a die or something, like the Memoir rules for Special Forces.

You could treat submarines like a minefield - just need to add in planes...

Love the idea- Bravo!

David Crook said...

Hi Bob,

Cheers old boy! Have a great day tomorrow and I hope to ping a few ideas over for your perusal.

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Tas,

All good points and well made and certainly they will go into the mix. I liked your idea of squadrons for the escorts - IIRC the big battle version of General Quarters part 2 used something similar.

Much to ponder methinks.

All the ebst,