Monday 11 July 2011

Testing Times and a Revelation

"No more of that Brandy wine thank you...."

'I cannot tell a lie' George Washing to is alleged to have said concerning the chopping down of a cherry tree. No cherry trees in my case although I have probably been guilty of removing vast acres of rain forest in the pursuit of the Naval Wargame over recent days .

I would have loved to have been able to fill this post with a stirring and dramatic account of a tense and exciting naval war game - with massed gunfire, gallant destroyer attacks and battered warships trading blows like heavyweight prize fighters. Sadly, it was not to be....

The play test did not work out. Period. The scenario was fine (I shall rerun this one in due course) but elements of the rules just did not gel as I had hoped. The key areas of discontent were:

  • Firing - it was too easy to hit and damage a ship 
  • Torpedoes were ineffective
Only two lines I know but as they are the cornerstone of any set of naval rules from 1890 to 1945 it is a pretty big deal if they are not working as expected!

An idea I had been mulling over was to create a set of tactical rules based on an expanded version of those included in the Avalon Hill game Jutland. Initially I intended to incorporate a few ideas from this set into the version I was currently drafting. I then considered producing a separate set based solely on the Jutland rules.

As the situation now stands the Naval Wargame is at a crossroads. My gut feeling is that I should be looking to incorporate Jutland mechanics where I am able BUT with a more rational approach to ship specifications. I am satisfied that the ship specs I have created are fine as they are BUT (and I realise that is two big BUTS in the same paragraph!) they are not exactly in tune with the methodology used to create the Jutland ship specs. The main differences are between the two sets concerns a ship's protection and main gunnery factor and so are pretty significant. My ship specification figures are slightly less than in the Jutland game e.g. a Jutland QE class battleship has a protection of 10 and a gunnery of 12, in my rules the figures are 9 and 10 respectively.

This presents me a small dilemma but one that could easily involve a lot of work.The two options I am considering are thus:
  • Use the specs as they are and the Jutland firing table - assuming less gunnery factors and less protection will even themselves out.
  • Rework the ship specs up to Jutland standard to ensure a direct relationship between the firing tables and the gunnery values.
Of the two my heart says the former whilst my head the latter. I have 'cracked' how the Jutland ship specs were arrived at and ironically, the system employed is a slightly simpler version of how I created the numbers for an earlier set of rules I experimented with. Tweaking the ship specification in this fashion would not be too onerous but it will take time to do.

My plan then at the moment is to run a play test using the first of the two options and see how it works out. Should it be OK then I can draw a line under the project and concentrate on a few other things I have on the go. Should it not work out then I will either have to go down the ship spec rework route or scrap the whole thing and buy Fleet Action Imminent....;-)

Seriously though, I believe that the Jutland rules have the partial answer to the game complexity I am hoping to achieve with the naval wargame. However, they are insufficient as they stand and so unsuitable to use straight off the bat so to speak. The question is how to expand these into something a little more expansive and so that it what I hope to be able to create.

'I get knocked down, but I get up again....!'


Chris said...


I just came into possession of a promotional version of Minden Games' "Great War Salvo" rules, which covers almost everything important, albeit in an abbreviated form. Of particular interest are gunnery ranges: there are 6 (close, medium, medium long, long, etc.), which immediately calls to mind a chess board. These rules may be useful to what you are trying to do. I would be very happy to send you a copy if you send me your mailing address. My email is [ ].

Best regards,

Paul O'G said...

Eye of the Tiger baby!

Peter Douglas said...


My suggestion - have a glass or two of wine (or brandy), look things over tomorrow and then see what needs to change.

Any game is better than none at all!

David Crook said...

Hi Chris,

Many thanks indeed for your generous offer - this will be a real help in the process especially as the idea of zonal movement is one I have been very interested in.

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Paul,

That song is great if only because it is as camp as a row of tents and completely at odds with the subject matter of the film but I take the point!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Peter,

You are so right and I have undertaken at least one of your suggestions....hic....

All the best,