Friday 18 November 2011

Going Backwards to go Forwards....

As written, the soon to be tested Portable Naval War game (version 127!) was designed to cover the period from roughly 1890 to, ultimately, 1945. The initial set covered the period until the end of the Great War so air operations are missing. As an aside I will extend the set to include the aerial dimension at some point but it will not be for a while. A problem that I had not considered though has arisen with the current version and that is in connection with how to represent earlier vessels - or as I like to think of them, 'pre-pre-dreadnoughts'.

With the historical Turkish navy still using 1860s vintage broadside and central battery ironclads in 1890 it means that I have a number of issues to consider. To begin with, firing arcs. Happily, using a hexed grid alleviates this problem to a huge degree as it is easy to map arcs of fire with little difficulty. There is also the question of rifled versus smoothbore artillery (you could also include breach versus muzzle loading weapons if you have a mind to). That is easy enough to handle and I am using a system I first saw in Donald Featherstone's book Naval Wargames - basically you have two sets of ranges divided into close, medium and long with smoothbores tailing off over distance. There is also the subject of spar torpedoes and ramming - both of which I have some ideas for but will need to clarify this before committing to paper. The fleets of both Fezia and Rusland will feature some of these older vessels (Fezia more so!) and so the additions to the rules are pretty much essential.

I am actually quite pleased that these add ons should be fairly simple to implement and of course it does mean that the potential of the set can go back even further in time and so the ACW would be a serious possibility. I will have to consider adding a couple of additional ship types to the mix - this will include merchantmen and converted civilian ships - those fitted with varying degrees of guns and armour.

It does look like though the ACW river campaign is not ready to be consigned to the back of cupboard just yet and seems determined to make a fight of it for my attention!


Ross Mac said...

Can the spar torpedoes & ramming be included in a melee sort of combat resolution?

These rules could be of use to me down the road.

David Crook said...

Hi Ross,

Ramming most certainly IMHO although spar torpedoes tended to be used against stationary targets as far as I have been able to determine. Aside from the ACW the Russians were really keen on these and used them to good effect against Turkey in 1877.

More to follow with this for sure.

All the best,