Tuesday 15 November 2011

Resisting Everything Except Temptation....

I had planned to spend yesterday evening finishing the play sheet I am drafting for use with the Portable Wargame Colonial rules that incorporates the roster system and a couple of minor language changes to reflect this. It is roughly half completed and would have taken no more than a couple of hours work.

It is still unfinished.

The reason for this 'delay' (which is sadly very typical of my somewhat undisciplined approach to projects) is that I spent the time drafting (and completing) a set of naval rules that mirror the mechanics of the Portable Wargame far more closely than any of my numerous previous versions.

"Oh no, not again!" Would probably be the universal comment; especially as after everyone of my previous sets I have stated with all due solemnity that this particular set is 'it'! I should learn to take notice of what I write; I really should! I have consoled myself with the knowledge that everything that has gone before have been steps on the path to Nirvana and that eventually I will get it right and so never have to suffer the pain of continual rebirth.

I am testing these over the next few days with the outcome as ever reported on the blog. I have chosen to be brutal with this set and so as they stand I am using generic ship and weapon types, simple d6 based combat mechanics, a simple roster for damage recording and something rather novel for torpedo combat.

In the Portable Wargame  melee is handled by units having a Close Combat value or power. Obviously this is for combat up close and personal (i.e. in an adjacent hex). It suddenly occurred to me that this approach could also be extended to naval combat - mainly to cater for destroyer torpedo attacks. I have assumed that destroyers are the only vessels designed to use the torpedo offensively and in order to do so they would have to make, in effect a torpedo 'run' or attack on their target. Taking this a step further the target ship, seeing it was under such an attack would be hugely concerned with avoiding such attention - usually to the detriment of its own gunnery. Taking this idea to its conclusion I have given destroyers the highest Close Range attack value and dreadnoughts and their ilk the lowest.

What of secondary guns designed just to counteract this very thing? Ships that had these weapons still do so and they can be used under normal circumstances just like any other weapon. However, I believe that when a destroyer or destroyers become a more immediate threat to a target ship then they would be forced, if able, to take far more notice of the smaller ships than by merely firing at them.

I have always felt that the threat of a torpedo attack had more effect than the actual potential damage (although this can be real enough) and that also destroyers seemed to be little more than very weak but fast ships. I hope this approach will go some way towards redressing the balance somewhat.

We shall see - Nirvana here we come? Who knows - but you have to try in order to find out!


Paul O'G said...

This sounds a simple but effective, mechanic and of course could be used for Aquanef attacks in a VSF setting too, or even short range light aerial attacks.

I agree, there was a degree of torpedo paranoia up to WW1 - just look at the effort to construct torpedo netting defenses. I think though that between the wars this abated significantly and there was a more balanced approach to defending against a range of threats

David Crook said...

Hi Paul,

The acid test of course will be when I try it out but you are absolutely right about the 'torpedo paranoia'.

IIRC the Grand Fleet had very specific instructions for avoiding the torpedo threat.

It is a simple mechanic but straight out of the Portable Wargame approach and is of course useful for other applications as well.

All the best,