Sunday 20 November 2011

So Far, So Good - Relatively Speaking

This afternoon saw the first play test of my new Portable Naval War Game which not only featured my slightly larger playing area (see yesterday's post for details) but also, unsurprisingly, the Black Sea Russians and the Turks. The test was in effect a revisit to the previous naval game I tried - the Turks used the Goeben and the Breslau whilst the Russians had one of their Black Sea dreadnoughts - Impertricia Maria and the protected cruiser the Parmiat Mercurija. I played the game for six turns and at the end of the action both of the capital ships had sustained a number of hits - the Turk had lost a turret and had suffered some hull damage as had the Russian - but the escorting cruisers were undamaged. The result was inconclusive but, for a number of reasons, it actually felt historically viable.

I have made a real effort with this set to pare back the mechanisms as far as I am able to in order to align them as far as possible with the mechanics of the Portable War Game concept. I think that I have gone a long way towards fulfilling that ideal but have also managed to ensure that the all important ship differences are not swept up into generic and soulless types.

Unusually for me the draft of these rules is very much a work in progress - I normally have a copy ready to go (and generally bombard people with it - the acres of rain forest I have caused to be trashed over the years is probably biblical in its proportions!) - but in accord with my new and laid back persona I will finish it when I think I have 'nailed' it. The main reason I need to do this is because I have a number of major additions to incorporate - principally covering the period 1860 to 1890 - which will mean that the core system will  work from around 1860 to 1945. Impossible? Perhaps, may be even probably BUT, and to quote Star Trek, "It had the virtue of never having been tried" - maybe or maybe not but a theory has to be disproved before being abandoned entirely!

I will explain my rationales etc as I get them crystalised but for the moment suffice it to say as far as the rules are concerned the numbers of d6 are reduced - for gunnery it is one per four barrels firing instead of two - and the old 'to hit and then a damage roll' is in. Guns are heavy, medium or light; as is armour but with an additional unarmoured category. Torpedoes are included in a close range attack factor which gives destroyers especially a big boost when attacking larger ships. Damage is either hull or gun based (or both if the hit is severe enough) and ships have a varying number of damage points available based on a relative interpretation of their perceived protection level.

Early indications are very encouraging and so I plan to run some other tests over the course of the next week or so. I have a good feeling about these rules - more so than with any other version I have designed - due in part to having ditched an awful lot of detail based chrome in the interests of simplicity.

We shall see....

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