Sunday 14 February 2016

The Great War at Sea via Avalon Hill's Jutland

The box and contents of Avalon Hill's Jutland. My own collection at present has everything except the ship counters and the box (don't ask - its a long story!)

Regular readers of this blog will doubtless recall my mentioning the various plans I had for commemorating the centenary of the Battle of Jutland in May. From the grandiose 1/2400th scale refight aboard HMS Belfast, sadly abandoned, to my current scheme - one which is far more achievable and is now my preferred choice.

I have also previously mentioned my fondness for the old Avalon Hill game of Jutland - the board game that is a tabletop system rather than being hex based. I have had some superb games with this over the years but it is not perfect. The various optional rules that appeared in the old Avalon Hill General magazine and also the Boardgamer add a suitable level of sophistication and complexity and are, in my opinion, essential. Having said that, the rules could use some additional work to make them more 'naval miniatures rules friendly' and this is something I have a number of ideas to experiment with.

The big news with this idea though is that I have ordered and am taking delivery of a number of reproduced counter sheets produced by a chap in Canada. These cover the the counters from the original game, the counters from the North Sea expansion set (which includes pretty much everything else for the North Sea), those from the Mediterranean set - featuring the Turks, Austrians, French, Italians and additional RN types - and also the 'Russian' set. The latter features both the Baltic and the Black Sea fleets. Finally, he has also produced a set of light ship counters with scaled views on them rather than the usual black blob. I was quite pleased with this as representing a destroyer flotilla of some 19 ships with a single counter (as in the original game) is a little odd in my opinion. 

All the counters now have 'waves and wakes' on them, together with the national ensign and as a result look far more attractive than the original versions. Scale wise they come out at around 1/4800th.

The significance of this purchase is quite simple - it means that I will be able to fight fleet actions in a sensible fashion on a 6ft by 4ft table. The game mechanics are simple and are designed for this scale of action and, if I am honest, using models smaller than 1/3000th is not really going to cut it for me for games of this scale.

However, I have not abandoned the use of models entirely as my cruiser/colonial ideas would suit using them very nicely - simply as there will be a lot fewer models to contend with. For this I envisage using Panzerschiffe as 1/2400th looks good although for convenience 1/3000th would suit just as well and has the huge advantage of Navwar being some thirty minutes away.


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


It is all falling into place now!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Bob,

It is a relatively quick and easy fix to the problem and whilst the purist may wince at the use of counters rather than models it will suit me just fine. Given the space I have available using models was always going to be a challenge unless I went down the 1/6000th route but that would be too small for me.

The beauty of this approach is that aside from some tweaking of the rules and punching the counters out it is good to go with very little effort (or time) taken by yours truly.

All the best,