I think that one of the main things you need when undertaking the design or amendment of a set of rules is to have a clear idea of what it is you are trying to achieve. From my own experience it helps to be quite focused at this stage otherwise you can end up with an unwieldy and unplayable monster that raises more questions than it answers.
As I collate my notes and order my thoughts I figured it would be a good idea to set out what I am trying to achieve with the naval rules based on Jutland (and not Jutland based naval rules - an important distinction) project I am currently embarked upon.
What do I want?
1. A set of blue water naval rules that will allow for ANY ship type from torpedo boat destroyers up to dreadnoughts during the period 1895 to 1920.
2. Designed for use on a 6ft by 4ft table with a maximum firing range of 4ft and a maximum ship speed of 12".
3. To use individual ship damage record cards.
4. To have gun types 'banded' using ship categories.
5. To have a d6 based two stage combat process - roll to hit and if successful then roll for effect.
6. To use those game mechanics that are suitable from Avalon Hill's Jutland.
I think that is a fairly straightforward list to work with and seeing it written down makes (to me anyway) perfectly good sense.
I spent some of yesterday evening drawing up some ship specifications for a variety of types and was struck by how intuitive they appeared. For sure having generic gun types (more of which later) may seem like the easy way out but the rules will allow for variation of damage inflicted within the same notional category. Similarly there will be modifiers when the target ship is not of the same type as the weapon being used by the firing ship. An example of this would be a BB type weapon firing at a CA type ship or a DD type weapon firing at a CL type ship. There will be some overlap with this but all will make sense when the firing/damage table is drawn up.
I will detail the formula for the creation of a specific ship type in a future post but for the present the foundation of this is based on the following ship categories.
BB - Dreadnought type battleships and battlecruisers
PB - Pre Dreadnought battleships
CA - Armoured cruisers
CL - Light Cruisers
DD - Destroyers
These broad categories are the basis of much of the rules in that they refer not only to gun types but also ranges and protection levels. There is flexibility with these, even within the same category, so quite different ships can be represented under the same notional type. An example would be H.M.S. Dreadnought compared to S.M.S. Baden. They are both BB type ships but are very different.
Jutland as a game went some way to addressing ship type differences within the same notional category as far as was needed for the subject matter in hand - the system I will be using goes into more detail and is therefore more representational of the vessel being used.
I am planning to flesh out the process for creating ship damage cards in the next post and from then on will concentrate of particular areas of the rules and how they have come about.