The Battle of Hampton Roads
Back to working from home once again albeit on a part time furloughed basis. As a result I have been otherwise occupied playing catch up but the good news is that I have virtually finished the draft of the ACW naval rules I have been working on. All I need to do is list some ship specs and it will be ready to roll. I am sure that play testing will throw up the odd anomaly or two - but that is the whole point of the exercise after all.
The rules are a proper mush mash as they contain elements from a number of different sets combined with some of my own ideas. I have been very fortunate in that the rule authors have generously allowed me to cherry pick certain ideas and then stick a plaster over the resultant Frankenstein’s monster! Once my testing is complete I will ensure that they are duly acknowledged - my thanks and appreciation are already known to them.
I have certain likes and dislikes about rules and one of the things that I enjoy is the rolling of dice. I also prefer relying on the good old fashioned d6 - which probably means I am a dinosaur but I am happy to be so! The rules do require record keeping but on a simple level. Naval gainers are well used to this in any event and so I have no problem with this. At this stage I do not have a template for a ship record card but it will be easy enough to construct one - the days of relying exclusively on photocopies are a distant memory given that most gamers now have access to a printer - and to print as required.
There is a huge variety of rules available for the period of the ACW afloat so why on earth would anyone want to draft their own? This is a fair question and for me the answer is fairly straightforward. I am very much a ‘skim reader’ in that whilst I tend to devour written material voraciously I am often guilty of missing out points of detail. These missing points tend to be assimilated over time as I repeatedly revisit a given book, ruleset, magazine or whatever. From the gaming perspective - where specific rules are in play - it means that I work far more effectively with rules that are not only simpler but that have the ‘feel factor’ built in. Two examples I can think of represent either end of the complexity factor - one set is very simple and fast playing whilst the other is a lot more detailed. For me the ACW afloat can be fast playing but give the smaller number of ships typically involved it does require a degree of detail to better capture the ‘feel factor’. My rules hopefully fall between the two types mentioned - they are fast playing but they have a degree of detail sufficient commensurate with the speed of execution. Another important factor for me is that by constructing a rule set I know what am trying to represent from the ground up (or should that be the waterline up?). It all comes down to what I wanted to achieve by writing a rule set for the period which is something like this:
1. Use d6 solely
2. Use hexagons/square to regulate movement and firing
3. Provision of individual ship specification concerning speed, protection and weaponry
4. Provision of specific damage effects - to speed, turning ability, weaponry, structure and protection - rather than overall damage points.
5. Provision of ‘critical hits’
I believe I have captured these points but the proof of the pudding will be in the eating or rather the testing to which....
I have a game in mind that I shall be running later this week (be still my beating heart...) and so I need to activate my purple prose gene to get the creative juices flowing. This will be fun and all I will say at this point is that once again the ‘Great Father of Waters’ will continue to be vexed....