Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ultra Simple Naval Games...

To further the development of the was between the rival nations: the Kingdom of Ruberia and the Republic of Azuria, Brian (A Fist Full of Plastic) donated a whole bunch of figures and accessories from the 'War: Age of Imperialism' boxed set.  What to do with the navies?  Well, the Red and the Blue were simple enough, but what of the Grey and the Purple?   It seems that the Grauheim and Porphyrian Empires might have to come into at least a shadowy existence as allies of one or the other.

At that, some way of adjudication naval actions was called for.  So: simple naval rules, designed for one brain cell or fewer.  As there is just the one ship type, I'll stay with that.

1. Movement: 10cm, maximum.  All moves are simultaneous.
2. Maximum turn 90 degrees, only one such turn per move.
The leading elements of the Porphyrian squadron emerging
from the Straits of Dyre just as the Ruberian squadron
 crosses its 'T'.
3. Squadrons move as a body.  If in line astern, the successive vessels turn at the same point as the first.
4. Gunnery Range: 30cm maximum, 6's required to hit.
5. Each ship gets 2 shots, one for each turret fore and aft.  Secondary armament?  What secondary armament?
6. All fire is counted as simultaneous.
7. Vessels may not fire over friendly vessels.
8. Targets within 45 degrees of a central fore-and-aft line through the  vessel may be engaged only by the fore or after turret, as appropriate.  Outside those angles, the target may be engaged by the full broadside of both guns.
9. For each hit received, a vessel loses one gun. Having lost both turrets (2 hits) the vessel is considered to have been sunk.  However, I am thinking of changing this such that although the guns are out of action, a 3rd hit is required to put the vessel down. I'm also thinking that a hit has to be registered before any damage is done.  Not sure about that one.
10. Actions are fought until one side is completely sunk, or else has successfully broken off the action.

Here is a description of an action fought between a small Ruberian squadron against a Porphyrian fleet, from the Log of Admiral Sergei Sergeivitch Nuttoffsky, aboard his flagship Tsarina.

17th October, 1871: 1600 hrs
Steaming through the Straits of Dyre in line astern, course SSW; visibility fair, slight wind from the East. Sighted Ruberian Squadron of 3 vessels steaming W or W by S at the head of the Straits.  Almost at once enemy vessels fired their first salvos at our lead vessel, Taras Bulba.  Confined as we were, no manoeuvring was possible as the Ruberians crossed our 'T' firing six times the volume of fire able to be put down by Taras Bulba (i.e. 6 shots to 1).  
The Ruberian opening salvo: totally ineffective.


Fortunately, the enemy took several salvos to get our range.

The Ruberians score a hit!  But retribution is swift and
severe.  Two hits upon HMS Obdurate puts her under;
and Commodore Slybacon's flagship also takes damage.
Adm Nuttoffsky ordered a change of course to West by South, still in line astern, to parallel to the enemy line.

It was not until half way through the change of course that the enemy registered a hit upon the second vessel Elizaveta Romanova.  However, our own gunnery proved much the superior, as the lead Ruberian vessel, HMS Obdurate took the whole salvo from Taras Bulba and went down. The Flagship of Commodore Aloysius Slybacon, HMS Obsidian.  also received a damaging hit, and a turret put out of action.  
Check out the superb gunnery of Taras Bulba!
Shortly after these successes, however, Elizaveta Romanova was also sunk by a hit from Obsidian.
In the ensuing exchanges, Admiral Nuttoffsky's flagship Medvjed remained unscathed, but the rearmost Ruberian vessel scored a hit upon Sukin Syn.   As the weather began to deteriorate, with thick stormclouds coming up from the west as afternoon faded into evening, both sides were finding hits hard to achieve (I thought I was going to run out of table).
HMS Obnoxious puts one aboard Sukin Syn.
Just as it appeared that action would be broken off, Taras Bulba's final salvo sent HMS Obsidian to the bottom, and Sukin Syn avenged herself with a telling blow upon HMS Obnoxious.  As night drew in, Obnoxious managed to crawl off without further damage. The Porphyrian fleet continued westwards in search of a sea port in order to effect repairs on Sukin Syn.  
Taras Bulba does it again: a salvo from her sends HMS Obsidian
 and Commodore Slybacon to the bottom, whilst
HMS Obnoxious takes damage.  The return salvos splash harmlessly
into the sea.

This was, of course, an undoubted success by the Porphyrian fleet against a redoubtable foe.  For the cost of one ship sunk and another damaged, the Porphyrians had fought out of what amounted to an ambush, whilst sinking two and sending the surviving enemy ship limping off heavily damaged.  But it was, of course, just another instance of God fighting on the side of the big battalions...

For a one brain cell rule set, it seemed to work OK...









26 comments:

  1. What about for each hit roll another d6. On a 6 it's a magazine hit and the vessel explodes! (like the Hood for example)...

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    1. It's a thought, though that problem was really with the British WW1 battlecruisers ('There seems to be something wrong with our damned ships, Chatfield,' observed Adm. Beatty, as his second Battlecruiser, the 'Queen Mary', blew up at the Jutland battle. 'Indefatigable' had been lost some minutes earlier).

      As the damage mounts very quickly anyhow - 2 hits to sink (though I'm thinking of extending it to 4) the effect of a double-6 is perhaps not dissimilar from a ship's magazines exploding.
      Cheers,
      Ion

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  2. Cool, Paul over at http://plasticwarriors.blogspot.com.au/?view=classic has a good set of modern naval rules if you're ever looking

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    1. Definitely interested: thanks for the heads up. Not for this project, but definitely for a couple of others I have in mind!
      Cheers,
      Ion

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  3. I like your idea of a third hit to sink a ship . . . it will mean that a choice needs to be made as to whether to shoot at that ship to sink it or at one of the other ships that can still return fire while the damaged ship tries to escape.


    -- Jeff

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    1. It also allows a chance, however slender, of a crippled ship escaping. I'm going for super simple, here - no worries about reductions in speed, or having command and control lost with the bridge or gunnery control centres knocked out.

      Those shell splashes, I ought to explain, will be the method of recording damage.

      All the best, Jeff-
      Ion

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  4. Sounded good to me and Millsy's idea!

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    1. Millsy's idea did cross my mind, but during the action 'Taras Bulba' rolled a double-6, whereat HMS Obdurate became HMS Oblivion. That'll do me for the 'Hood Effect'!

      Of course, if I extend the ships' longevity to 4 hits, then we must look into it further. I do believe, though, that strict adherence to standard firing protocols will have to be used, whereby battle lines aim at corresponding vessels. I have no specific rule for this, but one might have to be formulated. Wording's the trick...

      Cheers,
      Ion

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  5. What a great little system! I am glad that you have been able to put those ships to such good use!

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    1. Oh, I had to do that Brian: couldn't allow them to go to waste. Just by the way, I have made some changes to the Army warfare from the Marnon War. The RED and BLUE armies are now organised into 3 Army Corps (each with 5 infantry, 2 dragoon, and 1 gun) and a Cavalry Corps (with 5 Cavalry and 1 gun). The explorer guys have become gunners. The surveyor guys might still become sappers/pioneers.

      I'll dilate upon this in a further article.

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  6. Great looking rules and great game report!

    Have you looked at Bob Cordrey's Portable Naval Wargame rules? They are at this site Wargaming Miscellany.

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    1. Yes, I've downloaded and/or printed off a copy of those. They'll probably be used for my 'Jono's World' project. I have fought one small action using those rules - 3 Raesharn cruisers encountered two Sarbian. I made it a very brief affair, imposing a pretty tight time limit. It so happened both sides had lost a vessel when the action was called.

      The ultra-simple, highly abstract rules I have here are to adjudicate very small squadron level actions. The idea of a RED-GREY combined fleet versus the BLUE-PURPLE - 12 ships each - well, it has gotta happen sometime, eh? But I believe that it can form the foundations of something a whole deal more complex if one so desired.

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  7. Sounds good. Pity there weren't any smaller ships included, I could easily see adding a few rules for manouverable torpedo boats.

    I'm not too up on tactics of the day but thinking back to my days of doing Officer of the Watch manouevers you might want to add the possible squadron order of a simultaneous turn where all ships would turn at the same time and maintain their relative positions.

    I think your 3rd hit idea is good.

    I also like the idea of rolling again for effect of a hit. For a simple game one doesn't really want to get into tracking various type damage effects, rudders etc or have too many magazine explosions but.... there are some simple, tension building approaches if you do decide to roll again for effect.

    It could be as simple as 1,2 minor damage no lasting effect (secondary gun, crew etc), 3,4,5=1 hit, 6 = 2 hits. Then if a ship takes 2 hits on 1 turn and is then unfortunate enough to roll boxcars for effect it might blow up but it could just as easily steam away having lost some of those secondary guns and crew.

    If you want to go crazy you could even make a result of 2 rudder or bridge hit, no lasting effect but opponent gets to move the ship once including a turn if desired.

    I may have to adapt these for my gunboats and make some for the other side!

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    1. On 2nd thought, forget the roll for effect just go with 3rd hit sinks the ship, BUT add a damage control roll for ships with no guns left and ONLY for ships with no guns left. 1 die,6=1 gun restored.

      -Ross

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    2. I hadn't considered damage control - but I like the idea. Mind you, it would add strongly to the enemy incentive to put the cripple down.

      Those other effects will probably be reserved for the larger ship toys in my 'Latin Wars'.

      I'll probably have to formulate some sort of rules for how manoeuvring is to be conducted by squadron. The manoeuvre you mention would not have been feasible in the narrow strait the Porphyrians were caught in, and in any case, the larboard vessel would still have masked the fire of the others, more than likely. But I can see that such a manoeuvre is useful for shifting your line of battle to a flank, or for avoiding torpedos. I don't think I'll trouble myself with mobile torpedos of the Whitehead type, rather staying with mines.

      At any rate, I guess a few more actions of this type will decide whether the game 'needs something.'

      Thanks for the suggestions, Ross
      Ion

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  8. your rules are nice and simple. nice work.

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    1. Thanks, Gowan. I reckon that's the way to start. If anything is missing, it will be simpler to add it in than it would be to begin with something elaborate and take stuff out. But given the simple sort of navies in this particular project, an ultra simple set seems appropriate.

      They form a naval companion to the type of 'map warfare' of the Marnon War I described last year. However, I've re-jiggered the combat system for horse, foot and guns, still using ordinary D6s. That will be another article.

      To pique your interest, I just had a Ruberian Army of two Army Corps and Cavalry corps assault a line of a town flanked by two villages upon some Azurian high country. The Azurians had two Army Corps defending the place.

      When the carnage cleared, the Azurians had kept a toe-hold on the the main town and one of the villages, for the loss of 20,000 KWM (killed wounded or missing) and all 400 of its guns. The Ruberians paid dearly for their slight success in carrying one of the villages: 80,000 KWM and 200 guns lost.

      Having some plywood sheet and other materials, I'll probably create a war-map that will make use of the infrastructural accessories that came with the figures: factories, churches, steam locomotives and what have you...
      Cheers,
      Ion

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  9. They work extremely well Ion, good thinking that man. I think Ross mentioned some good ideas, but as he mentioned it depends on how involved you wish to get. As they are they seem to work very well anyway.

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  10. As I have (potentially) three naval projects in train, I will very probably take up Ross's ideas, but not so much for this project (though the 'damage control' idea bears some thinking about!

    I've finally caught up with your Lyndhurst Chronicles, Barry. Great reading!
    Cheers,
    Ion

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  11. Thank to all who commented upon this article. It was very much a surprise to me that it got the attention it did.
    Ion

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  12. Super set of rules Ion, I think the simple premise is the way to go build up interest in this form of gaming.

    The quicker the game the more enjoyable I believe.

    I have a few ships on my table now actually just trying out a few flights of fancy.

    Great post and idea Ion.

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    1. Thanks, Paul. Perhaps this will develop further into something broader in scope.
      Cheers,
      Ion

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  13. Looks pretty good. I think I would include the third hit to sink.

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  14. I'm just about persuaded. The two hit to sink is a bit sudden!
    I think a Battle of Stickyoutland might be fought between the combined Ruberia-Grauheim and Azuria-Porphyria fleets sometime soon...

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    1. Thank's, mate - though I have been very surprised at the response this post has been getting. I've been been working on refining the rule set and the presentation as well. More to come...

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