Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Ultra Simple Naval Games.

The following was inspired by KEV. Robertson's TOY Battleship NAVAL Rules, published on his blog spot back in August.  They really were very very simple, and, modified to a hex grid and amended to 'fit' my own toy navies, quite playable. I have posted two battles using these ideas already.

Archduke Piccolo's Ultra Simple Naval Rules - for toy battleships on hex grids.  Version 1.0

1.0 Sequence, for each Turn (1):

  • Sides toss for first move: Player A then player B, high roller going first
  • Player A moves
  • Player B moves
  • Player A shoots
  • Player B shoots
  • Both sides record damage

2.0 Movement (2):

  • All warships can move 1-2 hex grid areas (hexes) per Turn
  • Ships may face a hex side or hex angle (corner or point).  The facing should be made clear, even if the vessel is slightly offset from the centre (see diagrams infra).
  • Ships may make ONE course alteration of 30 or 60 degrees per Turn, at no movement cost
Picture showing orientation towards hex-sides (distant
squadron), and towards the hex points.  The slight offset
of the latter indicate which hexes are being moved along,
without turning or course changes.

3.0 Shooting:

  • Only main guns are considered in these rules (3)
  • Roll 1D6 per gun barrel firing PLUS or MINUS 10% per 1-inch difference from 15-inch guns (4).
  • Range: 1-2 hexes: D6 score 4-6 to hit
  •             3-4 hexes: D6 score 5-6 to hit
  •             5-6 hexes: D6 score 6 only to hit

4.0 Damage:

  • Each hit causes 1 'point' of damage upon the target battleship.
  • The number of 'points' of damage a battleship can take before sinking is determined by the vessel's tonnage, divided by 4000, and rounded (5).

5.0 Notes:

1.Though IGoUGo, in effect each side's moves and firing are treated as simultaneous.

2. The original rule set is on a 'free' (ungridded) table, with movement and ranges expressed in 1 foot increments.  I have translated 1foot into 2 hexes.  It might work better with 3 hexes to the foot, given the space.

3. Secondary armament is 'below the grain' of this rule set.

4. Examples of Shooting:
     (a) The default calibre of the main guns is 15-inch
     (b) The full broadside of 10 x 14-inch guns of HMS Prince of Wales is reduced by 10% of 10 to 9.  So 9 D6s will be rolled for it.
     (c) The HMS Prince of Wales's forward batteries comprise 6 guns (4 in A turret, 2 in B).  When firing, these would be represented by 6 - 10% of 6 = 6 - 0.6 = 5.4 := 5 x D6.
     (d) HMS Nelson's full broadside comprises 9 x 16-inch guns.  These would be represented by 9 + 10% of 9 = 9 + 0.9 = 9.9 := 10 x D6.
     (e) HMS Nelson may fire just 6 guns in the forward arc.  This is represented by 6 + 10% of 6 = 6 + 0.6 = 6.6 = 7 x D6.

5. Examples of 'Protection':
     (a) The default Battleship tonnage is 40,000 tons.  Divided by 4000, the ship has 10 'Flotation' or 'Protection' points.
     (b) At 34,000 tons, HMS Nelson's 'Protection' is calculated to be:
          34,000/4000 = 8.5 := 9.
     (c) At 65,000 tons, IJN Yamato's 'Protection' is calculated to be :
          65,000/4000 = 16.25 := 16.  A formidable vessel!

6.0 Battery angles:

Following diagrams show the angles of fire from ships' batteries, depending upon the ships' alignment within a hex.

Ships facing hex side:
Red outlined stars show the forward batteries' arc of fire
Blue interior stars show the aft batteries' arc of fire
The red-outlined, blue interior stars show the full broadside.
Midships mounted guns that have neither forward nor aft arc of fire (E.g. HMS Nelson and HMS Rodney 'C' Turret) can fire only in the 'full broadside' arc

Gunnery angles for ships oriented towards hex sides.

Ships facing hex angle:
Gunnery angles for ships oriented towards hex angles.
Note the offset - it does not affect the range, but makes
it clear which hex the ship will enter if it
maintains its present course.

7.0 Some afterthoughts:

  • I have reconsidered the 'Belt armour' question.  I am tempted to add, for each 4 inches (rounded) for maximum belt armour 1 'Point' of protection.  IJN Yamato's 'Protection' would go up to 20; Bismarck  to 14, and HMS Prince of Wales also to 14.  The jury is still out on this one.
  • If going this route, in instances in which dividing tonnage by 4000, and maximum belt armour by 4, both yield exact 'half' remainders, then one will round up, the other round down.  E.g. HMS Nelson at 34,000 tons and 14" belt comes out at 8.5 + 3.5 = 9 + 3 = 12 for 'Protection'.
  • This rule set might work better if moves were up to 3 hexes, and ranges calculated in 3 hex increments.  There is no reason not to do this given a large enough hex field.  I don't think mine is.
  • The 3-hex idea led to the idea for a little extra 'chrome', namely, different movement rates for 'ordinary' and 'fast' battleships.  The cut-off point was to be 26+ knot speed as 'fast'; 25- as 'ordinary'.  I have not tested this idea.
  • I still have to add the air element and carriers to this overall rule set
My thanks go to Kev Robertson for his original idea.

Opening situation of the Battle of the Omez Strait.

At some point I will follow this up with the 'Battle of Kantsi Strait', pitting 4 Yamatos against 4 Bismarcks and 2 Washingtons.


  1. These look excellent. Must get those ships painted now.

    1. Thanks, Duc. I'd value your feedback when you try them out.

  2. Excellent post, thanks for putting the rules up.

    1. Cheers, Norm. I hope in a short while to add aircraft carriers (and aircraft!) to the thing.

  3. Nice simple rules which make it very tempting to get some ships out on the tabletop.

    1. Enjoy! My vessels are fairly large, on a field of 4" hexes, but with smaller models on a field of smaller hexes (2" say), you'd have a much more extensive surface to fight in.

  4. Archduke Piccolo,

    I love the simplicity of these rules, and I am seriously giving thought to trying them as soon as an opportunity arises.

    All the best,