Ty Snouffer
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Background

I bought Great War at Sea: Mediterranean at the Game Plus auction about a year ago. It was kind of an impulse purchase. I was vaguely familiar with the series, but have to admit my hearing wasn't fully tuned in that night as I was pretty sure I was buying a WWII version of the game! Turns out it is set in WWI. Not to fear, the game has this really interesting mix of tactical battles and strategic planning that I've found very appealing.

Great War at Sea: Mediterranean comes with 70(!) scenarios in both tactical and strategic flavors (I've always found Avalanche Press games comes with a ton of scenarios). Twelve of those 70 focus on the tactical battle rules directly between ships. I plan on playing all twelve of them (or as many as I can stand!) and reporting back has I learn the tactical system.

The tactical battles are fairly simplistic in detail which seems to bother some series players. I try to take them as I think they were intended; a quick way to resolve naval combat in the context of larger strategic moves. I also don't mind the speed play!



My GWaS playing area

Thanks to the Boardgame Geek community for some really handy play aids. Anyway, on to the Battle Scenarios!

Battle Scenario 1: The Battle of Otranto 15 May 1971

This battle pits three Central Powers Light Cruisers against a British CL and a few Italian destroyers. As the initial Battle Scenario one would expect it to be pretty short and to the point (and they would be right in this case).

The scenario starts with the Allies with the initiative and one of the Austrian CLs noticeably damaged. To begin, the Allies close to two hexes but the Dartmouth couldn't score with its secondary guns. With its initiative they ultimately close to single hex combat about midway through the round. Poor rolling dooms the Allies though as the Austrians follow up with a six torpedo salvo on the Dartmouth hitting with all six! Unquestionably the Dartmouth is headed to the bottom of the sea. As that was a victory condition for the Central Power, the Austrians walk away with a victory.


The Allies close

This probably took all of 10-15 minutes to play out solo.

Note: I miscalculated the speed of the damaged Novara. For some reason I had it in my head that it took 75% hull damage to lose a speed factor. I think it is actually 50% and the Novara starts 67% damaged. I don't think it impacted the outcome, but it was a good learning point which I guess is the point of all this, right?

Battle Scenario 2: The Trial of Troubridge 7 August 1914

This scenario pits four British armored cruisers against a German Battlecruiser, the Goeben, and a light cruiser, the Breslau. It would appear that British have the advantage with their numbers, but their ships are somewhat underpowered against the Goeben in particular. (This is somewhat an understatement because of some rules errors I made).

To start off the Germans closed to three hexes with the Goeben firing all six primary guns on the Defence. Plunging fire and a two hull hit contributes to sinking the Defence right away.


The Defence is sunk right away! Plunging fire FTW!

The British armored cruisers are slow to close but start to pick away at the weaker Breslau which foolishly moved in. In return, Goeben turns it attention to the Black Prince picking away at its gunnery. The three remaining British ACs damage the Breslau which is now dead in the water. Goeben holds ground to protect her but can't seem to finish off any of the other British ships despite her powerful gunnery. The British cruisers gang up on the Breslau sinking her and securing an automatic victory. In retrospect, the Breslau should have stayed away.


The sinking of Defence and Breslau

Note: rats, another rules error this time. I didn't realize until too late that those British ACs fell into the Obsolete Warships (7.62) rule which would have limited their primary guns to two hexes. Knowing that, the Breslau may have lasted longer and the Goeben may have satisfied its automatic victory condition of sinking two Allied ships. Oh well, live and learn. On to . . .

Battle Scenario 3: Battle of Cape Sarych 18 November 1914

The Russian Navy makes its first appearance here, pitting four aging battleships and a few protected cruisers against the same Goeben and Breslau seen in Scenario 2.

The Breslau did close to one hex range at one point to fire its torpedo, the only weapon option it had. Upon missing, it sped away from the main battle.


This is about as close as the Russians got

Goeben positioned itself away from the faster battleships focusing on the slower Rostislav and Panteleimon at first. However, it was unable to inflict any real damage before the main fore came in. As most of the Russian fleet were obsolete (7.62), Goeben could outgun its opponents in range and in power. Using this tactic, it was able to render the Evstafi weaponless in turn 2 knocking out all of it primary guns, secondary guns, and torpedoes.


Clever positioning by the Germans made them a hard target for the aging Russian Bs

The Germans kept initiative in turn 3, and at range, Goeben sunk the Evstafi with plunging fire (8.8) scoring the first kill of the scenario.

At that point, I called the scenario for the Germans. In retrospect the Russians probably should have broken off the engagement earlier instead of pursuing. Many of their capable weapons were knocked out and their slow speed kept them largely targetless throughout the scenario. The Germans winning initiative throughout was key.


The Russian fleet right before the sinking of the Evstafi

Note: Sheesh, three scenarios and three missed rules. Just noticed that the Germans were supposed to benefit from the presence of a Leader (16.0). Good thing they won initiative each round anyway!

Closing

Even with the rules miscues and simplicity of the tactical system, I really enjoyed my time with these introductory scenarios. I'm not sure I can wait and wade through all twelve before I move on to the strategic part of the game, but I am looking forward to playing at least a few more for fun and for working out the kinks.

(Adapted from Gamesfromthefront.com)
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Brian Hart
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Re: Great War at Sea: Mediterranean Battle Scenarios (1-3) AAR
Great write up. I just recently got into GWAS as well. Great system. You might want to try out the Dreadnought tactical rules. They make the tactical scenarios much more interesting in my opinion, but not too detailed that they bog down the game.
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Ty Snouffer
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Re: Great War at Sea: Mediterranean Battle Scenarios (1-3) AAR
sfsct3172 wrote:
Great write up. I just recently got into GWAS as well. Great system. You might want to try out the Dreadnought tactical rules. They make the tactical scenarios much more interesting in my opinion, but not too detailed that they bog down the game.


Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, I've heard some about those rules. Everything has been positive. I'm probably not ready to make another investment in this game yet though. Now, if I really get going and, *gasp*, find some other local players . . . you never know!
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Phil Miller
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Re: Great War at Sea: Mediterranean Battle Scenarios (1-3) AAR
I have been looking at this game for a long time and I think this write up has convinced me to take the plunge whistle

Thanks for the write up!

-Phil
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Ty Snouffer
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Great War at Sea: Mediterranean Battle Scenarios (4) AAR
This is a continuation of my playthrough of the tactical Battle Scenarios from Great War at Sea: Mediterranean.

Battle Scenario 4: Battle off the Bosphorus 10 May 1915

The Goeben makes another return this scenario this time facing a more numerous Russian fleet with a wider array of oppoenent types. However, the Goeben seems almost impervious for a few reasons:

: It starts the scenario with initiative and has a leader that improves its chances for keeping initiative in turns 2-4
: The Russian are forced into two groups that negate any speed advantage it should have had from its fast, torpedo laden Bespokoiny-class destroyers
: The Russian fleet is a combination of battleships to old and slow to close on the Goeben and/or too underpowered to damage the German battlecrusier unless they were one hex away for a torpedo strike (which they are highly unlikely to reach within four rounds)

Is this come kind of joke?

With initiative and its opponents limited to 1s speed, Goeben simply kept its distance at three hexes and pummeled the Russians. In turns one through three, Goeben kept the initiative and was able to unleash 72 unanswered dice salvos from its primary guns! By the end of turn two both the Evstafi and Ioann Zlatoust were sunk producing 68 victory points for the Germans. By the end of turn three Panteleimon was severely damaged. Saddled with slow moving ships in each group, the Russian simply couldn't close the range to make an attack.


The Russian losses pile up

The Russians finally won initiative in turn 4. Pantelimon was sunk by Goeben early in the round. This was the only 1s speed ship in group two, so now the remaining light cruisers in the group could move at their full 1 speed. The sad part is, neither CL, Kagul and Pamiat Mekuriya, had guns that could damage Goeben. Only their torpedoes would be of use but they could never expect to get in range within the time limits of the scenario.


Russian CLs close but are ill-equipped to attack

In the remaining impulses, Goeben sunk Kagul. That was the end of turn four and the scenario per the Battle Scenario rules.

In the end, the dice rolled count was something like 105-0 in favor of the Goeben. Final victory point count . . . 107-0. This scenario is a bit of a head scratcher. Either I am missing something or perhaps this was meant to demonstrate some historical reality; teach me a lesson of some sort. Leave a comment if I've done something wrong or missing some point.
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Ty Snouffer
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Re: Great War at Sea: Mediterranean Battle Scenarios (1-3) AAR
PhilFromIT wrote:
I have been looking at this game for a long time and I think this write up has convinced me to take the plunge whistle

Thanks for the write up!

-Phil


Glad you found the write up useful. These tactical battles only touch on what the game has to offer. I was doing this just in prep for the full game, but I have to admit I am having a lot of fun!

Cheers!
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Rich Payne
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Re: Great War at Sea: Mediterranean Battle Scenarios (1-3) AAR
Great AARs cool Note that what happened in Scenario 4 is what would have happened if a dreadnought BB/BC had ever met OBs/ACs for real - the dreadnought would use superior speed and firepower to decide the range crush the slower, weaker enemy.

I find the GWAS tactical system can be a rewarding play experience in itself with large and/or tactically interesting scenarios. Med scenarios tend be straight out slugfests, but games like Plan Gold and Jutland involve convoys, blockade running and shore batteries and also bring airstrikes to the tactical map for a bit of variety. If you're space strapped, or time-limited like me, the basic combat rules are an acceptable substitute during an operational scenario, but the game is much more rewarding on the map.
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carlos
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Re: Great War at Sea: Mediterranean Battle Scenarios (1-3) AAR

A Flawed design scenario.

BC Goeben was hit twice in this battle:

http://www.navweaps.com/index_oob/OOB_WWI/OOB_WWI_Bosporus.h...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMS_Goeben
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Tim Benjamin
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Re: Great War at Sea: Mediterranean Battle Scenarios (1-3) AAR
I have played quite a bit of this series in the Med. Dreadnought rules are much more satisfying. I have had to compile several pages of 'gap fillers' for situation unexplained in the Med or DN rules. Many of the Battle Scenarios are grossly unbalanced and, to a degree, so are many of the Operational Scenarios. All these really need is a little more thought as to 'game' Victory Condition. I'm open to sharing more of what I've done if you're interested.
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Ty Snouffer
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Great War at Sea: Mediterranean Battle Scenarios AARs - 5 Spilling of Ink
Battle Scenario 5: Spilling of Ink Fall 1914

This is a hypothetical scenario pitting Battleships (BBs and Bs) from the Austria-Hungarian navy against the BBs of the Italian navy. Heavy guns and heavy armor abound, so this is sure to be a slugfest.


Starting setup with the Central Powers on the left

The dice rolls are so numerous that I've summarized the turns below rather than provide a lot of hit detail.

Turn 1: 24 hits on the Central Powers vs. 9 on the Italians. The CP suffered from some poor rolling as they tried to close the distance and take advantage of their starting initiative. Viribus Unitus lost a speed factor and Tegetthoff took two critical hits in a row. The CP took a heavy blow this turn especially considering their aging Bs were nowhere near in range.

Turn 2: 17 hits on the Central Powers this turn vs. 16 on the Italians. The Allies won the initiative which seemed to spell trouble for the Austrians. However, they got off easy all things considered. Initially it looked bad for them as Radetzky, one of the Bs, took a couple of hits including plunging fire and was sunk. However, the Italian Dante Aligheri was stopped dead in the water midway through the sequence and failed its repair roll. Similarly, the Viribus Unitus was knocked dead in the water but did make its repair roll (upon further review, these repair rolls should have come at the end of the sequence). Several ships lost speed factors and the groups begin to split up (7.35 Crippled Ships).

The Italians had a distinct edge at this point and the CP were getting desperate.


The Central Powers close the gap a bit but have taken losses

Turn 3: 38 hits on the Central Powers vs. 14 on the Italians. It really falls apart for the CP here. With the CP bloodied, the Italians decide to stay and defend the crippled Dante Aligheri. The CP smell an opportunity and close first with it healthiest BBs Tegetthoff and Sezent Istvan. Even at close range and they can't knock out the Aligheri. However, both are severely damaged upon the Italian return fire. Tegetthoff is even rendered weaponless after a critical hit from an Allied torpedo. Both BBs use remaining movement in the turn to retreat.



First the Central Power BBs close but to little effect

While the Italians hold ground, the CP's obsolete Bs move into single hex range in a move of desperation. They have the slimmest chance to knock out two Allied capital ships with the other CP ships. It was a long shot, but the only shot they really had. They were able to sink the Aligheri but not the previously damaged Guilio Cesare. Return fire from the Italians was devastating sinking Franz Ferdinand, and the retreating Tegethoff and Szent Istvan.



The Bs close in hoping for luck, but none would come

At this point, I called the match with the Allies winning 205 victory points to 64 for the CP. The CP were so badly damaged at this point it would only get worse if it were to go to the next round.



The decimated Austrian-Hungarian fleet

Closing: I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this one. I was glad events allowed some of the weaker ships to close range and get in on the action. Also, the well distributed damage meant a lot of ships lost speed factors and a majority of primary guns which brought 7.35 into play which was good to learn. However, on the other hand it was just a lot of dice rolling and not a whole lot of strategy. That may be different if i wasn't playing solo though.
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Ty Snouffer
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Re: Great War at Sea: Mediterranean Battle Scenarios AARs
This is the final write up in my series of after action reports for Great War at Sea's tactical Battle Scenarios.

Battle Scenario 6: More Spilling of Ink Fall 1915
Man, if you thought Battle Scenario 5 was a slugfest, this one tops it! It is basically Scenario 5 on steroids adding additional battleships (BB) to both the Italian and Austrian fleets. BBs mean big guns, thick armor, and lot 'o dice rolling.

Turn 1: While initially about positioning, there was some significant damage dealt out this turn. Kaiser Franz Josef took a few critical hits and was knocked dead in the water after 23 hits in the turn. Don Juan d'Austria was first rendered weaponless midway through the turn, only to be sunk later in the turn.

The Italians were hit hard as well with Francesco Carracciolo and Cristoforo Colombo both sunk taking 21 and 17 hits respectively via some critical hits and nice rolling. Notably, the Austrian's secondary weapons are generally underpowered and not much help throughout the battle.


Moving into position in Turn 1

Turn 2: This turn saw a lot of hits and a few ships knocked dead in the water. Kaiser Franz Joesf sunk along with Hunyadi. So just a few kills this turn, but man were some ships beat up. Giulio Cesare notably survived a fourteen hit barrage in one segment which was on top of the pounding it took in Turn 1.


The action gets close

Turn 3: A bloody turn for both sides. It seemed up until this turn that the Austrians were slowly falling behind and needed to get some kills to even things out. Things looked bleak however, as the Italians sank Laudon and Radetzky. The Austrians struck back sinking the Dante Aligheri with back to back 10 hit phases and then the Conte di Cavour with a rare 12/12 critical hit. The Austrians were suddenly in the thick of things. Ships were sinking all over the place in the last segment of the turn with the already severely damaged Giulio Cesare, Andrea Doria, Zrinyi, and Franz Ferdinand all heading to the bottom of the sea at turn's end.


Austrians close in for the kill

At this point, right before the beginning of Turn 4, all severely ships had been sunk. All that remained were four Austrian BBs and four Italian BBs. The Italians were a bit more powerful but were also a bit more damaged at this stage. Thinking an decisive outcome was unlikely by the end of the next turn, I called the game a draw with a score of Austrians (441) to Italians (429). Very close indeed.

I've decided this will be my last write up solely on the tactical Battle Scenarios. My intent was to use it to get into the game and with that I think I succeed. To be honest though, the last two scenarios have been a bit of an empty experience and I am a bit worn out the tactical battles (I mean come on, six scenarios in about four days!). I chalk that up to a bit of the fact that I have been playing solo but also to some issues with the game I address elsewhere.


The end is near

Now, I'm looking forward to trying out the strategic scenarios. I hope you've enjoyed the write-ups!
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Joshua Gottesman
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Great write-up, and this reminds me that I should finish up my Med log sheets (1 per scenario) sometime soon.
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Ty Snouffer
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Joshuaaaaaa wrote:
Great write-up, and this reminds me that I should finish up my Med log sheets (1 per scenario) sometime soon.


What do you mean by finish them? And for what purpose?
 
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Joshua Gottesman
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tsnouffer wrote:
Joshuaaaaaa wrote:
Great write-up, and this reminds me that I should finish up my Med log sheets (1 per scenario) sometime soon.


What do you mean by finish them? And for what purpose?


Instead of having to copy log sheets and figure out what ships are in each scenario, I've done Excel spreadsheets for each side for each scenario, so they are pre-set. It looks like I've made it through Western Scenario 5 or 6 before I stopped. They speed up things by cutting down on page flipping.

For instance, if you look here, you can see ones I did for Plan Crimson.
 
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Ty Snouffer
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Joshuaaaaaa wrote:
tsnouffer wrote:
Joshuaaaaaa wrote:
Great write-up, and this reminds me that I should finish up my Med log sheets (1 per scenario) sometime soon.


What do you mean by finish them? And for what purpose?


Instead of having to copy log sheets and figure out what ships are in each scenario, I've done Excel spreadsheets for each side for each scenario, so they are pre-set. It looks like I've made it through Western Scenario 5 or 6 before I stopped. They speed up things by cutting down on page flipping.

For instance, if you look here, you can see ones I did for Plan Crimson.


That pretty kool!
 
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Martin Gallo
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My method for speeding up play involved two separate things.

First was to cut the ship sheets apart and organize them by task force. No more (well, very little) page flipping!

Second was to write myself a small program that rolled the hit results. I do not have a way of compiling it for iOS/Android but if you want the OSX, Unix or Windows versions, PM me with your email address. I am considering trying to compile it for iOS/Android but that means buying a new development environment (RealBasic has worked well, but it predates mobile platforms and Xcode is Android hostile). Livecode 5 might be the answer, but then I have to come up with $1,000 (or make it a web app which would only be $500 or so).
 
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Philip Clayberg
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Quote:
The Battle of Otranto 15 May 1971


I thought that WW1 ended in November 1918. But maybe there were pockets of resistance to the Armistice for the next 52 1/2 years. Who knows?
 
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Ty Snouffer
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Felimid wrote:
Quote:
The Battle of Otranto 15 May 1971


I thought that WW1 ended in November 1918. But maybe there were pockets of resistance to the Armistice for the next 52 1/2 years. Who knows?


Ha! That's quite an eye for detail. I'm going to leave it uncorrected as a badge of honor for you!
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carlos
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Quote:

Battle Scenario 4: Battle off the Bosphorus 10 May 1915

Is this come kind of joke?


Try again and set weather to "FOG" or "NIGHT" (visibility = 2 hexes)
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Keith Plymale
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The new book "High Seas Fleet" has re-rated armored cruisers for both Germany and Britian. All four ships in the Mediterrian scenario "Battle Scenario 2: The Trial of Troubridge 7 August 1914" are on the counter sheet. If playing this scenario by the standard rules now the AC's can't hurt BC Goeben. You will have to use Optional Rule 19.2 Secondary Penetration to give the AC's a chance.

I'm sure there are other scenario's where this is true. But this is the only one I'm aware of now.
 
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