Recommend
15 
 Thumb up
 Hide
11 Posts

Goeben, 1914» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Fun, history or both? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Andrew Hobley
United Kingdom
Andover
Hampshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My previous post said that the game is fun, as other seem to have found it. But this is also a recreation of a historical event and one of my measures of any wargame is ‘Can you recreate that history?’ In other words if you follow the historical strategy of both sides, and the dice and random events fall just right can you get the historical result, without having to torture the game. So how does Goeben measure up?

1: No victory for Germany.
Historically the German ships arrived at Constantinople having sunk no allied warships, captured or sunk no allied merchant men, intercepted no allied convoys and bombarded Bone and Phillipeville. So they will have, if the bombardments go very well, no more than perhaps 20 VPs, if that, not the 75 they need. So the game rules tell us the Germans go away empty handed and Turkey stays neutral. History tells us the Turks join the war. So on the most basic level the game is not historical.

2: Que fait donc l’armée navale?
The lack of the French navy has been commented about on ComSim. The French had one Dreadnought, six semi-dreadnoughts, at least nine pre-dreadnoughts and six other armoured cruisers. None of these feature in the game other than the abstract ‘French fleet sorties’ Incident which effectively bars the western Med to the Germans.

Historically the French fleet was not well handed, heading in three groups to the African coast and then close escorting troop convoys to France, rather than hunting for the Goeben. The games AI does worse than the French actually did as the convoy escorts in the game are light forces, not battleships and armoured cruisers. The designer has said there was a counter constraint – which there is. But one major concern for the Germans is missing, they will never meet a French Dreadnaught and there is only a small chance they will be trapped in the western Med by the Incident ‘French fleet sorties.’ So unhistorical on that count.

3: Ship verses ship
The combat system means that the Germans are almost bound to win every contest. First the ‘Contact’ roll is a waste of time, the Germans will 99% of the time have first salvo as they have the leadership and speed, and will have the gear to ensure that. The only risk they have is limited visibility.

That the Germans shot well is unarguable, and the number of dice the Goeben rolls against a British Battlecruiser (at least 6, more likely 9 against a response of 4) represents the better German gunnery and the weak British shells (which tended to explode on contact rather than penetrating). But when you get a hit the results are very different. Again I have no major problem with a 1:6 chance of any hit blowing up an Allied warship (though I think this is a bit of a high probability) given what we know about the way British cordite explodes in a fire rather than burning. But the Germans only have to hit a BC five times (if that) to sink it. The Allies have to hit the Goeben up to 13 times, or get lucky on the major damage rolls. Again German ships stood up to damage well, but not that well.

And then there is the curious way that a Breslau, a light cruiser can sink an armoured cruiser. 4.1” guns firing on 3-6” belt armour, yet apart from a reduction in the number of ‘hit’ dice for the Allied armour the Breslau’s shells happy penetrate and do as much damage as the Goeben’s 12” shells. Look at the number of ships that were sunk in my replay, then consider that this is a bigger toll than the combined effect of both battle fleets at Jutland! Combat is not really a risk for the Germans in this game. For the real Goeben and Breslau there was nowhere to make any real repairs (other than Pola). Look at what happened to the Graf Spee in WW2, damaged and not reparable in a neutral port. So the combat system needs some serious attention.

4: Coal.

Both ships have four units of emergency coal, to burn to run at high speed. But “German ships are assumed to carry a standard load of coal which can sustain them for the entire mission”. Historically Rear-Admiral Souchon ran from the British battlecruisers (see below) on August 4, so say he uses one unit of reserve coal. He then also pushes his speed to escape being shadowed south of Greece, so say another unit of reserve coal. But he can still cruise quite happily. In reality after the run from the British he had to coal at Messina, and only managed to fil his bunkers two-thirds full. North of Crete he was down to one-quarter capacity, not enough to get him to Constantinople, if he had not meet a German collier. None of this is represented. It would be far better to have a coal supply and have to use it for evry move, more the faster you go. Then when to coaling in neutral harbours or from colliers would become a crucial decision.

5: War or no war.
On the return from bombarding Africa on August 4 Souchon met two British battlecruisers and went past them at 12,000 yards. But no shots were fired by either side. Why? Britain was not at war with Germany until midnight that day and was playing by the rules. At the very least we could have a “Roll die if meet British on turn 1- 1,2 Britain at war, Turn 2, 1-4, Turn 3 automatic’ rule to simulate this.

So all in all fun factor B+, history D-. And that is rather sad as part of me feels I could have spent my money on a better and more historical game.

(PS my sources 'The Ship that Changed the Words' by Dan van der Vat, 1985 edition and Conway's Fighting Ships of the World.)
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lance McMillan
United States
Lakebay
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the comments, Andrew -- I agree with you on every count: an enjoyable little naval romp, but only loosely based on history. I understand that this was DG's first foray using this system and so am willing to accept that there may be some "teething problems," but I can't help but feel that some of these issues might have been mitigated by some additional testing and development on their part. I've yet to try their second offering using this system ("Carrier Battlegroup") and am curious to see if they managed to resolve some of the complaints.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
José Antonio Rivero
Spain
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria- Canary Islands
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Very good research Andrew!
I am thinking to buy this game but I now wonder if some of these unhistorical issues (according to you) could be easily fixed by some home rules... If you have come up with some please tell us, specially I would like to see the coal supply would be harder and tougher for German ships, not only for the sake of realism but to add more tension.

By the way Lance McMillan did also a great research of the French fleet and made the historical battleships present the area by that period, 28 counters.
I made them myself as well, if the designer allows it I could upload them.


2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lance McMillan
United States
Lakebay
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jarinu wrote:
...if the designer allows it I could upload them.


Assuming you mean me, I've no objection.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
José Antonio Rivero
Spain
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria- Canary Islands
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for your quick answer and voluntier, but I meant instead the game designer Joseph Miranda. Maybe for any reason he might not wish those extra counters to be part of the game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Hobley
United Kingdom
Andover
Hampshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Lance, thank you for the comment. Love the counters.

Mr Miranda, if you are reading this just say 'Yes' to José uploading them. As for house rules I have some vague ideas about coaling, but need to think some more.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lawrence Hung
Hong Kong
Wan Chai
Hong Kong
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Joseph is not active here but Andrew can take this to CSW forum 'cos he is more active there.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Hobley
United Kingdom
Andover
Hampshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Posted a request on the Goeben BGG Forum - would the DG one be a better bet?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joseph Miranda
msg tools
You need to contact Dr Cummins at Decision Games re the counters. They look good. I limited the French fleet in the game for a couple of design reasons, plus counter mix limits.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joseph Miranda
msg tools
Historically the German ships arrived at Constantinople having sunk no allied warships, captured or sunk no allied merchant men, intercepted no allied convoys and bombarded Bone and Phillipeville. So they will have, if the bombardments go very well, no more than perhaps 20 VPs, if that, not the 75 they need.

Right, but the idea behind the game is that you have to do better than the historical example. Also, the game also has the campaign aspect, where you will need to rack up lots of points to win scenarios.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joseph Miranda
msg tools
5: War or no war.
On the return from bombarding Africa on August 4 Souchon met two British battlecruisers and went past them at 12,000 yards. But no shots were fired by either side. Why? Britain was not at war with Germany until midnight that day and was playing by the rules. At the very least we could have a “Roll die if meet British on turn 1- 1,2 Britain at war, Turn 2, 1-4, Turn 3 automatic’ rule to simulate this.



This is accounted for in the Allied Alert level. I did not want to add an extra rule + die roll for something which is already factored into things like the number of Incident markers you draw.

While Britain and Germany were not officially at war, there were hotheads in the RN who advocated a more aggressive naval strategy in the opening days of the Great War, regardless of diplomatic conventions. That is accounted for by the chance of drawing British ships and engaging in combat early on.

Anyway, thanks for playing.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.