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Subject: Wargamers: what's a good pre-1950s tactical naval game? rss

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David M
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So here's the thing. I'm a big fan of both Close Action and Flying Colors, but I'd like to extend into more modern tactical naval action. I'm not really into the era of missiles and electronic warfare, more focused on surface combat in the armored ship era, maybe 1890 and forward.

Couple other things. I'm looking for tactical systems, so while operationally focused games aren't out of the question I'd want them to have fairly robust tactical components. Also, I'd prefer gameplay that felt realistic (gunnery and torpedo differences matter, they arent totally smoothed and abstracted out) but didn't get utterly bogged down in detail...I'm grinding through the process of teaching myself Whistling Death (Fighting Wings) and don't want another game that takes longer to play than it would to fight out the historic battles!


I've poked around and gotten some leads, but nothing's seemed to hit my sweet spot. Second World War at Sea looks like it has a great operational component but an unsatisfying tactical one. (Gotta be able to cross the T!) Actually got to look over a copy of CA, but while it looks ok ive read enough disparaging stuff here to thnk itll come up short with continued play. Ironbottom Sound sounds fun but it's age worries me a little; does it hold up, or is it more "great for its era?"

I'm looking at Royal Navy, so far my most likely suspect. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated!
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David Janik-Jones
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Don't have an answer for you off the top of my old head, but I'm highly curious about what is going to get suggested.
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Adam Pfaff
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SEEKRIEG 5 seems good but may be too complex for what you are looking for. You can find the fourth edition online for free.
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Michael
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I agree that Seekrieg and Fear God and Dread Nought are probably too detailed for what you want. (But FG&DN has this awesome title and pretty counters!)

I and others have found a good compromise between detail and playability in Fleet Action Imminent for WW1 actions.

It´s the WW1 spin off of General Quarters (Third Edition), in case you prefer WW2 actions. They are very similar, albeit not identical. These are all miniature games, mind you. All can easily be played with counters,however.
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Command at Sea (4th Edition)

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David M
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oldsin wrote:
I agree that Seekrieg and Fear God and Dread Nought are probably too detailed for what you want. (But FG&DN has this awesome title and pretty counters!)

I and others have found a good compromise between detail and playability in Fleet Action Imminent for WW1 actions.

It´s the WW1 spin off of General Quarters (Third Edition), in case you prefer WW2 actions. They are very similar, albeit not identical. These are all miniature games, mind you. All can easily be played with counters,however.


Completely agree that "Fear God and Dread Nought" is one of the best game titles ever!

Seriously considered these systems and probably would have gone that way if I weren't suffering from rulebook fatigue. (I've actually flown a plane through an Immelman, but trying to get my Whistling Death counter to do the same thing makes my head hurt!)

I'll have to look at Fleet Action Imminent, hadn't seen that one
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Thom Boerman

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Not sure how tactical Great War at Sea: Jutland is (I own it, but have not played it) and the map is VERY boring. But the subject matter is sooo intriguing...
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Mike Smith
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The tactical system in Great War at Sea and Second World War at Sea is simple and abstracted, but importantly this allows it to play a smooth and satisfying role in the operational game. Anything more detailed would bog the operational level of play down excessively.
The rules contained in the GWAS scenario booklet "Dreadnought" add some extra levels of detail, including facing, to the tactical system, without sacrificing the playability.
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Michael
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rumblefish333 wrote:
Not sure how tactical Great War at Sea: Jutland is (I own it, but have not played it) and the map is VERY boring. But the subject matter is sooo intriguing...


It´s basically the same as in Second World War at Sea and he has already tried that. The tactical systems of these AP games are really rather boring (to be fair, they are designed to play quickly). The operational part is pretty good though and can provide scenarios for the miniature games we´re mostly talking about here.

There isn´t much information about FAI available on the Geek but it´s quite popular with the Naval WW1 buffs over at theminiaturespage.com

It has a pretty big (and nicely designed) rulebook as well, but most of it just deals with all kinds of special situations that don´t come up that often (Zeppelins, submarines, shore batteries, mine laying and sweeping, small craft and stuff like that).

The actual movement and combat between surface vessels is quite straightforward. Much of the combat relies on a single table (a different version for each Navy, actually) that looks impressive but is rather easy to tackle and deals with lots of the chrome.

Actions between a handful of cruisers a side play in 2 - 4 hours, but something huge like Jutland would probably take a weekend and a lot of players. Caliber and numbver of of guns are important, as is armor, but you roll for salvos, not for every single grenade. There are hit locations, critical hits etc. Multiplayer rules are very similar to what you already know from Close Action.

It deals strictly with WW1, however. If you want Predreadnoughts or WW2 you´d need additional systems.

Happy to answer any questions.
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Ryan Powers
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DaveM1 wrote:

I'll have to look at Fleet Action Imminent, hadn't seen that one


Haven't played it yet, but it's WW2 sibling General Quarters is an excellent blend of detail and playability. It's our goto option for anything where a player needs to control more than a few ships each. As we zoom in more, we move to Command at Sea, and then Seekrieg 5.
 
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David M
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keethrax wrote:
DaveM1 wrote:

I'll have to look at Fleet Action Imminent, hadn't seen that one


Haven't played it yet, but it's WW2 sibling General Quarters is an excellent blend of detail and playability. It's our goto option for anything where a player needs to control more than a few ships each. As we zoom in more, we move to Command at Sea, and then Seekrieg 5.


You guys are clearly trying to seduce this hex-and-counter guy to the Dark Side. Minis on a hexmat are a great way to increase immersion, but....



The Good Lord meant for wargame ranges to be measured in hexes, not INCHES, by god!


Harumph.




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Steven Mitchell
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The WWII-era entry into Clash of Arms 'Admiralty Trilogy' is Command at Sea. The Rising Sun for Pacific; Supermarina for Mediterranean.

The level of detail is pretty deep. But since you said you like Close Action, it may still be in your range. And as others have suggested, if you want something even earlier, try Fear God and Dread Nought.

Was surprised to see, though, that this is apparently no longer available directly from Clash of Arms...
 
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Michael Sommers
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DaveM1 wrote:
Actually got to look over a copy of CA, but while it looks ok ive read enough disparaging stuff here to thnk itll come up short with continued play.

Most of the complaints about CA are from people who want it to be something that it is not; it is actually pretty good at what it is designed to do (though it does have flaws, as does everything). The game is designed to put the player in the shoes of the task force commander, not the captain of X turret, or the guy in charge of flooding the magazines.

You might also take a look at Dreadnought, which is at a similar level, but has simultaneous movement.

I'd also recommend the venerable Jutland, but for your comment about hexes.
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David M
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tms2 wrote:
DaveM1 wrote:
Actually got to look over a copy of CA, but while it looks ok ive read enough disparaging stuff here to thnk itll come up short with continued play.

Most of the complaints about CA are from people who want it to be something that it is not; it is actually pretty good at what it is designed to do (though it does have flaws, as does everything). The game is designed to put the player in the shoes of the task force commander, not the captain of X turret, or the guy in charge of flooding the magazines.

You might also take a look at Dreadnought, which is at a similar level, but has simultaneous movement.

I'd also recommend the venerable Jutland, but for your comment about hexes.


Lol...Every time I browse the shelves at my oldest wargaming friend's place I end up salivating over Jutland. We keep trying to get our group to give it a try on the meeting room floor, but no luck so far...
 
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Ryan Powers
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DaveM1 wrote:
keethrax wrote:
DaveM1 wrote:

I'll have to look at Fleet Action Imminent, hadn't seen that one


Haven't played it yet, but it's WW2 sibling General Quarters is an excellent blend of detail and playability. It's our goto option for anything where a player needs to control more than a few ships each. As we zoom in more, we move to Command at Sea, and then Seekrieg 5.


You guys are clearly trying to seduce this hex-and-counter guy to the Dark Side. Minis on a hexmat are a great way to increase immersion, but....



The Good Lord meant for wargame ranges to be measured in hexes, not INCHES, by god!


Harumph.







When it comes to tactical naval in the 20th (and 21st) century, minis are where it's at. Not my fault. When it comes to ground combat, it's a lot fuzzier a question. There are some pretty good hex and counter naval games from farther back too.

Or at least miniatures rules sets
. Plenty of cardboard options for the minis themselves.

EDIT (again): Cardboard ships: I ordered a free sample mini from Topside Minis and here is my mini review
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Gary Greenhalgh
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These are probably hard to get, but Destroyer Captain and the The Royal Navy are two of the best.
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Joeseph McCarthy
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Seekrieg is great. So is Cordite and Steel.

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David M
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keethrax wrote:
DaveM1 wrote:
keethrax wrote:
DaveM1 wrote:

I'll have to look at Fleet Action Imminent, hadn't seen that one


Haven't played it yet, but it's WW2 sibling General Quarters is an excellent blend of detail and playability. It's our goto option for anything where a player needs to control more than a few ships each. As we zoom in more, we move to Command at Sea, and then Seekrieg 5.


You guys are clearly trying to seduce this hex-and-counter guy to the Dark Side. Minis on a hexmat are a great way to increase immersion, but....



The Good Lord meant for wargame ranges to be measured in hexes, not INCHES, by god!


Harumph.







When it comes to tactical naval in the 20th (and 21st) century, minis are where it's at. Not my fault. When it comes to ground combat, it's a lot fuzzier a question. There are some pretty good hex and counter naval games from farther back too.

Or at least miniatures rules sets
. Plenty of cardboard options for the minis themselves.

EDIT (again): Cardboard ships: I ordered a free sample mini from Topside Minis and here is my mini review



Just for clarity - I meant that to be lighthearted, not serious.

(Although there is a sense of being unfaithful to the cardboard deity, whoever that is)
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Ryan Powers
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DaveM1 wrote:



Just for clarity - I meant that to be lighthearted, not serious.

(Although there is a sense of being unfaithful to the cardboard deity, whoever that is)


I know. I just wanted to clarify *why* it was mostly mini games being suggested. The simple answer is because that really is what's out there in the category he asked about.
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David M
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So a couple questions about the Command at Sea series.

I'm having trouble figuring out what packages would actually get you playing. Some look like they're data set books, and some have scenarios listed. Some seem to include the cardboard countersheets that let it "feel" like a game rather than just a miniatures rule set. A few of the older boxes clearly seem to have old versions of the rules.

So what would be a reasonable place to start for a Pacific minded gamer?
 
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DaveM1 wrote:
The Good Lord meant for wargame ranges to be measured in hexes, not INCHES, by god!

Au contraire. In the beginning, there was Jutland and it was good.



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Michael Sommers
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DaveM1 wrote:
Lol...Every time I browse the shelves at my oldest wargaming friend's place I end up salivating over Jutland. We keep trying to get our group to give it a try on the meeting room floor, but no luck so far...

It was a lot easier to crawl around on the floor when I was 14.
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Cary Tyler
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I like this one
Battlewagon


It can be bought as pdf at various outlets listed in this thread for $15
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/963994/pdf-e23
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Mike Hoyt

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I like Salvo II which is WW I tactical (and, confusingly Salvo! is the WW II version)

Not brain burners, but I remember reading Castles of Steel while playing scenarios from Salvo II and being impressed at how it managed to capture the flavor, even things like ships being silhouetted by the rising sun.
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David Janik-Jones
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DaveM1 wrote:
The Good Lord meant for wargame ranges to be measured in hexes, not INCHES, by god!

That's why he (Arty Conliffe) created (for tactical land combat) Crossfire.
 
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