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Subject: Preview of data cards revealing rss

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Barry Kendall
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The first glimpse of A&A:WAS on the Hasbro site has provided some information, some positive, some not.

Photographs show the Yamato and an Iowa-class BB in late-war dazzle camouflage, which extends across the decks. Yamato is in a dark gray with wood color main deck and the 1945 AA fit. Both vessels are depicted without a raised stern aircraft crane, which is correct for a combat situation.

A view of data cards is provided for Iowa, Bismarck and HMAS Canberra, one of the RN three-stack CAs (think Norfolk and Suffolk). Good to see this vessel represented, as it will be usable in both Pacific (Ironbottom Sound) and North Atlantic scenarios.

Data cards provide values for three different types of major armament plus close-in AA capability. Bismarck is differentiated by having values representing its main battery, anti-surface secondaries and heavy AA twin mounts. Iowa has main gun values and a single value for its dual-purpose twin five-inch mounts. In addition, the vessel-specific information section of the card describes Iowa as "bristling with guns," which means that the secondaries can fire twice per turn (lots of 'em).

A value is provided for each vessel's flotation value. When this is reached, the vessel is sunk. Two Armor values are also provided, the smaller number representing the number of hit rolls on D6s required to score a hit, the larger representing what amounts to a "critical hit" value (which results in immediate sinking).

The combat system looks very similar to that of A&A:Miniatures, with diminishing numbers of dice rolled as range increases.

Herein is found the disappointing element.

There is no differentiation for Belt or Deck armor; there is also no increase in destructive potential for main-battery fire at long range should hits be scored (representing the devastating impact of "plunging fire"). It appears that all vessels, from destroyers to superdreadnoughts, are more powerful attacking at close range, in spite of the fact that capital ships were better protected along the sides than on horizontal surfaces even when the ship was engineered to the "protected citadel" concept (armor concentrated in critical central areas).

It was to escape the dangers of plunging fire against inadequate deck armor that Adm. Holland brought HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales in close to Bismarck and Prinz Eugen instead of engaging with full broadsides at "battleship" range (ironically, the recently discovered remains of HMS Hood confirm that Hood had completed her run-in and had her helm hard over to bring her full broadside to bear at the instant she suffered her critical hit).

While it is understandable that Wizards wants an easy, quick-and-dirty shoot-em-up and not an in-depth naval simulation, this particular simplification of capital ship combat is disappointing.

Also of some concern is that an illustration of a "Kate" torpedo bomber is labeled a "Val" dive bomber. Not only did Vals have fixed landing gear, they also had distinctive wings tapering to a point similar to the wing of a Spitfire, rather than rounded as in this illustration. It can be hoped that the miniature will be correct.

Another illustration shows a Baltimore-class US CA, suggesting that this vessel will appear in the mix. This is somewhat disappointing, as the Baltimores came on after most surface actions in the Pacific had been concluded. One of the USN "Treaty Cruisers" such as Vincennes, New Orleans, San Francisco or Quincy would have been preferable, though perhaps they will also make an appearance. However, with only 64 miniatures coming including Air units and markers for things like Mines, one wonders how many vessels of a single nationality will be represented.

It has already been revealed that the USS Enterprise will be one of the minis. Artwork on the preview also depicts a US "Jeep Carrier" which appears to be one of the CVEs built on a tanker hull rather than a CVL on a CL hull (such as the Independence class).

Another feature revealed on the data cards is a torpedo capability given to some ships. The Sequence of Play includes a torpedo attack phase. The torpedo value is surprisingly weak compared to main battery values, suggesting that it does not represent a full torpedo salvo but only one torpedo. If this is so, it is another reason for concern since ships tended to salvo a full mount's worth of torpedoes at a time. It is not clear from the sequence outline whether ships are permitted to "fire torpedoes" each turn, but if so, this also means that torpedo expenditure is not a factor in the game! Hopefully this is not so.

The recent very simple presentation of the "Star Wars" Starship game suggests that we should not expect a great deal of detail from A&A:WAS, although the cards do present more data than do the "SWs" cards. Of more concern, however, is the fact that many of the "Star Wars" minis come badly bent--not only projections like guns and antennas, but even hulls (a friend of mine got two Trade Federation ships warped so badly that they looked like new lock washers).

Given the bristly detail of WW II-era ships, I really hope that the A&A:WAS minis will be more carefully packed.

Misgivings aside, I'll be giving them a try in any case. The preview indicates that the Hasbro/AH site will begin piece previews in late January.
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Leo Zappa
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Barry - thank you for the excellent overview and analysis. While I also fashion myself a naval history buff (I just picked up a copy of Jane's American Fighting Ships of the 20th Century for some light reading!), I can live with the simplifications of the rule set. What I won't be able to tolerate will be warped, deformed minis. The horror stories surrounding the Star Wars Starship minis has already resulted in me crossing that system off my "wish list". These minis systems are not inexpensive investments, and the biggest attraction to minis is of course their physical appearance (otherwise, we would just play with cardboard counters, a la "Jutland"). If the physical appearance is not up to snuff, I will have no interest in this system either. I will be watching for posts of those brave souls who buy in early to see what they find regarding the quality of the minis.
 
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desertfox2004 wrote:
Barry - thank you for the excellent overview and analysis. While I also fashion myself a naval history buff (I just picked up a copy of Jane's American Fighting Ships of the 20th Century for some light reading!), I can live with the simplifications of the rule set. What I won't be able to tolerate will be warped, deformed minis. The horror stories surrounding the Star Wars Starship minis has already resulted in me crossing that system off my "wish list". These minis systems are not inexpensive investments, and the biggest attraction to minis is of course their physical appearance (otherwise, we would just play with cardboard counters, a la "Jutland"). If the physical appearance is not up to snuff, I will have no interest in this system either. I will be watching for posts of those brave souls who buy in early to see what they find regarding the quality of the minis.


I can't say on AAM, not owning any, but the Star Wars minis always revert to proper mold shape when heated. I've been satisfied with that so far. That said, you /will/ receive some warped minis when you pick up a Hasbro CMG.

(And the Starship Battles minis look awesome. I just received my shipment today.)

For the original poster -- good review. I would have been shocked had the new AAM game included the level of detail that you're disappointed it lacks.
 
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Barry Kendall
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I'm glad you folks found the info helpful. One thing I neglected to mention is that air attacks take place within a space. This appears to be true of both air-to-air and air-to-surface combat. The planes are apparently just moved to a space with a ship or hostile aircraft unit and they fight it out.

This means that CAP over a ship can help it fight off air attack; it also means that fighters on "distant" CAP would have to completely surround a ship being defended in order to prevent hostile penetration. I did glean from the early info that apparently, at least some attack aircraft have an air-to-air capabiity as well as a bombing or torpedo attack value.

The air game could be interesting all by itself, and even suggests the potential for a followup game of strategic bombers vs. air defense--a la "Battle of Britain" or the daylight bombing campaign over Germany.

In reference to the "AAM lack of detail" comment, I'm not quite sure what you mean, but in reference to the "Star Wars Starships" game I was referring, not to the detail of the minis, but to the relative lack of sophistication in the movement and combat rules--there is not much detail in the depictions of starship maneuverability or weapons differentiation, for example. I think the minis are detailed very well and hope the ships are as good. I should have been more clear in my prior statement; mea culpa.
 
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simon thornton
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Actually Barry with that in depth knowledge of WWII fighting ships, I feel you should probably get out more.

All that said as I have a large collection of American and Japanese 1/300th WWII warships (lead handpainted) which were used to re enact the Battle of the Coral sea at my mates stag party . And as at another completely separate 'lads night out' on another stag party which nearly came to blows about who sunk the Hood (the argument being was it the Bismarck or as some argued the fatal blow was from a salvo fired by the Prinz Eugen ,). Perhaps I should admit I am jealous at the detail of your knowledge and shut up, or alternatively I should go out more to stag party's that have strippers instead of discussions about unfinished 21 " battleships.
 
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simon thornton
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That should of course be 1/3000 th size minatures.1/300th ! you could probably actually sail one that size.
 
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Quote:
The recent very simple presentation of the "Star Wars" Starship game suggests that we should not expect a great deal of detail from A&A:WAS


Very much with the SSB game and even so with AA:Miniatures, this game will be wide open to lambasting by Grognards. It will be nothing of the detail or even vehicle accuracy that can be found ingames like Fear God and Dreadnought or GWAS. It's going to be a simple representation of WWII naval warfare with simple rules, meant to look cool, be played fast, and probably feature ships combination that wouldn't be found in a realistic WWII battle fleet.

If you can accept that and the fact that it's a CMG, you'll probably like the game. If not, then you might find use for the pre-painted minis in other games.

Having just finished my Star Wars SSB collection I'll probably try a starter and case just to see how the game plays. I like fast, simple games like AA:M and SSB so this one might fit that mold. At worst, you can always come up with house rules to improve on areas found to be lacking.
 
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Barry Kendall
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Quite right, Walt, and there certainly is room for a "popular-accessible" WW II naval system. I'm hopeful that the full rules will add some depth (no pun intended) to the system, particularly regarding torpedo salvoes, though I don't expect to see long-range plunging-fire effects represented.

I am hopeful that the subtlety reflected in secondary/tertiary values as revealed for Bismarck and Iowa will also emerge in other areas of the "main game." Although A&A Minis' main rulebook simplifies some areas considerably, it is much better than the quick-start rules.

Probably more important to me than this is the desire to see those 68 choices of subject reflect a balanced presentation of the main warship types of the major powers. I would hate to see a choice wasted on something like the "October Revolution" or "Graf Zeppelin," and I hope that if one class is represented in a significant action such as the Graf Spee battle, then all the classes present are represented as well.

This is probably unattainable for all the Ironbottom Sound battles, but it would be disappointing to have to substitute a "County" for the "Exeter" particularly since there are only three classes represented in the action for both sides.

As a complete aside, I was pleasantly surprised to see the first new entry covering WaS appear on a Monday instead of late Wednesday on the official site.
 
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Andy Strauss
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I think it's a simple solution of adding Belt and deck armor values. And then determine what type of hits get to what type of armor. Like: dive boming, long range shots in the deck, torpedo, close range shot in the belt.

Cheers,
 
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Barry Kendall
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It's been a while since I checked this post (Simon, I was trying to get out more).

We're up to Preview 8 and reportedly sometime before Friday the 16th the whole assortment will be revealed.

On the whole A&A:WaS looks like a fun little naval game (well, not so little given the size of the playsheet, but we are talking big ships here).

Clearly the system is derived from A&A Minis, though there are some interesting twists. I'm going on just one reading of the main rules at this point, but if I recall, there is no limit on firing torpedoes! This is amazing.

American, British, German and, as far as I know, every other European power's surface ships did not carry torpedo reloads; their capacity was limited to what the tubes could hold on deck (with the exception of a few old battleships that might have retained their torpedo flats; I'm pretty sure those were all eliminated in the RN, for example, as being more hazardous to the host ship than to potential targets).

The IJN was different. Not only did they carry the formidable Long Lance torpedo, but every DD class from the Fubukis on carried a full set of torpedo reloads. If the DDs survived the initial torpedo launch they were trained to reload while maneuvering and to make a second attack. Reloading time was something like 10-12 minutes.

At least some of the cruiser classes, both Light and Heavy, also carried a reload set (this is one reason classes such as Myoko had torpedo tube mounts protected inside hull recesses instead of out on the open deck).

Yet as far as I can tell, torpedo-armed ships can shoot off torpedoes every turn. I might be overlooking a rule (hope so) but this is strange.

Of course individual ship values will be subject to some quibbling, but I was surprised and disappointed to see the USN Fletcher class badly underrated for firepower and denied the ability to lay smokescreens. Every USN DD class had smoke capability, even the old four-pipers, from changing the fuel-air mixture in the engine rooms, and most if not all classes from thd 1930s on also had chemical smoke generators mounted at the stern (so did the Juneau-class CLs).

Yet in the game Fletcher DDs cannot make smoke, and their gunpower is significantly less than the Italian destroyer represented, which carried six 4.7" guns in three cramped turrets instead of 5 5" guns in relatively roomy single turrets on the Fletchers (and the US 5"/38s were DP guns with a high rate of fire, used for both antisurface and antiaircraft purposes).

Easily remedied by home rules, but it shouldn't be necessary, especially with a class of ship so widely-chronicled (and widely-praised) as the Fletchers.

I'm hoping that in Set II we'll see the Fletcher class revisited with the USS Johnston, with an "Aggressive Commander" special ability, Smoke, and better gunfire ratings.

It will be very interesting to see how the system represents the strengths and vulnerabilities of such vessels as HMS Hood. Shouldn't be long now!
 
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It's been a while for me too. I've now seen and played with the figures. They are very nice. The rules were fairly impressive as well. I dare say that this game is even more flushed out than the AA:Minis game. The ships all appear to scale with each other as well as a reasonable sized aircraft.

Regarding the rules, I like the idea of having 3 objectives. It draws your forces out into the fight and doesn't force a simple slug match for elimination like Star War:Starship battles does. I also like the inclusion of fog and squalls in the game and the fact that you can still use land based aircraft even if you don't have a carrier in your fleet (with a penalty of not being able to use them every turn).

Overall I was pleased enough to order 2 cases and a starter in the hopes of getting close to the complete set. I've seen a game played out with multiples of the same ship but it just doesn't do it for me like in AA:Minis. Though I can justify multiple freighters and subs, I just don't like seeing 2 Enterprise carriers on the board (maybe I'm being to purist or anal about it). But I know that future sets will flush out additional ships to where you won't need to field two of the same name and can build scenarios close to the actual ships in a given battle. And at least for now I can justify not getting more than one rare or named uncommon in the set.

Cool ships with decent paint jobs, simple rules, naval combat, and dice rolling fun. IMHO you can't go wrong.meeple
 
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Walt Mulder wrote:
I've seen a game played out with multiples of the same ship but it just doesn't do it for me like in AA:Minis. Though I can justify multiple freighters and subs, I just don't like seeing 2 Enterprise carriers on the board (maybe I'm being to purist or anal about it). But I know that future sets will flush out additional ships to where you won't need to field two of the same name and can build scenarios close to the actual ships in a given battle.


I think you are forgetting the fact that the ships in the game, with a couple exceptions, were part of a bigger class of ships. The Enterprise was one of 3 in the Yorktown class, including the Hornet and Yorktown. Many of your carrier groups consisted of more than just one carrier, so having 2 Enterprises on the board should be completely acceptable. The ships in AAWAS to me represent a class of ships, or even a general catagory for each country, rather than the specific ship. Having 2 Washingtons on the board could be used in a scenario representing the Battle of Guadalcanal where the Washington and North Dakota took out the Kirishima.

-Ski



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