BrentS
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Here are two initial attempts at battles using the naval rules, one an amphibious assault (Mizushima), the other entirely at sea (the first phase of Dan-no-Ura). These are both later in the war (Dan-no-Ura being the finale, of course), when the Taira had fled mainland Honshu, and as a result naval actions predominated. I will plan to do the scenarios chronologically but I wanted to get started with playtesting the naval rules. I don’t intend to inflict every scenario on the forum but these are just samples of what I expect these to look like. They’re both completely unplaytested so I’m sure they will look quite different when finished.

It became evident when I was trying to set these up that I’d made a mistake with naval movement rules. I’d originally gone with four possible wind/tide directions (left or right flank, yellow or red baseline) in the theory that this could be described in the scenario notes. Complete lack of spatial awareness! It worked for the flanks but of course there are six directions which this has to work for. Wind/tide direction will now be designated on the map with a directional arrow down a hex axis……easy to do thanks to the Vassal module. I’ve updated the naval rules.

Mizushima is a very ambitious challenge because it breaks unplaytested naval rules before even starting and adds another layer of special rules (isn’t that the principle of movie making….shoot the most complicated scene first?). The rules for rafting perhaps could have been part of the core naval rules but this is the only documented battle in the war in which this strategy was used so I though it best as an SSR. I’m not sure how this one will go….making the Taira’s victory dependent on storming the beach is the right thing to do as it forces them to attack. I like the tactical dilemma of when they choose to break from their rafts, giving up their advantage to disembark. The Minamoto sitiuation I’m not so sure about…..I’ve positioned the best of their forces upwind so they have the option of taking advantage of superior mobility and hitting the cumbersome rafts when and where they want to, possibly grappling to slow them further. They obviously don’t want the Taira to land but I do wonder if I’ve set it up so their best tactical option is to head back for the beach and make a non-historical stand there, which would be a bit dull.

I’ve used the wonderful old Japan artwork from the Vassal module and it has the great advantage of having ocean tiles. The disadvantage is that it hasn’t been set up so that units can be labelled…..I wanted to do this for rafting (and for grappling and Sohei). I’ve used No Battle markers to denote rafted units here, which will be a fiddly nuisance for Vassal play, but no helping that.

Anyway, I’ll update as I playtest and of course would appreciate any thoughts and input.

Brent.

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BrentS
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Re: GENPEI PROJECT - Two scenarios - Mizushima and Dan-no-Ura (1st Phase)
MIZUSHIMA, November 1183

After their flight from Fukuhara, the Taira consolidated power in the western provinces and established a new capital in exile at Yashima, off the island of Shikoku. Alarmed by this, Minamoto no Yoshinaka sent a force from Kyoto under Yata Yoshikiyo, to assemble a fleet of boats at Mizushima in Bitchu province with the intention of attacking Yashima directly. Forewarned, the Taira sent its own fleet under Taira no Noritsune and caught the Minamoto by surprise on the beach.

After a rousing speech to his troops, Noritsune ordered the Taira boats rafted together with grappling hooks and wooden planks, to increase their stability and the morale of his troops. Yoshikiyo launched his own boats and after an exchange of arrows, met the Taira in fierce hand to hand fighting, in which his own boat was sunk and he and his retainers were lost. The Taira stormed the beach, mounted the horses they had brought on their boats, and routed the Minamoto.

Mizushima was the first victory of the Taira following their demoralising flight from Kyoto and Fukuhara, and ensured that the war would continue.


 



Minamoto (Yellow)
Command Cards 5
Dragon Cards 2
H&F 5

Taira (Red)
> Move first
Command cards 5
Dragon Cards 2
H&F 6

Victory – 5 banners

* 1 Victory Banner for each Leader or Unit eliminated.
* The Taira receive 2 Victory Banners whenever they have a unit on a land hex. These are gained as soon as soon as a Taira unit disembarks and are lost immediately if there are no Taira units on a land hex.
* The Taira may not win unless they have 2 units on land hexes at the same time as they have 5 or more Victory banners.

Special Rules

* Ocean hexes are passable and Naval Warfare rules are in effect.
Wind/tide direction is from the Taira left flank.

* Rafting – All Taira units begin the battle rafted, creating fighting platforms that increase stability and morale but decrease maneuverability. Rafted units may be marked with a token, such as a coin.

A rafted unit battles with its normal dice (it does not receive the usual -1 die penalty for naval units).

A rafted unit may ignore 1 flag in battle.

Rafted units must move as a block with all connected rafted units. To do so, at least 2 units in the raft block must be ordered. A raft block may move only 1 hex, regardless of wind direction. This may not be increased by card effects. (Note that even though multiple units in a raft block may move together, only ordered units may battle).

A rafted unit may not disembark.

An ordered unit may break from the raft, but may not move or battle on the turn it does so. Remove its rafting token. The unit obeys normal Naval Warfare rules thereafter and may not rejoin a raft. If only 1 unit remains in a raft, it automatically has its raft token removed.

Rafts may not combine to form larger rafts. Even if movement makes them adjacent to each other they remain distinct, separate rafts.
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Re: GENPEI PROJECT - Two scenarios - Mizushima and Dan-no-Ura (1st Phase)
DAN-NO-URA - First Phase, March 1185

With most of their erstwhile allies in Kyushu and Shikoku defecting to the Minamoto, the Taira found themselves adrift on the inner sea with the young emperor and their families, and with no safe port to land. Minamoto no Yoshitsune forced them to a decisive battle in the Shinomoseki Strait, off Dan-no-Ura. Although cornered, desperate and outnumbered three to one, the Taira were confident in their superior naval experience and knowledge of the local waters. Taking advantage of the fast- flowing tides in the strait, they divided their fleet into three divisions and charged down the current onto the Minamoto, who were struggling to make headway against the tide. A prolonged exchange of arrow fire took place, in which the best archers of each side contested in individual feats of range and accuracy, before closing for hand-to-hand fighting. The Minamoto were forced back.





Taira (Red)
> Move first
Command cards 5
Dragon Cards 2
H&F 7

Minamoto (Yellow)
Command Cards 4
Dragon Cards 2
H&F 6

Victory – 5 banners

1 Victory Banner for each Leader or Unit eliminated

Special Rules

* Ocean hexes are passable and Naval Warfare rules are in effect.
Note there are 2 axes of wind/tide direction (see map).

* Taira naval units may not disembark onto land.

* Long-Distance Arrows – Both sides receive 2 H&F tokens for every H&F symbol rolled in ranged attack.
Any archer unit with a leader attached may spend 1 H&F token to make a ranged attack of 1 die at 4 hex range
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