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Subject: AAR and Variant rss

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Nameless Necromancer
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Do what yhou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." - Aleister Crowley
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First Session

My friend John Herrington and I tried out Nine Navies War this afternoon not quite knowing what to expect. We have played War at Sea and Victory in the Pacific many times over the years, so were pretty sure we would enjoy ourselves, and we certainly did. John took charge of The Central Powers and the Allies had the misfortune of having me in charge!

Looking back I scattered the Royal Navy too far and wide, so will know a bit better next time around. As expected, most of the French ships were seized by the Germans and the game was on. The subtleties of the Base Activation system was largely ignored as we both eagerly sought battle early on. The first two turns were pretty disastrous for me as the Dice Gods frowned upon the Home Fleet and smiled on my opponent. After turn three I was in a mild state of shock when I looked at my dead pile!

Then on turn 4 John got a bit over eager to press his advantage and I took out a substantial portion of the High Seas Fleet in the North Sea. Sevastopol and the Central Powers African colonies fell on turn three. North Russia went on turn five. I had only one ship escape to Alexandria and a pair made it to England. Suez was never blockaded. Once the situation had been made much simpler due to the popularity of Davey Jones' Locker, we had several turns of calm in which John opened up his lead three or four points per turn. By turn nine we both knew it was pretty well over but were having fun so kept on to the end.

I was ruling the Atlantic but the Med had become a CP lake, in addition to Russia being out of the way. The United States entered on turn 10, and I was able to attempt to push against his lead somewhat. Eventually breaking his stranglehold on the Med. It was too little too late however, and the Central Powers scored a Major Victory, with the Austrian Fleet claiming MVP status.


Verdict on the game? We had fun, which is all that matters in the great scheme of things. Having run through it once, I think we will both play a bit more cautious in the future and a better game will result. I'm not a huge fan of alt history games, which partially explains why it took me so long to purchase this. I'm glad I did, however, and it will certainly hit the table again.

I can't help but tinker!

1] I've always felt a bit sorry for the not quite Battlecruiser, SMS Blucher. She gave good and faithful service, sailing with Hipper's squadron of proper BC's. If pre-Dreadnoughts are in the mix, A pre BC could be. I now have a homemade counter for the Blucher, valued at 1-2-6. To balance this out I've included the Rurik in the Russian North Fleet, valued at 2-2-5, due to heavier armament but slower speed.

2] Since this is an alt history game allowing for such things as the capture of Gibraltar, let us go a step further. The Zimmerman Telegram can work! If the United States enters the war, the CP player immediately rolls a die, and on a 1 Mexico declares war on the US. Mexico becomes a CP port with a repair capacity of 1, and the CP receives 1-6 VP's. The prohibition against CP ships operating in North American coastal waters is lifted at this point. The sea area is now worth 1 VP for the Allies and 2 VP for the Central Powers. If the initial roll fails, roll again as a Random Event for the rest of the game. Starting the turn following Mexican entry, the Allies can began rolling for the conquest of Mexico, succeeding on a 1. Any Central Powers ships based there are scuttled, as per when the CP Colonies capture. Once Mexico is conquered by the US the sea area is no longer worth any VP.

[Edited for grammar shake ]
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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I was sort of hoping the Japanese might make an appearance. Would love to see the Fuso do more than just sink to the bottom of Surigao Strait.

Anyway, this one sounds like a winner. Might finally buy it.
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Nameless Necromancer
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Actually, the Japanese kinda sort of do affect things. When the US enters the war, it is due to Japanese treachery in the Far East, as Ty's alt history states. The US must send half its available ships to the Pacific for this threat.

I imagine if the game had sold better you might have seen a companion game, though that is just speculation.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Ah, must have missed that when I read about the game.

A pacific version would have been good. Also would have allowed one to explore a 1914 situation where the Germans had more ships at sea ready to raid in the style of Emden.

Can the game be refitted to simulate the actual war?
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Nameless Necromancer
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It could, but it would be AH, GE, and TU against the rest, and essentially hopeless. Ty postulated France falling in 1914, with Germany seizing a large part of the FR fleet, and IT honoring its Central Powers alliance. That makes for a fairly even WAS surface ship game.

A historical variant would have to include submarine warfare (in a more extensive manner than WAS) to balance things out. Ty loves alt-history designs and I'm not a fan of them (whether his designs or others), but I honestly think he hit a home run with this one.

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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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I agree it would be tough and best done with u-boats and a world map or off map box to represent German raiders. But I would like the option all the same.
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John S
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I just do not see how the Allies win this one.

That being said, I have come up with a house rule as I believe no heavily damaged ship would sail just to increase the number of hulls at sea.

No ship may sail when it has damage points equal to 1/2 or more of the armor factor of that ship.

This cuts down on a lot of "ship clutter" at sea as the game goes on.



 
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Why can't they win?
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John S
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gittes wrote:
Why can't they win?


As I recall, most of the Med points are collected by the CP. The Brits are already spread thin trying to contain the German fleet, so sending enough ships to the Med is too dangerous considering the auto win rule.

The Russians are of minimal value and odds are both their fleets will go south before long. The usual late entry of the US fleet and the amount of force it adds just cannot turn the tide. I think that the Allies can not do much about the fact that they will end up on the short end of the VP stick every turn.
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John S
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gittes wrote:
Why can't they win?


To answer your question in depth.

I got this to the game table recently and reconfirmed my stance of who is the favored side.

Looking at the CP advantages gives one an idea.

1) The CP player receives 1 more VP for control of a given sea area than the Allied player.

2) The German first round firing bonus is usually devastating and the Brit player cannot afford to engage the Germans in battle unless the Brits enjoy a large advantage in ships. Which leads to 3.

3) It is the Brits and Russians against the Germans, AH, Italy, Spain, Turkey and Greece. As the Russians are realistically restricted to the Black and Baltic, this leaves the Brits standing alone. They are outnumbered in ships. But what of the French fleet. This leads to 4.

4) The odds are the CP will get 1/3 of the French navy undamaged and 1/6 of it damage for a total of 1/2 the fleet. The Allied player 1/6 of the fleet undamaged and 1/6 damaged for a total of 1/3. So the CP player will increase his ship advantage after the French fleet rolls.

5) The base activation system. An unlucky draw can have the Brits commit a major fleet in Britain or the Med at an inopportune time before the CP player. although the use of the Optional Room 40 rule can help, it can fail as the same base can be drawn again before a key CP base.

5) Random events.

The fall of one or both Russian bases may add a few ships to the Allied player cause but probably ensure that the CP will get the VPs for the Baltic and Black sea on the cheap for the rest of the game. The splitting of the Alex / Suez base is an annoyance for the Allies but the major concern when that happens is that Gibraltar can fall if both Russian bases are lost. The loss of that base is probably a death blow.

Looking at the possible Allied Random events, the loss of the CP colonies is no big deal to the CP player and the most the Allies can gain from this is 12 VPs.

The US entry can help but usually is not enough to turn the tide. It cannot happen before turn 2 and half of the fleet goes to the Pacific before a random number of ships is drawn per turn. Then each reinforcement ship after the US entry has only a 1/3 chance to be added to the US pool.

All in all, the random events favor the CP.

I think the CP player has too many advantages over the Allied player and the outcome of any given game will be a CP win.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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That sounds like a fairly imbalanced game. Would it be better along more historical lines?
 
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