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Subject: Wargamers recommend a good naval combat game. rss

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Patiently waiting for the zombie apocalypse...
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I have been thinking about purchasing a naval war-game and need some BGG war gamer experts' opinions.

Now I don't consider myself a war gamer, but that is more of a result from the lack of opprotunity to play war games, rather then a lack of interest in playing war games. I'm a big history guy, and actually enjoy naval history. I just don't have the gamers to sit down and play a meaty heavy war game. I own Combat Commander: Europe and really enjoy it. I just don't get the opprotunity that I would like to really play it.

So what are the good naval war games available? I am keeping my options open, but anything from the Age of Sail or later. The Battle of Jutland or other smaller WWI actions. Obviously WWII has great potential. One requirement is time and space. I can't leave out some massive naval war game in my house, so it needs to be able to be played in a day.

I appreciate any feedback.

BGG rocks,

Randall
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How many people can you get to play? According to your post it doesn't sound like you can gather many if any people?

However, this aside, I'd wholly recommend Close Action as the Age of Sail game. It really needs 6 or more players to start to shine, but man or man! Probably one of the best games out there. I'd completely endorse Canvas Eagles (which is, of course, not a naval game but an WWI air combat game... but it has simultaneous movement as a common mechanic with Close Action).
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lindelos wrote:
How many people can you get to play? According to your post it doesn't sound like you can gather many if any people?

However, this aside, I'd wholly recommend Close Action as the Age of Sail game. It really needs 6 or more players to start to shine, but man or man! Probably one of the best games out there. I'd completely endorse Canvas Eagles (which is, of course, not a naval game but an WWI air combat game... but it has simultaneous movement as a common mechanic with Close Action).


One or two at the most, so that does limit the possibilities I image. The wife just is not the war gamer type. If you know what I mean.

That Close Action does look cool! I bet playing that with 6 players would be a tremendously fun.
 
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Paul Amala
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Well, some of the miniatures games might fit the bill. You might want to look at The Rising Sun: Command at Sea Volume I and General Quarters (Third Edition). These can be played fairly quickly in a smallish space.

If you want to stick with board games, Avalanche Press has a very good series: starting with the "Great War at Sea" series. I particularly like Great War at Sea: 1904-1905, The Russo-Japanese War.

But you should also check out VASSAL toohttp://www.vassalengine.org. There are lots of 'monster' naval games you can set up and play on-line. These can be quite fun, and you can leave them set up for face-to-face on-line play, or PBEM without having to worry about cats/kids/spouse for basically forever.

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Charles Robinson
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I don't have a lot of experience with strictly naval wargames, but here are some ideas off the top of my head, of varying length and complexity:

Pacific Victory
Battlegroup (I have played and enjoyed these first two)

The Kaiser's Pirates (seems similar to the second, above, but I could be wrong about that).
1805: Sea of Glory
Fire in the Sky
Silent War
PQ-17
Asia Engulfed
Where There is Discord (which looks very cool, but may be more complex and time-consuming than would fit well with your needs).
Great War at Sea: Jutland

There are also, of course, a number of Axis & Allies titles (Pacific, Guadalcanal) which feature a lot of fighting on the seas, but coming from Combat Commander, I'm guessing that's not at all the sort of thing you're after.
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Brian Morris
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You might look at the excellent Second World War at Sea series such as Second World War at Sea: Midway or Second World War at Sea: Bomb Alley. Conversely you might look at the excellent block game PQ-17: Arctic Naval Operations 1941-1943.
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I recommend reading the page for PQ-17: Arctic Naval Operations 1941-1943. It is in print currently and is an enjoyable and innovative game. The strength of this system is the interaction it allows between submarines, surface vessel, and aircraft. The search system and identification system is also excellent and this combined with the use of blocks introduces a degree of hidden information that makes for a great deal of suspense. Playable in a day.
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Tim Korchnoi
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I am always a big advocate of the Fleet Series by Victory Games. The series long OOP, but Sixth and 2nd Fleet aren't too hard to get your hands on. The smaller intro and intermediate scenarios are easily playable in one setting and most require only one map sheet. The big strategic scenarios (advanced game) are quite long and meaty, so I guess it depends what you really want to get out of the game. Granted, they are "what if" games of USA vs. USSR vintage, but they do a good job of simulating combat at that time, IMO.
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Jeff Paul
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There are some good geeklists on the topic

This one compares some different systems with the same scenario

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/17270/wwi-tactical-nav...


This one is just a big list of choices...

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/22148/top-rated-naval-...


Good luck in your quest.
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Judd Vance
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I'm not as hard core as many of the Grognards around here, but here are a few that I played or enjoyed:

Midway - Get a friend because there is no way in the world of playing this solitaire. It uses a double-blind system (like Battleship), because you are using reconnaisance planes to try and find the enemy fleets. This is an old classic.

Victory in the Pacific - This is more of a conceptual game, where you play the entire Pacific Theater in 2 hours. You'll find no one who will marvel at the detail, because like I said, it's a concept game, but it gets a lot of praise from folks as far being a fun game to play.

Battlewagon - This wasn't my cup of tea. It's more WWI setting. It's basically Star Fleet Battles Sub-Light battles (armor, no shields) pasted on a WWI game. But if you like SFB's mechanics and want more simplicity and a WWI theme, this may be for you.


I haven't played these, but I have heard some good things about them. You'll have to ask around and research the reviews and comments for more details:
Wooden Ships & Iron Men
Flat Top
Pacific War.

Hope you find what you're looking for!
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in historical order I have played and prefer:
1 ram speed trireme combat
2 wooden ships and iron men age of sail
3 Jutland ww1
4 sink the Bismark WW2
5 midway WW2
6 seekrieg preWW1 -WW2 this game requires space
7 Flat top WW2
pacific war although a great game I would not recommend it without a lg commitment to time is available
8 7th fleet/2nd fleet modern naval war fare
9 modern naval battles card game very good for afternoon card game
10 naval war(hard to find card game but good)

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Kenneth Bailey
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Flying Colors is good for a fleet type game in the age of sail.
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T. Wesley
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Wooden Ships & Iron Men
Bismarck
Submarine
War at Sea
Victory in the Pacific
Midway
Flat Top

(What can I say... I'm an Avalon Hill fan!)

Also Nine Navies War
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D T P
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An often recommended classic, Wooden Ships & Iron Men, is the best tactical level age of sail game I know.

I recall Jutland was quite good too. Just saw one on eBay!

But if you want serious naval warfare jump in with both feet and get a copy of Pacific War.
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p55carroll
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Gary Greenhalgh
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The Royal Navy, Destroyer Captain and Queen Victoria's Navy are some of my favorite games.
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Dean Zadiraka
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I'm assuming you're not looking for something very complicated, so I'd recommend GMT's Flying Colors. It's a nice game on age of sail and doesn't have a huge rule book(s) like some of the others mentioned here do.
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If you'd like something that is not too complicated, can be played in an afternoon, and looks awesome, why not consider my favorite, Axis & Allies Naval Miniatures: War at Sea. Yes, it is designed as a "collectible" miniatures game, but the reality is that you can simply buy a starter set to get the rules, markers, and dice, maps, and some starting ships, and then you can go to eBay and buy exactly the ships that you want. You can also upgrade the game's look by buying a Hotz Artworks felt mat, as you see in this photo:




My friends and I have had hours of fun with this game.
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Mark Christopher
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airjudden wrote:
Battlewagon - This wasn't my cup of tea. It's more WWI setting. It's basically Star Fleet Battles Sub-Light battles (armor, no shields) pasted on a WWI game. But if you like SFB's mechanics and want more simplicity and a WWI theme, this may be for you.


And, of course, if you're not wedded to a naval game that takes place, you know, in the water, Judd's mention of Star Fleet Battles is dead on. Even the designer (or someone else writing for it; I forget precisely who wrote this) calls it "Jane's book of fighting starships". One of my favorite games of all time, so I'm clearly biased, but oh so much fun and diversity. Bonus if you can find someone to teach you; you'll be playing in 15 minutes.
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Stephen Williams
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There are TONS of wargamers in the Colorado Springs area.
You should have no trouble finding wargamers in Colorado Springs. There's been a a steady stock of wargamers coming through the air force academy for decades (see Opponents Wanted section of old issues of The General).

Doing a quick search on Consimworld under"Colorado Springs" finds the following guys. You can get their emails on consimworld and contact them directly.

Jim Lauffenburger
Robin Roberts
Mike Garland
Richard Simon

Gamegroup: Colorado Springs Gamers Association that play mainly wargames

Hobbytown USA in Colorado Springs (Woodmen Commons Shopping Center) is loaded with wargames (and presumably wargamers). Talk to gamestore owner--odds are even he is a wargamer.

Good luck!
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Joe Czarnecki
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Randall,

Your best tactical naval system for 1880-1945 is Seekrieg 5. Seekrieg 5 is not space-prohibitive if you employ 1:6000 miniatures. I recommend Figurehead 1:6000. The 1:6000 scale lets you purchase an entire battle squadron for the cost of one ship in that squadron in 1:2400 scale.

Post-1945 your best tactical naval system is Harpoon.
The Fleet series (6th Fleet, 2nd Fleet, 7th Fleet, 5th Fleet, 3rd Fleet) offers good operational level play and makes a fine scenario-generator for Harpoon.

Your best tactical Age of Sail is Close Action.

S/ Joe
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Adam Siler
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I'm looking forward to Iron and Oak, because that offers a lot of potential for small actions. The number of weapons will also make it a good period: rams, rifled cannon, naval mortars, etc. instead of just broadsides from the age of sail or the big guns from later.

Otherwise I'd recommend Avalanche Press, IF you alter some of the rules. They sell advanced rules, but the main change needs to be about the fragility of Destroyers vs a BB's big guns, which eliminates the Paper-Rock-Scissors effect of the whole gun line.
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This is awesome feedback! Thanks! thumbsup
 
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Adam Siler
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DorianGray wrote:

I just got into Avalanche Press GWaS. Could you post a link to some recommended alternative rules?


They come in their supplemental scenario books, Dreadnought and Great White Fleet. They mostly change how damage is allocated.
It has been a couple of years since I played but I think Distant Oceans does something similar for the WW2 games.
Also they put errata and optional rules up on their site from time to time, for instance: http://www.avalanchepress.com/SWWAS_Subs.php

In fact the most irritating thing about AP's naval games is having to make your own rulebook and aid cards, just to keep track of what all you have changed. On the other hand, having all of those ships, maps, and scenarios at your disposal is enough to make it worth it. Who else would give you a chance at War Plan Orange, pre-Dreadnought, or a 1930's Czarist navy?

The last time I played, we both simply agreed to have no primaries fire on anything smaller than a CL. It's not the most realistic but it's better than the default, and makes for a better balance.

Games I have yet to play but want to:

Flying Colors
Ironbottom Sound
War in the Pacific

I know that last one is outside the focus of the threat but I think that playing a smaller campaign would be a possibility.
 
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John Bobek
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For some reason, I always feel like the invisible man when these lists go up.

The Games of War: A Treasury of Rules for Battles with Toy Soldiers, Ships, and Planes. 39 rules for miniatures and rpg's in one book.

Naval:Chapter 6
Ancient Fleets pages 195-199
Line of Battle Naval Rules pages 199-202
Cannon and Cutlass pages 202-205
"Damn the Torpedoes" pages 205-208
Steel, Steam and Big Guns pages 208-211
Fighting Fleets pages 211-220
Action on the High Seas pages 220-222
At Periscope Depth pages 222-231 (divided into WWI, WWII, and modern)
Naval War in the Age of Missiles pages 231-239

And then, there are the other rules sets as a bonus!cool
 
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