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J

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Some time ago I read this book...
I have always been a huge fan of dreadnought era tactical naval games. So as a result of reading this book I became a little obsessed for a while with various "what-if" scenario ideas for the big decisive battle in the Pacific being planned before the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, or perhaps even more so with those "what if the treaty never happened" games with the US battlecruisers keeping their gun turrets instead of getting flight decks etc.

The best I have ever been able to do with my meager resources is to research and conjure up a GQ miniatures scenario a while back. It was easy because in a lot of GQ games I played at conventions they did not have any of the non-capital ships represented, and the rules made for a playable quick game of a fairly large engagement within a convention sort of time limit.

I suspect this is a somewhat popular topic. So I am hoping in this thread to get some pointers to hex & counter (or at least ruler & counter) games covering hypothetical and/or "what-if" dreadnought-style surface capital ship engagements in the Pacific.

I should say, because I am sure it will come up, that Great War at Sea: U.S. Navy Plan Orange is an approachable operational level game which I have played around with, and perhaps a great scenario generator, but the GWAS series is not the kind of tactical treatment I am looking for. However that game and some other, Pacific oriented USS-IJN titles from the GWAS series, might sort of frame the type of battles (ie "dreadnought tech" so airships ok but dominating air-to-surface combat aircraft not). Just I am hoping for a tactical treatment that is more immersive.

Aside from various miniatures rules sets (which I am happy to hear about if they have support info published for this sort of hypothetical era) I am particularly looking for any boardgames that have tactical scenarios of this type.

Useful Geek-List comparing various WW1-era tactical naval game systems available in 2006-2007, could use an update with a few more recent systems though...
WWI Tactical Naval Combat Comparisons
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IIRC, SPI's Dreadnought has a scenario or two from that "period".
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The Great War at Sea: Dreadnoughts expansion introduces a system of more-detailed tactical combat for the Great War at Sea series.
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milgate wrote:
The Great War at Sea: Dreadnoughts expansion introduces a system of more-detailed tactical combat for the Great War at Sea series.


It does, but it's still a very broad brush treatment. A slightly more detailed look can be found in Salvo II.

If you really want to get into the rivet counting you'll have to wait for further recommendations, there are games with very fine detail, but I've never been interested in them myself.

(I do wonder if you could take the old AH Jutland and make up your own ship values?)
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Fear God and Dread Nought might be able to do it. I have only played the WWII part of the Admiralty Trilogy, but it was flexible and easy enough to set up what ifs with annexes.
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BeatPosse wrote:
Fear God and Dread Nought might be able to do it.


I'll second that. I don't recall it having Pacific scenarios per se, but it definitely has the tools to create your own. Or if you get Dawn of the Rising Sun (same system), you can do Russo-Japanese War, for which it definitely has scenarios.
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Jeff S
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blockhead wrote:


(I do wonder if you could take the old AH Jutland and make up your own ship values?)


Someone has done Japanese and American ships for Jutland, including some interwar period ships. Tom Cundiff I think is his name, and he puts out Old Soldiers E-zine. He sells a complete set of Jutland counters that includes these as well as complete WWI fleets for the major combatants. It's a huge set, but they are pricey. I have bought them but have never had the chance to play them.

I have played the GWAS game with the Dreadnoughts rules, and I enjoyed it a lot. The Dreadnought rules add enough to make the tactical battles interesting, although I can understand someone wanting yet more detail.
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Jeff Schulte wrote:
Someone has done Japanese and American ships for Jutland, including some interwar period ships. Tom Cundiff I think is his name, and he puts out Old Soldiers E-zine. He sells a complete set of Jutland counters that includes these as well as complete WWI fleets for the major combatants. It's a huge set, but they are pricey. I have bought them but have never had the chance to play them.


Good call Jeff. Yes, Tom Cundiff is his name and he's a good guy. I bought a set of Flat Top counters from him. You can geek mail him or he hangs out on the Yahoo BoardWargaming list as well.
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IrishBouzouki wrote:
The best I have ever been able to do with my meager resources is to research and conjure up a GQ miniatures scenario a while back...

... Just I am hoping for a tactical treatment that is more immersive.

Aside from various miniatures rules sets (which I am happy to hear about if they have support info published for this sort of hypothetical era) ...


I like Fleet Action Imminent, the WW1 version of GQ3 (WW2). I think Old Dominion Game Works, publisher of GQ3, just came out with something on the hypothetical interwar period. I haven't looked at that. But FAI (and probably GQ3) strikes the right balance between detail and ease of play. I like it a lot better than GQ1/GQ2. Have found it to be easy to teach to new players. FAI & GQ3 can be purchased as a download, to save a few bucks, and that allows access to the download library of related files, updates, extra ships, and scenarios for the product. I think the graphics are nice.

Somewhat simpler is Naval Thunder. The WW1 naval forum at The Miniatures Page seems to be split about 40% Naval Thunder, 40% FAI, and 20% other. I haven't looked at Naval Thunder, but different Naval Thunder products cover different parts of the era of big gun ships. It's an inexpensive download.

And Panzerschiffe makes a lot of the interwar period and never completed ships in 1:2400 resin for reasonable prices. I think Viking Forge might have a few of the interwar period ships in 1:2400 metal.
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Avalanche Press's Great War at Sea: Pacific Crossroads is relatively new. It is a good hypotheotical based on US/Japanese conflict in the 20's well prior to the advent of airpower. It is billed as an introduction to the system. I don't have it myself, but its on the acquisition list for sure.
 
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Wilhammer wrote:
IIRC, SPI's Dreadnought has a scenario or two from that "period".


I'll second this. I can't recall if there are "Plan Orange" scenarios in Dreadnought, but since there is a counter for every dreadnought/battleship ever constructed, it shouldn't be too hard to put a scenario together.

That said, my principal frustration with the tactical system in Dreadnought was that it was possible to have to battleships slugging it out practically bilge-to-bilge and not significantly damage each other - the system was pretty simplistic, although it tended to work better for large-scale fleet actions.

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Thanks for all the suggestions. I think a number of these are discussed in the WWI Tactical Naval Combat Comparisons. On the basis of that GeekList and what I have read elsewhere I am not sure that Dreadnought would work out as well as some others. Salvo II might be a better bet but I will have to look into it some more.

I have had Fear God and Dread Nought almost since it came out. And I have played a few convention games with it. I found it excellent for what it is, a very detailed simulation. I had some issues with the plotting and simultaneous movement mechanics that may have their purpose but are just painful. And in general for a fairly large action this may not be the ideal game anyhow. Enough detail is resolved for BB vs BB to actually have an in-between invulnerable range where the gun elevations are too low for a deck hit but the range is too far to penetrate belt armor. Although personally I have never seen that come into play (most of my experience has been in small cruiser actions where this system particularly shines IMO).

The idea of Jutland counters for USS & IJN... now that is pretty interesting, and maybe about the right level of detail too. I will have to visit Old Soldiers Magazine and look into that. That is a great tip-off, thanks. EDIT: Dang... $125 for "All the World's Navies". And honestly the samples do not look that great. Better using my AP counters and those Jutland expansion hit boxes etc. I dunno... for what I would wind up with. Maybe not as great as it seemed at first. Hmmmm.

I really liked playing this kind of game with General Quarters (as stated, enough to try to make this kind of scenario up for it on my own). I have looked into Fleet Action Imminent! General Quarters WWI Rules and if they have something published for the Pacific and the post-WW1 years that would be very suitable. This does not have all the intricasies of FG&DN but I found it to be a good balance of play time and fun without any really irritating mechanics.

Anything like Great War at Sea: Pacific Crossroads even with Great War at Sea: Dreadnoughts is just not going to cut it (for me) for the intent of having a tactical game, as opposed to a tactical system for an operational game where it might serve its purpose.
 
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Line of Battle (first edition) and its remake Line of Battle (second edition) actually also look very good, or at least intriguing, from the very sketchy info I have found. Anyone know more about these? Are they closer to SPI Dreadnought or something more detailed?
 
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