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Subject: Starter Naval Warfare game that has optional complexity. rss

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Matthew Barber
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I am quite new to Wargames and have been thinking about investing into a naval wargame. I play with a group who had varied interests and expertise in games so I was interested in a game that can be played with a simple starter set of rules, and can then be made more in depth for games after we have some experience, or when playing with the more interested players.

I am mostly interested in Napoleonic/Nelsonian era warfare but would gladly consider WWI/WWII or any period if its a better fit for what I need simplicity-wise.

Pirates would be ok, too! arrrh
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Flying Colors

Tactical - ship on ship naval action.

1805: Sea of Glory

Operational - the campaign that historically resulted in Trafalgar.

both in print.
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Joe Moles
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For Age of Sail I've heard good things about Flying Colors. Tactical level game, but fairly low complexity and there are several expansions to add more scenarios and ships.

Edit: Beat me to itarrrh
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Kyle Seely
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Tentatively scheduled for 1st Quarter 2013 are Rebel Raiders on the High Seas and Iron and Oak. Rebel Raiders looks to be strategic level ACW era, with a point-to-point map. Iron & Oak is tactical ACW, with an optional campaign. Both look very interesting.
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Matthew Barber
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Thank you for the recommendations! I think Flying Colors may be the right choice for me. Iron and Oak looks very interesting, and as a resident of the Hampton Roads area the chance to recreate the Monitor v. Merrimack is very appealing!
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thatsmybarber wrote:
Thank you for the recommendations! I think Flying Colors may be the right choice for me. Iron and Oak looks very interesting, and as a resident of the Hampton Roads area the chance to recreate the Monitor v. Merrimack is very appealing!


Be sure to do the Battle of the Chesapeake in Flying Colors.
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Warren Bruhn
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thatsmybarber wrote:


I am mostly interested in Napoleonic/Nelsonian era warfare but would gladly consider WWI/WWII or any period if its a better fit for what I need simplicity-wise.

Pirates would be ok, too! arrrh


Matthew, if some in your group are more into steam power, they might want to check out the lines of games from Avalanche Press Ltd.. If you look at the page on BGG for that company, you'll see 18 pages of games listed. Many are in the series Great War at Sea and the series Second World War at Sea. The Great War at Sea mechanics have been stretched back in time to the American Civil War and ironclad conflicts in Europe in the 1860's, along with the Spanish-American and Russo-Japanese Wars.

Many hypothetical naval conflicts are included in the series, especially for the period between WW1 and WW2. It's supposed to be fairly simple, focussing on the operational moves, with a fast easy tactical system. Probably meets your requirements for a simple fast game for beginner and intermediate wargamers. More complexity can be added later if desired. Some naval wargamers use the Avalanche operational games but play out the tactical encounters using more complex naval miniatures rules.

For pirates I enjoy a "thematic game" called Merchants & Marauders.
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Paul Amala
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If you are willing to try your hand a minitures, Seekrieg (Fourth Edition) is available for free (the newer 5th addition is also available, but not free).

http://www.seekrieg.com/Seekrieg4DownloadPage1.htm

The rules (esp. the gunfire/damage rules) have several levels of complexity. The game is lots of fun. I use the simpler rules for big engagements, and the most complex system when only a few ships are involve - like The Battle Of River Platt.

[edit for typo]
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Enrico Viglino
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Trireme has two games - and one could mix and match
rules to achieve a desired level of complexity, as they are compatible
other than the advanced game using plotted movement (instead of I-go-you-go).

Bismarck's later editions include more complex versions.
IIRC, there are three different levels, going from something close
to the 'classic' up to a very detailed game.
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Jeff Perrella
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+1 for Flying Colors, I absolutely love this game!

I think it strikes the perfect balance between abstraction and complexity. Your decisions are important but you won't get bogged down in uneccesary detail.

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Charles Stampley
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Flying Colors is what you are looking for. They even have an expansion on pre-order featuring the Russian Navy fighting the Swedes in the Baltic and Turks in the Black Sea. There are several small scenarios you can play to learn the system before jumping into something like Trafalgar.
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Wooden Ships & Iron Men is a classic - but still great - age of sail naval combat game.
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Nigel Twine
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joedogboy wrote:
Wooden Ships & Iron Men is a classic - but still great - age of sail naval combat game.


This is the route I went: I started on youplayit.com with their simplistic WS&IM getting used to movement and tactics for a month or so. Then I read the rules for WS&IM (which are available here on BGG). Then I bought the game and haven`t looked back.

There is a very good series of articles from General Magazine commenting on many aspects of the game. My favourite is one the translates many of the events in Alexander Kent`s, "Bolitho" novels into scenarios. Very much a case of, "You`ve read the book - now play the game!"
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Jeremy Fridy
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joedogboy wrote:
Wooden Ships & Iron Men is a classic - but still great - age of sail naval combat game.


It's pretty much the classic standard for age of sail. I haven't tried newer ones.

For WWI and WWII the old classics are Jutland and Bismark. They are more miniatures games than hex games though.

I also throw you this one. Starmada: The Admiralty Edition Hear me out. The rules are simple, about 10 pages, with many more pages of options to fit settings as you need them (Such as "naval movement instead of the most inertia driven space movement".) But they made this as well... Starmada: Dreadnoughts which statblocks the WWI era forces so you don't need to make them yourself. The game also features an easy to use excel sheet to build your own vessels and print out the completed forms.
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Enrico Viglino
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Freitag wrote:
joedogboy wrote:
Wooden Ships & Iron Men is a classic - but still great - age of sail naval combat game.


It's pretty much the classic standard for age of sail. I haven't tried newer ones.


Fighting Sail: Sea Combat in the Age of Canvas and Shot 1775-1815 absolutely blows it away, IMO. It achieves the
same effective detail with a lot less trouble (no written plot -
chits instead, for example). The problem is that there aren't many
scenarios for it.
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Warren Bruhn
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calandale wrote:
Freitag wrote:
joedogboy wrote:
Wooden Ships & Iron Men...



Fighting Sail: Sea Combat in the Age of Canvas and Shot 1775-1815 absolutely blows it away, IMO. It achieves the
same effective detail with a lot less trouble (no written plot -
chits instead, for example). The problem is that there aren't many
scenarios for it.


Need scenarios? Try to find copies of Sapherson & Lenton's "Navy Lists from the Age of Sail" in eight small volumes covering 1740 through 1815. Lots of historical battles are included. But, more importantly, whole navies are listed, so you can run operations based on the lists, or pull out ships whose names you like to put together battles. I love these books. Might be able to find these from Caliver in the UK or from OnMilitaryMatters.com in the USA.
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Nigel Twine
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Warren Bruhn wrote:
Need scenarios? Try to find copies of Sapherson & Lenton's "Navy Lists from the Age of Sail" in eight small volumes covering 1740 through 1815. Lots of historical battles are included. But, more importantly, whole navies are listed, so you can run operations based on the lists, or pull out ships whose names you like to put together battles. I love these books. Might be able to find these from Caliver in the UK or from OnMilitaryMatters.com in the USA.


Many thanks, Warren! Caliver/Partizan is awesome. Once the Christmas expenses are past I`ll be spending a fortune there
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Enrico Viglino
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Warren Bruhn wrote:
calandale wrote:
Freitag wrote:
joedogboy wrote:
Wooden Ships & Iron Men...



Fighting Sail: Sea Combat in the Age of Canvas and Shot 1775-1815 absolutely blows it away, IMO. It achieves the
same effective detail with a lot less trouble (no written plot -
chits instead, for example). The problem is that there aren't many
scenarios for it.


Need scenarios? Try to find copies of Sapherson & Lenton's "Navy Lists from the Age of Sail" in eight small volumes covering 1740 through 1815. Lots of historical battles are included. But, more importantly, whole navies are listed, so you can run operations based on the lists, or pull out ships whose names you like to put together battles. I love these books. Might be able to find these from Caliver in the UK or from OnMilitaryMatters.com in the USA.


True enough - I can also pull stuff from other games.
Requires translating the ships to the game's design though,
which I don't find trivial.
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Matthew Barber
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Once again, thank you for the reccommendations! All these helpful suggestions is almost giving me analysis paralysis!
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Warren Bruhn
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thatsmybarber wrote:
Once again, thank you for the reccommendations! All these helpful suggestions is almost giving me analysis paralysis!


Talk it over with the guys in your gaming group and see where they'd like to start. Maybe one of you could buy a sailing era game, and another player could buy a steam era game.
 
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Bob Titran
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AH's Submarine, WS&IM, and the Smithsonian games Midway and Guadalcanal all fit your "starter + optional complexity" criteria. They're all enjoyable games, too, IMO.
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Barry Kendall
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I'd suggest "Seastrike." It's set in the '60s-'90s era and the ships are generic representations of types from small frigates to a missile cruiser. Fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft are also included, as are submarines. Several different weapon types, from guns to surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, are represented, and can be enhanced by "spending" additional "funding" to extend range, etc.

Each ship type has a "price" (in '60s values, though the relative values are consistent even considering inflation) and players begin with a "naval defense budget" from which they can "build" a fleet.

The system is almost ridiculously easy to play but great fun, with lots of interesting decisions to make, and the game was ahead of its time in resolving all sorts of things with the special card deck included.

If you can find this game, I think you'll be pleased.
 
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