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Great War at Sea: Cruiser Warfare» Forums » General

Subject: Question About the Tactical combat system rss

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(Mr.) Kim Beattie
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I have not played any of the GWAS games. But I succumbed to their siren song and have two titles on order. I've heard some negative remarks about the tactical system (yahtzee at sea was one description) and I'd like to hear some other opinions.

I don't require a fancy tactical "simulation" of naval combat. But I would like the results to be reasonably realistic.

For example, when the Graf Spee squadron ran into the British battle cruisers in the battle of the Falklands, the German ships were out ranged and simply outgunned. Is that kind of result possible or likely in this system? I don't mind rolling dice "to hit" but I don't want a light cruiser going "toe-to-toe" with a Dreadnought to have even a snowball's chance in hell either.

I guess what I'm looking for is a description/review of the tactical combat system used in GWAS.

Thanks in advance!
 
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Ethan McKinney
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"Learn to Play GWAS in Five Minutes!"

http://www.avalanchepress.com/images/GWAS_5min.pdf
 
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Xander Fulton
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The results are more abstract than some like, and they do tend to "take it out" on the system for that reason.

But at the primary scale of the game, the results work great. And, indeed, you aren't going to see ahistorical results. Sturdee's BCs will consistently outrange and outrun Spee's ACs, and the result will be quite what you'd expect. Ditto Troubridge's ACs vs Goeben, or Dogger Bank, Heligoland Bight, etc.

The thing to remember, however, is that the tactical element in these games is scaled to a *component* of the operational game - not "the whole thing". A game like "Seekrieg 5" or "Fear God and Dread Nought" will go into a LOT more detail regarding ship damage - specific turrets, etc are destroyed. Each shell is tracked in those systems. But those systems can afford to - they are merely tactical battles in a vacuum. No consequences. Bloodthirsty fight-until-all-the-ships-are-sunk behavior is rewarded in games such as those.

Not so in GWaS. The "game" in the GWaS is REALLY the campaign game - no question about that. The tactical battles just exist to resolve engagements that the operational game generates...rapidly enough to get back to the operational game with historical/believable results to work from.

A lot of people *do* use alternate tactical systems to resolve the campaign battles...but I've never really seen the point in that. I suppose if you had a couple weekends, that'd be fine, but for us mere mortals...it's not the thing. Both types of games - FG&DN/Seekrieg/etc and the GWaS series - are all aimed on their own at being able to play a modest size game through to completion in a day (8 hrs max). In FG&DN, that gets you a blank map and a couple BCs pounding away at each other until some things sink with EXTREMELY precise and detailed results. With GWaS, that gets you an entire single operational deployment - with the associated dozens of ships a side, and perhaps several tactical battles, coastal bombardments, commerce raiding, and interceptions.

FG&DN/Seekrieg/etc puts you in the role of Fleet Admiral, Commander of the ship, gunnery crew, engine crew, etc...for each ship in your fleet. GWaS makes you the Fleet Admiral...PERIOD. In that context, the abstraction works VERY well...a Fleet Admiral is not going to know, or care, *which* tertiary mount on a light cruiser escorting a fleet is destroyed. Rather, the overall combat effectiveness of the ships is the question.

ANYWAY, I'm rambling. Which scale you prefer will depend on your tastes. It's certainly a great system, lots of plusses - it does have weaknesses, of course...but I think you'll like it overall.
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Jeff Curtis
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Make sure you check out the tactical rules in the GWAS: Dreadnought supplement. The general consensus are these rules are a definite improvement to the original tactical rules.
 
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Tom Oxley
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I've gotten into the GWaS system, at least to start with, as a campaign game generator for minis rules.
 
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Brian Hart
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How did that work out for you? I was thinking of doing the same thing. I personally like the upgraded rules from Dreadnought and think that they allow for faster gameplay especially while playing a campaign= Operational scenario. Which line of minis and scale are you using? How did it work out?
 
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Tom Oxley
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Gads, a bit late getting back on this one...

The guy who plays Fleet Action Imminent with me doesnt do board games anymore, so I still have yet to actually move a game from map sheet to the minis table, but I dont see why it wont work. I use the 1/6000 minis from Figurehead and have the entire German, British, US, Russian and Turkish fleets so far. The minis are cheap enough to do that. Painting isnt too bad, I mostly prime in gray, then have a few different shades of tan for the decks as different nations used different wood and had different methods of keeping the decks clean - England still holystoned the decks, so English decks are nearly an off white. I wrap up with a thinned black wash, heavier for the darker grays, lighter for nations that used lighter gray, but enough to pick out the ship's details. I think I have a chance to do some solo GWaS gaming over the holidays, and will write up minis scenarios based on them, but will likely try the regular and Dreadnought versions of the tactical system. I do like having sorted out the directions that the forces engage each other from on the GWaS tactical map and how to convert that to table top. The big issue is converting range, but that's not too big a hurdle. I took a battle scenario from the Jutland module, The Yanks Are Coming, and converted it easily for our first night combat game in Fleet Action Imminent. Made for a great game. We simplified things a bit, rolling for initial visibility and then just starting the minis game at that range. As both of us rolled the same visibility range band, the game started as normal with both sides able to engage each other. This should work for any period minis rules, and I'd presume the same is true for the SWWaS games as well. I got Cone of Fire recently, and that will allow me a chance to try out the WW2 system.
 
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Brian Hart
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No worries. Life has been distracting me from gaming as well...funny that I say thatshake...anyways. I have been assembling 1/6000 fleets as well. Haven't painted more than a handful of Brits but I plan on using the holidays as well for some gaming. Look forward to your conclusions and BatReps. Thanks for the response.
 
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