Home Forums Air and Sea Naval Which Second World War naval rules do you like most, and why?

Viewing 23 posts - 1 through 23 (of 23 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #156713
    Avatar photoAdmiralHawke
    Participant

    Which Second World War naval surface-action rules do you like most, and why?

    I’m looking for a squadron-level set of naval rules that I can use for wargaming Second World War naval battles with between four and 20 or so ships in total, so actions like the River Plate, 1st & 2nd Narvik, Cape Spada, the cruiser action at Matapan, Denmark Strait, Savo Island, Cape Esperance etc.  Ideally I want a set of rules that works for both the First World War and the Second World War.

    I realize that each of us seeks a different balance of fun and historical plausibility, and different levels of detail. Obviously we also have different scales of miniatures and different amounts of table space.

    There are lots of rules available for this period, including Find, Fix & Strike, General Quarters I & II, General Quarters III, Grand Fleets, Naval Thunder, and Victory at Sea.

    I’m keen to hear which rules other naval wargamers use and what you like, and don’t like, about different rules you’ve tried and why. 🙂

    #156721
    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage
    Participant

    Minden’s Salvo! is quite complex enough for me.

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    #156725
    Avatar photoMcKinstry
    Participant

    I prefer General Quarters both 1 and 3 for WW2. I find GQ1 works very well for large (20+) battles and GQ3 for under 20. Both offer simplicity and relatively minor record keeping with GQ1 a bit more simplified than GA3. The torpedo rules have always been a bit squirrely but I’ve adopted a simplified approach that works for me. I should qualify that both essentially measure the effect of firing over time rather than a shell by shell which I personally detest.

    Battlestations Battlestations is another very simple set from Decision Games that seems to handle even bigger battles quickly but at further simplification.

     

     

    The tree of Life is self pruning.

    #156737
    Avatar photoMartinR
    Participant

    GQ is fine, certainly a lot better than Fletcher Pratt (I’ve played a lot of both), but both suffer from the problem that there is no real incentive to manouvre in squadrons, and movement rates relative to ranges are so small, that any sort of manouvre is a bit pointless as ships blaze away at each from miles away.

    My favourite set are based on De Bellis Navalis by Colin Standish (published in WI 20 years ago), and essentially DBA with battleships. Shorter ranges, long moves and manouvre in groups. I feel like an Admiral not a Captain.  My friend Tim Gow reworked them for the 1930s and 40s as Iron Ships and Wooden Heads, published in the Wargames Developments Journal. I’d have to check my index for the exact issue number.

     

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #156745
    Avatar photodeephorse
    Participant

    I quite like GQ.  I absolutely detest Seekrieg 5.  It feels as though you should be wearing an anorak whilst playing.

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

    #156748
    Avatar photomadman
    Participant

    Thank you for starting this thread. I have a minor interest in WWII naval gaming but primarily in one theatre only. So as a beginner (although long time miniatures and board gamer) which rules would people recommend, and why, to cover the Mediterranean? I assume it would be capable of handling ship vs ship actions, air vs ships, carrier operations and possibly submarine and commando operations. The latter two may be hard to pull off, or not, so I am not sure how well one set of rules would work.

    As an aside I have Supermarina I and II (Command at Sea) and wonder if these would be suitable as both an introduction to the genre as well as covering the theatre. Thank you in advance.

    #156759
    Avatar photoStephen Holmes
    Participant

    I’m a very occasional naval player.

    Mostly GQ1 – which still gets the job done.

     

    Downloaded find Fix and Strike 2 days ago, and am still assimilating the rules.

    There’s a lot to like there with Air and Torpedoes presented in a manageable way for tabletop play.

    The campaign system also looks promising for folks who want to conduct carrier battles.

    #156779
    Avatar photoDM
    Participant

    I use a variety of sets depending on my mood, who I’m playing with, how much time I have and the “scale” of the game.

    For coastal forces games I use Narrow Seas or Action Stations, usually now the former. For “big” convoy games I’m working on a new fast p;ay set that is more abstract in nature but I’m not happy with those yet.

    For battles using decent numbers larger ships I use Find Fix and Strike of GQ 1/2 – I generally don’t have much time to play so these allow a decent sized game to be run in a couple of hours or less. For destroyer actions or battleship actions using 1/600 models I’ve been using a variant of the old Skytrex “Diving Ju88” rules from many years ago. This was the set we used for the 60th anniversary North Cape game on HMS Belfast in 2003

    I will of course declare an interest, being the author of Narrow Sea, Action Stations and Find, Fix and Strike 🙂

    #156785
    Avatar photoMilo Burgh
    Participant

    So nobody uses Command at Sea series?

    #156787
    Avatar photoMcKinstry
    Participant

    I found Command at Sea to be on the very to highly complex end of the scale in naval rules. Not quite the painful rivet counting of Seekreig but still a shell by shell with detailed penetration/location set. I have my doubts that it could handle fleet sized (15+ per side) battles in under 8+/- hours but to be fair, I’ve only played it twice at cons. Both of those convention games had players handling at most two ships per individual and most were somewhat to very unfamiliar with the rules.  Not my cup of tea but it has been around for a while so somebody must still be playing it.

    The tree of Life is self pruning.

    #156894
    Avatar photoSteve Burt
    Participant

    General Quarters 3 hits the sweet spot for me; enough detail to be interesting, but a lot of the complexity is hidden in the gunnery charts, so the game moves along well. I really like the lack of a points system; ships have systems which can be damaged, and they can suffer hull damage and flooding, but no points.

    Naval Thunder is also good, and a bit simpler and faster playing

    #156982
    Avatar photoAdmiralHawke
    Participant

    Wow. Thank you all for all the answers Steve, Stephen M, Stephen H, DM, deephorse, McKinstry, MartinR and Not Connard Sage.

    There are a fair few sets of rules I had not heard of such as Minden’s Salvo!, Battlestations Battlestations, De Bellis Navalis, Iron Ships and Wooden Heads and Command at Sea. I shall look those up. Sometimes I think there are as many sets of naval rules as there are naval gamers. 🙂

    Two or three of you like General Quarters I/II or General Quarters 3. A couple of nominations of Find, Fix & Strike and one for Naval Thunder.

    I’m looking for a game that works well at the level of a Rear-Admiral, commanding a squadron or two, rather than a Vice-Admiral or Admiral commanding a whole fleet or the Captain of a single ship: so Harwood at the River Plate, Holland in the Denmark Straits, Scott at Cape Esperance or Lee off Guadalcanal.

    I deliberately didn’t express a preference of my own because I wanted to hear what others enjoy and why.
    – I’ve tried General Quarters I/II and found that I didn’t get on with it. I found that there was a lot of looking up ranges in awkwardly laid out tables, and quite a lot of maths.
    – I haven’t tried, or bought, General Quarters 3. Perhaps I should. I suspect some of the the things I didn’t like in the earlier game have been fixed in GQ3.
    – I haven’t tried Naval Thunder either. It might suit what I’m looking for.
    – I have played and enjoyed Find, Fix & Strike (and the similar Si Vis Pacem for the Great War). I like the rules and think they work well for larger games, or shorter games. (Thank you David for a great set of rules).
    – I’m currently trying out Grand Fleets, which I also like except for the lack of ship data cards.

    MartinR – you make an interesting point about the challenges of movement rates relative to ranges. It’s true that at long range, the movements of a squadron or a particular ship would only really affect how many guns the ships could bring to bear. But, before accurate radar, that depended on visibility and many Second World War surface actions were fought in poor visibility or at night, bringing ships into close range of each other (such as when the Glowworm rammed the Hipper). So maybe the trick is to avoid perfect visibility? I’m keen to try the actions of Guadalcanal, all of which took place at night.

    Thank you for all the perspectives. 🙂

    #179193
    Avatar photoAdmiralHawke
    Participant

    Thank you all again for all the answers you shared with me.

    In the end I settled on Grand Fleets, with Si Vis Pacem and Find, Fix & Strike for larger or quicker battles.

    Here’s what I like, and don’t like, about Grand Fleets for those of you who are interested or stumble upon this thread in the future: https://www.thewargameswebsite.com/forums/topic/a-review-of-grand-fleets-naval-wargaming-rules/

    #179207
    Avatar photohammurabi70
    Participant

    A very interesting series of posts.

    Can you briefly explain why SVP or FFS for larger or quicker battles in preference to GF?

    [Asks the man with Iron Bottom Sound]
    {https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/189427/iron-bottom-sound-iii}

    www.olivercromwell.org; www.battlefieldstrust.com
    6mm wargames group: [email protected]; 2mm wargames group: [email protected]

    #179236
    Avatar photoEtranger
    Participant

    We use GQ3 or one of Mal Wright’s various rule sets. David’s various coastal forces rules are also good.

    #179258
    Avatar photomadman
    Participant

    We use GQ3 or one of Mal Wright’s various rule sets. David’s various coastal forces rules are also good.

    So I found Mal Wright on BGG has done the Convoy: Deadly Waters series, but the second title Rising Storm is a little harder to find. See the BGG forum for a link. So other than those he is listed for a lot of Harpoon supplements. What else has he done that may not show up on BGG? Thank you in advance.

    #179260
    Avatar photomadman
    Participant

    Since this is back at the top of the list, I have had time to think on what I want to do wrt gaming and I am realizing what I CAN do wrt gaming I would like to put the following condition on my earlier question above.

    As I said my area of interest is WWII in the Med. I have no knowledge of how big typical engagements and groups of ships would be. I assume for convoys they would run from a half dozen to two dozen total ships of all kinds. I also assume in most engagements each side would have about the same size (6 to 24 ships) per side.

    1. Is this accurate and if not what would be a more accurate number?

    2. Which rules would allow a single player to handle this many ships for a scenario?

    3. I assume submarine and air forces would vary greatly but again for a single scenario (if necessary broken up over a session to four) which rules would allow a single player to control effectively this number of forces?

    As a yardstick I played a lot of air games back in the day and could only manage effectively a single plane when gaming with a very detailed rules set. I understand the rules I have, Command at Sea, would probably not be suitable but hope to make use of the included scenarios. Also are there scenario books/packs available for battles in the Med in WWII?

    Thank you.

    #179668
    Avatar photoAdmiralHawke
    Participant

    I have no knowledge of how big typical engagements and groups of ships would be. I assume for convoys they would run from a half dozen to two dozen total ships of all kinds. I also assume in most engagements each side would have about the same size (6 to 24 ships) per side.
    1. Is this accurate and if not what would be a more accurate number?
    2. Which rules would allow a single player to handle this many ships for a scenario?
    3. I assume submarine and air forces would vary greatly but again for a single scenario (if necessary broken up over a session to four) which rules would allow a single player to control effectively this number of forces?
    As a yardstick I played a lot of air games back in the day and could only manage effectively a single plane when gaming with a very detailed rules set. I understand the rules I have, Command at Sea, would probably not be suitable but hope to make use of the included scenarios. Also are there scenario books/packs available for battles in the Med in WWII? Thank you.

    Madman
    Sorry for missing your original question and being slow to answer your revised ones.

    1. Convoys in the Mediterranean were far smaller than the great Atlantic convoys of 40 or 50 ships or even the Arctic convoys of 15 to 30 ships. The typical British Mediterranean convoy was only three or four large modern merchant ships, running from Gibraltar or Alexandria to Malta. The Excess convoy of January 1941 comprised four ships; the Tiger convoy of May 1941 comprised five ships; the Harpoon convoy of June 1942 comprised six ships. The largest I can think of was the Pedestal convoy of August 1942 which comprised 14 ships, but the Admiralty was anticipating that some of those wouldn’t get through. The Italian convoys running from Italy across to North Africa were similarly small: the April 1941 convoy intercepted by the 14th Destroyer Flotilla was five ships; the November 1941 ‘Duisberg’ convoy intercepted by Force K was seven ships.
    2. A convoy is relatively easy to handle in a game, as the merchant ships usually stay in convoy and don’t do much. It’s the number of warships that can quickly drive up complexity, particularly once they start firing torpedoes. I think a set of rules like Find, Fix & Strike might be what you are looking for.
    3. I would try Find, Fix & Strike. I don’t know whether you can read French, but this club in Brest frequently plays fairly complex Second World War Mediterranean battles involving both ships and aircraft using Naval Thunder: https://jhp29.blogspot.com/search/label/1%2F3000?. See their Operation Grog, Gaudo and Punta Stilo reports. I have not yet tried Naval Thunder.
    4. I don’t know of a good source of Mediterranean scenarios as I tend to just write my own. I imagine someone else here can point you in a good direction. Find, Fix & Strike has a free Genoa scenario on Wargame Vault here: https://www.wargamevault.com/product/340783/FFS-Campaign-Pack-1–Genoa-1941?.

    I hope that helps. 🙂

    #179670
    Avatar photomadman
    Participant

    Thank you admiral.

    I have FF&S but no opponents. I hate playing 2 player games solo so will keep looking for someone to game with. Maybe next year someone is running it at a con and I can give it a go. I will see if I can set up a simple scenario to play against myself. Thank you.

    #187639

    Apologies – late to the party on this one, and most likely NOT what the original poster was looking for, but keen to put the word out for what I think is a fun ruleset.

    As very much an “amateur” (and definitely not a talented one) in the field of naval wargaming – and then strictly limited to coastal warfare – I was reluctant to reply to this, until I noticed that the inestimable David Manley had chipped in on that front.  Now compared to him, I am seriously out of my depth (see what I did there?), but wanted to put in a vote for the Coastal Patrol rules from the Too Fat Lardies stables*.  They are very much a “beer-and-pretzels” rule set – if you want full-blown accuracy, the Manley sets are definitely the ones to choose, for this genre of game – but for a fun evening with a plausible result, CP does it for me.  I use the Cruel Seas 1:300 range of vessels from Skytrex (previously Warlord) and, apart from a Hunt Class destroyer, I try not to go bigger than R-boats and the like, in order to avoid the “punch-up in a crowded marina” look.  Incidentally, everyone I know who has tried Coastal Patrol and Cruel Seas prefers the former, as easier to play and generally “more fun”.

    [* Published in the Too Fat Lardies 2011 Summer Special available from the shop on their website; there are also supporting “data” web pages for all sorts of vessels etc.]

    No plan survives the first contact with the dice.

    #187644
    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage
    Participant

    And now there is Nimitz.

    Definitely at the lower end of the complexity scale, which is why I like it 😉

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    #187652
    Avatar photoMike Headden
    Participant

    I really like Nimitz too and for the same reason, NCS.

    It is what I tend to think of as a “right result for all the wrong reasons” set of rules. Counter-intuitive rules that give a good game and a believable result.

    There are 100 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who can work from incomplete data

    #187686
    Avatar photohammurabi70
    Participant

    NIMITZ is our go-to rules at the moment, although the main game-play is through HALSEY.

    A satisfactory game in an evening, although it can be readily done without miniatures by using counters only.

    www.olivercromwell.org; www.battlefieldstrust.com
    6mm wargames group: [email protected]; 2mm wargames group: [email protected]

Viewing 23 posts - 1 through 23 (of 23 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.