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Back from holiday, so can now get back to work on this. Aiming for a full playtest sunday after next (our next Wargame Club day), so will need to have the rules cleaned up and functional by then.
The Helicopter damage section is complete, as you can see below I tried to have minimal tracking, but a helicopter roster sheet will probably still be used, or some markers. I will also give helicopters the ability to call in and adjust artillery, as they did in real life.
Today I typed up the FOG & IFR section, which will make it harder to call in helicopters unless its an emergency (such as Recon needing extraction or Priority Medevacs in a regular platoon), and there is a chance that any helicopters flying (such as airborne insertions) could run into trouble and get lost or even crash.
Over the next week I will need to do a few things to make sure the rule set it ready for playtesting:
- Choose which elements of the game will be running for the playtest – will civilians be included, hidden movement?
- Tidy up and proof-read the sections that will be running
- Get Helicopter roster sheets and any extra markers needed, such as the Mortar Zeroed in Markers
Choosing what to include in the first large scale playtest is going to be the hardest part – the hidden movement really needs to be included, so I’ll need to carefully look at that section and probably re-type a lot of it scratch to get more clarity and ease of play.
Things like Civilians and hidden movement will both add a lot to the feel of the game, so if I’m feeling confident that they won’t overwhelm the VC player (who tends to wait in ambush for the first few turns of the game), then I will have them running in this playtest.
All the support options will certainly be available to the US player, so I will need to finish off the artillery section (rules for smoke and Time Over Target strikes).
I also have some VC AA guns to paint, which I should easily be able to get done by next sunday
Army lists will also need to be finished off, with any elements not being tested removed. I will also need to print the whole ruleset (in B&W, although with a color cover to show off).
So definitely a lot to do!
Finished of the Chinooks and Loaches, ready for the table:
Over the next few days I’ll be testing out AA fire and helicopters dealing with AA and ground threats – so detection and engaging, and see what the balance is like.
I’ll be trying out small arms, RPGs, larger caliber and Radar-Guided AA fire, and working out how I’m going to handle the 12.7mm / .50 cal, 23mm and 37mm AA weaponry of the VC / NVA
Some photos from today’s playtest – did a single US platoon dropping into an LZ, with the VC at the treeline. Fleshed out a lot of rules, things like disembarking / embarking, touch-and-go landings, detection, etc. Its always surprising just how many things you discover and alter during the first few playtests of rules.
Slicks inbound to the LZ, haven’t yet detected the VC in the treeline, while the VC certainly know they’re coming – they’re just waiting for the right time to strike
The Slicks touch and go, detecting VC in the treeline and opening fire with the left-hand M60s, suppressing the VC. The US troops dismount, considered to be disordered while first dismounting
The VC open fire on the disordered US troops, as they hit the ground. The slicks lift off, heading out. (These tracer markers are subject to change…)
The US open fire on the VC while the VC decide to aim at the slicks, attempting to get some lucky damage with their small arms fire, which forces a slick to RTB (“Its Too Hot!”), and kills the Door gunner in another, also causing that slick to RTB.
That’s about as far as I took the playtest, as it was mostly a proof of concept on the helicopter rules and how insertions worked. Typed up a lot of things and clarified a few others, so the Helicopter section is looking a lot more healthy now. I decided I will have a helicopter roster sheet where damage can be tracked (and troops aboard placed), to prevent too many markers on the table.
Finished listening to “Silent Heroes: A Recon Marine’s Vietnam War Experience” (would recommend, although the narrator isn’t quite as good as some of the other audiobooks), and downloaded “Taking Fire: The True Story of a Decorated Chopper Pilot” for listening to while I paint & build miniatures. Started painting the CH-47s and Loaches today.
Rules-wise over the past few days I’ve been looking at the helicopter rules, typing up a few things like damage tables, and today I’m hoping to attempt an air insertion of troops into a hot LZ to see how the heli rules hold up. Should be interesting…
The Helicopter rules currently look this this, although I’m still filling a few things in, and they’re likely far from finished:
Latest progress – I’ve been typing up the vehicle rules, and getting ideas for mishaps for helicopters (as I read through “Undaunted Valor: An Assault Helicopter Unit in Vietnam”). Built 2 Loach helicopters today, and will paint them up over the next few days.
Finished off 10 or so more bases of US infantry, including some recon teams.
To do miniatures-wise: Build 2 Chinooks, and base/paint some VC heavy AA guns (~23mm)
I’m now officially on holiday until late January (last 2 weeks have been busy, as I’m sure everyone is), so will have lots of time to type up rules and start doing some more serious playtesting over the next month.
Big and Small: Finished Loaches and CH-47 Chinooks, as well as the 2 finished Recon teams
Whipped up a .gif showing how the hidden movement system will work:
The plan is to have upturned boxes all over the table (we use the bottom inch of a paper cup, turned over and painted a soil color) – these “Terrain Points” can have hidden units move between them, and reveal themselves up to a certain distance from the terrain point they’re currently at.
They would also have the opportunity of detecting and attacking enemy units while hidden (like Hind & Seek’s firing from hidden positions)
Units on the table could then go from being revealed back to the terrain point, melting back into the jungle.
When a unit moves from Point to Point, they will need to make a skill check, and if this is failed, an “Enemy Movement” marker is placed at the point they just left.
That’s the first layer of the hidden movement mechanic – should allow for true hidden movement without umpire or off-table tracking. The terrain points will be rather small, only larger enough to accommodate a few bases of infantry – which would only be the HQ unit of a platoon, with the rest of the platoon being deployed once the unit is revealed. Its likely the VC will mostly make use of these Terrain Points, but some missions will have both players deploying hidden like this and attempting to stalk each other.
The second layer of the hidden movement is that under each Terrain Point is a piece of cardboard with “?” on it. The underside of each ? sign is blank, but the US has the opportunity to deploy recon teams (which would have blinds with the same “?” on the back), so they could keep an eye on what’s passing through the terrain point they’re watching, and even move between terrain points (although if they botch their movement, they too will leave an “enemy movement” marker, and the VC might start searching nearby, rolling to be able to flip the “?” blinds over…).
There will need to be better definition as to where the NVA/VC need to drag their buddies to, a stop point for them, otherwise it could be assumed table edge which could be a heck of a long way in 6mm.
My plan is to only give the US a body count if VC casualties are left behind, otherwise its assumed they get them out safely and melt back into the terrain when the game ends.
I’ve got to fight you on this! One of the joys of using helicopters at this scale is the shear variety of loadouts.
Because the focus of this game is the infantry platoon, I don’t plan on letting players choose any specific support helicopters as part of their army list – they can choose heliborne infantry which may have accompanying gunships, but beyond that helicopters will have to be called in on the fly – at which time they will be randomized in a way where players will have a few options depending on their available miniatures (which is why I have cobras and Huey gunships armed the same). That’s my plan at the moment, will see how it goes in playtesting.
Also, other helos to not forget: the H-34, CH-46, and OH-13 (used a lot more than the OH-6, and for longer, it too had an m-60 on the right).
Cheers, the H-34, and other larger transport helis will be lumped together into the “heavy transport” helicopters, the same as the CH-46 shown above – allows players to use a few different miniatures to represent the same kind of thing. I’d prefer to have just a few different types of generic helicopters represented in this game, keeping player reference overhead down. Allows the focus to remain on infantry with helicopters purely acting in support.
I have quite an extensive Nam library, if you can pass me a topic I can make some good reading recommendations if you like.
Thanks for the offer!
why are the rocket arc for AH-1 and OH-6 different? Is it jsut for simplicity?
Good spotting, ideally they should be the same, it would mean overlapping lines of sight with the Loach’s side M60 though – might be better for simplicity to keep it as is. I was kind of thinking of the loach having to be super accurate with the marker smoke, while the gunships can lay down area fire and still have good effect
Got a few things done over the past few days – I have some ideas about when mishaps should happen to units (When they roll double 1s to activate) as well as ideas on when to use smoke for air strikes / medevacs, and to have some more randomness in when danger close air strikes will be allowed, and when they would be denied.
Finished off some Vietnamese huts and lean-tos:
Now that I’m pretty happy with the infantry rules (although they will continue to be refined during playtesting), I can start working on the helicopter and vehicle rules in earnest. Did some example images of helicopter lines of sight for weapons today:
OH-6 Cayuse / Loach:
CH-46 (would also double for Chinook):
Potentially still the Kiowa to do, not 100% sure if I will include it in the game.
I’ve had to make calls on the armament and loadout of helicopters, as shown in the images above. I won’t let players loadout their helicopters, preferring to keep them generic (and they will be somewhat randomized in game when calling in support). Having the Huey gunship and the AH-1 with the same armament suits nicely, as having only certain miniatures available won’t limit the kind of gunships a player can deploy. The idea is to allow players flexibility with the miniatures they have.
Books-wise I finished “Vietnam: The Good Times, The Bad Times” (highly recommend) and the audiobook “Nam-Sense: Surviving Vietnam with the 101st Airborne” (very amusing and interesting – 10/10 narrator), and started the Audiobook “Silent Heroes: A Recon Marine’s Vietnam War Experience”, looking at a recon squad. Learning a lot about how recon operate and their capabilities with regards to calling in Aerial Observers to check suspicious activity.
Watched some interviews with Loach pilots too, which is where I got the idea for the right-mounted M60 (the crew chief hanging out the right side on a sling). Loaches will be able to fly low and slow, detecting enemies easier, and able to mark targets for gunships.
Thanks for your ideas and feedback Darkest Star – definitely agree with you on all these points 🙂
This can be tricky as NVA doctrine and practice was to focus as much as possible on knocking out FWF MGs as well as RTOs, as most often it was the these 2 doing the real damage and suppression.
The players will still have the option to knock out MGs and other heavy weapons first, and I will likely have rules for separate heavy weapon teams eventually as well. As for targeting RTOs – could be an interesting idea, and I definitely read about this happening quite often (I recall a place called “Antenna Valley” where RTOs would always be sniped…)
Something else I think you might want to look at: how casualties are processed.
This was one of the core concepts I wanted to emulate in the game – Casualty recovery and its importance. Casualties are tracked as 3 types – KIA, Severely Wounded (bad enough that they can’t walk and could become KIA at the end of any turn), and Lightly Wounded (Walking Wounded)
Victory points will be largely based on unrecovered casualties – anyone left behind would give major victory points to the enemy. So the VC will always attempt to drag away their casualties, while the US must medevac them. Having Severe Casualties potentially degrading into KIA will put some time pressure on this too
This is the current casualty evacuation rules:
My plan is that the US will not gain victory points for VC KIA that are recovered by the VC (damn, I know we killed a few of them, but all we see is blood trails out there…) – needing actual bodies for the body count. While the VC will still get victory points for US KIA, even if they are recovered. This shows how many casualties the VC/NVA are able to sustain without losing morale about the war as a whole, while each US KIA degrades the support for the war at home.
Had an excellent playtest the other day, I seem to have solved the heavy weapons issue – the solution was to always have heavy weapons supporting a squad – so their firepower is added in after the squad succeeds an attack roll, rather than treating them as separate units. The actual bases of heavy weapons just show that the squad is supported by those weapons, and don’t actually count for line of sight or movement.
Of course some heavy weapons will be able to be deployed separately – VC MG nests for example, and I will probably introduce rules for “splitting off” weapons teams to function on their own later, but for now this allows me to move forwards with the rest of the ruleset.
Part of the playtest in action – a US platoon searching a village comes under a heavy crossfire from 2 VC platoons in the treelines.
I used the Task Difficulty system from the post above, which seemed to work nicely, especially for detection. The detection rules in particular are shaping up nicely – when a detection roll is failed, a marker is placed on that unit and they remain undetected until they move or shoot – allows for ambushes to be as effective as they were in real life, and means if you’re moving about in the open, the enemy has more chances to detect you.
The suppression and disorder systems are working well, but the casualty system required some tweaking – the platoon was lasting too long without any bases being removed. The US platoon in the playtest took 25 casualties (8 or so KIA, a bunch of lightly wounded and 2 serious, one of which later died) and only removed a single M60 base. My solution was to make the “Scatter Test” (when a base is actually removed after taking casualties) ((I’m still trying to find a better name for this test)) scale in difficulty depending on how many casualties have been taken.
So a unit with few casualties will be able to function normally, but the effectiveness will be cut back as it takes more and more casualties.
This number will depend if the unit taking the test is a platoon or an isolated squad / team.
The Task Difficulty page now looks like this:
I also did a re-shuffle of the rule book, putting all the Terrain Point rules at the end, as I’m not using them in these early stages. This made things much more manageable, and I didn’t have to scroll past a bunch of rules I’m not using to read or work on what I need. Ergonomics is important in these early stages, to get a good grips on what rules you’re actually working with and how well they are working.
Another issue I tweaked was the damage table – HE did far too much damage, with 1 RPG killing multiple people and wounding others. I scaled it back based on the accounts I’ve read – from what I remember it was mostly 1 person killed max from an RPG, with a few lightly or seriously wounded in the worst case. Units would usually be spread out enough that a single RPG explosion wasn’t going to cause multiple fatalities as well as multiple others wounded. I tweaked the Heavy Ordnance table too in this manner.
Good spotting Darkest Star, I definitely intend to only use one system, probably the bottom system with the difficulty being altered, rather than adding any dice modifiers 🙂
I’ll see how it goes in playtesting, the latter system was feeling very good yesterday when I was doing a test
The carved Polystyrene village roofs:
The finished village and all the VC I’ve done so far – should be pretty much everything I need. Also the Civilians are present
Rules-wise its time to do some serious playtesting, examining the way platoons work. I have also had an idea about a sliding task system, where all tasks start at “Average” difficulty, then modifiers based alter the difficulty based on what’s happening. This would allow a variety of tasks to be done by a variety of different skill levels (or under a variety of different conditions such as suppression) and keep things managable:
A few more US units completed last week, which I haven’t posted yet. These are the US forces so far:
Rules-wise I have done a lot of thinking about this over the past few days, and it seems the cleanest option for going forward with regards to heavy weapons teams is to have them organic within each squad. Heavy Weapons Team miniatures will be used in support of each squad (adding firepower), but will have no physical existence on the table with regards to line of sight – the miniatures can simply show that the squad is supported by the said heavy weapons. They can still be chosen as casualties by enemy fire, giving the option of neutralizing heavy weapons inside a squad.
Individual heavy weapon teams will of course still exist, especially on the VC side as they require LMG and HMG teams to be able to stay behind on ambush and suchlike.
I may introduce the ability to separate weapon teams later on for the US as well, although from what I’ve read they didn’t really operate on their own.
I will need to test the specifics of how this will work – when does a heavy weapon team count as supporting a squad (within 1″, or within base contact?),and what happens if multiple heavy weapon teams are nearby multiple squads? can they choose to support one or the other (likely yes) and how will I show that they have already supported a squad (by using “Tracer” markers).
The idea of using “Tracer” markers I think will be useful for showing who has fired, as well as adding a nice effect on the tabletop. It will also be vital for night, as tracers and muzzle flashes will give away your position – meaning no one wants to fire first…
Another think I’ve been thinking about is just having all the troops at “average” skill, with only recon units treated as elite – this sill simplify things and is somewhat realistic especially on the US side, as you always had green guys mixed in with salts. In line with this I thought about having some task difficulties representing a more granular detection system, as follows:
I have also started building some Vietnamese village huts, just using cardboard. The thatched roofs will be made from polystyrene, carved into shape, rather than using cardboard which would be a bit fiddly to make all the angled sections (and the roofs tended to be pretty messy).
Hi Stephen, figures are based singularly, but generally operate in squads unless they’re heavy weapon teams or a lone sniper. Attacks are made from squad to squad, by rolling individually for each figure.
The numbers in the game depend on what kind of miniatures you have available – the forces are randomly generated, but if you don’t have the required miniature you just skip the result and draw again until you get a result that you have a miniature for. Our games had about 20 – 30 infantry on each side, and 5 or so vehicles on the Russian side.
Reinforcements are pretty uncommon – probably only ever 1 in a game, and not all that likely, but could number from 1 to 10 men or 1 to 3 vehicles.
Hope that helps!
Had a somewhat disheartening playtest this week, although this is sometimes the case with new rules – can’t expect games to run perfectly straight away! Pitting a US platoon against 3 VC platoons, with the US objective to search a town. Not using any fog of war rules, just infantry on the table from the start:
I immediately encountered the problem that having individual weapon teams created a lot of clutter, and this will need to be streamlined or fixed in some way. I ended up removing the heavy weapon teams before the game even started… The whole organization of how heavy weapon teams relate to the squad might be best handled with heavy weapons always being organic within the squad, but able to be exported as individual teams when desired – how to track this without paperwork will be an interesting design challenge though. The playtest didn’t progress beyond 7 or so turns and there was no real result.
Its definitely worth spending time on these basic mechanics to get them right before adding in the more “Vietnam” aspects such as helicopters and civilians.
On the plus side, the spotting, activation, suppression and casualty rules are working very nicely, tracking KIA and wounded feels good and gives the game some emotional punch, instead of just placing a “heavy casualties” marker and calling it a day.
Suppression in particular feels very good, and after reading This interesting article on infantry combat, I feel like I’m representing the “everyone is suppressed all the time” fairly well – those who fight off being suppressed become vital maneuver elements to cause the suppression to swing the other way.
So not everything is bad, and I certainly have my work cut out for me, but I think its worth spending this extra time and thought to make the basic infantry mechanics feel excellent and engaging before adding in any fog of war, vehicles, etc. If the platoon to platoon combat on its own feels great, then everything else will take the game from “great” to “excellent”.
Thinking about the issues with Weapon Teams over the last few days has yielded results, I noted down my ideas in a text file (“Unit” being a single base of infantry or Weapon Team):
This will allow Weapon Teams to be more fragile than squads when isolated, and also allow players to target Weapon Teams specifically if they want to take them out before Squads.
Also added in the ideas above is an idea that will restrict detection – if a unit fails to detect another, that unit is considered to be “Undetected” until it moves or attacks. This prevents multiple attempts to detect a unit, although playtesting will decide if this is a good idea or not, and there will likely be some exceptions or caveats to this rule, such as being able to roll again for detection if you come within 6″ of the Undetected unit.
I also need to get my Lexicon straight, as I’m not using “Undetected” to mean a unit that is exempt from detection rolls, as well as the word being used for units that are under the Terrain Point Covers (upturned boxes / cups on the table used for hidden movement). I will need to rename the latter, finding a word that represents a unit that is not actively hiding, but is considered to be hidden from the enemy via fog of war.
The Force Lists are taking shape, with limits being imposed based on how many platoons a player has taken:
I’ve also made a decision to only reflect the VC aspect of the North Vietnamese, rather than letting players choose between NVA and VC. VC will allow the player to use Booby Traps, and will prevent vehicles like the PT-76 being taken, making the game feel much more like the Vietnam War most of us are used to in the media. Allowing the game to focus on US patrols and company operations against VC with booby traps and ambushes will be the experience I think most players will be looking for – allowing for lots of friction and fog of war in an asymmetrical setting, rather than full-out conventional war of the NVA with tanks and good artillery support.
Granted that NVA did take place in many asymmetrical actions, I believe it to be simpler to just focus on the VC – also allow me to provide printed unit nametags for players, and only build one type of army (talking about miniatures here), rather than building an entire NVA army with correct unit nametags.
Also typed up some of the Helicopter damage rules today, as well as cleaning up a few other aspects of the rules, getting ready for playtests. Added some Heavy Casualties and “Undetected” markers, and printed out and cut out the game markers for play.
Last few weeks have seen more miniatures completed – a bunch of VC squads, as well as some US and VC heavy weapons in the works.
Rules-wise I have typed up the Air Support rules, and expanded on the Helicopter rules a little as well – both are pretty much ready for playtesting.
I also migrated the content of the playtest document into the aesthetic test / layout document, altering the headings and fonts to fit the aesthetic. This will help me plan the document better as I go, and things like making new tables can be done so that I don’t get any surprises if I was to leave this migration to the last minute. I deleted most of the content in the aesthetic / layout document, although I left the introduction, and incorporated some of the text from the Platoon organization section.
This is what it looks like so far:
From this point on I will be working in this document, although I won’t worry about final layouts until the rules are completely typed up and well playtested. I will add photos as the very last thing, as a way to take up empty space once the document is completed.
My next step is to do some playtesting – I’ve written enough rules that I have a lot of playtesting ahead to see if these rules work, how balanced they are, what still needs to be clarified, and so on. My first focus will be to playtest just platoons and heavy weapons, with the US having their usual support (Artillery, Medecavs, Air Support). I’ll be looking carefully at how heavy weapons function in tandem with the squads of the platoon, and how powerful US support is. I will also start playtesting on my proper gaming mat, which has a lot of jungle sections, so terrain and line of sight will be a big part of the testing.
Before I can do this, I need to write up the Forces Lists that each player will build their Company from – choosing the wording of how players will purchase platoons, additional heavy weapons (either separate or organic within each squad), and things like booby traps or helicopter air lifts. You can see my very quick start of this at the end of the document above – it will likely evolve as I go, and probably end up in a table a la Hind & Seek.
As I was writing up the US Forces, I realized that heavy weapons at this stage are just as strong as a Squad, while potentially having better firepower, so I will need to rectify this by making a weapon team functioning separately much weaker than an average squad. How I will do this I’m not sure, but its something I will think about over the next week or so, looking for a simple and effective solution.
Another part of gearing up for playtests is going the Game Markers, which I did the sheet for today:
Glad you guys are enjoying 🙂
I’m still reading through “Vietnam: The Good Times, The Bad Times” and its one of the more exciting, interesting, and sometimes hilarious first hand accounts I’ve read so far. I finished listening to the Air Cav Huey pilot audiobook while painting, and began listening to “Nam-Sense: Surviving Vietnam with the 101st Airborne” which is an interesting account of a “Shake n Bake” NCO – also very illuminating and often hilarious.
More miniatures completed over the past week – US Heavy Weapons and armor:
VC Heavy Weapons:
Rules-wise I’ve typed up the rules for Terrain Points, expanding on the idea of using upturned cups / boxes on the table, which will allow hidden deployment and movement.
The Terrain Points function in 2 layers – Undetected units which aren’t actively hiding or waiting in ambush, and units actually waiting in ambush. This allows for units to hide and observe enemy movement. All platoons and small units like recon teams have a “Unit Blind” counter which contains their name on one side, and a “?” on the other. Every Terrain Point has a dummy Unit Blind with the “?” side facing up at the start of the game, after which this dummy blind can be replaced with a hidden Unit Blind, still with the “?” side facing up (so you won’t know if a unit is hiding at a Terrain Point or not). Hidden units will remain hidden until a player initiates an ambush, or attempts to move between Terrain Points, which could lead to detection depending on the moving unit’s skill.
I made some Terrain Points by cutting the bottom inch off of heavy paper cups, and painting them a soil color. On top of these a Terrain Point marker with a name on it can be placed, allowing some modularity.
I typed out how Platoon cohesion will work, rules for Heavy Weapon Teams (can function as separate bases, or organic heavy weapons inside each squad), and what happens when a unit is separated from its Platoon.
Helicopter rules also drafted up, as well as some of the Helicopter weapon systems statted out.
My playtest document currently looks like this:
Next plan is to do some small play-tests with heavy weapons, to see how they function with the platoon. I have some more VC platoons and heavy weapons to paint, and some Unit Blinds to make (although these are mostly done).
I need to think a bit more about the Terrain Point system, and what happens when a unit tries to hide at a Terrain Point where there is already a hidden unit…
In the long term I’m gearing up for a large scale playtest, with all the units and rules available, and the Terrain Point deployment and hidden movement. This will be after a few more small scale play-tests, to try the various units and mechanics.
Some VC civilians finished:
AH-1s done, and Huey painted up as Medevac:
US Forces so far:
Had a bit of a breakthrough yesterday as well with regards to Fog of War (thanks to my gf for the idea…) – the idea of Terrain Points being boxes or upturned cups/lids on the table, that unit blinds can move between without being seen. One player would turn away while the other player moves or deploys units. It would allow for hidden movement without needing to track positions on a piece of paper.
Some of the first VC infantry rolling off the production line, broke out my nice gaming mat from DEEP CUT STUDIO too, which I plan on using for these games:
Typing up some rules over the past few days – Added rules for Civilians, requesting Medevac Helicopters, and some of the Hidden Movement / Hidden Deployment rules using Terrain Points. Also clarified how the Time of Day relates to the Turns and Activation order – deciding on a dividing the day into 6 “Times of Day”, each divided into 4 Turns, each representing about an hour of real life combat. This might change depending on playtests.
Also some tweaking of the rules around how units are removed from the game – making them harder to be removed depending on the troop quality – hardier units will be able to fight longer, as wounded soldiers carry on fighting…
This is what the playtest document looks like now:
To do: Rules for how helicopters work, and Weapon Teams, as those will be the next few things I test out. Gearing up for a full scale playtest using hidden deployment, hopefully in a few weeks once I’ve done a few more small scale solo playtests and got all the rules I need typed up.
US Infantry Coming along – some VC are in the works too…
Current US Forces:
Up next – more playtesting and looking at adding in LMGs / RPGs, and perhaps more friction with artillery support (seems a bit easy for US to call in and destroy enemy units – although that is fairly accurate for most engagements…)
Glad you guys are enjoying 🙂
Did a playtest last night, using 1 US platoon with arty support vs 2 VC platoons, with the VC flanking. The US detected the VC first, advancing slightly into cover and going prone, but the VC saw them too at around the same time, and began firing at long range, suppressing the 2 US squads, but not causing any disorder (the US already being aware, and the VC being within their line of sight).
Meanwhile VC flanked the US from around some scrub, advancing very close and opening fire, wounding one US soldier although not seriously.
The US called in artillery support, requesting a registration round on the flanking VC platoon. Once this was confirmed, they called in FFE (For For Effect, where all 6 guns in a battery continuously fire as fast as possible at one area, until ordered to stop), instantly wiping out a base of VC (initially inflicting a total of 5 casualties – 1 KIA and 4 wounded) and causing the rest of the platoon to flee or be pinned and later wiped out. The VC were unable to retrieve their casualties.
While only 2nd playtest, it already feels like Vietnam, with the US relying entirely on artillery to prevent being overrun.
An image of the battle:
Cheers Whirlwind, glad you enjoyed.
I realized I uploaded the wrong PDF of the document mock-up, with the wrong title font – should look like this 😉
Just about to bust out another playtest, this time with artillery on the US side, and adding disorder and suppression into the mix.
Disorder and Suppression rules – super simple
Artillery Rules taking shape – not shown: Smoke, Marking Round (for lost units), Time Over Target, Defensive Target Zeroing, or Delta Tango (defensive Target)
There are no solo rules as yet, unfortunately – you can play both sides which is still very entertaining, but there are no specific solo systems in place.
War by Sail is now released!
Stephen I assume the SU-24s would be using rocket pods and general purpose bombs, I couldn’t see ATGMs used unless for a very specific mission (bunker/cave busting or suchlike?) I’m no expert on SU-24 armament in the Soviet-Afghan war though 😀
Hi Alan, you could try doubling all movement rates and ranges for your 28mm miniatures, if you have squads grouped together in 5-8 or so individual soldiers, you could treat them as a regular infantry unit in Hind & Seek, tracking their morale etc. You could even remove a soldier each time they take casualties (although perhaps don’t remove the last 1 or 2 soldiers unless the unit is destroyed). It should still work on a 6′ x 4′, although obviously a larger table is desirable. I would probably recommend smaller points values for games of that scale too – perhaps 50 or 75 points (2 or 3 strength) in forces, although fool around with those values until the number of miniatures feels right for you. Cornered Wolf would also work for this period and scale quite nicely, although its a lot more chaotic and random than Hind & Seek – randomized activation, randomized forces, complete chaos from turn 1 🙂
I’ll have to get back to you re: 20mm 2nd Gulf war, but I’m hoping one of our other players can chime in with some of the additions / house rules they have come up with, including 2nd Gulf war and a bunch of other nations beyond Soviets and Mujahideen.
Hey Stephen, I’m still here – I sent you an email.
Update: Research is going well, Currently up to the American War of Independence, having just finished the 7 Year’s War. Have done the stats for well over 800 individual ships so far…
We’ve been doing some intensive playtests of the ADW period, really trying to nail down the points system.
Might as well post a recent playtest while I’m at it:
Game start – the light colored squiggles are shallow areas that only the Dutch ships can pass over without taking damage. The line up: English (with the red borders on the bases): 1x first rate, 1x 2nd rate, and 2x 4rd rates. Dutch (with the blue borders on the bases): 3x third rates, 1x 4th rate The Dutch are better sailors, and reload faster, but have smaller ships and less guns – we are currently playtesting the game balance of this period… Battle mat from DEEP-CUT STUDIO, Miniatures from Tumbling Dice (1/2400 scale). Shore home-made from polystyrene and hot wire.
Opening shots – The Dutch 4th rate fires at long range with the bow chasers, and the English reply with a raking broadside – not a great start!
One of the English 4th rates was set on fire after taking a punishing broadside from the Flagship Dutch 3rd rate – the 58 gun Eendracht (in the foreground). The fire was soon extinguished though…
English ships set one of the Dutch 3rd rates on fire!
English ships sailing forwards – there is a mandatory sailing phase where all ships must move directly forwards depending on their position in relation to the wind, and the ships top speed.
The fire aboard the Dutch 3rd rate continues to burn, as she takes broadsides from English ships! its not looking good!
The dutch 4th rate by this point had straggled onto the far side, away from the rest of the force – sometimes battles don’t always go to plan…
The Dutch 3rd rate set afire also becomes stricken, and begins to sink….
The English ship that managed to extinguish the fire takes so much damage below the waterline that she becomes stricken! as she begins to sink, a fire breaks out!! …not again!?
Glug, glug, glug – The Dutch 3rd rate sinks… Meanwhile an English 4th rate is making use of both broadsides, attacking Dutch vessels on either side!
Eendracht and the other Dutch 3rd rate skirt close to the shore, hoping to lure the English into the shallows, while spewing out cannon shot…
The view from the Dutch straggler…. (sorry for the focus…) The stricken English 4th rate sank soon after this photo was taken.
The game at about 3/4 of the way through…. The English had used their 4th rates as perfect cover for their larger 2nd and 1st rate – as the 2 4th rates trailed behind or sank, the 1st and 2nd rate carefully ranged in on the remaining dutch ships, targeting the flagship… The English 1st rate reduced sail, allowing the 2nd rate to pull ahead, so that both ships could have a clear shot.
A photo towards the end of the battle – the 2 remaining Dutch ships fight for their lives, pinned against the shore by the larger and more powerful English ships….
In the background the straggler Dutch 4th rate took part in a long-range duel with an English 3rd rate – the Dutch 4th rates crew was reduced to a bloodbath, and the survivors attempted to ram the English 3rd rate, but to no avail! The English grappled the massacred Dutch ship and were in the process of capturing it when we had to end the game.
All in all a great playtest of the period – Solid English tactics lead to a decisive victory: 1 Dutch ship sunk, 1 in a bloodbath, and 1 with heavy casualties, while the Dutch only sank 1 English ship and inflicted light casualties on the 3 other ships.
Hi Greg M, I’m trying to cover all the ships that were used in and around combat, so everything from small bergantine galleys, pinks and pinnaces, up to 3000 ton first-rates.
I’ll definitely be covering the war of 1812 with all the smaller gunboats and suchlike, but it is dead-last on the chronological research list 🙂
Here’s the current progress of all the ship stats I’ve done, currently statted out ~642 individual ships!
Hi hammurabi70, yep there are specific rules for Galleys – they don’t really care about the direction of the wind, and can “sprint” for a limited number of turns during a game, moving double their normal speed.
They also struggle to grapple and board regular sailing ships that are larger than them.
CURRENT UPDATE ON THE RULES:
-Added Generic ships for 1300 – 1550
Ships for Lepanto / Spanish Armada (1588) already complete
-Ships for all 3 Anglo Dutch Wars complete
-Ships for Scanian War complete
-Ships for 9 Years War mostly done, around 5 French ships to go
-List of wars still to cover is as follows:
Some wars I can’t cover, such as the War of Spanish Succession (not enough detailed information on Spanish ships – exact guns on each ship etc.), and there is very limited data on Ottoman ships, so the one Russo-Turkish war I can cover will only have a small roster, still enough for what is considered a “large” game in the system though.
So far I have statted out 585 individual named ships, so definitely making progress, but there is still a lot to go.
“Unweatherly” means unmanuverable
Unweatherly means the ship cannot sail close to the wind – a standard ship can sail up to 45 degrees away from the direction of the wind, while an unweatherly ship is more like 70 degrees.
You can see here the 2 different Wind & Turn Aides, the top one used for standard ships, the bottom for Unweatherly ships – the “In Irons” section is much larger in the Unweatherly version. This Aide is lined up with the wind direction, and the ship in question is placed in the center to determine what direction the ship is facing in relation to the wind, which determines how far the ship can move forwards each turn.
Maneuverability in this ruleset is the ability to turn – Ships with a higher Maneuver Rating can turn better, each point of Maneuver Rating equating to a turn of 45 degrees around the circumference of a circle (the black triangles around the circumference in the Wind & Turn Aide above)
So you could theoretically have an unweatherly ship that was also maneuverable – it would have fine lines underwater and a large rudder, allowing for tight turns, but it would not be able to sail directly into the wind, or even up to 70 degrees away from the winds direction.
Thanks for your interest and questions guys!
Roughly how many ships on a side have you found practicable?
We’ve found 5 – 10 on each side works pretty well. 800 points is the points limit we’ve been testing out.
I’d quibble with the Portuguese ships of the Armada being classifed as unweatherly.
So far I’ve been classifying the ships comparatively – from what I had read very few of the Spanish ships could sail as close to the wind as the Race-Built Galleons. They may have been the most modern of the time, but they were still designed for long-distance trade and convoy protection, rather than close-range warfare like the race-built galleons.
If you can show me some research or sources that say the Portuguese Galleons could sail up to 45 degrees into the wind, I’d be happy to change it 🙂
I’d qualify sea-going ships of this period as Galleons, Naus, or race-built
Nau is just the Portuguese word for Carrack, so I thought I’d just stick with the one name in this period.
Ships were nowhere near as manuverable and had problems sailing close to the wind. Do the rules take these characteristics and the subsequent changes into consideration
Yep – I’m taking that into account, essentially only the Spanish Armada period is full of Unweatherly ships, after which only ships that were described as “poor sailors” will be classified as Unweatherly. You can see in the ADW there are very few with that classification. Maneuverability is also taken into account – one of the core stats of the ship is its maneuverability, so its easy to make some ships more or less maneuverable. For example, some of the Spanish Armada Carracks have some of the worst maneuverability in the game (1), while in later periods only massive first rates or unwieldy ships would have a maneuver rating of 1 – Most large ships would have at least a maneuver rating of 2.
Sounds like a pretty good conclusion to me Tony, cheers for your thoughts! 🙂
how about a 631 page PhD thesis
My favorite kind of thesis! – cheers 🙂
Did the salvaging of the Mary Rose produce any relationship between guns and their distribution about the decks?
It has certainly been very interesting to look into, I’ve watched a few documentaries on it. Its a bit of an earlier period, but certainly interesting to see the placement and kind of weapons brought up with this carrack-style warship!
Cheers for the replies guys, funnily enough I asked the threedecks forum yesterday, no reply yet though.
Their entry for Elizabeth Bonaventure lists all the guns as “Gun Deck” (so not very helpful at all…) although for later vessels they have very accurate facing information (especially Napoleonic era)
‘The Ship is Afowle” is indeed a good name, Ideally I want a name that sums up naval combat in the age of sail, but without being too period specific. I also want to avoide the “X & Y” format of names, like “Sail & Shot”.