"It is far more satisfying to wage a global conflict against the personal armies, airforce and navy of you pal, than it is to command (say) British and German forces. If you play this game, you are king of your own domain." - Phil Dunn, Sea Battle Games.
Some of you may own a copy of Phil Dunn's Sea Battle Games: Naval Wargaming: 1650-1945, part of John Curry's History of Wargaming Project. I'll admit to having only skimmed most of it, but the chapter which I have read in full more than once is Chapter 9: The Hypothetical World War Game. Mr. Dunn starts with the premise that "Land and air forces are necessary in order to wage true naval warfare". What follows is an outline for setting up an Imagi-nations campaign in a WW2 setting.
Played on a fictional world map, in addition to what one would expect in terms of cities and terrain features, additional facilities and resources come into play such as production factories for land and air forces, shipyards, steel mills and oil refineries. The players' forces are asymetrical; determined by dicing for quantities of warships, transports, aircraft and 10,000 man army groups. Actual warship classes are used, but assigned by drawing playing cards. Which, for example, could lead to the incongruous possibility of the Bismarck and Hood fighting as battle squadron mates, although of course they'd be renamed something else by you in your all-powerful persona of the world power leader or dictator. What follows are some simple rules governing production rates, repairs & reinforecments and transport and supply. Good stuff !
My question has been, how to make use of something like this as I'm not so interested in replicating WW2. Not knocking WW2 naval gaming mind you, to each his own and I'll confess to having bought more Axis & Allies War at Sea models than I had any use for. The brief WaS buying spree was done with the same spirit and feverish anticipation of my 10 year old self, tearing open packs of tantalizing bubble gum-scented baseball cards in hopes of scoring a Willie Mays or Rocky Colavito, but knowing full well I'd more likely get yet another duplicate of the Washington Senators backup catcher.
But I digress. As obvious to blog readers here, my naval interests tend much more to the Pre-dreadnought era and the clean lines of the WW1 dreadnoughts in the days before battleships grew baroque superstructures and became festooned with AA guns.
The other question (besides the map and its potential antagonists) was where to go with air and and land battles. Turning back the clock to WW1 would make for weaker air power, and did I really want to replicate trench warfare if using miniatures instead of maneuvering blocks representing 10,000 man units ? Not necessarily so, the firepower would still be deadly but Imagi-nations wouldn't have to command enough manpower to dig in from one side of a continent to the other. As for the planes, it could be done with 1/144 models or left abstract.
I did buy a sample box of WW1 plastic infantry but found painting 1/72 figures not quite to my taste. Next I tried some 30mm flats, independent of the result, the painting of which pleased me more. But I will leave the figures to a subsequent post in this series. And before turning to the next topic - the map ! - I must mention a further evolution (mutation ?) of the thought process. That is, turning back the Imagi-nations clock still further to circa 1905, just prior to the advent of the Dreadnought. More to follow shortly.
It all sounds promising. Esp if the ships are as attractive as the preceding Queen's Navy.ReplyDelete
Every once in a while L ponder dipping my toes into a proper campaign instead skip lightly along with unsupported storylines.
I really like the Pre-Dreadnought ships . . . and the era has a nice feeling to it. Also in case you are not aware of it, the War Times Journal has just recently started offering "rapid prototype plastic" pre-Dreads in a variety of scales (1/3000. 1/2400, 1/1800 and 1/1500).ReplyDelete
I just got a few 1/2400 ships and am quite pleased with them . . . and they keep adding more and more ships. Take a look at what they already have available:
Aha! Now that is a top tip - the WTJ. Never heard of them before, but now..... Thanks! Yours, an addict.Delete
Thanks, Ross. And don't sell yourself short on the campaigning, your Atlantican Wars being Exhibit A. Even if you haven't hugely embellished the backstory and personalities, I salute what you've done with it.ReplyDelete
Funny you should mention the WTJ ships, Jeff. It was your post about them that spurred me to take this project back to the pre-dreads ! I will definitely try a few.ReplyDelete
You're most welcome, Steve. Personally I'm particularly intrigued more by the various Cruisers of the period (both Armored and Protected) than I am by the Battleships . . . in fact I'm putting together an interesting scenario for using them (but that won't be ready for a while yet).ReplyDelete
Anyway, I certainly wish you "good fortune" with your new project. By the way, have you decided upon the scale that you plan to use?
It's funny, somehow I overlooked the 1/1800 before when I looked at WTJ. I had in mind it was only 1/1500 (nice ! but pricier and not matching anything else I had) or 1/2400 and smaller.
Well for years they have just been 1/3000 pewter. Wonderful sculpts but too tiny for my eyes. They have just recently started their new process (which allows "undercuts" and much more detail) in those various new scales.ReplyDelete
I certainly wish that the technology had been available a few years earlier before I went with the 1/2400 Panzerschiffe's . . . which are nice, but I had wanted a 1/1800 scale. Oh well, at least they seem to be adding ships fairly regularly.
I actually wrote a request that they consider eventually adding a couple of German Cruisers on Monday and one of them (Hertha) was added a couple of days later. Here is the email response that he sent me back on Monday:
"You're in luck Jeff, the SMS Victoria Louise (actually Hertha in our catalog)
is very high on the list of files to convert. Kaiserin Augusta is not a
particularly large ship, so I will take a look to see if her conversion is
fairly quick... but both of these ships existed in the old pewter line, so
they do not need to be built from keel-up so to speak (It's a matter of
converting the old CAD file over to the new detailed format).
So, they are obviously being quite responsive to customer feedback.
I just added some "comparison photos" on my blog:ReplyDelete
This is going to be a hoot and no mistake! Phil Dunn's book has some great ideas in it and reworking the campaign back to earlier times should not be a problem. I will be following this with much interest!
All the best,
Spenkuch type naval flats,that would look amazing as part of a game...ReplyDelete
Good to hear from you, David. I'm hoping to develop this to the point where the momentum carries it along.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the good suggestion, tragardmastare.ReplyDelete
I'd also considered that. I love the flat ships but two things kind of mitigate against gaming with them. First, supplies are uneven plus the scale is all over the place, not to mention all the actual Spenkuchs I've seen are engraved on only one side.
Secondly, flats are good at representing land battles where the fighting is generally straight on in one direction or the other. In naval battles where the fleets are more often changing course in the heat of battle, the 2D illusion doesn't hold up as well. Still, I'd probably do it if the ships could be obtained.