"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.