Thursday, January 18, 2018

Ancient Naval Rules

As noted two posts ago I am looking for a set of rules that will allow large fleet actions to be played in a reasonable amount of time.   James Roach has been experimenting with War Galley from GMT games these are available in their living rules section under great battles of history

I went through my library and looked at all the rules that I currently have.  What follows is a brief description of their suitability for large or small battles.   There is one set that I do not recommend at all which I will mention first.   That is Bireme and Galley from Fantasy Games Unlimited Inc. 1978   They are out of print.  The ship classes don't match historical ship types.  The ship diagrams are odd with features that don't match other reconstructions.   What looks like a Decares (a 10) is called an Augustan Bireme..   Now for the others

5mm rules -A joint collaboration between Heroics and Ros and Navwar covering land, sea, and siege rules.   Out of print, detailed.  better suited to small actions.
Ad Mare Bellum - available from Wargame Vault (listed as Ad Mari Bellum) for about $7.00.   Playtested at Ad Mare Bellum playtest  could work for large fleet action with modifications noted.
Chosen by the Gods - another free internet download.  one page per ship record keeping, better suited for small actions
Corvus - covered in a previous blog post corvus  has some example fleet lists.
Diodochi - Correct spelling Diadochi.   free on the internet.  The introduction states "This is a simple set of naval miniature rules for fleet battles in the Diodochi (Alexandrian Successor)period.  The time period covered also includes the Punic wars, but these are not included and there are no rules for the Roman corvus.  While the rules cover ship sizes up to the 40 of Ptolemy the smallest ship with statistics  in the rules is a 3.  Smaller ships are mentioned in one of the fleet lists as the successors did make use of much smaller ships called Lembi.    The activation method used in warmaster is used to activate squadrons or individual ships.   In this case it uses a d10.  It also has a blunder table if a 10 is rolled which is way too frequent.  Warmaster used a pair of d6 and had less than a 3% chance of a blunder compared to 10%.   Movement is based on formation with only line astern or line abreast allowed.  Missile fire, if successful will immediately cripple a ship.  The rules would work for a large fleet engagement, but I would get rid of the activation rules and have to make major changes to other parts of the rules.
Diekplus - published by Newbury Rules 1979  detailed game mechanics better suited to small actions.
Naumachiae - free download from Langton Miniatures.  Very detailed set of rules.  I am not sure if these would work for more than a few ships per person due to the record keeping needed.  I got a bound copy from them years ago before they stopped printing it.  Would require a very experienced player to help others who are not experienced.  include extensive fleet lists.
Naval Wargames Rules Fleet Action - by Richard Nelson published by War Games Research Group 1973.  Out of print Detailed record keeping better suited to a squadron per player.
Oceanus Strategoi -  Free from the internet.   Can be found in files of War Galley Yahoo Group.  Game mechanics ae better suited to smaller actions. require extensive record keeping.
Roman Seas - from Hotz Art Works.  detailed, best suited for a few ships per player max.   While intended for the Punic Wars, there are ship types for larger polyremes up to tens and would also work for the eastern Mediterranean powers.
Trireme - A board game from Avalon Hill.   War Galley from GMT similar and much better.
War Galley - board game published by GMT Games.  rules and scenarios available for free in their living rules section.  Would also work for large engagements.  Several playtests and rule modifications at War Galley playtest

I have some others, but they only have a few ship classes and would need extensive additions to cover all the various ship types.   As can be seen from the publication dates I originally developed an interest in ancient naval warfare back in the late 1970's.

While there are several contenders, I am going to choose Corvus for large fleet actions.   Corvus only needs a minor change to the missile fire rules.   Other items are only chrome additions or tactics of the period.    

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Projects for 2018

Time to set some goals for the coming year.  In no particular order I hope to accomplish the following items for the coming year:

Finish painting and basing 18th century armies.  I will need to purchase some additional Hussars and maybe some grenadiers and heavy cavalry from Heroics and Ros.

Finish painting and basing additions to American Civil War armies.   Also print flags for them.  Almost finished painting them.

Expand Franco-Prussian War armies.  Need quite a few additional figures from Heroics and Ros.  Fortunately they are easy to paint.

Finish painting and basing the Carthaginian figures I was given.

Finish painting and basing the barbarian infantry additions.

Finish painting and basing the early Byzantine cavalry,

Finish painting and basing the Sassanian cavalry.

Flock bases for Napoleonic armies along with any repairs that need to be done.

Place a special order with GHQ for a couple of replacement tank gun barrels, a 5cm AT gun and crew, and a 7.5cm AT gun and crew for WW2 Germans.  WW2 done except for those items.

Add helicopters to the two fictitious modern countries (The Peoples Democratic Republic of La Cucarach and the Federal Union of Buena Vista). Already ordered and on their way.

Choose a set of ancient naval rules for large fleet actions along with printing and basing ancient fleets.   Might be the most time consuming project when cutting and gluing them.

Finish painting space ships.  About a dozen to paint.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Corvus Ancient Naval Rules and Cardstock Galleys

For the past couple of weeks I have been investigating different rule sets for ancient naval warfare.   I have found several blogs with battle reports, book reviews, and information on different manufacturers.   One of the best of these is Rams, Ravens, and Wrecks   Not only does his blog cover rules, models, and books, it also has links to other sites.  It has been very helpful in determining which rule sets might work for fleet actions and which are best for small actions along with which books on the subject are worth reading or purchasing.

One of those that looks like it might be good for fleet actions is Corvus from the Society of Ancients which arrived in the mail today.  While there is an earlier version available for free online, the one from the Society is well worth the price.  In addition to an expanded rule book it includes two color sheets of top down ships, a card quick reference sheet, markers, and turning aids for both 1/600 and 1/1200 ships.   The color ship sheets are 1/600 scale and are similar to the ones from Tiny Tin Troops  The ones at Tiny Tin Troops can be purchased in 1/600 scale and 1/1200 scale.   I purchased all the 1/1200 ship cards that they have available.

Some time back I had purchased the Roman Seas ships from Hotz Artworks  These are 1/300 scale, but with a bit of computer savvy they can be reduced to smaller scales.   The first step is to take a screen print at 50% zoom.  Next locate the screen print (easy to do with Windows Ten using the onedrive feature).   Then using a program like Paint Shop Pro use the resize function to reduce the image to the scale you want.  Note when resizing, increase the number of pixels per inch/centimeter to keep the clarity of the image.   For example, if further reducing the image by 50%, the number of pixels should be doubled.   There are also a number of side view images of galleys on the internet that can be saved and reduced to the scale you prefer.   The Hotz ships are actually larger than 1/300.   A trireme should be about 30mm long after reducing the 50% screen print image by 50% a second time.   I found that I needed to make a further reduction in size to reduce the trireme image to 30mm.   At the moment I am waiting for the cards from TTT to arrive to determine if the reduced images I have made will fit on the counters.

I have seen Hotz Roman Seas galleys reduced to 1/650 scale on The Miniatures Page in the Galley section and built as three dimensional models.   1/1200 is quite a bit smaller and I will be building 2.5 dimensional models instead,  What I will do is print them on heavy cardstock, fold and glue the two side images together, trim as needed, glue them to a base and glue the oar banks to the sides for stability.  I did look at various 1/1200 ships, but even the less expensive ones from Navwar are cost prohibitive for the number of ships I intend to use.   Outpost Wargame Services makes 1/3600 ships, but their range is a bit limited and may be too small for what I want.

There are a couple of rule sets that I am looking at for large fleet actions.   Corvus is one of them.   The rules are not complex, but do cover ramming, grappling, boarding, oar shearing, missile fire, and morale.   The rules for missile fire are a little odd as the only effect is setting the target ship on fire.  Setting ships on fire rarely happened.  What I will do is change that to a reduction to the class of the ship for the missile fire and close combat factors when a hit is scored.  The ram factor will not be affected.  This will reflect crew casualties.  It may also reduce the ships top speed.   

The Roman Seas website has a page on myths about ancient naval warfare.   One of them has to do with artillery on ships actually firing stone/concrete balls.  The artillery was the torsion type which fired projectiles in a flat trajectory instead of the Onager catapult that is often depicted  for ancient artillery.  The site mentions that the lighter engines could penetrate four inches of planking while the heavier ones could fire a ten pound projectile (think canon ball).  Range was about 200 to 400 yards.

There is a tactic that is missing from the Corvus rules called the Anastrophe.   This is a combination oar shear and ram where the attacking ship attempts to shear the oars on one side then make a tight about turn to ram the target from the rear quarter.   War Galley from GMT Games has rules for this in section 7.3 of the rulebook.  The War Galley rulebook is available for free from GMT games in their living rules section.

There are other bits of chrome that could be added.  One is crew quality, with good crews costing an extra point and poor crews being reduced by one point.  Another would be towers that were on larger polyremes. One probable change would be to add an initiative rule to determine who moves first in each turn after the first.

Ancient Naval warfare is one project that I will be working on this year.  I will be posting more later when I look at other possible rule sets and put the ships together.

As an addition to this I have add more about other rule sets at
Ancient naval rules

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

German Attack on Stalingrad

This past weekend Manny Granillo, owner of Hoplite Research, hosted a game of PanzerKorps.  I had the role of Paulus, the German Commander.  Scott Wilson had the 29th motorized division, Rick Pullin had the 94th infantry division, John Arena. had the 24th Panzer division, and I had direct control of the 71st infantry division.   John Cunningham., his son Aydin, and Alan Sissenwein commanded the Russians.  Our objectives were to either capture and hold five of the central building/factory areas or to completely demoralize the Russian army.
Some views of the battlefield

Clicking on the pictures will enlarge them.

View from the north

View from the east

The south edge of the battle from behind the Russian lines.

South end of battlefield from behind German lines.  29th motorized at top right, 94th infantry at right center, 24th panzer west of the river

view of the city  We had to capture the building in the center, the two on both sides of the dice tray, a factory at the top left of the picture and another factory just to the bottom of the picture.

The plan that I conveyed to our army was to spend the first two hour day segment bombarding the Russians and then advance on them.  The 24th Panzer was to hit the hill in front of the south center of the front of the town with two battalions and the built up area to its south with its other two battalions.  94th was to also divide its four battalions into pairs and continue along the front edge of the Russian defenses from the 24th's bombardment.  The 29th was to continue the bombardment from there with its three battalions.   Meanwhile my four battalions fell on the forward positions of the Russians at the north edge of our front.  Our aircraft also came in and bombed the hill and town areas that the 24th was shelling.

Artillery bombardment rings.  The red and white at the top are Russian artillery landing on the 29th and 94th.  The other rings are ours attacking the hill at lower left and the city.  A total of 11 battalions.

My artillery was able to rout the Russians from their forward positions.  On the other end our artillery was not able to cause as many casualties.  I should note here that Alan, who was commanding the Russians facing me, had bad luck with his die rolls throughout the game, rolling a lot of 1's.  PanzerKorps uses D4, D6, D8, D10, and D12 dice depending on the quality, condition, and type of troops.

The Russians on the south end of their front came out of their fortifications and attacked the 29th motorized division after shelling them with their artillery.   The Russians only had five battalions of artillery to our 15, though they did have a river flotilla in the Volga which ran along the east edge of the battlefield, with additional guns.  These could only be used in line of sight.  The 29th was able to prevail in the hand to hand combat that occurred, though it did have a few battalions bloodied.

bombers attack hill and town.
Scott assesses the situation on his flank as his division engages in hand-to-hand combat with the Russians.  Orange ring is Russian artillery falling on lead elements of the 94th infantry division.

The Russians had two armored brigades in reserve near the center of the city.  One of these was dispatched to aid the southeast and the other was sent to the northern flank.

Routed Russian infantry regiment at left center of picture, arriving tank brigade in town.
My left flank regiment advances

We broke for lunch after the end of the first day segment.  After lunch we returned to the game for the next two hour day segment.

In the south the 94th continued its advance into the city, while the 29th continued to combat more Russians.  In the center the 24th Panzer shifted its four artillery battalions north to attack the center of the Russian front line.  One Kamfgruppe with the Panzers advanced across the river on the road leading to that location while the other Kampgruppe with the STGIIIs advanced along the road in the south center.   The STGs came under fire from the southern Russian armor brigade, but were able to deploy and returned fire.   The panzers were not as fortunate.  they came under fire from the infantry positions in front of them and rolled a one, causing them to take casualties and fall back across the river.  In my area my two lead regiments were advancing with the one on the left making good progress and the one on the right starting to cross the river.  The one on the right had been bombarded by the Russian artillery during the first day segment and now came under more artillery fire as it attempted to get across the bridge.  One battalion made it across, but the others were halted.  The Russians also shifted an additional two battalions of artillery fire from their southern front to the north.  While the regiment on my right was being attacked by two of them, the other two bombarded my regiment on the left.   As a result of the artillery fire three of my battalions in the two regiments had taken some losses.

I now shifted my artillery fire further east to bring the Russian tank brigade, the retreating battalions of their front regiment, and an infantry battalion in the northwest corner under fire.  Again, my artillery fire was effective as Alan's defense die rolled another one.   The three battalions of the forward regiment were destroyed as the survivors scattered.   The tank brigade and the infantry in the corner position both broke and fled..

Russian tank brigade and infantry defending corner have fled.  Four battalions of the 24th panzer artillery attacking the center edge of the town.  While Russian fire falls on bridge to right blocking my advance and heavier guns at the bottom are landing on the rear battalions of my left flank regiment.

24th panzer PzIII battalion crosses the bridge.

Another view of the panzer battalion

The burning hulk of the lead panzer.

At the end of the second day segment we ran out of time and the game was halted.   Although we had taken some losses, our attack on the city was on schedule as the first positions had been taken as planned.  I had forgotten about the rule for free moves when rolling for command initiative.   If I had remembered it, the high rolls I had been making on initiative ( I had rolled a six three times during the five turns of the two day segments), my right regiment would have been across the river, and my left regiment would have been further forward.   I would have also been able to bring on my third regiment and supporting battalions.

Thanks to Manny for hosting the game and feeding us.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Shadow Omega

Received this in the mail on Monday.  Clicking on a phot will enlarge it.
 Top View
 Front View
 Rear View
3/4 view from rear.

The model is from Pulsefired on Shapeways.  It is 134mm (5 inches) long.  This is to big to fit in with the other ships.  Hopefully he will be able to produce a smaller version that is to scale with the other Domain ships that I have.  The ship is from the old TV series Babylon 5 and appeared during the fourth season.  While it is often referred to as the Shadow Omega, due to combining Shadow Technology with the Earth Alliance Omega it was known as the advanced Omega.  The spines sticking out  from it are found on the Shadow ships which look sort of like a flattened spider with the legs (spines) all sticking out.  I haven't counted how many spines it has.  It is also a very good model of the ship.

The balance point is just in front of the rear ring of the central rotating section.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sensor Drones and Misssiles in Starcruiser 2300AD

Most of the space fleets in Starcruiser have sensor drones.  These can be used both offensively and defensively.   They can be sent out ahead of the fleet in order to use their passive and active sensors to detect opposing ships, etc.  When their active sensors are emitting they can also be used to help screen ships from being detected.  Active sensors add the equivalent of four light seconds of distance to the detection range of opposing sensor detection attempts if they are with a friendly ship(s) or directly between the opposing sensor and the friendly ships. 

Sensor drones could also be used as a decoy.  If they are designed and equipped with additional reflective surfaces or fixtures they can made to appear as a full size ship to active sensors.  Also, if strong enough, their radiated signature may appear to be the same as a regular ship.

As I noted in a previous post, I re-designed the missiles to increase their velocity.  I only did this with the French, German, and American missiles as these are the ones being used by the main combatants in Human Space.   Those used by the Kaefers only had their velocity increased instead of being completely re-designed.   As far as I know design information for the Kaefer's has never been released, though there has been some additional in later books. 

The following tables have the revised statistics for the American (Federation) SIM-14, French (Panthari Imperium)Ritage 2,  and the German (Domain) SR-10, and Donnerwetter missiles.  The formula for the volume of a missile bay is (diameter)x(length)x2x(number of missiles per bay)meters cubed  The surface area of the exit port for a missile is (diameterx2)meters squared.  All missiles are considered to be cylinders.

Design parameters
Missile Sensor Attack Power Plant Drive Cost
Federation 20p 10x2 0.5FC/NM 0.5NM 2.0mcd
Panthari 10P 10x2 0.5FC/NM 0.5NM 2.0mcd
Domain 1P 4x3 0.5FC/NM 0.5NM 1.8mcd
Domain exp. 6P 10x3 0.6FC/NM 0.6NM 2.4mcd
Sensors are passive.  FC is fuel cell.  NM is new military.  mcd is million credits.  costs were rounded up slightly to account for hull material and fuel.  Cost per missile is about four to five times that of the original designs.

Dimensions and velocity
Missile Diameter Length Volume Mass Velocity  Duration
Federation 2m 2.75m 5.5mc 7.84t 14 80min
Panthari 2m 2.75m 5.5mc 7.84t 14 80min
Domain 2m 2.5m 5.0mc 7.04t 14 80min
Domain exp. 2m 3.4m 6.8mc 9.42t 14 80min
Volume is meters cubed.  Note: The Domain missile can have a velocity of 15 by replacing the power plant and drive with 0.6mw units and increasing the length to 5.5m  this would also increase the volume of the missile bays.  Cost would increase to 2 million credits

Missile Bay Volume # per Bay
Federation 55mc 5
Panthari 44mc 4
Domain 120mc 12
Domain exp. 163.2mc 12

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Ships of the Panthari Imperium

Took the following pictures of the ships that I am using for the Panthari Imperium.  These are from Irrational Designs on Shapeways.
 The fleet.  Two battleships, four cruisers, and four frigates

These were the closest designs that I could find on shapeways to the following ship from the 2320 version of 2300AD