Sunday, 21 April 2013

Cod War at Salute

So I ran the "Cod War game at Salute yesterday on behalf of the Naval Wargames Society. And the event was a blast (although of course not literally as in the game no-one is shooting at anyone). We played four games over the day, with about 30 punters taking part driving Icelandic Coast guard Vessels (ICGVs), warships and defence tugs. We left the trawlers as umpire controlled, which worked well. It was mayhem from the start, with collisions both accidental and deliberate on a regular basis.

Highspots included a "jolly" discussion between opposing players in the first game over the interpretation of the IMO Collision Regulations in trying to determine who's fault a particularly vicious ram had been, a defence tug that seemed to be working for the "other side" as it rammed a friendly tug, cut his nets and then took out the side nets of a second trawler, and Cdr "Bumpy" Hewitt's "red mist" charge at the end of the game that saw him drive HMS LEANDER head on into the ICGV Tyr at high speed with "porcupine" rails deployed; a combination of circumstances that, when coupled with a maxed out die roll left the poor coastguard ship in a sinking condition (and which turned a drawn game into an instant British loss!) So, over the day the score was 3:1 in victories to the plucky Icelanders.

 Of course the other high spots were all about the people we met. In one game we had the joy to meet a US Navy veteran and former sailor in the destroyer Charles F Adams, and he'd been based in Keflavik during the final Cod War in 1976. And it was great to meet "Decapod" and his children who took part in Game #3; I hope he thought I'd done his lovely Shapeways models justice.

Extreme thanks to Drew Jarman who made an excellent "Master of Ceremonies", and to the rest of the NWS team who turned up to help with the game.

As always I came away thinking of various tweaks and adjustments that'll make the running of the game better and easier, and we got some useful pointers in designing scenarios to maximise the playing area and increase the action - very important for a game at a show where the aim is to go from explaining the rules to ENDEX in an hour or less.

An added bonus for the day was that I was able to see the demonstration set and the models for Ares' new game "Sails of Glory" (on which I shall be posting in the future) in the flesh for the first time. For those that don't know the game uses prepainted 1/1000 scale models - very nice. Also had a chat about the new Zvezda "Armada Invencible" game, probably hitting our shores in the Winter.

Alas, and as usual the coverage of naval gaming at Salute was thin, with only one other game there, based on the 1942 battles around Guadalcanal. Something for dedicated naval fans to think about for next year....


  1. Hi David - it was good to meet you yesterday. I wish I'd managed to get back and join in on one of your games - they looked like they'd be good fun.

    I'd need to check back through my pics, but I think there might have been a 3rd naval game there.

    I guess that the reason for the lack of naval games is that for big shows, clubs like to show off with terrain and lots of models?

  2. The models look great. I really like the idea of winning a game by not actually trying too hard...very tactical! Are you planning to bring this along to Gosport?

  3. David is your hex mat from HOTZ or someone else?

  4. It sounds like you had a good time. The ships look great (especially Leander) and it seems like you had good participation in the games. The Sails of Glory stuff looks nice, but I'm not sure how much I will invest in the game (considering all the other naval stuff I already have). Naval games never seem to do that well at shows. I'm always (pleasantly) surprised when there are large numbers of naval games.

  5. Lovely to see the models so well painted and getting some real use.
    A bit of a shame I didn't get Exmouth or Star Aquarius ready in time.
    I think my kids enjoyed the mayhem of the cat and mouse game.

  6. Hi David,

    Thanks to every one for putting on a really fun game. I had a great time with my ICGV playing dodgems with the tug (I’m the guy in the redish stripy t-shirt in the last game photo). I really enjoyed how the movement worked in the game it gave me a lot to think about. I liked how the phases in the turns handle simultaneous movement and the different speeds of the ships, very clever.

    I didn’t get a chance to thank you in person for emailing me the great ship rules, I picked up a load of 1:2400 Anglo Dutch ships at the show so the rules are going to get an outing soon.

  7. To answer some of the above.

    Yes it will be at Gosport in June.
    The mat was from Magister Militum. Its normally a much darker blue but my cat threw up on it, I washed it and a lot of the deep colour ran out. I think it looks a lot better now :)