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....