Saturday 29 March 2014

The Game of Naval Blockade

Hunting around on my hard drive early this morning I came across a file wherein were found the rules for a 19th century naval wargame, the "Game of Naval Blockade", written by Lt. H Chamberlain and originally published in the RUSI journal in 1888 , and a map file that I'd obviously created some years ago. I don't recall where the rules came from but I do recall generating a map in Powerpoint. It looks like a lot of fun, so here for your enjoyment are the rules and the map, and i might well be giving this  a spin with the kids in the not-too-distant future.


The following rules are used to play Lieutenant H Chamberlain's Game of Naval Blockade:

The Game Apparatus
  1. A dice marked as specified in Rule 13;
  2. A dice cup;
  3. A playing board (24 x 24 one-inch squares);
  4. A Blockader (with a white hull, armed with one bow chaser gun and one gun on each broadside);
  5. A Blockade Runner (with a black hull, armed with one stern chaser gun and one gun on each broadside);
  6. Four Islands (each five squares in area);
  7. Two Rocks (each one square inch in area).

The Rules of The Game
  1. Choose sides and place the vessels as follows:
·      The Blockade Runner on one of the squares in the centre of the South edge of the board, heading North;
·      The Blockader on one of the six squares in the North East or North West corners of the board, heading East or West respectively.
  1. The players toss up, and the winner places the Islands and Rocks, aligned with the squares marked on the board, as follows:

·      not less than five clear squares from the mainland (i.e. the South edge of the board) AND,
·      not less than one clear square from the North, East, or West edges of the board AND,
·      not less than one clear square from each other.
·      As for Islands but may be closer to the mainland (i.e. not less than one clear square away from the South edge of the board).
  1. The first move is made by the player who lost the toss.
  2. Move one square at a time, alternately, except as specified by Rules 16 and 17.
  3. Stopping is not allowed, except when disabled. (See Rule 16)
  4. Course may be altered by four points, to Port or Starboard, each turn (i.e. 45 degrees) at the beginning of the turn.
  5. The Speed of the two ships is equal, except when disabled.
  6. Going astern is never allowed, even to avoid being rammed.
  7. The Blockade Runner wins if it gains open sea (i.e. by moving on to any square on the North edge of the board).
  8. The Blockade Runner may not return to harbour voluntarily: if forced to do so, the Blockader wins the game.
  9. The Armament of the ships is as follows:
·      One heavy gun on each broadside, with a 90 degree arc of fire (i.e. 45 degrees from the fore and aft line);
·      The Blockader has a bow chaser, with an arc of 45 degrees either side of the fire and aft line;
·      The Blockade Runner has a stern chaser, with an arc of 45 degrees either side of the fire and aft line:
  1. Ships are in range when separated by ten or less clear squares, counted along the North-South or East-West lines only, never diagonally. Any distortion this may cause is deliberately intended to introduce an element of chance, to represent the effect of smoke, or guns not being loaded when they bear, due to lack of communication between the conning tower and the gundeck. For example:
·         10 squares due N-S or due E-W = 10 i.e. within range;
·         2 squares due N-S +8 due E-W = 10 i.e. within range;
·         7 squares due N-S +3 due E-W = 10 i.e. within range.
  1. The Firing Dice is marked as follows:
·         One side marked D4 (for Disabled and four firing points of damage caused);
·         One side marked H2 (for Hit and two firing points of damage caused);
·         One side marked H1 (for Hit and one firing points of damage caused);
·         Three sides marked M (for Miss).
  1. Ships moving and in range may fire any guns that bear. Ships move before firing.
  2. Ships may fire over Rocks but not Islands. Use a ruler to establish whether the line of fire is blocked by any intervening Island.
  3. A Disabled ship stops and the other immediately moves six squares, altering course as required. No firing is allowed by either side during this movement. If the moving ship finishes on the same square as the Disabled ship, the latter has been rammed. (See Rule 17) Otherwise the Disabled ship is brought back into action, moving one square straight ahead, firing as normal if any guns bear.

·         Ships are temporarily Disabled only, unless they are rammed;
·         Disabled ships have sufficient way to alter course once;
·         A ship disabling its opponent twice in a turn, counts eight points, but only gets one ramming attempt.

  1. Successful ramming wins the game, except that the Blockader cannot be rammed head on as she has an armoured bow. If the Blockade Runner rammed the Blockader head on, the Blockade Runner would lose, even though the Blockader had previously been disabled.
  2. Hits have no effect on the ship struck, but count towards Victory, if this is not clear. (See Rule 19)
  3. Victory rests with the ship that has rammed the other (except under conditions favourable to the Blockader, as defined in Rule 17) OR has driven her ashore OR with the Blockade Runner if she has escaped OR with the Blockader if she has compelled the Blockade Runner to return to harbour. If none of the above pertain, Victory may be claimed by the ship that has registered the largest number of firing points on its opponent.



PS As I said I have no idea where this came from so if this is something that one of my dear readers sent to me ages ago please let me know! 

1 comment:

  1. I have a copy of this game - based on notes sent to me some years ago by Richard Brooks. My copy was in use as recently as December last!