Wednesday 31 May 2017

Tactics Night 2017

Last night I took part in an educational wargaming event at University College London. I lecture to the MSC naval architecture and marine engineering students on warship survivability, and I also take part in "Tactics Night". This is a wargaming event where the MSc students engage in a naval wargame to see how their ship designs fare in the crucible of simulated warfare. I've done this for the last couple of years and it certainly is an interesting learning experience for them.

Red Team at the start of the game

Yesterday's scenario pitted the students against a red force played by another four students with me as adviser (we wanted to give them all a chance to see how the game plays out as they will be repeating the exercise in a few weeks with their final designs). Red force had a small task group with a UCAV carrier which they had to get within strike distance of Blue's capital city; blue obviously had to frustrate Red's plan.

Red kept a whiteboard of notes, plus a random ship GA for no particular reason :) 

I won't go into details of what happened as it turned out to be a bit of a bloody encounter for Blue Suffice to say the students learnt some valuable lessons learnt regarding weight of fire, the value of ESM, fusion of intelligence data to form an incomplete but nevertheless viable tactical picture, mutual support of ships at sea (and limitations on weapon engagement ranges that mean your supporting units probably aren't), the perils of bearing-only-launch, situational awareness (or lack of it), the criticality of early reconnaissance, and red-teaming (which the red team were actually pretty good at doing with a little prompting).

blue Team on the tactical floor - their ships ans air assets moved on the floor, Red's moved on a map

Blue players being very careful not to tread on the 3D printed models!

They also picked up on some valuable methods of assessing the survivability of their ship designs (the damage model in the rules devised for the game are very similar to some of the preliminary design damage models used in regular warship design), and also gained an appreciation of red-teaming their designs (how would an enemy attack this ship? how would it fare against a ship of comparable design, etc.) All in all a very educational evening for the students!

Friday 26 May 2017

Ad Mare Bellum

Another new release from LFG, "Ad Mare Bellum" (AMB) uses the system developed for "Lord of the Sea" and "Cannon, Cross and Crescent" to give quick playing set of Ancient naval rules covering the period 2000BC to 900AD, They are aimed at small and medium sized games with up to 30 or so ships a side to be completed in a couple of hours or less. They have been written with 1/1200 models such as those from Navwar and Langton in mind, but could be used with larger or smaller models with appropriate changes in ranges and movement. Bookkeeping is minimal, using simple markers to indicate ship damage and crew casualties. Data for over 30 different broad ship types and nine different fleet lists are included, from the Egyptians and Sea Peoples, through classical Greek and Roman to Norse and Byzantine fleets and ships.

Available from Wargame Vault for a mere fiver :)

Monday 1 May 2017

Fun at the Beach

My "Mad Wet Max" project continues to develop. Over the last week I've made some much larger rooster tail markers and explosion plumes, using damp kitchen towel moulded into shape. Cheap but effective, IMHO. I've also made a dozen mine markers which should help avoid the confusion that we faced at the BV club when we used dice and then forgot which were mines and which ones we were using for play! However, the best development I think has been the parascender who is a "weapon option" for three of the craft in the game. In the post game chat at the club my chums threw in some ideas for various things that one might see associated with motorboating and powerboating that could make an appearance, and some bloke on a parachute towed behind a boat was on the list. The idea is that he can be deployed during the ame and can drop grenades onto boats below (whilst of course attracting incoming fire). I had originally intended to use a surrendering Airfix figure but a look at a model railway catalogue showed that the German firm Noch made a decent set, so a quick email to my brother's local model railway shop had one winging its way to True Cambridge. Three of the boats have now been drilled to accept the brass rod "tow line" - admittedly way out of scale but robust enough to stand the rigours of the game. I may decorate the parawing a bit more, and give the chappie a machine gun but for now he is in a good enough state for the inaugural public game at the Naval Wargames Weekend in July.

Next to make - wrecked boats, plus "spectators". Anyone know of a decent Matchbox-style winnebago model??