One of the problems in creating a naval campaign is persuading the players to actually start fighting rather than spending their time building more ships and performing strategic manouvering so I decided to have a land component to provoke conflict. The players' home countries are off the top of the map (and so cannot be attacked directly) but each player starts with a port on the edge of a continent at the bottom of the sea map. Players claim territory on this land mass hex-by-hex to obtain raw materials which they have to ship back to their home countries; military equipment likewise has to be shipped back.
Surface Action (second edition) by Falcon Game Design -this was a set written and published by a wargames club (based in Horsham if memory serves me correctly) which combined simplicity, reasonable accuracy and excellent playability. [If you were involved with writing of these rules I'd love to hear from you]. The club I was in used this set for many First World War naval campaigns. A fellow member even created a point system for the ships. I have put together a proposed set of submarine rules for use with Surface Action but these will need testing; they will only make sense if you are familiar with the normal rules! [I knew all that time commuting by train would turn out to be of use].
Tactical Commander by Tabletop Publishing with modifications. This is a quite detailed set going down to damage to individual components (eg right suspension, left track etc). I decided to use this set as I wanted to incorporate some of the economic constraints of wars such as repair costs and reducing costs for long production runs.
This campaign will start in 1920 and run with an accelerated calendar. Each player will be operating from an off-map home country and will have to protect lines of communication to the on-map port. The map will centre around a continent and each player will have a port as a base of operations and will be annexing territory. Raw materials will be gained from these and will have to be transported back to the home country. The home country will be able to manufacture ammunition and spare parts for repairs etc but ships and vehicles will have to be bought in. Vehicles will be available in the home country the month after they are bought; ships will have a lead-time. As I intend to run this campaign on a compressed time-scale of four campaign months to one external year, the ship lead time will be 16 months for battleships and battlecruisers, 12 months for cruisers and aircraft carriers, 8 months for destroyers and merchant ships. The cost for the ships can be spread over the lead time.
Ships will use the points system created by Dave Egglestone (Table 1), land equipment will use the costs in tactical commander; both will have a multiplier to arrive at Crowns.
Once a month each player will set aside various amounts of Crowns and bid for items that are required; the player will use Table 2 to determine the actual unit cost. On doing this the player can opt not to buy the item concerned but the money allocated for that bid cannot be used that month. If the player does opt to purchase, the unit price is fixed and any amount up to the amount bid can be used to buy the item. There will be quantity discounts (see Table 3) and also a reduction in cost when an item is declared obsolete by its original source.
After Bidding and Buying tributes are calculated; apart from each home country’s income there are tributes from each controlled hex on the main map. To be able to use those tributes players must be able to trace a path back to their port, that path may not pass through any Opposed, Unfriendly or enemy controlled hex. There will be a cost for passing through Neutral and Belligerent Neutral hexes. If a player decides that the cost of transport back to their port is too great, it may be stockpiled for later but 10% is deducted per month to represent storage costs.
The next phase is influence; using Table 4 players dice to try and exert their influence over two hexes, one must be in contact with a controlled hex (ie friendly or allied) but the second must not. Players may not attempt to influence any hex in contact with an Opposed or Unfriendly hex, or one controlled by any other player, unless it is in contact with a hex that is already controlled by themselves.
Each player's navy may consist of ships that were in service before the end of World War 1, that is by 11th November 1918, to the value of 8,800 points. Each player may only have one capital ship with a main armament greater than 14", and every third capital ship must have a main armament of 12" or less.
Each player may have 600 points worth of ships building, but a maximum of 250 points towards battleships and 150 points towards a cruiser; these ships can be any that were in service or laid down prior to 1920.
All players will be subject to the provisions of the Washington and London naval treaties, but are free to negotiate the sizes of the navies in formal meetings at the approriate times.
Once the campaign is under way players may order and start paying for the construction of any ship in the month that the actual ship is laid down.
Each player will have a small army which is based in their port at the start of the campaign. It will consist of motorised infantry and artillery to the value of ** points; no army may possess tanks at the start but otherwise may have any weapon or equipment that was actually in service at the end of World War 1. Subject to the normal bidding procedure players can order any weapons in the month that actually entered service.
Upgrades and scrapping.
Many tanks were upgraded in real life; Panzer IV models were up-armoured and up-gunned, as were Churchills and Cromwells. Such upgrades cost 1½ times the difference in points value and can be done at the player's base port and will take one month.
Ships can be upgraded; if the range of the main armament is increased take half the cost of the broadside.
If secondaries are changed, add the normal cost ie the cost of half the secondaries.
If the speed is increased add the extra cost.
If the Armour class is increased add the difference in cost.
If the number of compartments increase, add the full cost of the increase.
Ship rebuilds take half the ship type's construction time, so for a battleship add up all the appropriate cost and divide by 8 to get the monthly cost.
Equipment can be scrapped when severely damaged or are regarded as obsolete by the user.
For ships the scrappage value is 10% of the ships true cost, the ship's undamaged guns are available for coastal defence or replacing damaged guns on other ships; they can be stockpiled for future use.
For tanks the scrappage value is 20%.
You are welcome to make contact: wargamer at littlewars dot org dot uk.
Last updated: 4th April 2012.
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Copyright SR Jenkins March 2012.
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