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Friday, 28 July 2017

Modern naval Greco-Turkish: Shipwreck!

A real change of scene this week. I rarely touch moderns, and I don't really do boats, so modern naval has me, er, out of my depth. Having said that, I do possess 1980s British and Soviet fleets, and years ago I bought the Shipwreck rules to try to use them, but I'm not sure I ever played them more than once or twice, and probably solo at that.

Well, our Bruce has independently discovered Shipwreck himself, and found the time to paint up beautiful Greek and Turkish fleets plus assorted civilian vessels; and to prepare a scenario for us to get to grips with both the rules and the technology. For modern naval warfare is exceedingly complex, with so many different weapons of hugely varying capability, and the subtleties of when to switch your radar on or off, how deep to run your subs, how to reconnoitre with your helos ... it is impossible to attempt any coherent tactics without understanding all these factors.

Greeks and Turks swap Harpoons off Santorini.
This photo doesn't do Bruce's handiwork justice - it was a very pretty table.

So we amateur admirals blundered toward each other off Santorini in a simple encounter action and learned the hard way. Many missiles were launched, much chaff and many AAA rounds were dispensed, many overtaxed brain cells lightly fried. The net result of the evening was one Turkish frigate lightly damaged.

Notwithstanding our collective learning difficulties and special needs, it was an intriguing and amusing game, and as we gradually grasped what we were supposed to be doing, it was possible to see tactics evolving. I do think naval battles really need a campaign, or at least some mini-campaign pre-battle manoeuvring. Shipwreck could actually be quite rewarding for that, as campaign moves could be worked out between club meetings, individually at leisure with the time to ponder weapons and their interactions, alternative formations and tactics etc etc. I'd certainly be happy to dip my toes in the Shipwreck waters again. And Bruce does always put on a good-looking game!

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Miscellaneous ongoing BBB stuff:
- Some of the guys fought my Isaszeg 1849 scenario and had a good time with it, and I am resuming work on the rest of the Hungary 1848-1849 set, busily translating Hungarian and researching. Next stop Komarom. Hoping to visit some of the actual battlefields before the end of this year.
- Still tinkering with our BBB WWII variant which is exciting and promising. Giving it another outing next week.
- Playtesting of Mark Smith's "Wars in India" collection (or as I like to think of it, "Bloody Big INDIAN Battles!") proceeds apace. I guess it should be ready for publication in 2018.
- Playtesting Konstantinos Travlos's Balkan Wars collection is also progressing; mostly by Konstantinos himself, but I have done some, with more scheduled for next month.