Victory at Sea!

General chat about Mongoose Publishing and its releases
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Wulf Corbett
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Victory at Sea!

Postby Wulf Corbett » Tue Jan 03, 2006 7:45 pm

Where would be the appropriate place to discuss this, here, the ACtA forum, or where else?

First impressions... hmm... not bad at all... The actual arcs of fire of turrets aren't shown though, something missing from the diagram I feel. Also the turn template is a bit fiddly to use, especially with minis.

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Postby MongooseMatt » Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:11 am

Ah, yes, some text was dropped from the fire arcs - think of the forward turrets as having F, P, S arcs in CTA and the rear ones A, P, S, so there is a crossover for the broadside.

The Turning Template needs fiddling with - I have a prototype on my desk that is quite easy to use.
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Postby Wulf Corbett » Wed Jan 04, 2006 9:34 am

msprange wrote:Ah, yes, some text was dropped from the fire arcs - think of the forward turrets as having F, P, S arcs in CTA and the rear ones A, P, S, so there is a crossover for the broadside.
Yup, I figured that. I like how turrets were done.
The Turning Template needs fiddling with - I have a prototype on my desk that is quite easy to use.
I guess a template is necessary, shipping will have far shallower turns than spaceships (erm... theoretically...), but it's a bit of a nuisance. A set of 4 seperate templates would be easier to use, since they'll have to be usable with minis.

One other problem I have, I don't see that ships in this era MUST move half their maximum speed every turn, or that, if they move less than maximum, they must move half that maximum before turning. Water is far more efficient at slowing ships down, and it takes positive effort to keep up any given speed, unlike in space where it takes effort to slow down!

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Postby Renny » Wed Jan 04, 2006 10:04 am

Matt

Thanks for the info about fire arcs. That saved me emailing you. Can't wait to try this out.

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Postby Wulf Corbett » Wed Jan 04, 2006 4:04 pm

Feel free to point me to another forum if there's a better one...

As I see it, there are 3 point of concern so far.

1) No distinct difference between deck armour and flank armour. Long-range plunging fire would bypass the heavier armour of earlier vessels, although it's always much less accurate. That's what killed the Hood. Presumably a torpedo belt will be a special trait.
2) Related to this, the idea of a ship blocking line of sight/fire is worrying. Of course, if using ACtA line of sight, only the tiny little centre dot counts, so that's not much of a problem, but ships just aren't that big, and, for that matter, plunging fire should be possible over smaller vessels.
3) There's a bonus to hit a ship broadside on to the firer, but most historical recorde make more mention of 'crossing the T', where the enemy is at right angles to you, giving you the whole length of the enemy vessel to accurately range on to (it's easier to accurately fire for angle than range except at close range). I can see the sense of both, but 'crosing the T' is by far more famous.

Otherwise this looks a good start, although there are a lot of seperate die rolls needed compared to ACtA (but fewer dice).

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Postby Guest » Wed Jan 04, 2006 4:25 pm

1) I agree that plunging fire should be a possibility. I'm not quite sure how you would simulate it but it would add to the flavour of the WW2 milieu.
This also has some bearing on how bombs will be dealt with, as aircraft are brought into the rules set.
2) Not quite decided on this one. I'll wait until I play out the first scenario and see how much of an impact it has on the game.
3) It would be nice to see some reference to crossing the T as your broadside armament is much more relevant when dealing with "real world" naval engagements. The idea of it being easier to hit a target broadside onto you does make sense, though.

On the whole I like how the rules read and i'm itching to play the scenario. My order for Navwar miniatures is in the post :D

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Postby Renny » Wed Jan 04, 2006 4:43 pm

Whoops

That was me. Forgot to sign in. :D

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Postby Greg Smith » Wed Jan 04, 2006 5:08 pm

Crossing the T works because you can fire both your fore and aft turrets, while the enemy can only fire his fore guns. IIRC.
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Postby Wulf Corbett » Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:31 pm

Greg Smith wrote:Crossing the T works because you can fire both your fore and aft turrets, while the enemy can only fire his fore guns. IIRC.
That is, certainly, an advantage, and one that doesn't need ruling on (only one set of turrets can bear), but once shells are no longer firing direct, ranging is more difficult against a broadside on target than a long one. It's relatively easy to shoot straight, it's another to accurately judge distance.

One possible solution is to have two range brackets, direct and plunging. While within direct fire, Broadsides on provides a bonus, but when at plunging fire range (which would have a penalty anyway), 'Crossing the T' would be an advantage.

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Postby AndyG » Wed Jan 04, 2006 7:33 pm

Probably the simplest way to deal with plunding fire is that it takes place at long and extream range. And plundging fire should ignore intervening ships as it goes over there heads.

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Postby Wulf Corbett » Wed Jan 04, 2006 7:44 pm

AndyG wrote:Probably the simplest way to deal with plunding fire is that it takes place at long and extream range. And plundging fire should ignore intervening ships as it goes over there heads.
Trouble is, at present, there are no range brackets. I would refine the second statement to 'ignore intervening ships at short range when firing at targets at long range'.

Generally, though, I think this system does need some form of range modifiers for plunging fire, it has lots of effects. We'll see what future installments bring...

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Postby emperorpenguin » Wed Jan 04, 2006 9:47 pm

It's a great idea and I'm looking forward to trying it out.

On the subject of the turrets, now that we know they'e FPS and APS, what exactly are the A B X and Y tuurets? :? Are they fore or aft?

I agree plunging fire would be good. I also would like to see fire citicals continue to burn in this game until extinguished (unlike ACTA there's no advanced firefighting kit or exposing fires to vaccuum)
also ships just get reduced to 0 damage and die, I'd love to see a critical which causes a ship to get holed below the waterline and it slowly sinks over several turns, this is a water based game but there's actually no effects for the water! :P

At first glance the Graf Spee seems under-armoured compared to the light cruisers (3+ seems a little light for a pocket battleship) but a full game will tell
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Postby Wulf Corbett » Wed Jan 04, 2006 9:56 pm

emperorpenguin wrote:On the subject of the turrets, now that we know they'e FPS and APS, what exactly are the A B X and Y tuurets? :? Are they fore or aft?
Traditionally, A, B, C, etc are forward turrets, X, Y & Z are rear. It doesn't say so on this document, mind you, but I guess we have to accept it's just an incomplete part work.
also ships just get reduced to 0 damage and die, I'd love to see a critical which causes a ship to get holed below the waterline and it slowly sinks over several turns, this is a water based game but there's actually no effects for the water! :P
Agreed, but again this is just the basic works. Torpedoes are probably 1 AD (very inaccurate), 3 DD (lots of damage), Precise, Triple Damage.
At first glance the Graf Spee seems under-armoured compared to the light cruisers (3+ seems a little light for a pocket battleship) but a full game will tell
The term 'Pocket Battleship' was never more than media propaganda anyway, she was a cruiser with excessively heavy guns. On such a coarse-grained system (Armour can only range from 2 to 5, after all), maybe 3+ isn't bad. I'd have said 4+ myself. Certainly a bit more survivable.

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Postby AndyG » Thu Jan 05, 2006 12:46 pm

Well you possably could have an armour 6+ ships as well so the range would be at a guess:
2+ for civilian ships and frigates and destroyers.
3+ for lightly armoured crusers and carriers
4+ for battle crusers and well armoured heavy crusers and older dreadnoughts
5+ for battleships
6+ for the super battleships.

We have still to see if some guns or torpedoes get Armour Pearcing or similar. Bombs have been already been mentioned as being able to pearce deck armour better. I imagin especaly thick or thin deck armour would be a specal feature for the ship. Like wise for torpedo/mine armour.
I susupect we will have to wait as you say for further installments.

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Postby Guest » Thu Jan 05, 2006 1:44 pm

AndyG wrote:Well you possably could have an armour 6+ ships as well so the range would be at a guess:
A decent list. You should know the Spee at least as well if not better than me, what's the armour like compared to the Achilles & co?
We have still to see if some guns or torpedoes get Armour Pearcing or similar.
From the looks of it, bigger guns just get extra dice. But you could apply AP or SAP to the damage dice for special attacks, torps should be a pretty certain crippler.

I figure the Spee needs a Spotter plane, torp tubes P & S one shot, or at the least Slow-Loading) and possibly a Torpedo Belt (not sure on that) to be fully accurate.

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Postby AndyG » Thu Jan 05, 2006 2:18 pm

The spee was a bit bettered aroured but not sure if it was enough better to go up an armour class. You are talking about the late seventys for when I last played with my little ships so my memory is a bit rusty to say the least.

Your extras for the spee look ok but we need the rules for them before they are relevent.

Torps for instance though they should be launched as part of the normal sequence Torps attacks [or place torp target counters durring the movement phase implying torps can only attack ships that have already moved a bit like bore sighting]
Then damage should be resolved after all other attacks
[or even in later rounds but that would involve a bit to much record keeping for this sort of game].

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Postby Wulf Corbett » Thu Jan 05, 2006 3:14 pm

AndyG wrote:The spee was a bit bettered aroured but not sure if it was enough better to go up an armour class.
Well, they were claiming it was proof up to 8" on the main armour belt, but how that compares is another matter... I'd prefer it was 4+, myself.

On which matter, there seems to be one too many stages in damage allocation here. Roll to hit, roll to damage, roll to achieve crit, roll to define crit type, roll to define exact crit.

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Postby AndyG » Thu Jan 05, 2006 4:07 pm

Wulf Corbett wrote: On which matter, there seems to be one too many stages in damage allocation here. Roll to hit, roll to damage, roll to achieve crit, roll to define crit type, roll to define exact crit.

Wulf
Yes there is an extra stage when you get a crit.
Though they could make the first roll on the crit table a 2D6 .
And make some of them no extra effect instead.
That would give the designer more flexability in how they do the crit table.
Perhaps to add flooding as an ongoing crit type.

Andy
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Postby Nomad » Thu Jan 05, 2006 10:10 pm

A few notes;

Armour - Graf Spee's belt armour was 4" thick at maximum (most of it was thinner on all the ships), similar to the Leander class cruisers, Exeter's was slightly lighter at 3" max. In practice, the 11" shells ignored the cruisers armour, and the Germans were shocked to find that British shells pierced their armour, too.

Aircraft - a Fairey SeaFox from one of the RN ships (Ajax?) played an important role in spotting British fire but Graf Spee's Arado 196 was unflyable during the battle, having cracked its last spare engine cylinder the previous day. If it had carried out its normal dawn recce, it might have warned Captain Langsdorff of the true nature of his opponents (he initially misidentified the British ships as an obsolete WW1 light cruiser with two destroyers and confidently closed the range....whoops).

Gunnery - in general, maximum gun range considerably exceeded the distance at which hits could be scored. Visibility, the ability of fast - moving ships to dodge and rangefinding technology limited practical fire ranges to no more than 20,000 yards for any gun 6" and over (Graf Spee's 11" guns had a claimed maximum range of 37,000 yards).

Plunging fire - Complex one, this. Over a certain range for any gun, the shells start to arrive on the target at a very steep angle. Against ships, this results in a sudden drop off in accuracy - shallow angle fire causes a ship to cast a long 'shadow', so the error in range can be quite large (typically 200 -500 yards) and the shell still hits, against vertically plunging fire the range error must be less than the ship's own length.

Torpedoes - both sides fired torps during the battle, but did so at long range, and missed. Keeping the RN out of effective torpedo range was a major issue for Langsdorff, and torpedoing Graf Spee was the only realistic chance the British cruisers had of sinking her. (She was scuttled outside Montevideo because the Germans had been fooled into thinking the British had a battlecrusier waiting for her).

The design weakness that Commodore Harwood in Exeter exploited was that Graf Spee could only effectively engage one ship at a time with her main battery. Spee had two fire control directors, but splitting the turrets' fire would leave only three guns firing at each target, too few for an effective (ie accurate) salvo. The British ships played 'tag' with Spee, Exeter and the Leanders alternately closing to draw fire then pulling out of range.

Unlike sf space combat, where weapon effectiveness with range can be abstracted out, to my mind it's a rather important factor in WW2 war at sea.

To incorporate this in the game, I'd suggest that when one ship engages another with gunfire at over half her gun's maximum range, she first has to find the range, needing a '5' or better. This is reduced by two for each consecutive turn of shooting at the same target, so on the third turn, success is automatic. If the ship switches fire to a different target, the process must begin again. If the firer divides her shooting, the base score needed is a '6' reducing by one per turn.
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Postby Wulf Corbett » Thu Jan 05, 2006 11:54 pm

Nomad wrote:Unlike sf space combat, where weapon effectiveness with range can be abstracted out, to my mind it's a rather important factor in WW2 war at sea.
I'd agree with that fully, but I'd suggest something more lenient, and simple. Over a certain range (more later), all fire should be considered plunging. 'crossing the T' replaces the broadside modifier, deck armour applies, and all fire is modified by -2 (a 6 still always hits). This last modifier may be reduced to -1 (but no better) on the second consecutive turn of fire.

Now... what range... Half range sounds fine, but what about the shorter ranged guns? It's not THAT hard to range in guns within visible range, after all. Maybe half range on Primary Weapons only, but never under, say, 6" (plunding fire effects on 'crossingthe T' and deck armour still apply).

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