Smoke Counters

Discuss the Victory at Sea range of naval games.

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Oly
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Smoke Counters

Postby Oly » Mon Feb 05, 2007 8:42 pm

Hi,

I've been running a few play tests on my own before I'm able to round up some players (hopefully within the next week, fingers crossed). I've run through the River Plate scenario and it's thrown up some questions about smoke.

Basically the ships met in the middle of the table. Graf Spee, Exeter and Achilles were crippled while Ajax was unharmed.

Graf Spee then began to sail away leaving the other ships behind her. She then turned on smoke.

The question is does the smoke counter move with the ship? I think that it does, otherwise there's this big open area left behind the ship. You also end up with smoke going roughly from where the ship is at the end of it's move to where it was at the start (well give and take turns). Leaving the counter behind leaves this gap which doesn't feel "right".

I know there was a discussion about this a while ago but there wasn't any conclusion. Now the game is out how are people finding it.

What I discovered was that because Exeter and Achilles were behind the Graf Spee they couldn't shoot at her, the line from their centre to hers passed over that smoke counter.

Achilles went to flank speed overtaking the Graf Spee and finished her off with a broadside of all guns. She had to get ahead of the centre of the Graf Spee to do it though.

Is that how others have played such situations out?

It was quite nice though, Graf Spee's main guns had survived and had the Achilles not finished her would have had a full broadside back at her doing an awful lot of damage and possibly some nasty criticals.

Anyway, thoughts?

Oly
Fitzwalrus
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Postby Fitzwalrus » Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:56 pm

We used the Smoke counters from the rulebook counter sheet in our first game, and good old cotton balls in the second game.

In both cases we ran the smoke screen in a line from where the stern of the ship was at the start of her move to the center of the ship/stack at her location at the end of her movement. Any Line of Fire that passed through the smoke screen (including that of the "laying" ship) was blocked.

This can get tricky: we had a three-ship division of DD's laying smoke, which meant the fire of the second and third DD following in line astern was blocked since they were inside the smoke from the lead destroyer.
(Note to self: only have the trailing DD lay smoke next time! :oops: )

I like the rule that Smoke starts in the center of the model (at the stack) rather than at the stern, BTW.... a minor point, but a nice historical touch. :idea:
"D*mmit, boys, they're getting away!" - anonymous US destroyer sailor commenting on Yamato's withdrawal at Samar, 1944.
Bullshot
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Postby Bullshot » Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:03 pm

Since SA's happen first, you would place your smoke counter (cotton, etc) with leading edge on the center point of the ship making smoke. Then you move the ship, leaving the smoke where it is.

BS
Poi
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Postby Poi » Tue Feb 06, 2007 8:16 am

Bullshot wrote:Since SA's happen first, you would place your smoke counter (cotton, etc) with leading edge on the center point of the ship making smoke. Then you move the ship, leaving the smoke where it is.

BS
Do you leave a trail of smoke behind you, or is there a gap if your Speed is higher than the length of the smoke counter?
Poi

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Oly
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Postby Oly » Tue Feb 06, 2007 9:22 am

Hammer of Ulric wrote:Do you leave a trail of smoke behind you, or is there a gap if your Speed is higher than the length of the smoke counter?
Bullshot's saying that there will be a gap between the centre point of the ship and the smoke counter/trail as you leave the smoke where it is.

I agree that that does seem to be how the rule is written but it just doesn't feel right. There could easily be a 6" or 7" gap between the centre point of the ship and the smoke.

Is the intention that that gap represents smoke that hasn't formed or settled fully enough to be an effect screen?

IIRC 1" = 1000 yrds so that's quite a big gap though..... It also makes it very hard for a ship to lay smoke and protect something that's sailing behind it on it's left or right side.
resQscooter
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Postby resQscooter » Tue Feb 06, 2007 2:24 pm

I would vote for having the smoke stay with the ship and not leave a gap.
Wulf Corbett
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Postby Wulf Corbett » Tue Feb 06, 2007 2:37 pm

Smoke must be of a certain density to be effective. Move to fast, and it will be too dispersed to be effective. Therefore, as an abstraction, it leaves gaps.

Wulf
resQscooter
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Postby resQscooter » Tue Feb 06, 2007 6:28 pm

Here is an interesting link, hope I did it right.

http://www.bismarck-class.dk/technicall ... rator.html
Last edited by resQscooter on Tue Feb 06, 2007 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
resQscooter
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Postby resQscooter » Tue Feb 06, 2007 6:31 pm

resQscooter
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Postby resQscooter » Tue Feb 06, 2007 6:42 pm

Wow, finding all kinds of neat stuff...
"a picture is worth 1,000 words"
http://www.de220.com/Armament/Decoys/De ... 388526.jpg

http://www.de220.com/Armament/Decoys/De ... 388531.jpg
Oly
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Postby Oly » Tue Feb 06, 2007 8:53 pm

Both of those photos seem to show the smoke being effective pretty much as soon as the ship generates it. The second shows that very clearly.

I think I'll try gaming with the counter moving with the ship. If that ends up being a bit too powerful then what I might do is provide a triangular counter of the same length, as wide as the counter is at one end with a point at the other. With the point placed on the centre of the ship and a "cone" of smoke behind it it'll reduce the angle that a pursuing ship needs to reach to be able to attack the smoke producer.

I'm very curious to hear from any playtesters with their thoughts on how smoke worked out.
pixelgeek
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Postby pixelgeek » Wed Feb 07, 2007 12:18 am

The wind direction also plays an important part in how effective the smoke is or how long it lasts.
Fitzwalrus
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Postby Fitzwalrus » Wed Feb 07, 2007 12:24 am

VaS doesn't really deal with wind (either for Smoke or Aircraft Operations) but I think that is sort of built into the Smoke rule by having the markers removed during the End Phase (which I like.)

If there is only supposed to be the one Smoke marker laid down overlapping the model and no others trailing along behind, however, then I think the rule is a bit nerfed, regardless of what the "ground scale" in VaS is supposed to be.
"D*mmit, boys, they're getting away!" - anonymous US destroyer sailor commenting on Yamato's withdrawal at Samar, 1944.

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