Balancing VaS

Discuss the Victory at Sea range of naval games.

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Greg Smith
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Balancing VaS

Postby Greg Smith » Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:33 am

How do you balance games of VaS? I played US against the Japanese this week and got massacred twice. Their ships are streets ahead of comparable American ships and their destroyers are unstoppable.

So in the absence of points, how do you make pick-up games viable?
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Re: Balancing VaS

Postby kamenski » Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:28 pm

Hi,
I'm interested in a debriefing. What scenario did you play ? What was the level ? How many FAP ?

I never played US or Japanese navy. I played a lot of games with RN or KrM and I find the game well balanced. We decided to start a Pacific Campaign with one of my friends and I play USN. I just want some advice if possible. What kind of difficulty ? Is there a problem with Torpedoes for example or with the destroyers speed ?

Please tell me
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Re: Balancing VaS

Postby Greg Smith » Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:55 pm

Both games were 5 point battle.

In game one the Japanese had:
Yamoto
Nagato
2 x Mogami
4 x Fubuki destroyers

In both games the Americans had:
Washington (North Carolina class)
Alabama (South Dakota)
Tennessee

In the first game the Americans concentrated on the Japanese cruisers and took them out. At no point could the Americans target the destroyers because they were moving at speed 8, making them impossible to hit. The Japanese player actually made a mistake and got his destroyers in close, but despite this the Americans failed to destroy any. Two torpedo salvos destroyed the Washington outright. The Japanese got a lucky hit and destroyed the Alabama. Then the following turn two more massive torpedo salvos hit the Tennessee, rolling somewhere in the region of 40 damage dice. So much for the torpedo belt!

In game two, we matched up for a quick game.
Japanese had:
Yamato
Musashi
Nagoto.

Although the Americans crippled both the Yamoto and the Nagato, the Japanese out ranged the Americans, had more damage dice, had better secondaries, and even have agile battleships.

The Japanese destroyers are a major problem. They can't be hit by primaries because of speed, unless the destroyers get within 10", and the American secondaries are range 12" or less, so it is entirely possible for the destroyers to never be threatened. Then they have torpedoes with SAP, more attack dice, more damage dice and 20" range.

My opponent doesn't want to use his Japanese navy again because they seem to outclass almost every other ship in the game.
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Re: Balancing VaS

Postby kamenski » Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:17 pm

Thanks for these informations, and excuse me for my poor english.

1) Speed over 7"
The -1 penalty for targetting fast ships is the same than the -1 penalty for targetting at long range. Nobody complains about not hitting Battleships or Cruisers when at long or extreme range. Try this : if you need a 7 to hit on a 6 sided die, roll it, and if you get a 6, re roll and you need a 4+ to make a 7. If you need a 8, re roll any 6 and get a 5+ to make an 8 and for a 9 you need a 6 and another 6. You can prefer to say 5+ for a 7, 6 for an 8 and impossible for a 9 needed. For example.
It's the way that I play and it seems quite balanced (with Royal Navy, Kriegsmarine and Italian navy).

The -1 penalty applies only if the current speed of the target is MORE than 7". Only a few Japanese destroyers get this speed (about 8 ships of the Fubuki class, and only 1 ship of the Shimakaze class). For the other, their speed is "only" 7 and they need to make a "Flank Speed" to reach 8". You can easily create a rule that says "a ship may only make a "flank speed " for 1 turn, if it does a second turn, roll a die, on a 6 the engines are damaged (for example : speed -2" or speed -1", as a critical hit). For information US Navy also gets destroyers with a 8" speed (Gridley class).

Don't forget you have a +1 bonus when firing on large silhouette.

You can also try to hit with a dive bomber from a carrier wich get a+1 bonus when bombing their target, or use Ship launched torpedoes (difficult because of the 10" range) wich ignore normal penalties or bonus and just apply a +1 bonus if targeted on the beam.

If you use the special rule for radar, firing in daylight and by clear weather with a radar ignore the long range penalty for turrets and reduce penalty by 1 at extreme range for turrets. You can easily spend 1 shot with such a turret to try to get definetly rid of these destroyers.

And finally, some US ships get a 14" range for secondary weapons as Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, New York, Sangamon, Long Island classes.

As you see, I think there are many ways to try to hit these small ships

Example: US Tennessee class using a radar (daylight, clear weather) at 25", firing at a Japanese destroyer at a speed of 8" on its beam.

Target 6, -1 penalty for speed, no penalty for long range, +1 bonus for firing on large silhouette , total to roll : 6. You have 4 turrets with 3AD each , you roll 12 dice (what the probability not to roll any 6 ?) damage is 2 DD AP with an armor of 2+ for the destroyer. I'm just laughing.....


2) Powerfull Japanese torpedoes
Don't forget that, if the Japanese choose long range torpedoes (they can opt to fire their torpedoes normally, at 10"), they roll the dice to hit on the next turn they announce they're firing. So US Navy ships have a turn to try an evasive manoeuvre.
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Re: Balancing VaS

Postby Greg Smith » Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:09 pm

We don't allow hits at greater then 6. We do penalise flank speed by give the flanking ship a -1 penalty to shoot.

Destroyers usually coming steaming in head on, as they don't need to turn side on until in range. So if you get a radar lock, if you have radar, you can maybe shoot them at range if they turn side on. When they are ready to shoot, you can shoot them first, if you go ahead of them in the initiative sequence.

14" range secondaries don't help against destroyers with a 20" range.

Evasive is a good tactic against long lance torpedoes.

All of which doesn't alter the fact that Japanese destroyers are better than anyone else's. Or like for like their ships are superior.
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