Side Game - Iron Bottom Sound. Naval Action in the Solomons!

Winterfest #19
DaveM1
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Side Game - Iron Bottom Sound. Naval Action in the Solomons!

Postby DaveM1 » Sun Dec 13, 2015 3:17 am

Who's interested in participating in a game at the Fest?

I've played a lot of this recently and Lee Hamer (thatLee) and I just battled out a face to face session...Man, this game is a blast! The night actions are at short range, the weapons are lethal, and there's plenty of action going on all over. The system is straightforward but not simplistic, the preplotted movement creates uncertainty and surprisingly complex situations, and the damage model produces thoroughly believable results.

We recreated the 2nd (Naval) Battle of Guadalcanal, a late 1942 action in which a Tokyo Express bombardment run was intercepted by a scratch force made up of two battleships escorted by only four destroyers. Our results were bloodier than history mostly because our thoroughly amateur admirals sailed our screening forces right THROUGH each other - there was point blank hammer blow gunnery, a collision or two, short range torpedo fire, and a Japanese cruiser whose bridge got blasted and had to make a 360 degree circle through the melee. Spotlights from the Washington illuminated targets, VW sized shells whistled through the air and sent towering geisers toward the sky, and Japanese destroyer crews lost bladder control. Lee's USN utterly creamed my IJN force.

Key game features:
[*] Accurate ship specs for armor and armament
[*] Gun combat that takes enough chrome into account (range, shell caliber, armor thickness, target angle, specific damage areas and critical hits)
[*] Simultaneous plotted movement, so you have to anticipate who will be where and they'll be command uncertainty
[*] Special rules for star shells, spotlights, smoke screens, radar gunnery, torpedo quality
[*] Fast play that balances how many times you need to roll the dice very nicely with how much satisfaction you get from doing damage


So I'd love to run a game at Winterfest, and if there is enough interest I can imagine even refereeing a double blind engagement. It'd be utterly cool to see the opponent emerge from nowhere when they get to range, have torpedoes be invisible to the targets (well, and the shooters...it happens). Players could command an entire side, a subcommand, or a couple ships.

Who'd like to try it out?

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Re: Side Game - Iron Bottom Sound. Naval Action in the Solomons!

Postby ThisLee » Thu Dec 17, 2015 2:48 am

I'm in.

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Re: Side Game - Iron Bottom Sound. Naval Action in the Solomons!

Postby MTierney » Sun Dec 20, 2015 11:14 am

I have had that game for years and never played it! If we can get Shawn involved at the Fest, maybe I can find someone to play. I am in at some point.
Merv

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Re: Side Game - Iron Bottom Sound. Naval Action in the Solomons!

Postby TEJ » Tue Dec 22, 2015 2:30 am

Dave,

The last days of the Fest usually witness a thinning crowd. We're getting significant interest in playing during the week, which should make some of us "experts" by Friday. If you'd commit to running a big game on the second Saturday morning, maybe we could get some folks to plan to stay and play that day. I can commit to playing all day Saturday if there's something to play (with an exception for weather; I have a 10-hour drive home).

Todd

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Re: Side Game - Iron Bottom Sound. Naval Action in the Solomons!

Postby DaveM1 » Wed Dec 23, 2015 3:55 pm

As I have less than a 10 MINUTE drive home, I'm in for as much play as people will do.

Todd, if you could bring your battle mat that would be great. Does it have 1" or 1.5" hexes?

There will be no problem in getting to expert level in short order. This version of the game feels like a cleaner Close Action, but with this era the crit damage is a lot more interesting (and potentially catastrophic in a thoroughly fun way!) As I've continued to play the only downside I see is that sometimes the amount of wristage (die rolling) edges toward a bit much, but when I mentioned that Lee Hamer told me it didn't seem that way to him - that the fun outweighed any downside, and that the rolling wasn't too bad.

The concepts are the same as CA and WSIM. Movement plotted with same hex by hex format. (1S2P1 = 1 hex forward, turn to starboard, two hexes in that direction, turn to port, 1 hex forward). Simultaneous movement execution. Simultaneous gunfire means damage doesn't take effect till next turn. Gun factors modified by range and target aspect (shooting at broadside harder than shooting at entire length, "raking" in napoleonic terms), cross indexed with die roll to determine number of "hits". Once hits determined, each one gets to roll on the "Hits Damage Table" modified by gun caliber and target armor to see what damage is done. Any damage marked off checkboxes kept by the commander of the target ship.

Easily played with commander controlling a division or section, might not be as much fun with ship by ship. '

More to come. Email me and I'll send some files. I'd be fine with figuring out Vassal, which I've never really used, if you wanted to get some play in.

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Re: Side Game - Iron Bottom Sound. Naval Action in the Solomons!

Postby DaveM1 » Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:19 pm

Here's what I think will be really fun and challenging: Double blind torpedo fire.


If we do get a crowd I'd love to do a big battle on two separate mats, with sighting and movement coordinated by game master. Not only will enemy location be uncertain but it'd be great to have damage rolls done by the target side so the shooters have to guess what their shots have done when they see the targets slow down or decrease fire.

Add in those pesky Long Lances....serious cool factor!


There are some really small scenarios with, say, 4 vs 4 destroyers -- even a night English Channel action. Also some alternative history 1928 battleship encounters...and of course the massive not-quite-fleet-battles with multiple division commands a real possibility. As new players Lee and I got through a pretty heavy duty encounter with lots of cruisers and destroyers in 3 - 4 hours, so it plays fast. If we were to have people do their own rolling and damage calculations

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Re: Side Game - Iron Bottom Sound. Naval Action in the Solomons!

Postby TEJ » Sun Dec 27, 2015 4:34 am

Dave,

I can bring a mat with 1" hexes and/or a mat with 5/8" hexes.

If I like it in person, I'll be 'up' for Vassal gaming this after the Fest. We might find even find a whole crew. But I don't think there's time to get much into a scenario before the Fest - and I'm starting to focus on the rules for the main game.

If we have a ref, I don't think double blind torpedoes is sufficient. It ought to be totally blind, with only the firing player knowing!

Todd

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Re: Side Game - Iron Bottom Sound. Naval Action in the Solomons!

Postby MTierney » Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:19 am

Double blind would make this a whole new experience for us. It might even pry us away from the Panzers long enough to become more than a curiosity! Modern naval war is something I have always wanted to play at Winterfest, but with the exception of Lee Hanna, no interest has ever been shown. Looking forward to this!

Merv

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Re: Side Game - Iron Bottom Sound. Naval Action in the Solomons!

Postby DaveM1 » Thu Feb 04, 2016 4:26 pm

So it's a go!

This game got me back to the modelling desk for the first time in 8 - 10 years, and I'm almost done with a small fleet of miniature WW2 ships. After some hassle from Staples (I was able to get written permission from the designer) I'm also the proud owner of two double sized, 1.5" hex game maps!

Looking at the historical scenarios there are some small ones and some big ones, but the emphasis is clearly on history more than balance. We can pick among those, but we also could build one of our own....

Like would anyone be interested in a "War Plan Orange" 1935 night fleet action between US Navy and Imperial Japanese Navy?

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Re: Side Game - Iron Bottom Sound. Naval Action in the Solomons!

Postby TEJ » Thu Feb 04, 2016 5:56 pm

There's a lot of historical IJN officers who'd have been interested in a 1935 night action. The USN might not have been so happy with the prospect.

Unbalanced historical scenarios are fine by me in any case. Several such historical scenarios seem to have turned out quite the opposite of what one would expect, in late '42.


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