Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Battlefleet 1900

Another step forward on a long-dormant project today.  Way back in the mists of time (end of 2012), I bought some 1:3000 Russo-Japanese War ships with the intention of playing some Quickfire games.  Well, [insert measly excuse here] got in the way and I'm sorry to say they gathered dust for a few years.  However the interest was never really dead, and I recently went on holiday to Northumberland.  While wandering Barter Books, I found some great books on the history of the Russian navy, as well as late 19th century 'torpedo boat destroyer' designs.

And the rest, as they say, is history!  I dusted off the ships, repainted them, and decided to try the more complex Battlefleet rules. 

Battlefleet 1900 Playtest

They go in to much more detail than Quickfire, particularly with damage.  Effects include listing, searchlights being shot out, guns damaged, rudders jammed, crew panicking ... in short, real 'nitty gritty' detail that the amateur specialist loves.

The rules took a good three read-throughs, and even when me and Kieran had a test game I made some errors.  Specifically, I forgot all about critical hits so all four battleships were circling each other (sometimes at a range of about 200 yards) and blasting away, causing only superficial damage.  Woops!  But the game was fun, despite the severe constraints of a basic test game, and now I'm looking forward to expanding the fleets.  I want to do a few alternate history games around Admiral Rozhestvensky's ill-fated voyage to Tshushima.  


Ideas for Future Plans

What if the Dogger Bank incident had led to a full-scale clash between the Pacific Squadron and the Channel Fleet?

What if the Russian paranoid fears of Japanese torpedo boats ambushing them in the Skagerrak had proved true?

What if a European Crisis had erupted before the Anglo-French and Anglo-Russian treaties had been signed, leading to a North Sea pre-dreadnaught naval clash?

All this is to come - with a special apology to Mike of the excellent Mad Padre blog - to whom I promised a battle report some 15 months ago.  

Pictures of the test game

A game in full swing.  You can see the limited playing area we had, leading to some pretty close-in manoeuvering.  But it was fine for testing the mechanics of this excellent game.
The ships, based on Warlord cavalry bases, roughly-sculpted No More Nails as waves, and the names attached to the back.  This pass was a few hundred yards away - and due to me misreading a section of the rules (on critical damage), resulted in only superficial hits (one smashed searchlight and a damaged boat gun)
My little Secret Notebook of Doom contained all my division orders,
keeping them away from the prying eyes of sneaky Japanese spies!
The Battle of the Teak Straits!  The WTJ ships are rather nice, I must say.
These are the metal ones, I have recently ordered some of the new resin ones.
Picture Gallery - two Research Books

While in Barter Books, these are the two books I picked up for research on the period.


Lots of detail, including period illustrations, with which to supplement our games.
"Set of Naval War Game Pieces, Specially Made for H.I.H. Grand Duke Alexander"
You'd never find this sort of chapter in a modern Jane's, it gets a wee bit personal!
And includes illustrations of drunken sailors!

A superb microhistory of torpedo boat destroyer design.  Anyone who wants to learn of the
wheeling and dealing that goes on with naval procurement could do far worse than read this book!
And there we have it!  I do enjoy restarting a dormant project.  Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it.  The next post on this topic will be a review and painting guide for the resin WTJ ships, so until then...

Ed

6 comments:

  1. Those models look splendid. Always a fascinating period for me, with a vague personal connection, in that my great grandfather, while an American soldier in the Philippines, saw the Russian fleet en route to Tsushima, according to family lore.
    Edwin King has found a nice pre-dreadnought resource - see http://diplomatist2.blogspot.ca/2014/02/wednesday-welcome-and-those-crazy-french.html don't be afraid if you click the BigBadBattleships link and get something naughty. Try again and you'll get there.
    Cheers,
    MP

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    1. Thanks for the comment Mike - that's a really interesting family connection, brings it home (literally) how recent this conflict was. And thank you for that link, just spent a good half hour trawling that!

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  2. Very nice post and beautiful ships!

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    1. Cheers Phil, thanks for stopping by.

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  3. About time you gave us some more on these. :)

    Very cool. Hopefully you can get some more games in to be able to record a full AAR in the near future.

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    1. I know... I'm better at starting projects than finishing them! Kieran and I are planning just that in the next week or two.

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