Sunday, June 5, 2016

Updates: Naval Games and the Great Evzone experiment

Hi to all

Not much gaming these days because Onur is swamped at work. But we are all excitedly waiting for the next chance to fight the next battle in our BBB Campaign "The Last Century of the Ottomans", 2nd Pleven.

Your host keeping busy

Most of my hobby time has thus focused on scenario buildings (Kumanovo 1912 is at Chris Pringle for post-processing), reading, painting (almost done with a 6mm Prussian Army for 1813-1814 that has been waiting for half a decade), and planning next steps. Two things that I am toying with is Naval Rules, and Evzones. Read below.

NAVAL GAMING!!

I did play a bit. A ran a solo session of Fleet Action Imminent (FAI) to get a handle of the rules. It was very useful but also led me to some understandings. First let me say this. It is obvious that a lot of work has gone into these rules. A very good job by the creators. Second, I was comparing them to Perfidious Albion in my mind (PA).

I ran a one on one scenario. Right of the bat I saw an issue. To run the game I needed no less than 4 national tables. FAI takes national doctrines and technology much more into account than PA, which does not. The problem is that they only have those tables for the major navies. When playing minor navies like Greece and the Ottoman Empire (minor but navies that actually saw much more capital ship action than some of the major navies in the era) your ships are a hodgepodge of technologies and doctrines. Thus the Averoff requires two national charts to function (British and Italian). The Hydra class would require three diffrent (British, German, Italian). This can clutter your space a lot and stall the game.



It would had been much preferable if they had also produced national charts for the minor navies as well. As it is  the Naval Battles of Lemons and Elli, the only major capital ship combats between 1905 and 1914 are an afterthought. Obviously you can sit down and cut-paste stuff to create the charts, but when one pays, one also pays to avoid expending man-power. Again I much prefer the detail given by FAI to national characteristics to the lack of such detail in PA. But I would had preferred if they had included dedicated Charts.

Unto the game itself. I found the movement system preferable to that of PA. Things were a bit clearer (for example squadron distance, squadron movement) and the plotted system meant that there was no need to deal with initiative. The Morale system in FAI is much superior than PA. Gunnery seemed about as complex. PA requires more calculation by hand, as you group batteries and calculate percentage die. FAI has most of the math done by the chart but you still need to figure out gun classes and look at the different tables. Combat thus felt about the same in how much it taxes my mind.

The major difference is that I can see games going much faster with FAI. While it is harder to hit in FAI than in PA, once hit ships are probably going to be out of the game in 2-3 successful hits.

That said both rules are not pick up games. In another name to get the most out of them you need to have all players having at least read the rules, if not run a game. With people who have not familiarity you will have to use an umpire. Forget about teaching them on the fly. This means that they might not work well for the Naval Campaign we want to run "The War that Never Was". We will have multiple players, infrequent rounds, and probably will need systems that can permit us to resolve campaign combats as they arise. Thus I am seeing a double tack. When playing with players who read the rules and internalized them, we can use FAI. When playing with players that have not yet grasped them simpler Beer and Pretzel rules might be the order of the day. Now for pre-dreadnoughts game DBSA(Damn Battleships Again) or Russo-Japanese War can work, but I have no idea of fast-play rules that can accommodate the mixed fleets of pre-dreads and dreadnoughts that are part and parcel of the Mediterranean and Black Sea in the era we are interested. Any suggestions are welcome.

Finally one thing I would appreciate is that rules writers do not consider fleets that actually fought an afterthought to fleets that did not. I love my counterfactuals as much as everyone, but let us exhaust empirical history first.

EVZONES at 10mm!!

On another front I am trying to figure out proxies for Evzones in the period 1897-1913. After some browsing I decided that the key is to get a look, and I had Pendraken prepare a special order for me with samples of most of their 19th century lines (Pendraken is great! Did I say that? Again. Pendraken is Great!) . Part of it is for figuring out proxies for many different things (War of the Triple Alliance, Serbo-Bulgarian War, Balkan Wars, War of 1897) and partly to specifically figure out Evzones.

I decided to use AU12, Grener from the 1860s Austrian line as a base. My goal is to get the feel of the uniform in this plate



Here is the Grezner at the start


I have clipped the Shako of. In general the leggings are fine. If the Kittel was a tad bit longer it would had been perfect, but it feels ok. A bit less cluttering in the figure would also had been better.


After adding a fareo (the greek skull cap) to the figure (using blue tac as I do not have green-stuff right now). I think it works. Of course the final painted product will tell us what works or not, but it feels ok.



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