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NWS Wargaming Store A Wargamer's Best Friend  Naval Warfare Simulations is rightly known for its excellent line up of computer naval war...

NWS Wargaming Store NWS Wargaming Store

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Naval Warfare Simulations

NWS Wargaming Store

A Wargamer's Best Friend

 Naval Warfare Simulations is rightly known for its excellent line up of computer naval warfare sims. Among them:

Steam and Iron: The Great War at Sea

Steam and Iron: The Russo-Japanese War

Rule The Waves

Rule The Waves II

Warship Combat Navies at War

 What a lot of people do not know is that they also publish their own board wargames and miniature rules on:

 It is my assumption that consumers do not realize that they run a wargaming store, and it is one of the best on the internet. Their prices are great, especially for slightly older games (although they are also good for new releases). They do not sell used board wargames, like some sites, but they sell minty fresh new in the shrink wrap games that a lot of people are paying way too much for on the 'used' market. 

 Their customer service is second to none. I have read almost no accounts of there being a problem buying from them. The two I believe I did read were taken care of right away, and actually had to do with the game's publisher, and not NWS. I have been dealing with them for years, and actually did some reviews of their computer naval wargames (I will post links below). On their contact page they have links for email, FB, and their help desk. 

 So, before you click buy on any used wargame make sure you check out the prices, and service, on NWS Wargaming Store. They have around 1500 items in their store now. They also cater to the miniature wargamer. 


NWS Wargaming Store:

NWS Wargaming Store

Naval Warfare Simulations:

SHOP | NWS Wargaming Store

Rule The Waves review:

Rule The Waves by Naval Wafare Simulations Review - A Wargamers Needful Things

Steam & Iron The Russo-Japanese War review:

Steam And Iron the Russo-Japanese War - A Wargamers Needful Things

Rule the Waves II by Naval Warfare Simulations      So the first thing you need to know is that you only have ...

Rule the Waves II by Naval Warfare Simulations Rule the Waves II by Naval Warfare Simulations

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Naval Warfare Simulations


Naval Warfare Simulations


 So the first thing you need to know is that you only have two scenarios to pick from, 1900 and 1920. The second thing you need to know is this is a sandbox game from beginning to end. This is so sandboxy that you might need to empty your sneakers out when done playing. This is not a bad thing, just something you should know up front. There are no built in World War I or World War II scenarios in the game. You are dropped into the shoes of your country's Naval Chief of Staff. Everything, absolutely everything, is in your control. The other part of the job is that if you screw up, there goes the job and game. You can build any force you want, within restraints, but if it doesn't function in the battles you will need to fight, then off with your head. 

 For those of us who stare at spreadsheets Monday through Friday, this may seem like a strange game for us to pick. You will be looking at spreadsheets, a lot of them. Just like in the real world, the biggest constraint to your naval dominance is cash, cold hard cash. Without it you cannot build a minesweeper, let alone a super-battleship. So let us say you want to build that 80,000 ton behemoth. Well the first catch is that your dock size only accommodates 40,000. So you had better start building, but of course construction costs money. Next up, you want to have it carry 20" guns; great, but your country only has researched up to 16". Then you have to research 17" through 19" before you even start  researching 20" ones. Hopefully you see where I am going with this.


 Before you get the wrong impression, I really like the game. Yes, it is a study in office politics, negotiations, and those dreaded spreadsheets. However, once you have the screens under your belt the actual game story starts to flow. Remember this is your Navy, not King's or Yamamoto's, yours. You have every reason to be proud of all of the ships that you have rolled off the docks (or not, if they are all duds). What do you do when you are in that Admiral's chair? Do you go for big guns, or do you throw the dice only on air power? If I haven't made it clear yet, it is all up to you. It is possible to let your computer subordinates help you in many ways, such as designing ships etc. but where is the fun in that?

Country Selection Screen

 Some countries, such as Britain, Japan, and the United States, have deeper pockets and give you a better starting position out of the gate than say Austro-Hungary. That is not to say you can't win with other countries, but your vision for your Navy can be visualized much quicker with some nations.

New Game or Saved Game Screen

 As you can see, the player can have nine saved games at the same time. You can however, write over any of them at any point in time. I might as well bring up the dreaded DRM of the game right now. Yes, it does have an ET phone home part of the process to it. It is incredibly easy to use the process and I had no problems whatsoever. It does not phone home (like another naval game that shall not be mentioned) every thirty seconds or so.

Main/Ship Screen

 This screen is what you will call home for a lot of the game. It is also the screen where you can view your new super-dreadnoughts or your rusty old scows. This is also the screen where money juggling will become an art. Why exactly do you have twenty year old ships still in your fleet? Is it worthwhile to upgrade them in any way, or do you simply scrap them for there steel? If you do scrap too many your government might ask some questions. You will also have to keep track of your tonnage in different areas of the world. Don't forget that you have to have your flag flying in many different ports. Gunboat Diplomacy may be derided now, but in the game's time it was one of the main reasons for your fleet to be in existence. 

 On the right of the above screen you will see how your country is doing diplomatically with the other countries in the game. You can see that I have five countries in the green, which is where you want them.The baby 'blank' color (why oh why that color!) is where you will be heading toward a confrontation. Many things could happen along the way though.

Ship Design Screen

  To many players this is the heart of the game and why they bought it in the first place. Is your next design a war winner or the next Vasa? Ship design can also be constrained by following the rules of the different naval treaties that were in force during the game's time frame.


 In the screen above you can see that I am at war with France. Once that happens, windows will pop up to see if you want to battle it out with the enemy's force. In this case I have two light cruisers and the enemy has a battle cruiser and two light cruisers with six destroyers. If you decline battle the enemy is automatically given the specified amount of Victory Points. Although, as in this case, "discretion is the better part of valor".

Aircraft Type Screen

 You can fight real battles or even take your fleet out on exercises. Speaking of which, this is one place where I will knock the game. Of course it could be me, but I have never been able to cancel a fleet exercise once it has started. By the way, fleet exercises cost money also. 

 So is the game a boring dud or a direct hit from a 16" shell? It is a direct hit as long as you take the time to put some effort into it. This is not a game that you can play halfheartedly while watching the Bears (I am a Packers fan but when Football teams' names come up, I can never forget SNL's "da Bears"). Take your time and slowly get into the cold water of the North Atlantic or wherever you have chosen to run roughshod over your country's naval history from this moment on. Some players tinker for hours on end on the ship design screen. Others let the computer take up that task to get into the thick of battle. Who cares, as long as it is fun for you, and this game can definitely be fun, as long as you let it.

Rule The Waves I review:

For more info on the tactical side of the game please see these reviews:

Steam and Iron The Russo-Japanese War

Steam and Iron The Great War With the Campaign Expansion 


                                                        Steam And Iron The Russo-Japanese war                                          ...

Steam And Iron the Russo-Japanese War Steam And Iron the Russo-Japanese War

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Naval Warfare Simulations

                                                        Steam And Iron The Russo-Japanese war


                                                       Naval Warfare Simulations 

 It all begins with a port. Now this isn't just any port, but Port Arthur on the Kwantung peninsula. A strange name for a Chinese port; its actual name started as Lushun. It was named Port Arthur because of a British lieutenant in the Royal Navy. The Japanese and Chinese fought the first Sino-Japanese war in 1895. At that time, the Japanese had seized the harbor without too much trouble and proceeded to make themselves at home. The Japanese had not figured on the Western powers and their view of the Asian situation. The Western powers banded together to force Japan to give up their spoil of war, Port Arthur. Then, to the Japanese loss of face, the Russians moved into Port Arthur a few years later. Port Arthur became the dirty gem of the Russian eastern empire. It was exactly what they needed, a fine port and also a warm water port on the Pacific Ocean. Vladivostok, hundreds of miles north, was ice bound three months of every year. So now the stage is set for the clash between the huge Russian bear and the rising sun. Those who look to Taranto in 1940 for the blueprint of Pearl Harbor in 1941 are slightly mistaken. The technical difficulties of using plane dropped torpedoes in shallow water were solved by the British in 1940, but the plan to attack another country's fleet without a declaration of war was forged in 1904 and Port Arthur. The Russo-Japanese war brings some interesting characters into its shadow, Teddy Roosevelt to name one.

  Commander Fuchida Mitsuo, when flying over Pearl Harbor in 1941 said "had these Americans never heard of Port Arthur?"

 The battle that is most remembered about this war is the naval battle of Tsushima. After the Russian naval forces in the Pacific were neutralized, the Russian Tsar sent the 'Second Pacific Squadron' from the Baltic all the way to the Sea of Japan. The amazing journey reads like an extremely long funeral march.

 Naval Warfare Simulations, who brought us Steam and Iron, and then its campaign expansion, are now responsible for bringing to life on the computer the Naval war portion of the Russo-Japanese war 1904-1905. The game starts with the sneak attack on Port Arthur already having taken place. The historical losses of the Russian fleet are already tallied. So it is up to you as Togo to command the Japanese Navy and to destroy the Russian fleet in Port Arthur before Russian reinforcements can make their presence felt. As the Russian naval commander, you must try to damage the Japanese fleet as much as possible and stop the Japanese army from being supplied from its home bases. This is a test bed for WWI. Torpedoes, mines, and battleships are used for the first time in large numbers.  

 This is the second part of Naval Warfare Simulations trilogy of the naval wars in the early twentieth century. The first was 'Steam And Iron', then 'SAI Russo-Japanese War', followed by their opus 'Ruling The Waves'.

 SAI RJW is a stand alone program. You do not need to have the original Steam And Iron to play. It has included within it a campaign game of the Russo-Japanese naval war and much more. You can also fight any of the six historical scenarios from the war. There is a seventh 'Beresford's Boast'. When the Russian Second Pacific Squadron was  going through the North Sea at night, they ran into a small flotilla of British fishing trawlers. Assuming them to be Japanese torpedo boats, they attacked the boats and caused some casualties. Britain and Russia almost went to war over it. British admiral Beresford boasted to the British government that he would attack the Russian fleet using only half his battleships to make it sporting.

 With this purchase you will also get a scenario and ship editor. This will allow you to fight naval battles from this time period anywhere in the world. Included are the naval forces for the following countries: Russia, Japan, Germany, Britain, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Spain, US, and France.

 You have a choice to command in several different layers: Admiral's mode with its command and control limitations, to Captain's mode where you can micromanage to your hearts content. 

 The addition of the editors and OOBs of the other nations give the game unparalleled replay value. The rules and the manuals are exactly the same as the original Steam And Iron. Please see my review of Steam And Iron for a more thorough breakdown of these.

 A well done game about the entire Russo-Japanese war is on my bucket list. For now I will have to play this for my naval fix, and Age of Rifles for my land. There is a book called 'The Tide at Sunrise' by Denis and Peggy Warner that in my opinion is the best and most complete on the whole war. It seems like I re-read it almost every year.


Game: Steam And Iron Russo-Japanese War
Publisher/Developer: Naval Warfare Simulations
Review Date: 9/17/2016


Rule   The   Waves By Naval Warfare Simulations  Editor Comment: No idea why but this review isn't showing when you browse the ...

Rule The Waves by Naval Wafare Simulations Review Rule The Waves by Naval Wafare Simulations Review

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Naval Warfare Simulations


Editor Comment: No idea why but this review isn't showing when you browse the review section. So added it to the Intel section aswell

 Okay, I played Steam and Iron with the campaign expansion, and I thought that anything a warship enthusiast could want was in it. Boy, was I wrong. I think I just saw a kitchen sink float by. Rule The Waves is not a game, it is a lifestyle. If you want it to be, that is. You can go as deep into this game as you want to. It is almost intimidating when opening up the game. Where to start and what to do? Thankfully NWS has thrown in a lot of help for the budding Tirpitz in you. The start of the game is still a few years before the advent of the Dreadnaught changed the entire naval race. The ships you start with resemble those in the Russo-Japanese War, not WWI. 

 You can start the game as one of eight countries. These are:

England, Germany, France, Italy, Russia, Austria-Hungary, Japan and the US. You can also click on 'Custom nation'; this allows you to also pick CSA, CSA2, Spain, Spain2.

  Each country has its own research advantages, and it also has some disadvantages listed. One of the disadvantages is the size of the naval guns your country can build compared to others. 

  You can choose to use the historical fleets of each nation and its resources, or make it more of a sandbox game and manually build your existing fleet. This doesn't mean you will be able to start churning out Yamatos immediately, though. All of your ship's designs will have to be researched, including tonnage and gun size etc. You will also have to make sure that your docks are capable of holding the behemoths you plan to build.

  The next screen will show you the fleet you built or the historic legacy fleet you own.

  For the warfare part of the game, it plays out in the same way as their earlier games: Steam and Iron, and the Russo-Japanese War. One thing about the warfare aspect, it does not play out historically. You are leading your country and its naval forces to an all new alternative history. So don't think that you have X numbers of years until World War I starts. You will be dealing with all sorts of provocations and problems that show up on the international political scene. You might have planned to have your navy ready for a war in 1908, and it breaks out in 1906. Just as in your home finances, there is always a price to pay. You have a naval budget to work with. That leads to all sorts of quandaries. Do you spend your money on your fleet facilities to finally build that battleship you always wanted, or just build more of the ships that you already have the research for?


This is the ship design screen where all of us budding Tirpitzes and Fishers will run rampant.  

  Building your ships is also a game of one or the other. Do you build an armored giant with pea shooters or do you build a gun platform made of paper? It's all up to you what ships your navy has to use in its wars. You will also have to build your fleets of submarines and forts.

  A massive fleet is only as good as the sailors that man it. Training is another piece that fits under the wide brim of your admiral's hat. It's also expensive and needs to be budgeted for.

   This screen shot shows that I am getting really close to ending up in a war with the US. The 'tension' bars are in yellow, green, and possibly a color you would see in a diaper.

  Naval actions can take place all over the world. You can end up at war with a nation on the other side of the globe. As naval chief of staff you will also have to direct your countries intelligence efforts against the other powers.  You do not want to find out about Britain's game changing battlecruiser as it slides down the slip. This game has made the naval world of 1900 yours to conquer. How far into the future do plan for your navy? Is it only until the next war breaks out or are you actively searching out the newest torpedoes, and what about the crazy Wright brothers? Do they actually have something that a navy could use at some point in time? The game has endless possibilities for replay. You can try every build or size, and shape navy and ships that you have ever imagined. Some of the ships you start out with will be equipped with rams, and by the time your game is nearing its end, planes will be flying over your forces.

  For the actual game mechanics of the warfare you will wage, please see my review of Steam and Iron. I wanted to focus on all of the new elements that Rule the Waves brings to the table. Just as a quick rundown: big gun battles, mines, torpedoes, submarine, and antisubmarine warfare etc. are included.

  So the game is everything that Steam and Iron was and so much more. For me, whose knees buckle at the site of a triple turret, it is heaven brought to earth in zeroes and ones. We can only hope that NWS can bring WWII naval warfare to life, and to make it as manageable a game as this one.
  For all of you budding naval enthusiasts out there, here is a question. As a child you saw the 'Sound of Music', and watched a family escape the Nazis. What does that family have to do with this game?


Game: Rule The Waves
Developer: Naval Warfare Simulations 
Review Date: 8/27/2016

Naval Warfare Simulations Steam and Iron and campaign expansion review   Some people are into heavy metal, meaning armored vehicles. ...

Naval Warfare Simulations Steam and Iron and campaign expansion review Naval Warfare Simulations Steam and Iron and campaign expansion review

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Naval Warfare Simulations

  Some people are into heavy metal, meaning armored vehicles. Then a smaller subset is into heavier metal trains. Once more we cut the group down to those who are obsessed with the heaviest metal battleships and battlecruisers. To me, they are elegant and stately in their deadly beauty. It is no wonder that for a hundred years or so the guns and armor of these behemoths were the epitome of weapons, and also a nation's ego. To send your mighty ships across the globe was a hallmark of a nation's place in the sun. Even the most backwater nations would strain their economies to own at least one battleship.

 The world in WWI waited with baited breath for the clash of the German, and British titans. In what should have been a Wagnerian finale in 1916 off the coast of Jutland, the German fleet twice sailed into the blazing guns of their more numerous cousins. Due to their greater durability, and a Valkyrie like death ride of the German battle cruisers into the hell of British 15" guns, the German navy survived, but not to fight another day. The Kaiser hadn't wanted to risk his pretties anyway. I beg your indulgence for this paean to these marvelous gods of the sea. Now to the matter at hand.

 Naval Warfare Simulations have tried to give the wargamer the chance to experience WWI from a captain, admiral, and naval high command seat. Have they succeeded, and if so how well?

  The game comes with several well written manuals to help you in your quest for maritime dominance. These are:

Campaign Manual
Players Manual
Scenario Editor Manual

 The first absolutely amazing fact about the game is its size. the entire game with the expansion is less than fifty MB. The size brings us back almost to the days of floppy disks. True, it is in 2D and has minimal colors, but what they have stuffed into this bag of goodies would make Santa proud. 


 The game itself can be played out in scenarios that are tactical in size, and an hour of game time. To operational scale ones that can last several days. The nations that can be played are as follows:
US, Germany, Britain, Italy, Russia, Austria Hungary, Turkey, and France.

 You have the ability to fight anywhere in the world. It comes with a scenario, a ship editor, and a battle generator with multiple options. There are thirty two scenarios. Here is a small list:

The Goeben
Heligoland Bight
The Emden
The Falklands
Dogger Bank
The Bosporus

                                                       CLOSE-UP OF THE BATTLE OF DOGGER BANK

 The scenarios range from simply duking it out or laying mines and bombardment, to even launching primitive airstrikes.

                                                           HERE IS THE PREFERENCE SCREEN

 The game models weather, night and day, and various visibility. One thing that the game models, which is truly annoying but historically accurate, is mechanical breakdowns on the ships. You will sometimes be all set for your next foray, and then when halfway there find one or two ships have had to turn back. It adds to the 'what if' nature of the game.

 The campaign expansion adds a total of four campaigns:
North Sea
North Sea 1916
Germany Stronger 1916 

 The North Sea campaign gives an armchair admiral the chance of playing 200 weekly turns. It includes over 800 ships of all types and sizes. You not only have to battle it out with the enemy admiral. Your countries entire naval program is in your hands. Training, organization, and maintenance are all up to you.

 The campaigns add immensely to the game and immersion. Every turn of the campaign you are given a mission or a choice of missions to accomplish. The missions are assigned a point value toward victory if they are completed. This adds a cat and mouse feeling to the game. Unlike the scenarios which are usually ingrained already in players' heads from reading about them  (although the scenarios do not always play out the same and there are alternative history ones). With the missions in the campaign game you have absolutely no idea of what is over the horizon. The Grand Fleet may be out for target practice at the precise spot your mission wants you to be. Juggling the need to complete the missions, and also deal with regular maintenance and the chance of mechanical breakdowns is nail biting. Add this to the already very up in the air nature of naval warfare and it becomes a bit maddening. A few, or even one hit on your ships can completely turn the situation around at any second.

                                                         TURN DURING THE 1916 CAMPAIGN

 Submarines, although in their infancy, were a major part of the war at sea. A quick look at the reason for ship losses in WWI will show that many more were torpedoed than actually sunk by gunfire. 

  Submarines have their own patrol area, and can attack ships that enter it. Always keep destroyers near your capital ships. They make it harder for a submarine to attack, and increase the chance of the submarine being spotted. Of all your ships, weather affects your submarines the most. Calm seas make them easy to spot, and in rough seas it is hard for them to stay at attack depth. Per the manual, "a sea state of 2 to 5 is optimal for subs".

 Although both sides used submarines in their operational planning, they never really fulfilled their role. The navies tried to use them as spotting forces, but the game shows their historical failings in that role. In the game, their reports are only correct about 50% of the time. The game also shows the fear that navies had at the time of submarine attack. This is shown by having false reports of submarine, and torpedo wake sightings.

 You will also have to worry about anti-submarine warfare or ASW. Some destroyers will always need to be held back and unassigned to carry out this function.      
                                  BRITISH AND GERMAN FIXED MINEFIELDS

  The other weapon that caused a large amount of ship losses and damage was mines. The game has two distinct types of minefields. most scenarios, and campaign turns show the fixed minefields that both used in the war.

 The player can also make his own minefield, either by having it as an objective to fulfill or as his own decision. Player laid minefields do disperse as time goes by. Enemy laid minefields can be detected and will then show on the map. The different countries took a dissimilar  approach to laying and removing mines. The British used specially built minelaying ships, while in other navies some of their other classes of ships could also lay mines. 

 The navies at the time had two main fears never realized in the war: that a retreating fleet would lure the attacker onto a minefield or into a waiting group of submarines. This never happened with submarines because of the infancy of the ships themselves and their communications. While mines at the time were the ultimate dumb bomb, it really would have been the height of folly to attempt to lure another fleet onto a newly placed minefield. The chance of mines floating free was a very real hazard, and more than a few ships were struck by their own side's loose mines.

  Your crew's training and ship maintenance cannot be overlooked. For many days of the war, ships (especially capital ships) were in their bases, and not at sea. You will see your crew's training level drop during the campaign due to rustiness. Your ships will also need to be refitted every twelves months. Letting your ships get close to or go over the one year mark increases the chance of mechanical failure. The game does come equipped with a 'Fleet Engineer' button. Clicking that will show you all ships that need refitting.

  Some ships will also be able to be upgraded during your time as admiral. This will show up in the turn events.

   The AI in this dwarf sized game is non-pareil. You will need all of your wits about you to even play the British side with all of their built in advantages. Things will seem slow and calm. The next minute it is full steam ahead. Then you realize that a few of your best ships are still in dry dock for maintenance. Shiver me timbers, the electronic Scheer has humbugged you.

 As far as other games like Steam and Iron, the games it brings to mind are Warship and Battlecruiser from thirty years ago, and The Great Naval Battles series from twenty years ago. This is not a knock on the game whatsoever . I spent hours playing those games, and will spend plenty more playing this one. 

 Once you have picked up this little gem, continue on in your naval adventures and pick up Steam and Iron The Russo-Japanese War, and see if you can outwit Togo.


Game: Steam and Iron with Campaign Expansion
Developer: Naval Warfare Simulations
Software Publisher: Naval Warfare Simulations
Review Date: 7/30/16