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Heart of Leviathan Wave 1 Expansion by imageStudios  I did a review of the game (link will be at the ...

Heart of Leviathan: Wave 1 Expansion by imageStudios Heart of Leviathan: Wave 1 Expansion by imageStudios

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

naval




Heart of Leviathan

Wave 1 Expansion

by

imageStudios







 I did a review of the game (link will be at the bottom), and frankly fell in love with it. It is a miniatures game made relatively simple for dolts like me. I have played naval games where it takes thirty minutes to check to see if any of your fire has hit the other ship. There are times that I want to play at that kind of depth. At other times, I want to play this game. Dice rolls have taken the place of slide rules in Heart of Leviathan. This is not 'dumbing down'; there is enough WWI naval fluff to appeal to any budding admiral. This is a review, more like a paean of praise, about imageStudios first expansion to the game.


This how the ships came in the game

These are the plastic boxes the expansion ships come in


A look at the packaging

 The Wave 1 Expansion gives the tabletop admiral four more battleships to destroy with big guns. The original game I was sent also came with four battleships, two for the German and two for the English:

English
Iron Duke
Benbow

German
Konig
Markgraf


Building Instructions
Captain Cards and Turrets etc.


 This expansion flushes out the two navies, so that you have eight battleships in total to wreak havoc with. In the expansion you get:

English
Marlborough  
Emperor of India

German
Kronprinz
Grosser Kurfurst


The Cardboard Ships and extra game pieces


 One thing you must know is that the miniatures, although beautiful, come unpainted. They also come with the funnels, turrets etc. unattached. The ships also come with some other metal pieces to make them look that much better. These are cranes, boats, and masts. If you are so inclined you can make them look as great as you are able to. I have seen pictures online of people who have added smoke trails from the funnels. I will tell you right off the bat I am not that kind of modeler. Actually, I never paint any models that I make because I am so bad at it. However, for these ships I have made the exception and with the help of my artistic son I am trying to make them look as good as I can. You can also buy small magnets to put underneath the turrets to make them functional. I will have a link for them also below. You also need to know that to play the game you do not even need the miniatures, and that there are two different thick cardboard, extremely well done, ship pieces for each ship in the game. These are from a bird's eye view perspective.




 Unfortunately, my free time has not been anywhere near what I need to have finished my ships. The Iron Duke is the sleeker longer ship and the Kronprinz is the one that looks like it has a BMI problem.



Front and Back of the Ship Command Placard


 So now you will have four battlewagons apiece to glide across your table/ocean. Future expansions will include Cruisers and even submarines. Each battlewagon goes for $28.95. In the world of miniatures this amount is pretty low, especially with the add-ons that come with each ship. Thank you imageStudios for letting me review this excellent expansion to Heart of Leviathan. Now get cracking on the next expansion.

Heart of Leviathan:

Wave 1 Expansion:

My Heart of Leviathan review:

Magnets:

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


by

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.






Preferences



 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.



War


 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:
https://www.awargamersneedfulthings.co.uk/2016/08/rule-waves-by-naval-wafare-simulations.html

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

Steam and Iron The Russo-Japanese War
https://www.awargamersneedfulthings.co.uk/2016/09/steam-and-iron-russo-japanese-war.html

Steam and Iron The Great War With the Campaign Expansion
https://www.awargamersneedfulthings.co.uk/2016/08/naval-warfare-simulations-steam-and.html 

Robert






















Battle for the the Baltic Islands Triumph Of the Imperial German Navy by Gary Staff         The usual stor...

Battle for the Baltic Islands: Triumph of the Imperial German Navy by Gary Staff Battle for the Baltic Islands: Triumph of the Imperial German Navy by Gary Staff

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

naval




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 The usual story told in history books is that after Jutland the German High Seas fleet ran home with it's tail between it's legs. Then it did nothing until 1918 when the staff had decided that it would go down in glory in a last ditch suicide sortie. At that time the sailors mutinied much like the Russian sailors had at Kronstadt. It seems like the real story because it has been told so many times. Unfortunately it is nowhere near the truth, and thankfully Gary Staff has written this book to put the story straight. This is the story of the 1917 German attack on the Islands, which are near the Gulf of Riga.

 This history of the German combined arms attack on the Baltic Islands should be a blueprint for other military history books. The book itself is less than 200 pages, but it is filled with maps (14) and has sixteen pages of photos (40 photos). The maps are some of the best I have seen in military books that were not an atlas. The author tells the story of the campaign from the smallest mine sweeper to the various battleships involved. The land fighting and the forces used there have not forgotten by the author. It is a tale of a very well planned and executed amphibious operation on the Germans' part.

 This book should put paid to the idea that the German fleet sat like a cur for the last two years of the war. Thank you Mr. Staff for writing this book. Your attention to detail in your books is much appreciated. I look forward to any other books you have planned. This book should be on anyone's shelf who has the slightest interest in the naval warfare or WWI.

Robert 
Author: Gary Staff
Publisher: Pen & Sword
Distributor: Casemate Publishers

Midway by Turning Point Simulations   Midway was a battle that should not have been lost by the Japanese. They had...

Midway by Turning Point Simulations Midway by Turning Point Simulations

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

naval


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 Midway was a battle that should not have been lost by the Japanese. They had an overwhelming amount of ships and planes. Unfortunately for them, they were also suffering from what has been called 'victory disease'. Admiral Yamamoto's plan was to crush the remnants of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and sink our carriers, which were untouched by Pearl Harbor. The Japanese had just suffered a black eye from the Doolittle Raid. In actuality, the raid did only pin pricks of physical damage. The damage to the Japanese ego was much greater. The Midway invasion was planned to force the U.S. Navy into a showdown to protect Midway island. In fact, it turned into a debacle for them because the Americans had broken their naval codes. So the U.S. Navy knew exactly what forces and roughly when they would be near Midway. Even then, if not for an errant search plane on the Japanese side, things could have turned out differently.







 So what do you actually get with this Turning Point Simulations  game? First, you actually get two games. One is the on the well known battle I have been droning on about. The other is about the planned, but aborted, Japanese invasion of Midway Island. The game comes with a twelve page rule book. There are rules for laying smoke, submarines, Japanese seaplane bases, and many others. This is not just a beer and pretzels game. The rules continue with ones about CAP (combat air patrol) AA fire, and it even has a rule about what 'wave' each carrier airplane unit is in. This would represent when each unit showed up, if it did at all, and attacked. 



Counters



  The map is hard bound. It has two separate sections. The first is a hex grid of the ocean around Midway Island. The second is a battle board used for surface actions when two task forces are occupying the same hex. There is also a stiff paper map on which to play out the invasion of Midway Island. The counters are large and easy to read. American carrier fighters and torpedo bombers only have a movement allowance of two hexes. Almost all of the Japanese carrier planes have a movement allowance of three hexes. This simulates the historically longer range of the Japanese planes. Just as in the carrier war, you have to find your enemy to strike them. For each enemy task force you roll a die to see if they have been spotted or not. A submarine or CV (carrier) in close proximity increases your chances of spotting. The battle board is used when you have a task force in the same hex as the enemy. After four of his fleet carriers went up in smoke, Yamamoto was desperately trying to engage the U.S. Naval forces in a surface action. The U.S. task forces have to stick and move like a boxer, and avoid any of the enemies Sumo charges. As the U.S., you are David fighting Goliath. The battle was decided historically in about five minutes' time. Anything could and did happen during this early part of the war. Some of the U.S. carriers were equipped with radar, but it was still in its infancy. 



U.S. Deployment sheet

Japanese Deployment sheet




 I an very impressed with this game. There is so much stashed away in here compared to others in the same price range. Most, if not all, of the routines of carrier air battles are here. The only two parts of the battle really missing are the sending out of search planes one at a time, and the weather in each hex, although the die rolls for spotting each turn do make up for the vagaries of these two points. This is my third Turning Point Simulations game, and to me it was the best so far of the three. I was not really a big fan of board games on carrier operations. Until this game, I felt that a computer rendition of carrier operations was the way to go. 


Midway Island invasion map

Robert

The War in the North Sea The Royal Navy and The Imperial German Navy 1914-1918  by Quintin Barry   Another Quintin B...

The War in The North Sea by Quintin Barry The War in The North Sea by Quintin Barry

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

naval



by


Quintin Barry 





 Another Quintin Barry book from Helion&Company, and again it is an excellent one. This follows all of the history of the war in the North sea during WWI. Of course, Jutland is there, but it is by no means the only subject covered. It is also full of pictures of the ships and men that made up the British and German forces. The book is not sparing on maps either, so that you can easily follow the book through all of the engagements and the background history of them.

 The book starts with a history of the British strategic planning. This is mostly a discussion of what type of a blockade the British would use, a close one or a wide one. A close one would have afforded the German navy many more engagements to try and pare the Royal Navy down. By choosing a wide blockade and doing sweeps with larger forces, the chance of the German Imperial Navy to pounce on small groups of the British Navy and even up the odds were much more distant. The author continues with a look back on the birth and growth of the German High Seas Fleet. Mr. Barry then starts to describe the various encounters between the two combatants, starting with Heligoland Bight and on to Dogger Bank. Jutland, as is natural, takes up a good amount of the author's writing. He goes deeply into the reasons for the battle and the actual history of the gigantic clash. Then he presents both sides of the British arguments about who did what, and when, during the battle and if it was the correct move for that admiral to take. There has been a hundred year fight going on between the proponents of Jellicoe and Beatty. Each side believes that his admiral was correct in his actions and that the other was wrong. It also boils over into whether Jellicoe was too timid during the engagement. Mr. Barry shows that some of the recollections of Beatty and his actual statements at times are not in fact what actually happened historically. Beatty, by virtually forgetting about the tremendously powerful Fifth battle squadron of fast battleships, himself lost a good chance to do some damage to the German High Seas Fleet. Jellicoe who was  once described as the "man who could lose the war in an afternoon", is usually shown in books to be very afraid of torpedo and mine attacks on his fleet. This book shows that every action Jellicoe took that day was already discussed with the Admiralty. One example in particular was turning away his fleet  from a torpedo attack. Torpedoes were still in their infancy, but a few lucky hits might have made all the difference. 

Iron Duke circa 1914



 As far as to who 'won' Jutland the author does not feel that it was unequivocally a British victory. There are many pros and cons to each side of the argument, and the author shows them in all of their facets. Mr. Barry also puts paid the untruths that the German High Seas Fleet never sortied again, and actually did attempt a few major sorties after Jutland.

 
SMS Seydlitz



 The book continues to describe the  submarine threat against both naval and merchant navies. He also delves into the fledgling naval aviation with descriptions of the Zeppelin and aircraft and their uses in the North sea. The Germans felt that their Zeppelins would really give them an edge in fighting the British Navy. It was to be a misplaced hope.

 Everything you could wish to know about WWI in the North Sea is here. The author once again shows how well history can be written. The book itself is a marvel of how to write history correctly and enjoyably. Thank you once again Helion&Company and Casemate Publishers for an excellent book. If you are are interested in the battle of Koniggratz or the Franco-Prussian war, please see his books on those subjects. I did a review on Volume 1 of the Franco-Prussian War here: http://www.awargamersneedfulthings.co.uk/2016/11/the-franco-prussian-war-1870-71-volume.html


Robert


Book: The War in The North Sea
Author: Quintin barry
Publisher: Helion&Company
Distributor: Casemate Publishers
 

Japanese Aircraft of World War II 1937-1945 by Thomas Newdick    I must admit I have a fetish for military aircraft....

Japanese Aircraft of World War II 1937-1945 by Thomas Newdick Japanese Aircraft of World War II 1937-1945 by Thomas Newdick

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

naval

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 I must admit I have a fetish for military aircraft. I have bought every book I could on them, and I have also purchased almost every computer simulation of them I could. For some reason my fancy is tickled, especially by Axis aircraft of WWII. Mustangs were war winners and Spitfires are beautiful in a way, but give me a Macchi or a Nakajima and my eyes sort of glaze over. So I have more than my share of book compendiums like this one, but not like this one. Everyone of the compendiums of a certain war or country that I have purchased or read has left me a bit dry. Oh sure, they give you the speed, and altitude etc. of the plane, or in actuality one of the plane's variants. What they don't show you is what is in this handy volume of Japanese planes.

 The books several parts are divided as follows:

Land-based Bombers and Reconnaissance Aircraft

Land-based Fighters

Carrier Aircraft

Flying Boats and Floatplanes

Rocket and Jet-powered Aircraft

 It ends up with a 'Specifications and Data'  chapter which is split into these categories:

Types and Variants: Numbers built

Allied Reporting Names for Japanese Aircraft

Naming and Number System

Japanese Navy Air Service Short Designation System

Selected Technical drawings

 
 This book only shows planes that actually flew, and not planes that were still on the drawing board or in another development phase. There are six planes that are in the 'Technical Drawings'. They are as follows: Dinah, Tony, Zeke, Betty, Oscar, and a Frank. For those who do not know, boys' names were given by the Allies to Japanese fighters, and girls' names were given to their bombers. Notice there is no 'Zero'. The Mitsubishi A6M Reisen was actually called a Zeke by the Allies, and not a Zero. The 'Zero' came from the fact that it started its career in the year 2000 of the Japanese calendar. For the types and their variants there are listings for how many airframes were built no matter how few. The book also explains that there was a separate Army and Navy Air Force in Japan at the time. To further confuse the issue some Japanese naval Aircraft were only land based and not capable of carrier operations.

 The book itself is only 128 pages long, but it is packed with facts and figures about all of the Japanese aircraft. As a handy reference on Japanese warplanes, this cannot be beat. The fact that the specifications of all the major variants are given is more than worth the price. A note to the reader: these specifications are almost all from Japanese sources. When several fighters were tested in the U.S. during and after the war, they were given high octane fuel just like our own planes. The Japanese had only a very limited supply of this at the beginning of the war, and were never able to replace it. So the airplanes tested had higher speeds during our testing than would show on Japanese specifications. The book also goes into, in a limited way, some of the air munitions that were carried by these planes. 

 All in all, it is the best small volume of its kind that I have read, with more than enough information for the casual reader or plane aficionado. Hopefully the author is working on a similar book for Italian World War II planes.

  I couldn't resist adding this picture.


This is a Nakajima Ki-44 'Shoki' or 'Tojo'



Robert


Book: Japanese Aircraft of World War II
Author: Thomas Newdick
Publisher: Amber Books
Distributor: Casemate publishers
 



GATO LEADER As promised, my next undertaking is an AAR for Gato Leader .  I decided on this route, because a review would have simp...

GATO LEADER AAR GATO LEADER  AAR

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

naval

GATO LEADER


As promised, my next undertaking is an AAR for Gato Leader.  I decided on this route, because a review would have simply been about 95+ % a replication of my review of U-Boat Leader As a prelude, these are the few differences, none critical, as they mainly reflect the historical backgrounds.

Gato Leader :

Includes some differing Special Missions, such as Mine and Recon/Rescue.

Wolfpacks are handled differently.  In fact, I would personally have called them something else, as I don't think that the Americans used this term.  Essentially, you chose whether or not a number of submarines begin as a group together in the same port.  So, no seeing whether a Convoy turns out to be a valuable target and then trying to call in other subs.

Takes us up to 1945, whereas U-Boat only goes as far as 1943, so there is more possibility of using radar.

Provides Forward Operating Bases [that can be purchased with Special Ops points]which allow for removing Stress points and reloading torpedoes.

Takes account of  the inferior quality of torpedoes by having a set of rules for dud torpedoes and a chart to roll on.  At its worst , none of your torpedoes may hit and in plenty of cases at least half will be duds! [Technically, this is not a totally new rule addition as U-Boat Leader 2nd edition has an optional rule for dud torpedoes.]

Allows for reloading torpedoes while on the Tactical Display.


These last two seem to me the most significant differences and one seems in part to balance the other.  However, I do not think that the ability to reload while on the Tactical Display is the big deal some comments on the game have made it out to be.





One other point worth mentioning is that the Event cards can be far more deadly than in U-Boat Leader and, overall, you will probably have to draw more too!



So, with that said, on to ...


Campaign Mission :
Turning The Tide
Short Scenario.



Stategic Segment



This gives me 40 SOs with which to purchase my submarines and any Special items.



I spend 36 SOs on submarines and the remaining 4 SOs on Special items.








Here's everything set up for the start of the Campaign, including my trusty dice tower!  On the left is the mounted play board which  has areas along the top for the Merchant Cards, the Escort Cards and the Naval cards and then beneath is nearly all the necessary information for conducting the Tactical Segment of a turn.  On the right is the Campaign Mission card with the map on which the subs operate in the Operational Segment of the turn.  The very blurred, vaguely bluish shapes are my four subs in groups of two.



Slap bang in the centre is the mounted Tactical Display board on which [surprise, surprise] the Tactical Segment takes place.   On the left side of this board are the holding boxes for the Event cards and Convoy cards and the rest is the lovely depiction of a sonar screen.  It's worth pointing out that this Tactical Display is part of the expansion pack.  It's brilliant, but the one that comes with Gato Leader itself is half the size and not as impressive because of the reduced area to play on.




My choices were:



Guardfish [Trained level + Torpedo Modifier]

Gudgeon  [Trained level + Radar] 

Both placed in Peal Harbour and formed as a wolfpack.  So, these two will operate together.

Silversides [Veteran + Torpedo Modifier]
Tautog       [Veteran + Radar]

Both placed in Freemantle and formed as a wolfpack.  So, these two will also operate together.

My decisions were based on the following reasons: the radar would gain a modifier in locating Convoys and the Torpedo Modifier would mean that the sub would roll one column better when checking for dud torpedoes.



A closer look at Guardfish, loaded up with 10 torpedoes Ready and another 14 Stored on board. 

It has markers showing its 6 gunnery factors and the Torp modifier.




Operations Segment



My first two subs left the port of Freemantle for the South China Sea, each drawing two Event cards.


Silversides



A Fatal Error                   + 3 Stress

Equipment Malfunction  + 2 Stress



[See what I mean about Event cards!  my sub is almost nearly up to its Shaken level and it hasn't even started to look for the enemy.]



Tautog

Lone Merchant - expend 1 torpedo and score 1 VP
Rough Seas         + 2 Stress


My other two subs left Pearl Harbour for the Marianas, each drawing two Event cards.

Guardfish

Nimitz Takes Notice  -  gain 2 SOs if you score equal or more than 10 VPs this turn.
Clear Weather            - no effect

[Well that draw went a bit better.]

Gudgeon

Rough Seas - + 2 Stress
Minefield [condition N/A, so gained default] + 1 Stress



The unfortunate Silversides which has picked up 5 Stress pts

just by sailing in to the South China Sea




 Tactical Segment



[N.B. all die rolls use a d10]



Tautog rolls for Contact



Contact die roll 6  mods +2 [number of subs in wolfpack],

+1[ radar], -3 [sub moved during the Operations segment].



Result 6 = 2 Contacts


Place Contact marker on the Campaign map board, draw a Convoy card and flip Contact marker from 2 to 1.

Contact card drawn is Card 043 [6 Merchants and 3 Escorts]  Unidentified markers are placed on the Tactical Display for all nine ships.



Convoy card 043 showing where the relevant unknown ship markers should be placed


The card only shows the 4 Centre Convoy Sectors and the 8 Short Range Sectors.  Beyond those are the 8 Medium Range Sectors and finally the 8 Long Range Sectors.  






Here are the six blue unidentified Merchant ship markers and the three unidentified escort ship markers, before I place my two subs in any of the outer Long Range Sectors.  



Once I do that, I choose for both submarines to submerge and move one sector nearer the revealed Escort Ikuna and the following enemy are revealed because of range : Merchants Santyo Maru, Katori Maru, Nanrei Maru and Hoten Maru.



As a result of Lag Movement, the two submarines move one sector towards the Convoy's wake.  [The top of the board is marked as the Convoy's course and the bottom is the Convoy's wake.]  The Escort Ikuna rolls for detection of the subs.  A 1 fails to detect the sub Silversides, but a roll of 8 detects Tautog and so, the other two unidentified Escorts converge along with Ikuna on Tautog.  The other Escorts are revealed as the Momi and Etorofu.  Ikuna and Etorofu are now directly in the same sector as my sub Tautog!



Also, the last two Merchants are revealed as the Harbin Maru and the Sakito Maru.



The image shows all the ships now identified and two Escorts in the same sector as the detected Tautog.  Tautog is just about to Deep Dive to try to avoid the Escorts attacks which are not rolled for, but Damage chits are automatically drawn.  In this case, it would have meant drawing 7 Heavy Damage chits in total - in all probability this would have been fatal for my sub!

*[At this point, with two Escorts at range zero, panic set in and I forgot that Tautog had the Aggressive quality and could have fired at the Escorts before they could fire at him.] 

Instead, not too surprisingly, the sub opts to Deep Dive to attempt to avoid the imminent attacks, first it takes 2 Stress points as a result of making the Deep Dive.  Though avoiding drawing damage tokens for attacks from the three Escorts, the sub still has to roll against its evasion rating and is successful for two of the three attacks, but fails against the other and so takes a temporary Flooding marker.  Not good, but could have been much, much worse if the Escorts' attacks had gone in.

[Crash Dive, which is what you do if you are attacked while on the surface, states quite clearly that an Evasion roll is made for each Escort attacking you.  With a Deep Dive, the rules are not 100% clear as to whether you make an Evasion roll for each separate Escort, as I did, or whether it's a single die roll.]

Because the Tautog has dived, it cannot attack. 

[Again, a point worth raising. In both Gato and U-Boat Leader, there are no restrictions on Escorts sailing into and through Convoy Sectors.  In my review of U-Boat Leader, I queried the historical validity of this total freedom.  Still not sure how appropriate this is.]

The other sub Silversides, however, now unleashes a spread of 5 torpedoes at the Katori Maru and another spread of 5 at the Hoten Maru.

Resolve those against the Katori Maru first.  The die roll for duds means that only half run true [i.e. 3 torpedoes out of the 5].  So, modifiers are +2 [3-1 for torpedo spread] +2 [sub's Torpedo Skill] -1 for range, giving a final mod of +3.

The torpedo rolls are 1,3, 9, becoming 4, 6 and 12.  Taking the highest result 12, this is compared with the target's stats and as 12 well passes the target's third number, the Katori Maru settles beneath the waves.  Silversides chalks up 4 VPs and 3 Experience Points.

So, the focus turns to the attack on the Hoten Maru.  All five torpedoes run true; no duds this time.  Modifiers: +4 [5-1 for torpedo spread, +2 [sub's Torpedo Skill] -2 [range] = +4.

Die rolls for the five torpedoes are 3, 7, 8, 9 becoming 7, 11, 12, 13.  like its sister ship, a final result of 13 is more than enough to sink the Hoten Maru and Silversides gains another 3 VPs and 2 Experience Points.

The Combat Resolution phase is over and so the Deep Dive marker is removed from the Tautog and a new round begins.

Silversides surfaces and moves 2 sectors away to the western most Long Range sector, while Tautog opts to attempt Silent Running and rolls a 1 [hurrah], so the detection marker is removed  and the sub's speed drops to zero.  As a result, in the Lag Movement phase, Tautog drifts two sectors south and out of detection range of the Escorts.


[In the image above, Tautog has just successfully rolled for Silent Running and its speed drops to zero.  Consequently, in the Lag Movement phase, the sub will move two Sectors due south, towards the Convoy's wake.]

* [I realised much later, I had made a mistake here.  The attack by Silversides would have placed an Alert counter on the Tactical Display which would have increased the Escorts' detection range by one and put Silversides in potential detection range of the Escorts.] 

Consequently, the Escorts roll for random movement.  End of Combat round.

For the next 3 rounds, the two subs lurk on the fringes, out of escort range, while Silversides reloads 2 torpedoes per round.

On the next round, both subs move into firing range of the Merchants.

Tautog fires 6 torpedoes at the Sakito Maru and half run true.  Modifiers +2 [3-1 for torpedo spread] +1 [sub's Torpedo Skill] -2 range = +1

Torpedo dice rolls are 10, 7, 1 becoming 11, 8 , 2

The Sakito Maru is sunk and Tautog gains VPs 4 : Experience Points 2.

Silversides launches 5 torpedoes at the Harbin Maru, but a pathetic die roll of 2 means that only one torpedo runs true and one of the torpedoes that miss errs dramatically off-course and hits its own sub!  This causes 3 Heavy Hits on the sub;  the first adds 2 Stress, the second is No Effect and the third causes lasting Hull damage.

To counter this appalling SNAFU, the 1 torpedo that strikes the Merchant rolls a 10 and with +1 total modifier the Harbin Maru is added to Silversides' growing total, gaining 3 VPs and 2 Experience Points.

On the next round, both subs surface in order to be able to move two sectors.  The Tautog is able to exit the Tactical Display, but Silversides can only reach the Western Long Range sector and so is easily detected by the Escorts who converge for the kill.  Silversides opts to Crash Dive and adds 1 Stress, so that the sub is now at 8 Stress, one away from the maximum it can take before becoming Unfit!  But all evasion rolls are successful.

On the next Combat round, the sub can exit the Tactical Display and the situation moves to the Post-Combat Resolution Phase.

Silversides records his 10 VPs and 7 Experience Points on the Campaign Log.

Tautog records 4 VPs and 2 Experience points.

Each sub gains 1 Stress at this stage.

Silversides moves to 9 Stress, and so I decide to place the sub back onto the Campaign Map in the Area's Searched Box.

Tautog, now at Stress 5, fully reloads and with 1 Convoy-sighted marker still on the Tactical Display, I decide to continue the Tactical Segment and draw a new Convoy card which reveals two Merchant ships and Escorts.  A second Convoy card is then drawn for its random Event.

Tautog decides to fire off 5 torpedoes at each Merchant ship [this causes them to be revealed as the Anyo Maru  and the Tatuwa Maru]. 

Firing at the Tatuwa Maru -  the roll on the dud table is low and only one torpedo hits the ship doing no damage, while one of the misses hits his own sub adding 1 Stress, Lasting Electrics damage and No Effect.

The other 5 torpedoes fired at the Anyo Maru all run true and with the best of his five dice being a 10, plus a small modifier, a final Merchant ship is sunk adding 4 VPs and 3 Experience Points to the tally.

In the next Combat round, Tautog immediately exits the Tactical Display to add one more Stress in the Post-Combat Phase, so the sub's Stress is now at 7.

Tautog also records 4 VPs and 3 Experience points.

With virtually no torpedoes left to reload and a high Stress level, I decide to call it quits and place Tautog in the Searched Box where Silversides has already been placed.

[... It was now the turn of my other two subs in the Marianas and I hope that you will allow me to draw breath at this point and pass over their exploits, until another day.  Otherwise this AAR is going to ... argh my two typing fingers have gone numb!

Some time later...

Once all your subs have been activated and gone through the processes that I've detailed, you move to the last Segment Refit.]

Re-fit Segment

Promote Submarines

Silversides  spends 5 of Experience points to promote the sub's commander to Ace level.

Tautog spends 3 Experience points to promote the sub's commander to Ace level.

As there is no Forward Operating Base in the area, neither sub can reduce their Stress level and neither sub has the Cool Special Ability which would allow 1 Stress point to be removed.

Any temporary damage received is removed, but lasting damage remains on the sub.

Finally the submarines are put back from the Searched Box into the South China Sea area and the process starts again.

With neither sub fit for much action, I simply return them to the Port of Freemantle from which they had started.  Of course, if subs travel further afield, you can head for the nearest Port or journey back drawing Event cards for moving into areas as you do so.  Thankfully for these two battered heroes, Freemantle borders the South China Sea and so they go straight into the Port Box.

Once in Port, each sub can remove the appropriate amount of damage, in this case 5 Stress points each for Freemantle Port.

This concludes 1 Patrol for each submarine which is the maximum they can do in a Short Mission.

Between them the Silversides & Tautog had notched up 18 Victory pts, enough to get me exactly half way to scoring the minimum total of VPs to earn the Adequate level in game terms!!


A FINAL FEW WORDS

First of all, this was a hugely enjoyable experience, though it took 10 A-4  pages of careful record keeping just to cover the details that covered half of the Campaign and several sessions that tallied about nine hours in total.  To play the game, without all the written record keeping to produce this AAR, is [I can assure you] a whole lot quicker!

I'd like to thank DVG, who very kindly sent with the game the Expansion Ship Miniatures and Battle Board which provides a mounted Tactical Display board twice the size of the smaller board in the game itself. But, as mentioned in my review of U-Boat Leader, the latter is rather small for the number of counters and markers likely to be placed on it. 

I love the expansion, but it does add another £22.99 to the cost of the overall package.

Both U-Boat Leader 2nd Edition and Gato Leader are for me excellent additions to my solitaire experience.  I imagine that the UK gamer may well settle for the former and the US gamer for the latter.  Both give equally satisfying and rewarding experiences.




























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!

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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?


  Robert


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