Monday, June 26, 2017

Smoke on the water

"Smoke on the water, a fire in the sky
Smoke on the water"
Deep Purple (of course) "Smoke on the Water" (no, really?? )

A long, (long) time ago, when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, Steve the Wargamer was much enamoured of this particular book for a period of time (the same would happen some time later with Air Wargames) and in particular I was much taken with the chapter on American Civil War ironclads..



...for some reason my imagination was entirely taken up with plucky Confederates and their home made ironclad and the technological Union with their armour plated monitor..  at the time I made up plaster of Paris moulds, based on plasticine masters of the ships concerned (totally out of scale as I subsequently found as I made them roughly equal in size), casting up a few of each, and after painting, many happy games were played out on a two foot square table using the rules from the book..

Step forward a large number of years and I spotted these same models on the Peter Pig stand at Colours [clicky] and bang a Monitor and a Merrimack (yeah I know she's really the Virginia but from those early days the Merrimack name stuck) were bought..

They then sat in a box waiting for a set of rules to take my imagination - the originals (on re-reading) were a little basic, and then a whole succession of others that were either way too complex or way too simple, so the project kind of went into stasis..  then the other week I happened to be reading Edinburgh Wargames Society's blog [clicky] and they had a post on a most enjoyable (and fantastic) looking game featuring one of their own members scratch built 28mm models played to the guys own rules, and I thought "aha"..  fast forward and I had a copy of said rules from the inestimable Bill Gilchrist [clicky] who is a most helpful guy and provided me with everything I needed to actually play a game..  son on a grey and windy Sunday afternoon when you don't fancy going out on a real boat, what better than to test run the rules??

What a cracking little game it turned out to be...  only the one question at this stage, but they played out well, and with just the level of complexity I was looking for..  so a few pictures from the game

First or second turn and the Merrimack, sorry, Virginia, has opened fire on the Monitor for the first time...  small target (you can see why), long range, medium guns, chances are not high but despite that the Confederate gunnery was exceptional for most of the afternoon - consistent high rolling and on this first broadside, despite not being heavy enough to penetrate her armour they did manage to damage the engines...


Guns firing on all sides - Monitor has the advantage of small size and heavier guns - Virginia has more guns but not as flexible - she has two heavy guns but they only fire ahead and astern, broadsides are mediums and not capable of penetrating Monitors armour, but can still cause other damage..  the black puff ball is a visual reminder to me that a ship has damage and I need to check the ship record sheet


Monitor was getting hit hard


Having a ram it was clear that the Virginia needed to take matters into her own hands - and on a sufficiently high initiative roll in she went....  I was quite pleased with this move...  two moves (first was a manoeuvre) followed by ram, followed by gunnery from the heavy gun facing forward..


..and Monitor took some serious damage - engine damage, heavy damage to the ship, and she was also (clearly) holed - but being a ram, Virginia didn't escape punishment herself..

Monitor's record sheet at the time..

Ouch!


..and so they stayed for the next few moves - both ships had to spend initiative on damage control and gunnery rather than in Virginia's case, movement to disengage the ram..

Unfortunately when they did disengage the damage was done and Virginia succumbed...


End game record sheets..






Brilliant - I'll do that again.. 

12 comments:

  1. Great stuff! The Edinburgh group seem to produce some interesting games..

    You know the Featherstone book has been reprinted? If you're after a nostalgic boost, I have one in stock...

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    1. Ta Edwin...

      Yes, knew about the re-print, but happily I still have my original.. :o)

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    2. No problem. I wish I had a couple of originals in stock...

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  2. Sounds like a fun game and with the right result!

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    1. Stryker - it was actually - manoeuvring and dice throwing and complexity lends itself well to solo play...

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  3. The models are nice and the game sounded interesting but the photos on the battle are brilliant! The carpet has just the right blend of texture and colours, very much the effect of sun on a quiet sea seen from a low height. All in all, Great Stuff!

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    1. Ross Mac., thanks! It has to be said, carpet tiles are a most useful thing...! :o)

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  4. Sounds like a fun game with my type of rules!

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    1. David - definitely worked for me.. Bill tells me they are a scaled up and slightly simplified version of the rules he uses for his 1/600 scale ships..

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  5. I have never dabbled in Naval Games but this does look fun(and you don't need hundreds of ships before you start playing!).

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    1. Matt, back in the day that was the attraction (not needing lots of ships) and I have to stay it still is.. I may get a few more but there's never going to be more than two or three a side.. I'm not a naval gamer (or air gamer come to that) for preference - despite loving my actual boat..! :o)

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  6. Steve, I too have an interest in those Ironclad battles, real beasts of war, must have been hell to have been inside one when hit by those massive guns. Nice description and I like the roster sheets.

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