Sunday, February 21, 2016

WWI Air & Napoleonic Naval

Playing a few games of Wings or Glory & Sails of Glory at Barrie's has prodded me into digging out the ships & planes at Camp Cromwell to compare them to our old home made rules Men o' War & Modder Fokkers.  Our ships are old Airfix Victories & the planes /72nd scale WWI aircraft, mostly the same models we were using 45 years ago in my first house at Mt Stuart.  The rules evolved over the years but have changed little this century apart from replacing pencil & paper command & damage logs with sliding washers on paper overlays on magnetic boards (Hail Caesar phalanx movement trays).  Of course, being me, in resurrecting the games again after a couple of years I've given the rules a edit and put in a few tweaks. Today James came round to play some games of each to refresh my memory for a comparison with the Glory system.

Men o' War
Jim: 3 British 3rd rates with Elite crews.
James: 3 French ships with Regular crews: 1 1st rate & 2 3rd rates.
The Fleets approached on beam reaches on opposite tacks with the French 2 hexes to windward.  (The Brits are in the forground in the pics). The Brit attempt to sneak up wind was thwarted by the French damaging the lead ship's rigging preventing it from going to windward.  But the Brits still closed & revealed they were double shotted.  The lead French ship was sunk by successive close range broadsides as the Brits passed her.
The lead Brit ship had to Break off after copping the fire each French ship, but an ill-judged manoeuvre put the 3rd French ship between the other Brit ships & it was forced to strike. The 2nd French ship still had the weather gauge and escaped.  

Modder Fokkers game 1:
Jim: 1 Albatros DV & + Fokker DrI
James: 2 Camels.
After an initial flurry, the Fokker got on the tail of one Camel & put it down.  
The other Camel fared better against the Albatros but ran for home when the Fokker came to help it out.  The escaping Camel had a lot of damage, whereas the Germans planes both had few hits on them, but some critical damage that inhibited pursuit.
Modder Fokkers game 2:
Jim: Albatros DV + Pfalz IIIz + Roland 2 seater.
James: 2 Camels
This game the Roland had to fly the length of the table straight and level on a photo run.  VPs were to be 1 per fighter & 2 for the Roland. 

One the Camels got shot down as it hammered the Roland, but the 2nd Camel nailed it and was able to escape the Germans fighters to claim a British victory 2:1.

Comparison of the Glory systems & the Camp Cromwell systems

There are a lot of similarities between the Glory games and the Camp Cromwell games - which is to be expected as we are modelling the same thing with pretty good documentary sources.

The big difference between the two systems is that the CC system uses hexes to control movement & measure ranges whereas Glory relies on measurement.   The hex system has a disadvantage in that there is less subtle variation available to distinguish between ship/plane characteristics.  The disadvantage of the Glory system is that in these games even a small deviation in direction can make the difference between getting in a devastating broadside or burst of fire, or not.  Not only is precision difficult in moving the models with quite small move rates, but it is very easy to accidentally bump a model while moving another one, & very difficult to replace it exactly.  The hexes solve this problem and remove most scope for argument discussion.

Both use a system of commands & simultaneous movement that force the players to plan ahead.  Glory use cards selected from a deck specific to the ship/plane placed face down in the order phase.  CC use counters on hand held magnetic logs.  Both systems do the job, but the hexes makes the CC  system more precise & discussion free.

Both use counters on tracks on a log/consol to record damage, type of ammo loaded, etc.  In MOW the data is recorded on the ship's base, in the others it is on the log/consol.  Both systems work fine.

The Glory system uses chits drawn from a bag to determine damage.  The CC games use old fashioned dice.  Both systems work fine.

The 60cm tall sticks we use in MF depict height differences better than in WOG, making the game more obviously 3-D.   I think this largely compensates for the lack of subtly in plan moves due to the hex system.

Both systems give a good game.  The ready-made off-the-shelf Glory system with an establised fan base is always going to be preferred outside of Camp Cromwell & I'm happy to play it when someone else puts on a game.  But I see no reason to buy the Glory systems for games at Camp Cromwell.

Man o' War In England
My e-friend Tim in Suffolk is playing Man o' War on a much grander scale than we do here.  Tim & his mates have been fighting a Napoleonic Mediteranian naval campaign using it (with a few regional variations).


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