Monday, October 11, 2010

Picking Rules-Napoleonic Naval Gaming

My plan was to post every 2 weeks but seeing as it's the Thanksgiving long weekend and I am trying to digest the two turkey dinners I've had so far this weekend I thought I would do an extra one.

I haven't got much gaming in and it looks like October is going to be a write off for gaming between Thanksgiving(family time), a wedding(more family time) and all the other things life throws at you.

A couple of weeks ago I finished Dragon Age Origins which I really enjoyed playing and is probably the first RPG video game I have actually completed, mind you I dialed the combat down to easy. I was more interested in the story and nothing gets me frustrated more than being stuck trying to get past a combat to continue following the story and it still doesn't compare to playing a real RPG. So now I am starting to play Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising a FPS/Squad command game. A steep learning curve and one shot can kill you so you have to be careful. I like it so far but the squad command takes some getting use to.

Now onto "real" gaming. As I haven't actually played anything this is mostly some stuff I have been working on. The French fleet is coming along. There was a color screw up on the hulls so I had to do a repaint-agh, but I am back on track now. I have three of the 74's painted so now on to the assembly and rigging and then onto the 100 gun which I will work on between rigging the 74's as rigging can be tedious.

I said in the last post that a friend and I are planning on using the Trafalgar rules from Warhammer Historical, so let me tell you how we have come to this rule set.

First let me state what I want any set of rules to accomplish for me and this has changed over years.
1. I must be able to finish a game in an afternoon. When I say this that means the game is actually finished as apposed to the players saying "well if we played this out(for another 2+ hours) I think this army would win".
2. The turn sequence and mechanics must be smooth, which helps with #1.
3. It has to be fun, fun wins over historical accuracy though I do want a level of accuracy which hopefully is written into the core mechanics as apposed to extra add on rules.
4. Finally I want to be able to use tactics of the period so I know it's my fault when things go wrong (or the few times I get it right).

So back to Napoleonic Naval wargaming. I started years ago with Wooden Ships and Iron Men by Avalon Hill. This is actually a board game but can be used with miniatures. This was/is a great game that me and a friend played the crap out of but it does show its age by the number of charts used during play and really a player can only run 2-3 ships.

I then bought Close Action by Clash of Arm Games another board game that can be converted to miniatures. Very detailed game in which a player can run 1-2 ships at most. I only played a couple of times. I enjoyed it but it was a little to slow moving for me and I want to be able to command more ships. The scenario book I am sure will get some more use though.

I picked up a copy of Signal Close Action by Langton Miniatures which I am sure is a good game if you can learn it from someone who already knows how to play. The rules are very detailed and I could not get the flow of the game from reading through the rules and I probably need more knowledge of the fighting era to make sense of some of it. These were a no go for me after reading them a few times and much head scratching.

So now onto Trafalgar which I am sure is not the most historically accurate but is easy to understand, can be played to a resolution in a reasonable time and so far is fun. I've only played 1 solo game so I will report in later after I have smashed the French!( I love talking up my armies before the reality of a game shatters my hopes for my latest army list)

I actually was going to talk about Malifaux which I have been playing quite a bit of but I think I have gone on long enough so perhaps another time.
 The three French 74's
Close up of one of the 74's

Good gaming,
Rob H


  1. One of the fascinating aspects of the historical wargame market is how the miniatures are decoupled from the rule sets. It's quite common for a company to publish a rulebook without making accompanying miniatures. Future War Commander is probably the closest thing to that in the Sci-Fi genre.

    Since the Malifaux article has been delayed, perhaps it merits further research ... I think my Neverborn crew is ready to emerge from hiding after the previous thrashings you dealt it.

  2. Years ago there was almost no connection between miniature companies and rules sets, GW would be one of, if not the first to do this. Within the last few years this is really starting to change.