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Jutland Anniversary megagame
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Noah



Joined: 09 Apr 2011
Posts: 158

PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:20 pm    Post subject: Jutland Anniversary megagame Reply with quote



There's been a fair few anniversary games recently related to World War I. I think it's about time to shake things up with a spot of naval action.

The centenary of the greatest (and arguably only) battle of Dreadnoughts, Jutland is due to take place on May 31 - June 1. With that in mind I have acquired (re:bought) the entire battlefleets of both sides in 1/6000 scale. Dreadnoughts, seaplane tenders, the lot.

All I need now are dedicated and unscrupulous accomplices.

I should begin with the disclaimer that I have never organised such a potentially large game before, so for that I apologise and any suggestions would be a great help.



With that in mind, the details.
The rules I have chosen for this titanic struggle are the Fleet Action Imminent rules. Whilst being somewhat heavy in charts, my experience so far with them has been that once the rules are understand, gameplay is smooth and relatively fast. It is also designed for large scale multiplayer actions with attached rules which maybe used to create interesting communication problems, similar to the situations encountered in the historical action.
The rules would in my opinion be best played with each player in command of a squadron or destroyer flotilla with an admiral (commanding their own squadron) in overall command.

To my mind I'd like to schedule the game as follows. I'll have to talk with you guys though about whether the scheduling might drive everyone out of their minds.

So, to begin with, a learning game in the May meeting. Based around the battle of Dogger Bank perhaps so that we can check what works and get everyone semi-familiar with the rules of the game.

From there, the action really kicks off, I envision the June meeting as the battle between the Battlecruisers of Hipper and Beatty that began the battle. To run the scenario I shall be shamelessly stealing the mechanics in the North Sea Campaign book and hoping they'll work. If they don't then I'll just say things didn't work out historically either. Wink (and I'm sticking to it!)

Then comes the tricky bit, I'm figuring that the Battlecruiser action will probably last a day more or less, it will probably last less than that but I'd like to leave some room to maneuver. The clash of the dreadnoughts itself following Beatty's retreat is another matter.

My question to you all is whether you all would be willing to go through what would be a 3 month operation?
I'll await your answers and suggestions on this.


There is a lot of room for players in these scenarios, which, if there is enough interest is a blessing, if there is little interest, could be a bit of a curse. For example - a conservative player limit (which involves incorporating several squadrons together) for the Battlecruiser fleet is 7 players. For the Germans it is 4 for their battlecruisers with numbers rising even higher for both sides once the Battleship fleets arrive.

So - for the moment the purpose of this post is to sound out interest, see how long people are willing to commit for. I have a rather grand vision of what I'd like it to be but what everyone else's idea of a good time is may differ.



Update (13/04/2016): Very excited by the level of interest, I sincerely hope I shall be worthy of it! Shocked

So far we have about 6 players. With that in mind I've prepared a 6 player roster which should mean everyone has roughly equal forces (with a couple of exceptions).

Feel free to let me know your preferences on which commanders you'd prefer. The nature of the early encounter means that sadly not everyone will have cool dreadnoughts, but I've tried my best to ensure that everyone will have if not an equal force then an interesting and (ideally) exciting role to play.

The Battlecruiser Force (Great Britain)
Vice Admiral Sir David Beatty Commander 1st, 2nd Battlecruisers and 13th Destroyer Flotilla
Rear Admiral Hugh Evan-Thomas - Commanding 5th Battle Squadron
Commodore William Goodenough Commanding 1st, 2nd and 3rd Light Cruiser Squadrons

The High Seas Fleet (Germany)
Admiral Reinhard Scheer Commanding 3rd Battle Squadron, 1st Battle Squadron and 1st, 3rd Torpedo Boat Squadrons
Vice Admiral Franz Hipper Commanding Scouting Force
Rear Admiral Franz Mauve Commanding 2nd Battle Squadron, 4th Scouting Group and 5th, 7th Torpedo Boat Squadrons (Von Lucky)

For anyone who has not signed up, please feel free, none of this is set in stone and the more the merrier! Smile

I've also given some thought to the scenario itself and I've come up with the following.


Jutland - the Battle of the Memoirs

I've had a hard time coming up with ways either side could've made a significant difference to the outcome of the battle, short of someone making an absolutely monumental blunder and actively helping their opponent win, the battle is likely to turn out much like it did, everyone runs away from each other, the Germans remain bottled up, Britannia rules the waves.
Instead we're dealing with what I'm going to call the Battle of the Memoirs. Nobody covered themselves in glory overmuch in the battle, but they sure liked writing a memoir which made everyone else look bad as well.
So the aim of the scenario is as follows.
Instead of one team being scored, each player is scored (and the role they play will define how they are scored). Basically who ever individually performs best gets to write the best memoir and wins the battle of the memoirs and what luck if what you write is actually true as well.
Ideally this will allow both sides and players the opportunity for a more interesting game then just "destroy as much as you can".
You'll receive VPs for damage and sinkings as per normal in FAI, but also each commander has a series of bonuses which will help support players who might be a little handicapped. For example, Evan-Thomas, commanding Britain's biggest, baddest and newest Queen Elizabeth Class Battleships isn't going to look too good if he loses one of them against the puny Battlecruisers of the High Seas Fleet. So if one of them is lost (very hard to do as they're some of the toughest ships in game), then he automatically loses the memoir battle. As an another example, Mauve, commanding two squadrons of pre-dreadnought battleships who probably shouldn't even be there gets bonus points basically for achieving anything at all.

It's not going to be particularly balanced since I won't have much in the way of playtesting, but hopefully it'll give a bit of character and flavour to the action as well as make everyone be not as altruistic as we usually are with our god's eye view.


As an aside, I'm thinking for the practice game of simply giving everyone a Dreadnought squadron, a light cruiser squadron and a destroyer flotilla and letting everyone have at it so we can learn the ins and outs of the rules. Twisted Evil
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Last edited by Noah on Wed Apr 13, 2016 1:55 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Tyler
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Joined: 06 Jul 2009
Posts: 632

PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 10:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Jutland Anniversary megagame Reply with quote

Noah wrote:
...I have acquired (re:bought) the entire battlefleets of both sides in 1/6000 scale. Dreadnoughts, seaplane tenders, the lot...


Wow. I had to reread this a couple times just because my mind refused to process that you had actually said what you just said. And then I checked Wikipedia to be sure and, yes, you're talking about 250 ships. And then I checked that you had posted this on March 31st, not on April Fool's Day!

I admire your ambition, I really do. I think you're barking mad, but it's a kind of madness I admire.

If you can get the players together, get the ships painted and make the games work, it may well be the greatest participation game achievement in the history of the League of Ancients.

I would be very enthused to help any way I can with the preparations, and to join in on the May and June games. If there's a game during the July meeting I couldn't play, as I'll be playing in the club's FOGN tournament, which is one of the big highlights of my year.

But that FOGN tournament presents an opportunity for you. Because of the tournament, we'll have the hall rented for both Saturday and Sunday, rather than just Sunday. We'll also be starting an hour earlier than usual each day, and probably setting up the tournament tables late on Friday night. So if you schedule the largest, longest game of your Jutland event for the same weekend as the FOGN tournament, and use some of the space to the side, then you can extend the game over two days. That depends on the willingness of your players to commit to a two day game, and it means any FOGN players couldn't join in, but it certainly helps you be sure you'll have time to play it out to a decisive result.

How large a table do you see yourself needing?
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Noah



Joined: 09 Apr 2011
Posts: 158

PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much Tyler. I must say I'd have been worried if it were April fools day!

I'll see who else is interested, but the FoGN tournament suggestion is an excellent suggestion - if it doesn't mean half a dozen people miss out because of the tourny I can see it working well.

As for space, since the recommended size is about 10x10 feet, which is completely impractical for a table, they generally recommend using the floor, I'm wondering if there's a rule in the club prevent standing on the 6x4 tables we have. There's also the question of whether there are blue tables out there as well...

Glad to see someone's excited anyway! I was concerned nobody would be very interested in the idea.
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von Lucky



Joined: 28 Feb 2008
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Location: Docklands

PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would be interested in taking part in June and/or July.

Will talk to you if you're at the April meet.

-Karsten
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Tyler
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like you may have to shrink the scale a bit? Halving it would be too much, but maybe 3/4?

There isn't the floor space in the back room to set up a game on the floor. And we can't walk on the tabletops, for a number of reasons.

Here's a potential solution. Tivoli let us use the glass windowed dining room at the front when we have tournaments on in the back room all weekend. They don't charge us for it, they just do it because they like us and we're long-time customers. Not the ball room, as that's often booked by social events or the German club, but the dining room is big enough. When we've needed it, they've even let us use it during regular meetings. Again, we weren't paying for it and they didn't have to let us, but they did.

You could take about half of that space during the FOGN tournament, shove a bunch of tables together, and make a roughly 8 foot by 12 foot mega-table. Use a couple blue-grey sheets wrapped around the boards to make it look like water. You would have to walk around it and lean over to reach the middle, but it's workable. Especially if you reduce the movement and shooting ranges to 3/4.

If you do alter measurements, I suggest printing cheat sheets for your players (probably a good idea anyway, and I have Indesign on my computer so I could help design the sheets).
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Pawprint



Joined: 20 Jul 2015
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All I can say is...wow! Shocked

This sounds interesting. While I am committed to the Dystopian Wars campaign, we may be able to shunt some players into this if interest holds. Also, I've found the nicest, cheapest ocean table effect would be to spend about $30-35 at Lincraft and get four 2m*1.5m lengths of crushed panne in either light or dark blue (or dark grey if you want the North Sea in winter Very Happy ). A single 2m*1.5m length is about 6.5 by 4.5 feet and easily fits over the LOA's standard tables. That would give you nice coverage for an 8' by 12' surface without breaking what's left of your budget. i also recommend some large bulldog clips to hold it at the edges. I shall certainly be keeping an eye on this game!

Cheers,
Michael
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Cawdorthane



Joined: 18 Jan 2007
Posts: 955

PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Noah

I am definitely interested too! Good on you for this excellent initiative, it is exactly what I think we should pursue at the LoA!

cheers
Mark
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Noah



Joined: 09 Apr 2011
Posts: 158

PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blimey, this is excellent, thank you all for your interest.

@ Von Lucky
I should be at the April meeting, I think I'm going to be in a Dystopian wars game if I ever remember to reply to the post on it ( Confused ) I'll talk to you then.

@ Tyler
The purist in me hates the idea of making the range smaller, but it likely is the right idea. I think having a 8 by 12 table is the best solution.
As for cheat sheets there's going to be a good deal going on in the future. I must say I may be making use of your indesign skills.

@ Pawprint
An excellent idea! I'll be heading to Lincraft in the near future. I think I'll probably leave the cloth there permanently since I think transporting it to Tivoli and back could be quite interesting.
As for players, the more the merrier. Very Happy

@Cawdorthane
Thank you very much! I'm having visions of a campaign of some sort perhaps next year or the year after to tie in with the anniversary. We'll see how this goes first though.


I'll just pop a preliminary idea for how the game itself will work. A problem with Jutland is that the British outnumber the Germans in just about every way. Thus making it have a chance to come close to how it turned out historically means attempting to simulate the many factors which made the battle turn out as it did. Often these factors are ones which are distinctly inglorious like stuff ups at the admiralty, failure to pass on messages and the like and just simple misunderstandings. The RN would rectify most of this for World War II, but in World War I it's all up in the air.

I have a 1922 North Sea chart on order currently and I'm thinking of using it as a kind of campaign map where each player has a set of blinds to move about. One blind being the actual squadron and the rest being decoys. Looking at it strictly historically it's utter rubbish since its hard to hide the funnel smoke of 30 dreadnoughts, but the idea is more aimed to simulate the uncertainties and lack of knowledge that the admirals had that we gamers with perfect birds eye views of the proceedings don't have to deal with.

Somehow the blinds would tie in with the action in progress, so you could have your early engagements between battlecruisers but also be looking over your shoulder to see an enemy blind getting suspiciously close, which could be the enemy dreadnought fleet about to ruin you or could just be smoke and mirrors. The problem however is that people could spend most of the day sitting out unless people started off in command of a destroyer flotilla and then when their command arrived they switched over to command their dreadnought fleet. It depends on the numbers involved.

That's the idea I've come up with so far, but I'm more than willing to hear suggestions, as stated previously, I'm rather new to this. Confused
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Cawdorthane



Joined: 18 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Noah, I think the key to success will be elegant simplicity. Too much map work or micro detail will swamp things and swiftly take charge.

Much of the British tactics at Jutland were dictated by matters such as the fear that the Germans were drawing them back onto mine fields or supporting U-Boots, plus a level of surprise at the efficacy of the German guns. Also Jellico's fear of Churchill's prophecy as to who could lose the war in an afternoon. So I think if you make command and control for Jellico and Beatty difficult, particularly as losses mount, to reflect their reluctance to expose their ships to German nasty surprises (heh why not even deploy some U-Boots or a hidden minefield at a critical point if things are going too well for the Home Fleet), then that will neutralise the potentially overwhelming force of the Home Fleet.

The reality is that we can almost never replicate the fog of war, as most of us wargamers tend to be fairly well read on who did what wrong and when. But you can hobble our ability to exploit our knowledge a little to more closely mirror the actual situation on the day.

cheers
Mark
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Noah



Joined: 09 Apr 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm inclined to agree with that on reflection.

I think instead I'll have a deck of cards with random events on them - likely weighted so more bad things happen to the Brits - nothing major but more things like unknown torpedoes which could mean U-boats or signalling failures which could lead to interesting situations.
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Mick.G



Joined: 25 Jul 2013
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An alternative to the fabric idea could also be to paint the backs of some of the green table tops ocean blue!
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Andrew v I



Joined: 02 Feb 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a great idea. Thank you very much for proposing this.

I have not done any naval gaming, so I am a complete novice. I also don't know a whole lot about the battles, so maybe I would make a good British commander.

If there is a place available, I am keen to participate in the May game. I should be able to make the June and July games, but, to be honest, I'd like to give it a try in May before committing.

I am not sure whether July is going to work if the FOGN tournament will also be on. Is it possible to get the Tivoli for two days on a non-tournament week-end?

You would also need to check whether it is possible to leave things set up in the front dining room on the Saturday night.

In my experience, a six foot wide table is about the most that people of ordinary wingspan can handle reasonably comfortably. I think that eight feet would just be too wide, unless we had croupiers' sticks. Another option would be to set up two rows of tables with a walkway in between. It is a bit awkward, but it does mean that you can go full scale and that people without simian arms will be able to play. It might also help a bit with the fog of war, as the fleets will, presumably, be largely on separate tables. We used that sort of layout when we did Leipzig at Little Wars a few years ago and it worked pretty well.
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Noah



Joined: 09 Apr 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Goodness, by my reckoning we have at least 5 people interesting in joining in. Excellent!

@Mick
I'm not sure I have the authority to do that! Evil or Very Mad

@Andrew
Welcome on board sir!
I myself am pretty new to naval wargaming since for me there's simply been next to nobody playing, but, since I'm interested in Jutland needs must. So being a novice is absolutely no problem, hence why we'll be running a practise/demo/test game in May so that people can learn something of the rules. I know them decently well myself but with no more than one person as an opponent.

I fear the mechanics of the rules make croupiers sticks pretty useless however, good idea none the less.

The set up of the tables we'll have to explore in April/May, I'm hesitant to have an area in between for aesthetic reasons, but if it becomes clear that there's this area of the board which is simply inaccessible then I'll be more than happy to open up a walk way. I'd rather have a good game. Smile
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Tyler
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Django and I were talking about your idea after our FOGR game at the Monday Knights last night, Noah.

Django pointed out that a gap between the two fleets doesn't reflect what happened historically. But I though it might be possible to compromise with a shape a bit like a capital 'H'.

So something like this:

___ ___
[___][___]
___[__]__
[___][___]

Forgive the crudity of that image, but hopefully you see what I mean.
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Andrew v I



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tyler

I wasn't suggesting that the walkway area between the tables would be missing sea. The sea areas on each table would be adjacent for game purposes, although separated from each other by the walkway in order to make it practicable to reach the ships. So, a ship would steam straight from one table onto the other table. Depending on where the main action takes place, you could have tables of different sizes to minimise the number of ships that have to go from one table to another. When we did Leipzig, while we had the whole battlefield, we set up the tables so that the northern and southern fronts were essentially contained on single rows of tables. the I hope that makes sense, but it is late in the day.

Of course, it may also be practicable to do what you are suggesting, provided that the set up of the battle allows it and we don't have to reach too far. We have done similar things that have worked well.

Regards
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