Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sunk by the Bismarck

The mighty Hood.
A couple weeks ago I got together with Jon for some WW2 naval action. I've had these 1/4800 C-in-C ships for years, and bust them out now and then. We went with the classic scenario: Hood and Prince of Wales vs. Bismarck and Prinz Eugen.

We went old school and used the Avalon Hill Bismarck advanced rules. These are for all intents and purposes a set of miniatures rules, though originally intended for use with the card markers in the game. I like these rules for a few reasons, not the least of which is they remind me of spreading this game out on the family room floor as a kid. They also are incredibly detailed, and really provide a study of naval combat in the period.

The mighty Bismarck.
On the other hand, they are incredibly detailed, and play is slow! In true period style, Avalon Hill made each turn the rough equivalent of a college math exam. With a multitude of variable to calculate every turn, and then rolling dice and adding said variables in a base six (!) system, whew. No wonder computer games caught on. Then there is the whole issue of figuring out what shell was fired, how think the armor is at the point of impact, etc., etc., etc. Still, there is something refreshing about all of it, and a feeling that you are actually doing something. We could just imagine those poor souls in the fire control room, trying to calculate range and all that without computers.

This can't be good...
At any rate, I took the British, Jon the Germans. At first I attempted to focus on the Prinz Eugen, hoping to deliver a quick knockout blow and then gang up on the Bismarck. It didn't work. He was able to close with the Bismarck and start hammering the Hood. While she didn't blow up, she took quite the pounding. In the end, the Hood started to make a run for it, the Bismarck pulled in behind, followed by the PoW and the PE. After a short running line fight, the Hood's rudder got hit, speed was halved, and it was pretty much a sitting duck with the superstructure gone, half the hull boxes gone, two turrets gone... So we called it a day. Very minimal damage to the Bismarck after all that. I really needed some plucky Swordfishes to save the day!
Run away, run away! Oops...

I have a lot more of these ships, and even picked up a few additional 3D print versions from Shapeways. I'd perhaps like to even get some of the French ships.

Perhaps, though, I should look into a different set of WW2 naval rules? A set that plays a bit faster?




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