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"Ironclad Rules Question" Topic

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Ditto Tango 2 103 Jun 2007 1:27 p.m. PST

I asked this question about 4-5 years ago on the Yahoo group and didn't get an answer satisfactory for me.

I'm looking for a rule set that does not need to do everything gun by gun. Ultimately, I'd prefer something that lets me manage a fleet of 3-10 per side ships in 1/600 scale ( link ) WITHOUT having to play at being an individual gun captain.

The game we've played has been Jason Gorringe's Smoke on The Water. We've always enjoyed our games except when we have larger ships, like the Minnesota or even the Hartford. With those, the game becomes a drudgery of choosing the ammo for every gun, rolling to hit, rolling for hit location, rolling to penetrate, rolling for critical, rolling for detonation, etc, etc. It drives us insane.

At one point, I was going to rejig the gunnery system for SOTW, but never finished the project.

I think it's important in writing a set of rules that everything not be done from an empirical point of view, ie, from the ground up. One doesn't, in land wargames, have rules for detonation of an individual grenade if what is being represented is a divisional commander's view.

From my experiences on the ironclads yahoo group (I'm not active on the group any more) this is a concept that hasn't been that popular in ironclad naval rules.

Thus, I'm looking for something that lets me command my squadron/fleet and not worry about individual cannon blasts.

If anyone out there can help me, I'd really appreciate it.

John the OFM03 Jun 2007 1:41 p.m. PST

They are probably glad you are gone.
What you speak is heresy to true ironclad aficianados.

I agree with you, by the way.

doc mcb03 Jun 2007 2:42 p.m. PST

I agree with you as well. I want to do Memphis or New Orleans or hypothetical NO, and I don't want to track every shot.

I think some sort of opposed die roll system might work for gunnery. Give each ship's guns -- you'd have to calculate firepower at each broadside, fore and aft, etc. -- a single die, from D4 to D24. Factor in size and rate of fire.

Give each ship a die representing armor and structural integrity. Again, you'd need to give, e.g., the CAIRO class a bigger die for armored bow, a smaller die for the sides which were not as well armored further aft, and a still smaller die for the lightly armored sterm.

If you have THIS ship shooting at THIS target, roll the appropriate die for each and have a table of outcomes. If the firer rolls equal or below the defense roll, it was a miss or a bounce. If the shooter beats the defense roll, by HOW MUCH? Larger differentials lead to multiple rolls on damage tables.

As for maneuvering, anyone who reads accounts of Memphis or New Orleans knows that one player directing and coordinating the maneuvers of a "fleet" is ludicrous. Assign each player a single ship. Issue general orders to non-played ships, and have rules defining a general mission ("Engage the enemy by ramming") and criteria for choosing the target. (Which enemy is nearest? Who can you see? Who is shooting at you? etc.)

Have a major random factor for captains' initiative in unplayed ships. Distinguish among different temperments for captains. And fort commanders.

Fast. Furious. Unpredictable on multiple levels. But each player ought to be able to influence the outcome by driving his own boat, and maybe (e.g. at Mobile Bay, in the daylight, NOT at New Orleans in a night attack) signaling as admiral to the rest of his fleet.

doc mcb03 Jun 2007 2:43 p.m. PST

Btw, I enjoy SMOKE ON THE WATER. But it is just unworkable for a large battle.

the Gorb03 Jun 2007 3:12 p.m. PST

Buck Surdu did "Beer and Pretzels Ironclads". I've not played those rules though.

Regards, the Gorb

Chris Palmer03 Jun 2007 3:28 p.m. PST

Another vote for "Beer & Pretzel Ironclads". Very fast play and fun!

doc mcb03 Jun 2007 3:46 p.m. PST

Does B&P track each shot?

Sysiphus03 Jun 2007 3:50 p.m. PST

Well, I think your efforts might pay off if you tried to adapt the Man O' War system. Use the stats for the Dwarves; they use Iron Clad, Submarines, spar and launched torpedoes etc.
I've always enjoyed MOW and its ability to handle many ships. You biggest hurdle will be making up the cards for tracking the hull/rigging damage, but this shouldn't be to bad if you build them off the existing Dwarf models. I think they may even cover balloons!

Jakar Nilson03 Jun 2007 3:56 p.m. PST

What about adapting Aeronef by Wessex Games? It might be VSF, but it is usable for 19th century naval warfare. The firing is fairly simple, and there are rules for actual naval encounters (as opposed to just airships).

Personal logo Nashville Supporting Member of TMP03 Jun 2007 4:00 p.m. PST

If you can hold on a spell I am working on an Ironclad game that will do exactly what was requested in the inital post. it is a variation of the Gunboat Diplomacy (unpublished) rules created by Bob Duncan down here in middle Tennessee. Indeed, the paint is still drying on my fingers from painting up more ironclads. I did a vaiation for my Pirates game at nashcon last week. We had an entire room and a 30 foot board devoted to this. By golley there was no rolling for individual gun. I have "gunnery factors" ..a 5 or 6 hits and by golly thats it. Here are the pirate rules..the iron clad rules are in development and will be play tested on a large scale (in every sense of the word) in Feb.
PDF link
And yes, I will charge the same fee i charge for all my rules, another set you can find on the Foundry site:
PDF link

terrain sherlock03 Jun 2007 4:30 p.m. PST

I'll second the GW Man-O-War idea.. (actually, I thot of it, and was totally surprised someone else did too..! :-)

Works for my pre-drednaughts..

Personal logo Nashville Supporting Member of TMP03 Jun 2007 4:41 p.m. PST

for the folks that want to join our group:

Hwiccee03 Jun 2007 5:06 p.m. PST

There are a nice set of free rules here –

Look under Andy Callan articles.

Roll Again03 Jun 2007 6:35 p.m. PST

I was thinking of rejigging WTJ's Quickfire for ironclads:


Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian04 Jun 2007 6:07 a.m. PST

Two approaches I have taken in the past (and I have long since lost those) are the General Quarters approach, and the Full-Thrust approach. GQ works on a step-reduction via damage process, and using the FT approach, I grouped like-weapons into batteries.

Charlie 1204 Jun 2007 7:11 a.m. PST

Another possible approach is the the system used in GQ3. I've been fooling around with a system based on GQ3's combat model and think it may work out (early days on this, though; no where near ready for prime time).

David Manley04 Jun 2007 1:34 p.m. PST

At the risk of blowing my own trumpet I'd suggest giving "Iron and Fire" a try. It works on a "per gun" basis, but if you are firing large numbers of guns there are statistical tables that are used to aggregate their fire into a single die roll to hit. They were written initially to support an NWS refight of Lissa which worked very well.

hunter4a15 Jun 2007 1:15 p.m. PST

Just my two pesos Worth. Some time ago I bought Signal Close Action – FAST PLAY. I thought the system for fighting squadrons works pretty well. Anyway, might want to take a look, maybe there is a way to modify.

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