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"Smoke on the Water for the first time" Topic

14 Posts

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American Civil War
19th Century

1,915 hits since 22 May 2013
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Private Matter22 May 2013 2:15 p.m. PST

Tomorrow evening I am running a game of Smoke on the Water for my local wargaming group. None of the other gamers have ever tried these rules let alone an ironclad game. As I am a fan of the period I really want this game to go well but while I have read the rules about a dozen times over the past two weeks I have yet to play an actual game with these rules myself. Does any one have any helpful (meaning not snide or sarcastic) suggestions that may help me in keeping the game flowing and enjoyable for the ironclad newbies?

vtsaogames Inactive Member22 May 2013 2:28 p.m. PST

Have not played it but: one player per ship, not too many ships on the table?

whitejamest22 May 2013 2:37 p.m. PST

Well, I have no experience with ironclads, but I'm really in to Napoleonic naval gaming. One thing I've found makes the games more engaging and enjoyable is not to just give the players their ships and tell them to deploy anywhere they want on their table edge (the deployments are generally not very realistic, and they spend several turns just headed right for one another) but instead to set all the ships up in a historically reasonable position, already in range of one another, and hit the "play" button from there.

That way the scenario gets off to a realistic start, and everybody is thrown right in to the action immediately.

Not sure if this would transfer well to your subject matter, but might be worth thinking about.

Red358422 May 2013 3:11 p.m. PST

Agree with not too many ships as it can be quite time consuming working through order plotting and all the various hit/penetrate/damage charts.

The other potential problem to watch for is where you end up with a couple of ships that can't actually do much damage to each other due to a combination of weak guns and thick armour. A lot of sailing around waiting for that critical hit may be accurate but isn't much fun!

Good set of rules though…. second to Hammerin' Iron IMHO.

Private Matter23 May 2013 7:38 a.m. PST

Thank you for all the advice. it is very helpful.

I am limited on the ships I have with most of my Confederate ships are casemates or else I would avoid ironclads in the first battle. I am thinking that the first battle being the a river run with some sand bars and shallows along the banks. The mission will be that the confederate ships (6 ships including a david boat)need to get the CSS Tennessee past the 5 union vessels blocking the river so she can get to open water to create havoc among the blockading ships. The number of ships listed is the max number that could be used; I will actually give one ship to each player (except for the player with the David boat).

deephorse23 May 2013 11:27 a.m. PST

You don't say what your Union ships are, which is a shame.

I play SOTW regularly and would agree with some of the comments for a first game, e.g. one ship per player and avoiding ships with a large number of broadside guns. Though once you are experienced these factors become less of an issue.

For me the main thing is balance between the two navies. An entire casemate Confederate navy is going to be difficult for the Union to match unless they have monitors. But even then (short of some good critical hits) the Confederates could probably just sail past them, sufffering a bit of damage on the way (except for the poor David which will sink after being hit once!).

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2013 7:45 p.m. PST

Here I thought this thread was going to be about the first song I learned to play on bass.

Private Matter23 May 2013 8:34 p.m. PST

Well we had the game, in fact two games. The players at the club were unanimous in their support for playing it again. The first game was a union victory despite the union's canonicus bumping into the tuscumbia. The rebels were to try to get down the river and make a run past the union fleet. I controlled a David boat which was blasted out of the water at point blank range by the Cairo. The CSS Tennessee had a gun burst which started a fire that burned heavily as well as sustaining a number of hits in critical areas which caused them to fail a morale check and they turned tail to head back up river. The CSS Baltic took a number of hits that created a lot of headaches for her captain. Discretion was the better part of valor and she too retreated from the scene.

In game two it was just a union vs confederate slug fest. The Canonicus, Tuscumbia and Cairo went up against the Tennessee, Arkansas and Fredericksburg plus a David boat. The David boat successfully torpedoed the Tuscumbia causing 16 hull damage and 6 flooding points. Of course the david boat didn't survive the but it did die gallantly. The Arkansas took a lucky hit in one of the forward gun ports jamming it and burst the other forward gun. (Did I mention that we had some wild dice rolls?) Just before the Tuscumbia succumbed to flooding the Fredericksburg was able to ram her finishing her off for good but fortunately didn't lock. The Arkansas was able to ram and lock with the Canonicus who by this time had an irreparable gun jam and jammed port on the other gun. Despite being out numbered the Arkansas skipper ordered a boarding action which was a disaster. The Canonicus was able to eventually get unlocked and decided to make a run for it. The Arkansas who was badly mauled couldn't give chase, neither could the Tennessee who had her stack shot away. The Fredericksburg tried to give chase but without a lucky shot couldn't catch the faster cheese box on a raft.

It was a very good game that we will be playing again.

deephorse24 May 2013 8:23 a.m. PST

That sounds like a lot of fun. But you must have had some REALLY wild dice throws to achieve all that in one game. We've never managed to get a David anywhere near to using its torpedo. With just 2HDP they sink on the first hit virtually every time.

I'd recommend the Alternative Ramming Rules from the SOTW site if you're not already using them.

Private Matter24 May 2013 8:54 a.m. PST

Deephorse – the dice throws were really outrageous at times. Torpedo boats at very fast are hard to hit. It also helped that union players really didn't take them too seriously until after the one hit in the second game. We did have one player that every time ( and I mean every time) he fired more than one gun at a target, one of his to hit rolls would come up a ten. It didn't matter whose dice he used, one always came up a ten.

I will look into the ramming rules you mention.

deephorse25 May 2013 12:44 p.m. PST

Stephen, if you're interested I've made many ship record sheets for the ships not listed in SOTW, but for which 1/600 models exist. If you'd like copies then PM me with your e-mail address. They suit Word 97 – 2003. Saves a lot of time in hand preparing sheets before a game!

hawgband Inactive Member30 Aug 2018 5:35 a.m. PST

Deephorse, do you still have your ship record sheets? I would love a copy if you do. I was about to start doing this myself. My email is hawgband at yahoo dot com.

donlowry30 Aug 2018 10:27 a.m. PST

Who makes ships for this period now? and in what scale(s)?

hawgband Inactive Member31 Aug 2018 11:48 a.m. PST

Thoroughbred makes them in 1/600 and 1/1200 and look outstanding. I just placed my first order with them. There are Peter Pig ships out there in 1/600 and Houston ships out there in 1/1200. Those are the ones I've seen but I haven't been looking for other sizes.

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