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"General Quarters Naval Gaming Rules" Topic

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Terry3731 Dec 2016 6:25 p.m. PST

I want to do some of the smaller cruiser actions of WWI and a fined has suggested using General Quarters. However, there seems to be more than one option. Can anyone advise what the best option might be as to which I should get to pursue this?



Bozkashi Jones31 Dec 2016 7:04 p.m. PST

you can't really go wrong with GQ – my experience is GQ2 but GQ3 is very well thought of. It gives a good game with 6-12 ships a side. If more then using fleet rules (one light cruiser model equals two ships and one destroyer/tbd model equals four) then that keeps the numbers reasonable (I still use the right number of models but with one SDS – ship damage summary – for all of them so I still get the 'look' of an action).

Whatever you go for it will be fun.


dragon631 Dec 2016 8:02 p.m. PST

"Fleet Action Imminent!" is the WW1 version of GQ3. It will do you for WW1 ships and weapons

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP31 Dec 2016 9:23 p.m. PST

The original General Quarters game system was simple and abstract. It's a bit low on individual ship details, but with practice and/or some help from tools and props and markers (like the stuff I made for GQ2 that you can see here) it can play very fast. It came in 2 versions, GQ1 (WWII) and GQ2 (WWI + updates and supplements for GQ1). Last I checked, the only place to buy either new is Navwar. It's a classic rules set and has a lot of devotees even now, nearly 40 years after first publication.

The General Quarters 3 system is much more detailed and plays slower, quite a bit slower while learning. That said, I think it's elegantly streamlined and in many ways and efficiently represents lots of extra vessel-specific details in a very efficient manner. The individual ship rosters are very small and tidy, and lots of the national and technological character of various weapons and defenses are built into the tables so there's no extra chart running. I have my own quibbles with the system (which I am gradually "fixing" with my own house rules), but overall I like the basic architecture so much that it's about all I play now, and I'm partway through adapting it to the pre-dreadnought period. Again, the rules are split into the WWII period (GQ3) and WWI period (Fleet Action Imminent).

The author considers the GQ3 system to be the replacement for the older GQ1/2 system, but they are completely different game systems in most every respect. As far as I can tell, the only things shared between GQ1/GQ2 and the later GQ3/FAI systems are a name, an author, and a ground scale.

- Ix

Terry3731 Dec 2016 9:33 p.m. PST

Gentlemen, This is a very big help – thank you! it looks like I would want either GHQ2 or Action Imminent. That being the case may I ask of these two which is the less complicated/simpler game to play. I am more interested in a fast fun game than one that bogs down into heavy bookkeeping and chart checking.

Thanks again,


Dennis Supporting Member of TMP31 Dec 2016 10:08 p.m. PST

GQ3 and Fleet Action Imminent are now available from ODGW:

dragon631 Dec 2016 11:59 p.m. PST

FAI and GQ3 share the same rules mechanics. They have different 'flavor.' FAI should do WW1 games better.

GQ3 has more options as WW2 has more things, better submarines, aircraft, radar etc

GQ2 and FAI are vastly different. GQ2 requires GQ1 for play. GQ2 plays faster, and simpler, but with considerable less 'flavor'

As a personal thing I've never cared for GQ1 and 2 but it does allow big games to play faster. More like a boardgame IMO

Texas Jack01 Jan 2017 2:32 a.m. PST

If fast and fun are what you are after, then GQ2 is most certainly the way to go.

Bozkashi Jones01 Jan 2017 5:19 a.m. PST

I have no experience of GQ3 or FIA so I can help you there I'm afraid.

Just to clarify though, you do not need GQ1 to play GQ2 for WW1 actions GQ2 is a standalone set for WW1, though it does contain revised tables for WW2 using a D10, rather than a D6 to straddle.

To give a flavour of a WW1 GQ2 game, here's an AAR from a battle my son and I had during the summer. We had 20 ships in action and played the game in about an hour and a half to two hours.

TMP link

Equal speed, Charlie London!


Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2017 6:18 a.m. PST

By all means go for Fleet Actions. GQ3 products are all very much worth and easy to actully play.

hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2017 11:49 a.m. PST

That being the case may I ask of these two which is the less complicated/simpler game to play.

Buy General Quarters 2, then at link. Despite its relative simplicity, GQ-2 (and for WWII GQ-1) elegantly handles the complications of 20th century naval combat.

If you want to try WWII naval, you can later buy GQ-1 at link. If you want more detail (sometimes at the cost of *less* elegant game mechanics), then you can later buy GQ-3 (WWII) and FAI (WWI) at All are good, although I currently prefer GQ-1 and GQ-2 with my house rules. I disagree with some of the additional historical detail in GQ-3 (like national characteristics), and because of the new format it uses, house rule changes are more difficult unless you have a full-featured PDF editor.

Contrary to at least one previous poster, I think that there is quite a bit of similarity between the earlier versions (GQ-1 and GQ-2) and the later versions (GQ-3 and FAI). So if you first learn GQ-2, and wanted to try the greater detail of FAI, the learning curve would be less steep.

Mark H.

Terry3701 Jan 2017 2:03 p.m. PST

Gentlemen, My very sincere thanks for all of the great feedback. It is most helpful and first blush says it sounds like GQ-2 will serve my needs just fine. I will still ponder it, but will be ordering a set of rules before the week is out.

Thanks again,


Blutarski01 Jan 2017 7:24 p.m. PST

A number of tweaks to GQ2 were developed over the years which IMO materially improved the rules. IIRC, David Manley used to maintain a web page covering these. One such tweak that I highly recommend is a change in speed reduction versus hull damage. The official ship charts reduce speed on a linear basis – if a ship has 2/5 hull remaining intact, its speed is likewise 2/5 of its original speed. The tweak changed speed reduction from linear to one based approximately upon the square root of the percentage of remaining hull boxes, i.e. -

5/5 hull strength = 100 pct speed
4/5 hull strength = 90 pct speed
3/5 hull strength = 80 pct speed
2/5 hull strength = 65 pct speed
1/5 hull strength = 45 pct speed
0/5 hull strength = DIW

More realistic (IMO) and made for a more manageable game.


Hope everyone had a pleasant and safe New Year holiday.


CampyF Inactive Member02 Jan 2017 6:27 a.m. PST

Dave Manley's GQ page. Lots of free stuff. Lots of thought behind it.


Captain Gideon02 Jan 2017 7:58 a.m. PST

I've got 2 question's about General Quarters Naval rules.

Question 1 Why doesn't General Quarters cover the Pre-Dreadnought period?

Question 2 Why doesn't General Quarters covers the Never Built ships like the H-44 and Super Yamato for example?

I ask these questions because I really like the Pre-Dreadnought period and I think General Quarters would be the rules that would be best for this period.

Also regarding the Never Built ships I understand that there's many people who don't want to bother with these ships but if some rules cover ships like the Montana BB and Lexington BC then the other ships should be covered as well.

For myself I want to game with these ships as many of them have been made thru Shapeways so that's why I ask.

hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP02 Jan 2017 12:18 p.m. PST

Question 1 Why doesn't General Quarters cover the Pre-Dreadnought period?

See the General Quarters Yahoo Group, files section.

Question 2 Why doesn't General Quarters covers the Never Built ships like the H-44 and Super Yamato for example?

GQ-3 does, such as the "Cherry Tree Supplement", which you can download as a registered owner. Otherwise, you create your own SDSs (see below).

For GQ-1, you would need to create your own SDSs, which is not that difficult assuming you own some basic reference books, or get data off the Internet. They tell you how to do it on pages 40 and 41 of the GQ-1 rules. Printing your own SDSs has the additional advantage that you can do so with all ships for a given battle / campaign on one sheet of paper.

Mark H.

Captain Gideon02 Jan 2017 12:51 p.m. PST

Mark I just checked Dave Manley's site and couldn't find any Pre-Dreadnought stuff.

As for the other thing you suggested since I don't own my own set of General Quarter's so I can't download the Cherry Tree Supplement and also I'm not that good at coming up with my own SDS's.

Charlie 1202 Jan 2017 3:06 p.m. PST

Question 2 Why doesn't General Quarters covers the Never Built ships like the H-44 and Super Yamato for example?

The answer has to do with the lack of GOOD information about the ships in question and (more importantly) the weapons carried.

Many of the "Never Builts" never got further than advanced preliminary sketches (such as the H-44) or the final plans were lost (as with the "Design A-150 (AKA "Super Yamato"), for which we have no idea what her secondary armament would have looked like). Additionally, even with those ships that were actually under construction (but later stopped) the final configuration would have been considerably different from the plans (particularly in regards to the AA arrangements. The US "Montanas" come to mind here). Such things as final tonnage (which impacts speed) are rarely known until the ship is actually built. So knowing, with certainty, what the "Never Builts" would actually have looked like (in terms of armament, speed, AA outfit, sensors, etc. All vital to doing an accurate ship log) is, at best, an educated guess, and at worse, an act of pure fantasy.

The second (and far more difficult) problem are the guns. In order to create an accurate and reasonable CRT, you need GOOD EMPIRICAL information on range, penetration and shell performance. If the ship in question uses an already well established gun (as with the "Montanas"), then there is no problem. But many of your "Never Builts" were slated to use new, never before used guns (such as the "Super Yamato" 20.1" or the "H-44" 20"). In nearly all these cases, the guns were either never built (some never approaching final design) or, if built, were used for other uses (such as coast defense with shells very different from the planned naval shells). In some cases, theoretical performance data exists. But this is NOT a good substitute since theoretical performance often did not (in fact, rarely) match empirical experience. A classic example of this in the British Mk I 16" gun, whose actual performance fell considerably short of the projected theoretical performance. In those cases where there is neither theoretical nor empirical data, you have absolutely nothing to work with and any CRT for these would be a work of (once again) pure fantasy.

GQ3's author has no problems with some of the "Never Builts" that had progressed to fully matured designs (such as the "Cherry Trees", or USS Montana or HMS Lion) or fully developed proposed reconstructions (such as HMS Hood or Gneisenau/Scharnhorst). But he does draw a bright line at the "Paper Ships" that never progressed to fully fleshed out designs or whose data is fragmentary or contradictory.

Charlie 1202 Jan 2017 3:29 p.m. PST

Question 1 Why doesn't General Quarters cover the Pre-Dreadnought period?

The answer is twofold:

First, Lonnie Gill (author of GQ1/2/3) has little interest in the predreadnought period.

Second, to correctly do the period justice would require multiple CRTs covering what is called the "Predreadnought Period". Just as FAI is different from GQ3 with different parameters for the ship logs and different CRTs to reflect the advances and changes in naval warfare, so the same is true with the earlier period, but even moreso. If you accept the Sino-Japanese War (1894-95) as the beginning and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) as the end of the "Predreadnought Period", then what you have is an enormous amount of advancements in all areas of naval warfare and construction. And these changes would have to be reflected in any ship logs and CRTs for such a period. Such a design and development process is considerable and time consuming. And, as stated earlier, there is little interest on the part of the design group to devote that much time and effort (this is, afterall, a hobby and not a job for all of us).

Captain Gideon02 Jan 2017 4:03 p.m. PST

So with Lonnie has almost no interest in the Pre-Dreadnought period what Naval rules would you think best to play that period?

As with the Never Built ships can you give me any advice as to what direction I can go to use these in a Naval Game?

Charlie 1202 Jan 2017 4:44 p.m. PST

So with Lonnie has almost no interest in the Pre-Dreadnought period what Naval rules would you think best to play that period?

Unfortunately, I really can't recommend any since, like Lonnie, the period doesn't hold much interest for me. That said, the rules by David Manley seem to have a very good reputation.

As with the Never Built ships can you give me any advice as to what direction I can go to use these in a Naval Game?

Some of the "Never Builts" are available in the Cherry Tree supplement and some are covered in the Deluxe Logs. As for the more radical ones (like the "Super Yamato" and "H-44"), I'm afraid you're on your own. There's so little good workable information on these, that any ship log or CRT would be pure speculation.

hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP02 Jan 2017 8:17 p.m. PST

As for the other thing you suggested since I don't own my own set of General Quarter's so I can't download the Cherry Tree Supplement and also I'm not that good at coming up with my own SDS's.

I strongly suggest that you buy a copy of the rules. If you are too young to have money, get someone to buy you a copy for your birthday. Without a (legal, un-pirated, registered) rule book (for whatever set you prefer to play), it's pretty futile to try to do rule mods (which is what "never were" SDSs essentially are).

WRT to data, I really must disagree with Charlie 12's thesis that we don't have the necessary information to do a plausible H-44 or similar "never-were" designs especially for relatively simple (yet sophisticated) rules like the General Quarters series. For example, look here: link And look here: link All it takes is some digging, and the ability to do simple arithmetic. If you don't have those skills yet, maybe a friend or parent can help get you up to speed.

If you play GQ-1 / GQ-2, each ship has around 12-13 numbers which describe it in the game, and these are listed for sample ships on pages 40-41 of the GQ-1 rule book. From the values given here, you can extrapolate those for the "never weres" from Internet data or reference book data. For example, note that the DF number is usually the standard displacement of the ship divided by 2000. If we feel that the resulting DF is too big or too small, we can adjust it slightly to reflect our prejudices.

If you play GQ-3 / FAI, the process is a bit more complicated, but again, you can extrapolate from existing SDSs. There are also various downloadable "design files" available to rules owners on the ODGW web site (again, you need to buy the rules)., Here's a relevant quote from the Designer:

The design of a wargame simulation is a series of choices. Reality is far too complex to
simulate in its entirety. The mix of what to simulate at what level has to be tempered
with the need to keep the game moving and playable. Some of you will want to augment
or revise G ENERAL Q UARTERS to emphasis your favorite aspects of naval warfare. Modify it,
improve it and make it your own.
The files in this section are provided to give you some insight into the design parameters
used in G ENERAL Q UARTERS . They are provided as is, unedited, as developed during the
design of the Third Edition. You can use them as a starting point in the further evolution
An Excel file has also been provided for those who want to create their own Ship Logs
[Ship Log.xls]. A blank Ship Log worksheet is formatted for twelve larger ships and
twelve DDs with the basic symbology and Arial font sizes for different types of
armament, catapults and aircraft hangars listed below. Take your time and copy the
appropriate symbols to populate the armament layout for a particular ship. Bold box
borders to reflect armor protection as needed. Parameters for armor classifications, hull
boxes and movement capacity are provided in the design files. Data for AA, ASW and
radar are provided in other Bonus file folders. Once you have a ship set up, copy more of
the same class, rename and mix with others to complete a Ship Log. You can also resize
if you like.
When you're done, share your hard work with your shipmates. Simply upload them to
the ODGW web site and they'll be available to all registered G ENERAL Q UARTERS users.

Mark H.

P.S. Re-read my original post, which has been updated to suggest the Yahoo GQ Group's "files" section for Pre-dreads.

Captain Gideon03 Jan 2017 8:27 a.m. PST

Mark I'm in my late 50's but money is very tight and I can't buy myself a set of the GQ rules nor have I ever bought a set of Naval rules and none of my friends would buy me the set for my Birthday for various reasons.

And since both of my parents have passed away I won't get help from them plus the fact that I'll NEVER have those skills and I'm dealing with my own problems(which won't go away) which are ongoing when it comes to everyday life.

Plus the fact is that I'm simply lousy at rules whatever they may be if they're too complex,but then if the rules are very easy to understand then that's a different matter.

That's why I have friends who know more about the rules than I do who can help me along with them.

But maybe one of my friends who already has the rules could print out the stuff for me if he has the time(and ink).

See Mark over the years I've used many sets of Naval rules from General Quarters to Clear for Action,from Seekrieg to Shipbase III and almost all of them I don't understand word one about them and would never have used them on my own.

Lastly you mentioned the Yahoo GQ Group's "files" section for Pre-Dreads since I have a very low opinion of Yahoo Groups after what they did a few years back and screwed up all that I gave up on that.

You could say that I'm very good at playing Naval games but very lousy at game management.

Texas Jack03 Jan 2017 11:53 a.m. PST

Captain Gideon,

if you are interested in good pre-dred rules I can highly recommend Quickfire from War Times Journal. They are easy to learn, quick to play, and fun. They are similar to GQ2. Oh, and they are free:

Captain Gideon03 Jan 2017 3:06 p.m. PST

Texas Jack I have the Quickfire rules and have played them/GM'd some games and they are good but those are on the backburner for the time being.

Queen Catherine15 Apr 2017 8:17 p.m. PST

I like Brian DeWitte's rules for pre-dreads,
When Dreadnoughts rule the seas.
They are a $5 USD disc from the author.

Also, Naval Thunder has done their pre-dread game – I think they're a solid "fun set" of rules for WWII, so I assume the same here.

Last, I'd give Avalanche Press a go – they have a boardgame for Russo-Japanese war naval and Spanish-American war naval. Either could be adapted to the table.

Hope that helps!

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