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"WS & IM - thoughts 35 years later?" Topic


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815 hits since 4 Jun 2018
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Ferreo Cuore04 Jun 2018 8:29 a.m. PST

My friend unearthed his old 2nd ed. game from 1981. He wants to give it some play time and also convert to 3-dimensions, which is why he bugs me to help!

I am reading the rules, and they seem very solid and well thought out after all these years. About the only criticisms that come to top of my head:

1) rigging seems too easy to damage.
2) the movement limits of a hex system I think one needs at least 8 directions [but prefer 16), and if Hexes are North-South on game board, then you can't move directly East-West!

I am not a sailing navy expert, so wonder what thoughts people have about these rules. Surely we have learned a lot over the last 35+ years about sailing wooden ships, and of course game mechanics have also advanced.

I was thinking that perhaps we would try Langton's "Signal Close Action: Fast-play" also.

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP04 Jun 2018 9:35 a.m. PST

I also prefer 8-16 directions for AoS gaming, but 6 is actually just fine for fleet actions.

I found WS&IM far too bloody. Once the shooting starts, ships erode quickly, so maneuvering is effectively over. It's almost impossible to fight the indecisive desultory maneuver contests typical of the 1660-1815 period; nearly all battles devolve quickly into a murder contest that makes Trafalgar look like a light skirmish. Many grognards also complain that boarding is too easy in WS&IM.

I want to like the Langton fast play rules, but the rostering system needs work. I admire Langton's Ability Roll system, but large groups of ships succeeding and failing actions simultaneously can be very frustrating and stretch credulity, so I felt it also needed work. I also found it too bloody (this is a VERY common problem in AoS games), but it's pretty easy to change damage pacing by adjusting the DC size and/or number. On the bright side, SCAFP is cheap and simple and allows management of many ships per player, so it's worth a try.

- Ix

Ferreo Cuore04 Jun 2018 9:51 a.m. PST

First – thanks to editor[s]!

@YA
This is good point – from way back in day, I recall pretty much all fights a massacre…but gamers like that, and Boarding was used too often and had some chart issues, like an auto-win at >6-1 odds [I did this with a huge Spanish ship – it was sinking, and I surprise captured an English 74 when I made entire crew into boarding party v. no defensive party].

So maybe just decreasing the shooting hit tables by one or two OR making -1, -2 hit tables, and making boarding much more difficult, especially in a fleet action.

Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP04 Jun 2018 10:11 a.m. PST

Certainly it is a fun game but there are better options for minis. Try looking at Kiss Me, Hardy from toofatlardies.

Aethelflaeda was framed04 Jun 2018 10:14 a.m. PST

Close action takes the same system and fixes most of the problems. I am in agreement that hex grids rapidly distort the game. I worked on a half hex turn system but eventually discarded the grids completely.

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP04 Jun 2018 12:54 p.m. PST

Close Action is indeed billed as "fixed" WS&IM. It's also very slow, complicated, process-heavy, and hex based.

The original version of WS&IM was a miniatures game with a square grid called Ship o' the Line. It's pretty easy to adapt to gridless use with 8 directions (which is the only way I've played it) but it's still basically WS&IM.

If you're looking for gridless AoS miniatures games for fleet actions, there are lots of options. To name just a few of the more popular responses that come up every time this topic is raised:

- Ix

Ferreo Cuore04 Jun 2018 1:57 p.m. PST

Thanks for insights, altho I welcome more feedback about WS&IM as I don't know if I'll be able to convince my friend to try anything else.

I did find a free google pdf of Ship o'the Line here:
link
I think I had a Battleline space boardgame many years ago!

Close Action doesn't sound like our cup of grog – WS&IM is about as complicated as life needs to be right now.

Kiss Me Hardy breaks my ban on anything by TFL – too many rules problems with many other sets, unfortunately.

We like David Manley, and A&A as a "most complex" set of rules for dreadnoughts. Must think about.

It is Warm Work sounds promising, I am looking at reviews.

21eRegt Supporting Member of TMP04 Jun 2018 7:26 p.m. PST

I've played it for many, many, many years and although I've played plenty of other systems I keep coming back to WS&IM. Our last game only had one ship taken so not all are super bloody. (Twelve in action.)

Kevin in Albuquerque Supporting Member of TMP04 Jun 2018 8:07 p.m. PST

WSIM makes for a good, fast, bloody game, all three items a must for most gamers, especially at cons, today.

My suggestions: use hexes and their spines. That gives you 12 directions and now NSEW movement. Worked well back in the 80's for us. And now ships won't be turning on a dime, especially Frigates. Discard the boarding actions completely. Makes for a better game. No ordinary gamer is going to want to replicate the Glorious 1st of June in miniature. Too slow and not enough action for them. So a bloody and fast game it is.

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP04 Jun 2018 8:31 p.m. PST

I did find a free google pdf of Ship o'the Line here:
YESSS!!!!! I've been wanting a PDF of those rules for-frikkin-EVER. I'm really really really really really happy you posted that. grin

There are a lot of things I dislike about the WS&IM/SotL system, but I admit I have enjoyed playing Ship o' the Line (with the grid removed). It can be fun as long as the number of ships is just 1-3 per player. If that's what your friend really wants to play, just use the clean and well-tested WS&IM rules, rosters, and charts for the fighting (perhaps disallowing boarding, as suggested by Kevin), and use the maneuver system in SotL to figure out how to maneuver with 8 directions instead of 6 on a grideless sea. That is pretty much what I did last time.

Kevin in Albuquerque said:

My suggestions: use hexes and their spines.
There is a relatively simple AoS fleet game actually designed to do this: Victory Under Sail. I played it twice, and could not get my head around the 12-point directional system, or bouncing between vertices and flats. It might be easier with a hex mat that shows only the hex vertices.

- Ix

cypherkk05 Jun 2018 2:53 a.m. PST

I"ve playd quite a bit of WS&IM. I love it. We modified the rules for use without hexes. Make templates for the turn and firing angles 30/60 I think and use the turning angle for the ships as maximum. Hexes/movement/shooting we used 1 hex equals 1 inch.

Ferreo Cuore05 Jun 2018 6:16 p.m. PST

@ Yellow Admiral
Glad to have helped you! I have benefited from many of your posted thoughts.

I was thinking that with a grid and allowing spine facing, you have 8 directions. I sketch it out and it appears that what is gained is an "A" direction [optimum sail angle] directly perpendicular to the wind. And of course the ability therefore to head straight West-East as well as North-South.

This seems simple to incorporate onto a table without hexes.

"Flying Colors" was mentioned for fleet actions at BGG. It is a GMT boardgame. Anyone have thoughts on it?

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP06 Jun 2018 6:57 a.m. PST

I'd also be interested in hearing from anyone who's used Flying Colors as a miniatures game.

I've been meaning to try it (looks promising), but I'd want to figure out how to remove the hex grid and convert the vast variety of markers to appropriate miniature objects. Without playing, I have no idea how I feel about the pacing of damage, movement, fleet evolutions, etc.

- Ix

dantheman Supporting Member of TMP06 Jun 2018 7:21 p.m. PST

Played FC with miniatures though kept the hexes. Used logs instead of markers. The board game gives you the same option and logs are downloadable from GMT website last time I used them. The chits are a pain.

Pyrate Captain07 Jun 2018 10:51 a.m. PST

Points on a compass are a means of tracking movement in relation to the wind when under sail. Steering by the compass is for self propelled vessels. I wouldn't worry two much about hex alignment, unless you really hate hexes, in which case you'll need some turning arcs to scale.

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