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"Biplanes & Battleships - Game AAR from Cold Wars" Topic

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420 hits since 18 Mar 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Ponder Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2019 2:11 p.m. PST


On Friday evening at Cold Wars, the Second Battle of Salvo Atoll was fought using the draft rules Biplanes & Battleships Dice at Sea. The rules address a counterfactual naval war between Japan and the US in 1931, as suggested in Hector Bywater's book, The Great Pacific War. The game was played with 1:6000 scale ship models on hexagonal bases; the bases simplify visualization of firing arcs.

In the scenario, the Japanese have two missions:

(1) Get their supply convoy off the far board edge. Table was 6 ft x 8 ft.
(2) Conduct bombardment of US positions. IJN Heavy Cruisers must be within 2 ft of SE board corner.

The Americans want to frustrate the Japanese, and sink their ships.

It is a night battle, with visibility limited to 6-inches. Ships firing or illuminated can be seen at 18-inches.

The Japanese forces have four divisions:

(1) 3 Heavy Cruisers
(2) 1 Light Cruiser & 3 Destroyers
(3) 1 Light Cruiser & 3 Destroyers
(4) 4 Freighters (max speed 20 knots)

The US has three divisions:

(1) 1 Heavy Cruiser & 1 Light Cruiser
(2) 1 Heavy Cruiser & 1 Light Cruiser
(3) 5 Destroyers

As this was a convention game, we used blinds at start, rather than plotted movements. Both sides had four blinds. The IJN player, used one phantom, and grouped a DesDiv with the freighter. The US put the all the cruisers in one blind, the destroyers in another, and used two phantoms. Blinds were moved on the map until spotted, when the ships were placed on the table. The players made a sketch of their steaming order (i.e., deployment) for each blind. Photos of the game follow:

Photo 1 Blinds on the table. The flag icons make ID at a glance easy.

Photo 2 First contact! Cruisers face off USN crossing the "T"

Photo 3 Japanese heavy cruisers

Photo 4 US cruiser divisions

Photo 5 US destroyers contributed to the destruction of the Japanese CA

Photo 6 Sinking ships, three Japanese CA sunk or sinking.

Photo 7 Three Japanese blinds remain.

Photo 8 A blind spotted, reveals a phantom. Two blinds remain.

Photo 9 Japanese DesDiv launches torpedoes along the entire American battleline.

At this point the game was called. The American player did not seem to enjoy the game, however the Japanese player had a blast. The American player seemed put out when we rolled the torpedoes to hit every for ship down the line --- none were actually hit.

The Japanese lost three heavy cruisers while sinking a US heavy and light cruiser and one destroyer. Overall, a draw. Losses favor the US but the Japanese got their supply convoy through.

Ponder on,


torokchar Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2019 5:04 p.m. PST

Nice looking game

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2019 6:01 p.m. PST

Man, those bases are huge. It just soaks up the ships.

Ponder Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2019 6:13 p.m. PST


I use three different base sizes in the game. One for capital ships, one for cruisers, and one for escorts. It makes it easy to ID the ships.

When you come right down to it, there is less distortion in ship to ground scale here than in most other games: 1/6000 ships & 1:24,000 scale terrain, a factor of 4.

Moreover, using 1/6000 ships you can have every ship in the fleet without breaking the bank.

Ponder on,


Personal logo marcus arilius Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2019 6:37 p.m. PST

base size look's good to me. looks like a fun game

khanscom18 Mar 2019 6:45 p.m. PST

Interesting period; a friend and I are looking into the possibility of naval games in the Spanish Civil War. Are these rules available in a playtest version?

Ponder Supporting Member of TMP26 Mar 2019 9:20 a.m. PST

To the Gentleman who played Japanese in the Cold Wars game: Sorry, I misplaced your contact information. Please send me a PM.

Ponder on,


colkitto01 Apr 2019 1:19 p.m. PST

Sounds interesting. Is there somewhere we can find out a bit more about the rules?

Ponder Supporting Member of TMP02 Apr 2019 6:44 a.m. PST


Drop me an email at jescarbo at yahoo dot com.

Ponder on,


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