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"Recommendations for a 1900-1920 naval battle rules set." Topic

12 Posts

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Action Log

10 Jun 2019 10:40 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from Early 20th Century Discussion board
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    10 Jun 2019 9:05 a.m. PST
    10 Jun 2019 9:05 a.m. PST

Areas of Interest

World War One

355 hits since 10 Jun 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Zookie10 Jun 2019 9:05 a.m. PST

I've been wargaming for about 10 years, but my experience has been land based and I want to try setting sail. But I am not sure what rule set to start.

I am looking for a rule set that handles the dreadnought era (so roughly 1900-1920). Here are the specifics that I am looking for.

1.Can played at 1/2400 scale.
2.Plays causally enough for pickup games but has enough "meat on the bone" to hold the attention of experienced wargamers.
3.Can be played in 2 hours or less once the players are comfortable with the rules.
4.Is well researched and provides historically plausible outcomes.
5. Can be played on a 6x4 table (if this is overly prohibitive please let me know if 1/6000 scale would be better)
6.Will appeal to those steeped in naval military history and those who are not.

Lastly it does not have to be to accommodate many ship, 5+ on each side would be just fine. If you think a rule set with a much larger ship count fits the bill would you recommend moving to 1/6000 scale?

Lastly if the rule set can be played in other eras that would be a plus but not necessary.

Thanks in advance!

Texas Jack10 Jun 2019 11:55 a.m. PST

I think General Quarters II would come close to fitting your criteria. Keep in mind these are the original WWI GQ rules, not the Fleet Action Imminent set.
As for table size, at that scale you will definitely start within range, so it would certainly lend itself to fast play as you would be shooting from the start!
I play with 1/3000 on an 8x5 table and with dreadnoughts it seems a bit small, but I loathe the idea of going to 1/6000 as at my age I simply canīt see the damn things. :)

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Jun 2019 11:56 a.m. PST

I think your points 2 and 6 are going to be a bit tough. But I would recommend the old Ben King rules "Sides of steel." Simple but meaty as you say. And he has versions of the same rules for WW1, etc.

Here is a detailed summary of the WW1 version I wrote a few years ago:


Big Red Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2019 1:01 p.m. PST

Extra Crispy, are Ben King's rules still available?

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Jun 2019 1:36 p.m. PST

They were published by Cotton Jim's Flags. I haven't checked if they are still in print.

Personal logo The Beast Rampant Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2019 2:23 p.m. PST

Noble Knight has some copies in stock:


It's a dollar a page! grin

Zookie10 Jun 2019 2:41 p.m. PST

If it is too hard to find a balance between a hardcore rule set and a beer and pretzels rule set it would be better to err on the beer and pretzels side. But the game would need enough complexity to stay interesting to people accustom to wargames but new to naval wargames.

hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2019 2:54 p.m. PST

How about this?

1) Pick your rules. I suggest General Quarters 2, which ATM is only available from Navwar in UK: ( link )

2) Pick a simple battle, like Coronel 1914, or hypothetical Goeben versus British CAs or BCs in Med 1914 ( link ). Make cardboard counters in 1/2400 and 1/6000 for your ships, and try a test game with each model scale on your 4x6 table. IMHO, 1/2400 is too large, but YMMV. Remember, you DON'T have to use the table scale in your rules, but can change it to fit your table. I used to mark up a tape measure with a permanent marker, or you could mark up a fabric sewing measuring tape.

Here's 1/6000 on a 7x4 table:


TGerritsen Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2019 3:52 p.m. PST

Naval Thunder is my go to to hit your points. Casual enough to pick up quickly, meaty enough to engage history buffs.

I recommend it especially for this period, though there are flavors of this set for Pre-Dreads, Dreads and WWII.

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2019 8:17 a.m. PST

Noble Knight has some copies of the per-dreadnaught rules and some scenario books but the WWI and WWII sets are sold out.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2019 12:36 p.m. PST

I think GQ III- Fleet Action Imminent would serve for the period you cite. We have successfully used them for several years.

colkitto11 Jun 2019 1:03 p.m. PST

GQ2, the original one from Navwar for a very reasonable price, is the target to beat. I haven't actually tried these, but Naval Warfare: Battleships to Dreadnoughts, or Dreadnoughts at Dawn, are both available from Wargame Vault and might suit your requirements?

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