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"New/Rusty, Command at sea?" Topic

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Comments or corrections?

Maxshadow22 Jan 2023 9:54 p.m. PST

I'm that rusty regarding naval games that I'd count myself a newbie.
Was wondering if a Command at sea was a non-fussy ruleset I could use to get back into WW2 Naval.
Noting that I'd like to end up simulating all sorts of things like convoy escort, air and submarine attacks etc etc.
I had a set in the 80's that would have worked brilliantly.
Naval Thunder looks like it may just take a little too much time. But I don't know.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP23 Jan 2023 8:38 a.m. PST

My group has been very happy with the General Quarters 3 rules for both WW II and WW I.

Maxshadow23 Jan 2023 10:47 a.m. PST

General Quarters! Thats what the rules I had in the 80's were called. Thanks Shagnasty.

BuckeyeBob23 Jan 2023 11:08 a.m. PST

Then you had General Quarters I and II. They are still available, check the older message boards for who sells them. They are still popular among many.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2023 7:45 a.m. PST

The only place I know to get General Quarters 1 and 2 is Navwar. It was once my favorite naval gaming system, after I did some work to streamline play.

General Quarters 3 is a completely different set of rules with the same title, ground/time scale, and author. It's much more complicated and quite a bit more detailed, but still reasonably elegant and streamlined, and it plays at a good pace if the GM or lead player knows the game. It's sold by ODGW in print or digital versions. The WWI version is called Fleet Action Imminent (print and digital). This is my current favorite naval gaming system. The rulebooks look daunting because they're SO THICK, but in fact the basic rules are only a couple dozen pages and cover the majority of naval actions. The rest of the (considerable) sections cover naval gaming corner cases submarines, amphibious operations, mines and minesweeping, aircraft, etc.

Command At Sea is a favorite among a certain set of naval gamers, but it's very fussy. The learning curve to get to a comfortable gaming pace is probably about the same as GQ3, but the play sequence is much less streamlined and harder to get the hang of. CaS games tend to be like ASL games the rulebook gets consulted frequently, slowing or pausing the game. On the bright side, every CaS rulebook is also an excellent resource full of historical trivia, and even the explanations of rules mechanics contain a lot of valuable information. It's also an extremely straightforward game, which is part of its appeal; there are no abstract mechanics that need careful explanation or suspension of disbelief. Everything is pretty clear (except maybe "how to write orders", which seems to be deliberately a bit open-ended), and of course well-written, like everything by Larry Bond. All period versions of Command at Sea are now sumamrized under the title The Admiralty Trilogy and can be purchased at

- Ix

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2023 1:13 p.m. PST

Naval Thunder is a popular set with naval gamers, because it's extremely straightforward and easy to learn. It's pretty light on detail, but has advanced rules to cover many aspects of naval warfare besides open ocean actions.

There is also Victory At Sea, a naval game that seems to appeal only to non-naval gamers. It has low simulation value, but is very easy to learn, and the pre-painted miniatures are nice to look at.

If you want really simple, take a look at Find, Fix, & Strike. I've played the earlier WWI version (Si Vis Pacem) and it's basically DBA naval. Like DBA it is easy to learn, fast to play, highly abstracted, but subtle in the interactions between unit types and classes.

skirmishcampaigns26 Jan 2023 7:35 p.m. PST

One more vote for Naval Thunder – really good set of rules.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP27 Jan 2023 9:46 p.m. PST

I'm actually not a vote for Naval Thunder. grin I think movement-by-groups is a terrible idea in 20th C. naval games, the rosters are far too big and hard to use for a game this simple and abstract, and I personally think GQ3 gives a far superior game in the same number of pages of rules. I only mentioned it as a way of rating it with the other rules I mentioned, and also to note that it's popular, which could make it easier for a newish naval gamer to get games together.

OTOH, since Maxshadow already said he thought Naval Thunder might be too complicated, Find, Fix, & Strike might be more up his alley.

I found GQ1 and GQ2 to be only slightly fussier than the FFS family of rules, but that's because I did a lot of work to minimize chart lookups. If played straight out of the book, the rules are far too slow and cumbersome for the level of simplicity.

- Ix

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