Saturday, January 27, 2018

More Ancient Naval Rules and Ship Manufacturers

This is an addition to my previous post on Ancient Naval Rule Sets at Ancient Naval Rules

I got some more rule sets yesterday.   Most of them free from the internet along with Salamis ad Actium from WargameVault.   Some of them had dead links.   There is a website called "The Wayback Machine" that can be used to in these cases.  Right click on the dead link and use "copy link".  Go to "The Wayback Machine" and paste the link into their search box.  This will not always work as some sites were not archived, but that is rare)   when you do the search it will show a timeline of years at the top of the page with black bar graphs.   The black bar graphs indicate that the page is available for the calendar year.  Choose that year then click on one of the dates highlighted by a color circle.

Salamis Ad Actium will work for large fleet battles, but requires more book keeping than Corvus.  They are also more detailed when classifying ships with crew ratings, leader ratings, equipment, etc.

Impetus Navalis - Found a website for this one, at hetaroi wargames.  The link to the English version was dead, but using the "Wayback Machine" website was able to download it.   You will need a copy of the Impetus rules to understand the ratings of the different ship types and to also cover items mentioned, but not included in the naval rules.   The rules are short and would work for a large fleet game.   However, the Periplus and Diekplus tactics as described and illustrated in the rules are incorrect.   One unusual rule was ships attacking in column get to add their impetus bonus, though I am not sure how a ship would do so without pushing the one in front.   Nor do the rules note that a second line of defending ships would be detrimental to those executing the Diekplus.    The rules do include fleet lists.

Navarchoi - Another free download of the draft rules.  available from relativerange.  listed under published games.   Downloads are incomplete.  The draft rules do not include the ship statistics.   Rules use activation cards similar to the Command and Colors board game series.   To be published by Legion Games at $58 for pre-order.

Row well and Live - Found these mentioned on a blog called " I Live With Cats".  Written by blog author.  Cover art shown in one post.   No information as to where they are available.

Nauta - Another free download.  Has rules for fleet composition.   Requires order writing for individual ships or groups for movement,   Initiative roll per turn.   Players alternate moving ships individually or as a group.   Does not have rules for oar sheer.  Slow movement rates.   Ships turn by "wheeling" (actually a pivot) at beginning of turn.  Would work for large fleet action though alternating movement and order writing will add time.  There a yahoo group for the rules which is gone, but can be found on the wayback machine.

Warhammer -  available by the wayback machine   very simplistic set of rules.

There are several rule sets that I have found mention of, but have not been able to locate.  They are "Greek Fire and Roman Fury" (based on the Fire and Fury ACW rule system), "Hail Agrippa" (based on Hail Caesar), and "Hail Poseidon" (also based on Hail Caesar?).  I have not looked at Osprey's Poseidon's Warriors rules or Fleet Action.  I did find a quick reference sheet for "Hail AntonY".   Only a few ship types listed.  Intended for battle of Actium only.

Also found this manufacturer for 1/2400 scale ancient ships.    Tumbling Dice.   Fairly complete range with pictures of some of the ships.   Most are two or three ships for 2.40BP.  More expensive than Navwar 1/1200 ships.   I found them while browsing through back posts on The Miniatures Page.   Not listed at the War Galley Yahoo group or in rule sets that I have.

So far it looks as though Corvus from the Society of Ancients will be the rule set I use.   Once I have a enough ships ready I will be trying the rules out.  

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Ancient Naval Rules

As noted two posts ago I am looking for a set of rules that will allow large fleet actions to be played in a reasonable amount of time.   James Roach has been experimenting with War Galley from GMT games these are available in their living rules section under great battles of history

I went through my library and looked at all the rules that I currently have.  What follows is a brief description of their suitability for large or small battles.   There is one set that I do not recommend at all which I will mention first.   That is Bireme and Galley from Fantasy Games Unlimited Inc. 1978   They are out of print.  The ship classes don't match historical ship types.  The ship diagrams are odd with features that don't match other reconstructions.   What looks like a Decares (a 10) is called an Augustan Bireme..   Now for the others

5mm rules -A joint collaboration between Heroics and Ros and Navwar covering land, sea, and siege rules.   Out of print, detailed.  better suited to small actions.
Ad Mare Bellum - available from Wargame Vault (listed as Ad Mari Bellum) for about $7.00.   Playtested at Ad Mare Bellum playtest  could work for large fleet action with modifications noted.
Chosen by the Gods - another free internet download.  one page per ship record keeping, better suited for small actions
Corvus - covered in a previous blog post corvus  has some example fleet lists.
Diodochi - Correct spelling Diadochi.   free on the internet.  The introduction states "This is a simple set of naval miniature rules for fleet battles in the Diodochi (Alexandrian Successor)period.  The time period covered also includes the Punic wars, but these are not included and there are no rules for the Roman corvus.  While the rules cover ship sizes up to the 40 of Ptolemy the smallest ship with statistics  in the rules is a 3.  Smaller ships are mentioned in one of the fleet lists as the successors did make use of much smaller ships called Lembi.    The activation method used in warmaster is used to activate squadrons or individual ships.   In this case it uses a d10.  It also has a blunder table if a 10 is rolled which is way too frequent.  Warmaster used a pair of d6 and had less than a 3% chance of a blunder compared to 10%.   Movement is based on formation with only line astern or line abreast allowed.  Missile fire, if successful will immediately cripple a ship.  The rules would work for a large fleet engagement, but I would get rid of the activation rules and have to make some changes to other parts of the rules.
Diekplus - published by Newbury Rules 1979  detailed game mechanics better suited to small actions.
Embolos - Out of print.  one page records per ship with turn orders  Not suitable for large fleet actions.
Naumachiae - free download from Langton Miniatures.  Very detailed set of rules.  I am not sure if these would work for more than a few ships per person due to the record keeping needed.  I got a bound copy from them years ago before they stopped printing it.  Would require a very experienced player to help others who are not experienced.  include extensive fleet lists.
Naval Wargames Rules Fleet Action - by Richard Nelson published by War Games Research Group 1973.  Out of print Detailed record keeping better suited to a squadron per player.
Oceanus Strategoi -  Free from the internet.   Can be found in files of War Galley Yahoo Group.  Game mechanics ae better suited to smaller actions. require extensive record keeping.
Roman Seas - from Hotz Art Works.  detailed, best suited for a few ships per player max.   While intended for the Punic Wars, there are ship types for larger polyremes up to tens and would also work for the eastern Mediterranean powers.
Trireme - A board game from Avalon Hill.   War Galley from GMT similar and much better.
War Galley - board game published by GMT Games.  rules and scenarios available for free in their living rules section.  Would also work for large engagements.  Several playtests and rule modifications at War Galley playtest

I have some others, but they only have a few ship classes and would need extensive additions to cover all the various ship types.   As can be seen from the publication dates I originally developed an interest in ancient naval warfare back in the late 1970's.

While there are several contenders, I am going to choose Corvus for large fleet actions.   Corvus only needs a minor change to the missile fire rules.   Other items are only chrome additions or tactics of the period.  

Update:  I have added another post on rules along with a previously unknown ship manufacturer at More Ancient Naval Rules

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Projects for 2018

Time to set some goals for the coming year.  In no particular order I hope to accomplish the following items for the coming year:

Finish painting and basing 18th century armies (Duchy of Clove-Hamhock and Principality of Turanschlag).  I will need to purchase some additional Hussars and maybe some grenadiers and heavy cavalry from Heroics and Ros.   Got some new figures from a friend.

Expand Franco-Prussian War armies.  Need quite a few additional figures from Heroics and Ros.  Fortunately they are easy to paint.

Finish painting and basing additions to American Civil War armies.   Also print flags for them.  Almost finished painting them.  One of six unfinished items from last year.

Finish painting and basing the Carthaginian figures I was given.

Finish painting and basing the barbarian infantry additions.

Finish painting and basing the early Byzantine cavalry,

Finish painting and basing the Sassanian cavalry.

Finish painting space ships.  About a dozen to paint.

Flock bases for Napoleonic armies along with any repairs that need to be done.  Most boring project.

Place a special order with GHQ for a couple of replacement tank gun barrels, a 5cm AT gun and crew, and a 7.5cm AT gun and crew for WW2 Germans.  WW2 done except for those items.

Add helicopters to the two fictitious modern countries (The Peoples Democratic Republic of La Cucaracha and the Federal Union of Buena Vista). Already ordered and on their way.

Choose a set of ancient naval rules for large fleet actions along with printing and basing ancient fleets.   Might be the most time consuming project when cutting and gluing them.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Corvus Ancient Naval Rules and Cardstock Galleys

For the past couple of weeks I have been investigating different rule sets for ancient naval warfare.   I have found several blogs with battle reports, book reviews, and information on different manufacturers.   One of the best of these is Rams, Ravens, and Wrecks   Not only does his blog cover rules, models, and books, it also has links to other sites.  It has been very helpful in determining which rule sets might work for fleet actions and which are best for small actions along with which books on the subject are worth reading or purchasing.

One of those that looks like it might be good for fleet actions is Corvus from the Society of Ancients which arrived in the mail today.  While there is an earlier version available for free online, the one from the Society is well worth the price.  In addition to an expanded rule book it includes two color sheets of top down ships, a card quick reference sheet, markers, and turning aids for both 1/600 and 1/1200 ships.   The color ship sheets are 1/600 scale and are similar to the ones from Tiny Tin Troops  The ones at Tiny Tin Troops can be purchased in 1/600 scale and 1/1200 scale.   I purchased all the 1/1200 ship cards that they have available.

Some time back I had purchased the Roman Seas ships from Hotz Artworks  These are 1/300 scale, but with a bit of computer savvy they can be reduced to smaller scales.   The first step is to take a screen print at 50% zoom.  Next locate the screen print (easy to do with Windows Ten using the onedrive feature).   Then using a program like Paint Shop Pro use the resize function to reduce the image to the scale you want.  Note when resizing, increase the number of pixels per inch/centimeter to keep the clarity of the image.   For example, if further reducing the image by 50%, the number of pixels should be doubled.   There are also a number of side view images of galleys on the internet that can be saved and reduced to the scale you prefer.   The Hotz ships are actually larger than 1/300.   A trireme should be about 30mm long after reducing the 50% screen print image by 50% a second time.   I found that I needed to make a further reduction in size to reduce the trireme image to 30mm.   At the moment I am waiting for the cards from TTT to arrive to determine if the reduced images I have made will fit on the counters.

I have seen Hotz Roman Seas galleys reduced to 1/650 scale on The Miniatures Page in the Galley section and built as three dimensional models.   1/1200 is quite a bit smaller and I will be building 2.5 dimensional models instead,  What I will do is print them on heavy cardstock, fold and glue the two side images together, trim as needed, glue them to a base and glue the oar banks to the sides for stability.  I did look at various 1/1200 ships, but even the less expensive ones from Navwar are cost prohibitive for the number of ships I intend to use.   Outpost Wargame Services makes 1/3600 ships, but their range is a bit limited and may be too small for what I want.

There are a couple of rule sets that I am looking at for large fleet actions.   Corvus is one of them.   The rules are not complex, but do cover ramming, grappling, boarding, oar shearing, missile fire, and morale.   The rules for missile fire are a little odd as the only effect is setting the target ship on fire.  Setting ships on fire rarely happened.  What I will do is change that to a reduction to the class of the ship for the missile fire and close combat factors when a hit is scored.  The ram factor will not be affected.  This will reflect crew casualties.  It may also reduce the ships top speed.   

The Roman Seas website has a page on myths about ancient naval warfare.   One of them has to do with artillery on ships actually firing stone/concrete balls.  The artillery was the torsion type which fired projectiles in a flat trajectory instead of the Onager catapult that is often depicted  for ancient artillery.  The site mentions that the lighter engines could penetrate four inches of planking while the heavier ones could fire a ten pound projectile (think canon ball).  Range was about 200 to 400 yards.

There is a tactic that is missing from the Corvus rules called the Anastrophe.   This is a combination oar shear and ram where the attacking ship attempts to shear the oars on one side then make a tight about turn to ram the target from the rear quarter.   War Galley from GMT Games has rules for this in section 7.3 of the rulebook.  The War Galley rulebook is available for free from GMT games in their living rules section.

There are other bits of chrome that could be added.  One is crew quality, with good crews costing an extra point and poor crews being reduced by one point.  Another would be towers that were on larger polyremes. One probable change would be to add an initiative rule to determine who moves first in each turn after the first.

Ancient Naval warfare is one project that I will be working on this year.  I will be posting more later when I look at other possible rule sets and put the ships together.

As an addition to this I have added more about other rule sets at
Ancient naval rules