Monday, February 16, 2015

Signal Close Action napoleonic naval PBEM kriegspiel

During the last few months I've taken part in a Naval "point of view" Kriegspiel experiment by The idea has been that using the Signal Close Action naval wargame rules we fight a limited intelligence naval battle where the umpire sends players situation reports to their email complete with pictures in what the captain sees on deck. We played a "simple" one-on-one ship battle which took quite a while but was very exciting and fulfilling. I played as a British ship's captain chasing down a heavier French vessel.

The umpire has written the complete report on his blog so visit it for a good report on the action:

It would be interesting to extend the concept to fleet actions and also land wargaming, but some streamlining on the PBEM method needs to be done as well as a way to advance the game if a player doesn't submit his moves in a timely manner (guilty as charged, I was quite busy with work last autumn).

A typical picture the umpire sent me. The view from my port broadside towards my opponent.

1 comment:

  1. There are some things that could be better, such as event triggers and command queues and sailing headings given for example in actual bearing+distance. One thing that I saw as an umpire, and players were perhaps not adequately acquitted with was the fact that ship movements are slow, and quite predictable. Ship can only sail as far and when sail setting is visible, error margin is just centimeter or so. Hex mat was to allow players to have grid of reference - replacement of the ability to judge distances in real life but perhaps I failed to impress the importance. Similarly one can quite certainly predict the possible headings for at least several game turns ahead - or even more, if traditional wisdom of Fighting Instructions are to be followed.

    It would probably help to give out actual distance to the target with some error margin, to make sure that players would be able to plan their movements more accurately. At the same token, I am quite sure that any action, even with small fleet would look completely different, because of the massive communication challenge. Admiral, or captain for not risking the cohesion of the fleet, would - out of necessity - elect more traditional approach to the enemy fleet.

    Actual result turned out to be completely different than I thought midway through and I have to admit that umpiring the game was very interesting and fun.