Friday, April 1, 2011

Rules, Rules, Rules

I've been away from the blogging for a bit (and also away from modelling) due to a chronic case of real life.  I am a university lecturer and it's the second last week of classes - so I'm busy but the light at the end of the tunnel is visible.

However, I've been thinking about possible pre-dreadnought rule sets to use for my Santiago project.  The contenders include.

  1. Fire When Ready
    • This is the current front runner.  I have a lot of time for David Manley having read several articles, scenarios and rule sets of his over the years.  I have a copy of these rules, and they are well though out have good ideas (and look like the type of rules I'd like to write).
  2. Perfidious Albion
    • Another set of professional rules, which has been used by the Edinburgh club (including Angus Konstam).  They are apparently fun and do carry over from the Fred Jane Rules.  It looks like there's a lot of paper work, the Edinburgh games seem very bloody>  I also have some issues with the probability models used for gun combat (it wouldn't bug most people but I teach 3rd and 4th year courses in probability theory!)
  3. Fred Jane Rules
    • At some point I will run a game using these rules, they look fun and they were state of the art 120 years ago.  These do require an umpire (at least for rules interpretation) and the production of both scoring templates and strikers.
  4. DBSA (Damn Battleships Again)
    • Phil Barker's DBA variant for pre-dreadnought naval games.  Look like they give fun, fast, easy to learn games.  However, they are abstract and may not translate well to cases where the two fleets are of diverse qualities.
  5.  General Quarters Variants
    • The option does exist and there are rules translation out on the web.  The GQ system is abstract (but not as much as DBSA) but does give good results.  This will involve some fiddling around on my part (which might lead to me writing a whole new set of homebrews).
  6. Memoir of Battle at Sea
    • Bob Cordery intrigued me with his posts.  He kindly sent me an up--to-date set.  Again they look like they give a good fun and fast game.  Plus there's the advantage of being playable in a limited table space.  More abstract than the others.
  7. Homebrews
    • In days of old (pre-child, mortgage etc) this would be the natural starting point.  However, this looks to be yet another project that I would start and then stall at.


  1. I'm loving reading 1&2 Preferring PA as I like smaller actions but will likely DBSA for the moment as its the easiest to teach, Anything David Manley writes is gold imo.
    like you I'm doing SpanAm what-ifs with a few speculative heavies added to each side plus a beefed up German EAS.

    From what i've read the GQ PreDread mods need a new stradle table. GQ1/2 was what I started with using others fleets and alas I only have one reliable naval opponent.
    should be fun. please do keep posting.

  2. Thanks for the encouragement. I've since acquired GQIII, and it falls in the I like what I see category. They've removed a lot of the abstraction made it more navy specific and generally tightened it up.

    The one thing they didn't change was the movement (which always takes a back seat to combat). I generally don't like plotting movement for naval games (there's a future post) but it's less of a worry here given relative ranges and speeds.

    Given the basement woes I'm having, will likely be gaming WWI using existing Navwar 1:3000s and FAI (GQIII equivalent for WWI).