Mike Hoyt

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Arctic Convoy
Battle Scenario Two – Super Battleship
May 1942


Situation
It is a clear day in the poor Arctic sunshine (max visibility 5 hexes). Tripitz and Scharnhorst, with four destroyers, have come out to challenge a US squadron of BB Alabama and escorts. The scenario notes indicate that the designers feel Tripitz has been over-rated by post war historians and would have had her hands full with a modern US battleship like Alabama

Action
The US sets up first, then the Germans, allowing the Germans to determine the initial range. Since Scharnhorst carries primary guns, and the US equivalent, Tuscaloosa does not, it is to the German’s advantage to set the range at 5, just outside of secondary gun range.

Both sides exchange a few rounds of primary gun fire. Alabama does well, knocking out several guns on Tripitz. The Germans don’t do as well, scoring relatively few hits on Alabama, despite the fact that I forgot to penalize them for having two ships firing at the same target. Then the Germans let their destroyers turn in and head for the Americans. Tuscaloosa suddenly has a target for her secondary battery, and she sinks the German DD Hans Lody

By the second round the three remaining German destroyers are getting close, so Alabama and one destroyer split off, leaving Tuscaloosa and the other destroyers to deal with the Germans. While Alabama and Tripitz continue to trade shells to no real advantage, Scharnhorst switches targets and smashes Tuscaloosa. She scores four hits in the first salvo, knocking out guns, two thirds of the hull and reducing her speed. The German destroyers bore in on Tuscaloosa, but the American destroyers move to intercept. Gunfire damages several of the destroyers on both sides, but the Germans have made it to torpedo range on Tuscaloosa. They fire 6 torpedoes, all of which miss! Unable to harm the American cruiser with their remaining guns, they break off.

Going into the third round the US destroyers, who have saved their torpedoes, swing away from the German destroyers and head straight for Tripitz. Alabama has found the range and knocks out several guns on the German battleship, then switches targets and hits Scharnhorst as well. As the American destroyers approach the two German ships find they have few functioning secondary and tertiary guns, they score only a couple of hits on the US destroyers, not enough to beat off the attack. The Americans launch 13 torpedoes, scoring hits on both German ships. Tripitz is reduced to speed one and Scharnhorst is not much better.

In the fourth and final round, Tripitz gains a measure of revenge, sinking one of the US destroyers as they retreat. Then it goes back to an all big gun dual as Alabama stands off and pounds Tripitz, who with Scharnhorst fires right back. The Americans can’t get a gun hit on the Germans for anything, and Scharnhorst in particular continues to chip away at Alabama’s main battery, bringing us close to an even fight in terms of big guns. But Alabama’ shells have been hitting the weakened hull of Tripitz, who goes dead in the water, then is sunk on one final salvo. Alabama briefly pursues Scharnhorst, but decides to go back and escort Tuscaloosa back to port.

Aftermath
The US scores 137 points (121 for Tripitz) and the Germans get only 9 for sinking DD Hambleton. Tuscaloosa is badly shot up, but still under way and it seems likely that the US will get the battered cruiser back to port. Scharnhorst and the two remaining German destroyers will also make port safely

Thoughts
Took quite a while to play this out, there are a lot of die rolls. Alabama starts with 16 factors of primary guns, to fire you roll a die for each factor, hitting on any sixes. Then each hit has to be adjudicated with another roll of two dice. I’m OK with the big swings of luck that this method can generate (roll 16 dice and see no hits, roll four dice and get four hits…), I know that luck evens out and this did indeed appear to resolve in the favor of the side with most gunnery factors. But it took a good hour and half and for a game with relatively few player decisions, that’s a long time to be just rolling the dice and marking the damage. Yes, there was some maneuver, but it was hardly nail-biting stuff, having the destroyers run in was a pretty obvious tactic.

Well, I’ve already mentioned in a previous post that I suspect the real value of this game is in the Operational scenarios, so I think its about time to try one. Or maybe one more battle scenario with some planes, or even subs. I have to admit, this is a pretty fun way to learn the combat system before tackling the operational scenarios, and there are times when a 90 minute game sounds good….
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Jon Badolato
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Just got the game yesterday. Man they should have used a bigger box on this one. On a good note there were six dice included which is rare for an AP game. On a bad note one of the dice was defective and had what looks like two sides with three pips. Looks good though ! Man there is a lot of room up there in the great white Arctic.
 
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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New Orleans
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Another good session report. Thanks!

Quote:
Just got the game yesterday. Man they should have used a bigger box on this one.


A growing complaint with these games.
 
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Carlos
Spain
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Quote:
Alabama starts with 16 factors of primary guns, to fire you roll a die for each factor, hitting on any sixes.

Remember +1 modifier for firing at a battleship.
That is an issue I dont like, battles between battleships are too much bloody (They roll many dices and hitting on 5+)
 
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Xander Fulton
United States
Astoria
Oregon
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It's worth pointing out that even the 6 dice included with the game aren't nearly enough to resolve a battle like this reasonably quickly.

I recommend the Chessex 12-dice packs, matched to the battery size.

For example...



That's dice from CHX 25608, CHX 25610, and CHX 25601.

So, this matches well with how the armor is penetrated - the armor on the ship stat sheets are colored similarly. 'Heavy' armor that can only be penetrated by primaries is shaded dark, 'light' armor that can only be penetrated by secondaries or better is halfway shaded, and 'unarmored' that can be penetrated by anything all the way down to tertiaries is totally white. And that's the dice.
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Mike Hoyt

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Good idea Xander! I used multiple sets of different colored dice as well, but not keyed to gun type.

My dice from APL all had an extra smudge on the 2 side, making them look sort of like 3's. Some of the others sides had smudges and other defects. I'm glad they included dice, but the dice themesleves were quite cheap. No idea how the econoics work out, but these were not onpar with the rest of the quality

Has anybody come up with a better combat resolution system? I'd like something a lot faster, though I realize this system has certain advantages in terms of showing range and speed differentials.

Has anybody come up with a better way to track damage than the included ship rosters?
 
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Chris Payne
Australia
Cherrybrook
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Hi Mike,

Great reports I'm looking forward to trying these out when my copy(eventually) turns up.

I translate all of the hit records into Excel then print out only the ships I need for each scenario. I then stick them in plastic sleeves and use a whiteboard pen to mark up damage etc. This saves a lot of effort in the long run.



 
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Mark Mokszycki
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Snohomish
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Very nice AAR. Your writing style makes for a fun read.
 
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Doug Cooley
United States
Portland
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Me rocking out with my band, which you can hear at www.raindriver.com
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ChrisPayne wrote:
Hi Mike,

Great reports I'm looking forward to trying these out when my copy(eventually) turns up.

I translate all of the hit records into Excel then print out only the ships I need for each scenario. I then stick them in plastic sleeves and use a whiteboard pen to mark up damage etc. This saves a lot of effort in the long run.


Most of the GWaS and SWWaS games now have the data sheets in PDF format on the Avalanche site. Just go to the specific game page and scroll to the bottom. Print the relevant pages, and cross out the records you won't be using (or relabel the ship name if possible).

If you're really fussy, you can always use screen capture software to cut and paste the appropriate records for specific ships into a single document and save it if you ever play the scenario again, which would be useful in the larger scenarios (but more work to prepare). It might also be quicker just to cut out the printed PDF records (not your original book, of course), then scan them and print the resulting sheets.

I tried putting the records in Excel and it took more time than it was worth.
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