This afternoon four of us gathered to try out my new copy of "Naval Thunder - Battleship Row." I had bought these for myself with birthday money along with the supplement "Bitter Rivals," the WWI edition "Clash of Dreadnaughts" and the Russo-Japanese War supplement "Rise of the Battleship." I had played these a couple of times at conventions (see earlier RockCon post) and believe they reach a good balance between quick playability and detail. I would put them ahead of General Quarters III for detail and enjoyability but well below the complexity of Command at Sea or (shudder) Seekrieg V. For the record I love detail and complexity but there are practical limits.
Anyway, we started with the Battle of the River Platte with the "pocket battleship" Graf Spee against the heavy cruiser HMS Exeter and the twin light cruisers HMS Ajax and Achilles. We followed the historic deployment but took our own approach from there. The Exeter closed early while the lights were still out of effective range and paid for it. Still, first honors went to the Exeter when she put one of the Graf Spee's two 11" gun turrets out of action.
Next we went to the "hunt the Bismark" game and had the battlecruiser Hood and mostly completed battleship Prince of Wales against the Bismark and heavy cruiser escort Prinz Eugen. The game featured a lot of maneuvering as the Prinz Eugen sacrificed herself by making smoke to screen the Bismark from one of the British capital ships each turn. Here she takes a hit 'midships from the Prince of Wales.
Critical hits were in an abundance and the Hood garnered most of the German attention (as always) but she never accommodated the Germans by blowing up. While many rule systems make it likely to happen, in Naval Thunder this is just the regular chance of a magazine explosion on the critical hit table. In reality the Hood was simply very unlucky in the historic action.
As always Bob, Todd and new guy Craig exhibited gracious behavior at the table that makes the gaming so much fun. Till next week!