So I’ve decided to take a crack at writing some two page modern/future naval rules. To keep it simple I’ll stick to 1d6 for resolution. Ships will be represented individually, but will all “move” as a “Taskforce”. Ranges will be abstract so there will be no need for a game board or measurements. I hope to allow players to create their own ships with some simple construction rules.
I am by no means a naval expert. Most of my data for working out this game came from briefly scanning the internet and playing games like the old SPI Taskforce game, an old game called Falkland Islands, the computer game Jane’s Fleet Command, and various other games. My inspiration for future tech comes from articles in Popular Science and the web.
The first thing to consider is time and distance. With ships moving so slow in comparison to the speed and range of modern weapons this is an interesting thing to overcome. My idea right now; the farther away the majority of the ships in enemy Taskforces are from each other, the longer the time scale per each turn.
Distance and time scales between enemy Taskforces are as follows
Close Support (CS): The majority of the enemy ships are within 2 miles of each other. 1 turn = 1 hour.
Near Horizon (NH): Enemy ships are within 2 to 20 miles of each other. 1 turn = 1 hours.
Over the Horizon – Close (OC): Enemy ships are 20 to 50 miles away. 1 turn = 2 hours.
Over the Horizon – Far (OF): Enemy ships are 50 to 200 miles. 1 turn = 4 hours.
Over the Horizon – Distant (OD): Enemy ships are roughly 200 to 700 miles away. 1 turn = 8 hours.
Over the Horizon – Extreme (OE): Enemy ships are roughly 800 to 2000 miles away. 1 turn = 8 hours.
Next are Ship Systems. I’m breaking them down as follows.
Surface Targeting and Detection – An attack cannot be made against an enemy ship until this roll has been successfully made against that ship. Examples – Spotter planes, spotter drones, radar.
Evasion – The ability to prevent Targeting and Detection. Examples – ECM, Stealth coating, and low silhouette.
Direct Attacks – These will be broken out by range. Examples - Guns, lasers and torpedoes.
Missile Attacks – These will be broken out by range. Examples – Harpoon, Drones, and Cruise Missiles.
Direct Defense - Defense against Direct Attacks. Examples – Heavy armor, advanced armor, and low silhouette.
Missile Defense – Defense against Missile Attacks. Examples – ECM, chafe, Phalanx, and Metal Storm.
Speed – This includes not just the propulsion system but also the hull type. Examples – Cavitating hull, Tri-marine hull, MHD propulsion, Sea Skimmer, hydrofoil, and hovercraft.
These Systems will have a point cost to purchase and take up “Displacement” in each ship. Cost and Displacement will be determined by Tech Level.
No System: The ship doesn’t have the system in question.
Outdated Tech: Costs less, but takes up more Displacement. (Pre-1990’s systems)
Standard Tech: Average cost and Displacement. (90’s to the early 21st Century)
Advanced Tech: High cost, uses less Displacement. (Mid 21st Century)
I’m working on ship hull types and have the following generic types; Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, and Huge. Size would determine Displacement and base Evasion.
That’s the basics for now. I look forward to any comments, or criticisms.
Some interesting ideas there. Is the idea to fight the whole battle at one range band or to mvoe between range bands?
I see you've also dispensed with tranditional classifications (i.e. corvette, frigate) but the size/speed balance ought to take care of that well.
Taskforces will have to move together through the range bands.
Reviewing my concept for this game, I began to realize that once combat began it would be nothing more than a bunch of dice rolls. Therefore, the strategy will have to come into play before the game starts.
This will be in the form of shipbuilding and something I will call “Strategic Initiative” for lack of a better phrase. Players will have points to spend on building ships and winning the Strategic Initiative. Players will need to decide how many of those points will be spent on ships and how many will be used in a bid to gain the Strategic Initiative. The player who spends the most points on SI will win it and determine at what range band the fight begins.
The Strategic Initiative’s bid is one generic point buy. It represents a combination of things like recon craft, (spotter planes, subs, small watercraft and drones), AWAC, satellite coverage, enemy satellite disruption, Foreign Intelligence, and general Command and Control.
For example if the starting points are 1000 and Player A spends 100 points on SI while player B spends only 20 points Player A would win Strategic Initiative and decide at what range band the fight begins. This means if Player A felt confident he was going to win SI he might build nothing but small craft armed with short ranged missiles and start the fight at the Near Horizon range band (this battle would represent a fight off the coast possibly within the Sea of Japan).
Still trying to work out sub combat, but I think it will be limited to Close (torpedoes) or Stand Off (missiles).
Yeah, based on everything I am reading it seems to be "who spots who first" followed by dumping as much ordnance on the target as possible.
Since this doesn't sound like much fun I'm moving on to another idea I've been toying with: "High tech piracy in the 21st century.” Rather than ragged pirate boats the focus would be on high tech corporate ships. Forces would be a few small ships on each side (probably Destroyer size and smaller) within 50 miles of each other.
The ships would still have a modular build with hull size being the limiting factor.
Scenarios would include escorting ships carrying prototype items or key personnel. Hit and run on coastal factories, claim jumping newly discovered resources, and assault landings on island research facilities.
Though I haven't posted in a while I am still working on these rules. My biggest problem is trying to decide the maximum range these smaller engagements will take place in and what limits to place on the use of missiles.
Still working on this concept. I think I could do a fleet level version of this game in "two pages" but I'm not sure about the tactical game.
For source material I finally got my hands on an old Harpoon pen and paper rule set from the late 80's. I also found Fleet Command (modern naval computer game from 98) available on Steam.
I enjoyed both of these in the past and have been happily reacquainting myself with them now. One thing I will add to my game(s) even though it will add bookkeeping is ammo limits on anti ship and anti air missiles as the primary tactic is to overload the targets defenses in order to get 1 or two missiles through.