24 Aug 2022

U.S.N.

The first strategic level wargame on the WWII Pacific Theater was Jim Dunnigan's U.S.N. (SPI 1971). It first saw the light of day as a magazine game in S&T 29.

The extremely long playing time of the campaign scenarios (using weekly turns) make it somewhat of a mini-monster. The game was indeed complex for 1971, but not so much now when compared to other games on the Pacific Theater.

The vassal module available at Consim Comment conforms to our typical approach of providing mainly just the map and counters. You will need the printed rules, tables, and air mission logs (or PDF versions).

Download U.S.N. vassal module.

The published components for U.S.N. were constrained to what the medium (S&T magazine) could accommodate. For example, Naval Air counters were left off the counter sheet because it only had room for 400 counters. SPI provided a work-around with Naval Air Strength Charts for each side. These are dispensed with in the vassal module, which provides actual Naval Air game-pieces.

The size of the printed map was limited as well: only the hex-grid playing surface is depicted. The charts, tables, and tracks one typically sees on an SPI map are relegated to the rule book.

U.S.N. is known for its tall stacks of counters. The module gives each side a "Forces" map window to allow stacks to be spread out. "Datum" tokens are available for assignment to each such force and these are placed on the map instead of fiddling with tall stacks. Each Datum token is given its own unique letter or number using the right-click menu.

You will still need to do some bookkeeping on paper (as in the printed game) to keep track of ship fuel status, damaged ship repair times, and victory points.

U.S.N. is a perfect example of what SPI was about in 1971. Functional, blue-print like, graphics. Game-play centric. Expanding wargame topics well beyond the offerings of Avalon Hill - the 800-lb gorilla wargame publisher at that time.

See also: Solomons Campaign for an operation-focused refinement of U.S.N.

U.S.N. Module Notes

Land and Air units are found in the Pieces palette. Naval units are found on each player's Forces map.

Forces maps can be used in any manner the players see fit to mitigate unwieldy stacking on the map. There is a generic "Datum" game piece in the Pieces palette for identifying groups of units. Use two Datum markers for each force: one on the Forces map and another (having the same identifying mark - i.e. a letter or number) on the main map.

11 Aug 2022

Iron Lady's Fleet

The first game of the Japanese Fleet Series published in 2007 by Technical Term Game Company is a treatment of the 1982 Falklands war using the 7th Fleet game system. It is a five-scenario Fleet mini-game having a small footprint.

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19 Apr 2022

1815 The Waterloo Campaign

Before 1975, if you wanted to play an operational game on Napoleon's June 1815 campaign, you were limited to Waterloo (1962) by Avalon Hill. Then two games game out in quick succession to provide a more sophisticated look at the situation.

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29 Mar 2022

Procedural Combat Series

Conflict Simulations LLC sells what they call their Procedural Combat Series of one-map theater level operations set in post-WWII (designed by Ray Weiss). So far there are five games in the series:

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23 Mar 2022

Operation Jubilee

Operation Jubilee is the small step-child in the "D-Day at..." series of solitaire games by John Butterfield. This game depicts the disastrous 1942 raid on Dieppe by Canadian forces and Royal Marine commandos. A grim situation but a good first-step into the game system. The problem is, the game is out of print and hard to find, with no hint of a reprint.

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1 Mar 2022

HSN Scenario 6

Posting on the 2021 GCACW tournament in which Hood Strikes North scenarios 4, 6, 2 and 7 (in play order) are tested. I'm in the PBEM division. This is Round 2, with runs from January 15 to April 15, 2022.

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13 Feb 2022

Tannenberg

From the Great War in the East (GWE) series by David Isby (SPI 1978), a game system that portrays early WWI campaigns NOT on the western front - operations that had not been covered in any other wargames at the time of publication.

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20 Jan 2022

Frigate

One of the problems with naval wargaming is that there are so many published rules sets available (on all eras of naval conflict) which one do you choose? Boardgames of sailing ships fighting on hex maps are a subset of naval miniatures rules, and there are, once again, several to choose from. James Dunnigan's Frigate (1974 SPI) offers a distilled look at fleet command with a simplified damage model and generic classes of ships.

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