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.

No designers, developers, or artists are listed for any of the Japanese Fleet games on BGG. Were these all collaborative designs at Technical Term GC? If so, they put to the lie the old criticism regarding design by committee. These games augment the original Fleet games brilliantly, covering conflicts in smaller theaters. Iron Lady's Fleet (ILF) is the only historical setting in the entire Fleet library.

Before starting to build a vassal module for ILF, we looked at modules available for the original Fleet games to see if some design principles should be maintained. But these modules all provide for player sides, unit ownership, and hidden - even invisible - units (until detected). However, this runs contrary to the game designer's original intent:

The positions of units are always visible to both players during the game. This fact keeps the play mechanics simple and, more importantly, allows the game to be readily played solitaire. There is also a rationale for the open visibility of units: satellites and AWACS aircraft are considered to be in constant use throughout the game [...] providing continuous information concerning the approximate positions of units at sea. -- Sixth Fleet Rules, pg 15, Designer's Note

He also states that the The information displayed on the Logistics Rosters is open to both players at all times. (Sixth Fleet Rules, pg 34, section 18.1)

Consequently, any vassal modules we create for the Fleet series on Consim Comment will adhere to this simplistic intent. No player sides will be defined, and all units will be visible to both players. Just like playing the tabletop game: if something doesn't belong to you, don't touch it.

Components

PDF components were sourced from the groups.io Fleet group, which also has the rules and charts. The map and counters are adapted from these scanned PDF files and scaled for on-screen use in the vassal module. The English translation of the rules and components is excellent, with only a few areas of ambiguity.

Rules Notes

4.32 Each ground unit is defined as an eligible "base" target for Bombing or Close Combat attacks (4.37 [6]). Even though 7th Fleet rules prohibit SSM attacks against bases, ILF allows close combat against ground units.

4.33 The second paragraph of this rule applies to ground units that are attacked as a base. Rule 4.34 Applies to combat between ground units.

There are two scenarios (6.3 and 6.4) where the UK special forces unit (SAS+SBS) is available but is not given a specific set up location. Rule 4.4 states that it can make an Amphibious Assault within one hex of any UK AA unit.

Falkland Islands Hexes

ILF offers a highly abstracted depiction of the ground war. Don't sweat it.

Rule 4.10 says that the four Falklands hexes are connected for purposes of movement (except AG - and presumably UK - units aren't allowed to move or fight between Fox Bay and Goose Green).

Pebble Island is actually located in hex 0807 (the narrow islet off the north coast of West Falkland). ILF puts it in 0706 perhaps to set it off as a separate assault target for UK Special Forces.

AG units set up in 0707, 0808, and 0907. The only vacant hex available for UK amphibious assault is 0807, channeling the historic landing site at San Carlos (East Falkland) and permitting UK attacks on all three other Falklands hexes.

Air Notes

Strategic Air displays are provided for each side. Alternately you can just designate the mission of  individual each air unit using the right-click menu and then simply place them on the main map in their assigned zones. Similarly, you can place CAP units on the Forces display, or on the main map with "CAP" as their designated mission.

Air units with 10 or less movement points are not allowed to perform Strategic Air missions. This precludes UK Harriers from Ground Support missions (they will have to be content with bombing attacks in the UK air segment).

Detection

Instead of Detection markers, all ships, submarines and TF/TG markers have a game-piece layer which cycles though detection status levels: None, Local, and Strategic.  

Logistics

Players have the choice of using the paper logistics rosters of the printed game, or the Logistics Property Sheet in the right-click menu of most units.

Fog of War

The ILF rules suggest using FOW because AWACS and satellite intel were unavailable to either side in the Falklands conflict.

5.11 Surface FOW is easy enough to implement by allowing players to place empty TF/TG markers and using the Mask trait on each. Players only learn the contents of group markers that are detected. Remember: don't open your opponent's Forces Display window when using FOW.

5.12 The vassal module provides for submarine FOW by giving each sub a Mask trait (which means that the Submarine Storage Columns on the Forces displays are not used).

19 Apr 2022

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1 Mar 2022

HSN Scenario 6

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13 Feb 2022

Tannenberg

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