Why naval war games?   Lots of reasons, really.  First, relatively speaking, naval battles are relatively easy to research.  You can find many excellent sources for the details of both the actions fought and the ships present.  Second, I’ve always been interested in how technology affects the course of armed conflict.  A naval war affords great scope to technology, together with opportunities to over-estimate or under-estimate its effects.  Third, there’s the inherent romance of ships and the sea.  Fourth, there’s a grandeur to the scope of naval operations.  The naval wars of the past three centuries have seen campaigns conducted and actions fought in all the waters of the world.  For armies, a two hundred mile advance is a major event; for navies, it’s just a days work.  Finally, a good game on a naval subject helps me to understand the history of the thing; it illuminates the difficulties and dilemmas that the people on the spot faced at the time.


What kinds of naval war games are there?  Well, there are several ways to slice and dice that little universe.  By manner of play: you can find computer naval games, naval games that use paper maps and cardboard pieces, and naval games that use metal or plastic ship miniatures.  The last two can be played with or without computer assistance.  You can also use time as a divider.  Naval games deal with different periods of history, from the ancient Greeks to the present day.  And finally, naval games come in different scales – from single ship against single ship up through games that portray entire wars.


Aren’t there games already for naval wars?   Sure, and good ones: General Quarters, Command at Sea, Seekrieg, Flattop, Carriers at War, Submarine, Great War at Sea, Shipbase, Close Action, Wooden Ships and Iron Men, just to name a few.  But all game are compromises, and I really wanted games that reflected my ideas of just what those compromises should be.  I couldn’t buy ‘em, so I tried to make ‘em.

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