Monday 16 December 2013

Confrontation in the Fezian Sea: A play-test of the Itchy and Scratchy Naval wargame rules

The following play-test battle was set up to test the first draft of my ITCHY AND SCRATCHY NAVAL wargame rules. It was set in the Imagi-world of 1891 and was fought between warships of the Rusland and Fezian Navies.

After the earlier fighting around the island of Naverona, when ships of the Rusland Navy engaged the Fezian coastal defences twice (see The Guns of Naverona and Return to Naverona), the Fezians bought a new armoured cruiser from the Parker Brothers shipyard. The ship was – in fact – a copy of a similar ship that they had built for the Rusland Navy and was named Monopoli in Fezian service.

Soon after entering service with the Fezian Navy Monopoli was ordered to patrol a disputed area of the Fezian Sea that was known to be frequented by the Rusland battleship Tsarina. The captain of the Monopoli was ordered to confront this 'blatant and provocative aggression into the waters of the peace-loving Fezian people' and to ensure that the Ruslanders were made aware that they could no longer regard the Fezian Sea as their 'Mare Nostrum'.

Not long after sunrise the lookouts on both the Monopoli and Tsarina spotted smoke on the horizon, and their respective captains turned their ships to turn towards the smoke to investigate. A confrontation was now inevitable.

Turn 1
Neither ship altered course or opened fire on their opponent but the crews of both ships began to prepare for battle.

Turn 2
The Tsarina then turned towards the Monopoli and opened fire with her main armament ... but caused no damage.

The Monopoli also turned and closed the range. She then fire at the Tsarina, but her gunfire was equally ineffective.

Turn 3
The Tsarina's captain seemed intent upon maximising the destructive power of his main armament, and brought his ship to almost point-blank range before he ordered his guns to fire. At that range it was almost impossible to miss ... and the Monopoli was holed below the waterline.

The Monopoli's captain tried to move his ship so that it was out of the arc-of-fire of the Tsarina's main guns before opening fire on the Rusland battleship ... but although the Monopoli's guns managed to hit their target, the shells had no effect on the heavily armoured hull of the battleship.

Turn 4
The Tsarina now turned across the stern of the Monopoli and fired at her ... and knocked out the cruiser's rearmost gun.

As the Monopoli was also in range of the Tsarina's starboard battery of light guns, these were also fired at the cruiser ... holing her yet again below the waterline.

The Monopoli turned so as to lengthen the range and to try to come around the stern of the Tsarina. She then fired at the Tsarina ... and missed!

Turn 5
The Tsarina moved abeam of the Monopoli, fired at her ... and missed ...

... and the Monopoli continued to try to go astern of the Tsarina, firing (and missing) as she did so.

Turn 6
Both ships were now trying to get astern of the other. The Tsarina's main armament did no damage to the Monopoli ...

... but a miscalculation on the part of the Tsarina's captain allowed the Monopoli to get astern of the Tsarina ... and to fire a torpedo!

Although the Tsarina was only just in range of the torpedo, the Monopoli's torpedo did not miss ... and caused considerable underwater damage to the Rusland battleship.

Turn 7
The Tsarina's captain realised that his ship was in danger of being sunk by the Fezia cruiser, and decided that he should terminate the action as quickly as possible and get his damaged ship back to port so this could be repaired.

The Tsarina's rear medium gun fired at the Monopoli, which deterred the cruiser from closing the range and continuing the battle ...

... thus ending this short but sharp confrontation.

The rules worked better than I had expected, and the play-test battle was exactly what I had hoped it would be ... a quick, fun, 'knock-about' naval battle that was not too unrealistic. I hope to do some more work developing these rules over the next few weeks, but I do need to build some more model ships before the next play-test.

Now where did I put all that basswood?


  1. Hi Bob,

    I have to say that looks rather good old chap! the results seemed to capture the flavour of such an action very nicely indeed and but for the torpedo hit on the battleship the cruiser would have been in a lot of trouble.

    It all seemed to work as it should!

    I am looking forward to trying these out myself although I will have to change my scenario slightly as it was very similar to yours - great minds thinking alike!

    All the best,


  2. David Crook,

    I was pleased with how well the rules worked and I felt that the outcome of the battle was in the balance until the end. I think that the cruiser made the right decision not to pursue the battleship as the latter could easily have overcome the former in a shooting match. The battleship needed to get home to repair the underwater damage it had suffered, but it's armament was still very potent ... unlike the cruiser's.

    I look forward to seeing how your play-test plays out.

    All the best,


  3. Fitz-Badger,

    It was a fun battle to fight, and certainly worked for a ship-to-ship action.

    If I was using more than one ship per side I would probably need a bigger area to fight on or to reduce the relative speeds of the ships ... but I will need some more model ships before I can find out!

    All the best,



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