Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Squidge and Squop - Gerard de Gre's gunfire system for Naval Wargame Rules

The following naval wargames rules were written by Gerard de Gre and published in NAVAL WAR GAMES (by Donald Featherstone) in 1965. John Curry has recently republished this book, and I recommend that anyone who is interested in naval wargaming and who has not got a copy should get hold of one whilst it is still available.

When we resort to dice rolls, fire-tables and matrix systems for gunnery, something goes out of the game – the satisfaction of skilfully placing a well-aimed shot on our target. The MGC (Note: MGC is the abbreviation for the Model Generals Club) Research Centre therefore dutifully set itself to work on the problem – to discover a method of missile fire which had to cope with range, and which would permit of a development of accuracy through practice and at the same time would not damage our model ships. We believe we have found the solution – Tiddly-winks! They permit for firing with beautiful trajectories, they allow for development of skill in gunnery, they are readily and cheaply accessible, and, above all, they do no damage.

Equipment required: One set Tiddly-winks, preferably with ½ in. diameter winks and 1½ in. tiddles; one firing platform for each player. The ones used for the experimental series were made of ⅛ in. balsa cut in squares, 2 in. by 2 in., on which we cemented 2 in. squares of felt.

Method of fire: The firing platform is placed within 6 in. of the ship (but never forward of it). If the battle area has been divided into squares the rule is that the firing platform may be placed in any adjoining squares to the rear or side of the gun, good form calling for the effort to fire the wink if possible along the line of fire of the gun.

Determination of hits: Targets are designated prior to fire. If playing on a squared-off board, hits are obtained if wink lands in the square occupied by target. (This is the method employed in the experiments.) If battle takes place on an un-co-ordinated surface, then a hit is registered if the wink falls within, say, 3 in. of the target. An alternative method of fire is to place the tiddly-wink cup within 3 in. of the target and attempt to score hits by landing the wink directly into the cup (this last method is recommended for players who have become quite skilful in firing their winks!) In intercollegiate Tiddly-wink matches, all shots landing on targets are referred to as ‘squidges’.

Silencing of guns (squop): Ships may not return fire if a shell (wink) has landed in the square which they occupy. (If board not co-ordinated, then ships are silenced by winks landing within 3 in. of any part of them.)

Destruction of guns: Ships are destroyed if previously designated as targets, and cumulative effect of hits is equal to value of ships. Ships damaged by hits may not fire for one turn. (Hits are registered in usual manner.)

Range of guns: We have allowed entire battle area for ranges, differentiating between types of guns only on the basis of the amount of damage they cause when hitting target areas.

General rules used in experiments: Players alternate each turn as attacker or defender. Only attacker may move his ships, although defender may wheel in position to return fire.
  1. Firing takes place after attacker has made his move.
  2. Defender fires first with precedence, followed by attacker’s fire (unless the latter’s fire has been stopped by squop or hit).
  3. One round (wink) fired for each gun in action, target announced beforehand.
  4. If a defender’s wink lands inadvertently in a square occupied by an enemy gun, the attacker may not return fire (squop).
  5. Artillery hits destroy equipment in target square which they have landed in ratio to size of gun. If specified target square is missed, missile has no effect in other sectors in which it may land, except for squops on attacker’s guns (See note below)
  6. Ships may fire in support of their own forces into squares occupied by them.
  7. Guns have range of entire battle area.
Note: Optional rule: #5: Shells (winks) landing on unspecified targets have only half effect, and in the case of protected targets no effect except Heavy Guns which have quarter effect.


  1. I really like this idea, it's very simple and elegant and allows for player skill. Perfect.

    Hasn't John Curry republished this one recently?

  2. Yes he has.

    I have put a link from this entry to his website in the hope that anyone interested in naval wargames might see the entry and decide to buy the reprint.

    Incidentally, the picture featured on the cover of the reprint is of one of the models I made when I recreated Janes Naval War Game.


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