Saturday, June 19, 2010

War at Sea

Well, just what I needed.  A nice relaxing day at the game meet up and an introduction to another game that I really shouldn't get involved with.  I finally got a chance to play War at Sea for the first time.  It is a miniatures game from the Axis and Allies trade name which focuses on naval engagements during WWII.  The coolest thing about this game is that the minis come painted and ready to go out of the box and they look pretty darned good as a bonus.  The second best thing about the game is that it is fairly easy to play while still providing a pretty decent 'flavor'.  One of the things I like most is the way that the carrier groups work.  While your aircraft are out reigning hell on the enemy you have to protect your own groups and find the right balance of attack and defense.  Since the game provides ample opportunity to react to enemy movements it takes a lot of the luck out of an otherwise simple game system.  Anyway, the game is easy, fun, and very pleasant on the old eyes so I give it a double thumbs up.  Here's a few shots of our actions today.
I suppose the first thing I better do is provide an explanation of the heresy for any of you eagle eyed aficionados out there who might realize right away that this is a match up between German and Japanese navies.  Jil provided the miniatures and he mainly has Axis forces.  Not being ones to be stopped by a minor little thing like that, we decided that the Axis won the war and are now fighting it out for supremacy.  Early on,  my Vals and Kates got through and pounded and decommissioned a German heavy cruiser.  You can see other German vessels including an aircraft carrier nearby.
While my Japanese aviators were out destroying that cruiser, my own carrier got a little visit from a couple of flights of Stukas who were escorted by a flight of fighters.  I had left my Zero fighters at home to try to fend off this expected attack.
Later in the day after refueling and rearming, my aviators are back at the German task force once again for a go at the other cruiser.  I had decided to go for his support groups first and worry about his carrier last.  I wasn't sure about this strategy but the German gunnery is quite good and I didn't want those cruisers getting into range of my task force.  Jil's fighters were ready for us and our attack didn't amount to much in the early stages.
Out on the perimeter of the respective task forces, my destroyers were playing a game of cat and mouse with Jil's Wolfpack which had been dogging my heels all morning.  I managed to damage a sub but I made the first critical mistake and a U-Boat scores a great hit and sinks one of my destroyers.  My best one at that!
Jil was still pretty sore about losing that nice heavy cruiser and his Stukas are back for another go at my carrier.  Even with my Zero fighters at home defending, his relentless attacks make it through and scores some damage this time.  Fortunately it is not too bad... yet..
And I'm still working on that other cruiser.  This time I'm getting some good licks in on that puppy.  Oh, you might be wondering about the smoke.  The size and color of our smoke denotes the damage to the ships.  We are always trying to devise ways to use less markers for better looking tables.  Jil is always in charge of special effects because I have absolutely no artistic talent whatsoever.  We are trying to figure out a way to do oil slicks and debris but this scale is pretty tiny.
The main battle has shifted to Jil's task force.  My main advantage is that his Stukas are flying in from land bases so there are periods where I get a little relief and get to gang up on his group.  I have slipped in with my cruiser (to the left of Jil's carrier) and I have dive bombers, torpedo bombers, and fighter escorts all present as well.  Off to the right of the photo I have a sub sneaking in too.
My all out attack starts to pay off.  I finally finish off the other German cruiser and start to damage the carrier.  My cruiser is taking damage as well, but all my aircraft are still intact.  I think I was just plain lucky as Jil's fighters outnumbered mine 2:1 but I still managed to keep my dive bombers on the attack throughout.  He was causing my torpedo bombers to abort a lot of missions which slowed me down a lot, but I had some dive bombers which were leading charmed lives and developing a lot of personality this game.
My trusty Val dive bombers carry the day and finish off the German carrier.  My cruiser is heavily damaged but still in commission.  The German fighters are now forced to re-base to land and all he has left in the water is 2 subs, one critically damaged.
The aftermath of the clash.  The Japanese Navy lost one destroyer and a cruiser and a carrier critically damaged, and captured two of three objectives.  The Germans lost a carrier, two cruisers, a damaged sub, and captured one of three objectives.  A great day for the Imperial Japanese Navy.

This game is all about managing your assets and combined arms and match ups.  There is a little luck involved as well, but I think it is a very acceptable level.  I think that if Jil's bombers had been carrier based, the outcome of this mission would probably have been the opposite, or at least very different.  Flying in from land bases was just killing him as I could strike him with bombers at a much more concentrated pace.  I really enjoyed my first outing with this game and plan to make this a regular game in our arsenal.


  1. To the victor go the spoils: BANZAI! BANZAI! BANZAI!

    LT - great gaming with you and always on the lookout to create visual treat and appeal to go compliment your excellent battle reporting. Not bad for an initial learning gaming. Can't wait for another match up.

  2. Call BP. They know how to make oil slicks.