Victory at Sea Game – Feb 2022

Somewhere in the Atlantic in 1941……..

Now we have had several practice games of gradually moving from a destroyer v destroyer to adding cruisers in games to learn the rules a bit. So as our local club Wellington Warlords had cancelled Saturday games as the hall used on Saturdays has been requisitioned as a Covid testing station, I decided to move a Thursday game to Saturday. It would also allow a full days gaming rather than 3 hours at night.

So for this game it was the Germans v the British. Russ and SteveT would be the Germans with SteveC, Goldie and Robert the British. I was on drinks and assisting the BossLady with lunch duties.

After rolling up the scenario the Germans with the Bismark, Tirpitz, Scharnhorst and Gniesnau would square off against the Hood, King George V, Warspite who had company in the Ark Royal(with Swordfish), 3 cruisers and 3 destroyers. The Germans had to exit the table and inflict more damage than they suffered. Simple enough.

Below we see the Kreigsmarines finest steaming full ahead. The Tirpitz and Bismark are the 2 larger vessels.

And here is a close up of the Tirpitz. Russ paint jobs.

This is the picture on turn 2. The British has deployed in line facing left on the top table edge with the line led by the destroyers, then the cruisers and the biggies in the rear. The Ark Royal was off table but had some Swordfish flights in the air. She has 15 flights. Now I didn’t agree with the British set up…but being an unbiased(well sometimes) umpire it didn’t seem the best position to be in facing a group of 4 Battleships…..a remark that was ignored as most of my comments tend to be LOL. So below we see the Germans going full speed to the right to get off table….the British destroyers and cruisers who are torpedo armed and need to get in close the the Germans…like right alongside… fire off their torpedoes with any effect…are going to need a miracle… catch them. The British battleship group is moving to intercept the Germans…the Warspite being rather old and slow is starting to fall behind. Some Swordfish are flying over them… however they are REAL slow for planes!!

A close up of the British Battleships with the Swordfish flying by.

Here is the Ark Royal sitting off table…launching one flight a turn…which move only marginally faster than the German Battlegroup.

Close up of the King George V (model says Duke of York..but…no one wants to play with the Duke of York!)

Battle scene below…Germans racing for table edge….British Battleships moving to intercept…Swordfish closing in on Germans…and British Destroyers and Cruisers trying to catch up. More flights ofSwordfish are joining the action.

Russ and SteveT had the Germans in formation so nice and compact and can unleash a lot of firepower. Players ignore size of model…you measure from the model bridge …so there is no blocking of shooting angles.

The unusual formation of the the British smaller ships……

Something for the German ships to worry about……well…..hopefully anyway….there is a lot of dedicated AA and light guns on those 4 ships to get through.

Remember the Hood… it had the misfortune to be closest the the Germans.. the red marker is her burial spot.

Remember the King George V…the red Marker is his burial spot.

But…some Swordfish’s made it to the Bismarck brought her to a halt(a chance to get underway again) and

the Scharnhorst…. and did some serious damage with all main guns being taken out. The Tirpitz and Gniesnau were relatively unscathed. The British had lost the Hood, King George, the Warspite was 1 hull point away from critical damage, they had lost a cruiser and a destroyer and a number of flights of Swordfish.

So in balance…I feel the Germans won it…….the picture below was a bit earlier ,,,,the red marker in the Hood…the King George about to get one as well.

So that was a fun game…we all got better acquainted with the rules , introduced battleships and carriers to the mix. Also need to get some of the battle card holders that Russ has. One of gamers at another local club is making them for Victory at Sea…makes admin side of game SO MUCH EASIER!.

Looking forward to the next game already. I have had a supply of Japanese planes and ships arrive from Magpie Promotions so will post an update on them and my Team Yankee force am working on next.

Next Group game is 2 weeks away….. will be a return to 1812.

Bye for now.


Victory at Sea

One of my first wargaming joys was fighting naval battles off Guadalcanal Island, in the Solomon Island’s in WW2. This was many decades ago(well around 5!) and I was collecting Purnells History of World War 2 magazine which was a weekly publication magazine which really trigged my interest in military history. So I made paper islands and paper ships….and wrote their names on them and I would sit at the kitchen table with my dice and refight the battles with made up rules. My interest would get boosted by Mum telling me about Grandad who was to old to fight in WW2(he was in navy in WW1) but as he was a miner he joined a construction team and built airfields on Guadalcanal…perfect. Then on the occasion Dads brother in law would visit, he and Dad would have a few beers and they would trade war stories which was the only time Dad would talk about his experiences of WW2, getting captured on Crete, the years in a POW camp in Poland and his dislike for Poms(British…they left them on the beach at Crete).

But I digress….so from paper ships I would watch ‘McHales Navy’, a 1960’s American sitcom starring Ernest Borgnine(he of the cheesy gap toothed grin and gruff voice) and enjoy moves like ‘PT 109’, ‘Tora Tora Tora’ and ‘Midway’. So jump forward to a couple of years ago and PaulW and Russ burst into collecting wee ships for a Pacific War but they couldn’t find rules they liked. Then Warlord Games(WG) released ‘Cruel Sea’s’ so they got into them, but they didn’t quite work. So I still stayed on sidelines waiting. Then ‘Warlord Games’ released ‘Black Seas’ and Alan and Russ have built some fleets to play Napoleonic ship battles. So perhaps WG were getting there.

And now Warlord Games have released ‘Victory at Sea’ which I believe is what I have been waiting for. So I have been following the reviews, watching the YouTubes of Gamers unwrapping the boxes(yes…Chromcasting onto the TV!) then them playing games and discussing the rules and the models and it really does seem to be for me.

So I have bought the ‘Battle for the Pacific’ starter set and the ‘US Navy Fleet’ box locally through a local online retailer and as they were out of the ‘IJN Fleet’ box I had to get that from Warlord Games(WG) in UK direct. They threw in an additional Cruiser on a weekend deal as well. Now WG have just changed their postal charges and instead of free postage to NZ if I spent more than 50 pounds, there is a 17 pound courier cost. The reason given is the Brexit and the Covid supply chain disruptions. All understandable hence desire to buy locally if possible. But to their credit when you purchase from WG, you get to add a free box of troops, from a limited range that is worth more than the postage, a winner. So I added a Pike & Shotte Infantry regt(Alan is hassling me to paint up opposition for his army). This order has arrived in less than 2 weeks(Gripping Beast website says 3 months!). Well done WG for looking after your customers!!(as an aside, when placing the order I didn’t see the box I had to click on to get my free box, so when had ordered and spotted it I emailed them straight away and asked is possible I could have a Pike & Shotte box. I quickly got a reply saying yes, added to order. You cannot fault WG’s service)

So my initial forces are:

The starter sets comes with:

  • A4 32 page rules manual
  • 15 resin model ships in 1/1800th scale
  • 3 US Cruisers and 6 destroyers
  • 3 IJN Cruisers and 3 destroyers
  • 15 ship cards
  • dice…lots of dice!
  • A0 Sea mat x 2

The US Fleet is below.

And here is the IJN Fleet.

The Fleet boxes add in the juicy ships. The US Fleet bring you the Battleship New Mexico, Carrier Essex , 3 more cruisers, 3 more destroyers plus 4 flights of F4U Corsairs.

Then we have the IJN Fleet. This introduces the Battleship Kongo, Carrier Zuikaku, 3 more cruisers, 3 more destroyers, plus… and what Japanese force could not have, 4 flights of Zero’s!

The bonus box was a IJN cruiser, the Kumano.

Already WG are rolling out boxes of PT boats, merchant ships etc so lots of good things in the pipeline.

Now what I will probably end up doing is getting some Kreigsmarine and British units to do some German raider games. I fondly recall listening to the song ‘Sink the Bismarck’ from the early 60’s and reading the Douglas Reeman novels so expect I will expand into the Atlantic at some stage…and those Italian battleships are really cute…stop …stop!

Its a nice wet day here in Wellington, Liverpool have just won a home game …yippee…so think I will watch that and then assemble and paint a destroyer as a tester. Fun day ahead.

Whisky of the Day

So rather than a whisky I am rolling with something else. A colleague of mine John is into his Gin and he along with a mate started a ‘backyard’ business making Gin. They call themselves ‘Bureaucrats Gin’ and when he was starting out, had given me some tester bottles(Lemon grass and Black Doris Plum) and I quite liked the Black Doris Plum. Now roll on a couple of years and they are now supplying wholesale/retail operations rather than sell online(they do work normal jobs still).

Now I buy most of my whisky from an online Retailer called ‘Whisky and More’ who are based in Taupo, a town in the middle of New Zealand’s North Island. Bizarre I know but perfectly placed to receive an order and ship product to reach a North Island customer the following day. So this week I got my weekly promo email from Whisky and More, and on it was Bureaucrats Black Doris Plum Gin. So I popped 5 floors down at work to chat to John and told him about the promo. He wasn’t aware he had sold any stock to Whisky and More. So I asked how about ‘Wine Merchant of Taupo’ and yes, he had had a long chat with a chap(Johns English) there several weeks ago, sent him a sample then filled an order. I suggested he check who his customers are, as that’s Whisky and More! Bigtime.

So here it is, Bureaucrats Gin and their Black Doris Plum Gin!

A gin full of bold and beautiful Black Doris Plum fruitiness. Kicking off with juniper and coriander, swiftly followed by full-bodied fruity flavours. With just a hint of sweetness, the delicate spicy notes embrace the delicious plum giving this gin complexity and balance.

Now that’s the official description, I just found it a very pleasing drink with ice on a warm day.

And that’s it for today.