Saturday, August 16, 2014

Savo Island Refight, P.2: Rules and Approaches

Below are the optional rules that I made up after lots of memoir and account reading, as well as having played Savo 3-4 other times over the years.  Note that every rule should be carefully considered based upon your understanding of the battle, the rules set you use, the players themselves, and the victory conditions as you've spelled them out.

Optional Rules
1. Altered Turn Sequence: Gunnery Phase after Tactical Plot
1d20 per barrel, same hit numbers [20% more effective]?  Vector Torpedo firing? IJN Floatplanes

2. Newfangled Gadgets.  No allied cruisers may use their radar for Detection. 
Destroyers may Detect but suffer a “Right Two” penalty as the Watch Officers disbelieve the pings.

3. Condition Two – All Allied CA are only on partial alert. 
Upon Acquisition of an enemy ship they will spend the next full turn going to battle stations, continuing their Plot from last turn. They may fire half their main guns [round down] and one secondary at the acquired target.

4. High Volume, Low Accuracy.  USN ships may not use Rapid Fire.

5. Gun Crazy.  USN ships always fire if they have an Acquired target.

6. Slow Solutions.  USN ships roll Morale at the start of Gunnery Phase. 
Any that fail fire after ALL other ships fire and resolve damage. 

7. Board of Ordinance Saves a Buck.  USN starshells only work 33% of the tmie - if they hit on a “1+ - 3” shot in GQ3.3 terms.

8. Casual Chatter.  Due to poor radio discipline, The TBS rule is not in effect [the frequency is cluttered with people using the single band].  Also, USN players may not talk to one another to coordinate plans, they just follow their leader – or not.

IJN Floatplanes. The Lengo Point Anchorage counts as illuminated after shooting commences in Ironbottom Bay.  The reflects the pilots using flares to light up the anchorage when they see the battle begin.

Victory Conditions: note they are historical - not based upon gaming issues.
  1. IJN Srategic Victory,  "Disrupt the unloading of supplies".  Any turn a supply ship loses a Hull Box, takes a Critical Hit or is on Fire it must take a morale check.  Failure means it is a loss [sunk, abandoned, fleeing the table].  When the transport squadron of 17 ships has lost 9 ships, it must check morale and for every ship thereafter.  Failure means the landing is abandoned due to unacceptable losses among the merchant marine.
  2. IJN Tactical Victory, "Surface Fleet Victory".  If the IJN causes twice its own ship losses in VPs, it decisively wins the surface battle.  Transports count DOUBLE VPs in this case.
  3. IJN Total Victory - Accomplish BOTH 1 & 2.
  4. USN Victory.  Strategic - deny IJN #1.  Tactical - cause greater VP loss to IJN surface force.  Total - deny IJN #1 while accomplishing # 2.
Weather:  Force 2 (Light Breeze NW @4 kts, glassy seas), Overcast - visibility 20Ky [low clouds]NEW MOON [it's pitch dark]Squall – Yes (zone 5)new squall - d12/1-3, 
Weather Change – d12/1,12, on The Solomons Campaign Weather Chart.

Distances.  So the distance from Savo Island to Lengo Pt. Anchorage is about 30,000 yards, and the IJN can start trying to Acquire the Aussie cruisers at 20,000y.  This 50,000y board would be too huge board to use, with our scale of 1cm=100y, we'd need a 5 meter board, which is over 15 feet long.  This necessitates gaming a bit on paper first.

30,000y is also considerably over the curve of the earth, and the approx. distance between the Aussie cruiser squadron and the US cruiser squadron, placing the IJN attack force at 10,000y closer to the Australians than the US cruisers.  Doesn't look good, does it?

Handling approaches.  I figure them out on a map ahead of time [preferable] by getting the deployment and approach courses, speeds, formations, etc.  At max night visibility of 20,000y, the IJN force approached the Australian cruisers.  They rolled a natural '1' and fully Acquire the Australians, while the Aussies can't even roll unless they've radar as their night spotting begins at 12,000y.  However, the Canberra has the last edition of radar - not the latest - but doesn't even come close to rolling Detection on the IJN with a 12 and then a 9.

The Game Board.  The game will begin with the IJN entering the rectangular board edge [60" x 160"], with Savo Island on the bottom left corner and Florida Island at the top right corner.  Smack in the middle doing a linear patrol at 12 knots, are the Australia, Canberra and Hobart in Line Ahead formation completely unaware that the IJN has fully Acuired them and can begin firing or dropping torpedoes at any time!

 Will history repeat itself???

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