Saturday, April 22, 2017

Brian DeWitt Naval Rules

"Czarist navy crosses globe, docks at sea bottom - news at 11!"

I did manage to reach Brian DeWitt, in a roundabout way through North Virginia Gamers, aka NOVAG where he's a Board Member. Through polite correspondence, we had the following interview, somewhat edited for clarity.

Glad to hear you enjoyed the Pre-Dreadnought rules. There's no website for them.  I started selling them only by word of mouth because I had a lot of people asking for them.

Almost all the ship data is based on
Seakrieg 4th ship data (simplified however). The ship images are mostly from Janes Ships or Ship Blueprints webpage.

I sell the latest version of the rules and scenarios on a CD for $5.  I bring them to the HMGS conventions. There are 5 different sets:
A sailing ship set "Form on the Admirals Wake", Spanish American, Russo-Japanese, WWI and WWII. 

I can email the files if you do not attend the conventions and accept Paypal at my email address: 
brian.dewitt AT [etc] 

I make a lot of different games.  I emphasize playability as the most important factor but try and capture as much historical accuracy I can while maintaining the extremely high playability.  This is accomplished by using creative game mechanics and simple rules.

I enjoyed the article by Neil Thomas on "Simplicity in Practice" you sent me.

My club has enjoyed the Russo-Japanese set, called "When Dreadnoughts Ruled the Seas" which we play in 1/3000 on a 6x12' table. That being said, the actual engagement space was only about 6x4', so I think one can easily play out the approach moves - and play them faster - on paper. 

Altho the host said that they are more for fun and a "beer'n pretzel" set, I wouldn't say that is exactly true. I just think that he presents and plays them that way. Adding in weather and a few more decision points, and perhaps a bit of morale, and they'd gain significant depth.

So I can heartily recommend the pre-dreadnought set, at the very least, which I've now played 3 times in a large Russo-Japanese fleet context, and found it worked just fine. Most of the added complexity that would make it richer can just be scenario rules from an historical battle, anyway.

For further information, contact Brian!

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