Saturday, January 24, 2015

Battle of the Denmark Strait

This past Friday night I was able to get a couple of games of Victory at Sea in with Roy Scaife.  We played the Battle of the Denmark Strait historical scenario from the main rulebook.  In our first game I played the Germans and Roy played the British - then we switched it around for the second game.  In both games the British won.

Given the balance of the ships involved, after having played it two times in a row, I think the following modifications to the victory conditions makes the game challenging not just for the Germans, but also the British.  With the realization that it is essentially inevitable that the Bismarck will be sunk ... we suggest the following adjustments:

British Victory:  Bismarck sunk - both British ships are not crippled.
German Victory:  Either British ship gets sunk before the Bismarck gets sunk.
Draws:  If the Bismarck is sunk and the Germans have crippled at least one of the British ships.

We'll have to play test the changes a bit ... but it takes the assured British victory and makes it a big challenge for both sides.

If you are unfamiliar with the Battle of the Denmark Strait, this is the famous engagement between the British and Germans that saw the HMS Hood explode not long after the ships engaged - stunning everyone involved.  A lucky hit that ignited the Hood's magazine is the generally accepted reason for this twist of fate.

The Royal Navy has two ships:

  • HMS Hood (Admiral-class Battlecruiser)
  • HMS Prince of Wales (King George V-class Battleship) 

The Kriegsmarine has two ships:

  • Bismarck (Bismarck-class Battleship)
  • Prinz Eugen (Admiral Hipper-class Heavy Cruiser) 
The ship cards I use (printed off and laminated) are below.

We played the game on my standard 6'x8' table using my canvas mat that is great for naval battles.  Some pictures of the battle below.  It was great to get a couple of games of VaS in since it has been some time since we've played.  I see lots of great updates to the rules (player inspired) that I'll be adopting to make the game even funner ... I had forgotten how poorly written the v1.0 rules are (undefined terms and so on - you have to read into some of the rules to figure it out).  But that being said, VaS is a great game for someone like myself who wants to play WW2 naval engagements occasionally without having to be an expert in naval warfare and ship operations.