Hoving Into View

The first prototype of our forthcoming Victory at Sea range made an appearence in our office this morning. Designed by Sandrine in 3D software (and then checked and rechecked by our team of Naval Boffins), these are 1/2400 scale ships cast in resin with a few metal odds and ends, such as turrets, with the intention of cramming as much detail as possible on to them – we have, we are pretty sure, the most accurate hull shapes in scale this, for example, but more on that at a later date.

Anyway, this is the Bismarck. Click on the photo for a closer look.

Bismarck Goodness

Please note this is a prototype – the final version will have several changes.  For example, the base will be flatter, probably squarer, have a wave/wake effect on the surface and likely a flat area for you to place a flag and name label (which we are aiming to provide).  The turret guns, while scale-accurate in size, are too thin to a) look completely right and b) survive more than a game or two, and so will be made a little thicker. The top of the bridge has not cast properly on this particular model, and we will be altering the mould to suit.

All that said, you can readily see the detail Sandrine has already crammed onto the model, from the anchors (which are almost too small to see, but very much present), to the secondary weapons along the hull.

Slinking off to Find a Convoy

Using the 3D modelling software (also responsible for the new Star Fleet ships and much of the Noble Armada range) allows Sandrine to do some really fun things that might otherwise require a great deal of time under more conventional methods.  For example, being French herself, she was particularly proud to do the Richelieu (and a fine ship it was). However, there will not be just one Richelieu in the Victory at Sea range. There is the Richelieu as it appeared in 1940. And as it appeared in 1943. And she did the Jean Bart for good measure (the Richelieu‘s sister ship).

Sandrine has done this for every sister ship/variant she has so far worked on, right down to cruiser level (it is entirely possible that she won’t do a different model of every destroyer that ever floated in World War II…). So, no need to just pick up a handful of, say, Leander-class cruisers. You’ll be able to grab the Leander, Orion, Achilles and the Ajax, and they will all be accurately presented.

So far, Sandrine has covered something like fifty different ships, ranging from the Yamato to the Liberty ships, and our (completely unofficial) aim is to have a model of just about everything that floated during the war – that may take some time, as Sandrine also has some other model ranges to work on as well, but after the first wave of releases, we intend to come back to Victory at Sea on a regular basis, and continue filling in the gaps. Large portions of the Royal Navy and Kriegsmarine have been completed and, in between a few revised Gorns, Sandrine is making a determined attack on the core ships of the Pacific Theatre. Next week she is scheduled to work on the Nagato, Shokaku and Fubuki.

So, when will these lovely models be revealed to the world at large? Well, not for a little while. We are currently working on a new edition of the Victory at Sea rules (and a lovely book that is turning out to be), though you will likely see the models out before the book – we have kinda pencilled in this Summer for a potential release date, but we are not hurrying this range. They’ll be done when they are done!

Preparing for a Full Broadside

 

Star Fleet Reference Cards

The Star Fleet Reference Cards Pack (perhaps we should say Pack #1, as no doubt there will be more in the future to cover new ships that come along) is due to go off to print in a few days, so now seems the right time to give you all a sneak peek at them.

This is a 90 card deck and, as the more observant of you will immediatly spot, that is more cards than ships in A Call to Arms: Star Fleet. So, the first question to be answered is that yes, there will be duplicates of the more common ships in the game, meaning for many games a single deck will be all you need (unless you start fielding unusual fleets, or are a confirmed five Kirov man!).

Each card is double-sided, with the Ship’s details on one side, together with a picture of the ship for ready identification;

Federation Dreadnought

And it’s ‘game boxes’ on the other. With a white board-style marker, you can cross off important details such as hits on Shields, the hull, and critical hits;

Reverse Side

This means you can lay your entire fleet of cards on your sideline during play, and simply cross off damage and other features as they come in!

We have included not only the core hull designs, but also the variants, with each variant having its own card for ease of use. On top of that, each fleet is colour-coded, allowing you to readily identify which ships are yours in the deck.

Klingon C8

C8 Reverse

If these cards prove popular, we will release new deck packs as new ships and supplements are released, with the first following the Battle Groups supplement later this year.

Victory at Sea 2.0 Development

Work has been proceeding apace with this game, with our team of ‘Naval Boffins’ weighing in and correcting our excesses and the playtesters refining the rules wording and ship points values.

We are aiming for this to be a Big Book, full colour throughout, with plenty of battles, history, and gaming challenges to keep anyone interested in the war at sea during World War II happy as a sailor in port for years to come. At the moment, the contents of the book is shaping up something like this;

Basic Rules
Introduction
The Turn
The Movement Phase
The Attack Phase
The End Phase
Special Actions
Special Traits

So far, so familiar for those who are currently playing the existing edition, though there are already many, many differences between the basic rules fo the two games. For example, Critical Hits are now mainly progressive, as in A Call to Arms: Star Fleet and Noble Armada, but they also have the ‘sudden death’ potential as well, allowing for rudders to be knocked askew on an otherwise relatively undamaged ship, or to allow for the ‘Hood effect.’

Advanced Rules
Advanced Rules: This is a catch-all chapter for all the advanced stuff that does not deserve its own chapter – things such as bad weather, radar, evading torpedoes, and so forth.
Aircraft: Born again hard in this edition, along with rules for (possibly) keeping carriers away from the front line in a ‘deep deployment’ rule. ‘Aircraft only’ forces will be permitted, allowing you to play out the likes of Taranto and Pearl Harbour.
Coastal Forces: PT Boats and the like will this time be fully integrated into the main rules, and will include harbours and coastal defences.
Submersibles: No longer allowed within the ‘core’ fleet engagements, games involving submersibles will form their own scenarios as they harry convoys and ambush forces steaming towards a battle over the horizon.

Battles at Sea: This is the ‘scenario’ section of the book.
Scenarios: A primer on how to read and use the subsequent scenarios.
Victory at Sea: This is the ‘default’ and perhaps tournament scenario for the game, but it is now much more than just ‘basic deployment, set up your fleet and go!’ You may now have to contend with bad weather and night-fights, and there is now a scouting phase before the battle where you can detach aircraft and ships to watch for the approach of the enemy. Effective scouting will allow you to have a more advanced deployment area, to ‘deep deploy’ your carriers, and also gain benefits such as initiative bonuses.
Tactical Challenges: General/generic scenarios that will allow you to use any fleet in a variety of tactical situations, both based on real engagements and hypothetical confrontations of your own devising.
Battle of the River Plate: The first of the historical scenarios. Each of these is treated with an in-depth commentary on how the battle came about and how it was fought, before presenting you with the relevant forces and any special scenario rules. Think you can defeat the Royal Navy in this engagement? Think you can sink the Graf Spee before it reaches port (difficult!)? This is your chance to prove it!
Battle of Calabria
Attack on Taranto
Battle of Matapan
The German Battleships at War: A medley of battles, charting the history of the great German battleships of the war, and each of their major engagements, from the Attack on the Northern Patrol (the Allied player must try to survive for as long as possible with the HMS Rawalpindi) to the death of the Bismarck.

Though we have concentrated on the Atlantic and Mediterranean up to now, we will also have plenty of battles from other theatres (just starting work on Pearl Harbour right now!), allowing you to wage the war across the oceans during any period.

The War at Sea: This section looks at the history of the war in naval terms, what factors affected the fighting, how technology came into play, and so forth. The following lists what we have done thus far, but there is much, much more to come.
The Washington Treaty
Ruling the Waves: The Royal Navy: We have done a chapter on every major fleet that took part in the war, looking at their tactics and philosophies, and the obstacles they struggled to over come. There is also, for want of a better term, a ‘card file index’ in each chapter, detailing the statistics and history of what we are hoping will become every military ship that floated during the war, along with some ‘hypotheticals’ (such as the N3).
Commerce Raiders: The Kreigsmarine
A New Empire: The Regia Marina
The Sleeping Giant: The US Navy
Banzai: The Imperial Japanese Navy: Yes, we really need a better title than that!
Fight for Freedom: The Marine Nationale
What Might Have been: The Military Maritime Fleet of the USSR
A Thankless Task: Civilian Shipping
Where Were the French?
War in the Mediterranean
The Atlantic Convoys
The Submarine War
Carrier Operations

Fleet Lists
The Royal Navy
The Kreigsmarine
The Regia Marina
The US Navy
The Imperial Japanese Navy
The Marine Nationale
The Military Maritime Fleet of the USSR
Civilian Shipping

Appendices
The Royal Navy Order of Battle
The Kreigsmarine Order of Battle
The Regia Marina Order of Battle
The US Navy Order of Battle
The Imperial Japanese Navy Order of Battle
The Marine Nationale Order of Battle
The Military Maritime Fleet of the USSR Order of Battle
Historical Carrier Complements

So, as you can see, we are well on our way, but lots of work to do yet! No release date has yet been planned for this mighty tome, but we are currently looking at late Summer/early Autumn. That said, it will be done when it is dione, and not before!

It is entirely likely that you will see the new range of Victory at Sea 1/2400 scale ships come out before then, or at least the start of them. Cast in resin, we are hoping to make these among the most detailed World War II models on the market, and a true treasure to own if you are interested in this period. We are casting some prototypes right now and, if they work out, you will see them on Planet Mongoose soon. If not, you will be waiting for a while longer while we attend to the details! In the meantime, here is a 3D mock up of the Iowa…

USS Iowa, Front 3/4

USS Iowa, Rear 3/4

USS Iowa, Passing like a ship in the night...