Saturday, 12 March 2016

General Quarters torpedo rules

I gave this a bit more thought and realised that I overlooked a couple of things.  So here are my suggested final rules for torpedoes based on the following points.

1. Players should be given the option to improve their chances to hit a target at the cost of reducing the number of torpedoes that actually hit.

2. The closer you are then you should have a better chance to hit the target.

3. If the ship being attacked cannot turn then the attacker should have a much better chance of hitting it (speed factors are already covered in the hit / damage tables).

4. Japanese Long Lance torpedo warheads were bigger than conventional warheads.

5. Reloading is easier on some ships than others but hard for everyone when evading enemy fire.

Torpedo range is 36cm for conventional, 72 for Japanese 'Long Lance'.  Launching takes place as specified in the rules and damage / hit tables are as per the standard rules except for the following.

1. Players can opt to either aim direct at a ship (standard hit on 1-2) or aim to spread the torpedoes arc by adding 1 pip to the hit die (i.e. 1-3) BUT with the effect of halving the damage done (as less torpedoes will impact on the target as a result.  Therefore if a commander launches 4 torpedoes direct he has a 1-2 chance to hit but all 4 will get in.  Alternatively he can choose a spread (1-3) which means his chance to hit increases BUT only 2 torpedoes will hit.  Damage calculated as standard,

The commander chooses the torpedo template required (see image) and marks on their sheet how many torpedoes are being launched and at which target. If the attacking player commits their full complement of torpedoes then they must reload (see below) before commencing another torpedo attack.

The attacker on the right has opted to aim 'direct' at the ship and will hit with everything on a 1-2.  The one on the left is hedging his bets with a wider spread.  He will hit on a 1-3 but with only half his torpedoes.

Torpedoes away.  We know who has opted for spread and who for direct and how many torpedoes have been committed at which target,

2. For targets at 'close' (less than 18cm) and 'point blank' range (less than 9cm) then the chance to hit is increased by +1 pip on the die (1-2, 1-3, 1-4).  This will encourage commanders to get their ships in as close as they dare in order to improve hit chances.  Damage is calculated as standard.  This represents the fact that at closer ranges, evasive manouvres are less effective and its easier to hit a closer target.  However, a ship surviving long enough to get that close is another matter.

Use of direct or spread tactics (see above) is cumulative so a ship at point blank range can opt for a spread (additional +1 on the die) but will halve the number of potential hits.  So the chance to hit can be 1-5 but hit at half effect (so if 4 torpedoes were used, deduct 2 from the hit table).

The attacking ship on the right has managed to get within 9cm of his target.  He opts to shoot direct as he will hit on a 1-4.  The ship on the left is less sure of his chances as he is outside 18cm and so would only hit on a 1-2.  He therefore opts to increase his hit chances with a spread (hit on a 1-3) but half his torpedoes will miss in any event.  

3. For targets that cannot turn due to rudder damage etc. then the chance of hitting is increased from 1:3 to 2:3 (i.e. 1-4 on the dice).  For Japanese ships at extreme range that means a 1-4 followed by a 1-4 means a hit.  In the standard rules, if you knew that the enemy ship has lost rudder control then you would predict that the ship will only go ahead and so guarantee a hit.  However, in a combat situation you wouldn't know that the enemy couldn't steer - therefore this seems a fairer way of simulating a torpedo run against a damaged opponent with steering issues.

4. Japanese Long Lance torpedoes had a larger warhead than conventional torpedoes.  Therefore calculate damage one column to the left for any hits with this weapon.

5. Ships with automatic reloading facilities will reload within 3 turns (not 5) BUT must still reduce speed and not be in combat during the reloading process (any hit or shot counts as being in combat and a hit on a reloading destroyer resets the turn 'clock).  Also no destroyer can reload torpedoes whilst under evade orders (rapid movements hampering the reloading process).

Your thoughts welcome...


  1. I like this and think we'd should adopt it as our torpedo rule.

  2. You have pretty much done me out a job Phil. I was going to post my own torpedo rule amendments tomorrow but to sum it up your version hits the spot.

    I assume that point blank is +2 wherein short range is +1?

    I would also add that I am going to use my 45 degree 90mm and 80mm long templates which are 100% accurate for calculating broadside target proximity. I don't like the ones you get with rules, in fact they are shit.....

    I would say to speed things up further torpedo attacks are done after movement and resolved with any destroyed ships removed prior to the gunnery phase.

    It should be simulateous so both sides can pick ships and resolve torpedo attacks.

    I would summarise the torpedo attack phase as:

    1. Player with initiative nominates his firing ship first
    2. Check target proximity (use my broadside marker)
    3. If eligible measure range and if in range follow your rules to resolve attacks...
    4. The other player then resolves one of his ships torpedo attacks.
    5. continue until all eligible ships have fired before moving on to the gunnery phase.

  3. Have you done away with the guessing which direction a ship will turn? If so that just makes it a chance roll rather than actually trying to out do your opponent, which was the whole point for me?

  4. Russ yes. You get +1 for close and +2 for point blank. Templates are up to you as long as they match the 30 degrees angles required. I would assume torpedo shots are simultaneous as shooting is. We need to test that torpedo hits are resolved after movement and before gunnery and hence destroyed units are removed before firing to see the effect on gameplay.

    Jon - we found torpedo firing, once multiple shots were underway, wax very clunky and time consuming. Essentially you have a 1:3 chance of guessing which way the target ship is going to steer. By reducing this to a simple dice roll, the odds are essentially the same. You could choose 2 or 3 headings therefore guaranteeing a hit but at reduced effect. Again by choosing to go direct or spread replicates this in a much quicker and more effective way but in a much quicker time. The increased odds for getting closer is fairer to both sides and makes the opponent much more wary of massed destroyers. Getting to within 9cm intact and with hull / armaments intact will be difficult for 1 destroyer but 3-4 destroyers attacking a single target have a much greater chance of inflicting damage by getting close through splitting enemy fire.

  5. You have taken the soul out of it.its now a dice roll instead of a battle of wits.there was No dice roll involved in wether I hit the Bismarck week before was just down to you or mark taking the right avoiding action against where I decided to may be clunky but for me it was the best part of the thanks.i hated the victory at sea torpedoe rules.we corrupted them beyond the intended rules. Now your removing one of the best parts of this rule set because you want a result on a Thursday night. Use fewer ships ,leave the rules with its soul intact.

  6. We will have to find a compromise here that works for everyone. There is no point making any changes to a rule set if everyone is not in agreement.

    On Thursday there were a lot of destroyers on table, over 10. When torpedo attacks were resolved it did impact on the normal speed we have been used to.

    I think the dice roll thing was primarily used to speed up the game, which it did but only because there was a lot of ships firing torpedos.

    I am happy to play whatever suits so long as we enjoy playing the game, as this has to be the main point.

    If we play the rules as written I do think we should modify for close and point blank range and long lance torpedos (larger warhead). I do agree with Phil that the closer you are when you fire should give you more chance to hit and if there is rudder damage this should give you a slender advantage on the hit roll.

    The simplest way would be to add the pluses onto the torpedo hit dice roll by applying a - as this brings the chance down that you will hit (5's and 6's are no good no matter how many torpedos you fire).

    How does that sound?

  7. If you want to tinker with the torpedo table then fine.but leave the targeting bit forces the defender to make a desision. Do I continue on my task or do I evade. If it's just a dice roll the defender does not have to take any Action.i can just blindly continue on course and rely on the fact that Taylor has to roll a 1 or 2 on a dice to hit me. By forcing a defender to make a turn you can upset his gunnery,remove his anti aircraft cover or prevent a carrier from launching or recovering aircraft both of which must be done into wind. The rules also state that a smaller ship can reverse course by making sufficient turns and that the torpedo attacker must predict that so its a 1 in 4 for destroyers and light cruisers that have sufficient speed to do a 180. If it's just a dice roll all the above is removed. With the rules I can decide as the defender to double bluff,continue to go into wind and launch a bomber strike hoping that the torpedo attacker is going to assume that I will make an evasive turn and therefore miss.If it's a dice roll it doesn't matter what I do.i can leave my brain at home and rely again on shit dice rolls instead of looking across the table into my opponents eyes and wondering if he is as cunning as a very cunning fox.

  8. Actually Jon that's not the case. The manoeuvre is quite important as the defender can choose to widen the gap and hence reduce the effect of torpedo attacks, maintain course or close the gap to improve shooting chances. Similarly the defender can move out of the arc of firing or to get into range to fire their own. I'd suggest we try the rules out as set out above before rejecting out of hand. The 'second guessing' of the opponent may appeal but in a torpedo-heavy battle as we tried out last week it became very tiresome and long winded. I designed these to speed up play to get a result on a Thursday evening. I also aimed to better simulate naval combat using torpedoes eg closer means better chance to hit.