Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Naval Wargaming

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have an interest in maritime history.  I'd like to say that this started with the CS Forrester books I devoured while at 6th Form College, but the truth is that, it probably started with Burt Lancaster and Errol Flynn

My first proper job after qualifying as an archivist was to look after records of a large shipping firm that had been deposited at Liverpool University.  It being the early '90s, the university had been given bucket-loads of money to utilise the Internet, so I joined an early listserv, MARHST-L, operating out of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes.

This was an eye-opener - I was thrown into the company of all sorts of curators, academics and pure enthusiasts waffling on about the sea, ships and sailors.  I had a great time and made several friends I am lucky enough to still be in contact with.  I was introduced to the works of Patrick O'Brien, which just suited my long commute.  As I moved into other jobs, I was lucky enough to always wangle a maritime connection - whaling records, exploration and port registration all featured.

Yet despite this, I never got around to naval wargaming.  Perhaps knowing some particularly high-brow rivet-counters put me off.  I had the image (not uncommon!) of naval wargames involving tiny-tiny ships in a large play area, with people standing around doing calculations with string, chalk and slide-rules (Fred Jane anyone?).

But I knew I was missing out.

I was quite pleased to read therefore that Clint from Anything But A One is proposing a play-by-blog game (with himself as umpire and Fran and Ray as fleet commanders).  So I've sent off an e-mail, and we'll see what develops

One of the things that pleased me was that the proposed rule-set is Blood, Bilge and Iron Balls (though as Clint is going to do all the mechanics he says a familiarity with the rules won't be necessary). This is pleasing because I happen to know that an internet-based book dealer operating out of my spare bedroom happens to have this in stock.  This is where I made my big mistake!  As I settled down in bed at half-past midnight I did that foolish thing of cracking open an unfamiliar rule-set.  Now it's half-past three and I'm having to do a blog post in order to drive out the thoughts of movement, damage control and PBEM that are going through my mind.  

It's not helped be the fact that recently I downloaded some free back-numbers of The Nugget from Wargames Developments - just the sort of thing to stir my mind up when I should be sleeping . O brave new world that has such things in't!


  1. Priceless! What a great post Edwin, perhaps an little snooze this afternoon to keep everything shipshape?

  2. I had a period when I was reading all the Alexander Kent, Richard Woodman and Dudley Pope books and I bought some Langton 1/1200 ships. Oh dear! Too small and fiddly for me. My only attempt at anything naval...

  3. It's about time someone put up a pic of handsome men for me. So very tired of boobies.

  4. Been tempted by naval gaming for decades, but never taken the plunge. More in favour of battleship grey though than amber and black (if that's accurate).
    Reading last thing or, God forbid, thinking is deadly. Can't do that much these days without a recouperative session of Egyptian P.T. during the post meridian.
    The Crimson Pirate - my God, they just can't make films like that these days.
    In the mean time, good luck with the game!


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