Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Arctic Convoy Game Research

I have been considering what my next naval wargame scenario will be.  I thought about the Battle of Midway, but this campaign/scenario idea has been shelved for the moment.  Right now I am focused on the idea of a WWII Arctic Convoy.

But this is not a normal Convoy miniatures wargame scenario.  For my four hour game, the convoy miniatures will stay on the table but the game will cover the whole convoy journey from Scotland to Archangel in Russia.  I know...crazy eh?  The scenario takes place in the summer of 1942 before the PQ17 convoy disaster.  The summer convoy route takes a total of 14 days to reach the destination.  Will the convoy be attacked by German U-boats, bombers or naval surface forces?  Yes...the game would be a bit boring if it was not attacked.

View of my testing.  Actual game will have less paperwork on table and miniatures, not pieces of paper.

The trick for this to work is keeping the engagements simple enough to keep the game moving.  I have the convoy events already assigned thanks to Mal Wright's "A Journey to the End of the Earth" convoy rules.  I am currently reviewing various naval wargame rules to use for either air or naval engagements.  It looks like it will be a combination of "The Hunters" solo boardgame and General Quarters I.  I have discovered that no one rule set can cover what I am attempting to do.

Ship miniatures wise, I have not decided on a scale.  My options are 1:6000, 1:3000 or 1:2400.  There are such a wide variety of ships in the convoy I am trying to pick a scale that has the most to choose from.  I am looking at each ship in the convoy and all the manufacturers.  I would like to do it in 1:2400, but we'll see what my research discovers.

I will be using CAP Aero 1:1250 planes.

Another challenge is figuring out what the players will be doing.  I would like to have a four player game with two on each side.  The German players would be air and naval forces.  I'm not sure what each convoy player would be tasked with.  Maybe the convoy players would be each responsible for half of the convoy or just share responsibility for the whole convoy.  Maybe each has different escorts.  Sure the game would work best with only one player on a side, but I want to include more players.

We'll see how this goes.  Maybe players will enjoy this type of game or maybe it will be a flop.  If I decide to go with 1:2400 have a few miniatures, but would need to buy and paint up a bunch.  So I have not fully committed to this scenario.

I will certainly be updating my blog on the progression of this wargame idea.  I welcome any comments you may have.

Here are the list of wargame rules I have been consulting:
  • A Journey to the End of the Earth
  • The Rising Storm
  • General Quarters I & II
  • General Quarters III
  • Seekrieg IV
  • Seekrieg V
  • Sea Wars Fleet Actions
  • Command at Sea I
  • Second World War At Sea: Arctic Convoy (boardgame)
  • Second World War at Sea: Bomb Alley (boardgame)
  • The Hunters (boardgame)
  • North Cape (boardgame)
  • Naval Thunder
  • Naval War
  • NWS: Naval Warfare World War 2
  • Victory at Sea
  • Naval Wargaming: From Ancient Galleys to Modern U-boats
Other references:
  • Naval Wargaming Review Vol 4, #6, The Artic Convoys: A Campaign Game
  • U-boat Tactics in World War II (Osprey)