Recently there has been a very active discussion on Facebook regarding the new Cruel Seas wargame rules and ship models from Warlord Games. Opinions have run the gamut. I do not own the rules and do not have any of the models. Based on knowledgeable Gamers, the rules and models are flawed. I think this will be fixed in time. Some Gamers felt that the negative opinions of the rules and company are driving new naval Gamers away from the naval gaming. I disagree. Everyone has games or companies they like or dislike and it is okay to express your opinion.
Let's say a Gamer says a ruleset is unplayable and strongly recommends avoiding it. A new gamer should still give it a try and see what they think. Hopefully this does not mean the gamer has to shell out a ton of money just to try the rules. My example of this is when I tried out Blitzkrieg Commander years ago. I knew that some people did not like it and gave all sorts of reasons what was wrong with it. Well, for me the rules got me back into WWII land gaming.
How about a naval rules story; Once upon a time I was a naval wargame newbie. My first miniature naval game I joined in was a Seekrieg IV game. I had fun and enjoyed the rules. Later I heard all sorts of complaints about the rules. Some would say a complex rule system deters new naval Gamers from naval gaming. No, if the game is fun it does not matter. Sure, a simpler ruleset is easier to get everyone into naval gaming. Also, I'm sure if someone did not like Seekrieg, they would give a different ruleset a go.
Another topic that has come up related to Cruel Seas is the historical accuracy of the rules and models. In this day in age, there is no excuse for this. Leave the historical inaccuracy to Hollywood. The excuse that it is okay for a simple naval ruleset (mainly for new naval Gamers) does not fly. Call it a fantasy naval ruleset. I'm sure the majority of Cruel Seas is accurate. The rules can be customized to add accuracy.
Rushing games to market that are not fully vetted is an issue in the video game market. Not sure this was the case with Cruel Seas, but it does happen. Blitzkrieg Commander III miniature wargame rules had so many complaints that they switched authors and are publishing a revised edition.
I have not read any books specifically on WWII small ship actions. I have read about the Italian and German small ships that attacked the Operation Pedestal convoy. This type of scenario with Cruel Seas ship models would not work based on the size of a typical game table and the size of British escorts and merchants. I'm sure there are lots of other historic smaller engagements that would work great. Maybe someday I'll read a great book that describes these engagements.
I recommend trying out these rules. I think you will have a fun time.