Night Action Visibility Rules
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Tagged: night visibility scenario rules
- This topic has 11 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 10 months, 4 weeks ago by Laurence.
July 23, 2019 at 2:03 pm #165512
Having recently read and reread Peter Scott’s magnificent “Battle of the Narrow Seas” I was inspired to work up some draft night-action rules for “Cruel Seas” which reflect (I hope) the type of MTB/MGB actions which he experienced at first hand and wrote about. On what I have read, the vast majority of small boat actions (at least in the NW European theatre which interests me) were at night, essentially because of the extreme vulnerability of these vessels by day and the difficulty of making a torpedo run in daylight on a ship with even a modest level of escorts. So I hope other players of “Cruel Seas” find these draft rules helpful. Please comment if you uncover any obvious gaps or gaffs!
Attachments:July 29, 2019 at 7:07 pm #165848Chris SalanderParticipant
There is a Night Visibility rule buried in Scenario 6; right column, page 42.August 20, 2019 at 1:48 pm #167212
Thanks Chris – those rules were fairly skeletal and basic to my mind. Given the frequency and importance of night actions at this scale for these types of vessels, I felt something more substantial was necessary.
MarkOctober 5, 2019 at 1:22 pm #169358Mike BParticipant
I too fave been re-reading Scott’s “Narrow Seas” and am intrigued by your night visibility system, especially it’s potential for mis-identification, but I’m not sure I understand the +D3 and -D3 aspect of it. I know what you’re trying to accomplish, but the actual mechanics are somehow eluding me. Could you please provide an example for my edification?
MikeOctober 5, 2019 at 1:42 pm #169359
Mike the concept of the variable visibility conditions at the start of each turn, generated by a positive and a minus 1d3 roll with the result multiplied by 10cm to modify the base visibility shift, works this way: if I roll a 2 on the positive 1d3 and a 1 on the negative 1d3, I get a net +1, which improves the base visibility for that turn by +10cm. So if the battle was in Full Moon conditions, base visibility for that turn would be <60cm.
This concept seeks to reflect atmospheric effects such as shifting clouds, thinning/thickening sea mist, changing levels of phosphorescence in the sea etc. In game mechanic terms I also did not want players to be able to try to set up situations for the next turn by relying on fixed predictable visibility distances from turn to turn. As you will have read in “Battle of the Narrow Seas”, night actions at sea were anything but predictable, to the contrary they were wildly chaotic.October 6, 2019 at 3:25 pm #169373Blake SmithParticipant
1st thanks for sharing your work. It seems quite interesting and will try it. Very good way to keep the game changing/twisting/ fog of war type challenge.
BlakeOctober 7, 2019 at 12:34 am #169379Mike BParticipant
Thanks for getting back to me. I’d never heard of a D3 before and that aspect of your rules perplexed me. Immediately after my request for an example, I pulled out a couple dice and started trying to work it out on my own. Eventually I DID figure it out (slap side of head). I just now saw your reply which confirms my findings.
Again, I really like what you came up with to provide the true drama of the nighttime sorties of those WWII coastal forces. I’ll be using this system in the next game I host.
MikeMay 24, 2020 at 10:54 pm #178570
Reading with great interest your night action rules.
How do you handle spotting of mine fields?
May 25, 2020 at 12:37 pm #178583
- This reply was modified 3 years ago by Laurence.
Sorry if the rules were not as clear as I would have liked. The term “Spotting Brackets” refers to the fourth column in my first table headed “Roll for Base Visibility” which is applied after the Base Visibility determined by the third column of that table. I will try to tidy that terminology up when I have some more time..
I have not used Mine Fields in my games so far and have not given the topic huge thought. You do, however, make a very important point. A major function of the S-Boats was to lay mines, which topic is touched on in Osprey’s “German E-Boats 1939-1945” and much more fully developed in the excellent book “Hitler’s Lost Flotillas” which details the mine laying and sweeping function of the various Kriegsmarine security vessels.
I would be interested in your thoughts or others more expert in this area than me, but it seems to me that contact type mines or floating mines should be reasonably visible to an Average or Veteran Crew up to Combat Speed in decent visibility conditions.
Proximity or magnetic mines would be a much more difficult thing to ‘spot’ however in terms of the scale of our game. My own instinct would be to treat contact mines or floating (as opposed to submerged anchored) proximity mines as a small stationary vessel for detection purposes.
A submerged anchored proximity mine would be much hard to detect by a vessel moving at anything above Slow Speed, but they should pose little threat to a vessel of Medium or smaller size in terms of the scale of our game. I would be inclined to shift the base visibility level down one level and impose a -1 modifier to any spotting skill checks for these types of mines.
I can already see some great scenario ideas for a force of S-Boats or MTB’s trying to lead a squadron of larger enemy ships into a mine field!
May 26, 2020 at 6:21 pm #178594
- This reply was modified 3 years ago by Mark Robins.
Thanks for explanation, Mark.
Re spotting mine fields: I am no expert so I cannot provide further ideas how detailed to implement such a rule considering various mine types.
Re “Blinds” in your houserule: Using fake markers seems to be the only way to play an “hidden” unit, in any tabletop game.
But if dummies are acting too long, a game looses ist fascination – as painter of models, you want to see them in action. In worst case one reveals his vessel for the last 2 turns in a game. So apply your visibility rules in the 2 or 3 first turns only?
May 26, 2020 at 6:57 pm #178596invisible officerParticipant
- This reply was modified 3 years ago by Laurence.
There was near to no chance to see a submerged mine. Even the contact mine was deep enough to be invisible. So normally S-Boote and MTB could pass contact mine fields without risk.
The magnetic, pressure or sound mines are very difficult to clear. There are settings that made them immune to the first contacts in a given time, so a Sperrbrecher might pass and in fact activate the mine, not clearing it. Next the escorted ship and – Booooom
Sprengbojen and similar Allied stuff destroyed the cleaning wires of the sweepers.July 12, 2022 at 7:43 am #187953
Still got your Night Actions Visibility Rules v1.
Example: spotting from the bridge of a huge vessel has generally more spotting chance than from the bridge of a small one.
What is the reason of not using the viewer’s vessel size as spotting modifier?
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