Victory at Sea – First Impressions
I played my first game of Victory at Sea (Mongoose Games) organised by Derek last night. Neither of us were completely conversant with the rules, though Derek had produced some superb quick reference aids which certainly facilitated play.
We played using 1/3000 Skytrex ships representing the British and Italian navies in the Mediterranean in the Second World War.
The British started the game with a carrier and support escorting a convoy midway along the north long side of the table. The Italians started with their battleship, cruisers and destroyers in the South East corner. The Italians had to sink the cargo ships and escorts before the British relief turned up.
3 cargo ships
British Relief Force
The game opened with the Italian fleet splitting with the destroyers sweeping north, with the principal sheets heading west. The British made full speed towards the South West corner. The carrier was so effective at this in the ensuing turns that it was off the table in 4 turns without having been engaged.
The second turn saw the first serious combat. Both the Italians and Brits released torpedos and fired their main weapons. One British cruiser was soon a floating hulk though not before it had sunk one of the Italian destroyers..
The third turn saw the Italian destoyers start to close with the cargo ships whilst the main Italian ships engaged the cruisers and destroyers (Needless to remind you that the British Carrier was by now alomost off the table). One cargo ship down.
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To finish the story, the British cruiser “Bonaventure” was soon disappearing beneath the waves as were the Destroyers “Nubian” and “Mohawk” for the loss of 1 Italian destroyer. Whilst the convoy remnants limped for the safe zone (tanker only moved 1.5″ at flank speed) the remaining Italian destroyers harried them like dogs! The cruiser “Ajax” was forced to attack the 3 major Italian ships in order to buy some time for the “Warspite” to engage. Unfortunately, as “Warspite” appeared “Ajax” was slipping beneath the waves at the additional loss of the “Garibaldi” to the Italians. Some particularly good gunfire from the Italian battle ship resulted in 12 damage and two criticals affecting the engines and secondary weapons! Effectively, the British Navy had failed to support the convoy as the destroyers sank the merchant navy vessels with torpedoes and secondary weapons, at this point the “Warspite” decided to shadow the retreating “Illustrious”aircraft carrier.
The game was devised as a potential engagement from the forces available in March 1941 at Cape Matapan. We did not use the points system from the rules (obviously too thick to grasp the concept) and decided for reality.
The rules worked well enabling a number of ships to be handled in a game by two novices. I think that the layout of the rules could be improved but did not hamper the flow of the game too much. One query I have with the rules is regards critical hits and ships with armour 6+ as it would appear all hits would therfore be potential criticals. (something to clarify). More games to play I guess. Thanks Warren, an excellent game even if I saw few ships returning to base.