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Metal Ships!

My friend Pete convinced me to buy some 1:1200 scale metal ships for fleet battle games. He picked up some Russo Japanese War Battleships and frigates and I being the most dapper of war gaming hipsters acquired some 30 ships from the well known Sino-Japanese War. I spent today gluing my fingers together and basing the ships.

Yesterday we played a short skirmish with the Russo Jap ships using a simplish rule set.

It is grey at sea

The game is pretty simple, ships are split in to squadrons, plays roll for initiative then take it in turns to move each squadron and fire with each squadron and there's a phase for damage control and spotting (no ships start on the table instead you move dummy paper counters around until you are spotted). Combat is bucket o dice with a mixture of better dice and modifiers for the bigger guns. It makes sense, does a reasonable job of simulation and plays quick. The game adds colour with some interesting critical hit tables and a wide range of weaponry. The odds are fairly long (roll a d10 hit on an 8+) giving the game quite a realistic feel.

Pete is a much better naval commander than me, he picked a better approach angle and managed to maximize his firing arcs on my ships, as such he scored a lot more hits and seriously crippled both of my battleships. In response I swung into the middle of his line rather suicidally, lucked out and managed to critical one of his ships with a ram and another with a torpedo strike. It ended with both fleets limping off in a draw.

As someone who has zero desire to own a large box full of toy soldiers or learn lots of rules this is a pretty good way into minis gaming. It is comparable to boardgame alternatives, such as Star Wars Armada or the rather silly Dreadfleet by GW but its a bit lighter on arbitrary nonsense and doubles down on the manouvre warfare.

I've started to put together a campaign map / simple system for our future Sino Japanese war game.


  1. You are too kind. I did have the slight edge over you in terms of the quality of my cruisers.

    Looking forward to the Sino- Japanese campaign. I'll knock up some counters for the three sides we have together to use as markers too.




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