Sunday, March 27, 2016

Played a very enjoyable session of Axis & Allies: Naval Miniatures War At Sea

I've been playing a lot of World of Warships online lately, and found it highly entertaining..

Why just yesterday I sank an amazing 7 ships in a single engagement with a tier V Minekaze-class destroyer, one of my best efforts..

That being said, I've been wanting to get into War at Sea, by Avalon Hill (Hasbro) for some time now. (I can't believe I have to now add Hasbro to the hallowed name of Avalon Hill, but what are you going to do..)

I've been slowly buying ships and planes for this game over the last couple of years, and found pdfs of all the stats, which I then made into cards. They all fit nicely in my little organizer box which my friend Jim gave me earlier..

I painted up some islands the other day, as discussed here, and was ready to slug it out with my friend Jim.

I also finally got a chance to use my sea mat by Hots Mats for a change which is a plus.

I actually took it easy in our first session and stuck to "normal" battles; no alternate Earth stuff (Germany and the US vs Britain and Japan, that sort of thing etc)..

The first battle was a carrier battle in the Pacific, 159 points each.

We decided that the first player to knock out 100 enemy points wins..

The line up of the first game.. The Kaga vs the Enterprise, with respective fleets, somewhere in the Pacific..

We decided to use weather rules and used a d8 to see which direction it would go every turn.. A squall affects line of sight like an island.

I also marked up some wooden cubes I bought at the craft store for $1 with matching letters to place on our cards and respective ships to keep track of identical class ships individually. It turned out to be a smart move and helped ease play.

The Kaga...

My fleet in starting position at the Southern end..

The Enterprise...

The U.S. fleet at the Northern end..

I head North at first. but keep my carrier back.. Jim however surprised me by moving his carrier (CV) closer to me at first.... I had a deliciously fleeting thought of pouncing on that fragile CV with my big guns..

and didn't say anything.  He quickly realized though he made a mistake and retreated his carrier behind the island..

He kept his battleship (BB) and other ships, a cruiser (CA) and destroyers (DD) advancing South, trying to slip East around the middle island....

I positioned my BB behind the middle island to keep him from spotting me, and requiring his planes to look for me..

The island is blocking line of sight as you can see below and so Jim sent out his planes looking for me (we made a beginner mistake though, as we realized the BB couldn't be in a coastal area. It didn't make a difference as we were still not in LOS no matter where I put my BB).

Anyways, his planes kept looking for me, and all missed spotting checks..I did the same thing and the earlier aerial movements were really fruitless searches trying to find the other.. (You stop making aerial spot checks once the ships are in visual range and no LOS blocked).

The first opening salvos was when Jim's CA, a sub and two DDs were East of the middle island, facing my BB.. His BB though couldn't see me just yet.

Now that we could see each other, our torpedo and dive bombers did not have to do spotting checks, and thus there as some furious fighting all over my BB on top of the pop guns from his CA and DDs.

He closed in with his BB when it finally swung around the island, and we slugged it out.. I managed to sink him after some tense dice rolling..

My CV was nearby and it helped, and managed to place my own bombers on top of his CA and BB as well..It quickly became a shooting match on the sea and in the air..

However, he crippled my BB (I had 1 hull point remaining), and I desperately tried to make a run for it to hide in the squall.. I was surrounded by his remaining DDs, who were trying like jackals to take down my big BB..

A run to bad weather!

Try as he could though, my BB refused to sink.. I was more than amused..

However, la piece de resistance in this game was my two CAs that were heading North..

During the slug fest to the South of the middle island,  my two CAs were all this time swinging north West of the middle island while he was heading south to the East of the middle island like I said....

Jim did not do much with these 2 CAs other than send some ineffectual torpedo bombers at them, but it was too late as I headed straight for his CV.

His carrier was unprotected against my two CAs.. it was nothing but net as I went on a mad torpedo run and firing my pop guns at it while I was getting closer.. It was glorious as I sank it for the win.

We both enjoyed this session and liked the game so far. We quickly did another game, but this time, it as going to be a pure slugfest-city. The second battle was a non-carrier battle in the Atlantic, 147 points each. It was to be reminiscent of say, Jutland..No planes.. just gunnery and torpedoes. Old, old school.

Again, the first to sink 100 points of the enemy would win.

The Friedrich Der Gross vs HMS Repulse, with respective fleets, somewhere in the Atlantic.  

Jim suggested I use my remaining wooden cubes to make distinct numbering of my identifiers as we found in the first game that some excess discernment was needed in picking out friend and foe.

So I took out 10 minutes and numbered some cubes for my side. He would have the lettered cubes for IDing his side.

I let Jim position the islands to wherever he wanted for this game.. We rolled and did not get weather this game.

My monster BB, the Friedrich der Grosse and CA, the Prinz Eugen..

My German fleet at the beginning at the Southern end..

We both headed at the beginning toward the middle, and I headed my two big guys to the East, while everyone else to the West. Jim had a BB and a DD headed to the East of the middle island. They were thus isolated and I was going to use my big guns to slow them down a bit.

On the very first salvo of the game, the very first mind you, I rolled spectacularly, worthy of the Dice Hall of Fame.. I rolled so good, that right at the beginning, I reached his vital armour rating and his huge BB exploded and sank... the first salvo of this game as I said... Like right out of Jutland where several of the British BBs exploded as their magazines went up!

I even sunk the accompanying DD that was with his BB.. You can see below the black sank markers placed on the bottom two ships..

Right away, Jim was de-fanged, losing a large BB with me not getting a scratch.

I then just waited out of sight behind the Eastern middle island as I knew now Jim had to come to me to catch up on the points.

More bad luck hit Jim as his BB just West of the middle island did not really hurt me, and my subs were threatening him ships at such a close range.. (Subs bypass ship armour and can only be sunk by anti-submarine attacks, which usually DDs have only). Without DDs escorting you, your big ships are vulnerable to pesky torpedoes.

He had no choice but to retreat North as he realized he was de-fanged right at the beginning and his one shot of knocking out my BB and CA was not materializing.

I continued to press the issue, not letting up on him despite losing the Prinz Eugen, closing in with my subs and BB.

I even jokingly quoted Khan from Star Trek to him as I pressed the issue..(it so rare that I win games, that I took the time to ham it up jokingly).

Slowly, I chase Jim North with my subs and my BB while he kept retreating and retreating..

He tried to take shelter in the Northern island to no avail as my subs continue to fire torpedoes.

Realizing he can't win by retreating, Jim surprised me by suddenly heading South to meet my BB point blank.. He also sent his other crippled BB out from the coastal area to see if he can hit my BB with it's main gun, even at a far range.

My BB manages to survive as amazingly, his 2 BBs and his remaining CA don't sink it..

I then retreat my BB behind the island, and let my subs do the rest, sinking the CA for the 100 point win.

All in all, Jim was a good sport about it and we both very much enjoyed War at Sea, and resolved to play again.

I asked Jim if he ever comes across a booster pack of this increasingly hard to find game, to buy it for me and I'd reimburse him. He agreed.

For the remaining evening, we tried the light card game by FFG called Stars Wars: Empire vs Rebellion.

There is not much to say about this and won't elaborate after the nautical session. It's a cute cardgame.. light...with some strategy.. Good production values and the cards looks fine.

 I racked up the 7 VPs necessary to win the game.. We were both surprised I won all 3 games today, as usually I lose..

Anyways, an enjoyable gaming day. A hearty thumbs up!


  1. You missed your calling as a WWII naval officer. Well done at proceeding to kick my a$$ at everything that showed up on the gaming table!

    1. Bad dice rolls Jim, but it is nice to win once in a while. Good game! Thanks.

  2. Looks like a fun game, seems your World of Warships gaming is paying off !!!

    1. Yes, for sure. You should try out World of Warships.