Sunday, January 8, 2017

Trying Perfidious Albion

Having mostly finished painting the 1/3000th scale ships Jamie bought me for my birthday at the Vapnartak before last (and with this year's Vapnartak less than a month away) I decided to remind myself of the Perfidious Albion rules.

I've got the fleets required to refight the battles of Coronel and the Falkland Islands from 1914 but I thought I'd better start with something smaller (I'd only previously tried the rules very briefly using paper cut-out ships).

Choosing about 30,000 points a side gave me two flotillas - the Germans have the armoured cruiser Gneisenau and the light cruisers Nuernberg and Leizig whilst the British have two armoured cruisers; Cornwall and Monmouth.

The date is 1910 and I'm assuming that a secret German plan to invade England has come to light.  The Admiralty has ordered any British ships at see to engage and sink any German vessels they encounter.

As you can see I'm playing on a suitably blue carpet rather than occupying the kitchen table.

The weather is heavy and visibility is limited to 2000 yards; 12 inches game scale. The two flotillas have passed each other on opposite courses and the Germans are now turning about to pursue the British.  The latter are sailing away as Cornwall is currently unable to turn due to steering gear damage.

Leipzig's crew, meanwhile, are busy fighting a fire that has broken out belowdecks.

I've cut out the ship charts from the rules or from the Fighting Fleets supplement, attached them to 105x148mm inkjet cards, and sealed them with my laminator before cutting them to size.  As I play I'm also finding additional bits of information that could usefully be put on the cards - tonnage and turning circle come immediately to mind. I need to find a better erasable pen to make off hits.

I've made an error and made this first scenario harder to play than I should have. I diced for the weather conditions and decided to go ahead despite the sea state being "heavy".  This adds complexity to the combat resolution.

In the case of Leipzig with the damage she's taken above, firing broadside at point-blank range in heavy seas, the sum is as follows.  Four F-type guns at 60% chance to hit gives 240%.  But because lower-mounted guns are harder to fire when the ship is pitching and rolling with waves breaking over the superstructure, we deduct 10% for each of the guns at level 2 and 20% for each of the guns at level 3. This gives a modified total score of 180%.  That means one automatic straddle and an 80% chance of a second.  For each straddle you then roll a d6 and a d10 to determine the hit location.  After that you need to compare the shell's penetration with the armour, if any, on the hit location. If the armour is penetrated the location is destroyed.  

My first impression is that I wouldn't want to give novice players more than a ship or two to handle.  Overall, though, I like the game at first sight.  I suspect there are more realistic pre-Dreadnought era rules out there but not being an expert on the period I'll probably stick to these for now.

Having done more reading on Coronel and the Falklands, though, I might stick to fictional scenarios as both are one-sided affairs. Also I rather fancy going earlier; perhaps the 1880s when there are some really weird ships around.


Richard Naylor said...

Have you looked at Fire When Ready? That's also by A&A Game Engineering and gives quite a good game.


Counterpane said...


No, I haven't but I'm aware of it because the Fighting Fleets book covers both games.

Am I right in guessing it's for bigger actions?

Richard Naylor said...

It does cover bigger actions but there is a system in it for covering smaller actions using the main rules but adding more detail. Admittedly I've not tried the more detailed option but I don't see any reason why it wouldn't work as the other rules work.

Counterpane said...

Cheers, Richard.

I think I'll stick with PA for now.

Richard Phillips said...

Coincidentally I have just been watching some YouTube PA videos set in 1890 Attack off Brighton Pier.

Counterpane said...

Ooh, I'll have to search for those.

I'd like to see ship cards for vessels not covered by the rules or Fighting Fleets. I'm disappointed that there don't seem to be any people offering these via the Internet.

Richard Phillips said...

Wargaming the Battle of Santiago de Cuba is a good watch as well