file Seekrieg 5 game

26 Oct 2014 20:13 #1 by Ralph
Seekrieg 5 game was created by Ralph
I rented one of the side rooms at the club in order to be able to play a large naval battle using my favourite naval rules, Seekrieg 5. The gam, starting at 10.00am and involving twelve ships and six players, was a reconstruction of the Russo-Japanese War Battle of the Yellow Sea (August 10th 1904).

Seekrieg 5 is a very detailed set of rules, providing historical accuracy but requiring some concentration. As most of the participants were unfamiliar with the rules, I played a very basic version and omitted a great many options, such as flag orders, limited ammunition supply, weather conditions, etc. However, as the game progressed and the players were drawn in they were keen to try out their secondary batteries, the use of smoke screens, and so on. Although I had given them some rough instruction on how to use torpedoes, the ships never came within range to use them.

The ships were set up with the two opposing battle fleets converging in line astern formation. The Russian fleet was heading east in an attempt to break out of the beseiged port of Port Arthur and reach Vladivostock. The Japanese aim was to sink them or 'persuade' them back to Port Arthur where the advancing Japanese army would soon be within artillery range of the harbour and be able to sink the fleet at its moorings. VPs would be awarded to the Russians on the ships that escaped to the east or turned around and escaped back to the west or remained relatively intact on the table at the end of the game. VPs to the Japanese were based on the damage caused to the Russian fleet, with a weighting in favour of the damage caused to ships that did not manage to escape to Vladivostock or were sunk during the battle.

The historical outcome of the battle was that the Russian admiral was killed by a shell hitting the bridge of the flagship. The Russian flagship was badly damaged, but escaped the battle to a neutral port where it was impounded. The commander of the second ship in the Russian line made a brave attempt to draw fire from the enemy away from his admiral's ship and onto his own by closing the distance between his ship and the Japanese fleet. This succeeded in allowing the flagship to escape, but he was severely injured by another shell hit on his own bridge, and succumbed to his wounds in 1910. None of the fleet managed to reach Vladivostock. Some ships reached neutral ports where they were impounded. The rest returned to Port Arthur where they were eventually sunk or scuttled in the harbour. The Japanese later refloated these ships and incorporated them into their own navy, but returned the ships in 1914 when they found themselves allied with Russia in the Great War.

Our game played out somewhat differently. Admittedly we only played for 26 minutes of game time, whereas the real battle took several hours. The Russian fleet first made an attempt to turn away from the pursuing Japanese fleet, but found themselves constrained by the table edge (the Manchurian coastline). The Japanese fleet struggled to close the distance to the Russians, and the third and fourth ships in the Russian line, benefitting from superior ranged primary guns, were able to open fire first. However it was the lead ships of the Japanese fleets that were able to make the first strikes, but none of the hits did significant damage. As more Japanese ships were able to bring their guns to bear, the centre Russian ships began to take worse damage. Several fires were started, and hits below the waterline threatened to flood the boiler rooms of one ship. This threat was contained by good damage control, but eventually the worst effected ship dropped behind a smoke screen to save itself from further damage. True to history, a lucky strike on the bridge also killed the commander of this ship. In contrast to history, as the range closed and gunnery became more deadly, it was the Russian flagship that won the artillery duel, and in the closing stages of the game the Japanese flagship took three damaging hits that left her listing, reduced to half speed, and with her guns out of action.

The Russians won the game on points, as the Japanese had failed to inflict sufficient damage on their fleet, but had the game continued the crippling of the Japanese flagship would have severely limited the chances of pursuing the Russians and preventing their breakout to Vladivostock. Perhaps the Japanese enthusiasm to shorten the range blinded them to the fact that the Russian fleet was still capable of inflicting damage given the right circumstances. The loss of this ship could easily have changed the course of the war, as it was one of only six capital ships that the Japanese possessed and was instrumental in the later spectacular defeat of the Russian fleet at Tsushima.


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27 Oct 2014 18:13 #2 by Brett
Replied by Brett on topic Seekrieg 5 game
Thanks for a great game Ralph, it was good fun and I really enjoyed it. I would happily play it again and the rules were good, although I'm glad you were there to run them!

All the best


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28 Oct 2014 17:04 #3 by DaiBry
Replied by DaiBry on topic Seekrieg 5 game
Yes, good game, despite the fact that I only hit something twice in the whole game! Things definitely speeded up once we got the hang of the mechanics.

Would like to try the Battle of the River Plate with these rules.


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28 Oct 2014 17:15 #4 by Ralph
Replied by Ralph on topic Seekrieg 5 game
I've played the River Plate using these rules and it went very well. As you probably realise by now, the rules are best suited to games where one player controls a maximum of two ships, at least until they become conversant.

The Yellow Sea was the biggest game I have played to date, and it stretched the boundaries of what was possible with people who had never used the rules before. The trouble is that in the past I have introduced a lot of people to Seekrieg 5 and they have all liked it, but then leave the club or forget the rules, and my aim to build up a core of proficient players has never been achieved.

I usually start people off with either Denmark Straits or the River Plate, as these involve a small number of ships. My models for these are a lot smaller and not as attractive, but I would happily give you a game of River Plate whenever you wish.


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28 Oct 2014 17:47 #5 by DaiBry
Replied by DaiBry on topic Seekrieg 5 game
That will be great. I have a lot of affection for River Plate - my mates and I played it often many years ago using 1/3000 scale ships and the old Skytrex/Davco rules - which I still around I think.

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