TITLE: General Quarters...Complete and Comprehensive Rules for 1/3000 Naval Wargaming
AUTHOR: L.L. Gill
PUBLICATION DATE: 1974
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM:
PRICE (with date): $14.00 (in 2009)
REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin
PERIOD COVERED: World War 2
THE BOOK: General Quarters is a 8.5” x 5.5” booklet 42 pages long. It is a simple photocopy inside a cardstock cover. The book also contains a blank ship record sheet and pages of charts you can remove.
SCOPE: General Quarters is a game of tactical naval warfare during World War 2. It also includes a campaign guide.
ARMY SIZE: General Quarters may be played with any number of ships.
BASE UNIT: Each unit is a single ship. Each plane model represents two planes.
- Ground Scale: 4 inches = 1000 Yards
- Time scale 1 turn = 6 minutes
- Figure/Base Ratio: 1 model = 1 ship
- Recommended Figure Size: 1/3000 scale models but conversions for 1/1200 are given. (The game may also be played with 1/6000 scale figures with no modification necessary).
- Table Size: Games can be played in a 10x10 foot area
- Game Length: Most games should be playable in one evening
BASING SIZES: No basing of ships is required - basing is strictly for aesthetic and functional purposes.
- Ship Movement: Player A moves all his ships and lays smoke screens, followed by Player B.
- Torpedoes hit targets: torpedoes fired in prior turns intercept their targets and damage is recorded.
- Air Attacks: Air-to-air combat, anti-aircraft fire and air bombardment are resolved.
- Gunnery Combat: Gunnery combat is resolved and then damage is recorded.
- Torpedoes are launched by both sides.
- Repair (Damage Control): Players may attempt to repair ships, regain power and put out fires. Sunk ships are removed at this time.
- Smoke screen sections placed during the prior turn are removed.
Movement: Ships move 2” for every 5 knots of speed. They may change speed by 3” each turn. A 45 degree turn is equal to 1” of movement and a turn gauge is provided (though it must be copied and cut from the back page of the rule book). If players prefer they may write their movement and move simultaneously. Speed and turning capacity can be affected by damage and critical hits of course.
Any time two ships move within 1” of each other players must dice for a possible collision. If the ships collide they do damage to each other - so don’t get too close!
Divisions: Players are expected to group their ships into divisions as their historical counterparts did. Each division must maintain a formation and move and turn together. Ships may move independently under certain circumstances (avoiding or launching torpedoes for example).
Gunnery Combat: During the Gunnery Combat phase both players may fire with all their ships. Fire is considered to be simultaneous - damage is recorded after all fire has been resolved. Fire is resolved separately for each battery - they are not combined together.
When a battery fires, three six sided dice are rolled. The first die determines if the salvo straddles the target. The Straddle Table uses gun size and range - plus a few modifiers - to give a straddle target. If the die roll is equal to or less than straddle target, the shot is successful. Otherwise the salvo missed.
If a target is straddled the second and third dice determine the damage from the Gunnery Combat Results Table. To generate a result an odds ratio between the Attack Factor (AF) of the firing battery and the Defensive Factor (DF) of the target. Compare the die roll to the attack odds (AF/DF). The result is either a miss or a number of hits to the target. The first die indicates the hull hits inflicted, the second die indicates the number of armament hits inflicted. For each hit, mark off one box - either hull or armament as appropriate - on the ship’s chart. Each hit reduces the ship’s capabilities - slowing the ship, knocking out guns etc. These losses are “generic” there is no hit location chart.
Note: if the firing ship rolls three sixes it has suffered a turret explosion! This is not a good thing.
If the Gunnery CRT result for hull hits is marked with an asterisk, a critical hit has resulted. Critical hits are in addition to the hull hits. A die is rolled determining the kind of critical hit. These can range from fires to massive explosions (of course!).
Armor: The straddle table also indicates penetration. There is no die roll - either the firing gun penetrates the target’s armor at that range or not. If not, hull hits are halved, many critical hits are ignored, and armament hits may not affect main guns.
Radar: In GQ radar has two functions. First it allows enemy ships to be spotted even beyond visual range. Second, it may also allow ships to fire at the enemy beyond visual range. It is more important in campaign games (see below) as detection is crucial.
Torpedo Combat: Torpedoes in GQ are launched in one turn and hits and damage are checked for in the following turn. Torpedoes are fired by mounts. When a mount is fired, the firing player must write down the number of mounts firing, the target, and the estimation of the target’s course. An exact plot of the target’s course is not required - instead one indicates simply one of four general courses: turn to port; turn to starboard; maintain course; or reverse. Torpedo spreads fired with the correct course estimate may result in a hit.
A die is rolled and cross referenced with the number of torpedoes fired on the Torpedo Hit Chart. The result indicates how many torpedoes actually hit. For each torpedo that hits a die is rolled. This is cross referenced with the DF of the target. The result is the number of hull and armament hits inflicted. In addition this chart also indicates critical hits. It is possible for a single hit to sink the target outright.
Air Operations: GQ includes substantial, though abstract, air operations rules.
Each aircraft is assigned to a specific mission. Allowable missions are:
- A - Anti-submarine patrols
- B - Medium and high-level bombing missions
- D - Divebombing
- F - Fighter missions including CAP and escort
- FB - Fighter bomber missions
- R - Reconnaissance
- T - Torpedo Bombing
The aircraft lists indicate which aircraft types may perform which missions, as well as detailing their bomb load, range, etc. The number of aircraft on each mission is recorded and tracked on a roster. The rules detail landing and take off capacity of carriers, floatplanes, spotting, etc. Most air action actually takes place on the campaign map (if used - see below).
Aerial Combat is a simple matter of adding the attacking anti-air factors together and rolling a die. However, each type of defending aircraft must be attacked separately. Checking the Aircraft & MTB CRT gives a result of the number of enemy aircraft disbursed/destroyed. Combat is simultaneous - casualties are removed after all attacks are resolved. If escorts and CAP are present, they fight first. Surviving CAP planes may then attack incoming bombers. Anti-air fire by ships is resolved in exactly the same manner, but obviously the ship’s AA rating is used.
Attacks by aircraft on ships are resolved using a two step procedure. First, the number of bomb hits is determined. The Bomb Hit Table uses a die roll cross-indexed with the mission type and the number of aircraft. The result is the number of hits scored. Then for each hit the Bomb Damage Table is consulted. Cross indexing the target’s DF with a die roll yields a number of hull and armament hits. Critical Hits are also noted on the chart. A bomb hit can cause up to 4 hull point of damage or even sink the ship outright.
There are additional rules for:
- Using aircraft as gunnery spotters
- Attacking air bases
- Kamikaze attacks
Campaign Operations: GQ includes a short set of rules for running mini-campaigns. A hex or graph paper map is used. In the campaign game one turn equals one hour, and each hex/square represents an area 15x15 miles. These simple campaign rules cover:
- Movement (essentially a double blind system requiring a judge)
- Air operations
- Moving from the map to a tactical battle on the miniatures table
- Submarine combat
- Damage Repair
The rule book contains fleet lists for the US, Britain, German, Japan, France and Italy. While not every ship type and variant is covered all of the main ship and aircraft types are listed. Additional ship data may be found at various web sites.
The hardest part about reading General Quarters is actually the physical book. The type is rather small and the print quality is only mediocre. I simply found it hard on my eyes and as it is typed the layout is a bit clunky. On the other hand, the rules themselves are very easy to understand. There are few examples in the rule book but they examples are complete and well chosen.
I have played GQ perhaps half a dozen times. It is just my speed. I am no expert on naval combat at this level - I know my history but I can’t tell you the difference between this radar system and that. GQ operates at an abstract enough level that that detail can be accounted for and yet let me focus on tactics and maneuver. I have always enjoyed the game and recommend it to others.