TITLE: Victory At Sea: Age of Dreadnoughts
AUTHOR: David Manley
PUBLISHER: Mongoose Publishing
PUBLICATION DATE: 2009
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM:
PRICE (with date): $29.95 (in 2008)
REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin
PERIOD COVERED: The First World War at sea
THE BOOK: Like most Mongoose publications, Age of Dreadnoughts (AoD) is a nice looking book. The new edition is a hard back with a full color cover. The book weighs in at 128 pages of which the rules take up 27 pages (including all advanced rules).
SCOPE: Age of Dreadnoughts is a tactical game of naval combat during the First World War.
ARMY SIZE: AoD can be played with any number of ships per side.
BASE UNIT: In AoD each model represents one actual ship.
- Ground Scale: One inch is approximately 500 yards
- Time Scale: None stated
- Figure/Base Ratio 1 model = 1 actual ship
- Recommended Figure Size: Suitable for use with any scale from 1:6000 to 1:2400.
- Table Size: A 4’ x 6’ table is assumed.
- Game Length: Most games should be playable in 2-3 hours.
BASING SIZES: There are no basing requirements. Measurements are from an agreed upon point (front stack or bridge for example) so basing is strictly up to the players.
- Pre Game Scouting: Players may put some ships into a scouting screen. Winning the scouting lets the winner deploy second, and gives a +2 to initiative rolls. Ships in the screen arrive during the game as reinforcements.
- Initiative Phase: Each player rolls two dice. High roller may choose to move first or second.
- The Movement Phase: Players alternate moving ships/squadrons one at a time.
- Gunnery Attack Phase: Players alternate firing with ships. Firing is not considered simultaneous!
- Torpedo Attack Phase (Advanced Game Only): Players alternate making torpedo attacks - torpedo attacks are resolved simultaneously.
- Air Attack Phase (Advanced Game Only): All attacks by aircraft are resolved.
- End Phase: Damage Control takes place.
Ship Characteristics: Each ship in AoD is rated for the following characteristics:
- Speed: The distance in inches it may move in one turn.
- Turning: The relative speed with which the ship turns.
- Target: A measure of how hard this hip is to hit with guns.
- Armor: A measure of how good the ship’s armor is.
- Damage: There are two scores. The first is the total number of hits the ship may take. The second is the level at which the ship is considered Crippled.
- Crew: There are two scores. The first is the total number of crew hits the ship may take. The second is the level at which the ship is considered to have a Skeleton Crew.
- Special Traits: These are ship specific rules for such things as Agile, Tough, etc.
- Service Dates: To assist in scenario planning.
Weapon Characteristics: Each weapon in AoD is rated for the following characteristics:
- Range: The maximum range in inches the weapon may fire at the enemy.
- Attack Dice: The number of dice this weapon rolls when attacking the enemy.
- Damage Dice: The number of damage dice rolled for each hit scored.
- Arcs: Weapons have limited arcs of fire - each weapon’s arc is listed.
- Special: Some weapons have special characteristics, such as being Slow Loading or Superior Armor Piercing.
Movement: Each ship is rated for movement. Ships must move at least 1” and may move any speed up to their maximum. There are no rules for speed changes from turn to turn. Turning is restricted to twice each movement phase. A ship may turn once half way through its move again, and again at the end of its movement. Ships have a Turn rating which determines how quickly they turn. A “turn gauge” is used for all ships. A rating of 3 allows a ship to make a 90 degree turn.
Gunnery Combat: Gunnery combat is a very simple process. Each ship’s guns are rated for Attack Dice and Damage Dice. Additionally each ship has a Target rating. To resolve combat roll one attack dice for every firing weapon. For every die that equals or exceeds the target rating of the enemy ship a hit is scored. For every hit scored roll the corresponding Damage Dice. Each die that equals or exceeds the target’s armor rating scores one point of damage. Additionally, roll one die for each point of damage scored. A 6 results in a critical hit.
Critical hits are resolved by first determining the location of the hit and then rolling on the location table for effects. Critical Hits can vary from damaged boilers reducing speed, to starting fires, to catastrophic explosions!
Torpedo Attacks: Torpedo attacks are part of the advanced game. There is no pre-plotting. Instead firing units place markers next to their targets. For each attack a die is rolled. On a 5 or 6 the torpedo was aimed correctly. If aimed correctly, the torpedo rolls a D6 against the enemy ship’s Target rating. Damage is different than gunfire. For each hit roll 3 dice - that is the number of damage points caused. Additionally, for every 5 points of damage (rounding up) done a critical hit is automatically caused.
Advanced Rules: There is a short set of advanced/optional rules which include simple rules for:
- Squadrons: This requires ships to keep a formation but allows the entire squadron to move and fire together. Squadrons may contain up to 6 ships. Squadrons require a flagship and there are some very basic command and control rules.
- Destroyer Flotillas: Essentially squadrons without the flagship or command and control limits.
- Variable Command: For the advanced game you may determine crew quality randomly.
- Bad Weather
- Night Actions
- Low Visibility
- Tactical Withdrawals
- Aircraft and aircraft carriers
- Shore batteries
- Multi player games
The rule book contains extensive fleet lists. Included in the rule book are lists for:
- The Royal Navy
- The Kaiserliche Marine
- The Imperial Russian Navy
- The Turkish Navy
- The United States Navy (6th Battle Squadron, Grand Fleet)
There are also five generic scenarios and five historical scenarios as well as a mini campaign. The historical scenarios included are:
- Coronel Nov. 1, 1914
- Battle of the Falkland Islands December 8, 1914 Part 1
- Battle of the Falkland Islands December 8, 1914 Part 2
- Battle of Dogger Bank January 24, 1915
- Battle of Cape Sarych, November 18, 1914
Age of Dreadnoughts is a simple straightforward game. It would make a very good game for beginners new to naval gaming. The rule book suffers from the usual spotty editing we’ve come to expect from Mongoose. All of the cross references are still blank (i.e. the rules say “See page XX” instead of “See page 19”). The damage resolution is not under the heading “Damage” but earlier under the heading “Special Rule - British Ranging Procedures.” And the layout can be a bit confusing at times.
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