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Use of HBG's "Old BB's" in house rules



  • I’m currently mulling over the issue of how the “old BB’s” that HBG is producing ought to be used.  Forgive me if the following seems a little disjointed, but they are a collection of thoughts all related to this issue, which didn’t seem to fit neatly on any other thread…

    “Old BB’s” as used by nearly all of the naval powers of the day were tremendously more powerful that heavy cruisers, so IL’s 3/3/2 doesn’t seem to me to do them justice.  (See First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, Friday 13th 11/1942; it took a whole flotilla of cruisers to head off a force of 2 Japanese “old BB’s”… and there wasn’t much left of the US force afterwards.  What’s more, even the biggest Japanese loss, an old BB or Battlecruiser, wasn’t sunk but had to be finished off by aircraft, so it would probably have been saved if the US hadn’t controlled the neighboring island with its airfield.)  We’re talking 12"-16" guns in nearly all cases and ships 3x the size of a CA.

    Also, most old BB’s had been extensively modernized; depending on the degree to which this was true, the only real capability gap was generally just speed and fuel efficiency.  (Lack of fuel efficiency was actually the main reason why the US didn’t bring any of its old BB’s to Guadalcanal.)  Can speed be used as a differentiator between ships without messing up the game balance?  If so, is it better done by making the fast ships a 3 movement or the slow ships a 1?

    One more thought: I noticed that the Holstein BB was recently added to the list for the early-war German set… is it too early to change this?  The Holstein class is a pre-dreadnought, not anywhere close to the capability of the dreadnought BB’s that even the oldest BB’s fielded by the other powers would have.  Though they weren’t that “old”, I still think the Scharnhorst would be a better fit.  Note that while it had good armor, its 11" guns put it in a similar category overall with, say, an updated Nevada or a rebuilt Andrea Doria.  The French Dunkerque, with its 13" guns and somewhat thin armor would be an equally good choice for a French “old BB,” even though technically not that old… plus you’d be throwing a bone to those of us who’d rather have a line-up of new CB’s than old BB’s anyway… but anyway, even as an “old BB”, Holstein is a mis-fit, considerably below not only old BB’s and new CB’s in capability, but even the German pocket BB’s in capability (note that the Pocket BB’s were actually built to replace German pre-dreanoughts.)


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    IL’s 3/3/2 doesn’t seem to me to do them justice.

    you left out these are two hit BB’s…they are not like cruisers

    Also, fast battleships are a different class even if they are based on old design. The old US 21 knot jobs are still in the 2 space range as well as the fast carriers (33-35 knots).

    Moving 3 and 1 would terribly effect the game. I played games with this notion and they just dont work.

    Keeping it simple is to lower the attack/defense and maintain the other attributes…that is under a D6 system.

    A D12 is another matter.



  • Moving 3 and 1 would terribly effect the game. I played games with this notion and they just dont work.

    Just to be clear, I wasn’t contemplating doing both but perhaps one or the other.

    Which board were the games you referred to played on?  Does it matter which board?  In classic, 1942, and revised, things are pretty close together on the seas, but might such a thing work in Anniversary, or Global 1940 or in HBG’s giant Global War 1939?

    If speed could be a differentiator, it could also be a differentiator for CVE’s, transports and perhaps DE’s too.  In the real world, these three types tended to be grouped together into amphibious task forces (often part of the 7th Fleet) while the faster ships, new BB’s, CB’s, CA’s, CL’s, CV’s, and CVL’s, would be grouped into fast carrier task forces (3rd or 5th Fleet).  I’ve tried this approach before, using classic pieces (BB’s as old BB’s, classic carriers as CVE’s, and pieces from “Enemy on the Horizon” for DE’s) and it seemed to work pretty well, though we never had a chance to finish that game all the way through.  (I can’t remember now whether I slowed down the old ships or speeded up the new ones, it was too long ago.)  I’m thinking about experimenting with another such game with my students in a tournament next month to see how it goes, as part of my “World War II Camp” idea.


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    @DrLarsen:

    Can speed be used as a differentiator between ships without messing up the game balance?  If so, is it better done by making the fast ships a 3 movement or the slow ships a 1?

    Here’s an idea I’ve had in the past to tackle this problem. I have not tried it yet, but it would be used on G40 and GW39. Basically, “fast” ships are the only ones that benefit from naval bases and get that 3rd MP. I know it doesn’t have much based in reality, but it does fir with the game mechanics and gives an incentive to upgrade your fleet.



  • nations with an “old bb” piece from HBG I’ve replaced improved mech inf. tech with heavy battleship tech. HBG become the standard BB and used at set up and can be purchased until you get the tech. After you get the tech you can buy the OOB battleships as heavy battleships. These Heavy Battleships are 4/4/2/20 units just like standard but take 3 hits to sink and roll two dice in combat taking the best roll and using it.



  • @Yavid:

    nations with an “old bb” piece from HBG I’ve replaced improved mech inf. tech with heavy battleship tech. HBG become the standard BB and used at set up and can be purchased until you get the tech. After you get the tech you can buy the OOB battleships as heavy battleships. These Heavy Battleships are 4/4/2/20 units just like standard but take 3 hits to sink and roll two dice in combat taking the best roll and using it.

    Interesting idea, though I’m not sure if I want to make it a “tech” thing, especially since all the nations had new BB’s already in production before the war started.  I’d be more inclined to make it a “tech” ability to create a TRUE SBB along the lines of Yamato, Montana or H-class (and perhaps Sovietsky Soyuz, and, perhaps even more arguably Iowa, Vanguard and Lion), of which the Yamato is the only one we’re likely to have a piece for any time soon (and of which only the Yamato was ever actually built)… I might try something along these lines, along with maybe a “super-cruiser” and/or “super-carrier” tech if and when I ever decide to try using some of my painted NAVWAR or Panzerschiffe pieces on a very big map like GW1939… but I don’t see the likelihood of having AA-scale pieces of any of the other true SBB’s any time soon.

    Another idea: perhaps old BB’s could be a 3/4/2 unit or a 4/3/2 unit; the rationale here is that the “real world” speed difference may not be enough to make a difference in the category of strategic mobility (which is what speed really represents in game terms, and most especially on the smaller board versions) but rather that the old/new speed difference should be understood as more an issue of “tactical” mobility which could put old BB’s in a combat disadvantage on either defense or offense?  If so, though, in which of the two would the lack of tactical mobility be more important?  I’m leaning toward it being a bigger disadvantage on offense, but I’d be interested in hearing other opinions.

    In any case, keep in mind, for all of you out there who plan to use some sort of “old BB” house rules, that classic BB pieces are about perfect for this while we’re waiting for HBG to get to all of the nations’ version of one.  Similarly, the classic version’s carriers are almost perfect for generic CVE’s.  Variable or Coach, do you guys have classic pieces available for these two unit types for most of the relevant nations for those who don’t have oodles of them lying around?


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