Monday, August 1, 2016

Return to the High Seas

Naval Thunder
This past Saturday I had the opportunity to attend a mini gaming convention hosted by Royal Hobby in Rockford, IL in honor of their 45th anniversary.  If you are in the area Royal Hobby is well worth the visit.  I have been making regular visits for 30 plus years now.

I found out about the event through my gaming buddy Mike who informed me he was running a Naval Thunder event both days.  Mike and I along with Dan had previously formed Naval Thunder Gamers (NTG) to promote Naval Thunder at local conventions. 

Unfortunately the last three years has not seen much Naval gaming for me as the local annual Naval Convention (NAVCON) has fallen on a work weekend the last two years.  Additionally, I had discovered Bolt Action and Black Powder which has consumed the majority of my hobby time recently.
Naval Thunder ROCKCON 2013
When Mike told me about this event I jumped at the opportunity to attend as a player and refresh myself on the rules so I can share it with my newer gaming friends.  In addition, Dan confirmed he would attend so the NTG gang would be back together again.

The Saturday event (Battle of Savo Island) was scheduled to start at 10AM so the three of us met at a local restaurant for breakfast to catch up before heading over to set up.
Initial Set Up
Royal Hobby had secured a vacant store in the plaza they are located in and solicited judges to run various game systems for both days.  On Saturday they also hosted a modeling show/competition.  Not knowing how the day would go I had brought my IJA Bolt Action army along for a possible game.  While showing it to the guys I was encouraged to enter one of my models in the Model show.  I decided on the IJA 105mm howitzer by Warlord as I like how it turned out.
Warlord IJA 105mm Howitzer
Mike's Naval Thunder game started a bit late as it took some time to get things organized and recruit some more gamers.  We ended up having 5 players (3 American and 2 IJN) to start and another two that joined in later when someone had to leave.

IJN Column converges on USN in dead of night
I commanded a portion of the American fleet that included the HMS Canberra, USS Chicago, and two destroyers.  We have run this scenario a few times before as it is a great gun fight which plays to the strengths of Naval thunder.  In the past the taskforce I was commanding has been brutalized early and sunk as it was historically, so I did not expect to be in the game long.  I was joined by a young man (Thomas) along with Dan who commanded the balance of the US cruisers and DDs.
View from USS Chicago
The IJA were comprised of Heavy and light cruisers divided into two groups.  The scenario is a night fight, but the IJN get and advantage of aerial flares which essentially lights up the American ships making it a day action for the first two turns for the Japanese.
HMS Canberra takes damage and is set ablaze
The action started as expected with the IJN targeting my group, but instead of spreading out their fire their inexperience showed and they concentrated fire on the Canberra making it harder to hit due to the additional Splash markers.  They sorted this out by turn two and started to score some hits on Canberra to include removing a main gun turret and starting a fire.
USS Chicago moves up to Cover Canberra withdrawal and torpedoes are in the water.
By turn three I was able to turn away with Canberra and engage with the Chicago.  Chicago was deadly accurate scoring 4 penetrating hits causing massive damage to IJN Chokai while the other US Cruisers and DD moved in and delivered the killing blow.
USS Chicago delivers a crippling blow to Chokai
The IJN essentially split their forces with half engaging Tomas and Dan and the other half going after my command.   By turn 4 torpedoes were in the water along with continued highly accurate American gunnery at close range.  The Canberra had turned back into the fight and delivered a deadly torpedo spread herself.
American DDs go down after delivering their Torpedoes.  Two more IJN cruisers slip below the waves
By the end of turn 5 four IJN cruisers were on the way to the murky bottom at the cost of only 2 American DDs a heavily damaged Canberra and a moderately damaged USS Chicago.
HMS Canberra manages to cross the T and delivers a deadly Torpedo spread
This time the scenario did not produce historical results and produced an overwhelming American victory.  More importantly through all on both sides had a great time.
A casualty comparison tells the story that it was not a good night for the IJN
Kudos to Mike for taking the initiative and running the game.  He was back on Sunday to host the Battle of Java Sea, but I have not heard the report from that as I had other priorities on Sunday.

Java Sea NAVCON 2013
It was great to get back to Naval Thunder after a almost three year hiatus.  Mike, Dan and I definitely have plans to make this happen again much sooner.  By the end of the day there was talk of a combined effort for running at least one Naval Thunder scenario at What Khan this fall which is combining with NAVCON this year.
What is this a blue ribbon?
At the end of the day went to pick up my IJA Howitzer and was pleasantly surprised to learn my entry had placed first in the 1:48 and under military model category, and yes there were more than one entry.  :)
Top three in the category I was entered
All in all a great day of gaming and reconnecting with old friends.  Winning in the model contest which included a nice set of Testor acrylic paint was icing on the cake.
Acrylic paint set courtesy of Testor donation
Thank you Royal Hobby for making this possible.  Happy Anniversary!


1 comment:

  1. Congrats! And it looks like it was a great game. Glad to see everyone had fun with a very nice naval action.