Surface Battle Group v3.0 released to public on wargamevault.com
(or, We play wargames because we like to blow stuff up!)
First let me thank the players of the prior edition of SBG for all of the questions and input. Version 3.0 contains what you asked about. The latest version of SBG is available at wargamevault.com . The game is fundamentally the same but I’ve added to, or changed, every single rule in some fashion.
The biggest things about v3.0 is that more ships have been added to the list and you can print your own “starter fleet” of 58 American and Russian surface vessels, subs, aircraft and ordnance. All that, as well as the cover, art are thanks to the incredible skill and talent of Chris Jones. The ships counters are slightly larger than 1/2400 scale. In addition, all of the game markers can be printed as well; no need to make your own. Eight scenarios are included; 5 of which are supported by the ship counter assortment.
It’s also a lot easier to add your favorite ships to your scenarios. The damage done by weapons has been systematized and put in tabular format. I don’t mind saying that I spent a great deal of time and effort in this area. The modern era is always evolving. I include the “conversion factors” for players to add the ships they want to play.
I designed “Surface Battle Group” because I enjoyed books like “The Hunt for Red October” and “Flight of the Intruder” and the subsequent movies. I searched in vain for a set of rules that was not mired in needless detail or so oversimplified that decision making and tactics were removed. The time scale and surface scale were chosen to fit play on a ping-pong or billiard table, and to have the ships actually maneuver with respect to each other.
Unlike many 20th and 21st century naval games I wanted a randomized range of damage inflicted by a hit rather than an absolute number. I just don’t believe the results of such a complex event are that easy to predict. As a result you roll dice for the amount of damage you do to account for variation of hit location. Large damage rolls drive special damage in the form of critical hits. Unique damage charts for each ship class are not needed.
The other thing I found lacking in modern era rules was the effect of crew quality. All of the mechanical and electrical systems on board a ship need maintenance, preparation and trained crews in order to function. A good crew will maintain its equipment better and have more reliable, better calibrated and more accurate systems than a poor crew. Also they will perform the damage control function with greater efficiency. Modifiers to the die rolls reflect this opinion. Morale failures represent a crew’s lack of preparedness and/or disbelief in their ability to cope with the problem rather than actual panic.
Questions on stealth and detection for both subs and aircraft have been integrated with an eye toward maintaining the proper “feel” without slowing down play. The new defensive missile fire resolution system for large encounters also quickens play.
Note that I have not defined what a “large” engagement is in terms of this game. While the number of vessels involved is obviously important to defining size, so is the skill level and experience of the players. The GM will have to make that call.