For years now, I have been interested in World War II naval gaming, but I have always been scared off by the complexity of most rules systems. Thus, when Mongoose Publishing sent over a copy of their new game, Victory at Sea, I picked it up with a bit of trepidation. My fears were quickly laid to rest.
Victory at Sea is a complete game contained within a slender hardback book, packed with nice period photographs. The book is divided into a number of sections: rules (18 pages), scenarios (14 pages), campaign rules (6 pages) fleet lists (56 pages) and ship and aircraft counters (8 pages). The counters are a nice addition that allows you to play the game right after purchase; however, most people will probably want to quickly replace them with some actual miniatures.
The rules themselves are presented in a straightforward and easy to follow manner. Each game turn is divided into phases, the most important being the movement phase and the attack phase. During the movement phase, the players go back and forth moving one ship (or submarine or flight of aircraft) at a time. The attack phase is handled the same way with one ship firing at a time. During an attack, each ship fires a number of attack dice based on its number of turrets. Hits are determined based on range and the facing of the target ship. For every hit scored, the attacker gets to role a number of damage dice based on the size of its guns. These rolls are then compared to the armour value of the target ship. Any dice that beat the armour cause a point of damage and possibly a critical hit.
Small ships like destroyers have only a few damage points and can be quickly blown to pieces by a broadside from a heavy cruiser or battleship. Larger craft tend to be slowly battered to pieces, suffering multiple critical hits that impair the ship\'s performance. The best part about the combat system is how quick and simple it is, while still returning results that seem accurate and plausible.
Unlike some systems, Victory at Sea abstracts torpedo attacks into simple attack roles and does not depict the torpedoes on the board. This makes sense considering the time frame of a turn and how quickly ships can move around the board. Aircraft on the other hand are represented by counters depicting a flight of aircraft and can prove deadly to even the toughest ships.
With a bevy of historical scenarios to re-fight and extensive fleet lists covering all the major naval powers of World War II, players should have no shortage of possible battles to stage.
So, interested in giving Victory at Sea a try? You might be in luck. Mongoose Publishing sent along a couple of extra copies of the book and said we should feel free to give them away. If you would like to win one of these free copies, just post a comment after this article naming your favourite producer of World War II naval miniatures. Two respondents will be randomly selected to win a copy of the game.
This contest closes at noon, seven days from the date of posting, so get your comments in now.