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Stand easy… You’ve signed on for a challenging voyage exploring the classic era of naval combat in the first half of the Twentieth Century. Whether you’re a shellback or a new hand, you’ll find this new commission fun. Many of you are plank owners who’ve earned your ratings with previous editions of General Quarters. You’ll find much that is familiar, but everything in this new Third Edition has been enhanced to provide a more detailed, authentic simulation. Glance through the pages that follow; you’ll soon find a familiar berth.
Throughout, I’ve held fast to the key General Quarters design parameters - accuracy and playability. An authentic simulation requires detail to reflect the many complexities of Twentieth Century naval warfare. Hence, the Third Edition adds much new detail: national armament characteristics, a “no odds” gunnery system, specific damage, separate secondary and tertiary batteries, variable number of hull boxes to better reflect differences in hull size, the impact of radar and sonar, a more intuitive and realistic torpedo system, morale, damage control, tactical mine operations and a new night combat system to recreate the chaotic conditions of nocturnal encounters.
Many claim that the rise of the airplane “spoiled the fun” of a good ship fight. Maybe, but it’s inescapable that air power had become the dominant factor in naval warfare by the early days of World War II. Accordingly, the Third Edition takes the issue head on with a new aerial module that features tactical movement, altitude, aerial combat, AA fire, bombing, aerial torpedoes and rockets. Even the harrowing certainty of approaching kamikazes can now be yours. Add submarines and tactical ASW and you’ve got combat in three dimensions. No dreary dog watches on this commission!
But, a simulation also needs to be playable… and fun! Hence, much attention has been paid to rigging the detail and complexity into the game tables to avoid your floundering in a sea of minutia and bookkeeping. Ship Damage Summaries have been re-engineered into 600 Ship Logs for the warships of the major combatants to provide more data at a glance and enable you to easily track the status of each ship. Just photocopy Logs and you’re ready to go. The result is a more complex, textured simulation; but best of all, no more difficult to play.
The basic ship values and system remain. All that’s new has been firmly welded to the General Quarters keel. Recognizing that air power may not be your cup of tea, you’ll also find an alternative air module provided in Part IV which abstracts aircraft movement and aerial combat to quickly resolve air attacks. Similarly, there is a streamlined alternative for submarine operations. These can be used to include the impact of these weapon systems, but focus the majority of your playing time on traditional surface naval combat.
Campaigns get more emphasis to provide you with ideas for the most intense and challenging command billets. Air search, logistics, weather, shore bombardment, amphibious operations, mines and raiders have all been enhanced as part of a flexible, robust campaign system. And, a new tactical scenario generator system is included to quickly get you into new actions. You can predetermine as much or as little of the situation as you want, and then, let the dice do the rest.
For the nautically – and aeronautically – obsessed, Part V provides an extensive set of optional rules. These will allow you to simulate less often used details such as pack ice, alternative (and more complex) torpedo launches, unit engineering, TBS, aces, barrage balloons, “smart” weapons, schnorkels, HF/DF, anechoic coatings, special assault craft and more.
The Third Edition also provides you access to extensive on-line resources. At http//www.odgw.com, you’ll find evolving data on individual ship AA and radar outfits, campaigns, scenarios, ideas on painting and fitting out miniatures, and access to design files if you want to amend the rules to meet your own vision. You’ll also find a forum to share your ideas with other naval war gamers.
During the past few years, a deluge of naval data and shoals of exquisitely detailed miniatures have become available in a variety of scales to widen the vistas of naval war gamming. So, single up all lines and prepare to get underway!
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