Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Steam and Iron: The Great War at Sea - Naval Exercise in the North Sea - Part One

The game: Steam and Iron: The Great War at Sea
The purpose: Take some German dreadnoughts into a practice, randomly generated scenario

My humble task force's location. Random scenario settings with dreadnoughts as largest ships, small size. I've modified the colors for sea and land to shades of gray, just to give the whole affair a more WWI atmosphere (not sure how it will work for you guys).
I really wanted this to be some sort of naval exercise to observe what friendly AI-controlled divisions would do when assigned different roles. But I quickly got absorbed in the seamless combat experience this naval war game delivers. My ships did very good today, and the intoxication of victory will bias any future attempt of naval scholarship.

My forces for today are shown in the screenshot below. The main battle force is a division of 3 Helgoland class dreadnoughts (SMS Ostfriesland, SMS Helgoland and SMS Thuingen) escorted by four destroyers. Scouting is provided by a 2 ship division of Gazelle class light cruisers (SMS Nymphe and SMS Gazelle)

A zoomed out view that covers my entire force. Note the OOB tab on the left.
Contact with enemy ships came promptly at 0857. Two British light cruisers northwest of my scouts started a series of course changes as if they didn't want neither to close nor to loose speed. I changed the role of the light cruisers from scouts to screen.

Each division can be given a role within your fleet.
The screen role for the light cruisers was a bad choice. I never stopped my dreadnoughts and with every mile they pushed towards the enemy, they in turn pushed the light cruisers against them. Eventually, the SMS Gazelle and Nymphe came into the range of the guns of the British dreadnoughts and that was the end for my light cruisers division.

Their loss was not in vain, though. The unequal duel of guns between the heavy British and light German ships allowed me to carefully maneuver my dreadnoughts into a great firing position. This eventually lead to a two hour, carefully choreographed engagement between my 3 dreadnoughts and 4 British ones. The range of this engagement was a bit extreme and I was about to call it a day. But the slightest of the slackening in the speed of the British battle line prompted me to press on. Not much later, the first British dreadnought explodes. They were withdrawing and I caught the dreadnought in the van two more times. Victory was mine!

My main battle force (yellow square flag) has dispatched 3 British dreadnoughts (labelled in the map as 2 x BB St. Vincent class and 1 x Bellorophon class) and is closing towards the last British dreadnought. Northeast of the British heavy ship, 3 light cruisers are virtually abandoning the battle. Further east of them, my destroyers (red triangular flags) are to join the mess.  
Slopiness. The SMS Ostfriesland, Thuringen and Helgoland close in to claim their third British battleship (BB St. Vincent class). The British ship is crippled beyond recognition, but I should have kept the whole affair from a distance. Note the British destroyers (DDs, top right corner of the map) coming in aid of the heavy ship.


Another admiral's gaffe from yours truly. With all the British battleships sunk, I decide to head north in pursuit of the light cruisers. This exposed my dreadnoughts to a couple of British destroyers that were covering the general retreat.

My dreadnoughts couldn't keep pace with the British light cruisers. The battle was over.

Stay tuned for the debrief.



gabeeg said...

..yeah is a sneaky good game. I knew it was a must buy and was keeping tabs on its forthcoming release but I thought it would just be a somewhat light over simplified (for my tastes) rainy day diversion. I was wrong...it has some depth and can get really engrossing and immersive. If anybody has even passing interest in naval warfare of this period I would rate this game a must buy. Since its release there have already been a couple updates driven mainly by user reports and requests. The future possibilities for this game are really intriguing.

Dimitris said...

Hey JC, what's with the Greek flag on the top left? :)

Anonymous said...

Love the map colours you used here.