Saturday, 14 March 2015

One Hour Tshushima

I was rather taken with the naval variant of Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargames rules, so I had a bit of a fiddle around to adapt them for the Russo-Japanese War. I ended up with the same group of ship classes as De Bellis Navalis - Battleships, Armoured Cruisers, Light Cruisers and Destroyers/torpedo boats. The main thing I was keen to avoid was excessive ganging up of fire which marred our WW1 outing of the rules, so I simply added a rule that any shots after the first at any particular target were halved, thus encouraging the players to spread their ships fire out in a more historical manner.

I used a standard Tshushima scenario, but as I'd kept each ship as taking 15 hits I used a ratio of 1:2 for light cruisers and 1:4 for destroyers then ran the whole thing at half scale as I don't actually have enough Russian battleships for the full battle line. It was still a fairly impressive ship total though.

The main difference from the standard OHW rules is that ships move and shoot, otherwise it is much the same. IGOUGO, bang away by rolling dice, bigger things do more damage although I added in armour for BBs and CAs which halved hits against them. Somewhat foolishly I added in ramming, but more on that anon.

The Japanese Fleet, four CA, two BB, three CL and two DD

The Russians, six BB and two CA

The Japanese armoured ships form line of battle.

Russian CAs take a pasting. Each red counter is five hits.

Leading Russian BB takes a few hits and turns away.

Japanese armoured cruisers are suffering.

Destroyers somewhat unwisely decide to try out the ramming rules by ramming the damaged Russian battleships. The absence of destroyers in the subsequent photos shows how well that went.

The opposing lines of armoured ships blaze away at each other and damage mounts.

Damage mounts as the counters build up. Japanese CLs at the very top.

In an attempt to stop the Russians slipping past, the Japanese line turns towards the Russians, rather like Scheer at Jutland but in the opposite direction!

Sadly a disastrous exchange of fire results in one sunk Russian BB, but three Japanese armoured ships head for the bottom.

At game end, the cruiser action can be seen continuing in the distance but the game is over as the Japanese have lost over 25% of their armoured ships.
I've played Tshushima a few times and there is a reason that it is remembered as a great Japanese victory - it is a really tough battle for the Japanese and in my wargames they have always lost! I did somewhat mishandle the Japanese, which didn't help. Turned in the wrong direction at one point and was wrong footed thereafter as the Japanese ended up sailing in the opposite direction to the Russians instead of parallel.

The rules themselves worked very well, particularly the battle lines sailing along blazing away at each either. Much better than the frankly silly spectacle of four ships ganging up one on individual. The ramming rules were a complex irrelevance, but one thing we felt would be useful was incremental damage, so at each five hits ships drop 2" speed and -1 off gunnery. Those changes were introduced into the WW1 set and we re-ran Jutland to try them out, but that is another post.


  1. Nice job reducing the big engagement to something manageable. I have to ask though: how long did the game take to play?



  2. An hour,give or take. These are very fast play rules indeed (and consequently have a number of abstractions).

  3. Hi,

    Where can I find the OHW Naval Variant?

    Thanks and best regards,

    Chris Johnson

  4. Never mind--just found it!