Naval Wargames Rules for the Pre-Dreadnought Era 1880-1906
by Graham Short
with revisions and additional material by
Alan Butler and Andrew Finch
These rules are quick and simple to play, providing a fast game of naval action in the period between 1880 and 1906. In the scale we use, 10cm represents 1 nautical mile to 10cm. The rules incorporate weather, spotting and minefields. They take account of Crew Quality and allow for the use of Contact Markers to represent the initial uncertainty of exactly where the enemy forces might be.
The gunnery system is simple and you roll 1d10 to hit with each gun. When you score a hit, an innovative damage system takes account of the gun calibre and range to determine which type of dice is used to test for penetration and the amount of damage inflicted. Torpedo and Mine attacks use a similar mechanism, so there is a consistent feel throughout the combat system. Not all guns can engage all vessels, and the largest guns have a minimum range.
In line with the intention of the rules to provide a simple system, armour is standardised for each type of vessel, and guns are grouped by calibre into 9 classes. Detailed differentiation between the performance of specific guns and ships is not present.
A collection of ship data is provided covering significant vessels from 10 nations in this period, with 130 classes of vessel. A simple conversion system allows you to create game data for ships not in the lists provided.
The rules also include pre-prepared ship data sheets for all the vessels present at the Battle of Tsushima.
Edition 2.1 incorporates a number of clarifications to the rules and a couple of corrections to the ship data for 2 Russian ships. An updated errata sheet is also available to download below.
When accessing the files laid out below, the following rules apply:
If you Left-click on a link it will open in a new Tab.
If you Right-click you will see more options about what to do with this file. If you want to download the file to save onto your computer use the menu option 'save link as...' (on a Windows PC) or the equivalent on a Mac.
Quick Reference Sheets
Gunnery and Torpedo Firing Arc Templates, a Turning Template and blank Ship Record Sheets for use with these rules, as well as pre-prepared Ship Record Sheets to let you to play the Battle of Tsushima are available in the following PDF:
The file below is a Zip folder including 10 templates and an instruction document on their use. There are a variety of sheets, for different sized vessels. Some sheets can be filled out with data for individual ships, while there are also sheets where you just fill in one set of data, and the rest of the sheet is filled up with the same data, apart from the ship name. This is useful for ships like destroyers.
The one limitation is that you can only print these out when you have filled in the data. You cannot save the files unless you are using a full version of Adobe Acrobat.
NOTE that if you "left click" on this link it will load onto your computer immediately into the Downloads area, so if you want it to go to a specific folder, we recommend that you "right click".
There are some Clarifications in the Update Sheet shown below.
There are some corrections to ship data in the Update Sheet shown below.
The following update sheet includes a number of clarifications to the rules and a couple of corrections to the ship data for 2 Russian ships.
There is no new data at the moment.