#WargameWednesday – The Naval SITREP #52 (April 2017)

NSITREP 52.indd
Courtesy wargamevault.com

In keeping with my recent Harpoon naval miniatures postings, I picked up the most recent Naval SITREP (Issue #52, April 2017) from Admiralty Trilogy GamesThe Naval SITREP is the “house mag” for the Admiralty Trilogy series and as such it covers not only Harpoon but the other major games in the series, Fear God & Dread Nought (WWI) and Command at Sea (WWII).

The premier article/scenario is for CaS and is “Tactical Problem IV-1937-SR.” Taken from the archives of the Naval War College, this recreation of a fleet problem allows great insight into how Naval officers (led by then-Captain Raymond A. Spruance) were being prepared to fight. This is a large, very detailed scenario.

The next major section is for Harpoon 4 (modern era) and details the the Philippine Navy. It includes Annex A data for ships and Annex B for Aircraft.

Chris Carlson contributes an article on “Coincidence and Stereoscopic Rangefinders in Admiralty Trilogy Games: A Closer Look.” These article are actually of great interest to me because not only do they offer historical research but also show how it relates to the game system.

Larry Bond gets into the action with his articles “Exploring an Idea: The Torpedo Battleship,” “SMARTROC,” and “Austral’s Fix for the LCS.” These articles offer useful variants that can be added to the game to explore history or try alternative shipfits. In this same vein, Christoph Kluxen writes “Designs for The Netherlands 1912-1914” which again offer “alternative history;” in this case an alternate Dutch battlefleet that could have squared off against the Germans in the North Sea of World War I.

“Using SimPlot for Harpoon PBEM” by Kevin Martell offers advice on using the program with play-by-e-mail systems. I don’t think I can load SimPlot on my Mac, nor do I do PBEM so the utility of this article was low to me.

FG&DN Scenario: Obituary for Oz” from Mike Harris is a total fantasy scenario that I agree makes a good tournament game. The small footprint, low ship count, and relatively balanced forces also makes this a good training scenario for new players.

“Chinese Ship Refits” is uncredited but is an absolute requirement for Harpoon 4 players as it details updates to PLAN ships. It also has references to where other PLAN ships have appeared in previous issues.

Andy Doty presents us with “CaS Scenario: Plan Alpha” taken from Newt Gingrich’s book Days of Infamy. The scenario is not only fun alternate history, but also an example of taking inspiration from literature and bringing it to the game table.

The obligatory book reviews are included and seem to focus on the Battle of Jutland (four of five reviews) but by far the most exciting part of this issue was actually on the very first page, “Product Updates.” Since cutting ties with a traditional publisher a few years back, Admiralty Trilogy Games has been gradually converting their catalog to digital, updating products, and establishing a sales presence on wargamevault.com. I am pleased to see ATG moving forward, though I have to admit my wallet will also be lighter!

Which brings me to my one ongoing gripe with ATG products – the layout. The Naval SITREP, like so many of the ATG products, is formatted in the print world of three-column text across a standard-size page. This looks fine in print but I am reading the digital pdf on my iPad. The format makes the text and graphics rather small and more difficult to read. The consistent page count for each SITREP also makes me believe ATG is worried about print copies, not digital. I think ATG needs to decide if their products are focused on print-on-demand or digital delivery. I vote for digital, but I don’t know what ATG thinks.

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4 thoughts on “#WargameWednesday – The Naval SITREP #52 (April 2017)

  1. Yeah, Sea of Dragons is well out-of-date now and its weapon annex additions are useful mainly for 1990s historical gaming.

    Unfortunately for Admiralty Trilogy Group, if they’re going to put out a data-rich game such as Harpoon 4 and then try to add vessels through Sitrep they really had to keep the data annexes up-to-date. I’ve lobbied for them to issue digital updates but that hasn’t happened.

    Perhaps the necessary data has been included over time in Sitreps in piecemeal fashion, but buying 52 copies of Sitrep is a bit rich for my liking.

    1. Agree. I too remain hopeful that ATG will more fully embrace digital production. Their presence on Wargame Vault is a good start but what I think they really need is a fresh approach to looking at how they put a product in “print.” The old three-column SITREP looks ok on appear but is hard for me to read on my iPad. Likewise, as you suggest a more up-to-date Annex collection sounds easy to you and me; hopefully ATG thinks the same!

  2. Quick question, you mention the article on the modern Chinese PLAN. Can I ask if it has updated stats for Chinese warships and (especially) equipment?

    One of my gripes with the Sitrep is that a previous copy I bought had a scenario for modern Chinese vessels that included some but not all of the material required to actually play it! For example, the scenario included ships for which no weapon stats were available.

    1. The article has new Annex A stats for three ships. I have not crosswalked all the weapons and systems to their respective annexes to see what – if anything – is missing. I suspect that to be complete one probably needs Sea of Dragons and multiple SITREPs to have everything.

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