Warlord Games have been kind enough to provide Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy with an advance copy of Cruel Seas for a future Let's Play in the magazine. We thought we'd give you a taster of what it is like. We took the game to three local clubs for playing by local gamers, to garner their opinions and incorporate them into the article.
I don't have any of the 1/300 scale ships currently for the game, so we've been using 1/600 scale ships for playtesting the game. My friend used to play Action Stations, so had some painted models handy. While not as cool as the Warlord 1/300 models, they sufficed for our playtests.
I won't go into too much detail of the mechanics, but the rules are pretty simple but have a fair amount of detail. Activation is similar to Bolt Action and D10s are used to hit and damage is D6s (you'll need a lot for torpedo hits!). Your fast attack craft can usually run rings around larger craft but can get easily shot up or sunk with a lucky hit from a 4" shell. Using torpedos is really fun, as you have to think where they will be in a few turns for them to be effective.
In each of our outings, the game went down very well. Every time, players wanted to play more. Some have in fact went out and immediately preordered the game. I personally think it's a fun game with enough of a historical feel to satisfy even a purist like me. It is one I'd look forward to playing again. The game has stats up to destroyer sized vessels, which will be big in 1/300. However, someone is bound to want to give Narvik 1940 a go...
Surprisingly, I actually have a Royal Naval family connection, I understand my great uncle (on my father's mother's side) was Lt Cdr G A Hodges GM RNVR who wrote the book, Of Mines and Men. Now, where can I find the fast minelayer HMS Abdiel in 1/300 or 1/350?
Kudos to Warlord for producing yet another fun and interesting game. The fast attack boats and bigger ships look very cool and 1/300 allows detail. Coastal warfare may be a 'niche' part of World War 2, but Cruel Seas already has me thinking of several historical actions and possible tie-ins with Bolt Action and Blood Red Skies.