A small review of When the Navy Walked.
I recently purchased the PDF version of the game through Wargamevault.com for $10 and now when I’ve had the chance to read it through a couple of times I decided to try to make a review out of it. It is worth pointing out that I have not played it yet so this is based purely on the impressions from reading it and playing around with it myself.
Scale: The game is made for a 2-15mm but works in scales up to even 28-32mm, which is the scale I’ll be using. With that scale it’s advised to make some changes to the distances in the game.
The game uses a bunch of different unit types:
- Leaders. They lead your army and issue orders to other units
- Ground Units. Includes infantry and cavalry.
- Artillery Units.
- Machine Units. Smaller contraptions and machines.
- Capital Units. Landships etc.
- Small Flying Units
The rules includes a guideline on how to base your figures. A normal infantry unit will have 4 bases with each base having 3 figures on them. Cavalry units are based with 2 figures per base and a unit consists of 5 bases. The size of the bases is quite open to what you prefer and I’m going to use 60mm frontage on my bases. As long as the opposing armies have the same basing standard it shouldn’t be any problem.
All the unit have a set of characteristics ranging from shooting, to melee, to morale etc. The characteristics are per base, not per figure.
The most unusual characteristic is Sabotage/Espionage that Leader units can use to sabotage enemy units. Espionage represents how good a unit is to block your sabotage attempts.
The turn sequence
- Generate Command Points. You use a combination of characteristics and dice to decide how many command points you get in each turn. The points are then allocated to units in the different phases to give them orders.
- Movement. First you allocate command points secretly to each unit you wish to give a move order to. Movement works in a pretty standard way, which includes wheeling and changing formations. There are 8 different formations for the units to choose from, some are only available to certain units. All the movement is done simultaneously which is an interesting touch.
- Shooting. First you allocate command points secretly to each unit you wish to give a shooting order to. The both sides activate their units, from the highest Command value to the lowest.
- Charge Phase. As always you allocate your command points secretly and then make the charges. The units that are being charged have a couple of different charge reactions to choose from.
- Melee Phase. All units in base-to-base contact attacks simultaneously.
- Sabotage/Espionage Phase. Allocate command points to give the orders, secretly. Damage tables kinda like the ones you see in 40k and similar games.
The book includes 4 example scenarios.
Building an Army
The rules include a unit creation system that enables you to build more or less any type of unit you want to include in the game. The system is easy to use and gives a lot of flexibility to the units. It also includes “Edges” and “Flaws” that you can add to units. It also comes with 10 sample army lists.
So what do I think of the game?
- Layout: 7/10 It’s good but there is room for improvement.
- Art: 8/10 I like it and it fits the theme of the game very well
- Writing: 7/10 You might need to re-read it once or twice, but then I need to do that with all games 😉
- Rules: 9/10 Very good. They have picked parts from both old and new school wargaming and given it it’s own twists.
And if I would give it a combined score, 8/10 Which, in my book means it’s a damn good game and a well worth the money. This is a prime example of high quality indie rule writing and a lot of bigger companies could use a lesson from these guys. I will definitely buy the expansions for it as well.