WWI SDS Collection

One of my continual complaints about the original General Quarters is that it takes far too long to play, especially considering it's level of abstraction. I decided it was relying too much on tables and charts and math and short term memory, so I set out to streamline it.

One of the things I've done to speed up play is color-code the SDSes and dice so that the relationship between them is more obvious. I use a white d10 (smoke and splashes) as the straddle die, a red d6 (fire) for the "armaments" die and a blue d6 (water) as the "hull" die. On each SDS, the row of armaments boxes is colored red and the row of hull boxes is colored blue, which makes it easy to correlate the dice with the areas they affect. I also painted my gunnery range finder sticks to correspond with this color scheme.

The SDSes do not strictly conform to the GQ rules as writen, but contain some changes to reflect a number of my favorite house rules and modifications (many borrowed from other GQ gamers):

  • The ship's speed is adjusted 2 ways:
    1. The ship's speeds are correct for a turn representing 6 scale minutes at a sea scale of 3.2" to the mile (1 cm on the table equals 1" in the rules equals 250 yards). The standard GQ rules cut all speeds in half to make game play fit into the playing area. This is unnecessary with 1:6000 scale miniatures using "centimeter scale", since the entire battle of Jutland could fit onto an 8'x12' table.
    2. The reduction in ship's speed with each hit is non-linear, at rates of 100%, 93%, 80%, 50%, 25%. This progression isn't quite a proper curve (I should have done 100/90/75/50/25), but I had already made a few hundred SDSes before I noticed that mistake, and so far I haven't found a way to adjust the data programatically. I do it all by hand, a very sore hand after making or correcting a lot of SDSes.
  • Each SDS has a row of 18 ammo boxes, for tracking ammo expenditure.
  • I added a box for tracking fires (not so easy to do with on-table props in 1:6000 scale).
  • I added the ship's type in the upper right corner - the armor value doesn't always accurately reflect this.
  • I removed the "aa" value, for no better reason than I could never figure out how to derive it. It's irrelevant for me anyway, since I don't play with aircraft and MTBs on the table. 1:6000 scale is too small and I find that the results of aircraft and MTB encounters are best left to automated campaign mechanisms.
  • I added a little historical trivia (the ship's class, the year of completion, and the year of destruction), just enough to help with quick scenario building.
  • I added tertiary batteries to a lot of the big ships built before the Dreadnought era (battleships and cruisers).
  • I use a house rule that pre-dreadnought era ships with big "semi-heavy" artillery batteries can combine the main and secondary attack factors if they use the secondary battery range finder. This ability is indicated on the SDSes by white AFs for the main and secondary batteries.
Listed at the bottom of this page are PDFs that include a diagram explaining how to read my SDSes, and SDS collections for:
  • The Austro-Hungarian navy Includes the Göben and Breslau
  • The French navy
  • The Italian navy
  • The British Mediterranean fleet
Feel free to print and use these as you will.

All of these collections except the British include hypothetical ships that were never built - mostly dreadnoughts and battlecruisers, but the Austro-Hungarians include 3 cruisers as well. There are no SDSes for destroyer or cruiser flotillas, since I've never liked those rules. Many of the French cruisers I made SDSes for were never produced by Figurehead in 1:6000 scale, but people have been expanding the range of available 1:6000 miniatures on Shapeways, so you could check there before scratch-building them.

I decided to make my SDSes reusable, so I print them out on white paper, mount them on self-adhesive magnetic sheet, cover them with self-adhesive plastic lamination, and mark on them with grease pencils ("China markers" in the office supply stores). It's a lot of work, but it makes it easy for players to transfer ships to each other without erasing any current damage, and it means I only have to print them with expensive inkjet ink once (rather than each time I play). On the other hand, it makes reprints expensive and time-consuming, so consider carefully before you go overboard like I did.

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I. Craig Nichols,
Jan 20, 2016, 3:52 PM
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I. Craig Nichols,
Jan 20, 2016, 3:53 PM
Ċ
I. Craig Nichols,
Jan 20, 2016, 3:54 PM
Ċ
I. Craig Nichols,
Jan 20, 2016, 3:54 PM
Ċ
I. Craig Nichols,
Jan 20, 2016, 3:54 PM
Ċ
I. Craig Nichols,
Jan 20, 2016, 3:54 PM