Another scenario from South Atlantic War, the Black Buck One raid on
the airfield at Port Stanley.
I've started playing through the South Atlantic War scenario book
for Harpoon (and for Combined Arms for land actions, which I'm
ignoring). This is the first naval scenario in it: the Argentine
submarine Santa Fe (formerly the Balao-class USS Catfish) tries to
escape from South Georgia.
The latest Harpoon PBEM game was a return to the old standard
scenario, to get a new player up to speed.
The latest Harpoon PBEM game used a scenario from the Harpoon Naval
Review 2009, written by Gorka L. Martínez Mezo: Moroccan
fundamentalists attack the Spanish outposts at Ceuta and Melilla, and
the Spanish try to get convoys across the western Mediterranean to
evacuate civilians and bring in troops.
This one took a while, largely because I've been busy with a writing
project that's stuck its tentacles into all my space time.
Back to basics with this introductory scenario, which we completed in
a little over three weeks. This time things went very differently…
This scenario took a while, because two Blue players in a row became
unresponsive and had to be replaced. But we got there in the end.
This scenario is set in 1975; it deals with a British carrier group,
heading home across the Atlantic at the outbreak of war, attacked by
Soviet submarine and air forces. Total play time has been nearly two
months, my goodness.
As an introduction for new players, I ran this variant scenario: it's
Gulf Escort Deja Vu, but with a British Type 23 (Somerset) and Lynx
rather than the Canadian Halifax and CH-124A attempting to get the
tanker past the Iranian missile boats. Total real time was two weeks.
Since some of the players had requested a game with submarines in it,
I used this scenario out of the book. In 1997, three Russian surface
ships violate Polish coastal waters in a show of force; a German Type
206 submarine tries to sink them. Total playing time was six days.
Having had some interest after I posted the second AAR, I thought I'd
run a game for new players to get the hang of the way I do things
before I set up another complex scenario. But the new players didn't
apply, so I ran this one with two old hands instead. Total real time
was two weeks, including a break over Thanksgiving as one of the
players is American.
This third game went a lot faster than the last, taking about twelve
days of real time to run.
I managed to get some players together for another Harpoon game, again
played by email; it took nearly two months all told, though we did
have several breaks of a day or two along the way. Here's the
after-action report, as before plotted onto Tactical Pilotage Charts.
Sighting conditions in Harpoon are typically set by the scenario
author. This means there's little guidance to the designer.
Particularly if the scenario spans a large area, it might take several
game hours to resolve, and it would be good to know how conditions
change over time.
After I'd written
I had to try it out; I had one experienced player and one newcomer to
Harpoon (though he knows the real-world technologies and tactics), and
we played by email over about a week. Here's the after-action report.
Sometimes my interests intersect. I've been working on a way to plot
markers and objects onto real-world charts.