Sunday 2 December 2012

Iron Ships & Wooden Heads

A DBA-based game, ISWH was written by me in 2001 and was inspired by a pre-Dreadnought game - De Bellis Navalis by Colin Standish - which appeared in Wargames Illustrated a year or two earlier.  ISWH was duly published in the same magazine in 2002 and, on being demonstrated at Wargame Developments Conference of Wargamers that year, inspired original DBA author Phil Barker to design his own pre-Dreadnought game - Damn Battleships Again.

ISWH was designed to cover the 'big gun' era of naval warfare, say from 1910-1940.  It's not really intended for later WW2 actions with all singing and dancing aviation and radar but feel free to try it.
The core period I had in mind was the mid 1920s to mid 1930s, as this can be seen as a transitional period where many new technologies were available - carrier aviation, shore based bombers, ocean-going submarines etc - but no-one was entirely sure it would work in combat conditions.

ISWH also provided a means for playing through some scenarios inspired by an earlier Conference of Wargamers game based on the 1930s naval arms race between three fictional South American countries.  I will post a couple of scenarios later.

For these games we used my 1/6000 ships and 1/1200 scale aircraft - all made by Hallmark.  All ships are mounted on square bases (sizes vary according to ship type), and while this is not strictly essential it does make life (and the game) a lot easier.
A hastily posed photo of some Italian ships, complete with a seaplane on a recce mission.


Peter Douglas said...


Looks cool, but I am having technical difficulties. I can view the rules in Google docs but if I try to print or download it, I get the message "insufficient data for an image". Sounds like a good comment on my life at times, but I digress...

Can you try reposting?

Tim Gow said...

Peter Douglas
I can't shed any light on this issue, but I did have the same error message the other day when trying to print another PDF document. Eventually I ignored the error message and the doc printed without problems.

Wg Cdr Luddite said...

We've had many a fun game with ISWH. Remember the British Equatorial Isles ?

Funnily enough I've just painted a Hallmark ship. Piccies to follow.

Tim Gow said...

Wg Cdr Luddite
Yes - I think we've played around a dozen games with ISWH - but not for a long time!

Peter Douglas said...


Ok I got it to open finally! Here's the scoop.
1. I originally tried to open the PDF with my Adobe reader (seemed the obvious thing to do), but not joy.

2. I then after several fails tried it with the Mac Utility Preview, which worked like a charm.

3. I then printed the doc from Preview as a PDF, and presto chango - Adobe can now read it.


Tim Gow said...

Peter Douglas
Thanks for letting me know. I tried it on a Windows laptop without a problem. I have reploaded the link anyway - just in case this was causing a problem.

Archduke Piccolo said...

Thanks, Tim -
I've printed out a copy - shortly I hope to try this rule set out on some naval actions on Sideon IV.

Tim Gow said...

Archduke Piccolo
Let me know how you get on.

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Hmm, nice

I have to do the Italian navy justice e and get that funky red deck colour doing too

Thanks you also for the Xmas winter reading material

Tim Gow said...

You're welcome.

Martin Rapier said...

Yes, I have fond memories of Wing Cmdr Luddities early war naval campaign, especially Nelson and Rodneys glorious victory.

As ISWH is quite quick to play, it is admirably suited for campaign games.

Tim Gow said...

Martin Rapier
All these accolades make me think we should have another ISWH soon....

Xavier said...

Hello Tim,

I am having problems actually FINDING the downloads section on your blog. Could you please direct me to the page so I can download your game? I am really looking forward to it since I love simple games pre-WW2 naval games. Thanks :)

Tim Gow said...

I have temporarily removed the downloads section. Google made some changes which disabled the links and I’d like to spend a bit of time - which I currently don’t have - sorting things out!