Maneuvering in Naval War may seem pretty straightforward, but the influence of the turn sequence and command station make this a very interesting part of the game.
Let's start with basic movement: Every ship has a movement value noted at the engine on the datacard. These values are movement distances and represent a distance unit of 5cm each. When playing the game in different scales this value can be amended to create a better gaming experience when playing in a scale different to 1/1800 or 1/2400.
Movement is done by using an activation order from the command station during the direct activation phase or by the 'compulsory movement' activation order during the indirect activation phase. Note that this means that each ship in Naval War has to make a move during the turn unless it is explicitly stopped by using an activation order.
Timing is of the essence here, since Naval War's turn sequence is driven by activations, the moment at which you play your maneuver activations becomes very important. For instance, it can happen that an opponent has launched his torpedoes at your ships. Things might look a bit grim but you are not completely out of options. Since torpedo effects are handled in the endphase your ships are still allowed to maneuver if they haven't already done so this turn. This opens up the opportunity to evade the spread (if you have enough movement to do so) or to turn into- or out of the spread, reducing the probability of a hit. This shows that it might be wise to hold on to your maneuver activations untill such threats have passed or have been neutralized.
Since ship turn distances in real life are very dependant on the type of ship, the mass of the ship, power of the engines, number of rudders etc. and are not very predictable (It is claimed that an Iowa class Battleship could turn within a Fletcher class destroyer's turn radius for instance). Naval War has therefore chosen to keep the turning of ships in the game simple. During a direct maneuver activation a ship is allowed to turn up to 45 degrees after it has moved at least 1 movement distance forward. When moving using a compulsory movement indirect activation, ships are only allowed to move straight ahead or to form up with their squadron flagship.
Advanced activation orders
Some interesting possibilities open up when exploring the different orders on the command stations. The Royal Navy, for instance, is allowed to move two squadrons with one activation by using their advanced activation order 'Brittania rule the waves'. Other options like deploying smoke and moving at flank speed all add to the tactical depth of the movement in the game.
That wraps up this article. Join us in the next, showing you how to finally let those cannons roar!