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SeaWays


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I will post this explanation of the SeaWays concept in this forum, the AOD forum and the SC 3 forum. It will be essentially the same post in each so you do not need to read it over again. The link to the SeaWays scenario download is from this forum above.

The SeaWays concept is based on the fact that WW2 warships and transports were capable of travelling pretty well anywhere in the world in the elapsed time represented by the interval between a player’s turns in the standard AOD 1939 scenario. The SeaWays themselves consist of 9 standard 9 x 5 grids of loop entrances that provide gateways between the major oceans of the world. Each SeaWay provides 8 sets of 5 portals leading to each of the other 8 SeaWays. The 9th set of 5 portals leads back to the SeaWay the ships are starting from – this is so that each of the 9 SeaWays looks identical in terms of the positions of the portals available. In addition to the 9 SeaWays a number of countries have their own specific loops that can be used for attack or just to move to a friendly possession. Thus Japan has a set of loops to take its forces to attack Pearl Harbor whilst the UK has a portal from the vicinity of the UK to Ceylon which only operates whilst a belligerent Ally (India) owns Ceylon and would for example allow Prince of Wales and Repulse to travel to the Far East meet their fate at the hands of the Japanese (similarly the Singapore loop will not operate until Malaya is a belligerent). There are some additional loops that any country’s naval units can use. One such loop is to enable any one naval unit to pass from the Med to the Atlantic past Gibraltar and vice versa. The problem in using this for a belligerent country that does not own Gibraltar is that the loop entrance comes out under the guns of Gibraltar on the opposing player’s turn. A submarine might get away with it, as in fact German and Italian submarines did, but any surface vessel will be liable to damage and interception.

The attack loops are linked to Decision Events so players can build up forces over the loop entrance. The loop will not fire until the player has accepted a DE that will be offered on each turn that the player has 4 or more units located on the loops. This linkage is to allow the AI to be more easily programmed to make sensible use of the loops by sending a number of units together.

Clearly SeaWays will enable players to move a naval unit very considerable distances without fear of interception. I have, however, positioned the SeaWays so that players will still need to move again to reach a potentially important area and this provides an opportunity for opponents to intercept them. Thus for example the Allied player will need to move from the Indian Ocean SeaWay to the Red Sea and then to Cairo in order to transport reinforcements to the Middle East Theatre from the UK or Australia.

Units moving from one SeaWay to another will land on the destination SeaWay grid itself. Each move takes place during the opposing players turn. Thus it will be the turn of the player using the SeaWay when the units appear on the destination SeaWay. They cannot normally be intercepted on the SeaWay itself as any opposing units that had been on that SeaWay would themselves have already been transported away from it. The player can choose whether to stay on the SeaWay itself and be transported again or to move off it and potentially be intercepted or initiate an attack if the player happens to have already detected enemy units nearby. Note a player might only decide to stay on a SeaWay if their priorities have changed as I must emphasise that units can travel directly from any SeaWay to any other one regardless of where they are relative to each other in the world – WW2 warships literally could steam to the other side of the world in the time available between player turns.

In some cases where the Japanese are using an attack loop (e.g. to Midway) their units will actually appear on the opposing player’s turn and will therefore be at risk of the ambush that the Americans achieved in real life. All SeaWay loops, loops to friendly bases and some labelled attack loops will deliver units on the player’s own turn rather than that of the opponent. Thus the loop user may be able to achieve surprise but the opponent may also do so by setting an unspotted ambush on likely routes from or to a SeaWay.

Some labelled loops only operate during specific time intervals. For example the Germans can get naval units from the Baltic to the North Atlantic up until the beginning of 1941. This recognises the fact that in real life their surface raiders up until Bismark did successfully evade the British patrols. After this the improvement in British radar made evasion much more difficult.

This scenario is intended to be a demonstration of the SeaWays concept rather than a fully developed new scenario in its own right. In particular it merely superimposes the SeaWay loops onto the standard 1939 AOD scenario but the AI has NOT been changed to understand the new loop system. The AI might move units about apparently reasonably but it is not aware of the new loops and it will think that some standard loops exist which have in fact been removed. The scenario should be OK for player v player but I have not tested it exhaustively as my efforts are going into a 1942 scenario that will use SeaWays plus a load of other innovations. I am publishing it now as a contribution to a discussion about naval movement in SC 3 and I would welcome any comments from those who read this post and especially those that try the scenario itself.

Regards

Mike

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