Board Game Review: Dreadnought Rising! & Battleships Zenith!
Al Berke takes a look at these tactical surface naval simulations from Naval Warfare Simulations that can either be played as board games or table top miniatures.
Dreadnought Rising! and Battleships Zenith! are miniature rules that cover surface tactical naval warfare from 1906-1926 and 1930-1945 respectively. The scale of the game can be adjusted to allow play on everything from the provided small map boards to as big a floor space as one has available. The base rules include limited air (spotters) and land unit (bombardment) interaction. Ship data is included for most of the combatants. A major feature of both rule sets is an optional computer program that conducts spotting, combat and damage computations, relieving the players of the often tedious task of calculating results using formulas and multiple modifiers.
Dreadnought Rising! and Battleships Zenith! consist of core set of detailed and realistic spotting and combat rules supplemented by basic maneuvering and command rules and scenario set ups. Fitting somewhere between Seapower and Fear God and Dreadnought in terms of detail, Dreadnought Rising! and Battleships Zenith! provide sufficient realism for advanced miniatures players as well as the basic mechanisms and player aids to make the beginner feel welcome.
Set Up, Installation & Technical Issues
Dreadnought Rising! and Battleships Zenith! are rule sets so the players will need to provide ship counters or miniatures as well as a computer with a printer to print out movement forms and control sheets. Dice are included along with hard copies of the rules and data cards, which are also included electronically on the disk.
The time and space required for setting up the game is dependent on the choice of scale and whether the players opt to use the Computer Combat System. To paraphrase Parkinson's Law, the space required for the scenario will expand to fill the space available. Only have a small table? Print out the 8 1/2 x 11-inch map and grab some 1/2 inch counters. Is the living room floor open? Take out the measuring implements and the miniatures or rectangular ship counters and get ready for some small-scale action.
Players will need to print out a movement form for each side. Those not using the Computer Combat System will also need to print out Control Sheets for each ship in the scenario. Installing the Computer Combat System requires a serial number located on the CD sleeve. The game files and documentation took up 20-30 MB of hard drive space for each game. The default installation puts the game in a folder directly under the C drive. There are several patches and expansions available for download from Naval Warfare Simulations. The expansions add additional sub-folders with new rules, control sheets and data cards, so some reorganization might be considered to simplify locating desired documentation.
I ran into a couple of minor bugs with the Computer Combat System, such as night scenarios in Battleships Zenith! changing visibility from night to day after the first turn. The designers sent out a patch fixing the problem within 24 hours of my report. Overall customer service response was superb and I was impressed by the designersí knowledge, dedication and enthusiasm.