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By Walter O'Hara

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NEWER!! A Replay file of most of a game with Mark Johnson (Battle of Yalu scenario) in PDF.

NEW! A multiplayer variant for Fire When Ready using the Cyberboard gamebox!  (i.e., I bet you were wondering what to do with all those signal flags)

This is a gamebox for Metagaming's FIRE WHEN READY game, number 5 in the Microhistory series.  This might be my favorite Metagaming publication (OGRE being another contender), so I converted it into a Cyberboard gamebox.

FIRE WHEN READY is copyright, Games Research Group, 1982.

Designer: Michael Barnhart
Editing: Howard Thompson

This gameset goes beyond the designer's intent for the rules and countermix, mostly because I needed to add a few items to accomodate the turn sequence. FWR features plotted movement and plotted fire. To enable that portion of the design in an electronic format, I've included sequence markers (yellow circles with numbers) for movement and fire plotting markers (yellow half-sized markers with a bullseye and a ship's number on it).

Plotted Movement: The Zircher Method works fine for this sort of game.

The Action

Dewey Fights Again

In this graphic, we are viewing a hot spot in the action of the hypothetical German/American scenario "Dewey Fights Again" (Scenario 2 in the game) played with the multiplayer enhancements I threw in.  The American Flagship, presumably with Dewey aboard, is represented by a circular American flag marker.  The German C2 cruiser, sporting a squadron leader's penant (the red flag), has targetted 1 American Destroyer and with his primary gun (large red dot) and targetted another American Destroyer with secondaries (two small red dots).  The Germans have suffered as well, having lost a destroyer to long ranged fire (the sunk ship marker) and received two critical hits, one on C1 and one on C3 (red circular markers with letters).  The German destroyer squadron (D3, D2) is closing in on its American counterpart, and D3 (squadron commander) plots a torpedo on an American destroyer (erroneously-- you have to be closer than that, but I threw it in for the picture).  The German Flagship, B2, marked with a grey Maltese Cross, uses the stricken C1 for cover.

Signal Boards

Signal Flag Board The image you see to the left is of the Fire When Ready Multiplayer Message Board, and applies to the action shot above.  The Designated FLAG ADMIRAL player uses "Signal Flag" Markers to communicate with the players (squadron commanders) under his command.  Note there is a finite amount of lines for signaling; this is in keeping with the technology of the day.  The three lines above are intereperted as:
  1. "Destroyer Leader, at Full Speed, move your group to engage enemy destroyers and torpedo them."
  2. "Cruiser 4, move your group at Full Speed to engage Enemy Cruiser C2."
  3. "Cruiser 5, move your group, go Full Speed at course direction 3, and target the Enemy Flagship." 

Ship Status

I also added Ship Status Boards and Ship Status Pad markers to put on the board.  The players can keep track of their ship's status without having to resort to pencil and paper.  In this screen shot, a portion of the German force above is displayed.  As you can see, some of the ships have been taking a beating.

Ship Status Boards Destroyer D2, from the graphic above, has taken 2 armor hits (he also has squadron leader pennant on his card to help you keep track).  D3, C4, B2 and C2 are untouched. C3 has not been so lucky.  He has suffered a Calamity (Critical Hit), 3 Armor hits and 1 hit to the Main Battery.  Note the flag marker on B2- showing that he is the flagship. 

How to get the files

Download Gamebox:

Fire When Ready Gamebox (zipped)

A game replay of most of Santiago Solitaire , showing some of the features of this gameset.

But WAIT!  There's MORE!

Additional Fire When Ready Utilities/Play Aids:

Dave Ferris (of Shipbase, Generic Legions, and Slargeball fame) wrote a DOS based Fire When Ready Play Aid way back in the 1980s.  It will run in a W95 window-- though it isn't exactly graphical, it is menu driven and does some nifty gameplay things for you.  Download it here.  The function of this utility is somewhat redundant to the CB gamebox, but it does some things that the gamebox can't.

NEW!  A REPLAY of an illfated game of the Battle of Yalu scenario with Mark Johnson.  Mark bailed on Turn 10.  Leaving the Japanese with a slight advantage (1 Chinese ship rammed, 1 hit with a torpedo, 1 sinking that turn).

You will need a PDF viewer to read this file.  View REPLAY NOW

Related Links:

The Spanish-American War Centennial Website (particularly the naval links)

Russian "Popular Prints" of the Russo-Japanese War Website

Japanese Naval Power Website

The War with China (Meiji Period)   (The basis for the Yalu Scenario)

Unofficial History of the Italian Navy (I know, not in the game.. but they could be)

This page content copyright, Walter O'Hara 1998