Vassal Tips for the War At Sea Module
Think of Vassal as an online table –top not a computer game. Just like your table top and the game map Vassal does not know the rules of your game. Just like the table though, you need something to play on whether it be against an opponent over the internet, alone, or using Vassal to keep track of a game on forum.
To play you will need to download the main Vassal program and the War at Sea Module and install them both.
Link to main Vassal program
Link to latest version of the War at Sea Module
How to use this module
Let's try a short solitaire game first to get familiar with the module.
-When you first open the Vassal program a screen like this should appear. If you do not see the War At Sea program file you download click File in the top left, find it and open it. The first time you open it may take a few moments. After that it will load quicker.
-The next screen you see will ask how you want to play. For this select "start a new game offline"
-After that it will prompt you to choose a side. This is not important as of the time of this writing buy you may as well pick Axis or Allies.
-Next you will have to choose a map. There are more than 50 choices!
-After you pick a map the following screen appears. You will want to notice two main things. First is the "Units" button. Click this and you can start selecting your units. Second is the zoom feature. Personally I like making the map fit the screen width.
-Units are listed by nationality and largely in alphabetical order although operational variants are listed under the main ship's name. When you find what you want left click and drag it onto the map. I just make a somewhat organized pile of units because the placement phase has not occurred yet.
The frames are somewhat customizable in size and shape. Drag the edges around to see what works for you.
Click the units icon in the top row to make the selection box disappear when you are done.
-If you need more islands, squalls, storms, or mines they are available to drag in drop from the icon to the right of the units button.
-There is also a marker you can use place an objective. Many maps have pre selected objectives. I still like to use the marker to show red or blue once they have been captured.
-Below you see the text field where I just typed in I was rolling for Iniative. Also I have pointed to the "Clear Moved button. Whenever you move or adjust position of a unit on the map it is marked "moved". Helpful yes, but it bothers me on the map. If you did not notice them already the dice rollers are largely in the top row also.
This next screen capture has a lot going on.
Most notably I have right clicked on the B339 Buffalo. It brings up a menu which shows you a number of graphical aids. Planes have more options than ships so I picked one.
Keep in mind the "F" commands toggle. Press "F1" to show a unit as aborted then "F1" again to clear the marker.
CTRL M – Show the unit's card
F9 – turn on a list of Veteran S/A. These will show up like the bright number 1 next to the plane.
F8 – Underline the unit. Perhaps to remind you it has used a once per game S/A. Or if you decide to play America vs America or. Next Underline "CTRL I" changes the color of the line.
F7 – Activate the Star Icon. This is handy as another reminder and you can change its color.
F6 –Marks a plane as strafing.
F5 – And then "CTRL T" & "CTRL Y" mark squad numbers. Planes, destroyers and subs seem to be brought in multiples.
F4 – Shows abbreviations for Expert S/A's. "CTRL E" & "CTRL R" toggle through them.
F3 – Is your rearming maker. Press F3 again to turn it off
F2 – Marks a unit as damaged. Since this is a one point unit that means destroyed. On larger units you will have the chance to increase or decrease their damage with "CTRL Q" or "CTRL W" as necessary. To turn off the damage marker press F2 again.
F1 – Is to mark a plane aborted.
"CTRL D" – is used to delete objects like smoke. Typically I drag units down to the destroyed bin at the bottom of the screen so I can add up their points later.
-Below is an example of how to see unit cards.
The German player has chosen to right click on his few remaining units and drag their cards to an unused portion of the map.
The Allied player is keeping his cards displayed by clicking the "Cards Buttons" on the main screen which opens the "Cards Window" then dragging his cards into it. This cards window is pretty full proof. You can close it with it's red x and the cards will be there when you open it again!
-The "LOS" Button located under the "C" in Cards Window is pretty self explanatory. Click it to get a straight line tool which aids in determining if an island is blocking line of sight. You have to be the judge if the line is over the island or not. The tool auto snaps to the center of the selected grid.
-Under the "Markers" tab there are a number of other useful items.
Red and Blue victory point counters. Drag them where you want on the map. to raise the point total Hold down "ALT =" to lower "ALT-".
Another turn counter you can drag where you wish on the map.
Objective markers. These can be placed on the map as you see fit. Right click on them to toggle from open to red to blue as you see fit to help you keep track of who has captured what.
A number of islands and squalls. Even an iceberg you can do with as you please.