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Recreational Wargaming...Naval Wargaming

  Fletcher Pratt's Naval Wargame Wargaming with model ships 1900-1945   25 Jan 2012
by Fletcher Pratt and John Curry
Fletcher Pratt Naval Wargame cover 'My considered view, based upon a life-time of wargaming, is the Fletcher Pratt Wargame is the most fun naval game I have encountered.' Donald Featherstone

The Fletcher Pratt Naval Wargame was one of the most successful naval wargames of the 20th century. The straightforward rules, based on the innovation of estimating the range in order to hit, have an enduring fascination as a simulation of the ‘big gun era’ 1900-1945.

As a result of extensive research, this book brings together previously unpublished material into a comprehensive guide to these classic rules, including:

The contents of the new book on the Fletcher Pratt Naval Wargame incllude:

The foreword is by Commander Bothwell USN 1943-1973. He is the last of the original Fletcher Pratt players and much of his commentary is included throughout the rules.


Chapter 1. The Hunt for the Fletcher Pratt Wargame outlines my search to find the WWII version of the rules, as opposed to the 1933 version of the rules that have been reproduced ever since.

Chapter 2. is a short summary of the life and work of Fletcher Pratt. From rearing monkeys, to military historian to war correspondent, Fletcher Pratt had a full life.

Chapter 3. Has a short summary of how to play the Fletcher Pratt Naval War Game

Chapter 4. The Complete Rules for the Fletcher Pratt Naval War Game as used by the New York group during WWII

Chapter 5. has one of previously unpublished Fletcher Pratt Strategic Games. This one dates from before WWII

Chapter 6. Picking one original scenario written up by Pratt himself was hard, but I chose the Arctic Convoy Action off Murmansk as it included discussion by Pratt of the game versus the historical reality.

Chapter 7. offers some guidance on how to play the Fletcher Pratt Naval Wargame based on years of experience by editor (John Curry)

Chapter 8. includes the Donald Featherstone's Variant to the Pratt rules; the key being the reduction in ranges. My suspicion is that Don had access to the original version of the rules, the ones that Pratt used in his flat in New York, as opposed to the massive ranges in the published version of the rules.

Chapter 9. There have been many optional rules proposed for the Pratt game, this chapter only includes the ones that Pratt agreed with.

Chapter 10. Has an evaluation of the Fletcher Pratt Rules against naval reality. It includes contributions from Fletcher Pratt, James Dunnigan (SPI), Phil Barker (WRG), Commander Bothwell and others.

Chapter 11. has some guidance on how to play solo naval warfare.

Chapter 12. gives some guidance on how to play the Pratt game on the table top , as opposed to the original playing area of the floor.

The rest of the book has a select bibliography, some media coverage of the Fletcher Pratt War Game Notes on World War II Naval Gunnery Ranges, notes on the discovery of the lost Fletcher Pratt Land War Game, notes on Aircraft Carrier Capacities for aircraft and some suggestions for sources for 1:1200 Scale warships. The book has some sample Ship Cards for WWII, but many more are provided online via the website. This includes an online ship card generator to assist the modern player to create those essential ship cards.

The aim of this publication is to introduce a new generation of wargamers to the fun and excitement of the Fletcher Pratt Naval Wargame.
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Product details: Second Edition    
168 pages
History of Wargaming    Project
     Dimensions (cm):
15.6 wide x 23.39 tall  

Articles on the Game

The Fletcher Pratt Naval Game by Ian Drury
Memories of the Fletcher Pratt Game by Phil Dunn, Author of Sea Battles
Swedish Lawn Game version of the Fletcher Pratt game by Patrick Sillen Game
Playtest Officers Mess Fort Purbrook 2007 by John Curry

Overview of the 2005 UK relaunch of the Fletcher Pratt Game at the Conference of Wargamers

Game Report by John Curry
Report by John Basset
Commentary on the Rules by Bob Cordery
Thoughts of the game by Tim Gow
Critique by Phil Barker

Criticism of the Fletcher Pratt Gunnery System

Naval Gunnery and Critical Hits by John Basset

Ship Cards

WWII Ship Cards by John Curry (Pdf Document)
WWII Merchant Ships and Submarines by Mike Curry
WWI Battle for the Falklands Ship Cards by Fred Wilkins (Pdf Document) updated 18-1-08
Microsoft Spreadsheet to help make ship cards

Source of Model Ships

It is possible to play the game using either 1/1200 or 1/2400 scale ships. My preference has been for the larger scale as I like the players to be able to distinguish between individual ships, even with the smaller light cruisers and destroyers. If using 1/2400 ships, it might be worth modifying the rules to help the players hit, for example any shot that is ½” over still counts as a hit

1:1200 Scale

Mountford Metal Miniatures supply metal ships see link for there ever expanding range. They supply the ships as kits and ready made. Polite and friendly service.

Navy Blue link have ready painted range of ships.

American based Alnanco link has a number of ranges of ships. I have not used them myself, but a friend has and he said they were a good supplier.

1:2400 Scale

American based Panzerschiffe are probably the place to start. link The models are cheap, but are of good quality and the range is huge (500+ ships).

GHQ Models has a nice line of 1/2400 ships - the Micronauts line, to accompany their game rules. link The models are cheap, but are of good quality and the range is huge (500+ ships).

There have been many, many 1:1200 scale ships produced in the past e.g. Airfix Waterline, the great range of Mimic battleships, Eaglewall, Superior, Triang etc… Searching on ebay using '1200 ships' as the search routinely brings up large numbers of hits, including many scratch built models. The only issue is that sometimes sellers get confused between 1:1200 and 1:2400

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