War At Sea
Rules Clarifications

(as of December 31, 2004)

These clarifications come from The Avalon Hill Game Company, from questions and answers compiled by the Avaloncon/World Boardgaming Championships War At Sea Gamemasters during the 1991-2003 tournaments, and from the War At Sea AREA PBeM Ladder Tournament and the Boardgame Players Association PBeM Championship Tournaments I-IV. During the World Boardgaming Championships they are official. The 2004 additions are shown in italics.

2.4 & 6.7 If Italian cruisers are in the North Atlantic at the end of turn 7, where do they return?
A. They are eliminated for a lack of a port to return to. If there at the end of turn 6, they would return to France, where they would be interned and likewise removed from play due to France becoming an inactive port at the start of turn 7.

5.2 Are repair points applied before airstrikes occur?
A. Yes.

5.3 Does the Axis player resolve speed rolls before placing U-boats?
A. Yes.

5.6 Which player picks the order in which sea areas are resolved?
A. The Axis. All combat in each area is completely resolved before resolving the next sea area.

5.62 & 10.2 Are land based airstrikes resolved before naval airstrikes?
A. No. They are resolved at the same time. Also, no ship can be a target more than once per turn from the air even if both land based and naval airstrikes are present in the area.

5.62 & 10.3 Are Allied and Axis naval airstrikes simultaneous?
A. Yes. All airstrikes are simultaneous in the same way that surface combat is. The Allied player allocates and resolves his airstrikes before the Axis, but the effects of these airstrikes do not occur until after the Axis airstrikes are allocated and resolved.

5.7 Which player returns his ships to port first?
A. The Axis.

5.7 Where do Italian cruisers in the North Atlantic return to if France is not available as an Axis port?
A. They don't; they are eliminated. Note also that any Axis ships returning to France at the end of Turn 6 are eliminated immediately and may not sail on Turn 7.

5.7 & 5.8 Can a convoy ending a turn alone in a sea area claim the POC for that sea area even if it puts into port to claim POC at the end of the turn?
A. Yes. In the sequence of play, the placing of control flags takes place before the landing of convoys.

5.7 & 12 Are ships which successfully disengage in the Mediterranean Sea required to go to Malta as if they were disabled?
A. No -- they could return to either Malta or England.

5.7 & 12 Are ships which successfully disengage in the South Atlantic required to go to the Neutral Port as if they were disabled?
A. Axis ships could also go to France (if an active port). German ships may not oil at sea if they have retreated, however. (Note that this is contrary to Avalon Hill errata stating that retreated German ships may attempt to oil.)

6.3 & 6.4 Can a ship starting the turn in a port bordering 2 or more sea areas attempt to speed roll from one of those areas to another (e.g. from France to the North Sea via the South Atlantic)?
A. No.

6.4 Can Axis ships starting the turn in the Neutral Port and failing a speed roll to the North Atlantic return to Germany or France?
A. No. The instructions printed on the board sea areas refer to Section 5.7, not Section 6.4. Ships which fail a speed roll must return to their original port or one bordering the second sea area. A ship which returns to the Neutral Port as a consequence costs its side one POC. Similarly, a British ship failing a Speed Roll to the Barents after Turn 2 may return to England or Russia.

6.4 Can Axis ships starting the turn in France and failing a speed roll to the North Atlantic return to Germany?>
A. No. Ships which fail a speed roll must return to their original port or one bordering the second sea area. As there is no Axis port bordering the North Atlantic, they must return to France.

7.1 May a player refuse to fire in a combat round to avoid disabling a ship he hopes to sink in a later combat round?
A. Yes, but the target is not considered fired upon for screening purposes in this case (see answer to 11.6 below).

7.1 May German or Italian ships disabled in the North Atlantic go to France?
A. Yes, on turns 2 through 6.

7.6 If a carrier receives damage equal to its defense factor, thus losing its airstrike capability, must it be fully repaired to regain its airstrike capability or will partial repairs suffice?
A. Partial repairs will suffice.

7.6 & 8.3 Does a carrier still have its full ASW capacity even when it has lost its airstrike capacity due to damage?
A. Yes.

8.1 Can eliminated U-boats be returned to the game as reinforcements?
A. Yes.

9.5 & 10.5 Section 9.5 says that "ships and U-boats disabled . . . which return to port are not considered in the port at the time of the airstrike and thus may not be attacked there." Does this imply that 10.5 is wrong and U-boats may be attacked by airstrikes if they stay in port?
A. No. U-boats may not be attacked by airstrikes under any circumstances.

10 Must a player predesignate all ships as targets of airstrikes, or can he review the results of each attempt before rolling another attack?
A. A player may review the results of one attack before rolling another. Rule 10 states only that "Targets must be specifically stated before each die roll." However, every airstrike must be against a different ship.

10.2 Rule 10.2 states that a ship can be attacked once (one die) by air. What about one ship in port? Is only one die roll allowed or three (the attack strength of LBA)?
A. Ships in port may also only be attacked by one die. The additional airstrike factors are lost.

11.6 Can a ship with an attack factor of 0 "fire" upon another ship so as to fulfill the "screening" requirement that would allow another ship to fire on a more valuable target?
A. No -- ships must have a usable Attack Factor and must actually roll dice to "fire" for screening purposes. Also, to reach opposing carriers, you must fire on all screening ships in the current round of combat.

12 After a round of pursuit has been completed, can the disengaging player further split a group of fleeing ships?
A. Yes. However, he cannot recombine previously separated groups.

13 Can British ships repair in the United States?
A. Yes -- on turn 4 or thereafter. (Note that this is contrary to an explicit statement in Section 2.7 which states that the U.S. port is available immediately.)

13 & 15.2 If a damaged Russian ship rolls to see if it can move, may it then repair in Leningrad?
A. Yes. The Allied player may observe both Russian die rolls before deciding whether to move or repair either ship. Russian ships need not move merely because a 5 or 6 was rolled.

13.1 & 16.1 Can ships which were successfully oiled at the end of one turn and then placed in a port the next turn be repaired on that turn?
A. No. Relocating them from At Sea to a port is considered moving them.

14.3 Can convoys remain at sea indefinitely so as to use their ASW capability?
A. No. They may remain in each of the North Atlantic and Barents for one turn only. After their turn in the North Atlantic, they must either move to the Barents or put into England for 1 POC. After their turn in the Barents, they must put into Russia for 3 POC. If disabled, after returning to the U.S. they may again spend one turn in each of the North Atlantic and the Barents. (Note that this is contrary to strategies mentioned in some articles in the General.)

14.4 If a convoy in the Barents successfully disengages (that is, outruns its pursuers), may it put into Russia for 3 POC?
A. Yes. If it is disabled, however, it must return to the U.S.

14.5 If a convoy in the North Atlantic successfully disengages, may it put into England for 1 POC? May it go to the Barents on the next turn?
A. Yes, it may do either. If it is disabled, it must return to the U.S.

14.8 Does a convoy lose its special screening protection if it fires?
A. No. It may fire every combat round and still may not be fired upon unless all other Allied ships in the area are damaged or disabled.

14.8 If all Allied ships are damaged, can a convoy still be screened as though it were a carrier under Rule 11.6?
A. No, the rule is specific that a convoy may be fired upon when all other ships have been damaged or disabled.

14.8 If the Allies have a convoy and another ship retreating separately from a sea area, must the Axis damage or disable the other ship before firing on the convoy?
A. No. Each separate retreat and pursuit is its own battle and is not affected by any other pursuit battles.

15.5 Can Italian cruisers enter the South Atlantic on turn 1?
A. Yes.

15.6 Can Italian cruisers move through the North Sea to reach the North Atlantic from France if the South Atlantic is Allied-controlled?
A. No.

15.7 Can formerly Italian battleships and battlecruisers now controlled by the Allies or Germans on turn 8 move out of the Mediterranean?
A. Yes. Also, Italian cruisers now controlled by the Allies or Germans may move into the North Sea. However, if ships are still controlled by the Italians, all previous movement restrictions still apply.

16.1 Must successfully oiling ships be placed in a sea area on the next turn, or can they be placed in a port?
A. Either. However, they must be placed on the board. In order to attempt to oil at sea again on the next turn, they must end that turn in the North or South Atlantic.

16.2 Must the Axis player predesignate all ships attempting to oil before the rolls are made, or can he review the results of each attempt before committing another ship?
A. Ships to be oiled do not have to be predesignated.

If you have any questions about the War at Sea rules or these clarifications,
please contact the WBC WaS Tournament Gamemaster, Vince Meconi,
the WaS AREA PBeM Ladder Moderator, Nicholas Markevich, or
the BPA WaS PBeM Tournament Gamemaster, Kevin Shewfelt.

Return to the WaS Ladder and Tournament Index page.

In cooperation with the Boardgame Players Association BPA Logo