Back in 1980, someone around the Task Force Games office saw a really great photograph of an Iowa-class battleship firing its guns and said: "That would make a great game cover!" Then someone else said "Since Star Fleet Battles [which we had published a year before] is based loosely on [the Avalon Hill game] Jutland, why don't we just re-reverse engineer it into a World War II battleship game?"
The result was Battlewagon, first published in 1981 as a pocket game, then republished in a larger 8.5" × 11" format in 1984. This is the second (1984) edition, which corrected and expanded the rules of the original pocket game. (The scan includes 48 pages plus the counters and the hex map.)
The game is hex/counter-based and was not really intended for use with naval miniatures. It covers everything from the smallest destroyer to the largest super battleship, and covers World Wars I and II. Data includes Austrian, British, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Russia, and US battleships. Scenarios include (among others): Falklands 1914, Dogger Bank 1915, Jutland 1916, River Platte 1939, Denmark Strait 1941, and Guadalcanal 1942. There are rules to create your own scenarios.
Rules cover movement, maneuvers, gun combat, ammunition quality, gunner skill, ranging, shifting targets, shell types, torpedoes, observation, visibility, star shells, coastlines, ship systems (bridge, radar, engine, flotation, rudder), damage, repair, fire, crippled ships, and sinkings.
Originally published by Task Force Games, ownership of this game transferred to Amarillo Design Bureau Inc. as part of the 1999 "divorce" between the two companies.
Written by David Crump / Stephen Wilcox