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Solitaire Great War at Sea
January 2014

Much of what follows is the same as with the Second World War at Sea solitaire rules. The main differences are that the fleet movement tables have been recalibrated to reflect the slower speeds of pre-World War II ships. Also, the air mission tables have been deleted since GWAS air units have limited capabilities, and each turn’s air missions should therefore be obvious.


Fleets and Air Units: GWAS solitaire setup is much the same as with a two-player game. Determine the best battle plan for each side and divide ships between fleets accordingly based on scenario limits. Place all fleet counters in use on the map with their numbered side up for easy reference. Flip them to their generic sides whenever they're spotted by enemy units, and then flip them back to their numbered sides when they evade contact. Airships and aircraft start at the ports designated in the scenario instructions.

Submarines and Motor Torpedo Boats: Subs can go on the map, since you know where both sides' subs are. Use the numbered sub counters from Plan Gold to designate the locations for each sides' subs. If you’re running a scenario with more subs than Plan Gold has counters for, use these free solitaire counter downloads (subs are the skinny ones), which are numbered to help you keep track of how many subs are in the patrol zone. Motor Torpedo Boats should also go on the map, and you can use spare multiship counters for them, or the free counter downloads (MTBs are the thick ones, which are also numbered to show how many MTBs are in the zone). Place them on the map on each day's first night turn, and remove them on each day's first daylight turn.

Minefields: If a scenario allows players to place minefields before game-start, don’t place them until you have preplotted the movements of bombardment, transport and escort fleets for both sides. Then make a list of all zone-boundaries at which each mine-capable side would consider placing mines. Then number these zones, and for each side roll randomly a number of times equal to the number of minefields available. Place a minefield in each zone whose number you roll. If you roll the same zone's number multiple times, place multiple minefields there subject to limits in the scenario instructions. Make a note of which boundaries contain minefields, or if you’re using a sheet of plexiglas to cover the map, you can draw the minefields on the zone boundaries using an erasable pen.

Fleet Movement

Preplot the movement of all bombardment, transport and escort fleets normally. Then designate which fleets will have intercept missions.

During each turn, skip the Orders Phase (4.2), and roll for each intercept fleet on the Fleet Speed and Direction tables (below) during the Move Fleets Phase (4.3). You don’t need to roll on the Speed Table for fleets that are making best speed for the enemy. Similarly, you don’t need to roll on the Direction Table for an intercept fleet that's making for port via the shortest possible route (“abort” missions are preplotted).

Each result on the Direction Table tells whether you can move a fleet in the “desired direction.” The “desired direction” is the actual direction the fleet would like to move at the instant it's moving.

For example, if a fleet wants to move directly northwest from its current location this turn, a result of "desired direction" allows you to move the fleet directly northwest at whatever speed the Speed Table says. If the fleet is trying to end up in or move through a specific zone or zones for the purpose of contacting or avoiding an enemy fleet, a "desired direction" result allows it to do so as long as the zone or zones are within the fleet's movement range this turn.

A result of "left of" or "right of" desired direction means the fleet can't enter the zone(s) it wants to, and follows a path from its starting hex that aims left or right of the target zone at an angle of less than 90 degrees.

A result of "left and away" or "right and away" from desired direction means the fleet moves away from its desired direction of travel at an angle greater than 90 degrees. "Directly away from desired direction" is self-explanatory.

When a fleet with a speed greater than 1 is moving in close proximity to enemy fleets, it may be necessary to roll on the Direction Table for each zone the fleet enters. Do so or not as the situation dictates. In addition, you should alternate moving both sides' fleets when they're in close proximity to each other so it's easy to keep track of fleets that cross each others' paths. Roll for contact as normal.


No special solitaire rules are required for aircraft. Perform air missions for each side normally during the Air Operations Phase of each turn (20.0 – 21.0).

Airship Movement

Most airships have a higher movement allowance than most fleets. Airships have their own speed table (see below), but use the same direction table as fleets. Once an airship ends its movement in the same zone as a fleet it wants to shadow, it can move with it for as long as desire and endurance allow (22.43).


No special rules are required for solitaire air and naval combat in GWAS.

That's it! Everything else is the same as normal GWAS play. Use the movement tables below, and have fun playing GWAS solitaire!

Movement Tables

The random speed and direction tables require the use of either a 20-sided die. If you don't have a 20-sided die, use a 10-sided die rolled together with an ordinary six-sided die. A roll of 1-3 on the six-sider indicates 1-10 on the 10-sider; a roll of 4-6 on the six-sider indicates 11-20 on the 10-sider (i.e., add 10 to the 10-sider’s result).

Roll on the Speed and Direction tables each turn for each intercept fleet and airship, rolling separately on each table. Do not roll for fleets which are heading for port at a fixed speed (to conserve fuel or get there quickly) by the most direct route possible.

Do not roll on the Speed Table for fleets that are making best speed for the enemy, or which are not concerned about fuel consumption.

If the Direction Table yields a result that would cause a fleet to run aground, reroll. When rolling for direction for fleets with a speed of 2 or more in close quarters with enemy fleets, it may be necessary to roll for each zone entered. Do so or not at your discretion.

Speed Tables

Fleet Speed

1 – 10 Full speed
11 – 18 One zone
19 – 20 No movement
Airship Speed
1 – 10 Full speed
11 – 15 Two zones
16 – 18 One zone
19 – 20 No movement

Direction Table

1 – 7 Desired direction
8 – 11 Left of desired direction
12 – 15 Right of desired direction
16 – 17 Left and away from desired direction
18 – 19 Right and away from desired direction
20 Directly away from desired direction