S/G gives players a chance to run complex naval operations that are abstracted in most games. Naval gaming is so niche designers gloss over naval ops in most (all) land games. AH's BISMARCK is the only S/G competitor I can think of and a few Midway/Guadal games. But all of these were published and done. AP keeps finding new stuff to publish making the series richer. Kristin Ann High's ODE TO SWWAS sums up the good, but it can't make the bad go away: TACTICAL system.
The tac system DRIVES people away from S/G in droves. Too many naval grognards won't touch it with a 10 foot pole! GWAS is especially egregious with major campaigns seeing 30 DD/TB's sunk in action. Players fear torps and stamp out the little guys like ants. One hit and gone with a Hull hit.
"THIS IS AMERICA! THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY!" *
Some folks think playing naval mini's will work. It will, if you don't mind rolling around on the floor 8 hours per battle. DREADNOUGHTS said; here's a new chassis with chrome. While the chrome was welcome it changed things for the sake of change without fixing the flaws.
So I've thought on this for years and concluded there has to be a way to add realism without adding excessive time. After discussions with Jim D. I started on WW2 DREADNOUGHTS with my new ideas added in. Jim laughed and drop kicked the idea over the side. :-(
So back to the drawing board. Jim approved, now Russell and two others have my revised Tac System. It brings in the missing chrome i.e. Smoke, Radar. Ships take unlimited Gunnery Hull hits without sinking. Flooding (and not stopping it) and Fires (and not putting them out) sink ships. Torpedoes MOSTLY still kill the old way but Hull hits by shells MOSTLY re-arrange the wreckage or as they say: "If you want to let in air, use bombs and shells, if you want to let in water, use mines and torpedoes."
To do all this required almost no rule changes, just plugging in new Damage Tables, extra rules to use them and chrome plus Very Optional Detailing rules: Collisions, super-heavy shells, formations.
So now I'm awaiting results and fixes from my blind playtesters to see if it works.
*The penguin Opus in Bloom County