Sunday, February 15, 2015

My first sailing ship command

A couple of weeks ago at Dragon's Lair, Grant ran a sailing ship combat game. The minis were from Close Action, but he used a tournament version of Bloody Broadsides. It was my first time playing a sailing ship combat game; it's a lot different when you're so dependent on the wind.
There were nine players, each commanding a single sailing ship. I took the French vessel Pluton, a 74-gun vessel upgraded to 80 for this scenario, as our squadron sailed to meet the English.
As we began play, I quickly found out how important maneuver (and the direction of the wind) can be. The game quickly turned into a chaotic melee, as ships jockeyed for position and that oh-so-satisfying (and damaging) stern rake. In the end, the English fleet drove off the French, but ships on b both sides struck their colors.
Grant was trying out some streamlined rules he wants to use in a Battle of Trafalgar game in a few weeks. One thing I liked was no rolling to see if your cannon hit; you do a set amount of damage based on range. While some players like to roll for hits, it really slows down a large multiplayer game like this one with nine ships. Since the Trafalgar game will involve 23 ships, I think not rolling for hits is a fair compromise.


Bighara said...

I'm not sure how relevant Real-World tactics are in the game, but I thoroughly enjoyed "The Sea Rovers' Practice" by Little about pirates and their tacticals.

Gonsalvo said...

The ships look like Portsmouth games 1:900 sailing ships - The "Bloody Broadsides" rules are from the same folks as well.

My own 1:1200 ships have been making some blog appearances lately, with a recent post on our first game using Close Action rules (by Clash of Arms games, not to be confused with "Signal Close Action by Rod Langton (who also makes a range of very fine 1:1200 ships).

J Womack, Esq. said...

I have played Close Action with Jeff Hunt, who makes the Portsmouth Games miniatures, using his miniatures. I bought several ships but never really did anything with them. I Gamed them Forward at Historicon a few years ago. It was fun to play, but no one else wanted to play sailing vessels.

Age of Sails or Sails of Glory or whatever it is may help fix that in my area (Houston/Galveston).