Sunday, 5 January 2014

Which it is a Sails of Glory (and CCN) AAR

Before seeing combat with the new Sails of Glory game, I thought it would be fun to try to learn how to handle my ships. I set up an island, and a friendly race between a frigate and a ship-of-the-line to be first around the island and bombard an enemy lighthouse.

The frigate crashed into the island, and the ship-of-the-line missed stays whilst tacking and drifted off the table...

After that auspicious start, I had two games against my regular Napoleonic nemesis, Gorillamo. I captained the HMS Terpsichore (32), and he took the Courageuse (34). Gorillamo has painted very fetching white stripes on his Terpsichore model. We played on a hex naval board he had available.

For the first game we played with 'standard' rules, which don't have crew actions, changing weather, or special damage. With the wind coming from my right, we did a half-circle around each other before becoming entangled and engaging in a yardarm-to-yardarm slugging match, which I lost. The Admiralty will not be pleased...
The Terpsichore sights the Courageuse. Beat to quarters!

The ships have circled one another

The entangled ships slug it out at point-blank range

In the second game we added as many 'advanced rules' as we could handle. We crossed each other's paths and then withdrew to make repairs, before crossing again. I slowed down infront of him and was able to force him into a boarding action which took several turns for me to eliminate his crew and make him strike his colours. Huzzah!

So, what did we think? It was enjoyable and required good planning decisions in terms of manoeuvering and allocating crew actions. The 'sailing' did feel appropriate in terms of attitude to the wind, but wasn't more taxing than it needed to be. Both the actions fought did wind up as a yardarm-to-yardarm slugfest, but it felt 'right'. We haven't tried it yet with the larger ships, or with multiple ships per side, and would like to try some of the scenarios.

There is a need for a QRS or sequence flowchart for the advanced rules. It's not easy to remember when you change weather, take leak or fire damage, fix stuff, and check for entanglements and grapnels etc.

But certainly good fun, and recommended Napoleonic naval fare.

To continue the Napoleonic theme, we dusted off Commands and Colours: Napoleonics, and refought First Rolica. I was the defending French. We cautiously manoeuvred before the British launched a large pincer which I was unable to stop, losing 5-3. More good fun, and a game I have to get more of.
Set-up. I control the high ground.

Game end. The British pincer whittles the French away.


  1. How dare you tease me with your Sails of Glory whilst I'm still waiting for mine :(

    1. I did receive it sooner than I anticipated. But I wasn't going to hold out any longer once it arrived!

  2. Thanks for the review of Sails of Glory. I was tempted by the Kickstarter but opted out due to the price of individual ships. It sounds like that may have been a mistake.

    1. You don't really need too many ships, I think you could have a lot of good games using just the base set. I think you'd only need lots of ships if you wanted to have a multiplayer game, which the system could handle.

  3. 'm very jealous! My SOG order was shipped a few days ago, but due to the weather the midwest is having, it is still sat in Chicago airport along with about 1200 other grounded planes, so it may take a little while longer before it reaches Blighty and i can start sinking some french ships of the line as well.

    Great review, and nice painting on HMS Terpsichore, I always thought it looked a little odd the hull being totally black. I will be interested to see how the ships look with the spars painted and a light wash on the sails. I'll also be following your lead on customizing HMS Terpsichore too. I look forward to more battle reports and seeing what you do with your ships. (besides shooting away their masts of course)

    1. I think I was lucky to get mine given the weather in the US.

      The credit for the Terpsichore repaint goes to Gorillamo.

  4. Hmmm... Sails of Glory reminds me a lot of GMT-Games paper counter-game Flying Colours.

    Of course, GMT is famous for their "simplistic" designs, not that there is anything wrong with that... It's just that I don't care what the SoG-rules are after reading your playthrough, it just looks so nice, the components are rather tempting.

    Ever had the need of playing a Middle-Earthian sail-battle-game or is it Napoleonic-times that are the era of choice, in your opinion?

    1. I haven't played 'Flying Colors', but I understand that it caters for bigger battles with a dozen ships per side. Also, in case there's any confusion, 'Sails of Glory' doesn't use a hex map, it just happened to be available.

      For me it's the golden age of sail, other naval periods don't have the same attraction.

    2. I see!

      The Hornblower series really made it easy for me to fall for the Napoleonics sea-warfare. No other era come even close. Still, I'll try to get me a little game of Middle-Earthian naval battles, probably have to make a game like that myself though :I

  5. Well done, beautiful pics!

  6. Excellent after action report.