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.|