Thursday, September 10, 2015

Simon's Ships

After trying out Galleys and Galleons for Napoleonic naval warfare (principally as a replacement of the Sails of Glory system) last night we had a four player game using Simon C's collection of ships.  This is what we had:

From this we constructed four squadrons each of five ships.  Each side had a squadron of galleys and a squadron of sailing ships.  Things were kept simple and this was the traits of the two ship types:

Points 40
Quality 3+
Combat 3
Special Rules
Drilled Soldiers, Galley, Ramming, Unarmed, Yare
Sailing Ship
Points 48
Quality 3+
Combat 3
Special Rules
Chaser Guns, High Castles, Square Rigged, Sweeps

Rules as per the book although I had suggested a modifier to ramming involving the difference in damage between the two vessels.  So if a ship with two damage points rammed a ship with one damage point there would be a plus one modifiers.  As things developed we didn't get to test this.

Each squadron was represented by a playing card.  Each turn these were shuffled and played through one at a time, the squadron to go next only being revealed after the previous squadron had finished its move.  This worked well and meant you had to keep a bit of distance between squadrons if you were not to get compromised.

The Red Fleet.  The King of Hearts was Stephen N commanding the sailing ships and the King of Diamonds was Paul with the galleys.

The Black Fleet.  The King of Clubs was Mark B in command of the galleys and the King of Spades was Simon with the sailing ships and tail wind.  It was Simon who championed adding in some terrain (our previous experience with terrain was that it acted as a lure...)

The black galleys had a fail on their second ship and then action passed to the black sailing ships who had a similar misfortune compounded by the wind that powered them on

It was enough to drive their captain to drink.

The red sails got off to a good start and even fired a few long range shots.  The red galleys couldn't find their oars (through out the game both galley squadrons had a poor success record).

As the black sails try to navigate the island (they lost one boat, but it was a close call for some of the others) the red sails keep up their ineffective fire on the lead black galley. 

As can be seen the galleys have been very tardy, but the sailing ships are slogging it out.

Yet another epic fail to motivate the red galleys.  At least a black galley had been able to ram one of the enemy ships.  The black fleet had however lost another ship, this time to enemy fire.  (we need to get some sunken ship markers)

The red galleys trying hard to join in the fun.

The sailing ships having a free for all.

And that was were we left it.  

With that number of ships the wind was changing direction quiet a bit.  That wasn't really an issue, however working with a sixteen point compass is a little fiddly and just going with eight (which align with table edges and corners) would be much easier.  

There was also some discussion of wind strength changing, perhaps on a throw of triples.  Not really necessary, but would be easy enough to work out.

I need to do more ramming before I decide if I like the mechanic as it is different to standard SoBH combat system which in G&G is used for firing and boarding.

My final criticism, and this was of our game and not the rules and more my fault for not thinking something up, is that naval games work best as part of a larger narrative or campaign.

The rules worked well (sailing into islands was a positioning problem, not a rule problem) and multi-player also moved smoothly (always hard on club nights with distractions).  A squadron move, like the group move in SoBH is something to consider.

Most importantly we all had fun, well, I know I did, and all I was doing was umpiring.

1 comment:

  1. Galleys and Galleons plays well, provided that the ship activation dice Gods are favourable. As Son of York mentioned, both galley squadrons failed to do anything significant. Failed activations were all to frequent in this instance.

    I look forward to more deaths in the next game.