Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Napoleonic Naval

Mark & Mike's French v. Renfrey's British

Following the success of the update of our Dreadnoughts rules we tried out last week, I moved on to update our Men o' War rules for naval warfare in the age of sail.  The changes are to generally simplify things to allow the data to be recorded on magnetic stands under the ship models & to use magnetic logs for orders.
The starting positions of the fleets was determined by a Bolt Action dice roll determining a direction of approach for each fleet.  The wind is blowing straight down the table.  The British ships in the foreground comprise 1 1st rate & 3 3rd rates, all elite crews.  They started with the wind on their port beam, but have turned abreast towards the French & now have the wind on their port quarter.  The French fleet was sailing close hauled on the starboard tack, in 2 parallel columns,  but have turned to port and are trying to sort their line out.  the French have 1 1st rate & 4 3rd rates, all average crews.
The British have turned to starboard as they approached the French line.   The French van has opened fire at long range, but has done little damage.
The ships close and their fire is now becoming effective.  The British flagship at this end of the line is about to cop the fire of 3 French ships.
The British have tried to break through the French van, but the Frenchvan has turned away and have generally got in better broadsides.  One British ship is already critically damaged, is on fire, and has struck its colours.
The admirals are deep in thought as they contemplate their orders.  All ships are given commands using magnetic boards with a small hex diagram that shows the legal moves depending on the angle of the wind to the ship.  The ships are then moved simultaneously so a lot of the skill in the game is predicting where the enemy will go & getting your ships better able to fire at them than they at you.  (Note that we are drinking lime juice to prevent scurvy).
The French do better in their manoeuvres and pummel the British ships in close.  Two more Britsh ships are critically damaged and strike their colours.  One French ship is raked and also strikes, but there are still 4 French ships in action & only 1 British.  The remaining British ship runs for it as the French send out prize crews to the stuck British ships & their struck ship re-raises the tricolour.

All the players enjoyed the game - the revisions to the rules were generally successful, I saw a few points that could be further improved.  The battle was over in about 1 1/2 hours so there is certainly scope for bigger actions if we had the ships.  Our ships are 1:600 Airfix Victories. mostly over 40 years old (like the real thing at Trafalgar), though they are still making them exactly the same.  They look pretty good as generic ships of the line, though we do have some issues with them being bigger than our hex mat.

1 comment:

Truscott Trotter said...

Looks like a great game, hope you remembered to sterilize the glasses with Gin before adding lime juice - in true navy fashion?
Also fun is to restrict the players to signal flags rather than allowing them to discuss orders between turn....:)