Monday, April 13, 2009

SNS Gamenight - April 2009- Age of Sail

There was only a small group of us for our monthly gamenight (I'll bet Easter week had something to do with it). I had planned to present a demonstration of Warhammer Historical's new Trafalgar age of sail naval rules. For this game, the British and French ships shared similar crew qualities and ship statistics.

Trafalgar is aimed primarily at the Napoleonic Wars period of sailing combat. You can use multiple scales, but as my small fleet of 1/1200 ships is not ready, I decided to use the GAJO store fleets of 1/2400 ships by Figurehead. Chris has done a great job painting these up, and I've used them in a couple of games using Grand Fleet Actions. For Trafalgar, one must reduce ranges and speeds in half for this scale. Fortunately, the Yahoo! egroup supporting these rules is a busy group, and someone has already provided downloadable charts and rosters with the scale modifications already made. Of course I made full use of these.

Dennis and Russ took the French ships while Lynn and I piloted the British ships. If we had seen more players, we would have included 74-gunners. As it was, 2 first-rate and 2 second-rate ships on each side hammered it out. Trafalgar requires several templates for turning and cannon fire-arcs, as well as a multitude of status counters. I made cut-out copies of the templates, and we used different colored pipe cleaner segments to represent ship status.

After several rounds of maneuvering, the fleets came within average contact distance. In the top photo, one of the French ships has taken enough damage to have started a fire.

I decided to use Litko mini-splash markers to enhance the battlefield appearance. Although not necessary, you could also use them to help you remember how many hits your ship has taken that turn.

The lead French ships on the left have both suffered rudder jams and must continue sailing straight ahead. Formidable (80) is beginning a turn to try to cut off the rearward British ships, she takes a severe rake from Royal George(100). Behind the Royal George, Cornwall (80) also suffers a rudder damage and sails straight while Boyne(80) steers around. While Ville De Paris(120) burns, poor Victory (100) in the front of the British squadron suffers a critical hit preventing firing that turn.

While the French leads L'Orient(120) and Ville De Paris fail to fix rudders and sail on, action gets fierce in the back. A non-fouling collision between Formidable and Royal George hurts the British ship more than the French, and yet Formidable's hull takes a severe pounding from other ships. The French are aiming high, however, and both Cornwall and Boyne lose a mast each and much rigging. Fire breaks out on Royal George.

Unfortunately, we had started the game late and so decided to call it at this point. Everyone felt the game was nicely done, and there seems to be enough detailed damage to satisfy each player. We felt that new players should start with a couple of ships but once the rules are learned a player could control a small squadron. We will definitely be playing this set of rules again.

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