Thursday, September 8, 2016

Band of Bumblers

For the game I pulled out the old school Wooden Ships and Iron Men by Avalon Hill (now Hasbro).  Models are 1/1200 scale, mostly a mix of GHQ, Skytrex and NavWar.  We set the date at 1794 while the French still had some captains who knew their jobs.  Seven players, all out of practice or playing for the first time divided up the commands.  The combined fleet featured six French, three Spanish and three Dutch ships of the line and frigates vs. six British ships of the line and three frigates.  We rolled for crew quality with the British most crack and elite as expected, the combined fleet significantly lower, especially with the Spanish (my command).

The disjointed (by scenario) allied fleet sails past snacks.

Dutch in the distance, then Spanish and two French columns.

Meanwhile, the stately "Band of Brothers" sails in formation.

Both fleets started the game with good wind, advancing at a "quarter reach."  As we converged and elements began to maneuver we were required to roll for possible wind change.  Naturally it swung 120 degrees counter-clockwise to place all but the Dutch in "irons."  With the wind beating directly into the sails, all forward movement stopped and the British could now set the time and place for the battle to begin.

Sacre bleu!

In the confusion that followed, there were many foulings.  Most notably when HMS Powerful (84), crashed into the Santissima Trinidad (136).  Grappling hooks went out and the two were pulled together.  Keeping his men at their guns the Powerful only designated a small number of crew for defensive boarding parties.  They were quickly swarmed by the poor, but numerous Spanish.

The trailing British squadron looks for an opening while the Dutch
attempt to close up.

More ships collide and grapple.  The Spanish attempt to get the
Powerful underway.

We use a modified critical hit table and my second ship, the San Telmo took a critical causing a conflagration to erupt.  Bad, but not unbeatable.  All I have to do is avoid rolling a... "Ka-Boom!" as the dreaded six comes up on a d6 and she blows up.

The wreck and a dice to represent how long she will remain a
hazard to navigation.

A broad view of the developing battle.  All order is lost.

As a final insult, we manage to have four ships collide and foul
in the same turn.

Pulling apart and starting to disengage.

The diminutive Helder cannot win this fight.

The captured Powerful attempts to escape.

The Spartiate, which had previously been taken, will be recaptured
in the confusion that followed.

The final tally for losses was as follows:  HMS Powerful - taken.  HMS Pallas struck, but was later recovered.  San Telmo 74 blown up, total loss.  Achille 74, taken.  Bucentaure 80, taken.  Spartiate 74, taken but later recovered.  Helder 32, taken.  The crew quality modifications often represent three or even four table shifts when looking at an elite 74 facing a poor or green 74.  Which all seemed fitting an proper to us.  The game result, especially after the crippling shift in wind, all felt "right" and satisfactory.  Guess we'll have to work more of this into the line-up.

No comments:

Post a Comment