As I mentioned in my Setting Sail with Sails of Glory post I’ve been keen to get my teeth into playing the rule set recently, I’ve always been keen on Age of Sail naval gaming, and while I enjoyed playing the Langton Rules (Hoist the Signal for Close Action) – both full and fast play variants – and some other rules (like Fire As She Bears) I have always been looking for something with the right feel for me – which to be honest is something akin to the mechanics in the old Warhammer “Man o’ War” rules from the 1990’s. Sails of Glory seems to offer the feel of “Man o’ War” for the fun side, and obviously a better feel than the latter overall for age of sail tactics, so that while still just a game it contains enough historical content to at least give the impression of having a vague simulation aspect as well!
Having played a couple of solo games (When The Fog Lifts & Our Ships Were French Oak And Hearts of Oak Our Men), I recently caught up with fellow Auckland gamer Joel McNelly and we spent an afternoon playing a series of single ship actions utilising the full range of advanced and optional rules.
The first action was a simple 5th Rate action with a pair of 32-gun Frigates doing battle – the French vessel Courageuse (Joel) against HMS Concorde – with both nations at war and the vessels stumbling upon each other in the mid-Atlantic, a duel immediately ensued. Both vessels closed on each other endeavouring to gain the weather gauge over their opponent, manoeuvring for an advantage. HMS Concorde gained the marginal advantage of loosing off her forward starboard broadside first, causing notable damage to the hull and also the rudder!
Some cunning (but risky) sailing by the French (Joel) and a lack of foresight from the cocky HMS Concorde saw the latter sail straight into a deadly bow rake from the French vessel! Luckily Courageuse had suffered enough damage from the first broadside of Concorde that it resulted in her only having 60% of the firepower she might have had for the rake – still she dealt out some good damage to HMS Concorde, with hull & rudder damage, and numerous crew casualties!
Courageuse now pays for her daring manoeuvre, having swung fully into the wind she is taken aback and flung around as HMS Concorde sails past at point blank range and looses off a full broadside and musketry, to which the French can only reply with some erratic and inconsequential musketry… Concorde’s fire is deadly – not only causing crew casualties and massive hull damage, but also breaking a mast and causing a fire onboard! Courageuse may be in trouble…
As Courageuse’s crew complete her rudder repairs they are now faced with managing both a broken mast and a fire…
Both vessels begin to come around to engage each other again, HMS Concorde has repaired her rudder damage, but Courageuse is battle a broken mast and an ongoing fire on board… Even as the latter gets on top of her fire, both vessels swing into range of each other’s aft broadsides, and open fire – HMS Concorde has the advantage in weight and dishes out more significant hull damage and a leak on the brave but desperate Courageuse, who can only reply with some minor hull & rudder damage to Concorde.
And with that it’s over – in a brisk but brief action Courageuse is forced to strike her colours as her crew still fighting the fire are now faced with a leak and their ship all but demolished and about to sink (as much as a wooden ship can sink)! A victory for the Royal Navy and HMS Concorde.
Next up – 3rd Rates in action – we do battle commanding 74-gun ships of the line! Read more: Un Trio de Batailles Navales (2).