Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Age of Sail - Duelling 74's

I have been working on a modified set of hex based naval rules (called KAOS) for fighting medium sized Age of Sail battles on hexes based on the old Avalon Hill Wooden Ships & Iron Men rules and using ships from the Sails of Glory range.

I plan to use a playing area with 40 mm hexes but for this test (under Corona-isolation) I used the grass green 35 mm hex playing are that I had readily available and hastily made ship bases.

This first battle was between two 74 gun ships of the line, the Royal Navy's HMS BELLONA and the French Navy's Commerce de Bordeaux. I commanded the BELLONA and Capitaine de vaisseau Branche de Bosquet commanded the Commerce de Bordeaux via a Skype link.

HMS BELLONA under full sail heading out to sea.

HMS BELLONA was broad reaching under full sails with the southerly wind from starboard and the Commerce de Bordeaux was broad reaching under battle sails with the wind from larboard.

They started 12 hexes apart, just out of cannon range.

Both ships moved straight ahead. HMS BELLONA attempted to change to battle sails but hadn't yet finished. Neither ship had it's opponent in its broadside arc.

Both ships turned downwind. Because HMS BELLONA was still moving faster with full sails, she managed to then cross the bow of the Commerce de Bordeaux, raking her with her initial starboard broadside. HMS BELLONA then changed to battle sails.

Commerce de Bordeaux turned to her left while HMS BELLONA repeated her previous manoeuvre of turning left, running downwind and then turning right. HMS BELLONA was still in a position to rake the Commerce de Bordeaux without having fire returned.

Both ships now turned downwind and fired their initial broadsides at point blank range.HMS BELLONA continued aiming at the Commerce de Bordeaux's hull while the Commerce de Bordeaux aimed for BELLONA's rigging. Capitaine de vaisseau Branche de Bosquet now ordered the Commerce de Bordeaux to start using chain shot.

Commerce de Bordeaux turned to her right while HMS BELLONA turned left, both try to cross the other so as to get in a raking shot. Both ships were consistent in their tactics for choice of target. The BELLONA fired into her opponent's hull while Commerce de Bordeau fired her initial larboard broadside into her opponent's rigging.

Commerce de Bordeaux turned tightly to her left while HMS BELLONA edged away to her right. This opened the range slightly. Commerce de Bordeaux continued to fire chain shot into the rigging and HMS BELLONA fired roundshot into the hull.

This fire from the Commerce de Bordeau did enough damage to the rigging of the BELLONA that her speed was now reduced. At the same time the fire from HMS BELLONA was seriously damaging the Commerce de Bordeau's hull, knocking out guns and killing large numbers of her crew.

HMS BELLONA continued forward at reduced speed while Commerce de Bordeaux turned back to follow the BELLONA. Both ships could fire at the extremes of their broadside arcs.

HMS BELLONA continued forward at reduced speed while Commerce de Bordeaux turned left close hauled. Both ships could fired their broadside arcs.

The fire from the Commerce de Bordeau did enough damage to the rigging of the BELLONA that her speed was now reduced and she could not make any headway close hauled.

The fire from HMS BELLONA had seriously damaged the Commerce de Bordeau's hull, knocked out guns and killed large numbers of her crew.

Both Captains at this time decided to disengage and repair the damage to their ships.

As a first test of these rules the game played well. There will be a few simplifications before the next game.

The slightly too small, and very green hexes worked great for play-testing but will need to be replaced by an ocean map with 40 mm hexes when the corona situation allows. Even playing via Skype worked well; better than expected.

Great fun was had by both sides.

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