This was my first game using these rules and it was a pleasure to familiarise myself with this type of game – It had been a long while since I had played any naval wargame. Each side had 1 large 1st rate ship of the line with other ships of the fleets progressively smaller down to ‘brig’ being the smallest.
We (the Spanish), won the di roll for first movement and I managed to achieve my first blunder by getting one squadron well and truly in the way of the other. The wind direction was a key factor in the system and when we did finally get our ships moving the favourable wind enable our first squadron to launch a successful attack on the most forward of the English squadrons. The Spanish gunnery was really effective, the heavy guns of the lower decks caused plenty of damage and started a fire on the most advanced 3rd rate ship.
The other two opposing squadrons became engaged and the first gunnery exchange was a fairly even affair. In our next move with our first squadron we attempted to board the two largest English vessels. Unfortunately, this failed because we tried to do this under full sail – not possible I was informed! This proved to a bad move indeed in that it left this first squadron in a very vulnerable position, which Tony and Dave (the English), were able to exploit as they manoeuvred and proceeded to blast our ships from close range causing fires on two vessels.
Meanwhile our other squadron which had launched a successful initial attack using the wind advantage, now found itself attempting to turn into the wind and was as out-manoeuvred by the second English squadron, which proceeded to cripple and set on fire our 1st rate ship of the line.
I think it’s fair to say that the English gunnery had improved steadily after a very iffy start, but the Spanish had deteriorated somewhat after a very promising start, and we had definitely come out worst in the later ship to ship encounters. We managed to put the fires out on one 3rd rate ship but still had two others ablaze! The wind direction did not change with the di roll and both Spanish squadrons were soon in a more battered condition than the English, and without the ability or indeed physical condition necessary to manoeuvre and launch another attack. The game was therefore concluded with a decisive English victory.
Many thanks to Steve for the rules and enabling us to play with his excellent collection of Napoleonic ships. A further naval encounter is scheduled for next week!
Steve has use a sponge and white model paint thinned with water to create the sea effect on the blue hex boards. Since this battle report he has done more work on the boards and they look even more impressive. I will post a report on the most recent game with plenty of photos of the new boards.