I spent an enjoyable evening pushing tiny ships around last night with a group of friends. We played a heavily modified version of the Trafalgar rules with 1:600 scale ships. Pete and I were the indefatigable British commanders and Stu and Dave proudly flew the Tri-colour for La Belle France.
Each of us rolled a die to determine which table edge we entered on and, curiously, we each rolled a different number and each squadron managed to enter adjacent to their sister ships. The French had the wind in their sails and bore down on their enemy while the British had to slowly beat upwind to get into position.
As this was my first naval game of any kind (other than Battleships) I had a lot to process about tactics and the specifics of the rules. But I had read Hornblower and Aubrey and that was all that mattered.
The game is very much about maneuvering, taking full advantage of the wind, and massing your firepower against individual ships. We didn’t finish the game but I was getting the hang of it by the end and had seriously damaged one of Dave’s 3rd raters, with two more ships poised to finish her off with successive broadsides to her stern. My ships were also heading directly for Stu’s flagship and would sail past it with cannons blazing in a few more turns if he kept his heading (which he wouldn’t – he knew what he was doing).
It was great fun, I really enjoyed myself and am now looking forward to playing Longstreet in a fortnight’s time. Again – this will be my first foray into ACW (all the while humming the theme of F-Troop no doubt).
Stu supplied all of the ships – they are all Airfix 1/600 models of HMS Victory, modified to represent different ships of the line, from 28 gun frigates to 130 gun 1st rater. Amazing! More photos will be found on the group’s blog here (once Pete gets his act together).