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Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Powder Monkey, a final playtest game?

On Bank holiday Monday, I eschewed the sunshine to give the solo rules I have done for Sails of Glory a really good playtest!
(Available from:Rules download page)
That is one of the good things about solo rules, you do not strictly need other people to help test them (though there is definitely an advantage having others try them as they are more objective!)

So, on with the game...

Playing on my dining room table is ok, as I just pull the cloth across the table to move the ships into the centre of the table when they reach the edge!
The French, solo run, were the Commerce de Marseilles, 1st rate, and the 74 gun Le Berwick.

I commanded the 1st rate HMS Hibernia, supported by the solo run 74 gun HMS Superb.
The items needed for the solo ships, 2 charts and a template (+1D6!)
As per the solo rules, both sides headed close to the wind in a straight line.
The French 74 began to catch up the slower Commerce de Marseilles.
Superb was outrunning my Hibernia!
The solo rules 'Kick in' when within 2 cannon shots of an enemy vessel. This game all the solo ships reacted simultaneously!
I decided to continue on straight to get wind advantage.
Superb had Commerce in zone 'A', to her front...
Being marginally upwind of the French - she used the black lettered column on the chart, and rolled a 2 on the D6.
This gentle left move became her next planned move, so.

The French, being downwind of Superb, used the Red lettered column.
Of course, the delay in order execution meant the next move for the French continued straight ahead.
Both sides were in zone A or B at the end of this move.
The British logs, Superb will turn left, I will continue straight.
The French logs, they are both turning right (downwind).
This resulted in this situation, the greater manoeuverability of the 74's is apparent!
As Superb passed Commerce, both sides fired at short range.
Superb lost crew and had a leak, Commerce took more damage, amazingly, including a more dangerous fire.
This related to this log result on Superb...
...and this on Commerce de Marseilles.
Superb's crew manned the pumps and tried to fix the leak, while feverishly reloading her right broadside.
Commerce did likewise, but tried to extinguish her fire instead of fixing a leak!
Next move, my Hibernia also passed and fired on Commerce.
I shot off a mast, and caused a leak (which sadly for Commerce's crew wouldn't extinguish the fire!)

Commerce's log. she was seriously damaged!

Le Berwick had suffered by her early turn and was out of position...
...One of the (Highlighted below) changes in the version 2a 'Powder Monkey' rules means that in this situation, the ship just turns as sharply as possible back towards the enemy behind, though not so as to go backing sails.
No dicing, which speeds up the movement of the solo ship!

The British logs, nothing much happening here!
Commerce had her crew running round like ants trying to keep the ship afloat!
Poor Commerce was stuck with her broken sail, which made her very sluggish, the British could now concentrate on Le Berwick!
This, the British (top of picture) proceeded to do!
Finally, Commerce got her repairs in place, though she was half destroyed.
The Berwick bravely moved to engage Superb.
..but she missed getting a shot as Superb raced by with the wind!
A long ranged shot only...
...so Le Berwick was only slightly damaged.
Both British ships now ran onto the damaged Commerce.
Commerce and Hibernia exchanged shots, Commerce only caused minor damage on my ship...
...but took rather more from my fire!
Her log made grim reading for the French.
The ships were moving downwind, and near the table edge...
A quick tug on the cloth, problem solved!
Superb was now over a cannon shot from the nearest enemy, so would not dice for her next manoeuvre, just choose a hard turn towards them.
The ships (British on the right) as they turned. Le Berwick, already facing our ships, just ploughed straight ahead (without having to dice)
Superb, moving quickly, got a shot at Berwick.
Berwick reserved her fire, solo ships do not fire their weaker front broadsides.
Le Berwick took heavy damage, despite the range!
Next move, though, Le Berwick fired her broadside back at Superb.
Commerce was following her.
Superb lost more crew, but not much damage.
The ship was fine, but the crew situation was getting serious!
Following Superb, my Hibernia also fired on Le Berwick.
Hibernia caused serious damage on Le Berwick.
Le Berwick was suddenly full of holes!
In fact, both French ships were looking worse for wear!
But now Commerce threatened a stern rake on Superb.
Fortunately, Superb turned and stretched the distance.
But how powerful was the damaged Commerce's broadside now?
...not very!
..But more crew lost on Superb!

All the ships moved to re-engage, Superb moved to attack Commerce again.
But Commerce's guns had reloaded! Fortunately, another poor broadside.
My Hibernia was tangling now with Le Berwick.
Berwick was a damaged 74...
But Hibernia was first rate!
Le Berwick was sinking, could her crew save her?
Superb used her greater manoeuverability to get a shot at Commerce...

...but the resulting damage was minimal.
Both British ships manoeuvered to chase Commerce de Marseilles.
As we turned, though, we lost the wind advantage.
Commerce turned downwind and fired on Superb.
Fortunately, she suffered little damage from the weakened French ship.
At least she lost no more crew!
Superb turned with Commerce, and shot back.
Her broadside was more effective!
Poor Commerce de Marseilles was looking rather ropey!
My Hibernia was badly out of position, having misread the situation!
I turned with the wind to pursue Commerce.
Commerce and Superb exchanged volleys again.
Superb suffered more this time, and was afire!
Commerce got away lightly this time!
Commerce fired on Hibernia as I rejoined the battle.
Hibernia took simple hull damage, which she could take easily.
As Hibernia passed Commerce, I got a full broadside in!
Despite having an 8 broadside, this is all I got on Commerce!
I should have waited to fire, from the rear!.
Superb, though, got a good broadside on the hapless Frenchman.
A massive hit...
Au revoir Commerce!
The British reformed, and sailed home victoriously!
                     Come, cheer up, my lads, 'tis to glory we steer,
                     To add something new to this wonderful year;
                     To honour we call you, as freemen not slaves,
                     For who are so free as the sons of the waves?

                     Heart of Oak are our ships,
                     Jolly Tars are our men,
                     We always are ready: Steady, boys, Steady!

                     We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again!

So, how did it play?

I think its fixed now, it played very well, I think, and produced an excellent game!
I hope you get as much fun in your games!


  1. Great work...I keep looking at the starter set of this game but none of my friends are intertested I'll look forward to see how your solo rules go with others, I may well end up 'jumping aboard'...

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Joseph! - I hope you enjoy using the rules!
      I have done a chart for merchantmen too, it is on the anchorage http://sailsofglory.org/downloads.php?do=file&id=183
      The charts I have done for merchantmen are also there at: http://www.sailsofglory.org/album.php?albumid=388