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Saturday, 28 March 2015

Powder Monkey 2 - our first try out!

Today, we tried the modified version of my 'Powder Monkey' solo rules for Sails of Glory Napoleonic.
I had intended to give Ian a gentle introduction to the game for his first time, but as usual.....
Phil turned up, not unexpectedly,
A nice chap called Andy, came in looking for a game,
Lawrence, who had been unwell overnight, also came!

So we had 5 players! - as I wanted the French to be run by the solo system, I was running out of ships for them to command!

I therefore opted to just run the solo French, Lawrence and Andy got English '74s while Phil and Ian got English first rates.

So after a brief explanation of the rules to the new guys, we started.

The French had 3 1st raters, and a Spanish 74.
 As normal, they started sailing close to the wind.
 The English had their 2 74's forward, and started upwind of the French.
 Both flotillas closed quickly.  
 As the fleets met, all the English turned upwind and 2 ships hit the Commerce de Marseilles, causing leaks and a fire! 
 Commerce's return fire caused only light damage on one of the English 74's. 
The next turn, no-one fired, the French turned downwind to shoot and got 3 ships firing against the 2 74's.
 Little damage was caused on either side, and the crews feverishly reloaded.
 The English first rates tried to turn to rejoin the action.
The French now tried to gang up on HMS Superb, but only the Spanish Argonauta got a stern broadside. 
The English first rates were struggling turning into the wind. 
 ...but eventually sorted themselves out!
 Commers now shot Superb, Superb hit Republique de France, causing 2 fires and 2 leaks! The French crew would be busy!
 Le Berwick got a shot at one of the English 1st rates.
 Having reloaded, Argonauta hit Superb with a stern rake.
 Republique got another stern shot at Superb.
  Poor Superb was almost destroyed by now...
 Le Berwick finished the job! Superb struck her colours!
 Commerce de Marseilles found herself isolated, and being hunted by 2 of the English ships.
The French now got into a good position against HMS Vanguard.
 Commerce was in an odd position being chased downwind, and began fish-tailing. The Veer difference slowed the weave, but I felt it appropriate to replace a reverse weave the solo system generated with a sharp right turn.
This made far more sense.
 Vanguard was running rings round the French now, and manoeuvred the heavily damaged Republique de France off table.
 Argonauta, Le Berwick and HMS Vanguard now traded shots.
 At this point, more of the French ships, which were all moderately damaged, would leave the table, so it was decided the English had won! --though all the French escaped!

So, as a playtest, what were the results?

It certainly proved PM2 is less likely to produce a fish tailing weave when enemy ships are in their rear arc, but as the Commerce showed, it is still possible. There is no real way of stopping this by a rule change. I recommend what I did in this game.
If a ship gets stuck in a weave, replace an odd manoeuvre card with a different one which:

(1) Takes the solo ship closer to the enemy.
(2) Does not send the solo ship into the red zone (going upwind).

This works a treat and makes the system play better. I do not think any solo system would be possible for SofG which could work perfectly in all cases without being impossibly complex.

I am still happy with the system, as it seems to make a challenging opponent!
I hope you feel the same!

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