Wednesday, August 8, 2018

International Naval Wargame Day 2018: Post Captain AAR; "A Bear and Two Wolves"

International Naval Wargame Day

Who knew this was a thing?  I did, as I did a post about it last year, seen HERE.  : )
This year because my life is not my own, I could't host a game with actual people, so to celebrate I did a solo game of Post Captain, late at night while everyone was asleep.  I broke out 3 of my Langton ships and came up with a scenario.  Here is an AAR and some additional thoughts..

"A Bear and Two Wolves" Scenario

(nifty title eh?)

In the year Eighteen Hundred and mumble-mumble two opposing fleets in the Atlantic were doing to maneuvers to bring each other to battle when a sudden storm hit.  It blew hard for a day and night and scattered the ships pell mell.

At the next dawn when the sky cleared with a fresh wind; 3 ships caught sight of each other.  The French 1st rate Repubician, and 2 British 3rd rates Spencer and Orion.

Despite being the bigger ship, the French captain didn't want to fight 2 versus 1 so tried to run, while the 2 British captains saw an opportunity for glory and promotion so signaled to attack.  The 2 British ships began to chase the slower French, throughout the day gaining on her from astern.

As the British close in, all ships clear for action and set battle sails.

The scenario:
A classic scenario of two smaller ships versus one bigger one.  The British 74s want to capture the French 110.  The French wants to get away to find it's fleet again.

All Captains are rated as Elite (more on this later).
The British crews are rated Crack, The French crew is Regular.
The British start behind the French ship just inside 400 yards.  All ships are running before the wind.

-During the AAR, I'm going to put a F or B behind each ship name to remind readers which side they belong to (because I always forget and get confused when I read AoS AARs).

The action starts with the French Republician out in front, with the 2 British ships Orion (above) and Spencer (lower) just inside of 400 yards (or 1' on the table). The wind is from the right.

The Republician (F) turns to larboard to bring her broadside to bear on her pursuers.
The Orion (B) moves up and yaws to starboard, and both ships exchange broadsides.
Both fire on the up roll in order to hit the enemy rigging to slow down or disable the ship.
The Orion manages to damage enough rigging to ensure a rigging check for the Republician at the end of the turn. 

The Spencer (B) - on the left - moves to converge with the Republician (F) - upper center - while the Orion (B) -right corner-
begins to turn and reengage.  

End of first turn.  Both British ships cheer (the Orion in the background and the Spencer on the right) as the Republician's
Fore T'gallant mast crashes down.  Republician needed to roll a 7 or below on her rigging check and rolled a 10!
Note to self: must make fallen mast markers.  That broken stick is LAME.

The Republician's (F) fallen mast acts like a sea anchor and pulls her bow down wind, making it hard to do any real
evasive actions.  The Spencer (B) seizes the opportunity to come along side and fire a broadside at close range.
The Orion (B) is in the background coming in fast.

The Spencer (B) - on the right - then falls back from the Republician by doing a little yaw, just as Republician's (F) - center - crew finish reloading the guns.  The British captain must of been using a stopwatch to time the French ship.

The Republician (F) is not helpless though, and even with the mast dragging alongside, is able to turn her bow just enough to bring her broadside to bear on Spencer (B); damaging some guns and rigging. 
The Orion (B) in the background is closing the difference.

At the turn end, the Republician (F) is able is able to cut the mast free and make some more rigging repairs.  The British ships also complete some repairs.  All ships assign crew factors to their tasks. 
New turn; and the wolves start to close in.  The Republician (F) fires a broadside at the Orion (B) trying to brush her off.

Broadsides fire and as the ships engage at close range.  The Wolves and Bear trying the maul each other.
The British Spencer on the right fires at the French Republician in the center, who returns fire, while on the left
the British Orion fires into the Republician.
The Spencer takes enough damage to her guns that she needs a Command test (a morale test), which she passes.

The French captain is doing the math and doesn't like the result.  It's only a matter of time before the British ships cause significant damage;  But maybe, just maybe, his ship can break away while his
crew reload, maybe the Republician (F) -middle ship - will get in a lucky hit and disable one of the British ships.  He tries to slow down and the speed up, move left and right to dodge the circling British ships but to no avail.
In game terms: the British kept winning the initiate and forcing the French to move first, and then reacting appropriately
in order to keep station.

The British close in again.  The Spencer (B) on the right fires a broadside into the Republician (F) in the center,
though the Spencer's fire is weakened due to damaged guns she still damages the French ship more.
The Republician fires into the Orion (B) on the uproll hoping to damage the rigging enough, while the Orion returns fire.

At the end of he turn, the Orion (B), on left, passes her rigging check, and otherwise is in decent shape.
The Spencer (B) on right, is a little wounded but still capable of fighting
The Republician (F), in the middle, is hard pressed.
She's taken damage to her hull, guns, and crew.  A boarding action would result in her crew fighting both ships at once.
At the beginning of the turn,  both sides are unloaded.

The British pour on the fire.

The British ships will each be able to reload and fire a broadside every 3 phases.
The French ship will be able to reload and fire 1 broadside every 4 phases.
So over 6 phases, that 4 British broadsides to 1 French.
So it's mathematical after all, and the French Ship strikes.

After Actions Thoughts

Well, I enjoyed myself with a fun little naval game late in the evening.  I probably could of played a few more turns but it just got too late and that baby boy is going to wake up very early in the morning hungry.  And the French did not seem to be in a good position worth fighting it out.  

I thought that a scenario like this would be interesting and give me a chance to practice maneuvering the ships to gain tactical advantages because honestly... I'm not that good at it. : )  
And it was a nice refresher of the PC rules which I like more and more, especially for a game this size.  The rules have a medium level of complexity, but they create fun decision points and you do feel like you are captaining the ship.    Basically the mechanics do a good job of supporting the period feel.

I have learned in PC that you want to make the Captain's skill very high.  All it does is effect the Command test, which is the morale test.  If set too low the ship might withdraw / strike with only moderate damage.  I think you also have to be consistent with your gunnery.
The British were methodical: shooting high until the rigging was compromised and then shooting low for the rest of the game to pummel the enemy into submission.
The French ship was more inconsistent, sometimes firing high and sometimes low.  Still, the Spencer was looking shaky after a few broadsides.  

The poor French did have some HARD luck.  
-Over half the game the ship had reduced speed either due to an eddy or due to dragging the fallen mast.
-Failing the first rigging check and the mast falling was very bad (and somewhat unlikely, needing a 10+ on a d12), because it basically made the ship sail straight ahead down wind for 3 phases (1 turn), allowing the British ships to pounce. So just when she needed to zig-n-zag most, she couldn't.
-The British had a slight advantage in initiative as they get a +1 for the crack crews, but they got it an awful lot.  
-The French gunnery rolls were somewhat low average.  The British had some hot rolls.  

Anyway, I hope that was an enjoyable little post.  I'm still pretty new to the AoS genre but I am enjoying it.   Now I'm off to order more ships!  


  1. I enjoyed this small action very much! Well told and photographed, Stew!

  2. Nice scenario, the Langton are beautiful models and visiually sell the game alone. The rules seem to be doing a good job. The French Captain must have winced once that double broadside developed.

    1. More like began to weep (but in a manly stoic way) as he realized the fight was doomed. πŸ˜€

  3. Of course the French have hard luck... that is pretty much how the whole war at sea goes is it not?

    1. Too true. I need to play a scenario that actually favors the French, just for fairness sake. πŸ˜€

  4. What a great little game and lovely to look at too. I'll have to check out Post Captain for myself.

    1. Thanks for the comment J, I appreciate it. If you like, there is a detailed review of PC on my blog. Hope to see you again. πŸ˜€

  5. A very nice report and battle. If the French had a little hotter gunnery rolls, the battle could have been very different.

    FYI, if you have some masts and sails you've messed up, then a little green stuff can turn them into very nice fallen mast markers. After buying some from Langton and seeing what they were, I started making my own.

    1. Hi Brian!
      I do think that if the French had some better luck it might go different, or not a solo game bc people are more unpredictable. I’m gonna try this scenario again I think.

      I just ordered some of those fallen mast markers, but I might try my hand at making a marker of some sort for when the mast is still attached to the ship dragging along side, bc it could look cool. πŸ˜€

  6. So far the French in your games seem to lose a lot. Just saying.

    Good looking game. Seemed to play out similarly to one that you and I had played previously, eh?

    1. Well they lost some in real life as well.... so I’m just being true to history! πŸ˜€
      Actually at first thought that the single 1st rate had the advantage but now I’m not so sure.
      The scenario demands replay.

  7. Gorgeous work on those ships, very impressive indeed. Interesting comment on decision points, I agree that this is what makes a game.

    1. Thanks Fire. These ships probably represent the best of my modeling ability. Which still isn’t super high. πŸ˜€

  8. Nice AAR, good looking photos and models,Id have said the Brits would have had the advantage 2 to 1 with 74s against a first rate, certainly historically,Im working in Chatham docks next week, where Victory was built,n nic industrial military complex of the 18th/19th century.
    Best Iain

    1. Thanks Iain, just goes to show how little I know about Crafting AoS scenarios!
      πŸ˜€. Have a good time in Chatham.

  9. What a pleasure to look at such wonderful ships...epic!

  10. Thanks Phil! Though I don’t think 3 ships counts as epic yet. Maybe one day when I have 20! πŸ˜€