Saturday, February 5, 2011

ACW Ironclad Game

 I hosted a ironclad game last night to try out a new rule set "Sail and Steam Navies" which were written by Dave Brandon and are available from Bay Area Yards.

The purpose of the game was to get familiar with the rules so I can use them as part of a larger ACW campaign game I'm planning.  The scenario was simple - a force of 6 Union ships commanded by Ernie and Mike had the objective to sink the commerce raider CSS Stonewall which was attempting to deliver a confederate ambassador to England.  Escorting the Stonewall was a fleet of four confederate ships (The Virginia, Tennessee, Richmond and Baltic).  I know it's not a historic scenario and the fleet composition was really just based on what I had painted!.  The Confederates were commanded by Dick.  All of my ship models are from Thoroughbred Miniatures

 "Sail and Steam Navies" plays very cleanly once you understand the sequence which consists of (i) Movement speed, (ii) Cannonade, (iii) Movement round 1 and (iv) movement round 2.  There are other aspects to the sequence I've omitted.  One has to think ahead for moving, especially when trying to set up ramming attacks.  In our game the bulk of the confederate fleet rushed forward to meet 3 of the Union ships in a narrow channel in the hopes of bottling them up and dispatching them with ramming.  The only hitch is the fleets passed each other (often by less than a half inch!  The result was six Union ships bearing down on the Stonewall with the four CSS escorts back in the distance trying to catch up.

 The last picture shows the end of the Stonewall.  While a fast ship, her boilers were hit which reduced her speed from 10 inches to 3, which allowed the Union to catch her and in the end after hammering her armor on the starboard side down to zero dispatch her with a ramming attack!

The heart of the game system are the ship status logs which have a wealth of information about the ship and are used to track damage, movement speed etc.  One of the more impressive things about the game system is that it comes with around 1,000 unique ship data cards - sometimes ships have multiple versions to reflect equipment and/or armament changes during the course of the war.

I really liked the rules and I think the guys got the jist of it after a couple turns.  We did have some confusion on when to write movement orders and the two impulse move structure.  This wasn't due to unclear rule writing but more force of habit from other naval game systems and my poor instructions.  I do appreciate Ernie, Mike and Dick being such gracious test subjects.  Sometimes it can be frustrating to be thrown into a new game system and these guys were great sports about it.

The highlight of the evening was when Dick showed up with him Naval Gaming brief case - it was stuffed full of gaming templates and markers and was a hoot.  Good show, Dick!  The base structure for my planned civil was campaign is becoming clear

Major Land Battles:   6mm figures, Black Powder Rules
Naval:                        1/600 scale ships, Sail and Steam Navies
Skirmish/Raids:          28mm figures, Uncivil War rules


Green stuff and Alioop said...

Good fun Miles. Thanks for having me over. Damn the Torpedoes, two movment phases ahead!

Guidowg said...

The game looks like great fun, good to get away from all those infantry units for a while.

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

Nice game and a navel period off the beaten path in regards to gaming.


Beccas said...

Great to see some more naval games on blogs. Great stuff.

Paul´s Bods said...

Nice...ship wargaming is not a common thing to see. looks good.
btw...there is no 20mm on your poll about land gaming ;-D

Robert Hawkins said...

Glad I found your blog - excellent work all around. I played what I presume is Sail and Steam Navies' predecessor, Under Both Flags, at a con a couple of years ago, and I'm finally getting ready to take the plunge and paint up my small selection of Thoroughbred Miniatures vessels. Thanks for sharing your games! - Robert