Monday, July 20, 2015

Historicon 2015: My Ironclad Game - A More Detailed AAR

On the first day of Historicon (2015), I ran my American civil war ironclad game twice.  The scenario was rather simple - the combined British / CSA fleet had to escort 4 transports off the map.  The Brit/CSA fleet consisted of the HMS Warrior, Hector and Scorpion and the Stonewall, Tennessee, Richmond, Columbia and Gaines from the CSA navy.  The four transports (steamboats) are in the center of the formation.  Opposing them is a Union fleet that consisted of 2 Saccacus class double enders (paddle boats) in the center, four monitor ironclad in the upper left and the New Ironsides, Hartford and two escorts to the right plus the fort.

The Union fleet was much slower than it's opponents and had less firepower - at least on paper it did!  Along the right side of the game mat are the ship data cards which I laminated so it's easy to erase them.

Opening moves as the confederates begin to approach the gap.  Each side had four players so  8 players in total and often had 10 + people watching the game.  The game was played using the Sail and Steam Navies ruleset.
A narrow miss between the Warrior and the Stonewall.  Yes, the Warrior is scaled appropriately - she is a huge ship with lots and lots of guns.

The most critical move of the game involved the USS Shamrock gets tangled up with the Warrior and slowing her down.  This ended badly for Shamrock but also effectively took Warrior out of action for a few critical turns.
The Union fleet tries to plug the gap.
The confederate ironclads try to maneuver around Warrior to get into the flight
The confederates make a critical mistake and leave a gap in the center of their formation which allows easy access to the transports for the Union monitors.
Seizing the initiative, the Union fleets makes for the center and those oh-so tempting ironclads.  Wolves amongst the sheep as they say.
A few rounds of gunnery and the transports are rendered to smoking hulks - a decisive Union Victory!

As mentioned in an earlier post the game was given an award, which was very unexpected.  More importantly, all the players seemed to have fun and 4 of them convinced me to run the game again in the evening since I had the table all day.
The second game was a lot more involved as the most of the players were experienced with the system.
The CSA kept their transports back this game and didn't leave a gap in the center - much better fleet management.
Furious action in the center with the Warrior pounding the fort into submission

The Hartford managed to slip past the Warrior and despite being down 2/3rds of hull points and surviving 2 ram attacks managed to drive off the transports given a very, very marginal victory to the Union.

I was very pleased with how the game went and the players in both versions seemed to have a great time.  If I was to run the game again I would likely increase the number of player to 6 per side and reduce the number of ships each controls down to one or two.  While S&SN's is a relatively easy game, it can be overwhelming to a brand new player.  The laminated ship cards worked really well.  The terrain also got a lot of compliments which was surprising given how simple it was.  The gaming mat is just a 10 foot by 5 foot roll of marine grade vinyl (used for boat cushions) which just happened to come in a great "water" color.  From a logistical aspect, Naval games are a much easier to put on than the "big battle games"!


El Grego said...

A beautiful brace of games! Almost makes me want to start my ACW naval collection again...

Where did you find the clear bases?

David Sullivan said...

What rules did you use?

David Sullivan said...

Ah, I see in the pics it's Sail and Steam Navies.

TamsinP said...

Lovely pics of some lovely ships :)

DeanM said...

Excellent looking naval game, Miles. Always impressed with the quality and effort you put out for the con.

Victor said...

I took a picture of these ships as I walked past. They are fantastic looking.