Sunday, August 31, 2014

August Game Report

August was a fairly busy month for me, but I did get in one game early in the month. It was an American Civil War naval game using the Sail and Steam Navies rules.

The scenario was at the close of the war with Union blocking forces trying to prevent a Confederate ram from slipping out to sea. In this game the Union side had more and better ships, but the game started out with limited visibility and the Confederate ships knew the terrain.

There were four Union players, with six ships, and we set up our ships in groups that could try to cover the river exit. I had some small ships in the first and third group. There were ironclads and heavy ships in the second and fourth group.

With the limited visibility, my first ship was supposed to raise the alarm and try to slow down the rebels. I decided to use a ferry for this purpose, since it had pretty good speed and some decent guns.
My recon ferry the Commodore Barney
We hoped the second group, with an ironclad and heavy ship, would be able to do some heavy damage.
Union second group
I had a 90-day gunboat in the third group. I was hoping that it would only be needed to mop-up after the heavies in the second group.
90-Day gunboat Pinola
The final group was made up of the ironclads Choctaw and Essex. As you can tell, this was a pretty formidable force.
Choctaw waiting to see something
On the Confederate side, there was the sidewheel ram CSS Webb and a pair of torpedo boats. This might not seem like much compared to the Union force, but the Confederate goal was for the Webb to escape.
The torpedo boats and Webb make their appearance
Things started out slow, with visibility limiting our actions. Meanwhile, the Confederates were increasing speed and trying to avoid the Yankees. Finally, my recon ferry spotted one of the torpedo boats and opened fire.
Barney opens fire
I was able to sink one torpedo boat, but only caught a glimpse of the Webb as it sped by. I poured on the coal and began chasing, but there was no way I was going to catch the speed ram.
Barney in a futile stern chase
In the next area, the Union heavy ships found themselves out of position and Webb sped down the edge of the table.
Webb (in the upper portion) on the run
Between the poor visibility and speed of the Confederates, the heavy group only got off a couple long range shots that missed. The heavies eventually destroyed the other torpedo boat, but that did not make up for missing their main target.

My gunboat was next up. I exchanged fire with Webb, but could not do enough damage to slow it down. Our last hope was that final pair of ironclads.

Choctaw is a heavy ship, but has really poor arcs of fire and is relatively slow. Using speed and visibility limitations, Webb was able to maneuver to avoid most of Choctaw's heavy guns and run by her.
Choctaw trying to get off a couple shots.
Essex was the only ship standing between Webb and escape. The game came down to the final shots by Essex.
Essex with the last shots
Even with a couple hits, the damage did not slow the Confederate ship, allowing it to race off the board for a victory.

It was a fun game and could have gone the other way if the Union side had gotten some lucky hits, but it would have taken lucky hits to slow the Webb.

There were a couple things that we thought would make it a little better. The limited visibility really hurt the Union chances of engaging, while it did nothing to slow the Confederates. We suggested that the maximum speed for any ship be limited by the maximum visibility (this seemed pretty logical, since most ship captains wouldn't want to travel too fast when they couldn't see). However, to give the Confederate player an option we thought that he could choose to move faster than visibility,but would have to check for grounding any turn he did that.

Overall, it was a nice diversion from my chores at home. Now with Fall approaching, I'm hoping to have a little more playing time and you should start seeing some more activity here on the blog.

1 comment:

  1. Great looking game and models. Inspires me to get back to my Actium game someday.