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Subject: First game with my son: Constitution vs. Cyane and Levant rss

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Drew Ames
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Last night I introduced my oldest son, John, to WS&IM. John turned eight in November of '13. We played the Constitution vs. Cyane and Levant scenario.

As an aside, I think it's cool that my 8-year-old son and I played a game that came out two years after I was born, and used a scenario that happened almost 200 years ago.

Anyway, I chose the Constitution vs. Cyane and Levant scenario because it is horribly lopsided toward the American ship -- John could captain the Constitution and be assured of a win without me having to do something unrealistic to take it easy on him.

We played with the basic rules. I took about ten minutes to go over the rules for movement with a few examples. John grasped the concepts quickly. For the first few turns I chose my moves and then helped John with his. After that, he didn't need help and only had one turn with an illegal move (one extra hex at the end of his movement).

That was the same turn he went right when he wanted to go left -- but more on that in a moment.

The two British vessels I controlled had only carronades with a range of two hexes. The American ship had both long guns and carronades. The long guns have a range of 10 hexes. John determined that his best strategy was to stay out of range of my guns, but within five hexes so that he could shoot at the hulls of my ships.

He easily succeeded. I made a maneuvering mistake where my lead ship turned and the trailing ship fouled with it -- I expected the lead ship to end up one more hex forward than it did. That was poor visualization on my part. Luckily, they two ships unfouled the next turn. Other than that, I got exactly two shots on the Constitution, causing minimal damage. Meanwhile, Cyane and Levant got pummeled.

Back to John's only illegal move. It was also a move where he wanted to go left, but ended up going right. However, his mistake worked out well for him because he was then able to fire his starboard broadside for the first time in the game, thereby getting a bonus for the initial broadside, causing extra damage, and ending the game.

At the end, John was exceptionally excited to have played the game. He did well, learned the basic rules quickly, and enjoyed his first taste of success. The total playing time was an hour or so, but 20 minutes of that was spent on set-up, filling out and explaining the log sheet, and explaining the movement rules.
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Chris Halaska
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Eugene
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Yay for gaming with kids & introducing them to complex games and older games!

This post caught my eye because I just found a copy of Wooden Ships, and I have an 8 year old too...hmm...

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Doug Hook
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I have not played that scenario in years. It brings back memories. The last time was with one of the grandkids as our second (or third game) a few days after watching Master and Commander and prior to his homeschool lessons about that era. I had the 2 smaller vessels and got creamed. I have a hard time getting these older war games on the table these days.
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Ruben Rigillo
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chadnorth wrote:
I have a hard time getting these older war games on the table these days.


They're still the best games around...
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Tim
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That's awesome! WS&IM was one of the first war games that I ever played with a group of high school friends back in 1980. I still bring it out at least once a year.
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Drew Ames
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Thanks for the kind words, everyone. John is super excited to play again. He plays X-Wing Miniatures with me and Uno and Yatze with his mom. I'm planning on introducing him to Blue Max soon.

I forgot to mention that my 4-year-old, Andrew, "played" with us the whole time. I gave him an old log sheet and a ship counter and he maneuvered with us while we played. This morning he told a story about playing Wooden Ships & Iron Men. He was sure to point out that he was shooting at John.

I told him that he probably ought to shoot at me next time and be on the same side as John.
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Matt Danison
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Salute! to Captain John and the iron men of the U.S.S. Constitution.
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Drew Ames
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Thanks, everyone.

Just for fun, this is the drawing that John made after our last game:


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Ruben Rigillo
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Wow! The "hexed" sea is a very good sign!!!
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