It was a long wait, but finally I sat down to a play through with my old man. We had one small 1v1 skirmish before this so I could get the hang of core game principles. This is sort of a review/session report at the same time. Review in that I'm new to this, but learnt through a session ...
I've been making my dad play a lot of miniature type games like Attack Wing and Armada, so it didn't take much to convince me to sit down and play this one. I also had a part to play in getting some of his SoG stuff for my dad, so had already had plenty of opportunities to pour over things...
There's a lot going on here - planning moves ahead of time, actions to reload/repair(various forms of repair!)/change sails/drink grog/fire muskets... Oh, not to mention considering wind direction (speed also, but I already had a headache so we dropped that one). You are even affected in different ways by collisions (other ships or scenery... more on that later). To sit down and begin, its quite bewildering, but when you think of each of those items, each represent layers of strategy.
At the edge of long range, without answer
There are no dice, with damage and effects happening by drawing little chits - this could be a nightmare for some, as there are "millions" of them of different colours/types depending on the effects desired. I like the way it perhaps mitigates some of the randomness of dice - I'm sure there is some potential for abuse, but we were quite sporting with each other as we dug deep, stared into each others eyes, and dropped the required number of chits onto the table without looking - It was quite a moment!
Oh, that's not good
Each ship is slightly different in it's spec: size/weight/crew/guns etc and have an impact on maneuverability/actions available/speed/offensive capability etc. For my first game, we basically picked a ship-of-the-line and a frigate each to get going/
What do you do:
Well, you can either straight up slug it out at sea, or try and achieve one of the various missions in the book (which we did). So we set up as a French squadron attempting to resupply an island that is under the watchful eye of the plucky Brits...
I was handed the French fleet (I should have seen where this was going)...
How things went for me:
Well, I thought I would send my Frigate wide and cover it with the SoL, and this indeed worked well.
I got a few "lucky" salvos into the British ships and they had a couple of dud return fire moments.
In fact, the British frigate was so badly damaged, it meandered around with broken sails and rudder and collided with the friendly SoL. It then sunk...
With the progress of my Frigate going so well, I turned the SoL around to face off against the British SoL, thinking its better for stuff to happen than to just run away ( lol )...
Then things went wrong. I was not familiar with the rules and getting my head around planning moves ahead, so I managed to hit a reef around the island - and then ran aground. Stuck. For good. That was it... The frigate could do no more! It was no better than a stationary turret... Oops...
In the meantime, my approach to the British SoL was atrocious. I managed to give them a raking shot as I sailed directly at them (sigh) which while not doing a killing blow, it caused catastrophic damage to the crew.
Then I went and got entangled...
British ship fired muskets....
And everyone died.
RIP French crew
However, it was exciting, I don't mind it swinging so dramatically, especially in a learning scenario. You could see how both sides could play it differently for a different outcome, but did the job of seeing how the core mechanics worked and what the game is capable of!
How does it look?
Prepainted ships in the age of sail square off
The prepainted minis are very attractive, although a little scary to handle at times. Masts are asking to be broken I'm sure... My dad has started some mods (rigging, washes on sails) that enhance the appeal. There is an issue where many of the ships don't sit firmly into the base (but I'm sure a dab of blu-tac or some such would sort it and I imagine there are some even better ideas from you existing players!), so a few times the French fleet was lying its side where I picked it up by the wrong part!
I looked at a few pictures of games being played here and elsewhere and obviously brought some of my ideas from games like Attack Wing and Armada. One of the things that first stuck me was the "lack" of upgrades (I do understand there is a near-impossible set of crew that you can add). I'm not saying this as a criticism, in fact it made picking up and going much simpler. I know some don't like the deckbuilding aspect of those other games (and are a painful thing to introduce if people are unfamiliar), but if you like those multitude of possibilities, this doesn't have that as such, you do have multiple mechanics that try to simulate "real world" things. So it actually goes a long way to simulation on a tabletop.
The movement cards (illustrated in other reviews) are a little fiddly, especially when your ships are in close proximity, or when you bump into things knowing exactly where your ship should be can be "vague".
I defintely see myself coming back to this one! I think my dad has enough of it (2 starters and all of wave 1) that I won't be investing in it personally (I already have 3 expanding miniatures games and it is a drain on the bank balance!), but would enjoy playing it again. Maybe the other scenarios too will add something. There are terrain packs too to add further depth to your experience and coastal batteries for further strategy.
I would reccommend!
Prepare for a broadside!
- Last edited Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:52 am (Total Number of Edits: 3)
- Posted Tue Aug 23, 2016 2:47 pm
Great AAR and review! ...too bad you didn't have many pics ...enjoy the gold...
Great AAR and review! ...too bad you didn't have many pics
...enjoy the gold...
Haha! Thanks... I do like to illustrate things. Been trying to add some more reviews here and wanted them to be visually appealing (hope it was that!) - hopefully it will make up for some of my waffle!