Recommend
23 
 Thumb up
 Hide
5 Posts

Flying Colors» Forums » Sessions

Subject: The battle of Cape Ortugal, 4th Novemeber 1805. rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
David Murray
United Kingdom
Driffield
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Midshipman Murray reporting for duty

This is a recount of my first play of flying colors. I am starting with Cape Ortugal as it was recommended to me by Mark Barker, and has only a few ships.

I have very limited experience of age of sail games, I played some Wooden Ships and Iron Men over twenty-five years ago but that was about it. I will chart my learning of the game here along with any questions and initial observations. I will try and exercise the rules as much as possible regardless of whether the action taken is tactically sound.

Below are the starting positions. The British have the wind advantage and an impressive audacity of three. The French have an additional ship, but the first rate formidable has already suffered 6 hull hits, presumably from the engagement at Trafalgar. The scenario describes the French vessels trying to escape and so they will concentrate their fire on the British rigging to aid them. The British want prizes and so will be aiming mainly at the hulls of the French. Which all sounds historically sound. I will open fire early with the French but the British will hold their fire to try and gain an advantage with their initial broadside bonus.



Here goes turn one of a possible twelve

Each force formed a single command and the British won the initiative. The British permitted the French to move first. The 74 Gun Duguay-Trouin activated and backed sails allowing it to fire from its current hex. This was necessary as even moving a single hex forward would only have permitted a partial broadside. The seven-hex ranged shot at the rigging of the lead British ship, the 80 gun Caesar, benefited from firing their carefully prepared first broadside and that they were firing into the wind along with a French bonus. A roll of 9 caused 3 rigging hits – just enough to slow the British vessel. The Duguay-Trouin then side slipped two hexes away from the British, making sure they kept them at a distance.

Next the Formidable activated and mirrored the actions of the Duguay-Trouin, but only managed to score a single rigging hit on the Caesar.

The Mont Blanc undertook a similar action targeting the Hero, but overshot. The Scipion sailed forward a hex and followed this up with a broadside at the Hero’s rigging but the shot fell short.

The British concerned that long range sniping by the French would prevent them from ever closing decided to act aggressively. All the ships were reaching and so could move swiftly. Caesar, already with some rigging damage, turned towards the French, the rest of the British squadron followed, closing on the French in a line abreast formation. The intention was to try and break the French line between the Formidable and Mont Blanc and then concentrate fire on the two rear French ships.

Photo - View from the deck of the Scipion at the closing British ships.



Turn two – all ships remained in their command formation. The British once again won the initiative and let the French move first, assuming that without the initial broadside bonus the damage to their rigging at the current range would be manageable.

The French repeated their tactic of the previous turn with Duguay-Trouin once again rolling a 9 and causing a rigging and hull hit on the Caesar before side slipping away. The Formidable caused another rigging hit further reducing the speed of the Caesar. The 74 gun Hero took a few minor rigging hits.

The British who were now running with the wind closed as fast as possible firing their chase guns in an attempt to slow down the French. Duguay-Trouin, Mont Blanc and the Formidable all took minor rigging damage.

Photo – Only turn two and the rigging damage to the HMS Caesar meant it was already falling behind the closing British line.



Turn three – still no weather change and all the ships remained in formation command. The British once again won the initiative and this time decided to take action first.

The 74 Gun HMS Hero activated first. It sailed forward two hexes, offering a rake opportunity to the Formidable (I am using the optional defensive fire rules). Thinking that the Hero was going to move adjacent, the Formidable held her fire and missed a raking opportunity as it swung to port, obviously trying to set up for a raking opportunity. As the Hero pulled around just missing the stern of the French ship, the Formidable opened fire targeting the British rigging. At such short range the 80 guns of the Formidable ripped into the Hero’s rigging causing 6 hits. The Hero ploughed on and lined up a raking shot facing the stern of the Formidable. The guns of the Hero ripped along the length of the previously damaged French ship. Fourteen raking hull hits and a fire tore into the Formidable, flipping it over to its damaged side. Just as the smoke cleared the Hero fired its port broadside at the bow of the Mont Blanc, however skilful evasive actions from the captain of the French vessel prevented the Hero from lining up another raking shot. The broadside still caused substantial damage to the hull of the Mont Blanc (6 hull hits).

Courageux lacking the speed to perform a similar manoeuvre, sailed straight ahead two hexes and then swung her stern around to end up parallel to the French line. This was not achieved without losing even more rigging (she was now running at -3MP). The Courageux fired her port broadside at the Mont Blanc causing additional damage to her hull.

The Caesar, with its reduced speed, turned from beating to reaching to maximise its movement next turn.

Photo The HMS Hero breaks the French line



My only previous experience with age of sail games was WS&IM, which has pre-plotted and simultaneous movement. I think under that system the cutting of the French line would have been more difficult. The two French ships, either side of the British Hero, still had 5MP in potential movement. With simultaneous movement, the French could have continued their tactic of side slipping and prevented the Hero from reaching a raking position. The same situation would have occurred if the French had won the initiative. So, to sum up my very early impression of the movement system compared to WS&IM it appears to use initiative over simultaneous movement. From memory, movement is far quicker in FC and I don’t think I am going to mind that all the ships have the same MPs – a worthwhile compromise for a fleet game.

Anyway, back to the French half of the turn. The Formidable activated first, fired a much-reduced broadside at the adjacent HMS Hero, side slipped and sailed away as quickly as possible – with 20 hull hits it was in no state to maintain contact. The Duguay-Trouin turned to starboard and beat into the wind. Its broadside at the Caesar caused minimal damage.

Considering the movement of the Scipion and the Mont Blanc, I began to appreciate some of the subtitles of the movement system. More specifically the masked broadside rules. In the photo below the order of the French activations has an impact on their firing options. Moving the Scipion first and moving alongside the British Courageux would mask the starboard broadside of the Mont Blanc, preventing it firing this turn. This is a really neat and simple rule that prevents some aspects of potential gamey play. I understand that this was a later addition to the ruleset and is one of the benefits of coming to a game with ‘matured’ rules.

The French had a tough choice. The Mont Blanc had a stern raking opportunity against the nearly undamaged Hero. However, the British Courageux already had nine rigging damage and if both French ships concentrated fire they could possibly de-mask her. As tempting as the potential rake was, both French ships concentrated on Courageux’s rigging.

This tactic successfully stripped the Courageux of all its rigging reducing it to a dismasted state. The Scipion moved adjacent to the British ship – time for some grappling practice!
The Courageux failed its evasion roll and fortunately, for my purposes anyway, the grapple attempt succeeded!

Photo. The end of turn three activations. For the French, the downwind Duguay-Trouin is looking like it is going to be side-lined from the battle. The heavily damaged, and on fire, Formidable attempts to put as much distance between itself and the British. The damaged Mont Blanc is hoping for a good initiative roll in order to rake the Hero, and the Scipion has grappled the Courageux and is preparing to board her. The British had suffered greatly from their rigging being targeted. The, substantially slowed, Caesar is struggling to close the distance on any of the French vessels. The dismasted Courageux is preparing to repel boarders. The Hero is still in relatively good condition and has options to engage the Mont Blanc or chase down the Formidable.



The Formidable put out its fire but at the cost of another hull hit. The grappled Courageux and Scipion drifted down wind one hex. The high British audacity easily prevented the dismasted Courageux from striking its colours.

The British marines on Courageux declined to melee (the British had the initiative). However, French marines swarmed onto the decks of the Courageux. Although evenly matched, the British easily repelled the French marines and the two ships remained locked together. After undertaking this melee, I realised that the British should have boarded the Scipion – this would have prevented a French attack and there are no downside from losing an equally balanced melee.

Turn four - the dice are allowing me to explore the rules by rolling a wind change! The wind shifted counter clockwise, this change immediately put the Duguay-Trouin in irons but did give it the potential to return to the main fight.

All the ships, except the grappling Scipion were in command.

For the first time in the battle the French gained the initiative.

The French decided to act first and activated their three ships that were in command. The Mont Blanc, with the wind change, was now beating into the wind and had few movement options. She moved one hex forward which caused the Hero to fire its chase guns at her, but even at a range of only two hexes managed to miss (I realised after the battle that chase guns can only fire when a ship is activated). The Mont Blanc fired her broadside at the rigging of the Hero, causing three rigging hits, which slowed the British ship.

The Formidable did not want the range to the other French ships to become too much as the commander, Dumanoir, was on-board. So, the damaged Formidable turned to port and moved forward. The movement caught the eye of the slow-moving Caesar who opened up her starboard broadside on her. Despite the range of six hexes the British manage to line up a stern rake (have to be impressed with that high audacity and command quality of Strachan). The shot caused 4 hull hits, only one more and the Formidable would be ‘vulnerable’. The Formidable moved another hex and the Hero also targeted her, causing another two hull hits and making the Formidable ‘vulnerable’. The Formidable lacked enough guns to even attempt a reply.

The ‘taken aback’ Duguay-Trouin failed its sternway roll and drifted a hex before turning to beat into the wind.

The British activated next. The Hero turned to starboard to reach with the wind and try and close on the prize that was the Formidable. On her way, Hero raked the bow of the Mont Blanc, flipping her to her damaged side.

The lumbering Caesar turned to starboard, to be able to keep a watch on the Duguay-Trouin and to bring her port broadside about to target the Mont Blanc, which when fired caused a further two hull hits.

Finally, for the British, the grappled Courageux attempted to cut itself free from the Scipion but failed to do so.

The only ship left to activate was the out of command French Scipion, it fired at the Courageux. This simultaneous point blank fire was brutal, with both sides taking considerable hull damage.

The French marines, with the initiative, mounted another boarding action against the Courageux. The two equal forces engaged and as payback for the French captain’s bravado the Courageux was captured! (the Index has a reference that does not exist: Captured ship 3.7.14, should it be 3.8.3?).

A question arose here. Do both ships remain grappled? At which point can they ungrapple? The grapping rules only seem to apply to enemy ships. I decided in my first game just to rule that the grappled ships were automatically cut free after capture.

The ‘vulnerable’ Formidable did not consider striking her colours and there was no British break off after the capture of the Courageux.

Photo – the crew of the Scipion celebrate their prize, however two of the French ships are heavily damaged and the fight could still go either way.



Turn five - no wind change. The Mont Blanc was just within command range but the Scipion and the captured Courageux were not. The initiative rolls were tied, so the British gained the Initiative and decide to activate first.

The Hero was activated, backed her sails and then attempted to rake the Mont Blanc again. The Hero carefully piloted into a position where the stern rake was on. Shot tore through the hull of the Mont Blanc taking out all its hull! Then Hero turned and began to beat into the wind towards the Formidable. The Caesar, now reaching with the wind tried to close the gap on the Formidable, ending its turn by firing a broadside at the Duguay-Trouin, off its starboard side. The French ship took some hull damage but its firepower was not reduced.

The French then activated. The Formidable turned to starboard to try and place the Duguay-Trouin between it and the British chasing vessels. The Duguay-Trouin, which was beating into the wind, was in a bit of a bind. It had insufficient MP to close with the Caesar and rake it and insufficient MP to turn about to protect the Formidable. Not wishing to present a raking shot to the British it beat into the wind for a hex, fired a broadside at the Caesar, and then turned to starboard so it could reach with the wind next turn. Its fire against the Caesar further reduced its already slow speed.

Lastly were the out of command French ships. The Scipion, who was beating into the wind, sailed forward in order to protect the Mont Blanc, as the captured Courageux was now some distance from the British ships. The Caesar fired its port broadside at the moving Scipion scoring a few hull hits.

The battered Mont Blanc then stuck its colours and only narrowly managed to avoid sinking. The Formidable remaining in the fight. Neither side broke off.

Photo – the Mont Blanc strikes its colours!



Turn six - no wind change. The remaining two British ships were in command. The French Scipion was out of command.

The French won the initiative and acted first with their two in command ships. The Duguay-Trouin was now reaching and so sailed at speed towards the Caesar, as an opportunity for a stern rake was on the cards. The Caesar waited until the last moment to fire her starboard broadside at the French vessel. British fire ripped into the Duguay-Trouin scoring seven hull hits. The Duguay-Trouin sailed into Caesar’s rake line and returned fire. Despite the seamanship of the captain on the Caesar the Duguay-Trouin lined up its raking shot causing six hull and a rigging damage and wounding Strachan. The Duguay-Trouin then swung back around the stern of the Caesar ending up running with the wind. The Formidable continued beating into the wind in order to deny the British a target.

The British, seeing that they were now unlikely to catch the Formidable turned their attention to the closer French ships. The Caesar swung to port and unloaded her port broadside into the Duguay-Trouin, causing it to flip to its damaged side and starting a fire. The Hero moved forward a hex and also fired at the Duguay-Trouin, securing more hull, and some rigging, damage.

Play then returned to the out of command Scipion, a failed command roll left the ship without the ability to fire this turn. The ship beat into the wind for a hex and backed sails hoping that the command confusion would clear for the next turn.

The fire on the Duguay-Trouin was extinguished. The struck Mont Blanc and the dismasted Courageux drifted a hex with the wind.

The Formidable still did not strike her colours, but the Mont Blanc became awash (I think you roll for this event each turn as there is a sinking section of the status check phase?)

Neither side broke off from the fight…

Photo – the view from the fleeing Formidable…



Turn seven - no wind change. Both British ships were in command, but by moving the Formidable last turn the two remaining French ships were now both out of command. The British won the initiative and concentrated on the heavily damaged Duguay-Trouin. The Hero activated first, but had only one MP due to beating and sail damage. It moved a hex forward and fired at the Duguay-Trouin. Fortunately for the French, the Caesar partially blocked the shot and so it was only a partial broadside. The Hero rolled a nine and caused three hull hits and started a new fire. With the hull of the Duguay-Trouin reduced to only two, she became, ‘vulnerable’. With no necessity to pour any more fire into the Duguay-Trouin, the Hero held its fire.

The French now activated the Scipion but once again it failed its out of command roll. It turned to port gaining the wind, regretfully leaving behind its prize, and would attempt to reach the Formidable before it was too late. Next, the heavily damaged Duguay-Trouin was activated, passed it out of command die roll, and moved up alongside Scipion. With the fire and hull damage the Duguay-Trouin was unable to fire a single gun.

The fire onboard the Duguay-Trouin spread to the rigging causing rigging damage. The dismasted and struck ships drifted with the wind. No ship struck their colours and neither side broke off.



Turn eight - no wind change. Commands did not change, both British ships were in command and the Duguay-Trouin and Scipion were out of command. The British once again won the initiative and decided to activate first.

The rigging on the Caesar was heavily damaged and despite running with the wind could only manage a single hex of movement. It moved one hex and fired a distant port broadside at the retreating Formidable, hoping that a few more hull hits might convince her to strike her colours, the fire was ineffective. It then turned its attention to the Scipion and fired a partial broadside at her, scoring two hull hits. The Hero turned to reach with the wind but held its fire.

The proximity of the Duguay-Trouin to the starboard of the Scipion caused the Scipion to have its starboard broadside masked – and marked as fired, which was all the more frustrating as it actually managed to pass its out of command roll! The Scipion activated and still with almost all its sail intact passed alongside the Duguay-Trouin and then into the open water beyond. The Hero was waiting and fired a full broadside at the French vessel causing the unfortunate Scipion to flip to its damaged side.

The Formidable turned to port and ran with the wind in her sails. The last ship to move was the heavily damaged and vulnerable Duguay-Trouin, who twisted and turned in order to keep the starboard broadside of the Scipion with a clear shot for next turn.

The fire in the rigging on the Duguay-Trouin raged, causing another rigging hit. The captured Courageux drifted but not the Mont Blanc as this would have caused a collision.

The Mont Blanc struck her colours and remained afloat for another turn.

In French rolled a ‘0’ for their break off test. Modifiers were -2 for 2x undamaged enemy, +1 audacity for a total of -1 and the French fleet broke off the engagement. The British won a substantial victory.

The French end of the battle by breaking off…



Thoughts on the battle. The British were lucky with the number of times they won the initiative, a couple of these were from tied die rolls where the British audacity determined the tie breaker. This allowed the British to close quicker than the French anticipated and so the French tactic of shooting the rigging to reduce British mobility was compromised. The French were very lucky to have captured the Courageux, the several die rolls needed were all in their favour – that capture was definitely the highlight for the French. However, the French made many mistakes. The moving away of the vulnerable Formidable looked to be a good plan but the lack of command to the rest of the French ships was disastrous during the last few turns. The masking of the Scipion’s broadside on the only turn when it passed its out of command roll just added insult to injury.

The British tactics were aggressive but quite pedestrian. It was challenging to hold fire in order to get that +2 initial broadside bonus, but the high audacity definitely made each of their broadsides count. By far the most effective ship in the whole game was HMS Hero, who first broke through the French line and ended the battle with a scratch on the hull (1 hit) and some moderate rigging damage (5 hits).

It is a little too early to record any thoughts on the game but I did enjoy it. I can see me playing this solo quite often as the alternating activation system suits that style of play.

The heroic HMS Hero.


32 
 Thumb up
8.30
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
flag msg tools
Dear Geek: Please insert the wittiest comment you can think of in this text pop-up. Then times it by seven.
badge
The Coat of Arms of Clan Montgomery - Scotland. Yes, that's a woman with the head of a savage in her hand, and an anchor. No clue what it means, but it's cool.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've never seen the French win this one. British audacity is so high relative to the French that it's basically a mathematical certainty. Great write-up! Thanks!

Edit: Corrected grammar.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Murray
United Kingdom
Driffield
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Chris, I read the thread on the balance of this scenario over at Consimworld, which I think you contributed to.

French hopes were momentarily raised with the capture of the Courageux, but you are right I can't see how the French can win this. A good learning scenario or solo, but I think only a masochist would take the French in a face to face game.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
flag msg tools
Dear Geek: Please insert the wittiest comment you can think of in this text pop-up. Then times it by seven.
badge
The Coat of Arms of Clan Montgomery - Scotland. Yes, that's a woman with the head of a savage in her hand, and an anchor. No clue what it means, but it's cool.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is my go-to learning scenario and I always let the newbie take the British.

My discussion is here:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1243524/cape-ortugal-po...

5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Murray
United Kingdom
Driffield
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ah! The discussion was here and not at Consimworld.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.