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Close Action: The Age of Fighting Sail Vol. 1» Forums » General

Subject: Patrick O'Brian Based Scenarios rss

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I was curious if anyone had pursued developing scenarios for Close Action based off the battles described in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin Series.

The only one I can come up with at this point would be the battle at the end of Master and Commander. Using a class 4 ship for the Aubrey in the Sophie and a Frigate for the Cacafuego. That is about as far as I got. I guess the Sophie is described as being older, and not as sea worthy as newer ships,which perhaps means a weaker hull and what not. Crew Quality would probably need to be high.

Anyone have any thoughts on what the best way to proceed would be?
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Mark Buetow
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There was a discussion of exactly this (and also Hornblower scenarios) on the official Close Action Yahoo List. (If you enjoy the game, the list is worth subscribing to).

The end result is that the game's designer, for various reasons summed up as tactical and copyright issues, decided against pursuing it.

That doesn't mean you couldn't of course.

I think, though, that the Cacafuego capture would be a difficult engagement to simulate. Even if the crew quality is bad on the Spanish ship, it would be hard for a player to simulate the poor command of the Spanish captain. Recall that the main reason the Sophie was able to take her was by boarding. I'm not sure you could get close enough in CA to do it. And then, the boarding would require extremely good die rolls for the Sophies and really bad ones for the Cacafuego. Remember, too, in the book, the Spanish captain was dead but the Spaniards kept fighting. It was the Sophies who tricked them into giving up by themselves hauling down the Spanish colors.

The fact is, CA was really designed for the larger ships and frigate actions aren't as good in the game as with bigger ships. There were some rules through the Yahoo group that doubled shot power, etc., when playing scenarios with small ships of equivalent firepower.

If you try to give it a go, I'm not even sure the Sophie is a Class 4. That'd be more like a frigate, like the Cacafuego. The Sophie would be more equivalent to a "corvette" which is not listed on the green sheet but you can find a few in some of the scenarios.

Let us know what you come up with!

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Christian Holmes
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I know Close Action couldn't handle this, but I thought that the chase that happened during DESOLATION ISLAND is one of the most exciting of the series I have read so far. I would love to see a game made out of that!

Oh, and the taking of the ship in the french harbor in Post Captain, where they got in, boarded the ship, and took her out of the harbor.

Oh! and the taking of Mauritius, with coordinated land forces!!


I should stop....

The battle between the Shannon and the Chesapeake is in the scenario book. That is in the O'brien books...
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Marc Melvin
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Having playing a number of frigate actions against Mark, above,as well as any number involving line-of-battle ships, I would disagree about frigate actions not being as good as actions involving the larger ships. To be sure, even with the depth of detail involved in any Close Action scenario, some things are not simulated, and perhaps cannot be, and yet the essence of the actions is there to a great degree.
Simulating the Cacafuego would probably call for some modifications to address her different build: she was a chebec (xebec,etc.), designed more for the waters of the Med and inshore sailing- fighting pirates and corsairs -than for blue-water Atlantic service. She would have sat lower in the water than most frigates, but had a very high stern, with a poop protected primarily only by its height. She also would have been broad in the beam to make room on the main deck for more hands at the sweeps, because like the corsairs she was intended to fight, she was lateen rigged but had sweeps which were intended to be used. So I would give her a lot of crew boxes, and I would start her crew at a low quality but a high morale rating, say E2, to simulate their low morale while at the same time simulating their willingness to go on fighting. I might also modify the Skill Modifiers upward by a point to simulate further the generally low ability of Spanish seamen at this point in history. I would also make modifications to the hit table to make crew casualties a little more likely than hull hits, since the main deck was closer to the level of an opposing frigate's guns, and make the likelihood of quarterdeck casualties more likely in the event of a stern rake. The Sophie would of course have a high Crew Quality and Morale Rating, say A3. And since the Sophie was disguised, a scenario could start with the Sophie two turns away from the CacaF, and unless the Spanish player rolled a suitable number on a die roll and "discovered" her, he could not maneuver or fire until the second turn after she did so, to simulate the shock of being confronted with an enemy suddenly at your stern. Just a few ideas, but the CA system seems pretty flexible to me.
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Mark Buetow
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Good points, Marcus! Tweak it up and lets play it soon!

 
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Mark Buetow
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spaztian wrote:
I know Close Action couldn't handle this, but I thought that the chase that happened during DESOLATION ISLAND is one of the most exciting of the series I have read so far. I would love to see a game made out of that!



It probably could. Again, a special rule to check for sinking. High sea levels (calling for use of the freeboard numbers), high chance of changing wind, etc. I don't recall (I'm re-reading the series but not there yet), that was a Dutch 74 or some such? And what ship was Aubrey in? It wasn't the Surprise, was it? She's pretty small.
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Michael Tisdel
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While re-readingMaster and Commander, I thought the action off Gibraltar (when Jack and Stephen are prisoners after the Sophie is taken) might make a good scenario. The rules for Shore batteries are in Monsoon Seas but one would have to come up with house rules for the gun boats. It would also be an interesting scenario to play given that it require rules less often used - anchoring, running aground, etc.
 
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