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Subject: Warhammer Historical: Trafalgar overview rss

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leif edmondson
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Trafalgar
Naval Warfare in the Age of Sail (1795-1815)
Written by Mark Latham, copyright 2008
Produced by Warhammer Historical Wargames
ISBN: 978-1-84416-769-2


This game book consists of 144 pages or so of rules, fleet information, history, collecting and painting guides, scenarios, campaigns, and reference materials to play table top miniature battles between sailing ships of the late 18th to early 19th centuries.

The game is designed around 1:1200 scale miniatures and the book features many pictures of beautiful paint jobs of Langton miniatures models in this scale. In this game, one model represents one ship. The standard unit of measure is the centimeter, although conversions are provided for larger and smaller models as well as a rough guide of using the half-inch instead of the centimeter for those requiring American measuring standards. A 4' x 4' or 4' x 6' table is recommended as a playing surface.

The turn sequence is conducted in four phases; weather phase, sailing phase, gunnery phase, and end phase. The movement rules were clear and seem to be simple to play. The rules cover such maneuvers as tacking, box hauling, anchoring, changing sail, effects of the sails settings on movement and collisions. The only maneuver than I didn't see specifically addressed was wearing ship. Presumably this is done by simply turning the ship using normal movement rules. The ships seem to move a little fast by my calculations, but as I play more games I may change my opinion about this.

The combat rules will be of very little surprise to anyone who's played a Warhammer game before. It uses six sided dice to resolve combat. Vessels may be given a light cannon, heavy cannon, and/or carronade rating, the dice are rolled to determine hits. The target vessel then rolls to save, and resulting damage is applied. A ship roster (prepared prior to play) details how much damage the vessel can take in various sections of the ship including hull, masts, crew, etc. Rules are also provided to cover fire ships, bomb ketches, boarding actions and coastal defense forces.

Command checks are rolled for throughout various parts of the game, to determine crew willingness to carry out orders, etc. There is nothing in the rules about the lack of communication available to captains of this era. Silence at the table is not required between captains.

Trafalgar includes fleet lists for the three principal world powers of the day; England, France, and Spain. It also includes lists for Portugal, Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, USA, and lists for privateers. I was happy to see lists for Russia and Sweden, while this is not a theater I'm particularly interested in, it was nice to see the completeness of the offering.

Those familiar with other Warhammer rules will not be surprised to find that individual ships can be augmented with ship upgrades, which enhance specific combat abilities, movement abilities, or characteristics of crew and vessel. Ship upgrades, specific fleet abilities, and ship options are the mechanism by which different ships of the same class can be modeled, national characteristics such as superior training and morale and gunnery practice are portrayed, and even fictitious characters’ abilities may be represented.
I want to gain more experience playing these rules before passing final judgment on them however I like what I've read and played so far. The Warhammer Historical website features downloadable FAQ and errata pages that were quite helpful. They also feature all of the charts, templates, and reference material as downloadable pages as well.

I am in no way associated with Warhammer historical games and write this overview simply to provide others with what I would've liked to been able to find on the Internet about this game before I bought it. I am no expert in Naval warfare but greatly enjoy Napoleonic era naval warfare fiction and history. I have been playing miniature wargames since the late ‘80s.


Leif Edmondson
Boise, ID
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Mark Stanoch
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Nice review. While Trafalgar is a great game in true Warhammer Ancients tradition, a number of ahistorical outcomes become apparent during play. David Manley pointed out a number these, with recommended tweaks, in the June Issue of Wargames Illustrated (see "Trimming the Mainsail", David Manley, Wargames Illustrated Issue 260 pgs 58-63).

Also, checkout the great new 1/2400 scale vessels from Old Glory. They have all of the rigging in place and paint up nicely!
 
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dave boulton
United Kingdom
etchingham
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how does it compare to man-o-war?
 
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Rob Francis
Wales
Aberystwyth
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“"To Aetius, now consul for the third time: the groans of the Britons ... The barbarians drive us to the sea; the sea throws us back on the barbarians: thus two modes of death await us, we are either slain or drowned".” ―Gildas
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Nice Review.

@ Dave:

It is basically Manowar and Battlefleet Gothic combined.

Check out this dev article for the mechanics:

http://www.warhammer-historical.com/Articles/Trafnotes/Trafn...
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Steve Gibson
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The three things that I really like about these rules are:

1. The lack of Paperwork.
You don't have to record exactly how fast you ship was travelling so you can work out how much you can speed up or slow down next. Also you don't have to sit and write orders for each of your ships every turn.

2. A defined order of move.
Instead of 'simultaneous' movement the ships downwind move first. With many of the other rules it always seemed come down to each player holding a ship each waiting for the other to commit his move. And arguments over where ships were when one player declared a shot.

3. A built in advantage to the ships with the Weather Gauge
It was always considered to be an advantage to have the wind, most rules don't have anything built in. But here ships downwind move first so you can react to that, and then the side with the Weather Guage fires first.

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Steve Gibson
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And the two things I don't like about these rules are:

1. Command Checks.
These are based purely on the rank of the ships Captain with a bonus if the Admiral is nearby. So the ships most likely to fail a command check are the small Sloops and Brigs because they only have a Lieutennant in charge.
Command checks should be a combination of the Captain and Crew of a vessel. The English fleets were almost constantly at sea and should have an excellent Crew rating. Spanish and French ships were kept in port by the british blocade and so had very little expierience so should have a low rating.

2. Line of Battle.
These games very quickly descend into melee. There is no advantage for being in a Line of Battle or disadvantage for not being. The English Fighting instructions specified Court Mashal for Captains not maintaining the line. This is why Nelson was risking all when he wore out of the line at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent.
Many battles were just the fleets passing each other swapping iron. The French would attempt to dismast the English so they could reform the line and return and sink/capture them.
For Ships of the Line, there should be some sort of bonus to being in a line and a penalty for being out of line until the Admiral declares 'Close Action' when Melee begins.

Just my opinions of course
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Craig Hebert
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Let me say that Mark Latham is one of the most bull headed asses I have ever had the displeasure of engaging with. I tried, in most certain vain, to get him to realize a number of contradictions in his rules, to which he arrogantly dismissed.

In short, he knows next to nothing about Trafalgar, the general age of sail, and even less about writing a coherent rulebook.

Stay away from this wonky product.
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