Monday, 6 August 2018

INWarD 2018 Broadside and Ram Game

I played out the first half of a 1/2400th scale Broadside and Ram game for International Naval Wargaming Day this afternoon but had to cut things short as the dining room table was in demand for other less important things.

The fictional scenario was an attempted blockade break out from Cherbourg c1870 by a French ironclad squadron, assisted by use of the ironclad ram Taureau and including the Gloire, Provence and Flandre. I had to work out the stats for the Taureau and some special rules for its purpose designed ram but, otherwise I used the Broadside and Ram rules without any changes. The Taureau was designed for exactly this sort of thing and I was looking forward to trying it out.

The objective was to leave the table at the opposite short edge, having evaded or otherwise disposed of the Royal Navy blockading force, which consisted of the ironclad HMS Warrior, the ironclad HMS Northumberland and the steam frigate HMS Aurora. The Royal Navy had to prevent the escape of the French squadron either by forcing it back into Cherbourg or by crippling enough ships to win the required Victory Points. 

The Royal Navy had 43 points, including a +1 AP commander, while the French had 45 points, including a -1 commander. This meant that, if a decisive escape by the French squadron wasn't clearly made, the Royal Navy could win by sinking or crippling 15 points worth of French ironclads, which worked out at two of the four ships in the French squadron. The French only had to sink or cripple one of the larger British ironclads to win a victory if they couldn't get away.

I will write up a full report of the game once I've finished playing it to a decisive end but, from the three turns that I've already almost completed, it looks as though the French may well have the advantage. The Taureau has turned out to be much more dangerous than I thought, partly due to some very good dice rolling compared to some very poor rolls for the Royal Navy, which has suffered some very nasty critical damage as a result.

The rules ran smoothly and were pretty quick to use, although I was slowed down by the need to make notes and take photos  as I went along. I didn't get the chance to try out the ramming rules or the special 2D6 roll for ram attacks by specialised ironclad rams that I wanted to playtest, but there is an imminent opportunity for one or the other to be tried out in the last phase of the current move. I did use the movement and shooting rules, however, and they worked very well with no complications.

I'm hoping to run the second half of the game tomorrow.

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