Saturday, May 23, 2020

The engagement off Proktor Shoals, 1538, Part 3 - Conclusion and rules observations

The Ottomans start Turn 7 under the Gun, as it were. The Crescent uses its 2 actions to backwater again, placing more distance between it and the burning Fleur, as well as maneuvering to lessen the chances of a future ram by the Dolphin!

The leaking Panther uses its three actions to row backwards, and load its soldiers. 

The Bull gets a single action, plus a Black "1" The roll of 2 is "Garbled orders"- the opponent may turn the ship 45 degrees in any direction, or move it straight ahead once. This consumes the ships one action. 

The Lion shoots with her soldiers, but misses. That was quick, matey!

Situation at the end of the Ottoman phase of Turn 7.

The Fleur fails to extinguish the fire, and it consumes her (4th black die). 

Her crew struggles to relative safety on barren Proktor Island. "Better than a Proktoscopy, mate!" 

The Saltire fires her cannon at the Lion but misses. 

The Griffon rolls 3 activations (within distance of the Flag), and reloads its cannon and fires point blank into the Bull. 6 + 3 + 1 = 10 vs 2 + 3 -1 = 4; the target is doubled and takes 2 hits (plus a critical hit if it mattered). 

It does not, and the Bull breaks up into pieces, having suffered 4 black dice (hits).   

The Kraken gets cracking with more repairs, and recovers another die. 

The Dolphin rolled three failures, resulting in this situation at the end of  Turn 7.  There are 3 remaining Ottoman ships Vs 5 Venetians. 

Ottoman phase of Turn 8; 2 successes, but also a black "1"; the result of "3" on the All at Sea table is "Hard to Port"; the galley turns 45 degrees to its left. I counted that as one of its actions, leaving one more voluntary choice; the Panther meekly reloads its bow cannon (its ONLY cannon, in actual fact). 

The Flagship scores three successes...

and uses them to turn 45 degrees left, row 10", and then fire its cannon at the hapless Dolphin. It's modified score is double that of the target, so it scores 2 hits, including a critical (2 = Captain hit; -1 to all future activation rolls). Ouch! 

The Lion rolls 2 successes. With three opposing Venetian ships on this side of Proktor Island, it uses them to row backwards 10".  

The Saltire opens the Venetian phase of Turn 8; it uses its three successes to row forwards 10"...

reload its canon, and then fire at point blank range. It misses!

The Griffon rows backwards 10" and reloads its cannon. 

The Kraken chooses NOT to roll its black die, fearing problems negotiating the narrow space between the wreck of the Bull and the drifting Seahorse. it turns 45 degrees to the right and moves forwards in to position to thread the needle next turn. 

The Dolphin rolls poorly again, and rows backwards a bit. 

Overview at the start of Turn 9. 

The Crescent leads off with 3 successes...

and rows forwards, reloads its gun and fires... but just like the Saltire, it misses. 

Three successes for the Panther, too!

It also rows forward, shoots, and... misses!

On the other side of the Island, The Lion shoots, and also misses, and then reloads. The Ottoman phase of turn 9 is over quickly!

The Venetians lead off with the Saltire again (usually it is a wise choice to lead with the flag, because it always rates at least 1 success). She scores a hit on the Lion!

With just one success and very little maneuvering room...

the pristine Griffon turns 45 degrees to the right. 

The Kraken again eschews the use of its black die, and

rows forward and then turns to the right.  The Venetians are nearly the victims of their own success with little room to maneuver on this side of Proktor Island!

The captain of the Dolphin curses as she yet again fails to activate!

Situation at the start of Turn 11. 

With but one success, the Crescent quickly reloads her cannon. 

The Panther boldly rolls all her dice, two of them black - three successes!

Firepower time - shoot, reload, and shoot again! One of the shots strikes the Dolphin; she now has three black dice and is crippled!

The Lion shoots, misses again, and reloads. "The infidels are lucky this day", snarls the captain. 

The Saltire mimics the actions of her opponent... and with just as little success! The third activation is used to reload the soldiers arquebuses. * I think I may prohibit any cannon from firing twice in a single phase for these Galley combat rules. 

The Griffon rows backwards 10"

The Kraken again puts her black die aside, and rows forwards further.

The Dolphin decides to roll only two (out of her three) black dice, reloads, and shoots at the Crescent... missing!

Crescent starts off turn 12 for the Ottomans... 2 successes, but the black "1" followed by a "3" turns the Laterna 45 degrees to the left... conveniently taking the crippled Dolphin out of the filed of fire of her cannon. With little else to do, she meekly reloads her soldiers bows. 

Going next, the Panther also rolls a black "1". The white "2" results in... Garbled orders! This enables the opponent to dictate one action of its choosing for the ship. 

"Row forwards, ye heathens!" This results in a collision between the Panther and the wreckage of the Stag, requiring a roll on the collision table... a "1". Uh-oh, this can't be good!  And it is not; a "1" results in 2 damage to the Panther. Having 2 black dice already...

With a loud crunch, the Panther splits in two and sinks, mingling her wreckage with that of  her sister ship. I had decided the game would end whenever either side had lost more than half of their ships. This results in a victory for Venice, who have 4 ships remaining to just 2 for the Ottomans. The Dodge will be pleased! 

Overview of the situation at the end of the game. 

   Overall, I was very happy with how these rules worked. They gave just about the right level of detail, and the game moved along quickly. It was fun to play, and the space available was adequate for some maneuver. If I were not taking pictures, etc, the game would have lasted 2 - 3 hours at most. This would work very well as a convention game, with 2 ships per player. 

The only major gripe I had was the lack of a decent summary sheet. That wasn't a big deal as I needed to make my own anyway given the modifications I had made to the rules. 

My Summary Sheet, page 1; I can probably make this even a little shorter.
I'd also add that any ship rolling 3 failures ends the turn for that side (the rules use 2 failures, which I think happens to easily). That way you can always choose to play it safe by not rolling three dice. 

Summary Sheet, Page 2; given that there is no sailing (Galleys have sails, but they were essentially never used in combat) , I could actually delete all but the boarding table and add explanations of some of the results, plus a field of fire chart (guns +/-45 degrees of straight ahead, small arms 360 degrees). 

    Since all the ships will have High Castles, that washes out and could be deleted. Likewise for the Galley modifier, and for that matter intimidating crews (really refers to pirates and the like, although that is an addition to the roll even if both ships count it, which actually does effect the end result slightly as far as doubles and triples.  Some of the other factors I think might be used as a sort of National Modifier.

    There were basically five factions active in naval warfare in the Mediterranean during this era:  Venice, the Ottoman Empire, the Knights of St. John, The Barbary (and related North African) Corsairs, and other Christian Powers (Genoa, France, Spain). The Venetians placed a lot of emphasis on gunnery, the Pirates used surprise and speed to capture their prey, The Knights had expert soldiers, and the Ottoman bows were probably better for shipboard small arms fire. With that in mind the following might be worthwhile as a general guideline:

Master Gunners
+1 to Cannon Fire
Expert Archers
+1 to Small Arms Fire
Knights of St John
Drilled Soldiers
+1 to Boarding Actions
Barbary Pirates
Trained Oarsmen
Improves Ramming
Genoa, Spain, France, etc
Plain Jane
No special effects


  1. Peter, this has been a very interesting and entertaining battle report on a naval warfare era I knew nothing about. Nice ships!

    1. Thanks, Jon; glad you've enjoyed it. The battle of Lepanto (1571) between the Ottomans and the Holy League (Venice, Austria, Spain, Genoa, and several other smaller contributors) is the best known engagement, involving almost 500 ships, 150,000 men, 2500 cannon. It was a crushing defeat for the Ottomans, although it's long term effects were much less than it might have been due to the League falling apart over rival interests within 2 years. Like Renaissance warfare on land, it is a very interesting transition period between old and new.

  2. Wonderful report and I couldn't agree more with Jonathon. Truly amazing looking game, models/miniatures and as always Peter, entertainingly summarized. Well done.

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Carlo, and I am happy you liked reading about it!

  3. Thanks for sharing this, a real pleasure to watch!

  4. A very enjoyable report indeed Peter...
    I have a set of Galleys and Galleons but I have not had a game yet... you have set my wargames butterfly all a flutter 😂

    All the best. Aly

    1. Thanks Aly. Happy to set that butterfly to exercising its wings. I have had my copy for 2-3 years, and trying a game has been on my list for that long. It took the lockdown due to the virus to finally make it happen!

  5. Yes great report on a period and subject seldom seen on a wargames table.

  6. This turned out brilliantly Peter and looks fantastic. I particularly like the use of wrecks and flotsam and jetsam.

    1. Thanks, James! Joe and I had a lot of fun the first time we used these ships coming up with simple ways to do that. I should probably try to make a simple half sunken ship...

  7. That looked like fun and your summary sheets give a nice idea of the flavour of the rules.

    1. Thanks, Lawrence. I need to tweak the sheets a bit for the next outing for these ships.

  8. Very entertaining and interesting series of posts, I'm very tempted, I will have to look for my tiny galleys in the loft, your 15mm ships and I especially like your debris markers!
    Best Iain

    1. Glad you enjoyed them, Iain! The G&G rules are really written with much smaller models in mind. I increased all the distances a lot for my large ships. As I observed earlier, doing the debris for the ships that are lost is one of the fun parts!