The game this time was Flying Colors by Mike Nagel and published by GMT games. It's an age of sail game and although I've had it on the shelf for quite some time I am still a novice.
I won't go into great detail (which would only expose my shameful ignorance regarding warfare of the period), but do want to say that it makes for an interesting game with plenty of difficult decisions.
The turn sequence is as follows: roll for initiative, move and fire (and suffer defensive fire), and then pass play to the other player who moves, fires, and endures defensive fire in turn. If it's a large game with more than one command on each side, players will alternate command activations until all commands have moved, and then the end of turn things are done, such as checking for morale failures, wind changes, on-board fire effects, etc.
|The early stages as the English close in on the French and their ailing flagship.|
Fire can be aimed at the enemy's rigging or at his hull, with the former when taken to its conclusion resulting in a dismasting, and the later in a sinking. There is also the chance to board enemy vessels and capture them (or not), but we were both too cautious to venture into that in our game.
Thankfully, there are no critical hits, but things like fire or hits on marines are factored into the firing tables.
After eight turns of fairly frenetic action we had the three English vessels dismasted, two of the French ones very badly damaged, and both admirals wounded.
|Mid battle: all very messy and close-quartered.|
In the end the French limped off too weak in the face of withering defensive fire to close in to land the weight of shot that would be required to damage the English ships. For their part the English, lacking masts, could not manoeuvre as needed to target and finish off the more vulnerable of the French vessels.
|The French depart.|
As I say, I'm no expert on this period but I thought the game was gripping and the actions quite evocative of the age of sail fiction I've read. I'm not well enough versed to enjoy this solo, but I certainly hope to play some more against Andrea or other opponents.
There is a small problem with this game PBEM in that the VASSAL module seems to have a few bugs in it, which produced misunderstandings and do-overs (to be honest, the do-overs were probably more due to my rules ignorance than the fault of the module!), but the annotated movement we ended up using reduced confusion and seemed to work OK.
The verdict? A good, solid game. Not sure about how it relates to the reality, but it plays well, gives you a bit of a thrill, and has me reaching for some Patrick O'Brien again.