Anyway, I got there about 10:00, and when Pat arrived shortly afterwards we began looking at fleets for some Naval Thunder action.
We decided on early Pacific war, so Luke and I made up an augmented Force Z (Prince of Wales, Perth, Arrow and Ardent for me; Repulse, Houston, Shark and Scourge for Luke) while Pat worked out his IJN contingent. I'm not sure what the exact composition of the Japanese force was, but there were two battle cruisers (Nagato and Hiei), a couple of light cruisers (Jintsu and Furutaka) and three or four destroyers.
It began badly for us as Nagato found her mark early and pounded an outranged Repulse, taking her apart turn by turn. Prince of Wales closed to firing distance but found hits initially hard to come by.
|Repulse under fire early.|
Houston engaged the Japanese light cruisers who took damage.
|A menacing lot of Japanese vessels!|
Fine aggressive work by Japanese destroyers distracted Perth and Prince of Wales long enough and well enough to prevent closing of the range to concentrate fire on the Nagato while she was busy finishing off Repulse.
|Japanese destroyers close in to torpedo range. They wrong-footed my destroyer screen and gave Perth and Prince of Wales a scare.|
By the time Nagato was listing and removing herself back out to her extreme range we had lost Repulse, Houston was effectively dead in the water, and Scourge and Shark had been hunted down by secondary-battery fire. Jintsu and Furutaka were Japanese casualties, but Hiei and Nagato were together able to outgun Prince of Wales, and although she traded fire gallantly, once critical hits put two main gun turrets out of action the game was very clearly up.
So, lots of fun, some great moments of drama, and some good play by Pat to win with the Japanese. There were a few things about the rules we might want to adjust, but they gave us an excellent four hours of play. Pat and I were playing for the second time and Luke for his first, but we were running the charts like veterans within a couple of turns.
To finish the day we gave the boardgame Conquest of Paradise a go. We managed to play it to conclusion in about 90 minutes, despite Luke and Pat having to learn the rules on the fly, so it was a good way to end the day.
So, good gaming, good company and fine hospitality. A great day all round.