Trafalgar

A few first game thoughts

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A few first game thoughts

Postby Mattblack » Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:11 pm

Having enjoyed a first game my friend and I have a couple of suggestions - I'd be interested in what you lot think. We had three ships each, the Brits with two 74s and a 64 and the French with an 80 and two 74s. With no upgrades for this first game it was a bit of a miss match as the Brits were much better - though they did have about 10% extra points.

A couple of things came to mind however. Firstly the number of broadside dice should reflect the actual weight more - we found that the 80 didn't perform much better than the 64. We are going to try 8 dice for the 80 in future. Secondly the template for bow and stern rake shots is too wide. My ships are based upon rectangular bases (about the 'standard' size). We think it would be better to draw a line to the corner of the base from the main mast. this gives a narrower angle. It seems to be more proportionate.

Finally I wonder how long others take to play a game. It took us about 3hours to get through 20 turns, even for a first game, for only 600 points I was surpirsed how long it took. It this typical?
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Re: A few first game thoughts

Postby scrivs » Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:54 pm

We have had a few games now too. The biggest we played was about 800pts so far and still took 2.5 to 3hrs I don't think we will be going much above 1000pts unless we have all day to play it out.

I agree about the angle for Raking, I'm thinking that there are two easy options to fix it:

1/ Only give the raking bonuses at close range (where the 90deg arc is less marked)
2/ Reduce the raking arc to 30deg

Another problem I have is with the collision damage - why fire cannons when a couple of judicious rams will sink a ship. I'm proposing four our games that you take a Command Check to avoid the effects of collision damage.
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Re: A few first game thoughts

Postby Bosun » Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:30 pm

The only problem I can see with ramming is both ships take D3+1 below waterline hits, knowing my luck with the dice I would sink first.
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Re: A few first game thoughts

Postby The Heathen » Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:44 pm

I have now had a couple of games with points cost between 1000 and 1200 and yes you need 2.5-3 hours to complete it. For higher points games, it may need the involvement of a few more players, but need to try that sometime.
I have not looked closely at the broadside differences between an 80 and a 64, but imagine they won't be too much difference, but remember it not just the dice difference, but the gun type difference you need to consider.
I agree with the raking angles...way too lenient, and combined with the angle of fire from the firing ship, can led to some strange positions claimed to be rakes! I like both ideas of rakes at short range only, or decrease the angle (corner to corner is an easy one with uniform basing)
As for collisions/ramming. Check the rules! There are no deliberate rams allowed! If, before movement commences, it looks like two ships are going to collide in the upcoming movement phase, both ships must brace for impact and do as much as possible to avoid the collision. Only if the collision is totally unavoidable, will it happen.
The only other ship to ship collision allowed is where there is an attempt to board. The Boarding player must declare his intentions before moving, and when he is 2cm away from the target ship, he must pass a Command Check. If this is failed, then, due to lack of 'sea' room, there will be a collision.
As ships of the line range from 1st to 4th rates and each 'gives' the other ship D3+1 underwater hits, which are saveable, I am not going to risk too many ships in this manner.

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Re: A few first game thoughts

Postby Mattblack » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:20 pm

Thanks Guys this is most encouraging. I think we shall try both our modifications to see what effect they have. I am glad that the time was about right too, it makes me wonder if we could do the Nile in an evening let alone Trafalgar. However we will get quicker as we get used to them. I still havent worked out what use frigates and smaller craft are (except fireships and bomb ketches) - does anyone use them regularly?
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Re: A few first game thoughts

Postby jmilesr » Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:16 pm

My son and I have played 4 or 5 games of trafalgar (using cardboard cutouts for ships as we await our langton order). We were using 3 smaller ships each (US vs Brits) and the games initially took 3hrs but now we're down to around 1.5 a go. The increase in efficiency is a combination of less time spent paging through the rules and a better understanding of how to maneuver the ships.

We also thought the rake spread was a bit too wide so we just made a new pattern that was a bit narrower and we've added it to our "house rules list".

We are in the process of building a gaming table which is planned to be 8 x 4 feet. Does anyone have a feel yet if that is big enough to play a game with 20-25 ships per side?
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Re: A few first game thoughts

Postby KeepOnTruxtun! » Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:57 pm

Mattblack wrote: I still havent worked out what use frigates and smaller craft are (except fireships and bomb ketches) - does anyone use them regularly?


Ha! You've just described my entire fleet! :mrgreen:

As a U.S. Navy player, Frigates and Armed Schooners are pretty much what I've got! I'm gonna get a game or two in this weekend so I'll let you know what their roles are (but I suspect it's "pummel what can outrun me, and outrun what can pummel me!" :wink: )
"Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive."~George Washington
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Re: A few first game thoughts

Postby scrivs » Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:00 pm

Matt and I played our first 1000pt game tonight and it was over in two hours. Although I was extremely flukey on two counts.

1/ On turn 5 his Flagship (British 74 gun) sailed into close range of my Flagship (Spanish 112 gun) in an effort to cross my bows and rake, so I elected to Fire As She Bears at the rigging. So with a broadside of 3/6/2 needing 5's I got seven hits, four of them on 6's (criticals) with the Heavies and a further one with the Lights. Matt made no saves and I then rolled four sixes on the High Locations Critical. Matts flagship is immediately Dismasted and Decrewed!!!

2/ A little later in the game one of his unscathed 74's gets close to one of my 74's and declares a boarding action. Again I Fire as She Bears and put three hits below the waterline, he fails his Command check and takes one more hit below the waterline in the collision and sinks.

"I'd rather have a lucky admiral than a good one" :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

The two fleets we used were:

Spanish:

1st Rate
Admiral, , Extra Light Cannon, Ships Physician, Chain Shot

3rd Rate Large
Grape Shot

3rd Rate Large
Chain Shot

3rd Rate Large
Chain Shot

British

3rd Rate Large
Rear-Admiral
Marines
Sturdy Construction

3rd Rate Large
Boarding Nets
Grapeshot

3rd Rate Large
Sturdy Construction

3rd Rate Large
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Re: A few first game thoughts

Postby Mattblack » Fri Mar 27, 2009 12:01 am

Well scrivs you are certainly luckier than me as I pounded away on the Brits for ages mearly chipping off a few boxes - the British on the other hand fired more like you and blew my 74s to bits. The reroll of 1 is a real advantage. I have to say that I couldnt help myself and went for the hull - my birthday is on Trafalgar day so I instincitvly play like the British. I have to say KOT that i wish you luck - I suspect that if you come up against ships of the line there may be few places to hide, but perhaps you are a better sailor than me. Keep us informed -I shall be most interested in how you get on.
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Re: A few first game thoughts

Postby davemorrall » Fri Mar 27, 2009 8:56 am

I had a game last night, 1500pts a side, Spanish vs RN. Spanish had 2 'overgunned' 1st Rates (Santa Anna, Real Carlos), 3 vanilla 74s (San Justo, San Gabriel, San Fermin) and a 64 (Castilla), Santa Anna had a rear admiral on board. Brits had a 98 (Boyne)and five 74s,(Hannibal, Powerful, Ramilles, Sultan, Hector) all bar Hector had 'sturdy construction' Boyne had a rear admiral on board. We managed 15 turns out of 20 and decided to call it a night as both squadrons were moving away from one another and it would take too long to beat round to get back into firing range.
I'd agree that the angle for raking is way too large, needs halving at the very least.
Tacking is a very risky business as well, one Brit ship (Ramilles) failed its command roll to tack (repeatedly) and spent 3 turns trying to complete the manoeuvre, another one (Sultan) failed and lost its' foremast. One of the Spanish ships (San Gabriel) failed and was 'in irons' while 3 Brit ships sailed past her stern and made a bit of a mess of her.

The game ended with Hannibal bashed about after getting raked by (Santa Anna and Real Carlos) and Sultan minus her foremast. The Spanish had San Gabriel and Castilla the worse for wear. None of the other ships had taken any damage!

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Re: A few first game thoughts

Postby Mattblack » Mon Mar 30, 2009 1:05 pm

Dave- I found that keeping a line astean was difficult when beating into the wind - as the ships move from the back of the line. it ment that there were big gaps between the fleet to allow for the sequential movement. Tacking was also an issue like you but I guess that is why it pays to keep your admiral in the midle of the fleet (as was done historically) then you can use his rating.

It will take several games for me to get used to the way that movement works - it seems to be the toughest thing to learn in the system - but then again we are all midship men in that respect.
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Re: A few first game thoughts

Postby Bosun » Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:14 pm

I might be reading this wrong but I'm assuming the weather gage determines which side moves first rather than which ship moves first in a squadron.
If I'm right then you could move the lead ship of a squadron first even if it's up- wind of the rest of the squadron.
Also if you keep any squadron lead ships within 14cm of the flagship they can use the command factor of the flagship and pass it on to the rest of that squadron even if those ships are outside 14cm of the flagship.
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Re: A few first game thoughts

Postby greedo » Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:14 am

Bosun wrote:I might be reading this wrong but I'm assuming the weather gage determines which side moves first rather than which ship moves first in a squadron.
If I'm right then you could move the lead ship of a squadron first even if it's up- wind of the rest of the squadron.
Also if you keep any squadron lead ships within 14cm of the flagship they can use the command factor of the flagship and pass it on to the rest of that squadron even if those ships are outside 14cm of the flagship.


Ah, but that's for a squadron. On the yahoo group, and TMP, its becoming very clear that the rules as stated say that only 5th rate and below are allowed to be taken in a squadron. Once the squadron has been activated, then you move whichever you want in the squadron, but if you have a line of 3rd raters for example, they move as individuals. The admiral can definitely add his command value to any ship within 14cm, but the leeward ship must move first. So ships of the line moving in a line, sailing upwind must be more spaced out. At first I thought this was a horrible oversight, and completely wrong, but the author (who probably reads this forum) made it clear that the rules are INTENDED to make it hard to sail upwind.

There are of course things that can be changed. I would make fore/aft ships impervious to mast damage when in irons (they should still be able to get in irons, but they shouldn't lose a mast because of it), and possibly a few other things, but I think the intent was to make moving ships difficult, confusing, and traffic jam making when you don't have the weather gage. It happened in our first game. Spanish/French were trying to sail up wind, and get blown out of the water.

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Re: A few first game thoughts

Postby Bosun » Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:08 pm

Right, I've got it thanks Chris for clearing that up. That will make it easier to cut an enemy line with so much space between ships.

In the movement allowance section it states the allowance is how far the ship CAN move, has anyone tried making it a must? I just thought that if the crew were busy fighting they would be too busy to change sail settings and there-fore alter their speed, just a thought.

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Re: A few first game thoughts

Postby The Heathen » Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:17 pm

Brian,
This has been asked a few time on the Yahoo Group for Trafalgar and the author has repeatedly answered the question by saying that in the rules you MUST move the full movement allowance for the ship.
This means that a 1st rate reaching the wind and at full sail has a 18cm that it must use all of.
(thats 3cm inertia, 10cm movement rate, 2cm for reaching and 3cm for full sail)
The only way to move less than this is to change sail setting, which allows you to move anything from 1/2 and full movement rate.
Try handling a Spanish 1st rate near land, which is only allowed to make 1 turn unless you pass a command test! Great fun!!! :lol:
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Re: A few first game thoughts

Postby scrivs » Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:42 am

Matt and I had another game last night with two 1500pt fleets. We both had six third rates, him French and me Royal Navy. After over three hours of playing we did not really get a result despite going at it hammer and tongues. I think that 1200pts is probably the max for an evenings gaming.
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Re: A few first game thoughts

Postby Bosun » Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:59 pm

Erik,
Wow that will set the cat amongst the Franco- Spanish pigeons, one of our club has the Santissima Trinidad, slow doesn't begin to describe her.
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Re: A few first game thoughts

Postby The Heathen » Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:39 am

Brian,
Be careful with that one! Trinidad should only be fielded in a 2000pt game as she has way too many goodies for any smaller games (check the special ships section at the back of the rulebook). Much in the same way Victory cannot be fielded unless in a 2000pt game!
Watching the Spanish 1st rates trying to deal with limited turns and the French deal with all that speed from streamlined hulls is quite funny, until the Spanish start hitting you with the additional heavy cannon they have!

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Re: A few first game thoughts

Postby Bosun » Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:09 pm

Erik,
I had a few ships from way back for different rules and decided to build up Nelsons column at Trafalgar (I'm half way there). Picking and choosing my bolt ons I have reached 3,000 pts, might need a bigger board!
As for the Trinidad, the first time I meet her I shall aim high and slow her right down, even taking one mast off of her will be fun to see.

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Re: A few first game thoughts

Postby Kealios » Fri Apr 03, 2009 6:45 am

The Heathen wrote:As for collisions/ramming. Check the rules! There are no deliberate rams allowed! If, before movement commences, it looks like two ships are going to collide in the upcoming movement phase, both ships must brace for impact and do as much as possible to avoid the collision. Only if the collision is totally unavoidable, will it happen.


Note that the Brace for Impact rule takes place in the End Phase. If a ship maneuvers aggressively and places it in your path, and you do not have enough room to drift and then turn to avoid the impact, you can and likely will collide. I had this happen with a Spanish 1st rate who crossed directly in front of my 3rd rate. I couldnt avoid him and so hit his side, eating his broadside as a result. But then, since I had the weather gauge, he had to Move Off forward, as did I, placing me only centimeters from his stern. My Stern rake was better than his bow rake :)
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