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"Rules for age of fighting sail?" Topic

25 Posts

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Current Poll

3,349 hits since 22 Nov 2014
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Comments or corrections?

Sundance22 Nov 2014 2:40 p.m. PST

I'm looking for a decent set of miniatures rules for fighting sail. I like Wooden Ships & Iron Men, but has a little too much detail to really handle a fleet comfortably. Would like something with a little less bookkeeping but that keeps the flavor well.

Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2014 2:43 p.m. PST

How about Form Line of Battle (one of mine) from A&AGE?

KTravlos22 Nov 2014 3:00 p.m. PST

I have loved and can recommend Kiss me Hardy. A great game, lots of flavour, friendly to multiplayer.

Rules here


My games here


Dynaman878922 Nov 2014 3:17 p.m. PST

Although normally a Lardie (Kiss me Hardy) for Age of Sail I like the boardgame "Flying Colors" by GMT. I've heard it is a lot like Wooden Ships and Iron Men but made for fleet actions.


Charlie 1222 Nov 2014 3:32 p.m. PST

Form Line of Battle is my favorite for large battles. David has definitely got the balance of playability and detail right.

Only Warlock22 Nov 2014 3:44 p.m. PST

Another vote for Kiss Me Hardy.

Cmde Perry22 Nov 2014 5:24 p.m. PST

Fire As She Bears! may meet your criteria. I like it.

Kaptain Kobold23 Nov 2014 12:25 a.m. PST

Another vote for 'Form Line of Battle'.

dantheman Supporting Member of TMP23 Nov 2014 6:16 a.m. PST

Form Line of Battle is good. However my friends think the latest edition charts are too fiddly for them. I have no problem though.

An even simpler set is "it Is Warm Work" from Wargame Vault. I would recommend it as most simplest.

Flying Colors is OK but the charts are fiddly and later editions added complexity with more modifiers. You will also pay more money because it is a complete board game.

Right now I personally use "General At Sea" but I modified it for fleet actions of the 18th century. It is a 17th century set.

pvernon23 Nov 2014 1:47 p.m. PST

I still like "Heart of Oak" Fantasy Games Unlimited, available at Wargame Vault.

Volunteer Fezian23 Nov 2014 6:24 p.m. PST

My vote for simplicity with a good flavor for the era is Kiss Me Hardy.

docfin28 Nov 2014 5:17 a.m. PST

Form Line of Battle for our group. Dantheman In what way do you find the latest edition charts fiddly.

Tim95th18 Aug 2015 5:42 a.m. PST

Signal Close Action or 'Fighting Sail' from Osprey.

Charlie 1218 Aug 2015 7:06 p.m. PST

POST CAPTAIN from ODGW for one on one and small squadron actions.

HarryHotspurEsq19 Aug 2015 12:04 p.m. PST

If you want minimal book keeping but still need that 'Age of Sail' salty flavour in the wind, you might enjoy Galleys & Galleons. link

<insert declaration of interest here> :)

Ghecko19 Aug 2015 4:18 p.m. PST

The Galleon rules are available for free at

capncarp27 Aug 2015 7:55 a.m. PST

Calling this forth from the Elder Age of wargaming, but has anyone played TSR's "Don't Give Up The Ship" (1975) Age of Sail miniatures rules? I have 2 copies. It looks a little clunky, but interesting all the same.

Personal logo War Artisan Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Aug 2015 9:48 a.m. PST

I played dozens, if not hundreds of games using "DGUTS" back in the day. We used it as the tactical resolution module for a campaign back in the '70s (called "Privateer" – my first published game design). I still have a very battered copy laying around the workshop somewhere.

It is a bit clunky, but the mechanics are not overwhelming in a single ship action. I wouldn't try a squadron or fleet action with them. They have the advantage of producing games that actually bear a strong resemblance to historical events, unlike some releases in recent years (no, I'm not mentioning names) whose mechanics seem to be derived from very bad B movies. For that reason alone, it would be worth hanging on to your copies.

Volleyfire29 Aug 2015 10:02 a.m. PST

We prefer Blood,Bilge & Iron Balls.

Malchor28 Feb 2021 1:45 p.m. PST

We used it as the tactical resolution module for a campaign back in the '70s (called "Privateer" my first published game design).

War Artisan, would love to hear more about Privateer! A friend is looking to use DGUTS for a Napoleonic campaign and I'm mulling over something in the Mediterranean.

BrianW28 Feb 2021 3:08 p.m. PST

War Artisan,
Yes, same here! Please give us some more details.

Personal logo War Artisan Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Feb 2021 5:07 p.m. PST

It was published in 1978 by WAW Publications (a small, private imprint owned by Dave Arneson, of D&D fame) and is long, long out of print . . . probably a good thing since it was a terrible design. The mechanics were awkward and there were too many die rolls.

From what I can recall, it had two maps of cruising areas, one covering the east coast of the U.S. down to the Caribbean and the other the west coast of Europe from the English Channel down to Portugal. Each player was the captain of a privateer or letter of marque, and as they moved around the map they rolled for random encounters based on their position relative to ports and shipping lanes. Encounters were fought out using the tactical rules from Don't Give Up The Ship (in the design of which Dave had a hand) with other privateer players temporarily taking the part of the opposing ships, merchant or otherwise. The players' actions could result in the accumulation of "Infamy Points" (some actions, such as attacking a ship sailing under a nominally friendly flag or setting the crew of a captured vessel adrift in boats instead of taking them into a neutral port would get you extra "Infamy Points"). Higher infamy totals increased your odds of being intercepted by warships.

The one useful piece was a one-page chart showing which nations were considered Friendly, Neutral, or At War for each year of the period covered (1795-1814), which came in handy when the players were deciding whether a potential target under a certain flag was worth attacking, or which ports would be safe.

Malcolm01 Mar 2021 11:55 a.m. PST

Form Line of Battle by David Manley is quite good for small to medium sized actions, but less suitable for the large ones.
So I'n waiting for coming fast play rules forfleet actions of Age of Sail from same author

BrianW02 Mar 2021 3:01 p.m. PST

War Artisan,
Well it still sounds interesting, even if it was a clunky 1970s design. I certainly wouldn't mind having a copy.

whitejamest02 Mar 2021 6:26 p.m. PST

I'm with Brian Jeff, if you can track them down you should sell them on your site. It sounds like it has some neat elements.

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