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"Warlord Black Seas - a word of caution" Topic

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Crazycoote21 Sep 2019 12:32 p.m. PST

I managed to get a look at the book today. For those expressing a need for caution after Cruel Seas and SPQR, I can only say that your concerns are well founded.

On the positive side, the book is very nice looking with some lovely illustrations, and at first glance the rules seem comprehensive – there are sections covering all the things you would hope for from Fire ships to anchoring & fortifications etc. Everything you would want really. Unfortunately once you read the actual rules under the section headings they are pretty horrible.

1) The writing is clunky – took me and the guys I was with several attempts to untangle the meaning behind the Line of Sight wording – and none of us are total novices.
2) The rules are inconsistent – for example in the first section it tells you the base number on tests is dependent on skill level (6 for inexperienced, 5 for trained, 4 for veteran), but then in the actual rules you use a different system in some places (shooting for example). Some tests are rolling high, some rolling low which confuses my older brain a lot!
3) The sailing rules are fairly lame, as others have mentioned, but the worst of it is you have to measure angles using a widget – but there are no bases in the game to align this – so using the widget is fiddly/best guess. Same applies to arc of fire, which is basically the length of the ship, but you have no base to measure that off…
4) some ships can move up to 18", which makes the recommended 4' by 3' table size feel a little cramped!!!
5) some of the history is just wrong…for example the Sloop is the fastest ship in the game (faster downwind than frigates at full sails!)
6) there are rules that make no sense – "Rules of engagement" for example (optional advanced rule thank heavens). Apparently captains in this period were so honourable that they won't fire on smaller ships (even if that ship is its only viable target…even a fire ship). You have to take a skill test to fire on a smaller ship; in fairness I think I understand what they were trying to achieve (ships in line tried to engage their opposite numbers as a matter of course), but this is just such a bad way to try to represent that and is complete nonesense if you really think about it.
7) I don't know how balanced the rules will be, but there is some cause for concern. Nelson on the Victory adds 3 to shooting tests on a d10 to hit for all ships within 20". A 30% bonus to hit sounds extreme, but the worst of it is that it encourages "stand off" tactics – which is about as non-Nelson as I can imagine
8) the damage to ships and crew is tracked as a single number. That feels unsatisfying…

I could go on, but this feels like another rush job and not play-tested. Please note, I did not play the game, just a good look at the rules/components, and it may play a lot better than it reads, but I am definitely going to wait to see some more reactions before I buy in (particularly at those prices).

I had such high hopes too…

foxweasel21 Sep 2019 12:41 p.m. PST

So you've written a bad review of a game you haven't played…….

Crazycoote21 Sep 2019 12:47 p.m. PST

Yes…but in fairness I have played quite a few games, and have yet to find one that plays a lot better than it reads.

And this one reads very badly from a gaming point of view and as a historical representation.

But I encourage you to draw your own conclusions…

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP21 Sep 2019 2:39 p.m. PST

If the rules are badly written, and bad on history, and the company has a history of badly written rushed rules. It's perfectly fine to give a big warning after reading them.

myxemail21 Sep 2019 2:59 p.m. PST

However; the ship models look very nice. At the very least the ships can be used with other sets of rules. That's one of the benefits of historical models


Craig Woodfield21 Sep 2019 5:07 p.m. PST

Fair comments. As I have said before, Warlord produce great miniatures but lately their rules have declined in quality dramatically.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Sep 2019 8:28 p.m. PST

We gave up on Warlord after Hail Caesar

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP22 Sep 2019 7:29 a.m. PST

Warlord produce great miniatures

Do they?
Can't think of any warlord produces that aren't done better by others.
Warlord feels like the budget versions of better producers except they don't have budget price.
Warlord has a great store, that often has good deals. But their plastic and metal sets are generally not that great. And some are just plane bad(like their british dragoon set)

Also black seas is like the least appropriate name for what is basically a napoleonic set.
Black seas means either pirates or skeleton pirates. Not Nelson or hornblower.

Henry Martini22 Sep 2019 4:29 p.m. PST

Caution should always be the watchword when purchasing new rule sets/games. Too many people buy, or even pre-order, the latest 'shiny' based on nothing more than uncritical pre-release online hype, all-too-often only to be disappointed with a sloppily-written, poorly-developed product.

The recent experience of many suggests that WG has come to rely on this phenomenon, in combination with its market reach and dominance, to move large quantities of new-release product before the punters catch on.

As Gunfreak points out, the fact that WG couldn't even come up with an appropriate name should have alerted prospective purchasers of this game to its likely quality.

4DJones22 Sep 2019 11:09 p.m. PST

It seems to me that the above review tells me more about the shortcomings of the reviewer, than the shortcomings of a game not yet published.

NKL AeroTom23 Sep 2019 12:26 a.m. PST

some of the history is just wrong…for example the Sloop is the fastest ship in the game (faster downwind than frigates at full sails!)

can you elucidate on this? Assuming a flat sea (so larger ships don't get a speed advantage for having taller sails that stick out of the troughs between waves), will a Frigate always be faster than a sloop and smaller ships like ketches, or only when running downwind?

mysteron Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2019 1:10 a.m. PST

Hmm . It appears unfortunately my reservations appear to be shared by others. Well I am looking at my glass half full rather than half empty and will wait an see how our other Club Members get on with the game before buying.

I could do with buying myself a little pressie for Christmas and it could be this.

Arcane Steve23 Sep 2019 4:44 a.m. PST

'Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off'

Well I should do, BUT

I usually read the posts on TMP and try to avoid responding to negative feedback – after all we have facebook for that pleasure grin so I'll try to keep my responses to some of the comments regarding Black seas to the issues raised. As the comment that prompted this reply was posted both on my original thread and a separate thread ‘Black seas, a word of caution' – the writer appears to have an axe (boarding?) to grind- I felt it appropriate to return the favour.

The first comment that the writing is clunky is somewhat subjective. Patrick O'Brien it isn't, I'll give you that but as a rule book it is quite straight forward. The offending passage that appears to have caused the issue looks straight forward enough to me but I suspect that if the rules were read in conjunction with the pieces on the board it will make sense even to the most jaundiced eye.

The rules are inconsistent….again, a subjective view and misleading. The way I understand the rules are that skill ratings are applied to tests of skill, not generally applied to the rules. As to rolling high for some tests and low for others, I guess that is a personal preference. High rolls to hit in Black Powder, low rolls to pass orders. My old brain must be a bit more nimble than I thought.

The sailing rules are simplified, deliberately so from what I understand. There are only eight points to the wind and the wind strength will tend to be consistent. This is to facilitate the game play. As for the widget, here's a picture. You place it at the stern of your model and rotate the model in the cut out. It doesn't seem too complicated to me. It may not be precise either but is this really an issue in a game with friends?


As for bases, the game is designed to be played without basing your ships. If you want to base them, I don't see why this would be an issue. It would certainly help with firing for those who can't work out where the bow of a ship ends and the Bowsprit starts.

Some ships can move 18 inches, Sloops and cutters. And yes, if you decide to move down wind at full speed without changing direction, you will run out of table pretty quickly if you are using the smaller table. Then again, you could either use a bigger table or maybe use the rudder to alter direction.

Some of the history is wrong…..yes, the number of ship types is reduced to five for game plays sake. But there is a comprehensive list for those new to the period. As to which was the faster ship, a Frigate or Sloop (of war) I'll leave someone else to argue about that. It's a game mechanic to differentiate ship types.

There are rules that make no sense – don't play them then. They are optional and again, this is a game mechanic. It doesn't say that you can't attack smaller ships only that you have to pass a skill test before you do attack.

The rules for HMS Victory are the rules for HMS Victory – if you choose to take that particular ship. There are other special rules for other notable ships. They are all optional and from what I can see are there to add a bit of flavour to your games. If you don't have ‘named' ships, both players will be using the same rules. Sounds balanced to me.

Damage to the ship and crew is tracked by a single number is a simple way of monitoring the fighting effectiveness of the ship. I guess they could have made it more complicated. I can live with my Napoleonic infantry battalions morale being monitored by a single dice so this appeals to my simplistic approach to playing wargames, whether on land or sea.

The final comment is probably the one that prompted my response. ‘This feels like another rush job and not play tested' says a man who has written a critical review without even bothering to play the game. How unjust and what an insult to the writer and all those involved in producing the game. As I have made clear in my blog, I have only played one game and enjoyed the experience. That may change as I play a few more games but for now, I will repeat the view expressed in my blog. The Rule book is nicely produced, well illustrated and supports the beautiful miniatures that Warlord have produced.

I too have high hopes of this game and will approach it with a view to enjoying the game and models. I'll let you know how I get on when I have actually played the game a few more times and built the ships.

Martian Root Canal23 Sep 2019 6:24 a.m. PST

You should have listened to Taylor Swift after all.

He wrote a review with disclaimers about not having played it. So what? Half the game reviews on YouTube do the same thing. His review is a cautionary note about another product from a company that has recently rushed things to market. I for one am glad he wrote it, since I invested heavily in Cruel Seas, only to find I need to refer to a plethora of errata and FAQ responses to play it. It was a rushed production. I love the models, but have turned elsewhere for rules.

Crazycoote23 Sep 2019 6:44 a.m. PST

Arcane Steve

Thanks for the "Taylor Swift Defence", that elevates the discussion…

I would respond by firstly saying that I really dont have a particular axe to grind, except in so far as we are being marketed at to buy into (for a fairly substantial sum) a game that follows on the heels of two others (Cruel Seas and SPQR) which have caused a level of disappointment in the community at large. So, having spent a time looking through this ruleset I was not impressed for the reasons I stated above, and felt it perfectly reasonable to share the concern that this ruleset may prove to have similar problems.

I stated quite clearly that I had only read the rules (thoroughly I might add) and not played them so that others would know that and take it into account when deciding whether to take any notice of my thoughts. Nonetheless, if I am being asked to spend money on models and rules then they at least have to pass some level of initial reading through to get me to want to take the plunge and play them.

Dealing with the more specific points you raise;

1) I agree that the view I expressed regarding the clarity of the writing is subjective; as are most reviews/views. One speaks as one finds…

2) The Rules are inconsistent… you give the same example as I did, some rolls being high, some low; again, subjectively I find that untidy and inconsistent – but I respect the opinion that others may be perfectly at ease with such. Same applies to the skills test on D6s and shooting on D10s etc, with different modifiers/base numbers for different kinds of test – to my mind that is untidy, but you like it so fair enough.

3) Thank you for posting an image of the widget. I am perfectly happy for others to decide whether they think that is a good/bad/indifferent tool. Personally, I dont like it as I think it will be awkward to use when ships are closed up together and you have to align that little white arrow by eye – but time will tell…

4) As to the relative speed of the ships, again to each his own, but in an age of sail game I dont want my ships to look like they are moving around the board like mini speedboats; I think that detracts from the whole period-feel of an AoS wargame (but that again is just an opinion).

5)Regarding the relative speeds of ships (sloops frigates etc) I dont think it is good enough to excuse something that is just not historically correct with "its just a game mechanic". A historical miniatures game should in my view correspond to the history – which is not to say I want complexity, just accuracy.

6) Similarly when rules dont make sense (for example Rules of Engagement) am I supposed to just weed those out for myself? The need to pass a skill test (which is a 6 on a d6 for an inexperienced crew) in order to fire on a smaller ship is both a bad game mechanic and very dubious in its authenticity. Why would such silly rules be included at all?

7) My main issue with Nelson/Victory isnt really the fact that the combination is over powered in some way, it is more that the mechanic encourages player activity which does not reflect the "Nelson Touch". As I said, plus 30% to hit at all ranges for every one of your fleet inside 20" means that the best tactic is to stand off and shoot – which has to be "questionable" at least when you are trying to do Nelson…

8) Damage to ship and crew combined into a single stat line has some potential issues for me; for example, boarding actions effectively cause damage to the ship as much as the crew, which just feels wrong. I also like Blackpowder (always have, and the supplements are excellent) but I dont think the single status track is exactly analagous between Battallions of Infantry and Naval Combat, but on this one it is again subjective, and each unto his own I guess.

I stand by my commentary; this is a nicely produced book, the models look good etc. But…I am cautioning people against buying into the hype before seeing the rules for themselves and drawing their own conclusions.

Perhaps Warlord should publish a free pdf version of the rules as other manufacturers have done and then people can make their own assessment prior to purchase?

foxweasel23 Sep 2019 6:52 a.m. PST

A review of any sort, without experiencing the subject, is no review at all. This is no different to not seeing Return of the Jedi and giving it a bad review, purely because you didn't like Star wars and Empire strikes back. I played Black Seas at Salute when it was still being finalised and enjoyed it. I wouldn't feel qualified to go on the internet and review it after such a short time, never mind slating it after a flick through the book.

Crazycoote23 Sep 2019 7:04 a.m. PST

It was more than a flick through the book. I read it closely and keenly.

The internet is replete with reviews (mainly marketing driven positive ones) that are based on a view of book without extensive playing – or even playing at all.

I stand by my note of caution, but encourage others to form their own views. Again Warlord should consider publishing the book as a pdf and let people decide for themselves (if only to allay the misgivings caused by their other recent releases).

Bede1900223 Sep 2019 9:20 a.m. PST

Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off'

Thus says the the wizened sage Taylor Swift….

codiver23 Sep 2019 10:03 a.m. PST

My $0.02 USD: there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with criticism of rules for having issues with 1) legibility/readability, 2) punctuation (or lack thereof), 3) typos, 4) inconsistencies, 5) outright errors, etc. that one can ascertain/deduce from the initial reading. IMO, people – and too many wargamers in particular – are WAY too permissive these days on poor editing/quality.

DeRuyter23 Sep 2019 10:12 a.m. PST

Two quick points from a sailor (tall ships too) and a collector of age of sail games.

First there is a video on YT of an interview by WI of the rules author and he confirms they wanted a fast play game with simplified sailing rules. He was able to include additional sailing rules as advanced or optional rules.

Second a larger ship has a higher theoretical top speed but practical speed is dependent on the wind strength among other things. A cutter is a fore and aft rigged vessel and would be able to sail closer to the wind and thus be faster than a frigate sailing against the wind. A sloop can be a type of rig or a class of ship, basically a small frigate.

Something encouraging in another thread David Manley an expert on naval games and author of his own rules was asked to provide input. logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP

23 Sep 2019 10:31 a.m. PST

You can tell quite a lot from just reading a set of rules, no playing necessary. If the rules are written poorly, are badly organized and lack editing. Then I am fairly certain they won't play well. Even after you re-wrote the rules to make them work, it is still a bad set of rules, because you shouldn't have to re-write the rules to make them work.

I thought they were a set of Pirate rules. Odd title for a set of Napoleonic rules. I bet the marketing department had something to do with it.

Martian Root Canal23 Sep 2019 11:43 a.m. PST

Old Contemptible deleted his post, DeRuyter.

Henry Martini23 Sep 2019 1:41 p.m. PST

How is it that the largest company in the historical sector of the market can create a commercial atmosphere in which prospective customers are wary of buying its products for fear of being disappointed, and yet small or even one-man operators, such as for instance, Sam Mustafa (with whom I have no commercial relationship other than being an occasional purchaser of his games), can consistently produce complete, polished, professional-quality products such that, if I'd happened to have been interested in every period/subject he's covered, I could have bought sight-unseen every game he's released safe in the knowledge that I would be more than satisfied with both its ludic value and its presentation?

Does the pressure to maintain a break-neck new release schedule that comes with running a large enterprise inevitably generate a high failure rate? If so, how is that other large game manufacturers past and present don't seem to have experienced/to experience these problems?

Your thoughts on the back of a postcard…

Darkfine24 Sep 2019 1:49 a.m. PST

Henry, while Warlords track record of late isn't exactly stellar I can say from first hand experience all of the "big" producers make plenty of missteps. Actually, very recently Games Workshop published a book that was invalid before it even made it to shelves.

They literally changed an entire section while it was winding its way to the stores.

Companies have fans, who have loyalties. Personally, after some rough treatment from other manufacturers, I rank Warlord to be up there as one of the best. Yeah FAQs and errata and missteps aren't ideal but it's hard to decry them as money grubbing, customer hating twits.

mysteron Supporting Member of TMP24 Sep 2019 3:18 a.m. PST

Most Rules providers tend to have Erratas at some stage whether they are big or small. My only concern was the way that Cruel Seas was released in December and by January you had page after page of corrections . As I have stated before my rulebook ended up looking like a scrap book with inserts stuck in page after page. That's why I will wait and see.

Looking at the snippets things look more promising which is me saying my glass is half full rather than half empty .

Empires at War Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Sep 2019 2:20 p.m. PST

We played a game of this at the club last night and i've put a brief report on my Blog. We plan another with some larger ships next week and i will do a more comprehensive report based on the next game.

We all agreed it was a good club night game which would benefit from using some of the variables like crew quality. We will add some of these in the next game.

Blog pic 1

blog pic 2


Bozkashi Jones27 Sep 2019 3:51 a.m. PST

I don't have a problem with someone discussing their impressions, so long as they clearly signpost that they haven't played the game, which Crazycoote did. This is a discussion forum, after all.

Empires at War – loved your report and there were some interesting nuggets in there which help me understand how the rules play.

With regard to Warlord Games, I love the models (got mine with Wargames Illustrated earlier this week) and I'll wait and see some more AARs before I decide whether to get the rules. If not I'll use the models with a different set.

I do think there is a duty on a major publisher to ensure there product is fully proof-read though; I have yet to read a novel which comes with an errata sheet, after all. For one-man-band and smaller outfits, I am more inclined to accept the odd error or clarification, but WG are a major player.

From what I have read, though, WG do seem to have taken this on board after Cruel Seas and have had the rules professionally proof-read.


Mark Barker02 Oct 2019 2:26 p.m. PST

Crazycoote, I've finally got a look at the rules myself (advance glimpse from FLGS) to look at Nelson's 'stand-off' effect, which did seem a bit odd. I'm not sure where you got the +3 from, but the Nelson (+1) and Victory (+1) combo applies to Skill Tests (d6), not Gunnery(d10). Being British gives you +1 to Gunnery (perhaps that's where), which is only right and proper…

The +2 on skill means the prescence of Nelson and Victory encourages crews within 20" to perform better (very Nelsonic) but does not affect Gunnery.


Joe Legan03 Oct 2019 10:16 a.m. PST

I guess many of you have higher expectation of warlord than I do. I expect nice looking models and a pretty rulebook that I can use as a basis (75%) for my own rules. That is what i got from cruel seas and that is what i expect i will get from black seas. At least warlord is generating interest in naval gaming

Colonel Bill04 Oct 2019 7:50 a.m. PST

Oddly enough, my review of the rules will post next week as my weekly column for

I subscribe to (and write for) Wargames Illustrated Prime digital and they dropped a YouTube Flip Thru of the rules. I was able to pump it to full-screen mode then Pause and Screen Capture every page of the actual rules themselves. You might want to consider doing this prior to purchasing if you have doubts. I'll be playing thru this weekend using Wooden Ships and Iron Men counters as substitutes.

FWIW, I do believe a lot of reviews' criticism is based on personal preference vice actual design flaw. Its not that a game function doesn't work, it just doesn't work FOR THE REVIEWER. Nonetheless, I will be interested in the punctuation aspect, based on some recent activity in that area I was involved in. Grammar rules seem to have changed, especially in comma use, and even I was taught that the so-called Oxford Comma is now defunct.

Ciao, Colonel Bill

thehawk06 Oct 2019 4:19 a.m. PST

There's nothing wrong with reading rules to assess them. Working solely with mental models of systems is commonplace. Needing to play a set of rules isn't required to spot flaws.

Dexter Ward14 Oct 2019 1:51 a.m. PST

But sometimes just reading a set of rules gives a very misleading impression. I've played several sets which read like they wouldn't work, but which worked very well on the tabletop (and sometimes the reverse).
So I would say that playing a set of rules *is* required to spot flaws.

Joe Legan15 Oct 2019 3:47 p.m. PST

I have read through the rules as well and haven't played yet. I think the initiative is intriguing as is having sails,crew and hull all lumped together into one value. Don't know if I will like the damage model or not but am willing to give it a try. Will certainly have to expand the critical hits table out as I did for Cruel Seas.
Time will tell but certainly doesn't look terrible. It reads much clearer than Cruel Seas did.


LT Sparker15 Oct 2019 8:14 p.m. PST

Thanks Henry for the chuck up for Sam Mustafa's rules. As one of his many playtesters I accept a (very) small part of that praise, although of course the man has a brain the size of a planet!

What I take from the rest of this thread is that those who have actually played the rules are happy or keeping an open mind, whilst those who haven't have already made their minds up!
Which side to pay attention to is a no-brainer for me!

Certainly agree that Warlord have raised interest in this period and given us some lovely models already – at least for WI readers!

Joe Legan16 Oct 2019 3:15 p.m. PST

I will say I think your comments about me are unfair. I don't feel I have made up my mind yet except about the critical hit chart


mysteron Supporting Member of TMP21 Oct 2019 4:20 a.m. PST

Well I have watched a game played at the club and pleased to report that everyone enjoyed it . The guys also agreed that the rulesbook is laid out much better than the Cruel seas Rulebook. It does look a little familiar being in some ways, bears a little resemblance to Warhammer Trafalgar. Mark Latham who wrote the latter rules has a credit in assisting these rules so I am guessing this is were some of the inspiration has come from.

I am hanging on a little longer and waiting for some of the US ships to be released in the not so distant future. So I am looking to join in around Christmas time .

LT Sparker21 Oct 2019 8:55 p.m. PST

@ Joe

Not just about you, my dear chap!
But if you are keeping an open mind, I think you'll be better off in the long run – its not just about the rules themselves and how they read, its about having new players for the genre…



Joe Legan22 Oct 2019 12:36 p.m. PST

Hence my post stating at least they are creating interest in naval gaming! Before you lump people together please read posts carefully

mysteron Supporting Member of TMP23 Oct 2019 12:41 a.m. PST

I agree Joe

The guys that played a game at our club have only previously played ( apart from one who plays Cruel Seas) land based battles.

So to get more people into Naval wargaming is a big plus.

Joe Legan24 Oct 2019 10:51 a.m. PST

Amen brother! We can argue about rigging later

Bowman24 Oct 2019 3:40 p.m. PST

Thanks to the nice points brought up by Crazycoote and rebutted by Arcane Steve and then re-rebutted (is that a word?) by Crazycoote. I must admit that I generally come down on Arcane Steve's assessment.

My additions to the discussion

2) I think the mechanisms for Skill Tests and Shooting are fine and as Steve indicated are consistent with other rules , like Black Powder. Could they have been done wil just using D10s? Sure, and it would have streamlined things a bit. Not a big point for me.

3) "Thank you for posting an image of the widget. I am perfectly happy for others to decide whether they think that is a good/bad/indifferent tool. Personally, I dont like it as I think it will be awkward to use when ships are closed up together and you have to align that little white arrow by eye – but time will tell…" I totally agree with your point in very close quarters. Thing reminds me of situations in other games, like in Wings of Glory, where planes overlap. It's something that players manage with easily enough. Not a game breaker either.

4) "I dont want my ships to look like they are moving around the board like mini speedboats;" And how many ships get to move the 18" per turn? Is this an issue? I'll say that anyone who races his boats like an idiot will lose the game. No different than moving your Black Powder units around like they were on motorcycles, making them ineffectual. I bet this will not be an issue playing with normal, thoughtful players.

6) "Similarly when rules dont make sense (for example Rules of Engagement) am I supposed to just weed those out for myself?" Yes, they are in the advanced rules section which the authors indicated are completely optional. Not a problem for me.

7) Agreed with the Victory complaints. I read the same thing and thought, "How will anyone bring that ship down?" Luckily for me I am gaming the War of 1812. So I don't care. The specifications for the named ships Constitution and Essex seem sensible enough. I probably won't play them anyway. I agree with both your and Steves comments.

8) Ship points measure integrity of the hull, the masts and the crew. When you fire at a ship and you lose Ship Points I understand damage can come to all three things. When you lose Ship Points During a boarding action, I can understand that we are talking about loss of crew integrity. Boarders are not cutting up the sails. When Ship Points fall to zero during Shooting the ship sinks. When Ship Points fall to zero due to boarding combat it should become a captured prize. Usually the crew will surrender before that. I know combining all damage into one figure irks you but I see the value of combining them. I didn't think the ship was being damaged during the boarding so this didn't bother me. Lots of ships in the lake battles of the War of 1812 were captured rather than sunk, so this is how I will play it.

Finally there is PDF of the rules. But it's not free. Why would Warlord do that?

Dexter Ward25 Oct 2019 8:21 a.m. PST

Having now played a game, the rules work fine. Not a hugely realistic set (I've got Post Captain if I want detail and realism), but it captures the essence of Age of Sail fights ,is simple enough for folks to pick it up easily and gives a fun game playable in a couple of hours. The models and other bits and pieces in the starter set are very nice and of course are usable for other AoS games.
On the subject of ship points, when it drops below the value on the flag you have to roll every turn to avoid striking; that is much the most likely outcome, not sinking.
Rules of engagement were a real thing, but more in fleet actions that in those with only a few ships.

Empires at War Sponsoring Member of TMP25 Oct 2019 9:21 a.m. PST

7) Agreed with the Victory complaints. I read the same thing and thought, "How will anyone bring that ship down?" Luckily for me I am gaming the War of 1812. So I don't care. The specifications for the named ships Constitution and Essex seem sensible enough. I probably won't play them anyway. I agree with both your and Steves comments.

The quick answer is it's not that difficult! We have played this for the last few weeks gradually adding more rules after learning the basics.This week we added the different ammunition types and it made a huge difference.

In order to use larger ships we called into action the clubs collection of Sails of Glory ships including L'Orient for the French.

This ship first took some damage from a British frigate passing the stern at short range using chain shot. In the next turn it was attacked by a British 1st rate. Firing at under 10 inches with chain (-1 for aiming high instead of the usual-2), first fire 2 extra dice, experienced crew +2 and firing at a large target +1 gave 7 to hit i think.

This resulted in several hits including 2 1s. So 4 d6 on the critical hits chart for aiming high. 2 of these were 6s. Now a 6 on this chart gets 25% of the originl ships value as damage so there is 50% from 2 shots. Overall the total damage the ship accumulated from these 2 attacks meant the ship struck it's colours. Having sustained a crew hit it could not pass its skill test to fight on.

Hope that helps!

Bowman26 Oct 2019 7:28 a.m. PST

The quick answer is it's not that difficult! We have played this for the last few weeks gradually adding more rules after learning the basics.This week we added the different ammunition types and it made a huge difference.

Yes, good call on the ammunition types.

My worry with big powerful ships is the same concern I have with WW2 scenarios where the German side brings a Jagdtiger into the fray. No matter that actual scenario of the game is, the Allied player has to be preoccupied with what to do with the "monster". So you always have to bring and bear sufficient fire power.

According to Wiki, the casualty rates were the highest on the Victory, from the ships in Nelson's column, anyway. So the big boys do attract the fire.

Luckily for me, my conflict of choice deals mostly with a lot of brigs and a (very) small scattering of 5th rate frigates. So the Master and Commander and Frigates and Brigs Flotilla Box should get me sorted.

Many of the ships in the War of 1812 Lake battles were captured as prizes. However, none due to "Errol Flynn" type boarding action combats. Usually the loser had already surrendered and was simply taken over. But that doesn't mean it has to go down that way in my games.

BelgianRay26 Oct 2019 12:17 p.m. PST

NKL AeroTom … I'm sory but where does it indicate in the rules that a sloop is the fastes vessel ? More so : there are no sloops in the game, what are we talking about…????

Bowman26 Oct 2019 3:05 p.m. PST

Ray, you may have him confused with Crazycoote. Sloops are in the game, …….under one of the 5 divisions

La Belle Ruffian27 Oct 2019 9:04 a.m. PST

Thanks for the views Crazycoote – it sounds like you've taken time to go through the rules and made your process clear. Given it usually takes half a dozen plays of a game to start getting my head round things, I'd rather your approach than someone who plays it once or twice and reviews based on that, with no qualifiers.

Dexter Ward28 Oct 2019 3:48 a.m. PST

Sloops (and cutters) have a move of 6, so are indeed the fastest vessels.
The charts on pages 72 and 73 of the rules gives the stats for all types of ship and boat (and indeed shore batteries), not just for the models which come with the game.

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