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"wargamer.com Black Seas Review" Topic


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921 hits since 8 Oct 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Colonel Bill Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2019 8:05 a.m. PST

OK, still talkin' like a pirate, and got my Kevlar on for all the chain shot soon to be heading my way :).

Your wait is over! Here is my review of the rules for The Wargamer (and FWIW, I have a 2 1/2 page limit on these things, so be kind).

link

Ciao, Colonel Bill

Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2019 9:15 a.m. PST

A good review, but it more or less confirmed what I already thought; a simplistic set of age of sail rules for those that want to put a ton of ships on the board and sink stuff without worrying about history. There's nothing wrong with that, but I think I'll pass.

DeRuyter08 Oct 2019 10:11 a.m. PST

Nice review. My comment on what I have seen so far:

As an age of sail grognard, I have been waiting for play through videos on YT at a minimum. Suffice it to say that some of what I have seen is troubling for those looking for granularity in combat. For those gamers who don't know the difference between a motor torpedo boat and a frigate the basic rules are certainly sufficient for a fun club game. This is certainly the intent as noted by the designer who is an age of sail aficionado, which makes me hopeful for the advanced rules. To a certain extent you won't completely turn a beer and pretzels game into a sim with just 4 pages of advanced rule though.

Several examples that trouble me. One playthrough (On Table Top) video showed that brigs have 2 heavy cannon dice which do 2 points of dmg per hit. But there is nothing that distinguished those guns from the heavy cannon on the Santisima Trinidad. The Santisima carried a battery of 36 lb guns and a battery of 24 lb guns, plus a battery of 12 lb guns on the upper deck. Most small unrated brigs carried 6 lb guns unless rearmed with carronades. Put it another way it made a difference that USS Constitution was armed with 24 lb long guns opposing frigates with the standard 18 lb batteries.

Another is in the basic rules running with the wind is the fastest point of sail, which is incorrect. Apparently the sailing and wind rules are a bit different with the addition of the advanced rules. Also the attacker in boarding combat gets a +1 to the dice? Like to know the rational for that one. And grappling can occur when the ships are 3 inches apart!?!

Anyway I do like the fact that everything, except paint, you need is in the box including rigging. Since the models are larger I was hoping to use them for lake battles however I am not sure the rules have sufficient granularity on the low end of the stats for that, despite that they do have gunboat models.

Personal logo Colonel Bill Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2019 10:44 a.m. PST

But in many respects, that's the point. Other gamers will say "X, Y and Z" rules are just too damned complex and detailed for the level of combat represented. I want to command the entire Franco-Spanish fleet at Trafalgar, not tell each gun crew what shot to fire.

It's really a personal preference issue vice a good or bad game. That's why some ACW folks play Across Deadly Fields, and others play Fire & Fury.

As much as possible I try to eliminate the personal preference aspect from my reviews, or specifically say its a personal preference for me, not neccessarily a defect inn the design.

Ciao, Colonel Bill

45thdiv Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2019 11:08 a.m. PST

I recall 25 years ago I purchased the 6th edition of Close Action. It was a nice set of rules with a lot of tracking what type of shot was loaded and how you allotted crew for sails, flooding, fire damage, etc.

About 5 years or so I came across Sails of Glory. It had the same feel as Close Action. The thing about it that we changed was the WW1 dog fight capability of the ships, done I am sure to keep everything on a 4 x 6 foot area. We just used the same rules from Close Action, and moved the ships back once they hit the edge of the table. That way we could continue to play in a fashion more in line with the times.

The Beast Rampant08 Oct 2019 12:02 p.m. PST

video showed that brigs have 2 heavy cannon dice which do 2 points of dmg per hit.

How would a brig ever have anything that could, by any relative measurement, be classified as "heavy cannon"?

Another is in the basic rules running with the wind is the fastest point of sail, which is incorrect.

You see that in simple rules with only three sailing points. Hm.

SBminisguy08 Oct 2019 1:13 p.m. PST

Heart of Oak -- still the best rules for small squadron level actions:

link

Personal logo Colonel Bill Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2019 1:13 p.m. PST

The Brig Argus in the War of 1812 carried 2 x 12 lb guns and 18 x 24 lb Carronades. The Brig Archer carried 15 x 18 lber and 1 x 9 lber. A lot of brigs I looked up carried a plethora of very heavy – as in 32 lb – carronades.

My guess is that since this is supposed to be a generic brig, this was what he came up with to cover all.

Ciao, Colonel Bill

Personal logo Colonel Bill Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2019 1:16 p.m. PST

Here is one more. The Russian Brig Mercury carried 18 x 24 lbers and 2 x 8 lbers.

Ciao, Colonel Bill

The Beast Rampant08 Oct 2019 1:32 p.m. PST

Wow- I stand corrected- I didn't know that was physically possible!

Blutarski08 Oct 2019 3:06 p.m. PST

Colonel Bill wrote – "The Russian Brig Mercury carried 18 x 24 lbers and 2 x 8 lbrs."

Hi Bill,
I'm pretty sure that those 24 lbrs were carronades, as least from what I found in Tredrea's "Russian Warships in the Age of Sail"

FWIW.

B

Blutarski08 Oct 2019 3:12 p.m. PST

The Beast Rampant wrote
"Wow- I stand corrected- I didn't know that was physically possible!"

Hi TBR,
Compared to long guns, carronades were extremely light for their nominal caliber (as you are no doubt well aware, of course), but they fired with a very much smaller powder charge than a long gun firing the same sized ball.

How light? Well, the RN was replacing weather deck 9 lbr long guns on its frigates on a one for one basis for 32 lbr carronades; the "rate of exchange" was 3-4 lbs of carronade throw weight for each pound of long gun throw weight.

FWIW.

B

LT Sparker08 Oct 2019 11:05 p.m. PST

Well I am looking forward to giving these rules a damn good try!

Form Line of Battle is about as realistic a set of rules as you'll find, and are pretty elegant, but is you can't expect to fight a fleet action with them in an evening.

I liked the Trafalgar rules, as simple as they were, adn from what I've read these are pretty similar. As has been said, I want to put a lot of sail on the table and try and concentrate on putting my fleet in an advantageous postion – I'leave the details of sheets and courses to the sailing masters!

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2019 4:08 a.m. PST

How does this compare to Wizkids' Pirates in terms of game mechanics?

Personal logo Colonel Bill Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2019 4:21 a.m. PST

Blutarski, I found a schematic on the ship (in Russian, which I am not good at) that not specifically indicate carronades, but given the way other brigs were armed, I could easily see that was the case.

I know some folks have already complained the game isn't destructive enough, but I found the damage report on the Mercury and it seems to me ships back then were pretty sturdy, certainly hard to actually sink.

Colonel Bill

ChrisS194409 Oct 2019 5:50 a.m. PST

Excellent review, very helpful…..thanks!

DeRuyter10 Oct 2019 10:27 a.m. PST

The Brig Argus in the War of 1812 carried 2 x 12 lb guns and 18 x 24 lb Carronades. The Brig Archer carried 15 x 18 lber and 1 x 9 lber. A lot of brigs I looked up carried a plethora of very heavy as in 32 lb carronades.
My guess is that since this is supposed to be a generic brig, this was what he came up with to cover all.
Ciao, Colonel Bill

Notice in my earlier post I did say "unless rearmed with carronades" The game has 3 categories: light, heavy and carronades. Most nations brigs were armed with carronades after a certain time period. Mercury was built late in the period and was armed with 24 lb carronades or the Russian equivalent. USS Archer was built in the 1840s and armed with columbiads. Well past the game time period.

What is their cut off for Lt vs. Hvy guns? The HMS Surprise (as captured from the French) was armed with 9 lb guns on the main battery. Typical of French corvette armament in the 1780s. Frigates main battery was 12 lb and then 18lb became the standard. Again most brigs carried 6 or maybe 9 lb long guns as the main battery or subsequently carronades.


In the end the game may well be fun as I noted, and while I don't want something super detailed I would like to see a modicum of accuracy reflected in the stats. As an aside someone on a modelling forum pointed out the configuration of the gun batteries on the frigate model does not match with normal British designs, but hey maybe that is button counting. ;)

Last Hussar10 Oct 2019 2:25 p.m. PST

put a ton of ships on the board and sink stuff

So naval wargaming then.

Just played a small game on my own 2 74s a side.

It seems perfectly reasonable. I used most of the extra/advanced rules- the basic move rules actually says they are simple not historical. The basic are for newbies.

I mean yeah, if you want to worry about every rope and ball, not for you. But I wargame to be Nelson, not the quartermaster. BLACKBOXING THE PROCESS IS A GOOD WAY TO WRITE RULES.

Last Hussar10 Oct 2019 2:36 p.m. PST

Now having read Col Bill review, I'm pretty much with him. I can think of a couple of modifications I'd try after a couple more games to be sure I knew what I was changing. Maybe change the move sequence so ships move together; all on Full Sail I move/turn, then Battle and Full, then all ships.

The only real weakness is ships are full strength until dead; maybe needs a couple of steps on the Damage where you lose a firing die.

Dexter Ward14 Oct 2019 2:48 a.m. PST

The Advanced rules have ships losing half their firepower when they have lost half their starting strength, as well as much more realistic sailing rules.

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