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Thread: Diecon - Battle of Lissa

  1. #1

    Default Diecon - Battle of Lissa

    Folks,

    I ran an intro SoG game on Friday 20 June, at Diecon in Collinsville, IL. The scenario was written for 5-10 players, using 1 or 2 ships each. I had 6 players total of various experience levels. 2 had never played SoG, a couple had only played a single game prior to this one.

    The Battle of Lissa

    13 March 1811

    Due to the treaty between Republican France and Russia against the Ottoman Empire, Britain is suspicious of French intentions in the Mediterranean. France has been building up troops in the Balkans and is believed to be preparing an invasion of the Ottomans in conjunction with the Russians.

    Lissa was seized by the British in 1807 to disrupt enemy shipping in the Adriatic. France needs to silence the British threat of Lissa, and dispatches a mixed French and Venetian Frigate squadron and 500 man invasion force to capture the island. Commodore Bernard Dubourdieu commanded six frigates divided into two divisions of three frigates each.

    British Captain William Hoste commanded a squadron of three frigates and a post ship.

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    Scenario Rules: The wind is blowing fair from the Northwest to Southeast. The French frigate divisions may not coordinate actions during the game, but may coordinate within the divisions. All forces will be pre-set in starting positions. Only the Frigates and British Post ship will be used in the scenario.

    French must apply the Poor Gunner special rule, and must expend two turns to reload guns. British ships may apply the Continuous Fire special rule and may fire every turn if they so choose after the first broadside. When continuous fire is employed, half the number of damage tokes pulled rounding down, but the pull will never be less than 1.
    The crew, mast special damages will be used. If mast damage is taken ship must use the gray bordered maneuver cards. There is no repair in the game.

    Victory Conditions:

    If the French can get the 50% of it’s squadron within the reefed area off Lissa and remain for 2 turns they have won a tactical victory. If they can meet the previous conditions and either defeat all the British frigates or cause them to disengage, they have won a Major Victory.

    If the British can prevent the French from meeting the Tactical Victory result, but lose 2 or more ships (disengagements do not count in the loss total), they will have achieved a Tactical Victory. If they can prevent the French from meeting the Tactical victory condition without losing more than one ship, they will have achieved a Major Victory.

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    Bob (HMS Lydia) briefing the rules and scenario.

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    Explaining movement to a new player.

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    FlyXWire - All photos are courtesy of FlyX, thanks to him for great images.

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    The Action develops!

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    More Action!

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    Getting close to a decision!

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    Happy players near the end.

    The scenario was very balanced. But the British won a Minor victory in the end. The French had 3 really beat up ships, and couldn't possibly meet the victory condition, and decided to withdraw.
    Last edited by HMS Lydia; 06-24-2014 at 05:22.

  2. #2

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    You can see some of the grease pencil ship charts on the table. I did all custom ship charts and miniature base cards. I substituted Hebe class Frigates for all of the French and Italian 40 gun, and the British 38 gun. Used the captured French 32's as substitutes for the British 32's, used an Amazon for the post ship removing one damage box, but leaving the burden as 2, and captured Amazons as the Italian 32's. DeRuyter's scenario help alot getting this set up, so a big thanks to Eric for letting me look at his scenario materials.

    The British continous fire was really not and overly powerful mechanic with Frigates, the British rarely got a continous fire shot that was greater than 1 chit. One of the British players finally just started to reload, in an attempt to get better gunnery numbers.
    Last edited by HMS Lydia; 06-24-2014 at 05:26.

  3. #3
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    And we could have won this affair!

    It was a nicely balanced scenario I think. Our combined (multi-fleet problem) was that once we had achieved a quick positional advantage (having sailed past most of the screening Brits and had slipped shore-side towards our landing objectives), the intrepid Venetians decided they wanted to fight a pitch battle, rather than off-load their soldiers.

    Well, of course this temptation was conceived as be part of the scenario's baked in "friction", and since we couldn't readily communicate between fleets (yell across the table), we had to enjoy the greater battle that unfolded.

    Playing SoG scenarios is definitely the way to go, and despite our side's near-loss, the game was a hoot, and everyone thoroughly enjoy themselves.

  4. #4

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    Yeah Dave, Bill told me after the game, they should have plowed through to the objective. It's kind of fun to see how different folks interpret their orders.

  5. #5
    Retired Admiral of the Fleet
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    Very cool, Bob. Nice scenario layout. Well done, Sir.

    It looked like people were having a good time.

    I liked using custom ship mats/logs with dry markers. It was quite easy to set up, run, and clean up. Additionally, you can easily change stats to what you desire for a given scenario, using the ships somewhat generically.
    “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” ― Plato

  6. #6
    Admiral of the White
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    Very enjoyable report and great photos. Thanks for posting!

    How long did the event last and was the level of excitement maintained throughout (it certainly sounds and appears like everyone had a great time).

  7. #7

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    Eric,

    We had only played skirmishes up to this point. But the few veteran players thought scenario play was exicting. While working on this, I thought about how to maintain formations and remain in the spuirit of the rules. So, for the French formation movement, only the lead ship in each line played a movement card. The ships in trail, maintained position by using the back of the combat ruler, and remain at the proper interval. It's a fdge, but it worked well, and we are going to play around with this method using some SoL in battle line and see what happens.

    Jim,

    Only one of the players didn't think highly of the game (he's old AoS grognard). But he still played his hardest and was enthusiastic through to the end, and his side even won the game. I incorrectly reported that 2 of the players had not played, actually 3 had never played. I think everyone enjoyed themselves right up to the conclusion. I think the fact that it was a very close game, worked to their favor.

    Thanks guys, while I would always much rather play, it was fun and educational hosting the event. Can't wait to do more. There is Guns of August, and Command Con coming over the next few months. Diecon is the largest gaming convention in the St. Louis area, but probably should have hosted on Saturday to draw a slightly larger crowd.

    Bob

  8. #8

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    Jim,

    Sorry forgot to answer your question on time, my game lasted almost 3 hours. Interesting, most of the games we've played in the past have been 2 hour maxixmum. However we've never played a 10 ship game before, I believe 8 has been the largest prior to this.

    Bob

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by HMS Lydia View Post
    it was fun and educational hosting the event. Can't wait to do more.
    Should we reserve a spot or two for you at Origins 2015?
    “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” ― Plato

  10. #10

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    Thanks for the report--looks like a lot of fun!

    I like the limited information causing coordination problems. Every naval battle you read about from the period has situations like that.

    The laminated charts look good. I also liked your custom nameplates on the ships.

    Those were some epic fleets. Seems like your rules for squadron maneuvers worked well. Given the unit density, it looks like there were surprisingly few actual collisions (i.e., I see space between most of the ships in most of the pictures)...

    I'm wondering how the poorly-trained gunners rule worked out. Was that sufficient to balance out the French preponderance in ships?

  11. #11
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    Bob:

    Great AAR! I am glad to see that the scenario worked out well. I like your idea for the formation sailing. I think your grease pencil ship mats are a great idea for a big convention game. I can see from the photos that they helped with table space - and you can move them around! I may have to make some for my game at Historicon.

    Also I love the chests! Are those your chit containers and where did you get them?

    Eric

  12. #12

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    Eric DeRuyter),

    The chests were FlyXwire's idea, and he bought and finished them for me. I believe you can get them at Joann's, Hobby Lobby and a few other stores. And I think they are fairly inexpensive. We take the expended chits and place them in the chests. They look neat and it keeps the chit sets in the bag correct for draws. If a bag gets too low, we intend dump the entire chest into the bag, but this hasn't happened yet.

    We have also found it is much easier to control multiple ships with the grease pencil charts. We want to attempt to stress the number of ships a veteran can control, and see what the breaking point is. Unless you use a formation home rule, I would think 3 ships would be max, but who knows it'll be fun to find out!

    Bob

  13. #13

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    Fred,

    The poorly trained gunners rules really hampered the French. But it was a great balancing mechanic. Especially when you compare total burden between the fleets. The interesting observation was that the continous fire rule really didn't help the British that much.

    You could kind of tell the French were itching to be able to coordinate. Especially when one division decided to engage and the other went directly for the anchorage.

    There were quite a few collisions, which is one of the things that slowed the game down.

    Bob

  14. #14

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    Eric (7EAT),

    I have always wanted to attend both Origins and Gencon. Unfortunately, for me, it is extremely difficult to get time off in the summer. It's our busiest time of the year. Maybe someday, hopefully!

    Bob

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    I can't speak for GenCon, but Origins is wonderful. We have a great group meeting there each year. The venue is large enough to have a lot of variety, but one never feels crowded. If you stay in one of the adjoining hotels, it is extremely convenient, and a block away is a great place to grab food - a market with stalls serving food from around the world. On Sunday morning, there is an annual visit to the Air Force Museum for those who desire. We bring someone from overseas to the event - this year it was Sven. It is a very enjoyable and relaxing time spent with friends.

    Did I mention the market a block away?
    “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” ― Plato

  16. #16
    Admiral of the White
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    Quote Originally Posted by HMS Lydia View Post
    Eric,

    We had only played skirmishes up to this point. But the few veteran players thought scenario play was exicting. While working on this, I thought about how to maintain formations and remain in the spuirit of the rules. So, for the French formation movement, only the lead ship in each line played a movement card. The ships in trail, maintained position by using the back of the combat ruler, and remain at the proper interval. It's a fdge, but it worked well, and we are going to play around with this method using some SoL in battle line and see what happens.

    Jim,

    Only one of the players didn't think highly of the game (he's old AoS grognard). But he still played his hardest and was enthusiastic through to the end, and his side even won the game. I incorrectly reported that 2 of the players had not played, actually 3 had never played. I think everyone enjoyed themselves right up to the conclusion. I think the fact that it was a very close game, worked to their favor.

    Thanks guys, while I would always much rather play, it was fun and educational hosting the event. Can't wait to do more. There is Guns of August, and Command Con coming over the next few months. Diecon is the largest gaming convention in the St. Louis area, but probably should have hosted on Saturday to draw a slightly larger crowd.

    Bob
    Quote Originally Posted by HMS Lydia View Post
    Jim,

    Sorry forgot to answer your question on time, my game lasted almost 3 hours. Interesting, most of the games we've played in the past have been 2 hour maxixmum. However we've never played a 10 ship game before, I believe 8 has been the largest prior to this.

    Bob
    Thanks for the answers. 3 hours matches closely to the time slots Eric had set up for Origins. I think it's also the time that Ares is setting aside for the world record battle at GenCon this year?

    I rarely get to play face to face and it's usually at conventions where I've found that after 3 hours my mind (and stamina) start to fatigue rapidly. The last few years at GenCon there's been a battle royal for Leviathans, which lasts 4 1/2 to 5 hours. I just can't endure that time and maintain interest like I used to.

  17. #17
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    Wow! Impressive firepower
    That makes a lot of smoke on the water
    Nice pictures and report

  18. #18

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    Matthias,

    I use an interesting method to declare fire and reload. If you fire, you lay the smoke counter down next to the ship base but on the table. During reload phase, you move the smoke counter up on the base next to the model. If there are multiple smoke markers there is a multiple turn reload requirement. This hold down record keeping.

    Bob

  19. #19

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    Jim,

    I mis-quoted, actually the game took almost 4 hours. Almost double of an average game. It is interesting though, I have trouble with long gaming sessions also. I remember when I was in my 20's, we played pretty much only played simulation type games. 8-10 hour sessions were very common. Our club in the East SF Bay Area used to have a dedicated room at Pacificon and Games Caucaus so we didn't have to adhere to the 4 hour play sessions. When I go to a con now, I need that hour break between sessions, just to rejuvinate for the next 4 hour session.

    Bob

  20. #20

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    Eric,

    I'll check the dates for Origin next year. Who knows, maybe I'll attend. Sounds like fun. Columbus is an easy drive from St. Louis.

    Bob

  21. #21

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    Bob,
    Very nice layout and a great con type scenario.
    It looks like everyone had fun and were engaged throughout the game.
    Thanks for being a great ambassador and sharing.


  22. #22

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    Thanks Erin. Had a good time presenting the scenario. It was a good group playing, everyone had a good time.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by HMS Lydia View Post
    Eric,

    I'll check the dates for Origin next year. Who knows, maybe I'll attend. Sounds like fun. Columbus is an easy drive from St. Louis.

    Bob
    Sue and I unplugged from the time we left until we returned. It was a great 5 days of relaxation, including the drive. June driving in the midwest is about as easy as it can be. Now that we know of the market, dining at the convention has elevated tremendously.

    We will start putting together an Origins schedule before long; there will be plenty of opportunity to run a game if you can make it.
    “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” ― Plato

  24. #24

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    I'll keep my options open. But if I'm coming, I'll commit by spring next year, its that too late?

    Working on the Battle of Cape Ortegal 1805 as my next scenario.

  25. #25
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    Hi Bob,

    Origins just announced a change of policy, so we have to submit our schedule this September.

    If you have an idea of something you would like to run, we can submit it, and if you can't make it, we can cover you. We would only need a description of what you wanted to do. This way, if you can make it, you will have a game to run; if you can't make it, it will be covered. Hopefully, you can make it.
    “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” ― Plato

  26. #26
    Admiral of the White
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7eat51 View Post
    Hi Bob,

    Origins just announced a change of policy, so we have to submit our schedule this September.

    If you have an idea of something you would like to run, we can submit it, and if you can't make it, we can cover you. We would only need a description of what you wanted to do. This way, if you can make it, you will have a game to run; if you can't make it, it will be covered. Hopefully, you can make it.
    Eric, I told you my idea for an event at Origins, which I think you were going to run by Keith?

    I still think having a ready set solo mission and instructing folks on how to use the solo rules might be a fun event and well attended? I can't say if I'll be at Origins so it would fall on someone else to take this on if it's considered doable and entertaining enough?

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    Hi Jim,

    I think the solo idea is excellent. It is one I would be most desirous to run.
    “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” ― Plato

  28. #28
    Admiral of the White
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7eat51 View Post
    Hi Jim,

    I think the solo idea is excellent. It is one I would be most desirous to run.
    Cool beans! From all accounts you would be an excellent GM for any and all SoG events. If I can swing Origins next year I'll be looking forward to a plethora of SGN fun and games.

  29. #29
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    You are far too kind, Jim.

    I think a class (participative demonstration) on solo games could be very attractive and beneficial for players, removing a level of resistance for those who don't have a readily available community with which to play. It could be fun to set up four separate mats in which we simultaneously run the same scenario, and see what differences arise. Yeah, Jim, I really like this idea. Solo play on the 'Drome really helped me with WoG, and being able to play at any time, or with members on the 'Drome in a campaign, really made the game more attractive. I am constantly encouraging folks to check out the solo games there. Now, I will be able to do the same here.
    “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” ― Plato

  30. #30

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    Great AAR, Bob.

    Dicovered it a little bit late but I like the historical background and the special rules, very much.

    No wonder it takes 4 hours. You need time to explain the maneuvers and to execute the turns, so that everyone can see how the game mechanics work.

  31. #31
    Admiral of the Fleet.
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    Very good portrayal of events Bob.
    What I particularly like is the Map of the action, and other supporting materials.
    Must work those into our games.
    Rob.

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