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Thread: Privateers Off Cape Cod

  1. #1
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    Default Privateers Off Cape Cod

    Sunday afternoon, we played an action with nine players. It's late in the American Revolution, and a British convoy from Halifax of ten unarmed merchant ships is being escorted by a 5th rate and two post ships. If they're successful, they will get needed supplies and payroll to Cornwallis, to facilitate building a port in Yorktown.

    Off Cape Cod, five privateers and a 32 gun Continental frigate intercept them.

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    The wolves descend, and the convoy is thrown into chaos.

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    It was a ferocious game of Whack-a-Mole. The three escorts dashed around the board trying to recapture merchantmen and deal blows enough to chase off the privateers. USS Brandywine waded through the middle keeping the escorts from focusing on the privateers. When it was over, the British managed to sink one privateer and maul many, but the convoy was shredded. The only merchant still in British hands was the payroll ship.

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    Next time there need to be less moles or more British.
    Last edited by Dobbs; 02-25-2020 at 05:49.

  2. #2
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    Nice little action Dobbs.
    Defending Merchants is never easy when you have more to defend than escorts. I Know this only too well and to my cost in the Indian Ocean and around the Malacca straights.

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    It sounds pretty intense. I see that you had your priorities right in saving the payroll. :)

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    And I thought I heard some thunder off the coast. I should have headed to the heights to watch the action from shore. Well done!

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    Nice pics showing the action, well done

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    Interesting sounding action, good to see so many ships and players on and around a table.

    The scenario looks to have a lot of porential as an alternative to a straight up fight. What results caused the merchant ships to surrender and did you allocate an amount of time for the Privateers to put a prize crew on board. Did this then reduce the crew of the Privateers making them easier to defeat?

    Sorry if these are questions covered by the rules, I don't have them with ne to check.
    Cheers

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    There were 9 merchant ships of various sizes. Before play, I marked the underside of 9 bases to mark their values from 1 to 3 and one had a star to indicate the payroll ship. Then I shuffled them and placed ships on top. Next I had each player place a merchant ship then draw a slip out of a hat to determine which side the player was on. This way the merchant fleet had random starting positions without being favored for either side.

    Merchant ships did not move unless they were captured. Then it was the responsibility of the capturing player to sail it off the board. The could be recaptured by boarding or a crew hit in small arms fire by the British. If recaptured, they stopped moving.
    Last edited by Dobbs; 02-27-2020 at 17:42.

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    There were 6 Continentals - 5 Burden 1 privateers (2 schooners, 1 brig, 1 brigantine and a ship sloop) and one Burden 3 32 gun frigate for fire support.

    The British had one Burden 3 32 gun frigate and 2 Burden 2 28 gun post ships.

    Each privateer towed two launches. Launches could be dropped off inside of C/D range and reach a target one turn later. Then, one turn was spent securing the vessel and the next turn it could get underway at a speed of 1.

    Merchant ships could also be captured by boarding which took one less turn.

    Privateers didn't take crew hits for boarding because traditionally they were over crewed to begin with.
    Last edited by Dobbs; 02-27-2020 at 17:47.

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    Here are the rules for privateering as I wrote them up (If anyone wants them as a PDF, just PM me):

    Sails of Glory Privateering Rules 2-21-20

    General Rules – Gunfire must be directed at the nearest ship in a firing arc. A ship is considered to be in a firing arc if some portion of the arc passes over the hull of the vessel.

    Privateers – To capture a vessel, the privateer must either collide and become entangled, collide, and successfully grapple and board, or pass within chain/grape range and drop off a boarding party in a launch. Any merchant vessel approached by a privateer in either of these way surrenders immediately, unless stated otherwise by the rules of the engagement. A merchant ship will not surrender if there is a friendly warship within gun range. To capture a merchant ship with a warship in range, the attackers must inflict one crew casualty on the ship in hand to hand combat or small arms fire. Each launch chit has a crew value of 1.

    If the merchant vessel is subdued in a collision, the privateer must spend one turn alongside. On the following turn, the captured ship may get underway. If the boarding party arrives by launch, it takes one turn for the launch to reach the captured vessel, one turn to secure the crew, and the following turn, the captured vessel may get underway.

    A captured merchant vessel starts moving at a speed of one sail. Captured square riggers may not tack. The player capturing the ship is responsible for its movement. Captured ships do not plan one turn ahead.

    A captured vessel that exits the board escapes.

    Defenders – To recapture a vessel that has been seized, a defender must inflict a crew hit on the vessel. A recaptured vessel will stop movement once it is liberated.

    If a defender fires on a launch, a crew hit or a leak removes the launch from play.

    Setup – Merchant bases are marked on the bottoms and randomly distributed. The British players may check the bottoms before play to determine positions of valuable ships. American players cannot check a ship’s bottom until it has been captured and moved once.

    One base is to be marked with a star for the payroll. Two marked with 3’s, three marked with 2’s, and four marked with 1’s. Multiply the ship’s burden by its number to find the value of the cargo.

    Americans choose on of the three wind styles and their positioning relative to the merchant fleet. The British choose their positioning next. No ship may be within 2 rulers of an enemy vessel.

  10. #10
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    A very full and explicit set of rules for your action Dobbs. Many of the aspects of your play reflects the same sort of approach which Captain Kiwi and I have worked out for such actions. I think the only real differences are the wind being a set up factor, and the fact that we have never towed our boats with a crew already manning them for a boarding action. We employ a system where we slow down to backing sails when within extra short range of the objective. The crew board in that move, stroke across in the next and board in the third. do you think that is too long a delay?

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    In our games, the assumption is that one turn is roughly 1 minute and short range is one cable (600 feet).

    A nautical mile is roughly 10 cables, so a boat traveling at 6 knots covers 10 cables every 10 minutes.

    I figured my boys could do at least 3 knots, so they cover 1/2 a cable per turn, or grape/chain range.

    Rob, I think you go with what feels right and believable. I hadn't thought about the slowing down part. That's good. I may adopt that.

    I figured that these are the same folks who thought a "Nantucket sleigh ride" was normal. Being towed into battle in a skiff, or even tumbling quickly into one isn't too farfetched.
    Last edited by Dobbs; 02-28-2020 at 13:57.

  12. #12
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    I would say that equates with our idea pretty well then Dobbs. A minute to get going, one to stroke across, and one to board and sort the situation on deck out.
    Thanks for your evalkuation sir.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Those look good Privateering Rules, Dobbs!

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    We do the same for the larger battles too Dave. If a ship strikes a struck token is put by it, but unless it is boarded by one box worth of crew, it may be retaken or sail away if there are no enemy ships within long range to keep the Captain honest.
    Sme ships are just too low on crew to sacrifice a box worth of men to man a capture especially toward the end of a battle so it adds an extra dimension of interest rto the game, especially if it is part of a campeign where escaped ships can be repaired, and captured ships bought in to serve the victors in the next encounter.
    Of course if the captured ships crew are so depleted that no actions are left to them then the ship can't escape unless re taken by one of its own ships.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    What a hughe game!

    Nice to see the Continental Navy in action.

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    Launch Chit.pdf

    Here are some chits I made for the launches.

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    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comte de Brueys View Post
    What a hughe game!

    Nice to see the Continental Navy in action.
    I agree Sven. If we had a few more American ships available, we could put on a few more large games. One at Doncaster would be nice.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    There certainly is a shortage, but not a lot of historically important ships to choose from.

    I have 3 unmodified Ares American ships:

    Constitution x2
    Thorn

    In addition to those, I've converted:

    Hebe to Chesapeake 38
    2 Amazons to misc 32 gun American frigates
    6 Swan class SoW to:
    2 schooners
    2 brigs
    1 brigantine
    1 whaler

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    A while ago I tried to design some command counters for using small boats. You can see my efforts at https://www.sailsofglory.org/showthr...ps-run-aground

    They are also in my Avatars album.

  20. #20
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    I added a group of those counters to my action counter box when you designed them Dave and they have not only been very useful but also proved to be popular with my friends in our games. I must make some chits for the actual landing parties instead of relying on the downed men chits.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  21. #21
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    As you will see from my post in Dave's thread https://www.sailsofglory.org/showthr...ps-run-aground I use small boat models Dobbs, but your chits and Daves will help those who can't afford to or don't wish to paint models so my thanks to you both for that Dobbs.
    As for your remarks about the ships I only have two sloops of Thorn and one Constitution, plus Bonhomme Richard. I guess I will have to follow your lead and knock out a few conversions too.

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  22. #22
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    I am glad that you found my chits useful, Rob.

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    Yes thanks Dave.
    In fact so useful that......
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  24. #24
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    Great interesting ideas for privateering. The pictures were also great and a very interesting fight.

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