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Thread: Cutting Out Missions as a Game

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    Dobbs

    Default Cutting Out Missions as a Game

    Cutting Out, a Test Mission

    This is designed as a one player game, though one person could create a scenario and another play it. The idea is for the player to overcome a number of fixed obstacles with some randomness thrown in to keep it interesting. The player must determine when he thinks the tide and wind will be right, as well as taking into account the alertness of the harbor and anticipating any delays.

    The Situation (these are changed to create different missions)
    Tide at midnight: Slack before Ebb (max ebb is knots)
    Harbour has 5 General Alert points
    Target Time will be 6 bells on the Middle Watch (0300 or 3am) to take advantage of the maximum ebb tide. I allow for 3 delays, meaning if my crew encounters 3 things that delay them, the boats will arrive at 6 bells. If there are no delays, my crew will arrive at 3 bells (0130, 1:30am).
    5 draws to cross Outer Harbour
    Boom
    Sentry Boat
    5 draws to cross Inner Harbour

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    His Majesty’s brig Spitfire has discovered a Yankee whaler hiding in a French harbor. Discretely returning after nightfall, a crew is prepared to cut her out.

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    To cross the outer harbor, the cutting out party must draw 5 event cards, one at a time for drama. The first is uneventful as is the second and third. On the fourth draw, an overly helpful current gets the crew ahead of schedule. On the fifth, a pistol discharges and subtracts 1 from the general alarm. There is no response from the harbor and the boom has been reached.

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    The first attempt to slip past the boom reveals no sentry boat. The boats slip by the boom without being seen and are into the inner harbour. If the sentry boat had been encountered, there would have been a boat on the card. In the future, blank cards will be removed from play. After the two possible encounters while passing the boom, a further two cards are turned over. If one was a sentry boat, -1 would be subtracted from the general alarm, as the crew thought they saw something but weren’t sure. In this case, they were both blanks.

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    To cross the inner harbor, the cutting out party must draw 5 Inner Harbour event cards. On the first one, a crewman sneezes, and a second point is subtracted from the general alarm. The second, third and fourth cards pass without event, but the fifth reveals that the zeal of the crew has gotten the party to the target early by an additional half hour!

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    In an attempt to kill time, the crew chooses a stealthy approach, requiring an additional card to be drawn. Unfortunately, an oar squeaks loudly and an additional general alert is lost.

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    Even with all of the mistakes, the whaler is not alerted to the cutting out party. The crews from the cutter and jolly boat swarm over the side. It is all over in one turn and the whaler yields, but not without resistance. to the left is what the boarding party did. The right is the whaler.

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    The boarding party now had the whaler, but instead of losing an hour and a half on the way in as expected, has gained an hour, making a total of 2 and a half hours before the planned departure! At 3 o’clock, the ebb would have been running at of a knot, an easy compensation for a flukey night breeze. Instead, at 12:30, it’s still slack before ebb. The crew decides to wait a half an hour and let the ebb build. At 2 bells on the Middle Watch (0100 or 1am), an “E” chit reveals that another general alert is lost. Only one remains until the harbor is alerted!

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    The flukey wind is out of the NE, but the ebb has built to of a knot. It’s something, and chances are that waiting any longer is going to allow the fort to wake up to full alert. The command is given to set the topsails and cut the anchor rode. As the sails are backed and the whaler slips sideways in the current, it becomes apparent that the fort has been alerted, as a geyser of water erupts off the starboard bow followed quickly by a deep roar of a heavy cannon, luckily just out of range.

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    Having backed the previous turn, the whaler spends this turn stationary, feeling only the movement of the current.

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    The current carries the barque sideways as the sails begin to draw. The ship moves ahead at backing sails.

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    The current carries the whaler toward the fort as she continues to gather way. The fort fires, and even with the limitations of firing at night, in a shower of splinters, a heavy ball passes completely through the vessel.

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    Again, the current carries the whaler to the SW, but she has almost made it to where the current swings around Miller’s Island and heads for the open sea. At full sails, she moves into the more helpful current.

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    The turn of highest drama! The fort is reloaded, the boom is dead ahead. If all goes well, the whaler will be out of range before the fort can fire again. If things go poorly, it’s pretty much over.

    The current inches the whaler toward the boom. At full sails she hits, and forces the boom down, crossing unscathed, until another cannonball slams into her side. However, even though she got a bit knocked about, there is nothing now between her gallant crew and the open sea.

    (It was only after I finished that I realized that I had completely forgotten about rolling for the possibility of wind shifts. That could have really stirred things up!)
    Last edited by Dobbs; 02-10-2021 at 08:17.

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