Tuesday 27 April 2010

Our first FLoB game

Russ and I played our first game of Form Line of Battle (FLoB) on Sunday afternoon and it went pretty well. I was playing Royalist French (Grade II) with a 1st rate Ville de Paris (104) and 2 3rd Rates, Pluton (74) and Northumberland (74). Russ was playing the Russians (Grade III) with 2 1st Rates Rotislav (100), Knyaz Vladimir (100), a 3rd Rate Kir Ioann (74). First up we rolled for quality with Russ managing to have an inept Captain and a poor crew on his flagship but otherwise pretty well, with an experienced and a veteran crew on his last 2 ships. I on the other hand rolled a inspired captain and veteran crew for my flagship, with the rest of my fleet just being experienced.

So then it was time to play, we rolled to see who set up, and then rolled the wind and away we went. This is completely wrong BTW you roll wind first and then set up ensuring you are as up wind as possible, with the player winning the tactical initiative getting the weather gage – this is important we ignored it


Now that we were playing Russ had to claw up wind off a lee shore, failed his first attempt at tacking and then drifted in chains back towards the cliff, I flirted with running aground on an island but recovered easily. Russ on the 2nd attempt succeeds at tacking but misjudges his 2nd attempt and sails off board.

Let’s get this clear, sailing is hard work but quite fun, we played for over an hour without shooting and it was still exciting just not running aground or into each other. We worked out normal movement pretty quickly and I’d say it worked pretty well we particularly liked the variable distance moved, tacking is a bit harder but very important, we think we worked out the procedure for tacking but weren’t always sure we ended up facing the correct direction after woods but a tacking template will sort that out easily enough.

I followed Russ too far downwind to engage I should have waited for him to come up to me so we ended up playing right down near the cliff constantly tacking against the wind. The Damage system reminds me a lot of Canvas Eagles where 1 really good roll seem to make the difference regardless of the combat factors, so despite getting a lot of rakes in, I rolled pretty ordinarily and couldn’t make up for the difference in ship size. Russ rolled very well and finally sank the Pluton with a “shattered” result.

Every other roll Russ made went the other way though, he managed to fail to tack at least another 3 times with the most infamous episode being his Flagship Rotislav drifting in chains into giving Northumberland a point blank stern raking shot which despite me only doing minimal damage made him fail his strike test. He then drifted into the Northumberland and which caused us both to lose 2 masts.

The Final result was the French had 1 ship destroyed and 2 crippled with the Russians having 1 crippled ship strike so a minor victory to the Russians.

All in all I think it’s a good rule set my only concern is the difference between the grade costs is too high, I cannot see how Nug with the British will be able to beat the Grade III fleets they are just too big, and if Nug rolled even 1 poor crew I think he would be doomed. Apart from that Russ and I had great fun and mastering the actual sailing part of the game looks to be a challenge.



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