Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Galleys & Galleons: Run for port

Merchants at the far end, pirates to the sides, safe harbour
on nearest edge.
This was an impromptu and simple Galleys & Galleons scenario to provide an opportunity for fielding my merchant and Chinese pirate factions. It was not points-costed so only roughly balanced.

The idea was that a diverse group of merchant ships should have to make for a fortified harbour at the other end of the table.  If multiple players had been available they would have competed to get their ship home or make captures, and turns would have been regulated by drawing cards . As it happened the game was played by only two people. The objectives still stood. The merchantmen needed to make the harbour entrance and the pirates needed to capture, not destroy, the merchant prizes.

The merchants comprised diverse ships namely an Indiaman, Merchantman, Fluyt and Dhow. The pirates had four junks, all defined as per the lists in the rules. The junks needed to intercept, grapple and board the merchantmen.  The merchants needed to expedite their escape. Nobody had much interest in shooting, though the pirates did have some success with firing chainshot when not in a position to do anything else.

Wind was, as ever, decisive. The merchants as defenders set the wind on their beam not appreciating that the pirates as attackers could move it two clicks (because I'd failed to point this out). This severely hampered the merchants.

The four merchant ships (upper left) have difficulty making headway,
while the pirates close in from both sides. 
The pirates had the option of starting at the middle of one or both of the long sides. Splitting the pirate force could have been bad if one part had the wind gauge and the other did not, but as it happened both parts of the pirate fleet had no problem in closing on the merchantmen.

The pirates take on the strongest merchant ship, the Indiaman.
The pirate ships had combat factors of only 2, but their high quality, also 2, and their agility as Yare craft, meant that each ship could risk throwing 3 dice for activation and was able to turn, move, grapple and board their opponents without any problem.

The Fluyt (second ship from the top with the red dice) is
crippled. The Indiaman is grappled by one junk and about to be
grappled by another.
The game wasn't played to a conclusion, but none of the merchants made it to harbour. The merchant player could have brought the shore forts and batteries into play, but the battle never reached them. The Fluyt was crippled and even the more powerful Indiaman had a couple of junks grappled to it with a third hovering and waiting for a wind change.

All in all it was a bad day for legitimate commerce.


  1. I'm currently planning another scenario which will centre on the land fortifications. More anon.