Saturday, 20 January 2018

Return to the Azores

I've been meaning to get Galleys & Galleons out for a while, but with finishing off my Six by Six Challenge last year, and getting delightfully caught up in the Portable Wargame after Christmas I hadn't got around to it. This afternoon, though, I managed a quick game, replaying the Ambush in the Azores game I played almost exactly one year ago today. In this game, a Portuguese treasure-ship heading home from the Indies is ambushed by two English galleons.

The treasure-ship Nossa Senhora da Guia, accompanied by two escort brigs, Flor de la Mar and Cinco Chagas.

In the distance are the two English galleons, Auk of Onan and Popinjay. They are faster than the Portuguese galleon, but much lighter. Whilst the Nossa Senhora da Guia worked downwind to avoid the sandbank in the middle of the board, the two brigs moved across the wind in order to attack the English from the rear.

First fire! the Portuguese galleon fired a mighty broadside at the lead English ship, the Auk of Onan, damaging it.

The English returned fire, but failed to make an impression on the Portuguese leviathan.

Faster and more agile, the English raked the Nossa Senhora da Guia, but still couldn't damage it.

There followed several turns of terrible activation rolls for both sides. All three ships basically spent their efforts in turning to avoid islands and each other; despite being at close range, no-one was able to use their activation rolls to fire.

Popinjay collided with Nossa Senhora da Guia, but neither ship was damaged.

The Nossa Senhora da Guia was heading for the exit point, whilst the escort brigs were finally coming up in support. Fire from one brig damaged the Auk of Onan, and a shot from the Portuguese galleon's chasers crippled it.

The Cinco Chagas collided with the Auk of Onan, and both ships were so badly damaged that they sunk.

This left the Nossa Senhora da Guia free to escape, giving the Portuguese a decisive win.

It took me a few turns to get back into the swing of the rules, but they soon came back to me. As ever tracking the ship's relative positioning with regard to the wind was the biggest drain on my frazzled brain, and I may need to make myself a gadget to assist with that.


  1. Nice report, lovely ships!

  2. I'm coming back to G&G this week. But looking at a bigger affair. Love your ships. I recall seeing a post on how you made them and have just gone back through all you G&G posts. You've done some fascinating stuff. The adaption to ACW is very interesting.

    1. As I recall there was no actual adaptation to the ACW; I used the rules as written (or at least interpreted by me :) ) and designed everything within that.

      I'll be interested to see how you cope with a larger game. Will you have multiple commands on each side, with their own sets of activations?

    2. The rules adapt amazingly easily.

      For our massed galley games we have deployed in squadrons of around six vessels and activation is then by card, which I think is a technique mentioned in the rules. Works well for galleys as there is no automatic move. For sailing ships it might be more problematic (I recall early games resulting in lots of ships running aground).

    3. Yes, I suspect that six sailing ships is pushing the limits of the activation system somewhat; the odds are that even with a decent Q value you'll fail an activation before you've moved all six. I'm beginning to seriously restrict the amount of terrain in use to try and offset this.

  3. Great write-up as usual. Thanks for taking the time and keeping the in-depth gaming blog alive.


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