Tuesday, 19 May 2020

After The Armada

It's 1588, and after the disaster at Calais, the Spanish Armada is running for home - the long way, around the top of Britain. Two galleasses have escaped - the Girona (red sails) and the Napolitana (blue sails).

But as they work their way along the coast, they are being stalked by two English galleons - the Gloriana (red) and the Auk of Onan (blue).

The Spanish sight the English ships.

This was a game pitting my two galleasses against two fast galleons of roughly equal points value. The English have the edge in speed and maneuver, whilst the Spanish have powerful guns, assuming they get the activations to use them. Terrain was randomly generated.

Oh, and I remembered to run them as square-rigged this time. It made quite a difference.

The Spanish were compelled to spend what few activations they got slowly turning to escape the headlands. The English opened fire at long range, hoping to knock away a mast.

The Girona returned fire, damaging the Auk of Onan.

It fired again ...

... then grappled it. But it lacked the activations to board this round. The Napolitana was also coming up, with the possibility that it could grapple and board.

But it failed and collided with the Auk of Onan, damaging both ships.

The Auk of Onan cut the grapples that held it to the Girona, allowing the Gloriana to fire at the Spaniard without restriction.

The galleasses had now cleared the English ships, and had a clear run to safety, with the wind in their favour. The English had the advantage of speed, if they could turn in time to mount an effective pursuit.

They didn't. By the time they managed to bring their galleons round, the Spanish were disappearing into the distance.

Both sides had taken about equal damage, but the English had little to show for their efforts.

I set up the game again, with different terrain.

The English ambushed out of a bay as the galleasses rounded a headland.

Their first broadside damaged the Napolitana.

The Gloriana found itself between two fires, but survived unscathed.

The Auk of Onan kept up a long range fire.

The Girona ran into the Auk of Onan, grappled and boarded. It came close to taking the English ship, but the crew managed to push the Spanish back, cut the grapples and sail free, albeit with heavy losses.

The Napolitana made a navigation error, and headed into the bay from which the English had come. This would leave it having to make a careful and slow set of turns in order to escape, which took it out of the fight for a few moves.

The English ships could now concentrate on the Girona, and did so, pounding it from both sides. The wind had shifted so the all ships were close-hauled or in irons.

The Girona tried to move away as the Napolitana turned.

The English poured fire into the galleass, and it was soon badly damaged.

The Napolitana opened fire at long range, killing the Auk of Onan's captain. The Girona's captain fell at about the same time.

The Gloriana couldn't work upwind to the Girona without colliding with the Auk of Onan, so was obliged to sail wide in an attempt to pass across it bows. This left the Auk of Onan fighting the galleass alone.

The Auk of Onan was soon shattered, but the Girona couldn't finish her and was in a bad way itself.

The Gloriana got into position to rake the Girona, but mistimed it and sailed past too quickly, with only a few guns firing ineffectualy as it did so.

And now the Napolitana was returning to the fray.

The Auk of Onan was sunk.

This left both galleasses concentrating their fire on the Gloriana, which soon started to take serious damage.

The Gloriana swung round to port of the Napolitana, masking the fire of the Girona. Its next broadside damaged the Napolitana, and started a fire.

The flames spread, as the Gloriana poured fire into the galleass. But its crew kept their cool, and soon pumps were plying water onto the flames, even as more English cannonballs smashed into their ship's hull.

The fires had pretty much destroyed the Napolitana's rigging, leaving the galleass dead in the water. But the English ship's rigging wasn't much better off. As it cleared the burning Napolitana, the Girona opened fire on it.

This caused some confusion, and the Gloriana nearly steered onto some shoals.

This was enough for the galleon's crew. They'd given their all, but both galleasses, whilst badly damaged, were still fighting. The men of the Gloriana took to the boats and abandoned ship.

To make matters worse, the crew of the Napolitana extinguished the last of the fire on board, although with little left in the way of rigging they would need to be towed by the badly damaged Girona.

This second game was a far more desperate and exciting fight than the first, with the English being thwarted by fickle fortune a couple of times when they had a galleass on the ropes. The galleasses once again showed that they are potentially powerful but only if they are lucky enough to get the activations they needed. A lot of the fight had them heading into the wind, which meant they weren't sailing uncontrolled when activations failed, and this helped them a lot.


  1. Nice little action, or rather actions. Good to try something twice.

    1. Yes, the first game was disappointing, so I was pleased with how much the second game wasn't.

      I may play it again, with some adjustments to the capabilities of the English ships, since they are actually down on points against the Spanish by the value of at least one useful trait each.


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