Thursday, 14 May 2020

Galley Ho!

This evening's gaming saw the debut of my renaissance galleys, as well as Catherine's first game of Galleys & Galleons.

I set up a simple scenario, with two equal forces of Venetian and Ottoman ships - two galleys and two galliots apiece, with the stats lifted straight from the original rules - moving along opposite sides of a headland and looking to retrieve a valuable treasure from a grounded ship at its tip.

The Turks - the galliots Varna and Akka and the galleys Ziver-i-Derya and Dahin-i-Derya


The Venetians - the galliots Urania and Diana and the galleys Due Leone and Tre Mani.


And the target; a grounded ship. To retrieve the treasure required grappling it for one action then taking the treasure off for a second. It then had to be sailed off the side's starting corner.


I took the Ottomans, and got off to a good start, sending the faster galliots to retrieve the treasure, and easing the Sahin-i-Derya along a channel between the headland and an island in order to prevent the Venetians heading off my galliots at the pass.


Catherine had a couple of bad activations with the Venetians, but managed to get the Diana out ahead to challenge me in the race for the objective.


I grappled the wreck with the Akka, but couldn't get a party across to it. With a full set of activations the Diana could pip me to the treasure, but sadly Catherine fluffed one of the rolls. With my retrieving the treasure on my next turn almost a certainty she concentrated on bringing her ships around the wreck in order to pursue.


I grabbed the treasure, and the Akka backed oars ready to turn and escape. I sent the Varna around to challenge the Venetians, and hinder their pursuit. It grappled the Diana and a boarding action ensued, which saw the Turks drive back onto their own decks.


Catherine moved her larger vessels to cut through the channel and intercept the Akka, but I had planned for this and the Sahin-i-Derya was waiting for them. It engaged the Tre Mani in the first gunnery of the game.


The melee on the decks of the Varna was bloody, but the Turks eventually surrendered. However they had delayed the Diana, inflicted some damage and forced the Urania to go around them, giving the Akka a head start.


In the channel a gunnery duel between the Tre Mani and Sahin-i-Derya had seen the Turkish ship damaged and losing its tiller. But it had delayed the Venetian galley, and now the Ziver-i-Derya was coming up in support. Catherine was forced to consider taking her galley through the shallows in order to intercept the Akka.


The Akka hugged the coastline, making the most of its shallow draft, before setting a course for safety. The Venetian galliots were now very unlikely to catch it, unless I fluffed a whole series of activation rolls, and they didn't.


In the channel the fighting intensified ...


... but as the Akka escaped it became increasingly irrelevant. The Due Leone had also joined the fight, but only succeeded in following the Tre Mani by being holed below the waterline by shooting from the Sahin-i-Derya. Both Turkish ships were also damaged.


The Venetians would now be unable to negotiate the channel in time to stop a Turkish win, so both sides withdrew. The Turks had had the worst of the fighting, with both galleys damaged and the Varna now a Venetian prize. The Venetians were only slightly less damaged, but had scored a prize.


As games go it was less dramatic than I'd hoped, mostly down to the setup which made it very difficult to stop the first ship to reach the objective from escaping. But without wind to worry about it was a good introduction to the mechanisms of the for Catherine. Gunnery and galleys is an interesting mix as well, with the vessels able to sit still and blast away at each other, waiting for an opening to either concentrate fire or scoot forward for a brisk boarding action. I plan to try a larger game over the weekend, and not only get more of a feel for how galleys operate in this period, but also debut the galeasses whose construction kicked this whole thing off.

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