Sunday 3 December 2023

Sink The Iron King!

I ran the Galleys & Galleons Blockade Run scenario today, giving it a fantasy setting, but basing it very loosely on history (you'd have to squint very hard to see how though).

The mighty Dwarven ironclad Iron King is sailing in northern waters, attempting to reach the open ocean where it can wreak havoc on Ceidonian merchant shipping. Some Ceidonian warships, supported by ornithopters, are trying to stop it.

The two forces are:

Iron King - Q3 C4 - Steam Engine, Ironclad, Heavy Bow Chasers - 72pts

Duke Otto - Q3 C4 - Square Rigged, Carronades, Chaser Guns, High Castles, Trained Gun Crews
Serlo's Blessing - Q3 C3 - Square Rigged, Chaser Guns, Razee
Ornithopters - Q2 C2 - Ornithoper, Bombs, Bombardier

The Iron King has to steam from one corner to the opposite. The Ceidonian vessels are set up in a line along the opposite diagonal, facing into the wind. So whilst they outnumber the Iron King by three-to-one in terms of points they have to get themselves organised.

The early stages of the game saw the wind rapidly shift from the west (left of picture) to the south, leaving the sailing vessels somewhat stuck. they also rolled very badly for activations, so didn't really get moving for a while. The ornithopters, meanwhile, did get themselves into position, and made an early attack run on the Iron King. However the Iron King got a chance to fire at them first.

One was lightly damaged. The other caught fire!

The one that was on fire quickly extinguished it, but missed out on its attack. The other, however, flew over the Iron King and dropped some bombs. But they only caused superficial damage.

The ornithopters began the slow process of turning back for another attack. Meanwhile the Iron King was making a run past the stationary Duke Otto

Thanks to poor positioning by the Dwarven ironclad, the Duke Otto had a gift of a shot an close range. It fluffed its activations, though, and only managed a ragged broadside as the Iron King went past

The Iron King returned fire with more effect, and damaged the Ceidonian warship. To the left of the picture the race-built galleon Serlo's Blessing was coming up in support.

The two ships exchanged fire again as the Iron King slowed to make a turn past Serlo's Blessing and the island.

Serlo's Blessing inflicted the first hits on Iron King, but had to scrape through the shallows near the ice to do it. Iron King was damaged and suffered a hole below the waterline, which would make it unwieldy.

But Iron King was through the blockade and ready to make the run for safety. The crew piled on the coals to raise more steam.

One of the ornithopters swung around for a second pass, but Iron King's broadside spoke and the aircraft exploded.

Duke Otto had finally got moving, and swung around rapidly. In the direction of the chase the large galleon had the legs on the slower ironclad, but could they get in a shot or two before the Dwarven ship escaped?

The second ornithopter was also closing fast.

Duke Otto couldn't afford to give ground at this stage to yaw and fire its broadside, but a shot from the bow-chasers inflicted some light damage.

But the faster galleon soon drew alongside the Iron King, and fired a broadside. It bounced off the armour.

Iron King returned fire, and the damage was enough to force the Duke Otto to strike. 

But here comes the ornithopter!

The ornithopter flew above the Iron King, and dropped bombs, scoring some more damage. I wasn't sure what happened when one vessel was directly above another, though, and allowed the Iron King to fire back*. The ornithopter was damaged, and lost altitude, colliding with the Iron King, and causing teh former to take another hit. I repositioned the ornithopter by the minimum necessary to allow it to sit next to the ironclad.

Serlo's Blessing had also been coming up fast, thanks to its razee ability, But the best it could manage before the ironclad escaped was a shot from the chasers, whist was stopped by the warship's armour.

So the Iron King got away, leaving a downed ornithopter and a struck galleon in its wake. Its armour had stopped a lot of shots (although it's an expensive trait, so you'd hope it had some effect), but the Ceidonians were unlucky early on with several wild changes in wind and some terrible activations which meant that they never really got their act together before the ironclad was upon them. Duke Otto, for example, is well equipped to grapple and board the Iron King, but never really got the chance.

*I asked the author about this and his view was that if an aerial ends its move over a vessel at sea-level then they can't shoot at each other (unless the aerial has bombs). I thought that it might be fun to allow them to exchange small-arms fire as well. 

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