Saturday 10 February 2024

The Battle Of York Factory

I put on a game of Galleys & Galleons at the club last night which ended up with Bailey and I playing my 'Battle of York Factory' scenario. Bailey took the French and I took the English.

The history, setup and stats for the ships are in that link you've just ignored. I used the change from my replay where there were ice-floes scattered around the board which ships had to avoid. In addition I evened up the points a little by giving the English Owner's Love the Charismatic trait to represent the fear that it might be a fireship.

Both sides start with one of two random ships in play, with the rest arriving randomly as the game progresses. Bailey got the two smallest French vessels - Le Wesp and L'Esquimaux, whilst I got the two armed merchantmen, Dering and Royal Hudsons Bay.

Here we are, ready to go.

Bailey got the advantage early on. A couple of shifts in the wind saw my vessels caught in irons and unable to close with the French, whilst Bailey also rolled well for reinforcements and got all of his remaining ships on in three turns and in roughly the same place, consolidating his force.

Bailey also fires the first shot, with Le Wesp taking a shot at Royal Hudsons Bay.

Royal Hudsons Bay was the only ship in a position to engage the main French force. In reality it didn't have any choice; trapped by an unfavourable wind it lacked the time or space to evade them

The French closed in on the English ship.

A boarding action ensued as Royal Hudsons Bay attacked Le Palmier, and Le Profond came up in support. Outnumbered the English ship was soon in a lot of trouble.

In the meantime the English had got Owner's Love and the mighty Hampshire into play, but being downwind of the French they were struggling to get into the fight. At the top of the picture you can see the beginnings of things going wrong for the French as their flagship, Le Pelican, collided with an ice-floe.

The boarding actions went into a bit of a lull, caused by failed French activations, and this gave Royal Hudsons Bay a chance to cut grapples. But in trying to sail away it collided with Le Palmier, and was damaged enough that it struck. The unlucky Le Pelican then collided with it, and was damaged again - it had now taken two hits despite not yet having been in action.

Owner's Love had appeared and immediately chased off after L'Equimaux. Bailey was happy to be chased away from the main fight as Owner's Love had the Charismatic trait which would mess up the activations of the rest of his force if it got too close.

Dering had performed a careful and well-times series of turns to get through the ice, and was now coming up to support Hampshire. It exchanged fire with Le Pelican.

Unfortunately Le Pelican had the heavier broadside, and damaged Dering, taking down some rigging.

Le Profond also added some fire, taking down more rigging and effectively putting Dering out of the fight.

Hampshire chased after Le Pelican, and damaged it some more. The main French ship was now in a bad way.

Bailey had got the three main French ships back together, but bad activation rolls saw them unable to do much and in danger of sailing off the northern edge of the board. The north and south edges are considered 'safe'; if a ship sailed off then it was out of the fight but wasn't considered lost. Sail off the east or west edges and, for the purposes of the scenario, the ship was considered lost. 

Le Pelican has left the building.

L'Esquimaux returned to the fight at this point and took a full broadside from Hampshire. It was badly damaged and caught fire.

At that point we called the game, and decided that the action had been inconclusive. Bailey decided that Le Palmier and Le Profond would follow Le pelican off the board. L'Esquimaux would probably burn or explode, but even if it didn't it would certainly be too badly damaged to add much to the fight. The French had L'Equimaux, Le Pelican and Le Profond badly damaged. The English had lost Royal Hudsons Bay, and Dering was badly damaged. Since they controlled the area the action was fought in, they could retake the lost ship.

This was a lively action with enough incident to keep it interesting. The ice made things tricky, but not impossible. The changes in the wind made it hard for me to use the English aggressively until the French came down into the attack, and to some extent I was defeated in detail by a French force that kept itself together. But the French suffered poor activation rolls in the last few turns, and the Hampshire is a tough fighter even on its own. All in all a fun scenario, with he random setup and entry creating a different game each time.


  1. That sounds like a well balanced game, with plenty of to-and-fro and uncertainty.
    How cold is it supposed to be? I guess the icebergs are a clue, but if crew end up in the water (not in small boats) is that effectively a death sentence?

    1. The battle was fought in September, but accounts talk about ships entering the bay being lost in the ice. No idea how much ice is around in September (and how different the climate was in 1697)


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