Thursday, March 24, 2011

Flying Colors, Cape Henry

Doug G. was over last night for another round of GMT's "Flying Colors."  We chose the Cape Henry scenario which features fairly equally matched French versus British squadrons.  The unusual aspect of this scenario is the French have both the weather gauge and an audacity advantage of 1-0 over John Bull.

I took the French because, well, i like playing the French.  Plus, Doug needed to see the importance of wind and how difficult it is to maneuver when it is against you.

Vive le Roi!

Doug won the first initiative and moved his forward squadron straight ahead while he  turned his rear squadron so they were reaching with the wind.  This created a seperation in his line and i moved full sail ahead to try and gang up on his forward ships before his rear squadron could arrive to support them.

I won initiative on turn 2--as well as the next 3 turns--and I managed to hammer the Robust pretty well, damaging it and setting it on fire.  Doug got some good shots in though, putting 5 hull hits on the Jason as well as setting both it and the Conquerant on fire.

During Doug's move, he was able to extricate the Robust out of danger.

4 French ships had surrounded the Robust who was able to sail out of danger.
The next 3 turns were a furious battle.  Apparently, neither fleet cared much for gunnery practice as it seemed both of us averaged a 2 on our broadside shots.  I had particularly horrible luck with stern rakes.  I either missed the rake roll or, if i did get the stern rake, would roll a 0 or 1 and not do any hull damage!  It was extremely frustrating as i had 2 undamaged 4rth raters both have 1 hex stern rakes, and did just a single point of hull damage.

Likewise, Doug also rolled poorly for the most part so we both were bitching up a storm about the dice.

My ships were now getting beat on.  I moved the Romulus down the Brit line, again trying double stern rakes, but doing little damage.  A broadside by the Royal Oak reminded the Romulus the danger of tangling with the big boys.

Romulus strikes her colors.

All was not lost for my brave Frenchmen though as i managed to poor broadsides after broadside into the Prudent who shortly thereafter, also struck her colors--looks like a firing squad for her captain is in order.

We played on through 3 more turns with neither fleet breaking off the battle.  We both needed a "0" to break.

I had suffered 5 ships damaged of which 2 struck--the Conquerant had succumbed on turn 6.

The Brits had suffered 4 ships damaged of which only the Prudent had struck.

Prudent strikes!
 We still had 2 turns left but called it a night as it was nearly midnight.  Final VP tally was 10.5 for my French and 12.5 for the Royal Navy.  A very enjoyable, tense, and often frustrating game for both of us.

Close Action.
French breaking though to the end of the line.


  1. Thanks for this post. I'm considering this game and found that while the photos are completely confusing to someone that doesn't know the game, it gave me a good feel of the action.

    Would you say that the game is varied enough to keep you interested? I'm afraid it would just be line up your ships and roll the dice and determine the winner. Are there many tactics and decisions to be made?

  2. Geo,

    Yes, there are a variety of decisions to make during the game.

    First, you have the "strategic" decision of how to approach or receive the enemy. The goal here will be to try and isolate a portion of the enemy line or prevent that happening. The wind plays the key role in this.

    Second, you have constant tactical decisions to make. The goal is to get enemy ships to strike. Ganging up on them with multiple broadsides is the best way to do this but can leave your ships vulnerable to counterattack.

    In addition, the defensive fire rules make for tough choices. A enemy ship is going for a stern rake on one of your ships. Do you fire at it or hold fire so that ship can itself maneuver for a stern rake when it is activated.

    So yes, it is much more than "line 'em up and roll the dice." I highly recomend FC if you are interested in Age of Sail battles.