Anyway, I took the game along to the Berkeley Vale club this week. A couple of the guys there have played before using the pre-production set. This time I had six players plus me umpiring. Two frigates, one SoL each side. The Brits took a quick look at the stats and realised they were on a sticky wicket (those cunning Euros have used nice weak British frigates and SOLs as their first releases, and they generally don't stand up too well to the bad guys), and so they started calling for carronades and higher rates of fire (knowing that I have devised house rules for these aspects). However, the evil umpire insisted on "rules as written".
We played on a 6' by 8' table, just a few small islands and rocks - four small pieces. Of course these acted as ship magnets. The RN moved to secure the weather gauge, the French firstly thought it would be good to ran their SOL with one of their frigates, park said frigate alongside the British SOL and then run their second frigate argound. Brits at this point realised that lower ship stats can be mitigated by fighting enemies who (a) can't drive and (b) ignored the briefing at the start of the game, which included "keep away from islands", "keep frigates away from enemy SOLs" and "don't hit each other.
In the end the poor French SOL commander decided discretion was the better part of valour and headed for the hills once his mobile frigate struck and his second supporting ship was stuck on the putty.
Interestingly, whilst we were using the full gunnery rules, no-one wanted to use any ammo other than roundshot.
Anyway, another four players who hadn't tried the game were sucked in and we are now planning an episodic campaign, hopefully running irregularly through 2014.