A few weeks back I introduced the Berkeley Vale club to the full version of Sails of Glory. In the post game discussion a few of the chaps mentioned Form Line of Battle and suggested we give them a spin as well. Not wishing to dissuade my erstwhile colleagues from the joys of naval wargaming I agreed. Last night at the club we fought an introductory action, a British squadron with a 100 and five 74s (two with veteran crews) against a Spanish100, two French 80s and three Spanish 74s. We rolled for commands, Mike and I driving the Brits, Rodger the Spanish led squadron and Shaun the French. It was a sizeable action for a "first try" of the rules (and I must admit I was a bit rusty, confusing a few rules between editions, but nothing too serious).
I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly the guys picked up the rules. So much so that they were running their own commands without me having to provide much guidance on the rules after about the third turn.
The action began in linear style with both fleets trading long range shots, but after a while Mike's training British squadron (which included the 100 gun "Death Star") took advantage of a developing gap between the leading Spanish and the French squadron. Meanwhile my vanguard British squadron and Rodger's Spaniards closed to point blank range, exchanging broadsides in a gunnery duel where the Spanards came off second best (my die rolling was uncharacteristically good, Rodger's annoyingly bad).
By the time last orders sounded a British victory was called. One of the French 80s had struck in a boarding action, the Spanish 100 had escaped through a squall and the remainder of the allied fleet was looking decidedly second hand. in contrast the British ships, whilst suffering a bit in the gunnery department, were still stout hulled and shaping up to bock the escape of at least two of the remaining allied ships.
The players' verdict? "Good stuff and can we have more please". so it looks as though Berkeley Vale will be following the FLoB route for age of sail gaming, at least for a while.
Still, all being well its Sails of Glory at the Mall tomorrow night :)