This was my first game with the Galleon! At 300 points, the Galleon wasn’t maxed out by any means, but it gave me a good feel for how to use it in standard sized sea games.
At 300 points, both my friend Bryan and I were able to take some powerful commanders in our forces.
My Spanish Armada de Barlovento force was led by Mateo Perez de Garay and included:
- 10 Marineros Piqueros assigned to the 4 Swivel Guns in the front deck
- 9 Marineros with no pistols assigned to 3 pairs of Light Cannons in the second deck
- 8 Soldados withe de Garay and a Spiritual Leader attached on the second deck
- 9 Zeelieden with no pistols assigned to the 3 pairs of Light Cannons on the third deck
- 5 Marineros with no pistols unassigned on the third deck
- 6 Milicianos on the 4 deck
- A Galleon, upgraded with the superior San Pablo Heavily Built trait from de Garay
Bryan’s Flibustiers de Graff force consisted of:
- 5 Marins assigned to 2 Swivel Guns on the front deck
- 8 Trained Milices de Caraibes with a Reformado on the front deck
- 12 Marins without pistols with de Graff and a Carpenter attached assigned to 3 pairs of Medium Cannons on the middle deck
- 8 Trained Milices de Caraibes with a Grizzled Veteran on the middle deck
- 6 Marins without pistols assigned to the 2 Swivel Guns on the back deck
- 5 Marins without pistols on the back deck
- A Light Frigate, with 1 Fighting Top
De Graff’s faction rules give all his units the Expert Artillery Crew, the ability to discard and redraw a hand of activation cards once during the game for free, and de Graff’s personal Felicitous ability gives him a free Fortune Point at the beginning of each round where he starts with none. At 42 points, Laurens De Graff is one of the most expensive commanders in the entire game but he seems worth it to me.
We randomly selected the Raze scenario. The Attacker can give the Defender a Strike Point if their ship in on fire at the end of any turn and the Attacker gets a Strike Point if there are no enemy boats/ships on fire or destroyed at the end of turn 6.
The Armada de Barlovento has a +4 bonus for the Attacker’s role while De Graff’s force has +3. I rolled a 9+4 and Bryan rolled 1+3 so I became the Attacker. Burn the French!
Bryan had to place his ship near the edge of the board facing windward and I placed my ship 24″ away from him. He placed his near the end of the 4′ edge of the board so I couldn’t place too far ahead of him.
Neither of us were eager to take iniative on the first activation! Bryan played the 3 of Clubs while I played the 1 of Clubs. He moved first but I don’t think he fired from this extreme range.
I moved towards him and turned slightly to port. You really have to anticipate where you want to be with this Galleon because you can’t really pull off any hairpin turns. 2″ turn is the best you can do under normal circumstances.
Bryan shot off his swivel guns on his second activation after we got within 20″ so they could hit on 10’s
6 Swivel dice produced no 10’s and my Spaniards took no ill effect.
After my second move, I fired my broadside of 6 Light Cannons. I targeted his rigging since it only has a Fortitude of 3. Targeting the hull with a Fortitude of 5 would mean I only got hits on 10’s, but targeting the rigging with a Fortitude of 3 tripled my chances of getting hits.
But…I still only got one hit, after spending a Fortune to re-roll my dice. One damage on the rigging didn’t even hurt his crew so my first broadside was entirely wasted!
De Graff responded with his broadside of 3 Medium Cannons and 2 Light cannons but the dice refused to perform.
No damage at all. It’s very strange having these large ships on the table. All the distances appear shorter between the ships just because the ships are so large. At 20″, cannons are still very ineffective vs ships with 5 Fortitude.
Throughout the game, the center decks were constantly targeted in an effort to crippled the command unit.
Going into turn 2 we both drew events! I rolled the Unsecured Rigging event but luckily I rolled a 1 for my Lucky Hit and it didn’t do anything at all.
Bryan rolled the d****d Submerged Hazard event and it randomly targeted my ship.
I had to place a shoal right under my bow!
With a draft value of 12, I had to roll a 1 or 2 to avoid beaching my ship. The event forced me to roll immediately and I miraculously rolled a 2 and avoided grounding my ship right away.
I took the first activation and was able to finish reloading a set of cannons and fire on the hull of the French Frigate again before moving my ship. But I missed all my ranging shots, even after spending my second fortune! Lady Luck was on vacation…
After shooting I had to try to move and I hit the shoal, beaching my ship. I seem to find submerged hazards in every sea game! It’s uncanny. And very vexing…
For most of this turn I used my unassigned units to attempt to reduce sail so I could get off this reef! I failed both attempts with my command points so I only got it down to 3 by the end of turn 2.
Even the Milicianos were put to work taking in the sails.
The French sailed along on the back edge of the board firing swivels and muskets but not getting any luck either.
I kept the swivel guns and Soldados firing which had some little effect, including a lucky 3 hits with a long range swivel gun shot.
As De Graff sailed past my beached Galleon, we got closer than 12″ for the only time during the game.
I’m kind of glad I didn’t focus heavily on cannons for this game because they weren’t doing anything at all for the whole middle part of this game! I took a unit off one set of cannons so it could work on the sails since it wasn’t going to have a chance to fire any time soon.
The Marineros Piqueros on the swivels took a bit of a beating on round 2 and went prone at one point. The main deck with my commander on it took a lot of hits as well but I was able to make the Marineros take most of the hits.
So far this Spiritual Leader wasn’t bringing me anything but bad luck! I had used all 4 Fortune Points on cannon shots that ultimately did very little.
Turn 3 opened with me still on the sand bar with my sails down to 2″.
In an effort to boost moral, I swapped out the timid looking Spiritual Leader fort the more zealous fellow.
And then I killed him off because I was out of Fortune and it felt smarter to kill him than a useful Soldado. On retrospect, it might have better to keep him since ending the game with a Hostage/Adviser still on the board give the opposing player a Strike Point.
The back 3 units all kept up working on reducing sail and finally, near the very end of turn 3, my Milicianos succeeded in the repair action that freed the ship from the submerged hazard. I pushed the Inexperienced Milicianos to give them a full 3 action Dedicated Repair and I’m glad I did or the repair would have failed! After doing this, I quested the legality of a unit in the back performing this repair. The front of the ship was on the hazard but the rules don’t specify where the unit making the repair that would free the ship has to be.
Finally free! I turned backwards off the reef and was finally back in the game.
On turn 4 I drew another event and it was rolled as the Unsecured Rigging event. Fortunately I rolled a 1 for the Lucky Hit and it didn’t do anything.
At this point I was down a few Marineros Piqueros so I was only using 3 Swivel Guns. The Soldados and Swivel Guns kept up some return fire on the French and those Expertly Drilled volleys put some decent Fatigue on the French but I wasn’t really making any ground.
The French Frigate started to hang off the edge of the board so we scrolled the board. this process always seems more complicated than it should be… I never feel like the board is precisely as it should be when we’re done.
Through turn 4 I worked hard at getting my sails back up. Garay’s Sailing Master ability helped me not fall too far behind the French.
Near the end of turn 4 I was able to finally fire some cannons again!
But 3 Light Cannons at 12″+ vs a Light Frigate don’t do much damage. I got one Lucky Hit but was a rudder damage and not the Fire I needed.
By the end of turn 5 I was up to full speed again and while we had both taken some hits, neither of us had even one Strike Point for casualties, or scenario goals.
I had whittled down the units of Marins De Graff was attached to so only 2 of the 3 Medium Cannons were functional and my units of Marineros in my second deck was down to 3 of the original 9 models but other than that, casualties had been light on both sides.
Musketry and Swivel Guns had been more effective than cannons. Between the Fortitude of 5 on both ships, my Galleon being under-gunned with only 6 pairs of Light Cannons, my inability to bring my guns to bear for the whole middle of the game, and my Galleon’s Heavily Built trait, cannons just weren’t doing a lot. I think I took 3-4 damage on my hull through the game and didn’t apply much more than that to Bryan’s Frigate.
Going into turn 6 we had to scroll the board again to keep the French on the table.
We were at fairly long range at this point and we were both attempting to just get a couple more kills to apply at least one Strike Point.
De Graff’s Filicitous ability kept the French guns more effective. I think he had used all his standard 3 Fortune by the end of turn 2 and got 4 free Fortune through the rest of the game.
In an attempt to close some distance, I used de Garay’s Sailing Master ability to move 5″ but the Lucky Hit to my sails slowed me down for the rest of the turn so that didn’t work out…
The last turn was a bit anticlimactic as we looked for 10’s at long range attempting to get another 1 or 2 casualties.
I was pleased to pull within less than 16″ on my last move and fire my 3 active Swivel Guns on my front deck.
But they all missed! No 9+ out of nine dice. No Fortune left to help out.
Bryan had got his guns coordinated to let off one final Broadside at the end of the game. His cannons made contact but only applied 2 damage to my hull so he used his 7th Fortune Point of the game to re-roll the attack.
And it came up worse! No damage at all! And thus the game of impotent titans ended. With a fizzle. Keep your powder dry.
We calculated Strike Points at the end of turn 6.
- Bryan had only 9 or 10 dead totaling about 34 points of models. He needed 11 casualties to take a Strike Point so he ended with zero Strikes.
- I had a total of 10 casualties totaling 37 points of models. If I had kept the silly Spiritual Leader alive, that would have given the French a Strike Point. I also failed to start a fire on the French ship and that gave me one Strike Point, handing the victory to Bryan’s French.
It was a weird game! Good fun but not what I was expecting for my first game with the Galleon!
Post Game Thoughts
- That whole Submerged Hazard event really threw a wrench in my plans! I was planning on trying to get a lot more mileage out of my cannons but that just didn’t happen. Luckily my ship was tough enough it could survive a bit of a pounding from the French guns while I got it free.
- I guess this game illustrates how these tough ships can be under gunned to a point where cannons don’t have that much impact on the game. 6 pairs of Light Cannons is not a lot for a Galleon compared to what it could take, but it’s all I wanted to give it in a 300 point game. Bryan had 3 pairs of medium and 2 pairs of light cannons but that still isn’t enough to take down a Galleon, especially the extra tough San Pablo. I probably would have been better to focus on more Swivel Guns and small arms rather than tie up around 100 points in cannons. But I couldn’t bring myself to play my first game with the Galleon with no cannons!
- I think both of us having commander with Very Inspiring contributed to the “indecisive” nature of the game. We both had very defensive lists and lacked the heavy firepower to cut through.
- I guess 300 points is generally “low” for using the Galleon. The Light Frigate works well at that point level, but the Galleon feels a little empty. All those cannon ports wasted!
- We both wish we had purchased chasers at some point in this game. It’s always easy to drop them when building a list but then I always wish I had them!
- After the game Bryan mentioned the Marineros Piqueros were a large part of his deciding to not get close and board me while I was beached. They’re a solid unit. Between their excellent Save behind the Hard Cover of the ship and the nice defensive (and offensive) jab, they are a great unit to have around.
- I need to get some more Soldados painted. They are a great unit. I was really happy none of them died through the game. That middle deck got targeted a lot, but the hits were so few at a time, I was able to apply most of them to the cheap Marineros. I like having them combined with the commander because he can use command points to fire Swivel Guns which can apply Fatigue to the enemy which will then trigger their Ruthless rule. I got that to work a couple times this game.
- The Galleon turns strangely. The skids for the movement template are relatively far forward on the ship.
- I was looking forward to applying that Save penalty to my enemies when shooting off the Stern of the Galleon, but my Milicianos ended up changing sail settings more than shooting so they didn’t get many hits. I think it happened once.
- The Light Frigate is not outclassed by the Galleon at this point level. Probably not even at 500 points. That combination of speed, durability and a decent turn makes up for being a smaller and slightly less tough ship.
- Laurens De Graff is amazing. He’s spendy, but so good. Those free Fortune Points every turn are worth a lot! I paid 7 points for a fourth Fortune and at that rate, Bryan got 28 points worth of Fortune out of him! The faction-wide Expert Artillery Crew ability is insanely good as well.
- I really like Mateo Perez de Garay as well, but I felt a little outclassed. Still, I’ll use de Garay again. I already have a 1000 point Galleon vs Galleon battle planned and I think I’ll use him for that.
- I really made a mistake by killing off my Spiritual Leader. If I had kept him, we both would have had one Strike Point. I would have still lost by a few points worth of casualties, but it was a poor choice on my part to let the friar die.
- Having this big Galleon on the table really messed with our sense of distance. 16″ looks huge when you’re measuring between a Sloop and a Tartana, but when your ship is taller than 16″, it looks short! We could go to shoot our cannons assuming we would have a decent target number and then realize that we had to get 10’s to damage!
- I’m enjoying this new Caribbean Sea mat. I purchase it from Table Wars and this was my first time using it in a battle.
Thanks to Bryan for a good game! Looking forward to playing with the Galleon again soon.