Saturday, 11 November 2017

My Little Fleet's First Outting

I had a game last evening with Richard at NWA. This was the first time I used my tiny fleet (dubbed the Athenian Fleet for this game). We used the Ad Mere Bellum rules by David Manley.

It was great to see my burgeoning fleet arrayed for battle on Richard's very nice Deep Cut Studio ocean mat. And after this game, I'm quite happy that my second order of 12 quinquremes, 2 Seven's and an Eight have arrived and waiting to get on the paint bench.

For this game it was Greeks v's Romans.

Initially the Richard had 10 quinquremes and a Seven against my 15 triremes (10 cataphract and 5 aphract). This proved to be fairly unbalanced.

So, we had a "half game" which, because of the draw of the activation's, saw my fleet get smashed front on.

From the first "half game."

As I said, this front on ramming smashed my lighter vessels.

The first ever ship of my fleet to be wreaked.

We then decided to restart and add a bit of differentiation. This consisted of my Greeks being assigned the Maneuver aspect and the Romans designated as Boarding. The difference being that I was better at ramming and my opponent better at boarding.The Romans also had siege engines, towers and corvus.

So, arrayed against my 15 triremes were 8 quinquremes and a pair of sixes. So I had the numbers and the maneuverability but the Romans had size and toughness. This really made a quite a big difference.

This time around, I managed to maneuver into position to get some of my ships into the Romans resulting in immobilising one ship and capturing a couple. The Romans drew the card for the next turn and dropped their corvus's (or should that be corvii ?) onto several of my ships and lock them together. This resulted in a couple of my ships being captured and a couple were wreaked.

In the following turn my brave Athenians managed to back-oar a couple of ships and inflict some missile damage on some of the Roman crews. One of my ships also managed to break through the Roman line. As luck would have it I drew the card for the next turn (2 turns in a row!) and drove my ships back into the oar-banks of the Romans. This didn't really do me much good. One of my rams was front on and it was my ship which was wrecked.

In Richard's next turn his Romans managed to board and capture a few more of my ships and I only had two ships remaining without damage. Out of 15, three were wrecked and about 6 were captured. The remaining four were heavily damaged.

So, it seems the trick is to ram and back out fast. Don't get caught and boarded by Romans. But that, I think, is easier said than done and the only way to find out is to have some more games.

Some pictures taken by my opponent, Richard.

Our first clash again, this time from the Roman perspective.

The scene from the second battle. As you can see I tried to avoid 
frontal ramming and aimed for the Roman oars where I could.

One thing became obvious from these two games and that is the need for plenty of counters. Counters are needed to show: Hull Damage, Crew Damage, Immobilised, Wrecks, Fire, Captured... I think that's all. In the pic above we improvised with blast markers for damage, gems for crew damage and small planks for corvus.

My Conclusion:

I can't wait to try this game again. We're already looking at a couple of house rules to add a bit of spice. I have a bunch of larger craft to paint up and Richard has a fleet of triremes on the way. So, in the future we should be quite evenly matched. There are also others at our club who are interested and have started fleets and we're looking to incorporate land and sea battles into a Late Successor / Early Roman campaign some time next year.

Should be interesting times.


  1. Beautiful models...and impressive fleet!

    1. They are nice little models with great detail for their size. But my fleet needs o grow!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Replies
    1. I like this era very much but I never considered naval wargaming until now.

  3. Looks like a good game. I'm currently building a fleet using the Roman Seas paper boats, but I've been lucky to also have some games with Xyston boats.

    1. Those Xyston 1?600 ships look nice. But so do the Roman Seas models. I'm a fan of paper/card models and I could easily have gone in that direction. But I didn't.