Saturday, 2 June 2018

Ancient Navies at Little Wars

Little Wars Melbourne was held this week and my friends Richard, Bob, Mark and I put on a display of naval gaming with the good old triremes, quadraremes & quinqueremes taking to the table on the wine dark sea.

Little Wars: It was a great day and I did a lot of shopping for my British 8th Army and Afrikakorps. There were games of all different shapes and sizes and I'll post some photo's of the various games in the next few days.

I got to use my nice new sea mat - which is just 2 meters of mid-aqua crushed velvet. It met with many nice comments regarding it's effectiveness. The two fleets we had on display were Richard's Romans and my Macedonians. Mark and Bob had a static display of their pre-dreadnought Japanese and Chinese fleets.

My 28mm model of the Argo that I made a few years back
for a Jason & the Argonauts game that never eventuated.

Bob and Mark spent much of the day recruiting names and email addresses for their Melbourne chapter of the Naval Wargames Society and managed to sign up 20 good and willing fellows.

A Game...

After much shopping, wandering around and eating German Sausages we eventually got down to a game late in the afternoon. Using Ad Mare Bellum by David Manley the two fleets finally put backs to oars and engaged in battle. For this game Richard's Romans had the Maneuver advantage and I had the Boarding advantage.

 Looking at the Romans in the distance from the deck of my flagship ~ The Triton!
The Romans got off to a flying start with two consecutive moves whilst my chaps sat still and watched them come. Then it was my turn with two consecutive moves to maneuver. My plan was to try a dieklpous maneuver (force a hole/gap) in the Roman line and exploit it.
I shifted one of my trireme squadrons to the right
but the maneuver left them a little ragged.

 I'll need to straighten up this squadron before the Romans get into range.
 At the end of turn 1 both fleets had advanced but the Madedonians were slightly hampered in the center due to the slow speed of my flagship (an 8). But at least the majority of the line was in good order. We'd both learned from previous games that our big ships need to get into the thick of it due to their killing power and ability to punch holes in the enemy line.
I didn't manage to straighten the line but the Romans didn't manage to reach me before the Macedonians managed to start ramming. But one ship did take some damage from some engine shooting (blue marker) and I managed to inflict some crew damage on one Roman ship (red marker) with some missile shooting.
 However, none of my ramming was effective. I did try to board and came off second best in one effort and a draw in the second. I shot some other engines but they were non-effective too. In the pic below it looks like I've managed a perilpous (out flanking maneuver) but there is another Roman squadron close by out of shot.
 On the other flank it looks like my strategy to create a gap might work. And there's that other squadron.
On the Macedonian right my trireme squadron was getting pummeled. The big Roman 7 shot it's engines at one trireme doubling my defensive score and wreaked it by obviously piercing the hull with a telling blow. At least we got to use on of my new Wreak Markers. Unfortunately one of my ships was also captured and by the end of the turn I'd lost another ship wreaked and a second ship captured. This was my weaker flank and it showed. 
During the same turn other ships on my right took hull and crew damage from engines and missiles so I pulled back and tried to inflict as much missile damage to the Roman crews as I could and had some success (red markers) and also captured two ships (black markers amidships).
On the left flank I did some ramming and boarded some of the Roman ships. Both sides took crew damage but I managed to get on to the flank of Richard's squadron and captured two of his ships 
More importantly, I managed to create that gap I was looking for by pinning the center Roman squadron and inflicting crew casualties with my engines. I was then able to redirected my third trireme squadron to take advantage of it.
Unfortunately, we had to call the game at this point because we noticed everyone else was packing up. This was a shame because it was the first time I that I looked like winning a game (this was my 3rd or 4th game). By this stage I'd lost 2 ships wreaked & two captured whilst Richard had lost 4 captured. I think I was also in front when it came to crew casualties and two of my squadrons were still fresh. So I think I might have pulled this one off given another turn.

Oh well. We shall never know...


We need more games. I'm pretty sure we have enough ships but a couple of grain ships would be nice and some smaller vessels wouldn't go astray if we wanted to do Greek/Persian of Peloponnesian War scenarios. I have the little harbour now so maybe an attack/defence scenario could be in the future.


I forgot to add these photo's that I stole from Richard my opponent. So here they are:


  1. Great looking game. May have to invest in some crushed velvet.

  2. I had a peek at your table on the day it was outstanding.