Monday, September 20, 2021

Cannon, Cross and Crescent Play Test

I finished up my initial 1/2400 Tumbling Dice renaissance galley Turkish and Christian fleets so I decided to play a very small play test of David Manley's Cannon, Cross and Crescent ("CCC") quickplay rules for the period. 

A little about CCC. They are, as mentioned, quickplay and have some DBx feel to them. Ships have factors for heavy and light guns, boarding, stoutness, movement and turning ability (there are a few others). Different types (and nationalities) of ships have different values for these factors to reflect how the ships were constructed and how their peoples like to fight. 

Heavy guns have a 6" range and light guns 3". Light guns have a much wider arc of fire however. Shooting combat is straight forward: roll a dice, add your gunnery factor and any other modifiers and your opponent rolls a dice and adds it to his ship's stoutness factor. If you win small, expect some damage or crew casualties. If you win big, you may wreck your opponent outright. Boarding is similar: get stuck in, roll to attempt boarding (anything but a "1" is good to go), roll dice and compare boarding factors and modifiers. 

A turn is comprised of a command phase where you attempt to make repairs and check morale among other things which is followed by a series of action phases (3 action phases per side). You determine which side's action phase it is by drawing a card. I opted for a randomly drawn colored die (I had three red dice for the Turks and three white dice for the Spanish). This creates some additional uncertainty from the normal IGO/UGO system.

Here is the Turkish fleet comprising of three light galleys and one regular galley (2nd from bottom), the Turkish fleet is also accompanied by four bases of small boats. In the CCC rules, these can tag along to the big ships and add their manpower to boarding actions. The Turks are already fairly powerful with boarding actions as it is, so you know what they will want to do...

The Christian fleet, comprising of two galleys and two light galleys. For today's game I opted to make them Spanish. The Spanish are strong in boarding and have good firepower for their light guns. The light galleys don't have heavy guns small boats for the Spanish since they have two regular size galleys in this fight.

Here is the relative dispositions of the fleets looking from the Spanish side of the table.

No real tactics will be on display for this play test, Don Juan and Barbarossa are probably very disappointed in the simple scrum planned. The fleets close in to each other...

The fleets close in on each other. At this point you may notice little white beads on the starboard bows of the center Spanish galleys and a black bead on the port stern of the Turkish galley. Let me CCC, you will want to denote a few situations/status of ships: who has fired heavy guns, which ships have suffered crew casualties (halving your boarding factor) and which ships have suffered damage (halving both boarding and gunnery factors). To keep bookkeeping to a minimum, I have small pegs inserted onto 3 of the 4 corners of the ship base. I place a small plastic Perler bead on these pegs to show status. The white pegs show the Spanish galleys have fired their large guns and one of those salvoes damaged the Turkish galley (black bead).

The fleets have come to grips with each other. The Turks closed in and were successful in boarding attempts on three of the four attempts (the light galleys on the far right came close but didn't make contact). The Spanish light galley on the far left has suffered damage when the Turks fired their heavy guns on contact.

Based on the prevalence of the yellow beads, you know something has happened! The yellow beads indicate crew casualties. If you notice the Spanish light galley has been replaced by a near sinking wreck. From what I recall, they were previously damaged and had crew casualties. They took a second crew casualty which turns to a damage but since they were already damaged, they became a wreck!

The beginning of the 2nd turn saw the end of the battle. Three compromised Turkish ships ganged up on the left Spanish galley, damaging it and inflicting crew casualties. On the right , the remaining Spanish light galley was captured when it was finally boarded by the Turkish light galley who then backed up and fired its heavy guns into the right Spanish galley. 

With both of their light galleys lost and the remaining galleys damaged along with crew casualties, I decided to call the battle and declare the Turks the winners. The Turkish fleet lost two bases on small boats but that's it... The game only lasted a turn and a half and went for about 30 or so minutes.

I'm sure I did some things wrong but I still had a blast. I will reread through the rules and run another play test. I highly recommend these for simple but nuanced renaissance galley combat.


Monday, September 6, 2021

Five Core Company Command Play Test

My good friend and fellow gamer messaged me today mentioning he was gaming some 40K with his son. Since it was a holiday, the message inspired me to break out my 10mm Falklands' forces for a quick playthrough of Five Core's Company Command rules. I hadn't read through the rules to acquaint myself before the game so I'd have to muddle through. Here are some quick snaps to give an idea of how the game went...

I grabbed a 24" square DBA game mat and placed quite a bit of terrain on it. Smaller than ideal but it fir my table. I gave the British Paras (bottom of table) three platoons and some leaders. The Argentine defenders had a single entrenched platoon on a hill and a .50 caliber HMG detachment providing support on a smaller hill to their right.

I played the "fog of war" turn mechanism. At the beginning of the turn, roll a D6. A 1 provides a scurry turn, 2-5 a normal turn allowing each side to activate 3 bases, and a 6 sparks off a firefight. The first turn I rolled a one, allowing the British to advance 6" towards cover. 

The British were able to initiate a dash, which is a bonus move of D6 to get to an intended location. This allowed the British to really close the distance before the Argentines could unload.

The next turn saw a roll of a two, and the Argentine forces disposed of their hidden status and opened up with two infantry sections and the HMG detachment. The .50 caliber drove back one Para section while an Argentine infantry section was able to induce panic in a British section which then bolted for cover.

The British portion of the turn saw their left flank close assault the Argentine HMG, knocking it out of action. I incorrectly moved the rest of the British bases allowing them to close the distance with the remaining entrenched Argentines. The British assaulted some of the Argentine trenches but were repulsed.

The following turn I rolled a six, which set off a firefight. The British enfiladed the outflanked Argentine section and silenced it (blue star). The Argentine defenders exacted their revenge but eliminating two Para sections (red stars). 

The following two turns saw the British paras mass fire on the remaining Argentine sections which were ultimately silenced.

I definitely did some things wrong. I need to go through the rules and see what I did right, what I did wrong and digest the mechanics a bit. I'm a little uncertain about shooting. You need line of sight, if you are firing over an obstacle you only use shock dice ( I image this would apply if you are on higher ground and there is some rough terrain between you and your target that doesn't block line of sight). If your target is in the clear and wide open, you add an extra kill die to your shooting roll (fairly obvious). The thing that confuses me is what exactly constitutes "normal" unmodified shooting. Is it when your opponent is in terrain but not hiding? When they are behind terrain and the full base isn't in the clear but you have LOS? I think the Falklands pose a challenge because so much of the battlefield will be "in the clear"....maybe need to add some high grass and gorse terrain to my tabletop...

After I read through again, I will try it out with a bigger mat and/or some more open ground to make the British advance a but more dangerous.  I really enjoyed it, about 4-5 turns and roughly 30 minutes gave me a decisive conclusion.