Saturday, 16 January 2021

All at Sea - The Leeward Line using War by Sail, Solo Game Playthrough - Part Two

Picking up from where I left off last week, I've been messing about on the table with the 1:700 age of sail ship collection completing play of The Leeward Line scenario from turn three as the rest of Admiral Collingwood's leeward column of British ships closed to contact with the Allied line at Trafalgar.

Warlord Games - Trafalgar Leeward Line.pdf

A lot of die rolling ensued as the British ships barged their way through the forward line of Franco-Spanish ships to luff up alongside and begin the process of exchanging close range broadsides like two boxers mixing it on the ropes, and it seems produce a result very similar to the historical reality of the battle.

Wargame Vault - War by Sail

The pictures below are taken from the close of play and, I think, really capture why this scale of model  adds so much to the table-top impact of the game, which has provided lots of food for thought for staging something much bigger.

In the video I was keen to try and illustrate the damage sustained by the two fleets over a period of time that can represent up to two hours of fighting, and it is worth stressing, as pointed out in the video summary of the damage percentages, that the percentages represent the damage sustained to the ship's ability to fight, float and/or manoeuvre, not for example, a percentage of crew casualties sustained. 

I played the scenario to the actual events as much as possible so had the British ships reserving their first broadsides until within close range, and if the chits presented the opportunity, allowing them to make raking attacks as they passed through the Allied line.

Once the first broadsides were fired, War by Sail models the need to either take a whole turn not firing to reload or to reload and fire as the target bears, testing the individual gun crews to see if they are ready to open fire, with the better trained British crews more likely to get more of their guns ready to fire than the French or Spanish.

I will no doubt try this scenario again using 'Kiss Me Hardy' as a comparator, which, with the rules scaled at around 1:900, should work well as written for this scale of model. 

Santa Anna-112 guns exchanges greetings with Royal Sovereign which saw Admiral Colingwood and his officers come under fire.

Behind the Santa Anna, Le Fougueux 74-guns wallows in the swell, critically damaged and on fire, but with its crew determinedly hanging on and its colours flying

HMS Tonnant has just passed through the Combined Fleet line with the two French 74's, Le Pluton and L'Algeciras, Admiral Magon's flagship, having been saluted on the way through.

HMS Mars 74-guns (left centre) surrounded by enemy ships having contributed to the distress of the French 74's, Le Fougueux and Le Pluton in its wake crosses the bow of the Spanish Monarca 74-guns
HMS Tonnant's stern quarters can be seen as the British ship cuts through the Allied line
HMS Colossus cuts the line to the rear of the Spanish 74-gun Bahama as the stern quarters of HMS Bellerophon are seen further along the line crossing the bows of the Spanish ship, with Admiral Magon's French 74-gun L'Algeciras in the process  of hauling down her colours.

So if you would like to see how the scenario played out just click on the video links below, with the link to Part One first, for those that might have missed it followed by Part Two below:

Next up: More adventures in Vassal as Steve and I reacquainted ourselves with Columbia Games'  Richard III as we sat down between Xmas and New Year to play the Wars of the Roses Campaign game, and work is progressing to add another six French 74's to the age of sail collection.


  1. Lovely ships. I have several boxes on order with Warlord, but COVID delays are a thing.

    Warfare Miniatures has a spring release scheduled for their own age of sail rules, Mad for War. There is a teaser battle report here:

    Lots of good things in your videos!

    1. Hi thank you, much appreciated.

      Yes getting hold of models can be a bit of a problem at the moment, but they are worth the wait.

      Thanks for the link to the League of Augsburg video which is a magnificent production and difficult to match, and all adding to raise the profile of age of sail gaming.

      Have fun with your ships when you get them.


  2. I look forward to seeing the Kiss me Hardy run through. Could you expand on your thoughts of Black Seas?

    1. Hi,
      Great, you're most welcome.

      I make it a rule not to comment on rules I haven't played as any comment I make is pure opinion with no experience to base it upon.

      Suffice to say, I have a copy of the rules and I have scanned them a few times and prior to writing this reply.

      Perhaps it might be more insightful for me to say why I choose the rules I do to play my games with and that applies to all genres, which is based on my personal measure of their qualities to the criteria of simulation and game and most importantly are they fun to play.

      Some folks think you can't have both simulation and fun, but I've played a lot of games and a lot of rule sets in forty-seven years in the hobby and I know that that is nonsense.

      So I look at rule sets on the basis of their historical grounding and how well they do in my opinion in capturing the historical reality of the genre, based on my reading and what I know and think were important aspects in the battles I'm trying to recreate and do they put me in the seat of the commander they are modelled for.

      On the other end of the spectrum, is are they more inclined to being a game to have fun with your mates with a nod to the history but not really designed to give you much of an insight into the difficulties of conducting a battle of that period/genre.

      I consider myself an historical wargamer and obviously lean more to the former than the latter, but I also enjoy the aspect of wargaming which is all about social interaction and having fun, whilst getting the insights our hobby offers.

      I choose my rules on that criteria and all of them featured here on the blog or on Youtube are there because of those criteria.

      Finally a wise man once said rulesets are like shoe sizes, that is just because I take a size 8 doesn't invalidate a size 10 that is a better fit for someone else.

      I hope that answers your query in an informative way, and please respond if you want to know more.


  3. A marvellous sight Jonathan to see your gorgeous ships in action!
    Regards, James

    1. Hi James,
      Thank you, glad you enjoyed it. I certainly had fun, not quite as much as playing with others but just great to have some models back on the table and rolling dice.