Oh, I took the bait. In a big way. I’m now the proud owner of British and French fleet sets from Warlord. Then I purchased ‘War by Sail’ as well as ‘It’s Warm Work’ from WargameVault, not to mention hours perusing other rule sets. Butterfly mode engaged.
The models are well designed and a joy to build. I think Warlord did these right. I don’t have much interest in their rules, though. A bit of a history lesson: Some of the very earliest plastic commercial models in the 1950s were sailing ships. They came with clear plastic printed ratlines–just like the Warlord models. I didn’t like them then. I don’t like them now. They almost put me off making the purchase. These models deserve an upgrade so I’m searching for 1/600 scale photo-etch ratlines. I know there’s a Brit manufacturer but I haven’t found a US one. I may try scratch building ’em. We’ll see. The labor involved will probably dissuade me. Not overly fond of the paper sails, but they’ll probably do. I haven’t decided on basing either. So I’ve been assembling the hulls and priming but the progress will wait until a basing decision is made.
I’m thinking about outfitting the fleets to represent vessels of the Seven Years’ War to American War for Independence. Am I correct in thinking that black hulls would not be quite so predominant in this earlier period? That seems like a more Napoleonic/War of 1812 fashion. I’m even thinking of outfitting some of the ships with fancier sterns and mizzen lateen sails that were being phased out at that time.
‘War by Sail’ has also impressed me, though I’ve not yet played them–only several quick read-throughs. Not fond of the title but–meh–I didn’t write them. Having written a set of ironclad rules where each gun fired is rolled for separately, I do appreciate the gunfire by weight in WbS. Most of the other sets I’ve looked at generalized the gunfire too much for my tastes. The ship lists for the various conflicts, including how to stat up unlisted ships, are worth the price alone. I like the two phased movement: one for fleet movement; one for individual variances to line up shots. I like the simplicity of the turning/speed template. There are quite a few maneuvring options such as box hauling and warping that are often left out of other sets. I have to admit that no age-of-sail rules I’ve seen hit my perception of the three-dimensionality of naval warfare of the period. But, Mr. Jensen has put a lot of work into this set and that is reflected in player options, game mechanics as well as the graphic presentation. Anyone using m-dashes, n-dashes and hyphens correctly earns my typographic respect! And, a printer friendly version included with the *.pdf–Well done, Mr. J!
My only concern right now (and remember this is just a first impression) is the number of markers used on the game table. That’s solvable. I’ll probably create new ship rosters that show damage state. Call me weird but I enjoy designing forms.
Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/