Home Forums Air and Sea Naval Simple rules for 18th century Naval

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    For an impulse buy I purchased some cardboard galleons\frigates from ebay (Pirates Constructible Strategy Game) and am looking for some simple rules to try them out. It was the ships only in the auction so I thought I would see if anyone knows of some simpler rules a complete novice can try.

    Any tips ?


    Avatar photoMcKinstry

    Follow the Admiral’s Wake by Brian DeWitt. Basically a homebrew big battle, on hexes naval AOS game. Brian sells it for $5 on a CD at HMGS cons but I believe you can reach him by looking around on gaming forums. He is a member of the big Potomac Wargamers group in the MD/DC/Northern VA area.

    We’ve played the Battle of the Chesapeake, Nile, Camperdown and (maybe?) Glorious First and in every case, reached a conclusion in under 4 hours.

    Trafalgar by GW Historical was fairly good and simple. Copies are available on eBay but try and find a link to the David Manley edits/suggestions/errata to really tweak it nicely.


    The tree of Life is self pruning.

    Avatar photoNorthern Monkey

    the rules for Spanish main can still be had at BGG, they are simple enough, but with additional crew, equipment, events etc can be quite in depth:


    as for more wargamery rules I personally really like GW’s Trafalgar (although most die hard naval gamers don’t like it) as it is relatively simple but still gives the feel of naval gaming and plays quick enough to actually finish  a game unlike some other naval rules in which you spend the whole game coming about etc

    My attempt at a Blog: http://ablogofwar.blogspot.co.uk/

    Avatar photoJohn D Salt

    A couple of years ago at COW, Mike Elliott ran a very successful Trafalgar in two hours, using the rules from the Junior General’s page:


    Probably you’d want something more sophisticated for a few-on-few engagement, in which case I recommend either Tom Mouat’s “Scuppers Were Awash with Blood” whenever he gets round to publishing the new version of the rules in The Nugget or elsewhere, or rip off the sailing rules at least from SPI’s old “Fighting Sail” boardgame.

    All the best,



    Thanks for the tips !

    Avatar photoNic Wright

    For relatively fast play rules with minimal record keeping and handling ‘fleets’ of 1-8 ships per player, you might like to have a look at Galleys & Galleons from Ganesha Games. I’ll register my interest here as the author, but they are a fine set of rules. 

    Hard copy or pdf direct from Ganesha – http://www.ganeshagames.net/index.php?cPath=1_25

    Hard copy from Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Galleys-Galleons-tabletop-wargame-Discovery/dp/1530791553?ie=UTF8&keywords=galleys%20%26%20galleons&qid=1465325242&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

    Pdf from Wargamevault – http://www.wargamevault.com/product/154156/Galleys-and-Galleons?term=galleys%26galleons&test_epoch=0



    Avatar photoNorm S

    Fighting sail by Osprey may be worth investigating, they look pretty straight forward.

    Avatar photoCount Belisarius

    For a few ships aside I’ve used Blood Bilge and Iron Balls and they are quite fun.

    Avatar photoKaptain Kobold

    I’ve heard good things about Galleys and Galleons, and it sounds like they will extend into the 18th Century with little difficulty. My simple rules of choice are Form Line of Battle which, whilst designed for reasonable sized actions, work surprisingly well for small actions too.

    Avatar photoDM

    I would naturally recommend Form Line of Battle 🙂

    For fun games I worked up a set based on GW’s old “Man o War” set – the NWS ran a game at Colours using them 20-odd years ago, I resurrected and developed the idea some years later, taking the game to a number of shows as a fast play participation game (using the Peter Pig 1/450 pirate ship range). If anyone would like a copy just let me have an email address to send the files to.

    Avatar photoDon Glewwe

    I highly recommend  http://www.warartisan.com/

    No other comment/recommendation can supplant that link.


    Thanks everyone. Some great tips and lots of things for me to follow up on.

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