A couple months ago I shared another of my wife's Facebook albums pertaining to a game which she and I had played, along with a friend. In her introduction, she pointed out that we'd just finished yet ANOTHER game with said friend, but felt it necessary to expound upon one we'd previously attempted. In the end she promised to return with a presentation of our more "recent" venture. Well, for what it's worth, here it is. ENJOY!

"Sink the Bismarck"...oops!...i mean "Montagne" ala Sails of Glory

A hypothetical meeting of one French and two Royal Navy squadrons somewhere at sea...ENJOY!

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i TOLD you i'd be back to tell you about our most recent game of "Sails"...

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...so here i am, with a tankard of Pusser's British Navy Rum in hand...

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...and a table set up with six Ships-of-the-Line poised to do battle.....this time around we decided to cut back on the number of vessels (just two each) in hopes of a more controlled game...

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so, meet the contenders (you've seen them all before)...first, the French duet: the Redoubtable leading the Montagne, the monster which must exit "the far side of the world" to win...

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...both are commanded by Mike (looking very Napoleonic)!

(note that we're also using normal 12" rulers as opposed to the 10" ones provided in the game. we discovered long ago that doing so makes a huge difference in minimizing collisions)

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...me with my flagship, HMS Bellona, on the table and my HMS Bellerophon (i finally spelled it right :D) nestled comfortably on its ship's log waiting to arrive...

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...and our friend Bhil (an old salt who's back again to try his hand at sailing with us), looking very Nelson-ish as he takes a pic...

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...of HIS two 74's; HMS Goliath which is leading the way for his HMS Zealous...

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...and the game begins! Bhil sheds his "coat" as we start placing our maneuver cards...

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...Mike moves his ships resolutely toward his exit corner as Bhil and i close in to cut him off...

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...then, Bhil breaks his line by swinging his HMS Zealous toward the French

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knowing it will be hot work ahead, Mike follows Bhil's example and also sheds his "coat"...

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...and hot work it will be...as Mike continues toward his objective, i veer slightly to port to eventually intercept, while Bhil faces off menacingly in line abreast, threatening Mike's bows...

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...unfortunately for Bhil, he'd unwittingly turned directly into the wind, thus backing his sails and allowing Mike's ships to gain the initiative...the Redoubtable glides across the bow of HMS Goliath...

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...blasting away with its forward guns at close range, causing heavy damage and a FIRE :O!!! fortunately, it wasn't a full rake...Bhil's Royal Marines at least were able to cause some crew casualties in return...

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...and while Bhil keeps Mike busy on his starboard beam, my flagship duels it out with him on his port...

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...as we both throw long range broadsides of iron at each other, i lose one of my masts, but he suffers a leak, a number of crew aaaand a FIRE :D!!!

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...meanwhile, through the din and the smoke, i maneuver my HMS Bellerophon toward the Redoubtable's stern......and the Montagne's bow!!! timing will mean everything...

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...but the guns haven't stopped firing yet in this turn and the Montagne also chimes in, aiming high (as is the French fashion) with a long range rake of HMS Zealous' bow...taking out some sails, some crew, a mast and starting a FIRE!!! :o

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...Bhil's look says it all...

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...but his HMS Goliath staggers forward and gives almost as good as it got into the stern of the Redoubtable...taking out a couple sails and setting yet ANOTHER FIRE...YESSS!!! :D
(in case you didn't know, fires are especially bad on wooden ships powered by vast amounts of canvas)...

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...Mike's Redoubtable can only respond with some paltry musket fire from its tops...

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as the smoke clears, the ships' crews all busy themselves, reloading, putting out fires, making repairs...whew...

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...i'm actually feeling pretty good about this...Mike's only halfway across the table and we've severed his line and severely damaged his leading '74.....now to finish his ships off in detail!!! ;)

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then, whether purposely or not, Bhil's HMS Goliath collides with the bow of the Montagne...gets entangled.....suffers no small damage aaand loses a mast in the process...OUCH!!! :(

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while, at the same time, the Montagne and HMS Zealous (which "fired as they bore") exchange long range broadsides......in the distance you can see my HMS Bellona closing on Mike's Redoubtable...

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...which i quickly dispatch in a brief exchange...sinking her!!! YAY!!!

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then, as Bhil's HMS Zealous continues to slowly maneuver away it receives yet more long range shot from the Montagne...while my HMS Belleraphon collides with his HMS Goliath (i can't believe i did THAT again...i meant left, card said right!!!)...

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...which is already contending with being boarded......its crew is overwhelmed by the Montagne's larger complement and she strikes before i can cross over to join in the melee!!!

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as Mike works out his upcoming crew actions, Bhil points out that his HMS Goliath has not only struck, but has fires and leaks which cannot be repaired!!!

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Mike and i both disentangle ourselves from the struck, burning...and sinking HMS Goliath...

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...and slowly work our individual ways around her as Bhil's and my other ships maneuver to bar the Montagne's way to her objective. sadly, my poor HMS Belleraphon is beating against the wind (as well as still bumping into the Goliath...grrr!!!) so i'm not making much headway!!!

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as Mike makes good his break, i throw on all my sheets and pick up a bit of a breeze

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FINALLY, i'm clear and able to fill my sails, but Mike has a good lead...farther ahead, Bhil and i are also setting our courses to intercept!!!

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Bhil's weakened HMS Zealous gets there first, aligning itself to exchange a close range broadside...

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...in which it seems Mike's firing high faired better...

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...ultimately sinking Bhil's HMS Zealous (oh NO...not my favorite ship!!! :.()

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as the Montagne nears the table's edge, it and my weakened flagship exchange a broadside in which i spring a leak, am nearly dismasted and slowed to a crawl...and set AFIRE :o!!!

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so, with only my HMS Bellerophon trailing behind with little hope of stopping the Montagne, we cease hostilities to lick our wounds...Mike wins!!!

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the Butcher's Bill: Mike's Redoubtable...hammered from all sides was the first to go under...

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Bhil's HMS Goliath...a valiant fighter, but unable to take on the Mountain single-handedly, was first to strike...

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HMS Zealous (my hero of past games) again lived up to her name but was the second to go under... :.(

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my flagship, HMS Bellona, fought well but was severely abused at the end...

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Mike's Montagne, hardly damaged, makes it off the table!!!

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and finally, my HMS Bellerophon, which just couldn't stop bumping into things (!) notwithstanding, it survives the whole ordeal without a scratch!

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so ends yet another saga from the high seas...it was fun using almost all of the rules, including most of Mike's House Rules, this time.

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as always, stay tuned because we'll be back...Mike and i both LOVE these games!!!

So ended another battle between the French and British navies during the Glorious Days of the Age of Sail. We used almost ALL of ARES' rules as well as most of mine, like "firing as they bear", "firing into the wind", French vs. British gunnery bonuses, etc. We DIDN'T use Carronades nor did we change any wind strength or direction; and, as there were no smaller ships involved, "weight of shot" was not an issue. We (sadly) made a few mistakes, like not taking into account the special cards for "broken masts" until later in the game (an oversight for which I take full responsibility), but we ultimately DID have fun. So, as my bride said in the end, "we'll be back"!