Saturday, 10 September 2016

ACW Naval Game At The Catterick Club

Second club night at The Old Guard Wargames Club and I took along my ACW naval.

You may as well say that this was my first game, and it was also my opponents. I've got to admit that I made heavy work of the rules, most of the time. Going from Chart A, cross-referencing Chart B, to then roll against Chart C all took its toll on me. That's not to say,that with more games under my belt it wouldn't become easier, because I'm 100% certain it will. It didn't help that all the boats used were the big heavy weights, due to me not having any of the fun small ships painted. 

Anyway, the game worked as a satisfactory first game. It allowed me to gain valuable experience and I now have a few ideas on how to better book-keep, and what gaming aids to have to hand to make it easier. 

I'd certainly play the game again, especially as it looks great to my mind. I wouldn't want to play every week, though. I'd also, probably, have to bribe opponents into a game.
Starting positions: Union monitors to the left of the photo  
The Confederates: Virginia following Chicora, line-astern 
from left: Weehawken, Monitor, Nahant
Midway through what we got played: I've allowed Chicora to be sacrificed, allowing the monitors to concentrate on her. Virginia meanwhile makes its slow way into position - Looking back here, I made a mistake and allowed Virginia to move faster than she is capable. 
We took a pause from the game after Chicora had been sunk by the combined shots of the monitors.

Multiple collisions happened with first Chicora colliding with Nahant, and then when she broke free the momentum of her move saw her collide with Weehawken. This is what caused Chicora's destruction, being at point-blank range of Weehawken's high powered guns. The smaller ironclad was struck again and again, and at such close range the force of the shots just pounded through the heavy casemate armour with ease. 
I reckon this was the position that Virgina (top of shot) found herself in after I made (in hindsight) an illegal move of going at Fast speed - it should only move at maximum Medium speed.

You'll notice that Chicora is no more. I did leave the wreckage on the table for a turn, but then took it off and claimed it had sunk.
Millimetres away from collision. Weehawken finishes her move, point-blank of Virginia. 
And this is where the photos end. Time was running short and I wanted to get the game into a position to really test the rules.

What happened was this. 

Monitor remained in position as shown in the last photo. 

Virginia moved forward, turned and ended up coming within 1mm of the base edge of Monitor and finished her turn sailing alongside the enemy at point-blank range, broadsides bearing on the Union vessel.

Nahant and Weehawken both manoeuvred into position to pound Virginia with their heavy weapons.

It ended up with all three vessels choosing to become immobile (I forgot that we all should have issued orders to drop anchor - but that didn't make a difference in the end) and positioning themselves to fire at extreme close range. 

Monitor and Virginia were at point-blank range, broadside on.

Weehawken and Virginia were point-blank on the other broadside facing.

Nahant was anchored at close range off Virginia's bow. 

And we all started firing.

Virginia took a heck of a lot of punishment from the three monitors. Her smoke stack was destroyed. A smooth bore gun, jammed earlier in the game, became irreparable. The amount of damage to her hull was becoming cause for morale tests to be made. In another couple of turns she would have been a shipwreck, for certain.

Funnily enough this game saw a lot of misfires, and Monitor's misfire in the last turn was the most spectacular. Monitor's turret had taken a fair amount of damage up till this point, but the fatal rolling of a misfire, and then a burst gun result, sealed the turrets fate and it blew itself to scrap metal! 

That's when the game came to an end. 

Chicora lost.
Virginia heavily damaged and certain to be destroyed if we'd had played on.
Monitor needing to sail away fast, as any further shots suffered would have just seen her having to take morale test after morale test, till she escaped back to her table edge. 


There was two other games on the night, which I've update the Club page at the top of the blog with some photo's 'borrowed' from a fellow club mate. 

Cheers for reading.



  1. The game looks great especially the land rules always a challenge, always good to get some easy free flowing games under your belt before attempting something more challenging....but looks like your Club is developing 😀

    1. @Matt Crump: Thank you
      Yes, the land fort does look good. Looking at it now I'm surprised I managed to DIY make it, though I can remember it was a sod to do what with all the compound mitres needed.

  2. It takes a while to get to grips with a new set of rules. But you seemed to have managed quite well. I am not sure the rules are for me having to use different charts seems so very old in wargames terms. But they were the only type of rules I could get in my youth!

    A very nice report and a good looking game.

    1. @Clint: Thank you

      Yes, the charts were a real pain.

      Most turns all you'll need to look up is the gunnery:
      Chart A - range
      Chart B - what modifiers to the hit dice
      Chart C (if successfully hit) - hit location
      Chart D - armour deflection dice modifiers
      Then there's also the critical hit locations chart. Critical hit locations sub-chart. Critical hit and hit descriptions pages in the rules.

      Once past the gunnery phase the game actually cruised along, no problem. But you'd then hit the gunnery phase and that took a good 5 to 10 minutes each time, some of which you'd do all the necessary chart looking to find the gun type couldn't penetrate the armour of that location so you'd wasted time.

  3. Very cool. Do the shore batteries ever become involved?

    1. @Finch: Thank you

      Yes, the rules I'm using cover shore and fort batteries, spar-torpedo, mines, fire crafts, historic rates of fire as an optional rule (the heavier the gun, and inside a gun port or turret, the slower the rate of fire using alternate turns etc), rams, troop ships in boarding actions, mortar crafts and plunging fire from howitzers and mortars, shell explosions. Quite the range of possibilities.

      Last night the shore battery was just table dressing, however.

  4. Getting any result from using a new set of rules has to be admired. Using the real heavy-weights, although making the game a little toughter, probably brought up more rule 'looking-up than you may have wanted but I think will be beneficial in the long term.
    The set up and models looks great and the subdued blue 'sea' fits the bill nicely too.

    1. @Zabadak: Thank you
      Yes, I'm planning on building up a flotilla of pressed civilian vessels next. They should be completely useless - Sorry, I mean belonging at the opposite end of the dangerous naval units category that the monitors find themselves on.


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