Friday, April 01, 2011

Getting Serious: The French fleet at Sluys

We're about eight weeks out from Enfilade and my first project is pretty close to ready to go.  The Sluys game is finished.  I wrapped up the French last Saturday before my trip to La Conner.  Tomorrow I take the French and English up to Dave Schueler's house and we playtest with Mark and Joe Waddington.

 The action takes place in an enclosed roadstead at the mouth of the River Zwin, and there is a fair amount of land to represent.  I used the map from Fighting Techniques of the Medieval World, by Matthew Bennett, Kelly DeVries and others, a book which I've found regularly disappointing, but pretty helpful for this battle.  The map shows a fair amount of land representing the Zwin estuary and bay, the island of Cadzand and northern headland.

The game is tough to scale.  David Manley wrote his rules for 1/1200 ships on 30mm square bases and planned for a DBA 3' square table.  I'm facing a couple of different problems.  I'm looking at a convention game on an 8' X 5' table.  Sheer aesthetics require more complete use of that space.  My ships are small, medium and large and are unscaled.  They all have a 40mm frontage, but are 30mm, 40mm, and 60mm long respectively. They take up more room.  How much more room? Well, we'll find out how much tomorrow.  Dave has an 8' X 5' game table which I can cover with my 10' X 6' felt mat, will lay the terrain over top and see what I need.

I took advantage of Jo-Ann Fabrics' felt sale and bought some green and blue.  The green represents the land and the blue represents the shallows.  They will almost certainly come into play.  I hot-glued the blue and green pieces together, but it was pretty messy and left quite a bit of residue.  If the pieces seem to be scaled properly, I may remake them and glue them with fabric glue.
All the land elements are seen on the table.  I may draw Cadzand Is. out more from the shore with the wider table.

 The pictures of the French fleet show their array for the battle.  It's always a challenge to determine command vessels, so I gave Behuchet's (the French commander) cog Christopher a sail with the Oriflamme.  The cross of St. Denis appears on the squadron commander's sail.  The French first line is very long, with each line subsequently shorter.  Only four cogs and three galleys in the last line.
French in battle array.  The galleys are clearly visible on the right of third line.

 For all intents and purposes, Sluys is complete.  It's been a very satisfying project from start to finish, and I hope the playtest goes well tomorrow.

1 comment:

Ted H said...

Your ships turned out great! I'm also a big fan of Jo Ann's Fabric.