Thursday, April 07, 2011

Sluys Playtest

On Saturday I met with Dave Schueler and Mark and Joe Waddington at Daveshoe's house to try out Sluys.  I decided to play the scenario straight out of the box as it appears in David Manley's Medieval Fleet Battles rules.  I put together some quick sheets and hauled my ships up to West Seattle.

(Note, if you would like a copy of the Medieval Fleet Battles rules, which include the Sluys scenario, David is willing to send a pdf.  Just contact him at dm dot at dot dstl @ btinternet dot com  .)

 I set up the game so the English began within 6" of the French.  I allowed the French to configure their three squadrons in the order they wished explained their positions shifted two inches to right against the shoals of Cadzand island.  This was a historical occurrence that badly tangled the French deployment according to HYW historian, Jonathan Sumption.  It also left a gap for the English to move to and through. I gave the English the option of the cannon ship offered in the scenario and they accepted that. I also provided that the English would always be player A--given they were the attackers, and the French adopted such a defensive stance.
The English have covered the French front and are moving around the French left.  The closest cog, however, has run onto the shoal and will remain stuck there for some time.

Both players found the artillery exchanges were largely useless. Very few hits were made.  The French did well on their command rolls and usually were able to pull their damage.  Missile fire was a bit more successful, but not so much to offset the French close combat bonus.
Another view of the two fleets coming together

The English moved to the French left flank, but had difficulty making progress. With the French close combat superiority, it was challenging to get enough pluses to make a difference.  As turn four rolled around the French unchained their third squadron and moved to the attack. The English were stuck and not much good was happening.  The three galleys, with their superior boarding factors really made a difference, making short work of a trio of medium cogs.  When the Flemish appeared on turn 10, they were immediately confronted by three medium French cogs, and rather than turning the tide against their enemies, the Flemings found themselves fighting for their lives.
Turn seven.  The French third squadron is loose the galleys are beating up on the English flanking force.

At about turn 12 the pizza arrived and we called a halt to the festivities and debriefed the game.  We agreed on some changes and tried those out.  We made it more difficult to pull damage chits and gave the English a +1 boarding factor for this battle.  There were historical justifications for the changes that give the English a bit more of an edge, at least the opportunity to follow up on their missile successes. In the end, as with the historical battle of Sluys, the artillery and distance shooting is nice, but the battle had to be won with the sword. With the French close combat advantage, and the number of their supports that was going to be very difficult. 

 I think everyone had a good time and are anxious for another try.


DeanM said...


That looks like a great game & the ships are very nice. BTW, good call on the change in location - I stopped in TGM on Saturday (after a funeral in Lakewood) - didn't even go in as it was jam packed with RPGers I think. Dean

Ted H said...

Sounds like you guys had fun. I'm sure your game will be a success at Enfilade!