Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sluys-It Couldn't be Better

In my previous post, I noted I arrived late to Enfilade, which gave me time to check in, grab a very quick meal, and grab my stuff to set up Sluys for the evening period.  I was on the convention floor at 6:00, which gave me an hour to set up.

I was pretty nervous about the scenario.  On one hand I was very excited because it was my hand made project and I was so proud of it.  I thought others might think it strange and geeky and my work unworthy.  Really the latter troubled me more because most of my game projects are strange and geeky.  I was also worried the rules wouldn't work right, or I would somehow screw them up because I'd only run the scenario once. 

I shouldn't have been concerned.  The game was filled.  Mark and Sam Fortner, and Al Rivers ran the English.  Keith French, Brian Renninger, and Arthur Brookings ran the French.  Best, and most importantly Dave Schueler was there to help me with the scenario.  I'd re-written the quick sheets, taking changes from our playtest into consideration, so that helped.  We took the time to walk through the rules, and while there were some inevitable holes to fill, the game played pretty smoothly.  By the end of the fourth turn, I was no longer necessary, and Dave and I could talk about the Mariners-Yankees game.  Most gratifying, many gamers dropped by the table to look and ask questions about the cogs, the period, and the game.  Doug Hamm and Andrew Mah, tasked with scoring games for the Friday night period, chose Sluys for best of  show for the period.

The set up with both fleets hard against the Cadzand Is. shoals.

The game began with the French shuffling the order of their ships,while the English grouped theirs. The French position was centered between Cadzand Is. and the headland, and the English were prepared to take advantage of a small gap between the island and the fleet.  Unfortunately the gap closed with the night's tidal action, so the battle proceeded pretty much head to head.

Another view of the set up.  The French fleet clearly overlaps the English right. 

For the first three turns the English and French engaged in desultory artillery and missile fire.  Though there were some lucky die rolls on both sides, by turn four it was clear to the English they were going to have to close to win. In turn four the English closed and began supported melees in true DBA fashion.  Unfortunately DBA also requires some decent die rolling, and the English commanders, Mark and Sam, had much better dice karma than the French commanders, Brian and Arthur.  With poor command points, and much less capable of removing damage points, the French line began suffering large holes in the first squadron. 

The French third squadron moves toward their left flank.
 After turn four, Keith unchained his combined cog and galley squadron and began moving around the French left.  Though he had some early success, this flank attack was quickly stymied and then defeated.  By turn twelve, with the French suffering three times the English losses of five ships, I called a halt to the bloodbath.  Though the French three times during the battle, crippled King Edward's cog, the game was up.

Even so, there were lots of smiles afterwords, and I was happy the game was so well received. All photos were taken by Doug Hamm, and I thank him for letting me use them.

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