This year all the Civil War naval gamers have rallied around the release of Sail and Steam Navies, so it was only fitting that this year's DANG featured a SSN game. Dave created a mini-campaign on a river. Each side had a points limit to choose from and create their riverine flotilla based on the points value of the ships available to them. The Confederates had an iron-clad a-building at the head of the river. The Yankees's job was to brave the obstacles in their path and destroy the ironclad before it became a menace to Union control of the Mississippi.
|Our beloved flagship, the barge, er scow, um ship Tuscumbia.|
We encountered numerous earthwork gun batteries along the way. But all were dispatched fairly easily, except for the fifth and last one that inflicted a critical hit on the Essex, forcing us to withdraw and make repairs, and leaving us behind schedule.
There were also two surface actions, both occurring at night. The Confederates attacked the anchored Union fleet with three spar torpedo boats. Our deployment was fairly ineffective in terms of offering support so George Kettler quickly found his two tinclads horrifically exposed as the gnat-like Johnnies swept on to the table. Though the tinclads found the range, they couldn't convert their hits into damage, and the Naumkeag was sunk by a spar torpedo. A second torpedo boat seriously damaged the Lexington's paddle wheel forcing us to tow the vessel upstream. The Confederates didn't get off scott free as they mostly expended their supply of spar torpedoes and the Lexington's tormentor managed to blow himself up in the attack.
The second night battle was, of course, the last turn of the campaign. Weathering a host of delays and distractions, the Confederates gave battle before the Yankees reached the ironclad Missouri's birthplace, but just after it had a major engine failure. The pride of the Carnot River Defense Fleet was hauled into action by a tugboat. Alongside the Missouri were the rams Gen. Beauregard and Gen. Bragg, as well as the last armed torpedo boat.
|The General Bragg, captured at Memphis, eventually became the USS General Bragg.|
|A famous engraving of the Monarch ramming the Beauregard. Imagine an almost immobile ironclad gunboat in the place of the Beauregard and that's what happened in our game. Me! Me! I did that! Yes!|
This is my third game of Sail and Steam Navies. There are many things I really like about these rules. The firing charts are pretty easy to use, but it is not easy to convert hits to actual damage. In doing this, the creators have really made SSN a rammer's game. With the two movement phases, it's pretty easy for a fast ram to pickle his victim and not even be fired on. I don't think it should be this way. I'm hoping we can maybe make some house rules or get some clarifications that iron out some of these issues.