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Tuesday, 14 June 2011

1/1200 Napoleonic Naval Battles

Time for a change and a chance to prove that my collective efforts don't entirely revolve around tanks!

I have to confess I'm one of those wargamers who tends to sneer when I hear the mention of the words "Games Workshop". Where really, when I take a close look in my workshop at all the GW products I actually own, I'm really just an old hypocrite!

One of my favourite sets of GW Historical rules is TRAFALGAR.
 I bought these on impulse having watched a demo game at the rules' launch at Penarth Crusade a couple of years ago.
French fleet
The book is very well produced (aren't they all) and includes all a novice to this period would require.

The book is broken down into;-
  1. The Rules
  2. Advanced rules
  3. The Fleets - ship nomenclature and descriptions
  4. Complete fleet list for the Battle of Trafalgar
  5. Brief history of Napoleonic Naval warfare - focused mainly on Trafalgar (surprise!)
  6. Six scenarios to play out
  7. Hobby guide on collecting and modelling ships (Painting, rigging etc)
  8. Campaign rules and 5 further scenarios
  9. Brief histories of some of the heroes of Trafalgar and the vessels they sailed
  10. Reference sheets - QRS, counters, templates etc.
British fleet
The rules are suitable for most of the popular scales and include advice on gaming with models from 1/3000 through to 1/100th scale.

Each basic game turn is broken down into ;-
  1. Weather phase (Wind direction etc)
  2. Sailing phase (Movement)
  3. Gunnery phase (yes, you guessed right)
  4. End Phase (anything else not already covered)
Each is explained in copious detail and illustrated with actual examples. It uses correct nautical terms (which is nice) and explains them clearly to the uninitiated like myself.

I've read elsewhere on the interweb that these rules are in many areas (particularly gunnery) oversimplified when compared to "serious" Napoleonic naval warfare rules.  This may be the case, but  as I'm not a serious wargamer, they seem just fine to me!

The QRS, counters and template sheets are available as pdf downloads on the GWH website to avoid having to butcher you lovely rule book. I'd advise you to laminate the counters and templates before you cut them out as they get quite a bit of handling during play.
As this was never going to be my main period of gaming, i.e. just a bit of fun, I purchased seven 1/1200 metal men-o'-war from Warrior Miniatures. Whilst these models will never be up to Rod Langton's standards, they paint up well (after a good deal of cleaning up with a file! Followed by assembly with superglue) They are extremely good value - the dearest comes in at only £2.50 and really look the part.
I haven't gone as far as to rig them with cotton, but the book gives a detailed step-by-step guide on how to do this. I have based them all on Warbases mdf which I textured with a bit of PVA before painting and gloss varnishing. The name plates were created in PowerPoint and printed off the computer before laminating and cutting them out.

You need the usual handfuls of D6 as well as a tape measure to play. The ship stats are recorded on cards (again - downloadable) which if you laminate you can use again and again to record the outcomes of battle with water based OHP pens (about £1 each from Rymans).

So far I've only played small actions with the seven vessels I own - how you'd get on with bigger fleets I don't know. But I have to say these are great fun and I'd thoroughly recommend them as a fun diversion from the usual historical periods.

All pictures are of my 1/1200th Vessels by Warrior Miniatures.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tim (great name by the way :0)

    Inspired by your post I recently bought a copy of Warhammer Historical's Trafalgar looking to start fighting Napoleonic naval battles at our club.

    The Warrior miniatures look a great (and cheap) way of starting off with this game. I'm definitely going to order some of these myself soon.

    Whilst you wrote this a while back (in June) have you had a chance to play any more games or do you just find it one of those play once in a while novelty games?

    Anyway, thanks for the great post.

    Tim (aka brokenbayonet)