Jackson Gamers' Rennaissance Naval War Game

Cannon and Ram!

Using Dave Millward's BARBAROSSA Rules set

We played this game at HOBBYTOWN in Flowood Mississippi on April 29th, 2006. Jim Pitts ran the game using cute little ships that were made by Wizards of the Coast in their Pirates of the Barbary Coast line. Jim assembled the ships, mounted them on bases, named them and touched up the paint to make wonderful miniature ships in about 1/1200 scale.

A blue cloth for water, our old gaming table, reassembled in the new HOBBYTOWN location in Flowood Mississippi and a handfull of dice! What more could a gamer want?

Photo by Tim Latham

Jim Pitts seated in center lectures the players on the period and the rules. The "Pillow" on the game table in front of him is a bag of "Smoke" for when the galleys catch on fire!

The Players on the left are Sean Pitts (fron) and Phil Young. They, along with Tim Latham who was busy taking this photo, were the Christian players in our first game and the Moslem players in our second game.

Jay Stribling (checked shirt) and Robert Whitfield, along with Fred Diamond who is not visible in the photo, were Moslem players in game one and Christian players in game two.

Photo by Tim Latham

Jay Stribling points at some meaningless and trivial detail while the ships engage. The black smoke markers signify that cannons have been fired and they must reload on the next phase. White smoke shows ships on fire.

The basic tactic seems to be to go right for the enemy and ram head-on. Then your reserve ships (you DID remember to keep a reserve didn't your?) sally out and take the enemy ships on the flank.

The Christian ships have more cannon (they all fire straight ahead) and better marines. The Moslems have more ships but their marines often are armed with bows which are not as effective as the Christian marines' who have firearms.

Photo by Tim Latham

Game-Master Jim Pitts (blue shirt) and Moslem players Sean Pitts (gray shirt) and Phil Young (seated) all stare at Christian Player Jay Stribling on extreme right of image. I cannot remember what Stribling said, but he was stared down, so possibly he was asking for the surrender of the enemy at too early a point in the game.

Photo by Tim Latham

Our second game with ships locked in melee. The cannons have little effect at longer ranges, so we have decided that the best results are obtained by ramming and then firing the big guns.

Photo by Tim Latham

Stribling looks like the smells a burning galley! Probably his own. While trying to hurl a pot of burning pitch onto the deck of the enemy, his sailors managed to spill some and set his own ship on fire! His tiny sailors and marines managed to put out the fire, but still it gave everyone a good laugh!

SO - Who won these games?

Well Jay Stribling, Robert Whitfield, and Fred Diamond were a team, being the Moslem players in game one and The Christian players in game two. They won both games. Skill? - I like to think so. Luck? - Probably!

Dave Millward did a great job with these rules which are called BARBAROSSA and may be downloaded from the Free Wargames Rules site. Jim Pitts printed them out and made nicely formatted play sheets. Still, naval games seem to generate a litter of paper and in some of the shots, you can see the "flotsam" of rules sets at the game table's edge.

Our Second session of Renaissance Naval Gameing - played May 20, 2006

Jim Pitts made a few changes in the rules before this game. The Jackson gamers had trouble determining 60-degree turns (the game was originally hex-based) and so Jim changed the turns to 45-degrees instead. This seemed to work better.

In this game, Jim had set up the entrance to the Christian forces' harbour on the Eastern side of the game table. This was defended by a fort - old and weak, but unsinkable. The Moslem forces were to brush aside the Christian squadron blocking the entrance, reduce the fort by bombardment, and enter the harbour for a bit of light fun, consting of pillaging and holding the town for ransom.

The Pashas commanding the Turkish forces were Fred Diamond, Ed Sansing, and Jay Stribling. The Brave Christian Knights defending the town were Sean Pitts, Phil Young, and Bill Estes.

The Turks, sailing up from the south, destroyed the defending Christian squadrons in the first phase of the battle, then a large reinforcement of Spanish and Neopolitan Christian Galleys sailed and rowed in from the West.

A reinforcement for the Moslems, consisting of Algerian Galleys then came in from the South-west. While the original Moslem forces were Turks - Men! - the reinforcments were not of the same caliber. These dogs of Algerians could not match the Spanish and the tide turned in favor of the Christians.

Photo by Ed Sansing

Moslem reinforcements enter from the southwest. Algerian Galleys commanded by Ed Sansing and Jay Stribling row toward the enemy.

Photo by Ed Sansing

Some of Bill Estes' Christian Galleys heading toward the Turks. These are the reinforcements for the Christians, consisting of Spanish and Neopolitan ships. These are Spaniards, you can see the red and gold flags.

Photo by Ed Sansing

The aftermath of the first stage of the battle. The four galleys in a row at the bottom right are Fred Diamond's 2nd (reinforcing) squadron. All ships are Turks or have been captured. Red rings on mastheads show captured ships. The small puffs of smoke show cannon fire.

Photo by Ed Sansing

A close-up of one of Ed Sansing's Turkish ships. The small dice at the bottom of each mast is a hold-over from the original Wizards of the Coast rules set that came with the ships. Jim Pitts mounted each ship on a base and labelled each ship with a correct period name.

Photo by Ed Sansing

Part of Sean Pitts' squadron approaches. The red and gold flags of Spain fly from each.

Photo by Ed Sansing

"Pasha" Stribling's ships tangle with Bill Estes' squadron. The green rings on the back of some of the ships help tired old eyes tell one squadron from the other.

Photo by Ed Sansing

A general melee between the Turkish and Algerian ships of Stribling and Sansing, against the Spaniards of Bill Estes and Sean Pitts.

Red rings show captured ships. Yellow rings show ships which have had a morale failure and may not take offensive action (cannot ram or board) or ships that must "sail away" due to the captain remembering an urgent appointment somewhere else!

Photo by Ed Sansing

Surviving Turkish ships (from the first squadrons) led by Fred Diamond move up and began to bombard the fort guarding the harbour entrance. The fort is the squarish-looking red-brown item to the right. The light blue shallow water shows up here. The opening between the land areas is not the harbour entrance. That can dimly be seen byond the fort.

Photo by Ed Sansing

Some of Sean Pitts' ships attack the Moslem galleys firing on the fort. This Moslem bombardment force consisted of ships that had fought and suffered in the first phase of the game. They had few, if any marines left and were ripe for the plucking of the fresh Christian ships.

The usual gamers' litter of dice and tape measures show up in the background.

Photo by Ed Sansing

The last positions of ships when "darkness fell." The ships are so intermixed, it is hard to tell the sides apart. Blue rings behind some ships are squadron markers. The game-master called the game a draw.

SO - Who won this game?

Speaking as a Moslem player, thanks be to Allah for the game-master's ruling allowing a Draw! The Spanish galleys all seemed to be larger and their marines fiercer than ours - especially fiercer than the Algerian dogs who were our reinforcements. I feel that if we had continued the game, which had lasted six hours at that point, the Christians would have triumphed.

The Moslems were bombarding the fort and about half of it's guns had been dismounted or silenced by our fire, but numbers of huge (they seemed huge) and fresh Christian Galleys were headed for our bombardment fleet. I was not sublime about the outcome.

Both sides rowed home and proclaimed a victory, but the Christian town was saved, so their claims of victory rang louder than the Moslems'.

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