On Farthest Tides’ – Dire Straits

John’s latest report on Li Chee the Pirate Queen’s feud with Admiral Feng Shui using Ganesha Games Galleys and Galleons rules.

Months had passed since Li Chee’s raid on Qui Nhon harbour, the junk she had captured now had a new crew and was ready for action.

Meanwhile Admiral Feng Shui set sail with his treasure ships hoping to reach India safely but first he had to negotiate the Straits of Molucca. He had taken the precaution of hiring a trusty Proa to act as pilot, he would be glad of this before the day was out. It was here, close to the dreaded ‘Whirlpool of Indesit’, that Li Chee planned her ambush and with some of the treasure won at Qui Nhon she had enlisted the help of some head hunters, Sumatran cannibals of terrifying reputation.

Making good use of the wind, the Treasure fleet made stately progress through the straits, until…

The trap is sprung!

The new Pirate junk captured at Qui Nhon and refitted, moves in to attack a Treasure Ship, keen to show her mettle.

The new Pirate junk hits the Treasure Ship with a short-range broadside rake the Treasure Ship suffers 2 points of damage as it’s tripled (Treasure Ship has reinforced hull but combat factor reduced by firing full broadside and short-range rake). Junks combat factor increased by one as firing from short range. The vessel also takes a critical hit (4) – Rudder struck!

First blood to the pirates, it’s a devastating attack that the Treasure Ship will struggle to recover from. Li Chee attempts the same tactic on the small Merchant Junk with less success.

LI Chee curses her gunners as they only score one point of damage on the Merchant Junk

The badly damaged Treasure Ship attempts a risky manoeuvre to avoid the attentions of the Pirate Junks.

Things are looking bleak for the Treasure Ship but 3 successful activation rolls allow it to change course avoiding the Head hunters and the junk. Will it escape? – We shall see.

Meanwhile the smaller Merchant Junk is unable to avoid a collision with the Pirate Queen’s ship and comes off worse.

Both vessels roll for damage. The Merchant Junk has a reinforced hull so takes a second point of damage whilst Li Chee is unaffected

Things were looking bad for the Treasure Fleet, with two junks badly damaged. Where was Admiral Feng Shui? He’d decided to hang back to prevent being cut off by the wind but horrified by what he could see before him, Feng Shui swung into action, attacking the pirate junk that had devastated the Treasure Ship. A Devastating cannonade from Feng Shui’s flagship ripped through the Pirate Junk.

The Pirate Junk is doubled and the critical hit sets it aflame!

The Pirate Junk’s crew manage to extinguish the fire but are so preoccupied and cannot prevent the Junk heading directly for an island.

Here the Junk has to roll 3 successful activations to put the fire out, which it does. Had it rolled a 1 on either of the red dice, it would have to take an all at sea roll which is bad news!

The Merchant Junk which collided with the Pirate Queen veers away but strays too close to the ‘Whirlpool of Indesit’ and is sucked in, never to be seen again. To this day, on still nights it’s said you can hear the mournful cries of the crew.

For the Whirlpool I decided that any vessel within S of the edge of the whirlpool at any point of its move was sucked in.

Meanwhile Feng Shui’s Junk comes under attack from the Head Hunters. No vessel is off limits, they just want a nice collection of skulls. They have enough actions to move up to the Flagship and grapple but frustratingly not enough to board.

Here two activations are required to cut the grapples. As a flagship, Feng Shui has an extra free activation. The grapples are cut. But there are no activations leftConcentrating on cutting the grappling ropes Feng Shui’s flagship is unable to avoid a collision with a Treasure Ship.

The ships collide with a destructive crash. Both vessels are badly damaged.

The collision roll is bad. Despite the reinforced hull, both vessels take 2 points of damage. Ouch!

The Pirate Queen opens fire on the badly damaged Treasure Ship which takes more damaged and is now crippled.

Whilst upwind, the damaged Pirate Junk manages to turn away from the island and manages to avoid foundering on the shallows by the skin of its teeth.
The Junk has to pass it’s Quality roll (2), three times as it’s travelling at L

Feng Shui’s nightmare day goes from bad to worse as the Flagship cannot avoid a second collision with the Treasure Ship. A gaping hole develops in the bows and despite the reinforced hull, the pumps can’t prevent the Flagship sinking. Feng Shui escapes, clinging to driftwood.

The Treasure Ship fails all its activations. This is a turnover; all un- activated vessels must move in a straight line and both vessels collide again.

With Admiral Feng Shui clinging to floating wreckage, Li Chee seizes her chance to board the damaged Treasure Ship.

The Treasure Ship is on a – 2 modifier (-1 Merchantman, -1 crippled), but with the Pirate Queen has ‘Derring do’ which reduces combat factors to 0 and Intimidating which gives +1

The damaged Pirate Junk which had escaped grounding also managed to avoid the ‘Whirlpool of Indesit’ so now Li Chee had a huge prize and both pirate junks survived the encounter. Time to pay off the Head hunters cheaply, repair and refit the junks and spend days counting treasure. As Feng Shui drowned with his ship she looked forward to further profitable ventures, but first she needed a patron to establish bases for repair and re- victualling.

Feng Shui was grateful to be picked up by the Proa, though whilst he clung onto the outrigger, he pondered his next move. Returning to China was out of the question, an excruciating death at the hands of Emperor Ming the Merciless lay in wait. Yet if he tried to make a new life here, the long hands of Ming’s empire would grab him by the throat. What he needed was a Pirate Hunter and fast.

Appendix Vessel stats for the Engagement

Club meeting 11th September

A brief picture album of the third meeting back, still operating under members only rules.

Four games in play today, in chronological order:

First up a FOG Ancients game by Colin & Paul, we only have one picture of this unfortunately.

FOG Ancients game in progress

Moving on to the 17th Century we had a FOG Renaissance game with Brett, Pete, John and Mark, the Scots involvement in the English Civil War.

FOG Renaissance Scottish (mostly) await the attack.
FOG Renaissance Cavalry on the move
FOG Renaissance ECW Scottish in action

Moving on a couple of Centuries we move to Mexico in the 1860’s, with the French Intervention played by Alan and Mike using Zouave II rules.

Republican Mexican defences
French and Imperial Mexicans advance

Finally we have a couple of games of Stargrave.

The first game was run by Stephen, with Eric, Marcus, Jeremey and Andy sending their crews to investigate Dr Moreau’s House of Pain.

First Stargrave game, run by Stephen
Dr Moreau’s bunker from Andy’s point of view
Andy’s crew fight off Audrey II
Marcus’ alien crew
Eric’s and Marcus’ crews approach each other
Marcus’ and Eric’s crews engage
Dr Moreau’s creatures take the high ground as Jeremey’s crew approach the compound
Andy’s crew try hacking the force field

We had to cut the first game short as Stephen had to leave, so we then played a second game which Jeremey had devised. As Andy’s crew had to disband after his Captain was killed in the first game he ran the second game enabling Jeremey to play.

A ship had crashed, leaving a trail of cargo and potential loot in its wake. Jeremey, Eric and Marcus’s crews came looking for loot, with indigenous interference run by Andy.

Eric’s crew, lead by Captain Greyfax
The crashed freighter, with cargo strewn in its trail. Jeremey’s crew approaching from the top of the picture, Eric’s from the bottom.
Eric’s crew approach the wreck
Eric and Jeremey’s crews fight over the loot (the corrugated fence representing a Holographic Wall)
The indigenes

Da Vinci Condotta

John looks back at a Dragon Rampant Warband he built for a past club campaign…

Some time ago Stephen hosted a Dragon Rampant Campaign where my Da Vinci Condotta warband was narrowly beaten into second place by Tony Gibb’s army. With some WIP Wednesday painting articles centred on this ruleset, I thought I’d dust off the army and explain how I went about making it.

Prior to the campaign, we’d had a few trial games where my Dark Age force fared badly and I decided I’d have to change if I was going to be competitive. I’d never been a fantasy gamer so had no Orcs, Elves or Dwarves so decided to go with a human based theme at minimum cost.

Research

I came up with the idea of a warband which would include some of Leonardo da Vinci’s war machines with some Italian Renaissance figures. Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan sponsored Leonardo who created a number of sketches of war machines and a TV programme entitled ‘Doing Da Vinci’ used these sketches to reproduce the machines. I thought with some plasticard to make the machines and a box of Perry Plastic Late Medieval Mercenaries and a box of Late Medieval Mounted Knights I could make a suitable warband.

Humans

The Leader had to be Ludovico Sforza himself leading a unit of knights.

Elite riders

These would be the shock melee unit, best used against damaged and disrupted units to deliver the ‘Coup de Grace’. I gave them an ability to prevent wild charges, they needed to be in control.

Next up I needed the Bulwark of the Warband and chose to make these Milanese Militia pikemen, which I painted with combinations of white, red and green hose. I needed to add a magic element and picked up a Sorceress at Cavalier. I found that Caterina Sforza (Ed: Ludovico’s illegitimate niece). was a noted Alchemist so she would have the ability to confuse an opponent’s unit, to heal a unit and to provide a long range powerbolt.

Heavy foot with Wizardling

I needed more shooting potential and decided on a unit of scouts. For these I used Handgunners and gave them the invisible ability (due to gunsmoke). This meant they could only be targeted in melee or via magic. If I placed them in difficult ground they would be a handy irritant.

Scouts

On to the machines.

My first build over a weekend was the Armoured Car. I mocked up the conical design using paper templates, then drew them out onto 20 thou Plastikard and scribed on the planking. I painted the planks individually then washed with brown mixed with Flow Enhancer, producing a wood grain effect. The vehicle is fitted with a number of small calibre guns to provide all round fire, for which I used plastic tubing. In ‘Doing Da Vinci’, the vehicle produced from the plans could move but firing all guns simultaneously would result in deafness for the crew. I decided mine would be propelled by captured Turkish Galley slaves. I gave the crew a fearful ability as I reasoned that they would be as afraid as their opponent of this machine. I mounted the model on a landscaped foiled cake base. This would prove to be a good flank guard.

Heavy riders with missiles

The second build was an Airscrew. I wanted this to be like a Helicopter gunship, flying over a terrain item to deliver a lethal volley of crossbow bolts before retreating to safety. This proved to be a more difficult build as I had to get the sail pattern right. I found a ‘how to’ rubber band powered model video and plan on the internet and used this as a basis. The central spindle was plastic tube and the fighting platform was plasticard. The crew were modified Perry plastics. I gave them the fearful ability, who wouldn’t be scared, and added a sharpshooter ability to provide a lethal hit. The Airscrew fits onto a bolt on a cake stand base.

Light Riders Flyers

So this was my starter warband and as the campaign progressed I was able to add additional units.

Human Reinforcements

I added a unit of Light infantry in which I mixed javelin armed troops with blade armed ones. I used Gripping Beast Dark age Infantry javelin figures cut off at the wrist and glued onto the arm of the Perry figures. I scratchbuilt the large oval shields from plastic card with a Milanese design and I repeated the white, red and green hose patterns I’d used on the Militia Pike.

Light Foot

Next I needed some Mercenaries. There would also be English Bills and Bows – Dogs of War that had survived the Wars of the Roses.

English Bills
English Bows

Finally, I added a unit of Elite Foot Knights, probably German Mercenaries.

German Knights

More Machines

The next machine I made was a 33 barrelled organ gun. On ‘Doing Da Vinci’ this machine really worked well with an 11 shot salvo firing shot the size of a tennis ball, with devastating effect.

Organ Gun

I made the guns using plastic tubing. The design has a rotating centre section so that after firing, the barrels rotate for the next salvo. This was a complete plasticard scratch build and the crew come from Perry plastics, all mounted on a cd.

Finally, I made a War Chariot. Here, a geared mechanism controls rotating blades like a food processor. In ‘Doing Da Vinci’ this was another lethal weapon.

Assault Chariot

This was another complete scratchbuild and I decided to paint the horses and horse armour in black again mounted on a cd.

Well that’s it, though I’m still thinking of adding a unit of three Ornithopters as another scout unit.

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