Night Raid on Qui Nhon

John reports on a follow up game to Treasure Islands, using Ganesha Games Galleys and Galleons rules and his scratch built junks.

Angry that she’d missed out on treasure from the wrecked ships, Li Chee the Pirate Queen shadowed Admiral Feng Shui from the islands to Qui Nhon in the South China Sea. Determined to exact revenge, she planned a night raid on the harbour at Qui Nhon (see picture above).

She hoped to capture one of the junks, avoiding the larger Treasure Ships and the Admiral’s Flagship. She’d also have to avoid the attentions of the fort guarding the harbour entrance.

Li Chee passes the fort guarding Qui Nhon Harbour

All Feng Shui’s ships were moored facing into the wind. Li Chee decided to go for the smallest Junk. This would make a fine pirate Junk to accompany her on further adventures and was bound to hold some treasure too.

In this scenario, Feng Shui can only activate when Li Chee performs a boarding or firing action.

The first activation. Li Chee rolls up to 3 activation dice requiring 2+ to take an action. The double 5 indicates a change in wind direction of one point clockwise.

Li Chee slowly and silently passed by the fort and after several moves is in a position upwind of the smallest Junk ready to strike in a swift and deadly boarding action.

Li Chee’s crew have ‘Derring Do’. This reduces the combat value of both vessels to zero in the first boarding action of the game. They are intimidating so get a +1 modifier. The enemy Junk has a -2 modifier from the scenario and a further -1 being a Merchantman. The Junk is tripled and takes 3 damage. Ouch!

The hapless Junk attempts to cut the grapples and head away.

Two activations are sufficient to cut the grapples but the ‘1’ requires the ship to take an all at sea roll. A ‘3’ is reduced by 1 as Li Chee is a Dread Pirate. Li Chee decides to let the Junk continue. She will move in for the kill next turn.

All this commotion has alerted Feng Shui, who turns his junk which is in irons to a firing position.

In the next round of combat, Li Chee takes her prize – now to escape!

The captured junk is now manned by a prize crew and Feng Shui opens fire on it.

Feng Shui opens fire to no effect. The reinforced Junk hull proving invaluable.

As the pirate junks begin to pull away to safety, Feng Shui makes a boarding attempt on Li Chee’s junk. Li Chee is in great peril.

Boarding! Li Chee has an intimidating crew and gets +1 but Feng Shui has a higher combat value, high castles and Drilled Soldiers. The dice roll saves Li Chee but the Feng Shui’s veteran NCO rallies the troops.

It had been a lucky escape for Li Chee and using actions to cut the grapples and break free she was able to move away from Feng Shui, who was now in a bad position and would have to sail round the island or lose time in irons. The two pirate junks would now have to run the gauntlet of the fort.

The fort opens fire first on the captured junk.

The Junk is not doubled but the ‘6’ dice roll causes a point of damage.

And then on the Pirate Queen.

The fort fires on the Pirate Queen to no effect.

As the pirate Junks head for safety, the fort manages to fire on them again a longer range but fails to score a hit.

As the sun begins to rise in the east, Li Chee and her pirate crews make good their escape.

It had been a close-run thing but now, Li Chee had a second junk which she would repair and turn into a formidable fighting ship. Feng Shui was worried as he tried to get to grips with the Chilli Crab. The treacherous Straits of Malacca would have to be negotiated with their swirling currents and risk of ambush – things did not look good.

Appendix

This game was based on the cutting out scenario from the Galleys and Galleons rule book. Vessel and fort stats below:

Feng Shui’s flotilla:

Li Chee’s ship:

The Capture of Marco Linguine – Battle Report

John puts the 3D printed galleys supplied by fellow club member Colin into battle. This is a solo battle report using the Galleys and Galleons rules.

Introduction.
Rum Baba, an infamous Barbary pirate had been driven eastwards by the Christian warships but was still a thorn in the side of Venice. It was decided to despatch one of the newly built Galleass to their base at Chania in Crete to rid the Mediterranean of this menace for ever. En route, the Galleass and it’s escort were ambushed by Rum Baba and his pirate crews.

The Opposing Squadrons (details in Appendix)

The Venetian Squadron comprised the Lanterna Flagship commanded by Linguine, the new Galleass and a small Galliot to act as scout and draw the attention of the Ottomans. The Ottomans comprised Rum Baba in the Lanterna and three swift but lightly armed Galliots.

The Ambushing Ottomans lie in wait

Move 1
The Ottomans win the initiative roll and will move first each move. At the start of each move every vessel has to roll up to three D6 and roll equal or above its Q value to gain a successful action

This Galliot has a Q value of 2 so gets 3 actions, two of which it can use for movement. The double 3 denotes a change in wind direction one point anticlockwise. This does not affect the Galliots but may affect the Galleass which is propelled by sail.

The Galliots rush towards the Venetian Galliot intent on its destruction. Meanwhile, the Venetians move up cautiously and the Galleass takes in sail to maintain formation.

Position after move 1 from the Venetian side. They approach cautiously hoping to get a close range shot in before boarding actions begin.

The Ottomans move up and use their final action to open fire at long range. One point of damage is inflicted on the Venetian Galliot from this fusillade.

These two Galliots have a base combat factor of 2. The range is Medium so no firing factors are added. If the target is doubled by the modified dice roll a point of damage is inflicted and the target then has to roll on the Critical Damage table. If the attackers roll is even, it causes one point of damage with no roll on the Critical Damage table.

The Venetians move into close range and fire back

In addition to it’s broadside the Galleass is equipped with Chaser Guns which have a combat value of 1. All firing vessels get a plus 1 for close range. BOOM!
The Galleass rolls a 6. This is a critical hit and the Galliot has to roll on the Critical Hit table and sustains another point of damage. It’s hit again later in the move and now has 3 damage points, one more and it will strike. Ouch!
The Ottomans strike back. The Lanterna causes a point of damage to the Venetian Galliot which closes with the Ottoman Galliot and takes another point of damage so 3 points of damage each!
As the melee rages, the Galleass makes good it’s escape

Two Galliots and the Ottoman Lanterna close in on the outnumbered Venetian flagship and the two Galliots who have locked in combat fight to a standstill. The Galliots have the Derring Do special rule and attack with reckless ferocity. In the first round, all base combats are reduced to zero.

Here with base combat values at zero, the Lanterna is up against. Here it loses the combat but has the Veteran NCO special rule which gives a +1 bonus when losing by one or the adjusted roll is tied. Both vessels take a point of damage as the adjusted rolls are now tied.
With the Venetian Flagship on 3 damage points, the Ottoman Lanterna moves in to deliver the Coup de Grace and Linguine Strikes his colours

With the Venetian Flagship on 3 damage points, the Ottoman Lanterna moves in to deliver the Coup de Grace and Linguine Strikes his colours
With the Galleass now a dot on the horizon, Rum Baba takes Linguine’s surrender and collects his prizes. He hoped for a profitable ransom for Linguine and whilst He would sleep well tonight in the company of concubines, that Galleass worried him. His captains had been reckless, they would need to be more savvy next time.

Appendix – Data sheets for vessels involved in the conflict

 

Treasure Islands

John Lambert goes in search of treasure in the South China Seas.

Emperor Ming has sent his treasure fleet south laden with tea, ceramics, gold and fine silks. Bound for India, it is beset by a massive typhoon in the South China Seas close to Borneo. The resultant Tsunami, sweeps the fleets on to treacherous shores of an archipelago, the ships are crushed like matchwood. Ming orders Admiral Feng Shui to recover Gold treasure from the once mighty Treasure Ship the ‘Shandong Trader’. En route, Feng Shui enlists a local Proa to help with navigation and the search. As they approach the islands, Feng Shui is disturbed to find they have company. The black sails of Pirate Queen Li Chee in the ‘Sea Scorpion’, accompanied by a small pirate junk have been shadowing him for days and now it was a race against time.

In the first turn, both sides locate treasure on two of the islands. All this commotion triggered the ire of Head hunters in dugout canoes, which headed for the nearest vessel, the Proa.

(In the scenario, a roll of 5, 6 means treasure is successfully located. Headhunters are normally discovered on a search roll of 1. I added this extra element selecting the island of deployment randomly then location for deployment determined by a D10).

At the end of the first turn, the Headhunters are closing in on the Proa and the Imperial treasure. Li Chee prepares a cunning move seeking to stern rake the Imperial Flagship, whilst the second pirate junk will head for the bottom island.

In the morning light, Li Chee in a more manoeuvrable junk prepares a devastating Stern Rake.

The stern rake is not devastating!

(The white dice show the combat modifiers applied to the base combat factors. The red dice are the combat rolls. Li Chee needed to double Feng Shui or roll an even number on the red dice to cause damage).

This shows the Headhunters in hot pursuit of the Proa whilst the Pirate junk prepares to search the lower Island.

A Change in wind direction allows Feng Shui to close in on the pirate junk and fire.

(There were not enough activation dice to fire a broadside and the reinforced junk hull has prevented a doubling. The danger was not heeded!).

The Headhunters attempt to board the Proa and fail!

(The Proa has a combat value of 0 but it’s a 6:1 combat roll!)

A fatal error. Instead of sailing off the edge of the board and safety, the pirate junk is exposed to a stern rake which this time is devastating. Meanwhile, the tenacious Headhunters manage to board the Proa.

(The Junk is tripled. 3 damage [red dice for Feng Shui not shown] and a roll on the critical hit table [3, 3] means it begins to sink. The Proa takes one damage but is not captured by the Headhunters [another lucky 6!]).

The Proa decides to head off table and safety, the crazed Headhunters attack Feng Shui’s flagship to no avail, it’s just too powerful a target to attempt.

As a tropical squall closes in, Li Chee heads off to nurse a bruised ego, vowing revenge whilst Feng Shui has recovered some treasure. Will Feng Shui get that promotion He is after or will Li Chee get her revenge, stay tuned to the next instalment of ‘On Farthest Tides’.

(I’d played this scenario several times, each time giving a different result. The activation method and variation in wind direction during the game really make for exciting and unpredictable battles. The rules play smoothly and suit solo play well.)

Dim Sum’s First Foray

John Lambert plays with his junks.

I scouted around for a suitable set of rules for Chinese Junk Warfare. I wanted a set that would allow ship v ship action during the age of Discovery in the Far East. I saw that a set of Solo play instructions were available for the Galleys and Galleons ruleset and so took the plunge. After three play test games, I’m glad I did. They fit the bill well and whilst they may not appeal to purists they appear suitable for other theatres. As they are quick play, with a minimum of reference tables you could easily play large scale encounters such as Galley battles in the Mediterranean, Armada battles or pirate adventures in the Caribbean prior to Line of Battle tactics.

Play Area and Measurement
The rules are designed for 2ft, 3ft, 4ft square table options. All ranges and movement distances are measured using measuring sticks scaled to the play area.

Vessel Stats
There are example stats for 36 different vessels in the rulebook and 27 individual special rules you can use to build your own ships using a downloadable fleet builder to tailor your own designs and calculate a points value for the vessel. Each vessel has two common stats these are Quality (Q) and combat (C). C can never be more than Q+1. The lower the Q value, the easier it is to activate a vessel and it is likely to carry out more actions in a turn though this is likely to be disadvantaged in combat compared to a larger vessels which are likely to have less actions in a turn though the use of the special rules can add combat bonuses so for example a Race Built Galleon may have a Q value of 2 and a C value of 3, add trained Gun crew and Master Gunner special rules and you have a tough customer though this comes at a point cost. Points costs re used to provide a balanced game.

Activations
To start with three ‘white’ dice are rolled for a designated vessel and compared to the Q value. Any roll equal to or over the Q value allows an action. All sailing ships get a movement action but if they fail to succeed any activations rolls, they continue on the current setting even if they sail over the edge of the world or into shallows. These vessels which have the Razee special rule have been lightened and can move an additional short move – good for chasing down an opponent. All movement distances are based on the type of rig – Square Rig, Galleon Rig or Lateen Rig and attitude to wind. Other special rules include Yare which allow an additional change of direction and shortening sail – important to avoid those rocks. When a player fails to activate a vessel or completes his turn, initiative passes to the opponent.

Combat
This is a straight D6 roll with C value added and any other combat bonuses depending on gunnery or boarding action. Additional actions allocated to combat can boost these too or are required to deliver a stern rake broadside and during boarding, so timing of a boarding attempt is critical. When a vessel is damaged, it has to roll on the critical hit table (2 x D6)

Effect of damage.
If vessel is damaged, usually by combat a ‘white’ dice is replaced by a ‘red’ dice. If a 1 is rolled on the ‘red’ dice, bad things happen. Of course, you don’t need to roll a ‘red’ dice but your actions are limited. Quite neat.

Scenarios and campaign rules
There are five scenarios of which I’ll use four in my games and simple campaign rules for a Mercantile or Pirate player. There is also a section on Fantasy beasts – a Kraken and Leviathan which have some appeal. One of the drivers for me was the Korean film ‘Pirates’ where a huge whale swallows the royal seal of the Emperor and the ‘plot’ centres on it’s retrieval.

Playtest
I pitted Dim Sum’s Pirate ship against a Merchantman using the introductory pursuit scenario.

Dim Sum’s Junk : Q3, C2 lateen rigged, reinforced hull
Merchantman : Q4, C3 lateen rigged, reinforced hull, Chaser Guns (360o), Merchantman (not so good at firing or boarding actions).

In this scenario, the defender Merchantman sets the play area and wind direction with terrain items to bog down the pursuer. The objective for the Merchantman is to cross the play area diagonally. The pursuer can select one of the other three corners to deploy on and starts with the initiative.

Dim Sum choose to broad reach around the shallows and get at the Merchantman as soon as possible. Dim Sum’s lower combat value and reinforced hulls would make damaging the Merchantman difficult. When activation dice are rolled and there is a double, the wind changes direction. Mid table both ships traded desultory boardsides at long range to no effect but in the final third, Dim Sum managed to get three successful actions and was able to move into position to deliver a stern rake broadside at close range.

The Merchantman had been doubled , taking a damage and having to roll on the Critical Damage table, 2 D6 (avoiding an 11 or 12)

Oh Dear! The Merchantman’s magazine has exploded and Dim Sum had his first victim.