My fixation with rules from Ganesha Games continues with the recently(ish) released Galleys & Galleons rules written by Nic Wright. Nic recently mentioned that he was testing a fantasy expansion for the rules and I contacted him about helping test them if only as an excuse to pull out all of my Man O’ War and Uncharted Seas figures.
The core Galleys & Galleons rules are an example of what you can do to a simple system like Song of Blades and Heroes to repurpose it to another game type. While it shares the activation and combat resolution system of SoBH, and also a variant of the damage system Mighty Monsters, all it takes is a few tweaks (and some good additional rule writing) to make a naval game. Nic Wright did a lot of work to make a new game that has similar core concepts which allows you to focus on learning and applying the new material.
Playing the game, with the usual caveats about it being the first time, took a bit of getting used to. Obviously your ship only moves once so unlike SoBH there are more often times when you don’t need to roll your maximum number of dice. You need more activations once you are in contact with the enemy fleet but until then you can often get away with ‘safe’ two dice rolls. We played on a table that was too long and so we spent a bit of time getting into gun range with each other. Once we did get into combat range the game actually ended quite quickly with Danny crippling two of my Dwarven Cruisers and then boarding them to force a surrender.
I routinely turned over initiative on even two dice rolls and had a part of my fleet that spent most of the time just sailing straight ahead. Danny suggested that they were drunk and that seems appropriate for Dwarfs. I was rolling very low for most of the game so even when I got in a broadside shot against one of Danny’s frigates I rolled a 1 and Danny was safe from any damage.
Turning over initiative in the game is actually quite problematic since any ships that haven’t activated take their default move and you risk having tightly packed ships run into one another. This happened twice for us but thankfully the collision table rolls were good to us. The game uses coloured dice to indicate damage to the ships but I thought it would be simpler to use damage tokens and then remember that you needed to use coloured dice when damaged.
The beta rules for the fantasy expansion have quite a lot of additions to make it possible to build up stats for almost all of the Uncharted Seas range. The one thing that is missing is some way to take into account the hulking nature of things like the Orc War Tower.
We most certainly did some things wrong (corrected a few of them while we were playing as well) but I will be going back to the rulebook and then creating some stats for all of my Uncharted Sea Dwarf and Orc ships and then hopefully trying the game out again in a few days. Certainly a fun game and a great way to get my Uncharted Seas minis on the table again.