Let's Sailing! Sails of Glory

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Let's Sailing! Sails of Glory

Postby The Other Dave on Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:35 pm

I'd been hearing buzz about this game for a couple years, read some reviews and such, and at the beginning of the month found a retailer here in Japan that had a starter box in stock, so I pulled the trigger and bought myself a big box of sailing ships as a Christmas present to myself.

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Ares Games plus <foo> of Glory tells you pretty much all you need about this game's provenence - it's based on the Wings of Glory system (that FFG streamlined so successfully into X-Wing), just with Tall Ships instead of biplanes. Of course, there's a lot to be done in the rules to make the game actually about ships, but the basic idea is there.

Here's what I got in the box: 4 ships (a third-rate ship of the line and a frigate each for the British and the French) and lots and lots of little cardboard counters (I bought the tupperware to hold and sort them myself, 'cause I'm anal-retentive that way).

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Like Wings of Glory, Sails aims to resolve everything without recourse to either tape measures or dice. You've got decks of cards with maneuvers for your ships (different ships maneuver differently, of course), and quite a few different kinds of counters for tracking damage - a given broadside always causes the same number of damage counters, those counters just have different things on them depending on range and ammunition type - long range fire with ball shot has quite a few zero counters that don't do anything, while if you use grapeshot you'll do a lot of crew damage but not much to the hull.

Here's how you keep track of one of your ships:

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This is the so-called "ship's log," where you track damage, give orders, keep track of which broadsides are loaded and with what kind of ammo, your sail settings, and all kinds of stuff. (It's scalable - you can ignore a few, some, or even a great many of the rules and still have a fun game - but quite crunchy. Most of the reviews suggest that controlling two ships per side is kind of a sweet spot between fun and fiddliness.) Also there's slots for your movement cards, since you have to plan your moves two turns in advance, three-decker ships of the line not being known for their nimbleness.

You can get an idea of how damage works looking at the Defence's log here - there's a hull damage track on top and a crew damage track beneath. Undamaged, a broadside in her central firing arc will cause the target ship to draw 6 counters of the appropriate type. Those counters will fill up the damage boxes (each box can "hold" damage up to a certain number depending on the size of the ship), and the leftmost uncovered box shows your current broadsides. When either hull or crew damage counters are full up, the ship surrenders.

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A close-up of one of the ships. They're 1:1000 scale, pre-painted and really pretty well done. The sails are a bit flat, but overall I have no complaints.

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And here's movement in action. If you've played Wings of Glory this'll look familiar - line up the card with the front of the ship, then place the ship as indicated. There's a lot of info on the card - three different move distances for your three different sail settings, and how far you move along the line depends on your position relative to the wind. You can see the wind meter here, pointing at the ship's center mast and over a green area on the edge of the base. This indicates the ship is reaching, and can move as far as the green mark on the card. (If the wind indicator is in the red, you're taken aback and are in Big Trouble.)

It actually looks like a fundamentally simple system, even if it relies on many many tiny little cardboard counters. (I grew up on Avalon Hill wargames, so I have a bit of a soft spot for games that use many many tiny little cardboard counters.) Sort of like Wings of Glory and X-Wing (and probably moreso thanks to having to plan in advance and the vagaries of the wind) I expect learning how to drive your ship will be the hardest thing to get a handle on, rather than the rules as such.

One more system for me to try and find time to play games with! :D
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Re: Let's Sailing! Sails of Glory

Postby job on Sat Dec 17, 2016 12:20 am

Very cool. Be sure to watch Master & Commander or Hornblower before each game! (Or that Dutch movie, The Admiral.)
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Re: Let's Sailing! Sails of Glory

Postby Mike the Pike on Sat Dec 17, 2016 12:27 am

You are a very bad man! I'm in when I have the dosh. Wanna play at the first meet-up in January!
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Re: Let's Sailing! Sails of Glory

Postby The Other Dave on Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:49 am

Mike the Pike wrote:You are a very bad man! I'm in when I have the dosh. Wanna play at the first meet-up in January!

No hurry on buying in - if the reviews are to be believed, these four ships will probably keep us pretty busy. :D When you do, though, I'll probably pick up a first-rate and maybe another third-rate for the British just for giggles.
Miniatures painted in 2017:
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15mm: 1 tank, 2 buildings
28mm: 181 infantry, 4 vehicles, 5 buildings
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Re: Let's Sailing! Sails of Glory

Postby ashmie on Sat Dec 17, 2016 12:22 pm

This gets a NagHam like from me. Big Ultramarine thumbs up.
I expect full battle reports, campaign maps and backstory threads for this game starting from January please :D
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Re: Let's Sailing! Sails of Glory

Postby AndrewGPaul on Sun Dec 18, 2016 4:47 pm

job wrote:Very cool. Be sure to watch Master & Commander or Hornblower before each game! (Or that Dutch movie, The Admiral.)


Sadly, I don't think there's a suitable ship for HMS Surprise, nor USS Norfolk. A second wave of ships is coming soon, though.
I really like the game, despite my lubberly sailing skills resulting in numerous becalmings and collisions. :) I've yet to use the full rules for sail settings and special damage.

Annoyingly, the title of this thread has got this stuck in my head:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOt3oQ_k008
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Re: Let's Sailing! Sails of Glory

Postby The Other Dave on Mon Dec 19, 2016 12:16 am

AndrewGPaul wrote:I really like the game, despite my lubberly sailing skills resulting in numerous becalmings and collisions. :) I've yet to use the full rules for sail settings and special damage.


I'm fully expecting my first several games to be comedies of errors, ships wandering around blindly, turning into the wind and smashing into each other willy-nilly, only getting shots off when an enemy ship manages to similarly blunder into their firing arcs.

AndrewGPaul wrote:Annoyingly, the title of this thread has got this stuck in my head:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOt3oQ_k008

How 'bout this one?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyYhZ9HH8cI
Miniatures painted in 2017:
Fleet: 2 cruisers
15mm: 1 tank, 2 buildings
28mm: 181 infantry, 4 vehicles, 5 buildings
Currently focusing on: 40K, Malifaux
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Re: Let's Sailing! Sails of Glory

Postby AndrewGPaul on Mon Dec 19, 2016 1:02 am

Never heard that before, and it's not so instantly memorable.

If anyone still has a copy of Dreadfleet, the mat in that game is excellent for Sails Of Glory too.
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Re: Let's Sailing! Sails of Glory

Postby jehan-reznor on Mon Dec 19, 2016 1:43 am

As a Battlefleet gothic fan, this looks interesting, the ships look nice too.

No Flying Dutchman? ;)
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Re: Let's Sailing! Sails of Glory

Postby The Other Dave on Mon Feb 06, 2017 2:12 pm

Something I forgot to say, and which may be relevant as more people are showing a bit of interest:

The rulebook is available for free, here: http://www.aresgames.eu/9927

And, as it's laid out not-greatly (it starts with the bare-bones basic game, then lists changes to those rules for the increasingly-complex game modes, then lists a raft of optional rules, some of which only apply to more-complex game modes, or apply to different game modes in different ways, which makes for a lot of flipping about and rules-hunting), I made up a one-sheet rules reference that you can get off my dropbox here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/435 ... 20SoG.docx

Well, it's one sheet per game mode, anyway. I think, from my depths of hard-won experience (read: "one game with Mike"), that the "standard game with optional rules" level is probably a good starting point for getting into the game.
Miniatures painted in 2017:
Fleet: 2 cruisers
15mm: 1 tank, 2 buildings
28mm: 181 infantry, 4 vehicles, 5 buildings
Currently focusing on: 40K, Malifaux
I started a blog! https://chubugamer.wordpress.com/
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