17 October 2011
Battle of Castle Rock Island
Our first proper game of Uncharted Seas in more than a month, we started by setting out the sea mat and islands to play Dreadfleet, but we decided to break out the reliable old fleets instead. 800 points in each fleet, no composition rules and no special objectives. I placed my Shroud Mages along the southern edge of the space, a pair of frigates to the north scouting for a battleship, then a pair of heavy cruisers, the flagship Lightbringer, a squadron of Adept Destroyers, and, somewhere, a Ripper Submersible lurked beneath the becalmed waters. And barely three feet away, suddenly appearing as the fog lifts slightly, and just within long range, was Admiral Redhammer's fleet of Iron Dwarves with battleship, flagship, heavy cruisers, destroyers, and their Cursed Bellows Skyships.
Start of Turn 1: Iron Dwarves to the North and Shroud Mages to the South. Note the coffee mug from the Blogger's favorite used bookstore just beyond the southwest corner of the board; not for any good reason, I was just very pleased to be sipping hot coffee from my Powell's mug while playing my usual opponent my favorite tabletop naval game on a new sea mat during a comfortable Sunday afternoon. No harm in recognizing the pleasure of having the time (and cash) to enjoy this hobby.
Admiral Redhammer signaled for the destroyers to advance under cover of the skyships, and somewhere beneath the surface lurked a pair of Iron Dwarven submersibles. Shroud Mage Admiral Illyrio ordered arcane countermeasures while the flagship Lightbringer fires all bow canon against one of the skyships, severely damaging the airship with the black night painted hull.
Meanwhile, to the southwest, Admiral Illyrio's younger cousin, Captain Antonio, ordered the battleship Gravity two points to starboard and fire bow cannon against Redhammer's battleship. The gun crews seemed to be asleep at their posts as only one, and then a second, maybe a third gun went off, in ragged sequence, cannon balls splashing down at least one hundred yards short of their target. The helmsman was also not paying attention.
More ships on both sides moved ahead, some of them firing guns from turrets, but turn 1 came to a conclusion with some dented armor on some ships and resolution by both admirals to sink the enemy.
I won initiative again for Shroud Mages, activating the heavy cruiser squadron first. We found the perfect place to keep the turn counter die cocked between the main tower and wall on Castle Island.
Admiral Redhammer gives the order for the Belcher Submersibles to breach and attack the enemy. One sub successfully attacks the SM heavy cruiser, starting two raging fires, both fore and aft, before executing a panic dive and slipping back under the surface; the second sub makes an attack but lingers on the surface and is subsequently rammed by the flagship Lightbringer which also fired a broadside and fore attack successfully against both Bellows skyships.
I had aimed to put some damage on the destroyers, airships, battleship, and destroyers without focusing on destroying any of them, trying to reduce their better broadside ratings so I could execute my grand strategy of closing and ramming the enemy ships. I had ignored the approaching submersibles to the misfortune of one Tormentor and the SM destroyer squadron.
The flagship Lightbringer managed to fire a starboard broadside which destroyed one Bellows skyship with a bang while the the bow guns fired and scored a critical hit on the near airship, crippling Admiral Redhammers sky forces. Lots of sixes rolled for both attacks. The western flank of the battle is relatively uneventful as the respective battleships exchange warning shots and slowly churn toward each other.
As we concluded the second turn of our fantasy naval confrontation, Sabine that Cat decided to take a break from writing her novel to watch the battle.
Both Admirals played turn cards, the Iron Dwarves setting their repair parties to work while the ship's mage on the Lightbringer successfully cast a Maelstron of Light spell into the center of the ID destroyer squadron, catching their flagship in the blast of bright light as well.
Again, I seize initiative and activate the heavy cruiser squadron to move ahead and fire all guns. The undamaged Tormenter, unafraid of steaming ahead into their own spell of light, fired fore guns to damage another destroyer and a starboard broadside to put yet one more hull point of damage on the Redhammer flagship.
The remaining Bellows skyship, trailing smoke from severe damage, manages to move into a bombs away position which eliminates the second destroyer in the squadron and inflicts damage on the Lightbringer.
My plan had been to keep my destroyer squadron intact to escort my flagship into short range with the enemy, and I had tried to destroy both skyships before any bombs were dropped, but clearly our crews needed more skygunning practice. And the remaining destroyer turned to maneuver around to the small island to the south (right) side of the Redhammer flagship.
Green dice were used to track attacks from the stern rake position, and my opponent continued to roll sixes again and again. Clearly my luck had turned, and now my opponent was taunting me.