Be that as it may, I have managed to get in another game that incorporates all of the tweaks etc from the previous versions and prior play testing. It has worked a treat with only minor tidying up around the ramming rules and the number of ships that can occupy a grid area.
In order to push to Vicksburg the Union forces first had to secure the waterways so as to allow for speedier troop transfers and supplies getting to the front line. In order to achieve this they first had to find, engage and neutralise the powerful rebel ironclad, the C.S.S. Arkansas.
A Union cavalry patrol had sighted the rebel ironclad berthed in a minor back water and so a scratch force of three ships, the gunboat U.S.S. Essex and the two rams, the U.S.S. Switzerland and the U.S.S. Queen of the West was hastily assembled and tasked with bringing the rebel ship to heel. The reasoning behind the composition of this force was simple. The U.S.S. Essex would provide the firepower whilst the two rams would look to administer the coup de grace whilst the rebel ironclad was occupied in a shooting battle.
Unbeknown to the Union forces the Confederates had gotten wind of this sortie via the same method i.e. a cavalry patrol had spotted the three ships making their way at all speed towards the mighty ironclad. Not wishing to caught at a anchor the C.S.S. Arkansas raised steam and swung her bows towards the approaching enemy raiders. Battle would soon be joined.
The protagonists - The C.S.S. Arkansas in the foreground with (from left to right) the U.S.S. Queen of the West, the U.S.S. Essex and the U.S.S. Switzerland. As usual, any resemblance between the models and their historical counterparts is purely coincidental and representatively intentional….
C.S.S. Arkansas - Size: Medium, Speed: 2, Flotation Points: 9 (6/3), Armour: 3, Guns: FW: 2/2, P, S: 2/3, Ram Bow
U.S.S. Essex - Size: Large, Speed: 2, Flotation Points: 12 (8/4), Armour: 2 Guns: FW: 3/4, P, S: 2/2
U.S.S. Queen of the West - Size: Medium, Speed: 2, Flotation Points: 9 (6/3), Armour: 1, Ram Bow
U.S.S. Switzerland - Size: Medium, Speed: 1, Flotation Points: 9 (6/3), Armour: 1, Guns: P, S 1/0 Ram Bow
The Initial Positions
The U.S.S. Essex, in a loose formation with the two rams - the U.S.S. Queen of the West (off the starboard beam of the U.S.S. Essex) and the U.S.S. Switzerland bringing up the rear. Meanwhile, the C.S.S. Arkansas approaches from the south eastern corner.
Turn 1. No firing thus far so straight to the initiative rolls. The Union scored 5 whilst the Confederates rolled 2. The Union, no doubt keen to ascertain the intentions of the C.S.S. Arkansas, opted to allow the Confederate to move first.
End of Turn 1. The U.S.S. Essex heads straight for the rebel ironclad in order to bring her powerful forward battery into action. The faster U.S.S. Queen of the West cuts closely across the bows of the slower U.S.S. Switzerland to support the Union gunboat. The C.S.S. Arkansas readies her forward artillery whilst her commander considers making use of her ram and so orders full speed ahead.
Turn 2. Both the leading ships open fire. The U.S.S. Essex rolls 3d6 at a range of 3 (remember that the square the firing ship occupies counts as range 1 and at range 3 a 6 is needed for a hit) scoring a pair of 2s and a 6. The 6 generates a further d6 roll which comes up as a miss. The damage roll is a 5 which adds a 1 due to penetration of 4 against armour of 3. The final score is 6 meaning 2 points of damage are scored against the C.S.S. Arkansas. The rebel ships fires back to no effect, scoring a 2 and a 5. For initiative the Union rolled 4 whilst the Confederate rolled a 1. The Union opted to move first.
End of Turn 2. The C.S.S. Arkansas attempts to ram the U.S.S. Essex head on but only lands a glancing blow (she rolled 4d6 scoring a pair of 2s and a pair of 3s) so both ships find themselves broadside on at point blank range! Meanwhile the two rams manoeuvre to secure the best position to launch their own attacks.
Turn 3. At point blank range the U.S.S. Essex and the C.S.S. Arkansas exchange ineffective broadsides - no doubt the gun crews were still recovering from the jarring ram attack of the rebel ironclad. A single hit is scored by the Union ship but the effect roll was insufficient to cause any damage. For initiative the Union roll a 1 whilst the Confederate rolls a 2 - and opts to move first. The two ships have moved apart but the rebel ship puts her helm hard over and launches a further ram attack against the Union gunboat, this time on the beam. The C.S.S. Arkansas rolled 5d6 for the ram itself (4 for a ram attack when the ramming ship is equipped with a ram and with an additional d6 for the beam attack) and scores a 2, 3, 2 x 5s and a 6 which translates into 4 points of damage - 1 for each of the 5s and 2 for the six. As damage was inflicted the ramming ship then suffers a ram attack from the target ship. In this case 2d6 are rolled - neither of which score any damage. The two ships then separate as the ram does not result in them being locked together.
End of Turn 3. After the second ram attack the U.S.S. Essex opted to disengage from the rebel ship. Meanwhile the two Union rams lined up to attack the C.S.S. Arkansas with the U.S.S. Switzerland steaming head on towards the rebel ship.
Turn 4. The U.S.S. Essex fires at the C.S.S. Arkansas to no effect whilst the rebel ship opens fire on the looming bulk of the U.S.S. Switzerland scoring a single hit. The initiative rolls are Union 4 and Confederate 5 so the rebel player opts to move first - and you can guess what is coming!