This evening I fought a Zoom based play test game using my Portable Ironclad Wargame rules and based on the second day of the famous Battle of Hampton Roads. We (agent X and myself) used the 3 x 3 version of the rules and aside from a couple of points arising it all went rather well. This will not be a full blow by blow account of the game so I will instead let the pictures do the talking for the most part. Unfortunately taking pictures in the man cave at night and under artificial light is a real problem in that shadows etc are very noticeable.
Initial positions. The U.S.S. Minnesota is stuck firmly aground although still able to fire. The C.S.S. Virginia moved first.
Surprise! The U.S.S. Monitor emerges from behind the stranded frigate and prepares to engage the Rebel warship. Firing sees the U.S.S. Monitor inflicting 3 points of damage on the Rebel ironclad (this should have triggered a critical hit but in the heat of the action was overlooked…) whilst the Confederate warship fired at the stranded Union frigate to no effect.
Deciding to focus on the U.S.S. Minnesota the Rebel ironclad made straight for her whilst the U.S.S. Monitor, mindful of the potential effect of the Rebel ram, maintained a discreet distance.
The two ironclads continued to blast away at one another with little effect but by dint of a careful manoeuvre the Rebel warship was now positioned off the bow of the stranded Union frigate at close range.
The C.S.S. Virginia manoeuvred until she was virtually under the bowsprit of the Union frigate and at last she began to score hits against her. Meanwhile the U.S.S. Monitor blazed away with little obvious effect on the Confederate warship.
Despite the risk of running aground the Rebel captain decided to risk ramming the Union frigate. The Confederate warship closed in on the U.S.S. Minnesota only to hear an ominous grinding noise as the ship shuddered to a halt. She had run aground! Worse as to follow as with the groan of timbers and the squeal of overstressed metal she heeled over meaning that her guns could not be brought to fire! Seeing the enemy warship in obvious distress the U.S.S. Monitor commenced pouring shot after shot into the grounded rebel ship - in short order she succumbed to the overwhelming weight of Union gunfire. The C.S.S. Virginia was battered into oblivion.
It was a fun game to play and I was delighted at how the overall system worked against a line opponent! A few points requiring some thought and clarification arose but nothing major. Mention should be made of the freakish nature of the Union initiative rolls - they won every one - as well as the generally poor standard of Confederate gunnery.
I am well satisfied that the gunnery system works and having opposed dice rolls really adds to the fun factor. A couple of things were missed but this did not present a great problem overall. I need to really clarify a few things as follows:
‘Supporting’ fire i.e. using more than one firing arc to engage an enemy ship
Diagonal movement and firing
All in all it was a great way to spend and evening and my sincere thanks to Agent X for his efforts thus far and his continued ongoing support. Next time I will let him choose the dice as well….