Saturday, April 23, 2011

April 28th Pregame Notice: Battle of Grand Port using 'Trafalgar'

From Sylvain:

Battle of Grand Port

The Scenario
On 22-24 August 1810, a British squadron of 4 frigates entered the bay of Grand Port to eliminate a French fleet of 2 frigates, 1 corvette and a captured East Indiaman.
For some background:

There is an even better document: (but it's in French)

Historically, this is the only clear naval victory the French could claim during the Napoleonic Wars. It is the only naval victory to be engraved on the Arc the Triomphe.

The Game
Each player will be commanding a British frigate and will be competing against his fellow seamates for greatest honors. The French will act according to programmed priorities and automated rules. Let's see if the British players can change history.


Until all the ships on one side are destroyed or have surrendered.

In this season, the only change in weather is for the wind to change direction or to becalmed.

Reefs are impassable to ships, but not to boats. The rest of the seaboard is considered shallow water. Only frigates or smaller ships can navigate through shallow water at the speed of 4cm (1cm for inertia + 3cm for moving).
- The French removed all the navigation buoys after entering the port. Whenever a British ship moves in shallow water, it becomes grounded on a roll of 1 (on a D6), even if the ship moved only 1cm. Frigates may go faster than 4cm per turn, but by doing so will increase the chances of being grounded by +1 per extra cm.
- Frigates can do one shallow turn each turn.

Low Ammunition
Being so far from a base, ships have a limited supply of ammo.
After firing 3 times, a ship will be low on ammunition and its firepower will be halved (round fractions up). However, French ships can be replenished by boats.

Anchor Manoeuvers
Ships at anchor can manoeuver by pivoting from either the bow or the stern and away from the wind.

Stream Anchor
“An anchor used in narrow channels to prevent the stern of the vessel moving with the tide.” This anchor can also be used to pull the ship against the wind at a rate of 2cm per turn, but with the risk of becoming grounded.

Boats move at 5cm. They can be fired at at any range with a -1 modifier. Boats played an important part in the battle and can be used for the following tasks:
- Towing ships from the bow in any direction at a speed of 2cm per turn. In this case, there is no risk for the ship to run aground.
- Kedging grounded ships on a roll of 6+. One attempt per turn. The boats counter must be located at the stern of the grounded ship.
- Supplying ships with ammunition from the shore (French only). Two boats are necessary for this operation and must be located at 1/3 and 2/3 of the distance between the ship and the shore. A supplied ship will not suffer a reduction in firepower. (This is to represent the “bridge” established between the shore and the Bellone).
- Transport special crew, like the captains and the pilot.
- Transport crew for boarding actions.


French Squadron
- Frigate Bellone, 40 guns, Capitaine Guy-Victor Duperré, flagship
- Frigate Minerve, 48 guns, Capitaine Pierre Bouvet
- Corvette Victor, 18 guns, Lieutenant Nicolas Morice
- Captured East Indiaman Ceylon, 26 guns, Lieutenant Moulac
- 6 boats counters (1 per ship, 2 on the shore)

French played by umpire
French ships have programmed priorities.
- All ships from the French squadron will fire together at the same target.
- The common target is the British frigate closest to the flagship Bellone.
- Ships of the French squadron can turn on their anchor to present their broadside to the closest British frigate.
- If the closest British frigate is moving, shots will be aimed at the rigging until completely dismasted.
- If the closest British frigate is grounded, anchored or dismasted, shots will be aimed at the hull until crippled.

French Shore Battery
The shore battery set up by the French will follow the programmed priorities except if there is a target that is closer to the battery than it is to the French squadron. The shore battery is allowed to move 1cm per turn, but in doing so forfeits its opportunity to fire.

Critical Hits Against French Ships
The very first critical hit against each French ships will be as follow:
- 2 hits + anchor cables ruptured
The affected ship will then start drifting windward 3cm per turn until grounded.


British Squadron
- Frigate HMS Sirius, 36 guns, Captain Samuel Pym
- Frigate HMS Iphigenia, 36 guns, Captain Henry Lambert
- Frigate HMS Nereide, 32 guns, Captain Nesbit Willoughby
- Frigate HMS Magicienne, 32 guns, Captain Lucius Curtis
- 4 boats counters (1 per ship)

British Rivalry
The commanding officers (especially Pym and Willoughby) were definitely not best friends and this rivalry played a part in the British defeat. However, in the ensuing martial inquiry, all captains had their name cleared for having done their best. To simulate this, British players are allowed a pre-game discussion about a common strategy, but after the game has started, the captains will be allowed to communicate about strategy only by “letters”. Letters (short ones) can only be from one captain to another and are written during a given “weather phase” and delivered during the next “weather phase”. Letters can include sound strategic advices as well as witty insults. After the scenario is over, the referee will compile the letters and reward the best author on a given turn with an extra 25 points. Letters may be posted in the after battle report.

British Stubbornness
British frigates will start testing to strike colours when there is 25% of the hull left, instead of 50%. With a second successful command check, the crew may decide to set fire to their their ship instead of surrendering.

British Pilot
The British had only one pilot who could navigate the shallow waters. The Frigate captains with the highest roll on a D6 will get the pilot. (Historically, he was posted on the Nereide). The pilot allows the die to be rerolled when grounded. Frigates that follow the path of the ship with the pilot don’t need to make “grounded” check rolls.

British Victory Points
Each frigate captain compile his own points using the following Victory Points Chart when the game is over:

                   Crippled        Destroyed     Captured
Frigate             25               50                   75
Commander      ---            +50                 +100

Bonus points:
Every turn, to the best letter                                                         +25
To be the first to score a hit on an enemy ship                             +100
To be the first to have an enemy ship strike her colour                  +100

The frigate captain with the highest score gets the greatest honours!

AND More Importantly: The Rhum
I've decided that naval games from now on should have a specific taste, so I bought a bottle of Rhum. I will have some Orangina, fruit juice and pop to drink with, but if you have a favorite ingredient to mix with the rhum, please feel free to bring it.


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