Showing posts with label lacepulp. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lacepulp. Show all posts

Saturday, 11 March 2017

The Battle of Balnibarbi

When Swift edited and published Lemuel Gulliver's account of his various travels in 1726, the British government read them with interest. Here were a whole range of new nations with who trade links could be opened up. Of special interest to them was the island of Balnibarbi, which offered a combination of innovative thinkers, exportable agriculture and a tyrant king who could be overthrown and replaced with a British-friendly ruler.

So in 1727 a naval expedition was dispatched to Balnibarbi, consisting of a man o'war, a frigate and a troop transport.

Since Gulliver's visit, the people of Balnibarbi had upped their game when it came to resisting their king. Famous for their scientific thinkers, the 'projectors', they decided to put their mighty brains to work looking at ways of fighting back. Vessels were built, powered by innovation and Science!, and each equipped with an ivory tower. The projecters were left to innovate and create whatever weaponry they could devise. What could go wrong?

When the British naval expedition arrived, they were met by a flotilla of Balnibarbian vessels. The Balnibarbians had even mastered flight, and had an ornithopter accompanying their force.

Their king was not happy with this new alliance, and moved to attack the Balnibarbians with Laputa, his flying island. The Laputans had not been idle since Gulliver's visit; the island was accompanied by a war-balloon and an armoured galleon.

Others were unhappy at British interference in the area. The Coast Brotherhood, the world's most dangerous coalition of Pyrates, dispatched two of their members, Sheba the She-Wolf and Firebeard, to sort the issue out. They quickly allied with the Laputans, and also found favour with the magician of Glubbdubdrib, who summoned a crew of spectral pirates to accompany them.

And so battle was joined for another Thursday evening game of Galleys & Galleons. On one side, Dave and I played the British/Balnibarbian Alliance. The British force were conventional sailing vessels, whereas the Balnibarbians had a mix of exotic weaponry and ships powered by unorthodox means. Against the were Casar, running the Laputans and their massive flying island, and Daniel, who took the Pyrates (with a 'y').

The battle opened with the Balnibarbians moving to engage the Pyrates. However the exotic propulsion caused them some issues actually getting their ships into position. And, in this case, bringing a mighty bronze ramming spike into play on Sheba's ship.

The ornithopter had more success, with its little gun damaging Sheba's rigging. One of the other Balnibarbians vessels used its scientifically-aimed guns to shoot at Sheba's ship, damaging it and putting a rip in her leopard-print catsuit. Sulking she retired below decks and refused to command any further.

Meanwhile the Laputans were moving up on the British, who were stuck upwind of their Balnibarbian allies and, indeed, the rest of the action. The Balnibarbian ornithoper took a minor hit, but its pilot was a craven coward, and ditched his aircraft in the sea in response.

The massive island began firing on the naval vessels, who struggled to get into a good position to fight back. A lucky hit from the man o'war did damage the island's propulsion, however, locking it into its current speed. However Caesar rolled like a demon, causing a mass of critical hits on the Navy, killing all of their captains, damaging rigging and smashing rudders.

The Navy's frigate collided with Sheba's ship. Sheba survived unscathed. The frigate sank.

Chaos! To the left the Balnibarbians were still having trouble bringing their vessels into action. Laputa was flying slowly off the board, unable to change course fast enough to stop it. The Pyrates were spread out, with Sheba firing long-range shots from one side, and Firebeard moving along the bottom of the picture. The spectral pyrates took little part in the action. The British were now utterly battered by the island of Laputa, and were being finished off by the war-balloon's bombs and the armoured galleon. In the centre one of the Banibarbian vessels was burning. It burned to the waterline, and sank.

Firebeard madly led his crew into a boarding action against the Navy's man o'war and, in a brisk fight, captured it. Aaaaarrrr!

In a nice bookend, the Balnibarbian ram once again failed to get close enough to Sheba to ram her. At that point we called an end to the game, with the Laputan/Pyyrate Alliance having secured a decisive victory. The Royal Navy lost a three ships, struck, boarded or sunk. The Balnibarbians lost their ornithopter and one of their ships. The Laputans and Pyrates, whilst damaged, lost nothing.

This was great fun to research, devise and set up, with tons of weird and wonderful traits and rules in play and a mix of different tactical options for the ships. Laputa is a very powerful piece, but is unwieldy and can be vulnerable to criticals.

I guess that what you really want to see are the stats for the ships. Each force was roughly 175pts


Q5 C6 - 72pts - Pilot, Airship, Steam Engine, Flagship, Bombs, Heavy Bow Chasers, Heavy Stern Chasers, Reinforced Hull, High Castles, Sluggish

Bomb Balloon
Q3 C2 - 34pts - Airship, Square Rigged, Unarmed, Bombs, Bombardier

Armoured Galleon
Q3 C4 - 68pts - Square Rig, Ironclad, Master Gunner


Small Experimental Vessel 1
Q3 C3 - 50pts - Unorthodox, Shallow Draft, Ramming, High Castles, Unarmed

Small Experimental Vessel 2
Q3 C3 - 50pts - Unorthodox, Shallow Draft, Fiery Blast, High Castles, Unarmed

Large Experimental Vessel
Q3 C4 - 58pts - Unorthodox, Shallow Draft, High Castles, Unarmed, Heavy Bow Chasers, Master Gunner

Q4 C0 - 17pts - Ornithopter, Bow Chasers, Yare, Aerobatics

Royal Navy

Man O’War
Q4 C4 - 78pts - Galleon Rig, Drilled Soldiers, Master Gunner, Trained Gun Crews, High Castles, Veteran NCOs, Fiddler, Chasers

Q3 C3 - 74pts - Galleon Rig, Razee, Drilled Soldiers, Trained Gun Crews, Veteran NCOs, Chasers

Armed Transport
Q4 C3 - 20pts - Square Rig, Merchantman, Drilled Soldiers

Sheba The She-Wolf
Q3 C4 - 70pts - Galleon Rig, Charismatic, Swashbucklers

Q3 C2 - 50pts - Galleon Rig, Razee, Swashbucklers, Derring Do
Glubbdubdribbian Spectral Pirates
Q3 C3 - 54pts - Square Rig, Spectral, Intimidating

Thanks to Dave, Caesar and Daniel for a hugely entertaining game.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Weekend Galleys & Galleons

I headed down to Cancon this Saturday, and a brief report will follow, including the obligatory bloggers meet-up photo. However I also found time to play more Galleys and Galleons this weekend, choosing to play rather than photograph and blog reports. But I took a couple of photos of two of the three games. In the first a pair of pirate ships attacked a small fort, but were themselves attacked by a ghostly galleon. Both pirate ships escaped, although one didn't manage to leave by the designated exit area, so didn't count for points. The other lost a chunk of rigging, but evaded the galleon by virtue of being able to apply a speed boost from the razee ability.

I actually ran the ghostly galleon with the Unorthodox movement ability, which meant that it needed actions to move and its speed was unpredictable, but that it wasn't worried about the wind direction. It made for an interesting matchup.

Yesterday evening I tried out some more lacepulp stuff, as the Laputan navy took on a force of Chinese pirates. The Laputans had a dirigible bomber, an ironclad galleon and, of course, their flying island. The Chinese had a couple of war-junks, and three man-carrying kites, rated as square-rigged airships with very, very low C values. Two of the kites were equipped with derring-do swashbucklers, which would give them a single decent boarding action apiece, whilst the third was equipped with rockets (rated as a fiery attack). The junks were pretty much straight from the book. You can see everything in action here.

The wind shifted badly against the Chinese, which meant that they couldn't bring their kites into the attack. The assault kites were fully capable of capturing the Island of Laputa, if they could get close enough, but they couldn't. They were shot out of the sky one after the other by the island's massive gun-batteries. However the junks worked upwind and were able to attack and capture the ironclad galleon. One of the junks was lost in the fight, but the other then proceeded to hit the dirigible bomber with a lucky shot which saw it explode. With just a junk on one side and the flying island on the other, I reasoned that the Chinese would run for home, but the junk had to slip past the island first. The two models traded broadsides, and two lucky hits saw the Island of Laputa crippled and on fire. As the junk sailed for safety, the island crashed into the sea and was lost.

I didn't get any pictures of the other game I played, but it was a rerun of the fight between Henry Avery and the Mughal Fleet. I upgraded the pirate ships to have chasers, whilst the Mughals were dropped to lateen-rigged, but added in two extra ships. The fight started well for the pirates, with Avery diving boldly into the midst of the Mughal fleet, causing it to break up in confusion. However as he turned to exploit his advantage, a lucky shot from one of the smallest merchant ships started a fire, and his ship exploded. The other two pirates did the best they could, and caused damage throughout the fleet, but the Mughals made their escape mostly intact, having sunk one pirate and forcing the other to flee the action in confusion.

Since I know people will ask, here's the Island of Laputa in all its glory. It's a 3D printed castle hex-tile, with a rocky underside made from pieces of cork tile, and the whole thing mounted on a flying stand made from a clear plastic pot. I have used the lid of the pot as the basic stand, for when it is a sea-level, and can then put the lid on the pot itself for high-altitude action.

And the game stats:

Q5 C6 - 72pts - Airship, Steam Engine, Flagship, Bombs, Heavy Bow Chasers, Heavy Stern Chasers, Reinforced Hull, High Castles, Sluggish, Pilot

With a low Q value, the Flagship ability at least means that the island gets to do something each turn. The Heavy Bow and Stern Chasers means that it has a decent all-round firing capability, assuming it gets the actions to do it. It's not fast, nor is it maneuverable, but it can just aim for a point on the table and then sit there taking on all-comers.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The Flight of the Ophelia Vitrix

In 1685, eccentric nobleman, inventor and patron of the sciences, Sir Robert Abney was a wanted man. Implicated as a supporter of Monmouth during the rebellion against James II, his land holdings were almost certainly forfeit, and his very life in danger.  He hatched a bold plan to flee the country. His salvation lay in a product of his genius - the airship gunboat Ophelia Vitrix. With a band of loyal