Monday, May 31, 2010

Escape of the Agincourt playtest

On May 29th, we played a test game of my Bayou Wars game, Escape of the HMS Agincourt. We actually played two games, as it became obvious in the first playthrough that I made some errors in setting it up. The goal of the British and Americans was to get the Agincourt off the far table end, while the Germans and French had to destroy her.

Here are photos of the two games, along with commentary. As always, click to view a larger image.

The British light cruiser Rawalpindi, commanding the British coastal defense digs.

The rag-tag remnants of a strike fleet comprised of British and American ships frantically make their way back to Britain's shores.

A small squadron of British Aeronef were in their docks for refit and lifted off to assist in the defense.

A French raiding flotilla racing in to cut off the British fleet's escape.

The strike fleet turns to gain more distance against the faster French vessels, with the Agincourt struggling along behind.

British fire caused a critical hit which set this German vessel ablaze. The red marker on the Rawalpindi indicates that the ship has fired, to help the players keep track.

French fighters (launched from the 'dig carrier Les Arc) swarm after the Agincourt as the Germans and French encircle her. This is where I began to see the problem I had created; the Agincourt simply wasn't fast enough to escape. After some discussion, we decided to reset the game and fiddle with the settings a bit.

Setup was much the same. We added some coastal defense batteries, marked by the empty bases along the coastline.

The strike fleet moves straight toward the coast as the enemy quickly closes the distance. This time, the engine damage wasn't as severe, only limiting her to Cruise speed rather than Slow.

Fire from the defense batteries takes its toll on the French cruiser Formidabile, causing fires to break out on her hull.

The French destroyer Albatross, her weapons batteries reduced to uselessness, flees the battle while the Les Arc launches more fighters in the distance.

The swift French vessels were torn to pieces by the concentrated fire of the British and Americans. Note that the defensive batteries have moved; we decided the fire was _too_ concentrated, and spread them out more so they wouldn't be quite so overpowering.

The fleet moves closer to its goal, harried by the Les Arc's fighters. The Germans continue to close, heavy fire tearing into the fleet. The Agincourt took two criticals at this point. One damaged the engines further, reducing her to a maximum of Slow and forcing her to coast to a halt until repaired. The second damaged her rudders, locking her into a slow left turn. The rudder damage was repaired at the end of this turn.

Two turns later. The Agincourt never managed to repair her engines. the attacking ships managed to penetrate the defensive batteries and destroy her from point-blank range.

Overall it went well. The second game took about two and a half hours, with players who were familiar with the system. The game itself is easy to pick up (it is based on A Sky Full of Ships, though heavily modified). I expect that I can easily explain the rules to the players and comfortably fill the four hour time slot.

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