I can totally blame Shutty of Limited Edition for getting me into this game.
On his latest podcast with Teppo and Rockjaw he talked about Uncharted Seas, a fantasy naval wargame, and it piqued my curiosity, so I took a stroll over to Spartan Games website and had a look. I asked around at the Games Shop and a few of the guys had heard of it and showed interest. They also recalled Man O’ War, an old Games Workshop game that was quite similar, and although I have never played it myself, those that did held it in high regards.
So not long after, now knowing I had some people interested in playing the game with me (what would be the point getting this game without any opponents to face off against?), I ordered the rule book. I was quite impressed, however, when I received an e-mail from the company stating that the new edition of the rules was only a few weeks away and would I like to wait for that. Obviously I took them up on the offer, and wondered just how many companies would have put that effort in, compared to others that would’ve happily let me buy a soon to be out of date rulebook. Good start, Spartan Games.
My book arrived a few weeks later and I got stuck into reading the “meat and potatoes” of the rule system. Spending the last few years reading other rulebooks and codexs/army books stands me in good stead with new systems. My brain has adapted to figuring out some of the more complex and abstract ideas behind tabletop games. But to be perfectly honest, this is a really simple game in principle. Granted at the moment I am just using the basic rules. Later you can add in special cards, personalised for each race that create effects in the game to help your fleet or hinder your enemy. You can also add in flying vehicles, random wandering sea monsters, weather effects and myriad other oddities.
Being fantasy there are many races to choose from, and all the usual suspects are here: Orcs, Dwarves, Elves, Undead etc. All of them act as you would expect as well. Dwarves and hardy but slow, using steamships which lets them ignore the effects of wind direction. Orcs don’t bother with broadsides. Why would they? All their guns are mounted forward facing so they can shoot while they come ramming straight into your ship, and then board with hordes of blood thirsty lunatics which kill all of your crew.
So with a basic grip of the system I went to the Spartan Games website and printed out all I would need for my first game. Dwarf and Orc paper fleets, turning templates, wind direction and scatter templates, and one sheet of tokens (that numbered so many I just couldn’t be bothered to cut them all out!) all available for free download. For the game we just replaced the hull and crew damage tokens with different coloured dice.
I decided I wanted to try out the Dwarves in our first game, so my friend Tom took control of the Orcs. Then we rolled for the wind direction and which table sides we would be setting up on. After we deployed we then rolled for initiative and the battle began! As the game progressed I realised just what a bad job of deployment I had done. I had tried to use a denied flank tactic, putting all my ships in one corner so hopefully I’d only have to deal with a small portion on his army at any one time. All that happened was my ships got in each other’s way, and I could barely get any shots off. I think positioning is going to be one of the most important factors in this game, and on this occasion I had messed up badly.
Aside from my poor commanding, the game went great. We had to keep referencing back to the rule book for things such as weapon stats etc but we slowly got used to them and the turns became more fluid. The attacks are as simple as seeing which range band your target sits within, rolling the amount of dice it states with 1-3 being misses 4-6 hits. The number of hits must equal or better an enemy ships damage rating to start causing damage. You can also score critical hits. I was lucky enough to cause a critical on one of Tom’s frigates, causing his ship to explode dramatically, also sinking another of his nearby frigates!
I look forward to future games of this, and have ordered the Dwarf starter fleet so I can have some actual models to use next time. I shall keep you up to date with all of this!
Take Care, folks!
Skaradrin Grudgestone, Admiral of the 1st Sea Beards Fleet.