Franco-Dutch Engagement

As you can see, the play area had quite a lot of terrain. Getting awful crowded in my sea!

This battle saw de Ruyter and the Dutch blockading d’Estrées and the French attackers. There were at least 3 historical battles during the first Franco-Dutch war that these two went up against each other. While none of these engagements had so few ships involved as in this game, we can call it a slice of one of these battles for historical purposes, or else a “what if” battle.

The Dutch defenders consisted of a flagship of the 1st rate commanded by de Ruyter himself, which carried expert gunners. He was supported by a 3rd rate and two 4th rates. All four of these ships of the line had skill 2. The force was rounded out by a light galleon and a brigantine fire ship.

The French attackers were led by d’Estrées, who took command of a 3rd rate ship of the line with skill 2 and a veteran crew with low morale. The French fleet also included two additional 3rd rates and a 4th rate, all of which had skill 2, a persistent captain, veteran crew, and low morale. The fleet was also supported by a light galleon dispatch ship with skill 1 and weatherly, a brigantine fire ship, and a poorly armed corvette with swift and low morale. All of the ships of the line also were outfitted with additional guns.

With an admiral rating of 3 on both of the flagships, each side had a large number of initiative card options available to them.

The Dutch had Careful Aim, Take Courage, Effective Fire, Reload!, Lee Gauge Fire, Shoals Ahead, Favorable Wind, and Seize the Opportunity.

The French used Down!, Elan, Take Courage, Reload!, Superior Firepower, Fleet Maneuver, Target Rigging, and Swift Vessels.

The Dutch move to intercept the French

I controlled the French fleet, and it was a very exciting match. It was interesting in this game that, while attack rolls were letting me down in a big way for most of the game, I successfully made the vast majority of my skill tests. Meanwhile, my friend, who was playing as the Dutch and therefore had an additional die to skill tests, failed the majority of them. Most of his ships even had skill 2, and his flagship had skill 3 and still managed to fail half of them!

The French fire ship bears down on the Dutch line. Despite burning a fortune point (in addition to the ship), it didn’t do a whole lot to the Dutch galleon, but it got to do something beyond drawing fire and getting ships out of formation, so I was happy with it.

The combo of Persistent Captain mixed with Veteran Crew was a very potent combination, to the extent that I only made a two attacks with a fatigue penalty, and one of those was only a single fatigue! This was much to my benefit and my awful rolls may have done me in had it not been for this potent combo. Low Morale really cut off some points and wasn’t at all detrimental since I never took a rally action with any of those ships.

When I say that my attack rolls were bad, let me give you an example so you get the full effect. At one point, I rolled 12 dice at pistol shot. At that range, where each die has a 75% chance to hit, you expect to do some serious damage. Since the attacking ship had skill 2, I was expecting maybe 9 hits? I rolled 6 sails and 1 sword. The remaining 5 hits caused a whole point of damage to the first rate flagship.

The French 3rd rate would ultimately be defeated by de Ruyter’s flagship, but not before significantly fatiguing the crew.

I also messed up during setup, placing my dispatch ship far from the flagship, which it must be near in order for dispatch ship to take effect. Not only that, but I almost completely forgot to even put my corvette on the table! You might think that a 3 point ship is not very useful, but it is actually that little corvette that serves as a sacrificial lamb to trigger persistent on my ships of the line. Thankfully I noticed before I moved all of my ships on the first turn and my opponent was kind enough to let me set him up late.

My corvette was getting excited to board the enemy galleon, until getting completely obliterated by a (just outside of the shot) 3rd rate

You may have picked up on this from the ballad at the start, but yes, the Dutch 3rd rate completely took my corvette out of action with a single raking shot. Seven hits at musket shot and the ship was crippled, then the double skull crit meant that she was totally out of action. It really illustrates how those tiny ships fare against true ships of the line. But it was okay with me because that ship did exactly what I wanted it to (although I certainly wouldn’t have complained if she had managed to board the Dutch galleon that she would have reached by next turn.)

It was a hard-fought battle on both sides, but I was just barely able to finish off the Dutch flagship, which was no small feat considering its 4 fortitude and having de Ruyter onboard!

After suffering countless barrages, the Dutch behemoth finally took all she could and struck her colors, leading to a French victory!

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