This week did not see any X-Wing action, but we did hit the high seas with Sails of Glory.
As I have mentioned, I originally picked up this game because I thought it would be something fun to play with my father, who recently retired. I have played it twice before, and have those times I have managed to get the rules on damage a bit (read: way off) wrong.
This week my dad joined me in playing the game… and I had the damage rules correct this time. Like the previous times, we played the basic rules (move, fire, repeat) since I was still learning the rules and my dad had never played before. He did seem to enjoy the match we played, but bowed out of the next match when one of the X-Wing regulars who also plays Sails of Glory came in.
Once we cleared up the damage rules, we proceeded to battle it out. I was playing the French, opposing the British in the first of the scenarios that the rulebook. We played to the strict conditions of the rules and the British managed to win the day.
The next game we decided to mix it up, though still playing the basic rules. The wind gauge was spun, randomly determining the wind direction. We also did this for the third and last matches we played.
With that last match, we added a new element to the game that’s a part of the rules. We started planning out two moves in advance. Anyone who has played X-Wing knows that during each turn, the players plan their move, then follow through. With Sails of Glory’s standard and advance rules, players actually plan out two moves, so they are planning one move ahead. Their second move will be affected not only by the wind like in the first, but also by the veer rating of the ship. The veer rating is basically the ship’s maneuverability. Each of the maneuver cards in the ship’s deck is marked with a number. When planning the second move, this number cannot differ from the previous move by more than the ship’s veer rating. Thus, a ship with a veer rating of 5 cannot play a maneuver of 8 and follow it with a maneuver of 2. You can probably figure out that the smaller ships have a higher veer rating, while the larger ships have a smaller veer rating.
Preplanning moves also affect how the red cards are played. The red cards are maneuvers that your ship performs when it is taken aback or sailing against the wind. In the basic game, when a player’s ship is taken aback, the player picks a red maneuver, using one of the two on the card to move (in basic rules, it is the one designated by a double hourglass). When planning moves, when a ship is taken aback, the planned maneuver is replaced with one of the three red cards. Which card depends on the veer number on the card, and the move is based on how many consecutive turns they are taken aback (first turn uses the single hourglass move, the next and beyond use the double hourglass). The one thing I have noticed is that it seems real difficult to have a ship taken aback for more than two turns.
I have been becoming a big fan of this game lately. The movement is very straight forward. Pick a card, place it in front of your ship and move the ship to the appropriate mark on the card. At first I did not know what to make of using chits of different types to determined damage, but playing the game more (and knowing a little bit more about the inaccuracy of the weapons of the time), it actually makes sense. In fact, in two of the games, we lost ships not because they sunk, but because the crew were killed.
I also like that there are three tiers to the game, allowing players to move from basic to advanced at their pace. And, as we saw today, it is possible to incorporate part of the next level in your current game level to get familiar with it.
On an aside note, Sunday’s matches gave me the chance to try out my custom made broadside markers. For the basic game, they helped up remember which side of the ship had fired, and also looked neat in those wonderful situations where ships were firing from two sides, as well.