On Friday, my son Theo and I played a test game for Dreadnought. We each had a dreadnought, battlecruiser, and a light cruiser in our fleets for a simple 3v3 game. The goal of this game was to test out the new damage decks. In the Beta version, I've split the earlier damage deck into Cumulative and Critical damage decks, which match the colors on the damage chart for easy reading. Yellow, or Cumulative Damage tends to be temporary and can be repairable. Ships can only attempt to repair one per turn, so you don't want to take too much damage. Red Critical Damage is permanent and usually severe, so you want to try and mitigate these if possible! So I wanted to test out these decks and see how they felt on the table.
Theo took command of the British squadron, consisting of HMS Orion (I used my HMS Warspite model as a proxy), HMS Invincible, and HMS Glasgow. I sailed the German fleet with SMS Kaiser, SMS Von Der Tann, and SMS Dresden. We played on a 3x3ft table (90x90cm), and ran the "Battle Turn" mission, so it was a knife fight from the get go! Theo's fleet defended along one table edge and started the game with low speed, with Glasgow out ahead. I had to deploy in line astern and sail into the teeth of Theo's fleet. I placed Dresden on the flank to screen Glasgow and keep her from torpedo range.
The German fleet had the first turn, and made a quick turn to port to bring their guns to bear on the enemy.
The Kaiser made some solid hits on the Invincible, inflicting some Critical Damage. The Von Der Tann took a shot at the Orion, but its guns were unable to make a dent.
HMS Glasgow maneuvers around in a wide turn.
SMS Von Der Tann took some cumulative damage from the Invincible.
HMS Invincible tacked into the German fleet to get her shot on SMS Von Der Tann, opening her up to a full broadside volley from SMS Kaiser. The resulting damage ignited the magazine causing the Invincible to crack in half and sink instantly!
In retaliation for the loss of the Invincible, Admiral Theo turns the Orion's guns on the Von Der Tann. A heavy amount of critical damage reduces the German battlecruiser to zero hull and she, too, slips below the surface.
Tactical overview of the battle after the loss of both battlecruisers.
Admiral Theo sees something I do not...
HMS Glasgow receives orders to fire torpedoes at SMS Kaiser.
HMS Glasgow makes a slight turn to starboard to line up the shot.
Theo moves Glasgow up to toward the Kaiser's flank.
Kaiser takes a torpedo hit, fracturing the ship's armor belt! Undeterred, Kaiser fires a broadside into HMS Orion, stacking up some cumulative damage that cuts its speed down to zero. However, HMS Orion then fires a broadside into the unlucky Kaiser, scoring a single Critical Damage card. Unfortunately for my German sailors, that one card happened to touch off a fire in the ship's magazine! With it's hull reduced to zero, the ship immediately explodes and sinks, leaving the SMS Dresden the last remaining German ship afloat! Using it's speed, the outgunned small cruiser breaks off and escapes off my table edge.
With only a single light cruiser escaping back to homewaters, I wasn't able to generate enough victory points to win. Admiral Theo celebrates a much earned victory for the Royal Navy!
The objective was to test out the damage deck and I ended up able to observe them at a quite uncomfortable distance... I did manage to stack up a lot of cumulative damage on the Orion, but it wasn't enough to sink her. Still I think the overall feeling of the damage was good. One change I'll make as result of the game will be to reduce ships' overall rates of fire. The chances of getting a fluke result of catastrophic damage (instant sinking, like what happened to the Invincible above) were quite high. The damage table still reflects the results I want, so I'm going to reduce the number of dice thrown. So for example, Orion was throwing 10 dice in broadside with her big guns, and then a pile more in secondaries. I'll adjust this by 50% so it'll fire 5 dice on its broadside instead. We'll try those numbers next time around!
Thanks for stopping by and be sure to share your own reports so I can see how things are going!
Mike & Theo