Friday 14 November 2014

Galleys & Galleons - playtesting call out

While I wait for my proof hard copy of Irregular Wars (2nd ed) to arrive in the post, I thought I'd start making moves to get some playtesters together for Galleys & Galleons.

What is Galleys & Galleons?
Galleys & Galleons is a new naval wargame being written for Ganesha Games (the guys who have brought you Song of Blades and Heroes, Song of Shadows and Dust, Flying Lead, Mighty Monsters etc). The game uses a slightly granulated version of the basic Song of... mechanic, and is probably mid-way between the basic Song games and Mighty Monsters in complexity.

What does all that mean to people who are unfamiliar with Ganesha Games? Each vessel in Galleys & Galleons has two basic factors, their Quality (Q) and their Combat (C). These are used to determine how well a vessel handles, and how well she fights/sustains damage. Outside of those two factors, there are currently more than 30 'special rules' which add the flavour to each vessel. Your ship might have a shallow draft allowing her to negotiate shallow water with less risk of running aground, or she might have high castles to fore and aft, turning her into a veritable fortress during boarding actions.

The more damage a vessel absorbs, the more likely it will be that her crew - stretched to breaking point - will make mistakes causing all sorts of unfortunate, and potentially devastating mishaps. 

The wind is also not to be underestimated in Galleys & Galleons, it can be a player's biggest ally, or fiercest foe. However, it should always be remembered that G&G is a game rather than a simulation - some aspects of naval warfare are exaggerated (such as the chance to cause critical damage and set your opponents on fire), while other aspects are abstracted. Games are fast, bloody, and above all, fun.

The rules have been written with the 16th and 17th centuries in mind, but could be stretched into the 18th and 19th centuries with little trouble. A special set of extra rules are included for players who'd prefer to sail off the edge of the map, allowing for sea monsters, mermaids and dragons (oh my!).

What stuff do I need for the playtest?
You'll need a small selection of model sailing ships, all of the same scale (although the scale is up to you, 1/2400 - 1/300 should all work without a problem). Most games will see each player (2-4 recommended) controlling between 1 and 6 vessels.

You will also need dice of two different colours (at least three white dice and three coloured dice).

Oh, and a sea. You'll definately need a sea, but that could be a desk top, a floor or whatever. Minimum size playing area would be 50cm x 50cm if using smaller scale vessels, but bigger is better.

What are playtesters expected to do?
I'd like to think that my games take first priority in everybody's lives, but sadly, I have to acknowledge that things like work, school, loved ones, other games and even outdoor pursuits sometimes get in the way. 

In the immediate future I would like to hear from potential playtesters who realistically think they could play at least a couple of games a month over a period of two or three months. Each game should last less than an hour, so it'd be possible to get a couple of games in during a single session.

After each session, the playtester would then make a small set of notes about aspects of the rules which did or didn't seem to work during their game, or list any points which need clarification and email it back to me for consideration (and a response of course).

In the first instance, I am planning on sending out the core rules without any of the scenarios or campaign rules included so that testers can become familarised with the mechanics first. Then, after a few games, I'll be able to send out the more advanced/fluffy stuff.

I'd ask all interested parties to drop me an email at irregularwars@ gmail .com

1/450 scale vessels from Peter Pig


  1. I think you might check the size of playing area - I suppose that you mean 50cm square and not the 50mm that you have typed.

    Interesting ideas, actually paralleling some musing I had some time back but never got around to pursuing.

    Tony of TTT

    1. Well played Tony, thanks! I have amended the text there. You may not realise it, but all my ships are based on your bases which have been filed down to look a bit like swell.

  2. This is very interesting! I've been waiting for news on a set of naval rules from Ganesha for ages! Unfortunately I don't think I can be a useful volunteer as I've got a 2 month old baby taking up a lot of my free time. Guess I'll just settle for buying the rules when they come out!

    Hope the testing goes well!