Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Reviews from the web - Irregular Wars and Galleys & Galleons

Over the last week or so I have come across two great reviews on the internet that I thought I might share.

At Wargaming in Central Oregon, Ralph has been playing around with Irregular Wars and has come to the following conclusions:
"... The result is something that I hoped to find, with well crafted random elements making it well adapted for solitaire play. Highly Recommended."

Not something I'm going to contest! Read the full review HERE. He has also produced an army roster sheet and a unit capabilities chart which may be useful. These can be downloaded direct from Ralph's blog.
Meanwhile, Yoyo Skywalker has been painting up some neat 15mm Zapotec archers and dart throwers for an Irregular Wars Mesoamerican army.

If you can read a little French, or can manage with your internet browser's translator, have a browse through Yoyo's workshop - he's got some great AARs available there.

Over at The Raft, Frank Shandy has some very polite things to say about Galleys & Galleons:
"... I was especially curious how the rules would handle bookkeeping. Naval rules tend to be heavy on that aspect, but I felt this wouldn’t go well with the Ganesha Games ethos. I was not to be disappointed: Tracking damage is one of the most original mechanics of the game, and one of the cleverest mechanics I’ve seen for some time ..."

Read the full review HERE.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Galleys & Galleons AAR - Ambush in the Lombok Channel

I've recently been contacted by an old wargaming chum, Mark, from Southern Battle Gamers, the club I was a member of back in Sydney. He is currently a solo gamer based in Thailand. He has graciously allowed me to post an after action report from his first game of Galleys & Galleons - notable , as he makes clear, for very little gunfire being exchanged and a lot of boarding action.

The ships are all from Eureka - 6mm scale - from the Grumpy and Irregular ranges. The fleets represent a semi-historical take on the East Indies in the 16th century, when the original inhabitants could still dish it out to the European interlopers.


Every year one Great Ship makes the slow tedious trip between the Portuguese bases at Macao and Goa. For years now the old carrack Santa Isabella Das Indias has been doing this job, vital to the trade that sustains the Empire. Often it is accompanied by one or more smaller merchantmen in convoy. Usually the voyages are uneventful, as they are timed for calm weather and fair winds. Enemies are few and weak, and can be evaded, brushed aside, or bribed.

But now, the Prince of Songkhla is making trouble. He rules a formerly-prosperous mercantile city that has been badly affected by the activities of the Portuguese. A recent enthusiastic convert to Islam, he now has an extra incentive to strike a blow against the Christian interlopers. A squadron of galleys has been prepared and is ready to strike. What could be more tempting than to capture the lumbering undergunned infidel carrack as it plods through the Lombok channel, laden with a fortune in Ming porcelain. The Prince can serve God and get rich at the same time.
The Portuguese have gotten wind of this, and taken precautions. With no suitable naval escort of their own available, they have hired the infamous wako chieftain Bok Choy to see the carrack through the archipelago and safely into the open sea.

The ships on either side are:

(total 151 points)
The carrack Santa Isabella (the court popinjay Don Marco da Pattaya commanding)
Q4 C5 (35 points)
high castles, merchantman, reinforced hull, sluggish, square rigged 

The dhow Zanzibar
Q2 C2 (16 points)
lateen rigged, merchantman, shallow draft

The pirate junks Bamboo Shoot and Bitter Melon
Q2 C2 (50 points each)
derring-do, intimidating, lateen rigged, reinforced hull, yare  

Songkhla (total 144 points)
The galleys Songkhla, Srivijaya and Borobudur
Q3 C3 (48 points)
drilled soldiers, galley, swashbucklers, yare

Victory conditionsPortuguese: Santa Isabella escapes off table in a condition to sail before the wind. Anything else is a defeat. Songkhla: capture and hold the Santa Isabella (major win), otherwise prevent a P win (minor win). I thought of giving the wako a contingent option to try for the Portuguese treasure if it was obvious the Songkhla squadron would otherwise win, but in the end opted for wholly loyal mercenaries! Maybe in a refight later ...

Right on schedule the convoy stands into the Lombok channel with a following wind. It is usual to run the channel in daylight to avoid risking the treacherous Surprize Rocks. Off each side of the table are shoal waters which will surely wreck any vessel that tries them. See the "albatross cam" photo below, showing the position a little after dawn as the two sides catch sight of each other.

The Battle
The two squadrons sighted each other at dawn, the wind fair and from the ENE, the convoy running before it. The Portuguese plan devised by Don Marco was to entangle the galleys with the highly expendable pirate junks while the carrack and dhow slipped past while no-one was paying attention. The galley commander, thought to be Prayuth Chan-O-Cha, planned to use his vessels' superior manoeuvrability to launch an attack around the Surprize Rocks as the Santa Isabella lumbered past.

The wako junks were able to engage two of the galleys in boarding actions, but with the help of a completely one-sided slew of dice rolls the galleys quickly gained the upper hand. The photo below shows the melee in progress in the foreground, with the merchantmen keeping their distance, and their fingers crossed, in the background. To simplify I split it into two one-on-one boarding actions.

After the galleys Songkhla and Borobudur had both reduced their opponents to 'critical' condition, they cut grapples with the intention of pivoting and getting back into the chase for the Portuguese carrack. But before that could happen one junk, Bitter Melon, forced a collision with the galley Songkhka and was promptly sunk by the damage that caused. So much for having a reinforced hull. The other junk, Bamboo Shoot, surrendered! And that was the end of the dreaded Chinese pirates.

By this time the Santa Isabella had altered course to pass through the Surprize Rocks, and in doing so ran down and badly damaged the other galley, Srivijaya, although suffering some damage from the galley's bow gun on approach. This was the first of only two shots fired during the whole game. Srivijaya then attempted to board the Santa Isabella but was decisively defeated twice in succession and captured. A prize crew was put on board.

The photo above shows the galley Srivijaya opening fire on the Santa Isabella, just before the later turns to port and picks up speed (changes from "running" to "broad reaching") to pass through the Surprize Rocks (and ram the galley). The dhow is desperately tacking to get out of the way.

Meanwhile the two galleys formerly engaged with the junks had made good use of their ability to ignore the wind and move twice per turn, and attacked the other side of the carrack. As they came in the Santa Isabella, having captured the Srivijaya, was able to fire a broadside at the Borobudur (the second of the two shots fired in the game) causing oar damage but not preventing contact.

With two galleys grappled alongside the carrack was then worn down to a crippled state over a few moves. Don Marco was hit by a sniper, let's say from one of the galleys, while posturing on the quarterdeck in his finest outfit, and taken below. The Santa Isabella avoided capture by sinking with hull damage.

The dhow Zanzibar was able to slip away unmolested. The captured galley would presumably have been recaptured, and the prize crew added to the survivors of other vessels to decorate the rowing benches of the Prince of Songkhla's squadron. He will surely be promoted to Sultan after news of this daring exploit against the infidel reaches the ears of the Caliph! Some compensation for not actually getting his hands on the porcelain, which is now beyond anyone's reach.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Yarrr - G&G booty cards away!

The pirates have spoken and the entries have been entered, drawn and quartered...

My thanks to everybody who entered the give away. My impartial ship's mate drew names from his treasure chest and I'm delighted to say that the following salty rogues will be having a small deck of cards heading their way next week. In no particular order, congratulations to...

Ralf from Wargaming in Central Oregon;

Jim from Jim's Wargaming Workbench;

Joshua from Le Coq Fou;

Frank Shandy from The Raft.

"What's that?!" says you, "Four winners?"

"That be right" says I. "Four winners!" What can you do? I found a fourth pack. Congratulations again all. Drop me a message with your postal address and I'll get the cards shipped.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Galleys & Galleons cards giveaway - FREE STUFF!


Galleys & Galleons is a standalone tabletop wargame for naval engagements published by Ganesha Games. The game uses a granulated version of the basic Song engine allowing players to control a handful of vessels without cluttering up the table with charts. 

The rules are written to easily accommodate multi-player games, permitting large fleet actions and encouraging treachery and skulduggery. 

In multiplayer games, the rules suggest that the order in which players take turns to activate their vessels be determined by drawing cards.

We have had a small number of exclusive Galleys & Galleons turn order card decks made, exclusively to be given away to our exclusive players. These cards cannot be bought, they are… exclusive.

Each deck contains 13 cards, each measuring 2 x 2 inches (or 50.8 x 50.8mm). Ten of the cards feature the character portraits from biographies printed in the rule book, together with a personality type, such as ‘Career Man’, ‘Pirate’ or ‘Bored Aristocrat’, so every player in your group should be able to find a card to represent their own fleet. In addition, there is a ‘Creatures of the Deep’ card for players controlling fantastic beasts, and two heading templates – really useful to hold next to your vessels to determine their heading to the wind.


“What do I have to do to get my hands on one of these decks” you might well be asking yourself? Three decks of cards will be given in a random draw on September 19th – International Talk Like a Pirate Day. You can get your name in the draw in the following ways:

Share this post on Facebook or on a blog – linking to the Galleys & Galleons page on 
 1 entry;

Share this post on Facebook or on a blog and include a photo of yourself dressed as a pirate – 2 entries;

Write a review and/or after action report of a game of Galleys & Galleons and publish it on a blog, or at Wargame Vault or Boardgame Geek – 5 entries.

Note that any blog posts or reviews have to be written between now and 5pm GMT, on the 19th of September, and make sure you let us know you have posted it to ensure you get all your entries.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

... and now a word from our sponsors. Well, a word about whom we support anyway.

As some of you may know, I worked in Syria over a few years and have devoted much of my professional life to the study of Syrian history and culture. The ongoing war in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon  (not to mention Libya and Turkey) is nothing short of a catastrophe, certainly for the people who live in and/or come from those countries, but also for the millennia of shared cultural history and negotiated identities born of the region. 

When I first started to prepare wargaming rules for Ganesha Games I made the decision that I would donate 50% of my royalties to UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency. Thanks to your enthusiasm for Galleys & Galleons - with some help from the ongoing support for Song of Shadows and Dust - I have just been able to make the biggest donation to date (more than the total donations from the last two years combined!).

We may not personally be able to do much to solve the complicated problems in the Middle East, but it's nice to think that we can make life more bearable for a few families who have lost everything.