|USS Madison sailing on Lake Ontario|
The British had four ships: Royal George (20-gun corvette), Earl of Moira (18-gun brig), Beresford (12-gun schooner), and Sir Sidney Smith (12-gun schooner). Almost all of the British guns were carronades.
|The Royal Navy forces move to intercept the American convoy|
The American escort was two ships: Madison (24-gun corvette) and Oneida (18-gun brig). The American escorts carried some small long guns, but were primarily armed with carronades.
|Madison and Oneida trying to get back to the convoy|
|The American schooner convoy|
At the start of the game, the British players decided to charge directly at the convoy and load double-shot in their guns. While this seemed to be a good idea at the time, the combination of these choices would prove to be too limiting in the game.
The American convoy initially decided to try to hug the shore on the south edge of the playing area to stay as far away as possible from the British, while the escort just hoped to interfere with British plans. In the early part of the game the British followed their plans moving directly toward the convoy, but they couldn't fire because they were out of range for their double-shot guns. The American convoy tried to move as fast as they could to avoid the British and the trailing ships decided to turn north to get on the other side of the British instead of just pushing ahead.
|Trailing schooners turn northeast to avoid the British|
The British finally got into range to use some of their double-shotted guns against some of the convoy ships. The blasts damaged two schooners, but the ships were still out of range. Meanwhile, American gunnery heavily damaged Sir Sidney Smith, forcing the schooner to break off action (it also ended up beaching itself). This left the British with only two effective fighting ships.
|The British ships (center) close for the attack as two American schooners (right) turn to cut through the British line|
|Ontario fouls Royal George|
With Royal George out of action for a few turns, Earl of Moira found itself alone and surrounded by American ships. Madison was behind the Earl in a prefect position to rake the brig at close range, while other American ships blasted the brig from the front.
|Madison rakes Earl of Moira from the stern, while other American ships blast it from the bow|
It was a fun game (well, maybe the British didn't has as much fun) and a decisive American win. The British players felt their decision to double-shot their guns at the start of the game was a big factor in the loss. The players were more familiar with playing with larger ships (74 gun SoLs) and didn't realize that it wouldn't take a lot of hull hits to take out the smaller American ships. I expect the next game we play will go a little differently.
Overall, the rule modifications to Sail and Steam Navies seem to work really well for this scale (this game was better than the one I ran last year with a different set of rules). I think I will make a few more changes to the critical hit rules to give them a little more period flavor, but I'm pretty happy with the general flow of the game. After the game we talked about using these rules to fight other 1812 actions, such as the naval Battle of Plattsburgh and action by Barney's gunboat flotilla in the Chesapeake.
I still need to formally write up the rule modifications for the Sail and Steam Navies Yahoo group. But no one has been asking me for the changes, so I will probably take my time putting them together.