Raise the Mizzenmast

By Richard Martin 22 Sep 2014 0

Sails of Glory (our review is here) is Ares Games? line of miniature combat rules which cover the Age of Sail.  The Starter Boxed Set featured rules and 4 miniature ships from the Napoleonic Wars of the late 18th Century to the early 19th Century. In the second half of 2014, Ares Games has jumped full force in to supporting their Sails of Glory line with tons of new ships, terrain and other fantastic products!

To recap from the review of the Sails of Glory starter set, Sails of Glory utilizes a modification of Ares Games? award winning card based movement system which is featured in their Wings of Glory World War I and II airplane combat system.  And like their other mini game systems, the player is able to purchase additional mini ships which feature a control card as well as a fully painted 1:1000 scale miniatures.  Each ship is rated for hull points based upon the ships size known as its ?Burden?, the ships maneuverability known as its ?Veer?, its crew size and its number of cannons and their respective firing arcs.  Each ship?s data card also includes indicators for damage accumulated (and how that damage affects both the crew casualties and the number of guns which can fire as well as other actions that the crew can perform in a turn), cannon loaded/unloaded status, number of sails raised (for speed) and whether the ship is at anchor or not.

Over the course of the last few months, a plethora of new ships have been released which cover from the diminutive but fast sloop, third rate and fourth and fifth rate two decked frigates and the mighty  first and second rate, three decked, 90 or more gunned monsters!

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8 new ship classes have been released and each ship miniature represents two ships of either French or British ownership.  The new miniatures include the following classes:

14-gun Swan Class Ship-Sloops

32-gun Concorde Class Frigates

32-gun Amazon Class Frigates

40-gun Hebe Class Frigates

74-gun Temeraire Class Ships-Of-The-Line

74-gun Bellona/Elizabeth Class Ships-Of-The-Line

100-gun First Rate Ships-of-the-Line

118-guns Ocean Class Ships-of-the-Line

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The tactics involved in sailing each class of ship is a little different. Sloops don?t have much hitting power but can sail quickly and maneuver tightly.  Use them to harass and maybe to draw in an enemy frigate or ship-of-the-line.  Frigates are a nice balance of fire power, defense and speed. These are your cruisers ? ships for any occasion.  The first and second rate ships of the line, those three and four deck behemoths, are slow but can dish out massive amounts of fire power.  If they get in to a boarding action, with a crew of nearly a thousand people, the boarding parties can easily take over another ship with a prize crew unless very unlucky.

The selection of ships is very nice.  With these, almost any type of fleet action can be created.  It would be nice if Ares offered several freighters and, maybe even, pirate ships to expand the scope of the scenarios.  All of the miniatures are beautifully sculpted and painted.  My favorites of the new sculpts are the HMS Royal George and the French Imperial. Both are 1st rate ships of 100 guns and 118 guns, respectively, and both are exquisitely painted. Each ship is written up with its history and notable battles on Ares Games website.  It?s a shame that a small card with important history wasn?t included in the ship packs as this would have been a nice added value for the products.

In addition to the new ships, Ares Games has released some wonderful ?Terrain Packs? and a game mat. While the game mat was not provided by Ares Games for this review, my playing group made our own using wrapping paper (of all things) and this creation is what is featured in the pictures. 

The Coastal Battery Terrain Pack contains six different modular, cannon armed fortifications which are printed in full color on very heavy card stock.  Each fortification?s arcs of fire are clearly marked and control panels are included to plot damage and cannon load status for the forts. The forts can be used in conjunction with the Coast and Shoal Terrain Packs to create islands, shore lines, etc.  The six modular coasts, sand banks and shoals add some very challenging terrain to the battles.  At least once, in many battles played, I have misjudged my course and beached my ship on the coast line which is, of course, embarrassing, unless you make the claim that ?That was part of my strategy!?

Ares Games support for Sails of Glory has been wonderful! In addition to what I?ve reviewed, Ares offers additional Counter Packs, Ship Control Mats, and even bags to put damage counters in.  Also, their web site (http://www.aresgames.eu/games/sails-of-glory-line) includes additional optional rules, ship point values and even scenarios.

So raise the mizzenmast and give this wonderful game system a try!

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Publisher: Ares Games  Designer: Andrea Angiolino and Andrea Mainini

Website: http://www.aresgames.eu/games/sails-of-glory-line


About the Author   Richard Martin has written film and game reviews for over 20 years and has been playing war games and role playing games since the days of Ogre and Basic Dungeons and Dragons.  Additionally, he writes screenplays, games and works in the legal profession.  (Don?t tell anyone but Richard prefers writing games and movies to law work any day.)



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