Year of Our Lord 2021, 5th of November
This is just a coffee break, not an unboxing nor a review, for the same reason i just put up the “not an unboxing” video up yesterday. /snark mode on I rather showcase the game being played in the future than just showing bling and bling unboxings and fake reviews. /snarky mode off
Finally scored my own copy of the base set of Sails of Glory. In the past we would play a game of it every month or two with my friend’s copy but when I wanted to get a copy it was out of print, with the only stock left being in some country across the ocean. Gladly Ares Games reprinted it from 2020 onwards and it should be fairly accessible now… until it dries up again.
Note: the copy I bought was the last in stock in the store. Found others with the stock dropping fast. No clue how many copies in this new reprint.
It is easy to understand the why the game flies off the shelves because, first of all, in my opinion, it is the game that delivers a more condensed and yet credible game simulation of ship to ship combat during the age of fighting sail, specifically in the Napoleonic era.There’s other games but none delivers it all in one pack and ready to play as Ares does, and despite that nothing in wargames is perfect but rather the “perfect for us” is what counts and let me tell you something reader – There’s no excuses for not acquiring it, that is… unless age of fighting sail is totally a put off to you.
Game does pack four miniature ships, assembled and painted in basic colours in appropriate British and French yellow brown for visual cue. It provides the standard game bases in which the ships can be placed and replaced when other models want to be used ( usually all ship packs being 1 ship / 1 base format ). So if you don’t like miniatures because of all the arts and crafts you are covered. Is ready to go.
Then it provides several sheets of die cut counters and markers, all in the classical sense of board wargaming. The majority of them being the class damage types, from A to D ( but with expansions some ships allow for extra classes E and F damage types if I’m not mistaken ).
Then there’s another full set for boarding resolution and, my little favourite part, the ship side board.
It is such a simple piece of cardboard but very intelligently put together. It acts as a full game board but is also a counter sheet, where the part with the counters will be detached and markers punched and the hole will be the fit for the specific ship damaged tracker. Nothing is lost and empty space is filled with game elements.
Last, everything will fit back into the box, without problems as the fittings are thought of for transportation and storage of the game without any problems or need of extras, maybe apart from some baggies for the counters and bands for the cards.
Cards… yes. The game system is not open and revolves around a well designed set of cards. And each ship has its own set of cards specifically designed for that unique named ship according to the designer interpretation of how she acted in different aspects of the wind, so keeping that well organized is essential ( no wonder the box is so well thought of with slots for all the four decks of cards separately ) as just mixing them all up is a no game show.
In sum this is a quintessential game for anyone even remotely invested into the age of fighting sail and I would place it in a very high standard value and product quality that is often not seen in more traditional wargaming publishing circles.
Sails of Glory and Oak & Iron base sets are both recommended by myself. They are very different approaches to the same challenging design of ship to ship engagements during the age of sail that are not motor boats and give us the satisfaction of play the period and not just some rules.