Thursday, December 15, 2016

Battle of Riachuelo

At the last club meeting I ran my Battle of Riachuelo scenario.  It went very well.  I started the scenario after the historic initial pass of the Paraguayan fleet by the Brazilian fleet.  In this historic scenario the Brazilians were setup moving down stream towards the anchored Paraguayans.

  • Iron and Fire by David Manley
  • 1:1200 ships by Pithead Miniatures/Spithead Miniatures
  • 2mm guns by Irregular Miniatures
  • Beige Vynl fabric for river
  • Green fleece
  • Woodland Scenics Bushes Clump-Foliage, Medium Green, 32oz
I thought I would run the game with four players, but it ended up running with six players with no issues.  I kept the terrain simple because I have no room to store a custom Riachuelo board and I just don't rerun the same scenario more than a couple times.  I used an orange kids washable marker to outline on the river the areas of shallows.  Below are photos from the game.

Photo 1: Initial deployment.  Paraguayans anchored at bottom.  Brazilian ships in line moving towards Paraguayans.  Two more Brazilians ships to enter.

Photo 2: Brazilian ships in line.  Note line showing extent of shallows on starboard of ships.

Photo 3: Paraguayan field battery provides support from shore.

Photo 4: Paraguayans decide to raise anchor and move towards Brazilians.

Photo 5: Ships from both sides are now getting in close.

Photo 6:  River is filled with smoke from the battle.  The Paraguayan flagship has rammed a Brazilian ship and captured the ship as their own ship sinks.

Photo 7: Last photo showing the second last turn in the game.  Not much changed in the last turn.

I called the game after four hours of game play.  Unfortunately the Paraguayans could not change the historical outcome.  The results were identical to history.  All Chatas (towed boats) and four ships on the Paraguayan side were sunk.  One Brazilian ship was sunk, but the Paraguayan Admiral was captured.  I did not tell either side what the victory conditions were.  The Paraguayans would have won if they did better than historically (lose less ships and/or sink more ships).
I recommend this scenario.  It is a good unknown or barely known battle.  The models are great and the rules went very smoothly, although I did forget about the possible effect of rolling a one on gunfire.  If I run the game again, I will start the battle further up river where the two sides first met.  Maybe we could see how the Paraguayans would do by not heading downstream and anchoring.
Rules wise, the rule about being easier to hit if stationary, maybe this rule could be dropped because the Paraguayans are at a disadvantage anchored.
A future post, I will share resources for you to use for building this scenario or just for reading.
Other posts on Battle of Riachuelo: