Introduction to Rules

I. Introduction

Wooden Ships and Iron Men is a tactical simulation of naval warfare during the great age of sail. The game covers the period from 1776 to 1814 when the great square sail ships-of-the-line dominated the oceans and the speedy and durable American frigates gave world recognition to their young parent navy. The game is played by two or more players each commanding a ship, squadron, or whole fleet! Scenarios depict the famous naval engagements of the American and French Revolutions and the Napoleonic Wars. The game is also a kit from which other scenarios or any fictitious engagement may be designed.

Each counter represents a single ship and covers two hexes of the mapboard. Orders for movement are written for each ship on a "log". Ships are then moved simultaneously over the mapboard. Any which foul or grapple may attempt to form boarding parties to take possession of the enemy's craft by force. Ships may also fire at the opposing vessels hoping to reduce them to a state of surrender. Careful maneuvering and good fleet organization are essential to defeat the enemy and gain victory.

II. Components

A. Game Equipment

  1. Mapboard consisting of two sections which can be joined together in a variety of ways to allow more freedom of movement.
  2. Set of die-cut counters.
  3. Advanced Tables Card.
  4. Rules of play and scenario manual.
  5. A "log" pad.
  6. One die.

B. Mapboard

The 22" by 28" mapboard is the playing surface upon which the ships are maneuvered. The hexagonal grid printed on the mapboard is used to determine movement, firing ranges, and the positions of the ships. Each hex (hexagon) has an identification code, this being used to determine the initial placement of ships for the various scenarios. The code is also valuable in checking a ship's movement. Portions of the board are sometimes used as juttings of land in certain scenarios, and will be defined as such in the applicable scenario. A wind direction hexagon is found at the lower lefthand corner. Each edge of the board is labeled by the wind direction numbers pointing toward it. The four edges are labeled in clockwise order, 1, 2-3, 4, 5-6.

C. Unit Counters

Included in the game is a sheet of die-cut counters which represent ships and markers of various types. These are the playing pieces used in the game. Each counter has a colored spot amidships to identify it and act as the ship's colors. Red spots identify British ships; white spots identify French vessels; gold spots identify Spanish and Venetian ships; and light blue spots identify the American vessels. Printed on each counter is information needed to play the game. Examine the examples below:

Wind Direction

Wind Direction

Full Sail

Full Sail

Strike

Strike

Explosion

Explosion

Sinking

Sinking

Ship Classes: Each ship overview on the counter represents a class of ship. Classes denote different sizes and types of ships. NOTE: Care must be used to match the proper class counter for each ship being played. The size of a ship is indicated by the size of the class overview.

Nr. 1 Ship-of-the-line (S.O.L.)

Nr. 1 Ship-of-the-line (S.O.L.)

Nr. 2 Ship-of-the-line (S.O.L.)

Nr 2. Ship-of-the-line (S.O.L.)

Nr. 3 Frigate (F)

Nr. 3 Frigate (F)

Nr. 4 Frigate (F) Corvette (C)

Nr. 4 Frigate (F)
Corvette (C)

Nr. 5 Brig (B) Sloop (S) Schooner (SC)

Nr. 5 Brig (B)
Sloop (S)
Schooner (SC)

Nr. 6 Gondola (GO) Galley (G) Radeau (R)

Nr. 6 Gondola (GO)
Galley (G)
Radeau (R)

Nr. 7 Gunboat (GB)

Nr. 7 Gunboat (GB)

Privateer (P) Class varies

Privateer (P) Class varies

Merchantman (M) Class varies

Merchantman (M) Class varies

Fire ship (FI) Class varies

Fire ship (FI) Class varies

Bomb Ketch (B) (No provision in rules)

Bomb Ketch (B) (No provision in rules)

Ship Counter Overview

  1. Turning Ability: The maximum number of 60 degree turns which that ship can make during the course of the Movement Execution Phase.
  2. Battle Sail Speed: The maximum speed that a ship has under battle sails. (There are two speeds, 3 and 4).
  3. Full Sail Speed: The lower righthand number represents a ship's movement ability under an increased spread of sail. This speed is used in the Advanced Game only.
  4. Stern: The stern of a ship is its rear section. This is the blunt end of the ship diagram on the counter.
  5. Stern Hex: The hex that the stern and the rear half of the ship occupies.
  6. Identification number: Each counter has a 4 digit number which is used to identify it with the ship that it represents. The first digit refers to the nationality of the vessel. The second digit refers to the class of ship. (See below) The last two digits serve to identify the counter as separate from any other.
    Ship Identification Number
    Nationality
    1 (red) British
    2 (white) French
    3 (gold) Spanish
    Venetian
    4 (light blue)American
  7. Bow Hex: The hex that the bow and the forward half of the ship occupies.
  8. Bow: The bow of a ship is its front. This is the pointed end of the ship diagram on the counter. The bow always points in the direction in which the ship is sailing.

D. Basic Game and Advanced/Optional Tables

  1. The back of this manual contains the Basic Game Tables necessary for the play of the game. Each Table is identified and its use will be explained in the appropriate section of rules. Hereafter all Tables will be referred to in abbreviated form.

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  2. The Advanced/Optional Tables differ from the Basic Game Tables and are located on a separate card.

E. Log Sheet Pad

All the essential information needed for moving and firing ships is placed here.

III. Prepare For Play

A. Mapboard Set Up

  1. A Scenario is selected from the Scenario section of this manual. All information necessary for the set-up is found in the scenario. It is better to start with single ship encounters and move on from there as experience is gained.
  2. Remove from the counter sheet a counter of proper nationality and class for each ship to be played.
  3. Lay the mapboard out and place each ship's bow in the assigned bow hex and pointing in the numbered direction corresponding to the wind direction hex on the board.
  4. The wind arrow counter is placed in the wind direction hex pointing to the proper numbered direction.
  5. If the scenario has any land features involved, the hexes to be noted as land will be listed.

B. Log Sheet

A very important step must now be completed; filling out the log sheet. A player must fill out a "log" for each ship that he controls. All information for that ship necessary to the play of the game will be placed here. This information is found on the ship counter or in the ship's Order of Battle, found in the scenarios. A diagram is given as an example of this procedure.

Sample Log Sheet

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The ship counter and log above represent the starting Basic Game strength of the Constellation. Check her specifications on the Master Scenario Chart on Page 27 to ascertain how to correct fill out a ship's log.

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1.
The name of the ship and number of gun carried is placed on line 1.
2.
The identification number of counter to be used for the ship is put on line 2.
3.
The Class of ship is placed on line 3. Certain ships may be given a specific counter to use in the scenario. This will be indicate by giving the I.D. number in this section.
4., 5., 6., and 7.
On lines 4, 5, 6, and 7 place movement allowance for each attitude to wind. This information can be found in Movement section of the Basic Game (IV A. 3., 4.).

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Ignore parenthesis for Basic Game a these spaces are intended for full-sail movement in the Advanced Game.
8.
The quality of crew manning the ship either elite, crack, average, green or poor is placed on line 8.
9.
The number of hull squares allotted for each ship is placed in section 9. All squares over this number are marked out.
10.
The number of crew squares allotted to each ship is placed in section 10. All crew squares are divided into sections. In the Order of Battle, the number of sections and number of crew squares per section will be given. Each crew section has a corresponding numbered row in the "log". Squares not being used should be marked out.
11.
The number of gun squares allotted for each ship is placed in section 11. This section divides the guns into left and right broadsides (labeled L and R). Mark out the gun squares not being used.
12.
Section 12 is the Carronade section. This section is completed exactly like section 11. Carronades are special guns of limited range, hence the reason for separation from section 11.

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13.
Section 13 is the Rigging section. Each line of squares represent one battle sail speed factor. The number of rigging squares per battle sail speed factor is given in the Order of Battle. Squares not being used are marked out.
14.
On the movement column (14) of the ship's log, there is a load section. It is composed of two spaces, one marked L for left broadside; the other R for right broadside. In these spaces the type of shot for each broadside is to be marked. There are 4 types of shot to be used, roundshot, chainshot, grapeshot, and doubleshot. Each has advantages and disadvantages to be discussed later. You can load each broadside with one type of shot although both broadsides need not have the same type. The spaces in the load column are marked: R for roundshot, G for grapeshot, or D for doubleshot. For the basic game only roundshot is to be used.
15.
Section 15 denotes the move column. All movement for the ship will be placed here. No information is placed here at this time.
16.
The notes section (16) is the part of the moves column where special orders and notations are written. These notations will be explained in appropriate sections of the rules. No information is placed here at this time.