Sunday, February 6, 2011

Battle of Portland Race!

Hello again!

While looking for some shots for Mark Severin at Scale Creep Miniatures, I found these shots of a game I hosted at Kublacon 2005 with Thomas' help. It's the Battle of Portland Race, part of the Spanish Armada campaign. The action took place in July of of 1588, and the British were able to fight the much larger Spanish fleet to a standstill due primarily to local knowledge.

The "Portland Race" is a tidal anomaly. The Spaniard's ignorance of its existence and the Brit's ability to gain the weather gage were the key factors to the outcome of the battle. In the actual battle some Spanish ships collided with one another due to the Race, forcing them to be abandoned.

In order to recreate this in a gaming situation, we had to keep the Race secret from those commanding the Spanish side. I do not remember the details, and all the photos I shot were basically close-ups so it is hard to get a sense of the overall battle from these shots. I do remember that this was our second largest historical Pirates! game ever (we did Lepanto many years before - that one was HUGE), and it was a nice way to go into temporary convention-game-running retirement.

A close up of the bow of a Galleon. All the ships were painted by Thomas or myself, with the exception of two or three that were painted on commission as I did not have enough time to get all my ships done. The figures are all from our collection, and are primarily Foundry. Thomas painted all his, and I had Fernando Enterprises paint all mine.

A shot of a Spanish Hulk. All the ships are Flagship Games products, natch!

The Spanish had much more raw ship tonnage than the British did, so the British would have to balance out the odds with local knowledge and some sharp sailing.

The action begins! A Spanish Hulk takes a near miss here in the opening broadsides.

The largest ship in the battle was this Spanish Grand Galleon. It's a real beast in terms of firepower, crew and survivability. You can see here the Spanish fleet starting to get pulled about by the Race. Eventually their tight formation would end up all kerfuffel with ships bumping and colliding with one another.

A shot of the action, English to the left and Spanish to the right.

The Spanish line becomes more and more disarrayed thanks to the Portland Race.

A shot looking at the Spanish line, from the deck of a British Galleon.

A British Galleon has navigated the race and comes alongside a Spanish Hulk. That's a very daring British captain right there!

A shot from the deck of the Spanish Hulk, looking at the English Galleon that has come close by to board.

Thomas doing his very best Python-esque "He's the one what did it!". I actually included this shot to show just how hard it is to get good photos at a convention game. No matter what you do, the table will always be clutttered with dice, templates, and other wargaming flotsam. I like to think that's why I shot so many close-ups of this event, but really it was Sunday at a con, and I was too worn out to want to walk around the table much. :)

That's it for this event. I'll keep looking at my photo archives to see if I can find something else fun to share.


- Rod

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