Shiver me timbers! Put an ice pack on that!


Panorama of the icy ending to the scenario

Last evening, Colin and I played Fog of War – the 4Play scenario for the Battle of Hudson’s Bay, 1697. It is unusual because the fighting takes place amidst the pack ice and in a thick fog. The mechanisms for contact in the fog produce ship disorientation and repositioning relative to other ships.

Initial forces - two ships each

Bad die throws whilst navigating the ice can produce rudder damage and inhibit movement and turning. Gunfire results in the rethrow of hits to simulate ‘ghost targets’ in the murk. We laughed a lot and had a wonderfully unpredictable time.

Everyone is sailing in odd directions in the fog.

All ships have finally arrived - about Turn7 or 8

 The scenario has two silt shoals thrown in as its near the mouths of the Nelson and Hayes rivers. Those were the crème in the coffee or perhaps floaters in the cocktail. The squadrons arrived piecemeal and in different locations so the whole thing was chaos from the off.


The cheeky Wespe bow rakes Royal Hudson's Bay but the shots missed in the mist!

After about six turns the first gunfire occurred. During 13-16 turns (I lost count), only one English ship and three French fired. The English flagship Hampshire had been badly damaged by dense pack ice before she collided in the fog with the sloop Le Vesp. The Frenchman stern raked her, but was grappled and a spirited resistance by Capitaine Outelas’s crew finally overcome.

oh, oh... what's this? Owner's Love is a what?


 A second attack by the little Esquimaux almost succeeded in capturing Fletcher’s weakened flagship, but she too was taken. Racing to the muffled sounds of the action, D’Iberville’s brother Joseph le Moyne in Le Palmier, boarded and captured the weakened Hampshire, retaking the two captured ships and freeing the crews. Colin was surprised by the name of the fourth and smallest English ship Owner’s Love.

A very rare fireship success which goes to prove the rule!

Esquimaux stern rakes the HBC Dering

 He was even more surprised when she turned out to be a fireship. I was most surprised when her attack on the frigate Le Profond was successful, and her crew were unable to get the fires under control. A rare example of a fireship attack being prosecuted and the growing difficulty of the spreading fire finally getting beyond the ability of the crew to get it under control.

The whole world in a photo - it's all kicking off in Hudson's Bay!

English hopes were dashed when the HBC Dering was first stern raked by Esquimaux and then boarded by D’Iberville’s flagship Le Pélican which easily overcame her reluctant merchant crew. After a few early near misses, Royal Hudson’s Bay was too far off the action to make a contribution and withdraw into the dense fog. York Factory would be French!

Having captured two ships, the ice damaged Hampshire is taken by Le Palmier

This scenario is so unpredictable. I have played it twice with two French wins although both could easily have gone to the English. We enjoyed it so much we are running it again for Dave next week.