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War by Sail

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Bote Action - 1550 - 1815

Battle of Oland

War by Sail is a simple yet comprehensive age of sail wargame, aimed at small fleet actions of 3 to 30 ships per side, with a focus on historical accuracy and flavor.

Researched and playtested for 10 months, War by Sail includes detailed ship rosters for 20 different conflicts, spanning from 1563 to 1812. Generic units are also provided for the 1300 - 1550 period.

A Generic ship list is given for each period (such as "Third Rate", "Fourth Rate" etc.), as well as individual named ships (over 1,700 in total!), showing each ship's weaponry, size, maneuverability and suchlike. Get ready to learn how many Demi-Cannons and Culverins your favorite 17th century English ship had...

War by Sail emphasizes crew quality and morale, as well as real tactics of the periods, and carefully reflects changes in naval technology throughout the centuries.

Conflicts Covered:

  • Generic Ships – 1300 – 1550
  • Northern Seven Years' War – 1563 - 1570
  • Battle of Lepanto – 1571
  • Spanish Armada – 1588
  • First Anglo-Dutch War – 1652 - 1654
  • Second Northern War – 1655 - 1660
  • Second Anglo-Dutch War –  1665 – 1667
  • Third Anglo-Dutch War – 1672 - 1674
  • Scanian War – 1675 - 1679
  • Nine Years' War – 1688 - 1697
  • Great Northern War – 1700 - 1721
  • War of the Spanish Succession – 1701 - 1714
  • War of the Austrian Succession – 1740 - 1748
  • Seven Years' War – 1756 - 1763
  • American War of Independence – 1775 - 1783
  • Russo-Turkish War – 1787 - 1792
  • Russo-Swedish War – 1788 - 1790
  • French Revolutionary Wars – 1792 - 1802
  • Napoleonic Wars – 1803 - 1815
  • War of 1812 – 1812 - 1815

A game of War by Sail can last anywhere from an hour and a half to 2 or 3 hours, depending on the size of the battle. At the start of the turn all ships make a mandatory forward move based on their direction relative to the wind (SPILL SAIL! WE'RE ABOUT TO COLLIDE), after which individual ships activate, making turns, and attacks (providing their crew is on the ball enough...). Crew quality determines if a ship is able to activate and also the speed at which they reload.

War by Sail uses damage markers on the base of a ship's miniature for a more visual representation of its condition, although Ship Roster sheets are provided for people who would rather track damage off-table. Damage Markers and game aides are provided at the end of the rules, and can be printed out for use.

Rules are provided for coastal forts and batteries, as well as optional rules for a more in-depth naval experience. 

A printer-friendly version of the PDF is provided.

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Reviews (1)
Discussions (1)
Customer avatar
Laurence S October 04, 2023 2:42 pm UTC
Where the game calls for the Highest Crew Rating, does that mean 5+ before 4+ I.e. worst goes first?
Customer avatar
Tom J October 04, 2023 8:38 pm UTC
Hi Laurence - the higher crew rating would be the one that has the better chance of success - so a lower score required on the D6. - so best quality goes first (4+ would go before 5+). Sorry if that is unclear, I should potentially re-word that.
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File Last Updated:
October 02, 2019
This title was added to our catalog on October 02, 2019.