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KMH 'Coffee & Danish' at '...Lard Enough'

Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:39 pm
by pugwash
Hello Sailors,

Following our ‘Lard Enough’ day in Southampton recently, I’ve had several requests to post some information about the KMH ‘Coffee & Danish’ game that I put on, including details of the models and the rules modifications that I made. As KMH is one of the less-played Lard games, I particularly wanted to make it easily accessible for new players, but still offer some tactical challenges to maintain their interest.

The game is loosely based around the Gunboat Wars between Denmark and Britain in 1808/09. I hope to do an article for WSS magazine at some point, but there is a reasonable overview of the war and main actions on Wikipedia for those who wish to learn a bit more now.

The game is asymmetrical, i.e. fast sailing ships vs rowed gunboats that are relatively frail, but which pack a punch. It is designed around the efforts of a pair of British sailing cutters, each armed with a pair of 4pdr long guns and 10no. 12lb carronades, to navigate through narrow Danish waters to supply Admiral Saumarez’ ships in the Baltic (with coffee!). Two or three flotillas of rowed Danish gunboats were to intercept them. There are two types of gunboat used: ‘Kanonschloope’ mounting 24pdr cannon in both bow and stern; and smaller ‘Kanonjolle’ each with a single stern-mounted 18pdr cannon.

For rules, I had Chris Stoessen’s excellent ‘To Covet Glory’ book of KMH modifications for ‘below-rate’ ships and boats, on which I leaned heavily to produce simplified two-sided playsheets – again to make it easy for new players. These abstracted or pre-set several elements of the rules, such as crew morale and capabilities and omitted some of the more long-winded actions, including boarding.

Wind direction remained fixed for the game – directly across the board – for ease of play, though three ‘Sea State’ levels were possible: ‘Light Airs’ that halved sailing vessels speed; ‘Fair Winds’ permitted normal operations for all; and ‘Getting Choppy’ that endangered the low-freeboard gunboats and adversely affects gunnery. These were dice-controlled by the umpire, being checked when the appropriate token or card is drawn.

The sea mat was a 6’ x 4’ cloth from Tiny Wargames, over marked with ‘grid’ crosses on 12” and 6” centres. These markings, together with angle cuts to the bow and stern of the cutters’ bases, allowed easy determination of the cutters’ point of sailing (wind on bow, quarter or stern). Positioning of the coastlines, islands, entry and exit points were designed to ensure that the cutters couldn’t simply run along the length of the table but would have to head upwind at some point to reach the channel exit.

The turning circles used in KMH can be somewhat cumbersome to use in tight spaces; and when moving a straight base side around a curve, the correct direction isn’t easily maintained. So I designed move/turn devices made from card to turn vessels by 1cm at a time on the correct radius. The sides of the devices were made to represent a full move and half move (in cms) for the respective vessel type. Lastly, I made a short range (12cm) arc of fire template for the cutters’ carronades (the gunboats only shoot straight between parallel lines extended from the sides of their base).

All models were 1/300 scale. The British cutters are painted and partially-rigged Langton models. Rod kindly cast the sea bases in a different resin for me, so that bow and stern angles could be cut without shattering the base. These base angles can then be lined up with the grid on the mat (related to the wind direction) to determine whether the wind is on the bow, quarter or stern.

The ‘Kanonschloope’ are the Danish Gunboat models from Langton, with crew, guns and oars added. The ‘Kanonjolle’ were part scratch-built, based on Langton British Gunboat hulls that were hollowed out with a Dremel and the decking and seats built from plastic rod and Milliput Superfine White. Crew and guns were added, with oars made from fuse wire and plastic rod masts and bowsprits. All the gunboats are mounted on 80mm x 40mm bases from Warbases, with sea effects made from artists’ acrylic structure gel, painted and washed.

The game was well-received and close-run on each of the sessions that I ran it. ‘Sailing’ games have often been perceived as too complicated and slow, so I hope this has demonstrated that, with a little effort and simplification, some highly enjoyable 2-3 hour games can be played out.

I’ll try and upload the playsheets and turning devices outlines to the Lardies Groups.io files section, together with a copy of this post. Just please acknowledge me if you wish to use them. I’ll also try and upload some photos taken during the games.

Next project: War of 1812 Great Lakes anyone?

Re: KMH 'Coffee & Danish' at '...Lard Enough'

Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:54 pm
by pugwash
I've attached the files to a post on Group.io. Photos to follow...

Re: KMH 'Coffee & Danish' at '...Lard Enough'

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2020 2:00 pm
by cstoesen
I tried to reply in the io group but apparently I am not a member even though I get the emails. Great game and thanks for sharing the tools you created. These are great. I am glad you are enjoying To Covet Glory. The pictures you posted on the FB group are wonderful. I love the Langdon 1/300 ships. They are beautiful but my painting skills don't do them justice.

Re: KMH 'Coffee & Danish' at '...Lard Enough'

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2020 8:14 pm
by DeRuyter
I posted a response in the IO group. I will running the Battle of Lake Erie using the "To Covet Glory" supplement at Cold Wars - tomorrow actually (pending some government mandated change ofc).

Re: KMH 'Coffee & Danish' at '...Lard Enough'

Posted: Fri Mar 13, 2020 2:04 pm
by MikeH
as someone lucky enough to play this game I can testify to how much fun it was, thanks again Bob

Re: KMH 'Coffee & Danish' at '...Lard Enough'

Posted: Mon Mar 16, 2020 9:35 am
by pugwash
Morning all.
Thanks for the kind words Mike. I'll do a scenario without islands next time .;-)
Chris, believe me, my painting and rigging skills don't do the Langton models justice either. But they are such beautiful models they cover a multitude of sins. Hope you'll forgive the bends and breaks that I applied to your rules modifications!
Looking forward to your Cold Wars AAR, DeRuyter!

Re: KMH 'Coffee & Danish' at '...Lard Enough'

Posted: Mon Mar 16, 2020 1:01 pm
by cstoesen
I view them as a toolkit to do with as you like. I don't think there is anything that you did to break it. You made them work for you, which is the important part. And you had fun - which is even better.

Re: KMH 'Coffee & Danish' at '...Lard Enough'

Posted: Mon Mar 16, 2020 7:32 pm
by BaronVonWreckedoften
The tables I was at were almost next to your game, pugwash, and whilst both were rivetting, I did sneak a peak over occasionally as I have always been intrigued by small ship actions from this period, and especially the more obscure ones. Everyone I spoke to said it was a great game - well done.

Re: KMH 'Coffee & Danish' at '...Lard Enough'

Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 8:49 pm
by pugwash
Thanks Baron! I feel I ought to know you, but I can't identify you from that username! Do you have a Twitter handle?

Re: KMH 'Coffee & Danish' at '...Lard Enough'

Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2020 12:25 pm
by BaronVonWreckedoften
Yes, unfortunately it's @wreckedoften so not very helpful. I'm Brendan Morrissey, until 2005 occasional Osprey author/guest lecturer at the NAM on all (military) things AWI. Since then, quite interested in Bavarian/Brunswick Napoleonics and, as I said above, late 18th/early 19th small ship actions.