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Second Ever Game (Solo) : Admiral Inwood Blanche v La Pique simple rules
#1
This scenario was played solo and was my second ever game of Admiral’s Order : All Hands!   

I have left the report containing all errors I encountered, so it may aid other new players.  I have also added notes where I would like some experienced players to clarify the rules and my gameplay please.

I enjoyed this game, it was a very exciting encounter for just two ships and close fought throughout with lots of twists and turns in the story.
The first mistake I noted was I set the map up the wrong way round in my first game.  Note to new players, when setting up the map, always make sure you can read the hex numbers the right way round.

Turn 1 – In a stroke of immediate luck, Blanche takes the initiative, drawing yellow 21 v red 12 for La Pique.  To add to the favorable start, 3 seemingly perfect cards were drawn for Blanche including options such as chain shot, bear away, leeway and backing sails.

[Image: AO%20Blanche%20La%20Pique%201%20part%201...clsavk.jpg]
[Image: AO%20Blanche%20La%20Pique%201%20part%202...bgi8eu.jpg]

BLANCHE MOVE:
Blanche beats to 16-13 (4MP), plays bear away to get a free turn down one hex side, uses reaching to get to 18-14 (2MP), throws away the second bear away card to fire at the stern of La Pique, also using chain shot:

Distance 2, SC 9.  FP = 4 + 2 for stern rake = 6 total
Number of die roll targeting rigging is 3 for the British Ship + one additional for rake = 4 die
Result = 16 on the die, plus 4 for the chain shot = 20 total.
Total damage = 4R2S. (NOTE: A BEGINNERS MISTAKE: I REALIZED IN TURN 4, THIS WAS FAR TOO POWERFUL A HIT BECAUSE I GOT THE FP/DIE ROLL MIXED UP BY ACCIDENT. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN 2RS+#.  But, let’s assume the special event was a direct hit, that would be 3RS potentially, so, being 2 hits out is not so bad and as a solo wargamer I accept my mistake – it’s a battle after all and chaos is ensuing!  I also adjust the Blanche on Turn 5 by RS to make up for the mistake and even the game once I realize this mistake)

[Image: AO%20Blanche%20La%20Pique%201%20part%203...xoeizc.jpg]

A good and lucky start for the Blanche!
Not forgetting to move to 19-15 to finish the full MP allowance.
With the turn over for Blanche there are no cards to retain.

LA PIQUE MOVE:

Cards drawn: Windward/Backing Sails, Special Manoeuver/Bear Up, Chain Shot/More Sails.  The captain is very happy with the chain shot and special manoeuvre.

La Pique opts for immediate use of the Special Manoueuvre for a ‘Bear Away’ to turn to face the Blanche, instead of using a free repair (MARIO/EXPERTS NOTE: PLEASE CONFIRM THIS ‘BEAR AWAY MOVE IS POSSIBLE, AS THE DIAGRAM DOES NOT PICTURE THE SHIP STARTING IN THIS POSITION IN THE INSTRUCTIONS, BUT I ASSUME IT’S POSSIBLE AS IT’S THE SAME MOVE, JUST OPPOSITE SIDE?)

{Mario: Correct. All pictures showing ships in relation to the wind or in relation to each other, can be seen the same way mirrored at a line, drawn from north to south.
To use a Special Manoeuvre Card as a joker for any other sail manoeuvre is also correct, for a single ship. }


[Image: AO%20Blanche%20La%20Pique%201%20part%204...n3doxx.jpg]

La Pique plays a chain shot, discarding just that card, due to the French chain shot bonus of only needing to drop one card.
Distance 2, SC 8.  FP = 4 + 1 FP as the French opt to target rigging = 5 TOTAL
Number of die to roll is 2.
Result = 9+4 for chain shot = 13 total
Total damage = RS

It’s starting to look difficult for La Pique’s position already!
La Pique moves 7 MP ahead, to hex 27-17, and retains a Windward/Backing Sail card.

Turn 2


Blanche, highest to the wind, draws Red 25.  La Pique draws Yellow 9.

BLANCHE MOVE:

Blanche to move first again. Good cards for Blanche again! A special manoeuvre, chain shot, and leeway/backing sails.  This appears to be lucky drawing for the British.

Blanche uses reaching for 4MP directly down to 23-17.  The Special Manoeuvre card is played as a ‘Bear Up’.  Blanche uses Beating for 2MP, moving tantalizingly close to another Rake! But it’s not quite a direct line.

(ORIGINAL INCORRECT ATTEMPT BELOW!!)
With a distance of 3, Blanche plays a chain shot and discards the remaining Leeway/Backing Sails card, targeting rigging.
Distance 3, SC 8.  FP = 3.
Number of die to roll for British is 3.
The total die roll is 6+4 for chain shot = 10 total.
Total damage = R, but that takes the total hit to rigging to 5, and there is a mast lost on Turn 2!
And the turn ends, no cards retained.

[Image: AO%20Blanche%20La%20Pique%201%20part%205...sktgwo.jpg]

NOTE TO SELF AND OTHER BEGINNERS : LINE UP SHIPS ACCURATELY AS I HAD TO CORRECT THIS MOVE!

I then realised that when perfectly lined up, La Pique was NOT within a 60 degree arc firing range, was one hex out (curse that 2MP to go against the wind).  So, as a solo gamer, I could have let the result stand, or correct the result.  I opted for correction.  Blanche retains chain shot and leeway for next turn, and La Pique is re-mast to fight another day.

{Mario: Yes, very important point. In order to determine whether the targeted ship is in your fire arc, it is always important to place the ships accurately. When one ship tries to hunt down another ship, typically only the bow chaser can be fired. Please refer to 5.2.3 in the rules.}

LA PIQUE MOVE:
La Pique draws another Windward/Backing Sails, to add to that same card it retained.  Plus draws a Chain shot/More Sails.  Very handy card for them! And a Bear Up/More Sails.
With no viable cards to get in range, La Pique reaches 7 hexes to 34-20 (negotiating a tidal wave ridge!  She drops one of the Windward cards, retains 3 cards, and the turn is over. 

[Image: AO%20Blanche%20La%20Pique%201%20part%205...kimcq2.jpg]

Turn 3 


Initiative is drawn: Blanche Red 20, La Pique Yellow 5.

BLANCHE MOVE:
Interesting cards - 2 special moves, plus a chain shot!
[Image: AO%20Blanche%20La%20Pique%201%20part%206...d2w09q.jpg]

Blanche Beats to 25-16 (2 MP).  She could fire now, at a range of 9, but would like to get closer.  A special manoeuvre is used to bear away. Blanche reaches 5 hex with the remaining MP, to 30-18.  Using the second special manoeuvre/bear up card, she turns, ready again to fire, tantalizingly one hex from a rake!  To play their third and final card, they play a ‘chain shot’ to target the rigging, also having to dispose of the Leeway card (NOTE TO MARIO/EXPERT PLAYERS:  IS THIS A LEGAL MOVE? TECHNICALLY DOES THIS COUNT AS 3 CARDS BEING PLAYED, THE LEGAL LIMIT, OR 4, WHICH WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED? I PRESUME THIS IS ACCURATE AS THE ‘CHAIN SHOT’ IS THE THIRD CARD, AND IT JUST SO HAPPENS THAT BECAUSE OF THAT I HAVE TO DISCARD ANOTHER, NOT ACTUALLY PLAY IT AS SUCH). 

{Mario: Here is the rule:
Within one activation, you can perform as many sail manoeuvres as you have masts (=Rigging Status)
Sail manoeuvres are: Bear Up, Bear Away, More Sails, Backing Sails, Leeway, Windward.
Please note: It doesn't matter why you are allowed to perform the manoeuvre. (e.g. you played the matching MC, or you played a Special Manoeuvre Card as a joker for a single ship, or as member of a squadron, you have the particular manoeuvre for free, because the Admiral tells you with his order...)
What ever would allow you to execute such a sail manoeuvre, it is physically not possible to perform more than the current number masts.

Everything else (e.g. to fire a broadside, to use Chain Shot, to repair the ship, ....) is not considered as a sail manoeuvre, even if it is typically "paid" by playing a card.

Concerning the sail manoeuvres, there are some additional restrictions due to how sailing physically works:
- Only one More Sails is allowed per activation.
- Leeway and Windward require sufficient Movement Points to be performed, depending on the position relatively to the wind.
- Several turns (Bear Away and Bear Up) can not be performed directly with one hex. (Exception: Tacking, where you turn the bow into the wind and perform one Bear Up and one Bear Away without moving, within one hex.)
- Movement Points are mandatory and must be used. However they can be freely adjusted by More Sails and Backing Sails.

Concerning the other actions there are also some physical restrictions:
- Only one repair (ship OR rigging) can be performed within one activation.
- Each Broadside can only be fired once per activation.

Those "physical restrictions" are always true and overrule every other rule at any time.
But that's about it. Most other rules are deal with the fact whether you are actual capable to execute a particular action, rather then checking whether it is technically possible. }


Firing range = 4, with 8 SC. Is 3FP.
3 Die is rolled. Result is 8 + 4 for the chain shot = 12. 

[Image: AO%20Blanche%20La%20Pique%201%20part%207...4uhkoq.jpg]

1 Rigging hit is the result, and finally a legal dismast (I hope!)  Incidentally, even if chain shot was not used, it would have been a R, which means it would still be a legal hit.
So… La Pique is still in trouble!   Riding a tidal wave, and now one dismast! After a very low initiative too…
Blanche retains one card (Chain Shot / Bear Up).

LA PIQUE MOVE:
They draw two cards as they are down to two masts: A chain shot/bear away, and Chain shot/bear up.  I get the feeling they really wanted a special manoeuvre here, to repair the mast.  But no such luck.  A chain shot is still good though.

They are down to 5MP now.

She opts for a ‘Bear Up’ and then for the final card, an immediate ‘Chain Shot’ at the rigging.

Firing range = 4, with 8 SC.  Is 3FP + 1FP for French Ship = 4 FP
2 Die rolled. Result is 12!!! A lucky double 6! Plus 4 for the Chain Shot = 16.
2R, plus the first Special Event of the day.
Unbelievable – the special event is 10 – Admiral killed!!!
As the commander is Cptn Faulknor, he rolls 2 die and gets… 10.
Admiral is killed!!

[Image: AO%20Blanche%20La%20Pique%201%20part%208...tphrzz.jpg]

I now think this game is either haunted, or too real to be a game.  Faulknor was killed in the real battle, and in 2 scenarios I’ve played, he has now been killed in both games… very odd… But shows how the tide can turn in this game.  Advantage, back to the French!

They have no cards left to play, so simply beating two hexes to 36-19.  She retains 2 chain shot cards, the maximum allowable for 2 masts.

Turn 4
Blanche draws Red 23, Pique Yellow 5.  Still very poor initiative for the French!

BLANCHE MOVE
The Blanche, captain less, is down to 3.5 CV and only 2 MC.  They draw Leeway/Backing Sails and Bear Up/Leeway, to add to the retained Chain Shot.
Now, if only they had a Bear Away, the rake would be possible… but they don’t….

(NOTE TO MARIO/EXPERTS: AS THEIR MC IS DOWN TO 2, EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVE 3 MASTS, I’M ASSUMING THEY CAN ONLY PLAY 2 CARDS, NOT 3 HERE? MAXIMUM THAT CAN BE PLAYED, IS MAXIMUM THAT CAN BE DRAWN, OR SHOULD IT BE 3 MAXIMUM (NO. OF MASTS)?).

{Mario:   Please see my previous comment, concerning playing the cards.

Concerning drawing the cards, it is a little more complicated:
For Single Ships: You take the CVs for the ship (ship and rigging) and, if there is a commander on board, you add his CVs, too.
With this number you look up the corresponding value in the CV-CP table.
The number you find there tells you how many cards you can draw at the beginning of the game turn.
Please refer to 4.6.5 in the rulebook.

You might find out that in the smaller scenarios this sometimes looks as if you get as many MCs as you have masts.
But this is not always true and the correct rule is important.
For example even a dismasted, almost destroyed ship will always draw one MC, as you can see in the table.
}




They opt for a Leeway for 2MP, to hex 31-19, then beating 2 hexes up (4MP) to end their turn on the tidal wave that is 33-18.  They play their last allowed card which is Chain Shot, and this forces them to discard Bear Up/Leeway, their last card.
Targeting rigging, they have a distance of 3, SC of 8, so fire power of 3.
The British roll 3 die to score a 11, plus 4 for the chain shot = 15.
[Image: AO%20Blanche%20La%20Pique%201%20part%201...wt9jkt.jpg]
It is RS+ a special event!  The special event is 7 – a precise shot.  Lucky for the British indeed. They opt to attack the SC, which completely fills up the top row for La Pique.
All cards are played for the British, and MP used up, so their turn ends.
LA PIQUE MOVE
La Pique also draws two cards. Bear Up/Backing Sails and Bear Away/More Sails. No repair, like what they wanted.
She immediately fires a chain shot in return, using one chain shot card.
Distance is 3, SC now 6, giving a FP of 3+1 for French targeting rigging.
They roll 2 die for a score of 10+4 for chain shot is 14.  A good result of RS.  The British are now just 1 hit on both R and S away from filling in their top row.
She uses beating for 2 hexes to end up 38-18 and ends the turn as <5 MP is used.  Cards retained are Chain Shot and Bear Away/More Sails.


{Mario: ... and a last comment concerning remaining MCs.
First of all, this is only allowed for frigates. If a Ship-of-the-Line is a Single ship, it is not allowed to keep any cards from one turn to another.
For a Frigate, at the end of the game turn it will be checked, how many MCs she can keep.
To check, simply count her masts. The number of remaining cards must be reduced to this number.
Hint: For scenarios with several Frigates, we have markers included, to put on the remaining cards, not to mix them up, with others. }
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#2
Turn 5


Initiative is tricky now… (NOTE TO MARIO/EXPERT: IF SHIPS ARE ON 38-18 and 33-18 who has the initiative? Technically, 33-18 is the ‘highest’ hex, but they are on the same ‘row’ and 38-18 is furthest left?).  I assume they are on equal lines, and now La Pique is to draw first, being furthest left.  They draw red 22 v yellow 5 and take the initiative.

{Mario: Well, with this rule, it's like with all the other rules in AO. The intention was to keep it as simple as possible.
With sometimes very short descriptions in the rule book, this might lead to confusion. I apologize for this.

The ship with the better wind position should gain the benefit of the initiative. This is all what it is about.

So with two ships, the one closer to the wind (more up on the board) draws red, the other one yellow.
As you know, red tends to have higher numbers than yellow and yellow tends to have higher numbers than blue.
In our example we find Blanch is a little higher, and that's why she should draw the red Initiative Marker.

So in the process of assigning Initiative Markers for Single Ships, you simply start with those, positioned the highest to the wind. If you have 5 ships, for example, you assign 2 red, 2 yellow and one blue marker. (Refer to chapter 4.5 in the rulebook)
The highest ship receives red, the second highest also receives red,
the next two ships receive yellow and the last ship, the most in LEE, receives blue. 
So far it's quite simple.

Only if two ships are really on the same hight, relatively to the wind, the rule doesn't function any longer.
We have a tie.
("on the same hight" means, they have both an equal distance from the long edge of the game board, or can both be found on a parallel line to the long edge of the game board.)

To fix this, only for the ships that are in a tie, placed on this very line, you simply start to assign the colours from left to right.
(If you like, you might imagine, that for what ever reason, the ships on the left site are some yards higher to the wind than the ships on the right site.) }







[Image: 100_0174_zpsg8yce3cz.jpg]

LA PIQUE TURN
La Pique draws Windward / backing sails and Chain shot / more sails. Aiming to turn around in a nice manoeuvre, they play ‘Bear Away’, reach (1MP), then ‘Bear Away’, before firing at a range of 6, targeting the rigging.
Total FP = 3FP
Die roll = 4
Result = R, and the Blanche is dismast by 1.  At this point, I also add RS to make up and even out the turn one error.  Just because I’m playing solo and I can.

[Image: AO%20Blanche%20La%20Pique%201%20part%201...wmitli.jpg]
She has to use her remaining MP by moving down running 4.

BLANCHE TURN
Blanche now draws only 1 cards for 2.5 CV (Curse the captain loss!).  This is now turning against them…  It is bear up/more sails.
Blanche discards the card, to fire at a range of 8 hexes, this time targeting SC.
FP is 1 only, but they get 3 die rolls.  With a result of 11, it’s a S+ Special event!  La Pique is now down to 5 SC.  The special event roll is… 11.
[Image: AO%20Blanche%20La%20Pique%201%20part%201...iwpmjh.jpg]
[Image: AO%20Blanche%20La%20Pique%201%20part%201...hgktka.jpg]

WOW – The ship is now ‘ON FIRE’!  The first time this has happened! (and I haven’t learnt the rules for this one yet!)

[Image: AO%20Blanche%20La%20Pique%201%20part%201...0piwgy.jpg]

To finish Blanche turn, they are beating 2 hexes up for 4MP, unable to use the last MP.
It’s the end of turn, with no cards to retain, so I best look up what on fire means.  And it’s simply, roll on a table and apply the modifiers… 7…. 2R

[Image: AO%20Blanche%20La%20Pique%201%20part%201...1ucdj4.jpg]

So still both ships survive.

Turn 6
Blanche draws Red 22, La Pique Yellow 5

BLANCHE TURN
Blanche starts, the 1 MC is Chain Shot / Bear Up.  Blanche opts to release the card to fire at the SC at a range of 8.
FP is only 1, but they roll 3 die. A result of 13 in total.  Which is a hit of S, with La Pique down to 4SC. With that, Blanche moves her full 5MP allowance via beating 2 hex to 37-16.
[Image: AO%20Blanche%20La%20Pique%201%20part%201...m0gzmu.jpg]

LA PIQUE TURN
La Pique draw Bear Up/Leeway, and a Special Manoeuvre, which should be very handy. They choose to ‘Bear Up’ and fire at a range of 8 hexes by discarding windward, targeting rigging.  Their FP is 2, with a total die roll of 4, which is a complete miss (just)!  With that over, they reach 5 spaces to 34-25. And play the special manoeuvre to repair a SC (their second card).  (NOTE TO MARIO/EXPERT : Is this possible, can you Bear Up, do a Special Manoeuvre AND Fire, if you only have 2 manoeuvres (masts) available? Is Firing separate to a manoeuvre or treated as a manoeuvre?)  They retain chain shot for next turn.

{Mario: Yes, it is. To fire and to repair are both no Sail Manoeuvres. Please see my answer before.}

The fire table result is…5…. Unbelievably the ship explodes and Blanche, without a captain, one mast down and with a damaged hull, wins the day this time.
[Image: AO%20Blanche%20La%20Pique%201%20part%201...ys7300.jpg]

The game is over.


{Mario:  Two have a commander killed and an exploding ship, with two frigates in only 6 turns, is not very likely. But, well, as you can see, it might happen.    Smile }  
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#3
Great!

I guess now it became obvious, what makes Admirals Order, to what it is!
The sorry told by this single game, with the easiest subset of rules, is as exciting as a real historical battle .

You will soon find my answers in the text above...

Alles Gute
   Mario
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#4
(22nd Apr 2016, 06:44)MarioJ Wrote: Great!

I guess now it became obvious, what makes Admirals Order, to what it is!
The sorry told by this single game, with the easiest subset of rules, is as exciting as a real historical  battle .

You will soon find my answers in the text above...

Alles Gute
   Mario
Great feedback. I was mostly playing right, only thing was I didn't realise a repair was not included as one of the 3 sailing moves allowed for a 3 mast ship. Now I know I could potentially do 3 sail moves AND fire AND repair a ship, given enough cards.

The other important point you highlight is how many cards you draw has no relation to the maximum you can play, which is purely down to masts, not CV. And even with no masts you can still fire or repair where possible.

ps I really like the mast system that gives a brilliant quick visual representation of both 'health' and what a ship can do...

Thanks for clarifying initiative, now I know to take the rule literally.

For LaPique last turn I can now see that even with 2 masts they could have done TWO sailing moves PLUS repair PLUS fire. So four actions, only two mast.

In the rules section on the forum I just need clarification on, 2 The Board, 4.5 Order for initiative markers, in say a 10 ship game, Rare events if captain is killed the process and moving, can you deliberately move into the wind and end movement immediately?

thanks for the time taken to help me understand your game.

Admiral Inwood
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#5
Hi Admiral Inwood,

I thank you very much for sharing your solo play with us and for asking all these questions.
The forum is the dedicated place to clarify these things and to publish the answers.

Even with many, many play testing, there are still some phrases in the rulebook that have never been "bullet-proved".
In some cases, we simply don't know how easy they can be understood by somebody who never ever played the game before.

This just happened, because for this job, even after a 5 minutes presentation on the game fair, you are "spoiled".
You already have a picture in your mind that is influenced by what you saw and when you start to read the rulebook, later, you make assumptions that are not purely based on the written text.

That's why I so much appreciate your work!

Thanks allot.

Alles Gute
   Mario
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#6
Today I am playing an exceptionally exciting 2 frigate v 2 frigate scenario, nearing the end.  We've seen a fire (extinguished) and 3 attempts to injure a commander (1/3 successful!).  I also completed a video play through of the opening scenario 1 frigate v 1 frigate.

I hope to be able to report on both of these battles soon.

I've been considering my rating of this game for BGG, and I'm most probably going to go with 10/10 for this. I don't take this decision lightly.

Here's why.  My top rated game so far is GMT Pike and Shot This Accursed Civil War (9/10 - "Excellent game, always want to play this").  10/10 is "Outstanding, always want to play this and I expect this will never change".  

This Accursed Civil War is very good, 5 scenarios.  There was one additional scenario as an add on pack.  The rules are quite fast play and very realistic and exciting. 

With Admiral's Order, I get 5 scenarios, but within these scenarios there are different levels of play and challenges.  Mario is actively working on expansions constantly to rules and scenarios, so as long as these are made, I expect I'll want to play.  But the rules, these are perfect, a fast play game for beginners that is exciting, yet developing into a very deep and realistic game, especially with additional rules available and massive battle scenarios of high excitement.  I believe that the designer is dedicated to this game shows.  The detail of the history comes through in the game.  This is different to designers who create a game for one period, then can quite happily move along to the next game.

My wishes are that Admiral's Order continues to be focused on, and expanded with more exciting possibilities.  Everyone who plays the game seems to love the game, so I hope it gets support for decades to come.  I am having a lot of fun playing this.  10/10. Thank you for designing this game, I really enjoy this game.
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