Saturday, July 10, 2010

Battle of Actium Project

After our playtesting of the basic Roman Seas rules the other day, my buddy Adrian and I are in full-sail prepping for a Battle of Actium game. 
As I mentioned earlier, we decided that 1) We really like the rules; and 2) We should go to a smaller scale than the 1/300th (6mm) scale we played. I sold off the ships and mat with 5" hexes to a gamer in Texas yesterday. I had hoped a sell it to a local gamer, but alas, they only responded to me after the Texan bought it. I'm happy the items are going to a good home and I hope he enjoys it. I put a lot of effort into building the ships and didn't make anything off of the sale - actually lost a bit considering the postage. I used some scavenged USPS priority mail boxes - cut up and inside out, but the wily (& penny-pinching) clerk saw the "Priority Mail" logo printed on the inside of the box and said he had to charge me the priority mail price anyway. I said next time I'll spray paint over the logo - he looked like he'd go postal on me :)!

Anyway, now that I have a little cash from the sale, some Langton 1/1200th scale ships will be purchased. Also, another Hotz mat, larger than the previous one, and with 3" hexes.

By all accounts of the Battle of Actium, Antony used mostly larger ships, such as quinqueremes:
These larger ships had fighting towers and also grappling hooks that could be fired from ballistae. While awaiting the arrival of Octavian's fleet, many of Antony's men had died or become incapacitated due to an outbreak of malaria. This depleted Antony's crews and he decided to burn most of his smaller ships, and consolidate his remaining effectives onto the larger ships. The larger ships should have had an advantage for ramming tactics, but supposedly due to the shortage of crewmen, they weren't able to reach the maximum speeds. Coupled with this, one of Antony's officers defected to Octavian on the eve of the battle, and provided him with Antony's battle plan - basically to corner and destroy the wing of Octavian's expert admiral, Agrippa. Octavian's entire fleet being aware of this, never allowed it to happen.

This is a period coin with Antony's name at the top and an image of a warship with what appears to be a raised corvus near the bow.
Anyway, our game will likely be a bunch of larger ships, Antony's, against an Octavian fleet of mostly triremes and smaller. Hopefully our game will look something like this:
Basic layout for the game:
Since it'll be in 1/1200th scale, we should be able to do up some of the shoreline too. That really seems to enhance a naval game - aesthetically anyway. Here's an aerial view of the location:
Heading home after a hard day at the office:


  1. g'day dean

    They are mighty fine looking vessels you have there, who is the manufacturer? Or did I miss it in the post. "She who must be restrained" is watching the Rome series again so maybe I could sneak a couple of these done vignette style into the display cabinet.
    Could I trouble you for physical dimensions?

  2. PP: If you're referring to the ones in the game - which now heading to a gamer in Texas - they are 1/300th scale (6mm). They are the PDF cut-out ships from Hotz - the creator of Roman Seas. RS is a fun set of rules, adaptable to any scale - that's why I sold the 1/300th ships (& 5" hex mat); I'm going to use the rules for 1/1200th & 3" hex mat. Dean

  3. Oh, beg pardon - I guess you are asking for the actual measurements of the ships, not the scale - hmmm, well the smaller ships (liburnians & hemoilas) fit on a base that was 5" in length - so those ships were about 4.5" or so. The larger ships' bases took up about two 5" hexes - so these were probably around 7-9" or so. Hope this helps, Dean

  4. I like the service from Langton models - I have some of his 1/1200 Napoleonic ships and they are wonderful but very challenging models to build.

    I've never seen his ancients and look forward to hearing more about your experience


  5. A very ambitious plan! Will you be setting fire to the models, like in the film? ;-)


  6. Miles: Have you ever ordered from Brookhurst for your Langton models?
    I'm thinking of doing this - if the ones I want are in stock. Thanks

    Simon: Everything but setting the ships on fire (too expensive). However, I may have to find some appropriate garb to wear - screams toga, doesn't it.


  7. Cool. Will you set fire to lost ships like they did in the movie? That will be expensive, but spectacular.

  8. Now that i have got up of the floor (thanks to red bat caves comment) and stopped choking. bwahahaha!
    Thanks for the info Dean will investigate them a bit more.


    wiping tears from his eyes