After the broadside it was time to board. First is to lay out the ship templates, (based on the ship Rate and provided for free at the web store). The smaller pirate would have three "decks" or areas while the 3rd Rate would have four. I decided I'd rather board than reduce the ship by fire as any damage would have to be repaired. If captures, this 3rd Rate would become my new flagship.
That and merchants would have the minimum crew (10 figures) as their job is to trade while my ship, a pirate, had the maximum crew (also 10 figures).
The merchant had rolled for crew deployment , after I had deployed my crew. Note that movement between areas would take one turn and any action would be confined to the area it was in.
Here's a picture of the ships before the swivel guns have fired.
Both sides now take the Charge into Melee Test. Notice how one pirate was already out of the fight from swivel gun fire. Both sides pass the same number of d6, the merchants that are armed with muskets fire.
And the pirates swarm aboard. Melee now takes place.
In And a Bottle of Rum we offer two ways to conduct melee. For land battles and boarding actions where there are lots of ships involved we use the Big Battle melee rules. In this case we roll d6 equal to the crew Rep plus modifiers as they apply. It's the same melee rules found in Muskets and Mohawks and is resolved by the unit, usually with one toss of the dice.
No surprise, the outnumbered merchants lose the melee. Both sides take the Man Down test, the pirates pass and the remaining merchant crew fail and Run Away - in effect, they surrender.
Now here's the same action with the small melee rules, used for one on one ship actions like this one.
Activation is rolled again. This time the merchants can activation and the pirates cannot.
So with a few minor tweaks you can fight boarding actions with a few or a lot of ships and still get to a conclusion in a reasonable amount of time. This whole adventure from rolling for contact to the merchants surrendering, twice, took thirty minutes.
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