Updated 180906
  1. TITLE: Wooden Ships & Iron Men
  2. PUBLISHER: The Avalon Hill Game Company (TAHGC)
  3. SCOPE: Naval Warfare During the Age of Sail
  4. TAHGC CATALOG VERBAGE: Wooden Ships and Iron Men is a tactical simulation of naval warfare during the great age of sail. The game covers the period from 1776 to 1814 when the great square sail ships-of-the-line dominated the oceans and the speedy and durable American frigates gave world recognition to their young parent navy. The game is played by two or more players each commanding a ship, squadron, or whole fleet! Scenarios depict the famous naval engagements of the American and French Revolutions and the Napoleonic Wars. The game is also a kit from which other scenarios or any fictitious engagement may be designed.
    • Command any of the hundreds of great fighting ships of the chivalrous age of sail. Fly the Union Jack form a dashing British frigate or the Fleur-de-Lis from the deck of the ponderous Ship-of-the-Line. The world's great Men-of-War of the late 18th and early 19th centuries sail again under your command.
    • Ship vs. ship, fleet vs fleet, even a multi-battle Campaign Game of the American Revolution with future encounters hinging on your current success....all included in this simultaneous movement game that can be consummated in a half an hour or prolonged for weeks for the utmost in continuing naval drama and suspense.
    • Can you as Admiral De Grasse repeat the French Victory at Yorktown and cemented the French victory at the Battle of the Chesapeake which doomed Cornwallis at Yorktown and cemented the foundation of a glorious new country? Or will you as the British Admiral Hood, reverse history, saved Cornwallis from isolation, and prolong the War for Independence?
    • Trafalgar, Battle of the Nile, Constitution vs. Guerriere, Battle of Lake Erie, Constellation vs. the Vengeance, and virtually dozens of other classic naval scenarios await your pleasure in this fast paced game rated Intermediate Level II on the Avalon Hill complexity scale. For ages 12 & up.
  6. YEAR PUBLISHED (EDITIONS): Originally a Battleline game. TAHGC edition published 1975; Computer (Windows) version issued by TAHGC in 1998 shortly before its demise.
    • Historical Research & Design: Craig Taylor
    • Game Development: Stephen Peek & Battleline Publications
    • Rules Development & Expansion: Mick Uhl
    • Artwork: W. Scott Moores, Don Greenwood, Thomas N. Shaw
    • Components Design: Mick Uhl
    • Playtesting: Wes Coates, Paul O;Neill, George Uhl, Ken Trapp, Joe Hummel and members of Interest Group Baltimore
    • Cover Art: First Recognition of the American Flag by a Foreign Government, February 14, 1778. Oil on canvas by Edward Moran, Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Academy Museum
    • Printing: Monarch Services
    • Typesetting: Colonial Composition
  8. NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2-10+; well suited for multi-player action
  10. TYPICAL PLAYING TIME (HOURS): 1-5 hours depending on the number of ships involved.
  11. MAP SCALE:
  12. UNIT SCALE: Individual ships
  15. ARTICLE LISTING: Click here
  16. GAME INVENTORY: ### unit counters; two 14" x 22" mounted mapboard; rulebook, log pad, 1 die; 34 page rulebook which includes sample game, designer notes, ship 15 pages of scenarios (only 15 pages for basic and advanced game rules), charts for DYO scenarios for revolutionary and Napoleonic periods. Tim Hitchings & crew has been running the WSM Avaloncon/World Boardgame Championships for a 20+ years. Their update amplified ruleset is recommended to be adopted for all players, and is the default for the WBC and any WGA organized PBEM play that may develop. Tournament Rulebook is maintained by Tim Hitchings et al (WBC GM); currently at Version 2.6; 160615. I possess a TAHGC CD of the computer game but have never used it.
  17. WBC & AVALONCON HISTORY: continuous event since Avaloncon 1991
    • An elementary VASSAL module exists. WGA is actively upgrading it to WGA standard at this time.
    • The PBEM capabilities of the TAHGC Windows WSM game are unexplored by myself.
    • SUN JAVA computer version was being play tested in 1995 by Kees Jan Koster ( but was discontinued, status unknown. Kees' web site is still up.
  19. PBEM OPPORTUNITES: Once the WSM vassal module is updated, organized PBEM play will need an organizer/GM.
  20. WARGAME ACADEMY COMMENTS: Excellent relatively simple game well suited for introducing new players. Simultaneous plotting and resolution makes it a bit tricky for remote play but i played several matches in the play by (postal) mail days
  21. WARGAME ACADEMY GAME TOOLS: One game copy, Softcopy rulebook, word/text PBEM sheet, extensive article archive, and I a TAHGC CD of the computer game (but have never used it).

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