Oak & Iron...Why I Want To Know More

By Dan Adam

Beat to quarters!’ Here are some of the reasons that I would like to unfurl the top gallants to catch up to and board Oak & Iron to get a better look at the contents of it’s hold. 

As an adolescent I caught the Hornblower TV series when it was shown way back in the early 2000’s. The stories of a young midshipman taking his first steps in the Royal Navy was a cool story that made me realise how much of a proud history the UK has in naval exploits and led me to read & discover more as an adult. Patrick o’Brian & C.S Forester kindled a flame of intrigue and exploration within me and it was great learning about their characters. The idea of uncharted seas, trials, heroic deeds and plans is a great setting to get lost in. With this in mind, Oak & Iron washed up on my poop deck this week and I felt compelled to write my thoughts, pop them in a bottle, seal it with a cork and sling it into the sea! 

Oak & Iron is a 1:600th scale squadron/fleet sized game by Firelock Games, the company who brought us Blood & Plunder. It comes to Kickstarter on November 7th. Check out the Paint All The Minis Podcast with Mike Tunéz (the game creator) from November 10th here at paintalltheminis.com

Firing a broadside & closing to board!

One of the biggest appeals to me is that of creating a sleek & fast squadron of ships and setting up some cool cinematic visages. Having seen the core components of the box I know that some key items included are smoke banks that appear after your fire your broadside, plus also that you get wake tokens once your ship has moved. I am also aware that flags will be a big feature of the models, these things will allow me to have that bird’s eye view of the battle and imagine some really cinematic events. Being able to hit rigging, important crew members, and being able to close with, board and capture ships are all aspects of the game I am really looking forward to seeing/experiencing, what about a powder store explosion??? Ohhhhh yes! 

Planning ahead

When looking into Oak & Iron it seems that planning a turn or so ahead is a big factor of the game play. Outwitting my opponent or at least trying to is a big draw for me when it comes to choosing games. X wing, Rune Wars, & Star Wars Armada are just 3 of the games I have enjoyed recently that have included aspects of pre planning in an effort to get one over your opponent. I like to be able to have the ability to think about actions such as speed & positioning to get little benefits. Remember ships have to move so the more sail the faster you go, plus planning ahead to take advantage of wind direction seems to be desirable but not essential which keeps the game realistic but not too real to life to suck the joy out of it…TAKE IN THE SHEETS MR WILLARD IF YOU PLEASE!!!!!

Running a blockade or scoring some booty!!

Oak & Iron will offer many scenarios to enable us to create those cool narratives. Going back to my love of Hornblower, a key feature of those books was the role of Frigates. Harassing shipping and capturing ships for intelligence/disruption of supplies plus also the inevitable shares of the spoils will be a great scenario that I cant wait to enact. Added to that other scenarios plus the inevitable big fleet battles lead to an immersive experience. It seems also that Oak & Iron goes to the same extent as Blood & Plunder to be historically accurate. Firelock work with experts to make sure facts and figures are checked but what is also apparent is that the rules system is not overbearing, it seems from the look I have had at it that there is enough there to feel the salt air on your face but not too much to leave you floating in a sea of rules clutching your last keg of rum. 

So there you have it, my opening thoughts & feelings on Oak & Iron by Firelock Games. I wish Mike & co all the best with it and I hope it gives people hours of nautical fun!