Looking for Medieval Naval Rules

Once more I turn to you, dear readers, to help me find something.

I’m looking for a game that covers naval battles in the Medieval and/or Renaissance period. I’m going to be using miniatures to play it, but something that’s counter-based would be fine and easily adaptable. Nothing abstract or card-based, though.

The problem is that the big players in the field of pre-modern naval combat skip over the Medieval and Renaissance periods. Avalon Hill’s Trireme game covers the ancient period up to the 4th century, and Wooden Ships and Iron Men covers the 17th and 18th centuries. But for the Medieval and Renaissance periods? Nothing that I’ve been able to find. Companies make figures for the ships of the period, but no rules to actually use them.

Is everyone using homebrew rules? Am I missing some elephant in the room? Any help would be appreciated.

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

8 thoughts on “Looking for Medieval Naval Rules

  1. The miniatures wargame Revenge featured a naval battle system for Middle Ages alongside a siege system and one for massed battles. Apparently OOP now. 🙁

  2. Great minds think alike. I posted on the Old School Gamers group on Facebook and on Google+ looking for the same. The best I came up with is an Italian game called Mare Nostrum. I'm working on translating it into English now. I also have a copy of Two-Hour Wargames' Warring Fleets. I am going to look at that as a possibility as well. If I can get permission from the publisher of either game, I'll share them with you.

  3. I can't vouch for any of the following as I've just found them with Google, but there's this site with a wargame called Knights and Knaves with a host of supplements including one called Castles, Cogs & Chevauchées, which might just be perfect.

    And then there's this site with three sets of medieval naval rules, along with various others.

  4. Thanks very much for the input, guys. I'd seen some of those suggestions before, but some were new to me. Some specific notes:

    Warring Fleets looks interesting, but the fact that it only covers oared ships (no sails) is a sticking point.

    Castles, Cogs & Chevauchées is, unfortunately, designed for a scale much smaller than I'm looking for. It's still very much focused on individual sailor and soldiers, with the ships just a way to get them to fight each other using the main skirmish rules. "Medieval Naval Warfare Rules" has the same issue.

    "Away With Honour!" looks interesting. Would need to come up with stats for the ships, but that's doable.

    "Heimskringla" is a dead link, alas.

    "Naval Rules" also looks interesting, but I'd have to add gunpowder fire in there somehow. "A Medieval Naval Wargame" is the same.

    I actually used to own "Bireme & Galley," and am kicking myself for having gotten rid of it years ago. It is, alas OOP.

    Thanks for the input– if anyone has any other ideas, they would be most welcome.

  5. "Heimskringla" is a dead link, alas.

    The link is retrievable through the Wayback Machine, but I see now it is not what you're after at all. It's more of a skirmish at sea than a naval wargame.

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