Friday 6 April 2012

Cotton Wool Ball Battle

A couple of my chums came along to my hut for a game. I surprised them with a Cotton Wool Ball Battle which hasn't been played for a few years. In fact one of them had not played it before.

The French squadron commanded by Admiral B consisted of the Cochon Noire and the Premier D'April.

The British squadron was made up with Useless and Incapable and was commanded by Admiral H.

The French crept cautiously from their corner while the British boldly headed for the centre of the battle area.

Admiral H gentlemanly held his fire (probably finishing his tea) while the French commander had no problem getting stuck in.

As you can see his opening salvo was devastatingly inaccurate!

Incapable leading Useless across the French T.

The French perform the famous 'you go this way and I'll go that way' naval tactic.

This allowed Admiral H to concentrate his fire on the Premier D'April.

Horribly outgunned the Premier D'April turns back to rejoin her comrade Cochon Noire.

We paused the game at this point to review the game mechanics and came up with a revision of the target template.

I hastily redrew the template on a handy piece of cardboard making it much larger. We also discussed adding a third dimension to the target in the form of little boxes around each of the target areas to catch the cotton wool balls as they hit the target. Its construction will have to wait for a later day.

Premier D'April was beginning to suffer by this time, reduced to half speed although her fire power was undiminished.

Damage continued to accumulate on her taking her down to quarter speed. It wouldn't take much more to stop her dead.

A final hit on the bridge made her uncontrollable as she limped homewards covered by her erstwile comrade in arms Cochon Noire.

The Useless had taken severe damage to her brasswork and oak planking so Admiral H decided to head home in time for afternoon tea. Meanwhile the Admiral B thought 'Lutter contre un autre jour'.


  1. I've never really considered naval gaming, but those ships are wonderful. I really like the cotton ball idea.

    1. Take as much inspiration as you like Conrad, it is all free!

      I'm not sure where I got the idea from, it's such a long time ago when we played our first game.

      It's refreshing to get away from dice.

  2. Jim

    It looks great. Loved the explosion on the Premier D'April


    1. Thanks Bill

      It's just a piece of painted cardboard but it does the trick!

      The smoke is painted pot scourer!


  3. Jim,

    I am giving serious consideration to running a game based on your ideas at this year's COW. The ships will be my 'toy' ones and the 'sea' will be blue Hexon II, and the firing system will use either your cotton ball method or matchstick-firing guns.

    Thanks for the inspiring ideas!

    All the best,


    1. Best of luck with that Bob.

      Watch out for the guys who lean excessively towards the target area and also there will be someone who will consider dipping their cotton wool ball in their drink.


      If you feel the need to consider torpedoes then have a think about cotton buds!! (you heard it here first)

  4. Magnificent vessels of a bygone age. I like their colourfulness too. No doubt the commander of 'Le Cochon Noire' is a certain Capitaine Pogglaver, and that of 'Le Premier d'Avril' Capitaine Ricard de la Folle...

    As for the game and combat system, it may be just what I'm looking for. Would it transfer do you think to something more WW2-ish? How about bombing? Standing on a chair and dropping cotton balls - would that work?


  5. For WW2 bombing I would try standing with backs to the target and fire the cotton wool balls over the shoulder.

    Torpedoes could be Cotton Buds, thrown from a distance!

    One of my earlier games involved bomb dropping using mini-darts onto a plan ship shape although some protective measures would be required for any misses!

    Use whatever system you think is fun!

    Make sure you blog the game.


  6. Howdy,

    Check the Junior Generals site--several of Matt's WWII and modern games depict artillery fire by throwing different sized cotton balls a certain distance from the board.

    Best regards,