A rare find: ‘Armada’ board game

By Rob Morgan

I’ve just acquired a naval board game produced by Jeux Descartes of Paris. Invented by Phillipe des Pailleures and Patrice Pillet, their names are on the box. I bought it intact, for £2 in the local Oxfam shop.

An interesting game, with similarities to Waddington’s Buccaneer’ in some ways, but with more land-based action, against “native tribes” to support the ship-to-ship and conquest action. However, my reason for writing this note is what’s to be found in the game box!

First, a large jigsaw base, half a dozen pieces, easy to put together and sturdy. A map of an archipelago, as you can see from the photograph, a little larger than a Monopoly’ board in full colour and most attractive. It could be used as the base for wargames with small-scale models, say 1/3000th or 1/4800th perhaps. It reminds me of the Ursula le Guin Earthseamap, or that of ‘Game of Thrones.’ There are clear divisions for sea areas too, valuable for campaigns and sea control.

Then 12 metal model ships, each two-masted. Sturdy vessels, each is 50mm long from stern to spar, as you can see in my photograph, 12mm wide and to the top of the masts is some 30mm. Immediately, I was reminded of Jack Scruby’s early models and of Don Featherstone’s basic models in his ‘Naval Wargames.’ Nostalgia! The models, I think, have some sound potential as wargames ships, and can be easily be converted into 1/1200th or 1/600th maybe, by the addition of rigged masts, or even simple lateen sails. They could fit in with Peter Pig’s 1/450th Pirate ship range too.

The rest of the game consists of about 200 flat plastic tokens, which could be used as bases for 15mm or 10mm models on land. Some are round, others are 10mm square, and they come in a range of colours. Another bargain. As I’ve said before, don’t ignore charity shops!

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