Sunday dawned sunny, but the wind had shifted to the south and blew cold. We were up at around 7:00 for our last day. Breakfast was served at 8:00 and afterwards we cleared out our rooms and packed most of our personal gear into the cars.
As per tradition the last day's game was a naval one. This one the same as the last couple of years, Italian and Austrian ironclads from the War of 1866. The game was somewhat fitting given that this year represents the 150th year anniversary of the Battle of Lissa, the only clash between the two navies, and only major battle between ocean going ironclads.
The scenario had six Austrian ironclads plus two wooden ships attempting to head off a flotilla of six Italian ironclads and two wooden ships that were attempting to join the main Italian fleet at Lissa. The rules used were those of the Jackson Gamers.
The action started with both sides pushing their wooden ships off to fight each other, away from potential damage of the ironclads. The first shots went to the Italians, whose ships had more rifled guns and thus a greater range, but first blood went to the Austrians when the relatively Italian ironclad Re di Portogallo was rammed simultaneously port and starboard amidships by Erzherzog Ferdinand Max and Salamander, sending the Italian ship to the bottom.
But the Austrian ships were stopped dead and had to back away from the wreckage and soon became targets for the Italian ships who shot them to pieces and then rammed and sank them too.
But then two other Italian ironclads succumbed to ramming and sank.
Meanwhile the wooden ships circled each other. The SMS Kaiser, a 92-gun ship was poised to do massive damage to the smaller Italian vessels when a lucky shot struck her steering and she had to turn hard to starboard for six turns. The Italian ships hounded her and SMS Radestsky until one of the Italian ships was halted by damage to her engines. She was then an easy target for the other Austrian ships and eventually a critical hit saw her magazine blow up and down she went.
At the end of the game only a single Italian ship, the Re d'Italia, was afloat. She sailed off towards Lissa with only minimal damage. The Austrian had lost four of their six ironclads and one of their wooden ships.
With that we packed away the ships, collapsed the table and swept out the garage. We had one final lunch and our gaming event can to an end. It is always the same, there is a year's planning and anticipation and it is all over so quickly. We packed the cars with the last bit of gear and headed off - well not so quickly for me because a flat battery delayed my departure by an hour.
Then as we drove into Auckland, up the Southern Motorway, in a stop-go traffic jam that saw us travel a mere 10 km in 40 minutes, we got a rude reminder that we were home.