As I have Russian models for Aeronef, and Paul has British, that part was easy. I went for a Borodino Class Battleship, supported by a Light Cruiser, Destroyer, and a squadron of 3 Novik class Torpedo boats. Russian ships seem to be a bit slow (the round hull forms can't help) but have a good balance of firepower across all three gun categories.
Paul went for a squadron of an Agincourt class Battleship and three Exeter class Cruisers - clearly he was on a long range patrol and my ships had sortied to intercept. The Battleship had marginally more heavy firepower and was slightly faster than it's Russian counterpart, but had less light and medium firepower. The Cruisers were faster than the Russian but had less firepower all round.
Our mix of forces proved very fortuitous as it allowed us to try out the target priority rules - more later.
The game went fast and fairly smooth - particularly considering the fact both of us had no real idea what we were doing and had to constantly refer to the rules, at least at first. Both squadrons turned on to parallel courses to allow maximum firepower to be brought to bear, and the Russian Torpedo boats headed off towards the British. The poker chips are being used to represent Command Points - these are used to issue orders that can allow special actions - increase speed, turn tighter, re-roll some shooting dice etc. This is not really a new system, but in Imperial Skies it is quite nuanced.
The Russian Torpedo boats closed on their target. The British were concentrating their fire on the leading Russian ship - a cruiser, but also the target priority rules prevented them from using their main armament on the little ships - we rationalised this by saying you wouldn't waste your main guns in big, slow traversing turrets trying to hit fast moving small targets. The Borodino managed to hit the nearest Exeter quite heavily, and it dropped out of formation to play no further part in the game.
The first torpedo shots missed, fired from too far out, but the little boats pressed on and managed to score a heavy hit on the Agincourt. Return fire was not very effective and it was clear what the British really needed as a fast Destroyer sized ship to mix it up with the Torpedo boats.
Meanwhile the Russian Cruiser suffered a series of heavy hits when trying to screen the Borodino. Remember those command points? - well you can spend then to use smaller vessels to screen the capital ships they are escorting, taking some damage for them if positioned correctly. This worked too well, and a lucky hit caused the cruiser to explode from a magazine explosion.
As the range was now down to "snotty" (very close) the ships were pounding each other relentlessly. The Russian Destroyer succumbed, followed by the Agincourt, but by that point the Borodino was in serious trouble and the Torpedo craft were out of torpedoes so only had their puny light guns - this wasn't enough and the Borodino soon joined the Agincourt as floating wreckage.
That ended the game. We had a lot of fun and are keen to try it again. The target priority rules in particular worked well, meaning we both quickly recognised you cannot just rely on your big ships, you have to take plenty of escorts to stop enemy torpedo craft getting too close - a nice reflection on the historical tactics. Looking forward to another game, but this time ........