Andy Watkins offers Nelson’s Wars, a set of rules for miniatures battles in the age of fighting sail. The mechanics are based on the Silent Death rules, which use dice of different sizes (d4, d6, d8, d10 etc.) to distinguish between different weapons systems.
Admiralty is a set of free miniatures rules for the age of fighting sail. Its designed for 1/2400 miniatures. The authors write:
Admiralty is a set of miniature wargame rules that re-create battles from the age of the fighting sail. The game concentrates of the core features of period naval combat including sailing, cannon fire and boarding actions. The rules are geared to allow large battles to be fought over realistically scaled areas of “sea” as player struggle to pummel, dismast and capture their opponent’s vessels. The rules are split into six sections, each of which deal with a particular aspect of the game. Playing aids such as ship log, firing arc and the all-important combat chart can be gotten on the main Admiralty home page.
Letters of Marque and Reprisal is a set of free wargames rules for replaying battles in the age of fighting sail. It’s meant for battles where each player would control one ship, rather than a squadron or fleet. It looks perfect for pirate battles.
To Glory We Steer is a well-done set of rules for the age of fighting sail:
From the period where the mighty multi-oared Galleys had almost faded from memory other than a coastal raider, to the days where black funnelled Ships of the line belched out sparks and smoke, there existed two hundred years of an Age of Sail. …
This set of rules takes from many contemporary accounts of battle, to gain a whiff of the sea air in themechanics, Hopefully threading through it enough realism without baffling a Landsman who knows little of the Age of Sail.
As you give your crew orders to “Man the Halyards” or unleash a perfectly timed broadside, I hope that some of this may come across and that those who know their foretops from their gaff sails might gain some pleasure from commanding. This said, many compromises have been made in the way of a playable game that is challenging and involving for players.
You are not pushing a model and rolling dice. You are a Master and Commander in the Heat of Battle!