second chance games

Search This Website of delight

  Lepanto A Sea Turned Red By Blood Sunday, October 7th, 1571 by Acies Edizioni  This battle had some of the most legendary corsairs and Mus...

Lepanto A Sea Turned Red By Blood Sunday, October 7th, 1571 by Acies Edizioni Lepanto A Sea Turned Red By Blood Sunday, October 7th, 1571 by Acies Edizioni

Lepanto A Sea Turned Red By Blood Sunday, October 7th, 1571 by Acies Edizioni

Lepanto A Sea Turned Red By Blood Sunday, October 7th, 1571 by Acies Edizioni


A Sea Turned Red By Blood

Sunday, October 7th, 1571


Acies Edizioni

 This battle had some of the most legendary corsairs and Muslim and Christian leaders of the 16th century one one side or the other. It is true that the Great Siege of Malta in 1565 saw the Ottomans as losers and unable to conquer the island, although their corsairs and navies were still were the scourge of the Mediterranean. One of the Christian commanders whose fame, or infamy, has lasted even until today is Don Juan, yes that Don Juan. When you have a piece written about you by Mozart you know you have hit the big time. However, he was far from the only notable commander at the battle. These included:

On the Christian Side:

Don Juan de Austria (an illegitimate son of Charles V)

Sebastiano Venier, ( Venetian Commander later Doge of Venice)

Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma

Marcantonio Colonna, Captain General of the Church

On the Ottoman Side:

Dragut, (referred to as 'The Greatest Pirate Warrior of all Time')

M├╝ezzinzade Ali Pasha, ( The Muslim Overall commander)

Occhiali, (born an Italian farmer, he became Grand Admiral of the Ottoman Fleet)

┼×uluk Mehmed Pasha, (Commander of the Turkish right wing at Lepanto)

 A Holy League was put together under the auspices of Pope Pius V. This League was to counter the naval threat that the Ottoman Empire was to the entire Mediterranean. Don Juan was given the banner of the fleet, blessed by the Pope, on August 14th 1571. The stage was set for a decisive naval battle between the Ottoman Empire and the various Christian nations in the Holy League. It ended as a victory for the Holy League. Casualties on the Ottoman side were: 80 galleys sunk, and 117 captured. 30,000 Ottomans were casualties, with another 8,000 captured. The Christians suffered 7,500 casualties. The battle apparently captured the imagination of poets all over Europe. Even James the I of England composed a piece (when he was still just James VI of Scotland).

 This is what comes in the box:

3 Maps all at roughly 22"x 33" 

6 Player Aid Cards

Rules Booklet

Player Booklet

2 Full Countersheets

The map scale is 1:60,000 each hex is roughly 1000 meters

Turns represent one hour each

The Game is fine for two-player or solitaire


 I am usually not a connoisseur of box art, but for this game I will make an exception. It shows a Muslim and Christian ship locked in deadly combat. The map area is, as you can imagine, very large. Being a sea battle the maps are, except for information tracks, pretty much two shades of blue. Not that you would expect anything else. The counters are 1.5 cm, or roughly 10/16". The countersheets I received are a little problematic. I usually use a pair of scissors to cut out my counters to cut down on cardboard dregs. The way these were made you have to use scissors or an Exacto knife to get the counters apart from each other. This is not really a big deal. However, do not expect them to just pop apart from each other. Some of us care about clipped corners etc., and some of us do not. I would just be careful separating these counters. The Rules Booklet is in full color with many illustrations. The rules themselves only take up fourteen pages, with a further six pages for a nicely done Order of Battle. The Player Booklet has three pages of examples. The rest is a wonderfully done eight page history of the battle. 

 The Sequence of Play is:

Action Phase: Activation Marker or Special Chit Pull

A. Maneuver Segment

B. Battle Segment

C. Recovery Segment

End Turn Phase

 As you can see, this game uses a chit pull system for each Group of Units in the scenario. There are also Special Chits in the mix. If you pull a special chit before any Group Activation Chit, that Special Chit is removed from play for that turn. The only caveat to that rule is the Wind Direction Chit. That can be pulled at anytime to change the wind course. This was one of the first sea battles that cannons  played a big part in. In many ways the actions of the fleets at Lepanto would have been recognizable to sailors from the Punic Wars. Ramming and grappling, and then the soldiers of each ship fighting it out as if on land was the norm for the battle. The weight of metal as far as cannons is greatly on the Christian side. The unit counters represent either one large ship or a group of galleys. Each side had a left, center, and right contingent. In Front of each Christian contingent were a few huge Venetian Galleasses. These were somewhat sedentary, but were bristling with cannons of all sizes. If the player gets lucky these will cause havoc in the Ottoman ranks before the main fleets engage. 

There are rules for:

Artillery Fire Attacks

Reaction Fire 


Leader Losses




Shallow Water


 Mast Down

 Fires Aboard



 So, just about anything that could happen in a sea battle at this time.


 The game has these scenarios:

Battle of Lepanto Scenario: Full Battle All Three Maps

Lions At Sea: Uses Only The Northern map

Lepanto Clash: Uses Only The Center Map

Waiting for Doria: Uses only the Southern Map

 The game was setup as a two-player game, but it can be played solitaire better than most. The Chit Pull System makes this easier, but the game rules also lend themselves to solitaire. Of course, I think any game can be played solitaire, some with a little more finagling than others. The Christian side definitely has the weight of metal on its side. The Spanish Infantry on the galleys also helps. However, the Ottomans are no push-over and can hold their own. I think that the side that comes up with a better plan, and is able to actually implement it, will win. That sounds like advice from Captain Obvious, but it pretty much goes for every game ever made. The Chit Pull System, and the way the game throws the 'friction' of war at you makes for a tense game. One on one the Christian side should win, but if the Ottomans are able to sweep around the Christian right flank (their actual battle plan), it will be a long afternoon for them.

 Victory is determined by deducting the Ottoman Victory Points from the Christian Victory Points total. A negative number is an Ottoman Player victory. Total points between 0-20 means a draw, and 21 and over is a Christian Player win.

 I was surprised to find that there have been a few games on the Battle of Lepanto. Most, however, are pretty long in the tooth. Europe before and after the reign of Charles V Holy Roman Emperor is one of my favorite times of history. So, I was more than happy to see this game come in the mail. It might be a niche product, but any grognard worth his salt should get his feet wet with this game. Forget about Nelson, or angle of fire, and go back to when men had to fight on a rolling deck as they would on land. Thank you very much Acies Edizioni for allowing me to take this for a sail. Please check out their game Durchbruch on the Battle of Caporetto.


Lepanto: A Sea Turned Red By Blood:

Lepanto 1571 | Acies (

Acies Edizioni:

Acies edizioni (

My review of Durchbruch:

Durchbruch The Austro-German Attack at Caporetto - October 1917 by Acies Edizioni - A Wargamers Needful Things