One of the first games I played on my own personal computer was Age of Sails, the game about the XVIII-XIX centuries naval battles. There were missions from Russian-Turkish, American-English and Napoleonic wars, the player controlled the manouvers and fire of his ship, and then – of the squadron. There were different types of ammo, with different damage characteristics. It was possible to tear the enemy’s sail with the chainshots, fire a grapeshot to reduce the crue, and start the boarding then.

Around that time TV series “Hornblower” was issued and I became a fan of maritime theme. So, I was glad to find the flash game Trafalgar Origins, as it depicts the same historical period. It is about the unsuccessfull Napoleon’s attempt to conquer naval superiority agains Britain. The game is much simplified compared to the PC ones, but nevertheless it keeps the spirit of the sailing age.


The game is quite big, its size is 13.2 MB. But whle it loads, some historical fact, which, I bet, not many people knew before before, are shown, so, you won’t get bored.. For example, it is interesting that the role of chef aboard a Royal Navy ship-of-the-line was often given to a sailor who’d lost an arm or a leg in battle. And that the job of a squad of marines, whuch was housed on every ship except the very smallest, was to prevent mutiny.

When the game has loaded we can select either a single-player or a multiplayer mode. I tried playing multiplayer, but the game didn’t let me to, because the framerate was too low (I played on Sempron 3000, 3Gb RAM) in Chrome.

But in the single-player mission everything was fine. You can select a Historic campaign, which consist of 6 missions, or any of other 6 missions in Arcade mode. Besides, you can play a tutorial campaign. A nice touch is avatar designer – you can select the captain’s skin colour, hair, face and head type.

The game conrols and the mechanics itself are very casual. Pressing Up key, you weight anchor, Left and Right keys will change your course, Down key is to drop the anchor. (In the tutorial it is recommended to drop the anchor to make a fast turn. I doubt, if the real ships did so).

Clicking to the right or to the left of your ship will fire the cannons. There are 3 types of ammunition: Basic shot (removes 2 hitpoints from an eenmy), Chain shot (3 hp) and Grapeshot (5 hp). You can switch between them pressing Space. The effective distances of theses hsots are shown on the picture. Besides, you can drop the Gunpowder barrel astern. It will float for a while and if the enemous ship collides with it, she will loose 15 hitpoints.

The ship’s motion is affected by the wind direction (shown on the compass in the top-right corner of the screen) and the sea currents (shown on the map). The islands are shown on the map, but they are just a kind of impassable terrain. There will be no effect for your ship if you direct her at full-speed towars one of them. On the compass’ sircumference the directions to the enemy and allied ships are shown. The map scale is dynamic. If there are no enemies close, the scale reduces, allowing you to see further around the ship. Otherwise your ship is enlarged to see all the hits and misses of the cannon shots and the nice graphic effects.

If you destroyed the enemy ship, she would begin to sink. Pass over her then to loot and receive the money. Between the missions you can upgade your ship by hiring sailors. They are specialists in different spheres and give you bonuses. Some can increase ship’s speed, some – firerate etc. After each historical mission the explanation of what really happened is show.


In general, Trafalgar Origins is the game with simple but interesting mechanics, great graphics, authentics music and sound effects. Note, how its author, Preloaded, managed to create non-animated but nice and realistically looking water surface. But I hope, one day a flash version of Age of Sails will apeear.

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56 comments:

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