Blood & Plunder - Demo Day at Gothcon

I ran a Demo Day at Gothcon (largest tabletop gaming convention in Sweden, with both Miniature Wargaming, Boardgames and RPGs), and got a quite nice set-up. As is traditional for my club, Yggdrasil Figurspelsförening, I ran a somewhat more involved demo than the usual run-em-through, fight-in-the-middle doen in an hour demo. It seems to work for us...

Since I have some very talented friends in the club, I also had an awesome table to run the demos on, which certainly helped to pull folks in.

The scenario was reasonably simple. The Spanish have to escort the governors' daughter from behind the village to the brigantine, to escape the pirate raid. Meanwhile, the pirates will try to kidnap (and/or liberate) said daughter, or at least keep her away from the ship for 6 turns.

The pirates started split. On the wrong side of the river, they had 5 Marins and 4 Enter Ploeg (with the obligatory blunderbuss).

Next to their boats, they had another 5 Marins, with an Untested Commander, and 6 Freebooters.

The spanish also started somewhat split, with 6 Marineros next to the Brigantine (presumably having prepared it for sailing).

The escort party, starting on the road behind the village, consisted of another 6 Marineros with an Untested Commander, escorting the governors' daughter, as well as 5 Marineros Piqueros and 8 Milicianos (upgraded to Trained).

Both forces were chosen in part so that no game-changing special rules could be missed, and the untested commanders for similar reasons (I've found that command points are the one rule new players gets confused by/wrong the most, especially when it's several command points).

And the first game of the day is off, an old 40k player against a group of 3 (which didn't give too much of an advantage, since they argued about what would be best enough to offset the theoretical advantage of more brainpower).

The pirates chose to focus on cutting of the route to the ship, and focusing on that group of Marineros. Meanwhile the spanish went all out perpendicular to the path to the ship, towards the freebooters.

The freebooters were swiftly cut down (after clearing up some rules confusion because this isn't like 40k). However, that detour would delay the spanish too much.

In the end, by turn 6, the governors' daughter were nowhere near the ship, and in fact caught up in a combat initiated by the spanish. A pirate victory, that seems to be gotten more by the spanish mentality of "screw the objective, kill all" than anything else.

Second game, I had two dads with their sons. Of course, the teams were swiftly split up as the two dads (with the spanish) against their piratical sons.

This time, we had significantly more speed (and less diversions to kill everything), with a major scrum in the middle.

In the end, the governors daughter and her escort is swiftly heading towards the ship, if a bit late, as the last pirate is cut down. Yes, the very last pirate, they were cut down, or routed off the table, to a man.

The spanish stand victorious as everyone had fun.

3rd, and last, game was the only one with only two players total. Both with some prevous experience of miniature wargames, I dared specify all the minor rules I had so far glossed over (Ruthless, Hard Chargers, Marksmen...)

The game was roughly similar to the previous one (as I would expect), except that the spanish did a magnificent bull rush towards the ship, getting out on the pier and almost to the ship by skillful use of screening units and 12" moves for the command unit. In the end, by equally skillful use of command points, good luck with dice, and maybe some liberal interpretation of rules by me to make it a game (I think I interpreted it correct, but I am not 100% certain and erred on the side of "don't want it to be over yet"), we have a standoff next to the ship.

After the last actions, there was a standoff between two captains, two Marins and two Marineros, with a lady in the middle. Noone could see quite how it would go, and a draw was agreed upon (since we were at the very limit of the pier).

In all, I had fun, and my players had fun. As it should be. I will have to spend more time thinking of scenario next time (I really wanted to do boat action this time, but I haven't had enough ship fights myself to feel comfortable teaching those rules). I absolutely think doing the slightly larger forces and longer games was the right decision, both for the players and for me, but it did mean not as many could try it. Next year, I will have to get a friend to help, and run two days (again... did so last year, and was absolutely knackered afterwards).

Best of all, I ran into one of my players the day after, and he told me that he had ordered rulebook and some englishmen that very evening :) The best kind of compliment.

/Fool Out.


Blood & Plunder - Dutch Navy painted

We're taking a short break from the usual battle reports (because I'm busy gearing up for the convention of the year here in Sweden, Gothcon... there will be a Blood & Plunder demo table, look for Yggdrasil Figurspelsförening if you're there, and say Hej). Instead, here's a showcase of my recently painted Dutch Navy.

They're a bit low on ships, but I'm sure I can "borrow" some from the spanish...

The crew is the better part of two boxes. Delightfully, the Pirates & Privateers box make an excellent expansion for a Dutch Navy (or Dutch Privateers), giving some variety of sculpts as well as more bodies in general.

First up are of course the commanders. Both a generic commander, and Piet Heyn for a legendary commander. As the rules currently stand, I dislike the generic commanders, because Strict is too much of a punishing rule. Rumours has it that it will change soon, though. Looking forward to that, and until then, I will have to make do with an Untested Commander and some characters as back-up.

The elite and vanguard of the Dutch is the Enter Ploeg. Armed with approximately all the pistols, as well as explosives, boarding axes, some more pistols, blunderbusses, sword and daggers, these fellows are very short ranged, but lethal at that short range.

Extras to the left, originals to the right.
They also serve as an excellent example of how I expanded the force with Pirates and Privateers. There is only 4 Enter Ploeg included in the Dutch box. But P&P also has "Sailor Upgrades", giving me another blunderbuss and a fellow with explosives (well, you get two of each... don't worry, I have plans for the remaining two). Add in two suitable sailors, and the Enter Ploeg has doubled in size. Although in hindsight, the Enter Ploeg models were such a delight to paint, I might just have to get an extra blister...

Of course, normal Zeelieden are also a must, and preferably plenty of them. I'm somewhat limited (since I have yet to master the art of conjuring infinite sailors), but in groups of 6, they're good enough for a Fluyt, at least. And worse comes to worst, almost all Dutch can do a good enough job working artillery and sailing a ship. In the middle is one of the exclusive figures from the latest kickstarter. She serves excellently as a special character, be it a Master Gunner, Son (daughter?) of Neptune, Sailing Master, or what have you, or she can just be a normal sailor that looks a bit special.

The third group of Zeelieden can do double duty as Militie Artillerie (militia crewing artillery), with slightly less guns and more tools for handling guns (and massive balls of iron...). And of course they're bringing along a cannon as well.

All the Zeelieden are a mix between official Zeelieden and European Sailors models, meaning that (so far) all the models in each unit are unique. It will also allow me to use these as European Sailors in good conscience (as if I would be bothered...) if needed.

Since the Dutch Navy is officially the Dutch Navy, and not just any random bunch of Dutch pirates (a distinction I'm sure the Spanish appreciated...), they of course have some official Dutch Soldiers (European Soldiers models). These look surprisingly nice, with the more uniform look.

Finally, there is some Kapers in support. Similarly to the Zeelieden, these are half official Kaper models, and half European Sailor Musketeers. This means that in each unit of 8, there are still no repeats of sculpts. And just as with the Zeelieden, I can freely and in good conscience use these as European Sailors upgraded with Muskets. Or as Dutch Boslopers, if need be and I get a Dutch Militia force going...

In total, this amounts to close to 300 points if I were to field everything (and that's with minimal upgrades), giving me plenty of options for the more normal 200 points games.

All in all, the Dutch were a joy to paint (aside from going slightly nuts over all the striped pants). The only models left unpainted from those two boxes in the beginning, is 8 Militie, two European Sailors with extra weapons, and a European Commander. But I have plans for all of these, not to worry. And I did have to add 4 extra Zeelieden, as well as the 8 European Soldiers. How did the Dutch suddenly become my largest crew? That wasn't part of the plan.

And as I'm writing this, I'm realizing that these would make excellent Danes, if I ever were to want to test them out...

/Fool Out


Blood & Plunder Battle Report - Spanish Militia vs English Buccaneers AT NIGHT

Another game gotten at the club. This time, Spanish Militia againt the ever persistent Barrett's (english) Buccaneers. The dual main goals was to test the Limited Visibility (Night) rules (and Caight Unaware), and to try my newly painted Caballero. Game was at 150 points, as Barrett is slowly paiting up towards 200 (and with a few proxied models, at that). The scenario was Raid, from the original rulebook, with aforesaid Limited Visibility and Caught Unaware rules added.

The Spanish Militia list:
Untested Commader (a first for me)
5 Caballero, with a Grizzled Veteran
6 Hostigadores, with a Grizzled Veteran, and muskets exchanged for carbines and Scout
6 Hostigadores
6 Lanceros
6 Soldados

The idea was to see how well Grizzled Veterans can compensate for the commander not having Inspiring, while also being cheaper. In conclusion,  it might work for smaller points, but I think I need a better commander, possibly AND some Grizzled Veterans (I had constant problems of just too much fatigue)

The English Buccaneers:
Experienced Commander
Local Guide
6 Freebooters
5 Forlorn Hope, upgraded to Veterans, and of course with grenadoes
7 Sea Dogs, upgraded to Veterans
6 English Militia

A force perhaps a bit too focused on attacking, which, as will be shown, would be a minor problem initially.

Rolling of for Attacker/Defender (despite me offering to defend) surprisingly see the Buccaneers as defenders. Presumably, they've plundered a plantation before making camp for the night, and now the defenders of rightful spanish territory see their chance to liberate said plunder, with payment in blood.

The english deployment, with a few lone militia models serving as guards. The lone spaniard (with a yellow base) is the local guide. Probably a deserter, should be shot if possible.

Hopefully the stars of the show, being ready to ride over the bridge.

And they're off! And sanctified balls, cavalry is fast. They easily move 12 inces in a turn (which is also good, because they're not exactly useful or resilient in a long range fight).

The rest of the spaniards creep closer in the dark, with their matches out to preserve the element of surprise.

Everyone has moved closer, all quiet-like.

And the english dogs suspect nothing (despite some horses going all out on the other side of the house...).

"Wait, I think I see something!"

"Is that horses? I didn't know we had any horses..."

"... oh. Those aren't our horses."

Turn 2 is off with a charge. The Caballero lay into the english Sea Dogs, who have no chance to defend themselves, just as the alarm is about to go off.

Men fall and the English even gets some fatigue (these 2 fatigue might have been the most fatigue the english got in a single turn throughout the game...)

The rest of the spanish rush forward, some lighting their matches as they go (an occasion where I dearly wished I had a more competent commander, since lightning a match is a Dedicated Action, and best done by Command Point).

Then, on turn 3, comes the first event, and every single unit with guns start getting some problems (aside from the Hostigadores, whose matches obviously can't foul up since they're not lit yet).

The Caballero continue their push, felling englishmen as they go. But not quite managing to shake the dogs...

Who then promptly cut back and cut down a cavalryman. That Veteran Upgrade is already starting to pay for itself.

The English Militia then proceed to do their drill, and open fire on the Hostigadores barely visible in the dark.

General concencus is that English Militia is a very good unit to have, because they tend to pay for themselves (and if they don't, they weren't exactly expensive). I should probably try that some. I know that it doesn't work for my spanish militia, though...

The fight between cavalrymen and sea dogs wages on, with more horses down.

And the English discover the eternal problem when fighting spanish, the trees are suddenly full of Lanceros.

Sadly, the Lanceros do not choose to stay in the fight, instead skirmishing away. This allows the Militia to charge in and support the Sea Dogs.

A most spectacular display of skill (or possibly blind, rotten luck), later...

And the cavalry has been killed to a man. And I had even been cheesy and delayed their activation a bit longer, meaning they didn't even get a chance to strike.

The game turns on this moment. Instead of the English getting a Strike Point because only the spanish were withing 3" of the objective (the Sea Dogs barely being too far away), it's the spanish who get a Strike Point for having no units within 3" of an objective (with the Caballero being dead, and the Lanceros getting Shaken by Freebooter fire).

It's time for some desperate pushes. The Soldados charge to try and clear a way to the objective, while Hostigadores screen them (and their Grizzled Veteran instil some fervor in the Lanceros).

The screening Hostigadores (and the commander) are cut down to a man, creating a dangerous hole in the spanish lines.

Meanwhile, the forest is full of fighting, with Soldados and bouncing Lanceros duking it out against Sea Dogs and Militia.

The last Hostigadores charge the Forlorn Hope, in a desperate attempt to tie them up before they get to eath grenades (and maybe, if Lady Luck smiles, cut them down... Lady Luck is a [bleep]ing [bleep]).

There is finally some amount of headway in the forest, the Sea Dogs are cut down, but it takes all the spanish have to do it.

In the end, it is not enough. The ground is covered with dead bodies, and too many of them are spanish. They also didn't manage to hold the objective long enough, and stand (well, most of them lie by now) with 2 strike points too many and no commander to even try to rally the troops.

This game turned on two things. I was too slow to activate the cavalry (worrying that if I managed to kill the Sea Dogs too soon, they would be cut down by gunfire), and just as the cavalry died, my dice luck turned absolutely rotten. I didn't run any intricate statistics, but I think 3/4 of the english casualties was from before that point, because after that, I had trouble rolling a 5+.

Oh, well. Next time, Barrett.

/Fool Out.