Monday, 13 March 2017

Blood and Plunder: First game and first impressions

Chris and I fought our first game of Firelock Games ( )
recently released Blood and Plunder, which we backed in last years Kickstarter.. A skirmish game in the age of Piracy, with land battles, ship to shore and ship to ship, why wouldn't we??? Its simply awesome form first impressions, not to difficult to understand but we have only tried a simple 100pts game for the basic

We used the 100pts starter forces, with me playing my recently painted Spanish Guarda Costa, against Chris's dastardly English buccaneers. I had 5 models more, but his troops were slightly better...

Turn 1 saw us both come to grips with the activation card decks, which allows the differently rated troops (inexperienced/trained/Veteran) a number of action as per assigned on the cards. This simple mechanic allows you to activate units quickly depending on the suit, in order of Spades/Hearts/Diamonds/Clubs but the quicker a unit acts, the lower the number of activations it is allowed. So an inexperienced unit may take one action with a spade activation, where it would be two with a club. Works very well. My Milicianos moved up my left to take the high ground, while my captain and two Marineros units took centre in the bushes and the ruins, with my Lanceros bringing up the right and looking to sort out the English Forlorn hope, while the Freebooters and Sea Dogs advanced up on my left.

Turn 2 saw the first casualty as the Freebooters picked off one of my Captains escorting Marineros. The Freeboters rapid reload was to be a constant thorn in the Spanish side, as it allows them to remove a reload marker for free, which they frequently did. The rest of the turn saw manouevreing.

Turn 3 saw my second Marineros try and charge into melee with the Freebooters, but they used their sidearms of one use pistols to devastate me on the way in, the number of hits causing my fatigue to be double my solo figure, automatically routing me. Fatigue is like pins in bolt action, the more you have the less you can do until you simply run away. But unlike a hit equating to a pin, you have to test on a units resolve figure, which can result in repeated hits and casualties, but a unit holding steady. This also works very well, as prior to reading the rules, wasn't sure if fatigue (pins) would be overly important. As it is it works!

My Milicianos get up the hill, but poor cards left them slowly moving as they are inexperienced.

My captain and his marineros received fatigue from the Freebooters that they couldn't shake (from rally orders, failing resolve despite the captain being Inspiring. The amount of 4's I rolled was shocking)

Turn 4 saw the forlorn hope edge out the bushes and my Lanceros charging in. (As we were learning, CHris didn't elect to defensive shoot so we could see how combat actually worked. Very sporting) I then informed him my spears gave me bonuses to hit, which I only felt the need to point out after he took it. I took out two men, forcing the Forlorn Hope to take 3 fatigue test (one for being hit, 2 more for casualties) and they passed all 3 on a D10 of 4+

Chris's Sea dogs under Freebooter cover advanced against my captain's men. while the slowcoaches on  the hill moved cautiously

Turn 5. Using his commander to move his Seadogs, Chris then moved again and charged, taking a point of fatigue for moving over 8". My Marineros looked to emulate the Freebooters, but fluffed their defensive fire even with the use of a fortune point (a piece of eight, all captains have 3 which can be spent to do certain things, like re-roll all dice in an attack)

The Brawlers rule for seadogs meant Chris got an extra attack dice for any natural 10's rolled, and he got about hits all in and my dice failed me as my saves were dire, even with a second piece of eight being used!!! Losing my captains unit meant losing my captain (as he couldn't transfer to another as no one was close enough). This meant I had 2 more strikes than Chris as I had lost 50% of my force and he hadn't and I'd technically auto lose but we decided to play on with No Quarter

 The Forlorn Hope fought on, and we both kept passing resolve to avoid fatigue

Turn 6 saw my Milicianos finally get a target, and totally fluffing their attacks, which saw my last fortune point go and hit one man, who saved due to cover (units in cover get a save equal to shoot save on the unit card.

Of course, my guys weren't in cover and so got a 9+ save on a D10... Being Inexperienced wasn't great. However, 4 fatigue and 3 men meant I didn't rout, but I did become shaken so could either go prone or run away from the Freebooters as they had caused me to become shaken. Tactical genus that I am saw me run away...
Straight into the waiting Seadogs, who closed to short range and hit me with pistol shot, killing one man and routing the other two...

Still, I was determined to do some good in defence of the Spanish lands... The Last Lancero hit the No hoper

But he survived...

And survived...

And survived... long enough for his mates to help out!

So, I lost everyone, and Chris lost 4 models. Painted models always die first!!! The game mechanics are easy to pick up, the fatigue/resolve, skill/save all seem balanced and it was great fun, in a little over an hour bearing in mind we'd never played before. Adding cannons doesn't seem to be too tricky, nor buildings and just reading up on the ships.... All in all, Chris and I were very impressed, not just with the game and the models, but the forces we have. Being Scottish I couldn't go English obviously, and the duff Spaniard Milicianos already remind me so much of my olde Night Goblins!!! (Definitely need a Spanish Milita box). While Chris is desperate for some more Forlorn Hope, not because they are rock, but cause they have explosives... We tried the rules for them after the game, seem fun! Chris hit well with his, and mines exploded prematurely and killed half my guys!!!

Anyway, first blood to the English, but the Spanish will return...

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