Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Blood and Plunder Training Game 3: Ship to Ship, "Control the Wind"

Chris Carr and I finally got to play "thee" game: Ship to ship, with his English Buccaneers in the Sloop "Surprise" hunting my Spanish Guarda Costa in my sloop, "Sirena".

My force consisted of One Inexperienced Captain, 2 x 8 trained Marineros and 9 Inexperienced Milicianos. 




I also had a Jesuit priest, and though doesn't give you anything in the game, I now get to build a church to put him in for land battles...


 Chris's English Buccaneers consisted of an Inexperienced Captain, 4 Freebooters, 6 Freebooters and 8 Sea Dogs. We both had a sloop with 6 light cannons.


Chris's English Buccaneers consisted of an Inexperienced Captain, 4 Freebooters, 6 Freebooters and 8 Sea Dogs. We both had a sloop with 6 light cannons.


We rolled the Control the Field Scenario, which translates better for ships as "Control the wind".


Chris rolled higher than I, deciding to attack and I set up with sails set to 2" movement. Chris deployed to get in my rear, with the wind in his sails, set to 4" movement.





TURN 1

With 3 cards each, I pulled an event card first hand. This can cause weather changes, changes in the wind and various other "events". As it turned out, I had a stubborn unit which had no effect on anything so early.


With 3 activations each, it kept the movement of the ships simple. With my  sails set to 2", I would move in each unit activation, for  total of 6" per turn. With Chris double that, he'd soon be on my tail, so I upped my sail rating to 4" and decided to hunt the English...



The English were keen to draw first blood and unleashed a long range broadside, needing 10's to hit with his cannons. (Cannon fire v ships is worked out based on a 1+ to hit on a D10, with a +1 for each 4" after first 4", then adding the ships fortitude which is based on the integrity (rows of hits point if you like). The range and the +4 for a Sloops fortitude meant tens were required, and the cannon fire didn't even get close... I tried the same, but also failed to hit.



The "Sirena" decided to tack into the wind, my Marineros being sailors passing on a 5+
(Oddly enough, even though we discussed it before hand and now with the benefit of hind sight, the sloop has sails that allow you to roll two dice and take the highest when tacking but in the heat of battle we totally forgot about this all game..)


TURN 2


The "Surprise" bears hard to port to bring its starboard guns to bear...


 and I realise my tactical ineptitude, as with having to tack in the wind, I cannot reload my starboard battery...


The "Sirena" is to busy sailing into the wind, as the "Surprise" reloads and prepares for some serious short range mayhem.


With the activation cards being unkind, the Spanish have been totally outmanoeuvred.


A view from the aft of the "Surprise"


TURN 3

Chris's English and the "Surprise" get first activation and sweep alongside the "Sirena"


At this range, the English guns should decimate me...


Fortunately, the guns may be in English hands but the dice were in Chris's. All three shots missed on a 4+, so Chris spent "fortune" point (one of three your Captain has to spend when he feels the need). This allowed a reroll, but still only one cannon hit. As a light cannon, when it hits it does a potential additional 2 more hits, getting a pair more. This caused only one casualty on deck, but knocked 3 hull points off of my ship...


That's pretty poor at so close a range... Perhaps bringing a Priest was a good idea!!!


I toyed with attempting a boarding action, but settled for trying to pass on by to gain the "wind gauge". Alas, what with having survived such a broadside, I failed my tacking attempted and drifted into the hull of the Surprise...


An accidental collision, it could have been nasty...


But the result was fairly good for both parties, as the hapless "Sirena" bounced off the flying "Surprise"...


The English Freebooters on the aft deck unleashed some musket fire, killing more Spanish than the cannons...


The Spanish marineros successfully tacked and brought the ship windward...


"To board, or not to board, that is the question..."


Turn 4

The English continued to have the upper hands for activation, and circled around, reloading as they went...


With God on our side, the 9 Milicianos on the aft deck took aim at the aft of the Surprise, needing 9's to hit with their musketry... and scored 6 hits!!!


Chris managed to make 4 saves from 6, the remaining two Freebooters on the aft deck passed their resolve and suffered no fatigue!


TURN 5

I should have been ahead now, as having gained the wind advantage from Chris, he should have taken a strike point (But we were having so much fun, Chris called "No Quarter" and so we'd fight to the death...

Of course, Chris was a few inches short of a raking shot as he gained first activation again... As it was, he still unleashed his starboard battery.


Several hits, four casualties, and as one was a lucky shot (Natural 10) my aft deck caught fire... Guess the English didn't like my musket fire!!


Still, the Spanish resolve was good, only taking one fatigue point.


The English, although numerically inferior, seemed to be working like (Sea) dogs to man their guns and sail their ship...


However, they failed to tack into the wind, drifting off away from the "Sirena" rather than pursue her


TURN 6 - 8

At the end of turn 5, Chris allowed me to roll to see if the fire spread onto the main deck.. Which it duly did. This meant any activating unit on that part of the ship had to test resolve on activation, a failure causing a fatigue point.


Having failed to follow into the wind, the "Surprise" repositioned to reload allowing my "Sirena" to pursue...

while putting out the fires on the ship...


A close up of the Spanish Captain, rallying his men (under threat of pistols)...


while his English counterpart steered a course and issued commands...


The English reload in short order...


The Spanish sloop pursues the English vessel...


And so it begins again...


Turn 9

Chris flips an event card and sure enough, its wind and weather...


The rain starts, a gentle squall but harder to get the cannons and muskets reloaded.


And the wind recedes, slowing both ships...


Damage status: The "Surprise" is untouched, the Sirena has had its fortitude down to 3 and 6 hull points off in total...




TURN 10-11

The English fire again, and have a few issues with manpower.


The Spanish are still in high spirits...


Who will blink first?


Well, the Spanish fire first and inflict some hull damage, and a casualty but no fatigue is gained by the plucky English. Also, no lucky hits... The English reload and wait, while tacking successfully to get on my tail


The English hold their fire and get close, again missing with all 3 shots. Another fortune doubloon is used, but again, it doesn't accomplish much save reducing my hull points...




Chris flips his second event card, allowing his only unit with fatigue to lose it... The English also managed to reload very quickly... And it hurts!!! 6 hits to the hull, and the lucky hit didn't count as hit the rigging (which I don't have on the aft deck)

The Milicianos are wiped out, the captain having to spend a doubloon of fortune to jump down to the lower deck and the Marineros there...


Nobody is steering on the Sirena, and the English flag is high and proud...


The "Surprise" has as much damage as I took in just one salvo...


My Marineros manage to go aft, taking control of the steerage with the captain... Still in shock at my damage!!!


The English break of the attack (or rather fail to tack again) and veer off...


Having lost a unit, I have fewer activations and the English continue to exploit their tactical advantage.


Alas, the priest didn't make it, but my Marineros are still fairly numerous...


In fact, I still outnumber the English...


However, the English are again with the wind gauge, and manoeuvre to broadside again... With my Fortitude down to 2, Chris lets loose with some good dice (finally). The Sirena takes a staggering 8 hits, all 3 initial dice hitting and 5 additional, resulting in one lucky hit and 2 criticals (if you score twice as many hits as the fortitude, you gain additional critical hits!)


My 7 Marineros on the lower deck didn't stand a chance given they had saves of 6... Damn, I'm supposed to be lucky, I knew I should have kept the priest on!


Additionally, my steerage control was damaged meaning I could only turn at half speed. I also had zero hull points, meaning I would be far more susceptible to critical hits, which is the only way to destroy a vessel...


And given I had to have a unit to steer, I had no one to man the cannons...


And the English were poised to swing around and board (or obliterate me)


Outmanned, outgunned and outmanoeuvred, I struck my colours and hoped the ship wouldn't sink before we could surrender... And also that Chris didn't really mean "No Quarter"!


Well, that was truly awesome!!! Lets be honest, we backed Blood and Plunder for ship to ship battles and it didn't disappoint. It was great fun, very tactical and intense, and although we both erred with a rule or two, only Chris's dice saved me from losing early on... I should have boarded when I had the chance, but the Sea Dogs and Freebooters have tended to make a mess of me in the past. Chris gets bragging rights again, but when I get a flag atop my mast, I'm sure I'll win the next one!!!