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Friday, March 3, 2017

Blood and Plunder AAR: English Buccaneers vs Spanish Guarda Costas

Recently, my dad and I backed the Blood and Plunder Kickstarter from Firelock Games.  Blood and Plunder is a 28mm miniatures game set in 17th century Caribbean.  As a player, you control a forces of militia, sailors, privateers, or pirates.  The game allows you to take command of French, Spanish, English or Pirate men and ships to do battle for control of the Caribbean.

Blood and Plunder is similar to many other miniature games in that you have an army made up of models led by a commander.  There are die rolls for attacking and saving; special unit and national rules; and missions with victory conditions.  However Blood and Plunder has a very innovative initiative system which adds an additional tactical element to the game.  

Each turn players draw a number of cards equal to the number of units they have on the board.  Turns are broken into rounds and each round players play one card from their hand.  The suit and number on the card help determine which player activates a unit first and which one goes second.  The card's suit and the unit's experience level then determines how many actions that unit gets.  Suits that give you fewer actions let you seize the initiative and go first, while suits that grant units more actions also make you wait to go last.  This unique activation system gets the strategic juices flowing as you struggle to decide if it is more important to go first or more important to do more things.

The other thing that is really cool about Firelock Games is the attention to history.  The rule book for Blood and Plunder is full of history and it is obvious the authors are really passionate about 17th century Caribean history and warfare.  I knew every little about the time period and in just a few weeks I have become an armchair admiral. 

After playing some smaller games of around 100 points we recently bumped our games up to 300 points.  I brought my English Buccaneers and my dad brought his Spanish Guarda Costas.  I imagined that after a long month or raiding my Buccaneers went ashore to loot the country side for supplies.  The Spanish, none to pleased with my raiding, have sent a contingent of men to intercept and stop me.   Now the Spanish stand between my men and their ship.  We have to fight our way back to the beach in the mission called Breakthrough.

The English come upon a small settlement on their way back to their ship.

The Guarda Coasta force 
Experienced Commander
12 Milicianos (Trained)
12 Milicianos (Trained)
16 Lanceros (Trained)
4 Milicianos Indios (Trained)
6 Marineros (Trained) w/ Medium Cannon
6 Marineros (Trained) w/ Medium Cannon

The Buccaneers
Experienced Commander
8 Freebooters (Vets)
8 Freebooters (Vets)
8 Buccaneers (Trained)
5 Sea Dogs (Vets) w/ Medium Cannon
5 Sea Dogs (Vets) w/ Medium Cannon
12 Militia (Inexperienced)

The Spanish deploy a cannon to block the main road back to the beach,

A group of Spanish soldiers hide behind a sugar cane field ready to pounce on the English.

The remaining Spaniards take up position near the town to hold the center.  

 Buccaneers supported by two cannons maneuver toward the town.  

The English Freebooters and Militia sense that something is a miss and deploy in good order.

Its the Spanish.  Open fire!!!

The Buccaneers rush forward into the fight.  The unload a salvo of fire from their muskets into the Spanish Milicianos. 

The Milicianos get their first taste of Buccaneer blood.

As the sounds of combat erupt on their flank the Freebooters and Militia rush for cover.

But the Spanish are lurking in the brush.  Both sides exchange withering volleys of musket fire.  

Another Spanish cannon opens fire on the approaching English. 

The Spanish cannon on the road attempts to stop the advancing English. 

The Lanzeros charge out of the sugar cane thrusting their spears at the Militia.  

The English managed to beat back the ambushing Spanish, but many men fall in the process.

The Spanish where not prepared to fight an enemy that was so fearless.  They fall back after their initial attack.  

The Buccaneers attempt to out flank the Spanish cannon, but are shot at by the Milicianos.  

The English cannons provide covering fire.

The fleeing Lanceros are chased down by the Militia and over run.

English Freebooters and Spanish Milicianos engage in a fight for the death inside the sugar cane.

The English send in another unit of Freebooters to finish of the Spanish.

In Blood and Plunder forces acquire strike points based on casualties and mission objectives.  If a player has two more strike points than their opponent they have to roll to see if their force routes off the board.  The Spanish suffered almost 50% casualties when they lost their Lanceros and Milicianos.  The break through by the English was enough to force them to check the the Spanish commander failed his check.  The Spanish withdrew from the field and the English were able to get back to their ship before more Spanish troops arrived.

Blood and Plunder is probably one of the best army scale pirate games I have player.   The rules a fresh and innovation.  Game play is quick, tactical, and bloody.  Everything you want in a modern war game.  Plus the miniatures put out by Firelock Games are outstanding.  If your interested in a pirate themed game you have to check out Blood and Plunder from Firelock Games.

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