Monday, 17 May 2021

Blood and Plunder - Land Battle - Breakthrough

Having played a load of sea and amphibious battles recently I thought it would be nice to try a land battle. We'd not used the tavern I completed a few weeks ago it would be a good chance to use it.

So it was Brendan's turn to be French and he chose French Militia and Julien Lambert as usual. I took English Buccaneers. We played with 230 points forces. Brendan had 4 units, with an especially large unit of Marins and I had 6 units with some of them quite small as I wanted to get two support units in, militia and natives.

The scenario was rolled for using the campaign rules, though we were not playing a campaign game and produced Breakthrough. Despite having +2 to my roll for attacker and Brendan having no modifier I ended up rolling a lot lower than him and Brendan ended up attacking, which he was not expecting and I think caused problems with his strategy.

The battlefield had my usual mix of jungle, stream, roads and an even larger village. 

Brendan concentrated his forces on my right flank. I had placed some more over to the left initially and would have to move them to be more central.

For the first time ever I remembered and actually used the Forlorn Hope's Vanguard special rule. This allowed an extra free move after deployment and I quickly moved them into an upstairs room of the tavern. 

From here they were immediately able to put down withering fire on the French Caribbean Militia who had advanced a little too far in the activation before. This killed half of the Militia and put significant fatigue on them. This was a massive loss for such an early stage of the game.

A second first use of a special rule lead my natives to Scout through the river. This did not slow them down at all. They opened fire on the Boucaniers with minor success. They got 3 reload markers though because of their Slow Reload special rule.

I then promptly forgot to take photos missing out entirely the exciting action of Brendan's large Marins unit that charged down my right flank behind the tavern only to be shot to bits by combined fire from the English Caribbean Militia and the Freebooters. This left Brendan's French force massively reduced in numbers and him wondering how on earth he was going to win this.

Having dealt with the flank attack I moved the English Militia and Freebooters into the tavern and my Sea Dogs with Muskets into the hermitage. Brendan moved his Flibustiers and French Militia into the villa with the Boucaniers lurking around on the far side of it. 

Brendan managed to shoot up and destroy the natives who had been hiding behind the stone wall and after that we went into several fairly static turns, shooting each other up from hard cover. This didn't have much effect on either side, but the French were not progressing towards their objectives and it looked like they were doomed to lose.

So Brendan needed to do something pretty drastic. He decided to run the Boucaniers down the road across the stream to try and "Breakthrough" as he was supposed to. This he did but picked up a point of fatigue in the process.

Then I responded.... I'd held a small unit of Sea Dogs back from the main firefight. They only had pistols and would have not been of much use there. Instead they did exactly what I planned and dealt with the sneaky move. They charged around the corner of the building they had been hiding behind firing their pistols, which though fairly ineffective managed to put another fatigue on the Boucaniers. This meant they could not defensive fire and the charge went home. Several Boucaniers died and another fatigue went on them causing them to fall back shaken. The Sea Dogs followed up keeping contact with the retreating Boucaniers.

The next turn I chose my highest initiative card and immediately attacked again with the Sea Dogs. This wiped out all but the French Captain but put huge numbers of Fatigue counters on him. As a result he routed as well.

This was the last turn and Brendan had lost his captain and had a lot more Strike Points than I did. He was going to be completely unable to recover from the situation and decided to capitulate.

This was a rather one-sided game. I think right from the start Brendan was struggling. He had not planned on being the attacker and was a little too hasty in his advance, committing and losing his key assaulting unit far too early. Using Stinkpots as cover and not attempting to assault quite so quickly would have helped. I had half-again as many units as he had and I think that also helped as though a couple of my units were very small the extra cards and units allowed me more tactical choices.

This game showed us again that not only is Blood and Plunder an excellent Sea and Amphibious game but also even as a straight-forward skirmish system it is really quick and clever with loads of strategy to consider.

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Blood and Plunder - Sea Battle with Frigate and Bark

This afternoon (and evening) saw us play a fairly epic battle with my new Frigate, manned by English Buccaneers and commanded by Brendan, against my Brigantine and Bark manned by French Buccaneers. It would be the first battle for both the Bark and Frigate.

The scenario rolled was "Rescue" and Brendan was the defender holding my merchant hostage. I had to get him back!

So with that in mind I went straight at them... Trying to get hits on the Frigate's rigging in the first turn and missing completely!

The wind immediately became stronger and though my Brigantine could handle it, the Bark's rigging soon snapped and its crews became unable to change its sail setting. This I didn't worry about overly, accepting the minor damage and concentrating on trading broadsides and musket fire with the Frigate.

The natives really didn't have a hope of actually sailing the bark and didn't really try.

Eventually I decided that the only way I was going to win this was to cross the T of the frigate. The Bark went across its bows and the Brigantine across the stern.

Brendan tried to manoeuvre out of the trap, but I had the weather gauge. 

Pretty soon I had a devastating raking shot at very close range. These are particularly nasty as hits are doubled. The frigate survived.

I managed to get another really close-range shot with the Bark, again doing plenty of damage but at massive cost. All the crew on the little ship were killed in a devastating broadside from the Frigate and it drifted and started to sink.

This left us with two fairly damaged ships, though I had a few more crewmen active. Our speeds were matched and it looked like Brendan could get away with it.

So something drastic was needed. Then then wind suddenly changed in my favour and allowed me to cross his T again. The larboard cannons were fully loaded and Brendan did not expect this at all. He thought I was going to board. 

The raking shot hit home with devastating effect. I was hitting at point blank range and with his ship massively damaged I needed 1+ to hit. 8 hits went home, doubling to 16 for the raking shot. He lost crew all down the ship and the 8 criticals resulted in fires, leaks and a catastrophic damage critical. The ship would sink at the end of the turn.

And then Brendan reminded me.... If the merchant died then we would both lose! I needed to capture him, not sink the ship. I never expected to sink anything and in the excitement I'd forgotten completely!

However being a good sport and to make the story so much more interesting Brendan abandoned the ship and waded to the nearby sandy island. I agreed that if they threw their weapons in the sea I'd carry them to safety, along with my prize, the rescued merchant!

What a great game... It took all afternoon and most of the evening but it was well worth it and we both were really glad we played through to the end.

Blood and Plunder - Native American Warrior Musketeers

Having finished the Frigate its now time to bulk up my forces to allow me to crew all my ships all at the same time. I've obviously bought quite a few extra sailors for this including some new Dutch ones, but at the same time I noticed that the French Buccaneers could take some Native American Warrior Musketeers. These looked easy and fun to paint so I decided to paint them first.

The first thing I noticed was that the castings were a lot cleaner than the rest of the Blood and Plunder miniatures I've painted. None of the miscast bits to cut off that I've noticed in figures that have had lots of castings done from the moulds. These look like the moulds have not been used too much yet. I assume this is because they're relatively new and unpopular minis. All the better!

As I suspected they painted up really nicely and a few base coats and washes is all they've really needed. Even the eyes were easy to paint. 

These have to be some of my favourite models in the Blood and Plunder range and I think I may have to build a whole faction of Native Americans at some point.

Friday, 7 May 2021

Frigate Complete

 With the futtock shrouds, ratlines and sails in place my frigate is now complete.

I thought I'd also have a play around with smoke and the in-built lighting effects.

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Frigate Masts and Standing Rigging

With the frigate's hull painted and electronics installed I've been able to get on with putting the masts on. 

I've been more extensive with the mast structure than I have with my previous ships and have been trying to get it closer to reality. With that in mind I designed my own fighting tops for the fore and main masts. These are an option in the Blood and Plunder frigate and can hold 4 models each, which I'm pleased to say mine do, just!

I also managed to get the standing rigging completed. 

Next it's on to the ratlines and futtock shrouds. I like how it looks so far so much that I'm concerned I might mess it up when I try these, but I'll see. It's easy enough to remove any mess I make and re-do the shrouds.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Frigate Electronics (Weekly Update #10)

This week I learned that we've actually got a date for our first game day at Dales Wargames since early 2020! Assuming that we don't go into lockdown again that is! I will be running Blood and Plunder with any luck. With that in mind it's full-speed-ahead with the Frigate.

Tonight I finished putting the electronics in the Frigate. This obviously isn't absolutely necessary for use with Blood and Plunder but I thought it would be fun.

It's all based around a Raspberry Pi Pico with Bluetooth adapter and a mini MP3 Player. There's a lot of blu-tac in there holding wires in place. I haven't decided whether to replace it or leave it in. Blu-tac does have the advantage that I can remove it fairly easily!

Next I need to start on the masts and rigging.

I've had both my 3D printers busy creating an OpenLOCK based tavern using the Clorehaven sets. I've had a bar and kitchen for a while now and nowhere to put them. This sorts that out!

There's still quite a bit to print, but here it is so far.