Sunday, 27 June 2021

Blood and Plunder - Escort - Amphibious

Sorry I've not been posting recently! We had a holiday and then with Covid restrictions being relaxed I've been seeing my family and going in re-enactment events. But finally we got a Sunday afternoon free to get a game of Blood and Plunder in.

The scenario chosen was Escort with the defender looking after a dignitary, whilst the attacker tried to kill her. Both sides had ships in our version of the scenario and played to 230 points.

We both looked beyond our usual selection of forces for this one. Brendan chose to take Pirates with a mix of elite English and French troops lead by a French commander in a Sloop. I chose an English Pirate Hunters force with a few Dutch units and several small Sea Dog units but with the hugely expensive, but well worth it, Henry Morgan in command. My ship being a Bark.

My Pirate Hunters were the defenders with them escorting a beautiful lady to safety either across the water or to the other side of the last. The Pirates came under false colours and I was unable to shoot at them for the first few turns of the game.

The dignitary, I called her Elanor, with Henry is with the Kapers trying to keep out of sight. The English Militia using the corn field as cover.

My Bark waits at the other side of the table.

Flibustiers and Forlorn Hope lie in wait.

The first few turns had my forces moving forward under cover, the bark unable to open fire on the pirate sloop as it flew English colours. Brendan's land forces sneaked around the back of the tavern.

Eventually the sloop replaced its flag with the black pirate flag and opened fire on my Kapers on land. The Bark seeing this immediately returned fire and caused more damage than the sloop did.

I had taken both Light Cannons and Swivel Guns on the main gun-deck of the Bark and this meant that the Kapers were able to shoot and reload both for extra firepower.

I grappled the Bark onto the pier and tied it up. Their sailing done, the Sea Dogs ran onto land to help out as best they could.

Back on the land my other Sea Dogs sneaked into the Tavern through the front and poked their pistols out the back window. They shot 4 of the 8 Forlorn Hope stone dead at point blank range. However the Flibustiers charged into the tavern killing all the Sea Dogs.

The English Militia saw a great chance to finish the Forlorn Hope off and charged in, but failed to kill enough of them, getting stuck in combat as the Flibustiers charged into the melee as well.

Meanwhile the Kapers sneaked through the corn fields. They were unsure about the open ground in front of the tavern that was under the eyes of the gunners on the sloop. They needed a diversion!

The diversion came in the form of the free Long Boat that the scenario allowed to appear from hiding near the centre of the table. This I had loaded with a small Sea Dog unit. I'm pretty sure they're supposed to be there to carry the dignitary to safety, but for my purposes they appeared right next to the Sloop and boarded it!

After a couple of fight actions I had cleared the gun decks, but then the Freebooters opened fire and the Sloop was back in the hands the pirates once more.

However this was just enough time for the Kapers, Henry Morgan and Elanor to dash past the tavern at high speed.

By this time the only land unit left to the Pirates was the Flibustiers and they dashed after their quarry, shooting their muskets in a devastating attack, that put 4 fatigue on the Kapers. However Henry Morgan is a very strong character and he managed to remove all of that and still limp to safety ordering the Sea Dogs from the Bark to get between him and the Flibustiers.

This did not deter the Flibustiers though and they dashed forward again. Shooting 3 of the Kapers in the lead. 

Things were looking bad for Henry, but his will was too strong and he continued to move towards the table edge with the dignitary. The Sea Dogs charged the now worn out Flibustiers in the last moments of the battle, but did not rout them. 

However this was the end of turn 6. The end of the game. Both sides had taken a hammering, but the dignitary was still alive and this meant a victory to the Pirate Hunters!

That was yet another great game. Henry Morgan may well have cost a lot of points, but his extra fortune and other abilities were well worth those points even though this wasn't a sea battle. The 20" command range and 3 command points were extremely useful!

Friday, 28 May 2021

Blood and Plunder - Gun Emplacements and Corn Fields

One of the scenarios in "Peace Beyond the Line" is attack on a heavily defended shoreline. The attacker has to disable up to 3 gun emplacements along the coast. They could land and assault or sit off the coast bombarding with their ships, or both. In order to make this work though some gun emplacements are needed. Firelock make their own gun emplacements, but of course I would make my own.

The techniques are as usual, MDF base, sculptamold, earth/tile grout mixture and coffee stirrers. With the addition of some 3D printed gabions

I also finally managed to get hold of some of the JTT Corn Stalks. These are hard to get in the UK and I had to order them from the US Amazon site. Not cheap, but they look great! 

No game today, these were all set up just for the photos and I thought I'd try out the terraformers up in the form of a rather well defended small island.

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Blood and Plunder - Sea Battle at Dales

Today saw the first game at a wargames club we've had for ages. The club was Dales Wargames in Darley Dale and myself and Brendan put on a large sea battle for members just starting off with Blood and Plunder.

I controlled the English side with Colin and we had a light frigate and a bark. The opposition were French, as usual, controlled by my son, Brendan and Pete with a brigantine and sloop. The scenario was Plunder. I just finished painting up my Printable Scenery shipwreck yesterday and it would be its first time out.

We started off in the two corners opposite the shipwreck which had two chests of treasure on it. Both sides used their larger ships to mask the smaller ones in the initial stages of the battle. The wind for the moment was pushing us both quickly towards the objectives without either side having an advantage. How I wish that had stayed the case.

I had a plan. I would let the bark rush towards the objective whilst I would turn the frigate behind the French ships raking their sterns. This was scuppered almost immediately when the wind changed to point towards our side of the table. We'd have to sail to windward for most of the battle and would be unable to turn far enough to obtain the rakes I was hoping for. 

Anyway, we continued to trade broadsides. Mostly between brigantine and frigate, with occasional shots from the sloop and and bark. I turned the frigate to get closer to the enemy, but in the process the frigate lost its arc of fire on them. I had to turn back and that meant that a shoal was right in my path.

It was going to take a few turns to get over this and each time there was a good chance I was going to run aground. It was inevitable and pretty soon my frigate was stuck. I would have to reduce sail and push off. The other ships continued on and the French started to target the bark more and more.

Pete's sloop was the first to grapple onto the shipwreck and his native musketeers jumped over to retrieve the prize.

Brendan's brigantine was pretty close as well, but he saw the chance to ram Colin's bark. This he did, though damage was minimal, so he grappled onto the wreck and sent some Marins over for the treasure.

But the ram gave us an idea. The brigantine was the French flagship and as such was an objective. The bark was far less important. Colin decided to grapple the brigantine and board with his Dutch Kapers.

They destroyed the defending Veteran Freebooters and Marins fairly easily and it looked like the English had the upper hand for a moment as I had also managed to get the frigate sailing again.

But our hopes were dashed as Pete grappled the sloop onto the stern of the brigantine and was able to send reinforcements over to the threatened French flagship. These reinforcements made quick work of killing the remaining Dutch troops and the French captured the bark! 

In the end the French won decisively with both prizes and the bark added to their fleet. Though they had taken heavy casualties, the English had faired a lot worse. 

That was a great game and a tense finish.

We're looking forward to far more games of Blood and Plunder at Dales in the coming months especially when Pete, Colin and others have their forces ready to play! Maybe we'll even be able to start a campaign?

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Blood and Plunder Dutch

I finished these last week but only just got around to photographing them. My first Dutch, Kapers and Zeeleiden.

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.