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.

Tuesday 20 April 2021

Weekly Update #9

For the first time ever my models have been allowed display space in the living room. I was wondering where on earth I was going to keep the huge ship models I've been making, but luckily Rachel likes them so much that they've been allowed space on top of the new Kalax shelving. 

Up there alongside the sloop and brigantine is my new bark, based off the large version of the Printable Scenery skiff.

However it'll soon (hopefully) be displaced by a much larger model as I've just started painting my frigate.

I've also just finished the tavern model from the Age of Pirates set. This has been in-progress far too long, but I decided I really ought to get it out of the way. 

I must say that I wasn't that impressed with some of the models in this set when I first looked at the renders, but the more I print and paint of them the more I decide I was completely wrong! I really must get around to printing the star fort that's in the set as that's actually why I bought it in the first place.

I've also been printing more scatter, cannons, harbour walls and have started on a new OpenLOCK building which I'm planning in the new Terrain Tinker application.

Monday 19 April 2021

Blood and Plunder - Harbour Assault

Sunday's Blood and Plunder game saw my British Buccaneers in their sloop attacking a port well defended by Brendan's French Caribbean Militia.

The extra European Sailor models I painted up last week allowed me to deploy a much larger force of Sea Dogs and Brendan was able to use the European Sailor Musketeers as Miliciens.

His force mostly had Elusive and had a stone harbour wall to hide behind. This meant he had -2 bonus to his shooting save!

However what that did was deter me from shooting at them. Instead I shot, with some success, but not enough, at the artillery on top of the tower.

Eventually I grappled onto the docks and started to run ashore, into a hail of lead. I had my Forlorn Hope throw stinkpots to cover my charge and grenadoes to soften up Brendan's troops, but the latter misfired killing some of my troops.

Meanwhile my longboat finally rowed up to the docks and started to unload, the large Sea Dog unit it carried swarming up to fight the Flibustiers who ran. But the Milicies counter-assaulted pushing them back.

With my forces massively depleted and my captain taken as a casualty at the end of turn 5 my force struck.

A very difficult assault this one. Brendan had a very well defended position and I had a disorganised and badly timed assault. I should have had my sloop and longboat grapple closer to the land saving my troops several actions of running along the piers. I should have arranged for my troops to attack together rather than being spread amongst several turns. 

So a learning experience, but a great game nonetheless.

Tuesday 13 April 2021

Weekly Update #8

I'm still building up Blood and Plunder stuff. 

It seems that you always need more sailors! With that in mind I bought the "Pirates and Privateers" set and have just completed the first half.

The frigate I started last week is a bit overwhelming in scope, what with custom rigging, electronics, etc. So I've decided to build something a little easier in parallel with it. 

With that in mind I printed out the Printable Scenery Skiff (large version) for use as a Bark. Working out what the rigging for this should be has been interesting as Bark has many meanings, but using the Firelock Games version as a guide I think I've worked out how I want it to be. Two square rigged masts.

I also have been printing a few bits of extra dockside scatter...

Also I did a quick bit of tinkering with some OpenLOCK parts to make a platform for my round tower to allow a cannon to be used on it.

Sunday 11 April 2021

Blood and Plunder - Sea Battle

We decided to go for a straight forward sea battle today. Encounter (no special objectives) with 200 points and I added in my sea terrain with shoals I made this morning.

I had the brigantine and Brendan the sloop. He had the wind gauge so I thought I'd have a tough time. However luck was with me. I'd chosen to set a lot higher sail setting and so swept past him. I also decided to shoot at his rigging which reduces his manoeuvrability. 

Of course my luck with shooting and his poor dice rolls certainly helped me!

In the end he got a little too close to a sandbank and ran aground. But showing the advantages of the sloop he managed to get free very quickly. In fact in the nick of time as I had been about to rake his stern.

In the end though I'd severely damaged his ship and he'd not done anywhere near as much damage to mine. It was a fairly sure victory.

This game saw us get a proper feel for the ship rules and we both managed to get off some decent broadsides. The added shoals and islands certainly helped define the tactics as well.

Tuesday 6 April 2021

Weekly Update #7

A quick update tonight. Early to bed for me! I've been rather busy digging up a huge tree stump in the garden and then celebrating when I defeated it.

Anyway, so other than the game on Sunday what have I been up to?

First off I've been magnetising my Blood and Plunder minis. I spent ages trying to put magnets on the minis only to have problems where the minis would knock each other over on the battlefield due to the magnets repelling each other. 

After a while of messing looking for weaker magnets and those being too weak I had a head slapping moment. I have swapped my usual arrangement and moved the magnetized strips to the boxes and put steel washers on the bases of the models, with a small 3d printed washer to make up the difference in size. This works perfectly and is a lot cheaper!

Also I started painting the next Caribbean/Spanish building....

... and made some rocky outcrops for the sea...

... and finally I got my frigate printed, with hollowed out hull for the electronics.

Sunday 4 April 2021

Blood and Plunder game at the Harbour

Having completed the coastline and the harbour it was time today to get a game in. 

We decided to play the Search and Recover scenario which allowed lots of land whilst being an amphibious game. One side of the board would have the town and harbour and the other the jungle coastline. Five objective markers (chests) were placed around the board, though only one was the one we needed. However in the rules killing combatants and taking ships would also count as objectives.

Brendan had the French in the Sloop and I had English with the Brigantine. We came on with some troops in the ships some on each piece of land. Though I couldn't have any troops on the harbour at the beginning as the land on that side of the board did not run all the way up to my deployment zone.

The first turn saw our ships sailing towards each other as usual, not much going on as our broadsides were not lined up. Our troops on the land rushed towards objectives.

The second turn saw us start to fire. My swivel guns on the prow of my ship shot at Brendan's gunners and musket fire was traded. A few sailors on each side were hit. We began to turn our ships to bring broadsides to bear.

We were both getting close to the objective in the water. To capture it we'd have to get within 3" of it though and to do that would risk being out of position and rather susceptible to fire from the other ship. So we let it slide by.

My militia on land ran up to the first chest on the coast. It was empty. This left them with a good view of the ongoing sea manoeuvres. 

On the other side in the harbour, Brendan's boucaniers advanced through the harbour towards another chest.

Brendan turned his ship and opened up with a broadside on my forecastle. The medium cannons dealt 6 damage to the hull and killed all of the sailors in the section. The 6 hits meant he had a critical hit, the first we'd ever rolled, and my ship sprang a leak. If this wasn't repaired it could mean my ship would sink. On top of that the coastline was getting very close and I didn't have time to change sail settings!

Brendan's flibustiers ran forward to check the chest on the jungle road. It was the one with the treasure! All eyes fell on that. I started to move my Forlorn hope towards it.

I saw my chance and fired everything I could at Brendan's sloop, killing most of the sailors manning the medium cannons. He'd be unable to reload them! After the damage they'd done on their first shot I was more than happy with that situation.

Soon after this I realised the way to deal with my ship hitting the coast was to grapple it into position. This I did successfully, pulling the ship up to the cliffs. I'm not sure if that's how its supposed to work, but there were no arguments. Brendan let his ship stop at the beach, allowing him to unload.

Brendan realised that his troop numbers on this side of the channel were falling rather too quickly. So he brought the longboat alongside the sloop and sent two sailors with it over to collect the boucaniers who were now far from the objective stranded on the other side of the channel.

The other sailors he sent up the beach to try to support the flibustiers with the objective. But they got too close to my forlorn hope unit and were charged and killed to a man.

However this left the forlorn hope stuck out in the open and the flibustiers peppered them repeatedly with fire. They held on but their numbers were severely depleted.

Over at the harbour the long boat, now only manned by a grizzled veteran, reached the boucaniers. 


They loaded up and started to sail back... In the meantime I'd been shooting at the remaining forces on the sloop. The last shot with the re-manned and re-loaded forecastle swivel guns wiped out the last of Brendan's veteran freebooters and his captain. The boucaniers came back to an empty ship!

This was the end of turn 6. The end of the game.

Though Brendan had the objective, I'd killed much of his force and was in a position to take his ship. He'd just killed a few of my troops. It was 2 strike points each. It came down to the value of casualties to determine the winner and I'd certainly killed more of his than he'd of mine. We didn't bother to count them up and Brendan accepted defeat.

That was an epic game. So much happened and it was great to see so much stuff on the table.