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.

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.