Blood & Plunder has a flexible scaling system that can support a skirmish of 25-50 points and go all the way up to massive multiplayer games with 1000+ points per side. A lot of new players want to know what the “standard” game looks like but there’s not really a definitive answer. The game is flexible and a “normal game” can vary a lot depending on your budget, space, time, theater, preference and the players you have opportunity to play with.
50 Point Games
This is probably about as small as you want to go. My group has been running an escalation campaign and we started at 50 points. This is a perfect size for a good demo game but it can also be an enjoyable quick game for experienced players. With unit size limited to 2-4 models, every roll becomes important. Every causality is significant and fatigue has to be carefully managed to avoid small units routing. In spite of being small, I find these games tense and exciting.
At 50 points you’re probably best using a free commander and fielding 8-16 models in 2-4 units. Land battles will be best but you can get some good games out of a longboat duel and you could even bring a lightly manned Bark and try to ram your opponent’s boat.
With easy access to 3-4 cost soldiers, I think the Militia forces are easiest to play at 50 points while factions like Brethren of the Coast are more difficult since most of the models equipped with muskets cost 6.
Using every point efficiently can be awkward at 50 points so don’t forget your options for upgrading (or downgrading) experience levels, adding characters and using fortifications (a great way to use up an extra 1-2 points).
If you want to improve the “durability” of a unit you can leverage the rules on characters to build one unit up to 6 (or even 7) models since both the commander and characters don’t count towards unit size.
50 Point Land Lists
Each of these land lists can be made with 1 Starter Box.
50 Point Sea Lists
100 Point Games
At 100 points you have a lot more room for variations within lists and games become more interesting and meaty.
The 15 point commanders become possible in 100 point lists and you have a little more room for some characters and weapon modifications. 100 points is still a little small for most sea battles with cannons but you could play a Bark with 4 light guns and a reasonable crew. You can make decent 100 point land lists out of most Starter Boxes.
The unit size for 100 point games is 3-8 models and I think it’s usually good to have at least one unit on the upper end of that range.
When I was at GENCON, Firelock’s tournament was played with 100 point forces on 3×3′ land maps and games were limited to an hour. 100 points seems a good number for playing quick games at a tournament, especially if there will be more than 3 rounds.
You could call a 100 point land game a “standard game,” but you’re kind of limited as far as bringing any real solid quantities of elite units etc. so I wouldn’t limit yourself to this number.
100 Point Starter Box Lists
Logwood Cutters (this one stretches the starter box a little)
100 Point Sea Lists
200 Point Games
I would consider a 200 point land game a meaty and fell fledged game of Blood & Plunder. At this level you can field some more interesting troops like cavalry and field guns or several large blocks of musketry.
200 points is starting to get serious at sea. You can fully equip a 2-deck ship like a Sloop with 200 points, but ships larger with more than 2 decks will still feel lightly crewed.
If you’re tricky you can make a 200 point force of elite soldiers out of the Starter Box, but usually you’ll be using more like 30-40 models. The Historical commanders are possibilities at this point level and you can even make a Legendary Commander work If hour careful.
You could do a tournament at 200 points and easily facilitate land/sea/amphibious games but the rounds would probably need to be a full 2 hours.
200 Point Land Lists
200 Point Sea Lists
350 Point Lists
Land games start getting massive at 350 points and you’ll need a large collection. You can do almost anything you want! You can field complete army of artillery, skirmishers, cavalry and infantry, or you can deploy multiple large units of sharpshooting Boucaniers. You get to enjoy all the expensive units! You’ll probably be playing 50-60 models in a typical 350 land game.
Sea Battles really start to get interesting at 350 points. At this level you can bring a strong commander and fully equip a 3 deck ship with cannons and a solid crew. A Galleon can be run with all 14 guns at 350 but it could easily eat up 500+ points. The Galleon list here only uses 3-point models and doesn’t even fill the decks.
Blood & Plunder works well at a wide range of army sizes and what is “standard” will be largely determined by your preferences and opportunities.
I consider 100 point land to be a standard “quick game,” and 200 points to be the standard for a meaty 2-hour satisfying game. At sea those numbers go up and 200 feels like the low end of normal and 350 feels like a full-sized standard game.
My point thresholds certainly aren’t hard and fast benchmarks but I just chose to go over the sizes of games that I’ve played. The lists I put together are examples of what can fit into a force but I haven’t played most of those lists and can’t vouch for them from true experience.
What point levels do you consider “standard”?