My local group has just started a second campaign! We had 6 players in our last campaign and we’re starting this run with 11 players. With an odd number of players, one players has to play against a “dummy player” in every round and I was only too happy to volunteer during this first round. Isaiah, my opponent today, is a newer player I had the pleasure of playing a demo with last month at the Demo my group put on in Salem. He’s starting the campaign as English Buccaneers.
Isaiah was working with a starter box and he built up a 100 point force of 22 models including a unit of 4 Forlorn Hope with the commander attached, a unit of 4 Sea Dogs without pistols, a unit of 7 Freebooters, and 6 English Militia. He was going to go for all muskets with a full 8 Freebooters and 8 Militia until we selected the scenario and the Sea Dogs became more useful.
The commander is custom built in the campaign and Isaiah’s commander started out with 1 command point, 8″ command radius, Inspiring, Resourceful (which is a campaign only ability), Brace of Pistols, a Buccaneer Gun and Explosives (Atypical Armament grants the commander the weapons of any 1 core unit in his force and the Forlorn Hope).
I’m using the South American Natives as my real campaign force but I used this opportunity to play my other current favorite Native faction, the Westo. The Westo get the Ruthless and War Cry abilities applied to all their units.
I used the same campaign commander options as Isaiah did just to keep things simple. My commander had 1 command point, a 10″ command radius, Great Warrior, Resourceful and a Firelock Musket as his primary weapon.
My list had a unit of 7 Warrior Musketeers, a unit of 5 Warrior Archers with a Grizzled Veteran, and a unit of 8 Young Warriors in 3 Canoes.
We rolled a d10 on the Campaign scenario table and it came up as Raze and we had previously agreed we would play this as an amphibious game (I’ve played randomly played this amphibious scenario two other times in the last couple months and there was Beasts of War video of this scenario/theater released in the same time frame!).
The scenario grants the defender 3 gun emplacements on the shoreline and the attacker’s goal is to destroy one of the guns or emplacements by the end of any turn and the defender will give the attacker a strike point if no emplacement is on fire, or the emplacement is not destroyed or on fire by the end of turn 4.
The scenario also allows the attacker to not place any 2+ sized ships during deployment but bring them on to the board during the first round. I misread this and deployed my Canoe this way which was illegal. Sorry…
The campaign allows player to pick Tactics before a game (number of Tactics is decided by the suit of card you bid for campaign initiative with).
I chose a Tactic which let me attack at night which was good for my Natives. I think Isaiah chose the Tactic which would block the Drunk rule had I chosen that Tactic but I’m not positive.
The English deployed behind rocks and cover across the coastline with more men deployed on their Left flank. The Sea Dogs manned the leftmost cannon.
I held my canoes back to deploy them on the first turn.
With visibility reduced to 12″, my Natives were able to paddle towards the coast without being harassed by the cannon or musketry. Natives don’t like cannons so I aimed my vessels at his Right flank so I could stay as far as I could get from the active cannon.
The entire first turn was spent moving since we were too far apart to even see each other. The English move to the Right as fast as they could and the Sea Dogs abandoned their gun and headed for the central cannon. My Canoes moved on to the board one at a time so I lost movement on the second and third Canoe but I kept out of firing range as well.
Turn 2 was mostly movement and re-positioning as well but near the end of turn 2 my Young Warriors let off a volley of arrows into the night and two found their marks on the English Militia. By the end of turn 2 my Musketeers had landed and the other canoes were close behind.
Going into turn 3 the Westo command unit had taken a gun emplacement and most of the English had moved to my side of the board. Isaiah drew a high number of Spades through the first couple turns (his new deck of cards may not have been shuffled well enough) which limited both his speed of movement and rate of fire.
A couple volleys of musketry from the Militia and Freebooters took out a couple Young Warriors before they got out of their canoe. I really like that 6 save on all the Native units! They are pretty tough to kill.
Turn 3 was pretty intense as all our forces were close enough to actually fight each other.
I shot at the Freebooters with my Warrior Musketeers and hit them hard! Great Warrior and Ruthless combined to get me down to a 6 to hit (9″ range) and I knocked out 4 models in one shot. At this point the command unit of Forlorn Hope arrived and fire off their rifles and grenades. The stinkpot was thrown successfully and blocked line of site between the English and my Musketeers but the Grenade misfired while being thrown! Isaiah used a Fortune to reroll that 1 and he rolled another 1! The grenade rolled 3 hits on his own unit but he used his last Fortune to reroll that set of dice and he rolled all misses on the second roll. We decided his commander will forever be known as the grenade fumbler! The Buccaneer guns took out another Young Warrior in their canoe and applied a second Fatigue.
My Warrior Archers finally caught up and joined the party and took down one of the Forlorn Hope.
On turn 4 I was able to spike the cannon with the Musketeers (their Great Warrior trait helped to get that Dedicated action down from a 7 to a 4).
The English fired a few more shots at me through turn 4 but my saves kept me in good shape. The Sea Dogs were able to fully reload the cannon in the center but I was able to kill a couple of them and they weren’t able to fire the cannon at my beached canoe of Young Warriors.
At the end of turn 4 we calculated Strike Points:
- Isaiah’s English had 1 Strike Point for 10 casualties and 1 Strike Point for my successfully destroying the cannon.
- My Natives had only suffered 4 casualties so I had no Strike Points.
With two more Strike Points than my Natives, the English rolled for a Strike Test looking for a 4 from the Commander’s Forlorn Hope Resolve. The die came up as a 3 and the game concluded here.
Post Game Thoughts
- I’m enjoying the Natives. I really like their consistent save of 6. They just don’t die! Their Resolve is certainly a weakness but if you can keep that fatigue off, they just keep going.
- Those Grenades make for some entertaining gaming moments! That grenade got dropped and nearly blew up the entire group of English Forlorn Hope, then it turned out it just fizzled in the sand to no effect. It could have blown that canoe of warriors to pieces but the dice are fickle.
- I’m starting to really like these Warrior Musketeers. Great Warrior kind of does the same thing as Marksmen but doesn’t take that extra action which helps make up for the Slow Reload rule. But these Musketeers are cheap, they save well, they can’t be easily charged and they’re accurate. They aren’t going to fire nearly as fast as the Freebooters with Fast Reload, but if you can time a couple volleys well, they can make a big difference. In this game they nearly neutralized that large unit of Freebooters and took a lot of points off the board.
- Great Warrior is a really good ability. I’ve been unhappy about having to pay that extra point for each model while putting lists together on the Force Builder but the flexibility of that action is awesome. In this game it let me bring that test to spike the gun down to a 70% likelihood of success. It can help with anything! I won’t grump about that extra cost anymore.
- Inexperienced English Militia are still slow but their Resolve makes a big difference. In this game they took 4 casualties out of their 6 models but they never became shaken. That Resolve of 5 outclasses all other Militia!
- Natives like the night. By the time you get closer than 12″ from the enemy, the arrows start to do good work and that Great Warrior volley from the Musketeers is going to hit really hard. I watched the attacker’s Natives get pounded pretty hard in their boats in the Beasts of War video of this same scenario but just limiting that visibility let me approach the coastline with much less pain inflicted on my men.
- I feel bad that I didn’t deploy my boats correctly. If I had, Isaiah could have deployed his troops to better advantage and things might have gone better for him. It seems like there’s always something I mess up… If Isaiah’s card deck had been better shuffled, he may have been able to move his units faster and met me at the shore rather than letting me land unmolested. That could have made a difference as well.
Thanks to Isaiah for a good game! At this point he’d only played the demo with me a couple weeks previous but he had the rules down really well. I look forward to playing more games!
We did play another land game right after this scenario which I’ll be reporting on soon.