My local group is growing and we’re starting up a new campaign with several new players in the area. We’re hoping the campaign is a good way to get new players into the game since it provides regular opportunities to play with different people and it starts out with restrictions that can simplify play during the first few rounds. There are some complicating factors playing the campaign that are harder for new players to grasp but I still think it can be a good way to get people involved in the community right away.
We’re playing an escalation campaign with our first game starting at 100 points and then raising that point level by 25 points every two games. We’re using the campaign system from No Peace Beyond the Line with a few additional elements we are adding ourselves. Our modifications include a map with around 30 or so locations that can be fought over and a 10% increase in the points available to the attacker in each game. We found the defender won a high majority of the games in the last campaign and we’re hoping this gives the attacker a little better chance more of the time.
Jeff, my opponent today, owns a new game store in Salem, OR. The owners of this new store came to our demo day in Oregon City and have since stocked Next Level Gaming with Firelock products, hosted a demo day themselves and have helped 5-7 new players jump into the game! Huzzah for Jeff!
The commander in campaign games will always be a little different than standard games since you get to “build” the commander at the start of the campaign and continue to modify and expand his power through the entire experience.
Jeff chose the French Caribbean Militia as his Force. He chose the Nautical skill tree and Sailors for his commander’s first ability. The French commander also gets Lead by Example for free. This was his first full-fledged game ever and the first time he’s played since the demo with me 3 months ago!
For his 110 point force for this first game Jeff brought 8 Milices de Caraibes with his commander attached, a unit of 6 Boucaniers and a unit of 6 Flibustiers. His faction gives him a free movement with one unit per turn at the end of their activation.
I’m exploring the Natives in this campaign and I chose the South American Tribes faction. I’m playing them as a “Militia” faction which means I get extra XP for defending in our campaign games.
After going through the campaign setup my commander looks like this:
I attached my commander to unit of 8 Warrior Musketeers and supported them with a unit of 6 Young Warriors and a unit of 6 Warrior Archers with a Grizzled Veteran and Poisoned Arrows. My faction rules allow fir purchasing Poisoned Arrows and it grants all my units Elusive, in addition to the standard Native rules.
We were assigned the Land Breakthrough scenario for this campaign turn with Jeff’s French attacking my Natives’ home base.
As the attacker the French needed to be within 4″ of my 12″ deployment zone by the end of turn 3 to avoid a Strike Point and if they end a round with a unit within my deployment zone, they would give me a a Strike Point.
We used the coastline for the edge of our board here and the ships and boats are just there to look cool (which is half the game right?).
I deployed my commander and Musketeers in the center of the board, the Young Warriors in my Right and the Archer Warriors on the Left.
The French deployed the 6 Boucaniers on their Left and both the Militia and Flibustiers on their Right flank, hoping to overwhelm my Archers.
The game started with both the Boucaniers and Warrior Musketeers advancing and and firing on each other. The Boucaniers fired first so they took a heavier range penalty and they failed to get any 9’s or 10’s to hit. Jeff was using my dice and apparently they have become very loyal to me. He had some rough luck with the dice over the course of the entire game…
My Musketeers advanced and fired at the Boucaniers with better success landing 4 hits out of 9 dice and killing one model after a Fortune reroll for their Save.
The main French force drove hard up on my Left flank. The Militia moved 8″ and fired on my Archers, then moved another 4″ with their faction free move.
My Archers returned fire with insane accuracy! I got 5 hits out of 5 dice hitting on 8’s! Between the Hard Cover and the bows’ save bonus, the Militia were saving on 3’s. Jeff failed one save on the first attempt, spent a Fortune to reroll and saved all 5! The Poisoned Arrows did apply a couple Fatigue (two attacks) which is a big deal to an Inexperienced unit.
Jeff led turn 2 with another volley from the Boucaniers which killed one Native Musketeers and applied 1 Fatigue. My Musketeers returned fire and killed two Boucaniers leaving that unit at 3 models. My Young Warriors moved into position to harass the Boucaniers on the next turn.
The French on my Left rallied off the Fatigue I gave them on the first turn, worked on reloading and the Flibustiers advanced another 8″ utilizing their faction ability again. My archers shot both the Militia and Flibustiers again and got a lucky kill on the Militia. The Poisoned Arrows are pretty brutal… it applied a Fatigue at least 80% of the time. It’s really debilitating to Inexperienced units.
On turn 3 the Boucaniers again led with a volley into the approaching Young Warriors but between a unlucky attack roll and my Elusive+Hard Cover Save of 4, it only killed one Young Warrior. I was able to move up with the Young Warriors and shoot the exposed Boucaniers at a range of less than 8″ and eliminate the unit.
This left my Musketeers free to reload and move over to help the hard-pressed Archers. The French Militia rallied and stood up and the Flibustiers killed an Archer, moved up within 4″ of my deployment zone (avoiding taking a Strike Point from the Scenario rules) and put some cover between themselves and the Archers.
The Flibustiers led turn 4 by charging the now-hated Archers but they slipped away with Evade. My commander was able to move up and command the Archers to countercharge the Flibustiers which left them shaken. My Musketeers fired into the Militia. I only got 2 hits out of 8 dice looking for 6’s but with no Fortune left to reroll, Jeff rolled double 1’s for his Saves.
The Militia passed their Resolve check so they were able to fire on my Musketeers in the open! I took two more casualties but passed my Resolve test.
Starting their activation with 2 Fatigue, my Warrior Archers rallied with the Grizzled Veteran’s command point, charged the Flibusters again and left them with 5 Fatigue, then pushed to throw some more Poisoned Arrows at the Militia which gave them enough Fatigue to become Shaken and go prone again.
At the end of turn 4 my opponent voluntarily withdrew. With both surviving units shaken and unloaded, the French had had enough.
- My Natives had 1 Strike Point for 6 casualties of 20 models.
- The French had 2 Strike Points for 13 casualties of 21 models. I think the Flibustiers were still within 4″ of my deployment zone so there was no 3rd Strike Point earned from the scenario rules.
- I’m enjoying the Natives. They play so differently but they feel competitive. I felt bad using the Natives with all their tricky rules against a new player. Sorry Jeff! They have weaknesses but if the Natives start winning, they get pretty brutal by depriving the enemy of all their actions.
- The Warrior Musketeers are becoming a favorite of mine! With Great Warrior they are so accurate and the Savvy rule from my campaign commander takes away that Slow Reload penalty. A lethal attack and a boss defense all for 5 points!
- The French Militia free move ability is really good. You can really cover some ground with a double move and a free move in one activation!
- The Milices de Caraibes are an amazing unit but their Inexperienced status really hurt them in this game. Their shoot skill and weaponry is amazing for 4 points but in this game their Resolve and experience level were a real weakness vs the Native tactics.
- As usual, I forgot some rules. I forgot to have us choose the Tactics that players are supposed to select before a campaign game and I forgot to have either of us apply the Poorly Equipped rule to our units (per the Campaign rules).
- Attacking is still hard in many of these scenarios! I think my opponent had a good strategy of pinning down a unit or two with his Boucaniers and pushing my archers hard on my flank so he could accomplish the scenario objective. The dice just failed him on his Left flank and the Fatigue built up too fast on his offensive force.
- Poisoned Arrows are very good. I think I’ll always bring at least one unit with Poisoned Arrows if I have the option with Natives. I’m sure it frustrating to play against but it really helps the Natives wear down their enemies.
I’m looking forward to continuing the campaign and seeing how the Natives perform in the long run.
Thanks to Jeff for a good game and supporting the game at his shop! I’m sorry that my Natives we so cruel…