Battle Report – French Caribbean Militia vs Portuguese-Brazilian Tercios

My local group just hosted a tournament and while several of our player ended up not being able to attend, the few of us that did had a good time and got to play some good games.

The following is a brief battle report on my first game of the tournament vs Guy R.

The Forces

The Portuguese Tercios are a faction I’ve been wanting to try for a while. What better list to use for a tournament than a faction you’ve never used before! They are remarkably similar to the Spanish militia factions but they have some interesting differences that make them unique and look pretty powerful on paper.

This was a 200 point tournament and I tried to squeeze a lot out of those 200 points in this list. I used a free Untested European Commander mounted on a horse and attached to a unit of 9 Trained European Milita Cavalry with Carbines. My core musket units consisted of a group of 8 European Soldiers and a group of 9 Spanish Milicianos upgraded to Trained and using Heavy Matchlocks. For skirmishers I brought a unit of 6 Milicianos Indios but I didn’t take advantage of the faction option to give them muskets. The fifth and final unit in my force was a unit of 7 Trained European Artillery Crew with a Light Field Gun and a Master Gunner. I had 1 point leftover and I included a Breastwork fortification in my list but I forgot to actually place it on the board!

My force added up to 40 Trained Models.

Guy’s French force was tricky and elusive. His command unit was a group of 7 Trained Milicies de Caraibes with the Elusive rule and a Grizzled Veteran attached. He included a second group of 8 Elusive Milicies de Caraibes, a group of 12 Trained Miliciens, and a unit of 8 Boucaniers. That’s a lot of powerful musketry!

french list.JPG


The Scenario

breakthrough s

We used the Breakthrough rules for our first round of the tournament. This scenario pushes the attacker to move across the board into the defender’s deployment zone. It’s a basic attack and defend scenario. The attacker gets a strike point if they don’t have a unit within 16″ of the back of the board by turn 3 and the Defender will get a Strike Point if the Attacker gets a unit within their 12″ deployment zone.

breakthrough land setup

We both had militia forces so neither of us had a bonus for the Attacker role. Guy rolled high and and took the defender’s role. I started by deploying my Indios near the center of my deployment zone. Guy deployed his Boucaniers opposite them behind a fence with a structure between us.

Boucaniers after those hogs!

I placed my cannon on my Right flank and Guy started placing his large groups of Militia on my Left flank and I responded by placing my European Soldiers and Milicianos in a group of trees opposite them.

We used the rivers as rough terrain creeks that provided cover. The wooded areas we counted as rough terrain providing cover. You could shoot into and out of the trees, but not through them. Between the river bed, fences, blockhouse and woods, there was an abundance of cover on this board!

The Game

The game opened with the French commander’s unit moving forward and bringing his 2 other militia groups with him. We exchanged volleys on my Left flank with my Trained Milicianos pulling off a Ruthless/Drilled volley that actually landed some hits. The French Saves proved tough to punch through but my European Soldiers had some insane luck and only lost 2-3 models and saved at least 10 on the first two turns. I did use a Fortune early on these soldiers and I turned 5 failed Saves into 5 successful Saves!

My cannon on my Right fired twice at the Boucaniers in the center and landed some hits but those Elusive Frenchmen refused to die. I did apply a Fatigue but I think the Veteran popped it off later on round 2.

French Musketry on my Left flank eventually broke my European Soldiers and they retreated with 6 models remaining. The French Command unit also became shaken at one point, but rallied on turn 2 and got back in the game.

Near the end of round 2 I was able to pull off a 16″ cavalry run and charge against that unit of 8 Boucaniers who had just shot and had empty guns. I activated the cavalry on a Spade so I got their free move for being mounted, a free move for Quick, their standard 1 action for a Spade and then the Commander’s action to charge. They can really cover ground! 10 Cavalry charging with pistols landed 10 hits and eliminated the Boucaniers.

The French Milices de Caraibes fires into the exposed cavalry and killed 4 and forced them to fall back with 3 Fatigue.

My Indios were throwing arrows at the Elusive Milices de Caraibes in the woods but with Elusive and the arrow Save bonus, I couldn’t kill any of them. But activating on a Spade I was able to charge 8″, survive the defensive pistols and kill a few of them, but they didn’t break and they remained locked in melee combat. The Indios actually hit pretty hard in a charge and their Scouts and Elusive 6 Save makes them very suitable for charging in this kind of situation.

Going into the third turn I drew an event and rolled a 3 which is Stubborn. I got to remove a Fatigue from my shaken Cavalry which got them back into the action!

Event table.JPG

I had the high Spade on turn 3 and I was able to do some fancy cavalry shenanigans. Activating on a Spade with 2 Fatigue they made a Rally test (since they had no actions normal actions available) and dropped both Fatigue, then I used their free action to move 4″, then I  used their Quick action to move 4″ then used the Commander’s action to charge the Miliciens that were advancing towards my Milicianos and Soldiers through the riverbed. With the pistols rerolls I got a full 6 hits out of my 6 models and the Miliciens fell back. I’m not entirely sure that was all correct but my opponent said it all looked good to him. Calculating actions with cavalry gets kind of crazy…

The second charge.

The French command unit was Fatigued and had to rally and the Milices engaged with the Indios took a Fight action but they remained locked in combat.

At the end of turn 3 we calculated Strike Points:

  • My Portuguese had lost 4 cavalry, 2-3 European Soldiers, and a couple Indios, but that didn’t add up to the 10 casualties I needed for a Strike Point.
  • The French had 1 (possibly 2) Strike Points for casualties and then one Strike Point for not moving close enough to my deployment zone.

Guy rolled for a Strike Test and failed it with a 3 and the game was over.

Post-Game Thoughts

  • I finally got some good value out of cavalry! Just eliminating that unit of Boucaniers helped me so much. I got lucky with some measurements and they had just enough range to make a couple crucial charges. That event that brought the unit back into action was huge for me as well. Cavalry is hard to keep alive, but once you get it into action it really wrecks. Hitting on 6’s with rerolls is strong! They can move so far as well! They literally moved close to halfway across the board on that first charge. With a range like that, it’s hard for the opposing player to accurately predict where they could end up. There was a lot of terrain on this table and that can really slow the horses down, but there were some fortunate clear lanes for them to use on this table.
  • I never used my cavalry’s carbines. I’ve been considering carbines an “auto-purchase” for cavalry, but with a shoot of 7 and the power of their actual charge, I’m not sure they need the long gun. The French cavalry has a Shoot skill of 6 and that makes their carbines more useful, but for the rest of the factions, I don’t t feel obligated to spend the 4 points on the carbines. They’re usually a one shot trick anyway since you don’t want to spend 2 cavalry actions to reload them.
  • The French can be hard to hit! The Milices de Caraibes were saving on 6’s through the entire game and those Miliciens with a natural 6 Save and Elusive are really hard to hit! My European Soldiers and Milicianos were shooting pretty well but their hits didn’t count for much when the French saved so well. My cannon basically did nothing because of the French saves as well. With superior ranged firepower and superior ranged Saves, getting close and fighting the French in melee combat seemed to be the best way to counter their strengths. But pulling off that first charge without taking a brutal defensive shot to the face is the hard part! Our local meta doesn’t include much cavalry yet and Guy said he just didn’t see the possibility of Cavalry charging that far on an activation, or he wouldn’t have left those Boucaniers unloaded in that position.
  • The French resolve isn’t the best. All the French units on the board had a Resolve of 6 which let me apply Fatigue in spite of not taking down many models with my musketry. Guy managed the Fatigue really well with his Inspiring commander and the two Grizzled Veterans, but the 6 Resolve across the board made a difference. i had plenty of 6 Resolve units as well, but overall my Resolve was better.
  • The Portuguese-Brazilion faction seems strong. Their faction abilities are good and they have some really strong units. Giving all their units Drilled is useful and creates some strange situations. They can arm Indios with muskets at no cost which could be crazy. Imagine a force of 30 Veteran Indios with Drilled, Scouts, Elusive, Skirmishers and Muskets with no Slow Reload! 6 points for a Veteran model with all those abilities is a steal. They could be really dominant! The Portuguese also have the cheapest cavalry in the game. The Inexperienced European Militia Cavalry only costs 4 points each which means you can get Trained models for 5 points which is less expensive than the French, English and Spanish cavalry. The Portuguese are the only faction that can take the generic cavalry as core units and only the Scottish have access to them as Support units. The Portuguese are also solid at sea with the option of taking European Sailors as core units. European Sailors with a 6 Shoot with Muskets and Drilled are actually really good for 4.5(ish) a model. I haven’t explored the Jewish Militia style of Portuguese force but overall, I’d say this a really strong faction! I got 40 trained models including a cannon and a large group of cavalry into 200 points which is solid!
  • I’m not totally sold on field guns yet. This wasn’t a great board for them and the French don’t go down easy, but I know the 1 Fatigue I applied to the Boucaniers wasn’t worth the 30+ points I sunk into that cannon. I put 7 men on the cannon which was overkill but it helped me get up to 40 models.

  • The  Milices de Caraibes is a good unit. Their melee capabilities and their Resolve are weaknesses, but their Shoot skill, Elusive option, Plug Bayonet and sidearm pistol make them a good deal for only 4-5 points. I say this every time I fight them, but it’s always true!
  • I got some really lucky breaks! If my European Soldiers hadn’t Saved so well at the beginning of the game, those French Buccaneer guns would have been trained on my other units and slowed them down. If the Boucaniers had advanced 1/2″ less my cavalry wouldn’t have been able to charge them. If I hadn’t drawn that Stubborn event I wouldn’t have been able to get my cavalry back into the fight! Luck was with me today.

The board state at the end of the game.

Thanks to Guy for a good game! It’s been a while since I played a land game this large and this was dramatic and a lot of fun. That cavalry charge made my day!

Thanks for reading! Have you used the Portuguese faction yet? Have they proved powerful for you? I’m interested to hear other players’ opinions.

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