My local club is wrapping up our second campaign and this was my final game. This is a 200 point game using the Raze scenario on land with my South American Natives as the attacking force and my friend Bryan’s Spanish Tercios as the defenders.
Bryan fielded a force of Tercios with Hostigadores as the main body. He had 2 units of 6 and 1 unit of 8 Hostigadores all with Grizzled Veterans. For support he had a unit of 6 Milicianos Indios and a unit of 6 Lanceros. His campaign commander, Armin Dupont, (Inspiring, Ruthless, 1 Command Point) was attached to a unit of 8 Soldados with another Veteran attached. He focused on units with Shoot Saves of 6 to counter the Natives’ arrows and used plenty of Grizzled to help counter the Poisoned Arrows I tend to use.
His force consisted of 41 models.
My South American Natives force was led by my campaign commander, Abuti Arunau Golu (King Golden Arm). He was attached to a unit of 8 Veteran Warrior Musketeers.
I also had 3 units of 6 Warrior Archers with Poisoned Arrows and Grizzled Veterans, a unit of 5 Young Warriors, and a unit of 8 Veteran Warriors with Thrown Weapons and a Musket Sidearm.
In this campaign, we have been giving the attacker a bonus of 10% more points so this force came to 220. With 40 models, I would take a Strike Point at every 10 casualties.
We’ve added a location/base layer to our campaign and in this game I was attacking Havana. We tried to pick a scenario that could sort of represent that event and we settled on Raze.
In this scenario the defender starts at the back of the board, the attacker comes onto the board on turn one with the goal of either destroying or burning one of two buildings in the center of board by turn 3.
Bryan set up his troops along the back of the board 12″ away from the center of 36″ wide board. My faction ability lets me deploy half my troops using the Lay in Wait rule but the scenario requires I set those troops up no closer than 9″ from the objective buildings.
I chose the Night Attack Tactic as part of the Campaign game setup so visibility was limited to 12″ although the Matchlock guns on the Spanish soldiers let me see them at 24″.
The scenario rules let me take torches on 1 of every 4 units for free so I put them on the Young Warriors who started off the board. Units with torches and everything within 6″ of them are visible from anywhere on the board at night (taking standard line of sight rules into account).
Drawing my first hand I drew both of my event cards! We used the Land Event table and I rolled a 2 and a 8, Vexatious Fauna and Vexatious Flora!
It seems I like I roll these two events a lot… 2 of the 3 units I had on the board took a Fatigue and one unit had to hurriedly crawl away from the vexatious wild boars!
We both started with some low initiative cards. I stood, moved and shot a volley of arrows across the board into the larger unit of Hostigadores and miraculously got 3 hits out of 6 dice looking for 9’s and 2 Spaniards went down.
Dupont responded aggressively and moved up 8″ and did an Expertly Drilled shot using his command point. Two Natives died and they fell back after failing 3 of 4 Fatigue dice.
I moved my unit of Warriors 12″ up the board with a Spade utilizing the Quick rule.
I stood my command group and moved them to the edge of the stand of trees, then used my command points to move up my Warriors a little more and rally the shaken Archers.
Bryan moved a unit of Hostigadores up behind a cart and took a shot at my Warriors at 11″ away and while the didn’t kill any models, they applied one Fatigue.
Bryan moved his Indios and Lanceros up and I continued to move units up and onto the board over the rest of turn 1.
On my final action of turn 2 I moved my Young Warriors with Torches on to the board. The bright torches make the nearby unit of Archers visible to the approaching Spanish.
Bryan shot at my illuminated Archers at the beginning of turn 2 but only killed one and applied some Fatigue. I activated my command group with a Club. I used a Command Point to order a group of Archers to fire on the Soldados which applied one Fatigue and that let me fire my muskets using the Ruthless bonus. At 12+ inches, my 6 shoot went up to 9 with the range penalty, then went back down to 7 using both the Ruthless and Great Warriors bonuses. I got 4 hits and Bryan spent a Fortune to end up saving 2 models but the Soldados retreated with 3 Fatigue.
I reloaded twice with my other actions (Savvy removed the Slow Reload rule so they were fully reloaded) and then used my second command point to push the Veteran Warriors up 4″ towards the unloaded Hostigadores.
I got nasty and used a high Spade to activate the Warriors and initiate a Charge on the unloaded Spanish. They moved 4″ with Quick, then used one action to charge, landing 7/8 hits with their Thrown Weapons. Bryan managed to keep one model alive after the Save roll but he failed all 6 Resolve dice and the unit melted away. I used Skirmishers to fall back 4″ then moved another 4″ back with their second action. They moved a full 16″ on that activation and took out an entire unit! These Warriors are legit!
Bryan’s Indios skirmished through the cornfield and took a shot at my Warriors but they didn’t get any hits through on the Elusive Warriors. I moved up my Archers on my Left flank but they didn’t want to get too close to the Lanceros.
At the end of turn 2 I took a chance and moved my Young Warriors 8″ across the open space towards one of the objective buildings. I left them in the open hoping I could take initiative on turn 3 with a Spade so they could get a free move, then use a Dedicated Action to try to start the building on fire.
At the end of turn 2 Bryan had 1 Strike Point from casualties and I had 3 models dead.
I was happy with an 11 of Spades but Bryan played the same card! He rolled high and took initiative and fired on my Young Warrior beserkers!
Luckily he was firing from considerable distance and while he did kill one model, the Young Warriors Resolve held so they were able to rush up to the building and try to start it on fire.
The target number for starting a fire is 10 but the torches bring that down to 8. I rolled a 7, used a Fortune to re-roll but rolled a 1 on the second attempt.
Things went from bad to worse for the Spanish as their Save rolls continued to fail consistently in spite of only needing 3’s most of the time when defending against arrows. Poisoned Arrows did their work as well with many attacks applied 2 Fatigue even after only causing 1 casualty.
Bryan’s Indios skirmished again and applied 1 Fatigue to the Warriors in the grove.
Even with two fatigue on them and reduced to 3 models, the Warrior Archers are able to get one hit at 14″ and apply more Fatigue to the Spanish!
I activated my command unit again and used a command point to tell the Young Warriors to try to start the fire again and they succeeded this time! Objective accomplished!
I used my other command point to shoot off some more Poisoned Arrows which applied Fatigue to the Hostigadores so I could use my Ruthless/Great Warrior musket volley again. This volley eliminated the Spanish unit.
Looking for revenge, the Lanceros rushed at the Archers on my Left but they slipped away with Evade. They then activated and shot their arrows into the Lanceros. With a 6 Save and Elusive, the Lanceros didnt’ take any casualties but it applied the second Fatigue I needed to be able to charge them safely. I charged, they broke, I followed and fought again which eliminated the 3rd Spanish unit.
My Veteran Warriors made a 12″ charge across an open space and through a cornfield to surprise and destroy the unit of Indios.
At the end of turn 3 Bryan voluntarily failed the Strike Test to withdraw and end the game.
- Bryan’s Spanish Tercios had 3 Strike Points from 30 casualties and 1 Strike Point for the burning building.
- The Natives had no Strike Points from their 4 casualties.
The vicious Natives had done their nasty work again and ended a game early.
My commander would receive 6 XP from this win and bring his total to 30 XP.
- The Natives are brutal when they start to win. I think the way they can be “built” in the campaign makes them especially good (Savvy, Ruthless and Great Warrior Musketeers are harder to find outside the campaign), but I really think the South American Tribes factions is really strong. Maybe overly strong! I feel like I have a good grasp on how to play them now but I played some really good players and these Natives never lost. In fact they often brutally destroyed their opponents. Between the strong survivabilty with Evade and Elusive, their massive output of Fatigue with Poison, and their killer Warriors and Musketeers, they seem really strong (on land). They were strong enough that no one was really eager to play with me in the late campaign.
- This concluded this campaign! I really enjoy the campaign but I feel like we’ve learned a lot going through these campaigns. We hoped the campaign would be a good way to get new players into the game since it starts with small battles and it provides regular opportunities for new players to play games. But…I’ve changed my mind. The added complexities of campaign rules have proved to be a hindrance for new players and the veteran players aren’t eager to pull any punches in campaign games since there’s XP on the line. This means that the newer players have struggled to upgrade their forces which is probably more discouraging than fun. The opening restrictions on force construction is also annoying for new players. It’s no fun telling a new player they can’t use those new cavalry models they just bought until they unlock that Resource tier. And who knows how long it will take to unlock that Resource if they earn the minimum of 1 or 2 XP every game? I think that we will be scheduling more regular “casual play” evenings rather than starting a new campaign right away so we can let the newer players get familiar with the game outside of the pressure and complexities of campaign play.
- We played 5 rounds of campaign games with some 4 player team games interspersed with the standard 2 player games. Our first two turns were 100 points, turns 3-4 were 150 and turn 5 was a 200 point game (although we let people adjust up or down if both players agreed). As mentioned earlier we granted the Attacker an additional 10% for the force since the Attackers consistently seemed to lose in our last campaign. Guy did a great job running the campaign and I’m sorry to see it come to a close. My commander had just reached the Seasoned threshold! Looking forward to another campaign this Fall. I started out defending in the first few games because it gives my faction more XP but it felt like that gave the Natives an even larger advantage so I switched to Attacking.
- The Night rules are fun. In this scenario, they really favored my side since most of the Spanish were equipped with Matchlock guns while my men either had no guns or Firelock muskets which don’t have a visibility penalty. I did wonder about the sidearm muskets. The rule book doesn’t clarify what kind of musket those sidearm guns are but I assumed they would be Firelock since that’s what the Musketeers have.
- The Warriors are super mean. I have been reticent to bring a Native unit without a ranged weapon but paying a mere 5 points for a Veteran, Quick, Skirmisher, Elusive model with a 5 Fight with re-rolls with their Thrown Weapons seems like a good deal to me! My 44 point unit of Warriors took out 48 points of Spanish and didn’t even fire their Muskets or take any casualties. The ability to charge 12″ on a Spade without taking a Fatigue is amazing. I’m certainly going to buy some of those new Warrior models!
- The Soldados with Expertly Drilled were pretty punishing to my units with 6 Resolve. When they fired, it broke my unit, but they just didn’t get to fire enough.
- We talked a good while after the game about how to really counter this Native Strategy. We decided we needed to try the French Canadian and English North American Militia with Indian Fighters. The French have extremely good Saves which would make the Native arrows fairly worthless. The Poison would still do something vs their less-than-great Resolve, but they seem to be a good counter force on paper. The English Resolve combined with Tough and Elusive on their Indian Fighters sounds like a good option as well.
- You really can’t leave a unit with 2 reloads with Quick Natives on the board. A charge vs an unloaded unit is awfully tempting and very painful, especially since most of these Native units can Skirmish away, or Evade if counter-charged by another unit. Half firing was working well for Bryan although it certainly reduced the damage output.
Thanks to Bryan for playing a good game and being a good sport when the Natives got nasty. I really enjoyed playing the South American Tribes through the campaign but I’m looking forward to playing some different factions and playing more naval games again (especially using some of these new rules and cannons costs from the upcoming errata!).
How have you found the power balance while playing or playing against the Natives? Have you found a strong counter to lists using lots of Poisoned Arrows?