This 200 point land game was a “make up” campaign game for Nick, another player in my local group. Nick is playing the Spanish Armada faction through the campaign and his trajectory through the Caribbean didn’t cross with any other ships on this first turn of the campaign. Instead of fighting a sea battle like everyone else, he had to answer a call for help from a sugar plantation on the Cuban coastline that had been raided by French Buccaneers.
Nick’s Spanish Force was very focused and took only the best troops. His campaign commander has the Inspiring and Ruthless ability and a 8″ command range. His entire Armada Landing Force consisted of 3 units:
- A unit of 11 Soldados with commander (Don Almirante Jorge Gallegos de Oviedo) and a musician attached.
- A unit of 10 Soldados with an Officer attached.
- A unit of 10 Enter Ploeg with a Grizzled Veteran attached.
My French Buccaneer Force was much less focused and was more dictated by what models I currently had painted. This was the first time I’ve ever played a French Force. I chose them because they are close to pirates and they can take African Warriors as support units which fits into the campaign scenario of the Spanish coming to the aid of a plantation in distress.
My French Buccaneer Force included:
- A unit of 6 Veteran Boucaniers with an Untested French Buccaneer Commander and a (free) Captured Merchant attached.
- A unit of 5 Engages.
- A unit of 4 Flibustiers.
- A unit of 6 Marins.
- A unit of 6 African Warriors.
- A unit of 8 Les Enfants Perdue.
In an effort to reinforce our narrative we used several scenario rules to make this interesting. We used the Rescue scenario from No Peace Beyond the Line combined with the Caught Unaware, Drunk and Night visibility rules. The French were drunkenly enjoying the plunder from their plantation raid while the captive plantation owner looked on.
All these rules combined with the setup for this scenario made preparing the game pretty tricky.
I set up my Force in the center of the board between the structures and the crop fields. If I had been more intent on winning rather than making a good story I would have distributed the terrain differently to give my reveling Frenchmen some basic cover.
I applied the Drunk rule to my force and rolled for each unit. Only the Engages and Flibustiers took the Drunk condition (-1 bonus to Resolve and Fight but +1 penalty to every other stat and test).
I placed my 4 Sentries per the Caught Unaware rule and we started the game.
The game started with the movement of the French sentries. Nick was able to move two of them making large gaps along the long edges of the table so his troops could sneak in under cover or darkness.
The Enter Ploeg came on to the board along one side behind the house and the Soldados entered along the opposite edge covered by the crop fields.
I wasn’t able to use any of my 6 cards on that first turn as Nick avoided sounding the alarm.
I won the dice roll to move a crucial sentry at the beginning of turn two and he moved into the fields and spotted the Soldados which raised the alarm and put my troops into the game.
The game really started at this point. I took the first action but without a clear shot on the approaching Spanish, I used my Spade to have my command unit fall back out of line of site of the advancing Soldados. I don’t like seeing Veteran Boucaniers get gunned down in the open…
I had the advantage of twice as many activations but with all my units out in the open, I was basically caught in a death trap.
After I withdrew my Boucaniers, the Enter Ploeg moved up behind the house but didn’t engage.
I fired off the drunk Engages who could see one flank of the Soldados in the field, but their drunk penalty made sure they didn’t get any hits.
Now things started to get painful for me. The Command unit of Soldados moved up and used the command point to do a Expertly Drilled volley into my Enfants des Perdue, killing 3 of them and applying 2 Fatigue. In this game their bad Save didn’t matter because they never made it to cover…
Nick shot off his other unit of Soldados with the Officer’s command point for another Expertly Drilled shot which completely eliminated the French Storming party. 48 points worth of men dead on the first turn of action!
At this point I still had my Marins and Flibustiers and Nick was out of activations so I planned to even the playing field a little.
I charged the Officer unit of Soldados with the Hard Charging Marins and killed a couple but only applied 1 Fatigue. I was hoping for 2. If I could deprive Nick’s big units of important actions, my small units could whittle them down!
Next I sent in the drunk Flibustiers. They advanced, shot off an impressive volley of musketry scoring 4 hits out of 4 dice looking for 8’s.
The 3rd turn (2nd turn of action) started poorly for me as the Enter Ploeg advanced further than I expected and threw Firepots et al at my command group of Boucaniers!
Saves rolled better than expected and I was still in the game after losing two 8 point Boucaniers.
The Enter Ploeg dodged back behind the plantation manor but the Boucaniers pursued, killing a couple of them at short range.
Next I sent the Flibustiers and African Warriors into melee combat with the command unit of Soldados but I failed to get the full 3 Fatigue on them before they fought back and massacred my Flibustiers and sent the Africans back in retreat.
The Marins and Soldados remained locked in combat on the other flank while my drunk Engages advanced and fired again to no effect.
The initiative was crucial going into turn 4 but I drew a hand with no Spades. I used my faction ability to redraw my hand but the 3 of Spades was the best I got.
It wasn’t good enough. Nick had the 13! This was bad news for my commander. The Enter Ploeg let loose again with all they had!
That volley my command group at 3 models: commander, one Boucanier and the plantation owner.
And then they charged…
The French commander went down and the Spanish force took control of the Captured Merchant (plantation owner).
Those Veteran Boucaniers only got 1 shot off the entire game! So painful.
In an unexpected turn of events the Engages charged into the flank of the command group of Soldados and succeeded in applying that third Fatigue. Drunk Engages aren’t half bad at melee.
I was down to 3 units but I had deprived one of his large units of its actions for one turn.
The Marins fought the other Soldados but were in turn massacred by the superior Spanish numbers.
At the end of round 4 we calculated Strike Points.
- I had 3 Strikes for 28/37 models taken as casualties and 1 Strike for losing the captive.
- Nick’s Spanish had 2 Strikes for 16/32 models taken as casualties.
With 2 more Strikes than my opponent I had to make a Strike test and with my commander blown up by Firepots, I automatically failed and the game was over.
- This was a bloodbath! 44/67 models killed. I guess it was kind of unavoidable with the way we set up the game.
- We set up this game to be difficult for me and we succeeded! That combo of Drunk, Caught Unaware, Night and setting up in the open was pretty painful.
- One of the interesting choices in army building for this game is the balance of unit size and number of units. I had an army with many diverse units, mostly at 6 models or less. Nick had 3 massive units with solid firepower. His units would hit hard and stick around. A force like mine when played well can either deprive a force like Nick’s of crucial actions, seize initiative most of the time and focus fire on one unit at a time after enemy actions are complete. In this battle Nick wisely and thoroughly destroyed my two most powerful units before they were able to contribute much of anything to the fight. The Boucaniers and Enfants got off one shot between the both of them. 104 points destroyed before I could really get much value out of them. In this case I would have been better off fully committing to a “swarm strategy” and replacing those 7 Veteran Boucaniers with two units of 7 Engages and Marins. If I had started the game in cover I may have been able to get more value out of those high cost units before they were shot down as well.
- Looking back I wish I had kept my Boucaniers in the fight and not pulled them back to protect them. Even if he fired at them first I would have been able to either fire with the Boucaniers or the Enfants. The way I did it I fired with neither and he still got off the first shot.
- Soldados are mean. Or should we say Ruthless? Expertly Drilled is great anytime but when you combine it with an Officer/Commander and Ruthless, you can bring your base shoot skill down to 3 with an extra Fatigue die. And jus tto be clear, that’s really good!
- This was my own fault but I forgot to apply the Merchant’s +1 penalty to attacks on my command unit! I remembered it one after the dice were rolled but I forgot for at least two other attacks.
- This is one of the only times I’ve seen the Enter Ploeg fight on land and they can deliver death if you can get them close. Nick played them very well. I was surprised when he forfeited their attack on the first round by sneaking them around the building but it paid off as he took out my entire unit of Boucaniers with them.They aren’t necessarily a “first strike” unit, but if they can sneak in while the battle is already joined, they can take out entire units.
- I like these corn fields. These are my friend’s terrain pieces but I have a couple packs of cornstalks I need to make fields from. I’ll do a terrain post on that at some point.
Thanks to Nick for massacring my Frenchmen. It was a good game! A challenge to be sure!