Faction Overview – Logwood Cutters

force example

The Logwood Cutters faction is basically the land-based “piratey” unaligned faction in Blood & Plunder. This faction is primarily a shooting faction with strong ranged models with Buccaneer Guns as core units and a variety of sailor and elite marksmen as support units.

Firelock’s website description of the Logwood Cutters reads:

Logwood cutters were rough men who labored for months at a time standing knee-deep in water while they chopped down logwood trees, a valuable dyewood. Many logwood cutters drifted through a variety of trades, including buccaneering, “fishing” for silver (treasure hunting), and even local whaling, leaving them with a variety of skills that made them useful to a various military and quasi-military and naval expeditions.

Just a quick couple notes on Logwood. I had never heard of it before getting into this game so I assumed “Logwood Cutters” meant people who cut logs, likely for masts etc. But that isn’t really correct. Logwood trees are actually pretty small and pathetic trees as far as I can tell but wood or bark is used to make various dyes that were popular (therefore valuable) in the Old World. The Logwood industry was tiny compared to the other large New World cash crops like tobacco or sugar, but it was lucrative enough to tempt the adventurer, out-of-work privateer or buccaneer. Spain claimed it owned most all the land in the New World and tried its best to root out these enterprising fellows but apparently the Logwood Cutters kept working as long as it was getting them decent money and there wasn’t anything better to do.

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Faction Rules

This faction is unique in that it has a variable special rule (as the a Defender). This makes the faction exciting, but also less reliable. Before each battle you roll a single D10 and apply some sort of condition based on the result. On a 1 all your units with muskets begin unloaded, on a 2-5 you have to roll for each unit to see if it will be drunk for the game, on a 6-7 there is no effect and on a 8-10, every one of your units gets a free action on its first activation. Basically you have a 50% chance of a negative effect, a 30% chance of a positive effect and a 20% chance of no effect at all. That free action is very strong! That could let you move an additional 4″, move a long ways across the board and fire, or move, fire, and fully reload. Some scenarios aren’t set up very well to take advantage of that free action but it can be very helpful in a lot of cases.

commander w boucaniers and freebooters

I was hoping you could use a Fortune Point to re-roll this crucial die if you got a bad result but I confirmed with the designer that that is not allowed. You can only use Fortune during a game, not during setup.

If the Logwood Cutters are the Attackers in a scenario, they get the typical Buccaneer faction ability: discard a hand of activation cards once per game without spending a Fortune point. Playing as other factions I’ll use a Fortune Points to mulligan my hand in about half the games I play. It’s a strong ability and you can kind of see it as a fourth free Fortune Point.

The third and final special rule for this faction is the ability to downgrade units by one experience level for -1 point per model. I think this is the only way to get non-veteran Veteran Freebooters into the game. I’m not really excited about this ability since they already have 4-cost Inexperienced units with a 6 Shoot skill but I guess it could be useful.

They don’t have any bonus for the Attacker/Defender roll so they will be the Defender more often than Attacker. This means you’ll frequently get to enjoy that exciting pre-game roll to see if you’re drunk or not!

Faction Units

The core units emphasize strong ranged shooting and good melee ability as well with both the Freebooters and Flibustiers. The Engages boost the ranged firepower potential at a low cost. The support units are mostly various sailor units with the remainder further supporting strong ranged musketry.

Core Units

The core units run a little expensive but that’s because they’re good. You probably won’t want to run a high model count swarm with this faction. The core unit selection also pushes this faction towards land battles since all the cheap sailor and artillery crew units are Support units.

Freebooters

This unit can cover any situation. In this faction you’ll probably be using the solid combo of a 6 Shoot, Marksmen, Ball & Shot, and Fast Reload to lay down accurate fire on your enemy. But if needed, Freebooters can charge into melee combat with their sidearm pistol and fight it out until the end with their solid melee save and resolve. He can even change sail on your boat if you’re forced to go to sea with his Sailors trait.

The Marksmen ability and the solid fight save can make this unit a fine choice but if you like to charge into melee regardless of your own safety you might want to take….

Flibustiers

These guys are the mean. If you plan to get close and personal, Flibustiers will do the job. They have all the traits and stats to make them a solid well-rounded unit but the 5 Fight combined with Brace of Pistols makes them some of the best melee fighters in the game.

The Flibustiers are generally considered superior to the Freebooters but in this faction there’s reasons too take Freebooters. The Logwood Cutters tend to prefer to sit back and shoot their way through battles so the Flibustiers might not be automatically better than the Freebooters for this faction since they lack the Marksmen ability.

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If you really want to maximize your charging potential, upgrade your Flibustiers to Veteran, add a Local Guide and your commander. With this combo, activated with a Spade, you can either accomplish a 16″ charge (for 1 Fatigue) or you can move 8″, shoot your muskets, then charge another 4″ (gaining 1 Fatigue if you charge with pistols or 0 if you charge with cutlasses). Having that kind of mobile killing power really changes the game state and how your opponent will play.

Engages

engages

This is an interesting unit. The Engages have excellent ranged stats for 4 points but they have real weaknesses.

The pros:

  • 6 Shoot
  • 6 Shoot Save
  • Ball & Shot
  • Firelock Musket (better than Matchlock that Spanish units have)
  • Cheapest Core Unit available to Logwood Cutters

The cons:

  • Bad Resolve
  • Timid compounds the problem of poor Resolve
  • Bad melee stats
  • Limited to support Boucaniers, Flibustiers and Freebooters
  • Can’t upgrade experience level

I’ve had this unit totally bomb and be useless if they get some early Fatigue, but I’ve also had them win games for me. The best thing about them in my opinion is their low cost and that’s valuable in this faction with high cost core units.

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A 3-point Grizzled Veteran can cover their Resolve weakness pretty well and if you keep them in cover, they can make good use of your Diamond initiative cards. I recommend taking at least one unit of these guys in pretty much every Logwood Cutters force.

Support Units

The first half of the support units are just the various sailor units. If you want to take to sea or have some cheap melee units, these can be useful but I haven’t been tempted to take any of the 4 basic sailor units in land lists.

Sea Dogs

sea dogs

Durable in a fight and skilled on artillery, these guys are well rounded but not particularly helpful for most Logwood lists in my opinion.

If you want to give them muskets, you might as well take the European Sailors with the 6 Shoot value and if you want a Sailor, you might as well take Zeelieden and if you want a melee unit, the Marins are top notch.

Marins

marins

With a Fight skill of 5 and Hard Chargers, these are your best option for a melee unit if you want to go that rout. They’re multipurpose at sea with Artillery Crew and Sailors but their prowess in a melee is their real strength. It’s worth noting that if you pay the 4 points to give them muskets, they get Buccaneer Guns which gives you that 28″ extended range.

Zeelieden

zeelieden

If you’re going to sea, these are the best options for sailing your ship or crewing your cannons. With both Expert Artillery Crew, Expert Sailors and Hard Chargers, Zeelieden are the best all round sailor unit in my opinion.

Marineros

marineros

These are a good melee unit in but there are better options. The Poorly Equipped rule slows down any pistols or musket reloads. Ruthless can make them a juggernaut in melee combat.  The Unaligned starter box contains 4 Marineros so they might be an easy unit to drop into your force to boost the melee ability.

Marineros have exactly the same stats as the French Marins but in general I find the Marins’ Hard Chargers ability much stronger than the Spanish Ruthless rule.

European Sailors

quickshade-sailors

This is an excellent all-round unit as well. The best thing about the European Sailors is their 6 Shoot value which means they’re decent if you give them muskets. A unit if 8 Trained European Sailors with muskets comes in at 4.5 points per model which is barely more than the 4 points for Inexperienced Engages.

The Engages have a better ranged save, but if you want a cheaper ranged unit with good melee as well, this is a decent option for a support unit. The Flibustier is clearly better for he’s more expensive.

european sailors

Kapers

This is another good choice for a multipurpose unit but they end up slightly more expensive the European Sailors with muskets most of the time. I think they can be a good choice if you’re doing some sailing or artillery work. Their flexibility is their strength but if you don’t need flexibility, don’t pay the extra point for it.

Boucaniers

boucaniers

If you want to focus on musketry, there’s no better option than the Boucanier. This is typically my first choice for a support unit and I’m never disappointed. Their accuracy is unparalleled and their Ball & Shot, Marksmen and Fast Reload abilities makes them extra deadly and efficient.  If you can park Boucaniers in a spot of cover with good lines of sight, you can pour out withering fire and mow down most units enemies before they get close enough to be a real danger. They’re expensive but they seem to be worth it. I don’t even mind upgrading them to Veteran for 8 points each. Give Veteran Boucaniers a Spade every turn and they can fire and fully reload and then get a fourth action from a commander if he’s close enough.

Their weakness is their Resolve of 6 so try to avoid pushing them or at least have a Grizzled Veteran or Commander close by to keep them fresh. They have the option of taking a Plug Bayonet but I find that is only useful to defend against charges and it’s usually better just to keep them at least half loaded after they activate so they have a defensive fire available.

boucaniers

Veteran Freebooters

This is the most expensive unit in the game! There’s no weakness here. They can shoot, fight and save well and they come as Veterans. The Boucaniers have that amazing 5 Shoot instead of a 6 so if you can stay out of melee, the Veteran Boucanier seems like a better option for the same price. I haven’t used this unit very much yet just because I haven’t managed to get any French Milices de Caraibes painted up as Veteran Freebooters yet.

They have a better Resolve than the Boucaniers but they also lack the Elusive trait which helps keep those Boucaniers alive. On the other hand, Veteran Freebooters have that sidearm pistol available for a defensive shot if charged and they have much better melee stats. Overall I think I prefer Veteran Boucaniers to Veteran Freebooters in this faction.

Command Options

french commander

The Logwood Cutters get access to a lot of generic commanders but only 1 historic commander.

They have access to the English and French Buccaneer Commanders as well as the Unaligned Sea Commanders.

english buccaneer commanders

Looking at the English and French Buccaneer Commanders, they have exactly the same stats and abilities.

img_4366

The only real difference is that you have the option of giving the French Buccaneer Commander a Buccaneer Gun (and a sidearm pistol) instead of a Brace of Pistols. For land warfare, I prefer the Buccaneer Gun so I usually take a French commander.

french buccaneer commander

The zero cost French/English Buccaneer commander has no abilities and only a 4″ command range so he’s very limited. I like taking the 15 point commander as that gets you a second command point and Lead by Example. If you can get Lead by Example to trigger, than can be a huge turning point in a game. Don’t underestimate the impact of taking a Fatigue off every unit you control. This abilities encourages you to really beef up your command unit with plenty of models to increase your chances of wiping out an entire enemy unit.

For this faction there will rarely be a reason to select the 25 point Seasoned Commander. Both Commodore and Broadside are only useful at sea and this is primarily a land faction.

sea commanders

The generic European Sea Commanders don’t have a lot to offer in my opinion. The Untested is the same vanilla flavor as the English Buccaneer commander, the Experienced version has Broadside which isn’t much use for this faction and the Seasoned Commander gains Commodore and Inspiring. The Inspiring rule is clearly very good but you could add a Standard Bearer character to your Experienced French Buccaneer Commander’s unit for 8 points and come out ahead. I highly recommend sticking with the Experienced French Buccaneer Commander if  you want a generic commander.

John Morris

morris

This Englishman is expensive but he’s amazing. For 30 points you get 3 Command Points, Inspiring, Lead by Example, Broadside and a rather unique rule, Vast Experience. Any commander with 3 Command Points is going to be 28+ points and Morris’s abilities certainly make him worth paying the 30 points if you’re playing a game big enough to make full use of him.

John Morris

His double abilities to manage Fatigue alone make him good. The Vast Experience rule is a bit of a strange one. You can obviously use it on attacks but re-rolling a single dice on an attack isn’t hugely game changing. I find that this experience really pays off on the tests that require one die, like setting a fire, spiking a gun, accomplishing a difficult maneuver, grappling, or changing sail. That’s where that single re-roll becomes more valuable. There are less of those single die tests in land games, but they do come up in various scenarios and it can  be game changing to have another chance at accomplishing that scenario goal. Morris is kind of hard to fit into a faction that already has high-cost units, but he’s certainly a good commander.

Strengths

I would say accurate musketry is the factions main strength. All the core units have a Shoot skill of 6 and Ball & Shot. Both the Freebooters and Flibustiers are well-rounded units that can do pretty much anything. The Engages aren’t as flexible but if you use them properly, they can be a very effective weapon.

Their wide selection of support units can let you go a couple different directions with them and that’s a strength.

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Weaknesses

The faction is pretty well pigeonholed into being a land faction. It could go to sea but it would be in canoa and piraguas. To be a solid ship-sailing-cannon-shooting faction you need core access to cheap sailor/artillery crew units.

Like most of the Unaligned Piratey factions, the models tend to be pretty expensive. They’re expensive because they’re good but you have to realize that your opponent will often outnumber you if they’re using another land based faction like a Militia force.

The commander options aren’t bad but they’re fairly limited. The Experienced Buccaneer Commanders are pretty decent, but non of the Inexperienced or Seasoned generic commander are very strong for this faction. Morris is a great commander but he’s expensive so you can’t take him with every list.

The random ability as the Defender can be a weakness but it can also be a strength. I’ve rolled a 1 before on that setup roll and it really stinks to have 2 reloads on all your units. It also feels bad to have your 8 point Veteran Boucaniers drunk and not shooting too well… But if you roll well you might get a free action on all your units on the first turn and that would be amazing.

logwood battle

Tactics & Army Lists

In my games I’ve had the best results loading up on Engages, Freebooters and Boucaniers and sniping at the enemy. Once they waver, you can send the Freebooters (or Flibustiers) into melee with their pistols and finish off enemy units.

You could also load up on tough melee units like Flibustiers and Marins and try to focus on a melee strategy. I don’t think that’s the natural strategy or best option for the Logwood Cutters, but they have the units options to try it.

A small 100 point list for that tactic might look something like this:

logwood 100

In a larger game I like to add a unit of Flibustiers to charge and eliminate wavering units. Here’s an example of a 200 point force I used recently:

logwood 200

You could focus more on melee combat and build something more like this:

melee 200 logwood

In general I would consider the Logwood Cutters a land faction, mainly because all the cheap 3-4 point sailor units are support units. That said, you could still take to the sea in a couple different ways. You can just buy a ship as a shooting platform and leave all the cannons at home. The Flibustiers and Freebooters both have the Sailors ability so they can cover your sailing needs and keep up a pretty good rate of fire. A 200 point list using this idea might look something like this:

brigantine firing platform

A more authentic approach for the Logwood Cutters at sea might be a canoa swarm.

logwood canoa swarm

You could ever go crazy with 8 canoa in a 350 point game!

350 logwood sea

If you just bought the Unaligned Faction Box, you can make a fine 100 post list with what comes in that box. You don’t get the cheap musketry from the Engages but it’s a fine starter army. You can always supplement that starter box with some European Sailors with Muskets (for Engages) or some of the elite Boucaniers.

logwood starter box force

Final Thoughts

The Logwood Cutters are an interesting faction that excels at land-based musketry. Their access to low-cost accurate musketry makes them an attractive option for a piratey force that works on land but their lack of cheap sailors makes them less flexible at sea. The variable faction ability when defending makes them less than reliable but it means they’ll always be exciting!

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2 thoughts on “Faction Overview – Logwood Cutters

  1. Pingback: Battle Report – Logwood Cutters vs English Caribbean Militia | Blood & Pigment

  2. Pingback: The Unaligned “Nationality” and Factions | Blood & Pigment

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