Ahoy there! Cap’n Dan is back to bring you a Blood and Pigment Exclusive Sneak Peek at one of the Commanders and Factions coming in the next big expansion for Blood and Plunder: Raise the Black! We are going to be looking at the most famous pirate in history: Edward “Blackbeard” Teach and his unique faction!
History of the Pirate Edward “Blackbeard” Teach
So first off, we’ll address the man himself: Edward “Blackbeard” Teach (We’ll just call him Blackbeard from here on out). As far as aesthetics go, I have to say I am THRILLED with the execution. From the concept art to the prototype model, Firelock did a bang-up job! With the amount of myth surrounding Blackbeard, they combined the two for a truly terrifying result. He looks as fearsome as he does feral, without looking too “Hollywood”.
Edward “Blackbeard” Teach in Blood & Plunder
Blackbeard comes in at 32 points and can lead Golden Age Pirates and Blackbeard’s Men (more on that later). He comes equipped with a Brace of Pistols (BoP) and Standard Melee Weapon. His command Range is 12”, he’s got 3 command points, and packs a wallop in the Special Rules Department.
Blackbeard’s Commander Model Special Abilities
Let’s breakdown his Special Rules as a Commander below:
Bold: This allows Blackbeard to use Command Points (CP’s) even if his unit is Shaken or in Melee Combat.
Terror: At the beginning of the game, all enemy units must take a Resolve Test on 1 d10. If the unit fails the test, they gain a point of Fatigue.
Cold Blooded: Blackbeard gains the Ruthless Special Rule. Ruthless gives a -1 bonus to Shoot Tests with Small Arms and Fight rests against units with less fatigue than it. When Teach uses a Command Point on another unit to Shoot or Fight, they also gain the Ruthless Special Rule.
Tough: If Blackbeard’s unit ends an activation with any amount of fatigue, and it did not Push or gain any fatigue during the activation, the unit may remove a point of Fatigue at the end of its activation.
God’s Blessing or The Devil’s Luck: If Blackbeard is your Force’s Commander, he starts the game with 4 Fortune Points.
Blood & Plunder Ships That Work Well With Blackbeard
As a Commander, Blackbeard is really set up to command one large ship. Typically, Legendary Commanders *really* shine in larger games with multiple ships. However, the lack of Commodore ,in my opinion, represents a more piratical command than a classically trained Navy command. This means if you try to run multiple ships in a larger game you won’t be able to benefit from Cold Blooded across multiple crews.
As far as play style goes, he is clearly meant to be an aggressive commander. At sea you should get in close, fire off grapeshot, swivels, and throw explosives then board your weakened enemy! You have 4 chances to correct your dice if they decide to turn against you at critical moments. Which can really help when you roll poorly on a Fight Test or sailed Saves. Tough can help you clear Fatigue and keep your units fighting. Meanwhile, Terror can wreak absolute havoc on weaker units and ruin an opponent’s strategy on turn 1. If you’re lucky, they may even be forced to use Fortune points on good units early on!
Blackbeard’s Men (1690-1730) Faction Overview:
This new breed of pirates brings a ton of special rules and a unique flavor to the upcoming expansion. I’ll start by breaking down the Faction’s Special Rules.
“If this Force includes the Queen Anne’s Revenge ship or has 2 or more ships, the Force gains Vendetta: X. X being the opposing Force’s Nationality.”
Now once all ye scurvy dogs are done fangirling I have some bad news. I currently do not have access to the Queen Anne Revenge. However, if you choose to run two ships in this force that means you’ll get to re-roll one d10 whenever you make a Rally Test. Which is good because as you see, your Core units aren’t the best at staying courageous.
“If this Force is the attacker in an Amphibious or Sea scenario, it may fly false colors to deceive the opposing force. Roll a d10 at the start of each Turn. On a 7+ the ruse is discovered and has no effect, so no other rolls are made. Otherwise, no unit in this Force may be attacked by any enemy units this Turn unless a unit in this Force attacks first or moves within 12” of an enemy unit.”
Basic False Colors rule. Great when it works, but in my experience it rarely makes it past turn 1.
“If this Force is the attacker in a Scenario, once per game the controlling player may discard all the Activation Cards in their hand and replace them with the same number of new cards without spending a Fortune Point.
Basic pirate/buccaneer rules. Use when you draw poorly. Enough said.
Blackbeard’s Men – Core Units:
Finally, we get a new unit! The Pirates Unit of the Golden Age trade skill for firepower. While they clock in at 3 points per model Trained, and 4 points for Veterans (which is amazing), they suffer from mediocre stats. This means, to be effective, you’ll have to adopt one of my favorite tactics…bring more bodies than the enemy has units! The low point cost for Veteran models means you can have tons of these guys!
Pirate Unit Options
The option for a free swap of Buccaneer Guns for Brace of Pistols (BoP) may sound tempting, but I honestly think you’re better off keeping their Brace of Pistols. These guys are better off boarding and chopping heads. However, the key here is to Charge Smart! What you should be focusing on is applying fatigue to weak units and getting rid of them first. While these guys have a decent chance of hitting with BoP, you’ll want to compensate for their lack of skill with numbers. Overwhelm small units, and if you keep these guys within Blackbeard’s 8 Inch “Bold” Range, Ruthless and Tough should help keep these guys at the front.
Roundsmen are veteran sailors and are a decent upgrade from the Pirates. They get War Cry as well, which will help in melee. The BoP is gonna hit harder in combat due to the 6 Fight skill vs 7 on the Pirates, and their saves make them a little harder to kill. While you may be tempted to grab these guys to man the Sheets and Shrouds, I don’t think it’s an efficient use of points. These guys should be the ones doing the initial boarding of a vessel. Being within Blackbeard’s 8” range will keep these guys in the fight, and they would benefit from a Grizzled Veteran.
I’ve covered these guys before but will summarize them here. These are sailors from the English Nationality. They clock in at 4 Points per model at Trained (for 5 points a model you get Veteran), and have a Fight Skill/Save of 6/6, a Shoot Skill/Save of 7/7, and a Resolve of 5. They come with Brawlers (every time you roll a natural 10 in a fight test, roll for an additional hit), Expert Artillery Crew (Free Artillery reload action on a Spade or a Heart), and Sailors (pass all Advanced Maneuver Tests on a 5+.
As support units, I really don’t see a point to taking these guys except to maybe crew grins on a smaller ship. The 2:1 required for Support Units (One Support Unit for every Two Core units) is a steep price for what are core units for other Factions. I’m going to be honest, any Support Unit I take MUST have a purpose, and we have better options for that. Running Blackbeard and Blackbeard’s Men isn’t meant for a Broadside Brawl, you should be aiming to close and board. These guys are better in melee than your regular pirates, but I cannot justify these guys unless you’re on a Sloop and want a unit to man the one deck of guns.
The French Sailors clock in at 4 points a model at trained (5 at veteran), have a Fight of 5/7, a Shoot of 7/7, a Resolve of 5, and come stocked with Artillery Crew, Sailors, and Hard Chargers (-1 Bonus to the free Fight on a Charge). These guys have a place because they are going to hit harder in melee. On a charge fifth loaded pistols, they will be hitting on a 4+ and rerolling misses. The only issue is that they don’t man guns or sails exceptionally well, and will get destroyed by most other melee units when charged. If you need more melee, these guys are better than the other Support Units, but don’t expect them to survive getting hit in melee.
The Spanish Sailors come in at the same points cost as the other sailors in the Support Units, and come with a 5/7 Fight, a 7/7 Shoot, a Resolve of 5, and come with Sailors, Ruthless, Artillery Crew, and Poorly Equipped. The best use for these guys are in melee, but they aren’t as good as the Marins. Poorly Equipped makes reloading anything a pain, and while Ruthless is awesome, I don’t see it being a saving grace for these guys.
The Dutch sailors are my favorite of all the sailor units currently in Blood and Plunder. In my opinion, they are the most “well-rounded” of the lot. Like the Sea Dogs, they have a 6/6 Fight, a 7/7 Shoot, and 5 Resolve. However, they outclass the Sea Dogs in the Special Rules Category. They come with Expert Artillery Crew, Expert Sailors, and Hard Chargers. The Zeeliden are a utilitarian unit that you can use to man swivel guns, or man the Sheets and Shrouds with dazzling efficiency! They are only outclassed in melee by the Marins, but make up for it with a better save. Of all of the main Nationalities’ Sailors, these guys are your best bet to fill in any gaps in your list.
These guys seem pretty basic at first. They have a 6/7 for both Fight and Shoot Skills and a 5 Resolve. The Special Rules add a little bit of staying power with Battle Hardened (Reduce the number of dice rolled on a Fatigue Test by one if it was caused by a fight action), but offer only the basic Sailors and Artillery Crew rules. That 6 Shoot Skill is the only thing that sets these guys apart, and can be used as a good musketeer unit.
If you can keep a unit within 8” of Blackbeard while Boarding, you can use Ruthless to reduce that to a 5, making hitting fatigued units much easier. Battle Hardened will help them stay put longer in Melee, but they won’t hit as hard as Marins or Zeeliden on the Charge. If you want some good ranged options outside of swivels and cannons, take a group of these guys.
2 Points a model, a 7/8 Fight, 7/7 Shoot, Resolve 7, inexperienced, and the ability to take lances at 1 point a model or Pistol sidearms for 3 pets per unit. This unit doesn’t make a ton of sense to take unless you have filled everything else up and want a weak unit to soak up shot and/or blades. They will rarely get more than 1 action, and will run away at the first sign of trouble. Where Pirates are mediocre but useful, these guys are terrible and relatively useless. Avoid if you can, only take them if you’ve filled everything else out and need a meat-shield unit.
Jamaican Privateers are a new unit, making their debut in Raise the Black!, but are also a great support unit. At 4 point a model they are cheap, and their 6/6 Fight is great for melee combat, while their 7/7 Shoot is only okay for shooting. If you need a cheap unit for melee combat, you can swap out their muskets and pistol sidearms for Brace of Pistols at no cost, add blunderbusses for every 3 models, and go crazy! These scrappy Englishmen are quite versatile, and I often use them to help out with musketry. They benefit from Cold Blooded and their 5 Resolve means they tend to stay put in melee. Give these guys a Grizzled Veteran and they will become even more stubborn.
Blood & Plunder “Blackbeard’s Men” Force Lists
The following are a few forces lists we have put together as recommendations for your own Blood & Plunder forces. These all take advantage of the new “Raise the Black” Units.
150-point Sea Force:
List by Joseph:
- Teach – 32
- Bermuda Sloop – 14
- Swivel Guns x8-32
- Pirates x10 with Firepot and Stinkpot
- Pirates x6 with Stinkpot-20
- Pirates x6-18
150-point Land Force: Smoking Pirates
List by Guy
- Teach – 32
- Local Guide – 6
- Roundsmen x5 – 30
- Pirates x8 with Stinkpots – 28
- Pirates x8 with Stinkpots – 28
- Pirates x6 – 18
200-point Land Force:
List by Dan
- Gun Emplacement-3
- Medium Gun Structure-7
- Pirates x6-18 (Assigned to Medium Cannon)
- Pirates x12-36
- Pirates x12-36
- European Sailors+Veteran+Muskets x12-64
300-point Sea Force:
List by Dan
- 6th Rate Frigate+Wheel-27
- Light Cannon Pair x11-77
- Pirates x8-24 (Assigned to Front Deck Guns)
- Pirates x12-36 (assigned to Second Deck Guns)
- Pirates x12-36 (Assigned to Third Deck guns)
- Pirates x8-24 (Assigned to Fourth Deck guns)
- Pirates x13-39
- Sailing Master- 3
All in all, Blackbeard and his men (or women if you have female sailor models to use as a character!) are tailored to be an aggressive Faction, better suited to be on the attack than the defense. However, due to the sheer amount of bodies you can field compared to other Factions currently in the game, I would argue that you could potentially use them on land since you have one support unit with long-range potential in the European Sailors, and the cheap cost of basic units means manning things like Gun Emplacements easier.
Obviously, this is NOT ideal, but since you should always outnumber your enemy, smart, strategic play is required to fight on land since most dedicated land factions will be able to field Cannons on Carriages. Blackbeard’s arrival in Blood and Plunder is a fine introduction to the Golden Age of Piracy, and I’m sure Firelock Games will be giving us just as many colorful characters from the era!
Thanks to Firelock Games for letting us take a first look at this exciting new commander and faction!
Additional “Raise the Black” Articles of Interest:
- Complete Guide to Raise the Black Plastic Miniature Sprues – get the full breakdown of every one of the new 28mm plastic model boxed sets for the latest Blood & Plunder Kickstarter
- Blood & Plunder: Raise the Black SPOILERS – List of Factions – In this article, we take a look at a list of ALL of the factions found in the Raise the Black expansion set.
- Blood & Plunder: Raise the Black 2-Player Starter Box Preview – Everything you need to know about the new 2-player starter set.
- Raise the Black Preview – New Ship Upgrades – peek behind the scenes into the upcoming Ship Upgrades reflecting the new technology and practices in sailing, shipbuilding, and fighting techniques in the 18th Century.
All images are used by Firelock Games’ permission. All preview material is subject to change.