By Dan Carlson
“The French were the first to singe the Spanish beard in the New World. The English, under Queen Elizabeth, were to set the beard aflame. But it is the Dutch in the early seventeenth century who truly scourge the whispered Spaniard from head to toe.”- pg 102 from Blood and Plunder: No Peace Beyond the Line
If you’re here, chances are you’re considering the Dutch as your chosen nationality. There are many reasons for choosing this course. You may have an aversion to red coats and ugly teeth. You may not like cheese for curly moustaches. You like the pirate’s life, but would rather have government backing instead of a guaranteed trip to the gallows next time you make port. Hell, you might be like most of the New World and have a burning desire to bite your thumb at those dastardly Spaniards and take as much of their stolen wealth for yourself (see, the “Pirates: A Faction Overview” for more info!). If you answered “Aye aye!” To ANY of these questions, congrats! Grab your clogs and orange sashes! You’ll make a fine addition to the Dutch Nationality!
Among all the Nationalities’ represented in Blood and plunder, The Dutch have the fewest factions. They have three Sea factions and two Land Factions. They are efficient in both regards and offer a no nonsense look at combat. At Sea, the Dutch field the best dedicated boarding party and most well rounded sailor unit currently in the game (Enter Ploeg and Zeeliden; respectively). On Land, they fare like the other Militias of the Major Powers. However, they can field Boslopers (a unit similar to the Coureurs des Bois) for quick hit and run musket attacks and the Jewish Militia, a no-nonsense militia that while more expensive than most militia units, is much harder to dislodge from a position.
This is one of two naval factions under the Dutch Nationality. This Force is most comparable to the French and English Buccaneers in that it is a seagoing Force that isn’t a Nationalities’ Navy. For a more in depth overview, check out the Article (written by yours truly) as I’ll only be covering the basics here. Narrative-wise you can choose to play as true a Force with or without a Letter of Marque (Zeelanders) or a Force under the employ of the Dutch West India Company. One lets you stay in melee a little better, and the other focuses on your Fatigue Management. The units are as utilitarian as you’d expect, with sailors in the form of Zeeliden, sailor musketeers (Kapers), a boarding party in the Enter Ploeg, and European Sailors. Support units consist of the Jewish Militia and the Militie (The Dutch “standard” militia unit). Command options include a colorful cast of characters, all designed to kick some MAJOR stern at sea.
This is a more “professional” seagoing Force. They retain the same units as the privateers, just without the Militie and Jewish Militia. The Dutch Navy can hit hard as the Zeeliden have Expert Artillery Crew and take damage since one of the Force Options (Ships of the Hoorne) allows all of your ships to have the Heavily Built trait for free (great in small games, and even better in larger games where you intend to Broadside Brawl with your opponent). If you prefer to play more aggressively you can take the same Zeelanders option as the Dutch privateers in lieu of Ships of the Hoorne. The Command Options are similar, and are gone in depth in the Faction Overview also on the blog (and yes, I also wrote it).
Author’s Note: Going forward, I will admit that I am much more comfortable playing Sea and Amphibious games than I am playing games based solely on Land. I have had experience playing the Land Factions, but nowhere near the amount that I have playing at Sea. To rectify this, I have asked Guy and Joe to fill in where possible.
The Dutch Caribbean Militia is the Bread and Butter Land Force for those who decide they’d rather fight on land. While they come in with the standard militia affair with Militie, European Militia, and their equivalent of militia cavalry, militia pikemen, and a militia artillery crew, what makes them differ is the option to take the fantastic Jewish Militia, and Boslopers. These two units change up the playstyle significantly. You can play as a traditional army with artillery pieces and mass musket fire, or using the Boslopers and Jewish Militia, you can play more aggressively (think Mel Gibson in The Patriot aggressive). Alternatively, you can a Cavalry Force with the Mounted Patrol Force option.
This Force is interesting as it is meant to be played as a smaller, more elite force. It can take Soldaten or European Soldiers as a Core unit (These are professional soldiers that are good at fighting both at range and up close, a rarity in Blood and Plunder), along with Militie and Boslopers. The lack of Force Options means you’re stuck with these core units and the typical affair of support units in the form of militia pikemen, artillery crew, cavalry, Kapers and Warrior Musketeers. Warrior Musketeers are a good ambush unit, and you can alternatively take Zeeliden instead of a militia artillery crew if you’re running fortifications. The result is a pretty solid Land Force that can make up for a lack of models with fantastic, versatile units.
This Force is tied to the Dutch Nationality’s only Legendary Commander: Piet Heyn. Spoiler Alert: He’s kind of a badass, and so is his personal Force. The entire Force gains the Tough special rule (remove a point of fatigue after a unit’s activation if it has not gained any fatigue or Pushed), the effects of the Zeelanders Force option, and the ability to reroll a failed Grapple test once per Turn. If you choose to run lots of boats instead of ships, you mcan take the Naval landing Force option and Soldaten become Core Units so long as you have no ships size 2 or Larger (Size meaning the number of decks. Both the Bark and Sloop are Size 2). Core units include Zeeliden and Kapers, Support units are European Sailors, Soldaten (unless you take that super-sweet-chocolatey-fudge-coated Naval Landing Force Option), and the always fantastic Enter Ploeg. Piey Heyn gives Henry Morgan a run for his money and is a terrifying prospect on the table.
All in all, the Dutch Nationality offers players a fresh take on Land or at Sea, and their models are not only superb, but once wonderfully painted will stand out amongst the other Major Powers’ units. Whether you prefer standing on the deck of a ship barking orders at your loyal crew, or on land commanding highly trained infantry, the Dutch have a Force for you to command.