By Joseph Forster
I’m working on creating some scenarios designed around some of the great 4Ground terrain made for Blood & Plunder and here is a quick report on a game testing one of these scenarios. This is a 100 point amphibious battle centered around the Wooden Port Set from 4Ground, played against my friend, Guy Rheuark.
This is a work in progress but I’ll share the version I have right now. This is “unofficial” at this point and I put it into a “Firelock imitation” document just for my own fun at this point.
In this scenario, the Attacking force starts at sea and attempts to either capture or destroy up to 3 supply objectives which start in the 3 structures in the Wooden Port set. The Defender starts with one unit in the port and the rest near the back of the board. The Defender can give the Attacker Strike Points by hauling the supply objectives back to their Deployment Zone or by simply defending the port so the Attacker can’t take control of the objectives.
You can find the current scenario details on the pdf below.
This is a work in progress so any thoughts or feedback on the scenario itself would be appreciated!
I played as the Defender so I felt the Spanish would be a thematic choice. At 100 points I decided to see what I could do with just the Starter Box. I had to proxy one unit but I came up with a very respectable force for exactly 100 points which uses every model in the Spanish Starter Box.
My Spanish Florida Militia force contained:
- 8 Milicianos with a Untested Militia Commander attached
- 8 Lanceros
- 4 Marineros
- 4 Warrior Archers (I used the Milicianos Indios as proxies just because I wanted to use a starter box army).
It’s not easy making an army that uses every model in the box since both the Marineros and Milicianos Indios are Support Units for the Militia faction. Using the Florida version of the faction gives Core Unit access to the Warrior Archers which makes everything work. This list is a little light on musketry but with a strong melee unit, a good archer unit, a small brute squad and a larger block of Militia, it’s a reasonably fun and balanced force.
Guy has been working on painting up a Native force and this was his first game playing them. He modified a Native Commander to represent Captain Tabary for the Kalinago faction so that’s the force he played here.
His Kalinago force consisted of:
- 8 Warrior Archers with Captain Tabary attached
- 7 Young Warriors
The Kalinago faction adds Ruthless, Cunning and the Sound of Thunder abilities to all units. Only two units is a bold choice for a 100 point game, but at a full 8 models each, they were more powerful than my smaller units.
Captain Tabary has the Night Raider ability which Guy chose to use which made this game occur at night (limiting visibility to 12″).
I set up my unit of Marineros in the large warehouse first with the intent of dragging away one of the objectives right away.
Guy set up his Piragua against the back of the bard directly across the docks (after this play test we changed the Attacker deployment to the corners). The wind was at his back (we also changed this after this test). I deployed my large units of Miliicianos and Lanceros in my deployment zone and placed the Warrior Archers in area cover using the Lay in Wait rule that comes with the Spanish militia.
The game started with my Marineros claiming an objective and starting the trek back to my deployment zone which would give the Natives a Strike Point.
Tabary’s Piragua turned as it came towards the dock but since the darkness limited visibility, his unit couldn’t do anything. I moved my Milicianos with the commander up 8″ hoping to grab the next objective out of the closer small warehouse.
With the wind coming from the sea edge, it was easy for the Natives to rush up and grapple the dock turn 1!
On the dock on the first turn! This let me know I should adjust the scenario setup to put a little more distance between the deployment zone and the objective buildings.
By the end of turn 1, I had moved up all of my units within 8″ of the dock but no shot had been fired yet.
Turn two gave me the 13 of Spades so I knew I could take the initiative (96% chance).
I moved up my Milicianos and fired a half shot into the Young Warriors on the dock with a command point.
Sound of Thunder did a little work but I failed to get any kills.
I moved up my Warrior Archers (proxied with Milicianos Indios) in an attempt to take a second objective.
The Young Warriors moved into the small warehouse and claimed an objective while Captain Tabary sent a flurry of arrows at my at my optimistic Natives allies. They lost a man and panicked on the second volley, falling back out of the warehouse.
My hard working Marineros hauled their barrel back another few inches but they were still a couple inches short of my deployment zone.
Guy took initiative on turn 3 and unleashed a deadly volley on my Milicianos. I failed all 3 Saves (from arrows!) so I used a Fortune Point to reroll but I failed them all again! I failed all my Fatigue dice as well and used a Fortune to try to keep them in the game but failed on all but 1.
My command unit was nearly half destroyed and panicked by one volley! Got to love those Milicianos…
The action efficiency of the Natives was dominating the first couple turns of the game. At the opening of turn 3, two of my units were Shaken while 1 was still hauling an objective to safety. The Lanceros were my only functional unit.
I spent turn 3 rallying and the Marineros finally managed to get the objective into my deployment zone which gave the Kalinago a Strike Point (but the Young Warriors still had control of an objective so it was even).
Turn 4 and I was floundering! My Lanceros needed to do something dramatic! They moved up into large warehouse. From there they could either charge the Natives or claim another objective within a couple moves. With their 6 Shoot Save, they would save on 3+ against arrows making them hard to drive out of the warehouse.
Captain Tabary remained in the Piragua, basically controlling the field with volleys of arrows. But this time they were slightly less effective since the Lanceros’ Saves and Resolve were much better than the Milicianos’.
But even so…. between two volleys from the Archers and one from the Young Warriors, the Lanceros took enough Fatigue to fall back. It seemed I couldn’t get anything done! I’ve never been on this side of arrows like this!
The Young Warriors moved out of the small warehouse towards the Piragua. With the 3″ limit of movement after you exit a structure and the requirement of being in base contact with the piragua before entering it, it was going to take the young Warriors 3 moves to get from the building into the boat, in spite of it only being 4″.
At the beginning of turn 5 things were looking pretty bad for my defending Spanish but I had a possible play.
With most of our Fortune spent, we were at the mercy of the cards for Initiative and my larger hand of cards helped me activate first.
With my Lanceros in base contact with the large warehouse, I was able to move into it and then charge out of it at the Young Warriors on the dock with the objective. The Young Warriors could fire arrows back at me, but starting the charge from cover meant I would be saving on 3’s against the arrows which is manageable.
The charge was successful and between the fairly high Fight Save on the Native unit and the penalty for the Lances, the unit of Young Warriors didn’t survive. Captain Tabary promptly shot them up pretty bad with arrows and they retreated back into the warehouse but they had actually done something successful! That was my first decent attack of the game!
Going into turn 6 Guy was down to a single unit. While not Shaken, Tabary’s Archers started their turn prone. They went first, stood up and fired on my approaching Marineros (who had finally rejoined the fight after their trek with the barrel!). Captain Tabary even fired his pistol. One Marinero went down but the rest survived with only 1 Fatigue.
With 3 actions on a club I was able to move right up to the Piragua, fire pistols at point blank range (and miraculously gets some hits!) and apply enough Fatigue (Sound of Thunder!) so I could safely charge!
Ruthless applied to the Charge so the Spanish sailors hit on 4’s and Natives really don’t like getting hit with a melee attack. The went up to 3 Fatigue and were Shaken with no place to go so they took an additional Fatigue.
Being the 6th turn I pushed for another decisive move. The Lanceros had rallied with a command point and were able to push for a Charge as well.
No one likes a Charge from Lanceros, and Shaken Natives boxed in within the limits of a structure like it least of all. That charge ended up killing the last of Tabary’s night raid force at the game was over.
The Natives had come so close to carrying off those crates of sugar but it all went bad there at the last minute!
Post Game Thoughts
- The scenario seemed to work! We found a few things to fix though.
- The Attacker’s deployment was too close so we decided corners would be better than the edge and we changed the wind direction to come from the land instead of sea. That way the Attacker has to sail upwind to reach the dock, which at least slows the fastest ships which tend to have 5″ sail setting but a -2″ Upwind penalty.
- I had a 1″ movement penalty on units possessing an objective but that seemed too much on top of the Fatigue penalty for moving over 4″ so we took that out.
- I think having to both control the objective and have it within the Defender’s deployment zone is too hard a goal for the Defender since you basically have to lose an entire unit to guard the objective. I might change that to “in deployment zone and not controlled by the Attacker.”
- Captain Tabary is pretty cool but not overly strong for 25 points . I love the Night Raider ability but it might be valued pretty highly because his only other abilities are Inspiring and Great Warrior which costs more to use. The lack of a bow also effectively brings up his cost but at least he has a pistol. Inspiring is a crucial ability for Natives who tend to have Resolve of 6. But 25 seems pretty high! Basically paying 10 points for Night Raider (which only benefits you if you’re attacking) and a pistol.
- Sound of Thunder hurts. My Spanish only really shot 3 times with gunpowder weapons over the course of this game but those extra Fatigue dice really hurt, especially combined with the 6 Resolve.
- Young Warriors are worth the 4 points. The 5 Resolve alone makes them valuable in pretty much any Native faction that has access to them.
- Even without poisoned arrows, bows are good, especially against a militia unit with an 8 Save. My Milicianos were pretty much destroyed but on the other hand my Lanceros with a 6 Save were much more effective against the arrows, especially while in cover. Saving on a 3+ is great.
- Having only 2 units in a 100 points force was a bold move. The volleys of 8 arrows at once were pretty devastating to my units but it limited the Natives’ tactical options as well, especially after one unit started to get beat up and had to rally. Activating 3 units in a row at the end really let me control the last turn. The balance between large units and lots of units is great in this game. Always a hard decision when building a force!
- I really enjoying this 4Ground terrain! Affordable, relatively easy to make and it looks so good on the table! I’m so thrilled they have started making stuff with Blood & Plunder in mind. I highly recommend their entire Ports of Plunder line. This particular set isn’t available from Firelock yet but you can order it from 4Ground or just wait until it arrives in the Firelock web store.
- I enjoyed going back to a basic 100 point Spanish Militia force. You can make this force straight out of the starter box and play a fell fledged game with it. Only weird thing I did was use the Milicianos Indios as Warrior Archers.
- I felt this game could have swung the other way if the Natives had pushed off and left the dock on turn 5 instead of shooting at my oncoming men. If the Piragua had moved away, I couldn’t have charged and with only Marineros with pistols close enough to shoot at them, they probably would have escape with one of the objectives and it would have been a very closer game. Keeping Lanceros at a distance is always a good thing.
I’d really appreciate any feedback from anyone willing to read through the scenario. Drop a comment or email us at BloodandPigment@gmail.com.
Here’s the link to current scenario file right now.
We’ve been working on a whole set of scenarios using 4Ground terrain pieces and I’ve already started play testing another one of them. Look for a Prison Break scenario coming up soon!
Thanks to Guy for trying the scenario with me and you thank for reading!