I’ve been given permission to share some details from one of the new factions in the upcoming (and ever impending) French & Indian Wars Vol 1 (previously known as Queen Anne’s War) expansion. Let’s explore a new Spanish faction!
Before we look at the game rules and details for the Spanish Mission Garrison, here is some great historical background on this force contributed by the venerable Liam Taylor, patron saint of Blood & Plunder.
Critical to the continued expansion of the Spanish Empire was the Catholic Mission system; Catholicisation and colonisation went hand in hand in New Spain – the Friars and Priests often preceding the Spanish secular authorities. Often criticized for its corruption, its destruction of Native culture and beliefs, and its intolerance, the Missions were nonetheless extremely successful at bringing the indigenous populations under control and breaking the tribal connections with their old systems of independent government; but this was at the cost of much of the fighting spirit and self-sufficiency of the tribes. When the Pueblo Indians revolted in 1680, for example, they furiously targeted the Missions and the priests, slaughtering across a wide swathe of New Mexico, and driving the Spanish government out of the territory for a decade. But within months of their successful revolt, the Pueblo were in trouble, finding that their ability to organize and manage their own affairs was now permanently compromised without the Mission administration. Very quickly the Pueblos were negotiating with the Spanish for assistance in supplies and defense – until eventually in 1693, the Spanish were able to reconquer the territory overcoming relatively light opposition. The Missions weakened the Indians, and consequently made the Spanish territories vulnerable to attack – but they also bound the population to Spain and to Spanish authority.
The Spanish Missions, particularly those in Florida and Appalachia, saw some of the fiercest fighting of the war. The Mission Indians had been prohibited the use of firearms by the authorities, which meant they had to rely on more traditional weapons. Despite this, they could fight bravely, sometimes against overwhelming odds. In 1702 the Spanish Governor of Florida, Joseph de Zuniga, ordered Captain Francisco de Uriza to raise a force of some 800 Indians and a few Spanish from the Apalachee, and attack the Carolina colonists. Some 500 Indians and English “traders” ambushed them at Flint River when the Spanish attempted to make a dawn raid on their camp. It was the superiority of the English and Indian weapons that seems to have been decisive in the fierce fighting that followed, and the Mission Indians were all but wiped out. After this the musket prohibition seems to have been relaxed somewhat, but it proved too late to supply and train the Indians before disaster befell. Despite this lack of arms, the Mission Indians could fight fiercely. When James Moore attacked the the Appalachees in 1704, he led some 50 English and perhaps as many as 1000 Creek warriors against the unprepared settlements. The Creeks dispersed attacking the isolated villages, while the English attacked the main settlement at Ayubale. Here Father Angel Miranda and a force of 26 Indians held the English and 15 Creeks at bay for nine hours before being overrun, which bought the Spanish commander Ruiz de Mexia time to organize 400 Indians and 30 Spanish cavalry and launch a counter attack. This force too was beaten and brutally slaughtered, but the fighting was fierce enough to cause about 18 English and enough Creek casualties to convince Moore to withdraw without taking the fort at San Luis.
Everything is subject to change at this point but here is the basic shape of this faction. Both the core options are new units which is always exciting and the faction rules feel fresh as well.
Including a Spiritual Leader in this force is a thematic home run and the faction rules encourage that by giving your commander an extra Command Point if a priest is with him. Getting a Fortune Point is Command Point and the extra perks of having an Advisor in your force is a great value for 7 points!
With 3 different units with bows available to this faction, the Rain of Arrows rule is always a nice option for scoring a few more hits without taking the Fatigue penalty for shooting twice in an activation.
The last faction rule limits force building by giving the Soldados de Avanzada unit the Support: Milicianos Indio de la Florida rule. You have to take these new Indian militia units no matter what!
Let’s look at these new units. The Indios Milicianos de la Florida are basically a weaker and more “civilized” version of the Milicianos Indios from the core rule book. They’re cheap at 3 points each but they’re really pretty bad! Christianization has really taken some of the fight out of these natives!
Bows with a 7 Shoot is uncharted territory in Blood & Plunder so far. We see lots of mediocre/bad stats here but even so, they have bows so they don’t have to reload, they have a good Save with Elusive and they’re cheap at 3 points each. You can add a Ruthless commander to them and they might be able to bring their Shoot down to 6 with that bonus. They’re core and they are needed to use the other core unit so most of your force will be these Indians.
I don’t think a new model is planned for this unit as the already existing Miliciano Indios model is perfectly suited.
The other core unit is a new and exciting choice for Spain. The Soldado de Avanzada (Outpost Soldier) is a 5 point trained model that fills the (gaping) space between the Miliciano and the Soldado.
With 3 superior stats to the Miliciano and lots of options for modifications and upgrades, this unit looks very functional for a reasonable price. The Shoot skill is still 7 but with a Resolve of 5, and a better Shoot Save, it’s much more likely this soldier can trigger Ruthless than the hapless Miliciano. I’m guessing a mix of the European Soldier and Miliciano models painted up in a dark blue uniforms would be great models for this unit.
The Support Unit section has lots of familiar units in it including Hostigadores for mobile musketry, Warrior Archers for accurate arrows, Milicianos Indios as a more hearty version of that core Indian Militia unit, some fast cavalry, basic artillery crew and one more new unit, the Milicianos Negros.
This unit is similar in a lot of ways to the Soldado de Avanzada but there are some key differences. The only different stat is the Shoot Save of 6 but that’s a big one! A strong Save is always appreciated! Their upgrades and modifications set them apart from the Soldados de Avanzada. You can even make them a cheaper Lancero by exchanging their muskets for lances. They don’t have Elusive like the Lancero but they do have a superior Fight Save. I have to say these new Spanish militia units are a breath of fresh air! This unit has 4 better stats than the basic Miliciano unit for only 1 more point (assuming the same training level).
The upcoming set of customizable plastic militia will include African heads to make models perfectly suited to play as this unit.
This faction has a option to add Warrior Musketeers as a Support Unit and give all Native and the core Indian militia unit Skirmishers. This makes the faction slightly more aggressive and there’s currently not a downside so you might as well take this option. I wouldn’t be surprised if this rule is tweaked and polished a bit before release.
The only named commander in this force is de Uriza.
He looks to be a bit on the expensive side but he has lots of great abilities for raiding! I’ve run into this character several times while reading about the English campaign against St Augustine in 1702 so I’m glad to see him here.
Beyond the other generic options this faction will have the new 0/10/20 point commanders available that you can design yourself.
These new commanders open up a lot of fun options and combined with the extra Command Point from the Faction Priest rule, your commander can be pretty great! Inspiring, Castilian and Careful Planning all look like good options for this force depending on your play style. With that Priest you could have a (basically) 17 point commander with 3 Command Points. That’s unheard of! With so many units with bows you will be able to use all those Command Points for shooting by the mid game as well (or rallying…).
Possible Force Building
The current rules for fortifications specify Militia, Tercio and Expeditionary forces can take fortifications but I believe that will be expanded to include “Garrison.” It would be a shame for this Garrison force to have nothing to… garris. Fortifications will be fun with this faction and historically accurate. I did a test game with a blockhouse recently and it worked well. Giving arrows the advantage of height and a clear field around the fort was very effective. The Shoot Save of 6 on the Indios also let them Save on 5’s in a fortification which made them very decent.
Here are a couple lists that look interesting using this force.
100 Point Spanish Mission Garrison
- Experienced Spanish Commander – Inspiring – 10
- Spiritual Leader – 7
- 6 Soldados de Avanzada – 30
- 6 Milicianos Indios de la Florida – 18
- 5 Milicianos Indios de la Florida – 15
- 5 Hostigadores – 20
That’s a good commander, a Spiritual Leader and a total of 24 models all in 100 points.
200 Point Spanish Mission Garrison
- Experienced Spanish Commander – Castilian – 10
- Spiritual Leader – 7
- 8 Veteran Soldados de Avanzada with Firelock and no Poorly Equipped – 51
- 8 Milicianos Indios de la Florida – 24
- 8 Milicianos Indios de la Florida – 24
- 6 Milicianos Indios de la Florida – 18
- 5 Warrior Archers with Grizzled Veteran – 28
- 6 Milicianos Artilleros with a Master Gunner – 16
- 2 Light Cannons with Grapeshot – 12
- Blockhouse – 10
I’ve played three test games using eveolving forms of this faction and it’s a lot of fun! It feels very different than anything else and while those new Indian Militia are pretty low quality troops, there are so many of them they can overwhelm the enemy with sheer numbers. I had the AI beat my French Army once! So many arrows!
I like using a Spiritual Leader in other forces so I really enjoy getting an extra perk for using him here. I’m also pretty thrilled to get a couple new Spanish units! All three of these new units seem useful and I’m looking forward to playing them.
After looking at the upcoming French and English raider factions which employ lots of Native models as well, this faction lacks a penalty common to both of them. In those forces Native units have to pass a Resolve test to accept a Command Point for the commander (representing the language barrier) but the Spanish don’t have that rule. In fact, their command points are even stronger with the priest! But they need a perk because those other raiders have other things going for them… Looking at you, overpowered French!
I’m excited for this force and I think you will have fun playing it too. I’m excited enough that I bought another 16 Milicianos Indios and painted them up so I can have hordes of 3 point archers!
What do you think? What catches your eye here? Does this look like a fun force for your play style?
Thanks to Mike and Firelock for letting me get the details on this faction and share it with you and thanks to Liam for letting me share his historical descrtiption.