Hi Lee and thank you for giving us some of your time and participating in this interview. Please introduce yourself as a person and as “a gamer.”
HI I’m Lee Upton a member of Leicester Phat Cats and the guy usually dressed as a pirate at UK wargaming shows. I have been playing wargames for nearly 30 years. I started, like many, playing Warhammer 40K but later found a more diverse gaming world with games like Starship Troopers, Aliens vs Predator and Warmachine. This has led on to my enjoyment of games with a more historical nature and the world of the pirates. I am a gamer more than a painter but I do like fielding painted armies and a new army is always an excuse for a new table.
How long have you been playing Blood & Plunder and how did you get into the game?
I really like some of the other Pirate games out there, so I was naturally a backer of the first kickstarter. My first game would have been in early 2017. I started with the English, mainly taking on Ant Evan’s Spanish (Best mate and member of the Phat Cats).
It looks like you have done a lot of demos and events from your Facebook pictures. Describe your local B&P community.
I was one of the original members of the Leicester Phat Cats. At the club we play a wide range of games from Games Workshop to RPGs. Myself, Ant Evans and Pete Barfield are always looking for new games to try which keeps the hobby fresh. But when Nick Ayres joined the club he suggested we run a game at a show. This has exploded into a regular part of the club experience, driving huge improvements in the terrain we play our club games on. We have been known to have three tables running different games at some shows but Blood and Plunder is regularly requested as a show game. A high point for me was winning the best participation game at Salute 2018 with our Blood and Plunder table. Just before lockdown last year we completed our first campaign – Gold and Glory in Campeche, which had six players covering all the factions. It was really good fun and it’s something I would like to run again.
Do you have any advice for running a good demo for new players?
Nice and simple is best. Most of our tables are 8’ x4’ and our demo area is generally just 2 foot of this. This does allow us to run more than one demo at a time when it gets really busy and it can get really, really busy. A really fun demo is two units and a Captain per side fighting a boarding action. It is low on space but lots of action from the start, great for capturing the imagination of new players.
Describe your Blood & Plunder collection.
Large, 2 Galleons, 2 Fluyts, a Frigate, a Brig and 2 sloops with enough Sea dogs and Kapers to crew the whole fleet. Plus a number of land units of Militia and cavalry, but there is always room for more. I am fortunate my wife is forgiving 🙂
What is your favorite ship and favorite unit?
My favourite ship was the Galleon due to every time it’s on the demo table at a show it draws lots of comments and looks fantastic. But sloops are the bread and butter of our games because they are so fast. My favorite unit are Freebooters – they can do it all – great range unit but good in a fight.
Do you have a favorite character or Commander?
Henry Morgan, pricey but 4 fortune points and the broadside special rule is great on a fully fitted out Frigate (would love to put him on the Galleon).
What is your favorite thing about Blood & Plunder?
The rules are fantastic. There is a real feel of the history with playable, fast paced rules. The card based initiative system is fun adding a little more spice and planning to your game. The best thing for me is how the rules are integrated, we could play a ship breaking through the blockade and then going ashore all seamlessly. In some rule sets this kind of thing seems to be added as an afterthought.
I also like how the game, through its expansions, is following the history- from the buccaneers of the mid 17th century through to the Pirates of Nassau. With each stop on the way adding more units and characters to the games and this brings the history to life in our games.
What would you like to see added to Blood & Plunder in the future?
In Raise the Black, I am interested in how they bring out the personalities of the different pirate captains. But after that I am looking forward to sailing off on the pirate round….next stop Madagascar.
What’s currently on your painting desk or workbench?
I have just finished 20 Dutch Kapers to crew my second Fluyt and also the last of my Oak and Iron Ships of the line. Next is more Dutch militia.
Is there anything else you would like to mention before we finish?
I am working on a Blood and Plunder table for Salute on the 13th of November and I would love for everyone to come and say “Hi!” I will be the one in a Tricorne.
Thank you for sharing with the Blood & Plunder community!