By Dan Carlson
Author’s Note: For a good time if you are of-age, take a shot or a drink every time you read any form of the word “versatile” in this article!
While some people prefer fighting at sea, there’s a surprising amount of folks within the Blood and Plunder Community that prefer to fight on land. That role typically falls to factions based around Militias. For the Dutch, there are two flavors of militia: Caribbean Militia and North American Militia. Today, we’ll be focusing on the militias in the Caribbean.
“Now Dan”, I can hear some of y’all (I live in Texas, don’t judge your mostly humble author) saying “Why would I want to play the Dutch Caribbean Militia as opposed to the French, English, or Spanish Militia forces?” Well, there’s actually a few reasons! The Dutch on land mirror the SeaForces in how versatile their units are! You can play a more melee oriented force if you choose, rely on musketry, or a combination of the two! Your Spanish counterparts will often come with Poorly Equipped (Because those dastardly Spaniards conquered the New World but somewhere along the line forgot how to keep their weapons clean!), your English Counterparts mirror your versatility, just without a decent melee option outside of cavalry, and the French are best utilized in ranged warfare (although, like the other militias, don’t get charged by cavalry).
The Dutch Caribbean Militia have quite a few options available to them that really lets you tailor your Force to your playstyle; Zeelanders, West India Company (WIC), Jewish Militia, and Mounted Patrol.
Zeelanders:“When attacked by a unit that is 6” away or less, units in this Force may reroll a single failed Fatigue test die resulting from the attack.”
Zeelanders is for those who want to focus more on closing the distance and chopping heads, limbs, fingers, and other organic matter into little bits. This keeps those units in the fight by allowing a reroll on a single Fatigue test die. It may seem weak, but it certainly is better than nothing!
West India Company: “At the end of the turn, if this force has more Strike Points than it did at the end of the previous turn, remove 1 point of Fatigue from all non-Shaken units in this Force.”
This option is great! It doesn’t really affect your style of warfare, and can help turn the tide of a game! This option has saved my smelly, scurvy-ridden hide several times! Spaniards hate this rule because it can make Ruthless no longer in effect, allowing you to capitalize on their lack of advantage!
Jewish Militia: “This Force may take Jewish Militia (Unaligned) as a Core unit if it includes at least two units of Jewish Militia (Unaligned) and includes no Militie Cavalerie.”
Jewish Militia is by far my favorite of the Force Options! Jewish Militia are so versatile (we will cover that in their entry) and a solid Core Unit! If you don’t plan on bringing any cavalry, this is a good way to get a better Core Unit than Kapers.
Mounted Patrol: “Militie Cavalerie units become Core units in this Force if it includes at least two units of Militie Cavalerie and its Commander is mounted.”
If you have a thing for men (or women if you have good modeling skills!) on horseback, take this option. Nothing makes people cry like their inferior, footslogging commander getting cut down by an uppity Dutch guy on horseback.
Untested, Experienced, and Seasoned Dutch Militia Commanders
The “vanilla” commanders clock in at 0, 15, and 25 points depending on which option you take (untested is 0 points, Experienced is 15 points, and Seasoned is 25 Points). All of them can take Brace of Pistols or a Firelock Musket in addition to a Standard Melee Weapon, and all of them can add a Horse for 1 point. The Untested commander has no Special Rules, an 8 Inch command range, and 1 Command Point. The Experienced version has a 12 inch command range, 2 command points, and the Inspiring Special Rule (all units within his/her command range reroll failed Rally tests while his/her unit is active). The Seasoned version has a 16 inch command range, 2 command points, and the Inspiring and Battle Hardened (this unit reduces the number of dice by one when the unit rolls a Fatigue test that is the result of a Fight Action). The Experienced Commander is the best bet if you stick with the “standard” Commanders. If you are playing a larger game, the Seasoned variant is nice, but we can do better.
Peter clocks in at 23 points with a 16 inch command range and 2 command points. For two points less than the Seasoned Commander, he trades Inspiring and Battle Hardened for Tough and Strict and cannot take a Firelock Musket. Tough lets his unit remove a point of Fatigue at the end of its activation so long as it didn’t gain any Fatigue or Push during said activation. This gives him some good staying power under stress. Strict allows him to give a unit a -1 Bonus to any single Test the unit takes, but at the cost of gaining a point of Fatigue. This cannot be done if it would cause the unit to become Shaken or is already Shaken. He works well for a Mounted Patrol, and will give an extra layer of staying power to any unit he joins. Strict can help in a pinch, and adds versatility to an already versatile Faction.
David Nassy is 25 points, cannot take a Firelock Musket, has a 16 Inch Command Range and 2 command points. He has the Inspiring, Guerrilla Commander, and Unorthodox Force: Jewish Militia Special Rules. David Nassy allows you to build a sneaky, elite based Force. Guerrilla Commander gives every friendly unit within his command range Skirmishers, which allows a unit to make a free Move Action after a Charge (after the free Fight Action has been resolved, and the enemy unit cannot pursue) or take a free Move Action after moving, then taking a Shoot Action. This allows units to move out of cover, shoot or charge, then retreat back. Taking Jewish Militia as Core Units is expensive, but they are an improvement over the Millie in almost every way. If you’d rather fight like a Guerrilla, take Nassy over the Seasoned Commander.
This faction has a good selection of 4 Core units and 6 Support units to pick from.
The Milite is the Dutch variety of Militia. With a 6/7 Fight, a 7/7 Shoot, and a Resolve of 6, they are less stubborn than the English Militia, but better at mêlée than the Milices des Caraïbes. They can be upgraded to Trained for 1 point per model, and come with the Drilled Special Rule, which will help you hit your target easier the closer you get. If you plan on charging with these guys, only do it on weak, fatigued units as that Resolve of 6 will come back to bite you if you are forced to spend multiple turns in combat!
The European Militia come in with a 6/6 Fight, a 7/8 Shoot, and a Resolve of 6. They come with Drilled, and can trade their matchlock muskets to Heavy Matchlock Muskets for free. They can also be upgraded to Trained for 1 point per model. European Militia shine on two fronts: Defense of an objective behind cover, and charging. They behave like the Milicianos, but without Ruthless and Poorly Equipped! If you are in a fortification that needs to be defended, putting these guys behind some good cover with those Heavy Matchlocks will allow them to put out withering fire when used with Drilled. Conversely, if the enemy storms into your Fortification, you can comfortably charge them (again, assuming they are weakened and/or Fatigued!). Once again, this unit is versatile and gives you options on how to play!
Kapers are the sailor musketeer unit of the Dutch Nationality. While at a glance, they may seem out of place on land, they can actually be a good unit to take if you have the points! Clocking in with a 6/6 Fight, a 6/7 Shoot, and a Resolve of 5. Artillery Crew is good for cannons if you’re using a fortification, Brawlers is better than nothing in melee, and unless you’re playing an amphibious scenario Expert Sailors most likely won’t come into play. While they are 2pts more than both Militie and European Militia, they have a better resolve value, making them a bit more hardy when getting shot at. While they lack Drilledor anything else to help them with shooting, they can shoot and fight decently, meaning you can press them into service for either role without losing much battlefield effectiveness.
Boslopers are Dutch Woodsman that specialize in hitting from cover and attacking weakened enemies. They have a 6/7 Fight, 6/6 Shoot, and Resolve 5. They have the Skirmishers, Scouts, and Cunning Special Rules. They can take Thrown Weapons for 3pts, and they benefit greatly from it. These guys are meant to harass and eradicate weakened units in combat. Skirmishers allows these guys to (when activated on a spade or a heart) move, shoot, then move back for free; or Charge, then move back after the free Fight action is resolved. Their Resolve is good enough to keep them in combat if they are unable to run, and Thrown Weapons will maximize the damage you do when you charge in (they are essentially Brace of Pistols, but not as cool). Boslopers are meant to be played aggressively and should only strike from behind cover to take advantage of their good Shoot Save. Cunning not only moves them back 5” instead of 4” when they become Shaken, but gives them a free Rally action on a single D10.
I have praised these sailors enough in both the Dutch Privateers and Dutch Navy Articles I have written so I won’t spend too much time on them here (You should go check out both those articles if you plan on taking The Dutch out to sea!). They have a 6/6 Fight, a 7/7 Shoot, and a 5 Resolve. They have the Expert Artillery Crew, Expert Sailors, and Hard Chargers special rules. If they were a Core Unit, I would advise taking these guys on Fortifications. However, being a Support Slot means generally you can only have 1 unit of them, and they take up one of your precious Support Unit slots. If you take a Stone Tower, these guys are ideal for keeping your cannons firing. Once you get into other fortifications, it’s simply more economical to use the Militie Artillerie (even though they are inferior).
Jewish Militia are my favorite land unit in the game, and it’s not hard to see why. With a 6/6 Fight, 7/7 Shoot, and 5 Resolve, they mirror the Zeeliden. However, their Special Rules really set them apart from the other militia units you have access to. They have Drilled like other militia units, but also have Tough. That, combined with their 5 Resolve, makes them a pain is the stern to pry off of key points on the battlefield. As a bonus, they can trade Drilled for Elusive ( -1 bonus to their Shoot Save when in Cover, but not in structures) for free! If you take the Jewish Militia Force Option, these guys become Core Units! This allows you to build a sneaky force when combined with Boslopers!
These are the Dutch version of Pikeman and they are no slouch. They have a Fight of 6/7, no Shoot test score but a save of 8, and a Resolve of 6. They are Tough and have the Drilled Pikeman Special Rule, which allows them to not take a point of Fatigue from Defensive Attacks. This rule also makes any unit charging the Militie Piekeniers (and friendly units nearby them) take a +1 penalty to their free fight action, essentially canceling out Hard Chargers. However, you can only take one of these units per unit of Militie, Jewish Militia, or Soldaten. This unit allows you to bring a dedicated melee unit into your force, and are best used when on the defensive. While they can take Armor for 2 points and take Lances instead of Pikes for free, they can only be Inexperienced which limits them to a defensive role.
The Militie Cavalerie are Dutch Cavalry units, and like most cavalry they are expensive both in terms of points and monetary cost for the models, look fantastic on paper, but points can be better spent elsewhere. They have a Fight of 7/8, a Shoot of 8/6, and a Resolve of 6. They can take Armor for 2 points, can take Firelock Carbines along with their Braces of Pistols for 4pts, and come in as inexperienced with the option to upgrade to trained for 1 point per model. They have the Quick Special Rule *only* when mounted. It means that if the unit is not involved in melee combat, and is activated on a spade, the unit gets a free move. While it may be tempting to make your commander mounted and charge headfirst into squishy units, this will be expensive to kit them out and their abysmal fight save means if any competent unit hits back they will tip like cows…er…horses. If you take the Mounted Patrol faction option, however, then feel free to run as many horses as you like! The best tactic for a mounted patrol is to give each unit of horseman a job and have them stick to it. While carbines don’t have the same range as muskets, your speed and maneuverability can let you pick off units from afar while your dedicated melee unit of horses mops up weakened units.
This unit is only there for you to man cannons cheaply. They are 2 points per model, a Fight of 7/8, a Shoot of 0/8, and a resolve of 5. They can be upgraded to trained for 1 point per model. They have the Artillery Crew and Field Gun special rules. If you are playing a large game and need multiple Field Guns, these guys are the only way to do it. If you re using something like the Stone Tower Fort, you’re better off using Zeeliden as they are *much* better at loading cannons quickly.
These are the professional soldiers of the Dutch Militia Factions. They are 6 points per model and start off as trained. They have a Fight of 5/6, a Shoot of 6/7, and a Resolve of 5. They can be upgraded to veteran for 1 point per model, take Plug Bayonets for 4 points, 1 of 8 models can take Grenadoes for 4 points or Firebombs/Stinkpots for 2 points. They come with the Brawlers and Expertly Drilled Special Rules. While pricey, the Soldaten are an excellent unit. They can hold their own while shooting or fighting in a melee, and that 5 Resolve means they will typically stay put when on the defensive. Expertly Drilled is the bane of inexperienced units or units with a bad Resolve, as when the Soldatos make a Dedicated Shoot Action on a spade or a heart the unit getting shot at must add an additional d10 to their Fatigue Test caused by the attack. However, as with all elite units, don’t leave them out in the open. Losing an entire unit to targeted musket fire hurts….don’t ask why.
Note: “The Enter Ploeg models can be used as blunderbuss Zeelieden, and as the three characters”- Guy
The Dutch Caribbean Militia have a variety of ways to play, and can be quite rewarding for the creative or ingenious player willing to push them to their limit. Whether you enjoy mass cavalry, sneaky guerillas, or a traditional musket and cannon style of warfare, the Dutch Caribbean Militia are a solid choice for somebody looking to play the Dutch on land. If you plan on going to sea, check out the other articles I’ve written covering the Dutch Nationality and the Dutch Privateer faction on Blood and Pigment’s website or our video review of the Privateers! Keep your powder dry, your horsemen uppity, and your guerillas hidden!