By Dan Carlson
Ahoy there everybody! Cap’n Dan is here to go over the Dutch Navy and everything you need to know about playing them!
Reasons for Playing the Dutch Navy:
- Being able to take Heavily Built on all the ships in your Force.
- Your main sailors are more well rounded than other Nationalities’ equivalents.
- Because your buddies are playing English or French Factions, and you want to be different while not selling out to the Spanish.
In all seriousness, the Dutch Navy is a solid Faction with units that will make most other Factions green with envy. If you prefer to sail with a little more of a “piratey” flair, go check out the Dutch Privateers article I wrote eons ago (or the Dutch Privateer video review on our YouTube channel).
Force Special Rules
With a +2 to be the attacker in a scenario, you will usually be the attacker unless you’re fighting another dedicated “Navy” Faction. However, all your ships gain Shallow Draft for free! Your Force Options are pretty solid as well. Zeelanders will help you out in boarding, while Ships of the Hoorn will give all your ships the Heavily Built trait. This adds some staying power in smaller point games (A heavily built Corvette is hilarious, but with the Bermuda Sloop coming, it’ll be even more hilarious!) where Light Cannons are in play.
Veterans of the blog know how much I love these guys. 6/6 Fight, 7/7 Shoot, Resolve 5, and loaded up with Expert Sailors, Expert Artillery Crew, and Hard Chargers makes them good at everything you need sailors to do aboard a ship. You’ll be able to both reload faster and sail circles around other Nationalities with these guys (dancing while wearing clogs during these events is optional, but HIGHLY recommended). While they don’t hit as hard on the Charge than Marins or Marineros, Zeeliden run cannons and Advanced Maneuvers way better than them. These scrappy, professional sailors should be your bread and butter for all ship activities.
At the expense of coming off like a narcissist, I really can’t say anything that I haven’t already covered. So, I’ll quote myself!
“These guys are point for point the best boarding party in the game. 6 points for a veteran model with brace of pistols is awesome! Like the Zeelieden, they come with Expert Sailors and Experience Artillery Crew. If you have Piet Heyn lead a unit of theses guys in a boarding action, you’ll be able to annihilate just about anything in your way.While they don’t come with Limited Explosives like the Forlorn Hope, they can take Firepots for free on 1 of every 4 models or Grenados for 4 point each on 1 of every 4 models. I rarely use them anyway since charging a unit is 1 action and safely throwing the Grenado is 2 actions. The best use for these guys is to lay the fatigue on a unit or make them waste their shots so you get to charge in on a unit with empty muskets. They can also take Blunderbusses on 1/4 of their models for free which gives them some extra punch if they want to fire a volley before charging into the melee.”.
Essentially, you want these guys chopping heads and emptying a silly amount of pistol shots into your foes. Stinkpots for free on 1 for every 4 models will help with some cover before Charging over to lay the smack down on some poor, conscripted Spaniard.
Soldaten are your professional soldiers. They are good in melee and good at musketry. Expertly Drilled makes a target shot by this unit during the Dedicated Shoot Action caused by Drilled (When activated on a Spade or a Heart) roll an extra d10 on the resulting Fatigue Test. Brawlers will help you gain an extra hit or two in combat. Plug Bayonets will discourage units from Charging you (as if your stats didn’t already!), and let you hit first if they have Standard Melee Weapons. If you have the points, a squad of Soldaten will prove to be a force to be reckoned with.
European Sailors make for a good, cheap musket unit. Battle Hardened makes them better in melee than Kapers (more on that later), and taking Firelock Muskets for 4pts makes them cheaper in groups of 5 or more than Kapers. If I can’t afford Soldaten, I’ll use these guys to lay down musket fire and Fatigue on a unit that I feel the Enter Ploeg need to make disappear.
Kapers are a decent Core unit, but a lackluster Support Unit. These Sailor Musketeers may seem tempting to bring in order to work the Sheets and Shrouds, but they won’t do any better than a unit of Zeeliden. While that 6 Shoot Skill seems tempting, Soldaten have Expertly Drilled which makes them much better at shooting in general. This unit occupies a strange middle ground between European sailors and Soldaten. Soldaten are much better at one extra point, and European Sailors are better value for a little less points.
Author’s Note: Due to how similar these factions are, there wasn’t much for me to say about most of the command options as I covered most of them in the “Dutch Privateers” Article. I’ve imported those texts here since the tactics and strategies stay the same, as do the unit interactions.
Dutch Sea Commander
The standard Untested, Experienced, and Seasoned Dutch Sea Commanders are the bread and butter of any seafaring list. The Untested has no special rules, a dismal 4” command radius with 1 command point, and is ok in small games, but not very good beyond that (that’s why he’s free). The Experienced variant has an 8” command radius and 2 command points. He comes with the Broadside! and Strict special rules. We all know what Broadside! does, but for the newbies it allows all artillery commanded to fire by the commander to fire at the same time, as opposed to separately. Strict recently got a buff and is now SUPER useful. In exchange for 1 point of fatigue, that unit may take a -1 bonus on ANY test taken during the commander’s activation.
The Seasoned Commander is ONLY useful in games with multiple ships, as he has the Commodore Rule. All in all, the vanilla choices are a good starting point, but we have more flavorful options.
Jan Erasmus Reyning
Jan clocks in at 27 points and besides the typical Broadside! and Commodore Rules, allows your Force to be a bit flexible. He has Inspiring, while will let any units reroll rally failed tests when his unit is active (meaning you have to waste a command point on a rally action. This is okay, but not ideal). Elan is fantastic as it allows Jan to bark a single command point while in melee. Great if your command unit gets charged, but you should really be keeping him out of melee anyways. Jan has not one, but two Unorthodox Force rules, and they allow him to take both Freebooters and Kapers as core units! As the Dutch don’t have any sharpshooters, a unit of Freebooters can help you get a solid ranged unit that isn’t a slouch in melee! He’s got 2 command points at 16”, so I’d keep him on any size 2 ship (with the exception of the Brigantine as it only has 2 decks with guns, meaning Broadside is still possible!). At 27 points, he’s a SOLID upgrade from the Seasoned Commander, and I’d say on Par with Diego, as Diego will be more focused on keeping morale high while Jan gives you new toys to play with!
Abraham “Admiral Crimson” Crijnesen
This 30pt Monster is a go-to for me. He comes with Commodore, which is good if you’re running multiple ships. However, he also comes with Sailing Master, Expert Broadside, AND Very Inspiring. Sailing master allows the unit to spend an action and roll a D10. On a 5+ the ship may increase or decrease its speed by 1” for this move only (if you move past your ship’s top speed, the critical hit on rigging still applies). Expert Broadside is like Broadside, but if a 1 is rolled for any Critical or Lucky hit, it may be rerolled. This bumps up the potential for messing up your opponents game plan (and possibly his ship). Admiral Crimson has 3 command points and a 12” command radius, so keep him on any size 3 ship to get the most out of that broadside attack! This guy will keep your ship going fast in a lul and keep your guns firing.
Jacob Binckes is odd. He is the same 30 points as Admiral Crimson, has an additional 4” of command range, but otherwise pales in comparison to his counterpart. Inspiring, Expert Broadside, and Commodore are all solid rules, but for the same amount of points you can take Crimson and get Very Inspiring and Sailing Master. If you are running a fleet and need that extra Command Range, this is where to take Binckes. Otherwise, Admiral Crimson is just better.
As the Dutch Nationality’s only Legendary Commander, he comes in at 40pts, with a 20” command range and 3 command points. That range makes him ideal for a size 4 ship, and his special rules make him a MONSTER in melee. He’s got Broadside, Commodore, and Very Inspiring. All of these are common by now, however. His other rules are what make him that stout 40pts. God’s Blessing or Devil’s Luck means the player fielding Heyn will start the game with 4 Fortune Points! This is a huge boon that can only help you in your quest for victory! Bold reads as follows:
“This commander may always use Commands Points normally, even if it’s attached unit is Shaken or engaged in a Melee combat.”
Before continuing, let’s take a look at Indomitable:
“If this unit begins an activation Shaken, it immediately removes a point of Fatigue. If this would leave it with 2 points of Fatigue or less, it is no longer Shaken and may take actions normally.”
What this means is that if you attach Heyn to a stout unit of Enter Ploeg, he will make them almost UNSTOPPABLE. They will be able to knock off a point of Fatigue, reroll
Fatigue tests and just keep charging! For those who are a fan of the movie “Admiral”, and love Michiel de Ruyter, you *could* paint up a mini like him and use Heyn’s point cost and profile as it seems to fit (at least I think so!).
This is a well balanced list that can do plenty of cannon damage in a small game, but also has some good ranged small arms and plenty of punch when it comes to boarding. The unit of Zeelieden can have 9 men in it because the Master Gunner character doesn’t count towards the maximum unit size.
This Frigate list is all about closing and boarding. With a fast ship and a Sailing Master, you should be able to catch your prey pretty quickly. Once grappled, the Enter Ploeg and Zeelieden should be able to do their work, assisted with extra Fight actions by the Commander and Reformado.
This list goes all in on cannons with a Light Frigate and a Corvette full of Medium Guns. With Admiral Crimson’s Broadside! and Commodore, he could potentially coordinate a massive double broadside of 9 Medium Cannons at one unfortunate target!
Another cannon list but this time featuring the 6th Rate Frigate and the Heavy Bark. Binckes has the Expert Broadside special rule that could make that double broadside that much more deadly!
With better sailors, boarding parties, and Heavily Built ships at their disposal, the Dutch Navy can both stay back and brawl with other vessels and/or board them with relative ease. This versatility makes them unique and suited to various play styles. If you haven’t tried them out yet, I HIGHLY recommend you do! Until next time, fair winds and smooth seas everybody!