By Joseph Forster
The next big expansion for Blood & Plunder is right around the corner and and it’s time for some more spoilers! In this article we’re going to take a look at a list of the factions found in Raise the Black. This expansion isn’t quite as massive as No Peace Beyond the Line is, but there’s an abundance of new forces that are going to be available to play when this books gets into your hand late this year.
Before we look at the list, I want to point out that this is really two expansions rolled into one: Raise the Black (focusing on Pirates and their foes) and the Queen Anne’s War (focusing on Colonial and Native powers in conflict in the New World in the early 18th century). I want to also point out that while there aren’t that many different Pirate factions, the pirates gain enormous variety through their unique commanders and characters (which we will have to look at in a separate article).
Note on photos: these images are representative, but most of them do not contain the new miniatures from the Raise the Black Kickstarter line.
Pirate Factions in Raise the Black
First item of note here, we actually get a new “pirate nationality” in this book. They aren’t just lumped in with the Unaligned in the back of the book. Raise the Black leads with a full chapter on Pirates.
New Pirate factions included:
- The Flying Gang
- Golden Age Pirates
- Blackbeard’s Men
- Caesar’s Men
Two of these are generic factions that allow for many different commanders and two of them are Legendary Factions that require you use a specific commander. The most generic Golden Age Pirate factions has the most possible variety, but they are apt to be drunk while the Flying Gang has less options, but has a little more discipline. All these factions allow for high quantities of greedy but undisciplined Pirate models that you can use to intimidate and overwhelm your foes.
Spanish Factions in Raise the Black
In the early 18th century, Spain is struggling to maintain it’s empire and update the equipment of its far-flung outposts. Spain has also found an ally against Great Britain in France.
7 new Spanish Factions in Raise the Black:
- Spanish Army
- Spanish Armada
- Spanish Mission Garrison
- Franco-Spanish Expeditionary Forces
- Guarda Costas
- Reformed Spanish Militia
- Pargo’s Marineros
There’s a real wide variety here, ranging from a very strong professional army faction, down to the Spanish Mission Garrison with untrained Native militia troops, all the way to the Legendary Pargo’s special faction. Bread-and-butter factions like the Guarda Costas and Spanish Militia also get some meaningful updates as we move into the 18th century. The Franco-Spanish Expeditionary Forces lets Spain get access to those tasty French units! Spain got neglected in Fire on the Frontier, but these 7 factions, along with 7 new units and 7 new historical commanders (including Legendary Pargo who is actually a good Legendary for the Spanish), really provide a ton of new options for Spanish players.
British Factions in Raise the Black
The English colonies are growing fast in North American in the early 18th century. In 1707, the Acts of Union incorporated England and Scotland into Great Britain. England and Great Britain and basically interchangeable in game terms, but the British factions now have a new flag/shield.
The new British factions are:
- British Privateers
- British Raiders
- British Army
- British Royal Navy
- British Militia
- Maynard’s Pirate Hunters
The Navy and Militia factions are updates to to existing factions, but the Army, Privateers, and most notably the Raiders factions bring new force construction and tactics to the table for the English player. Those of you on the hunt for Pirates can enjoy Maynard’s special pirate killing faction. Dan Carlson is rumored to be planning an entire crew of Blackbeard miniatures. Let the hunt begin!
French Factions in Raise the Black
French players get 6 factions in Raise the Black. Some of these are new iterations of existing French factions but there are brand new factions as well. New units, most notably the Compagnies Franches de la Marine, give these French factions some really deadly options.
French factions in Raise the Black include:
- French Army
- French Raiders
- French Caribbean Militia
- French Privateers
- French Royal Navy
- Canadian Militia
The North American French land factions are especially powerful, blending French aggression and Native tactics.
Dutch Factions in Raise the Black
The Dutch fade in the New World as the 18th century opens. But they still (barely) made it into Raise the Black as a full fledged nation. While they don’t have as many factions as the other nations, both of their factions have two major Force Options that basically split these into 6 new factions.
New Dutch factions in the Blood & Plunder expansion set include:
- Dutch Marine
- West India Company
- Dutch Caribbean Militia
- Dutch Frontier Militia
- Dutch GWC Garrison
It wouldn’t be a real Dutch chapter unless there words that were literally impossible to decode and pronounce: Vrijbuiters, Vrij Compagnieen, and Zvarte Militie! But even here with fewer factions, we get to enjoy some increasingly naturalized frontier forces and more professional European army style forces, as well as new sea-going forces. There’s one particular Motivated Dutch commander that’s going to make some heads spin as well.
Native Americans Factions in Raise the Black
As the English and French move deeper into the continent, they encounter more Native nations, each with their own approach to facing new peoples and technologies. Raise the Black has a long list of new Native Tribes, along with some updated lists for the standby tribes already presented in No Peace Beyond the Line.
Native factions in Raise the Black include:
- Northeastern Woodland Tribes
The main focus here is fleshing out the Southeastern woodland tribes that come into contact with South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana. The new commanders encourage some new play styles as well. In addition to the historical commanders, the new generic commanders, the Natives get a entirely new command system that serves to represent their centralized (and often fractured) leadership structure.
Unaligned & Peripheral Power Factions in Raise the Black
With the Pirates split out into their own nation and many of the minor European colonies having failed by the 18th century, this chapter is a bit slimmer than in No Peace Beyond the Line, but there are some really fun and strong factions in here.
New Factions in the Unaligned and Peripheral Powers chapter include:
- The Last Buccaneers
- Brazilian Portuguese Garrison
- Brazilian Portuguese Armadillas
- Miskito Zambo
The Last Buccaneers are kind of a “fading” version of Brethren of the Coast, and the Baymen are more developed version of the Logwood Cutters. The Portuguese are still good and they get a better selection of commanders. The Maroons are a pretty substantial faction with several subfactions. They are going to be fun. Watch out nooby British Militia!
Blood & Plunder currently has a total of 59 playable factions. Raise the Black adds 40 new factions. Raise the Black will bring that total to 99 factions! That’s an amazing amount of variety!
Combine that with all the new commanders coming in Raise the Black and this should keep us Blood & Plunder players busy for good while!
To summarize, Raise the Black updates many of the standby factions for the early 18th century, further develops pirate factions as their own nationality, presents new styles of professional army and navy factions, fleshes out SE North American Native factions, and presents some very fresh Unaligned factions, most notably the Maroons.
You can currently pre order the entire Raise the Black line of products here on the Firelock Games website. The starter box is a great place to start, but to enjoy this new lineup of factions, you’ll need to grab the Raise the Black hard cover expansion book. Raise the Black is also available in the deluxe 18th century rulebook that contains the updated core rule book in the first half, and the full Raise the Black expansion in the second half. It’s a beautiful book!
You can find more spoilers and details on what’s coming in Raise the Black here on Blood & Pigment.
Raise the Black should be shipping to Kickstarter backers and preorder customers in late 2022.