Attention all Blood & Plunder fans! This is an exclusive preview of a new Character rumored to coming to the game Soon™. Say hello to the “Cuban Merchant,” a man who’s as smooth as Caribbean rum and tenacious as a popcorn kernel stuck in your teeth.
Cuban Merchant Historical Background
The Cuban Merchant is a master of negotiation and bartering. He’s always looking for a way to get a good deal, even if it means bending the rules a little bit. And he’s not above turning a blind eye to some fudged dice rolls if it means he can come out ahead.
Of course, the Cuban Merchant’s greatest weapon is his wit. He can talk his way out of almost any situation, and he’s not afraid to mix a little charm with a little swag/bit o’shine to get what he wants. He’s the kind of guy who can talk his way past a guard, convince a rival captain to join his crew, or even sweet-talk his way into a governor’s good graces.
But don’t let the majesty of his beard fool you, the Cuban Merchant is also a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield! Equipped with an improvised Standard Melee Weapon and Sidearm pistol, he is capable of inflicting Fatigue and damage if needed.
Be warned though, his effects on gameplay can be a bit erratic, so it’s not all smooth sailing when you add the Cuban Merchant to your force. For as many benefits as the character offers, there is nearly an equal chance of a disaster or negative side effect. Fortune may favor the bold or leave you bankrupt, only fate will tell during the course of the game.
Despite the dangers faced in the Caribbean, the Cuban Merchant keeps on smiling. He knows that with a little bit of luck and a lot of charm, he can overcome any obstacle that comes his way. So if you see him sailing into port, be sure to give him a hearty wave and warm welcome. Just watch your back, because you never know what kind of deal he’s trying to make or who will get a metal crowbar to the skull…
Rules for Cuban Merchants in Blood & Plunder
Characters were first introduced to the pirate miniatures game of Blood & Plunder in No Peace Beyond the Line. They come in two varieties: “Fighting Men” & “Hostages & Advisors”. A Cuban Merchant is a Fighting Man, meaning he is an upgrade to a model in one of your Units.
- Cuban Merchants are 3 points. That is in addition to the cost of the model in the Unit you are converting to the “Fighting Man”. So if for instance, you use a 4pt Marinero, a Cuban Merchant technically costs 7pts.
- Cubans are generally friendly and outgoing extroverts who work well with everyone. Therefore they have no National Restrictions.
- Weaponry for the Merchant includes an improvised Standard Melee Weapon and a Sidearm pistol.
- This Character offers no other Command Points as they prefer to just do the job themselves rather than delegate so they know that it gets done correctly.
- While the Cuban Merchant does not add any Special Abilities to its unit, it does have a random Event type ability that occurs at the start of every Activation and is resolved using the mini “Cuban Merchant Special Effects Chart” below.
- If deployed with a 2pt Terrain for a Vendor booth, the terrain piece functions as a Breastwork. In addition, if the booth is fully stocked with merchandise you gain 1 free Fortune Point for your Force.
Cuban Merchant Special Effects Chart
At the start of every activation for this unit, roll one D10 and resolve it on the following chart.
|10||Your force gains 1 new Fortune Point.|
|9||Take one of your opponent’s Fortune Points. If they have no Fortune remaining, you get 1 anyway.|
|8||Interview with a war correspondent. Remove 1 Fatigue from any unit.|
|7||Product Release. You distract your opponent with new products available for sale. Choose a Unit in your opponent’s force at random. That unit loses 1 Action on its next activation.|
|5-6||Soon™ (No Result)|
|3-4||Unforeseen expense or setback! You lose a Fortune Point.|
|2||An overseas order fulfillment issue has occurred. You give one of your Fortune Points to your opponent due to the expense of covering the cost of the mistakes. If you have no Fortune Points remaining, take two Fatigue.|
|1||Your unit loses its next Activation while resolving a customer service issue.|
Building a Custom Cuban Merchant Miniature for Blood & Plunder
Step 1. Buy as many 2-player starter packs, Pirates of Legend boxes, Natives, Militia, and other miscellaneous Raise the Black merchandise as possible. Using your new found Cuban optimism, promise yourself you’ll get to them all eventually.
Quick link for reference: https://www.firelockgames.com/product-category/blood-plunder/?ref=pigment
Step 2. If you are a non-US customer, after selecting the parts you want to use, place them in a storage container and wait 4 months before attempting to build your miniature.
Step 3. Grab a random Sailor miniature body and assemble it. A “leaning model,” is a better option to help the model appear shorter than the other models. This is to help to reflect the cultural accuracy of Cubans being vertically challenged. I selected Sailor C1.
Note: You earn bonus points for selecting arms and hacking on the mini to try to match the original pose in the historical art. I think I used Sailor A2 and A4.
Step 4. While not required, selecting a head with a beard or using green stuff to sculpt a more epic beard is preferred. I used Militia F4
Crafting an Improvised Melee Weapon
Step 5. Select a spare musket from your bits box. Using a heat gun, attempt to melt it and bend it into the shape of a crowbar. For maximum accuracy, be sure to burn your fingers multiple times.
Step 6. When the musket fails, try again with a random chunk of sprue glued to a cutoff pistol handle.
At this point, it is best to let out a healthy sigh in defeat as it turns to goo because you will have likely heated it too much since it’s thinner than the musket used in Step 5.
Also, make sure you touch your metal tweezers with your fingertip while removing the hot plastic to maximize the burning sensation.
Step 7. Waste at least two different Heavy Melee weapons from your Natives boxed set before getting a 3rd weapon that “kind of works,” but doesn’t really look like a crowbar.
Just convince yourself it is close enough to keep moving forward with this absurd project because you’ve already committed to it.
Step 8. Assemble the mini and paint it.
Painting Your Cuban Merchant
Wow. You’re actually reading this section for painting suggestions? Meh…. just buy some Army Painter Speed Paints, overpriced Citadel contrast paints on Amazon, or craft paint from your local big box, Chinese merchandise dealer. Pick any colors you like and slap them on in a few coats till the model looks good. That’s pretty much what I did.
As a bonus tip, if you use one of the Amazon links provided, I’ll be sure to earn at least $0.22 over the next 6 months for the affiliate link recommendation. Those commissions will totally motivate me to keep writing more content!
Crafting Accessories for Your Cuban Merchant
A Cuban Merchant character model isn’t fully complete without crafting a proper vendor booth for him to use in selling his goods. The nature of the goods you select for his booth are completely up to you as they are willing to sell anything to make a doubloon.
I selected a variety of products that matched the layout I saw at an exhibit in the Chicago Natural History Museum of Wargaming and Miniatures (aka Adepticon). Lacking the financial budget of a museum, I just winged it.
To build the goods on the tables I used a number of random bits and materials I had in my crafting “bits of stuff.”
- Foam core board from the dollar store for Blood & Plunder starter set boxes
- I cut used gift cards and stacked the small rectangles as books
- Misc square dowel nubs leftover from the booth itself to make ship boxes
- I put hot glue globs on top of random chunks of sticky tack to be minis in blister packs
Trust me… all these vendor goods should only take a few minutes to knock out. The painting is quick and dirty. You’ll have your simple vendor booth done faster than a Blood & Plunder Kickstarter project from start to finish!
Customer Attention Getting Flag
Since air dancing, windsock men, like at car dealerships, aren’t a thing in the 18th Century, Cuban Merchants are often forced to rely on more practical means for getting their customer’s attention. Things like flags.
To best represent this 18th Century marketing strategy, I recommend you waste a couple of hours making a custom flag. It’s a simple process of cutting a canvas rectangle from canvas, painting it black, sealing it with a couple of coats of PVA glue, waiting a few hours for it to dry, and then freehanding an appropriate logo for your Cuban Merchant’s business. Remember to ignore the eye-rolls of your wife and/or kids for taking things too far. In the end, it will be totally worth it… trust me… I’m a professional at taking things to far…
Once the flag is fully dried, hot glue that puppy on a bamboo skewer and you have an instant flag for your vendor booth!
That’s it! Your Cuban Merchant is fully ready for the game table. You’ll be able to meta-game and insta-win every game of Blood & Plunder you play with him in your force.
Obviously, this entire article is satire and off the beaten path from the norm of our content. But we hope you enjoyed reading it as much as we did in writing it. The origin of this is an offhand post by Al Aguila on Facebook prepping for a gaming convention.
p.s. Thanks, Mike, Al, and all the staff at Firelock Games for what you do. I’ve enjoyed your games over the years and appreciate all the hours of thankless work you put in to help the gaming community.
Author: Jason Klotz
In all seriousness, we love Blood & Plunder and highly recommend any and all products from Firelock Games. They have consistently been a blessing to the gaming community by consistently bringing us great games. If you appreciate them as much as we do, show them some support by stopping by the “What’s New” section of their website. See if you can find something that catches your eye and give them a thank you for their years of sacrifice for the gaming community.