Week 1 Update – Summer of Plunder 2023


Welcome to the first update in the 2023 Summer of Plunder Campaign for Blood & Plunder and Oak & Iron! There’s a ton of pirating going on this year and we’re excited to share our campaign progress so far! 

If you’re just joining us in this campaign, or returning after participating in previous years, we have added some new elements this year, foremost being the campaign map tracks the power, progress, and strategic skill of each nation and its commander. You can check all the basic info and rules for the campaign here and all the higher level map info and rules for the campaign rules here.

In this weekly update, we’re going to go over some participation stats, check the change in status on the campaign map, show off some pretty pictures of some players’ games, give away a prize or two, and check in with our national commanders who will be fearlessly leading their players through this campaign.

Photo by Brent Devos

Nation Report 

Who’s winning? Well, so far, Spain is winning and it isn’t close! Spain came out of the gate swinging! But Spain does have a reputation for conquering a lot of territory and then letting their empire fall apart. But rumor has it that Spain is organized with secret methods of communication, strict vetting procedures, and probably a bit of shady dealing and corruption. 

Through players’ points alone, Spain accumulated 218 by the end of the first week of the campaign (6/4-6/10). 

In a distant but hard earned second place, the English have 102 points. The Dutch were vying with Spain for first place in the first two days of the campaign but they are right above France right now with 88 points over France’s 83. France started slow but is now right there with England, Holland and right above the Pirates at 75. We go into this campaign expecting the pirates to do well with the release of all the fancy Pirates in Raise the Black but that has yet to prove itself to be true. The Native Americans need to log some more games with only 34 points right now! 

Every week each nation’s current holdings in the New World also generate their nation points. The pie chart above only reflects the player-earned points. Each nation’s commander has the ability to deploy these points as resources to attack, raid and defend locations on this campaign map.

We used the starting positions of the various nations to balance the starting points a little bit, intentionally giving some nations better starting positions. This first week, commanders only used the points generated by their starting locations to attack and defend. Commanders were predominantly cautious with only the Native American Apalachee being seized by the French and the other attempts at aggressing being met with just enough force to drive them back. Next week, commanders will be working with substantially more points they will have access to the points players earned through games this last week. 

Combining the location-earned and player earned points for each nation, here are the campaign points each nation’s commander has to work with to defend and expand their areas of control in the New World this week:

  • Spain 308
  • English 173
  • French 171
  • Dutch 164
  • Natives 143
  • Pirates 185

Now it’s clear Spain really benefited from those huge player numbers this past week! It’s also remarkable that no nation chose to attack Spain this first week, especially knowing they were getting those big numbers. No one wanted to poke the bear. But knowing this going into week two, I wouldn’t be surprized to see some coordination between nations to keep Spain in check. Or, to keep true to history, let Spain establish its empire, then rob it blind in the later half of the campaign! There will be intrigue.


National Battle Report

This section outlines the changes on the campaign map and is a narrative of the battles that happen at a larger scale. Overall, players were conservative with only 3 attacks declared in this first week.

Attack 1 – Dutch attack Antigua

Dutch flags are spotted on the masts of multiple men of war sail into Antigua.   Braving the shelling from shore defenses, Dutch troops pour on to the beach and storm inland.  Fighting is hard and heavy, with the battle rages for several hours.  But the English resolve held strong.  Rallying their forces and calling in reserves the Dutch invasion was repelled.  The survivors rowed back to their ships in defeat.  (Dutch 43 – English 48).

Attack 2 – French Attack Apalachee

French expeditionary forces march into the lowlands of the Apalachee bringing fresh supplies and escorting settlers inland.  Some land is acquired through trade, and on others Natives are driven from their homes and further west toward the Mississippi.   The French secure Apalachee for the crown.  (French 40, Natives 30)

Attack 3 – Natives Attack New York

Bonfires in the forests of New England burn long into the night as warriors sing and dance preparing for war.   Early the next morning, as the fog begins to fall away from the coast, dozens of dark-skinned Wabanaki warriors embellished with warpaint stream wild-eyed from the woods in deadly silence.   Blood curdling screams begin to echo from the outskirts of the town.  Smoke rises from half a dozen cabins.  Church bells toll from the center of town.  Shouts, gunshots and war cries fill the streets.  Eventually order begins to take form as redcoats form firing lines.  Squadrons of soldiers begin to deploy in the key intersections.  Blood runs in the streets.  When the smoke clears both sides suffer heavy losses as the conflict stalls to a stalemate.  [The battle for New York was a tie Natives 54 to England 54, so the English won and retain control.]

Ending status. Map didn’t change much yet and it is notable that no one gobbled up some of the neutral ports, but commanders decided to snipe at each other rather than add easy gains to their empires.

Faction Report 

Of the grand total of 104 factions currently available in Blood & Plunder and Oak & Iron combined, 56 have already been played during the first week! 

Spain saw 11 factions used with Spanish Militia and Reformed Spanish Militia leading the way at 15 and 10 entries each. The English had 12 different factions used with the new British factions from Raise the Black noticeably prominent. British Army and North American English Militia had the most uses at 6 each. the  French had 7 factions used with the French Buccaneers being the most popular. The Dutch also had 7 different factions used with the new version of the Dutch Caribbean Militia from Raise the Black being the most popular (by a long shot).

Native Americans had 8 different factions used with the new Yamasee being the most popular. The pirates don’t have as many factions to choose from, and they knocked out all of their factions this week except the Logwood Cutters. Come on everyone! Drunk pirates are good times!

Individual Report 

There’s a prize for the player who earns the most points over the course of the whole campaign. Right now, after week 1, Tyler Carlson has the most points after 15 games that earned him 47 points.

Oak & Iron Update

Oak & Iron got its share of love this week with about 12 games logged, half of those being Dutch. Those Oak & Iron Players love their Dutch faction!

Week 1 Objective Report – 50 Point Games

Of the 218 entries, a full 200 accomplished the objective of playing small 50 points games. Small games are great for getting back into the hang of things if you haven’t played in a while, if you’re just learning the game, or teaching it to someone new. That said, some strange things can happen in a game that small. Every single man counts at this point level and a single bad throw of the dice can decide the game. It looks like people had fun with it, even playing a wide variety of scenarios on land and on sea. 

Here at Blood & Pigment we tried to play the silliest 50 point match up we could think up and we managed to play a force with 11 activation cards against a force with a single unit defending a Stone Tower Fort. It was an entertaining battle! 

Week 2 Objective – Use 2+ Shoals or Fortifications

The objective for week 2 is to either include a Fortification or pieces of Shoal terrain in your game. 

For your land games, you have several options for Fortifications now. Included in the core rulebook are:

  • Breastworks for 2pts per section
  • Watch Tower for 2pts
  • Gun Emplacement for 2pts

Then you have a bunch more fun options in Fire on the Frontier:

  • Blockhouse
  • Garrison House
  • Stone Tower Fort
  • Fortified Building
  • Palisade Wall and Bastion

Fortifications can be a fun way to change up the game a little and provide a solid, immovable element to your board that can give some focus to your battles. Only one player on a board can include fortifications and that player will be the defender, so you’ll have to plan ahead or be a little flexible.

Photo by David Nye

At sea, you can fulfill the objective by including at least 2 pieces of shoal terrain (this applies to both Blood & Plunder and Oak & Iron). It can be easy to forget adding terrain elements to your sea board, but it introduces fun new choices, and risks to be taken. It also rewards playing those small ships like the Balandra that comes in the two player starter set.

Here’s a quick reminder how shoals work if you haven’t used them in a while (or ever):|
When any part of your ship overlaps a shoal during movement, you have to roll a single d10 and add the resulting number to your Draft number of your ship. If the resulting number is 15+, your ship has run aground. The smallest two deck ships have a draft of 5 so you have to roll a 10 but the big boys like the Galleon have a draft value of 12 so any result over a 2 is bad news! The Shallow Draft ship trait also is nice to have around with shoals on the board as you get to roll two dice and use the better result. 

If you do have the bad fortune of running aground, you have to take your sails down to 0”, then make a repair action to push off from the shoal, then get your sail back up again. You never want to get stuck on that shoal and putting them out on the board adds another level of decision making in your game that can be really fun.

It’s easy to use shoals in your game now because the two player starter set comes with punchout shoals! 

In Oak & Iron, if you ship overlaps a piece of shoal terrain, you have to roll a number of d8’s equal to your ship’s Fortitude value and if any of the results are a skull, your ship runs aground. 

Weekly Campaign Prizes

Each week we have two regular prizes to give away. First, one of all the entries of the week will receive a custom made chest objective token from Tyler Stone, one of our campaign sponsors from Dead Man’s Chest blog. Secondly, each week one of the photos submitted during the week will be selected to receive an awesome reproduction piece of eight from St. Augustine Mint.This prize can only be won once during the campaign for each player. 

Weekly Random Drawing

This week’s winner for the random drawing is Nathan Hathcock. Nathan submitted an entry featuring a nicely painted British Militia faction on an attractive board. Congrats to Nathan!

Weekly Photo Prize Winner

With 218 entries this first week, we had over 1000 photos to sort through! It’s really awesome to see all these game tables, miniatures and people enjoying some pirate wargaming!

This week’s winner is Michael Verity for his shot of a bloody battlefield. His Spanish forces met grizzly ends in all 4 of his games this week, but he still added glory to the crown of Spain through bold and bloody fighting. 

You can see a selection of photos from this week’s entries in this gallery. It contains 1 picture from almost all of the 218 entries over the past week. 

This picture tells a story. A story of death for the Spanish!

We’re honored to have Dexter from The Plunder Den YouTube channel on board as one of this year’s campaign sponsors (he is also serving as England’s second-in-command this year after leading the English to victory last year). 

Dexter’s Plunder Den YouTube channel is a treasure trove of ideas, technique and enthusiasm for Blood & Plunder, beautiful scratch built terrain, and the wargaming hobby in general. 

If you haven’t already subscribed to his channel, do yourself a favor and subscribe now! He faithfully adds fresh and inspired content to his channel on a weekly basis. 

For this campaign, Dexter has pledged a scratch built New England style house as a prize for the best looking table featured in submitted images. Spruce up your tables and get some good shots, because Dexter doesn’t do anything halfway and this prize promises to be one of the most coveted of the campaign!

Since it’s Fortification Week, you should make sure to check out his Fortification playlist!

Commander Reports

Now, here are the important messages from your doughty commanders.


Saludos desde la Habana,

The Spanish Soldados have had an incredible start to the campaign. The trivia question answer for last week is The Magdalen. The winners will receive their resupply shortly as they have shown themselves to be true Spaniards. The true Spaniard with the most reputación is clearly Tyler Carlson. He scored the most points during the first week and will receive fresh reinforcements from my garrison. 

As we settle into the campaign season do not waver keep the pressure up. We have a great lead, and we may need to hold fast to what we have gained so far. That is why my challenge for the next two weeks is called Castilian: Whoever plays the most games defending a fortification or a 3 or greater decked ship will earn a sprue of Soldados after Week 3. This can be any fortification in the rulebooks. Just take a picture of it, check the completed national objective checkbox, and tell me what type you used in the comments.  

Additionally, I will be judging the pictures of the forts/ships for a painting/building contest. The prize will be the first of two dice/fortune coin bags. These bags use materials that would have been common in the 17th or 18th century and are commonly used by reenactors.  Any 3 or more deck ship or fortification can be entered to the contest and the winner will be announced at the end of week 3. Also a challenge to all O&I players is to play the most Spanish games of O&I during the campaign. Winner will get a O&I scale Castillo de San Marcos to help defend against enemy invasions.

Finally, the trivia question for this week is: What was the war of Spanish succession known as in the Americas? Winners will receive “supplies” (small 3D printed scatter terrain) and both my, and my second in command’s commander cards. Put your answers in the comments.

-Gerardo de Guale

Current Spanish Objectives

  • Trivia of the Week – What was the war of Spanish succession known as in the Americas? – Prize is small supplies objective tokens
  • End of Week 3 – Best size 3+ ship or fortification in submission. Prize is small bag for Fortune Tokens.\
  • Whoever plays the most games defending a fortification or a 3 or greater decked ship will earn a sprue of Soldados after week 3


Vile Invadors Repulsed

Heathen and Christian alike Defeated by British Valor

New Armys to be Martialled

In those dayse most recently passed, belligerents assailed our sovereign holdings in both New England & the Isle of Antigua. Valiant defenders of their Majestys holdings repelled the savage in the North and the disloyal lowlander in the South. It is to be readily assumed that our suspicions were well-founded and we find ourselves in a stayte of war. 

Major P. Paul repelling the Dutch expeditionary forces at Antigua.

Admiral Diexter Hyde has been said to have arrivd in Boston with his Northern Fleet and force of regulars and private men-at-arms. Those able men seeking gainful employ need only applye for service. Commission for the private vessel can be had upon proper request, those interested partys may submit such inquiry to the office of  ye locally established administration. 

(bandpcampaign@gmail.com Subject: English Commission)

Lord Governor Sir Jaydin McKing hath issued the following instruction to his subordinate officials and captains. In the wake of these unwarranted acts of aggreshion, the mobilization of local forces has been authorized. His lordship has advissed that weaker targets be chosen for such aggressive actions. Previous clamoring for invasion of well garrisoned strongholds has been soundly refused, to some discontent among local officials.

Lord Governor McKing has, in council with Admiral Hyde, authorized the assignment of regular soldiers for the garrisoning of newly constructed colonial fortifications and defense of exploratory vessels charting local waterways. Local officials and captains need only display theyr involvement in such activityes to be considered for the assignment of such forces.

Current English Objective:

  • Any player who completes the “Dangerous Territory” global challenge will be entered for a chance to win a new plastic Soldier sprue.


Countrymen, France needs you! It’s time to inspire our sleeping brothers in arms, rally other captains to our cause, and raise our banners to fight for our country! The Spanish have a commanding lead, but this is a campaign and not a single battle. Victory is still well within reach, but only if we refuse to be complacent. We are competitively positioned and will not let the Spanish set the narrative for the battles to come. The sun will shine brightly for France!

-Capitaine Albatros

Current French Objectives

  • Hoist the Colors! My favorite picture with a flag in it will win a prize package with a terrain objective piece and commander card.
  • Every French game and completed objective will be entered into a drawing for a painted bark during the last week of the campaign.
  • Most French new players recruited will win a painted french commander.
Photo by Brandon D



We had a great week fighting. We kept a little margin on the English. We need to up our game to keep up with the filthy Spanish Armada. Next week will be a week in which we can excel. To get extra elan next week to rule the seas: you will get a special commander card if you board an enemy vessel.

Keep up the good work and defend the “Hollandsch Glorie” 

Current Dutch Objectives

  • Most Dutch points at end of campaign- Painted Dutch commander
  • Board Any Nationality ship this week – Commander Card

Native American

First week is done, and the first battles are logged. Things are about to heat up, so watch for our opportunities.  We are beset on all sides by the nations of Europe and will soon feel the squeeze as they try to push us from our lands.  We had a decent start, but we must not let up!

This week, we take to the canoas and piraguas to board our enemies on the water while our tribesmen on land launch a sneak attack on their fortifications where they least suspect it.

Photo by Tyler Stone

Current Native American Objectives

  • Board an enemy vessel or enter an enemy fortification.  Bonus if you defeat the enemy command on his own ship or in his own fortification.


Lads, we’re off to a bit of a slow start, but that’s okay…slow and steady is what we like. Now that the first shots have been fired, it’s time dial up our activity and focus our efforts against the Spanish.  They’re like roaches…they keep coming out of a wretched ship…time to start stomping them down.

Pic from Ray Weiandt

Last week’s leaderboard was impressive with three captains banging out four games…yes four games!Spreading the word from the brotherhood took seventeen games to your local gaming stores…awesome!

Pic from Raymond

This week’s campaign objective is a great opportunity to hit the Spanish hard when they hit one of two shoals. Maybe board when they’re stuck. If your efforts take you inland, then get them fortifications up…remember to use explosives when attacking!

Pic from Erich Goebel

The Pirate faction had established a base of operation via Facebook headed up by my First Mate Dan aka Sir Admiral Pirate Bastard. Attacks and Defenses will be communicated there along with other insider information.

Pic from Kurtis Fraley

Finally, get your games in, raise the Black and most of all…have fun!

Pic from Peter Loukos

Current Pirate Objectives

  • For your efforts from last week and coming into this week, you may be in need of some reinforcements. The Pirate captain which raises the “Black”…or “Joli Rouge” in their games (via game pics) along with the highest scoring captain, will be awarded much needed reinforcements (a plastic sprue from the Sailors Box) this week, in their efforts to control our area of operations. 

Final Thoughts for Week 1

The campaign is off to a great start with almost double the entries in the first week compared to last year’s event! Spain came out of the gate strong, but will the Spanish commander use those resources wisely to expand and defend the empire? Will the growing empire suppress corruption and keep their quickly growing empire healthy? Will the other nations stand for this clear dominance? 

Photo by David Nye

One thought on “Week 1 Update – Summer of Plunder 2023

  1. Trivia of the Week – What was the war of Spanish succession known as in the Americas? Queen Anne’s War!

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