We’ve completed 4 weeks of the 2023 Summer of Plunder Campaign. We’re almost halfway through the event & the plundering continues!
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.
- Nation Report
- Raid Report
- Faction Report
- Individual Report
- Play at Your FLGS
- Oak & Iron Update
- Week 4 Objective Report Bark Wars!
- Week 5 Objective – Doldrums
- Weekly Campaign Prizes
- Special Benerson Little Book Giveaway!
- Campaign Sponsor Spotlight – the Dead Man’s Chest
- Commander Reports
- Final Thoughts
Spain is doing extremely well this year! Spain almost won the event last year but the English overtook them at the last moment. Spanish players seem determined to actually seize the prizes this year. But it’s not just about most player points this year!
Spain is amazing, Pirates, Dutch and English are close, Natives and French are lagging.
There were some huge raids this week with the Pirates using 200 points to take one of the Dutch islands and France and Spain devoting massive resources to a battle for Quebec. Read on the for the weekly conflict report.
This section outlines the changes on the campaign map and is a narrative of the battles that happen at a larger scale.
Attack 1 – French Attack Campeche
Amidst the untamed landscapes of Campeche, a motley crew of French militia, Infanterie, Filibusters, and seasoned Marins set foot on the soil with their diverse attire and weaponry. They advanced through the rugged terrains, brandishing swords and muskets. Their intimidating presence leads to the locals embracing a quick surrender and beginning trade negotiations with this strategic Caribbean region. (French 67 to Unaligned 27)
Attack 2 – Pirates Attack Curaçao
In the azure waters surrounding Curaçao, a colossal battle between the Dutch forces and a notorious band of pirates led by Don Gregorio “Redmist” Padilla himself. On the shores of the island, Dutch soldiers formed a disciplined line, their muskets ready, as pirate raiders stormed towards them, brandishing cutlasses and pistols. The thunderous boom of cannons echoed from Sir Admiral Pirate Bastard Dan’s anchored warships shattering fortifications and sent plumes of smoke into the air. Amidst the chaos, a fierce melee ensued, with swords clashing and gunfire ringing out as both sides fought with unyielding resolve for control of this strategic Caribbean outpost. Despite a valiant defense Maarten “Kielhaler” de Kruyf is forced to withdraw his remaining troops in defeat. (Pirates 200 to Dutch 140)
Attack 3 – Spain Attack Quebec
In the vibrant summer landscape of Canada, a monumental clash erupted as Spanish and French forces clashed in a fierce battle for tbe supremacy of Quebec. Gerardo de Guale on the flagship of the largest Spanish flotilla ever this far north scans the horizon with his spyglass. Soon the the rolling hills and verdant fields became a theater of war as French troops, led by the formidable Capitaine Albatros, suffered an utterly relentless assault against the Spanish invaders. The crackle of musket fire and the thunderous boom of cannons echoed repeatedly, as the French employed strategic flanking maneuvers to harass their adversaries. With unwavering resolve and a united front, the French forces managed to drive the Spanish back and achieve a resounding victory that reverberated throughout the summer air. (Spain 126 to French 164)
French Attack Trinidad
In the tropical expanse of Trinidad, a battle ensued between Dutch and French forces. Amidst the palm trees, the clash of swords and the volleys of muskets rings out. Using their overwhelming numerical advantage the French pressed their advantage, securing victory and capturing Trinidad from the Dutch. (Dutch 49 to French 120)
Summary of Changes:
- French take Unaligned Campeche
- Pirates take Dutch Curaçao
- Spanish fail to take French Quebec
- French take Dutch Trinidad
Each commander has the option of launching a “Raid” against another nation. The result is randomly determined with a simple die roll.
- Dutch – Raid Natives, result 5
The raid was a draw. No points are transferred.
- English – Raid Spain, result 8
Success. The attackers captured a number of goods and supplies. Transfer 10 VP from England to Spain.
- French – Raid Spain, result 6
The raid was a draw. No points are transferred.
- Natives – Raid England, result 5
The raid was a draw. The raid was mildly successful. Transfer 5 VP from the English to the Natives.
- Pirates – Raid the Dutch, result 9
Success! The attackers captured a number of goods and supplies. Transfer 10 VP from Dutch to Pirates.
While returning home and already reveling in their successful raid of the Dutch warehouses, Captain Trevor Smith sees fortune smile down upon him yet again. His crew managed to overtake a Portuguese brigantine laden with rum and sugar. The grog flows in abundance this day!
The prize nets the Pirates 10 bonus VP for being the first nation to employ the raid mechanic 100% as intended!
- Spanish – no raid
There are a lot of factions to enjoy in Blood & Plunder. Here the most played factions so far.
- The Flying Gang 50 games
- Spanish Militia 41 games
- Golden Age Pirates 36 Games
- Armada de Barlovento 32 games
- French Buccaneers and Dutch Oak & Iron 28 games each
It’s fun to see the Flying Gang get lots of play. That means all those great new Pirate commanders from Raise the Black are hitting the table. While the English didn’t get a Faction on this list, they have more evenly spread out numbers, with the English Caribbean Militia being their most used faction at 19 games.
There’s a $100 gift card prize for the player who earns the most points over the course of the whole campaign. Right now, after week 2, Tyler Carlson has the most points after 59 games that earned him 146 points.
Matthew Doerr is in second place with 121 points.
Play at Your FLGS
Roger Gilbert has been demoing and teaching like mad! He’s currently winning the prize for the most new players taught and the most games played at a local game store!
Oak & Iron Update
The Dutch continue to dominate the Oak & Iron scene, mostly due to a couple dedicated players.
But several players have mentioned they are trying Oak & Iron for the first time which is good to see!
Week 4 Objective Report Bark Wars!
We had a lot of Barks out to see this week! The Bark is one of the more lowly ships in the game, but it still delivers.
The Bark is a great ship for learning to play Blood & Plunder and it looks like a lot of teaching happened this week. Our “teaching a new players” stats show that 262 people have been taught how to play either Blood & Plunder or Oak & Iron during this campaign so far!
Week 5 Objective – Doldrums
This week’s objective is to play with lower than usual wind speed. Play a game of Plunder with the Wind starting at -2″, or have ships move -1 through your entire game of Oak & Iron.
oving slower can make you play more carefully and make you think ahead more. Lacking the speed to respond or reposition quickly really changes the game.
Or, if you want to catch your enemy off guard, use a speedy ship or boat with Sweeps and ignore the wind entirely! We just published a short article on using Sweeps in Blood & Plunder that might be useful reading for this objective.
Most of the base scenarios for Blood & Plunder should work well with a lower ship speed, except maybe Breakthrough and Escort. The new Listless scenario in RtB is particularly good for this objective, and it comes with 3 fun optional rules for spicing up the game if you want!
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 Matthew Doerr. Matthew has been the Dutch champion so far in this campaign, racking up points for both Blood & Plunder and Oak & Iron games!
Weekly Photo Prize Winner
It’s always hard choosing one picture out of all the image submitted in a week! This week’s prize going to Ryan Peterson for his shot of a Bark and Bermuda Sloop facing off at sea. The smoke makes it look like the Bark is getting the bad half of the deal here!
Special Benerson Little Book Giveaway!
The Firelock Games community has benefited greatly from Benerson Little’s historical research and writing. This week we’re giving away one of his fantastic book: The Buccaneer’s Realm. This is a great book, covering the era of the great French and English Buccaneers in the mid to late 17th century. It covers the big picture as well as some delightful details and minutiae. It’s a hard to get book right now and we’re giving away a hardback copy signed by the author! Benerson has always been a supporter of Firelock Games and we’d like to thank him for his contributions to making Blood & Plunder and Oak & Iron awesome games that respect history.
To be entered to win, you’ll need to answer this trivia question from Benerson Little’s Blog. In your entries for the week, in the comments section, answer this question: Why would Blas Miguel have a vendetta against the French Buccaneers? The answer is in the most recent post (not too far into it).
Benerson Little’s blog is extensive and he does deep dives into various topics, ideas and events, as well as some shorter and lighter posts. One of the coolest parts of his blog is all the original drawings and sketches he finds and includes in his posts. Really great stuff! Check it out and drop a comment to let him know you appreciate his contributions to the historical pirate gaming community!
We will be giving away another of his books later in the campaign so stay tuned!
Campaign Sponsor Spotlight – the Dead Man’s Chest
This campaign gives out a lot of loot and that wouldn’t be possible without our community sponsors who help promote the event and provide prize support. One of our great campaign sponsors is The Dead Man’s Chest blog, managed by Tyler Stone.
Tyler is providing the objective marker prizes for the random weekly giveaway this year. Tyler has made a lot of terrain for Blood & Plunder, including massive layouts for convention games like the 2022 Great Swamp Fight event.
The Dead Man’s Chest blog is one of the more recent content sources for the Firelock Games community, but Tyler has been a contributor long before this project. Tyler has hosted the Tales of the Sail podcast, helped organize and run tournaments at conventions, and helped demo the game at the Firelock booth in the vendor hall at Adepticon. Tyler has also served as French Commander for the Summer of Plunder for the past 2 years and is serving as Second in Command for France this year!
The Deadman’s Chest blog supports the entire line of Firelock Games products with current articles looking at Blood & Plunder, the upcoming Blood & Crowns, War Stories, Blood & Steel, and Blood & Valor (with a fine article written by Pigment member Dan Carlson!). Tyler always gets the inside scoop on product development and releases!
In addition to supporting the campaign through weekly prizes, Tyler is running a huge giveaway right now on his blog. With more than $400 of prizes being handed out, you don’t want to miss it! Subscribe to The Dead Man’s Chest and you get entered to win, and then you can get more entries through playing in the Summer of Plunder campaign (bonus points for playing for France!).
Rulebooks, dice, card sets, exclusive content, and even a custom gaming case! There’s tons to win here! Check out all the details here.
Now, here are the important messages from your beloved commanders.
¡Saludos desde la Habana!
Last week was a disappointment in strategy. We are still in a very good position for continued success. My challenge still stands, Corsario: Whoever sinks or captures the most ships (Boats do not count for this challenge!) will win a sailor sprue. Please indicate that you sank or captured a ship by checking the “completed a national objective” box (this really helps me sort through entries). Right now Zeph Garcia-Reyes is in the lead with 3 ships captured or sunk!
I’m also putting out another Trivia Question this week. The answer to last weeks trivia question was Hispaniola. Only one person got the answer correct last week. This week’s question is: What British colony, and current residence of Gerardo de Guale, was established in disputed Spanish territory in 1733? Put the answer in the comments of your submission.
Let me remind you that I’m giving away cards and 3D printed goodies for correct trivia answers. Keep it up everyone! We are doing great. Remember to always ask yourself “Have I been Ruthless today?”
-Gerardo de Guale
Current Spanish Objectives
- Most ships sunk or captured. Please check the national objective box in the entry form. Prize is a sailor sprue.
- Trivia Question: What British colony, and current residence of Gerardo de Guale, was established in disputed Spanish territory in 1733? Put the answer in the comments of your submission.
Dutch Fall to Foul Papist Influence
Privateers Hired for England’s Defense
Murderous Dutch on the Prowl
Ye recent violense commitd against ye noble English is officially recognized by Parliament and the Crown as ye betrayal of ye Stadtholder of ye Netherlands and King of England, William III. His Wife and Co-Monarck Mary II Stuart has taken sole control of the throne as William prepares a force for ye invasion and reconquest of the Dutch Republic. In the Americas, Lord Governor McKing has issued forth an open commission to any ship captaind and crewd by majority Englishmen, Scots, French, or freedmen or savage for ye hunting of both ye Dutch and Spanish prizes. Any cargo so-seized may be offloaded and ye carrying ships may refit at any English held port without fear of restriction or reprisal.
- Cpt. Maclain, a loyal Scot, was murdered by Spanish pirates.
- Cpt. James Monson led a force of buccaneers against ye Dutch outpost and defeatd them well
- Ryan O’Peterson, an Irish and known Jacobite was killed in battle with ye English when his vessels powdered was struck
- Lt. James Arlekrans was ambushed and boarded by Dutch pirates, his whereabouts remayn unknown
- Colonel E. Botkin defeatd ye Pirate “Blackbeard” ashore
- Militia under Cpt. Matthew Maggott were defeated by Dutch rebels near New York
Current English Objective:
- Complete the “Doldrums” global challenge to be entered to win this week’s prize, 8x Metal “Veteran Freebooters” (Milices des Caraibe). Every entry will count as one “ticket” in the raffle up to five “tickets” per player.
- Additionally, any player who emails in a picture of their painted Regulars or Musketeers will be sent a copy of this year’s English commander cards. (firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Soldier)
- Finally, Congratulations to James Monson for winning last week’s prize! I will reach out within the next day but if for some reason it doesn’t reach you, please contact us.
My fellow captains, you have proven to the world that France is a power to be feared! Not only did we conquer two new cities but we valiantly withstood everything that Spain could throw at us and we held our capital. What better way to celebrate than with the boom of cannons? With challenging weather ahead, the range provided by our heavy artillery could make all the difference. Keep up the momentum! Log those games, hit those objectives, and recruit new captains. Remember that there are rewards at the conclusion of this campaign for the captain who brings the most new sailors to our cause. Each new captain means more acclaim for France!
I can see victory on the horizon, keep your heads high, your eyes clear, and chase it!
Current French Objectives
- This week’s objective is An Explosive Celebration: Use heavy cannons!. Every game submitted with heavy cannons used will be entered into a drawing to win a prize package of 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.
This week was a tough week. We got attacked by the Pirates on Curaçao and due to the enormous force we lost our capital to the filthy pirates. They lost a significant amount of Victory Points by this attack. We also suffered the loss of Trinidad to the weird French. The losses on their side are also significant.
On the other hand we gained momentum in our number of games played and the gap between the pirates and English is closing. Well done. This means more Victory Points in the commander’s game. Which helps for coping with the lost revenue of Curaçao and Trinidad.
Next week keeping up the number of games is crucial to keeping our position on the world map. If we manage to get in more points than last week I’ll throw in an extra raffle for a militia sprue.
A shoutout to Christopher Papinski and Mick Paul for getting in 2nd place in the points leaderboard.
Maarten “Kielhaler” de Kruif
Current Dutch Objectives
- Most Dutch points at end of campaign- Painted Dutch commander
- Board Any Nationality ship this week – Commander Card
- There’s another raffle. Play games to get as many as 5 raffles for a chance of winning a Soldiers Sprue
It’s been a light week for the Natives, perhaps many of our Braves are traveling to visit family in other tribes. With war brewing all around and some big attacks happening, the elder warchiefs decided it was prudent to play defensively this week. With lower VP income from games played, we need to conserve our territories. The good news is that as long as the larger powers are exhausting their military strength on one another, we are still in this game my brothers! We shall tread the path of wisdom and emerge strong while the Europeans lose themselves in the woods.
Current Native American Objectives
- This week’s theme is Doldrums, which doesn’t have much effect on us but may make it easier to catch enemy ships in the low wind conditions. We’ve had a lot of ship related goals recently and there’s not that much variety for Natives in terms of sea games so I’m going to switch things up a bit. Play a game with Poison Arrows (on land or sea) and you’ll get a Natives Commander card.
The Pirate pressure is on! Captains, your game play has kept us in second place for a second week…well done! All we can do now is to continue to play our games each week and log them in, in hope to catch the Spanish. Just about all the games played this week completed our Pirate Objective – playing with a Legendary Character. I saw a lot of “Black Beard” figures out there. Oh, For Ray Weiandt…would have love to see that frontal view of your Pirate captain figure in the light blue coat…all I saw was the back…so what I’m saying…give me a frontal pic next week if possible…Aaaaasrgh!
Pic from Erich Goebel
Captains, I would like to help you out and give a few camera taking tips. I look through all of your pictures, which is a lot…trust me…I see a lot of scenes which I could use for the weekly report. These are simple tips and nothing too crazy. Have great lighting; don’t need anything professional, but good illumination and even natural light is best…avoid using any flash. Get your camera/cell phone down to figure level and focus in to the figure/group you want to capture. Oh and I love to see the “Skull-n- Cross bones” in the pics too. Erich does a great job in his picture above…Aaaargh!
Bark Wars…whew…these ships are pretty fragile unless you dialed up some points to get a Heavy Bark. I didn’t see any Heavy Barks out in the pics and curious if anyone played with one. I have one, but to keep it even in our game, my son and I ended up using those extra points for better crew stats. I was tempted to pull a Guy in the “Bark Wars” video from Blood & Pigment, and not have any guns on the ship…I chickened out. Curious if anyone else followed that lead?
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.
This week’s campaign objective is called, “Doldrums”…what the hell is that? Now that’s a big word for us simple Pirate Captains. Well it’s pretty much a state or period of inactivity…we Pirates don’t like that. Idle hands are not good on a ship. So for this week is comes down to playing a sea game where the wind starts at -2” for Blood & Plunder. For Oak & Iron games, you have to play the entire game; all ships have a -1 to their current Sailing Speed. In a nut shell…that sucks! Time to dial in a better ship…a fast ship! Sloops are nice for this week.
Current Pirate Objectives
- With all the games being played up this point, we had made great progress moving forward but we’ve had to pay the butcher. In order to re-coop our losses, I’m declaring you play with the biggest ship you have in your fleet. Raise the black and sail into victory. It’s going to be tough with the all the negative wind issues for this week’s campaign objective, but I know you will overcome that dilemma. Remember several random events can change that for you as well as using sweeps! So show me your BIG ship, and raise the black! For your efforts you will be award much needed reinforcements (a plastic sprue from the Sailors Box) in their efforts to control our area of operations.
- Finally, get your games in, take some great pics, raise the Black and most of all…have fun!
Keep up the good work everyone! The competition is tight, the objectives are getting knocked out and it looks like people are having fun! Thanks for participating in the campaign and reading this update! Have a happy 4th of July (for all our American readers), and enjoy your gaming this week!