Galleon Ship Overview
A Spanish Galleon ship model is one of the quintessential images of the Age of Piracy. Large hulking vessels hauling valuable cargo were prime targets for pirates. So naturally the Galleon is an excellent ship for use in the Blood & Plunder historical miniatures game.
The 28mm scale Galleon model measures 26″ long and 24″ tall. It truly dominates a gaming table and intimidates its opponents. At a game store or gaming convention, this gorgeous model always turns heads and draws interest.
Galleon Ship Stat Card
A copy of the Galleon stat card front and back for reference or you can save and print it. Each side should be 4″x6″. You can then stick them in a recommended card sleeve and you are good to go.
Speed and Maneuverability
The Galleon is many things but it is neither fast nor maneuverable. As long as you keep the wind at your back, you can move around just fine. However, once you start going upwind, don’t expect to make a lot of headway.
The 2″ turn is the lowest of any ship in Blood & Plunder. It will take a full 2 moves to move 90* and 4 full turn moves to reverse directions. Since most games only last 6 rounds, your initial deployment heading is EXTREMELY important.
Ship Movement Stats
- Top Speed: 4″
- Turn: 2″
- Draft: 12
- Sail Settings:
4″ | 3″ | 2″ | 1″ | 0″ | ⚓
Sailing Strategy & Tactics Suggestions
- The Galleon lacks the Staysails ability that comes on other large ships (e.g. 6th Rate and Light Frigate), which makes it extra unforgiving if you’re trying to travel upwind. A Sailing Master Character can help get an extra 1″inch of movement at just the right moment
- The Galleon can take bow and stern chaser cannons to make up for its sluggishness. But unless you are facing smaller ships these are rarely an effective use of points
- That big ship is as slow as pond water when you turn. You have a max turn of 2″. Against smaller more nimble ships you can be in a world of hurt if you get turned around or flanked. Don’t let your target get too far in front or behind you or you won’t have a line of sight on your target.
- A Draft value of 12 means you will run aground 80% of the time you enter a shoal (roll a 3+). Avoid them like the plague!
- If a Scenario requires an opponent to “keep away” from you they can turn and run and you are likely unable to catch them. Or they can speed for the front/rear of your ship and make it difficult for you to get all of your guns focused on the target. You may want to take a Sailing Master to get an occasional burst of speed or do Advanced Maneuvers.
- Initial deployment of this ship is key.
- If you are engaging smaller ships meaning to board you, deploy as far away as possible as you will not be able to outrun them. This allows more time to bring your cannons to bear.
- If you are dueling with another ship, make sure you’re in range. Firing the first round of the game often needs 8-10s to hit. It is often better to close on your opponent for at least one round.
The Galleon has the most firepower potential of any ship currently in the game. Fully armed, the Galleon can pretty much blast anything out of the water if it can bring its guns to bear — even another Galleon.
The Galleon is unique in the game in that it can take Heavy Cannons on any deck. The 6th Rate Frigate can only take heavies on a single deck (e.g. max of 6 heavy cannons), but the Galleon has no restrictions. The Galleon can take up to 14 pairs of cannons of any size or configuration.
To max out the cannons make the Galleon very expensive:
- 28 Light Cannons = 98 pts
- 28 Medium Cannons = 140 pts
- 28 Heavy Cannons = 182 pts
Large Decks with Heavy Guns need large groups of models to serve as cannon crew. Heavy Cannons have a minimum Crew of 4 to Reload. At bare minimum, if you take 14 per side, that’s 56 models just on guns.
- Max Cannons: 28 (14 pairs)
- 2 Bow Chasers (1 pair)
- 6 Fore Deck (3 Pairs)
- 8 2nd Deck (4 Pairs)
- 8 3rd Deck (4 Pairs)
- 6 Poop Deck (3 Pairs)
- 2 Stern Chasers (1 pair)
- Max Swivel Guns: 8
- 4 on the Fore Deck
- 4 on the 3rd Deck
Bow & Stern Chasers
In most games, these guns tend to be less than useful. As most games only last 6 round rounds and the Galleon is so slow to turn, you will rarely if ever have your Bow and Stern facing your primary opponent. If the Opponent is another Galley or 6th Rate the chaser guns are too few to do much damage to bother. Against smaller opponents, it can help defend against a rake, but they aren’t going to deter an opponent from flanking you.
If you are doing an Amphibious assault or rare boarding list with a Galleon, Bow Chasers paired with Swivels can help soften your target during the approach.
4 Swivels on the Fore Deck is excellent for assault and defense. The second set of 4 swivels in the aft quarter deck (third deck). Swivels on the rear deck would be good if you can swing your tail toward an enemy. Both sets are excellent for boarding defense.
NOTE: The rules put 4 Swivels on the aft quarter deck, but the model itself mounts 2 swivels on the quarter deck and 2 on the poop deck. Not sure why the model and rules differ slightly, but apparently all 4 of them are controlled by the models in the 3rd deck.
Combat Strategy & Tactics Suggestions
- Deciding how many guns you can afford or want to put in your Galleon list can be hard, but it is by far the most dangerous cannon ship in the game. Statistically, Light Guns aren’t great. But you can take A LOT of them on the Galleon so it can make up for it. But in most cases, Medium Guns are the statistically better option.
- If you take Gun Decks, max out their model capacity, especially if you take Heavy Cannons. Gun Decks protect the Crew from small arms fire so keeping models safely in the Gun Deck rather than the top deck reduces casualties.
- Also, Gun Decks are subsections, so models can move from below to the Main Deck and vice versa easily.
- Boarding with a Galleon against almost anything but a Fluyt will require Climb actions due to the elevation changes. This is both good and bad. Make sure you use your actions properly. Do forget to make your enemy take that Dedicated Climb action to get onboard. You might get to shoot them a few more times while they scramble to get aboard.
- it has been officially ruled that the rearmost deck is officially 8″ from the front deck for purposes of Command Points and Range, despite the physical model size. Per the rules on pg 63 all decks are considered to be 4″ for purposes of determining range. In light of this, the rear deck is 8″ from the front deck despite the physical 9″ distance. This means cheaper commanders with an 8″ command radius can command any unit on the entire ship.
The Galleon is also the toughest ship in the game!
- With a Fortitude of 5 and an Integrity of 7, this ship can take 28 damage before being reduced to a Fortitude of 1.
- The Heavily Built trait cancels the first damage applied by each attack.
- The Galleon is pretty much only vulnerable to massed cannons with a Commander using the Broadside! rule.
- The Rigging Fortitude is 4/6 which is the same as the 6th Rate.
- The Galleon’s rigging is more durable than many ships’ hulls in this game!
This ship is a real tank, but its lack of maneuverability can be a weakness. If an enemy is able to line up a raking shot on your stern. This could be devastating as your Fortitude is reduced and the hits are doubled. Don’t get raked!
Ship Durability Stats
- Fortitude: 4
- Integrity: 6
- Fortitude: 5
- Integrity: 7
Ship Model Capacity
The Galleon has room for more models than any other ship in the game. Capable of 204 total models it will take extremely large games to max out its Capacity. In games of 400 points, the Galleon won’t even be close to being full. The Galleon doesn’t really even start to feel “full” and complete until about 1000 points. That doesn’t mean it isn’t useful or strong in smaller games, but it just means you can’t utilize its full potential until you get into really large games.
Gun Deck Sub Sections
The Gun Decks can be hugely useful:
- You can have a gun crew without actually needing to paint insane amounts of models
- They take advantage of the superior cover in the Gun Decks
- You can take advantage of the current subsection rules that don’t prohibit models from firing swivel guns from the Gun Decks.
Gun decks are subsections located below the main deck of the ship. As the ship’s hull is closed off and cannot contain models you can track them on a separate checklist. Alternatively, you can create a cardboard representation by tracing your ship’s hull similar to this version created by Jon Cleaves.
Gun Deck Rules
The Gun Decks have a strange caveat in the rules where both players have to “agree to use them” before a game. But if any ship deserved to have those Gun Deck rules, it’s the Galleon!
Fighting Tops Subsections
The Galleon has 3 free, built-in Fighting Tops; one on each main mast.
- The Fighting Tops are a little tricky to use on the Galleon because of the game size used. The minimum unit size goes up as the total game size increases. When you break 300 pts the minimum unit Size is 5, but Fighting tops have a maximum capacity of 4 models.
- You can put portions of units on the main decks in Fighting Tops. This means if you have a 12 model unit, you can have 8 on the Main Deck and 4 in a Fighting Top.
- Optionally, if you wanted to put an independent unit of 4 or a few models up there, you can utilize the Army Game rules which let you build 3 or more “companies” of units that all activate at once.
- The Gallery is a unique subsection in the Poop Deck that can hold up to 6 models.
- It can be useful but I find myself filling the main decks before considering using the Gallery.
Traits, Special Rules, and Upgrades
The Galleon doesn’t have any optional upgrades. All of its special rules are all built-in without having to pay for extras. And at 25 points, it’s not a bad deal at all. It’s a floating fortress!
It has a lot of special rules covered previously, but here are a few additional items.
A whipstaff is a steering device that predates the ship’s wheel. It’s a large handle tiller that ultimately stretches from the top deck of the stern all the way down to the rudder.
Whipstaff is an odd and interesting rule. Typically, if you don’t have a unit on the Poop Deck, you suffer a penalty for your ability to turn. The design of a Whipstaff is meant to make it easier for a single person to turn a large ship. However, this rule removed the turning penalty even if your rear deck is completely empty without a model assigned to it.
Heavily Built makes this ship that much tougher by canceling the first point of damage from an attack. This ability kicks in on every attack in every round. It helps add to the concept that a Galleon is a floating fortress.
Additional Upgrade Suggestions
The Raise the Black expansion has added a number of new “generic” ship upgrades available to ships. Some of these are worth considering with the Galleon.
- Streamlined Hull – for +3 pts this option decreases your Windward penalty by 1 in exchange fora +1 Draft. Since you should be avoiding shoals like the plague anyway, the bonus for sailing Windward can be beneficial.
- Anti-grappling Measures – in a high-point game, few people want to board a galleon because of the sheer number of models onboard. However, if you take the Galleon in smaller games or you expect to be faced by multiple smaller ships in larger games you may want to take the upgrade to discourage boarders with a +2 to their Grapple attempts.
Assembly & Painting
Because of its large size and casting method, there is some assembly required for the hull of the Galleon. The Galleon easily takes the longest of any of the Firelock Games ships to build, paint, and rig. The large resin hull usually needs some trimming, sanding, and patching to make everything go together perfectly.
There are also a few options for how to customize the stern of your ship. There is an optional Spanish crest for the center. For the edges, you can pick from two Catholic saints or two lions.
- Spanish Crest for the Stern
- 2 Catholic Saints for Stern
- 2 Lions for Stern
Galleon Painting and Assembly How-To Guides
We have a couple of guides and suggestions for preparing your awesome Galleon model for use in your tabletop games.
Sail & Rigging Instructions
A PDF of the fulling rigging instructions and sail template cutouts are available for download from Firelock Games.
Video Review of the Galleon
Force building With the Galleon
The Galleon is certainly going to be best in your higher-point games. I think you can start to reasonably man it at 350 or so but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it effectively at the 200-point level as well. You just won’t be able to use all that it has to offer.
- A nasty 200 point “Turtle Galleon” that puts a bunch of hardy Marineros Piqueros into the Gun Decks and just blasts away with cannons and swivel guns.
- An English Navy budget Galleon that does a similar thing at 200 points. With 10 pairs of Light Cannons, you get that big ship feel at only 200 points.
- Balanced 300 point Spanish Galleon List – used in this Battle Report
- 300 point Spanish list that omits cannons entirely. Cannons are a strength but this ship can be used as a sturdy fighting platform. The high hull can sometimes give you an elevation advantage and force enemies to board with Dedicated Climb actions.
- 400 point Dutch Navy force that attempts to be safer from shoals, combining the Shallow Draft trait with a Ship’s Pilot. Now you have 3 chances to roll a 1 or a 2!
- Here’s a 600-point list built using the Army Company Rules for quicker play:
- 1000 point Brethren of the Coast list that sunk my 1000-point Galleon in two broadsides! Absolutely brutal. You can see this fantastic list in action in this battle report.
Photo gallery of the Galleon in Blood & Plunder
Here are a few photos of the mighty Galleon in action! Select an image to zoom in.
Special thanks to Liam Taylor, Bob Emerson, Guy Rheuark, and Joseph Forster for submitting images to our gallery. If you have pics you’d like to contribute, we’d love to feature them!
Battle Reports Featuring Galleon Models
- A 300 Point Battle Report Featuring a Spanish Galleon
- 1000 Point Galleon Duel Battle Report
- Battle Report: Amphibious Raze – French Royal Navy vs Spanish Tercios
The Galleon is a truly remarkable part of Blood & Plunder. I don’t get to play games with that often but it always delivers memorable game experiences and it never fails to attract other people to the game when it’s on the table.
- Blood & Plunder Galleon Ship Model from Firelock Games
- You’re going to need plenty of Sailors & Cannon Crew models to man the guns.
- Metal Cannon Crew 4pk
- Plastic Sailor Unit Box 12pk
- Outfit your Galleon with Seamon’s Quality Sails – Handcrafted Blood & Plunder sails
Additional Content Suggestions:
- Galleon Painting Guide
- Force Builder Galleon Lists
- YouTube Video Review
- Pictures of a Completed Galleon
- Building and Painting the Galleon’s Hull
All photos used by permission.