Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Sunderland Blood and Plunder event 16th July report

A wee three hour jaunt over to Sunderland for Chris Carr and I to our first Blood and Plunder event, put on by Nate Zettle and a merry bunch of Easterlings that spoke surprisingly coherent English...

The format was simply 4 land based games at 100pts and the event was simply great, as we were all relatively new to the game and learning, as its a relatively new game, I suppose. All 4 of my opponents were sporting, patient gentlemen and excellent to play against, and Chris said the same  (Already planning our return on October 1st, as there'll be ship action).

Additionally, during lunch we had some period melee weapons on show, with gentlemanly duels and brawling: boarding axe, rapiers, cutlasses and various other swords. Good fun, but we had to watch the experts (probably a good job)

My 100pt force was Spanish Militia, consisting of an Inexperienced Captain, 3 x 6 Inexperienced Milicianos (drilled swapped for Elusive), 1 x 7 Inexperienced Milicianos (drilled swapped for Elusive) and 5 trained Milicianos Indios. So quantity over quality! Chris had taken an English Buccaneer force with a free Inexperienced captain, 6 Filibustiers and 2 x 5 Freebooters. In two friendlies the week before, I'd been decimated in Encounter as I couldn't bring my numbers to bear, while I had annihilated Chris defending in Breakthrough...

There were 12 players, and the 6 boards were nicely laid out as below:

Game 1: First opponent was Nigel King, using a very nice Brethren army. It had a free French Captain, 2 x 5 Marins, 5 Filibustiers and 5 Bouccaniers. The mission was Raid, and I "won" the roll and had to attack. Neither of us had played this mission, but given I'd be moving rather than firing I thought I'd concentrate in one area. The mission involves getting within 4" of either barrel of rum, and keeping the opponent more than 4" away. Doing so at the end of each turn gives a strike point to the force not controlling it, but crucially (with hindsight after we'd started) the defender gets them from turn 1 and attacker from turn 3.

Nigel's deployment meant I could pounce on the centre barrel turn 1

My Indios Scout ability allowed them to advance forward, in cover near the barrel.

On turn 2, Nigel had a strike point and had to "push" to charge my Indios with his Marins, wiping them out and getting to contest the barrel. "Pushing"  was new to me, but it essentially allows for an extra activation but the units gains fatigue. Unfortunately, my captain and his large Milicianos unit moved up, ruthlessly firing at 3.5" killing 2 Marins, who were on two fatigue. I realised the unit would flee and I couldn't use the captains activation to charge if they did, but Nigel passed all three resolve rolls, and I duly charged in and wiped them out. Having the barrel again on turn 2 meant a strike test, which even with a re-roll Nigel failed. It was a good but hollow victory, as it was just a lack of knowledge of the game/scenario that cost Nigel. Still, we both learned from it and the Spanish enjoyed the rum...

Below left is Chris, he doesn't like getting his picture taken but as a Spanish player I refuse to acknowledge the trifling wishes of this English pirate... He's playing Jester Smith, and it ended a draw!

Game 2:  Another beautiful board (which I came to love) and this time I was facing Sparks with his French Caribbean Militia with free inexperienced captain, 2 x 5 trained drilled militia, 1 x 6 trained drilled militia and 5 trained marins. I "lost" the roll, and got to defend in Breakthrough, as with lots of open ground I felt I could contain and bring enough rounds to bear...

The French had to set up 6" on and get to within 4" of my deployment zone (12" from my edge) by end of turn 3 to stop getting strike points. I needed to keep him out of my deployment zone or I'd receive them. The French had from the left as you look: their captain and 5 men, then the marins, then the other two, militia

On the left I deployed another 6 milicianos and slightly forward the Indios

 Apologies, as the game is fast and frenetic and I didn't take any pictures until the end.

Essentially, I advanced units up to the edge of woods/jungle, and received some incoming muskets. The Marins centrally pushed into combat with a six man squad of Milicianos and though I lost half and fell back, I got the first activation the following turn and sent in the captain and his squad for two rounds of melee, wiping out the marins. The French captains unit, with bayonets followed up but didn't make any impact as they faced off against twice as many Spanish in an ongoing melee.

On the right, with two units v two, the French used the blocking cover to good effect but a flurry of arrows and some very poor save rolls let to mounting fatigue on the French. With casualties far heavier on the French, and not getting into range of my deployment zone, in turn 4 losing 3-1 on strike points, the French failed their resolve and retreated...  Another learning experience (having only ever played Chris and his despicable English dogs). Sparks dice rolls weren't good, and had he been defending I'd have struggled to get passed his drilled volleys. As it was, I learned about bayonets and again this "push" which I have to say is pretty useful... Another win for the Spanish

Game 3: Staying on table 1, and with Chris sat behind me trying to jinx my dice having somehow managed to win with his puny force in game 2. I was facing and exquisitely painted force of his most catholic majesty's Spanish Militia. Leigh has done a beautiful job painting a familiar sounding force of an Inexperienced Spanish Militia captain, 3 x 6 inexperienced elusive rather than drilled Militia, 5 more similarly elusive militia and 6 milicianos Indios. The mission was Control the field, where you needed to have a unit within 2 of the 3 objectives along the centre of the battlefield or you gain a strike point. I lost the roll so had to defend the corner I was sat in, which conveniently had the best cover and fields of fire. I apologise again for only taking two pics, it doesn't do Leigh's painting any justice nor the quality of this game. Two virtually identical forces, setting up in almost symmetric fashion and lots of firing and to hits rolls on 10's

It was very tense, very tactical and very bloody. Both Indios units used their quick rule to nip in and out of cover, inflicting fatigue mostly on me, and casualties and fatigue on Leigh. We slogged it out over all 6 turns, and ended on 1 strike point each (need to have 2 more than opponent to roll a strike test). Leigh thought he had lost as I'd killed 13 men to his 7, but thankfully this wasn't the case as the difference between us was my ability to roll better saves than Leigh... A very entertaining draw, and I learned how quick works to good effect.

Game 4, and with Chris having drawn (indeed, most people had)I thought I might have to face him in Encounter. Fortunately not,  and I had to face off against Gavin Winspears Royal Blue French Buccanneers. Gavin was good fun to play against, mostly due to his hatred of playing Spanish Milicianos as his usual opponent is Leigh. As a result, in Encounter I rolled lowest and defended my corner again, but Gavin deployed everyone far away as he was worried about the Indios popping in and out and catching him in the open. I deployed my forces to advance into the central cover and bring my firepower to bear, while duly Gavin obliging by putting my Indios out on a limb to awit being overwhelmed while give me time to advance and deploy a gun line.

 If only it was on water, it would be a crowded wee island. His force consisted of 2 x 5 Filibustiers, 1 x 4 Filibustiers and 4 Marins, led by an inexperienced Captain. Chris had taught me ealier how nasty one unit of filibustiers can be with rerolling 10's to gain additional hits, so 3 untis wasn't going to be fun if Gavin kept back and fired

I took lots more pictures this game... Suppose I was being cruel telling Gavin I'd bought some of my Spanish horde from him ( he runs www.gamingfigures.com and stocks Blood and Plunder)

Sadly all at the start...

Bar this one near the end... Essentially, the Indios popped in and out harassing the French captains unit, but didn't do much damage til late on. One unit of 5 filibustier and the marins advanced off their wee island, and were decimated by concentrated musketry with a few tens rolled... The marins ran back behind the "island", allowing my numerical superiority (of almost 3 muskets to 1) against the remaining 2 units of filibustiers, whittling them down and forcing the French to strike their colours. I lost one Spaniard early on, but a long range exchange was always going to favour my number...

So with 3 wins and a draw, which was the same as Leigh, it was close at the top. And I managed to win by virtue of a single strike point over Leigh's total... Viva Espana!!!

Have to say, I learned so much, had 4 great games against friendly, like minded opponents and have to give a big round of applause to Nate and the Sunderland lads for a well run event, with great guys, great scenery and a damn fine lunch. And who wouldn't want to eat while watching people have at each other with swords and Golden age weaponry?

Chris managed to come third with his cutthroats too... (I deeply regret buying him new dice week before)

Think should also point out there was a raffle for all players with generous prize support from Gavin Winspear (www.gamingfigures.com) and also from Firelock...

Anyway, I've already sorted 1st October to be free for Nate's next event, keep your eyes ( or if ye be a proper pirate, your eye) posted in the Blood and Plunder UK players page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/208826329603940/) or Firelocks event page (http://www.firelockgames.com/forums/forum/blood-plunder/events/) as if you can make it, you will enjoy it...

1 comment:

  1. Great looking games and tables, amazing terrain!