Saturday, 28 March 2020

Social Distancing with Blood and Plunder

It was week one of 'social distancing' / working from home and I felt like I could really do with a break. So, determined to keep the weekly Thursday gaming night going, I set up  a solo game.
The game was to be Blood and Plunder and I really wanted to try out a proper ship to ship action. My 28mm forces are still in the process of being painted up but I do have two nice 15mm, scratch-built, ships gifted to me by my good friend Uriah the Boat-builder.

The models don't exactly  fit the rule-book profiles so I had to do a bit of tweaking here. Essentially I had a single masted sloop of two decks and a brigantine of two masts and two decks. Decks here refer to deck 'areas' and not the classical definition of one deck on top of another.
The Brigantine is armed with 6 light guns and I gave this to Happy Dan Le Pew and his French Flibustiers. I played 100 points, which meant I had enough a unit of marins to crew the guns and a unit of flibustiers.

The sloop, I crewed with an English militia force under Lucky Jack Quilp. The sloop carried no guns making the basic ship cheaper in points. In addition, the cheaper militia units meant I had enough points for 2 units of militia and 2 units of freebooters. Here I wanted to test the viability of a solely musket armed force against one sporting cannon (even if they wee only light guns).

It wasn't until I put the figures on the table that I had assigned the bigger force to the smaller ship - not the brightest idea!

End of move one and first blood to the English. Note the small sloop packed to the gunnels with musket men.
The English sweep the opposing gun deck with musketry
Very soon the English had swept the gun deck clean. In response Happy Dan led his flibustiers forward to man the guns. Unfortunately, with no crew on the rear deck, the brigantine would now turn slower. This allowed the English to circle around staying out of arc of the French guns.

The more nimble English circle the French

More musketry from the English and the flibustiers were forced to go prone to seek cover.

The English close for the kill.
The next move was obvious; the English successfully grappled and Lucky Jack Quilp led his freebooters onto the enemy ship.

Boarders away!
That was the end really. End of turn four and Happy Dan struck his colours; as the only survivor of his crew he had little choice.

To the victor the spoils!

So what did I learn? Mainly I discovered how difficult it is to crew a ship effectively. Small units are fragile and to make matters worse the English had four units to the French two. A consequence of this was that the French were working with two initiative cards per turn against the English four - ouch!

All in all a good game, a splendid evenings entertainment and a welcome break from reality.

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