Blood & Plunder – big multiplayer game

I’ve been interested in Blood and Plunder since I saw the kickstarter since I’ve always wanted a game where you can play naval actions, one vs one ship activating different units in the ships. It is not easy to have a set of rules for those kind of games that is still fun and tactically challenging. While attending Historicon, my brother and I got to try Blood and Plunder and really enjoyed it.. So I bought into it.

Although I haven’t had time to paint anything for that yet in my local gaming group there were of course plenty of pirate forces awaiting a call to arms. After commenting on my impressions of Blood and Plunder the crowd decided to get together for a game at Mr Smith’s home’o games …

The only problem I was facing now was over subscription !!!  Suddenly I had to coordinate my first full game of Blood and Plunder and I had 8 players hoping to join. Fortunately the game went very well, Rob got a copy of the rules and read them prior to the game, so I would not be alone dealing with the rules, and the use of the online army builder with meant that everyone had their special rules close at hand and I would only need to concentrate in teaching the core mechanics.

Thus it came to happen “The French Assault on Port Smith

The game was a combined naval and land game in two separate tables. On the land table 3 British players and 3 French players would fight with scenario “Control the Field” using each 100 point forces. The French militias attacking the British Militias defenders. The game would continue until a side failed their strike test or the game ended, given that the random battle length rule would kick in on turn six ( start rolling and roll higher than number of turns completed to play another turn).

Meanwhile on another table a British sloop and a French sloop ( 150 pts each ) fought to gain control of the weather gauge ( control the field scenario naval version ). This game would only last a maximun of 6 turns and the winner of the engagement would be able to appeared at the start of the next turn in the land game with his remaining forces landing at the docks on Port Smith to support the land action. The loser of the naval game would also be able to join the land game but would do it a turn later and entering from the far edge of the table, their ship having anchored far away and sending long boats with their remaining troops.

As the land game evolved the French managed to dominate on their left flank while on the right flank the pressure of coordinated actions between tough close combat units supported by long range fire from an old fortification resulted total British domination. The center of the field on the other hand was a tough fight with both sides pouring unit after unit trying to get the upper hand.

Around turn 4 the French got their first break when they managed to get “control of the field” but the Brits passed their strike test and pressed on. By turn 5 the center of the field was contested again.

In the meantime the naval action developed swiftly, or semi swiftly as we were still learning the naval rules, but the action played pretty well. The British sloop started with the weather gauge and the French commander attempted desperately to take it away from him. They both pounded at each other with the British having the upper hand in dice rolls. A critical moment came when the French captain attempted to tack, which if successful could could result in a rear rake and probably gaining the weather gauge, but he failed the maneuver when rolling a 2. Here I made a critical mistake ( rookie game master ) by forgetting that the sloop is fore and aft rigged and should have been allowed a re-roll. In my defense it was on the force sheet and the French captain missed it as well.

As a result both players had done comparative damage to each other by turn 6 and since the British still had the weather gauge, he won the game allowing him to disengage effectively and be the one supporting the land game sooner and through the closer entry point the docks.

The French land forces where not happy with their naval support when they where suddenly attack on the rear by the new British landing party, still they pressed on, fought hard to retake the center of the table and this time the British commander in chief failed the strike test and the game was over.

The game was a lot of fun, the players enjoyed it very much and I was surprised that such an ambitious game with 8 players land and naval simultaneous actions with interactions could be achieved like this despite the fact that most players hadn’t even read the rules yet.

All in all.. excellent game, excellent rules.. cannot wait for the next game !!!