Over the last few months, I’ve been endeavoring to turn my father-in-law into a gamer. The man’s always been a history nerd, but now he’s retired and in desperately in need of a hobby before his wife beans with him a rolling pin. It started with him taking an interest in my ‘Big Red Rulebook’ for B&P, a couple of demo games, a trip to HMGS Fall-In, and a personal mission to beat me in a “fair and square” battle. This is a report from one of those battles.
FIL’s cursed with a Christmas birthday, so for the occasion we bought him a French starter, some paints, and everything he needs to get started. Until he gets his own minis painted, he’s been borrowing my French. Knowing that he had a starter to play with though, and with me showing him the online Force Builder, he came up with a 150pt French list to pit against me. He is “deployed” along the bottom of the photo, since he had to move his troops on from the board edge for our scenario. From left to right, he has:
4 Veteran Boucaniers, 8 Trained, Elusive Milices Caraibes with a Grizzled Vet and Experienced Captain, and 8 Veteran Flibustiers with a Sharpshooter.
For my list, I wanted something that would hit 150pts without being too far from what you might get from a starter. I decided on Dutch Caribbean Militia, led by David Nassy. It was a fun list with a neat character and unit, and aside from the Soldaten, was something that could be easily built with a starter box. Deployed along the top of the photo from left to right:
8 Kapers, 8 Soldaten with a Smoke Pot, and 7 Elusive Jewish Militia with Nassy.
After a deeper read of the rulebook FIL was excited to see that buildings were destructible pieces of terrain. Particularly, that you could burn them. That decided our scenario – we’d play ‘Raze’ from the Core Rulebook. Set out two buildings, and torch at least one of them. The targets for fire would be the ‘sugar shed’ on the left, and the church on the right. These are two of my foam-built buildings, and you can find free templates and tutorials for how the church was made at this link.
That church became the focal point of the battle. In our opening moves, both of us ran our units towards the church as quickly as possible – Jewish Militia raced against Flibustiers to claim the building.
The French Militia factions are very mobile, thanks to their free move at the end of any single activation. Even with his troops starting off table, FIL used this to get the Flibustiers (FILbustiers?) up to the wall of the church, and had them inside the building with a Push. Remember: if you get a ‘Free Move’ from a special rule like Quick or Skirmishers, or by being French, it doesn’t count towards your fatigue limit for distance. The French can move 12 inches without Fatigue if they want to, or 16 if they’re really in a hurry.
Elsewhere on the table, the Kapers and Boucaniers both peeled off for a fight around the sugar field. The Soldaten pushed forward to occupy the treeline and lock down any movement across the open center of the field, and the French Militia moved into cover vacated by the Flibustiers.
Turn 2 saw the fighting become house-to-house. With the Flibustiers in the church, the Jewish Militia grabbed my fastest Spade and got the heck out Dodge. They dipped backward, into the smaller building and began exchanging shots across the open space between them. The Flibustiers didn’t take this lying down, and used their Marksman to start picking off the plucky Militiamen.
It was the Dutch Soldaten who had something to say about the occupation of the Church. With the men occupying the treeline still in formation, an Expertly Drilled volley was enough to lay the Frenchmen flat. So far, things were going well for the Dutch; the most expensive French unit was pinned down in the very building that the French were trying to burn.
The Kapers make it to the ‘Sugar Shack,’ but not before the French Militia manage to kill two of them in the open. The Captain uses a Command Point to rally the Flibustiers. The Boucaniers get themselves into a small outbuilding less than 8 inches from the shack. For curious minds, there is a door on that ‘blank’ wall.
To relieve pressure on the Flibustiers, the Milices advance, grabbing cover beside the gallows and getting into a firefight with the Soldaten in the treeline. Fatigue and casualties start stacking up as two very accurate units keep fire on each other.
Fighting near the Sugar-Shack is at much closer range. The Kapers are playing what I call ‘Tactical Chicken‘ with the Boucaniers: the Boucaniers can’t charge them, thanks to their terrible Fight Skill/Save, but the Kapers are close enough to threaten a charge against the Boucs if they unload their muskets. Insanely, the Boucaniers take the shot, and fell a single Kaper.
The Flibustiers stand up with 1 Fatigue on the unit, but good shooting from the Jewish Militia sees them go Shaken once more. This time, they decide that enough is enough, and duck out of the church through the same windows they had come in from.
The Kapers get a Spade to leap from cover and charge the Boucaniers’ building before the Frenchmen can reload. They have to Push themselves to cross the courtyard with only 1 action, but they manage. The 5 Kapers fall on the Boucaniers with clubbed muskets and sailor knives, slaughtering… exactly one of them. That didn’t go as planned.
The French Captain activates. His first order is to Rally the fleeing Flibustiers. He then hurries his unit across the space from the gallows to the steps of the church, and uses his second order to attempt lighting the fire. The Dutch breathe a sigh of relief as this fails.
French return fire from the Soldaten flattens the Captain’s unit to the deck, just as it did the Flibustiers before. David Nassy and the Jewish Militia stay put and reload their muskets.
The final card of the turn is for the Boucaniers to make a Dedicated Fight against the Kapers banging down their door. Great rolling puts them at 3-for-3 hits in melee, and I can’t roll a single save. Fortune saves me 1 man of the 3 hit. I roll a 3 dice Resolve check, and fail all 3 of them. If this unit breaks, those Boucanier are going to shoot them in the backs. I burn another Fortune to keep them in the fight – and gain 1 more point of Fatigue.
Turn 5 opened with pure shenanigans. We hit an event, and rolled ‘Twist of Fate’. Pitch your hand to your discard pile, then take any cards from your discard that you’d like to keep, and put them back in your deck. Shuffle, and redraw your hand. This was actually a godsend for me, because I had drawn a hand full of slow cards and needed to rescue my Kapers from the melee they were stuck in. At least rally them.
We both throw 10s and roll off. FIL wins. FIL then proceeds to pummel me again with the Boucaniers – on Fight 7. Two Kapers hit the dirt, and a failed Resolve Check kills off the remaining Dutchman. Technically, all of this happened inside the house, but that picture looked like the other 2 photos of this debacle so I took creative liberties.
With the fighting around the Sugar Shack lost, I had to at least keep the Milices from torching the church. I brought Nassy and the Militia around the corner and fired an almost point-blank volley into the French captain, while ordering the Soldaten to reload. The French being prone, the shots caused no casualties but did keep Fatigue on the unit. Unfortunately, the French Captain still hadn’t activated, and he rallied them.
The game is down to the wire. I am 1 casualty away from my second Strike Point for Casualties, against his 1 Strike for Casualties and 1 Strike for not having either of the target buildings on fire.
We activate on Hearts. He grabs the first activation. His Commander orders the Flibustiers to fire on Nassy and the Militia – he gets the casualty he needs. We’re now 2/2 on Strikes. His second Command Point is for the unit to Stand. And for the unit’s action: set fire to the building on a 9+
It was now 3:1 on Strikes, with him holding the advantage. I only had 1 way to win the game from here. Activate Nassy, extinguish the fire with a Command Point, and then charge the Milices and get enough kills to drive him to a second Strike Point. I rolled the extinguish the flames, and failed.
This was definitely a fair & square game, and he beat me. It was also the first time that I think we both really had a good time playing the game as players rather than a demo/learner situation – it was very close, with lots of back and forth moments. These were two of the old lists, but the new ‘Raise the Black’ content is coming. I had to clear a mountain of sprues and semi-assembled plastic minis off of the table just to be able to play this game!
One thought on “Old Dogs, New Tricks – A B&P Battle Report”
Close games like that are always fun! Pretty cool to connect with your father-in-law over miniature gaming. I’ve always had a close bond with mine since we both play guitar.