The Unaligned Nationality Starter Set from Firelock Games’ Blood & Plunder game is painted and ready to go, and with that comes the fun of figuring out how to build a starter force. Before we do that, lets look at the models that came in the starter set because, following the unintended negative feedback on the packaging of the miniatures, they paint up very nicely.
The box contains 25 miniatures consisting of a single English Buccaneer Commander and 6 blister packs containing 4 miniatures each. In total, there are:
- 8 Freebooters
- 8 Flibustiers
- 4 Marineros
- 4 Les Enfants Perdus
The Unaligned Faction is intended for my wife to play, so I kept a close eye on the box art. This meant the forces all have a distinctive red and blue feel, and I tried (and almost succeeded) to include a blue and/or red element on each miniature (she likes bright colors). Had I been painting this faction for myself, I would likely have kept the colors more muted.
Before we go into building our force, lets look at the characteristics of the four units in the box.
|– Ranged unit with Buccaneer Guns
– Strong Melee defense
– Can spend an extra action to make improved ranged attack
|– Take as a ranged unit
– Use Freebooters to fatigue a unit, then send in Marineros
|– Ranged units with Buccaneer Guns
– Strong in Melee Combat
– Brace of Pistols means they don’t have to reload pistols /td>
|– Use to shoot from range
– Take into melee, as needed
|– Sailors, well-suited for sea battles
– Empowered attack if they have less fatigue than their target
|– Their use is more limited than the Flibustiers, which is reflected in a lower point cost per unit
– Ships are too many points for a ‘starter game’, so we’ll ignore the sea strength for now
|Les Enfants Perdus
|– A support unit that “automatically” rallies to remove fatigue (Tough)
– Strong offense, poor defense
– Vanguard trait gives them an extra move at the beginning of game
– Limited access to explosives
|–Take them for their explosives
– Strong melee unit with varied utility
– Don’t let them get hit too hard (they have a weak save)
Building a force
Firelock Games advertises that the box is enough to build a 100-point force and the game is made to be played with forces between 100 and 400 points. With the release of the “No Peace Beyond the Line” expansion, there are many different unaligned factions to choose from; however, I’m limiting myself to the factions available in the core rulebook, the “Brethren of the Coast,” for the starter box.
As it turns out the 100-point minimum here is quite generous, and it is impossible to make a force for that few points that uses all 25 models. Using all 25, the lowest total point value I can get to is 116, by downgrading the experience of some of the core units (reducing the actions they can take per turn). At most, I can get a 197-point force by upgrading every unit. It’s refreshing to see such a flexible force in a starter box, that can be adapted to allow play without buying expansion packs.
- Since we are looking to use this force in a beginner-level game, I don’t want to leave out any unit type since we want to see how they behave on the tabletop
- We’ll want at least four models in each unit so there is less chance of the unit routing (dying and fleeing)
With the ground rules in play, let’s build! We spend 88 points to get 4 of each unit (4 points per Marinero and 6 points per Flibustier, Freebooter, and Les Enfants Perdus). Our untested English Buccaneer Commander is free. To spend our remaining 12 points, we can either add models to the Flibustiers and/or the Freebooters or upgrade an existing unit’s experience level (upgrading our Commander would cost 15 points). The simplest choice here seems to be to take extra models. This gives us the following 100 point force:
- Untested English Buccaneer Commander (1 model) - Free
- Flibustiers unit (5 models, trained) – 30 points
- Freebooters unit (5 models, trained) – 30 points
- Marineros unit (4 models, trained) – 16 points
- Les Enfants Perdus (4 models, trained) – 24 points
What is next?
Another project underway is the building and painting of a pirate sloop. The painting is pretty much done, and the hull has been gloss varnished for protection. I’m undecided whenever or not to add the gun ports. The scale is a little off, so they can’t be put on in the closed position; in the open position, the cannons will interfere with some of them. In addition to the gun ports, I have yet to add rigging. I am going to attempt to expand on the included basic rigging, and add ratlines and deadeyes, as they are prominent features. I ordered Rigging Period Ship Models: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Intricacies of Square-Rig to help me figure out what other details would be relevant..
That is it for now. Until next time, adventure on!