Wednesday 26 January 2022

The sting of lead and flight of arrows - Buccaneering with This is Not a Test

Last week, Capt' Thomas Blood's buccaneers engaged in another scuffle with the militia of Port Onslow. After their previous successful raid on the port, this time it was personal, with the militia out for blood, and Blood looking to repeat his previous success.

The Port Onslowians gathered together in two clumps (upper right), while the buccaneers split into three groups (to the left). 

The buccaneer's left flank was held by Donna Maria and the two swabbies with muskets, supported by a lugger with a spear. Teir intention was to race for the bridge, hold it, and pepper the enemy flank with musketry.

What they didn't account for was a) the militia didn't care they were there - they had other targets in mind, and b) the militia had far more muskets at hand, so any fire-fight was always going to be one sided.

The opening shot of the game - from the militia's native chieftain - took out a swabby with a blunderbuss. The rest of the buccaneer's advanced more cautiously, seeking cover where they could find it.

However, the graveyard in the centre of the table became a literal graveyard as shots rang out and the butcher's bill mounted for both sides. The firing line of militia muskets at the wall of the graveyard made more smoke and noise than anything else, but it still didn't make for a comfortable place to loiter. 

The remaining swabby with a blunderbuss proved his worth (he was a new recruit since the last raid), while Ali Musa, the buccaneer lieutenant and Jim Lad the running cabin boy ganged up on a fallen militiaman lugger with a two-handed axe - I called him Choppy! They had four chances to kill him before he stood up, and four times he defended himself admirably. As soon as he was back on his feet, it was Jim Lad who was taken out of action.

On the far side of the central monument to choppy and his shenanigans, a brutal melee ensued which saw multiple characters knocked from their feet. An artful use of the push-back-after-a-melee-rule caused a huddle of militia to form. The swabby with a blunderbuss reloaded ready to take out four of the lubbers in one shot...

... at which point the native tracker hit Capt' Blood in the head with an arrow. The skipper went down, and his crew lost heart and bottled. The militia had their revenge. In the end, I think a single member of each crew died of their wounds. Traumatically, Capt' Blood's experiences have left him with the cowardice trait. Not ideal in a melee-oriented skipper!

This second game using This is Not a Test for black powder skirmishing was equally successful as the first. The game worked brilliantly as written - with the one house rule of making all guns jam automatically after every shot. Once again, the limited shooting made melee more important, and the timing of shots crucial.

The only concern we have is that the relatively low cost of equipping our assorted scurvy scum (no power armour, or sniper rifles here!) means that after just two games, my crew now has 12 members, and Andrew's militia have 13. We are not sure how far we can take it before the numbers become unwieldy. We feel that future campaigns should either start with a much smaller budget (250 perhaps, rather than 400), or that the campaign winner should be the one with the most saved booty after X number of games. As it stands we both have big crews, but very little in the kitty.

You can read about the final exploits of Captain Blood HERE.