April 19th sees the start of the Blood and Plunder Kickstarter by Firelock Games. Naturally they want to start off with a bang! And so, Skirmish Wargaming was invited to harass lead designer Mike Tunez with a bucketload of questions.
We’ll be covering the Kickstarter, the game, the setting and the rules, so… let’s get cracking!
A big thank you to Mike Tunez for taking the time to answer all our questions!
Also, a big thanks to the Dutch Miniature Wargaming Facebook group: since we know pirate games are loved in the Netherlands, we asked that group to provide us with questions for the interview. And boy, did they have questions…
What is this Blood and Plunder Kickstarter that we keep hearing so much about?
The Blood and Plunder Kickstarter is a project by Firelock Games. It’s a 28mm historical pirate game that features a realistic approach as well as ship-to-ship combat.
Why choose a Kickstarter and not go retail?
Historical Pirates and 28mm ship battles are things that haven’t really been done in miniature wargames. Kickstarter allows us to gauge interest in these ideas while at the same time providing us with an instant financial supply to take the game as far we can in a shorter time than retail would allow.
For the same reasons as above!
If this game is the sort of thing you like, supporting our Kickstarter sends us the message that this is a game people want. If we do well enough, we can hire more artist and buy more equipment to create a whole more for this game in the very near future.
Not to mention that we are going to be offering some very nice savings!
In fact, what makes this pirate game different from the others we already have? Freebooter’s Fate, Legends of the High Seas, etc.
The first major difference from every pirate game I’ve come across is that is a 100% historical game.
Another big difference is that although pirates are certainly our stars, this is much more than just a pirate game. Our rules and future lines will allow players to play out all sorts of new world conflicts such as Queen Anne’s war or King Phillip’s war.
And probably the greatest difference is that we are including ship rules. I know of a couple other rule sets that include rules for 28mm ships, but I think we are taking it to another level in that we are incorporating a lot of detail so that the naval combat is exciting and convincing but at the same time simple to play.
Have you got experience with Kickstarters? How did the others go?
This is our first Kickstarter! We have spent countless hours over the last few months researching Kickstarter to make sure it was right for us and we feel confident that it is going to go well 🙂
How is distribution handled?
We will be direct to customer in the U.S and we will be using distributors for the other parts of the world such as the U.K. We will be EU friendly.
Where is production located?
Most of the production will be handled locally here in Miami Florida.
Are you going to be making your own minis?
Absolutely, we are making a full line of ships, sailors and soldiers to go all with the rules.
Are you going to be making your own ships? If so, will they have sails?
We have been unable to source an affordable way to do so and keeping the price point on these kits down is a high priority for us. We will be providing downloads to print out sails so that players can make their own easily out of paper or card stock.
For players who want a little more, the sail print out can be used as a template to cut them from other materials. We will be providing tutorials on how to make great looking sails.
What are your future plans with the game? Expansions? How will you continue to support it?
We have a lot of Long term plans! We have expansions to take the game all the way to the Napoleonic wars and then maybe even all the way back to the conquistadors! Between all that we are planning campaigns, tournament support, advanced optional rules and much more!
What else is the company doing next to this Kickstarter?
Right now 100% of our energy is being put into this project.
We do have some very brilliant game designers that have approached us about publishing some other games, so it’s very likely you will see some more games coming out of this company after our Kickstarter.
Thanks a bunch for that, Mike. Kickstarters can be a sensitive topic, but I think you’ve been able to smooth over any apprehensions in that area. Now we’d love to hear some more about the game itself.
Enough about the Blood and Plunder Kickstarter: tell us about the game itself!
Is it a realistic game, or a fantasy pirate game?
It’s a realistic game. We put a lot of emphasis on historical accuracy and tactics. Though while the emphasis is on real history, we did want to make it as fun as possible.
It’s set in the mid-late 17th century. The very beginning of the Golden age of Piracy and the age of the Caribbean Buccaneers.
Will you be adding historical characters?
Absolutely! You can expect to see all your favorite historical figures that fit into the setting eventually. Captain Morgan and Manuel Rivero de Pardal will be some of our first.
Will we be seeing Indians?
You will definitely be seeing many Native American Factions in the future.
At which scale are you planning for this game to be played at?
The game’s models and ships are 28mm/1/56 scale.
How many models do you intend to fit onto a ship?
In average game you will about 20-30 models on a ship. But ships can function with as little as 12 and our largest can hold over 60.
What about the game rules?
How long does a game take?
Games average between 1-2 hours.
How many figures per side?
The average is about 25-45 depending on the faction. Games can be played with as little as 13 and as many as 100.
Will there be ship combat? How many ships per side?
There is most certainly ship combat, and it ties in seamlessly with the land game.
In an average game each player will usually have a single ship but, if taking lighter vessels, 2-3 can be easily done. The game has no limit on the number of ships a player can field, but the crew requirement will provide a natural limiter based on the point level.
How many players?
The game is designed for 2 players, but multiple players is certainly possible. This is especially fun for big ship battles with each player getting their own ship!
Is it an IGO/UGO system or something else?
We definitely fall into the “something else” category. I like to describe it as a player controlled, card driven, alternating activation system.
To explain: Each turn both players draw a hand of cards. 1 card is drawn per unit. Each activation phase each player plays a card face down. Once both cards have been placed, they are revealed. The player with the highest valued suite activates a unit first followed by the player who played the lower valued suite.
The suite on each player’s chosen card will determine the amount of actions the activated unit may take. Higher valued suites generally give less actions, so playing the highest suite may often leave you with insufficient actions to accomplish your intended plans!
Will there be ship-to-ship and ship-to-land combat? How will you be handling it?
Absolutely! These things are the cornerstone of our game! 🙂 The rules for sea and amphibious engagements are no different than the rules for a typical land engagement. Ships have their own rules for movement of course, but they take damage just like buildings and forts.
Will ships be like fortresses or more accessible?
Ship will be treated as mobile fortresses that are easier to damage.
Could you tell us more about the game mechanics?
I sure can!
I’ve already described the turn sequence a bit, so I’ll go into actions.
When you activate a unit, that unit will be able to preform 1-3 actions depending on the suite of the card played. Actions include things like move, shoot, reload, rally, fight, repair ship damage, etc. If you don’t have enough actions to do all the things you want, you can add a point of fatigue to your unit to gain an additional action.
This is risky, units can also gain fatigue by being attacked by enemy units. Units with 2 or more fatigue lose an action each time they activate and units wit 3 fatigue or more become shaken, which means they can take no actions, but rally when activated.
When a command unit is activated, the force’s commander can spend its command points to immediately give an additional action to it’s own unit or to nearby friendly units. Every force has a number of fortune points (usually 3) that can be spent to mitigate bad luck. They can be spent on things like re-rolls and drawing a new hand of cards.
Shooting is based on a unit’s shoot skill and modified by the distance to the target. Every 5″ away the target unit is adds a -1 penalty to the attack roll. Each firing model rolls a d10 and each roll that equals or exceeds the target number is a hit. The target unit may then roll a cover save for each model that has cover from at least 1 model in the firing unit.
The target unit then removes casualties and tests to see if it takes fatigue.
Melee combat is similar. If a unit moves into contact with another unit, it may take a free fight action against it. If the charged unit has loaded weapons, it may take a free shooting attack against the target unit. After the defensive attack is resolved, the charging unit rolls to hit.
The target number is the attacking units melee value. The defending unit may then attempt to save each hit using its melee defense value.
The defending unit may then counter attack if it did not take defensive fire. The unit that takes the most casualties then takes a fatigue test, followed by the unit that took the least if the units remain engaged.
Will it have a campaign system?
Not in the main rulebook, but we have a few things in the works.
Can you grow your crew over time, get better ships and better models?
This will be incorporated into the campaign system.
Will models gain experience?
This will also be incorporated into the campaign system.
How will you keep the game from becoming unbalanced, like Frostgrave or Mordheim?
We have spent a lot of time play testing to create a points value formula to help keep the game as balanced as possible. We will continue to put this same emphasis over time as we expand and add new units to the game. Preventing power creep is very important to us.
Can I do crazy stuff like dance with the governor’s daughter or recruit drunks in a bar?
Could be the type of thing you would find in a campaign 😉
Can we do some of the crazy stuff from Assassin’s Creed 4, like dive-bell diving, or whale hunting?
You can do whatever you like in your free time. Though I think whale hunting is illegal in most places (check your local laws) Unlikely those types of things will appear in the game though 🙂
Alright, that’s it for now!
But we won’t just leave you…
Firelock Games have given us a couple of exclusive model renders to show off to you. While prototypes have been seen in finished and painted form, these are the first time the renders have ever been shown!
Once again, thank you Mike Tunez and Firelock Games for giving us a clear idea of what this game will be about.
The Blood and Plunder Kickstarter opened April 19th and as mentioned is taking orders from both the US and Europe. Click here to get in on the action!
We’ll keep you updated on its progress here on Skirmish Wargaming!