Saturday was my game day. I figured for this day I would schedule it specifically for throwing dice rather than taking any classes. The first game was with the gentlemen from DGS games. We played a different version of Freeblades called Free-Captains which coincidentally takes the game system on the water with boats and whatnot. Now I'm not a Freeblades expert by any means nor would I even consider myself that familiar with the rules. For those of you who are, Free-Captains uses the same rules as Freeblades, except incorporating boat mechanics and utilizing more models than your average Freeblades skirmish game. Put it this way, we had 8 players (4 per side) each player controlling around 10 models minus the two players who controlled the casters.
On the one side we had a large Urdaggar Tribesmen raiding party and on the other we had a large Falkaar treasure hunting war party, The senario is as follows....
The Falkaar are on the island, they're boats parked, finishing looting the place when out of nowhere, a large Urdaggar raidng party shows up off the coast, surrounding the Falkaar Cog-Ship.
The goal of each side is to get the loot tokens off the left side of the board (opposite the island). The Urdaggar have 6 ships that can go anywhere in the water (the ships on the sides of the board) while the Falkaar control the large cog ship in the center of the board and have 3 small row-boats parked on the island. The Falkaar start with all the loot tokens (6 in total if I remember correctly). The cog in the center cannot go within 12 inches of the island or else it gets coat in the coral. The row boats can't go beyond 12 inches of the island or else they get swept out to sea. Only the Cog and the Urdaggar ships can leave the board, so it puts the Falkaar at a slight disadvantage.
The sides were picked and everyone took they're places. I was on the Falkaar side for this particular battle.
and the troops I controlled were 4 Karadel Bladesisters and 6 sailors. I also started on the island with 3 of the loot counters.
It turned out the Urdaggar's battle plan didn't involve going after the loot tokens, rather attacking the cog in the center, hoping to overtake the big ship quickly and control the sea.
The Urdaggar Tribesmen strike first, coming along side the port side of the vessel.
Then the rest of them pounce while they're ranged unit sit back, slinging rocks that harmlessly bounce off the side of the cog.
Slowly but surely, the rest of the Falkaar force get on they're boats and drift out to sea.
By this time, the cog is basically being over-run. The archer's have all fallen to the sharp axes of the Urdaggar. The 4 knight defenders and the Jendal Bladeseeker Captain on the cog hold up as best they can, but are over run.
My vessel and the one on the far right creep up along side the Urdaggar Unproven's vessel and quickly over run them on both sides while the bulk of the Urdaggar tribesmen are too focused on the cog in the center. Needless to say, it was a slaughter.
I left the sailors in the row boat to act as a meat shield while we emptied our elites and loot into the sea-worthy Urdaggar vessel.
Then the sailors took a few shots at the slingers on the right to thin out the enemies shooting a bit. I think I managed to kill 2 or 3 off them with bad ass anchors.
We won the initiative the following turn, and quickly moved my sailors rowboat alongside the Urdaggar's boat, locking it in place while the newly acquired Urdaggar seaworthy vessel made a B-line for the board edge. Sometimes in battle, sacrifices must be made, and the sailors did they're duty.
The Urdaggar Tribesmen howled in rage as the Falkaar treasure hunter's sailed away into the sunset with all the loot, winning the game.
I really had a lot of fun with this game. As I really enjoyed the 8 levels of tower madness last year, I thought they definitely surpassed it with this event this year. The increase in troops with the freeblades system really lends itself more to my type of playing, giving it more of a warzone type feel for me. The Freeblades system by itself is awesome, but I really like the increased amount of miniatures on the table. Maybe it's a personal preference, I don't know. It's a great system all around and is definitely enhanced with more troops on the field.
The only downside with this particular scenario is that it was a bit slow in the beginning with it taking 3 turns to get on the row boat and get going. Maybe it felt slow because all the action was on and in the cog and all my troops were still trying to get in the damn rowboat. I think if the Urdaggar team would've split they're force a little instead of dog piling on the cog in hopes of an easily earned ship, it would've been more interesting in the beginning. Once we started going though, it got really interesting.
The guy in the other rowboat and I discussed our plan to ambush the Unproven and jack they're boat at about the 3rd or 4th turn. It was a little nail biting as we approached as I though for sure the Urdaggar team would see what was coming and split a few guys off to tie us up. We really didn't hide our battle plan as both of our row boats went straight for the Unproven's vessel. I think they figured the Unproven would hold us up long enough to kill everyone on the cog and they're slinger's boat would tie us up if it took a little longer than anticipated to take control of the cog. I don't think they were expecting me to use my sailors as cannon fodder and create a traffic jam on the port side of the cog allowing us to sail away with the loot.
If anyone is curious about the boats, Matt over at Laser Dream Works creates and sells them. I ended up buying the cog vessel and can't wait to put it together. For only $40 dollars, your getting a great product at a great price.
Again, Freeblades is a fantastic game created by a bunch of great guys and I highly suggest people check them out. Plus, it's not everyday you get to play a professional level game being GM'd by the designer. Kudos to Jon and Matt for running a great game!!