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Freebooters Fate

Freebooter Miniatures

 

 
 Yaaarrr me hearties... Freebooter's Fate is a skirmish level game of Pirates and other crews fighting for glory, plunder and, well, glory and plunder really. All that's needed to play the game, is the rulebook, the  deck of cards designed for the game, the Freebooter's Fate miniatures with their stat cards, a measuring tape marked in centimetres, a table and some terrain, some card protectors for the stat cards, and dry erase markers, for marking the cards. Everything needed to play the game is done via a special deck of cards. The suggested play area is also 120cm X 120cm, which is roughly 4ft X 4ft. 
 
The differing factions are called Crews. There's the Pirate Crew, Imperial Armada Crew, Goblin Pirate Crew, the Brotherhood of Assassins Crew and the Amazons. There's also a small number of Mercenary characters which can be hired. Instead of points, the game defines each character with an amount in Gold Doubloons in which it costs to hire them. The rulebook says an average introductory game should be 250 doubloons, and the average normal game size is in the 500 doubloon range.
 
There are three different character types, these are Leaders, Specialists and Deckhands. A Leader is required to build a crew under. Deckhands are the lackeys, or your common soldier. There's a ratio depending on the crew, of how many Deckhands you must have in order to hire Specialists. As Pirates I must have one Deckhand per single Specialist I hire. The Brotherhood however has a different ratio, they can hire two Specialists for every Deckhand they employ. Specialists are unique characters as well, so you can only have one of each Specialist per Crew.  Although some do have specific names in the game, you can still hire multiples of each Deckhand. 
 
The game flows really well, with each turn broken into phases: Initiative is resolved, then each side activates alternating individual pieces between the Crews. Once the one side runs out of crewmen to activate, the other crew finishes up with the rest of the guys they didn't activate, then it's on to resolve Initiative again, and the next turn begins. There's no move, shoot and assault phase. In Freebooter's Fate everything happens pretty much in real-time, in a realistically flowing single phase of actions. 
 
Each character can perform two simple Actions or one complex Action, per turn. simple actions include Advancing (moving your Mov value), Attack (melee or range), Aim (aiming bonus modifier), Get Up, Reload (heavy weapons require a Complex Action to reload tho), Retreat, Smash (to open locked doors and smashing smaller objects), Take a Swing (a close combat attack) and Use Item (dropping, picking up, handing over, examining, opening a chest, and using items). 
 
Complex actions include Complex Advance Action (moving twice your Mov value), Charge (using a complex Advance Action, and then making a single Melee attack), Rallying & Fleeing, Reloading a heavy weapon, and Wait (electing during your turn to not take an action, but to Wait, which will allow you to take a Reactive Action during the opponents' turn instead). Of all the complex Actions, Wait seems to be the most interesting, and it can be somewhat tricky, it is essentially passing to use your turn on your turn, and now until your next turn with that specific crew member, that character is Waiting. Now as the opposing Crew activates, you still have a turn left to perform an out of sequence action with that character Waiting allowing you to perform a single simple Action of Advancing or an Attack only. You can declare you will now Move further away, possibly making his effort a failure. You can declare you will shoot at him as he moves towards you. If you were to get in a good leg shot, you could possibly even injure him bad enough, that he can't finish moving far enough to make it to you, since injuring a leg can limit the Move value. You even define just where he is stopped during the movement towards you. You can also simply declare to perform a melee attack on him, once he makes it to base-2-base contact with you, before he can perform his Charge attack. Essentially you can completely interrupt their action, with a Reactive out of turn action (much like reactive actions in Infinity) as you Wait. This changes things up a little, and since the game is already played out in a single phase of flowing actions, this adds a completely new realistic element to it all. 
 
Combat resolution is handled exceptionally well, given the lack of dice, each player draws a card, and adds the relevant stat, with the highest total being the winner. Should the attacker win, he moves on to damage resolution. Twelve of the cards in the deck 
feature a picture of a little goblin pirate on them, these are split into two decks of 6, each deck containing one of each card, Head, Legs, L. Arm, R. Arm. Torso and Abdomen.
 
The attacker gets to select a number of cards equal to the A (attack) value on their stat card. I'll use Moby Dugg as the example, he has an A of 2. I secretly select the head, and legs to shoot at. The Imperial Armada Arquebusier (deckhand) has a D (defense) value of 3. The Arquebusier secretly selects head, legs and abdomen, as the defender is allowed to select the number of cards equal to their Defense value to defend with. We both flip the cards simultaneously, and if there are any areas that the attacker selected, which weren't defended, then it's considered a hit. In the case of the Arquebusier, she defended herself well, and managed to escape being hit. 
 
The majority of the characters have a starting value of 2 A, and 3 D. Therefore the defender seems to have a slight advantage. Taking an Aim action, grants a +1 A, so had I aimed, I would have ended up with 3 body parts to choose from on the attack, so some modifiers can come into play to balance this out a little more. Lets say I did manage to damage the Arquebusier's legs, to work out damage, you use the RAV value of the weapon (for Range, for Melee it's the ST value), in this case a 4 since it was at Long Range, then draw a card from the Fate Deck, and now add the 4 to the value of the Fate Card drawn (which is this case is a 6), for a total of 10. I'd also add any modifiers that were applicable, but I'm keeping this simple. 
Now the Arquebusier takes her T (toughness) value, which is a 3, and adds the result of her Fate Card draw, which is a 3, for a total of 6. Next you deduct the total of the Defender's result, from the Attacker's result, and a result greater than zero is the damage caused. In this case, the Arquebusier takes 4 points of damage. Now she marks off the 4 points of damage from her Vitality line on the right-hand side of the card with a dry erase marker. This is done from the top down. Since damage was caused, right away you're supposed to draw another Fate Card to determine any Critical Hits. She took 4 points, so if I draw a card with a value less than, or equal to 4, she will take a Critical Hit on the location I was originally hit, which would be the legs. Each value on the stat card is listed as 5/10, 2/3, etc. When taking a Critical Hit, you are to cross out the value on the right-hand side, and now refer to the left-hand side's reduced value as the new current stat. Okay the Arquebusier draws a Fate Card with a value of 2, that's less than 4, so she is taking a Critical Hit. The Legs are linked to the Mov value on the stat card, so now that she has taken a Critical Hit to the Legs, her movement is now limited to 5 CM per turn, so she is moving at half her speed now. She also crosses out the 10 from the 5/10 stat now, to reflect this. 
It works this way for all of the regions hit too. A Critical to the head will reduce the A value (attacks), an abdomen shot knocks down your D value (defense), and so on. This I think is brilliant, and it just makes sense to degrade your abilities as you take damage. 
 
 
 
The majority of the miniatures for this game were sculpted by Werner Klocke, or Bobby Jackson, the later of which is equally as well known and respected for his work as Werner. There's a whimsical, style to the art, and miniatures throughout this game too. They look lighthearted and serious both, but without ever being too over the top. 
I've been fortunate enough to see a wide variety of the miniatures first-hand. My favourite is clearly The Pirate Crew, Captain Rosso is a really nice model, and I love Long John too. Both, like all others, are so amazingly well sculpted, and you can tell these two aren't land lubbers.The Imperial Armada are more of a long ranged crew, and although I'm not a fan of the "law", I have to admit, they too are awesome looking models as well. 
 
Cost-wise the Freebooter's Fate miniatures are slightly more expensive than most minis out there, but they do include full color cards, and the added detail of a scenic base plate with every miniature should be factored into the price too. The scenic base is something you just don't get with many other miniatures these days. What you see pictured is what you get, unlike some manufacturers that show you a nicely painted mini, with a scenic base in their stock studio pictures, and you end up with a plain regular old base when you bust open the blister pack. Not with Freebooter's Fate miniatures, what you see, is what you're getting. So a little higher than average start up cost for a skirmish game, but so worth it. i would go so far as to say it is among the top 3 skirmish games i have ever played (and i do play a good few). If you have an opportunity to give this game a go, jump at it, you will really not regret it.
 
-Grant
 
 
 
 
 
© Chris Baylis 2011-2015