Tuesday, January 24, 2012


At this point I am at a crossroad as to what I want to do next for Legends of the Old West.  At this point I need to start thinking about scenery and rounding off my miniature collections to add some variety to the already 60 models that I have painted up.

Model wise I am doing a “practical check” on myself to see what is what I consider “critical” to make games more enjoyable and have started to inventory each posse for ideas.

Here is my rough order list and it appears FRP Games may get my order, while they are expensive on a few items I want, the savings in shipping ordering from two companies balances out.

Foundry: Mexican Villagers
Foundry: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
Foundry: Shanghai Pierces Cowhands
Crusader Wild West Foreigners
Artizan Banditos I
Artizan Buno, Brutto, Cativo (Good, the bad, the Ugly movie copies)
Artizan Frontier Cowboys
Tombstone Civilians

The Mexican Villagers offers at least 4-6 civilians for games, at least 2 possible Banditos or Tehano and one possible soiled dove that are Hispanic.

The GBU set is my diversity set for my outlaws or other groups as needed. A confederate, black man, Native American, rough Irish types and city slicker minis should fit in nicely.

The Cowhands will have some diversity of two black cowboys and I can’t resist one of the models with the name Alabama Bill! This should boost the cowboy group to at least 12 not including anything else giving them a wide range to choose from.

Foreigners was mainly in the loop for more diversity and the fact I like the guy in the kilt with two six guns!

The Banditos pushes that group to 9 models now. Toss in the Mexican Villagers and they should be playable as either Banditos or Outlaws. I will have the other GBU Mexican in there also!

The BBC package was just homage to my favorite movie and some nice looking models to round out other groups.

The Frontier Cowboys should help round out some of the hired guns I need, a preacher, prospector and free trapper.

The civilian set offers 20 models to help be extra fun models to make games more interesting. Some could even be used as a Reporter, Chinese Rail Worker or Card Sharp and perhaps a Soiled Dove.

When it comes to hired guns here is what I can put on the table: Card Sharp, Hanging Judge, US Marshall, Gunslinger, Soiled Dove and Mexican Bandito.

Items I need: Indian Scout, Preacher, Free Trapper, Prospector, Prize Fighter, Rail Worker, Pinkerton Man, Reporter, Cookie, Pony Express Rider, Renegade Solider, Tejano Guide, Explosives Expert and Knife Fighter.

The above order should clear about 50% of that list leaving a few leftovers to buy later.

Next, is how to build up scenery quickly, there are two options before me:

1)      Print PDF buildings and glue them to card and call it a day. The lazy way, cheap and fast shortcut.
2)      Scratch build with coffee sticks and Popsicle sticks among other things. This will take more time, look better on the table and is more rewarding. I am leaning towards this route more….

So, Ye wanna be a Pirate? Or a……. A Legends of the High Seas Player Primer

So, Ye wanna be a Pirate? Or a…….

So, you’re thinking of playing Legends of the High Seas or perhaps improve your sea dog skills in the game? Then this article is for you.

First we are going to look at building a crew and some examples as well as suggestions to how to play at your best.

A look at Archetypes:

Bloodthirsty:  Causes a -1 on Rout tests. In theory this is good to help clear off enemy models quicker to ensure you win. The problem is Stern and Courageous can cancel this ability, see below.

Gentleman: -1 to Mutanity Checks and all crew you recruit cost 2 less. In theory this can help you purchase some extra weapons or perhaps slip an extra crew member or two in if you’re frugal with your coin.

Stern: Fearless, never Rout you must add +2 to Mutanity checks! So, you have a crew that won’t run no matter what! Just be warned that you could lose your captain if you get some LD increases to one of the other crew as your going to Mutanity on a 8 now unless you make sure you give out shore leave and hire on a cook! This defeats Bloodthirsty making the ability useless.

Courageous: +1 to Rout checks. So this cancels Bloodthirsty out when used against you.

Lucky: Two free rerolls and reolls to income! This is great for Privateer or even the English Navy the Pirates could make use but your Quartermaster finds some problems being useful here as his ability is overshadowed by this ability.

Bold: You can reroll Rout tests but you also have a +1 to your Mutanity roll. A nicer version of Stern that could cause you to Rout and cause problems for your captain later between games.

Suggested Archetypes:

Pirate: Gentleman or Bold.

Privateer: Lucky, Gentleman or Bold

Royal Navy: Stern (-2 would put you back at 10+ with faction benefit), Lucky or Bold.

You may notice I did not pick Bloodthirsty or Courageous simply they are just a single point modifier and IMO would not impact the game that greatly compared to the other 4.

Strategies for Legends of the High Seas:

There are three play styles that any crew could look at using to be successful in a LOTHS campaign.

By the Numbers: This is a list that is heavy on numbers but weak on equipment and talent. Often you forgo Heroes early on for a numerical advantage. Once you play your first or second game, your focus should be either adding more numbers to the pile, adding heroes and better weapons depending on your income. The key strength here is that with higher numbers you are less likely to have to make a courage test over other crews and the volume of attacks could allow you to win combats easier. Depending on your archetype such as Stern you could wait out your opponent to break and flee from the table to win your games.

Example of starting Crew: Pirate Captain (Pistol and Sword), 17 Rouges with Hand weapons. Not much flair here, not many heroes but you should outnumber most crew 2:1. If you pay for the Gentleman option these numbers could increase to the captain and 20 Rouges!

Only the Best: This crew type brings to the table the best choices in your crew and the best weapons for the greatest advantage (you hope!). Often you take all 4 heroes and max out on the better henchman choice (Marines, Cutthroats and Mercenaries) taking advantage of their better stats and then giving those weapons that are best supported by their advantages. A Marine would find having a flintlock rifle with a bayonet to be the best choice. A Cutthroat would enjoy a sword or boarding pike to get up close and a Mercenary could enjoy the mix of a pistol and sword/boarding pike to take advantage of their excellent shooting and strength.

Example: Privateer Captain with Sword and Pistol, First Mate with Sword and Pistol, Proctor and Cabin Boy with Hand Weapons along with 5 Mercenaries with Pistols and Swords. 7 out of the 9 can shoot pistols, 5 have STR 4 and loaded up with swords to parry attacks. You could bump that to 11 crew from 9 with Gentleman again, this would allow you to add two Mariner’s with boarding pikes/spears.

Balanced Crew: This blend of crew offers a little bit of both worlds without any specialization that the other two lists offer in the game. These are often the hardest lists to design as you can get drawn into building one of the other two above without thinking about it. The key to this crew is finding the line and keeping to it. Once you start after a few games you can maintain that pace by adding more henchman and heroes based on income.

Example: A Royal Navy Captain and two Lts with a pistol and sword. 2 Marines with flintlocks and bayonets with 7 Able Seamen armed with 2 Boarding Pikes and 5 Hand Weapons. Here you have more crew than the Privateer Example Above but you also managed to maintain a decent quality of weapons on the important models. You also weigh in just under 5 models compared to the Pirate crew in the first example. Perhaps your shooting can soften up the Pirates before you engage in close combat! With Gentleman you could upgrade to take 10 Seamen with 6 pikes and 4 hand weapons. If you sold back all of the pikes for hand weapons you could squeeze another crew member in.


When you look at the rules for this on page 51 there are just two elements factor into the math to calculate your crew rating. The number of the crew x 5 and any Experience Points they may have.

So, let’s look at the Infamy of the examples above:

Pirate Horde: 98 or 113 with Gentleman
Privateer Only the Best: 53 or 63 with Gentleman
Royal Navy Balanced: 68 or 73 (or 78 if you take no pikes and extra crew)

Infamy is often used to determine who wins a campaign after a series of games. When you study this you may find the urge to take nothing but hand weapons and fill up your crew to 30 quickly. Yet, there is downsides without decent gear you will be less likely to win fights and if you take enough losses you could risk the loss of henchmen on a roll of a 1 or 2, only Privateers can ignore this due to their faction ability. When you take a loss of crew you take a loss of experience and that x5 bonus for each model. Not to mention you have to pay for upkeep between each game, thus your earn less gold per game.

A look at Salty Dogs Weapons

Melee Weapons:

Knife or Dagger: Unless you’re going for the “cheapest” weapon to get more crew or horde extra doubloons this weapon isn’t for you.

Hand Weapon: Cheap and in a pinch you could purchase a few to give to new crew members. No advantages of disadvantages, a sword and spear/pike are more worthwhile for 1 coin more.

Sword: For 3 doubloons this is one of the best weapons you can buy as it gives you the “parry” option that you could use in combat. Two skills “Swordsman” allows you to reroll who wins and “Handy with Swords” allow you to use a second sword. Thus some models armed with that second sword can find a use!

Two-Handed Weapons: While you are more likely to wound, there is also the great chance to not win a combat. To this salty dog, the spear/pike or sword is better. A Hero that gets Strongman could find some love for this weapon as he ignores the penalties.

Spear or Boarding Pike: No major benefits or setbacks and you can support a fight with them. This is good for models that either are not great fighters or perhaps models you wish to “protect” from injury and allow the model in base to base to deal with the damage.

Bayonet: Marines only for the Royal Navy, works like a spear or boarding pike. Yes, take them! While they may not be practical to purchase at the start after your first game this should be an early purchase for Royal Navy.

Unarmed: Better to have a knife at this point unless you’re a Hero with Tavern Brawler!

Missile Weapons:

Flintlock Pistols: Short range and best suited for models with a Shooting of 4+, wounds on a 4+ on average so you’re 50/50 to hit and then wound. The only great thing is you can move ½ your movement allowing for a range of 11”. Heroes with “Handy with Pistols” can enjoy shooting multiple times if they don’t move. Same goes for “Uncanny Sense” where you can shoot someone about to charge you out of sequence for a good laugh. There are other shooting skills that are good but those are the best for pistols.

Double Barreled Pistol: Double the fun of a Flintlock, granted you can’t move but lets you dump out more shots in hope of hitting something. This weapon cannot be purchased by any starting crew, sorry me laddies!

Flintlock Musket: 18” range, move or shoot with the same strength as a pistol. The Royal Navy and Privateers can best make use of this weapon.

Blunderbuss: A good weapon for those that have a shooting of 5+ or 6+. Fires a blast template that hits all models under and a great weapon for pirates or able seamen!

Swivel Gun: A stronger version of the Blunderbuss that is on ships. No ship gets one to start with. Great for deck clearing fights.

Bows: Natives only and very weak with a STR 2, so less likely to wound models.

Grenades: Best on a model with a 4+ Shooting stat that allows you to drop a STR 5 hit on a model and hit other models near wounding them with a STR 3 hit. This is weapon with some dangerous drawbacks if you roll a 1 but worthwhile IMO. Privateers can make best use of this weapon.

Thrown Weapons: A one shot weapon per game, but simply amazing for someone with a STR of 4, even a 3 has a 50/50 chance of wounding. Just depends on your shooting. No crew can start with these weapons but can pick them up after their first game. A worthwhile investment if you have the coin to spend.

It has been a few months since I have purchased the book and started to work on my ships and slowly collect some crews to start playing. I figure it is a good time to put forth a review….


The book is very detailed with tons of models from various companies and for the most part a well done book. Some stuff could have been better organized in regards to finding rules but this is always been a fault of GW with anything. You often have to “hunt” for some tidbit related to a rule.

The first 48 pages cover the rules from movement, to fighting to ships and the armory. After that the next few pages covers building your crew then some fluff pages to give the reader some historical perspective. The remaining part of the book covers campaign rules such as income, trading, injury as well as scenarios you can play. It also has rules to generate a Non-player ship and crew to take your crew against to raid the high seas. Then you can round out your crew with Hired Hands, Legendary characters and a nice “how to” build your own small Sloop to get you playing quickly.

Game Mechanics

The game itself is designed to get you quickly into the action. The book is a bit more detailed that say Legends of the Old West or Gladiator with the addition of the ship fighting rules which are very similar to those that was in the old General’s Compendium for Warhammer Fantasy some years ago.

The Factions:

At this point there are only three official factions for Legends of the High Seas: Royal Navy, Pirates and Privateers. Each group has the option for 4 heroes and then some henchmen to join your crew. Some henchmen groups are limited to the numbers you can have aboard your ship. While this does not sound like much in variety you have to look at the historical context of the times and also they accounted for some of the Hollywood archetypes that you can apply to your captain to add some character.

Archetypes include Bloodthirsty, Gentleman, Stern, Courageous, Lucky and Bold. Each grants a different benefit including many modifiers to Courage rolls to outright fearless as well as rerolls and discounts when you purchase crew for your group.

The Royal Navy is your “shooter” faction if you will. Three out of four heroes can have a shooting of 4+ and you can have up to 5 Marines as henchmen. The main perk of this faction is that you’re less likely to have a Mutiny result than other factions as well as you have some nice leadership modifiers for Rout tests. The captain also starts with 1 Fame and 2 Fortune. This faction is also the only group to have the initial access to bayonets for their muskets.

Pirates are your more or less physical faction for the game. There are only two heroes (Captain and Quartermaster) that have a shooting of 4+. The Cutthroats are your best henchmen with a Defense of 4 making them tougher than the average crew in combat. The faction special ability for them is called “Life is Cheap” that allows you to shoot into close combat unlike other factions. Granted, you can also end up shooting your own me, but oh well you’re a pirate! The Quartermaster also allows you to reroll a single die on the income chart to help improve your chances of making a decent income. They also add grenades to their henchmen list as a bonus weapon from the armor.

Privateers are what I call your “mixed bag” faction when it comes to the game and perhaps the best all around. Their faction rule does require Rout tests when you take a loss of 1/3 of your crew instead of the usual ½ but you’re also less likely to take losses with Henchmen as your out of action rolls of 1 indicates dead instead of a 1 or 2. Sadly this does not apply to Heroes. They have 7 models that can have a shooting of 4+ which comes close to that of the Royal Navy and instead has grenades also instead of bayonets. They are also allowed to have a “Proctor” on board that allows a captain a reroll every turn if he is within 3”. When it comes to your henchmen you can have up to 5 Mercenaries which are not only has a Shooting of 4+ but also a Strength of 4 making them a good counter against the tough Cutthroats in the Pirate faction.


The book is packed with 9 scenarios to play including 4 ship based games that go from raid a ship in port (and steal it if you want), boarding action, and a battle at open sea or among dangerous rocks in the area. The rest of the missions are “land” based and play on 4/x4 tables that include kidnapping/rescue the governor’s daughter, prison break and the ever famous “tavern brawl”.

No only that but again, the random generator has been included to quickly generate a ship to raid and rules to allow you to build NPC’s for specific missions like civilians, soldiers and tribals.

I give it four out of five sails! A great game, there could be some additional stuff they could have added (and may with future books like Legends of the Old West). The layout is well done and the art is very engaging. The soft cover makes it light but the hard cover on the Gladiator book is more appealing.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My ship(s) have come in!

Well, I FINALLY got my package with  my pirate toys I won from Ebay. The seller shipped them on the 31st and just got them today! I swear I got things from England faster! Damm USPS, not sure what the deal is out in Cali, slackers....damm thing sat there in the tracking for days! It finally showed after I emailed the USPS with an inquiry. Here our Post Office is great in the south, not sure what those idiots on the west coast are doing.

Well on with the show! This stuff is some type of Pirates vs Undead set with two ships, some figures and assorted other goodness. Some of it had some damage and missing parts. Most of which is ok and fixable.

This was a Quay area for ships to dock, for the most part this is a workable bit of scenery that can be used for something.

Another shot to show scale.

The flag, a little paint and such this could be a cool thing.

Rigging, missing one brown. Thinking I may can cast the black or just ignore it and redo the masts which is be likely.

The cannons, shame there was only 3 but they are pretty good to scale. I thought I may could try to cast them.

Masts and flags...not impressive so they may go the the junk pile. One is broken also.

Crow's  nest, if you don't put the flag in the peg hole a model fits in there nicely. I am thinking I will cut the peg hole out.

Sails, they are ok, I may gow ith cloth.

Rowboats...WAY too small!

Stuff, the crates, bags and barrels could be used the chests are a bit large.

The tree is TALL as hell, the toppers are nice and could be used to make several smaller trees.

My Foundry pirate against the toy ones...gah!

Watch tower, a bit tall, may use it in Warhammer Fantasy or 40k.

Scale isn't bad in the tower.

The tower....

Side with the anchor, a bit big...

Shot of the deck, the stairs are to scale, a spot for a door to the below decks. The wheel is a decent size are are the sides, maybe a tad too low.

A problem area I will have to deal with. There is some smooth spots on both ships and some stuff like windows and such that was not done well.

The back, which is done nice. The pegs was to have a rowboat for. I plan to dremmel these off and putty with some decorations.

Both ships side by side.

Model by the gun.

Model aft.

The red ship. Measures about 10.5 inches from the front to the back rail (measured where models fit). Total length is like 13.5 out to the end of the prow.

Overall, I am pleased with what I got. There is some stuff missing like the cannon and a set of ropes and some damage in two spots....the ships have great potential to be made into some nice ships. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

First Few Games of Legends of the Old West

My friend Lee and I got together to play our first few games of Legends of the Old West. It was a learning experience and I am sure we missed a few rules here and there but we had a blast. Lee got to bring his Miniature Building Authority buildings that were amazing and well done. They may be a tad out of period and more fitting for a Fantasy or Pirate based game but still served our needs nicely.
Lee picked Outlaws and went with a simple set of a Desperado with a repeating rifle, 3 kids with sawed off shotguns and 3 or 4 Toughs with pistols. My Lawmen was the Sheriff with a LeMatt Pistol, one Deputy with the same, another with a Repeating Rifle. I had 3 Vigilantes with six shooters and 2 Citizens one with a six shooter and another with a sawed off shotgun.
Our first game was Vendetta; Lee pulled the high card and opted to take the center while I split my forces. The group I put in the graveyard was a sharp move on my part giving me cover and I only lost Granny to a pistol shot after a scattershot blast failed to wound her. The Repeating Rifle was the hero of the group with the move half distance and being able to shoot. I had problems getting my LeMatt into a good spot as Lee was fairly sharp with his placement and taking the top of the turn and having 5 FAME to blow in this game made it a pain for me to get into a good position. I ended up failing a Rout test, I did capture one of Lee’s Kids and he lost a tough or two to recovery rolls.
The second game we played the Jailbreak Scenario, Lee took one corner while I held the jail in the middle with my 3 heroes and Granny. I figured the Rifle and shotgun blasts would keep anyone away while the vigilantes and citizens harassed the Outlaws.  This game ended in a win for me as I was able to keep the Outlaws at bay long enough to slowly chew down their #s for a win.
The last game was for laughs and we did a bar fight. This was no doubt botched at several points but was good for a laugh at the end. We both rolled to Rout and both promptly failed at the same time calling it a draw.
Some lessons learned were that model placement is key to this game. Second, a Repeating Rifle is gold and I see why they cost $16, same for a LeMatt Pistol. I endorse these weapons. Also, avoid getting shot multiple times, taking multiple Pluck tests sucks!
Here is some pictures of the games we played:

The Lawmen


Sheriff and boys take cover!

Ambush has been set in the graveyard.

Granny is the first to go!

The Deputy with the repeater evens the score!

Sheriff and company head for the building where the Outlaws are hold up.

The repeating rifle claims another.

Cooter takes a shotgun blast.

Another good soul shot down in his prime!

Another Kid bites the dust!

Take cover! Hey I just stepped in.....

Dey Over Dere!

Poker chips was used as reload markers.

The cemetary was a bastion of defense!

The boss and one of the boys takes cover from a LeMatt blast!

Gather the boys! We making a stand!

Lawmen hold one of the Outlaws for the judge to arrive. Game 2!

Open season when the posse showed up to help out!

The first two out!

LeMatt clears the stairs of the Outlaws!

Game 3 Barfight Deployment and first turn.

Can't I just eat my beans?

Second Floor, poor granny just wanted a quiet drink!

First round of fights!

Another lawman down, the Outlaws take the second floor!