Saturday, November 05, 2016

Cutlass! A rule review and yet more Atlantis Ramblings.

I really should be painting Frenchmen, but as usual something shiny has come along, having painted up the recent Atlantians the opportunity for a game has come up on Sunday so for once lets get the freshly painted toys on the table whilst interest is at it's peak.

I have spent the week reading up on the Cutlass! rule set and giving some of the mechanics a run through and first impressions are they look a real blast.

Gav Thorpe has done a fantastic job some fresh rule mechanics and a comprehensive campaign system all in all the rules have a very polished finish to them.
The rules well laid out even if they are a little heavy on Pics of lovely looking figures and terrain and artwork of pirate maps which add no real value to the rules themselves.... but do give you plenty of inspiration if it was needed.

The rules are aimed at a land based fantasy pirate skirmish game, with your classic Human, Dwarves and Orcs together with other regular fantasy factions. But as usual I already have some new ideas to tweak this. 
The rule concepts take me back to some of my early gaming with the likes of Necromunda where you build your faction up over time adding recruits, extra items and a hideaway.

One of the things which drew me to these rules was the variable turn structure, I used to play a lot of Two Hour Wargames Rules, where characters can interupt an opponents go, but this got rather confusing when trying to field a large number of figures and decide who went before who, Gav appears to have nailed it with his rule structure.

Each leader rolls for their Authority at the beginning of the game and this provides them with the total number of actions or orders they can bark at their men in a given turn. They can provide them with orders such as move, shoot, Hand to Hand or special actions such as reload. If you have an authority of 5 your can spend one action telling 5 men to all shoot. However the next action/order you give is only for 4 men etc, etc. until you run out of actions.

However as you attempt an action your opponent has a chance to react which if successful takes the turn from you and hands the initiative to them, from what I have experienced so far this means you have to think about the order in which you carry out your actions so if you mess up, suddenly you are on the back foot this balances the risk vs reward with any actions.

Each character has a number of stats which are represented by a quality dice meaning a low quality character might roll a D4, a more experienced chacter might be rolling a D8. These rolls however are open ended so if a player scores the highest possible result (a 6 on a D6 for example) they roll again and add the next score on to the total result, you keep going with this until you fail to achieve the highest result, in my first play test a D4 Character took down a far more experienced character by rolling 3 x 4D4. 

Combat is slick and has some nice features which give you a feel of true swashbuckling on the high seas.

With the first outing this sunday, I am very much looking frward to giving these a proper run through.

Meanwhile I started to note down the potential back story to future encounters in Atlantis. The one line from the Warlords film struck me with plenty of possibilities "They steal some rifles the Atlantians have acquired from a ship they plundered".

James Wolfe:

How many ships have they attacked over the years?

A few hours on the Interweb and suddenly their are plenty of potential ideas and ships crews that have simply disappeared... or dragged below the surface?

Image result for ships attacked by kraken

1794  HMS Ardent lost with all hands 500 crew – It is presumed that she caught fire and blew up. A part of Ardent's quarter deck with some gunlocks deeply embedded in it was found floating in the area as was splinter netting driven into planking. No trace was ever found of her 500 crew.

1799 HMS Lutine – Sank off Vlieland in heavy weather. She was carrying a large cargo of gold, most which remains unsalvaged. 269 people were lost.

1800 USS Insurgent departed Baltimore 22 July and after a brief stop at Hampton Roads sailed for her station 8 August 1800. Never heard from again, the frigate and her crew were presumed lost as a result of the severe storm.

The possibilities are endless.

I just now need to resist the draw to paint pirates rather than those half finished Frenchmen.


  1. Sounds like you are having far too much fun dreaming up ideas - smashing stuff!

    1. To much thinking Michael and not enough painting.

  2. The dreaded curse of the wargaming butterfly's wings has obviously struck you, like the call of the Sirens;)

    1. Anything to put off starting the Frenchmen... :-(