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Saturday, 24 April 2010

Freebooter's Fate - review in a nutshell

Today I had the opportunity to have a look at Freebooter’s new game the “Freebooter’s Fate” at Salute 2010. I was lucky enough to be introduced to it by Werner Klocke himself, whose work I have long admired.
(In case you don’t know he is the man behind Freebooter, he makes all the concepts and minis, one of the best sculptors in the hobby) However I didn’t have time for a demo game so I can only tell of the things he said and what I saw while others were playing demos.

The Freebooter’s Fate is a skirmish size pirate game, played by 2 players, using the absolutely lovely Freebooter minis. The rulebook is just as awesome as the minis themselves, reminds me of my all time favorite, Confrontation. You will find loads of beautiful artwork, a fair bit of fluff, all the rules and all the models’ statistics inside. It has a great atmosphere and everything you need to play.

Crews consist of a Leader, some Deckhands and a few Specialists. Leaders are the heart of the crew, their commander, master, whatever. Deckhands are the cheap linemen and Specialists are, well, the specialists. :D All minis come with standard size stat cards (just as well designed as the rulebook itself).

The game uses card mechanics [seems to be fashion nowadays ;) ] instead of dice. The deck you use for gaming is a specialized deck with values from 1 to 10; hit cards (that determine what part of the body you hit) and random events cards. You will only need one deck of cards for 2 players. The trick is that there are various amounts of cards of each value in the deck. So there are 2 cards with the value ‘10’, 3 cards with value ‘1’ and 4-6 cards of everything else. As both player draw from the same deck it makes these cards very valuable, also If you remember that ie. both ‘10’s were used already your opponent will have less chance counter attacking so you can charge him without much risk.

The activation of the minis go 1 by 1 (so player 1 activates one mini first, then player 2, then 1 again…) until a player runs out of minis, so the opposing player activates everything that’s left. This gives a great balance to the game as stronger, faster, harder minis will be more expensive, therefore the cheaper minis will have the advantage of activating together without reaction from the enemy.

All models have Action Points (generally 2) that they can use to perform several simple, or one special action. Another fashion in skirmish games, very much to my liking.

The game is objective based so not beating your opponent is not the end of the world. That is a good thing as all models have multiple wounds and there are healer crew members described in the book already, so overkill might not be the way to go. Wounding the enemy models give them certain disadvantages, you will need to determine where the damage takes place – Head, Torso, Left Arm, Right Arm, Abdomen or Legs. The wounded part of the body cannot use the stats/equipments linked to it on full burst. Someone with wounded legs will only be able to make half movement, a swordsman will drop its blade if shot in the right arm, etc…

The other thing that really grabbed me is that shooty crews are no longer overpowered; if you fire your weapon in one turn, you will have to reload in the next as a special action. So no more shoot and run - shoot and run style game. This also makes support characters more valuable, for instance a weapon bearer can reload your weapon so you can use your action points for other things.

This is pretty much what I remember from the game, 99% sure on what I wrote but of course my memory might fail some times. :)

The following factions are available in the game (pics are from Freebooter)

The Imperial Armada
Soldiers, sailors, knights and governors. Mainly ranged specialists as they have easy access to gunpowder and good metals. Needless to say they are not very good at fighting and have average stats.

A bit of a Jack-of-all-trades faction. Anyone can be a pirate so you will find every kind of various characters here.

Goblin Pirates
Greenskin scum. An orc captain (the best melee model in game, according to the game designers) and his crazy goblin crew. Not very strong, but always have the advantage of having more models. Also a lot of tricks such as exploding barrels and whatnot…

The Brotherhood
Assassins, bouncers and corrupt noblemen. Fast and lethal models but they lack ranged weapons and strength.

This is pretty much it, I really enjoyed being introduced to this game and chatting with such great artists. The only thing that held me back from picking up the game then and there is the price. As much as I love Werner Klocke sculpts, £9 for one model is a bit pricey. If only I could afford it, I would not hesitate for a second. They had a special deal going on for the convention only; buy a rulebook (£21), a deck of cards (£5), a leader character (£10.95), a deckhand crew (2 models - £12) and a specialist character (£9) for £50 all together.

Although I did not pick the game up, I am still thinking about it. If some more people from the club will buy in I’ll get a Brotherhood crew and eat pasta with cheese for a month…


  1. I say you get the book man, I wanted something similar to Conf to play. I'll definitely get a copy if it contains some mental forces. Also Werner Klocke's sculpting is fucking amazing. :D

  2. Hey I still have the Hybrid boxes and if I paint the minis for it I'll have a game fully operational with all supplements. That's kinda similar to Conf (it's not but you don't have to know that :P ). But really I'm going home in a few weeks and might climb the bookshelf again to see what else is hiding on it.

    But the book shouldn't make much harm I suppose...