King of Buccaneers, 1671

Clarence Harrison
- So this was an epic undertaking. When Barry first unveiled the 4Play scenario pack concept, he invited me to join in. While I had a pile of ideas, I quickly realized I didn't have the models to present them in the manner I wished. We were eyeball deep in Mad for the War at the time. As naval gaming had never been a passion of mine, I set out to read some books on the subject to see what all the fuss was about.

Being a proud gentleman of Virginia, I decided to focus on events on this side of the Pond. There were small actions all up and down the coast of colonies, but what drew more of my attention were exploits of the pirates, buccaneers, and privateers. Scattered all through the exploits of these sea dogs were small unit land actions that are perfect for Beneath the Lily Banners and Donnybrook! While they weren't painted, I had a pile of lead I'd amassed for pursuing our period into the Caribbean (after Barry's great game I'd attended in the Old Country).

The Battle of Panama featured an army of buccaneer infantry against a mixed force of Spanish uniformed troops, native auxiliaries, poor artillery (some sources say any guns were left to defend the city), two large units of cavalry (extremely rare in this theater), and herd of oxen! Any time I start a collection, I always look for these kinds of mixed forces so avoid the fatigue of painting six identical battalions. I felt like this would be an amazing looking force on the tabletop.

The King of Buccaneers 4Play PDF is 20 pages and includes two scenarios for Beneath the Lily Banners and one for Donnybrook.

The first game is a 4Play BLB assault on the breach of the San Lorenzo fort which guarded the mouth of the Chagres—the route Henry Morgan had chosen for his invasion of Panama. At the time, the fort was a crude affair of earthen walls between timber palisades. I didn't have anything like that in my collection either (sigh), so I set out to build  a custom 24x24 inch tile for the game.

The second game is a standard-sized Donnybrook game on a 48x48 inch table. The encounter is fictional ambush as only a token resistance was staged as the pirates hacked their way through the jungle. It represents the Spanish intent rather than actual defense. As with the previous game, I wanted an bit of terrain I didn't have and custom built the ruined chapel for the center of the table.

The final game is a 4Play X BLB battle, featuring eight units per side on a 48x48 inch table set to last eight turns. 

I had a blast playing all three of these games. I'm hoping to explore more scenarios for the Caribbean in the future, including adding more uniformed units (I cunningly chose to paint my Spanish militia in the uniform of the French de la Marine so with a flag swap I have the start of another army).

You can grab a copy of King of Buccaneers at the Warfare Miniature USA shop!

Hopefully I'll have some more scenarios to add the the collection this year.