Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Cutlass by Black Scorpion

Hi all, well in order to keep my sanity at reasonably normal levels I decided to do a quick review of these new rules.

I picked up a copy of Cutlass at Legionary in Exeter at the weekend and I can say that on first inspection the book looks very nice with a good mix of colour photographs and artwork.  The book is pleasing to the eye and at just over 100 pages it's a good investment for £20.  The cover art is exceptional (and yes you can get "Her" as a figure) even though she is currently sold out......Bugga!  Written by Gav Thorpe and Adam Clarke, it instils good expectations from the cover.

The game is a land based fantasy pirate skirmish game, a bit like Necromunda mixed with a turn system similar to bloodbowl.  The players start a gang with between 5 and 8 models, so it's good as a break in game and for those who can just never seem to get an army painted.  The models from black scorpion are also very nice, but the game allows for a very custom approach to your gang and weapons and equipment can be tailored to meet individual likes or dislikes.  

Play is not by the normal my turn then your turn structure.  Players roll their leaders Authority at the beginning of the game and this total is the amount of action points that player has.  Players then nominate actions for their models to do, which could be move, shoot or combat.  There are also several special actions such as reloading or hide, which can be undertaken by other models in the gang whilst some move for instance. A player spends one action point to make the number of actions equal to the current action point total.  So for instance, a player rolls and gets 6 action points, he spends his first and 6 models can perform the nominated action, or a special action.  The player can then spend his second point but this time on 5 can perform actions and so on until he/she decides to pass active status to the other player or they run out of action points.  Some of the reports I have read have remarked that this system is to reliant on a good roll at the start, and situations when one player gets say 8 and the other gets 1 would lead to a bad game.  Having played a few games now I can say that this very rarely happens, and when it does, you just have to say "it's a game, and next turn it might be the other way around".

According to Newton's third law of motion, for every action there is a an equal and opposite reaction.  this is very much the case with Cutlass.  As players perform action your opponent has a chance, within certain guidelines to react to the actions of their opponents models.  This is a great part of the game and makes the active player think hard about the order in which they conduct their actions.  Should your opponent react, not only do they get to perform an action with the reacting model but they also steal the activation.  This is very similar to a "turnover" in bloodbowl, hence the reference earlier.

The combat and shooting actions are well thought out and work quickly, once you remember your stats.

Cutlass can be played as a one off game and so far that is all we have done, but it's true potential is in it's campaign system.  Gangs will progress as they go through encounters and gain wealth, new members, skills and will either become more famous or infamous.  I will be running a campaign throughout the summer down here, and will post updates here.

My only gripe is that between the different sections of the book, there are 2 pages of repeated filler artwork, which tends to just serve to get in the way, whilst flicking through to check rulings.  This is a minor thing but worth mentioning.

So, all in all Cutlass from black scorpion miniatures is a worthy addition to any pirate lovers shelf and I would recommend checking it out.

Cheers for now


1 comment:

  1. Hi, Neil. I was looking for a good review of Cutlass and where should I find one, but from the reliable old Gonk!

    I was wondering if you'd played Legends of the High Seas, from Warhammer Historical and, if so, how it compared to Cutlass? My club is thinking of having a go at the Old West rules (that are basically identical), and I was pondering whether to move from there to LotHS or to Cutlass.