July 26th, 2010
In Focus Review - Freebooter's Fate: Brotherhood of Assassins
I covered Freebooter's Fate quite in-depth with my review of the game, but at the time I didn't have any of the Brotherhood pieces to work with. Today my aim is to introduce you to the Brotherhood of Assassins crew for Freebooter's Fate. The Brotherhood of Assassins remind me a lot of the characters which will be included in the upcoming Assassin's Creed video game sequel called Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. It's also what inspired my red and white paint scheme for my Brotherhood of Assassin's Crew.
At present they only have one Leader class piece available for the Brotherhood, and his name is Master Assassin. This model comes as 7 pieces counting the base-plate and plastic base. The cape and left arm are separate, so is the right hand holding the mask and the little crossbow hanging off his belt.
I like this sculpt. There's loads of detail, but they didn't go overboard either. I particularly like the face. If you look closely he somewhat resembles the Phantom of the Opera, or the Batman foe Two-Face. The right-hand side of his face is a skull, and the left-hand side is normal, so he's a little scary looking. As he is walking forward with mask in hand, he also looks confident, maybe even arrogant.
Clean up and assembly didn't require much work at all. He was one of the cleanest pieces to work with. I found he was easier to prime, and paint both by leaving the cape/left-arm piece off, until I had painted the body. It just made more sense, and it allowed me to reach the areas the cape would cover.
Tactically since there are no other Leaders available yet, you have no choice at present but to include this guy in your Brotherhood crew. He moves quickly with 6/12 Mov, decent D at 2/4 and is as strong as most of the other Specialists you can get with solid 4/8 right and left arm ST stats. He's actually identical to the specialist Apagado in terms of basic stats.
His traits include Lightning Reflexes, Obscure and Shadow Run. He has a crossbow for a ranged weapon, and it's also a poison weapon at 30cm. He's one of the few Brotherhood pieces who can use ranged attacks. Both his daggers are also poison, and his health/vitality line is 11 boxes long. Shadow Run is also a powerful and sneaky attack, granting a +1 A, and the means to move double Mov, and then to perform a single ranged, or melee attack. While he's pretty expensive at 120 doubloons, he's worth it. Real world cost is $18 USD here in the states, and via the Freebooter Miniatures online shop he sells for 12.90 Euros.
This is my favorite female piece from the Brotherhood crew. Bonnacia is Specialist. She's a very simple 4-piece model, including the base-plate and base. She's pretty much ready to go right out of the package. The only piece you need to glue on is her left arm, which is positioned so she's hiding her dagger behind her back. She's standing there in a bold, but sexy pose, with one leg forward, and her hair draped over half of her masked face.
A single mold line or two is all I could find, so there wasn't much cleanup to comment on. Assembly was as simple as can be, except for the fact that I required bending the legs a little, to get the feet tabs to fit into the base-plate properly. Even after manipulating the legs best I could, without snapping them, I still didn't get a satisfactory fitting on one of the feet. Therefore the one foot isn't exactly flush with the base-plate. Thankfully since she has high heels, it's not that noticeable. The to hire cost is 95 doubloons if you want to add her to your Brotherhood crew.
Tactically she's a model I prefer having in my Brotherhood crew. At 6/12 Mov she moves quickly, and she has a bunch of traits/abilities. Lightning Reflexes grants her +1 to D, which is already included in her D value on the card, but receives no cover bonuses, however suffers no penalty from an attack from behind. Fair enough. The Blade Mistress trait grants her +1 A in melee combat, both her daggers are considered Poison, and she has Sneak Attack, Hide and the Loner trait/abilities as well.
She won't be doing much good at range, but she doesn't need to, because if she gets close enough to strike, it can get ugly really fast. With 10 boxes worth of health/vitality, she may not stay for the long-haul like Romerto can, so the best way to use her would be to ensure she strikes first. She's probably one of the best Specialist pieces the Brotherhood has to offer. I've seen her selling for $15 USD here in the US, or 10.90 Euros if you're from that neck of the woods.
Apagado is a Specialist class model. He comes as 6 pieces, including base-plate and base. His upper body is separate from his legs, and getting the legs positioned in place just right was a little bit of a challenge at first. His left hand with dagger also comes separate, so you do have the freedom to position it at a different angle than the studio photos depict, which is exactly what I did. This is one of my favorite Brotherhood pieces too. I love the playful finger in front of where his mouth should be, in attempt to “shhhhhhhhhhhh” someone, as he insists they be silent. It gives him a certain playful sneakiness. He's not a complex piece to paint either.
Clean up wasn't a big deal, as there was a few mold lines, but nothing out of the ordinary. Assembly wasn't tough, aside from the juggling act to get the legs positioned to support the body properly. Apagado has a hire cost of 90 doubloons to add him to your Brotherhood crew.
Tactically, this is a nicely balanced piece. He's stat-wise almost identical to Bonnacia (he's as fast, as tough, etc), only minus her Blade Mistress trait. He too has Lightning Reflexes, Loner, Sneak Attack and Hide trait/abilities, the only difference is he has two heavy daggers with poison, where as she carries one heavy and one normal dagger, which is the difference of one point on the ST stat for the arm wielding it. Apagado also has one more box of health/vitality more than Bonnacia at 11 boxes, but cost 90 doubloons to hire, versus her 95 doubloons hire cost. He's another piece I wouldn't overlook when making a Brotherhood crew.
This guy has henchman written all over him. While the majority of the Brotherhood look sneaky, and stealth-like, Romerto at a glance looks a little out of place. He looks to be the guy they call in when they need some muscle, and brute force strength. This is a 7 piece model, including base-plate and base. The torso requires bonding to the legs, and the right arm needs set in place, and it's holding part of the Meteor Hammer (it looks like a rope with balls on each end). The rest of the rope from the Meteor Hammer is glued between the right arm and left hand, and the head is also a separate piece.
He featured some mold lines, but no flash, and no intensive work was required to clean him up. He is larger than most of the pieces, so depending on what bonding adhesive you use, some might want to consider opting to pin the pieces in place. I didn't pin mine, I just used the high viscosity Filla-Glu to get the job done. Romerto is another favorite, I love the hammer, and I only wish they had him posed with the hammer in-hand, as opposed to using both hands to utilize the rope-like weapon that they call a Meteor Hammer. The two-handed hammer has some nice detail on it, and if you look closely he's standing on a hooded skull.
Instead of wearing a mask, he appears to be collecting the theatrical-type masks worn by the Brotherhood, as there's a bunch hanging around his neck, and a few on his belt. I don't quite understand the idea behind that, but it's an interesting detail. Romerto is considered a Specialist, and to hire him on it will cost you 95 doubloons.
Tactically Romerto is a must have model for any Brotherhood crew. While his Mov value is average at 5/10, his right arm ST is 5/10, and it's 6/10 for the left arm. The warhammer he utilizes can be used as a single handed, or double-handed weapon, this is reflected by the Hand and a Half special rule. Using both hands he gains a +1 ST bonus, the Knock Over trait, and penetration power of 5 in close. Did I also mention he has the Tough trait? This allows him to ignore the first Critical Hit altogether, it's as if it never occurred, and he shakes it off and keeps on going. With 13 boxes worth of health/vitality this beast is worth every bit of the 95 doubloons it cost to hire him on. In real world dollars, he's a $15 model here in North America, and 10.90 Euros direct from Freebooter Miniatures online shop.
Coscritti and Harlequin
This is the Deckhands set for the Brotherhood, and it comes with two different models. Harlequin is mostly a single piece design, only her cape needs glued on. Coscritti is similar, as he only required the one leg to be glued into place, as the rest of the model is a single piece design. Including the base-plates and bases, this set is 8 pieces in all.
There's not much to comment on in terms of clean up and assembly, as both had a few mold lines, but nothing out of the ordinary. Sculpt-wise I can't say I like Harlequin all that much. Of all the Brotherhood pieces I've seen, she's the most uninspiring one of he bunch. Although in all fairness, she's meant to be a performer of some sort, who can move about undetected as a Brotherhood member in daylight, due to her entertainer disguise.
Coscritti is a different story. He has that vagabond look about him, with a patch-work cape, and tattered clothes. He just looks like an unsavory character you'd find sneaking around in the shadows of an alley somewhere, ready to stick a dagger between your ribs, and run off with your wallet. He's the Brotherhood crew rookie of the bunch, trying to prove his worth.
To hire Coscritti you'll be parting with 35 doubloons, and to hire Harlequin it will set you back 55 doubloons. Again, both are considered Deckhand pieces as well, so you could use multiples of these to fill out the ranks. Since the Brotherhood can have 2x Specialists for every 1x Deckhand, in most Brotherhood crews all you'll need are these two deckhands.
Tactically Coscritti is an average run of the mill Deckhand. He has no special abilities, or stats. He has 9 boxes worth of health/vitality, a 5/10 Mov value, and no ranged weapons to utilize. He does carry a heavy dagger and regular dagger, so he's definitely a melee fighter. He can help round out a force, and will give you something to spend left over points on, but he's not an essential character. At best he'll give you the means to bring in two Specialists, at a cost of just 35 doubloons to hire him on.
Harlequin is a different story. While she's not my favorite looking model, she's more useful than Coscritti. She moves a little faster at 6/12 Mov, has Throwing Knives at 20cm for a ranged attack, offers 10 boxes worth of health/vitality and has the Agile special rule, all for 55 doubloons. Since she's considered a Deckhand too, she also allows you to hire on 2x Specialists.
Cost-wise these Deckhand packs are the best value overall in the entire Freebooter's Fate model range, because for one price you get two models. I've seen these selling for $18 here in the US, or 12.90 Euros direct from Freeboter Miniatures online store. For almost the same price as most single Specialist models, you get two Deckhands. That's not a bad deal.
I've really enjoyed my time with the Brotherhood of Assassins in Freebooter's Fate. It's a very different crew to play, because they rely a lot on avoiding ranged attacks, moving quickly, and getting in close enough to do what they do best, and that's assassinating a foe with devastating melee power. It's a crew that definitely takes some getting used to playing, because there really isn't many characters with the ability to perform powerful ranged attacks in the Brotherhood. It's a more specialized crew, than a balanced crew like the Pirates or Goblins.
Just for being Brotherhood they are given one extra piece of terrain to place before games, and while most other Crews require 1x Deckhand hired for every Specialist, the Brotherhood can hire 2x Specialists per every single Deckhand they hire on. Based on their capabilities, there's definitely some advantages to being Brotherhood on tables with a lot of terrain too. I'd think on a densely populated city board, like the one pictured in the rulebook, the Brotherhood would stand to dominate.
For instance, a Brotherhood model with the Hide trait, will gain a +1 for being in base contact with scenery at least half the height of the model. A barrel or crate sounds like it would qualify for this, depending on its height. This bonus stacks with cover modifiers, as long as this piece of terrain stands between the character and his/her attacker.
Harlequin's Agile trait forces attackers to use the RAV value for Long Range, even if they're within Close Range distance, making their ranged attacks less threatening. Also the Obscure trait, which Master Assassin has, keeps those Waiting from being able to React to his movement. Oh and to use Shadow Run, the Master Assassin doesn't need LOS, or to see the foe at all before beginning the action. As you can see, the Brotherhood is all about denial of ranged attacks upon them, and they thrive in scenery rich environments.
More Brotherhood pieces are on the horizon too. As recently as a week ago they released Fith'Aarch, who is the fastest moving piece I've seen yet with a Mov value of 7/14, he's really scary looking too. The Queen of Shadows is also still on the list of pieces yet to come, and she's the other Leader piece for the Brotherhood.
Miedo a Morir is the one I look most forward to seeing than any other, as this stilt dancing and scythe yielding character looks like a force to be reckoned with. He sports the Whirlwind special ability, plus a ST value as high as 10 on both arms, and as much health/vitality as Romerto!
Truccu and Bella Cigna are the only two other currently available Brotherhood models you can buy at present, which I didn't cover. Trucca is similar to Apagado, only with throwing knives at 20cm, and Bela Cigna seems more like a bump up from Harlequin, only in Specialist form.
My only gripe about these Brotherhood pieces, and many of the other Freebooter's Fate models in general, is the foreign names. If and when they ever get to the point of a 2.0 or 2nd Edition of the game, a name overhaul for all English speaking countries would be something to put on that list. I have a hard enough time remembering the names, yet alone trying to pronounce them when I'm playing and explaining to my opponent just what Apagdo, or Coscritti is going to do this turn.
While it's clear these are meant to be used in Freebooter's Fate, these Brotherhood of Assassin's pieces would be fantastic models to use with other skirmish rules, to create your own Assassin's Creed type of miniatures skirmish game from. It wouldn't be hard at all to whip up some character stats to use these models in a Ganesha Games-based skirmish ruleset, like maybe Song of Blades and Heroes, or even Fear and Faith. If only they'd make a model that looks like either of the main characters from any of the previous two Assassin's Creed video games. Any of the ancestors of Desmond Miles would do.
Like all of the Freebooter's Fate models, these aren't cheap either, but they aren't cheaply made, or novice sculpted. Werner Klocke and Bobby Jackson is the sculpting dynamic duo behind this entire range so far. While I'm sure anyone could find one or two models that didn't quite grab their attention in the line, for the most part the majority of the models are amazing, and well worth what they're asking.
If you haven't given Freebooter's Fate a chance yet, you should. I think it's one of the best games released yet this year, and it has a certain style and flair, which most other games just don't have. Most importantly, it's complex enough to keep diehard skirmish gamers interested, but it's not so in-depth that the rules can't be picked up and learned in after just a few rounds of play.