June 21st, 2010
In Focus Review - Freebooter's Fate
I can't remember ever playing a good Pirate skirmish game with minis before, and there has been a real demand for one for quite some time now. Sure we had Wizkids' little styrene cut out Pirate ships game, and there is Uncharted Seas if you're looking for ship on ship action, but I'm talking about full on, crew vs crew pirate action.
There's also Legends of the High Seas from Warhammer Historical, but I was unable to obtain it to find out more about it first-hand. What I do know is that it's a stand alone game, without a miniatures range, so you can use any miniatures you want with it.
The last one released is a game called Ron & Bones, which I've tried looking into for a few months now, and the parent company Tales of War finally responded the other day. Therefore I will be covering it soon as well, but I can't comment much on it yet, other than to say it did look to have some rather nice miniatures. Evidently it's not that popular here in North America yet, as I've seen no reviews, or info about it, other than what info I could find at the Tales of War website.
Freebooter's Fate looks to capitalize on this opportunity, and to fill that gap. Freebooter Miniatures is a company founded by Werner Klocke, who is a very well known, and well respected miniature sculptor in the industry. Freebooter Miniatures started out just making miniatures, which is why when you go to their site there's more than just Freebooters Fate minis too be found. Actually most of the miniatures utilized by Freeboter's Fate the game, were designed and sold long before the game was ever released last month.
Getting Started, and the Rules...
Freebooter's Fate is quite unique, yet it doesn't completely reinvent the skirmish game either. All that's needed to play the game, is the rulebook, the proprietary deck of cards designed for the game, the Freebooter's Fate miniatures with their stat cards, a measuring device in Centimeters (CM), a table and some terrain. I almost forgot, since the game uses character stat cards, you'll also want some card protectors, and dry erase markers, for marking the cards. Freebooter's Fate also follows the current trend of being a dice-less skirmish game. Everything needed to play the game is done via the specially designed deck of cards. The suggested play area is also 120cm X 120cm, which is roughly 4ft X 4ft.
Instead of factions, the sides are broken up into Crews. There's the Pirate Crew, Imperial Armada Crew, Goblin Pirate Crew and the Brotherhood of Assassins Crew. There's also a small number of Mercenary characters which can be hired. Instead of points, the game defines each character with an amount in Gold Doubloons in which it costs to hire them. The rulebook claims an average introductory game should be 250 doubloons, and the average normal game size is in the 500 doubloon range. I've been playing with close to 300-doubloon size crews, and have had no problem enjoying the game at that size either. The fact is, there aren't enough miniatures out yet for every side to run 500 doubloons, unless you purchase some doubles of the deckhand pieces. I do know that they're hard at work creating more to remedy this too.
There are three different character types, these are Leaders, Specialists and Deckhands. Leaders of course are your HQ if you will, and one is required to build a crew under. Deckhands are the lackeys, or your common soldier. There's a ratio depending on the crew, of how many Deckhands you must have in order to hire Specialists. For instance, I must have one Deckhand per single Specialist I hire for a Pirate Crew. The Brotherhood however has a different ratio, they can hire two Specialists for every Deckhand they employ.
Specialists are unique characters as well, so you can only have one of each Specialist per Crew. Deckhands aren't unique. Although some do have specific names in the game, you can still hire multiples of each Deckhand.
The Mercenaries aren't a Crew either. Their limitations are listed individually, as some can be hired by some Crews, while others may not work for the Goblins, or the Imperial Armada, etc. For most Crews there's an allowance of 0-2 Mercenaries that can be hired, while the Brotherhood can only take on 1. For the most part Mercenaries are Specialists, as they're unique characters too, and take up a Specialist slot as well.
Turns work as follows.. Initiative is resolved, then each side activates alternating individual pieces between the Crews. For instance, I won the initiative, so I will go first with my Pirate leader. Next my opponent takes his turn with his Imperial Armada deckhand. Once he is finished, it's back to me to move another one of my single Pirates, and continues on until both Crews have activated all of their pieces. Once the one side runs out of pieces to activate, the other crew finishes up with the rest of the pieces they didn't activate, then it's on to resolve Initiative again, and the next turn begins. There's no move, shoot and assault phase. In Freebooter's Fate everything happens pretty much in real-time, in a realistically flowing single phase of actions.
Each side can perform two Simple Actions or one Complex Action per character, per turn. Simple actions include Advancing (moving your Mov value), Attack (melee or range), Aim (aiming bonus modifier), Get Up, Reload (heavy weapons require a Complex Action to reload tho), Retreat, Smash (to open locked doors and smashing smaller objects), Take a Swing (a close combat punch in the kisser) and Use Item (dropping, picking up, handing over, examining, opening a chest, and using items).
Complex actions include Complex Advance Action (moving twice your Mov value), Charge (using a Complex Advance Action, and then making a single Melee attack), Rallying & Fleeing, Reloading a heavy weapon, and Wait (electing during your turn to not take an action, but to Wait, which will allow you to take a Reactive Action during the opponents' turn instead). Of all the Complex Actions, Wait seems to be the most interesting, and it can be somewhat tricky.
Wait allows you to declare on your turn that you will use the Wait Complex Action, which is essentially passing to use your turn on your turn, and now until your next turn with that specific crew member, that character is Waiting. Now as the opposing Crew activates, you still have a turn left to perform an out of sequence action with that character Waiting. Waiting allows you to perform a single Simple Action of Advancing or an Attack only. So if the opposing crew member decides he wants to charge you, then you can now do one of three things.
You can declare you will now Move further away, possibly making his effort a failure. You can declare you will shoot at him as he moves towards you. If you were to get in a good leg shot, you could possibly even injure him bad enough, that he can't finish moving far enough to make it to you, since injuring a leg can limit the Mov value. You even define just where he is stopped during the movement towards you. You can also simply declare to perform a melee attack on him, once he makes it to base-2-base contact with you, before he can perform his Charge attack. Essentially you can completely interrupt their action, with a Reactive out of turn action as you Wait. This changes things up a little, and since the game is already played out in a single phase of flowing actions, this adds a completely new realistic element to it all.
The only problem with Wait, is that some things need to be defined a little better, because the power-gaming cheese-mongers will no doubt see the potential for conflict currently as it's written, and will without a doubt try and utilize it to their advantage and turn it into a loophole. I spoke with Freebooter Miniatures about a few of the scenarios that I foresee being uniquely conflict causing, and they said defining Wait a little better is already on the list for the first FAQ. It's nice to see that they're stepping up to the plate this early on. I was told recently that the FAQ is almost done, and it should be available any day now. It's nice to see that this early in the game, that they're that dedicated to the product.
This is a tiny gripe, but everything is measured in CM, and I'm not very fond of that. Also movement seams quite short. Most pieces have an average movement of 10 CM, which is just a hair under 4-inches. A few characters have a Mov value of 8, which is even less. So one thing I did notice, is that you won't be crossing any large expanses quickly in Freebooter's Fate, unless you are performing a Complex Advance Action, which is moving twice your Mov value. You can move a little faster that way, but when doing so you can't do anything else that turn either, since it takes 2 actions. It seems the game is more designed for close quarters combat, and lots of terrain/scenery. A big wide open expanse can be utilized, but with the variety of movement rules for jumping, climbing, falling and even swimming, a good board with lots of buildings, and multi-levels looks to be what the game would benefit most from.
To resolve combat with the cards...
Without dice, I had wondered just how they'd handle combat resolution. Twelve of the cards in the deck
feature a picture of a little goblin pirate on them, which looks like a parody of the Leonardo Da Vinchi anatomy drawing called Vitruvian Man, c.1492. Two of these cards show the head bandaged up in full color, but one is in black lettering, the other in white lettering. Two of the cards have the goblin covering his abdomen/groin area, with a funny look on his face like someone kicked him in the jewels, also one in black letters, the other in white. The Head, Left Arm, Right Arm, Torso, Abdomen and Legs are the areas covered by these cards. Each side has their own set of all six parts/cards to work with throughout the game.
The attacker gets to select a number of cards equal to the A (attack) value on their stat card. I'll use Moby Dugg as the example, he has an A of 2. I secretly select the head, and legs to shoot at. The Imperial Armada Arquebusier (deckhand) has a D (defense) value of 3. The Arquebusier secretly selects head, legs and abdomen, as the defender is allowed to select the number of cards equal to their Defense value to defend with. We both flip the cards simultaneously, and if there are any areas that the attacker selected, which weren't defended, then it's considered a hit. In the case of the Arquebusier, she defended herself well, and managed to escape being hit.
The majority of the characters have a starting value of 2 A, and 3 D. Therefore the defender seems to have a slight advantage. Taking an Aim action, grants a +1 A, so had I aimed, I would have ended up with 3 body parts to choose from on the attack, so some modifiers can come into play to balance this out a little more.
Lets say I did manage to damage the Arquebusier's legs. There are 40 cards in the deck which are numbered 1-10, and some have a white background, others have a black background. On each of these cards are also faction symbols and other icons. These are the Fate Cards. The remaining 12 cards are the Event Cards.
Using the cards for Damage resolution...
To work out damage, you use the RAV value of the weapon (for Range, for Melee it's the ST value), in this case a 4 since it was at Long Range, then draw a card from the Fate Deck, and now add the 4 to the value of the Fate Card drawn (which is this case is a 6), for a total of 10. I'd also add any modifiers that were applicable, but I'm keeping this simple.
Now the Arquebusier takes her T (toughness) value, which is a 3, and adds the result of her Fate Card draw, which is a 3, for a total of 6. Next you deduct the total of the Defender's result, from the Attacker's result, and a result greater than zero is the damage caused. In this case, the Arquebusier takes 4 points of damage. Now she marks off the 4 points of damage from her Vitality line on the right-hand side of the card with a dry erase marker. This is done from the top down.
Since damage was caused, right away you're supposed to draw another Fate Card to determine any Critical Hits. She took 4 points, so if I draw a card with a value less than, or equal to 4, I'll take a Critical Hit on the location I was originally hit, which would be the legs. Each value on the stat card is listed as 5/10, 2/3, etc. When taking a Critical Hit, you are to cross out the value on the right-hand side, and now refer to the left-hand side's reduced value as the new current stat.
Okay the Arquebusier draws a Fate Card with a value of 2, that's less than 4, so I'm taking a Critical Hit. The Legs are linked to the Mov value on the stat card, so now that I've taken a Critical Hit to the Legs, my movement is now limited to 5 CM per turn, so I'm moving at half my speed now. I also need to cross out the 10 from the 5/10 stat now, to reflect this.
It works this way for any of the regions hit too. A Critical to the head will reduce the A value (attacks), an abdomen shot knocks down your D value (defense), and so on. This I think is brilliant, and it just makes sense to degrade your abilities as you take damage. This reminds me a lot of how Warmachine deals with damage, only in Freebooter's Fate is seams more realistic how it effects the various stats via parts of the body. I'm really impressed with how they handle this.
If any of the Fate Cards drawn at any time end up with a Treasure Chest symbol on them, you automatically drawn an Event Card. These add nifty little bits of flavor to the game. One of the cards is called “Polly Parrot”, which invokes a -1 A on the Opponent for one turn, as your parrot frisks them for crackers, distracting them. Another one is called “Me mom is what”. I guess they insulted your mom, upsetting you, and for this you earn +1 Attack for one round now. They're little random bonuses essentially. You can elect to use these right away, or save them to be used later in the game, but you can posses no more than 3 Event Cards at a time. As soon as you end up drawing a 3rd, you need to discard one.
Other uses for the cards, including Initiative...
Initiative is decided every turn, and to do this one Crew leader uses their Morale value (the highest number showing on their Vitality line, and this can be reduced as you incur damage) and draws a Fate Card, adding up the two values. The same is done by the opposing player, and the higher value of the two results wins the Initiative. The Fate Cards are also used to work out any Morale and Risk tests too. Some of the scenarios, and swimming utilize some of the other symbols on the cards, which I didn't cover in detail.
There's also Equipment Cards mentioned in the rulebook, which haven't been released yet. These will allow crews to use doubloons to purchase different gear to take into combat with them. I'll be keeping an eye out for those.
So far I've had a lot of fun with this game in Pirate Crew versus Goblin Pirate Crew scenarios, and Imperial Armada Crew versus either of those two crews. It took me a few games to quit looking at the rulebook, because it is a bit different, but after 2-3 games it becomes a lot easier to grasp, and runs a whole lot smoother after hands-on time with the game. Unlike most games with guns, even the more shooty Imperial Armada, isn't as range strong as you would think. The majority of the ranged weapons in this game are one shot weapons, and it takes an action to reload, and an action to shoot. You only have two actions per turn to work with.
Therefore you won't be running around shooting things up every single round. There's more to this than, move, shoot, and move and shoot again, then move and shoot again, and eventually deal with some melee combat. The only way you'll be shooting every round is by standing in one spot, reloading, then shooting, but you can't reload, shoot and move, there's not enough actions per turn to pull that off, as that act would require three actions. Granted some characters have more than one ranged weapon, but still, at some point they'll have to reload too, ending their moving and shooting spree just the same.
With all of the cool movement rules, and possibilities, it's also a lot of fun to use as much terrain as possible. Since you must judge if you have enough room to jump across an expanse, before being allowed to measure it, this adds another realistic element, because misjudge your leap and you're taking a fall, and at least 1 point of damage from it. Swimming is quite risky too.
The majority of the miniatures for this game were sculpted by Werner Klocke, or Bobby Jackson, the later of which is equally as well known and respected for his work as Werner. There's a whimsical, and almost Disney-esq style to the art, and miniatures throughout this game too. They look lighthearted and serious both, but without ever being too over the top.
I've been fortunate enough to see a wide variety of the miniatures first-hand. The Goblins are by far my favorite, and are the ones with the most character. I think this is why my Goblins look so much better than any of the other minis I've painted from the game. They also recently released a 2nd wave of deckhands for the Goblins with Goblin Geezer and Velero. I've seen Malo Gordab the Orc Captain with his little lackey Bajo, Moby Dugg, Revlugg and Goblin Marineer and Velero first-hand. The captain is definitely my favorite from the entire bunch, and Moby Dugg isn't far behind. I love the shark on his back.
There's no lack of detail on any of these either. Malo Gordab comes with Bajo, which is this tiny little goblin fella, who's hiding under a great big hat. Bajo is considered to be hiding behind Malo, and when you want to use him, you bring him out and place Bajo on the table at that point, and his stats aren't stellar, as he only gets one attack, but he can assist, and only cost 30-doubloons to hire.
Malo was I believe the model with the most pieces overall, of all the pieces I've seen in this game. Despite this he wasn't complicated at all to assemble. Actually the hardest part was gluing that one tiny little tooth in place, that aside nothing out of the ordinary. All of the pieces fit together really well too. The rest of the goblins were no trouble either. Almost every one of them are multiple piece castings. If your fingers are rather large, some of the tiny bits can be a little tough to manage at first, but I think my hands are larger than average, and I had no big issues with them, outside of that one tooth on Malo. The details are really cool too. If you look closely there's a tiny little squid sitting on Revlugg's head. The shark on Moby's back is really cool too, and if you look closely he even has little stubble on his chin. I'm pretty sure that is a tiny little crab on Moby's base as well.
My 2nd favorite crew would be the Pirate Crew. Captain Rosso is a really nice model, and I enjoy Long John too. Both are totally scurvy, and you can tell these two aren't land lovers. At present the only deckhands available for the Pirate Crew is Pirate and Cuchillo, and of all the figures in this line, they're my least favorite. There are other deckhand pieces slated for release, and I can't wait for them to come out.
I also need to get my hands on Curly Ann and Blackbeard soon, to fill out my Pirate Crew. There's also the Pirate Queen, and she's the other Leader class miniature for the Pirate Crew, which looks amazing, but I like Capt Rosso. Nothing against women, but I don't recall ever seeing a pirate ship led by a woman Capt.
Others mileage may vary, and it's why they offer her. Of the Pirate figures I've seen first-hand, Captain Rosso had the most pieces, but they all fit together very well, and assembly wasn't an issue. Long John on the other hand, was a little perplexing at first to get his arm into place proper so that there were no gaps without using any green stuff. Putting him together so that the arm was snug enough to the body, the rifle ended up in a position different than how it's shown in the studio photos of him. He's a nice piece, but that one arm was a pain in the ass at first.
As for Pirate and Cuchillo, those were mostly one piece castings, and the only thing you have to glue on are the models to the deck-plate, and a single arm on each of the pieces. Rosso is the most detailed of the models I've seen first-hand, although the little parrot on Long John's shoulder is a nice touch too.
The Imperial Armada seem to be the shooty bunch, and while I'm not a fan of the do-gooders, I have to admit, they are pretty darn nice looking as well. There's three sets, containing two different Arquebusiers (deckhands) each, which include 2 unique sculpts of curvy young women carrying long barrel rifles per pack. There's also Marines, which are men deckhand characters, which also come two to a pack. At present Captain Garcia is the only Leader available for the Imperial Armada, and this guy really needs a fancy hat with some feathers, because he's standing there like Captain Morgan, from the rum bottle label, same pose and all, with one leg up standing on some cannon balls. They should have called him Capt. Morgan!
Very cool stuff. I've seen Garcia, one of the Arquebusiers blister packs and The Teniente of the Armada first-hand from the Imperial Armada. These are all also multiple piece models, and the level of detail is impressive on each one. It's clear this is the pretty ladies Crew, but don't let the good looks fool you, they're formidable in combat.
The Assassins and Mercenaries are the only pieces I didn't get to see first-hand, but from the pictures I've seen, and based on what I've read in the rulebook, these are a tricky bunch, definitely a formidable force, don't let those fancy masks mislead you. They play for keeps.
All of the models I've seen are pretty much multiple piece castings, none of which were tough to clean up and assemble either, as I don't recall any terrible mold lines, or an over abundance of flash to remove. I can't say enough how cool I think the deck-plates are too, and each model has one. Every model is placed on what appears to be a 25mm square base, but this is a sunken square base, so that the deck-plate fits snug down inside the square base. I've never seen this design before, but I like it a lot, and it's truly brilliant.
As far as rulebooks are concerned, this is definitely one of the best offerings out there. They went for the high-end route with the rulebook, and while it's not a hardcover, it's every bit as good as most any quality hardcover rulebooks I've ever seen. I'd have to say the Freebooter's Fate rulebook is in the same league as the softcover rulebooks from Privateer Press. It's full color, fully illustrated, and filled with photos, and the majority of the imagery isn't just taking up space, but is used as a tool to demonstrate various aspects of the rules and game in general. It's 109 pages from cover to cover. Here's the breakdown...
Pages 4-13 detail the fluff, setting the stage for this new and unique world they've created. Pages 14-43 cover all of the rules. The next few sections detail the different Crews. Pages 44-55 covers in detail all of the Pirate Crew characters currently available, including images of the front of the cards with all of their stats. It also offers some fluff, giving you a little background fiction on each character too. Pages 56-67 covers all of the Imperial Armada characters in the same way. Pages 68-79 covers the Goblin Crew details. Pages 80-91 covers the Brotherhood of Assassins Crew, and lastly Pages 92-95 covers what Mercenaries are available.
Pages 96-104 details the six different scenarios provided, and the rest of the book features the Glossary and a quick reference sheet covering all of the modifiers, sequence of play, damage allocation, etc. If only every rulebook was this nice. It's not perfect tho. I did find a small typographical error, and while they do show you the stat card faces for all of the characters currently available, they forgot to include the doubloon cost for each one. To address the doubloon cost issue, they did release a .pdf you can download, which includes the point cost for every piece currently available. One thing is for certain, they're on top of things, and this is a good sign.
The only thing missing in this game, is a Crew of undead/skeleton pirates. I haven't played Ron & Bones, from Tales of War yet, but I do know that they do have skeleton pirates. However, Freebooter's Fate does launch with the Goblin pirates, which is something Ron & Bones doesn't have in their range of miniatures either. I rather fancy the Goblin Pirates too. Although there's no saying that skeleton pirates will never happen either, as this game was just released, and there's always room for expansions if the initial release sells well enough. They also already have a couple of Victorian skeleton miniatures in their regular model range already. They'd be crazy not to include some skeletons next, it would certainly be the logical choice if you ask me.
Cost-wise the Freebooter's Fate miniatures are competitively priced with Ron & Bones minis, and other intellectual property-based games. Therefore, these are more expensive than most minis out there, but they do include full color cards, and the added detail of a scenic base plate with every miniature should be factored into the price too. The scenic base is something you just don't get with many other miniatures these days. What you see pictured is what you get, unlike some manufacturers that show you a nicely painted mini, with a scenic base in their stock studio pictures, and you end up with a plain regular old base when you bust open the blister pack. Not with Freebooter's Fate miniatures, what you see, is what you're getting.
Nonetheless it's still a considerable investment. On average I've found that the rulebook will set you back about $35. Most of the miniatures are in the $13-$15 range, and the most expensive packs are no more than $18-$19, some of which like the deckhand blister packs come with two figures at that price as well. The special deck of cards is also needed, and the cheapest I've seen them is about $10-$13.
That's the one item I'd have to say that I think is just a bit too much. If there's one thing that might turn people off, it's the cost of that deck, because no matter what you have printed on them cards, it's still a deck of cards, and if you want to attract players to a new game, a $12 deck of cards needed to play it, isn't the best way to pull it off. That deck should be no more than $5-$6 if you ask me.
In all fairness, I have to mention that they are offering some decent bundled starter deals via their website, which includes the rulebook, the deck of cards, and small crews based on each faction for a discounted price. Which is essentially $72 USD for the Pirates, Imperial Armada or Assassins deal with a leader, a specialist and two deckhands, rulebook and deck of cards. The Goblin Pirates deal is $84 USD, because it comes with a leader, two specialists and two deckhand pieces. The Goblin Pirates cost a little less to hire, therefore more of them are needed to hit near the same hiring cost of other crews. All of those deals, are like buying all that stuff, and getting one of the figures for free.
Having not played Ron & Bones first-hand yet, but having seen what they use to play the game... it's clear this game and it are two very different games altogether. Ron & Bones is played out on a thin, yet long pirate ship board with squares printed on it, which is literally about 7 squares wide, and roughly 27 squares long. Freebooter's Fate doesn't use a specific board, but instead a wide open play area, with what ever terrain you want to utilize, therefore it's more of a traditional skirmish/wargame. At a glance, the only thing that I think the two games have in common, is that both have some really impressive miniatures to support their pirate games.
That's another thing too. I think the overwhelming majority of the Freebooter's Fate miniatures are absolutely fantastic. I'm just not a big fan of the faces on a couple of them. Werner Klocke has a very distinct and recognizable style when it comes to female faces, they all seam to look very similar, and are somewhat anime-like in presentation. The pirate deckhands named Pirate & Cuchillo are absolutely hideous though, they really do look totally out of place next to how nice all the other figures look in this range. I think Werner does great with female faces, and he's done great male faces too in the past, but I just don't know what happened with these two models. If I were them, I'd scrap that mold and start over with Pirate and Cuchillo. They're also just very uninspiring, and they don't seem to fit in scale-wise either with the other models.
The rest of the Pirates, and Goblin Pirates that I've seen first-hand are really exceptional though. The Imperial Armada pieces are also nice, as this is the crew with a bevy of Werner's beauties filling out the ranks in the deckhands role as Arquebusiers. The Assassins and Mercenaries I haven't seen up close and personal, but based on the pictures I've seen, they look like a really attractive-looking bunch too. I guess every miniature range have a few ugly ducklings, and if you look hard enough I'm sure you will find a couple that you just don't like, as I did with Pirate and Cuchillo. After all, we all have our own personal tastes, and these will differ from person to person.
There's far more good than bad, that's for certain. There's also no lack of detail, as the scenic base plates really add to the overall presentation, and if you look closely, each piece has a lot going on, but not so much that painting them is a daunting and overwhelming task either. Like I said earlier on, the only thing that I personally would really like to see now is a skeleton/undead pirate Crew. That would be my #1 crew to play, if they had it. Until then I'll stick with my Goblins, and the regular scurvy Pirates.
I can also see this game sparking new interest in the Mega Bloks Pirates of the Caribbean pirate ship sets. Those ships are the perfect scale for this game, and with some minor modifying, they could be really nice center pieces. Sadly they've skyrocketed in price, since you can no longer just walk into a WalMart or ToysRUs to buy them. I managed to snag one on eBay for $33 loose and complete, with shipping the other day, but most won't get that lucky. Brand new in the box you're looking at as high as $200+. Another nice option are the Ziterdes Bow and Shipwreck Dark Revenge pieces, which I reviewed last month. I foresee miniature palm tree sales rising, and raids on the aquarium stores may occur a bit more frequently too with this game out now. Thanks to Freebooter's Fate, I have pirate fever now too.
I'm going to go out on a limb here, and even go as far as saying, that Freebooter's Fate may very well be the best miniature/skirmish game of 2010 thus far! If only this game launched while Pirates of the Caribbean was all the rave, it would be an even bigger hit. The key to its success will be that the game is played out in a single smoothly flowing phase of actions, and there are so many realistic elements modeled, that it's unlike most other games out there, but still great fun just the same.
The only way this game can fail, is if everyone wants to keep playing the same tired old move, shoot, then assault style skirmish games, and can't allow themselves to enjoy the Pirate motif. Be forewarned! Playing Freebooter's Fate might induce Pirate Fever. I suddenly urge Rum in a dirty bottle, I have a new desire for unsavory women, and I keep dreaming about chests filled with gold doubloons ever since playing it!