To get some respite from our medieval mayhem we decided to break out the 28mm pirates and have a quick game of Flashing Steel. I took the opportunity to create a new character for a figure I have painted some months ago but haven’t used yet – a dashing looking girl with two guns from Cool Mini or Not. I’ve always wanted to try out the Double Pistols special ability!
For the scenario, we set up a semi-rural landscape and drew missions from our home-brewed secret missions system. Mine was to take out the enemy leader, K.’s captain. I set my strong figures – the captain, the new girl and another crew member who is a close combat specialist – on my left flank, where I hoped they could protect the treasure if K. should be after it. My right flank was weaker and was set up on the road. K. had her figures more evenly distributed, with her captain in the middle and her strongest figure on her left flank.
During the first turns, K.’s captain advanced in the middle and took position on the hill. Two of her men swiftly moved towards the treasure chest, which lay to the side of the stone building.
Could her objective be to grab the loot, or was she misleading me? I didn’t want to take any chances and covered the chest with my shooty guys, which took position behind cover. Meanwhile, my close combat specialist moved behind the house to get into the back of the enemy.
While my left flank was operating like a professional team, my right flank went all unreliable sea dogs and didn’t move at all for several turns.
When one of K.’s men finally approached the chest, a well aimed shot from my captain’s pistol took him down. While he lay fallen, my melee specialist jumped out from behind the house, ran over and gave him the rest. Good teamwork!
However, it soon turned out that all was for naught as K. indeed just wanted to lead me astray. Suddenly, she moved all of her figures to the left and tried to break through. Oh no! Her mission was to get at least half of her crew across the table. I was in dire distress as I only had the unreliable and weak part of my crew covering this flank.
Desperate, I moved two of them into close combat to lock her figures in melee. I knew they didn’t stand much of a chance against her superior men and women, but at least I had bought some time. In vain! I tried to bring the crewmembers from my other flank over, but they were to slow. A short scuffle followed, at the end of which all my pirates were lying on the ground fallen and K.’s crew strolled off the battlefield humming a catchy tune.
We had great fun and some really good laughs during the game. I was a bit frustrated in the beginning when my right flank didn’t want to activate, but I was quite proud of the teamwork between the shooters and the close combat specialist on the left flank. However, I should have known that K., being the wily fox she is, wouldn’t have made it as easy if the treasure chest had been her real objective.
Coming back to Flashing Steel after playing SAGA and Sharp Practice, we both felt the game holds up to the comparison and offers a great and exciting gaming experience. It’s more narrative than the others, at least for us, who play with highly personalised forces – each of our pirates has a name and a backstory developed through numerous games – and who always have movie scenes in our heads when something exciting happens. Also, it’s a great alternative if we don’t have time for a more lenghty gaming session. We made the firm resolve to play Flashing Steel once in a while!