I think I have already established I am already a HUGE fan of Freebooters Fate – I fell in love with the Miniatures, and the Rules (OK it was pretty much a forgone conclusion considering my 40+ years love-affair with Pirates and Fantasy).
As was mentioned before, you need the special deck of cards created for the game, and (naturally) the stat cards are REALLY important - and YOU WILL need Card Protectors, to mark effects on your Models stat Cards as a Game progresses, and (of course) Dry-Wipe Markers.
Suggested Play-Area is 4ft x 4ft (120 CM Squared, everything is measured in CM – and that is the ONLY thing I have issue with in the Rules tbh) - however when playing with around Half a Dozen or so Miniatures per Player, that’s a hell of a lot of movement to begin with IMHO.
For a Fast Game, 2 Ft Square is proving ample – we cobbled together a Desert Island Board with a smugglers hole etc. – just a bit of fun really, but it is a playable board for fast games.
3ft Square of “playing area” seems optimal, it allows for movement and a tactical approach to play. So when building your table, factor this into the amount of terrain and “water” on your board.
The “Factions” are defined as “Crews”
The Pirate Crew - Of which I have two, it's possible to do quite different Pirate Crews.
The Imperial Armada Crew - they look somewhat like the Spanish Navy, but more Elizabethan Looking)
The Goblin Pirate Crew - Thanks to Simon (Darth Tater) I have a Convention only goblin now - YAY!
The mysterious Brotherhood - A guild of murderous cutthroats, beggars, murderers, and assassins.
The Amazons - a new Crew, don't know too much about these (yet LoL)
There are also a small really nice selection of Mercenary characters which can be “hired” for your Crews – which change the dynamics of your Crew, so don’t add them lightly. Some won’t work for certain Crews, Lindo Guapo will not fight for the Brotherhood for example.
Instead of points you spend Gold Doubloons to hire your Crew. A nice touch I reckon.
An average introductory game should be 250 doubloons –that’s ABOUT the contents of a Starter Set – the Pirates Starter Set is 285 Points (we played to 300 Doubloons, so I was under priced) the average game size is in the 500 doubloon price-range.
The cards are the Heart of all Game Play – whether it be deciding who goes first, where you hit, or what damage you do – these Cards do it all – and without the need for additional charts and tables to refer too during play!
The pack itself is made up of 40 fate cards with numbers and symbols, two sets of the 6 hit location cards each - AND a set of 12 event cards.
Even though you do need this pack of Cards to play the game - you will only ever need one pack for your games - regardless of the number of players! (Which I see as a HUGE Bonus).
The cards are bilingual (German & English) where required. Something which (I would imagine) helps keep the costs down, because Cards can cost silly money to print.
Is it fun? Is it Playable? – I would give this game a good 9/10 for game-play. It's fun, easy to learn (that's not to say its simplistic btw) and plays like a dream.
Longevity wise, with the addition of the Amazons and new Characters into the fray – I see potential for more expansion and a real chance for growth in the long term. Of course it is still a "young" game, so chances are there is still much more to come!