The Silver Bayonet: Canada – First Impressions

November 25, 2023 by crew

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After all of the battles in the heart of Europe during the fierceness of the Napoleonic period, Osprey Games are now taking a journey to North America. The Silver Bayonet: Canada is out now and with that, we thought we'd dive in and give our first impressions of this new supplement for the game.


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Whereas previous supplements for The Silver Bayonet have come from Joseph A. McCullough, this time around Ash Barker has stepped into the ring to bring Canada during the War Of 1812 to life on the tabletop alongside the superb artwork by Brainbug Design. Is this one worth diving into?

An Unfamiliar & Intriguing Battlefield

The wartorn battlefields of Europe have now been well trodden when it comes to The Silver Bayonet and so first off, this is a great chance to dive into an entirely different environment for your games. The conflicts of the world have spread and the Harvestmen are pursuing new opportunities in North America. As the War Of 1812 rages, different factions find themselves competing on this new frontier which presents its own challenge.

New Soldiers Art - The Silver Bayonet Canada

One of the nice things about heading to Canada is that it allows you to explore a new culture and folklore that feels very different from what we've experienced previously. It was fascinating looking towards Eastern Europe in The Carpathians - Castle Fier and getting your head around the myths and legends that saturate those dark woods and mountains. The same goes for Canada where we're getting to see a culture packed with creatures as wonderful as the Baxbaxwalanuksiwe (say that five times in fast succession) and the much more well-known Wendigo.

An element of this that was key to Barker when it came to writing the book was to (as faithfully as possible) represent the native peoples and their folklore with the appropriate amount of care and attention that they deserve. To that end, he has aimed to set a balance behind creating historical fiction whilst also giving you some fascinating real-world morsels to latch on to when it comes to diving deeper into the period.

It feels like that balance has been struck in reading through the book as a whole. The locations that you'll be fighting over feel Pulp which is great for what you're going to be getting stuck into with The Silver Bayonet but with a level of authenticity to it as well. Barker even takes the time to acknowledge and thank the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples and members of the First
Nations, Métis, and Inuit who have helped influence the world that he has brought to life.

As a whole, I think that this helps to ground the narrative and give you a sense of the time and place as well as it just being a place to wargame. You get a sense of that through everything that Barker has added to the book including the likes of the new Recruitment Lists and Soldiers that you can choose from.

New Soldiers, Foes & More

That brings us quite neatly to what's new inside the Canada supplement. As mentioned above, there are new Recruitment Lists included that are themed around Canada and the fighting that would have been going on over there at the time. You've got refined lists for Upper and Lower Canada, The United States and the Trading Companies that find themselves playing both sides.

New Character Art - The Silver Bayonet Canada

This then folds nicely into some new Soldier types starting with the Discovery Serviceman who is going to be your eyes and ears on the frontier. If you survived one of the many voyages then you were known as a reliable and steady hand and that makes them seemingly a good take when diving into The Silver Bayonet!

One of my favourite new Soldiers is the Loup Garou. As someone who enjoys werewolves in all their forms, it's great to see them entering the game as "helpful" companions, albeit ones that you'd have to keep on a short leash. They can actually change forms as well which is awesome and I love the idea of using one of these living weapons to combat deadlier evils.

You then have the formidable and brutal Voyageurs and the capable Woodsman who are going to be great when you're forging a path through the snow and trying to keep people warm in the bitter cold!

Werewolf Art - The Silver Bayonet Canada

Whilst not an exhaustive list of new Soldiers, they feel like they match quite nicely with the New World that you'll be exploring and add a touch of something different without overloading you. I will be fascinated to see how people fold these new Soldiers into existing bands taking on a new adventure or entirely new ones, fresh to the snow of North America.

You will also find a new Bestiary included as part of the book which features the likes of the Baxbaxwalanuksiwe and the Tsemaus from the folklore of this land. They are then joined by equally cool foes like big bears and there's even a moose! Yes, a moose!

Another of the nice additions is the inclusion of some more of the Harvestmen. You get to add Agents and Assassins into the mix (alongside a few scenarios) which helps to give you the feeling that the reach of this organisation isn't going to be stopped by something so paltry as a massive ocean. It's also a great symbol (as Barker points out) of people from other lands bringing their own problems and evils to new places and making the lives of native people pretty sucky.

New Scenarios

As well as all of that, you'll also be able to get stuck into a bunch of new scenarios that take place in Canada. The first set of given scenarios covers the kinds of clashes that might happen during the Napoleonic Wars and the War Of 1812. They all have a root in the historical context but obviously tweaked for the Pulp adventures of The Silver Bayonet. There is also a full new Unexpected Encounters table which allows you to throw some thematic enemies into the mix.

Monster Art - The Silver Bayonet Canada

In addition to the five general scenarios, you'll also play out a solo campaign which is actually pretty challenging. I won't spoil the campaign for those wanting to dive in themselves but it involves you getting locked in the ice as part of a rescue mission. Suddenly, the brutal winter closes in and you find yourself perhaps being the ones needing to be rescued. The solo campaign only runs across three scenarios but they are fascinating and I would love to see how people get through some of the tough circumstances they are going to find themselves in.

Some highlights include the addition of a Hunger rule which echoes the fact that you're lost somewhere on the frontier and the fact that any casualties that you suffer can't be replaced as you're far from aid.

The scenarios and the solo campaign look super fun and a great way for you to tell a different adventure in The Silver Bayonet. If you've had your fill of Europe, I think that folks are going to really enjoy these.

Final Thoughts

Both The Carpathians - Castle Fier and Canada feel like they've landed on their feet as expansions. They offer something new and different for a game that McCullough didn't think would ever go past the main book! There is a lot of rich and interesting history and folklore to explore throughout the world during this period of the 1800s and in both books, it feels like the designers/authors have had some fun.

Polar Bear Art - The Silver Bayonet Canada

Check Out More From The Silver Bayonet

It makes me very eager to see more from Egypt next year and of course, the incoming Italian supplement that is also waiting in the wings. If you're a The Silver Bayonet fan, this is going to be a good addition to your collection. If you're someone who hasn't taken the plunge yet, maybe pick this up alongside the core book and try out some North American adventures in the New World and on new frontiers.

Will you be trying out Canada with your group or perhaps you'll be tackling it solo?

" feels like the designers/authors have had some fun here!"

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"If you're a The Silver Bayonet fan, this is going to be a good addition to your collection..."

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