How many soldiers?

Hi, I’m new about Band of Blades and i have just begun reading the manual.
I’m not sure how many soldiers there are at the begin of the game. Anyone can help me?

generic soldiers: 5 specialists (generated by players and the Marshal), plus 6 squads of Rookies (30). There are no specific Soldiers (playbook) at the start - you have to promote a Rookie.

Thanks for your answer!

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Some more very interesting tidbits on starting a game that were offered by A_B and others in this thread too:

I checked it out very interesting and clarifying!
Thanks for the tip

So, we started our first campaign this week! I have a group of teenagers who loved Blades in the Dark and are more than willing to follow me to “my new favorite game of all-time”. I’m sure the game will challenge them, and they will rise to that challenge.

As we are getting ready to select the campaign roles (our first session was rushed and we barely finished the mission), I’ve been thinking about the set-up. While I can understand the design reasons for starting with squads full only of rookies (or at least imagine compelling ones), I’m struggling a bit with the story explanation.

We have a Legion with a long history and powerful reputation, and we have a massive clash against an horrendous foe. The shattering of this band is the core of the background. But I have trouble seeing a sea of Rookies across all of the squads - it feels as though a few grunts (not Specialists) should surely have survived as well.

While it will probably alter the balance a bit, I’m planning to throw a few soldiers into the mix, perhaps as many as three or even four (I’ll leave the number to a random roll, perhaps 1-3: 2, 4-5: 3, 6: 4). These will not be created entirely by the Marshall, but will come with some story baggage. Perhaps some are wounded (maybe permanently in some way?), or have grudges against the Legion’s (new?) leadership, or are potentially toublesome in other minor ways (eg. twins who demand to be in the same squad).

I suppose I hope that I can guide my teenage players towards bringing story into the characters they will create, by example, and that it will feel a bit more “in media res” to not have an entirely blank slate to work with.

We’ll see how it goes when we next play (which is unfortantely almost two weeks away)!

Comments welcome, of course!

Hi Caligari, and welcome to the Legion.

Your feeling is perfectly valid and I think your solution is well thought-out and balanced, if you make those few extra soldiers come with a price.

I would advise against putting two in the same squad however, that could be a bit unbalanced, especially at the beginning.

And I would also say: Embrace the Rookies! Convince your teenagers to play some rookies, to play them generous and ridiculous, daring and cowardly at the same time, and so on. They are the funniest to play, and it’s incredible to have one survive everything and become a Specialist. Just don’t get too attached to them, because the probability of survival is low.

I’m sure they will get into the rookies, actually, once they get the feel for the game.

I will avoid the two soldiers in a squad, with that warning; there’s plenty that can make a rugged and grizzled soldier annoying, I’m sure!

Starting with soldiers has a bunch of problems. They average Threat 2, and if you have 1 per squad the Marshal can instantly make “all soldier squads” which change engagements. You’ll get a very different experience.

My recommendation is to not worry about it and just make the game as designed - your players probably won’t even ask (it’s just the rules of the game). I know mine usually don’t and I’ve run this for over 20 tables. The marshal is usually neck deep in trying to manage and name squads to worry about what is a soldier and what is a rookie at the start. But I wish you good luck regardless ^_~