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Unbridled Savagery Part Two

This follows on from Unbridled Savagery Part One.

After a small, and unwanted, post-midnight adventure involving key safes, I managed to get into my lodgings and sleep. Next morning I got up, had an unexpected and rather unwelcome cold shower, wandered into town, ate a decent breakfast and then headed into the sunshine towards B.I.G. I had another small and unwanted adventure, this time smart-phone inspired, on the way, which prolonged the walk by about half an hour. But it was a nice morning and I ended up at the venue in good enough order. On a side note, Bristol is peculiarly American-feeling with lots of social venues like the Bocabar bar (and indeed B.I.G) having taken over units in industrial sites. So this wasn’t as surreal as it might otherwise have been:

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Not Surreal At All

The first game of the day was A Walk in the Woods. The British had to escort Mynheer Sterngange to safety, which would mean crossing the length of the table. This was a tall enough order but as they had been badly mauled the day before, the table was set to be very unfavourable for them, though I think that it was not immediately obvious to the players that this was so.

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The Right Of The Table.

The left hand side of the table (from the British perspective) was unattractive – woods, swamp and a tributary stream to cross from their Deployment Point. The right hand side of the stream, by contrast, offered easier deployment and rapid passage towards the farm.

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French Scouts

Ian, commanding the French, played a very cagey game, refusing to deploy anything but a single unit of Milice for many turns, much to the frustration of his co-player, Dee, who was eager to get stuck in. It was fascinating to me that Ian, playing only his third game, had grasped so quickly the sense in making the enemy commit before himself committing. Of course the danger was he might delay too long, but he remained quietly confident behind his beard.

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The British Advance

Lieutenant Mill seemed to have got lost in the woods but Murray pressed on with his half of the highlanders and led by the rangers. Captain Cutlass and his Mohawks chose to move across to the other flank, but were first delayed by an unexpectedly deep river, and shortly afterwards, and ironically, by becoming parched by thirst.

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Opening Shots
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Mill Arrives
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Save Us!

The rangers’ shooting temporarily chased the Milice from the hill above the cabin, from which two women emerged, begging piteously to be saved from the lecherous and garlic-reeking French. Sergeant Warner was not immediately inclined to offer succour, but after some discussion, more piteous begging and some shots from the returning Milice, he sent them back to Murray so he could decide what must be done.

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The Milice Return Fire
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The Highlanders Press On

The highlanders deploy into line and the Huron appear from the woods to fire into Mill’s men.

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Ambuscade!

Rob and Ben, commanding the British in their first ever games had done pretty well to this point, coming up with probably the best plan available. Now, however, they became painfully aware of how the terrain was going to constrict their options – there simply was not enough room for the highland lines to maintain formation and advance.

Veteran Lardy, Matt Slade of Glenbrook Games, who offers a top-quality painting service (and whose wife, Debs, runs Saddle-Goose Designs, making the world’s best chip/dice bags) had turned up shortly before this. I’d met him at the WorLard Gaming Day earlier this year, and availed myself of his services, getting some rather nice Peninsula riflemen painted by him. He was able to offer some sage advice regarding wheeling of lines.

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Mill Wheels

Mill wheeled to engage the Huron, the rangers drove the Milice from the hill and occupied it, and Murray attempted an advance, but his line foundered trying to cross the fence into the pumpkin field and got seriously bogged down. More Milice arrived to reinforce the French left, but the British were still looking to be doing fairly well.

 

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Captain Cutlass, Somewhat Thirsty, Runs To Engage
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Overbold Rangers
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Murray Struggles Through The Pumpkins
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The Compagnies Franches Volley

A devastatingly effective volley from Clouzeau’s Compagnies Franches de la Marine scythes down a swathe of Mill’s highlanders.

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Mohawk Hunt Huron In The Woods
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On The Brink

With enemies all around, the highlanders hold grimly on until a shot from Capitaine Terieur, who has wiped out the rangers with superior numbers, brings down Mynheer Sterngange. This shot ends the game, rendering a somewhat unlikely British victory impossible.

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Sterngange Killed

Ian’s tactic of delaying his deployment until the highlanders were in the worst position, constrained between river and farm, paid off in spades.

The final game of the weekend was Full Frontal, a straightforward meeting engagement, although again down the length of the table, played between Rob (French) and Alex.

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The British Deploy
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Milice And Huron Forge Up The Flank
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Enter The Compagnie Franches
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Piper M’Intyre Is Shot!
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French and Huron In Action
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Fighting Across The River
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Close Range Volley
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Highland Charge!

Unfortunately this game ran a bit short of time, but it was enjoyable nonetheless as Murray’s highlanders, enraged by Milice sharpshooters picking off not only their piper but the highly regarded Sergeant Watson, launched a classic highland charge with a sharp volley followed by a wild rush into the woods with broadswords swinging, against which the Milice could not stand.

I really enjoyed running these games. Some of my thoughts on the game were confirmed:

New players get the idea quickly and readily buy into the spirit of the game. However certain mechanics are hard to immediately grasp, especially the distinction between a leader activating and having a certain number of Command Initiatives and a unit activating (via CIs or otherwise) and having two Actions (plus possibly a bonus movement). Most players seem to take a full game at least to get the differences straight.

Three and a half hours seems to be a good timespan for an introductory game involving more than one new payer. Three hours is certainly possible but requires briskness and less chatting.

Everyone who plays the game really likes it.

Umpired games are enhanced by introducing special random events and encounters, allowing the players to interact with ‘NPCs’ as if in a role-playing game (at least to a degree).

The game probably begins to ‘break’ with more than 16 leaders in total and more than four command cards per side has some undesirable consequences. 10-14 leaders in total would seem to be ‘optimal’ in terms of promoting player involvement and enjoyment.

There is a huge appetite for this kind of game outside the usual club/event circuit. Open gaming venues are not just about fantasy and science fiction games.

As I said in part one, Bristol Independent Gaming is a fantastic venue and offers a great gaming experience. If you are in the Bristol area, it’s well worth a look, with Peninsular War Sharp Practice now set to be a staple for many of the regulars.

 

 

 

 

Unbridled Savagery Part One

Which it was another French and Indian War Extravaganza, using the most excellent Sharp Practice 2 rules from TooFATLardies, at Bristol Independent Gaming in Bristol. B.I.G. is undoubtedly one of Britain’s best open gaming venues, with several gaming rooms, plenty of available tables and terrain, a nice wee shop and a really friendly and helpful owner. A day’s gaming is very cheap and Jim has a facility which is very reminiscent of the old Firestorm Games in Cardiff – less polished than the current Firestorm, but with perhaps more charm.

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The Main Gaming Hall at B.I.G.

Note that there is a boxing ring to help resolve any rules disputes, surely something that every venue should possess.

When I had run A Scalping Party, my first trial at running multi-player games based in my Saindoux Valley campaign, I had taken the precaution of inviting almost exclusively people who were known to me, and had included a few players with a fair amount of experience with the game. This had allowed quite an ambitious day with several games running in parallel, individual victory conditions for each player and other things that I feel add a lot to the day but do need some certainty as to who will turn up and when.

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A Scalping Party Underway

At Bristol, although I had met several of the people who would attend, I only really knew one of them at all well and I knew it was only Dee who would have had any experience of the game. So I decided to run just the one game at a time but to have forces that could be divided easily into three distinct commands, allowing up to six players at any one time.

Also, Unbridled Savagery was to run over both days of the weekend, so I planned for four games. In the end because of chatting, the players being almost totally inexperienced, and the general sociability, we didn’t complete the fourth.

The first game was between Ian and Dee. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of this game but the British had been charged with rescuing some settlers and the French with capturing the families. In the event, neither was really successful, the French got no captives but only the women and children escaped the burning cabin into British hands.

Next was was I’ll Be A Dutchman. This was fought between Ian and Jim (British) and Dee and Alex (French).

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The Scene, Set

The 42nd Foot, accompanies by some of Gorham’s Rangers and Mohawk allies had to bring Mynheer Sterngange of the Dutch West India Company to a place of safety. Sterngange was standing placidly by the cabin, puffing on his pipe.

The British could enter either by canoes from the Secondary Deployment Point which, unsurprisingly, featured a canoe or marching on from their Primary Deployment Point on the right of the above photo. The French, a mix of Compagnie Franches de la Marine, Milice Canadienne and Huron warriors could deploy from their respective Deployment Points on the top, bottom and left table edges. The British got one complete turn to deploy before the French players could do anything. This helped offset the fact they had to reach Sterngange and then get him back all the way across the river to their Primary Deployment Point.

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An Opposite View
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Highlanders Ashore

The British deployed Captain Murray, 42nd Foot with half of his highlanders and Sergeant Ichabod Warner’s rangers. With the possibility of being flanked on both sides, Murray’s plan was to send the fleet-footed rangers to fetch Sterngange while he and Reid used the steady regulars to cover the retreat.

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Lieutenant Clouzeau Arrives With His Compagnie Franches De La Marine
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Lt. Mill Brings His Men Ashore Under Fire
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Capitaine Alain Terieur Of the Milice Canadienne Springs An Ambuscade
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The Huron Attack
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Enseigne Laroux Threatens The British Line Of Retreat
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Murray Faces About As The Battle Rages

Up to this point, the British were doing reasonably well. Sterngange had agreed to accompany the rangers, despite the language barrier and although the highlanders were suffering somewhat from the incoming fire of the French, they had taken no serious losses. Encouragingly also, Captain Cutlass, that doughy Mohawk chief, had charged across the river and driven Terieur’s men back with some loss. The prelude to this assault caused much amusement. Terieur’s men had been at the top of the small rise, firing into the highlanders. Cutlass charged using three dice for movement. The first was a 6, allowing him to cross the 4″ river and leaving two dice to travel under four inches into contact. Needless to say, the total rolled was 3, leaving the Mohawk just short of their target, their wet moccasins slithering on the slope. However next turn, their chit came up before Terieur’s and they completed the charge into the flank of the skirmishers.

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The Mohawk Drive Terieur Back

This heralded the most intense series of Fisticuffs I have ever seen in a game of Sharp Practice. A conservative estimate from memory puts the total number of bouts at at more than half a dozen as the rangers were charged twice by the Huron, the Mohawk charged Terieur again and the Huron went on to assault the highlanders several times.

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Caught At The River

The rangers had fallen back from an initial bout of fisticuffs with the Huron, in which Sterngange was wounded, and had then retreated behind the highlanders. But in an audacious move, the Huron charged through the swamp, catching the rangers in the rear. Sterngange, Sergeant Warner and the sole remaining ranger managed to escape across the river but were pursued by the Huron.

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Mill Retreats

An surprisingly devastating volley from the Compagnies Franches de la Marine killed several highlanders, and it was high time for Mill and his rearguard to retire.

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The Mohawk Charge Again

Captain Cutlass pursued his murderous feud with the Canadians, leading his braves forward again and this time sending the two survivors, including the wounded Terieur, fleeing deep into the woods.

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Terieur Departs
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Huron And Highlanders At Grips

Lt. Mill’s men had been savaged by constant firing to their front and flanks and their line broken. Sensing victory, more Huron charged from the woods, catching a group in the flank and sending them flying back across the river. Mill’s command had ceased to be a viable fighting force but their sacrifice had allowed Sterngange to reach Murray (who as an ex-officer of the Saxon Guards could speak fluent German and so could inform the Dutchman of his mission).

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Huron Victory
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Mill’s Remnant

At this point, British morale was broken. The French could count a victory but it was not an utter disaster for the British as there was still a fair body of men left under Captain Murray to escort Sterngange from  the field, with too few French – a mere half dozen of the Milice, to prevent their quitting the field.

This had been quite a long game, taking us into the early evening, but the Bristol lads are a hospitable bunch so we went to the Bocabar bar for some much needed refreshment and a rather nice pizza (it was so nice I went back the next evening for more). It’s fair to say that the Bocabar is probably not a traditional Lardies type of venue, but I really liked it and despite its hipster appearances, it does nice beer and probably some sort of cooking lager.

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Bocabar

To be continued in Unbridled Savagery Part Two

A Scalping Party

Which it was a French and Indian War Extravaganza using the absolutely superb Sharp Practice 2 rules from TooFATLardies at the Sanctuary Gaming Centre in Sutton-in-Ashfield, a great venue with plenty of space and a really laid back, unobtrusive but very helpful owner. A day’s gaming is dirt cheap – even a Yorkshireman could not quibble with the price – and Richard will even open up early if you ask him.

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Sanctuary Gaming Centre

Because this was the first Sharp Practice day of any size that I’d run, I decided to run it as an invitational event rather than throwing the doors open to all and sundry. This had the advantage that I knew everyone attending and they would be forgiving of any dreadful cock-ups, but the downside that only two of them had any substantial experience (i.e. more than three games . . .) of Sharp Practice, and three had never played it at all. However the enthusiasm of a certain Jim from Glasgow for the concept, and the fact he was prepared not only to bring a full force but also livestock, civilians, rabbits (I kid ye not), buildings and an amazing objective/Deployment Point, led me to extend an invite to him upon request. And I was very happy that I did because it provided another experienced player. And this . . .

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Lieut. Kennedy, Captured

Clearly anyone prepared to make something like that had to be included.

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Inside Sanctuary And Underway

My original plan was for three games but my experience at the WorLard Gaming Day 2017 and the impromtu  Sharp Practice day at Grange-over-Sands (covered by Lardy Rich in this post, which also covers the Durham day)  convinced me that two games would allow a more enjoyable day with less pressure on time. I’m glad to say that this decision was more than vindicated. Three and a half hours per game allows a comfortable amount of time to either get a definite result, or so close to one that who’s got the upper hand is obvious, and allows some chat amongst the players.

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Old Man Rivers’ Farm – The Setting For Little Beaver Hunt

With nine players, three of whom had never played a game and only three with any real experience of the system, I decided to have the first games as 3 vs 2 and 2 vs 2, then the second games as 2 vs 1. This seemed to work fine, and allowed me to place at least one experienced player in every game. Sharp Practice, being a game that really is narrative-driven, and (at least partly) a character-driven focus also – which very few other wargames do, whatever their pretensions – the social nature of such a game makes 2-3 players per side something that probably enhances the overall experience to an unusual degree. It also allowed me to give players on the same ‘team’ different objectives to accomplish, some of which would  not necessarily be for the good of everyone on their side.

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The Fort At Number Four – Sing Tow-Row-Row!

My initial player pack underwent fairly significant revision with respect to victory conditions for each player and who would command what. This was my master document from which I compiled a player sheet like this example for each player. That way everyone knew what missions they’d be playing, how to win, and what leaders and units they’d be commanding. Players could say what they liked about their victory conditions but weren’t allowed to let anyone else look at their sheet.

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Burning Passion – Kennedy’s Mohawk Blood Brothers Attempt Rescue

The five games were:

  1. Going Down in the Woods/Little Beaver Hunt – while the British hasten to defend an outlying farm, the Huron search for the missing son of their chief.
  2. Exposing Young Fanny/Grab Fanny – the French attempt to secure a British ammunition convoy, which also contains the lovely daughters of their commander, Colonel Flower.
  3. The Fort at Number Four – The Regiment Languedoc assault the fort. Will relief come in time?
  4. Big Bottom Girls/Raiding Big Bottom – The Virginia Regiment must defend Big Bottom, where the daughters of Colonel Flower have sought refuge, while a mixed force of Compagnie Franches de la Marine and Milice Canadienne look to burn the settlers out.
  5. Sweet Release/Burning Passion – Kennedy of the 44th has been kidnapped. A mixed force of men from the 44th Foot, Dank’s Rangers and Mohawk try to free him from  the clutches of the Huron.
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British and French Fight To A Bloody Standstill – Exposing Young Fanny

I’d an image of each table lurking in my head. I knew the key features and terrain that each needed to have. The fort, provided by Bob Emmerson of Mad Bob Miniatures, proved a little larger than I’d envisaged but fitted just about reasonably into the middle of the table.

The missions were modifications of the ones in the rules and sometimes, like in Game One, the two sides were playing different missions (which in that particular game allowed both to emerge with a Small Victory). In general they seemed to work pretty well, although I made a big mistake in Game Five in not allowing the 44th a Moveable Deployment Point, which left poor Jim very much up against it, and also in Game Four in not delaying British reinforcements for a turn at least.

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Bear Attack!

I had some special random events and also events that had certain triggers – mainly inspired by Lary Rich’s mad potter monk. These included a bear attack, a wandering Huron (who might have grabbed Fanny had be not tripped over a branch), a boy who rescued his horses from a burning barn (but sadly he and his horses met a rather excruciating death impaled on bits of broken fence). I told players on the relevant tables to call me over when they drew a random event, or at Tiffin for the triggered events and then, depending on where the unit that triggered the event was, the special event might be triggered, or a normal random event rolled. Again, this seemed to work pretty well, with players I think unsure whether some thing were inflicted upon them by my malevolence (acting as Fate) or by pre-planned design. I at least found most of them rather amusing.

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The Boy Fell From The Burning Cart

At Old Man Rivers’ farm, the Huron escaped with significant losses but with a captive and , importantly, having rescued Little Beaver. The British could not save the farm from burning, but at least dowsed the flames before it was utterly destroyed and rescued Old Man River and his fair daughter from the clutches of the Huron.

The French and 40th Foot battered each other in a bloody stalemate. The British failing to get the convoy through but the French failing to secure any of the ammunition (or accompanying females).

In the second games, the Virginia Regiment failed to prevent most of Big Bottom being razed, but inflicted some fairly heavy losses on the attacking Milice and Compagnie Franches. However Fanny and Phemie were saved, as were most of the settlers.

Lieutenant Kennedy, 44th Foot seems doomed to meet a fiery end after his comrades were foiled in their attempted rescue by their savage foe.

The Fort at Number Four did not fall to the French. Sing tow-row-row for the British Grenadiers!

Lots of pictures follow, in no special order, I’m afraid. The better ones are by Jim and Sam.

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I had a great day and was really pleased things went as well as they did.

Thanks to:

Bob for bringing the fort and driving all the way from Dorset! Dee for making the trip from Bristol and bringing his usual unbridled enthusiasm. James for bringing his grenadier force, which is very nicely done indeed. Jim for making the trip from Glasgow, for bringing terrain and models and, especially, for the Kennedy diorama. Rich for the nice custom markers and providing some much needed experience in the player-base. Richard, ditto on the experience and for basically running Grab Fanny for me whilst also playing. Roger for bringing Huron and affording me the opportunity of the bear attack. Sam for putting me up, providing more Huron and terrain. Stuart for terrain and a nice snow mat and the Regiment Languedoc. Lastly to Rich from the Sanctuary Gaming Centre for providing such a great venue for so little cost.

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The Grenadiers Secure a British Victory! Huzzah!

Scalp Takers

Gorham’s Rangers had been in existence for many years before George Washington started the French and Indian War (and the Seven Years War, by extension . . .). Raised in Massachuessets, they’d fought in King George’s War and conducted extirpation against the Acadians and Mi’Kmaqs in Father Le Loutre’s War. Originally raised largely amongst native Americans from Cape Cod, by 1757 they included many Scots and Irish immigrants as well as a sprinkling of Anglo-Americans.

Dank’s Rangers were raised in 1756 and often fought alongside the men of Gorham’s Rangers. If anything they had a more brutal reputation and were reputedly not choosy in their scalp-taking.

This particular force is under command of Lieutenant Edward Watmough of Gorham’s Rangers is second-in-command.

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Edward Watmough

Sergeant Clarke and Sergeant Warner assist Lieutenant Watmough. The former slave, Limus Coffin is one of the more experienced rangers.

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Sergeant Jonathan Clarke
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Sergeant Ichabod Warner
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Limus Coffin

Lieutenant John Walker, a very spirited fellow, leads the small contingent of Dank’s Rangers.

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Lieut. Johnny Walker

 

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Captain Cutlass And His Warriors

In Sharp Practice terms the force comprises 79 points:

  • Leader Status III (Captain Watmough)
  • Leader Status II (Lieutenant Walker)
  • Leader Status II (Sergeant Clarke)
  • Leader Status II (Sergeant Warner)
  • Leader Status I (Limus Coffin)
  • Four Groups of 6 Colonial Rangers
  • Movable Deployment Point
  • Dummy Movable Deployment Point

plus support from:

  • Leader Status II (Captain Cutlass)
  • One Group of 6 Mohawk Scouts

Figures are from AW Miniatures and Galloping Major.

The Place Where Lucy Ferris Fled

Following the failure of the Virginia Regiment on the edge of Perdition, Major Flower, commanding the forces of the Crown in Saindoux has rushed reinforcements into the area known as The Devil’s Kitchen. Captain Queen of the 62nd (Royal American) Foot has been ordered to find and escort to safety a certain Mrs Ferris, the wife of an Irish officer in French service whose devotion to her king is greater than to her husband. She has knowledge of French plans but will reveal herself only to a British officer. Her young son, Lucien, knows where his mother is hid and accompanies the 62nd as a guide. The Mohawk known to the British as Captain Cutlass and his scouts are auxiliary to the main force.

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Mrs Ferris
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Young Lucien

Lieutenant Jacques Clouzeau of the Compagnie Franches de la Marine is hot on the trail of Mrs Ferris and intends to restore that lady to her husband and by that act restore himself somewhat in the good graces of his superior, Captaine Vindail, after earlier unfortunate setbacks. Clouzeau has brought along some of his Huron friends and what he hopes will be an unwelcome surprise for any British he might encounter.

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Overview

Clouzeau makes good time, despite the encumbrance of his ‘petite surprise pour l’Anglais’. Ensigne Maudit’s men have scoured the woods north of the Widow Black’s farm,  and his Huron allies are searching the wooded hills to the east. Clouzeau himself is approaching the Widow Black’s cabin, where he in sure that Mrs Ferris must be hiding and not a sign of les Anglais perfide.

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Maudit’s Men
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Clouzeau Approaches The Cabin

The first British to arrive are the skirmishers under Lieutenant Neiswanger and Sergeant Koch. They advance up the south slope of the narrow ridge causing Old Tobacco’s Huron to quit the trees.

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Neiswanger Arrives

Captain Queen is swift to follow with his small platoon. He hopes to catch Clouzeau’s exposed command in the flank but unfortunately has blundered forward towards some very swampy ground. Clouzeau, nonetheless orders his men back over the fence tout suite because Captain Cutlass’ scouts appear fleetingly in the woods ahead of him.

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Queen Approaches The Bog
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Clouzeau Recule Tout Suite!

It turns out that young Lucien only knows his mother’s location in general terms. Mrs Ferris may be in the cabin, or hiding in the woods between Old Tobacco and Neiswanger. At worst she may be across Serpent Creek to the north of the cabin, from where it will be the devil’s own job for Queen’s men to extract her.

The first shots are exchanged between Old Tobacco’s Huron and Neiswanger’s skirmishers. Sergeant Longrod, as popular with his men as with the ladies, cops a nasty one but with the added firepower of the men Neiswanger brings up, the 62nd avenge their sergeant, wounding Old Tobacco himself. To cries of ‘Put that in your pipe and smoke it!’, Old Tobacco limps hurriedly away, followed by his warriors, regrouping behind the thin white line that Clouzeau has formed facing Neiswanger’s men.

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Neiswanger Advances
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Clouzeau Reorganises

Maudit is bravely leading his force across Serpent Creek and into the Widow Black’s fields, more whooping Huron are running down to join their friends and the somewhat sluggish Eidelburger has caught up with his commander and is wondering how to negotiate the bog without dirtying his new boots. Queen has cleared the swamp, cleaned his shoes and is ready to support Neiswanger. Meanwhile Captain Cutlass still lurks in the woods by the cabin.

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French And Huron Gather
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Maudit Advances Through The Fields

The battle is about to start for real, and to Queen’s horror, with a maniacal laugh, Hugo de Nigot pulls aside a cunningly laid branch to reveal la petite surprise . . .

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Quelle Surprise!
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The Dispositions

Top centre, Ensigne Maudit. Top right, De Nigot and his gun.

Upper right (partially obscured), Old Tobacco and the unspeakable Ouaouackecinatouek.

Middle extreme left, Captain Cutlass. Middle right (partially obscured), Lieutenant Clozeau.

Lower centre, Capt. Queen. Lower right (partially obscured), Lieut. Neiswanger.

Bottom left, Ensign Eidelburger.

Clouzeau orders his men to present and unleashes a volley to clear Neiswanger’s skirmishers from his front. Neiswanger himself is wounded and one of his men falls; the rest are much shaken by the sheer volume and noise of the close range fire so Neiswanger draws them back to try and restore order behind the trees.

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Neiswanger Retreats

 

De Nigot can restrain himself no longer and fires the gun, the ball neatly decapitating one of Queen’s men.

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Le Boom!

Maudit is bringing his men up at a great pace through the fields and the unspeakable Ouaouackecinatouek is urging his warriors to cross the Eden Brook and get into the flanks of the British. Meanwhile Queen is struggling to get out of the bog and properly organised.

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Advantage France
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The 60th In Confusion

The wounded Koch’s skirmishers fall back through Queen’s men as Clouzeau wheels his line and advances it to the edge of the woods. Eidelburger makes good progress through the swamp, despite or because of the ruin wrought upon his new boots but his men come under fire from Maudit’s skirmish line, now arrayed along the fenceline. De Nigot, cackling like a lunatic urges his artillerymen to reload, and soon poor Eidleburger has more to worry about than his footwear. The canon does no real damage but the second volley from Maudit’s men kills three redcoats.

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Eidelburger In Trouble

Queen advances boldly to within a few yards of Clouzeau’s line. Numbers are about even, but who will fire first?

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Canadian Standoff

Archie Queen commands, and his men obey! His volley sees half a dozen Frenchmen put out of the fight! But the gallant Queen’s attempt to follow up with another volley and a charge see a far less effective outpouring of fire and only a hesitant movement towards the Canadians.

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Controlled Volley Fire
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Clouzeau’s Casualties

Maudit pours fire on Eidelburgers swamp-bound men and the ensign’s small line loses its cohesion. The Frenchman then turns his attention to Queen’s line and accurate fire from the Compagnie Franches skirmish line sees three redcoats fall. Neiswanger, having rallied his men, moves up and fires on Clouzeau, who sensibly begins a slow but steady withdrawal. Again, Queen’s men prove reluctant to close and merely shuffle forward a few steps through the trees.

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Eidelburger ‘s Attack Bogs Down
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Huron Across The Eden
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Huron View Of The British Right

The Huron are over Eden Brook and threatening the British right, though Neiswanger is well placed to meet that threat. Elsewhere, Captain Cutlass has quietly moved his warriors round the back of Widow Black’s cabin.

Neiswanger trades fire with the Huron across the stream, getting slightly the better of the exchange. Queen gives up trying to get his men to charge and instead gets them volleying again, doing severe damage to Clouzeau’s already fraying line.

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Close Range Shooting
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Mauled!

But Maudit’s skirmishers again take a toll on Queen’s boys and a devastating burst of canister from de Nigot’s gun forces the British line back. Eidelburger is reorganising in the swamp but is a long way from the fight.

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Encore Le Boom!
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Damnably Mauled

Cutlass and his scouts disappear into the cabin.

Neiswanger looks to be winning his duel with the Huron, half of whom are dropping back but accurate fire from Maudit’s men see half of the shattered remnant of Queen’s men turn and flee.

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Oh Dear . . .

It dawns on Maudit that the cabin might well be the hiding place of Madame Ferris, so he takes his men to go and see. Inside, Cutlass’ men are ransacking the place, little bothered by the furious tirade of fire that Maudit peppers the cabin with.

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Now Get Out Of That!

Another round from de Nigot’s new toy sees the routing British disappear from view, but Neiswanger has sent half the Huron running with their tails between their legs and the rest falling back badly shaken, so has evened the score in that respect.

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Huron Discomfited
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Huron Downright Unhappy

The morale of both sides is becoming quite low. Mohawk howls of frustration from the cabin reveal that Mrs Ferris is not hiding up the chimney, nor anywhere else. Between them, the two forces have searched almost every potential hiding place.

Captain Cutlass realises it is up to him to save his British fathers from failure. He leads his warriors in a desperate charge from the cabin. Outnumbered two to one, can they prevail?

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Do Or Die!

The sheer audacity of the attack, the whirling tomahawks and the wild whooping of the Mohawks do much to unsettle Maudit’s men, who barely have time to draw their own weapons before Cutlass is upon them. Two of the Mohawks fall and Cutlass receives a dreadful head wound. But five French are slain and another runs screaming homewards. Cutlass is victorious, although a rather shaken Maudit has still got half of his men in hand just beyond the Widow Black’s fence. Ensign Eidelburger’s men, who are now back in good order and out of the swamp cheer the Mohawks to the echo! A brave advance by the wounded Sergeant Longrod supported by shots from Neiswanger sees the remaining Huron flee the field. In despair, Clouzeau orders the retreat, his men refusing to continue the fight.

The butcher’s bill:

62nd Foot, 22 ranks and file dead and wounded, Lieut. Neiswanger wounded. 2 Mohawk scouts killed.

French: 15 rank and file wounded. 9 Huron killed or wounded, including Old Tobacco and Ouaouackecinatouek.

A savage day indeed but with victory going to the British thanks to the unflinching bravery of their native allies. Mrs Ferris was indeed hiding in the woods to the north of her farm and is now safely with the British commander, to whom she will doubtless reveal much.

Loyal Americans

The 1st battalion of the 62nd (Royal American) Regiment of Foot was, in true British tradition, made up largely of Germans (many former prisoners of war), Swiss and Irishmen. The regiment became the 60th Foot only very late in 1757. The colonel of the regiment at the time of the Saindoux campaign was John Campbell, Earl of Loudon, also the commander-in-chief in North America.

This force comprises half of Queen’s Company of the 1/60th and is is led in person by Captain Archibald Queen, a confirmed bachelor.

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Captain Queen

Lieutenant Wilhelm Neiswanger, whose impressive talent is much admired by his captain, and the languid Ensign Ernst Eidelberger are the other two officer present.

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Lieut. Neiswanger
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Ensign Eidelburger

Sergeants Koch, Longrod and Johnson always stand ready to do their duty and are very popular men with the ladies. Koch once served under Frederick the Great as a lieutenant in the Geist Grenadiers. Longrod fled Bohemia after an encounter with Francesca von Pfalz-Sulzbach, the Princess-Abbess of Essen led to him bashing the Bishop of Worms. Johnson, alias John Stone, is an Irishman serving under an assumed name.

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Sergeant Koch
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Sergeant Longrod
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Sergeant Johnson

Drummer Banghard is a musically inclined German-speaking Pennsylvanian. He delights in rudely awakening his comrades with his beloved instrument.

The men are a rough lot, but good soldiers in the main, well-drilled and fearing Captain Queen’s floggings more than any enemy.

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Skirmishers Out
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Rank and File
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Onward 62nd

In Sharp Practice terms the force comprises 79 points:

  • Leader Status II (Captain Queen)
  • Leader Status III (Lieutenant Neiswanger)
  • Leader Status II (Ensign Eidelberger)
  • Leader Status I (Sergeant Koch)
  • Leader Status I (Sergeant Longrod)
  • Leader Status I (Sergeant Johnson)
  • A Musician (Drummer Banghard)
  • Four Groups of 8 Provincial Regiment of Foot Line
  • Three Groups of 6 Regiment of Foot Skirmishers

All the figures are from  Galloping Major.

WorLard Gaming Day 2017

A Saturday in Durham featuring several games using various rules from the TooFATLardies. There were on offer two games of Sharp Practice 2 (one Peninsular, one Russia 1812), one game of Chain of Command (Spanish Civil War), a game of Dux Britanniarium (Trojan War!), a game of the forthcoming What a Tanker! and something else which may have been a more traditionally-rooted game of Dux, but I’m not certain (I was too busy trying to escape Cossacks to notice).

The Trojan board was extremely impressive having a beach on one side and Troy itself at the other, the plains between. I’ve never really taken to Dux, but the table alone made me regret not signing up for this. It’s a perfect setting for Dux too. I didn’t find out if Achilles knocked Hector off his dancing feet, nor how many innards gushed as on a dusty table, but there were heroes in their chariots and, I think, interventions from the gods to help their champions. This was definitely the most impressive table because of the commanding presence of Troy itself.

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Behold! The Walls Of Troy!
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A View Looking Down From Olympus

However, my first game was nearly two thousand miles and a couple of millennia later. The Spanish Peninsular . . . I was cast as one of the fearless protectors of liberty and scourges of the ancien régime, the French. Against us were Fondler’s light company and some rather odious, and odorous, guerillas.

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Fondler’s View

The table was really quite lovely with buidings mainly from Grand Manner.

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Don’t Touch His Jugs!

As the French we had to uncover the whereabouts of the British spy, Major Stereotype, and had the assistance of Colonel Laroux, daringly disguised as a young woman, who would seek out the major and signal his position by giving us a quick flash (with a silver plate she had somehow acquired for the purpose).

As things turned out we also had the assistance of a monkish potter (pictured above), who became so incensed by Rifleman Dawkins’ pot-pilfering that he set about Dawkins and his comrades with fury (and a big stick), laying several of the grasshoppers low and sending the rest running in confusion. This allowed Sergeant Petain and his voltiguers to flank the British, wounding Fondler on the way and further decimating the ranks of the rifles into the bargain.

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Endgame

A heroic stand by Sergeabt Paisley and some volleys from Cost’s light bobs caused the French line some concern, and sent French morale sinking fast, but a well placed gun and Petain’s forceful thrust into Fondler’s rear made British defeat ineviatble as soon as Laroux had identifed Stereotype luring well ahead of Cost’s line in the windmill.

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Final Positions

Above you can see El Incontinente and his Guerillas with Hogan and Laroux on the hill by the windmill. Cost, joined by the wounded Fondler, has taken a group of lights towards the rear to try and head off Petain. Paisely is holed up in the field. French dragoons are skirmishing towards the guerillas. De la Merde’s line has recoiled a long way and is now behind the gun that has dented Cost’s previously impressive line. A French Lieutenant’s line by the church has been joined by the mad potter and the French are taking great delight in conveying the fact that a heathen Protestant lay preacher is leading the rifles in the field.

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El Incontinente  And Stereotype Trapped!

This was a highly amusing game, helped along by Rich’s splendid comic turn as umpire and Mick’s overwhelming desire to charge the windmill with mounted dragoons (he very reluctantly abandoned the idea when faced with the hard facts concerning cavalry charging up a rocky slope . . .). The models, mainly Perry Miniatures were beautifully painted by our British opponent, Matt, who is the evil genius behind Glenbrook Games, they’re a superb advert for his painting services.

During lunch, Rich ran a game of What a Tanker! on a very nice Normandy-looking table, which attracted a large audience and seemed to go down well. As it was a very sunny day, I chose to sit outside instead so got no pictures. The Spanish Civil War game was in that room too and its board looked very impressive indeed. I got no pictures of these though, sorry.

After lunch it was a swap from the sweltering sun of Spain to frozen Russia. Another two thousand miles but no real change in time this time. This game was run by four haps from Harrogate, and I had been wanting to play this ever since first seeing pictures of the award-winning game.

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French Stragglers

The scenario involved a French column having to fight off Russians to either flank. There were militia with some Cossacks quite close to the right flank and regulars with some Cossacks a long way up the board on the left. These latter, except the Cossacks, were deep in some woods and would take time to emerge, which was handy.

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The Rearguard Of The French Army

I was paired up with Mick again, and was French again. Espousing the concept of equality we split our leaders three each. I took three groups of line and two of voltigeurs, Mick had two groups of line, a group of dismounted dragoons and a group of mounted dragoons. Once again we faced Matt, who took the Russian regulars and Rich, who commanded the militia and gun.

The dismounted dragoons saw off a Cossack charge. Mick charged his mounted dragoons straight at Matt’s Cossacks, took some fire from the Russian skirmishers and was routed by a Cossack charge. Meanwhile my line got bogged down in a duel with militia and cannon while my skirmishers decided that supposting the routed dragoons was a lost cause and crossed the board in two turns of astonishing rolling to support the fight against the militia. They could do this because Matt had terrible trouble getting his men out of the thick woods. Only his Cossacks played any further part in the action bar some erratic fire from his skirmishers.

Unfortunately I got no more pictures, but Matt has posted some on Facebook. But injuries to French leaders and the eventual destruction of both units of dragoons saw French morale collapse before enough damage could be inflicted on the militia. Very good game and very atmospheric. The only thing that was lacking was names for the leaders – a minor thing but it does add a hell of a lot to the game for me.

Afterwards was some discussion of modern wargaming and some of its defects, a few pints in the nearby pub, a decent curry and then more liquid refreshment in another pub with karaoke. This last reduced my morale to zero, so I made by excuses and left. Great bunch of folk and two really fine games on excellent tables.

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He Was The Highlight

I had a really good time. Thanks to everyone who organised, turned up, umpired and played.