The French & Indian War, Muskets & Tomahawks, 28mm
I blundered. We played a French & Indian Wars game this week, and guess who forgot their camera? I tried taking pictures with my mobile phone, but as I hadn’t read the instructions they were dreadful – all out of focus and shaky. So, I’ve resorted to the desperate measure of posting unseen pictures from previous French & Indian Wars games, while describing a different game altogether! I’m truly sorry for this stupid arrangement, and normal posting will resume next week. At least it reminded me not to forget my camera.The game was a straightforward game using Muskets & Tomahawks, with 400 points a side. We played the scenario called “Defend”, which in this case involved local militiamen defending their valley homesteads against a band of marauding Hurons, backed up by the Montreal Militia. The Colonial American defenders had no idea where the enemy were going to appear, so they were forced to defend the scattered buildings as best they could. Alan Bruce playing the locals had four 6 figures groups of Tryon County militia to play with, led by the redoubtable local magistrate Judge Dread. Each of the four farms or houses had civilians in it, and their job was to flee to safety. Scalp half of them and victory goes to the French and Indian raiders. marching to the sound of the screams was a relief force of a unit of 12 Provincial New York infantry, 8 Provincial light infantry, and two 6 figure groups of Rabbit’s Rangers. The French team had four 6 figure war bands of Hurons, two 8 figure groups of Montreal militia, and a 6 figure group of Coureurs de Bois.Right – Chris Werb was Big Chief Dripping Beaver of the Hurons, who entered close to one of the settlements, before the civilians even had a chance to run. The Indians formed a musket line and mowed down the small covering force of six militia, deployed on a small tree-covered hill. The rest of the big war party ran into the farmyard, killed and scalped the locals, and captured a pig. Quite why Chris wanted the pig was never made clear, but it followed his war band around for the rest of the game. One of the settlers – a woman armed with a baby of all people – managed to kill one of the Indians before she was killed. That feisty mother prompted a Reaction Test on the Indians, who spent a turn milling around in confusion. Meanwhile the Canadian militia had entered the table, and after jumping a stone wall they hatcheted a settler trying to pull a cow to safety. Further on they outran the fleeing settlers from the next cabin, and the Coureurs de Bois slaughtered them. Yet again though, the settlers put up a better fight than expected, and killed two of the Canadian mountain men before they went down. This time the remaining four French hunters retired up the road for a turn – another bad morale check prompted by the feisty locals.By this time the French had almost achieved their victory conditions – killing half of the settlers in the valley. One lone woman carrying her baby was running away down the road, and almost reached the safety of the militiamen lining a fence line when she went down in a hail of Huron musket balls. Meanwhile the Montreal militia moved through an orchard and came under fire from this firing line, anchored on a third building. Over on the other side of the table the Hurons began advancing through a large cornfield, but found themselves fired on by yet more militiamen, hiding in the Judge’s house – the largest of the four dwellings on the table. By this stage the British reinforcements had begun to arrive, and while the Provincial infantry split off to baulk out the main firing line facing the Canadians, the light infantry detachment deployed facing the Indians. The rangers then began sneaking forward against the Indian flank. A brief fire fight followed, and both sides lost a few casualties. However, a quick tally showed that the French player had fulfilled his victory conditions and killed enough settlers to win the game. With the defences solidifying he called off the attack, and the Canadians and their Huron allies sneaked back into the forest, content enough with their haul of scalps. In M&T both sides have “sub plots”. The Huron chief had to die a martyr’s death, and his British counterpart had to gun down the Indian leader. Neither player fulfilled the conditions, so the game remained a French victory. The game was as slick and as fun as ever. I’m slowly becoming a convert to card-driven games, largely thanks to this excellent rules system.