Sunday, 17 March 2013

Ohio Valley Episode

Muskets and Tomahawks is fast becoming one of my favourite rulesets - its activation system makes for a dynamic game that keeps all players involved all the time, it flows well and feels fast, and every game we have played has been fought to a result within an hour or few. This last is important - as its one of the games that we play at our midweek evening game meets, and there is no scope for games that drag on.

Also in its favour is that it need very little setup time - its very much skirmish scale, so the average game needs just 36-72 figures per side.

The activation, movement, shooting, observation and morale rules all combine to represent very well, in my mind at least, the protaganists, terrain and weapons of the conflict.  It has layers of special rules (to be fair, so many that we often forget to apply some) that create a good sense of the "asymmetrical" warfare of the conflict - native inhabitants completely comfortable in dense terrain versus regulars who would much rather pick their fights in open fields or defended positions.

Its a lot of fun.

Our last game of M&T saw a small British force (12 regulars, 12 rangers and 12 Mohawk) attempt to escort a captive (which was attached to a particular unit, and slowed it down to civilian pace) across the table, pursued by Huron (36) and Canadian militia (12). Sounds easy enough, but the entire table was wooded! With civilians and regulars moving very slowly in forests, it meant that the regulars would need to use every activation (and some granted by their officer) to keep moving and stand any chance of success. And they would need luck, and a headstart! Their only other option would be to stand and fight, and hope to see off the Huron. Not a pleasant prospect for the regulars at least, deep in the Ohio woodlands...

The dice and the cards of fate were against the British, and they didnt get the headstart they needed. The Canadians diced onto the table on the first turn, right behind (and within musket range of) the British regulars. The regulars had to abandon hope of making the objective, and face the threat. The rest of the game was a test of the discipline of both sides, as more and more Huron joined the fray. The small band of regulars, with rangers on the left and Mohawks on the right were well set upon. The Canadians left early, ripped apart by a few volleys from the regulars. On the right flank the Rangers caught a charge from a unit of Huron, and recoiled directly into musket range of another Huron unit. A second charge and they were cut down to a man.

On the left, the Mohawks managed to close the line with the regulars, and there was hope for the British. Turn 4 started with the British 1 casualty away from the dreaded Morale card being added to the deck, and the Huron 3 away from the same fate. But some poor shooting from the regulars (they had passed successive morale checks as they lost troops, and it obviously made their dice rolling shakey) sealed their fate. Turn 5 saw the British Morale card added, and when it came up early in the turn, the Mohawks left for their village. The last few regulars held their nerve, but the game was up. There were scalps to be had...

Apologies for the limited pix - I forgot my camera, and my phone camera didnt do the game justice...

The Muskets and Tomahawks forum is to be found here.
A good review of and introduction to the game can be found here.

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