Saturday, 25 February 2012

Bi-centennial Adventure

My previous entry dealt with last week's game (18 February), so this one reports on today's game. The Hamilton Road Library needs our usual room for a large group meeting, so we went to a smaller room, but still had about 20 gamers stop by.
My crowd played an 1812 patrol adventure game using Iron Ivan's This Very Ground rules with a few variations for the War of 1812. Each player gets a patrol and a mission. Who wins depends on who fulfills their mission. The cast included:
     Tyler - Native Warband with a British Indian Department adviser and help - arrive and leave by canoe and take scalps
     DJ - Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles patrol - burn a rebel's farm.
     Kevin - British Regular infantry detachment - take and hold a crossroads
     Robby - US regular Rifle patrol - find and recover a lost ammunition waggon
     Andy - US Volunteer Rifle unit - burn a loyalist's farm
     Martin - French Infantrie d'Ligne detachment - find and recover a lost cannon
     Darian - US State Militia patrol - take and hold a crossroads
The order of movement was determined by drawing a card; when your card came up, it was your turn to be active. All units started roughly 12" from their table edge, going the long way. All over the board were numbered poker chips, each denoting an "encounter" of some sort or other. (An idea stolen from Iron Ivan's Where Heroes Dare pulp era rules.) Some of those will come out later.
As the game began, everyone moved forward, the US side all conferring. The units could not communicate unless an officer or sergeant was in base contact with another unit. The Crown troop didn't, but they didn't seem to care.

Tyler's Native warband in their "canoes" emerge from the bridge. The
river was too deep to wade, so it was only crossable at  the bridge and at
a flatboat ferry, which Tyler took and grounded on the Crown side of the river.

Kevin's red coats pass a civilian refugee caravan. He commandeered the
carts in order to block the bridge. In the far background, DJ's Glennies hoist
cattle from the loyalist's farm and smoked meat from a hidden smokehouse,
one of the encounters. The chip in the foreground turned into a bear later. 

Martin's French... having taken a wrong turn at Baton Rouge... come up the
centre. His grenadiers and voltigeurs made up two separate small patrols.
The Sapeur - in red in the foreground - was charged with collecting mush-
rooms for dinner. They were joined by a local woman, who was called a
witch by the mob chasing her.

Andy's Volunteers (foreground) and Robby's Rifles (background) head for
 the river bank.

Kevin's unit discovered the ammo waggon AND the cannon mired at the
crossroads. He attempted to free them to block the road further, but Andy
and Robby's rifles (25" range) really hurt him.

Tyler's Native warband lands to wreak havoc. In landing their canoes, two
of them sank with all aboard being lost, including the BID officer. Now they
depended on their sachem to lead, disregarding the BID soldiers. The braves
scalped everything in sight and set fire to BOTH farms, scalping the settlers.
I should demand they be more discriminating. 

Marty's Voltigeurs face down the charging witch hunters. ("Torches and
muskets!") The witch hunters saw the witch with the French troops and
made after them. They wiped out the Voltigeurs in three rounds of combat.
Darian left and I - the gamesmaster - took over the brown-coated US Militia
which took to facing down the Natives.

Okay... DJ's Glengarries, led by a Mr. Sharpe, killed the bear, later slaughtered
 a pack of wolves, and stared down the moose seen advancing on them on the
road. They never got to burn that farm but they took everything that wasn't
nailed down and that was edible... more or less.

One of the ox carts Kevin commandeered heads over the bridge, it's red coat
handler seen dead in the shallows of the stream. My wife painted the two ox
carts and I only just remembered they were Irregular Miniatures products.
I like 'em and every body else did too! Nice work, Beth!

Martin's fusiliers move up to the bridge. You can see "the witch" next to
the mounted officer in the centre. The cart? Filled with jugs of moonshine
whiskey. The French wouldn't drink it; Maybe not cultured enough for
their refined palete or maybe their discipline held. Kept for cooking maybe?

Since the Crown forces were badly outnumbered,  I gave another patrol
 of British Regulars to Kevin as reinforcements. Here they prepare to volley
the French and ignore the moose, who heads for more peaceful places.

Andy and Robby's Riflemen support the French assault on the bridge.
They did great execution on Kevin's original force. They are at the edge of
the woods, shown by the red yarn.

Tyler's Natives and lone BID trooper fire the rebel's farm. They became
pyromaniacs... which leaves me wondering about Tyler... a little.

It appears the Crown won. Nobody fully achieved their mission, but the Glengarries carried off LOADS of edibles and the Natives burned and scalped their way across the table. (The US Militia sank all their canoes; seem birch bark won't hold up to bayonets!) The bridge became a stalemate with Kevin and Marty contesting it and being shot down each in their turn. The two US units of rifle armed troops were  invaluable.

In retrospect, I should have had more than one way to cross the river. The barge/ferry didn't work well and was disabled early. Some of my missions were unachievable which is distressing for the players, everybody then goes and has fun... which is why we play, isn't it?

Some of the encounters included a bear, a pack of wolves, a moose, a nest of snakes, a skunk (which Andy simply walked around), the "witch" and the witch-hunters, a hen house with hens and eggs, a smokehouse with hams, bacon, and smoked fish, a cache of highly flammable lamp oil which no one found, a cart loaded with moonshine, refugees and their carts, a bog, the barge/ferry, and cattle. It may be a while 'til we do one of these again, but all the players seemed to enjoy the game.

Snakes take their toll on the militia.

Another farm goes up!

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