In any event, a few weeks ago, in early February, Andy and Ralph wanted to try out the game they hope to host at Hot Lead, a gaming convention in the area. (A good one, too, in my opinion.) It was a large field-action game using the Musket & Tomahawks set of rules for the French & Indian Wars in North America. This set of rules - by the French firm, Studio Tomahawk, is usually for skirmish games in the wooded areas of the north-eastern US and southern Canada, specifically Ontario and Quebec. This time, however, larger units of line troops and artillery were used. No Native tribes or rangers were to be found. I'm glad to say that the rules worked just as well for the formed troops in more open ground as they would for the more guerrilla tactics of a skirmish game.
The French force was two good-sized battalions of Fusiliers with three cannon. The British fielded two battalions of 'hatmen' of a similar size to the French, a smaller grenadier battalion, and only two guns. Movement is card driven in the game and the proximity to "officers" is very important.
The two sides squared off on either side of a picturesque village, a place I might enjoy retiring to if it weren't for all the fighting. No militia, rangers, Coureur du Bois, Provincials, or Native warriors were in evidence. The Grenadiers were rated as elite which gave them a few advantages, but nothing so much as to unbalance a game. (All the figures are from Andy's collection. I think Martin, Andy, and I took the photos.)
|Bear and Matt discuss the advance of the Lobsterbacks.|
|French infantry, cannon, and supernumerary colour party.|
|British line infantry, cannon, colour party with grenadiers to the rear.|
|Some of Andy's Hatmen -- mostly Old Glory 25's|
|Some British units "give fire." The cotton clouds show that the muskets need to be reloaded.|
Since regulars get two actions when their card turns up, loading/firing/moving in some combination
|Later in the game, the units were sustaining losses.|
|The French "give fire" and do some maneuvering in the back.|
|All sides took casualties. Each movement stand held 12 figures to begin with.|
|An early game photo. The cannon fired and the bath of the ball was traced by the smoke clouds.|
We actually played two games. In the second one, the cannons were reduced to a smaller bore,
which were quicker to reload and easier to handle.
|There were a lot of close quarters firefights and very few hand-to-hand moments.|
|One of the French gun crews|
|The grenadiers finally got to the front after much moving around and hesitating.|
|The business end of a French cannon|
|The fighting was up-close but none too personal. As I said, melees were just about non-existent.|
It was all powder-and-ball.
|A close-up of the British grenadiers as they advanced into the town.|
|Another over view of the entire board.|
Andy's new ground cover looks like straw or dead grass. I thought it looked good. The only thing is... it caught the edges of the stands, often snagging and making lifting figures a small problem. Not really a big deal. I'm looking forward to seeing this game at the Con in a few weeks.