Friday, 27 September 2013

We finally finished a game!

Gaming as we do at the library, there hardly ever seems to be enough time to actually finish a game. Saturday was an exception. The setting was our Crouchkrieg Imagi-nations campaign, with troops from Frankenschwein (Andy and Steven) and the Duchy of Worschestershiresauce (Rob) facing the Serene People's Republic of Rationalia (Martin) and the Grand Electorate of Saxe-Freedonia (Bear and myself.) We kept it to a brigade for each player and a simple uncluttered table.
We decided to refuse the left, but the left refused to be refused. Martin set up using his experimental organisation based on Austria. (6 stands of 3 figures each. Our standard is 4x3 for an infantry battalion.) This took more space than expected. We also discovered that this organisation is less flexible and makes the devil's own hole in the line if a unit retires/retreats/bolts/runs away. I had a brigade of Freedonians including Pavkovic's Pandours, an irregular light infantry unit. Bear handled the reserve which included Rationalian grenadiers and Freedonian cuirassiers and hussars. The most notable troops on the other side were Rob's dragoons in their green hunting frocks and his lightest-of-light cavalry from the Loup tribe. They ended up being the stars of the show later on.
Well, our left didn't quite get refused and Martin and Andy picked at each other for a lot of the game. This included a protracted cavalry melee between Frankenschweiner dragoons and Rationalian hussars. I advanced in the centre right and Bear brought up the grenadiers very early on.
The Allied reserve - Rationalian grenadiers with General En. Guells and the Freedonian
Cuirassier Regiment von Sardukar. Pavkovic's Pandours screen the hill. In retrospect,
I should've put them in the forest.

Steven's Brigade - Frankenschweiner foot and artillery

Andy repositions some Frankenschweiner foot - line infantry in front, militia
("Kleinvolk Militia") to the rear.

Rob's mounted Loup warriors with General Harry Dresden. They worked some powerful
medicine later in the game.
On the far left of the Coalition line, Rob had been lent a regiment of Frankenschweiner dragoons who faced off against my Hess-Bruder Hussars, a match that continued for almost the entire game. Steven used his guns to try to drive off my brigade, but it didn't work. My troops stood fast for most of the game.

Rationalian line infantry

Rob's Worchestershiresaucer dragoons with the Frankenschweiners in support.

Bear's Rationalian grenadiers hold tough in the face of Rob's line infantry.
Pavkovic's Pandours are screening and Freedonian Regiment Tom Servo is
moving up to support.

The Dragoon vs. Hussar scrap. The blue pipe cleaner means the hussars are
"disorganised." This mess see-sawed until almost the end of the game when
the weight of the dragoons proved too much for the hussars.
To my shame, I must admit I left the woods on my right unguarded. The hussars were beyond the woods, but the woods themselves were wide open. The Pandours would've been better in the wood, but as it was Rob's dragoons picked their way through the trees, did an end around and hit my cuirassiers in the flank. Then the mounted warriors slid through the woods and came around the back of the Allied line.

The Freedonian line - 1&2 Regt. Tom Servo, 1&2 Regt. Stahl, the Irish Legion
(in green), the Archbishop's Own (in white) under the command of General

Cuirassier Regt. von Sardukar in better days. The guns are from my wife's
Galifreyan army... since the Freedonian artillery never made it into the
carrying bin for the game!

Frankenschweiner dragoons face Rationalian hussars with the Rationalian
General and Ever-Glorious People's Prime Minister and President Karl Mar X himself.

Rob's dragoons about to blindside my cuirassiers and lay a serving of hurt on them.
Rob's Loup horsemen rounded the hill on the Allied right and headed right toward the three Rationalian cannon who were grinding up Steven's troops in the centre. Spear, tomahawk, and warclub took out all three cannon! This effectively ended the game since we had reached 25% casualties and we decide to withdraw... as per the Age of Reason rules. It was a good game and a manageable size for a change. Cudos to Andy who decided to limit the size of the opposing forces. We were well matched and very close in  number and quality. I think Martin, Bear, and I had more cavalry while Steven, Andy, and Rob had a little more infantry. Guns were equal in number and weight.

General Dresden and the Loup warriors take all the cannons.

The Freedonian infantry stand off the Frankenschweiners. Two battalions have
fallen back due to casualties and morale and are disorganised. The white rings
signify casualties.

A view down the line from the Allied right at the Rationalian line infantry.
Rationalians in square because of some Frankenschweiner cavalry.
Lessons learned (a nice way of saying "I lost, but I'll salvage something from this disaster.")

  • Never again leave a forest without something in it... 'cause your opponent will drop cavalry or armour or Space Marines or Godzilla there.
  • Never underestimate crazy native mounted troops. They can slide through a knothole if need be and really mess up your day. We'd all pretty much discounted these ultra-light cavalry, but they proved their worth.
Next week in a new convention in Chatham-Kent, Ontario - KegsCon. A few of us are going to support this first year of this con. The week after that is the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of the Thames which will be reenacted on the actual battlefield! Rob and I will be assisting in running the "mini-militia" at the Friday Education Day and we'll be out for the battle the next day. Rob and a friend will go to the reenactors-only tactical on Sunday. I'm working and running around the field is a younger man's game. I hope to post many photos after the weekend.

An early game photo of my brigade with Galifreyan Jacobite guns in support.

Frankenschweiner infantry and militia

Frankenschweiner line infantry, grenadiers, and dice.

The cavalry duke it out 'waaaaaay down there to the Allied left.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Thanks, Fred!

Knowing that I AM the Minstrel Boy, a friend of mine from high school sent me this. I am grateful and amazed. Another friend commented of Facebook that the uniforms looked like WWI and this is very true. Dutch uniforms appeared to have been rather archaic for the times, but a lot of other nations' uniforms were as well.

What has be interested is the over-the-shoulder valve trombones!

Enjoy a little music on the go!

Friday, 13 September 2013

The Last of the Mohicanss

 After watching the 1993 movie The Last of the Mohicans a few days ago, my son began to think: "Could the final fight scene in the movie be done with 'Where Heroes Dare' rules? Since this was my day off, we did the battle on the kitchen table, using Iron Ivan's 'Where Heroes Dare' rules. The sides were limited. I took the Huron war party of Magua (the 'lead') and 5 warriors ("followers"), all armed with musket, hatchet, and knife. Rob took the Mohican group, of Nathaniel ("lead" with long rifle, hatchet, and knife), Chingachgook ('lead' with musket and rifle-stock warclub, a two-handed weapon), and Uncas ('Companion" with musket, hatchet, and knife.)
We made a few 'adjustments' to the stock rules:

  • The Mohican war party had more than one "lead" or main character.
  • The long rifle could not be reloaded while moving while muskets could.
  • The rifle-stock warclub hit like a hatchet/tomahawk, but did more damage.
  • The game was played on a two-level cliffside field and the figure could climb up or down at a 3" move penalty.
  • Fighting with two weapons means that missing with the main weapon -tomahawk- the figure could roll again with the knife, which had a lesser chance of wounding.
  • A lot of the "Where Heroes Dare" pulp-ish rules were applied - "Tough as nails", Dead-eye Dick", "Bum Rush", etc. I won't go into them now but I'll note them in the AAR.
A gun-stock war club - just the thing for close-quarters fighting against enemy tribes... or zombies.

The short game was sort of 'cinematic' but it was a blast. We took our cues from the movie. The Hurons were travelling along a cliffside path (without Alice Monro) with Nathaniel and Chingachgook following and Uncas around a corner in front of the party.

Magua directs traffic and follows the scout.

The rest of the Huron war party
(All Blue Moon Native Warrior figures - very nice in my opinion.)

Chingachgook (in red) and Nathaniel (in white)

Uncas awaits the Huron
From the movie, Magua (Wes Studi) begins the attack on the folks leaving Fort William Henry
(I have NOWHERE near enough native figures to do that scene!)

Nathaniel moved up to the top level and fired his long rifle, missing the trailing brave. Two of the Huron turned to face the running followers. The rest continued, right into Uncas. In hand to hand fighting, Uncas took down the first Huron and then fought with Magua. Since Magua could take three wounds and Uncas two, the struggle went on for a while. I imagined it like the fast and nasty hand to hand fighting in the movie, where hatchet and knife were used on the run - quickly and deadly. Magua finally knocked down Uncas and he had to fall off the cliff. (Rob required it - just like the movie.)

Uncas faces the Huron on the upper level of the cliff.

Magua squares off against Uncas.
(The blue bingo chips mean the musket is fired and needs to be reloaded.)

Uncas goes down the cliff in a brave death.

Meanwhile, Chingachgook and Nathaniel raced to follow. Chingachgook had the WHD "Schtick" of Bum Rush which allowed him to add 3" to his run move if he is charging into combat, which he did battling the two last Huron warriors. Being a main character and hero, Chingachgook put those two out of action in short order. Nathaniel fired again and missed. ("Hawkeye" indeed!) 

Chingachgook mixes it up with the first of the Huron.

One down, one to go.

Two down... where are the rest?

Nathaniel continues to fire from his upper level nook.

Eventually Magua turned back to face Chingachgook who was looking for revenge for the death of his son. This time, however, Nathaniel fired and took out Magua (who had been wounded twice by Uncas.) This differed from the movie where Chingachgook (Russell Means) and Magua (Wes Studi) fought hand to hand.

The climactic fight scene.
Although this was supposed to be New York, the movie was filmed in the Smokey Mountains of the Carolinas. I was raised in the Alleghenies of Pennsylvania, what the Lenape tribe called the "Kittitinny" -  "the Endless Mountains." I love my home in Canada, but I miss the mountains some days.

Chingachgook attacks the Huron warrior who missed him during the shooting.

Chingachgook takes his revenge on what's left of the war party.

While the hand to hand fighting goes on, Nathaniel despatches Magua.
The last brave refused to either surrender or retreat, but fought to the bitter end.

No one is left to face Chingachgook, the last of the Mohicans.

"Great Spirit, Maker of All Life. A warrior goes to you swift and straight as an arrow shot into the sun. Welcome him and let him take his place at the council fire of my people. He is Uncas, my son. Tell them to be patient and ask death for speed; for they are all there but one - I, Chingachgook - Last of the Mohicans."
(Chingachgook's prayer at the end of the film)
"Le Long Carabine" indeed!
This made for a fun short game with gave Rob and I ideas for our next 1812 adventure game, adding a little RPG effect to the game. It may work; it may not, but it'll be fun to see.
If, by chance, you haven't seen The Last of the Mohicans, by all means, see it when you can. It's worth it. It might be a little "Hollywood" with the romance between Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Cora Munro (Madeleine Stowe), but the scenery and the action are wonderful. I recommend it.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

The 1812 Event at Backus Mills Conservation Area

This past Saturday saw the small event at Backus Mills Conservation area, Port Rowan, ON. There weren't a whole lot of reenactors, but those who came appeared to have a good time. Beth, Katie, Rob, our friend Tyler, and I all went there together and stayed for the afternoon skirmish only. (Rob had a shift at his job in the evening, Katie was going to stay with some friends for a day or two, and Tyler had had a really draining week at his job, so going home early was not an unpopular decision.) The day was overcast, humid, and a bit rainy. Kevin and his crew, Tina, Andy, and Andy's son, Steven joined us there in the late morning.
     In the morning we did some drill. I could hear the major telling our adjutant: "Drill them! Drill them to within an inch of their lives! Drill them 'til they bleed!" The look on his face let us know it was a joke. There have been times when we weren't sure if the command was kidding. Since the group of "regulars" from the 16th, 17th, and 25th Infantry were detailed to be light infantry, I detailed myself to be command bodyguard and bugler for the afternoon battle. I ended up doing traffic control with Andy... which was necessary since the "battleground" was tight and some of the spectators tended to want to walk in front of the cannons!
Katie in her Regency gown. Quote: "My shoes are all squishy!"

He didn't like it but Rob took the corporal's epaulet and ended up being second corporal for the Regulars.
Here he looks stunned at the  weight of command.

Tyler tries stilt walking. I suppose it's an 1812 pastime.

Sergeant Jonesy leads the 16th on an end-around at the mill. Our friend Mark is just behind him in the tall gaiters and Steven is the last man in the closest file. Historically, the 16th were issued black coatees and green pants. Their nickname in the reenacting community is "the Pickle-pants."
Since it was so humid and still and since there was a  pond nearby, the musket smoke and cannon smoke lingered.
Here you can see how thick it was. If someone tells you about "the fog of war", this is part of it.
Tyler, Rob, and Kevin hug the fence in the face of skirmish fire from Crown irregulars.
The US light infantry skirmish line moves at the double-quick to head off a movement by the Crown forces.
White Turtle (on the left) and Sergeant Major (centre) observe the Canadian Volunteers as they fire at the Crown line.
I'm "just doin' my job" as staff bugler.
Our new friend, Blue Bear watches and he is NOT preparing to brain me with his warclub.

Andy and I got back into the battle after providing some crowd control earlier. Here we reload to assist in driving off a push by the Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles, a Canadian regular unit of the period.

A classic photo if there ever was one. Andy takes a shot.

I add my fire to the shooting by the Indian Department troops. Captain Roy (fortified by a Snickers® bar) stands in his red turban. White Turtle watches his brother, Colin take a shot. The Indian Department often "turns coat" and serve as US forces. At Fort Erie, they were "the Tennessee Rangers."

As the battle was over, the US forces get back into line preparing to march back to camp. You can see Rob's corporal's epaulet. Adjutant Phil (a major today) lines the troop up. The unit next to the Regulars was a Canadian militia group that "turned coat" for the day. These reenactments often have only a few US units. 

Waiting during the parlay.
Left to right - combined US Regulars, Incorporated Militia, Canadian Volunteers, and the Indian Department's rangers.

Andy and I decided not to march back to the camp area and so we move off to the side to get out of the way of the marching folk. We ended up talking to a lot of spectators, firing demonstrations shots, and being interviewed by one of the local cable channels.

The "Red Machine" acknowledges our salute as they march back to the camp. There were reenactors of the Royal Scots (1st Foot), a red-facing regiment whose designation I can't remember, and the Incorporated Militia of Upper Canada. 'Way in the back the Glengarrys join the parade.

During our TV interview, Andy and I fired a demonstration shot or two. Beth caught this one perfectly! Andy fired and she caught the flash in his pan BEFORE the main charge ignited in the musket barrel. If I remember correctly, I misfired.

A close-up of the above.

Beth's recently embroidered "Black-eyed Susan Pouch." She also took all the photos shared in this blog.

... AND she baked this section of the "Shortbread Fusiliers!"
The cast-iron cookie mould makes great shortbread cookies!
The last reenactment of the season will be in October for the Battle of the Thames. This will take place on the actual site of the battle. We will also honour the memory of the great First Nations leader, Tecumseh, who lost his life at this battle.