So last night featured one of the biggest games in the Shed. Not just in terms of terrain, figures and scale but also in terms of numbers. Six players and an umpire.
The table prior to the action can be seen here.
The table prior to the action can be seen here.
The scenario, titled a Game of Bones, focussed on a fictitious scenario set in the early 18th century Caribbean - a time of pirates, treasure, treachery and adventure.
In essence the Island Of St Marks is a British dependency governed by Sir Martin Nash. Sir Martin has military support from a certain Colonel William Smart and Commodore Croker of the Royal Navy. These were the defending players. Prior to our adventure the story goes that Colonel Smart hatched a plan to lure the Pirates in the nearby vicinity into a trap. If successful the local seas would be free for trade. How do you go about trapping pirates?
Well the best way in his mind was to lure them in with a tale of fabulous treasure. The rumour mills were sent to work and in the morning a number of sails could be seen entering the bay outside the port of Spencers Landing.
Two pirates had fallen for the trap, a Welshman called Tom ‘In We Go’ Jones and a Spaniard renegade known as Juan de Rectione. A third pirate simply known as the Countess was informed prior to the game that this was a trap but rather than fall for the folly she was determined to ransack the port and kidnap the governors beautiful daughter Penelope.
|The beautiful Penelope & Parker the manservant|
Finally the originator of the plan Colonel Smart had his eyes on the title of Governor. If luck was on his side he would defeat the pirates and murder the governor in the heat of battle.
The players had all been briefed on their roles prior to the game by email.
Our adventure starts with the Pirate forces of Juan de Rection following the clues of the treasures whereabouts and pushing into the lush jungle towards the old ruins. In a relatively short space of time he had walked into an ambush. A carefully concealed gun opened fire with grapeshot shattering a unit of pirates. With a cry of alarm the pirates bundled forward. A vicious melee erupted between the savage cutthroats and the ranks of hidden redcoats.
|The ambush is sprung|
Volley fire and bayonets drove the Spaniards backwards towards the bridge. Recognising that a significant firelight had broken out in the target area Tom Jones’ forces realised that this was a carefully laid trap. The previous night this wily old bird had landed a small force on the other side of the island and had sent them to investigate the ruins. Fearful of the redcoats a few salutary shots were fired before they withdrew towards the islands agricultural area.
|Withdrawal of Tom Jones force through the Jungle|
With Juan de Rections force in flight Colonel Smart lead his troops forward in a brave charge. This brought him into proximity of the Pirate captain. A challenge was issued and with melee breaking out all around the two leaders squared up to one another. The fight to the death was won by our Spanish privateer and Colonel Billy Smart’s political plans for the island lay in a pool of his own blood. Seeing their Officer fall was the death nail for the redcoat garrison as they came under sustained fire. Within a few turns the disciplined units retired from the field to lick their wounds.
|The victorious Juan|
Let’s move across the Island to Spencers Landing. To recap the port now stripped of its garrison was defended by Governor Nash, a couple of militia units (we used the green jacketed Rogers Rangers) and a few civilians. Help was on hand with the emergence of HMS Foxglove under the command of Commodore Croker. This could not come too soon as the Pirate Ship La Gusset, commanded by the Countess has heading straight for the port.
Disembarking her landing party on jolly boats her Pirates were soon swarming into the narrow streets of Spencers Landing. Quickly despatching the first line of defenders the attackers paused for breath as the landing parties from HMS Foxglove entered the fray. Fearing for his daughters safety the Governor hastily despatched her out of the town in his personal carriage. It became apparent that the battle for the streets of Spencers Landing were to become an attritional battle with luck playing a significant part.
|Flight of the daughter|
At this point in time I introduced some new elements to the game. Firstly we saw the arrival of a militia reinforcement force emerge outside Spencers landing. Much to the consternation and anger of Governor Nash no sooner had the unit entered the table they were charged by the Pirates of Tom Jones emerging from the jungle. A swift melee ensued and the militia unit were routed from the field.
A second unit of Pirates appeared in the town, lead by Blind Hugh they emerged groggily from a drinking house and into the carnage. Again no sooner had they arrived their fate was sealed. Things were getting desperate for the Countess, pressed on both fronts by the Navy and the Governors forces. Trying to seize the initiative she lead a charge into the disembarking Marines and Commodore Croker. With her men falling around her she set about duelling the Naval Officer. A few strikes later she fell to her knees and her last vision was her ship, La Gusset, dis-masted and listing heavily from the broadsides emanating from HMS Foxglove.
|Heavy fighting in the town|
|The fight was almost over|
|The final battle to sieze the town|
With the Navy in the ascendency they could seal the Pirates fate with further reinforcements. Could the trap still work? A small frigate, HMS Primrose entered the bay and lay alongside the Red Dragon (Tom Jones Ship). Fierce fighting and several counter charges soon saw the Primrose fall into the privateers hands.
Elsewhere the governors daughter in her carriage was racing out of town and desparately looking for a place of sanctuary. Without realising the carriage pulled up inside the walled grounds of the town cemetery. Emerging from behind the graves stones were a bunch of desperate men. Spanish freedom fighters lead by Do Rodriguez. These guys were aligned to Juan De Rectione and so with a treasure worth having they began their traipse back to the beach.
|The daughters capture|
|Juan de Rections all aboard..|
The town was safe, thanks to the Governor and the Royal Navy. The Pirate countess lay dead and her ship wrecked in the harbour. But outside the walled town Pirates were fleeing back to their ships – Tom Jones satisfied with his naval prize and Juan de Rections allies holding the governors daughter. At this point I believed the game was over but the players had other ideas.
Juan de Rection, decided to break the pirate code (boo!) and see if he could capture the other pirate ships in the bay. What followed was a race - could Tom Jones set sail before Juan de Rection could overpower him?
Well in the end Tom escaped but his Primrose prize had been dis-masted so he left empty handed. Juan with a wry smile on his face and a certain lady in his cabin decided he to would leave the shores of St Marks and return to his island stronghold.
Can Governor Nash rescue his daughter....come back another time to read the sequel.
A big thank you to my participants for making this a fabulous game.
Until next time