Wednesday 26 August 2020

The Big Gun - A muskets and tomahawks scenario

Monday night and a return of a Shed favourite - Muskets and Tomahawks. We are still playing with version 1 rules as I cannot justify purchasing the new version at the moment. These rules always deliver a great game and lend themselves nicely to multiplayer scenarios.

The table was set up using a 6ft x 6ft configuration with opf course plenty of trees, rivers and a few log cabins,. The focal point of the game was a semi complete fort protecting a redoubt. Inside this redoubt was a large cannon overlooking the major river. 

The scenario was set as follows. The French have built the redoubt to prevent ships and boats from travelling up the river. The stockade is almost finished and is well defended by French regulars, Canadian trappers and some friendly natives.

The French had at their disposal the following

 two units of French regular infantry (a 12 man unit and a 16 man unit)

three units of Canadians ( 1 x 8 man and 2 x six man)

three units of native Indians (6 men each) 

Prior to the game starting the French forces were randomly disperesed across the board in the defensive areas. Both Regulars fortuitously started in the fort area

The British assault force was 50% stronger (in units) consisting of 

Two units of regular infantry (both 12 men strong)

Five units of Rangers (each six strong)

Five units of Native Indians (each six strong)

The British objective was simple destroy the gun and its powder supplies at the fort. Again the British forces were dispersed from random start points away from the fort.

Mark and I played the British, Alastair and Callum the French.

The scene was set for an interesting game.

In the picture below you can just make out the French regulars in the fort area, the British redcoats are advancing top left. Most of the rangers are hidden in the woods top right and Indians are hiding out in the Woods to the right.

The early part of the game saw some skirmishes outside the fort in the woods where the French quickly nullified many of the British Indians, elsewhere stubborn resistance from the Canadians slowed down the British advance

The British regulars finally managed to get into play quickly destroying a Canadian unit 

By now the French regulars were starting to take up defensive positions in the fort

The French manning the palisades were able to lend their support to the firefight taking place in the neighbouring woods

The Rangers eventually moved up to assault the large cabin in the village.

Our random deployment ensured action was taking place across the field but with numbers on the British side the French slowly started to retreat backwards.

The Rangers are finally poised to move forward into the fields

The continuous crack of musketry and rifle fire increased as more targets were spotted

Recognising that the attack was building a company of French regulars blocked the road and volley fired anything that got too close

A loan band of Indians quickly sneaked into the fort and before they could set fire to the powder they were assaulted and despatched by the defending infantry

As the Canadians were driven from the village they ran into a hail of British lead

By now the Ranger rifle fore was beginning to tell, their long range hitting the French hard. Darkness had fallen (event card) and with much of the French force destroyed they beat a hasty retreat leaving the redoubt in the hands of the British

This was a great fun game - both sides fought well but the numerical superiority of the attackers finally carried the day.

Something NEW next week so watch this space

Stay safe

Tuesday 18 August 2020

The Valley Raid

 Monday night saw a return to the times of Ancient Rome and a game of Romans versus Celts. We used the scenario set out in the Hail Caesar Rulebook.

I won't spend too much time describing this as there maybe readers out there interested in playing this for themselves and suffice to say it works better (especially if you are the Roman players)only to have a basic understanding of the scenario.

In summary a Roman general has been despatched with a sizeable force to 

a) beat up the local natives

b) capture and plunder the locals

c) retrieve roman prisoners and standards

Surprise, surprise.... these can all be found in a local valley. 

The Romans enter the head of the valley and can see a small village to their left and a watchtower halfway down the valley on a small hill.

Further into the wooded valley they can see a herd of cattle and in the distance more woods and a larger Celtic village. The table is 6ft x 10ft in this scenario.

The Romans are divided into four divisons - one cavalry and three infantry units.

Our Roman commanders (Mark & John) debated their strategy and they would target the village nearest them first. Fearing an ambush at some point they would march cautiously up the valley.

Where could the celts be??

Quite quickly one Infantry division stormed the first village and ran into a bunch of woad coloured hunters emerging from the woods. These chaps didn't last very long

In nice neat lines the Romans steadily advanced.

Unbeknownst to them until they got within 24" of the watch tower or crossed midway across the valley floor the Celts would stay sleeping in their beds.

Eventually the Roman advance sounded the alarm and the Celt warbands were roused and the first tribe flooded onto the table

These chaps were a mixed bag of warbands, cavalry and chariots

Fearing their lines might be overcome the Romans girded themselves for action

The first Celtic tribe advanced ready to spring into action. Alastair lead this first war party. My party steadfastly refused to enter the valley

Some pushing and shoving in the ranks finally lead to the charge, with the warbands rushing past the chariots support and into the pilums of the Romans

By now the druidic fanatics had entered the fray (far right) and were about to lead the assault.

The two sides were poised for combat.

Crunch - the barbarians crashed into the Romans and it was carnage Serious casualties on both sides, the Romans quickly losing a veteran and auxilliary unit. Both Druidic fanatics were wiped out.

It was at this point the Romans really thought they were going to lose and began to complain bitterly that the Celts had all the advantages in the charge and that their troops should be faring better. 

Yes the Celts had inflicted serious damage but in subsequent rounds this advantage lessened and the Roman staying power began to shine through.The Celts were also advantaged buy Alastair's die rolling - it was stupendous - he was saving when saves were needed and inflicting sometimes 90-100% hits.

A few tuts and sighs from Mark as his forces took a pasting. John's cavalry and infantry were faring somewhat better but I got the distinct sense that these rules were not to his liking.  

As the combat continued the attritional losses on the Celts began to tell and after three to four rounds of heavy fighting Alastairs forces had been decimated. With six units wiped out or shaken. The Celts could lose this.

Skirmishes had now erupted across the fragmented battlefield but the Romans had maintained their battlelines and were hastily rallying some of their shaken units.

By now my tribe had emerged from the woods but it was late in the evening and with limited time left to play we considered how the game might end.

Realistically almost half of the Celts were shattered and as such almost at breaking point and yert the Romans had fared somewhat better. With the clock ticking we called it a draw.

A few more photos...

The following morning , before I cleared the table away I considered both armies positions. Had the Romans attacked there was every likelihood they would have broken the Celts. However were my tribe able to get into the action earlier it would have been a much closer affair.

For the record I like Hail Caesar - it can deliver a big game in a short period of time. It works for a multitude of periods and we have had some great games spanning the Dark Ages, Crusades and now Roman Britain. 

Like all rulesets its going to take time to bed in with all the players for a particular genre and for some it might still not work.

There are others rules we can try (eg To the Strongest) and we will in the coming months

Have fun folks & Stay safe



Sunday 16 August 2020

The Celtic/Dark Age Village

 This coming Monday we are playing a scenario from the Hail Caesar Rulebook that calls for a fortified village. Not having one of these in my collection meant it needed to be built fast. 

Excluding drying time I reckon the following build took about 6 hours and cost a total of £4 in new materials. Most I already had to hand like filler, paint, and timber. This was a relatively easy build and has a multitude of uses. Indeed I am thinking that the piece could be used as the bailey in a motte and bailey castle for my Norman conquest games. 

On with the build in pictorial form

The project started with two off cuts of mdf (9mm thick) - these were cut into an irregular shape with one smaller than the other. 

The smaller one was then placed on the large and its shape marked out in pencil. Markers were used to show where it would sit when it all came together.

Then using a power drill I drilled out holes regularly spaced just outside the pencil line. These holes were just large enough to hold a bamboo bbq skewer tightly. 

I think you can probably guess what is happening next. The Skewers are cut to about 5-6cm in length. And inserted into the holes with a dab of pva glue. The top of the palisade is shaped using a pencil sharpener. Remember this is 'dark ages' so its not essential for all the poles to be the same height. 

Eventually the first set of poles will be sitting snug in their little holes and once the glue is dry they are not going to move. I then coasted the outside of the palisade in pva and stuck in another row of skewers that ended up filling in the gaps and strengthened the walls even more.

Tip: Garden secateurs are great for cutting bbq skewers


With the wall dry I could turn my attention to the ground work. Sadly I forgot to take a picture here but the inside now has the inner wood fitted with glue and screws, .topped with a slab of polysterene to give some extra height. Onto the polystyrene and the outside edge I built up the ground with wall filler.

Its looking a bit like a strange cake...

With the filler dry all the ground works were coated in pva and then covered in bird sand and grit.

The resin buildings I have to hand show up the size of this small village

Again it was left to dry overnight. The following morning the excess sand was shaken off and then the whole thing was covered in brown emulsion paint. A chocolate cake....

With the brown paint dried I could start on drybrushing the groundworks and palisade. The Walls were painted black before drybrushing. 

The drybrush used a variety of yellows, whites and light browns. The fence was given some grey and light browns.

Just add some static grass and some tufts and its all done. Nearly, the gate still needs to be completed but its good enough for Mondays game.

The locals seem to be happy with there new home...

Apparently I need to build a wickerman next...

More soon

Stay safe folks