For our first face-to-face game of Muskets and Tomahawks we lined up with 200 points of troops each. The British force consisted of elite Rangers so only amounted to 14 men (though 1 man had a rifle) and an “officer” (by accident of birth only – see below!!). The French had a Canadian Officer with 14 Canadian Militia and 6 Huron allies. We rolled for the scenario and I got the “Scout” mission as the British (where I had to visit all 4 quarters of the board then get 1/3 of my force off the board to report the intelligence gained) while Nick got “Protection” as the French – to achieve his objective half of the 10 civilians under his care had to survive the game. The side-plot for the French was “Decipher” where the officer had to spend actions in order to decode a captured document, with each action spent during the game reducing the 12 needed to be rolled on 2 dice by 1. My Rangers on the other hand didn’t believe in their officer, so he had to kill 4 enemies to restore their trust before he could use his officer ability – this was crippling to my reaction rolls and use of the “Forward Boys” card from the start of the game.
The first card out was the French “En Avant” card which allowed the French officer an action. With all his men in position and no-one to shoot at, he of course chose to decode the dispatch as per his side-plot, picked up the dice and rolled the requisite 12 on 2D6 – side plot achieved and an early lead to the French! In response later in the turn, my rifleman drew a bead on a civilian at a cabin window and killed him stone dead with one shot, which caused panic amongst the other 5 civilians in the cabin – so much so that they routed (rolled a 1 in the reaction test) off the table, thus preventing the French from achieving their Protection objective as they only had 10 civilians and had to have 5 surviving at the end of the game – a case for splitting your civilians into 2 equal-sized groups if there ever was one! Both sides then got into cover and a long range fire fight ensued with the Indians refusing to turn up on a reserve roll to reinforce their French allies.
It was all going so well in the shooting duel until one of my Ranger units near the centre of the board realised that they could achieve their objective of scouting the remaining 2 table quarters in one swoop by dashing quickly out of cover. Whilst 5 men provided covering fire, the 2 others made a run for it but I had misjudged the distance and they were 1″ short of getting the last quarter. Then a French Irregular card came up and the 2 brave Rangers were cut down in a hail of French musketry fire, though most of the French were now unloaded. Luckily for me, next up was a British Irregular card and the remaining 5 Rangers dashed over to claim the last quarter and fulfil the objective (apart from the inconsequential last bit leaving the board alive…). Next was another French Irregular card and while most of them reloaded the two French with loaded muskets took aim, fired and managed to cause a single casualty – the Rangers rolled a 1 for morale (rout off the table), but as they were elite and re-rolled failed morale tests, I confidently picked up the die and re-rolled it – for another 1! A unit of 5 Rangers was no more and my force was now below half strength so would be shuffling in the morale card next turn. Then the Indians decided to join the party…
So by turn 4 and with the British morale card in the deck, I had 5 men left and needed 2 move actions to get them off the table – any less men off and I wouldn’t achieve my “Scout” objective (I suppose someone has to survive to pass on the intelligence!). A British Irregular card turned up first would see the Rangers move out of musket range, but of course it wasn’t to be. First out came an Indian card and needing a 6 to hit followed by a 5 or 6 with 4 Indians firing the Rangers should have been OK, but the 4 dice produced two sixes followed by one five and a Ranger bit the dust. The British could no longer achieve their main objective and the French had also failed theirs, but their officer had achieved his side-plot so a marginal French victory was declared. Merde!
This was a really fun game – we both liked the way side plots added to the experience, leaving both sides something to fight for after their main objective had been achieved or failed – this game would have been over too quickly otherwise. We used concealment and hidden movement for the first time in this game and this raised a few questions. (For example, can dummies spot dummies – yes, both are turned over according to the forum). While checking our rules queries from this game on the M&T forum, I noticed that Sotek486 has done a great job of pulling together an FAQ based on responses to rules queries – check it out at http://studiotomahawk.freeforums.org/m-t-faq-live-thread-t2634.html – also check out Sotek486’s battle reports – truly special.
Next time my newly painted Virginia Provincials will be going down to the woods to team up with some Mohawk allies to see how the game plays at 400 points on a 6’x4′ table – watch this space.