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The Orkney Wargames Club meets

in Kirkwall on Thursday evenings.


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Ambush on Grundy’s Lane, 1759

The French & Indian War, Muskets & Tomahawks, 28mm

We’ve been playing a lot of Muskets and Tomahawks lately, testing out an Indian Mutiny variant of it for a wargaming event this coming weekend.  Just for a change though, we set this game where it belonged – in the French & Indian Wars. However, the game was a playtest of a scenario Bill and I devised for the Indian Mutiny game. Confused? I admit I am too! Anyway, this scenario is called “Rumbling in the Rear”, and centred around a convoy of four wagons, which the British have to exit off the far table edge. The Frnech and their Indian allies were out to stop them.So, instead of Punjabi cavalry, loyal Sepoys and East India Company European regulars we had British regulars and light infantry, American provincials and green-clad Rangers. Their opponents began as just four groups of 6 indians, two in each of the small hamlets on the table, which they were busy looting. The trouble for the French was that while the convoy was fairly well protected, their French opponents were divided between two sides of the table. Worse, at the start of each turn (when a new deck of cards were about to be played), the French player rolled a die for reinforcements, then again to see where they came on. This means he had no real control over their arrival – he just had to make the best of what he got. The first of the two villages was close to the British starting point, and the game began with the British light infantry and regulars advancing forward to get between the village and the road. this was a sensible move, as the objective was to get the weapons through, not to rack up a high body count. So, Peter (whom played the British) decided not to go Indian hunting in among the buildings. The rangers fanned out to the right of the road, in an area of big open cornfields. That was another thing – this game was set in a rural valley in northern New York Colony, where the land was cultivated rather than a forest-covered wilderness. this made it an ideal ground for the regulars, and less perfect for the Indians, who do well when they skulk around in woods. Eventually the Indians in the first village decided to try to sneak round the back of the buildings and attack the convoy in the rear. It didn’t work. First, one unit was stopped by the British light infantry, who literally blew their opponents away. The American provincials were less successful though. When they tried the same thing they scored no casualties, while their Indian opponents causwed three, forcing them to flee back towards the wagons. Meanwhile these same wagons were plodding slowly up the road, activating whenever a “Civilian” card was turned. 

The first unit of french reinforcements – a unit of Marines – appeared behind the church in the first village. I made the mistake of deploying them in the open ground beyond it, but there they were met by the fire of those darned British light infantrymen, which sent the Canadians running for cover. by the time they emerged again the lights had moved off, but their place was taken by a unit of British regulars. Two well-placed volleys did for the Marines, who were wiped out to a man. The French were more successful on the other side of the village, where the Indians drove the American Provincials away from the road, which left a clear run to the wagons. Alas it wasn’t to be. As the Indians rounded the corner of the buildings beside the road they were met by the telling fore of the British regulars, who had moved up to cover the wagons. My Indians were driven back. The next reinforcements – a unit of Canadian Militia – did a little better, but again they suffered casualties very time they pocked their head out of the village. By then the wagons were disappearing down Grundy’s Lane, towards the far table edge. This meant it was all up to Bill, who commanded the French forces in the other village. His first reinforcements – a unit of French regulars – appeared too far away to intervene in the battle, apart from wiping out the last of the American Provincials, and trading long-range shots with their British counterparts across the cornfields. A last unit of reinforcements – more Canadian Militia – offered some sliver of hope, as nothing lay between them and the wagons approaching the far table edge. Then, Peter pulled two “Civilian” cards in a row, and the wagons made it off the table. That’s where we stopped the game – a British victory, but a hard-earned one. All in all it was a fun little game, and we learned a few things, which resulted in a few last-minute tweaks to the scenario before it gets rolled out on Saturday.



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