The French & Indian War, Rebels and Patriots, 28mm
We decided to launch another foray into the North American backwoods this week. This was a four player game, with Lindsay and I playing the British, and Gyles and Sean the French. Each of us had a 16 point force according to the Rebels and Patriots rules, and the scenario was lifted straight from the rule book . Essentially, both sides were heading towards Onondago, a village of the neutral Oneida people, in the hope of enlisting their support in the fight. The game was played out on a 6×4 foot table, with the small Indian village in the centre, with a few fields scattered around it. Everywhere else was covered in trees. The British entered the table from one corner (SE), the French from the opposite (NW) one, while an Oneida warband started off in its own village. The idea was, when a unit got within 6″ of the village, it would trigger a response from the locals. Actually it was the French who got there first. Their force consisted of three units of regular or light infantry under Gyles’ control, and two Iroquois and Abenaki warbands led by Sean’s French officer, supported by two skirmish units, – one of Indians, the other of French Coureurs de Bois.It was these French backwoodsmen who got there first, and Sean rolled his die. It turned out the locals were pro-British, and so Sean had a fight on his hands. I gave Lindsay the Oneida to play with, as she had the duller force, with Highlanders, British regulars and a detachment of Mohicans. So, a warband would be something a bit different.She immediately launched it into a charge against the Coureurs de Bois, who didn’t manage to evade far enough. So, they were caught and hacked to pieces. That was a good start for us, and things got better when Sean’s Abenaki charged the Oneida warband. However, Lindsay got a counter-charge in first, and despite her losses she fought off the assault – at least for a bit. By then though, the Oneida were disordered and had been whittled down, and eventually they were routed from the table. Still, they’d done their bit. By then Gyles and I were skirmishing with each other. I had two light units – one of Rangers, the other of Gage’s Lights, supported by a unit of Ranger skirmishers. We entertained ourselves blasting away at each other, but while the Companie Franche de la Marine and the French regulars weren’t too effective, the Montreal militiamen hiding in a cornfield turned out to be quite deadly! They drove my Rangers back, but they rallied. Then the French regulars who had formed up into a firing line began firing volleys at Gage’s Light Infantry, supported by the Montreal guys. In the space of two turns I’d been whittled down to half strength. Still, by now things were hotting up on Lindsay’s side of the table.Her officer, along with the British regular unit kept running away, but the Highlanders reached the village, as did the Mohicans. They began shooting up the French regulars and the Iroquois, and soon the Indians were forced to slink back into the woods. Things were finally starting to look up. The Abenaki did the same, having been whittled down by their fight with the Oneida, so things then degenerated into a long-range sniping match. The French regulars were suffering by now, and soon they were almost down to half strength – which meant they couldn’t form a close order line any more. That meant no more volley fire. However, by then I’d lost my own Ranger skirmishers to those pesky French militiamen, and things were reaching something of a stalemate.What we really needed was to take out those militiamen. Unfortunately I had to deal with the regular troops flanking them first. I whittled down the Marines a bit, so they reached half strength, and the Mohicans – down to half strength themselves – drove back the French regulars. All was set for storming the cornfield. That, of course, was when we had to end the game. The way it works is this. After Turn 8, you roll a die, and add it to the the number of turns you’ve played. If the total gets to more than 14, the game ends and both sides break off. This made sense, as after all it was originally all about the Oneida and their village. I rolled a “5” on Turn 9, and so ended the game. We counted up the points, which showed that the French had won the game. Lindsay and Sean had garnered the most “Honour Points” for their officers, while my Ranger subaltern had only boosted his tally by a measly one. The main thing though, was that everyone enjoyed themselves. This was a fun game, and the rules were easy to pick up, even though three of us hadn’t played them before. We’ll certainly give them another spin soon.