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Gaming opportunities are still limited. The club isn’t open, but we can now play face-to-face games at home every fortnight.    At least it’s something though!

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Raid on Happy Valley, Ohio 1756

French & Indian War, Muskets & Tomahawks, 28mm

This little foray to the frontiers of our North American colonies was a spur of the moment thing. We needed a game, I had all the kit, and so four willing players set to, fighting for a little corner of the American backwoods. I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a Muskets & Tomahawks game that people didn’t enjoy – and this one was no exception. The 6×4 foot table was covered in woods, fields and a small four-building hamlet. The object of the attackers  – the French and their Indian allies – was to burn all of the buildings in the valley. The British had to stop them. The two French players (Campbell and Tim) had a motley collection of French regulars, militia and Indian allies. For their part the two Brits (Michael and I) had regulars, rangers and the inevitable small band of four Mohicans.  These troops were augmented by the armed civilians of the hamlet, and a bunch of largely unarmed women and children. The French appeared from one long table edge, to the north of Happy Creek. They quickly burned the two log cabins on that side of the river, while the occupants fled for their lives. the valley militia was already gathered around the church, and it did what it could to halt the French advance. This wasn’t much, as their families were between them and the enemy. On the French left (the north-west corner of the table) the Canadian militia and a Shawnee warband advanced towards the creek, where part of the British force was coming on to the table. Soon these French and their allies were engaged in a bitter firefight with British light infantry, supported by our four gallant Mohicans. Behind them, moving up the road from the south-west, was a unit of British line infantry. To the south-east  my column – a unit of Highlanders and another of Rangers – moved forward up another road to support the militia defending the church.The French regulars – a unit of line infantry and another of Companie de la Marine – formed the spearhead of the attack. they crossed the ford leading to the church, while another two units of Shawnee fanned out in the woods to the south-east. Soon they and my troops were trading shots with each other. one warband was dealt with by the simple expedient of forming a firing line with my Highlanders. one concentrated volley (and some lucky dice) saw off the Indian threat.They then moved on towards the church, where a unit of armed civilians was being besieged by the French marines. As they splashed over the ford the Marines overran a party of women and children. The men left them alone, but the French officer (played by Campbell) immediately attacked a straggler – a woman carrying her baby. Don’t mess with a mother – in the ensuing melee the officer was wounded, and the woman made good her escape. Not to be outdone, Campbell attacked another woman, and this time he won the fight and captured her.This dastardly behaviour was clearly something to do with his sub plot. You see, in Muskets and Tomahawks there’s a general objective and set of victory conditions, but each officer-character also has a sub plot – a private mission if you will. his was to capture a civilian – which he did. The despicable Captain Le Pew then headed off the table with her, leaving his men to fight the oncoming British! Over in the woods to the west of the hamlet the British light infantry were having the worst of the firefight-  as were the French Marines trying to set fire to the church. At this point the British regulars formed a line, took aim and delivered a thunderous volley. That pretty much saw off the Marines – the survivors were sniped at by armed villagers from the church as the Frenchmen splashed back over the ford to safety. Still, the game was all to play for, as elsewhere the French were very much still in the game.For my part my Rangers proved something of a disappointment. They took fire from a Shawnee warband, and recoiled. When they rallied and advanced again they took another casualty, and promptly routed. So much for them. Fortunately the Highlanders were made of sterner stuff. the “Gallant Forty-Twa” crossed the creek, and saw off the last remnants of the French Marines, while the British regulars did the same with their French counterparts-  a detachment from the Royal Rousillon Regiment. The Frenchmen had been too occupied trying to set fire to a cabin to prevent the men of the 3rd Foot (“the Buffs”) from wheeling their firing line around and letting rip. What remained of the French regulars were soon running for the table edge. Over to the west the British Light infantry (a detachment from Gage’s Foot) had recoiled from the fire of the French militia and their Shawnee allies, but the four Mohicans saved the day by firing into the Canadian militia from across the stream.They inflicted significant casualties among the Canadian ranks, but one by one the Mohicans went down. Finally Hawkeye bit the dust. One Edinburgh wargamer, dropping by the table to see how the battle was going was heart to remark “Oh, the Mohicans always get wiped out”. True enough – in most games the last of them invariably gets killed off!  Still, Gage’s Lights had rallied, and eventually drove off the Shawnees. Faced with the combined threat of the British lights and the Buffs, the remaining French militia withdrew. So, who won? In terms of casualties the game was an emphatic British victory.However, the French had burned three of the four buildings in the hamlet. their victory requirements were to burn all four, so they came close – and caused a lot of mayhem. Still, victory conditions  being what they were, the British won. As Campbell fulfilled his sub plot this could have been turned into a draw – had I not fulfilled mine too. Mine was to make sure my old friend Captain Le Pew survived the battle – which he did. So, victory was duly awarded to the loyal forces of good King George. As usual it was a terrific game, and great fun. Then again, Muskets & Tomahawks games always are…


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