Wednesday night saw a rather entertaining game of Muskets and Tomahawks down at the Dueling Grounds. We ran a 4-way multiplayer game, with my companie franch de la marine and native allies teamed up with Vonplutz's French regulars, against Nick the Lemming's British rangers, and Destruct30's British regulars. The French were raiding in the back-country, looking to burn down a small settlement, and the British were out to stop them by eliminating 2/3 of the raiding force. In addition, Vonplutz had the subplot of assassinating one of the British officers, while I had to recover a prisoner in British hands. We'd have a busy time of it tonight.
|Brave servants of the King.|
VP and I deployed along one of the short table edges, with his regulars and my marines towards the centre, and my native units thrown out on the wings. Terrain on the table was thick, so we knew that my light troops would be moving faster, and we consequently gave the regulars the most direct route possible. Aside from forests, etc., the table was dominated by a shallow stream across the centre. The regulars would struggle to cross it aside from the bridge, and even my marines and allies would be slowed down . . .
|Some of the opposition. Those are Lemming's Rangers in the woods.|
In the early stages of the game, I pushed my light troops forward, and they began a long-range musket duel with the British regulars concentrating in the settlement. As it happened, this gave our opponents the first of their subplots, as we'd opened the hostilities. *sigh*
Our own French troops slogged their way through the woods, while the British rangers sought out firing positions in cover, and began to pepper us with long-range rifle volleys.
|Basic situation towards the end of the first turn. Marines in the centre, regulars advancing on their right.|
|My rifle armed allies take up a firing position opposite the second unit of rangers. Settlement is visible top right.|
On the right, I pushed forward a small unit of allies from the Great Lakes country. These guys are notorious in the club for getting up close and personal, and I'd paid for the special rule that makes them especially nasty in close combat. I'd hoped to sneak in behind the English, and draw away some of the defenders, giving time for the French troops to organize an assault on the town.
|French infantry mass before crossing the river.|
VP's French regulars were now approaching the river, formed up into firing lines, and began to exchange volleys with their opposite numbers on the other side of the river. I took the opportunity to oblique down-table, planning to cross the river downstream from the bridge.
|French regulars move out to cover the bridge. British regulars return fire.|
|The marines move downstream to make way for the advancing regulars.|
My rifle-armed allies kept up a stiff fire against the Rangers opposite them, but firing at long-range seemed to limit their effectiveness.
|Rifle allies provide covering fire.|
|In the distance, rangers and British regulars lurk.|
Their opposite numbers, in the meantime, had switched tactics, moving away from the flank (where an open field covered by Rangers limited their options), and back toward the centre. Recognizing an opportunity, I rushed them forward, crossing the bridge, and leaving them in easy charging distance of a unit of British regulars.
|In a headlong rush, my allies charge across the bridge.|
This was a gamble. We were about halfway through the activation deck, and it would come down to whether the native allies or the British drew a card first. If we did, my allies would be in among the Redcoats, tomahawks gleaming. If not, they'd receive a point-blank volley from the British firing line.
But my warriors had luck on their side. With their activation card drawn, they ran across the bridge, and closed in on the Brits. Combat swung back and forth, but the British were driven back, until finally, only my warriors were left standing.
|Too fleet for the British, they cut down a unit of regulars.|
|The south path to the village is now clear.|
With one side of the settlement cleared of defenders, the French now had a real shot at making their objective. I moved my marines into cover behind a rock wall, and began pouring fire into the lower Ranger unit, hoping to drive them back. The remnants of my allies charged home on the British officer who'd survived the destruction of his unit. His death met one of our sideplots; Vonplutz's grudge had been settled. Meanwhile, a unit of French regulars, somewhat battered by fire from both rangers and regulars, closed in on the buildings.
|Marines move to suppress the rangers.|
Once across the bridge, the first unit of French regulars set to the job of firing the buildings. The first went up fairly quickly.
Meanwhile, frustrated by my inability to shoot the rangers lurking in the woods, I decided the marines would take a leaf from their allies book, and attempt to flush out the rangers with knife and gun-butt. As with the charge across the bridge, this would be a gamble. Fingers crossed!
This time, however, the cards didn't break my way. The rangers drew first, and their fire drove my marines back. Vonplutz, however, used the distraction to get his second unit of regulars across the bridge, and they worked their way through the town, skirmishing as they went.
My marines made a second try at the rangers, and this time, closed the gap. Athough it cost them, they wiped out the lower ranger unit. Now one whole side of the village was undefended. All we had to do was fire the remaining buildings. The British were now dangerously short on men, but we were bleeding casualties as well. If they could pick off a few more of our troops before we fired all three buildings, they'd have us.
The remnants of my marines pushed deep into the woods on the British side of the table, eventually making contact with an escaped prisoner. If I could keep him alive, his valuable information would be useful (and meet my own subplot conditions). We caught a break when the British drew their morale card, and the last survivors of the second British regular unit broke and ran.
VP fired the second building, but we were walking a tightrope. 2-3 more casualties, and our opponents would win on the spot. There was no way we could get to the third building without exposing ourselves to withering fire from the rangers. The British, however, drew their morale card early in the following turn. Their officer high-tailed it, and their rangers recoiled, moving them perilously close to the table edge. My marines, the few of them left, fired a volley at extreme musket range. One ranger fell, the rest recoiled again, this time taking them off the table. With the field abandoned by the British, and both subplots met, the French had won!
What a squeaker! Two more dead, and we'd have lost, something that could have been caused by drawing our morale card, or a decent turn of shooting by the rangers. The raid was successful, but costly. Hopefully, it would discourage the English from their presumptuous trespassing on his Majesty's lands.