Saturday, 27 April 2019

One in the eye for King George

We generally avoid skirmish gaming, but Tim came across an interesting set of card driven AWI rules on the interweb (Fistful of Lead - Horse and Musket) and thought they were worth a go . FFoL was originally designed as a western gunfight game, but seems to have been successfully ported to other periods.

Tim owns a fine collection of 54mm eighteenth century figures, so off to the colonies we went.

King Georges men, ten 54mm figures from various sources organised into two groups of five. The chap wielding a tomahawk is the NCO. The British very unfairly had bayonets, which gave them an edge in close combat.

The heroic rebels. Their leader bore a suspicious resemblance to Benjamin Franklin, and they also had one figure armed with a rifle, inevitably christened Dave Crockett.

The British task was to escort this supply wagon along the road. It rattled along at a fair old pace, 10" a turn! The figures were activated individually in card order, and some of the cards had special effects (e.g. a two allowed shooting dice to be rolled twice). Within each group you could choose which figure to lay a card on, which produced some interesting tactical decisions as some of the better special card actions had lower numbers.

One half of the rebels was lurking in the woods, they were placed on table as they activated.

Musketry broke out. Davy Crockett distinguished himself with a hit on his first shot, then looked at the rules for how long it took to reload a rifle. Yikes! Fortunately I'd cunningly played a six on him, so he reloaded in short order.

More of my chaps with conventional muskets opened up from the tree line. It was surprisingly easy to get sucked into long range ineffective firefights as each figure got two actions, so 'fire' and 'reload' seemed very obvious things to do. Never mind moving, or aiming,,,

The British also got a bit stuck blazing away as the wagon edged along. One of my chaps went down wounded, but most of the British escorts were no well behind the wagon. Wounds incapacitated a figure until they could roll to recover and operate at a penalty. Some cards allowed a wound to remove, but generally they hung around, three wounds being enough to permanently eliminate a figure

Some American musketry frightened away the horse holder, and one of our plucky rebs ran out to grab the reins. If a 'hit' was scored, there was a 50:50 chance it would just frighten the enemy, who would run away to cover and then have to recover.

Meanwhile some British troops who had earlier fallen back into the tree line were sorting themselves out. These figures had all been 'scared'. They also had unloaded musket so needed to reload.

A couple of my chaps seized their chance and grabbed the reins of the wagon, leading it off towards the woods.

Sadly the wagon got stuck in the mud, and a hail of British musketry forced one of my men to fall back, while the the fell wounded.

The British were busy sorting themselves out but by now two of their men had been killed and various others were wounded.

Our chaps were relatively unscathed, one killed and one wounded (we'd played a lot of Queens to remove wounds). Two of Jerrys men ('Hat Man' and 'Ben Franklin' respectively) were cowering in the wood line, but as the redcoats had firmly lost contact with their wagon with little chance of retaking it, we called it a day at that point.

The British would undoubtedly return to collect their wagon at some point, but for now it was victory to the rebels. A real pity that the wagon mainly contained wig powder and a painting of King George.

That was really good fun, and an interesting take on the card activation system which worked very well. I can see why the game system has been around for some years, and I'm sure we'll play it again.

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