I've had the chance to play a variety of skirmish games recently, the latest being Ganesha Games' Song of Drums & Tomahawks, a French & Indian War themed update of their Blades & Heroes rules. I've been meaning to paint up my Muskets & Tomahawks miniatures at some point, and Drums & Tomahawks provides the perfects means to get them done in chunks.
Carl also has a vast collection of 20mm and 28mm miniatures for the period, as well as some terrain. So we built a couple of 350 point forces (standard size for the game), and as Gary was interested, he and Carl split an Indian warband to counter my Colonial scouting party.
Elite Indian Brave x4
Indian Warrior x4
Indian Youth x3
Colonial Scouting Party:
The scene was a frontier settlement somewhere in the Ohio valley in late autumn.
The scouting party, consisting of four rangers (one being an officer), two colonial tag-alongs (a Settler and a Frontiersman) and two Iroquois scouts (a Warrior and a Brave) arrived to find the settlement eerily quiet. The two colonials called out before being quieted by the ranger Officer - his two Indian guides had already begun to slink towards the woods, a bad sign.
The Rangers moved through the settlement, while the two colonists lagged behind. One of the Indian spots movement deeper in the woods.
It was a group of Algonquin warriors! The senior Indian Brave took aim with his musket, but the shot missed, slamming into a tree trunk and alerting the Algonquins.
Indian War cries began to fill the air. The Rangers formed a line, waiting for the enemy to get into range of their muskets.
Return fire from the Algonquins killed the Indian Brave. The Warrior waits, watching as the Algonquin that killed his mentor rushes forward, hoping to talk the Iroquois' scalp.
The Iroquois Warrior fired early, however - knocking over an enemy, but not fatally wounding him.
Musket fire erupted from both sides. The Algonquin killer reached his prize, but was engaged by the Iroquois Warrior.
The Rangers stayed in line, even as hot lead filled the air around them. Their fire managed to knock over several Indian attackers, but nothing seemed to kill them. The Iroquois scout found himself suddenly outnumbered.
In a flurry of tomahawks and knives, the Iroquois scout was cut down, his body falling beside his mentor's corpse. The two fallen Indians were quickly scalped, grisly trophies taken by the enemy.
One of the Rangers went down, a bullet tearing through his chest.
The Indian that killed the ranger quickly ran into the colonist's midst, scalping the fallen Ranger.
The Settler ran out of frame for the moment, but he managed to kill a lone Indian prowling over on the left edge of the firefight. The Rangers showed their mettle in this turn, felling three Indians - two with muskets and one with a thrown tomahawks.
However, the Algonquins still had the advantage in numbers, and decided to charge the colonials. The Frontiersman and another Ranger were brought down. The rest of the scouting party, demoralized from the sudden loss, started to retreat from the settlement.
Two Algonquins rushed the Ranger Officer, and the leader's green uniform was stained red as he falls.
At this point, the scouting party broke, with the Settler and the remaining Ranger fleeing back to friendly territory, the only survivors left to tell the story of the slaughter. The remaining Algonquins torched the settlement, wholly satisfied. Carl and Gary claimed victory.
What a game! While it took us a few turns to understand the activation and turn sequence, the game moved at a pretty good clip once we did. The activation of models depends on rolling dice (1-3 d6s) to see how many actions a model can take. Since all of our models were Quality 4, they needed a 4+ to activate.
Failing on 2 or more dice, however, ends the current turn, and passes it over to the enemy. So there were plenty of turns were Gary, Carl or I tried to roll two dice for activation and failed both. This can get frustrating when it occurs multiple turns in a row, leaving your force stuck in position and unable to do anything. I have been contemplating trying a different method of play, with alternating activation and two actions per model, but we should probably play with the rules for a little while longer before making any changes.
However, we did have fun, and I believe we'll keep playing with these rules as we work towards assembling larger forces for use with Muskets & Tomahawks for larger battles.