Wednesday, December 11, 2019

An Untimely Arrival - Muskets & Tomahawks AAR

Since I was back up in my hometown area for Thanksgiving weekend, I reached out to my old group and asked if anyone was up for a game. Carl was interested, and had purchased a couple boxes of Native Americans from Warlord Games at Fall In. So we decided to play Muskets & Tomahawks. 

We set the table up as a colonial settlement surrounded by areas of dense woods. A road cut diagonally through the area.

Carl's Indians got the Raid objective (so he needed to burn the buildings of the settlement before the game ended), while my British had the Defense objective (they needed to keep the Natives away from the buildings before the game's randomly decided end).

Carl had a horde style army, with forty-eight Warriors led by three Sachems. Thanks to the scenario requirements, I started with two units of Rangers and British Indians, along with a Ranger Officer in the settlement. My two units of British Regulars and their Officer started off the table and would come on later according to the dice.

We also decided to use the Subplots. The are supposed to be secret, but since we're pretty unfamiliar with the rules, we just rolled them out in the open. Carl's Officer got "Truce," and so his force had to be fired upon or attacked first. My officer got "Disdained," so not only did my Regular Officer not count as an Officer for all the Morale bonuses and extra actions, but he had to kill d3+2 enemies before his troops started listening to him again (melee kills counted as double)!

So that basically made the game a draw in Carl's favor from the start. With that (and a few muttered words of disdain for my dice), we began.

Since my defenders had to start out in the open (they could have been in the houses, but with so few places to shoot from, they'd just be sitting targets), the lead was flying early in the game. The Natives came on like a tidal wave, hollering and whooping as they fired their muskets. A good volley rocked one of my Ranger units, sending them running from the fight.

The Ranger Officer had his hands full, being outnumbered two-to-one. With only a single unit of Rangers effective, he could only watch as two buildings were quickly set ablaze.

Unfortunately, the reluctant allied Natives weren't all that eager to face off against the enemy tribesmen, and stuck to the fields outside of the settlement.

The British defenders suffered multiple casualties, but gave as good as they got. Forced out of the settlement, they set up in the fields, firing at the Natives as they flitted from building to building.

Carl quickly reached his break point, which saw the Indian Morale card entered into the discard pile. Another building went up in flames, however, and the Regulars were nowhere to be seen!

Braving the colonists' fire, Carl's Natives made it to the safety of the last remaining building while other warriors kept up the pressure on the enemy.

The Regulars finally appeared at the beginning of turn 3, marching up the road in column (their officer, of course, was delayed. No wonder the troops didn't respect him).

And the reinforcements arrived just in time to see the last building catch fire.

Since Carl had completed his objective, along with his side-plot, it was a major victory for the Native Americans. The colonist settlement had been destroyed, and so the invading British would have to fall back to the nearest point of civilization to regroup.

This was a relatively quick playing game, which was probably due to the scenario. It's tough trying to balance line of sight in Muskets & Tomahawks. If a unit can be seen, it can be shot at. And if it can be shot at, it's likely going to lose a model or two (or more, if the dice are hot).

The morale system lends a good feeling of ebb-and-flow to the fight, where models can retreat, collect their heads, and turn back into the fight if they're fresh enough while units that have been beaten down and are out of range of their officers are more likely to flee.

There's more we're likely missing of the rules, but hopefully we can keep getting it to the table. And Carl and I both have our fingers crossed for the release of a second edition that's the same sort of quality as SAGA's version 2.