I haven't played Musket and Tomahawk for ages [at least 18 months if this blog is anything to go by] so when Andrew at the club asked if I could arrange a game of something but foolishly left the choice to me, it seemed like a good excuse to dig out the rules and give it another bash.
After a quick run through the mechanics [which are fairly straightforward and bear some similarity to Sharp Practice which Andrew and I have played before] we were off. M&T uses a set up system where each player roles to see what their objective is... this can lead to games where both sides could theoretically win [it's happened once when I've played] but this is unlikely. In our case the objectives matched nicely: Andrew's British troops were tasked with protecting the villagers while my Frenchies were given the appropriately names 'Slaughter' mission.
Both sides had a mix of Line Infantry and Indian allies... the British also had a lowly unit of Militia while the French had some hardened Canadian Irregulars.
The British were able to deploy in and around the village and quickly moved out to screen the villagers who began streaming back to the houses. The French Line infantry meanwhile advanced steadily with one unit struggling to make it's way through the woods. Their Indians and Canadians who were using hidden movement [using counters with 1 dummy counter] circled wide to the left using the woods and cornfields to ensure that they weren't spotted.
|The woods are full of Indians!|
The British Iroquois allies spent a couple of turns wandering around somewhat indecisively before settling in the hedged field next to the village. The British also had 2 units held off table as reinforcements. The Militia turned up first and quickly sheltered in one of the houses as they could see the advancing counters of the French Indians.
The opposing Line units had advanced to meet each other and exchanged some long range fire which resulted in one of the French units being wiped out completely. The other did manage to inflict some casualties on the British forcing them back from the hedged field which was rapidly becoming the key feature of the game
|The French firing line...just before the left hand unit was wiped out!|
Over near the British table edge the Canadians and one unit of Hurons were beginning to approach the nearest house in which the Militia were hiding. I had a bit of a premonition at this point and swung the Canadians round to face the table edge as I had a feeling the remaining British Line unit was due to make an appearance and sure enough Andrew immediately made the required roll to bring them on, directly facing the Canadians.
This now became a game of chicken... waiting to see who's card would come up first and luckily it was the French Irregulars. As I suspected I wouldn't be able to win a firefight against a Firing Line the Canadians charged, throwing tomahawks as they went in.. a couple of rounds later and the British recoiled back off the table and were lost!
The other French Indian unit tried a similar charge against their Iroquois enemies which drove them back and then tried the same trick against the British Line troops in the field. They forced the enemy back but they happily responded by reforming and pouring fire into the Indians, driving them back out and into a nearby cornfield
The Canadians and Indians, flushed with success, tried advancing up to the nearest house and taking on the much derided Militia who managed to force them both back repeatedly with close range fire.
By this point the casualties had mounted on both sides but crucially my French were nowhere near getting to their objective of massacring the civilians... sadly the piles of dead British infantry didn't help with the victory conditions.... so the game ended as a British victory but one that would surely lead to awkward questions back at Horseguards about the heavy price [or at least that was my small crumb of comfort!]
As always Musket and Tomahawk gives a great game with a dramatic feel to it... we both forgot about our side missions along the way: Andrew's officer was meant to prove himself by taking on the enemy in hand to hand and I was meant to capture a prisoner... I might have been able to salvage a draw if I'd thought of it instead of merrily scalping everyone we met!!