Friday, 27 February 2015

French Indian Wars: The Raid on Johnson's Farm

This week at Earlswood Wargaming we decide to try out the French and Indian Wars game Songs of Drums and Tomahawks, from Ganesha games. It is very similar to Songs of Drums and Shakos, as you might have guessed, but with some tweaks that add to the feel of the French and Indian wars. The game emphasises small unit tactics, and dispenses with the rules for volley fire, fighting in ranks etc. The author rationalises that this is a better representation of the way the British, German, French and Indians fought in the claustrophobic confines of the forests and rivers of Northern America. The tweaks certainly add to the character of the games, especially rules for scalping and hidden deployment. 
I was GM for two game for James and John, two of the clubs younger players: being young they are more inclined to try out novel things. The games were quite short, so we could get two games in in an evening. James has played Drums and Shakos before, but John was a complete novice: Even so he managed to pick up the rules in just a few minutes. John played the French, and James was the British. Both of them said they enjoyed the game, especially the peace and drama. James said he preferred it to the games of Drums and Shakos, but that might be because there was more cover and terrain to fight over, making the environment more 'interactive'.

The first fight (it seems over egging it to call it a 'battle') was a French raid on an English farm. The valley has been disputed territory for for some time, as English settlers encroach on the hunting grounds of the French fur traders and their Huron allies. The fur traders were particularly incensed when they returned to the valley for the hunting seasons to find that the settlers had built a farm in the middle of the valley. The head fur trader, Guy de Ville, lead his men,and some Huron allies in an attack on Johnson's Farm. Unfortunately for him a Mohawk scout- Two-Rivers, and his young brother, Little-Bear, spotted the French and hurried ahead to warn the English settlers, giving them a vital few minutes to grab their hunting rifles and send their womenfolk to safety. 

French Force
Guy de Ville Q 3+ C 2 Pistol, Tomahawk, Leadership, Woodsman
5 Couriers de Bois Q 4+ C 2 Musket, Tomahawk, Marksmen, Woodsmen

4 Huron Warriors Q 4+ C 2 Musket, Woodsmen, Scalper

English Settlers Force
Bill Johnson Q 3+ C 2 Pistol, Rifle, Leadership,
The Johnson Boys, 5 Settlers Q 4+ C2 Rifle
Two-Rivers, Mohawk Elite Brave, Q 4+ C 2 Musket, Woodsman, Strong, Tomahawk, Scalper
Little-Bear, Mohawk young warrior, Q 4+ C2 Musket, Scalper

The French deployed poorly, attacking from the open, while their Huron allies moved slowly through the forest on either flank. The French had not appreciated that the English rifles were better suited to the long range attacks than their muskets, and after the first few scares as the rifle bullets whizzed past' Guy de Ville and his fur traders sprinted for the cover of the trees and advanced more cautiously. The Couriers de Bois were used to hunting deer and beavers, and they don't tend to shoot back. 


French Couriers de Bois attack the Johnson Farm









Most of the shots fell wide, or failed to do much damage, as the Couriers de Bois preferred to dash out from cover, fire a shot without aiming, then dive back into cover. This hit and run tactics eventually paid off when Little Bear and two of the Johnson Boys fell, collapsing one flank. Old man Johnson ordered his boys remaining boys back to the  farm house, as their position was indefensible, but as they sprinted across the yard a musket-ball of a Huron warrior cut Mr Johnson down. 

Guy de Ville and the Johnson boys exchange fire at very short range- without much effect
Two Rivers, the Mohawk brave, had been in the woods on one side of the clearing, holding off two Huron warriors on his own. When he saw Old Man Johnson fall Two Rivers raced across the clearing to tackle Guy de Ville. Guy's pistol was unloaded, and the brave staved his skull in with his tomahawk, before he was killed in turn by one of Guy's men.

Old man Johnson leads his boys in the defence of their home
With only two men left the English lost the fight, and the farm was burned to the ground, and the Huron took the scalps of the fallen Englishmen, including Old Man Johnson!

I will post the next 'battle' report in a few days. 






4 comments:

Simon Quinton said...

Nice report. It looked good and sounds like it was fun :)

Ray Rousell said...

Cool looking game!!!

Bob Kinnear said...

Great little skirmish dude!

Mike Demana said...

Nice! Quick, bloody and intense...