Thursday, April 6, 2017

POWDER RIVER TAKE ME HOME

     I started Powder River over again. I'm still using my home-brew rules, but I changed the scale to 1"=20 yds. Ultimately, I thought the 40-yd game moved too slowly.
     The rules are really coming together now. I oughtta formalize everything and put them up on Lulu or something. The world needs a good Plains War game to go with all the cool minis out there, don't you think?
     I've actually looked high and low for a good set of rules. No matter where I looked, the name "Yellow Ribbon" kept coming up. One guy even said they were "the best [Indian War] rules ever written," like it's a work of literature, or something. Oh, my goodness! Internet guys, huh? Best....Game....EVER!
     It never ceases to amaze me how useless internet chat forums are, though. Yellow Ribbon's a perfect example. I found a copy at Noble Knight for $7. Pretty cheap for the best rule set ever written. So I jumped on it -- only to find that after all the hype about how great YR is, what everyone failed to mention was that a US Cavalry Company (about 40-60 guys) is represented by 16 figures! My Rosebud scenario would require about 150 figures for the US side, and about the same or more for the Sioux and a table about the size of a football field. As they say on ESPN: C'mon, man! I realize that most rule sets are just flimsy excuses to sell lots and lots of figures, but this is ridiculous.
     Anyway, what I was looking for were rules that would allow me to play full battles, like Rosebud and Powder River, with a reasonable number of figures and a reasonable amount of table-space. My rules allow for either 1"=20 yds or 1"=40 yds battles to be played. Powder River requires somewhere around 18 bases per side. So far, it's working out pretty well.
     Anyway, here's what has happened so far.

Capt. Egan and K Co./2nd Cav, after charging into the village, encounter a group of Sioux in the trees and dismount to exchange fire. The Indians are demoralized from the charge and one base is pinned under the hail of carbine fire. One platoon of K Co. was pinned and then retreated (making it a separate "detachment") while another remains pinned under fire and the whole unit is starting to buckle under the strain. Egan looks around  frantically for the rest of the command. Weren't they supposed to be right behind him?

A view of the action from the Indian perspective.
While Egan is preoccupied, two groups of Indians head for the hills. Chief Two Moon urges them on through the broken, boulder-strewn terrain.
AH! This is what Egan was waiting for: Lt Col Mills leads E & M Cos/4th Cavalry onto the field. He might be just in time to save Egan, but maybe too late to stop the Indians from escaping into the hills.

Fontenoy...1703?

     This time, I've set up a random mini's battle using my 6mm French and English WSS armies. The map is a rough replica of the Fontenoy battlefield from the 1745 battle, only this battle is set about 40 years earlier.
     The fortified village in the center is Fontenoy, occupied by two French battalions. To either side of it are French redoubts, occupied by artillery and light troops. Behind them are French infantry and cavalry, including the elite Maison du Roi. One flank is anchored on a wood.
     Overall, looks like a tough nut for the Brits to crack.
     Admittedly, I've spread the British out a little thin. I wanted to use all my table space for the battle, though. But, now that I think of it, I sure wouldn't mind another line of infantry. Maybe another brigade of cavalry. Or two....

The thin red line advances on the French position.
The right flank. The column on the right decides to take the
path of most resistance -- through the woods.
From the French perspective.
The French looking towards Fontenoy.
British column heading into the woods.
At least the artillery can't target them there.
The British right approaches the village.
This promises to be bloody early.
A veteran French infantry brigade advances to
fill the gap between village and redoubt.
The going is slow -- one base depth per turn.
The British left. I get the feeling the British
commander might not have a solid plan here.
More of the British left. Namely, the right of the left.
Back to the British right. A division of cavalry
advances to back up the infantry.
The two sides come to blows. The French hold
their fire, inviting the British to....
FIRE!!!
The French recoil.