Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sweet Native American revenge....served cold and in plastic.

One of the neat things about gaming is that sometimes, things happen "randomly" that we can't control but somehow serve justice.  Have you ever had one of those times when you debate some point of rules, go round and round about how to interpret something, and then when you roll the dice to let Fate make the call it goes a way that totally makes sense and you could have saved yourself 30 minutes of debate?!  How about one of those times when you point out something to your gaming opponent, even though it means you'll probably fail your charge or take a lot of casualties...and then when he rolls the dice it goes your way anyway?  Am I the only person to spend extra time painting an elite unit of something...say French Imperial Guard...just to have it break morale at first contact, or get dog-piled by your opponent's table-top forces and die a glorious yet useless death on the table?  Probably not.  Last night my gaming buddies and I played a game of Black Powder, set in 1777 in upper New York colony, and justice was served by a hard-fighting band of American Indians that, in a very small and totally fantastic way that only a gamer could appreciate, struck me as slight payback for the terrible injustice served out to the indigenous Native Americans since English settlers "discovered" the New World. 

We were playing out a raid scenario wherein a British line infantry regiment, three Loyalist infantry regiments, a detachment of Queen's Rangers and a warband of sympathetic Indians went out to harvest some food (conveniently already harvested and turned into edible goods by the local indigenous rebel population), appropriate some livestock for the King (after all, it is his Colony!), and turn a few rebel barns into kindling.  Opposing us were some rebel Militia infantry, rabble cavalry, and some French sharpshooting riflemen.

I won't bore you with a play-by-play of what each unit did and how it turned out, because the point here is the Indians.  This was a unit of eleven Warlord Games Indians that I picked up in a deal and Linda and I finished/touched up to make playable.  While the regular and Loyalist regiments marched down the road as formed troops should, my Indians came on the table in a wooded area with a dismounted unit of militia cavalry within charge ranges.  Now, we all know that irregular or skirmish or warband troops don't usually amount to much, right?  So I figured I'd throw the Indian braves at any valid target within reach and just laugh about the expected outcome.
Brave Onondaga warriors charge through the woods at the dismounted cavalry.
 The initial round of combat went well for the Indians; they inflicted casualties on the cavalry and suffered none in return, but alas the cavalry commander, Col Zachariah Bing, managed to rally his men to fight another round.  Sadly for them, while the order to stand their ground succeeded apparently none of the men actually wanted to fight as they caused no casualties again on the Indians and decided to beat feet, leaving dead and wounded for the Mohawk warriors to scalp!
One brave lingers to gather scalps while his brothers seek more blood!
 Flushed with fury and splashed with the white men's blood, the whooping warriors sped through the woods towards the closest enemy...a unit of American militia in open order, with their backs to the chaotic horde about to fall upon on them. 
White men with their backs to the brown terror about to break upon them!
 These men, who days before were farmers or store clerks, didn't even have the sense to run after the bloodied tomahawks and swords flayed them, again with the Indians taking no casualties in return.  They stood fixed to the bloody ground, trying to hold back the screaming horde long enough for a band of domesticated brown-skinned men who had become lap-dogs of the Colonial invaders to come to their aid.  Alas, even this reinforcement could not stop the mad anger of the Mohawk warriors.  The militia broke and ran from the field, disappearing into the woods, and their Indian allies found their inherent skills at negotiating woods at a quick pace and retreated away from their savage northern brothers.  The Onondagas were spent, though, after destroying two groups of white men, and had to fall back to rally.

Honestly, at this point I was thrilled!  My Indian warband, which I had not expected to last one round of hand to hand in the game, had destroyed two units and broke a third.  This was incredible!  I didn't even care that my one regular British line regiment...the guys who were supposed to strike fear into the hearts of the Colonials, were slowly dragging themselves cross-country, over fence and through creek, to attempt an outflanking of the rebels that the militia Colonel Dav foresaw and prepared for.  But who cares??  My Indians were kicking butt, so much so that I attached our division general to them to rally them...and no one missed him!! 

For several turns, while I rallied my Indian braves, my partner Charles and I did everything we could to break the rebel army with our "regular" no avail.  So finally, as the gaming evening wore to a close, I had rallied the Indian warband and had moved them down the road towards the farm we were planning to raid when I saw one last opportunity for glory.  In the best spirit of "what have I got to lose?" I got them away from Brigadier JD Martin's brigade (which he lost command of after the battle when General Ron Bingham relieved him for failing to bring his brigade into battle for the first half of the game...damned command rolls!) and managed to charge one of Colonel Dav's faltering militia infantry units.  I guess the burning wheat field behind them and the screaming savages splashed with blood in front of them was just too much for the militia as they became the third unit to break and run from the Mohawk warriors.
What have we got to lose?  And another regiment breaks!
There were no MVPs back in 1777, but had there been, this unit of brave Onondaga Mohawks, seeing their lands taken from them and the comfort of their pastoral existence perverted by the "discoverers from over the water," who slaughtered and broke three regiments of American Colonists and drove off a band of their brothers who had sold out to the white man, would surely have been so honored.  I never imagined I would have so much fun with them.  I may not risk bringing them out again, as I just don't know that I can repeat their feats of glory when, for one brief evening of fantasy, eleven plastic warriors punished the white lead invaders for what they were about to do to their Native American brethren.


  1. For those who read this: please know that I wrote this tongue in cheek when referring to the exploitation of North America's Indians. While I do have Indian heritage and I do feel the explorers really screwed over the indigenous population, that boat sailed so long ago I just wanted to have some fun with the story line. Please don't take this blog as anything more than a fun place to read.

  2. A ripping tale of 'just deserts', Rob. You are getting me all excited about the musket and tomahawk period, now. I've never used black power - must give them a go.

  3. I haven't either. Really enjoyable story Rob, thank you for sharing.

  4. I haven't either. Really enjoyable story Rob, thank you for sharing.