Monday, 3 October 2011

Wake me up when September ends

Long time no post. Summer stuff has got in the way of drivelling on the blog but it's dark at 7:30 now. Winter drawers on? Not quite as it was 28c today. Ridiculous temperatures for October.

Anyway - yesterday we got out Songs of Drums and Shakoes again. We took the scenarios from the main book and supplement (the sensibly named More Drums and Shakoes) and had three fun games with only a few figures. The first scenarios was the Foraging Mission which gave Richard the opportunity to show of his rather dapper sheep. Having more players than expected we stretched the table to six feet by three and had four British squads attempting to run off the Johnny frog and steal the mutton.

Very out of focus redcoats look a bit arty in the woods.

A single French squad hold off the Brits from behind the fold.

The gunfire soon brings reinforcements from the nearby farm and a protracted struggle ensues around the stone walls.

Eventually however numbers tell and the French run away to the farmhouse leaving the redcoats with the meat.

Brimming with confidence Major Gray has no hesitation in following the retreating French ever hopeful of more supplies in the farm.

A wide stream stretches in front of the fenced farmyard. But only one bridge.

Of course the question is always asked "is the river fordable?". The scenario in the book suggests that it should not be but as this was a mulitplayer game the rule was that a soldier may attempt to cross but must throw a D6 to see if he got wet. 4,5,6 meant a successful crossing, 2 or 3 and that meant a slip and damp powder so no firing for the rest of the game. And a 1 would lead to the poor soldier being dragged down stream and drowned. So probably worth a try as we will see.

Two French squads take up positions in and around the farm with the bridge well covered.

Good activation brings a squad of rifles quickly onto the bridge and get a quick kill. Good start by the chosen men. Another British squad follow up in support while a third intend to make a quick dash over the stream to assault the lightly held farmyard.

I suspect Private Boursin smokes too much.

However the French light infantry taking advantage of their cover hold their own around the bridge and quite a few Brits hit the deck allowing the French to charge in.

The outflanking movement reaches the stream. The first brave soldier wades in and Richard shakes his dice with the wry comment "and now he drowns." Of course a 1! Undeterred the next figure takes off his boots and dips his toe.


Another Brit floats face down.

It can't happen again - and doesn't. The third figure crosses the babbling brook.

Now for the fourth figure.


Oh dear!

It was about now I was struggling for breath - with laughter - for poor Richard had lost half his unit playing in the water and of course fails his morale.

On the bridge Major Gray leads a charge to break through but is brought down by a well aimed musket!

The rules suggest a game can be quick but this must be a record.

Scenario 3 Baggage Wagon

Wary that the Brits may come back the French load up the wagons and head off to the border.

All they have to is get the two wagons from one end of the table to the other. Given that no one else can be seen this shouldn't be a problem.

The wagons are allowed to move once every turn but the squads must activate as usual.

Due to poor activation the wagon starts to pull ahead from the guard.

The wagon train moves along the road unhindered for half a dozen moves but there is movement in the bushes and a crashing volley is delivered at point blank range.

Fortunately for the French it is Spanish guerillas hidden in the woods and there is no effect.

However at the head of the column the Spanish charge out and with odds of four to one manage to bring down sergeant Boursin.

All seems to be going well for the Spanish until a rash charge onto a wagon by Furia Roja himself leads to him being skewered on a French bayonet.

The resultant morale failure sees the guerillas scurry back to the woods and against all the odds two tired squads of Frenchmen make their wearyway towards the Pyrenees.