The Prologue. I've given this some thought since starting. Although I set it in the West country (UK) and pirates, the basic format would work for Achaean Greeks and Seapeople raiders, Roman militia on the Saxon shore to troops getting back to a port at the fall of France.
Ok, I admit this is a crap map, but it does the deed. I diced for between-movement distances with a D4 on the kings road and 2D4 the rest. We used the parent Flying Lead as we didn't need the more involved Flashing Steel.
Quick chat on scenery. Note my old wattle & daub, thatched buildings looking right here. As they're meant to be Vietnamese just shows how universal such builders were. The cloth is my Mars one, painted, that didn't work too well. There was a recent article on a clever chap who bought a cloth and chalk to make a convention groundsheet from scratch. Chalk, so simple, although not the easiest thing to find in the highstreet. I got a pack of large (only ones I could find) pavement chalks for £1. I think you'll see more use.
There are 3 sides, the raiders, militia and angry locals. I worked through the pirate raiders. These are Q5 (held back by cattle & captives) for each hour I rolled 3D6, each 5&6 was a success allowing the party to move forward. This group I decided would keep to the rough middle ground. A simple notation keeps track say J1-3 and rote J-K 1-3. So I now had the complete track plotted. I knew where they had rested or had problems and (should) stop overnight at H.
The locals. People come, go, move and act as they will. So the exact number who actually complete the race will be decided upon the event. Lets invent the local nobs, the De Vience family, who came over with William for the days sport and decided to stay for a bit. Naturally they have an aire Squire Eustace De Vience, one to the army, Major Husting De Vience and one to the church, the Reverent Ignatious De Vience . Among the captives will be a niece or, more likely a ward Miss Angelica Short Cummings.
Militia. A good all-round term. Such coastal towns usually kept a quick reaction force on hand, there will still Barbary pirates, smugglers and revolting natives requiring a firm hand. These will be ready to go a (D3) short while after the alarm has been raised. As for the nature-
A crack squad of hunters, Q3, mounted infantry.
Mounted Dragoons Q4, note only the Kings Road is suitable for cavalry, who make double time along it.
County Militia infantry, part timers doing their service.
A combination. D3 bases of militia infantry, D6 of Dragoons for use as scouts, 2D6 revenue/hunters.
The Game. We decided on the latter. I diced for the officer (cautious, competent, rash) and got rash. So the dragoons set of on the Kings road at a cracking pace. They set up an ambush at Cabot village.
The locals set a slow pace arriving 6 turns after the pirates.
Tony set up a dismounted ambush in the heart of the village and a mounted just outside.
I came on slow – in fact NEVER have we had a game with so many turnarounds. Most movement was reaction based-. We nearly forgot about the locals, and when they started tpo arrive they just-stopped.
My initial probe met the ambush and the lead was knocked down (where he stayed, probably got away at the end-)
I spread out into cover and the loot and prisoners (on reactions) started the long way around. My idea was to come at them from all sides, making movement impossible.
Tony mounted and did a short, sharp charge, killing one (a 6:1 gruesome death) knocking down one and pushing back another. I got in a few lucky shots (I'd deliberately pruned the number of guns) I killed the sergeant and unhorsed the officer. That reduced him to individual movements, which gave me the opportunity for more reactions. I got another trooper.
This was the turning point. The officer was down and isolated. I sent in a couple of pirates in, but he cut 'em down in one go. He could then resume command. If he'd lost, I'd have won as Tony would have no commanders left. The 2 pennies represent the figure is unloaded.
Then the locals turned up in a very slow trickle. That stopped my outflanking move and a trooper (probably trying to link up) cut down another pirate from behind. Outnumbered & surrounded this lot surrendered.
Now the officer was back on is 'orse he managed to rally the troops and pushed hard. I got my captain away and nearly the captives. Tony pushed through the straggle in the centre and captured the captives and loot.
I would have got about ½ the rest away but didn't have enough for offensive action.
Worked well. The campaign approach gave each side a reason to be there and why. The choice of dragoon officer was probably the most telling. A cautious leader would probably have found then then followed. A more “ by the book” would have scouted and probably set up an ambush at the farm at G or H.
|I retreat after first contact|
|I start to envelope-|
|Captives & loot move away from trouble|
|Sergeant is down!|
|Dragoons regroup and press on|
|First of locals turn up, standoff.|