Last night I had the pleasure in playing another of Philip’s ‘Crazy Horse’s Fury’ Plains War games where my brave Hunkpapa Sioux took on the 2nd Cavalry to prevent them moving a wagon over a creek and off the table – no doubt for various nefarious reasons.
The US force was of 4 companies of cavalry, 2 Veterans and 2 new recruits, with a Crow Scout troop and a wagon containing something or other (either the payroll or working cartridges, we couldn’t decide which!). They were controlled by Philip and Darren.
I controlled 4 bands of Sioux, 2 were Warriors and 2 were ‘Boys’ – not great at shooting as they had yet to obtain rifles but very game and eager to get stuck in!
I was allowed to set up each warband either in cover or behind a hill so that they were not visible to the yellow-legs until they got close enough to try and see me (needed to get 4-6 if the Crow’s, and 5 or 6 if ‘regular’ troopers I think). I duly marked the map and hoped my cunning plan was cunning enough – the two older Warbands were placed in the ‘rough’ ground (brighter green patches) to the left and the furthest right of the table with one of the Boys bands hidden in the copse by the creek, the last band was behind the right hand hill on ‘my’ side of the creek either to be used as a reserve or as a last gasp ambush attempt on the wagon if everyone else got mullered earlier!
These rules are a good deal of fun and whilst being simple have enough subtleties to make them really interesting. Each unit has to draw a commander chit which has a characteristic on it that will either bring a benefit or hindrance to their units’ performance. For example my old mate ‘Talkheaps’ was drawn for one of my Warbands which meant that instead of automatic activation I had to roll a d6, get a 1 and the unit was inactive that go (the Cavalry drew their own version of this: ‘West Pointer’). The Cavalry are quite lethal once they get dismounted and start firing plus they have longer range than the Indians but the Indians can move further each go and can Move, Fire and Move in a turn (instead of just Move and Fire) which gives them more fluidity, plus they are a bit more lethal in melee so both sides have their pluses and minuses.
I won’t be able to do a blow-by-blow account of the battle as it was really fluid all the way through, (again one of the great things about this game) but here’s the basic outline. After the Crow’s nearly spotted my left hand band I decided to break cover with them and leg it over the creek, planning to either draw a unit after them so that the waiting Boys in the copse for could spring an ambush or if that didn’t happen to go into reserve to be used where needed. Over on the right Darren’s troops were getting mighty close to spotting my braves so I sprang an ambush which managed to hit home but I started an unbelievably inept sequence of rolls in melee, so the attack was quite ineffectual. The Crow scouts and a Company then started probing towards the woods and I unleashed the Boys from there in another surprise attack – again they charged home on Blue-bellies but again not with the desired effect.
From this moment on the battle ended up as a series of moves to contact from the Indians with which I failed to do much damage from the melee; or the Cavalry would move into range to unleash a volley at me and roll a 1 or 2 (honestly they rolled about ten 1’s all night!) hence causing no casualties; or I would move into range, fire, get a 5 or 6 forcing the Cavalry unit back, then retire myself to keep out of range. I therefore managed to hold the line of the Creek whilst forcing the Wagon to withdraw to prevent it from being captured.
I did manage to rout away one Cavalry unit with a successful charge by the boys, this Company being wiped out by fire when it returned but the boys came a cropper themselves when they tried to evict the Crows from the Copse and nearly got cleaned out themselves. Over on the other flank the other boys band had a terribly ineffectual in the rocks with some veteran cavalry and retired back behind the creek. By the end the Cavalry had started to unjam their rifles and cause losses on the braves so I started to fall back further and further, now not being strong enough to cause much damage myself. As time was getting on we called the game and I believe a morale victory was gained by the Indians as the Cavalry failed to get the wagon off the table but I had suffered quite a lot of casualties in the process.
A great game again, and I’m looking forward to play another one in the future.
Here’s a few pictures of Des and Ian’s game of 6mm Napoleonics (General de Brigade – Prussians v French) that was going on behind us – game looked great so had to take some photos!