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Δευτέρα, 2 Ιουνίου 2014

For a Few Chickens More

Beware the postman bearing news! In my case it was my placement as a member of the elections committee in the recent municipal, regional and European parliament elections. Oh. The. Joy. Still, being a civic-minded individual, I showed up and had my weekend scedule screwed up for the last weekend. And if you add my weekend with the young Master, that should explain my "disappearance" for the last 3 weeks.

I called my partner-in-crime Thanos from Miniatures and Terrain and scheduled another game of Napoleonic skirmishing using Song of Drums and Shakos. We had another game, over a year ago. Once a year is hardly enough for the cool games that Andrea writes up over in Ganesha Games. Do visit and support him, as he is one of the few people I know who prices his games reasonable and makes a living out of them.

Song of Drums and Shakos is cool as it allows you to run off-the-wall scenarios. In this case, the situation was rough in the Iberian Penninsula. Both the French and British were running low on provisions, so foraging parties were sent out to seek out victuals. Thanos had painted farm animals from the Pegasus set, and had a beautiful pig sty (there's a contradiction in terms if ever there was one). He brought them over at the Führerbunker for another afternoon of iced coffee and dice-rolling.


Here was the set up. A road divides the board and 6 bases of cows, fowl and pigs were placed so that each player had easy access to half of them. We added some special rules to make the game more fun:


  1. Each base of farm animals was worth one point. Whoever had collected more points at the end of the game would be the winner.
  2. Collecting a base of livestock meant either killing it (we set the Combat value of all animals at 0) and carrying it out of your table edge, or coming in contact with it and herding it (after a successful Quality roll) towards your table edge.
  3. If one failed at his Quality roll to herd the animals, these would wander off in a random direction (1 Short for fowl, 1 Medium for pigs and cows). If you ceased to be in contact with the animals you'd have to roll to succeed in "herding" them again.
  4. Carrying a base of dead animals dropped your movement by one category.
  5. If a base of animals randomly moved off the board, it was lost to both parties.
  6. If a figure carried a base of killed animals off the board, it could not reenter.
These might seem complicated, but they are not. Plus the added possibility of Riflemen and dragoons chasing pigs or failing to kill chickens added to enjoyment factor. What follows is the AAR, mostly from the British side. I am sure Thanos will be posting about the French within the next couple of days.


The British force: Rifles Officer, 2 Chosen Men, 2 riflemen, 1 center company NCO, 2 center company fusiliers.


The forces of the Corsican Ogre: Officer on foot, 4 fusiliers, 2 Dragoons and 1 Old Guard Grenadier.


The French decide to move in and try and get some chickens for the pot. The fusilier succeeds in his Quality check and guides his feathered friends towards the French table edge. Two of the fusiliers and the grenadier advance through the field using the wall as cover. The dragoons move down the road, ready to cut down any British foragers. The remaining fusilier and the officer try to bag some more chickens and some beer for the pot-au-feu.


The British using some desultory rifle fire to keep French heads down. And then, turnover.


The fusilier fails to herd the remaining chicken base, guiding perilously close to the table edge. The forces in the tilled field move on before (you guessed it), turnover.


Two of the riflemen advance in the woods, securing the right British flank. The fusiliers move down the road, finding strength and confidence in their numbers. One of the Chosen Men reloads and before yet another turn over (there were several of those in this game).


Thanos is tired of getting plinked by the riflemen, so he decides to send one of his Dragoons to clear the road. Tactically, it was not a bad decision. 


However, there were another 4 figures ready to assist the poor Rifleman. Maybe he would have been better off trying to fight the fusiliers and NCO. Two furious rounds of fighting take place with the Dragoon getting mobbed by 5 figures. He survives for one round, even dropping temporarily one of his opponents.


However, the result was never in doubt. After getting bayoneted repeatedly, the poor Dragoon is hors de combat. To add insult to injury, one of the Frenchmen manages to drive one of the cow bases out of the game. Now Thanos has to secure the remaining cow or pigs in order to win.



And after all this crappy rolling, the dreaded snakeyes come up, forcing Thanos to end his turn at this critical point.


The British dress their ranks and one of the Chosen Men walks up to the cows and calmly shoots them. Meat is meat.


One of the riflemen enters the pigsty where he (unsuccessfully) tries to kill some pigs. 


At this point, the British are firmly in control of the center. They have a base of animals out, like the French. The fusiliers fire to keep the Grenadier's head down and succeed. So far so good.


After two rounds of fighting with the dreaded pig, one of the riflemen kills it and starts dragging the carcass towards the British table edge. Mad with hunger, the Dragoon charges. The British line holds it's ground and after some fighting manages to repel the horseman. In the next round volley fire wounds the last Dragoon and secures the center for the British for good. 


At this point we decided to call it a night. The French were close to having another base of livestock out of their table edge, but lacked sufficient force to take the last one before I killed it and left with it.

All in all, this was a fun and different game. The location of the animal bases gave you the choice of going for a quick draw (nothing wrong with that) or trying for victory. Also the choice of killing (and then losing a figure who would carry the carcass off the table) or trying to herd one of the animals was a good one. Once again, it came down to the luck of the dice and the dice liked me tonight. Thanos managed to wing a couple of my men, but failed to incapacitate any. Poor rolling will get you any time. Song of Drums and Shakos is easily adaptable as everything can be boiled down to a combat or quality roll. Thus some more interesting scenarios can be played without much trouble. After all, how many times can you storm the farmhouse before it become old?

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