Monday, March 19, 2012

Song of Drums and Shakos - Old West Skirmish

We have been enjoying Napoleonic skirmish games of Songs of Drums and Shakos at the club meeting. And, recently, we played a game of the SDS "large battle" Napoleonic rules - which were pretty cool. In fact, these rules prompted me to take a couple of their features and slap them into normal SDS - and go all "Cowboys and Indians" with it!

Namely, I enjoyed the concept of "unreliable" troops who roll an average die when testing anything against their Quality rating...and...I liked the concept of activation failures giving the enemy an opportunity to "interrupt"! Also, we used a variation of the "Approach" rules for charging into melee.

So, my good friend Matt was over on Sunday and we threw some stuff on the table and gave it a try...I laid out the newly arrived Texas Ranch House from Miniature Building Authority and 6 civilian defenders. Attacking the homestead were 16 Apache warriors. Arriving at an unknown time would be 5 mounted U.S. Cavalrymen. We set up a wagon, a fenced in area and threw down many rocks and patches of grass and cactus to provide the Apaches with some cover out there!

A couple of the Apaches were armed with bows, and another couple only had tomahawks. Four of them were armed with captured cavalry carbines and the remainder were armed with repeating rifles (darn those unscrupulous gun traders!). One Apache, the Leader, was mounted. Two of the Apaches were designated as having Quality 3 and Combat 3 while the remainder were Quality 4 and Combat 2. Three of the Apaches were "Unreliable".

The six cowboys were all Quality 4 and Combat 2 except the Leader who was Quality 3 and Combat 3 - we called the leader "John Wayne" since the miniature is very much like the Duke! Five of the men were armed with repeating rifles and one was armed with a buffalo rifle.

The 5 cavalrymen were all Quality 4 and Combat 2 except the Leader who was Quality 3 and Combat 3. All were armed with single-shot carbines, revolvers and sabres. The four troopers were "unreliable" too (so, really, their Quality was variable).

The battle was great fun - the unreliable stuff was a hoot and the opponent being able to steal portions of the turn to interrupt was really fun and effective! In fact, the first loss of the game, a cowboy, was caused because of a failed activation that gave an Apache a shot!

In the end, the cowboys held out - the cavalry was almost worthless in this fight: they arrived much later than I hoped and just could not do much right other than look impressive on the mounts and cause the Apaches to move away. John Wayne was awesome - in many thrilling exchanges I think he took out like 10 of the Apaches himself!

The Apaches did manage to break into the house and kill three of the cowboys and also killed or chased off all but 2 of the cavalrymen. But the house held (in large part to John Wayne's excellent luck that day)!

Looking forward to the next attempt!

The Duke (Center)

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