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Friday, 27 September 2019

The Little Whiskey Bath House and Brothel War of 1875 - Prequel

Mississippi Sam Shaw drew his pistol, pointed it lazily at Henry and drawled – “just you keep still old man”
Henry is as gutsy as a polecat but he looked down the double barrelled shotgun pistol, gulped and went very still, that was a mighty big bore for such a short pistol.
Sam was a bit intimidated by the old man, the only sign he could see of tension was that the knuckles of both Henrys hands had turned white where he gripped the broom handle, apart from that he appeared calm and collected, especially for an unarmed man.
“The stage is coming, the stage is coming” shouted Little Bob as he ran up the dirt track leading into the small way station and store.
“Cover him” hissed Charlie Foster as he moved to look out of the grimy window. “What the hell do you think I’m doing” grunted back Mississippi, his nerves starting to get the better of him. Henry just looked on impassively, biding his time, Esmeralda was propped up behind the counter.
Esmeralda is his shotgun by the way.
Henry is the man behind the counter looking after things but it isn’t his store, he only works there. No need to get killed over someone else’s money was going through his head, but he didn’t like being pushed around by this 2 bit punk. The kids of today eh.
You might think this has some similarities with my last table but you would be entirely wrong, the last one was completely imaginary, this scene is set in Montana 1870 and is in the history books as the event that led to the well known but little documented war in New Mexico, not the Lincoln County War, the other one.
Over on the far side of the clearing where they had been deep in conversation stood the owner of the store, a young looking Whiskey Jack. Attracted by Little Bob’s shouting they had left off talking and turned to see the Stagecoach clattering up to the Store.
Big Jim Smith stands with his normal taciturn expression, stroking his beard as usual, Pepper his faithful hound by his side. The stranger in the background is Joe Turner, just passing through, he’s moving a small herd of cattle down south, the cattle are resting in the coral with the change over horses for the Stage.
Little Bobs shouting had also attracted the attention of another of the inhabitants of Way Station, Dora Du Fran, she claims to hail from France, but when Frenchie Malone whispered in her ear “Ow Much” in French she pretended not to hear him.
Before anyone comments on her spelling of Clase – it’s a joke.
Dora opens the flap to her crib and steps out into the sunshine, yawns, scratches her rude parts and fixes her sexiest smile in place. She thinks wistfully of home back east, little Jimmy her son and of her mother who is looking after little Jimmy, then she thinks of the money she needs to raise so they can put food on the table, the smile slips a little but she does her best to look alluring.
The sharp eyed and astute reader will have already realized that there are 4 horses outside the store and only Charlie Foster and Mississippi Sam inside, you would have had to be very sharp eyed to have seen Apache George lurking behind the sign board to the left of Bertha, who looks like she needs a good wash or at least a dip in the horse trough.
Then there’s Chester, hiding behind the wood pile.
Ambush springs to mind, but who is going to be ambushed, at this point I’ve no idea. I made a list of some potential characters and when the stage arrives and they disembark I will roll some dice against the list and see who steps off the stage, that will give me some idea of where the story is going. I know what I’m hoping to happen by the end of the story but if it doesn’t I’ll have to come up with another plan.
The stage is being driven by Shawnee Mary with Rose Dunn riding shotgun, they don’t see Chester hiding behind the wood pile and drive past the store and pull up by the pole fence.
I know Rose doesn't have a moustache but these are the only figures I have driving a stage.
As they’re turning the corner, Dora is moving to greet them, $ signs in her eyes, she’s thinking good oh, some quick and easy money has just arrived. Whiskey Jack is thinking the same as Dora.
Joe is just curious, he’s not had much company lately apart from the cows and the cows don’t have much conversation, well not all the time anyway.
Jim remains behind, he knows who is driving the coach and he’s a little bashful.
I would just like to interrupt the flow of the story yet again to point out my new builds, Dora’s Crib on the left, in the centre a wooden shack that will be someone else’s crib and on the right the new Bath House. The Bath house has a strange mottled look to it, because I covered it with kitchen roll which has an irregular bobbled surface this is showing through the cloth that I eventually covered it with. The cloth you will be pleased to know is the left overs from my old boxers used on the tarpaulin covered stacks I made about this time last year for DevLAM 18.
Shotgun Rose climbs down from the hard wooden seat and stretches her back, slings the shotgun over her left shoulder and opens the door so that Miss Virginia and Ebenezer Douglas can step to the ground.
I’m not sure what this means for the story line, just have to wait and see, are they a couple, it seems unlikely but he does have money and she is a classy looking lady, they have been known to be swayed by a mans money rather than his intellect or good looks. Come to think about it, both the later fade sooner or later so maybe money is the better bet.
Round the far side of the Stage, Shawnee Mary has done the same thing for the other passengers, Marshall McAlister steps out followed by Irene Adler. She is shackled to his right wrist, he’s escorting a prisoner, either to trial or jail. This explains why 5 years later in Little Whiskey she locked him in his own jail. You’ll have to read the story The Law Comes to Little Whiskey if you want to find out more.
Dora’s feigned smile turns to one of delight when she sees it’s Mac getting off the stage, they go back a long way and he’s always been a good customer, she even gives him a bonus, although neither of them will say what the bonus is.
Little Bob has run over to Whiskey Jack and thrown his arms around him, what’s going on here, does Jack have a son, I didn’t know that!
Ebenezer and Miss Virginia start to move towards the way station and some hot food.
In the mean time Mary has renewed her acquaintance with Jim, she looks demurely down at he ground as he strokes his beard sagely.
Good grief this is getting more like a Milnes and Boon novel as it goes on, what’s happening to my hard bitten men and women of the west, I’m going to give them a good talking to if this continues.
And another thing - the more I look at this tent the less I like it. The covered stacks in front of George is how it should look with some nice cottony texture, not like some mottled thing that I can’t think of words harsh enough to describe. Mind you I do like the sign board for the Bath House so that’s something I suppose.
Rose has joined the conga line for the food and I resolved what the ambush was all about, and who was to be the target.
It could have been Ebenezer, for his money, it could have been to rescue Irene and prevent her going to jail, but it turned out it was because Marshall Mac had shot and killed one of the gang members, this was Charlie Fosters twin brother, ‘Righty’ Foster.
Chester has gotten tired of hiding behind the wood shed and moved round the building to be closer to the action when it starts.
So at this point Charlie Foster, other wise known as Lefty walks swiftly out of the store and tells Ebenezer and the rest to hold up, he mumbles something about water and they all fail their brains test and accept what he says and stay put.
He moves swiftly towards Marshal Mac who is unaware of any danger until Lefty says “I’ve been looking for you” That’s when things went south as they say.
Just to place everyone before the dance begins, Jim with some strange 6th sense pulls Mary to one side down on the left of the picture, Chester has moved up to the Stage and has Joe and Rose behind him, that surely can’t be a good place to be! George has moved from behind the very nice sign and is now in front of the not so nice tent but behind the OK table. Both he and Chester are ready to support Lefty when he makes his play. You can just see Lefty’s hat at the far corner of the Stagecoach.
This is a play between Mac the Marshall and Lefty but will any of the other characters support the Marshall once the lead starts flying.
Lefty goes for his gun, but Apache George, behind the table to the left is faster and fires first, Lefty is still going for his gun when another shot rings out in the cool mountain air of Montana.
George is a deadly shot and his bullet hits Mac square in the guts and he drops to the ground, breathing hard, Dora is aghast but Irene’s agile brain is whirling at fast speed.
Lefty is down, hit in the head with a bullet from Shawnee Mary’s Colt Navy revolver. She has 2 guns, one in either hand, she missed with one but hit him in the head with the other, her left hand. She had a fraction of a second to react when Jim pulled her to one side, but even though it wasn’t her business she waded in to help Mac, it might be too late, gut shot is gut shot as they say in Montana.
Chester hears a sound behind him as Rose cocks the shotgun, they are both as fast as rattlers but Chester is the faster rattler, he turns and fires in one fluid movement, Rose drops down, blood pouring from a head wound. Joe is slow, and also not a very good shot, he pulls his pistol and fires at point blank range and misses (a 1 and a 2 will do that). He would have been better hitting Chester with the damn gun.
The gun fire has a startling effect on most of the characters around the Way Station. These two are hiding behind the horses. Bertha has left the front porch and is legging it through the forest as fast as her long shirts will let her.
Jim has decided it’s not his fight, he’s unarmed and a slow thinker, he failed to activate. Joe Turner is dumfounded by the callous shooting down of Rose and also doesn’t activate.
Dora wants so hard to help Marshal McAlister, he’s on the ground bleeding bad but she just can’t make the throws and ducks back behind the well.
The door of the wooden crib is flung back and Drunken Donna appears in the sunlight. Her customary bottle in one hand and a rifle in the other. Well out west a girl has to be prepared to fight or drink, I think that’s the saying. She blinks in the strong sun light and surveys the scene. The thought – what the hell is going on, flashes through her mind, well it’s a bit slower than a flash but that’s the general gist of it.
Chester seeing Lefty in the dust runs to take cover by Apache George, Mississippi is still in the store, he’s been inactive for a while now and Henry has been still as a still person turned to stone would be.
Irene is the only one acting coherently and she drops to her knees and starts feeling around in Marshall Mac’s pants.
For the key to the handcuffs of course.
She gets a lucky roll and finds them 1st turn of looking, deep in the right hand pocket of his pants, don’t know why she started there.
Whiskey Jack did a surprising thing – well it surprised me anyway, he picked up Little Bob and literally threw him behind Dora’s crib, the kid is so young and flexible that he rolled on landing and didn’t break any bones, he was winded though and didn’t get up for a little while.
Shawnee Mary’s line of sight was interrupted by Jack so she calmly stepped to one side and fired again.
 Both guns as before and Apache George was hit in the leg, he’s rolling around on the floor making a hell of a noise. There was a dry click from one gun and she missed with one shot, luckily for Irene who was on her knees with her hands in Mac’s pants at the time so the stray bullet missed her.
With one gun empty Mary fires at Chester but misses, then she realizes she’s out of ammo for both guns.
Good grief Mary has 2 Colt Navy Cap and Ball Pistols, they take ages to reload and it doesn’t look as if she has any pockets in that outfit she’s wearing to be carrying cap’s, ball’s or anything else for that matter.
Whiskey Jack fails his brains test big time and does something really stupid, he steps forward and fires both barrels of his scatter gun at Chester. Any miss and there is a good chance he will hit either Irene or Mac, he’s not a good shot either.
He rolls a 5 and 6, two hits, Chester is hit in the head and right arm, dropping his revolver which hits the ground just before he does.
Irene unlocks the cuffs and reaches for Macs wallet and then his shotgun. This was a mistake she should have gone for the shotgun first.
 Donna staggers over to Irene, mumbling something about her man and keep your hands out of his pants and hits her with the butt of the rifle. I was going to shout “cat fight” but it was all over in that 1 blow and anyway it would have been in very bad taste.
Finally Mississippi activated, he ran out of the store and went for his horse. That’s when he saw Joe Turner. Mississippi fired first but must have tripped on the step because he missed from very close range.
 Joe was flustered, buck shot flying all around will have that effect on a man but when he fired back Mississippi was hit bad, in the right leg, and he fell to the floor, not to get up again.
Well as we found out the gang were after revenge on Marshall McAlister for killing Righty, Charlie Foster’s (Lefty) twin brother, they weren’t identical twins. Irene Adler was just taking advantage of the situation and if it hadn’t been for Donna she might have escaped justice. As it was she served 3 years for her particular crime and has been out of prison for a couple of years now, long enough to have the little brush with the law I mentioned earlier.
Mississippi, Charlie, Chester and Apache George all recovered from their wounds and served a 5 year prison sentence without parole. They were discharged from prison yesterday and have information that Marshall McAllister is based in some small town down in New Mexico. If they ride hard they could be there by early November.
The town is called Little Whiskey and they may be there in time to partake of what will go down in history as the Little Whiskey Bath House and Brothel War of 1876.
It’s coming up to November and the Three Musketeers are meeting up again, for our annual 3 to 4 day wargaming event that has until now been called DevLAM, this year instead of heading down south to sunny Devon, 2 of the Musketeers will be heading to the grim north (I hope they don’t get nose bleeds) and we are having the event at my house in my newish Wargames Room.
I expect it will come as no surprise that my game is going to be set in the old west of Little Whiskey, New Mexico.
As usual I have a bunch of ideas to incorporate into the game, some will work and some won’t, but once my compatriots have enough to drink they don’t seem to mind.
I’m going to try and keep it much more simple than the Scoop, my main game last year because that was so complex I still haven’t even attempted to write it up, which is a pity because it looked gorgeous, almost none of my terrain, so no credit to me but I thought it was great.
Anyway, I might post on my progress with the Bath House and Brothel Wars, I have quite a bit still to do and I might even paint some figures and if there’s time I will re-do the Bath House but don’t hold your breath.
I’m intending designing the game for 3 people to play but with multiple groups of characters all with different agendas. So for example Big Jim Smith seems to have a thing going with Shawnee Mary, but he’s also been seen in Little Whiskey with Mary Ann Conklin, there may be some rivalry there, with one player taking Jim, one Mary and one the other Mary. One Mary might want to shoot the other Mary and Jim might have to step in and prevent this, possibly becoming the target himself, or just sit back and watch.
There’s bound to be a robbery or hold up so again, one person takes the bandits, one the law or maybe the bandits are split into two groups, both intent on the robbery but maybe one faction wants to take it all, or maybe there’s local law and Territorial law both with different agendas but will cooperate on some specific thing. I’d like to get 3 or 4 groups per player so that as one group gets eliminated we still have other interests in the game. Three players is an difficult number, a couple of years ago we had 2 sets of bandits and 1 set of lawmen, predictably the bandits joined forces to shoot the lawmen and then turned on each other, but it meant the lawman player was eliminated early on, it was still a fun game though.
The other thing I want to do is an event deck, I have some ideas of things that might work and throw a spanner in everyone’s way, such as at a certain point a drunk might come out of the bar, walk in a random direction for a random distance and then pick a fight with the nearest character. I want to play as a player not as a GM so it’s going to be similar to my usual style of solo game where stuff is as much a surprise to me as to everyone else.
Some of the things I have in mind are “Stampede” “Goodtime Girls Interaction” “Drunk” “Aggrieved Husband” “Temperance Society” “Lady with a baby in a pram” “Dancing Bear going out of control”. These all need fleshing out to provide detail of the effect they will have. For example the Temperance Society might move in a fixed direction and stop all shooting within a 9” radius, or the effect might only be on certain groups or maybe roll against a badness rating, if you’re bad enough you can shoot anybody, but maybe your mates will not like it and shoot you.
I doubt I will make or buy anything new so it needs to be a bit generic in terms of figures I already have and everything will be on clear bases to give a uniform look so that restricts it even more. I'm also going to stay in period so I don't think there'll be vampires or werewolves (sorry Brian)
Any and all suggestions for these sorts of events are more than welcome and very much encouraged, I’d like about a dozen which should provide variety as well as interest and so far am short on that target.
Well if there’s anybody out there, please say hello and stay safe.


  1. Great report John, a thoroughly enjoyable read. Don't be too harsh on your tent, if you give it a wet brush (wipe the excess off on the side if the pot instead of tissue) should fill in some of the bobbly raised areas and will give a better effect.
    Ideas for event cards maybe dysentery, so you have to run to the nearest out house, and remain for a random amount of turns.
    Bad Batch, bought a dodgy batch of ammunition, so lose a turn shooting or jams happen on a 1,2,or3

    1. Thanks Dave I'm a bit annoyed with myself over the tent. With the half timbered one I padded the roof line to try and get a bit of a droop as you would with canvas, the all wood one I tried to simulate a tar paper roof and the tent I should have stripped the kitchen roll off and done the same as the half timbered one but I was in a rush. Goodness knows why because they've been kicking around for a couple of years because I didn't think they were the shape for a tent, too square and not saggy enough. Enough mosning.

      Dysentry is brilliant, I'll certainly use that, I think I have 5 outhouses so it won't skew the game too much. The ammo idea is good as well but theres a 1 in 6 chance of running out of ammo built into the rules already but thanks for the ideas, any more please let me know.

  2. Where to start on this comment John I've no idea tbh as there was so many high points, but I'll tell you this mate, I've never read a Mills & Bloom book but if their half as entertaining as this movie then I need to start reading them.

    My one disappointment came from your name for the movie but the fault probably lies with my mind as I'd conjured up images of lovely scantly clad females having a great big cat fight while covered in the suds, think of the scene from Cool Hand Luke when their out on the chain gang & the woman is washing the car :)

    On the DevLAM front N&D has two Werewolves on clear bases that they would be more then happy to lease out to your studios, at mate rates of coarse which means you'll pay twice the going rate lol but all joking apart I can post them over to you if you'd like & when your done just post them back.

    1. Hahaha, I've never read a Miles and Boon novel either, it just seemed an appropriate comparison. I guess it comes from only having about 40 western characters and about half are unarmed civilians and/or women.

      Thanks for the offer of the werewolves, thats jolly good of you but I'm going to keep the game as a traditional western.

  3. Another great read. Excited to show this one to my kiddo. You have such a beautiful and varied collection! I'm quite jealous.

    1. Thanks Me Mouse, I hope he enjoys it, I think apart from the stagecoach and the obvious things, everything else is home made.
      I don't know if it would interest you but the posts related to Little Whiskey describes the growth of a small western town. Its not a tutorial but a series of games showing the expansion from a way station to a prosperous town of at least 8 businesses. Yes its a very small town. ;)

  4. Once again you deliver the goods in spades with this thrilling batrep, John. I always enjoy your tales of the shenanigans going on in Little Whiskey. I'm so glad Donna put in a welcome appearance as I do like that gal. Part of the fun I get from your batreps is in trying to identify the manufacturer of your figures and to check if I own them as well. With storytelling like this I can forgive you for your lack of vampires! :-)

    1. Thanks Bryan I've been re-reading my stories of Little Whiskey so that I can keep the history straight in my mind. With so few figures there have been lots of conflicts and alliance's and even dalliances that I want to incorporate into the next game so I've ended up making notes. Its a long time since these guys were on the table.
      Donna was a random pick from 6 characters who could have been in the crib but she was the best choice because this event will have an impact in 5 years time i.e. the November game.

  5. Great stuff John! Another brilliant report 😀 I liked the 'clase' misspelling and love the switch to the clear based. Looking forward to seeing more, especially what you do with your event deck.

    1. Cheers Ivor starting from scratch with the western stuf and the fact that it was mainly resin and very little cross over to other periods it seemed like a good thing to go with. I like the results but there are some downsides for me and the way I use the figures and stat decks.

  6. wow! once again i'm blown away by your gorgeous terrain (I liked the tent, just saying) and what a cracking story to boot!

  7. Hi Andy, I'm pleased to see you feeling ok enough to get back in the blogosphere, small steps will do it.

    The cribs and tent took 2 days to cut glue and paint onto an already constructed card structure. For my level of skill and lack of patience 2 out of 3 that I like is a good result. I think I may strip the tent back to the cardboard and recover it. This one was the simplest to do. Failing that Ive since seen a beautiful resin tent, at £6.00 plus p&p, but of course mine cost nothing!

  8. Superb looking set-up and story, great fun. I am really looking forward to my visit to Little Whiskey, New Mexico in the Grim North! “Lady with a baby in a pram” is already packed.

    1. Cheers Mi Lord, I've started thinking seriously about the game, so as you know I made and painterd the cribs, yesterday I started painting figures, a cave ear, a werewolf, some Neanderthals but I did manage a buggy and a cart for the game. I must focus more ;)

  9. Fabulous, awe inspiring and very very enjoyable.

    1. Tarot thats very kind of you to say so, much appreciated. I hope you smiled a couple of time during the story.

  10. This is remarkable, and extremely entertaining,. As immersive as a Spaghetti Weston and as intense as any novel, enhanced by marvellous miniatures and terrain creation. I nearly spat out my mouthful of tea when I read Frenchie Malone`s “Ow Much" to Dora, it was so funny and so perfectly right. Wow what a contained/controlled bloodbath, but with a great conclusion that again just felt so right.

    Time and again through the years I`ve wanted to get heavily into this genre, and almost have on a few occasions. So I really appreciate other people`s endeavours even though I have never taken the plunge myself... I really `get` the genre and appreciate it so much when its done this well.

    1. Thanks Steve I'm pleased you found it entertaining and amusing, I never really know how my stories appear to other folk, i guess my childish boys own irreverent style won't suit some who take things more seriously but it's the best I can come up with.

      All my Little Whiskey western games have taken a similar route, lots of build up and then a bloodbath, indeed most of my games seem to go that way. Maybe it's using a small table that once everyone is close that's the natural conclusion, or mabe only having a few figures leads to the same thing.

  11. Your boys own approach fits remarkably close with my own take on things, and I find more serious can also be a tad dull at times (this is not a hobby we should take ourselves too seriously at... otherwise surely, we miss the point by a wide mark). Little Whisky touches something intrinsic that appeals to me deeply: and bloodbath, drama, role play, it all fits together seamlessly, and your collection, like your table, it just right. So no worries there.

    1. It's always good to get another persons view on things you are close to, helps maintain your own perspective.

  12. What a great scenario/aar./story or whatever it was. So much going on, so many interesting charactecters, so many ways it could have unfolded and a great looking set-up (despite your reticense over the tent - which I liked because of the texture !)., especially that awsesome sign !
    As a prelim to the "main event" it sets the future scene with enormous possivilites.

    I like the idea of event cards, they can cause great hilarity, frustration and elation all at once.
    For ideas, I tend to think of 'themes' then develope specific ideas within those themes - ie. look for what results you want (miss turns, injury, reinforcements or whatever) and then fit them into one or another (or all) of the "themes". As an example, A theme may be "animals", I can imagine a stray cat weaving its way through a character's legs, potentilally tripping him (injury, delay effect); Rattler nest - once discovered/disturbed rattlers emerge cauing danger/injury/death. (snakes on a stage ?). Buffalo stampede enter one edge of table and thuder through to opposite edge, through cetnre of table - damage to persons and property (and they're hard to kill even if relatively easy to hit).

    1. Hi Joe I'm pleased you enjoyed it, the game went exactly as I'd hoped, bad blood between the Marshall and the 4 bad guys, Donna saving the Marshall from Irene, that's going to feature as will Big Jim's dalliances.

      Regarding the Event cards, I've got some sorted, at least in general but I do seem to be struggling a bit to get enough, I think I can work with your ideas, the cat will be a dog because I don't have a cat, I do have a nest of snakes, unpainted. The buffalo stampede is good, I was painting Texas Longhorns a couple of days ago, they just need basing and they are for my stampede, I wonder if I could have some escapee pigs, I've been intending torepaint them for a few years now, this could be the insentive.
      I'm mainly wanting to play the event cards for laughs.

      Thanks for your suggestions.

  13. Damn commentary was so realistic when the shooting kicked off, I could only read it when taking short glimpses from underneath the laptop table. 😉

    1. When the shooting starts you've got to take cover or you'll be visiting the undertaker, but we ain't got one around these parts, so you'd better take cover. ;)

  14. I'm slowly reading through your AAR:s. They need some time and contemplation... okay, I laugh so much that I need some recuperation between reads :-)
    Great, as always. I really like your take on story-advancement, it always turns out to be bloody in the end. Wonder why.
    There is one thing though. Irene Adler. You know she was born in 1858, right, so she would be young, or very young, in the 70's. And she didn't sing in this episode. Guess tht was a good thing, though, as I don't see this as a typical musical or opera. Also, the real Irene Adler would never fail a brain test. She must be fake...
    You mentioned longhorns in an earlier answer. Looking for a herd of those, myself. Any idea where you got them from?

    1. Hi Joakim, I'm pleased it made you smile, even better if theres a laugh out loud moment.

      My longhorns are Warbases ones, they are shown in the next Little Whiskey epesode, I like them but they are static, so good in a corral but not so good in a stampede. Dixons do some very nicely animated ones and they would be a good choice.
      Ive not seen them but knuckleduster do some that I've had recomended but I don't know if they are any good.