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Monday, 3 December 2018

Granny and Pops - Where's Granny

Pops and Betsie May didn’t have much hope for the survival of Granny, Daisy May and Ellie May it was now 4 days after the initial fight with the zombies. With Pops still weak from his wound it fell to Betsie to go back to Horsemans Flatts and see what she could find. Wang Mai and Lola decided that they would go along but they left the little girl in Pops capable hands, telling her to look after the old chap.
After the fiasco with the noise generated by the cars attracting zombies they parked up on the outskirts of town and the girls decided to go in on foot. They would fetch the cars later if needed.

If you didn't read the previous 2 games in this saga they are Here 1st Game and Here 2nd Game this is the continuation and if you enjoy it then it will have spoiled to some extent the endings in the other 2 games. Of course if you don't enjoy it, this is a much shorter read and you will have wasted less of your allotted time span on it. :)

Horsemans Flatts, quiet as the grave. As usual.

An overview.

The town has been moved 8” south to get a bit more board behind the Deli. Some things are different on this board but the continuity man has been sacked for such a poor job, so it won't happen again.

The encounter markers are not on here yet, nor are the visible zombies. Pretty poor show so far.

The girls entering the town from the south and they will follow the road down to Horsemans Deli which is in the distance on the left hand side of the crossroad and then follow the blood trail until they find Granny and the other two girls, dead or alive or maybe worse. Lola has been substituted for another figure with a pistol and a few more clothes (boo hiss) but the same attributes.

Not wanting to hang around they make fast moves down the road and quickly reach the cross roads. They pass a lone zombie who was in one of the alleys, but don’t see him and he cannot keep up with their pace.

At the cross roads, they will go behind the Deli and pick up the blood trail.

Just an over view with a small 'Stagger' of zombies top right and the lone zed on the right following them but way behind.
I did ask for suggestion as to what was a likely name for a group of Zombies and Doug came up with a 'Stagger' which I quite liked.

They go round the back of the Deli towards a concrete bunker, where there is another encounter marker which turns out to be just wind whistling through the trees (nothing). Phew. They move cautiously up the path towards the bunker.

And check the door – it’s not locked!!! They burst in ready for anything. Granny and the girls are there, which was pre determined, their condition was not. I used their constitution to decide on their injuries, if you remember they were all shot but not killed. So less than con = OK, con = hurt but not too badly, higher than con roll further die to see how badly hurt.

Granny Constitution 3 threw 2 = OK Daisy May Con 4 threw 4 = hurt but not badly -2 to movement – 1D to Brawl. Ellie May Con 5 threw 1 = OK. Well that’s a relief.

Next step was to check to see if the Looters were still there and they are - bugger. Reaction tests for everyone. The looters and Wang Mei throw the same and are both ready to fight but Granny wins the test and in that stern reedy voice of the old, those that are used to being obeyed shouts “CALM DOWN EVERYONE”, and surprisingly they do.

She thanks the looters for looking after her and invites them to come back to the cabin in the woods, which to everyone’s relief they decline.

Sorry about the building, the interior decorators got eaten by the zombies before they finished the job.

They all leave and on coming out in to the street again see a few zeds milling about. Also by the cross roads ( bottom left) are the 2 bikers from the 1st game. They had a bad conscience about running away and leaving Granny behind and had decided to return.

Well 6 girls 2 Bikers v 4 zombies – This is going to be easy. Well you didn’t think it would be that easy – did you. Well I kinda did yes. Sorry I do like that quote even if I don't always get it right.

The Zeds attack, the girls run, 4 of them anyway, suddenly it’s looking a bit serious.

Just prior to rolling the dice for a guts check I was thinking this is not proving very challenging and then rolled 5 and 6, and I need low to succeed. I had a good chuckle, never underestimate the damage a bad dice roll can do.

Wang Mei was attacked by 1 zed and she floored it. The 2 bikers checked to see if they could attack the zeds from behind but failed their test and remained stationary, couldn’t fire because of friends in line of fire, this didn’t seem to worry Daisy, she sprayed bullets everywhere but failed to hit anything.

Zeds seem stunned by the fight in front of them and don’t attack (fail to activate) but Wang Mai steps forwards to take on 2 of them, she is well aware that Daisy is injured and doesn’t want her involved, neither do I – she only has 1 Brawl die, but of course she joins in the fray, just like Pops she has Brains 2 and Guts 5 (high is good) the only difference is she can’t fight.

Fortunately Wang Mei takes out the zeds and Daisy doesn’t die. The bikers failed to make a fast move so have not contacted the remaining zed. Granny and the girls have stopped running and turn a little shamefaced back to the action but don’t make any positive moves towards it, they are still a little shook up.

Next turn Harley Davidson and Vincent ‘Black’ Lightening take down the lone zed but the shooting has brought more of them on to the streets.

Some more shooting and the area around our intrepid band is clear. There are other Zeds around but far enough away, time to get moving and get out of here.

The Zeds are closing in but there are not enough of them to stop an escape. No uncontrollable cars either this time.

One more zed about to get rollered down, the boys are not keeping up, keep failing activation so Granny goes back, “come on get your lardy arses into gear or you will be zombie chow” she politely informs them. “Ok Mam we're with you”. (Granny has a very commanding presence)

Final shot with Granny leading the big boys home, Wang Mei in the background is facing off to a zed down the alley to the right but it never gets close enough and they all escape back to the cars.

On reflection I think I made the scenario a little too easy, but once all the girls were found still alive and pretty much in one piece, I was hoping they would make it out and so this is maybe the end of an era for Pops and Granny. They have probably appeared in more games than any of my other figures and will have a well deserved retirement, while they are still alive.

Just as an afterthought I don’t know who sculptured the 3 May girls, but he’s never heard of gravity. They are not the best sculpts but I’ve become very fond of them, they have survived in some tough games over the years when others have succumbed.

Final note, for those who can spell, Vincent Black Lightening should of course be Lightning, but I've found with a few of the figures I was concentrating so hard on forming the letters when I painted the names on the bases that I overlooked what I was writing and so a few of my characters have names that are wrong, i.e. I missed out a letter or added one in, in the wrong place. Of course I am rubbish at spelling so that doesn't help either ;)

I'm currently working on the game reports that we played at DevLAM but it's a bit difficult because I made no notes, drank too much and stayed up too late etc, etc, but we had a good time, so there will probably be more pictures than text which may be a relief.

I'm also preparing to move house and if all goes well that should occur in January and so I expect there will be a Gone Fishing notice posted on the blog for quite a while until I get my act together. The good news is that I will have a bigger room :)

These are the figures I was referring to, if you're interested just let me know.

Well if you are still here - thanks for reading.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

The Boucharde Raid 10th of May 1758 – French Indian Wars.

This little known raid by a small band of Rogers Rangers and Indian Allies is but a footnote in the historical records so you may never have come across it before, indeed unless you read an article in Wargames Manual 1983 this maybe the first time it’s come to light since then.

This is the backdrop to my 3rd game to be played down in deepest darkest Devon in about 6 days now.

The corridor of the Richelieu River, down through Lake Champlain and Lake George into the Hudson Valley was seen as one of the 3 strategic keys to the fighting in North America during the period we refer to as the French Indian Wars, some may know it as the 1st of the World Wars others as the 7 Years War.

New France and New Britain - the disputed area behind the East coast are the Appalachian Mts.

There were some 2 million people in the East Coast Colonies and about 60,000 in New France, a bit of a one sided struggle.

The war started early in the great American woodlands, more a push west by the Colonists on the East Coast, eager for land and the only 3 things stopping them were the Appalachian Mountains, the French.

Plus of course there were the people who already lived there. They had been quite happy fighting each other but then the Europeans came and they had to take a side in that conflict. They split along old battle lines in the East, the Algonquin and Huron against the 5 or 6 nations of the Iroquois confederacy, they had long been competitors and traditional enemies so no great change there.

It was a war conducted in a large under populated landscape of huge woodlands and big rivers, I am only interested at this stage in the area around Lake George a 35 mile long lake, south west of it’s huge neighbour Lake Champlain.

In 1755 the British had moved up the Hudson and been met by the French moving down Lake Champlain, they fought an inconclusive battle at the South end of Lake George, the French retired to the north end of the lake and built Fort Carillon and the British strengthened Fort Edward and built Fort William Henry at the south end of the lake.

This is my hand drawn map of Lake George or Lac Saint Sacrement, based on one by James Gabriel Montresor that I think I found in the Library of Congress. I forgot to put a scale on it but from Fort Edward to Fort William Henry appears to be about 10 miles.

1756 saw little direct action in the region, but there were lots of scouting missions. The area is difficult terrain, the only wagon tracks are from Fort Edward to Fort William Henry and from the portage at the north end of Lake George to Fort Carillon, the river there is impassable. All movement of large bodies of troops is pretty much by boat.

1757 In January Roberts Rangers were active up around the North end of the lake and having taken some prisoners were discovered by the French and ambushed, about half of the Rangers made it back to William Henry. This was called the 1st Battle on Snowshoes.

1757 in March there was a short siege of William Henry but the French were not strong enough to take it, they burned 300 bateaux and put a dent in the British plans.

1757 in July The British commander at Ft William Henry sent a strong scouting force of 350 men up Lake George in new bateaux, they were ambushed and a few made it back. About 10 days later the French moved down the lake in force.

1757 August The siege and capture of Fort William Henry made famous in Last of the Mohican’s. The fort was destroyed by the French and not rebuilt.

1758 in March Rogers led 180 men, in 4’ deep snow, north from Fort Edward to Fort Carillon they ambushed a group of Indians from the fort but in turn ran into an ambush themselves and retreated, they were only able to escape because they had snowshoe’s and the French didn’t. Strangely it’s also called the Battle on Snowshoes but it’s probably more famous for Rogers Rock or Rogers Slide.

Reputedly to escape the pursuit Rogers slide down this rock to the frozen lake and got away.

1758 in May following the defeat of the much vaunted Rangers the French were preparing another strike on Fort Edward and to assist in this they had established a small supply depot at Boucharde Bay on the west shore of Lake George under the command of Captain Louis-Philippe Le Dossu d’Herbecourt. This is my story, taken from an article by Steve Hezzlewood and was a defining moment for me, I stopped fighting large battles and started skirmish actions and then I found Bryan's Blog may the Nuns of St Mary of the Blessed Handkerchief forgive me.

An artists impression of the depot at Boucharde Bay, the Powder Store is in the large building in the centre.

A couple more pictures of what the depot might have looked like.

The barracks are on the far side of the powder store.

Just a pretty picture.

The start of the journey a long way south of Boucharde Bay on the Hudson River, the landing stage just below Fort Edward. This was called the Great Carrying Place because from here, to go north you had to walk until you came to the next piece of water.

The main encampment, food for the men and shelter for those passing through to the fort.

Log cabins are the iconic backwoods building, this one was built many years ago and now has a door, especially for this game, but one of the first things built at Fort George was a sawmill and so even in remote places, planked buildings would be seen.

One of the many bateaux plying the Hudson River between Albany and Fort Edward.

Coming in to land moving against the flow of the water is a home made bateaux.

Perfectly positioned to make a landing and is that Major Rogers himself in the bow. Sorry that was my Irish accent. ;)

Watched over by the watchman in the watch tower. Sorry!!!

Major Rogers orders are to move up Lake George by bateaux and destroy the powder magazine at Boucharde Bay.

Well that’s easily said but the bateaux have been built on the Hudson River near Ft Edward and need to be moved to the south of Lake George. It takes a lot of horse power to move these boats and not everyone is happy about it.

Captain Lacy thinks this is beneath his dignity, he’s recently come from fighting in the European wars and this backwoods show is not to his liking, where does a man get a bath, shave and a good hot Whore in this gawd forsaken wilderness. Even the scar he got at the Battle of Fontenoy is more livid than usual.

Nathanial Jones helping in this difficult task and he likes it about as much as Captain Lacy. He’s not worried about the bath and shave because he knows where to get a hot Whore, but even so this is dangerous work. The Indians allied to the French are constantly raiding in the area and a sharp look out needs to be kept at all times.

When these Bateaux fall off the wagon it’s just like a long term drunk, they both go with a big bang.

Journeys end, they have finally arrived at the south end of Lake George and this is the last bateaux needed for the raid. The ruins of Fort George are just in the foreground out of sight.

A hardy mixture of Native Americans and Incomers.

The final Bateaux makes it weary way to the waters edge. I was quite pleased with these, they are Lego and I picked them up for 50pence each in a flea market.

Target practice for some of the woodsmen who will be part of the raid.

Down by the waters edge Major Roberts greets Silas B Huggett. Roberts is delegating the raid to Silas, here he introduces him to the 2 Officers of Engineers who will be accompanying him. They are the ones who will set the charges to blow the powder, all Huggett has to do is get them into the powder store and hopefully back out as well.

After quickly wishing them the best of luck the expedition loads up the bateaux and set off up Lake George on their way to Boucharde Bay and whatever destiny has in store for them.

They keep closely together as they make their way northwards, its a 20 mile row and they need to do it in 1 day.

Silas in the big dory with the bulk of his Rangers and the Engineers, surrounded by smaller bateaux carrying the Indians.

After hours of rowing they arrive just south of Boucharde Bay. They are hoping they don’t get the same reception as their compatriots did at Sabbath Day Point.

Someone always has to go first. The lead boat goes in to make sure it's safe.

Quickly jumping out of the boat they spread out looking for any sign of the enemy, but there are none.

As the rest of the raiding party quickly row to shore.

And disembark. The landing seems to have been a complete success.

The last ones off, and the raiding party has made it safely ashore and as far as they can see, they have been unobserved.

Quickly Silas delegates a boat guard and they finalise their plans.

Meanwhile Captain Louis-Philippe Le Dossu d’Herbecourt and a detachment of the Regiment Du Languedoc, with other troops are marching south.

This seems to be quite a strong detachment.

So it looks like Silas Huggett and his force are going to be outnumbered by at least 2 to 1 maybe more and so a stealthy approach is going to be in order, but that's what his Rangers were recruited for, and his Indian Allies were born to this style of warfare.

They will not stand in line and face musket volleys but will use whatever cover is available. One of the tricks they have perfected is 2 man rolling fire. The musket takes a long time to load, about 20 seconds and so the trick was for 2 men to use a tree for cover, one fires from 1 side as the other loads, then they swop roles.
We are going to be using my rules and it takes 3 periods to load a musket, a man can run a long way in that time.

As with the previous post we shall be using a different set of terrain boards, also by Silent Invader from the LAF, he built them for a Game of Thrones/Canadian wilderness setting and I think they look brilliant, so am really looking forwards to seeing them in the flesh.

Just to whet your appetite.

I thought I'd just show a few shots from my trial game. The Rangers attacked in the early morning.

The Rangers creeping through the corn field with a lone French Sentry making the rounds.
Once the French were awake, things got a little tricky.
And then even trickier.
These guys had a lot of trouble getting in to the Powder store.

I shall not tell you how it went but it was an amazingly exciting game, I just hope it goes as well next week because I think it's got the potential to be a total disaster with some bad dice rolls, although I must have played this out 5 or 6 times over the years and don't remember it ever being a bad game, mind you I can't remember what I had for breakfast so that's no comfort.

Well if you're still here - thanks for reading.