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Wednesday, 24 July 2019

The Boucharde Raid, 1750's French Indian Wars – My Trial Game for DevLAM 2018

The game is based on a scenario devised by Steve Hezzlewood and published a long time ago in a Wargames Magazine, can't remember which one but I think it was a special edition. I have the scenario as a jpg somewhere and if I can find it I will publish it and be damned, presumably there is some copyright on it. - OK  I have found it and it came from this blog http://unfashionablyshiny.blogspot.com/2010/02/hezzlewood-writes.html

This was one of the games I put together for DevLAM 2018, the lead up to the game is on my blog https://vagabondswargamingblog.blogspot.com/2018/11/the-boucharde-raid-10th-of-may-1758.html

To make the most of this game report you should really read the introduction but I know that’s not always possible, but you will miss out on the plot if you don’t, it’s up to you.

This is the small village of Boucharde part way down Lake George in Canada, the French have created a forward magazine of arms, powder, and equipment and there is a detachment of French Regular Infantry stationed here as well as some Franche de La Marine as well as a few Canadian Militiamen.

The ammunition magazine and powder store is located in the large building in the centre of the village, the main barracks are the two buildings on the far side of the village in the centre and left hand side as we look at the picture, but troops are billeted in most of the buildings in the village.

A detachment of Rogers Rangers has been tasked with destroying the magazine, they have a few Native Allies with them but are heavily outnumbered. They can not fight their way in, it has to be a “sneak in and run like hell operation”, especially if they blow up the powder store.

Silas Hugget is leading the Rangers and has decided to make a two pronged attack, in the distance you can see the 1st prong, they have spotted one of the sentries, the chap in the red woollen hat on the left but he is more interested in the pheasant in front of him than any possible enemy creeping up on him and doesn’t see them.

The chap in the red coat is one of two Engineering officers assigned to the Expedition, Silas has split his force in two and attached an Engineer to each one.

The sentries move using a dice to give a random direction and distance and this one is moving through the cabin yard away from the main thrust of the attack. There are four sentries, in the far distance is one of the Franche La Marine and the guy with the red hat is one of the Canadian Militia.

These figures were painted many years ago and research was much harder than it is today, I can’t remember how accurate I think their uniforms are and to be honest I don’t care, so if there any button counters reading this please bite your tongue.

The 2nd prong led by Silas himself is creeping around the corn field, there is a sentry over by the powder store walking away from us, but what you can’t see very clearly because it’s a crap picture is that the 4th sentry is just the other side of the corn field, you can maybe see the blue feather in his hat.

Randomly he turns the corner and comes face to face with the leading Ranger.

Who reacts first and manages to rush the Frenchman, knock him to the ground before he can raise the alarm. The rest of the Rangers had full confidence in him and are already moving through the corn field.

It’s supposed to be Maize, and it has been marijuana plants in one of my Granny and Pops games but is really a small Christmas tree cut into short pieces and planted in hardboard. It cost me a pound and I’m very pleased with it, but close-ups like this don’t really do it justice. The thing I like, is that I can remove a base and fit a figure in the field rather than as you usually see with them walking on top of the plants.

The majority of the 1st prong has taken up firing positions around a small cabin, they will provide covering fire if necessary, for the Engineer and his escort if they need to beat a hasty retreat.

The Militia sentry is wandering around aimlessly and hasn’t seen the small fracas with the other chap now lying down, he’s just enjoying the peace and quiet of the early morning, that is until Silas Huggett jumps over the wall and rushes him.

My apologies for the dice in the photo, either the Continuity Girl or the Cameraman will get it in the neck for that lapse. I've noticed there are a few other dice appearing in the photos later, there will be vacancies to fill in my studio.

Silas has a big claymore and kills the poor sentry out of hand. I’m not sure though why Silas is lying down, there’s nothing in my notes that explains it, but I suspect that the sentry sounded the alarm before dying.

The 1st Prong moves from their position by the log hut, to a more commanding one looking down what passes for a main street in the village. This proves to be a mistake because the sentry at the far side of the village sees them and also sounds the alarm.

A close up of the demolition party from Prong 1. They are running hell for leather to get to the Powder Store before the French troops are awake and ready to intercept them. They make it but have to break down the locked door, there is a variable time (dice roll) to see how long it takes to lay the fuse and then a variable time (dice roll again) before it blows up. There is the possibility that the defenders may get into the powder store and put out the fuse, basically a slow match before it blows up.

It took a little while for the Rangers to break down the door into the powder store and this gave the garrison time to wake and form up. I took each group of 6 men plus NCO and rolled dice to see how long it would take to form up and they had an amazing run of low dice.

Here they are already in a fire fight with Prong 1.

At this point Prong 1 are holding their own, but there are very few of the French Regulars firing.

At this point the guys in the red caps defending the parapet had got one man into the Powder Store and he had defeated Silas in melee and stunned him, you can see he is lying down again but the other Ranger has pushed the Canadian back into the store and they are engaged in a desperate fight, blocking the doorway, no one else can get in. Other Rangers have advanced from the corn field and are engaged in a fire fight with the Militia on the parapet.

The troops in the street have got their act together and opened up with volley fire, and another company have emerged from the stockade tower and also opened fire. Sheer weight of numbers is overcoming the log wall protection and Prong 1 is taking heavy casualties.

So much so that these 2 desperados are doing a runner, their morale failed big time.

Just a pretty picture, mainly to show the new barracks I built especially for this game. The log stockade tower is very old but also got a repaint as did most of the other buildings.

Another pretty picture showing the other half of the building.

The guys in blue waistcoats and forage hats are the Franche Marine troops, not sure if that’s their correct title and the guys in Grey are one of the 6 regular regiments that fought in Canada, I can’t remember now which one they are but blue facings shouldn’t be hard to place them.

Inside the powder store things are getting a little fraught, the 1st floor has been removed to show the action. Silas is back on his feet and defending the door on the right where a horde of Militia are trying to get in, if 7 men can be called a horde. On the left upstairs a Ranger is defending the other door and in the central room the Engineers are laying the fuse, this is going to take 2 turns before they can light it.

It’s lit shouted the Engineers and they rushed out the door.

You know I’m sure the guy back right has the determined look of our good Queen Elizabeth, not sure why but what do you think.

Bugger thought the Ranger upstairs but a couple of lucky shots from his mates, took down the remaining Militia on the parapet and he was through the door like a flash. Bugger thought Silas as the militia bust through the door downstairs, pushing him back half way across the room. As you can see the fuse blows in 4 turns.

If Silas runs he will probably get killed by the Militia as he turns his back, if he doesn’t run he will almost certainly get killed in the explosion. Decisions, decisions.

The overall situation outside is looking pretty bleak, the French are loaded and pushing down the road, on the right from Prong 1 the remaining Rangers had already fled but the Native Americans have taken 50% casualties and also pulled back. There is still a defensive line of Prong 2 on the left and the Engineers will probably reach them but overall it looks like the attackers are down about 50% casualties, many of them wounded, they are going to be left behind.

This chap jumped off the parapet and hurt his leg but was still mobile enough to make it out with help.

3 Moves later there was a large explosion as the Powder Store exploded and no one has heard from Silas Huggett since.

I’ve played this scenario 3 or 4 times over the years, It was published in the 1983 and this is a scan of the original article, I hope no one minds me posting this but it is one of my wargamming highlights and I want to share it with anyone who might be interested, The scenario would translate to many different genres and rule sets.

You can see that my powder store is a copy of the one in the story and I have derived as much pleasure from my games over the years as I suspect the originators did when they first played it.

We didn’t get to this game until late on the third day of DevLAM and we were all completely buggered in the nicest possible sense, we set the game up and after the evening meal, we drank a little more and then I went and moved the figures around taking some photos. The Mad Lord Snapcase had bought some scenery from Silent Invader from the Lead Adventurers Forum and we were using that for the game, it looked absolutely brilliant and I’m going to post the photos on the LAF when I can but here are just a few to wet your appetite.

It just goes to show what a professional base board can do for the look of the game.

Well it just remains to say thanks for reading, like all bloggers I like to hear if you have enjoyed reading this or have any other comments or observations to make, no one likes to talk to an empty room.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

The Adventures of Becky - Changoon S.E. Asia

After escaping from India by the skin of their teeth the flight had gone without a hitch. Becky and her friends were expecting to meet with their guide Jonathan Hawke in Changoon, but he’s an elusive character and they were not sure where he would be. It could be that drifting round a town like Changoon asking questions might not be as easy or as safe as it sounded.
This is a follow on story in the adventures of Becky and her search for the Red Jade Buddha, a long and so far complicated story. This is the seventh episode, all the others are on the blog, click on the links on the right to access them, I’ve got limited internet at the moment so it’s easier for you to find them than for me to find the link. Sorry.
Changoon was a hot bed of gambling, prostitution, and a renowned haunt of the most vicious kidnapping gangs in all of South East Asia. Its reputation had spread even as far as Surry in the home counties of that green and pleasant land, England.
It’s a town of low rise buildings and high rise crime.
Crooks and Conmen on every street corner and you don’t even want to think of the back alleys.
Abu El Soofah minding the back entrance into his esteemed establishment, girls, gambling, or gratuitous drinking?
In the background you can see Goodtime Lola, she works for one of the more esteemed establishment on Main Street.
Jack Handsome runs the most profitable business in town, he has been on the up since he left Horseman’s Flatts over a year ago.
Dorothy has been on her uppers ever since the Mabel Street Mob got busted and may even be working as a good time girl in Changoon or then again she may have other plans.
The reason for including this photo is to show my piles of goods covered by tarpaulins. I’m really pleased with these, they are bits of waste foam board, covered in thin cotton boxer shorts cotton, soaked in pva and painted and dry brushed. Yes I did wash the shorts and yes they did have holes in them when I re-purposed them, and yes they did cost nothing.
OK finally the game is afoot, the plane has landed and the passengers are making their way into town.
The Chinese contingent are at the front, they obviously know where they are headed for. Arne Poulsen following is leading his small group, with the rest following on behind.
Becky tells the girls to split up so that they can cover more ground and so make contact with their guide more quickly.
There are various encounters spread around the town that may be good, or then again maybe not so good, these are all random and until turned over I’ve no idea which ones will occur.
Becky asks the young Japanese girl if she knows where Jonathan Hawke can be found but she just shakes her head and looks demurely down at the ground.
Roxanne and Gabrielle have more luck when they speak to Abu, he admits to knowing Hawke and even offers to take them to him, for a small payment into his pension pot of course. Looking closely into his eyes, they are not sure if he is telling the truth but it’s an offer they can’t refuse.
Rebecca Salerno has gone down a small alleyway and sees a young child playing in the mud, maybe he knows something that will help.
Over in the distance Miss Scarlet the highest, high class girl in town, is telling Charity that she doesn’t work for charity and she can bugger off, until she can come back with a large sum of cash.
Ruth Marrott and Dorothy have what appears to be a prime position on Side Street, but are they still involved in the Mabel Street Mob or have they gone freelance?
Moving on fast down the road towards their head quarters, Chang the bodyguard is explaining to Lola that she should not come any closer, unless she wants to feel the hot breath of his big chopper. The White Hyacinth Tong are well known for their swordsmanship as well as their big choppers.
She has heard it all before and just raises her glass of absinthe and whispers – cheers.
 Arne is making his way over to Jack Handsome, it looks like they have business to discuss.
Salerno alongside Susan Gunn talk to the little lad but they can’t understand his argot and so they move on.
Sidney seems more interested in Lola than the White Hyacinth Tong were and is in deep conversation with her. Personally I can see why but I guess he might have a different agenda.
As Becky Roxanne and Gabrielle come round the corner, they are led by Abu, who is making good on his promise to lead them to John Hawke, well that’s what they think but we’ll never know.
Arne and Jack are discussing some deal or other. Erasmus is waving a map around and Jack is looking disinterested.
Molly who has had too much to drink approaches the group with the traditional greeting. What you lookin at? Well it’s traditional where I come from.
She kicks out at Becky who throws a quick jab back in her face and Molly hits the floor, but she feels no pain, alcohol will do that for you. She gets back to her feet only to be knocked down again. Unsteadily she gets back up and as Becky steps in for the final blow Molly hits her hard and Becky goes down this time, Molly kicks her when she is on the ground and as Becky rises unsteadily Molly hits her with a ferocious head butt and she goes down finally, rising no more.
At this point Willhelm Schmitt one of the local law enforcement officers steps out of the shadows and in a loud rasping accent calls for everyone to stay still. Looking at Gabrielle and Roxanne he informs them that they are under arrest. She started it they exclaim but he ignores them, maybe Molly is his sister, who knows his reasoning.
Police corruption, white and black female slave trade, any form of fast buck con game are things that come immediately to mind.
Arne and Jack are definitely in cahoots, Jack is a renowned fixer in the port, maybe they are after guns and guides, we know they have a map, maybe it is a route to the Red Buddha or maybe to the green butterfly..!
Sugar looking on sees Roxanne and Gabrielle carrying the unconscious Becky along the road to the local jail, followed by Officer Schmidt.
The White Hyacinth Tong has almost made it to their HQ. Chang’s scar is hurting, the heat does this and also the humidity, Changoons climate always makes his scar livid.
Mind you it doesn’t do much for his temper either.
Rebecca and Susan drop lucky and against the odds meet up with Jonathan Hawke.
He tells them that everything is prepared, he has transport laid on to take them up country, they just need to get to the dock on the river and then embark for the long journey in front of them.

At this point the line of prisoners comes into sight. John Hawke whispers urgently to Rebecca that she mustn’t let her friends fall into the hands of the police in this town, they will never be heard of again.
By now Becky has recovered a little and is walking groggily between the other two girls, Officer Schmidt is covering them with his shotgun. He’s taking no chances with these three women but he’s also no Brain Surgeon and has neglected to search the girls for weapons, a bad die roll that was going to do him no favours.
He spots the other 3 girls and turns, he is caught in the middle of 6, possibly dangerous opponents and he is on his own with no back up, suddenly arresting Becky Gabrielle and Roxanne doesn’t seem such a smart move after all. Short term gain is probably short term pain.
The showdown, everyone throws to see when they will act, this is dependent on how good they are, highest number reacts first, the blue counters reflect the number of passed dice. Becky and Sugar react first with 3’s and react simultaneously. Becky shouts wait, but too late, Sugar fails her Brains test.
 She opens fire on the cop, the SMG stutters, bullets fly and Officer Schmidt is hit in the right leg, it must have clipped the femoral artery, because he falls to the floor and is dead within a heart beat, well one or two heart beats but pretty damn quick anyway.
The sound of shooting brings cops pouring out from their station house, they see the girls and everyone takes an insight test and again the blue counters indicate who reacts first.
Becky failed to react, I guess she was so horrified at Sugar shooting the cop, but Gabrielle and Hans, the cop on the left react together, he failed to fire and she misses him with her first shot and then her pistol clicks on a dud round.
James Lamore snapfires at Gabrielle and scores 3 hits, fortunately for her the gate provides unexpectedly good cover and only 1 shot hits her, but in the chest.
She falls OOF. Enrico shoots at Roxanne but misses and realises he’s only put 2 cartridges in the shotgun when it clicks empty - bugger. Captain Andy can’t get a clear shot and when Roxanne points her pistol she realises with a sinking feeling that she didn’t put the clip in after the flight and there’s just a deafening silence.
Becky reacts last and in spite of her misgivings about a gun fight with the cops on their first day in a new country coolly puts a round into Hans, killing him outright and then 2 into James, right leg and chest and he drops to the ground OOF.
Roxanne starts to load her pistol and Enrico is so shocked by the gunfire he fails to activate, Susan Gunn walks calmly across the road and fires 3 times with her shotgun but misses each time. Rebecca with a gun in each hand blazes away and hits Enrico in the gut and he dies a painful death.
Becky cool as a cucumber shoots Captain Andy before he can get a shot off, and hits him twice, sending him OOF.
It’s all over in a split second, lots of dead or injured cops, that’s not a good start to this part of the story.
The view from across the yard. With all the police down the girls make their way quickly out of town to the rendezvous with John Hawke and the river boats. They have to carry or half drag Gabrielle but all eventually get there.
Tune in next time for the journey up the mighty river Changoon in a selection of newly painter river boats, through fresh jungle, not more than 2 weeks old, although still needing a coat of mat varnish, into the unknown and unexplored Changoon hinterland, meeting strange and deadly creatures, wild and dangerous inhabitants as well as natural dangers the like of which have never been seen on wide screen cinema before.
I just thought this picture of the overall table might be interesting, or maybe not. This is my new wargames room, much brighter and pleasanter than the last one.
Well if you’re still here – thanks for reading and I greatly appreciate your thoughts on how the Becky saga is progressing.
It's late at night and I'm in a boatyard in Devon, tomorrow we get launched and after that electricity, water, and internet become rarer than hens teeth, so I'm not sure when I will get to respond to anything you might comment on but give me a bit of time.