This is the earliest game historically I have fought in the man cave using the block armies. I opted for a small French and Indian War action using Bob Cordery's Big Battle Portable Wargame 19th Century rules with only a few 'tweaks'. To allow for smooth bore weapons I reduced the range for infantry firearms to two hexes. I also made the Indian units three blocks strong rather than four in order to make them a little more brittle than their formed and regular opponents. Then I thought about the vexing problem around classifying the units I was going to use. All the regular infantry was rated as average when fighting in the open but as poor when in the woods. Similarly, the Indians were rated as elite in the woods and poor in the open. The Rangers were elite and the militia, poor. Each side had four command points, potentially modified by a dice roll each turn. No artillery was present on either side.
1 x Commander (1) - General James Teakirk
3 x Infantry (4)
2 x Militia (4)
1 x Roger's Rangers (2 x 2)
Strength Points 25 - Exhaustion Level 10
1 x Commander (1) - Comte de Reynard
2 x Infantry (4) - Regiments Bearnaise and Hollandaise
6 x Indians (3)
Strength Points 27 - Exhaustion Level 13
Somewhere in the Ohio Valley....
General James Teakirk and his column had left Fort Enterprise the previous morning, bound for the Walton homestead. His mission was a simple one, to reach the homestead and escort the families back to civilisation as trouble was in the air. The woodland tribes had been restless, no doubt stirred up by the French, so his force was tasked with both an escort and a deterrent role. Nothing had happened as yet although his trusted guide, Falcon Nose, the half-breed Indian scout, had warned him that there might be trouble. Teakirk was confident that his command could cope with most eventualities although he took the precaution of ensuring that the Rangers were deployed out front and on either flank, to scout ahead of the main column. His two units of Virginia militia were positioned with units of regulars all around them - publicly as a show of solidarity with the Americans but privately to make sure that they did not run off at the first sign of trouble. Like all regular British commanders Teakirk was not overly enamoured with the units of militia under his command.
Their route to the homestead followed a winding track through the easier reaches of the forest but it was still a wild and godless place. Very little air or light seemed to penetrate the gloomy depths of the forest and even the wildlife seemed to speak in hushed tones. The only sounds were those of a body of men tramping wearily on to an uncertain fate and losing themselves in their haunted thoughts as they did so. The heat; the stillness; the feeling of oppression all weighed heavily on the men of Teakirk's column as they pushed on. Even the General was not immune to the dank and fetid atmosphere; surely this must be the final frontier, he mused, for we are boldly going where no man has gone before....
The Comte de Reynard was footsore, weary and very pleased that his grueling march through the forest was at an end. Led by their Indian allies they had made a rapid march from deep in the heart of their territory in order to capture the Walton homestead. The families had been escorted away by some of the Indians under strict instructions that no harm was to befall them - De Reynard had given his word on the matter - under the threat of severe repercussions from the Great King across the Sea. He was confident that his orders would be obeyed. His small force, comprising but two detachments from the regiments Bearnaise and Hollandaise had occupied the small complex of buildings comprising the homestead and had also erected some log barricades so the whole place was quite well protected. Some three quarters of his force was made up of woodland Indians from an obscure branch of the great Iroquois tribe under the leadership of their chief, Mingua. He knew the British were coming, his scouts had been shadowing them almost from the time they had left Fort Enterprise; and his preparations were complete. His regular infantry would hold the homestead and the fight would be carried out by the Indians. De Reynard knew as well as any man that when came to fighting amidst the great trees of the forest then Mingua and his warriors had no equal.
The British were walking into a trap.