08 February 2013

Return of the French & Indian War

At least I hope so, me and Thomas are going to give Muskets & Tomahawk's a try this weekend. The French & Indian War is probably my favorite historical skirmish setting. You get all the pretty uniforms and cool units of the period but the war itself lends itself wonderfully well to skirmishes between raiding and scouting parties. You don't have to paint up 120 guys marching with a bored facial expression and rifle across the shoulder, it's enough to have a dozen of miniatures to get started.

Previously my main set of rules have been This Very Ground, you can see the review of it here on my blog if you search for "This Very Ground". I used to play it with my buddy Calle a few years ago but we were the only two interested in the subject and when Calle gradually reduced his hobby time the game fell out of favor and was more or less lost. While I liked TVG the rules never felt 100%  right, there were a few things that made them cumbersome although they provided enough realism and variety to be fun. They did however tend to be slow played, especially the black powder weapons and the detailed firing modes required tracking and a bit more work. They were not badly written or anything like that, they were just a tad too slow for my taste

Since then my French collection of Provincial Canadians have been collecting dust, at least until "Brink of Battle" was released. Those rules provided a good foundation for the period, but only really allowed for small bands of individually activated models. While perfect for very tiny skirmishes between a dozen vs a dozen men I longed for something just the step above in terms of amount of miniatures, actually something more along the lines of the originally played TVG.

So recently my buddy Thomas ordered the new Muskets & Tomahawk's rules, I was both excited and a bit worried. The preview information told about a lot of cool features, but the rules were also written by the guys behind SAGA - a game I'm not really that interested of because of its "beer & pretzel's" approach. I wanted something with a bit more substance. Fortunately, after having read the rulebook I must say that I look forward to trying out M&T and must praise the authors for a couple of things - those being:
Random traits and personalities for officers (if you want)
Random side plots for officers that affect the victory conditions

There are also day/night/weather conditions and an interesting unit card activation mechanic. The only thing I think is a shame is that the game is D6 based since it has a lot of good ideas and modifiers that would probably feel more at home on a D10. Still I'm happy that the "7+" results exist in a special way.

The idea as it is described in the rules is that players seldom have the time to write scenarios themselves, historical scenarios can be a bit limiting and writing your own may be hard to balance. M&T thus includes a handful of basic scenarios such as raids and scouting missions but then also include a fair share of randomly determined elements that affect officers and each side. You also get a list of random events that occur as you play which should provide the game with an interesting and more "living world" type of experience. How this all ends up playing out I'll have to wait and see until the weekend, and you can rest assured that there will be a proper review of the rules.

Another nice thing, and this is along the lines of TVG, you don't need a vast collection to get started. 200 points around 20 miniatures depending on units and how many officers you want to add to your force. The forces in the book cover French, British, US during the War of Independence, German mercenary troops and Indian nations. You can mix and match units within your warband without a lot of restrictions, so you can have a unit of regulars backed up by a unit of militia and two Indian units if you want - or go with only one troop type.

Presented on the pictures are two 200 points lists, one French Provincial made up of a unit of Regular infantry and one unit of French Marines, with an mounted officer. The other list is made up of a Militia officer, two units of colonial militia and two units of Indian allies.

The games are increased by 200 points between each level, but even at 600 points you don't need a whole lot to play. And since all units are between 4-12 models it makes Perry Miniatures your "go to" source for miniatures as they sell fantastic sculpts in blisters of 6 models at a very competitive price (and cheaper than a few other manufacturers if you look at the price per miniature).

Anyway I'll talk more about Muskets & Tomahawk's next week, stay tuned :-)

5 comments:

  1. Hope you enjoy the game, I know I did

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    1. It honestly looks really good on paper, and getting a dusty part of my miniature collection back into the gaming circuit would be great. Look forward to trying it out this Sunday.

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  2. Very nice first looka at the rules Anatoli !

    Glag that you lovely painted FWI minis will find their wau to the gaming table again:) Looking forward to hear your thoughts of the rules after your firast game !

    Best regards Michael

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  3. I look forward hearing how you get on with these, its always a period I have liked the sound of but have never had the time to really try it.

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  4. I'm looking forward to a complete review after this weekend.
    Probably I'll have the chance to watch or even play M&T myself next week and I'm really curious about it...

    Cheers
    Monty

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