This weekend I went over to my buddy Thomas house to try out "Muskets & Tomahawks" a set of rules that both of us were very excited to try out - and it was nice to get to play with my French & Indian War collection which have been collecting dust for far too long.
Since this was our first game we kept things relatively simple, we played at the lowest recommended point level (200 points) and avoided picking any specific weather/time of the day effects for our game.
Instead the focus was to try out how well the card activation mechanic would work, and we also wanted to try out as many different types of units as possible. So when I put together the army lists I made sure we had a good variety so that we could sample as much as possible out of the army lists.
The forces, scenarios and side plots looked were as follows:
British Colonial & Indian Allies force
Irregular officer: Robert Ellington II, with Rifle
Natural Talent = Irregulars
Random Talent =Agile
2x6 Colonial Militia auxiliaries (IRREGULAR)
2x6 Iroquois Indian Allies (Muskets) (INDIAN)
1x7 British Provincial soldiers (PROVINCIAL)
British mission: Defense, friendly force is tasked with defending the homes of British settlers. If there are no enemy models within 4" of a building at the end of the game the British win.
British officer sub-plot: Afraid, officer may never move within 6" of enemy models. Surviving the game equals fulfilling the subplot.
French Canadian Force
French Regular officer: Gaspard Bucher, with Pistol
Natural Talent = Tactician
Random Talent = Backstabber
1x 10 French Regulars (REGULAR)
1x 8 French Marines (Canadian Militia profiles) (IRREGULAR)
1x 5 Locally raised Militia (Inhabitant) (MILITIA)
French mission: Scouting mission, the French are to survey the area by moving into each of the 4 quarters of the table and report back with at least 30% of the starting force by reaching the friendly table edge.
French officer sub-plot: Truce, the officer is ordered not to start hostilities. To fulfill the objective French units are forbidden to engage enemy troops until they are attacked by the enemy. Having the enemy attack you first results in fulfilling the sub-plot.
The British Colonials started with the Provincial soldiers, one unit of Indian Allies and one unit of Colonial militia on the table as well as their officer. The remaining militia and Indian units were in reserve. The French all started off table and moved into the small area upon activation, the first to enter were the French locally raised militia which almost immediately came under fire from the British provincials, luckily for this fragile unit the projectiles flew wide and did no harm.
Next to appear were the French Marines, a bit confused as to what they were going to do they began moving up towards the woods in front of the smithy currently guarded by the British Colonial Militia and Indians, the Marines were fired upon and one man was quickly killed. The remaining marines recoiled back out of the woods.
The French Regulars and the French officer arrived at the scene, the Regulars began moving towards the building held by the enemy Provincial troops, the enemy fired at the approaching French but any hit scored at this range only resulted in flesh wounds.
Trying once again to do something about the British around the smithy the French marines once again braved the woods but once again came under fire, lost a man and recoiled. Deciding that the chance of winning a firing duel with two enemy units was slim the remaining marines backed off and began withdrawing towards the position of the French Regular and Locally raised Militia. The only pause for the Marines came when they took up an improvised defensive position behind a fence and fired at the British Indian allies coming in pursuit and standing at the edge of the woods. Both sides fire at each other with little effect.
Meanwhile the French regulars marched up through the muddy pigpen and formed up into a Line formation, they then took aim and opened fire at the British provincials standing outside and inside the building in front of them. The Brits lost 3 men and the remaining soldier panicked and began fleeing while the French were reloading.
The battlefield was shifting with the French coming up on the right flank while the Brits were moving in from the left. Bullets were flying about when the French marines forded the rived and joined up with the regulars to consolidate the French troops. The musket fire from British militia and Indians from across the river killed a single regular but were still too inaccurate to be a real threat. The French regulars decided to storm the building and finish off the remaining British Provincials, busting through the door in open order the melee inside the cramped space proved to be a lot of shoving but very little killing. The end result was that both sides backed away to catch a breath (we played this wrong as they should have kept fighting until one side had the upper edge or got wiped), unfortunately for the French regulars the remaining Provincials raised their muskets and fire at point blank, killing another regular and having the rest of the French recoil out of the building. The end result of us playing this wrong wasn't necessarily an impossible result, the chance of either side being forced to "recoil" away from the fight was equal due to the fighting in the cramped space.
In any case, what followed was the true turning point of the game, the French that had been forced out of the building came under fire from enemy troops across the river once again - but this time the fire was accurate and devastating. with 5 regulars hit and 4 of them being killed! The remaining regulars immediately routed due to a failed morale check. This proved to be an extremely fortunate turn of events for the British since the next two activation cards were... French regulars!
Having lost their best troops the remaining French were going to have a hard time now, but the scouting mission could perhaps yet be fulfilled. Trying to move around the building from where the remaining Provincials kept up sporadic musket fire the remaining French were soon faced by a freshly arrived British Colonial militia unit.
The French locally raised militia took two casualties and then routed, the French marines too came under fire but stayed in the fight. They approached the newly arrived British militia twice, taking casualties but in the end managing to come into close combat - throwing tomahawks they charged and pushed back the enemy, then charged again and had the enemy recoil and lose 2 men. The fire from the nearby building now focused on the remaining French marines and inflicted another casualty which finally had the French marines rout as well - leaving the French officer alone and surrounded.
So much for that scouting mission and seeking a truce heh...
The game was a lot of fun; it was hard to judge unit skills and abilities before playing so the game was a learning experience. The regulars are really brutal when they start firing but you don’t want to remain in line formation for too long as the formation is easier to hit than a loose formation. I think we both have better knowledge of how units are to be used in future games. Thomas actually won early into our game, I think on turn 3, due to an absurdly lucky die roll that was to determine if he had defended the buildings long enough. We decided to keep playing and he ended up winning by killing all of my troops except for the officer. I don't recall the exact number of turns but it could have been 6-7 turns in total.
We both had a great time and really look forward to playing Muskets & Tomahawks again. The game prompted us both to invest in additional miniatures (the one's we played were from my own collection). I ordered a couple of additional models from Perry Miniatures and Warlord Games to round off my French Canadian force.
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