Monday, 13 November 2017

A Small Skirmish in Africa

Got together with Nick and Alan (Martin - who painted all the figures and scratch-built all the terrain we used - see his tutorials) on Saturday to play  a small game of Osprey's Pikeman's Lament.

I was Portuguese defending a small trading fort/post, and Nick was a Spanish column attacking it, sometime in C17, somewhere in East Africa. Alan umpired (as he knew the rules and I'd never played it before, and Nick only once).

I had two small units of European commanded muskets, two groups of native spearman, and one group of native shot. Nick had two blocks of European musket, one of pike, and two of arab native mercenaries.

The fort had a large area of open ground in front of it, into which came a broad track. Either side of the track was heavy undergrowth/jungle, but with lots of small tracks.

I started with all my troops on blinds, about 16 small dice showing possible jumping off points, but only 5 with units. One native band set up ambush in the left most jungle, one in the right (focussed on the track, and the shot hidden in the bushes near the fort. One commanded musket was in the fort - it could rake fire to the edge of the jungle, the other was in the nearer part of the left side jungle ready to ambush anyone making it as far as the open space.

Nick advanced his Europeans down the track, and put the arabs to work clearing the jungle on either side.

The leading musketeers on the main track spotted my natives who immediately rushed them. They managed to destroy the musketeers, but were themselves toast after taking 1 man off the following unit. It was the same story in the left jungle where my natives destroyed the Arab mercenaries after a prolonged struggle, but were then eliminated themselves as they burst out onto the main track, taking out again just one extra man.

On my right flank Nick's other unit of mercenaries pushed on through the jungle and emerged onto the plain in front of the fort. Before they could rush the door my native shot came out of hiding and lined up ready to take them on, but a few well aimed shots from the fort's garrison sent them scurrying back to the wood.

Nicks two remaining units of Europeans (one each of musket and pike) then pulled out of the track and onto the plain. A firefight between them and my native shot and the garrison gradually wore the force down.

I then pushed my second Commanded Shot detachment out of its hiding place and into Nick's rear. Nick responded by sending his Arab's across the back of his pike & shot to protect their rear, but my well-trained matchlocks made short work of them, but by this time I'd lost my local shot.

Nick two remaining units were rapidly failing though, and we have a wonderful situation where my garrison fire on one, and the commanded shot on the other. Both of Nicks units suffered adverse morale and so had to fall back - into the range of my other unit - who then fired again and sent Nick back to his original position - but losing a man or so each time!

This game of ping-pong lasted a few rounds, but eventually his units gave up the ghost and I won.

Interestingly although I'd lost all my local troops I'd only lost 2 European figures, so I guess that would have been called a result back in those less enlightened days.

All in all a great game, with lovely figures and terrain. A few oddities in the rules and not quite sure about the step change from full to half strength and then no further loss til you've gone, but I guess it made it simple and deadly! Thanks to Alan for hosting!

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