Viewer's Choice Celebration MiniCampaign

It has now been over 20 years since I launched "With MacDuff On the Web" and nearly 10 years since I launched my 2 blogs: Gathering of Hosts and Battle game of the Month.

To celebrate the years and the friends and the million hits I've decided to run a 3 game mini-campaign in late October. By popular vot e it will be set in the mid 18th Century.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Come Patriots All (History into Fiction Pt 3)

"Come Patriots All" was the name I gave to the 1837 Rebellion game that I ran at Cold Wars in 2004. I had put in from my mind almost entirely which struck me as odd when this thread started itself.  Never mind that this game won me my first solo Battle Streamer Award, but it had many of the elements that I was chasing in my "Oh for a Muse of Fire" post last month and was the only Rebellion game that I had run, (well the only 1837 Rebellion, in 15mm in years past there were those Vendee games, oh and Guadaloupe and then....hmmm an unoticed trend seems to be developing), More than that, I think I now understand exactly what I was trying to achieve and why the game worked even though I didn't really think much about either at the time, I was just designing a small 54mm multi-player convention game which I wanted to be a little out of the ordinary and to see my rebellion figures take the table. Mind you while exploring it this week, I think I figured out why it more or less disappeared from my mind afterwards. Some of you can probably figure that out, the rest will have to wait or skip ahead!

Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of the actual game, one of the many downsides of GM'ing a game solo. Fortunately, I have the next best thing, some pictures which Lawrence, our official photographer, took of a version of the game played at Gary's place 2 years later.

At the far end of the table on the left, outlined with a thin red line, is a town containing an armory with muskets and powder to be issued to the loyal militia and where the RN gunboat is stationed. In the middle ground on the right is the Inn where the rebels are gathering.  Across the woods from it is the village where the Patriot Hunters are landing. (The table was a foot narrower than the one I originally designed the game for but it worked. ) Finally there are various roads leading off the table, most of which will see units of one side or the other arriving at various points.
So far so good but its the little extras like secret, conflicting victory conditions and the difficulty of identifying the sympathies of armed men in civilian clothes where such appear on both sides, that add the spice and flavour. Unfortunately I can't find my notes and memory fails so I can't remember all of the details but in essence the parties were as follows: 
a) The Patriot Hunters. Their mission was straight forward. link up with the Canadian rebels and give the red coated Tyrants a bloody nose, oh, and, umh  best keep the lines of communication open for reinforcements to come in or in case a retreat looks necessary. They begin the game with a small beachhead on the Canadian shore and the rest of their volunteers back in the US, across the St. Lawrence. A handful of small boats are available for ferrying volunteers. 

A Patriot 6 pounder 'borrowed' from the New York Militia as was done at the Windmill.
b) The Garrison. This is composed of  Permanent Militia including one of the Coloured Companies but the call has gone out for the sedentary militia to gather and companies are expected to arrive by various roads. The companies marching in have white arm bands which they are told is to identify Loyal Militia. Their main mission is to guard the Armory but the Major is a rabid Loyalist and  Tory who despises Reform and Republicanism and has a burning desire to burn out the rebels that he has heard are gathering at the Inn, and hang their leader.

c) The Royal Navy. Thorough professionals, the gunboat and a company of Royal Marines are to repel any attack and assist local authorities. Their primary mission is to control the waters up to the international boundary (which conveniently follows the table edge) but they are not to violate US Neutrality.

d) The Army. More professionals but backed with militia. They march in from the foreground and their goal is stamp out the rebellion and repel any invaders. Period. The General knows the Armory is being guarded but doesn't know anything about anyone else on the table.
The 93rd Highlanders attempt to trade fire with Patriot riflemen lurking in the woods. 

e) The Rebels. Last but not least, their mission is simple, gather enough men on table, march on the armory, equip the pike armed men and over throw the government. They start with a small force at the inn but more men are expected down the various roads. Yes, the same roads that the loyal militia are arriving on. No one has told the rebels about the armbands. The only real twist though is the secret condition for the senior Rebel leader. His life is obviously way more important than anything else  so while he will win big if the Rebels succeed, as long as he can survive the game and escape to the US then he wins.  
The Rebels and Patriots converge on the town.

The 2004 CW game saw the Patriots winning an artillery duel with the RN gunboat but the rebels that they
were to rendez-vous with took a pasting. It didn't help that some of their reinforcements were surprised  on the road and despite a bold pike charge, dispersed. The Rebel leader sized up the situation, slipped into the woods and made a mad dash across the table, securing a place in the boats.

In 2006 the Patriots used their gun to hold off the militia reinforcements. (you need something more than militia if you're going to push columns into cannister)  The Highlanders were sent to disperse the Rebels but ran afoul of Patriots pushing though the woods. It was  the old story redcoats with muskets in line in the open against riflemen firing from cover. The remainder eventually fell back down the road. On the far side,  the Rebels and Patriots converged on the armory, stoutly defended by the Coloured Company and Royal Marines. It was nip and tuck until the Rebel leader urged his horse to the front and.....was shot down from it. The rebels dispersed and the Patriots had little choice but to make a run for it.

So why did I put this game out of my mind? Essentially because its now been done! The game was too complete, three games in one. It was also a multi-player game which relied heavily on player interaction and choices and would not translate well to a solo game in its current form. However, it does point the way to me and that will be the next post. 

1 comment:

  1. Ross,

    This sounds like it was a delightful game (both times). I am particularly fond of these multi-goal faction type of games . . . but they do need multiple players . . . *sigh*.

    -- Jeff