Thursday, May 21, 2015

Indian fighting at Fort Meigs

Friday night's crowd was full for Ohio Frontier Aflame and saw a massive French victory
I'd decided that I would be changing the four scenarios I run as part of "The Ohio Frontier Aflame" game that I run at conventions. So, the trip up to Fort Meigs for Drums at the Rapids 2015 would be the last running of these games. The four battles seem well balanced, with a wide variety of French-allied victories and British-allied wins. I use the games to showcase my French & Indian War rules, Song of Drums and Tomahawks (which you can see for sale on the table in the picture above!). As always, I receive compliments on the look of the table, and once again players had fun and enjoyed themselves. We sold 11 copies of the rules that weekend, though three were to the Fort Meigs gift shop. That is something I'd like to do this summer -- contact the gift shops of historical sites and see if they'd be interested in carrying our rules.
The Huron rescue party takes a two-pronged approach to their attempt to recover their captives from Stockbridge Indian raiders
Commercialism aside, it was nice to have a full eight players for both Friday evening and Saturday morning's games. We were put in the meeting room of the visitor center due to my 12' long table. The players were happy to use the rolling, comfy office chairs, though once the game gets going, most end up standing a significant percentage of the time! Even better, by opening the Venetian blinds in the meeting room, we had a nice view of the reconstructed War of 1812-era Fort Meigs. There is nothing like playing a game set in the contested frontier while looking out at a battle site that played a part in the struggle. Even better, after I'd packed up Saturday afternoon, I went for a one hour stroll through the fort grounds (which are included in the convention admission). Fort Meigs is an excellent, atmospheric site, and I always make it a point to take one of the gaming sessions off and take my time to explore the fort. Many of the blockhouses have displays and exhibits, so it is easy for a history buff to eat up an hour or more immersing yourself in the past.
A wagonload of women and children are so close to reaching the safety of the blockhouses, but Indian raiders close in to try to cut off their escape
Friday night's game was a hoot, as I knew a good number of the players. There was lots of bantering back and forth (I know...surprise, surprise!), and the players frequently found humor in the events of the game. There is a truism in miniature gaming that you should never seek to roll dice against kids and women. However, the French-allied side disproved that one by trouncing Heidi and three Toledo-area high school students fairly handily. Everyone enjoyed their games, though. There was an especially dramatic moment when the sole surviving Stockbridge Indian held off a half dozen Hurons, killing several in turn. Had he killed one more he would have forced a morale check on the Hurons (who were teetering close to the "Below 50%" mark). If the rolls went bad, that hero could have won the day. Numbers eventually told, though, and the Hurons recovered their women and children captives from the Stockbridge allies of Rogers Rangers.
Ojibwe Indians use trickery to gain access to a British fort and attack the garrison
Saturday's game was much, much closer. It also saw one of the rare occurrences of reinforcements from one game turn the tide in the other. The Ojibwe Indians were driving the British soldiers out of the fort and were close to winning the game, when suddenly a force of a half dozen frontiersmen showed up at the front gate. They had driven off the Indians who were rampaging around their blockhouse (sadly, not before the Indians had scalped a wagonload of women and children trying to reach the safety). The frontiersmen were in a vengeful mood, and their arrival turned the tide and rescued the British regulars. That incident alone may have been what made the French-allied side eke out a narrow victory in the second game. As always, the players seemed to enjoy themselves, with a number purchasing the rules after playing.
Atmospheric Fort Meigs -- strolling its reconstructed War of 1812 grounds is a bonus to your convention admission!
In the evening, four of us tested out my friend's scenario he will be running this weekend at Nashcon. Keith is one of my co-authors, and he will be running a three-scenario array chronicling stages of the Raid on Fort Amanda. We played the Boat Builder scenario, which features an Indian warparty attacking a lightly-armed working party building boats along the river. After one turn, the Indians had wreaked so much slaughter, Keith did a "reset" and changed some parameters of the scenario. This resulted in a much closer game. To my surprise, our boat builders -- most of whom do not have muskets -- were able to win the game. Particularly satisfying was defeating my other coauthor Mike on our half of the battlefield...!

All in all, it was a good weekend of gaming at Fort Meigs. I highly recommend people check out one of the events HMGS Great Lakes holds there: Drums at the Rapids in May, and World at War Miniature Wargaming Day in November. They are intimate, friendly events that you are bound to enjoy.

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