Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Battle of Bloody Run at Advance the Colors 2015

I ran the Battle of Bloody Run once each on Friday and Saturday nights at ATC 2015
 I had been running my Ohio Frontier Aflame for a year at various conventions, so I felt it was high time to shake some things up. I decided to use a historical engagement as my basis for my four battles side-by-side scenario. The Battle of Bloody Run from Pontiac's Rebellions was perfect for the format! It is a sprawling, disjointed battle that could easily be divided up into four (or more) separate engagements.
The 12-foot long table for the Battle of Bloody Run, seen from the fort on the left and Baptiste Meloche's farm on right
The historical background is that Fort Detroit is under siege by Chief Pontiac's Ojibwe, Ottawa, and Potawatomie warriors. A convoy of boats carrying reinforcements, including by Major Robert Rogers of the famous Rogers Rangers, forces its way past the Indian blockade. Shortly thereafter, the British officer in command of the convoy, Captain Dalyell, convinces the post commander to attack Pontiac and break the siege. Pontiac watches the British column leave the fort and waits until it is strung out along the river road. As the van crosses the bridge to Baptiste Meloche's farm, Pontiac springs his ambush. Fighting rages up and down the line. Historically, the British were battered and retreated back to the fort -- thanks to the heroics of some of the British commanders, including Rogers.
British regulars cross the bridge under fire from Pontiac's ambushing warriors
When the redcoats take cover in a treeline, Pontiac sends his warriors forward to engage them in melee
 I created four boards all inspired by the account I read of the battle in the excellent biography of Rogers, "War on the Run," by John F. Ross. One end of the table was anchored by Baptiste Meloche's farm, with two log buildings, a gorgeous Acheson Creations bridge, and woods. British regulars had to force their way across the bridge and drive off Pontiac and his ambushers. The bridge -- which doubles as a pier if you take off one end -- attracted a lot of comments, and led Bryan Borgman (who brought some of their product) to sell out of them at the event! Next in line was a curving line of river road bordered by woods. A detachment of Colonial Militia were escorting some wounded to a waiting bateau. They are attacked by a warband of Indians, their blood fired up for scalps and blood.
Colonial militia escorting a group of wounded are attacked by Ojibwe and Ottawa warriors out for blood and scalps
The third board was inspired by an incident in the battle when Rogers and his rangers seize a log cabin and convert it into a strong point to hold off the swelling numbers of Indians. Since my Acheson Creations log cabins don't really have enough loopholes and windows to simulate this, I also threw in a wood shed and a stone walled cornfield for the rangers to use. The other end of the table was anchored by the outworks of Fort Detroit and a tiny part of Pontiac's original encampment. Here the rearguard was being ambushed by Indians within sight of the fort.
Cheers and groans rang out along the table as dice rolls heralded successes and defeats
The two games filled up with eight players in both. On the first night, the British could do no wrong. They won an overwhelming victory using the scenario VPs I'd created. However, on the second night, it was much, much closer. The British won on two boards and the Indians on the other two. Counnting up the totals, it came to a difference of 10 points -- one scalp! One more British soldier killed and scalped and it would have been a victory for Pontiac. All the players seemed to have a great time.
Indians close in on the log cabin that Robert Rogers and his rangers have occupied
We sold 8 copies of Song of Drums and Tomahawks rules at the show. I was hoping we'd sell more -- especially since we had a dealer table at the show, as well. I think we've hit HMGS Great Lakes conventions fairly well this year, though, and many of the attendees had already purchased them. Time to get back to work on that Beaver Wars in Ohio campaign book...!
Within sight of Fort Detroit, the rearguard of the British column is ambushed

1 comment:

  1. I like the scenario, hopefully i'll get to play it someday. The table looks great as usual.