23 August, 2009

Slaughter at Oheke Creek

James Wilson Marshal of Caspar discovers that the Pinkertons are holed up at the Widow Compton's farm by Oheke Creek. He grabs his brother Thomas, deputy Jerry McEwan and long-time friend Hank Shelby to go run them out of town.
All's Quiet at Oheke Creek

The Pinkertons get word of the raid, and start out from the farm through the scrub towards the cooperage on the creek.
The Pinkertons make their move into town

Zeke White and Frank Rucker peel off to make straight for the cooperage
Zeke White and Frank Rucker move towards Jones' Cooperage

Jim McFarland runs ahead, skiring around the high ground and leaving Pete Walsh behind.
Jim McFarland skirts around the badlands overlooking the Creek

Seeing a flash in the distance across the creek, White makes a snap shot at Jerry McEwan hitting him in the leg.
White takes a long-range shot at Jerry McEwan

Taking careful aim, he lets off another few rounds, seriously wounding McEwan, who promptly skedaddles back into town.
McEwan skedaddles

McFarland leap up like a mountain goat onto the heights overlooking the creek to get a better shot.
McFarland climbs on top of the heights to get a better shot

With a lot of lollygagging going on between the marshals, James Wilson and Hank Shelby finally reach the creek and get ready to cross the stream. Over to their left, Thomas Wilson has crossed the creek successfully and drags himself out, soaking wet but not right beside the cooperage.
James Wilson and Hank Shelby get ready to cross the bridge

White and Rucker position themselves behind the barrels, ready to get a good shot at anyone crossing the bridge.
White and Rucker try to get a good angle on the bridge

White moves around the barrel hut and catches Shelby unawares. He shoots him in the gut.
White hits Shelby in the gut

Shelby goes down, for good. Wilson curses and unloads his shotgun at the Pinkerton before running for cover by the old mill.
Shelby goes down, for good

From here Wilson can get a better shot at White but has no luck with either of his shots.
James Wilson moves around to get a shot at White

With Wilson no longer covering the bridge, Rucker moves up alongside the barrel hut and fans the hammer, emptying his six-gun at Wilson, but missing each time.
Rucker fans his revolver at Wilson but misses each time

White takes careful aim at Wilson and puts a round in his chest. Wilson's last act is to wave away his brother, knowing he'll surely die in the crossfire the Pinkertons have set up in the vicinity.
White takes aim at Wilson and shoots him dead

Looks like the Pinkertons rule the roost at Caspar, Wyoming. Vanderbolt's plans can be brought forward now...

A few post-mortem thoughts:
If you look at the first photo of the game showing the terrain, the Marshals started just at the top of the setup beyond the rough ground. The Pinkertons started off near the tall grass at the bottom of the setup (in fact you can see their hats if you look closely)
This should have allowed the Marshals to get to and control the bridge and the buildings just beyond before the Pinkertons got to them which would have made the gunfight very interesting. However as the movement cards were drawn the Pinkertons got theirs much earlier than the Marshals did (despite Loughlin's careful poker shuffle). That combined with the Pinkertons having a high agility and being able to move on the 'Greased Lightnin' card mean that getting stuck on the other side of the bridge proved to be terrible for the Marshals.
Combining with this was an initial "heroic moment" shot at long range causing the marshal with the rifle to skedaddle (everyone else was armed with pistols or a shotgun). The Pinkertons then had a definite advantage until the Marshals could close the distance.
With the Marshals split into two definite pairs the skedaddling rifleman was out of range for the leadership check needed to talk him back into the game.
If the Marshals had actually put in some successful shots the fragile Pinkerton morale may have faltered, but as it was the eagle-eye shooting of White accounted for two dead and one seriously wounded marshal.

The People of Caspar, Wyoming

The Caspar Marshal, James Wilson, his brother Thomas Wilson, deputy Jerry McEwan and long-time friend Hank Shelby.
Caspar Marshals

Caspar Townsfolk: Batt Farrell, old timer Jeb Masterson, Danny and Jake Peterson, Marty Evans and local hot shot Andy O'Reilly.
Caspar Townsfolk

The Pinkertons: Frank Rucker, Jim Mcfarland, Pete Walsh and Zeke White.
The Pinkertons

Johnson County Sheriff, Charles Sloane and his deputy Bill Harvey. Rumours are that he's in the pocket of the Vanderbolts but no one knows for sure...
Johnson County Sheriffs

Old style Texas cavalrymen Nick Carson and Adam Greggs.
Ol' Texas Cavalry

A Cheyenne war-party has infiltrated the region and in set on more than just counting coup...
The Cheyenne

22 August, 2009

The Battle of Nagashino

The Takeda Army of 15,000 was caught besieging Nagashino Castle by the 30,000 strong Oda Army and the 8,000 strong Tokugawa Army. Takeda Katsuyori, against the advice of all his generals decided not to cut and run but to face his enemies in open battle. Takeda left a small
force to continue the siege and advanced towards the Oda Army.
Meanwhile Oda Nobunaga sent a force of 3000 men to relieve the siege.
The Oda and the Tokugawa having learnt to fear the Takeda Cavalry deployed with them in mind. Putting their well trained and well led arquebusers behind a palisade and behind a stream and deploying the Samurai to exploit the effect of their fire.
The Takeda trusted in the effectiveness of their Cavalry to break the enemies lines.

Battle of Nagashino

The Army Characterization process was surprising, to say the least. The Tokugawa ended up with a hidden palisade. The Takeda ended up with a good possibility of rain, and with the
highest quality of cavalry due to the army effect cards drawn.

It was decided that all the Commanders could also act as heroes – so that when joining a unit they gave that unit Fearsome status, and the
ability to treat Heroic Moments as Wild Cards. With the Personal Leadership rules that unit would also be up 1 die type on rolls for fire, melee, morale and rallies. This wouldsacrifice the ability of the commander to rally other units in his
command, and obviously the risk of leader death was present.

The armies started about 24" apart, with a Class III stream between them. There were some woods and hills but they had no real effect in
the end.

Rain begins to fall, and Takeda's decision to delay battle an extra day looks inspired.
[In the first phase, the Rain & Wet Stratagem turns up. I think - "bad news for the Takeda, they're going to be hard pressed to get
into contact before it stops"]

The Takeda cavalry, screened by archers begins to advance towards the stream.

Takeda cavalry, screened by archers

Then the Tokugawa and Honda Commands fan out from their wave deployment, attaining a line deployment at the palisade.

Tokugawa fan out

The Oda Command have moved forward, its Elite Ashigaru Infantry coming to within a good range of the stream, where the Takeda Command would cross it.

Tokugawa advance to the palisade line

The Naitoh move up to the stream, and the palisade is revealed, directly in front of them.

Naitoh advance to the stream

The Takeda move up to the stream, and crosses the stream almost immediately.

Takeda reach the stream

The Takeda skirmishers and Ashigaru do not cross the stream with the rest of the Clan's forces.

Takeda cross the stream

The Tokugawa fill gaps in their line, but the Naitoh are safe, with rain preventing a short range discharge from the elite Honda arquebusiers.

Tokugawa advance to meet the Naitoh

The Naitoh cross the stream, moving obliquely out of the way of the palisade, and the two small cavalry units form up alongside each other.

Naitoh cavalry form up

the Takeda charge the Takigawa, both the foot Samurai and mounted Samurai making contact with the Takigawa arquebusiers.

Takeda charge the Takigawa line#

Tbe Naitoh charge the Tokugawa as well, the mounted Samurai making contact with the Tokugawa Samurai and the foot Samurai charging the small unit of Honda arquebusiers.
[A Courage card! The Naitoh and Takeda units in contact with the enemy must make morale checks, and all those units pass, even though some of the Naitoh rolls were very close.]
The rain still pours down despite all observations that it should have ended by now.

Naitoh hit the Tokugawa Samurai

The Tokugawa samurai charge the short distance to the Naitoh cavalry but they are riden over and the unit routs. The Naitoh prevent themselves from pursuing.

Naitoh reach the Honda Arquebusiers

With that breakthrough and With the possible destruction of the Tokugawa Command, Honda wheels his entire command around 90° towards the Naitoh anchoring its right flank on the palisade.

Honda command wheels

The Takeda cavalry and their Samurai have ganged up on the Takigawa Arquebusiers. The cavalry attack first and the entire unit is destroyed. The Takeda have broken through the palisade here as well!

Takeda force their way through palisade

Elsewhere on the battlefield the Naitoh Samurai take on the Honda Arquebusiers, this combat results in the speedy destruction of the Honda unit.

the Takeda units charge up the hill at the Takigawa Samurai

Takeda charge uphill into Takigawa Samurai

The Yamagata, the Takeda's manoeuvre Group on the right flank moves quickly, reaches the stream.

Yamagata reach stream

The Takeda cavalry open the melee against the Takigawa on the hill. Although disordered, they still inflict serious damage on the Takigawa. The Takeda Samurai finish off the Takigawa unit, and in so doing the Takeda contact the Takigawa Leader, killing him. The rest of the Takigawa withstands the shock of witnessing the death of their leader unconcerned. The entire Takigawa Clan is out of command.

Takeda take hill

[The "Rain & Wet" Stratagem Card finally turns up, and units will be able to fire in the next turn, even the arquebusiers on the Oda side, whose powder/fire discipline was extraordinary - Typical! Now that both 4 Stand Elite Arquebusers are destroyed.]

The Toyotomi arquebusiers are routed by an exchange of fire between them and the Yamagata skirmishers.

Toyotomi arquebusiers thrown back by skirmishers

The Takeda cavalry wheels to face the flank of the nearby Ashigaru units flank.

Takeda cavalry hit Takigawa Ashigaru flank

With the options to manoeuvre open to them the Naitoh cavalry wheels to face the flank of the Tokugawa mounted samurai, and gets ready to charge.

Naitoh cavalry engage Tokugawa cavalry

The Takeda cavalry charge the flank of the Ashigaru, taking a grave risk as the unit is still disordered from their previous encounter. But they must strike while the iron is hot!

These are no mere levy and are much harder than anticipated, and with no advantage the combat is close. The fates are kind to the Takeda, as they are victorious once more.

Takigawa Ashigaru begin to flee

The Toyotomi Ashigaru charge the Yamagata mounted Samurai, who have just crossed the stream. The Toyotomi Samurai also charge the Yamagata Samurai.

Yamagata and Oda Samurai clash

The Toyotomi Samurai fight the Yamagata Samurai. The Yamagata lose a lot of men and rout. The Toyotomi prevent pursuit, holding their lines.
[Then the Oda turns an Uncontrolled Charge Card] The Toyotomi Samurai charge the Yamagata Samurai who are crossing the stream in disarray and destroy them in short order. Is this the turning of the tide?

Yamagata Samurai thrown back

The Yamagata skirmishers target the other unit of Toyotomi arquebusiers and disorder them. Spurred on by this and [with the Oda having turned a Battle Lust! card] reversing their weapons to use as clubs the Toyotomi Arquebusiers charge the Yamagata Bowmen! To their great detriment, as they are destroyed in the combat.

Toyotomi Arquebusiers charge Yamagata skirmishers

The battle between the Toyotomi Ashigaru charge the Yamagata is very close. The Toyotomi have higher morale and win the combat. Just. The Yamagata cavalry are disordered and in danger of being caught in a pursuit against the stream.

Toyotomi Ashigaru rout and pursue Yamagata cavalry

The Tokugawa cavalry wheels to face their Naitoh opponents.

Naitoh and Tokugawa cavalry charge

The Honda command moves forward towards the Naitoh Samurai. [Then the Command Indecision Card is drawn! All the hard won Tokugawa initiative is lost]

Honda advance on isolated Naitoh Samurai

The Takeda Samurai turns towards the Oda's flank. On the left flank the two Naitoh Samurai units turn towards the Honda Command, now surrounding them front and rear.

Takeda Samurai advance on Oda unit's flank

The Takeda mounted Samurai, heady with success charge the Oda cavalry in the flank. The combat occurs immediately, but the Oda survive the initial impetus and turn to face the Takeda in disorder.

Takeda cavalry charge Oda Ashigaru

The Takeda cavalry overcomes this setback and drives through the Oda unit, driving them from the field. The Takigawa Ashigaru, the Toyotomi Samurai and the Toyotomi Ashigaru all retreat at half movement to avoid flanking attacks, enfilading fire and to be in a position to engage the enemy properly.

Takeda continue rampant charge into Oda cavalry

The Naitoh reel in confused withdrawal going out of command and into disorder and retreating up to the stream. [Wasting the gazillion initiative points it had taken to get them into such a strong position!]

Naitoh command falls back to stream

The Takeda Samurai keep moving deep into the Oda lines, and the Takeda cavalry charges into the Oda Samurai's flank.

Takeda Samurai charge and destroy Oda Levy

This combat ends up with the Oda routing off the battlefield. The Takeda prevents pursuit and surveys the battlefield. Is the day won, or can the Honda Clan salvage something on the other flank?

Naitoh cavalry swarm around Tokugawa

From reading the AAR it looks like the Takeda got an overwhelming amount of initiative – while they did get more than their fair share they used the cards they got better – and the rain really hamstringed the 4 Arquebus units which otherwise would have been playing a lot of the cards.

Having the same initiative split between the two armies hurt as well, and often one of the allied armies would turn over a host of cards without being able to do anything.

The presence of only one Leader Check Card definitely hurt the Takeda, but the presence at a critical juncture of the Rally Again Card followed by that Leader Check Card and a good run of initiative really proved decisive – at that stage the Oda Flank and the Tokugawa could have done some real damage – and this is the run of Takeda initiative that the Tokugawa's Command Indecision started.

All the melees were decisive, even the "handbags at twelve paces" fight between the Yamagata Cavalry and the Toyotomi Levy. Once the Takeda Cavalry had wheeled and began to roll up the Oda Line, it seemed like nothing could stop them - a huge risk on the Takeda's part - for most of that they had been disordered!

The unexpected pace of the Takeda's destruction of the Oda army led to Leaders being left in between units to be gobbled up by the advance. They weren't given the chance to join their units to act as heroes and it would have been interesting to see some Heroic Challenges...

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