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M&T Game Report with Richard Stubbs

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:53 am    Post subject: M&T Game Report with Richard Stubbs Reply with quote

Played a game of Muskets and Tomahawks with Richard Stubbs yesterday
at the League of Ancients meeting. We used a mixture of my miniatures,
for the Huron Indians allied to my French, and Mark Robbin’s miniatures
for the French regular troops, and Richard’s British Rangers and Iroquois

Richard and I are both rather new to Muskets and Tomahawks, having
only played a few games each. The rules are pretty straightforward
though. Surprisingly easy to learn. It uses a card draw mechanic to
activate units, so you’re never sure what units on who’s side will activate
next; there’s where much of the tactical thought comes in. Every unit will
activate several times a turn, and sometimes random events will occur
like a thunderstorm or blizzard rolling in, a unit running out of powder, or
a random attack by a grizzly bear or mountain lion (no shit, it happens).
These events aren’t frequent; we got two in our game, and that was
bucking the odds quite a bit.

I had a French Regular officer, two units of 12 Regulars, a Huron officer, a
unit of 6 Huron with rifles, 6 bloodthirsty Huron (better at assault, worse at
shooting) and 6 normal Huron.

Richard had two two British Ranger officers, two units of 8 Rangers, a unit
of 10 (or maybe 8?) light infantry (like Rangers but not as good), an
Iroquois officer and two units of 6 Iroquois.

Here was our table:

The first thing you do in M&T is dice for objectives and sideplots. The
objectives tell you what kind of scenario you’ll be playing, and the
sideplots are extra ‘mini-objectives’ that serve as tie-breakers. There are
dozens of these little sideplots, and they add a bit of character to the

One cool detail is that the type of force you use modifies your roll on the
mission table. So if your troops are mostly regulars, you’re likely to be
defending a village full of civilians, or engaging and destroying an enemy
force. If you’re using light infantry you might be doing that, or you might
be scouting, or attacking a village. And since the French and British tended
to pay their Native allies to do the nastiest work, if your force is mostly
Native American, you’re most likely to be trying to slaughter civilians or
burn their homes.

Richard rolled up a reconnaissance mission. Dividing the table into six 2’
by 2’ squares, he had to get troops to end a turn in each square, and then
get a third of his forces off table alive. Note that they didn’t have to be the
same troops, so he could sneak forward with part of his force, and then
flee with the rest. For his sideplot, Richard rolled up the need to protect a
precious item. We didn’t have a suitable chest of gold or Maltese Falcon,
but there were no civilians on table in this game so we used one of my
settlers. Assume that she’s too panicked and prone to fainting to flee, like
an infantilised female character in a Hollywood film from the 40s (or the 30s,
or 20s, or 50s…man, it would suck to be a chick).

Allow me to present the good Miss Muffet, fiancé and true love to Richard’s
commanding officer:

I rolled up an Engagement. Find the enemy, and destroy at least two thirds of them.
For my sideplot, I simply had to thwart Richard’s.

There was a bit of hidden movement early on from my Huron, and from everything
in Richard’s force. ‘Scout’ units like Indians, Rangers, Light Infantry, etc can deploy
as hidden tokens, a third of which are dummies and two thirds of which will turn into
units when they choose, or when an enemy gets close enough to spot them. Of course,
terrain effects spotting, as does the stealthiness of the unit. The spotting mechanic is
important not only for revealing the hidden movement tokens, but also because you
obviously can’t shoot anyone you can’t see. Regular troops in tight formation are
powerful in the open, but blundering about in thick forests they’ll get shot at by
skirmishers that they can’t see to shoot back at.

So I moved both regular units up the middle of the table, one into the little village
and one to the left of it. I sent my Huron officer and two units of Huron up the right
flank, and on the left flank I put a couple dummy markers and the unit of rifle-armed
Huron. I initially used hidden movement, but then revealed my Huron because there
is an advantage to revealing your own markers rather than your opponent doing it by
moving into spotting range.

Richard’s force was a mass of hidden movement markers to my left, front and right.

Unfortunately I only brought enough hidden movement markers for my own force and
Richard didn’t have any, so he mostly had to use dice. A bit messy, and last night I made
a bunch more markers for future games.

Since my objective was simply to kill the enemy, and Richard’s required him to move past
me to scout my table quarters, I figured I would set up a broad front, let him come to me,
and concentrate my forces to beat up a few units.

One of Richard’s Iroquois units was caught slinking behind the village fence by one of my
regular units. That meant I got to set them up around the hidden movement marker, rather
than Richard. I put them where both my units of regulars could fire at them, though they
would be at long range and have light cover. Two crashing volleys later, and four of the six
Natives were dead! The other two rolled poorly on their morale reaction, and fled into the
fields, where they would have to stay for the rest of the turn.

Feeling emboldened, my right-flank Huron (officer, normal unit, bloodthirsty unit) rushed
forward to attack Richard’s one unit of Iroquois and Iroquois officer. Richard surprised me
by turned them around before I could charge in, and simply marching them off table. He
did the same in the next turn with the two survivors of the unit I had shot up. This was clever
on his part. They had already scouted the middle and rightmost sectors on his table edge,
and by walking them off table he prevented me from scoring the kills, and got 9 of the 13
models he needed to evacuate to fulfil the second half of his objective.

My Huron, left with no one to scalp, set off to run the length of the table, bearing down on
a terrified Miss Muffet, and a bunch of Richard’s hidden movement markers.

Richard, meanwhile, revealed two units of Rangers, a junior Ranger officer, and a unit of light
infantry all on my left flank. My one unit of Huron with rifles fired a volley, and sang their
death-prayers. That, or cried for their mothers. I don’t know, I don’t speak Huron-Wyandot.

You’ll see that my regulars are swinging around to deal with the sudden reality that almost all
of Richard’s British troops are flanking me. The two dice in front of the Huron represent smoke
markers, which we didn’t have cotton wool for (another detail to fix). Smoke markers mean
you’ve fired. They make you easier to spot, and you can’t shoot again until you reload with
an action and remove the markers. Unfortunately, rifles take twice as long to reload as muskets,
two actions. The left-flank Huron had really been hoping to snipe at range, not get up close and

Richard got a good run of cards, and before I could pull my Huron back he had charged his Rangers
into the woods and into close combat, with their junior officer alongside. The Huron lay a couple
Rangers out with their tomahawks and knives, but were all killed.

Now the British were sweeping around behind me. If he could just cross the table and scout the last
two quarters of my half, and get four miniatures off his back edge, Richard would win by completing
his main objective. If I completed my main objective in the same turn, then it would be a tie with
sideplots to decide it. But that was unlikely, given our objectives.

At the other end of the table, my bloodthirsty Huron heard the sounds of their brothers being
slaughtered. They turned around and ran back, through the village, to intercept the Rangers who
were now in my half. Meanwhile, the normal Huron unit charged towards Miss Muffet and the last
hidden movement marker. Sure enough, that turned out to be Richard’s commanding officer,
Sir Richard “the Mouse-hearted” Blothington, who watched from the woods as the Huron officer threw
a rope around his fiancé and dragged her off for a LordT love-and-dumpster special.

As Blothington ran off through the woods, my Huron gave him what he deserved by rolling sixes to fire
through the scrub at long range and kill the skulking coward.

The British light infantry took cover at the edge of the woods and fired at one of the French regular units.
Several of the white-coated Frenchmen fell, but their iron discipline held, and their return volley was
devastating. Over the course of a couple exchanges, the French were reduced from 12 to 7, and the British
lights from 10 to 4. The Brits broke cover and ran for the back edge, hoping to escape. Richard needed to
get them all of his back table edge to complete his objective, while the Rangers scouted the last two sectors.
The game was going to be close!

Meanwhile, the two units of Rangers lost some of their number to volleys from my other regular unit. One
of the Ranger units fled off table. Note, because they fled off my table edge, and were reacting from fire
rather than marching under orders, the rules state that they count as killed.

However, the fourth turn now ended, and Richard’s surviving Ranger unit and junior officer had now
scouted the last two table sections. We shuffled the deck and went into turn five, Richard praying for two
“British Irregulars” cards to come up in a row so that he could run his four surviving light infantry off table.
Meanwhile, I needed “French Indians” cards to have my bloodthirsty Huron rip into his Rangers, and win
the game for me. If we both completed our objectives in the same turn, then the fact that I had won my
sideplot and Richard had lost his would decide the game for me.

The first card we flipped was an event, which had no important effect. The second card was a British
Indian card, but they were all gone. The third card was a French officer card. I had my French Regular
officer give his action to a nearby regulars unit, to reload their muskets. My Huron officer raced over to
join his bloodthirsty tribesmen, making the possible charge even more devastating. The suspense built!
And then…

Seven beautiful, screaming, painted Huron leapt on the Rangers, tomahawks flashing silver bright and
then blood-red.

The Rangers had three dice to strike back. If they could kill three Huron, there was a chance some of
them would survive. Luckily for me, when it counts Richard sucks:

Apologies for the blurriness; the photographer was giggling like a Chinese schoolgirl on a gameshow.

We did the math. I had now killed precisely two-thirds of Richard’s troops; my objective was complete.
Richard’s last hope was that his Light Infantry would escape. Even then, it would have been a minor
loss for him. But my French Regulars got the next card. They fired and killed one of the four Lights, which
meant that Richard no longer had enough surviving troops to move off his table edge and complete his
objective. A major victory to the French!

As the scattered, fleeing British Light Infantry and Rangers skulked off to discard their uniforms and
take up new lives with new names as fur traders on the frontier, the French and Huron marched home,
the Huron dragging a sobbing Miss Muffet with them.

Last edited by Tyler on Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:07 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sob Sad it was going so well - then it wasnt .

The game was great fun , the objectives for each force make it really interesting and I love the hidden movement thing .

Only activating when your card is flipped adds another layer of uncertainty ( & therefore interest) to the game.

Ive played a couple of games now and really enjoyed them . I went home from this game and ordered up some French Canadians .

Sigh, another painting project
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed Richard. I'm, obviously, a big fan of the game. I look at so many of the mechanics and think to myself, "Fun. They really know how to make it fun. These guys just get it."
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The card based random turn order doesn't work so well for traditional games between regular armies but is excellent for the sort of irregular skirmishing you get in M&T.
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