Thursday, 22 January 2015

Circle the wagons - both of them!

So finally I have painted up the Apache attackers, and bought and painted the two wagons I needed to play the holdup. I am using the Six Gun Sound (SGS) rules from Two Hour Wargames, though I have bolted on the In Sight reaction rules from the free Chain Reaction ruleset from the same company. That set is more recent than the SGS rules, and they say they plan to issue a new version of SGS soon. The Chain Reaction rules do seem to handle group encounters in a more understandable way.

Anyway my hero (or Star) is Mandingo, a Gunfighter character with stats of Rep 5, Toughness 3, Sand 4. In Spring of 1875 he is drifting in Wyoming, and has an encounter when a pair of wagons he is escorting is ambushed by Apaches. As well as Mandingo and two wagon drivers there are four Rangers in the escort, and the Apaches brought nine warriors with assorted weapons. All these things - type of encounter, size and number of each side and the detailed stats of each character, are rolled up on tables in the rules.

The Apaches were in three groups of three - in the picture one group is out of sight in the foreground. Mandingo was at the rear of the wagon train, with the rangers on either side. The Apaches moved forward under cover of the hills, until the group to the rear right of the wagons came over the crest and into Mandingo's sight.

One of the features of SGS is the exchanges of fire - two enemies don't just have a shot at each other - they blaze away and take reactions until one or the other has to stop - through being knocked down, forced to duck back or running out of ammo. This works well in small encounters, but can get confusing where substantial groups meet, as you have to follow one exchange down to a conclusion, and then go back "up" to run the next exchange. It gets particularly difficult when one man can fire at two or more opponents - this triggers "Been Shot At" reactions from each target. As I said I switched to the reaction tests for groups from Chain Reaction, which is a little simpler.

So, Mandingo fired at two of the attackers, and missed both. One ducked back behind the hill, but the other fired at Mandingo - and missed. Mandingo then fired back again and wounded him, knocking him out of the fight. Next the third Apache took his shot at Mandingo and again missed, and after another exchange the Apache was hit in the head and killed outright.

The second Apache group came over the rocky hill to the rear left of the wagons, and this time two of the rangers as well as Mandingo were involved. An Apache with a bow did some damage, killing one ranger and wounding Mandingo in the leg. In further exchanges the attackers were all killed, but not before Mandingo had been hit again, in the arm, and put out of the fight.

The fight went on without him as the third attacking group came over the hill, but despite losing one more ranger the defenders, including the two wagon drivers, comfortably finished off the rest of the Apaches.

The SGS rules include recovery from wounds, and it took until the following Spring, 1876, before both wounds were healed. Because he finished Out of the Fight Mandingo didn't gain any points towards a Rep increase. In the Spring phase Mandingo found work as a Ranger in Wyoming, and I have rolled an encounter with him and six companions attacked by 28 Apaches. I am minded to re-roll this - that is more like a small skirmish battle than a Wild West gunfight, and it's also not in the sweet spot for these rules, IMHO. (Plus, I only have eight Apache figures). So it may turn out that Mandingo wasn't in the Ranger platoon which fought the Apache after all, and we'll have a proper gunfight instead.

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