|Captain Jenks (Center) leading his expedition|
Welcome to this the third game in the Crossroads series. It's been a while since the first two game AAR's so to recap, "The Crossroads" is a scenario from Charles Grant's excellent "Programmed Wargames Scenarios". In this solo game I will take the part of the US Army, while the rules used, my house rules "Comancheria" will play the Cheyenne.
Although the scenario parameters come from Grant's book, the game has been reimagined to replicate the skirmish at Warbonnet Creek in 1876. Having received news of the debacle at the Little Big Horn, frontiersman and showman extraordinaire Buffalo Bill Cody, closed his Wild West show and headed west to offer his services as a scout for the Army. Setting out with a small detachment of troops, Cody participated in the effort to dissuade Indian leaders encouraged by Sitting Bull's success from leaving the Res to join the "hostiles". In this the expedition was successful when the troops ambushed a band of Cheyenne who had just started out on their way. In a brief tussle, Cody killed the Cheyenne leader Yellow Hand (or Yellow Hair depending on who is telling the story) and scalped him claiming "The first scalp for Custer:.
For this game I have assigned my self two companies of cavalry, a small detachment of scouts, and an ammunition mule train. The game was played with a scale of 1 figure = 5 men, and 1" = 12.5 yards or so.
Rolling for my Rep first gave me a Rep of 3! I suppose the men do not much like me as for a captain to still be wet behind the ears would be a bit odd. The troops turned out as follows:
1x Rep 5 (suppose he is there to keep me out of trouble!)
Lt. Johnson, Rep 4.
1x Sgt. Rep 5
3x Troopers Rep 4
1x Trooper Rep 3
Captain George, Rep 5
Lt. Harrison, Rep 4
1x Sgt Rep 5
6 x Troopers Rep 4
2x Troopers Rep 3
1x Rep 5
1x Rep 4
2x Mules loaded with ammunition.
The opposing force would start out as 4 Possible Enemy Forces (PEF) which would leave me facing 1 to 4 warbands each of 4 to 21 figures. Warbands have a few Rep 5 leaders, mostly Rep 4 warriors, and a sprinkling of Rep 3 youngbloods. Under the rules only figures led by a Rep 5 warrior are under direct player control, Rep 4 figures will mill about firing off their ammo then leaving unless a Rep 5 warrior gets them to do otherwise. Rep 3 warriors are very eager to make a name for themselves and will often launch headlong at the enemy. Many of them flee when fired on, some become casualties, and a very few go on to do great things like stealing horses and counting coup.
As before the table was laid out with a four way intersection in the middle, two roads leading off to the west and two off to the east. This time there were no buildings as this fight would take place out in the wilderness.
There was a small rise on the west table edge, and another rise on each of the north east and south east edges. There was a copse of trees just south of the crossroads and two more, one to its north an the third near the east table edge between the roads.
|View of the table looking west|
|Deploying the troops|
This gave me time to put into effect a plan similar to that used in the Napoleonic game in this series. HQ and the scouts would conceal themselves in the center copse. L, the stronger company would remain mounted and take up position west of the rise on the south table edge.
|L takes up a reserve position|
|F skirmishes with packs and mounts concealed in the brush.|
|The enemy arrive in numbers on the northern road.|
|PEF's along the southern road.|
|The southern warband rides into view.|
Seeing this, the northern warband and the recovering warriors from the south rode towards the skirmish line.
|Running away is rarely the right choice on the frontier.|
In any event that is how it played out this time.
As this makes me three for three with this scenario, I need to revisit my AI. Now it is telling that in both this and the Napoleonic game random chance allowed me to get onto the field first and that is a big advantage. Also the Cheyenne in this game suffered from a lack of leaders, and of course that fool hardy counter charge.
Still a fun game and as in most frontier games, the end results do not convey how much on the knife's edge the outcome really was. Had L company been lured away by the southern warband while F was running out of ammo on the northern side of the battlefield...well it would not have been pretty.
I wrote Comancheria over 12 years ago now and it is in need of a little updating. However I was surprised to see how tweaking one thing led to another being off and in the end went mostly back to the original. Only the to hit system and melee system require some work. Some day these may even see publication.
A tip of the hat and as always, thanks for stopping by!