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A Dark and Bloody Ground» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Played the St. Clair's Surprise scenario... rss

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Jeffery Hatmaker
United States
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I must admit that at first I was a bit conflicted about even buying this game. I just knew that it would be insulting or disrespectful. It was with great trepidation that I finally broke down and bought a copy, since as a woodlands Native, I felt that it might be a bit, I don't know... wrong to enjoy a game based on battles in which so many wise old ones suffered. After having read the rules and actually playing a battle scenario, I can say that I've enjoyed it almost completely guilt free. After a couple of aborted starts, I was finally able to finish this short scenario. It lends itself to solo play rather adroitly. The thing that impressed me the most about the game is that it's actually two games; a macrocosm and microcosm of the conflict. The macrocosm is an aspect I've not yet had the opportunity to experience, (the "atrocity" markers made my skin crawl until I saw that BOTH sides use them, after which my spleen settled down a coupla notches), in that this sort of play really would be best with two players. The microcosm, or tactical, aspect of this game has a lot going for it. First, it really does try to replicate the awful bloodiness and the severe brutality of 18th century combat. There's the initial discharge of the flintlocks, (defensive fire first, followed by offensive fire) and then there's the messy melee that invariably follows. Repeat until no one's left. Melee combat in this game, (much like back in the day), is just as hazardous or even moreso for the attacker as it is for the attacked. My advice would be to keep track of every single dice modifier, whether it's a leader, terrain... whatever, and use them to their full advantage. After the rifles cease, it gets messy, and you're going to bleed, either from loss, or attrition through desertion (a routed unit) or from units being dispersed and or forced to retreat. A very common outcome of melee combat is for the attacker to lose a unit and the defender has one retreat disrupted. This is a good result for the attacker... (!) I've caught myself heaving a sigh of relief when the melee combat result was -- -- . (That'd be a big goose egg.) Rare indeed is the melee attack that hurts the enemy without hurting you. Another thing I liked was the rolls to become undisrupted, etc. This particular scenario if a gimme for the NA player, in that the US commitment level is a dismal 1. That means, (barring a negative dice modifier) disrupted US units must roll a one on a six sided die to turn back over. It just doesn't happen a lot. Add to that the fact that a rifle fire hit waxes a disrupted unit and a good enough melee hit routs it, and you get a recipe for counters limping off the board as fast as they can go! Surround 'em, and they can't fight; only defend... and that at a reduced rate. I like the thoughtful modifiers for the NA forces regarding terrain, leaders, etc. I can tell the player of US forces to FEAR the Tecumseh counter. Even at a young 20, his skills were such that he added to the native version of the commitment roll and acts as a force multiplier for any leader he's stacked with, and on and on! The biggest drawback for the NA side is Rifles. This scenario is uncommonly kind to the NA player, and I still only managed four rifle units out of all of 'em. (All US units have rifles.) All in all, it was great fun, despite a few rules ambiguities in this early version, and I can't wait to find a partner with whom to play a campaign scenario!!

powwowdancer out
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