Game of Muskets & Tomahawks

Our first game of M&T to kick off the Fancy & Lintyan War of 1757:  Winter on the Iohi Campaign

Grover’s Corner is a simple homestead at the intersection of the Southbank River Road and the Grover’s Branch Trail which winds into the Shell Hills where a Royal silver mining mill is in operation.  Captain Barksmith, of the 13th Royal Rearguard which is tasked with protection of the mill and the trade route along Southbank Road to Habernaki Station, received report of a Fancy Marine company operating in the Shell Hills with an allied Hornbred Lintyan Warband.  The Captain dispatched Lieutenant John Harvey with a single platoon of regular redcoat light infantry from the 13th Regiment to supervise and assist the First Iohi Provincial Guard, along with their single field piece, a 3-pounder, to set up at the intersection of Grover’s Corner.
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Introduction

I have been gaming for most of my conscious life, mostly board games, roleplaying games, and, more recently, I have taken up the peculiar hobby of collecting and painting toy soldiers.  I started three years ago by borrowing acrylic paints from my wife’s craft materials to provide a bit of color to the little plastic figures and tokens in my boxed set of BattleLore.  Then I bought into a new game called Arcane Legions which bridged a gap between a board game like those in the Commands & Colors series and collectible miniature tabletop games like Warhammer.  I began to lurk about online forums and pick up painting techniques, and soon enough I began buying my own figures to paint, starting with a range of fantasy ships in a line called The Uncharted Seas from Spartan Games; these model ships were relatively inexpensive and fun to paint, compared to the more distinquished historical model ships, and the tabletop game was fun to play.  I soon had a Usual Opponent, and we enjoyed many late night games on a piece of fiber board I had spray painted blue and kept stored behind a bedroom door when not propped on the living room table for nautical adventures.  I started a blog to post pictures taken from those games along with written battle reports.  I began planning and running regular tournament events, first for The Uncharted Seas and then for a newer version by the same company called Dystopian Wars.

In the summer of 2012 I attended my first wargaming convention, the prestigious Historicon which, for the first time, was located only 35 miles from where I now live in Virginia (with my wife and two cats).  Boyhood fantasies were realized during that single day I attended the convention.  I remember how I had attempted to paint plastic green army men to look more like soldiers from the Civil War, painting gray or blue uniforms with a cheap set of watercolor paints, and I even tried to model a bit by flattening the helmets with a craft knife to resemble kepis.  I became enamored of my limited notions of the French & Indian War, setting up battles in the woods behind the house where I lived, using my collection of plastic Indians, some plastic cowboys, and green plastic army men modified to look like musket-armed soldiers.  Now, more than two decades later, I witnessed an assortment of old and middle-aged men, leavened with some younger adults and even children, moving beautifully painted toy soldiers about on tables which were covered with fake trees and little buildings similar to what I had only thought in terms of model railroads before.  With some dice and rules, I saw historical battles brought to a certain vivid presentation beyond textual descriptions and some black & white illustrations.  This was something which brought together my boyhood fantasies and my more adult interest in military history.

After Historicon I bought a copy of Muskets & Tomahawks, my first proper ruleset of historical gaming.  I had played conflict simulations in my young adult years, starting with the classic Axis & Allies and moving onto some games from Avalon Hill and then GMT.  But this was my first endeavor to play some actual historical wargames on the tabletop with painted miniatures.  A visit to a local hobby shop provided a resource for a collection of 1/72 scale figures, each man standing a mere 1-inch tall, of Indians, Revolutionary soldiers, and British Redcoats, all in molded plastic and quite inexpensive.

The more I painted figures the more I investigated the history and uniforms of the 18th century, all while listening to wargaming podcasts, and I came across a show titled Meeples & Miniatures in particular, and some lively conversations with Henry Hyde and his descriptions of Imagi-Nations which are basically alternative historical settings for wargaming–the best part about this concept is I could paint my figures any way I like without regard to historical accuracy, and I began inventing my own little version of the French & Indian War within which I intended to set up and play my own campaign using the M&T rules and my expanding collection of toy soldiers, buildings, trees and terrain all in 1/72 scale.

A company of colonial militia defend a homestead in the Iohi River Valley from a Lintyan raiding party; unfortunately, most of the arrows fired from the nearby tree line find their marks and the militia soon break and run in my first game of M&T.

Like so many moments of sudden invention, I realized the name of my alternative setting to the FIW while in the shower, shampooing my hair.  Rather than “French” I would call my respective faction “FANCY” and it was only a matter of playing little games with nomenclature to invent the rest, a little world of wooden forts in the forest, soldiers with muskets and natives with tomahawks, village raids and wilderness excusions, all under the heading of the Fancy & Lintyan Wars.