Sunday, June 19, 2022

Skirmish at Hoochie-Coochie Creek

 Purple Druid over at Wargame Culture is running a Campaign Carnival.  This means a bunch of people all running the same wargame scenarios, using different rules, then comparing the results.  Wampus Country is on board!  Four scenarios over eight weeks should be easily accomplished, so I enlisted my teenaged son as my opponent.

Up north at the edge of the Lumberlands, the hungry and cruel assembled forces under the banner of Lord Atrocious (a dark wizard) have been raiding for months now, seeking the secret squirrel city, and hoping to control some of the nearby territory rife with valuable and enchanted trees.  This week, blood was spilled as a punitive expedition from the squirrel city of Baudekin clashed with Atrocious' horde multiple times near Hoochie-Coochie Creek.  Lord Atrocious' trusted general, General Hamfist (a towering pig-man) was too bold - not only were his forces repulsed, but Hamfist himself was captured by the squirrels.  The Atrocious army was forced to fall from the field, leaving a small rump to guard the retreat...

Ruleset: Song of Blades and Heroes.  We chose an easy skirmish ruleset to help guarantee we got the battles done!

Models: 54mm American Civil War plastic soldiers, supplemented by a Groot (to represent the treant) and a plastic dragon (to represent the Acid-Spitting Horror-beast).

Scenario One was played 18 June.  The battle lasted about an hour and a half including all the setup, rules-reading, etc.


Squirmishers.  Light infantry, a mix of armed squirrels, marmots, and the like.  They are unhampered by forest terrain.

Squirrelzerkers.  Veteran light infantry.  Larger squirrel-men.

The Nutkin Honor Guard.  Heavy infantry, in heavy armor.  Veterans of a higher quality.

Lumberlands Irregulars.  Riflemen of distinction; mercenary lumberjacks etc.

Crabapple the Treant.

Gunsi the Squirrel (Junior Officer).  My son's D&D PC, risking his hide here on the wargames table.

Captain Walnut P. Fuzzybottom (Senior Officer).

not available this battle: the Chipmunk Trebuchet.


Raiders.  Light infantry of low quality.  Mobgobs, petty criminals, poggles.

Murdermen.  Hardened infantry of better quality and vicious mien.  Mix of mercenaries, porcs, and barbarians.

Ghouligans.  Undead light infantry.

Bogar the Befouled, Acolyte (Junior Officer).  A controller for the ghouligans.

Warlord Zum Toad-face (Senior Officer).  Amphibious mutant bully.

not available this battle: Acid-Spitting Horror-beast, half the Raiders, most of the Ghouligans.  I was at ~45% of my army list, while Baudekin had 95% of theirs, as per the scenario.

In Scenario One, Atrocious is attempting a fighting retreat while Baudekin, with nearly their complete army, pursues.  The terrain ended up with a small hill on one flank (represented by a book) and a thick copse of trees on the other (represented by a piece of cardboard) - which of course the squirrels tried to use to their advantage.

These pictures are crap, but here's how it went down.

Zum's forces of evil tried to hold the seeming choke-point with a couple of ghouls, but the squirrels did not hesitate to throw their skirmishers into the woods (in hopes of future ambush), send heavy infantry to hold the hill at Rumbler's Knob, and flood the treant and more troops into the middle.

The fighting seemed roughly even throughout much of the battle.  Baudekin's higher-quality troops should have been more reliable and maneuverable, but Captain Fuzzybottom proved to be untested in real battle, and his soldiers hesitated often (ie took a bit for the player on that side to really wrap his brain around "rolling more activation dice is risky" despite us having discussed it previously - sometimes you have to learn by doing!).

The bad buys held off the treant pretty well, which meant a lot of the big moves came from character models.  Lieutenant Gunsi the Squirrel hopped behind the Atrocious lines and was an effective killer (his 'hero' quality guaranteed his mobility) - he took out Bogar the Befouled early on, meaning the handful of ghouligans sucked even more than they normally would.  Gunsi himself was KO'd later in the battle.

Zum Two-Face and Captain Fuzzybottom fought right in the middle, and Two-Face won handily, capturing the squirrel leader and forcing some morale checks that disrupted the squirrel army long enough for more baddies to escape.  This was decisive in tipping the race for Victory Points and making this a close game!

In the end, though, the squirrels squeaked it out, running down enough baddies to just barely score more victory points.


Bogar the Befouled, CAPTURED

Captain Walnut P. Fuzzybottom, CAPTURED


I guess we'll wait to see the next scenario before we finalize talk of a prisoner exchange.

Zum Toad-Face was unafraid to wade into battle.

Painful casualties atop Rumbler's Knob (conveniently a copy of Louis L'Amour's Haunted Mesa)

Turning point: Zum Two-Face and Captain Fuzzybottom get into it personally, leaving the squirrel commander captured.

Their leader felled, the squirrels temporarily fall into disarray - including the treant falling back.  This moment of chaos allowed more of the bad guys to successfully leave the table.

All in all, a fine time.  We messed up some rules and forgot a few things in the heat of battle, but that's what happens when you're learning a new game.


* that you can shoot at double your range at -2, so we had no real long-range missile stuff going on.  Chalk it up in the narrative to the entire area being lightly wooded.  I expect a lot more pewpew in the next scenario.


* good practice thinking about the activation rules in Song of Blades & Heroes

* dice can be cruel

* low-Quality troops can be pretty frustrating.  JUST MOVE!

* numbers advantage isn't the end-all be-all of wargaming

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