dimanche 12 juillet 2015

1755 - Folkrock's colony

English version

Once a year, the Tomahawk Studio tries to put up with our friends and testers much of Muskets & Tomahawks, and this year with a table 3m by 1.80m and more than 300 figures, it was really impressive. The lines to follow are written by Alex Buchel.

Folkrock's colony

To be quite honest I do not really know how to approach the organization of this part. Muskets & Tomahawks was always in my mind a game based on the story and narration than simple clash of opposing forces. What interests me when I play at M & T, these are the stories that will emerge during the game, the heroic deeds and acts of cowardice; so much for the players to appropriate the party by writing a memorable episode of the played period.

The English fort

That said, with 317 figures, the risk of losing sight of what personal clashes and the emotion it creates was a trap to avoid. Finally, the easiest way was to use film springs.

In most good epics movies, the viewer follows one or more characters, even in large-scale scenes. In "The Last of the Mohicans" in the siege of Fort William Henry, the action mainly follows Nathaniel and others, far more than offering an aerial view of the siege of the fort, the bombardment and assault. Thus, the viewer is emotionally linked to the fate of the hero and perceives the action through the eyes of his gaze and the challenge that this conflict for him.

Gustave Froissont, canadian leader

This is the same approach I think is good for a game like Muskets & Tomahawks. If I wanted to just reconstruct a battle of the Wars of Canada or of the American Revolution, and I focus on that, I would have taken 15 or 10mm figurines, another game rule and I would have. But as long as that use custom figurines than 28mm, and a game like M & T wanted logic to the characters and the story first. The emotional involvement of the players would be even more important (I could go on perspective I relations between film techniques and figurines of game and on the concept of emotional involvement of the player, and I would maybe one day (in the framework of a dedicated post).

So how to combine the idea of having more than 300 figurines, 6 players and a table of a certain size with the ability to invest each of them in the game, and tell an interesting story, that makes sense?

Fortin of Folkrock

Again, the film springs will be leveraged. I needed a script. I purposely used the term "script" and not scenario. The scenario is the general frame of action, which will partly be written by players during the game. The script is itself the tool of the organizer who dictate the pace of the game, to keep on track and restart the action. It is a concept that seems often overlooked in parts of miniatures games, but is vital in a major part, intended to last a few hours. While the involvement of players is evident at the beginning of the game, it is doomed to lose steam over time. In the same way as in a movie or a novel, the events will boost the action at regular intervals, a scenario of a certain duration must use the same dramatic spring to keep players entertained and prevent the party bogging.

Panic and escape!

So we need a script of events that will restart the game. But what about the involvement of players?
For this, I decided that each player would control a reduced force, composed from June to August units and a single character. The reason why I limited each force to a single character is that it created a strong link between the player and his character, the latter becoming somehow his alter-ego on the table. In doing so, I thought logic would dictate that each player has a particular focus on his character and destiny, and be more cautious than the players are usually with their troops on a gaming table. Finally, my bet turned out paid, and indeed, each player has actually protected his alter-ego, and in both cases where these have known a tragic end, it will have been heroic and contributed to the history.

Rangers landed.

The second spring was precisely not present their scenario but simply brush the initial situation and give each player a paper that will highlight its involvement.

Fire! ... Colony Folckrock in agony ....

That sums up the initial situation as it was presented to the players:

Folkrock colony on the border between the French and British colonies, Canada, 1755.

For several weeks, the peaceful settlement of Folkrock sudden raids Huron in the pay of the French. The strategic location of the hamlet certainly justifies these attacks. Near the colony, the British erected an outpost, Fort Narrow held by the Provincial under the authority of an officer of the Crown.

Dawn is breaking on Folkrock, but animals fell silent. Silhouettes approaching, many from the north and east.
The militia took up arms, determined to protect the colony.

Each player was given at that time put a sheet, which detailed his involvement in history, and personal goals. Here is an example of one such letter, handed to the player who controlled the militia and civilians of Folkrock.

Dearest John,

There are now three weeks you sent me with my sister in Portland, arguing the danger posed to us the French and their Huron allies. I long for you, as well as your two daughters and your latest addition.

Your last letter worried me. What impudence these savages were to attack our camp! And bring in their disaster five tribes of the children of families Conors and additional Brudley!

I can give you reason to be in retaliation raided their village while their warriors were out hunting. I hope the girl you now hold hostage may be exchanged against children. I understand as much as you wanted to keep secret this action, as the English despise us, we Americans.

Look to yourself and may God protect you,

Your Maggie, who thinks of you every moment.


The Folkrock colony will be attacked by the Hurons. We must defend it at all costs. Within your house, you remember secretly the daughter of their Sachem. Nobody has to know. For this, none of your figurines will enter the house throughout the game and you have to discourage your allies to enter. If the English were discovering what you did, you would be executed.

Nevertheless, faced with large forces, you will have to prevent the English from the attack. In the strong, a garrison can come to your help.
Near the lake, the Rangers have established their camp, their help will be useful.

For you to determine which send troops warn of the danger is Folkrock face.

The player therefore had in hand all the elements necessary for its involvement in the story. A little mystery, some information that only held him, and clear objectives. What the deal quite early in the game.

Of course, each player was given such a letter, and had information that only held him.

Huron asault against a Mohawk barricade

And the script in that?

Well, one of the peculiarities of this part is that only three players started the game. The other would come into play whenever events integral to the script would involve.

For the record, while the colony was attacked by Indians and Canadian militia, the fort itself was attacked by a detachment of French regular forces. But that players do not know.

Here's how the script was divided into a few lines:

Background: Folkrock is attacked.

Development # 1: The settlers prevent Rangers or they see a Folkrock building on fire. They arrive by the lake.

Development # 2: one or more settlers arrived at the fort. They discover that the latter is attacked by French forces (deployed British and French forces).

Development # 3: Huron able to find the house where the prisoner was locked. She is no longer there, and a maid told them that British soldiers secretly took her back to the fort. Changing strategies for the Hurons?

Development # 4: British reinforcements arrive in order to relay Provincials troops. How will react the French?

Development # 5a: British hostage negotiating.

Development # 5b: The French hostage release.

Each development was independent of the other, but the # 1 and 2 were destined to happen quickly, so as not to let the players by the road too long.

French firing line

Again, at the risk of repeating myself, the script ensured enough twists so players are involved, each at their level, in action.

How would react settlers discovering that the British had "doubled"? What reaction to the towering British reinforcements arriving at the fort, while the orders of the French officer are to take the fort with minimal casualties (French, Indians can be sacrificed without counting if necessary!). And how would behave Canadians and Hurons, the first wishing burn the colony while the latter knew that the daughter of their Sachem was held in one of the buildings?

It seems to me that all the ingredients were there for an interesting story, and this was indeed the case.

English reinforcements

Besides, at the end of the game (which ultimately lasted six hours, which appears reasonable enough for a confrontation of this size), I was careful not to determine a winner at the game, leaving the only players judges of the performance of their camp and their own performance. The notion of winning or losing sense in a competitive game, but if the focus is on history, this concept loses its importance widely, and players do not complain are!

The last  square of Sir Brian Toughermond provincial troops

That concludes this post. My idea was to provide an overview of how we like to organize our major parts and campaigns. Very often in the middle of the figurines game, the emphasis is on quality figurines and decorations (which are obviously very important!) Forgetting that this hobby can be a great vector of emotions and can tell stories as well as some films or novels.

The enemy fort in french hands!

Thank you for reading this far! Soon for new adventures!

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4 commentaires:

  1. Love it. These ideas are exactly why I like Muskets and Tomahawks so much.

  2. Are there any figures which depict an actual modern day tomahawk? For instance my father and I did a review on our site about the SOG tactical tomahawk and I am looking for some miniatures holding modern stuff. Thanks for the site and sorry if this is a bit off topic. http://fathersonpreppers.com/sog-tactical-tomahawk-survival-review/