Monday 9 May 2016

Skirmish at Alligator Island

The latest game at Reject HQ saw us come about as close to 'fantasy wargaming' as I have ever seen in the shed-o-war. Two rival Pirate Captains and their crews have learned of the secret hiding place of a hoard somewhere on Alligator Island and both are determined to find it first and claim it for their own.

Posties rules for this setting were essentially the same as those we use for his French Indian Wars games, which means the play is simple and therefore fast... especially as numbers get reduced by casualties! Basically each model has two actions (move, fire, reload, pick up an object etc) and must complete all his actions before moving on to the next model. 

The Setting
Alligator Island has a reputation as a dangerous place and is therefore the ideal location to hide a pirate treasure. Somewhere hidden in the jungle is a clue that will identify the location of the gold, but the players have to survive long enough to find it first. Both crews are equally matched in terms of numbers but how to split up the shore parties is left to the discretion of the Captains. Ian and Surjit divide their men into two large parties with most of the best fighters in one group and musket armed men in the other. Meanwhile John, David and myself divide our men into three equal groups with a similar composition in each.

Order of Battle
There wasn't an OOB as such. each side had 18 men consisting of three character figures, one sharp shooter and one good fighter. The rest were an assortment of scurvy swine equipped with muskets, pistols and swords. All the models were 'named' and where possible I have tried to use the names to accompany the pictures below.

The Action
Postie outdid himself with the set-up and terrain. The two ships didn't really play much of a part in the game but boy did they look impressive! 

The first few turns of the game were taken up rowing hard for the shore. 

Both crews hit the beaches on opposite sides of the island about the same time. This was John, Dave and my shore parties ready to enter the forest.

Meanwhile the other crew also land and quickly divide into two large shore parties.

The Yellow crews fan out into the jungle looking for clues.

On the other side of the island the White shore parties o the same. My group quickly heads down the road while Daves team investigates a clue on the beach (the numbered label in the bottom left corner). 

We all quickly realise that finding clues can be dangerous. When a clue was discovered the player had to roll a d6. 1,2,3 was bad, usually resulting in death! The first casualty was the White crews captain!

Monkey Faced Harry investigates a clue on the beach for the White crew. He finds a large bottle of Rum but resists the temptation to drink it now, saving it for later. 

Unfortunately Stan York wasn't so lucky...impaled on a spiked log!

Surjits men cross the open ground unopposed. I just couldn't reach the forest edge quick enough to make him pay for such boldness.  

However my men line up behind the spiked log (after removing their unfortunate college) and fire down the road. Despite having Ian 'Eagle Eye' Taylor (my crack shot) in the group I couldn't hit the side of barn! 

Meanwhile Dave's group encounter a pit filled with spikes. Fortunately Young John proved sure footed enough to avoid the trap.

A slightly different view of the island. John's shore party is in the bottom left of the picture heading towards several clues in this area. Mine and Dave's groups are in the jungle to the right while Ian and Surjit are at the top of the island.

Meanwhile one of Ian's me finds a Pick...useful for digging up treasure!

Surjit made a mistake by grouping together five of his men each within 1" of a single figure. This was the perfect time for Dave to bring out the First Mate, 'Bruiser' Zebadiah with his Blunderbus! All five sailors were caught in the blast from this terrible weapon...and only one was hit. The dice gods were definitely not with Dave this turn.

Over the next few turns both groups lost men until - on this side of the island at least - the groups were roughly equal. The two groups readied themselves for the inevitable clash an bid their time waiting for the right moment to charge.

My men surged forward and were able to unleash a volley of shots into the enemy but only scored one kill and one man wounded, not enough to stop Surjit from charging into melee on his turn. 

Captain Rat Beard brandishes his sword and double shot pistol while his crew try to kill one of my men, Magoo.

Meanwhile Surjit sends off one man to search one of the few remaining 'clues' on an island in a lake...only for the Islands Alligator to make an appearance and drag the man under the water screaming! 

After the melee I only have two men left, the Third Mate 'Happy Face' Gell and Magoo. Unfortunately Gell was soon cut down by Rat Beard and Magoo was forced to run away as fast as he could. 

Over on the other side of the table John's shore party were having a running fight with a band of musket wielding sailors commanded by Ian. After some close quarters shooting the two groups charged into each other and only one man came away alive, Captain Ponsonby leater of the White group. 

Magoo runs for his life towards the lake and island. He is closely followed by Rat Beard but the Captain is unable to shoot the sailor in the back and Magoo manages to get across the lake (avoiding the Alligator) and onto the island....where he finds the clue to the location of the Treasure! A silly riddle that makes it clear that the treasure is in the chimney of a ruined building on the island. Now all Magoo has to do is survive long enough to claim the gold. 

Magoo hides in the hard cover on the island and despite repeated shots by Rat Beards men he manages to keep his head and his life. Meanwhile Captain Ponsonby is working his way around towards his nemesis. Soon the Captains will meat each other in close combat.

Alas Captain Ponsonby is killed by the evil Rat Beared...but only because John seemed incapable of rolling anything higher than a 4 on two d6! (I exaggerate if course, but seriously his dice rolls were particularly rubbish this game)

Now the only men left are Captain Rat Beared and the quivering Magoo. The wounded sailors only hope is that the hard cover he is in will protect him. Maybe if the dice gods are kind.....

Dammit. Captain Rat Beard runs Magoo through with his cutlass, grabs the clue to the location of the treasure and claims the whole hoard for himself! 

Two very happy Pirates! 

Its rare that a game literally goes to the last man but this fight certainly did. Ian and Surjit did the right thing dividing their men into two large groups because it enabled them to concentrate on our smaller shore parties. Having said that both sides enjoyed considerable luck with the dice at times and terrible luck at others. The advantage seemed to swing from one side to the other throughout the game until there were just two men left.

This was a great little skirmish game and ended up being a proper little morality tale...instead of 36 men enjoying the rewards of cooperation the game ended with one very rich Captain and 35 corpses!


  1. I saw the table the day before the game.....and mighty impressive it looked too!

  2. Nice pics and report Lee. I'll bet you were gutted not to get the treasure :)

    1. The advantage hung in the balance the whole game... the result literally came down to the last dice roll.

  3. Excellent battle report and pictures! And one fantastic gaming table!


    1. Postie is getting very I know why he has been buying hundreds of trees at every show we attend!

  4. That sounds like loads of fun! Nice terrain...who makes the tiles?

  5. Looks and sounds awesome!

  6. What a great looking adventure (except for Stan York!)...spectacular terrain and figures...

  7. "Near Fantasy" Here among the Colonials there is a raging argument as to what constitutes "Fanatasy" vs. "Historical" games. My view was that any game wherein one could research the uniforms, weaponry and tactics in studies by of history (not books written as a novel) counts as "Historical". Thus this great game was Historical!

  8. Great looking game, all round!

  9. A very entertaining report!
    Which rules did you use?

  10. Fantastic game! You win the internet for the week...


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