Friday, 1 September 2017

Legends of the Old West

For the last few weeks we've been playing a few games using the classic Legends of the Old West (LotOW) rules.  You can read about those games here.

However, playing them reminded us of the fun we had many years ago when LotOW was new and we played an extended tournament campaign.  And so, we've decided to take the plunge again!  For the last couple of weeks we've been playing a set of friendly "tournament" games to refresh our memories on the rules etc. and of course to have a good bit of fun.

Tonight we played a couple more games, including this one below.

I took a $200 Texas Rangers posse (upgraded with some battle experience).  I had a Free Trapper hired gun in tow too, as I had a lot of success in our previous campaign with a skilled free trapper (although he was eventually stabbed to death by a lawman on the balcony of a saloon in the town of Salem - see we remember these details from our previous games!)  My opponent Dave also had a posse of Texas Rangers, and both posses were upgraded after a few games.  My Free Trapper had managed to buy a buffalo gun, which is an amazing piece of kit being incredbly poweful, long ranged, and in melee counting as a two handed weapon!  Its only downside is its slow to reload, but i guess when you're deployed in a long range artillery role that isn't too much of a problem!    

We randomly determined the scenario to play, and it came out as "Jail Break".  It seems one of my posse had been up to no good in the saloon the night before and found himself in jail.  We'd turned up to bust him out of Dave's custody...

My Rangers with the free trapper in red.
We set out the battlefield with the sheriff's office in the centre.  We made most of the scenery years ago although i've spent some time adding a few bits and bobs to the pile this week, mainly scatter terrain, thunderboxes, and a couple of shacks.  Old West buildings are actually super-easy to make and all you really need is a bit of old card (a cereal box will do), some PVA glue, scissors and a bit of cheap paint and you're set.  A couple of buildings (including the jail here) are purchased models, but the rest is repurposed junk!

In the jail itself my hero (in the red waistcoat) is languishing in his cell, guarded by a single, obviously rogue, Ranger from Dave's posse.  Now then, Dave is new to all this and still on his learning curve in terms of wargaming and LotOW so we'll see how things go with him "flying solo".

I deployed to the west of the jail with my posse glaring out from the corral.  One of my riflemen and the free trapper crawled up onto the nearby roof to provide some longarm support and try to pin the enemy down.

Tactical notes: I put my riflemen on a roof to give them a good field of fire.  They were in place to try to pin down Dave's posse as it advanced.  The rest of my crew mobbed up and intended to steam into the jail en mass, bust their pal our and make a run for it.  In scenario play like this, its best to focus on achieving the goal as much as you can i think.

Dave deployed one of his Rangers in the jail and the rest to the east of the building ready to defend their prisoner.

Tactical notes: Dave had to split his posse in two here and I got to choose which half start near the jail and which starts off the board.  I'm not sure how he split them but I chose the smaller of the two groups.  Dave decided to only put a single fighter inside the jail.  Given that I lacked horses or dynamite, and therefore had to get someone into the jail to search for the keys to release our hero, this was possibly a tactical error on his part.  As will be seen...
I think I would have put s couple inside, and more closely guarded the entrance doorway.

As the game kicked off, the rest of Dave's posse began to arrive in dribs and drabs.

Tactical notes: Dave seriously needed to push his fighters into the jail area to try to cut me off.  Many of his crew were equipped with weapons like rifles, and heavy pistols which can only be shot if the fighter makes a half move or no move at all!  Mobile troops with sixguns would have been better.  Instead of realising he needed to push in to try to cut me off, Dave crept his posse forwards carefully.

Meanwhile, my posse ran out of the corral and made a bee-line for the jail.

We reached the jail and exchanged pistol fire with the enemy riflemen.

More defenders arrived...

Mid-game, both posses are flooding in towards the jail and sporadic gunfire rang out across the sleepy town.

My brave fighters bust the door in and stormed into the jail

And in a hail of bullets we shot down the Ranger defending the cell and forced our way in.  My Rangers immediately set about searching for the jail key.

Tactical notes: With my posse at the jail, Daver didn't cover the door well enough, or create a "killing ground" for me to run through.  this mean that I was able to storm in with two fighters, gun down his defender inside, get the keys and free our unjustly imprisioned friend.  I think Dave's lack of experience told here and as we chatted afterwards and exchanged views and tactical tips he said he's OK at range, but hasn't yet figured out how to deal with the up-close actions!  this is certainly bourne out by the fact that on the way into the jail I lost three fighters to Dave's posse and their longarms fire.  Things were, at that stage, looking bleak for me!

Dave's Rangers crowded in from the east.

But armed with slow and heavy weapons, they gave us an opportunity to get out, and my Rangers swiftly skedaddled, hiding behind the west wall to check that none of them were shot.

As he continued to fail to push forwards, hampered by a lack of mobile firearms (lots of long arms and heavy pistols limiting his movement to "half" or "none") my rescued hero ran away together with his pals.

Tactical notes: Here Dave's cautious approach (no bad thing generally in Legends games, where every fighter lost is a huge blow!) really hampered him.  I'd released the prisoner, and he had very few guns now in a position to try to take me down.  I on the other hand, under my rifles had a clear route of escape.

Hey boss, we done got away clean!
 One Ranger covered the retreat, but his sixgun jammed!

And he fell back into the timber pile as we fell back to the corral amid a crackling desperate cloud of angry enemy gunfire.

And finally, we got away and won a daring victory!

Tactical notes: As a final thought, i think I won, despite taking a lot of early losses, because I focussed on the scenario objective and did what needed to be done to get the prisoner out.  Dave was probably doing the right thing overall, but was doing it too cautiously.  I won because he didn't push enough guns forwads to be able to stop me doing what I as doing.

From a rules perspective, while LotOW is seemingly (and actually) a very simple set of rules to learn and play, like all the best games it is difficult and highly tactical in how you achieve victory.  Turn phasing and sequences mesh together with decision making on immdiate priorities, etc. so that each game is never quite the same.  and of course, throw in the dice and random chaos will scupper the best laid plans!

LotOw really goes beyond a good skirmish game though when you bring in the campaign system.  Its a joy to see your fighters develop, gain new skills, buy new equipment, struggle with injurys and so on.

Over in the other game, Graeme and Bob were playing High Noon!

Next week I think we'll be beginning the tournament for real with a new set of posses "for real".  I've not decided yet what I'll take, but I like the Texas Rangers for their raw capabilities; great shots, tough as nails, and with nerves of steel under fire they're a solid choice.  But I do like the idea of one of the more unusual posses; native Americans, commancheros, etc.  Choices, choices!

Legends of the Old West is a really fun set of rules that give a great game with simple but tactical game play.  If you have a chance to play them I recommend them.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful looking game with a great set of rules - very inspiring!