Last night we had a great send off for our buddy who will shortly sail in harm’s way to the Hindu Kush. I decided a good scenario to mark this moment would involve similar doings in the 19th century.
A desert scout recovered the following dispatch pinned to the breast of a dead pony express rider:
Date: August 17, 1873
From: Yankee War Department, Washington
To: Lieutenant Colonel John Smith, US Cavalry, Fort Remorse, Indian Territory
Subject: Change in Orders
At your earliest convenience, respectfully request your detachment from your current posting as Adjutant, Fort Remorse, Indian Territory and proceed with all dispatch to El Paso, Texas for training at Fort Bliss in preparation for your new duties as an US observer attached to the 2nd Bengal Lancers, Fort Flashman, Northwest Frontier.
Your mission will involve observation of native operations involving Pathan rebels in the Hindu Kush. The Yankee War Department is desirous that you secure Jezail rifles for evaluation by the US Army Ordnance Department in exchange for four crates of modern US Army material including Sharps carbines, uniforms, and other equipage suitable for operations on the US plains and the North West frontier. You should draw and transport said four crates upon your departure from Fort Remorse.
By separate correspondence your Commanding Officer, has been advised to direct a Cavalry detachment to provide suitable escort for you and other persons of esteem to ensure quick transit through the Indian Territory.
P. H Sheridan
Major General, US Army
Our game opened with Lieutenant Colonel Smith encamped on the NW corner of the board.
He was accompanied by a pair of trusty Sergeants, a covered wagon carrying 4 crates of Sharps carbines, and 3 civilian wagons that trusted the mighty Indian fighter would get them to El Paso in safety. The convey headed towards the distant SE corner. Wagons ho!
Three detachments of US Cavalry decamped from the SW corner and headed to their rendezvous with LCOL Smith. The Detachments were led by Captain Bricker, First Lieutenant Cahill and Second Lieutenant Pennell. Boots and Saddles!
Six bands of Comanche dog soldiers stormed over the escarpment forming the east end of the board. The Indians are seeking Firewater (Medicine Wagon), Rifles (LCOL Smith), Silver (Green Tea Tong Mine), and scalps from anyone that gets in the way!
The Green Tea Tong Mine has secretly reopened on the north edge of the board. Time to mine some silver for use in the Triangle Trade.
Near the middle of the board, dawn broke on the encampment of the Medicine wagon. Professor Festus O’Doole, his off-spring Dottie, Fist and Red, and his faithful friend Medicine Joe prepare for another quiet day enjoying the glories of a desert sunrise. From the east, Festus hears the thundering hooves of stage coach and distant war hoops!
The Duke’s entourage enters from the SE corner with a Overland Stage and a Paddy Wagon carrying the notorious Belle Star back to Fort Remorse headed to the NW corner. Deputy Barn drives the Paddy Wagon and his trusted Deputy Crawford rides shotgun on the stage. The Duke and Old Blue take a flank position to deal with any troubles.
Trouble starts inside the stage coach as Madame Orre eyes the 5 ugliest women she has ever seen. She nudges the Sporting Girls to her left and right, Mean Sadie and Rosie Red, and gives the nod to “Gamblin’ Bill” Flynn, her bodyguard. In quick succession each girl produces concealed shooting irons from garters and corsets. In a blink of an eye, gunfire erupts within the stage as Rosie Red shoots the desperado and ugliest girl you have ever seen, “Big Bill” Flynn, right between the eyes. Cat fight!
As the lead flies, Professor O’Doole sticks a fuse into a bottle of Patent Medicine, touches it to his Cuban cigar, and hurls it at the careening stage. He hits the two lead horses who burst afire. With understandable panic, Deputy Crawford cannot control the maddened animals and the stage crashes and overturns. Crawford is hurled clear and stunned. A tumble of bodies leaves the driver, “Mean” Sadie and Jimmy “Irish Red” with broken necks. The three remaining outlaws, “Boss” Bradford, “Levis” Wilson, and “Specs” Dawson crawl from the wreckage and prepare to pour lead into the stage. Madame Orre, “Gamblin’ Bill” Flynn, and Rosie Red decided to use the cover of the wrecked wagon to make their stand.
The Duke wades into battle with Winchester in his right hand and Colt in the left, Old Blue wheels and the lead fusillade whines. We will never know why Professor O’Doole decided to attack the stage as he and his off-spring did not survive the encounter. Madame Orre gunned down half the outlaws aided by the skills of “Gamblin’ Bill” and the whip talents of Rosie. In great irony, Rosie managed to wrap the whip around her own neck and somehow managed to strangle herself near the end of the gunfight.
In the meantime, the Indians and Cavalry closed to shooting range and started to engage. The war-party headed to LCOL Smith died with their moccasins own as they were simultaneously engaged by four separate cavalry detachments.
The Indians after the Fire Water made a great show of capturing the Medicine Wagon and killing the surviving O’Dooles, while the silver-crazed braves stormed the Green Tea Tong Mine and took it after furious hand to hand melee.
As two war-parties swept near the crashed stage, a quick alliance between the Duke, Madame Orre, “Gambling Bill” and Medicine Joe resulted. Medicine Joe healed the Duke and the Winchesters killed most of the threat. Deputy Barn kept his head and galloped the Paddy Wagon to the NE corner. All was well until an arrow took him in the chest. As his lifeless body tumbled from the reins, the Paddy Wagon careened into a hill, over-turned, and Belle Starr was thrown to he death. (Pause for solemn moment of introspection on the Life and Times of a notorious Desperado.)
So our game ended with LCOL Smith and company heading safely to Fort Bliss, the Comanche secured the silver if not the firewater and rifles, the Duke lost Deputy Barn, but Belle Starr received her just deserts, and the Soiled Doves made it to Fort Remorse to lift the spirits of the forlorn Buffalo soldiers.
We lament the passing of Belle Starr, Deputy Barn, Deputy Crawford, Professor O’Doole and his entire family, many Indian dog soldiers, the Green Tea Tong Miners, and the numerous horses killed in the filming of this game.
Lots of fun and great fame with tons of cinematic moments.
Best of luck to LCOL Smith as he heads to El Paso. Stay frosty, brother.
Fair winds and following seas!
I always like to let folks now where the minis and terrain are from:
- Indians -a mix of Foundry Plains Indians (painted by someone else – great war paint), Conquest Comanches (painted by me) and Dixon (painted by someone else)
- Cavalry – Dixon (painted by someone else)
- Snake Oil Salesman /Medicine Wagon – Old Glory / West Wind Cowboy Wars
- Stage Coach, Buckboard, Buggy – Old Glory
- Covered Wagon, Prison Wagon – Blue Moon
- Water Truck – Lledo
- Green Tea Tong – Pulp Figures – Yantgzee Gangs
- Green Tea Tong Miners – Deadlands – Rail Workers
- Madame Orre – Shadowforge
- “Gamblin'” Bill Flynn – EM-4
- The Duke – Crusader
- Deputy Crawford – Foundry
- Deputy Barn – Knuckleduster
- Outlaws – “Boss”, “Levis”, “Specs”, “Big Bill”, “Irish Red” Artizan
- Belle Star – Knuckleduster
- Buffalo – Old Glory
- Loose Horses – Ertl
The modular Mine is from AINSTY.