Thursday, 10 December 2015

The Battle of the Little Big Horn (Waddington's) participation game, Guards Wargames Club

After attending the recent Wargamer Show held in Halesowen (which I will hopefully detail in another post) I thought this particular game deserved an individual post for a number of reasons. It was a very good example of a participation game. Basic rules, nice figures (Wargames Foundry in this case I believe), simple terrain and probably the most important thing of all, friendly and knowledgeable people manning the game who actively encourage people to participate. 
Original Waddington's game 
If you're reading this blog then I'm pretty sure you will, at some time or another, have played a game published by Waddington's. Perhaps best known for producing games in the UK such as Monopoly, Subbuteo and Cluedo, this particular game, The Battle of the Little Big Horn, was released in the 1960's and was one I'd never actually heard of before.
Game Set up
The rules were suitably simple to enable a passer-by to pick up the basic principles with in a few minutes, The object for the Indian player was to kill the three US Cavalry commanders, Custer and his brother etc. and for the US Cavalry it was to escape or try and kill the three Indian chiefs.

US cavalry (who were all dismounted) and Indian warriors on foot could move one square each, the mounted Indian figures could move three squares. Figures with rifles and bows had a shooting range of three squares and if figures were in adjacent squares they could engage in hand to hand combat. Fatal hits were achieved rolling a six. Figures shooting at each could force the enemy to retreat with a higher result even if they failed to get a fatal hit. 
The 7th Cavalry try to escape across the river
As the US Cavalry I chose to make a run for it and needless to say got completely wiped out, cursing Reno as the last of my officers bit the dust. Even so apparently I made the best effort out of all the previous attempts and so earned myself a medal for being a brave little soldier (awarded posthumously obviously). I'm not sure how the US Cavalry could win without a lot of very fortunate dice rolls but it was great fun regardless. 

Funnily enough, one of the first large scale (war)games I remember being played was another game from Waddington, Buccaneer, This was way back in the mid 1980's at the original Alumwell wargame show (when it was actually held at Alumwell, Walsall) when I was more interested in military modelling. 

Compare this game to a demo we saw being played where one chap was laughing about how his opposite number hadn't even managed to attack despite playing for several hours. He was trying to find various ways of not winning to keep himself occupied. 

I'm pretty certain that any kids (and big kids like me) who joined in will remember playing the Battle of the Little Big Horn game for years to come, especially if they got their parents to wear the Indian feather headdress or cowboy hat. 
Custer's Last Stand (well, last dash). On the roll of a six another trooper bites the dust.
The club that ran the game, the Guards, meet on Thursdays evenings in Sheldon, Birmingham. Although I work just down the road from where they meet it's not a convenient night for me which is a great pity. If anyone needs their contact details please message me and I'll pass on their details.
Medal of Honor (Wargamer Issue)