Monday 31 December 2018

Hold the Pass - Augustus to Aurelian, Romans vs Dacians

Well the day finally arrived to be able to run my first complete game of Augustus to Aurelian (AtoA) using the start of my new collection of figures together with my newly created terrain and mat put together for it.

I ran the scenario with the incomplete collection at the Devon Wargames Group back in August but that was very much a warm-up proof of concept game and only spurred my efforts to move the collection on to have all the figure options available for this scenario and to further try out the rules on a scenario designed around Hail Caesar (HC).

My Roman cavalry division with the wagons enter the table, ahead can be seen elements of all three Dacian divisions

This particular scenario sees a Roman escort of two divisions, one infantry and the other cavalry, together with supply wagons  attempting to force a mountain pass position barricaded by one large and two smaller divisions of Dacians intent on stopping the much needed Roman supplies making it up the road to the Romans in need of them.

One of the smaller Dacian divisions holds the barricaded road. A similar sized force occupies the wood centre-left and the larger Dacian force in the woods centre-right

Thus the original design sees the Roman commander (me in this game) tasked with either marching rapidly down the valley road, engaging the Dacians and forcing my way off table with my wagons in tow, all within six turns to achieve a Total Roman Victory.

Alternatively the Romans can settle for breaking the Dacian army within eight turns whether able to get the wagons through or not in that time, assuming that with the Dacians in the area broken they would not be in a position to impede supplies getting through if a little later.

The other less likely option is to get the wagons off table without breaking the Dacian force in eight turns.

The two latter options are measured as a Partial Victory and with any other result being a Total Dacian Victory.

The Auxiliary Ala support the Numidians on the Roman right

The key difference between AtoA and HC, and why I prefer it, is that the turn lengths in the former are unpredictable in that two chits drawn from the bag of unit activation chits will end a turn randomly whether formations have activated or not. Likewise formation activation is also somewhat random, reliant on when an activation chit is drawn in relation to all the others in the bag.

This randomising can be modified by 'Carpe Diem' chits that will allow a commander to interrupt that process and grab an opportunity to activate or perform a task as required rather than waiting on chance, but these chits are once only use and limited thus restricting the player and forcing choices.

Two falx armed warbands supported by two lighter armed ones emerge from the woods on the Roman left

So with a system of fairly predictable length turns and movement even allowing for the HC compromise of  the 'Blunders' system versus the greater unpredictability and control offered in AtoA, the scenarios I am using as written need some play-testing and potential modification to make them fit for purpose.

One of the smaller Dacian divisions of one warband. two skirmish units and a scorpio hold the road barricade

That said I like the potential of choices offered in this relatively small limited action in that the Dacian commander has the option of fighting his battle forwards or backwards, that is to deploy the bulk of his army close to the barricades thus surrendering ground but able to combine the bulk of his force to hold out, or to fight forward relying on his force in front of the barricades to act as a 'speed bump', but denying himself the support of the barricade force, whilst hoping to still be an army in being but able to delay a Roman advance down the table.

One auxiliary cohort out on the Roman left has rushed forward to hold back the Dacians as my Praetorians look to redeploy

I should also point out that the Dacian forces selected to defend other than those ordered to hold the barricade should only deploy on one alternative table edge, but in this test game where I was trying out all options, Will opted to deploy on both edges and it gave a chance to see what effect that had on the game.

On the right of picture the auxiliary cohort has just charged the falx warband and is to far ahead unsupported

As in the DWG Club play through the Romans opted to lead with their enhanced cavalry division of Praetorian Guards Ala, Auxiliary Ala, German Foedarati and Numidian Light Cavalry Alas.

On reflection I would not do that in future games as the Romans are probably better off leading with their infantry and using their cavalry from reserve to support and follow up fleeing Dacians rather than, as in the two battles reported on, seeing them embroiled with fresh Dacian warbands leaving it difficult for the infantry to come to grips.

As the auxiliaries do their best to stem the tide the other warbands become uncontrolled and charge forward

My preamble gives a clue as to what happened as the large Dacian force of two falx armed warbands supported by to lighter spear and sword warbands debouched from one of the centre edge woods, threatening to charge my Praetorians that I was trying to get behind them.

Seeing the threat I rather rashly, as it proved, pushed forward a cohort of auxiliaries to prevent this but so far forward that it left them unsupported only to see them hit by the falx armed horde and evaporate under the assault and then to see the Praetorians forced into a fight I was looking to avoid.

My auxiliaries going down under a flail of falx blades

As in the other game the Praetorians are a tough nut to crack and after two further rounds of combat they disposed of the first falx warband, allowing my auxiliary ala, auxiliary infantry and a legionary cohort to come to their support and break the other three warbands and the Dacian formation as a whole.

The auxiliaries managed to cause three hits on the Dacians but the five hit mini dice next to a shaken marker tells its own story and in the next turn they were gone

However the Dacian large force had done its job, despite being broken, in that it left me only one turn to try and close on the other Dacian formation before game end which was not enough time and thus we called it in favour of Will's Dacians.

The table is turned following the initial Dacian success as the Praetorians and remaining Roman infantry have cleared the Roman left of enemy warbands. Note to self - I must get those casualty figures painted up to show the human wreckage of battle

The auxiliary ala managed to administer the coup de grace by hitting the last falx armed warband in the flank.

Both Will and I learnt a lot from this game in that unsupported cohorts are a 'Dacian dream' come true, Legionary cohorts can certainly dish it out but they are relatively weak and so need to be able to be relieved if they take casualties to allow them to recover.

The ability for the Dacian commander to allow his warbands to do what they do best i.e. go impetuous and charge in right at the beginning of a turn can be a devastating tactic as it puts them immediately into hand to hand combat, thus avoiding the worst of Roman missile fire and forces the Romans to react to their attacks rather than to directing where they want to fight the battle.

Cavalry on the flanks or rear are devastating and an infantry army up against another force with even a small amount of cavalry has to watch its flanks carefully.

The legionary cohort seen left were particularly devastating hitting with all their gladius and pilum strikes to cause four casualties in the first round and shaking the now departing enemy warband (centre-top)

This scenario produced a great little battle and has the potential to be a really interesting invasion scenario as part of a campaign all though I think the turn numbers need adjusting even perhaps allowing the Roman commander to spend Carpe Diem counters extending the time allowance.

Likewise the Dacian deployment areas need to follow the original set up of only operating from one table edge as a dispersed Dacian defence makes it harder for the Romans to go for the second option of simply trying to break the Dacian army in the number of turns given.

Despite going shaken in their last round of combat the Praetorians hold the field as the Dacians break off.
Thank you to Will for playing his old Dad and sharing his insights from the Dacian perspective and to Jane my neighbour who shares a passion for history and the Romans and who joined us for much of the game acting as an impartial chit drawer on behalf of Fortuna.

Happy New Year

JJ's Wargames 2018 Look Back and 2019 Plans

Last year's plan was all about construction and planning for a new campaign. This year has been all about starting the march towards fulfilling the ambition of those plans 

Here we are again at the end of another year, my sixth in the history of the blog, and the end of another wargaming year gives a moment for reflection on what has been achieved or not in the year just gone and some pause for thought on the plans for the new year.

If you are interested in seeing the results of this review process from last year I attach the link to the post.

I like to use these moments of review and planning as an opportunity to self appraise and to record for posterity what it is exactly that I am setting out to do in the next twelve months and did I carry out what I said I was going to do in the plan for the year just gone.

As each year goes by and knowing that none of us are getting any younger I am keen to make sure that I make the best use of the time I have available and to start doing the projects and having the adventures that I have always wanted to do accepting that life, work, family and other equally important activities compete for that finite amount of time and inevitably force a compromise.

However in my professional life I have learnt and come to understand that to fail to plan is a sure fire way to plan to fail and that to write down what it is you intend doing and then working your plan is what makes the difference between success or failure. Of course every plan changes on first contact with the enemy, as all wargamers know, but it is far better, in my experience, to have a plan that can be changed to accommodate new circumstances than absolutely no plan at all.

One aspect of that equation changed for me early in 2018 when the opportunity was presented for me  to retire from my professional life and start to allow me to rearrange my time commitments to those things that I wanted to give a priority to that simply earning a living hadn't allowed in previous years.

That said, life and family responsibilities still often have a superior claim to my time, just ask Carolyn if you are struggling with that concept, but I now have a lot more scope to start focusing on personal projects which include the things I like to do around this daft but thoroughly enjoyable hobby.

So with that rather longer preamble let me take a look at what I said I was planning to do this time last year and what came of those plans.

The 'O'er the Hills' project was very much 'front and centre' of my activities in the early part of 2018 

At the end of 2017 I was celebrating the culmination of the Talavera project and shifting the Napoleonic focus on to a project that I had been planning with the chaps from Stand to Games, Adrian McWalter and Quinton Dalton to put together a scenario book capturing a series of games covering the first two years of British involvement in the Peninsular War from 1808 to 1809 that culminated with the Battle of Talavera, using 'Over the Hills' Napoleonic rules.

That planned work started as soon as Talavera 208 finished in the autumn of last year and Steve M and I started to play-test each of the scenarios starting with the Talavera ones, given that the table was in situ ready to go.

One thing I was very keen to do was to make sure that each game was play tested and that Steve and I got to review the set up and play, thus allowing adjustments to the final write up as we went through them and making sure they worked with the rules.

In addition I was also working on putting other parts of the book together and getting picture rights permissions organised whilst also sharing the pictures of the test games and design ideas that lay behind each scenario on the blog, which produced some interesting discussions on certain forums as I was pushed to share more details that I could at the time, as the book was still in development.

That project reached its conclusion this autumn when the book raised over the KickStarter funding of £1500 and is due out soon from the printers.

Thank you to everyone that got involved to support the book and to Ady and Quinton who are two very nice gentlemen and equally keen enthusiasts for the hobby.

I would also thank Nigel Marsh and my friends in the Carnage & Glory community for ideas gleaned from the excellent games we enjoyed playing, many of the scenarios using C&GII and an equally great set of rules.

My first 28mm collection - Vikings and Saxons designed around Dux Bellorum

The other project that was occupying my attention in the first part of 2018 was getting a collection of Dark Age figures put together to allow me to indulge my intention of getting in some games of Dux Bellorum written by Dan Mersey.

These are a great set of rules and really fun to play and I haven't played a lot of games with my new collection mainly because my table was in transition this year and I still needed to build up my 28mm terrain collection, but both Saxon and Viking forces were out on the table during our big Dux Bel game that the DWG played at Wargames Foundry during our visit to Partizan in May.

My figures in action in May at Wargames Foundry during our 'Big' Dux Bellorum game

With the conclusion of the O'er the Hills game play and work on the Dux Bellorum collection I was then able to start to bring my attention to the key project for 2018, namely the creation of the Romano-Dacian collection of 28mm figures together with new terrain and table mat.

Some of the Dacian units added to the collection in 2018

The plan for this work centred around building an initial collection of units for both sides that would allow the playing of one of the scenarios selected from the Warlord Games campaign book, with a secondary plan of bringing the game together in time for the first Lardy Day to be held at the Devon Wargames Group, namely 'Clotted Lard'.

The first game featuring the new Romano-Dacians run this August at the DWG

That plan had to change due to a few unforeseen challenges but the first trial game using all but a couple of units was run in August and reported on the DWG blog and my lack of suitable terrain shows but the game was a good test of the rules and it was fun getting the figures out on the table at last.

Cavalry units added to both collections

The move to working in 28mm has been great fun and I really enjoy the scale and the opportunities it presents to develop the character in each unit.

The Romans have also been bolstered by additional units

Of course my test game revealed the glaring need to address my lack of suitable terrain which was covered in a recent post that explained that the terrain was in a queue of considerations including loft and wargaming room adjustments to create space for the change in scale.

That situation resolved itself this autumn and the first terrain items were constructed ready to go on table with my new mat acquired from Tiny Wargames and providing a fresh new look to the table to accompany the new collection.

Major additions made to the terrain collection including a lot of trees and scatter terrain that will allow me to produce more and better games in 2019

Of course alongside the Romano-Dacian work, other smaller projects vied for inclusion as a summer game in North Devon required some German Falschirmjager and a certain commander of the Walmington Home Guard to be prepared and Steve M had asked me to complete the work done previously on his FIW 28mm collection of 60th Foot by putting together some artillery units, Colour-Party ensigns and general officers, plus the annual Gus Murchie club game required some US Cavalry and Plains Indians, so these to were built into the plan.

Other smaller projects worked on in 2018

Looking back, I am really pleased with the progress made and the directional shift into a new scale with two collections up and running and with the terrain collection started, a solid foundation achieved for further progress going into 2019.

The new WWII Battle of Britain table cloth laid out after ironing to remove any unsightly creases

I also mentioned aspirations to progress my Naval and WWII air collections and those have not progressed much further (what did I say about plans changing on first contact with the enemy, which in this case was time?), other than the acquiring of a sea and air mat from Tiny Wargames in January that are now ironed  and ready to be used on my new table set up now that the wargames room has been reorganised.

That said the Battle of Britain collection is ready to be played with and I would hope to get some Bag the Hun games organised in 2019 (time permitting).

Books reviewed this year by Mr Steve and myself

The other aspect of my plans for 2018 was to continue to develop the blog and its content furthering the idea of making it a magazine style read with a mix of content that supports the hobby of historical wargaming.

Thus the book reviews by myself and Mr Steve continue to get a good response and both Steve and I strive to give an honest appraisal of each book, coming as we do, as long standing historical wargamers used to reading to inform our gaming and the books we have selected very much reflect that approach.

My own reviews have not been as extensive this year as in previous ones due to my recent inclusion of several historical fiction reads that now include all of Anthony Riches series of Empire books, both of Adrian Goldsworthy's novels centred around Vindolanda and more recently my reading of J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Simarallion' , 'The Hobbit' and now just having started 'The Lord of the Rings' a series of books I had always intended to read and with retirement presenting an opportunity to do so and enjoy.

The Butser Ancient Farm featured as one of the first big trips of 2018 and Carolyn and I thoroughly enjoyed the experimental archaeology on view not to to mention the highly entertaining groups of school children being 'cat herded' by their respective class teachers

The other content on the blog that seems to be a favourite for many are the posts covering visits to historical sites and presentations that I have always found inspiring and equally informing to my wargaming.

There is nothing quite like walking and seeing a battlefield or seeing up close military kit and hardware for gaining a better understanding of the impact terrain and weapons could have on the warriors we try to recreate on the tabletop.

Chalke Valley Book Festival visit in the glorious summer weather we enjoyed this year and the amazing Fred Glover age 92, bottom left

In addition hearing the accounts from veterans such as Fred Glover, former paratrooper with 6th Airborne who gave his account of landing in a glider on the Merville Battery in the early morning of 6th June 1944 was a real honour and privilege to hear and a highlight of  2018, seeing the veteran soldier get a standing round of applause from the audience.

The English Civil War featured large in 2018 with the visit to The Boot Inn, Chester, a real highlight

My additional free time this year meant that Carolyn and I could indulge ourselves by visiting more interesting historical parts of the UK including Cirencester and Roman villas in Gloucestershire, the last battle of the English Civil War at Stow on the Wold, a wedding anniversary trip up to wonderful Chester, the Roman headquarters base of Legion XX Valeria Victrix, and Royalist garrison city during the English Civil War that saw me enjoy a pint of the good stuff in the amazing time capsule that is The Boot Inn established 1643, finished off with a visit to the Roman town of Wroxeter on the way home.

Carolyn had a warm welcome from the Romans garrisoning Deva Victrix as well as enjoying our trip to Cirencester earlier in the year

Once the Dacians, Germans and Sarmatians are finished I can quite easily see a large number of those glorious Victix Ancient Britons joining the collection following the inspiration I have garnered soaking up the history of Roman Britain this year.

Chester was an amazing place to visit and was a highlight of 2018

Another great trip included into the resumé and one long in the planning was our August visit to Londinium primarily to allow us to watch the Indians playing England in the Test match at Lords and Carolyn's first visit to the Head-Quarters of Cricket, but also to discover the treasures of Roman London.

Sadly our day of cricket was a complete wash out, but the Roman part of the expedition lived up to all the expectations and more.

Roman London was really special and partly made up for not seeing any cricket at Lords

Two new expeditions added greatly to the content on the blog as Mr Steve and I put together a plan to start walking some interesting parts of the country and finding out if our minds were in better physical shape than our legs.

So in the first half of the year and taking advantage of the stunning weather we enjoyed in 2018, Steve and I walked part of the the oldest road in Britain, 'The Ridgeway' following in the footsteps of people living in this island over the last two millennia.

The Ridgeway walk earlier this year with Me Steve was a real pleasure if a stiff test for the legs and feet

We then followed that first walk up with a second expedition to Steve's home ground on the South Wales border and a visit to the Lordship of the Three Castles, Skenfrith, White and Grosmont Castles, topped off with visits to Raglan castle and Caerwent Roman market town of the Silures tribe.

The Three Castles Walk in September was a real treat if a little testing when getting to that final mile of walking on day one

Finally the show content on JJ's has always been a popular part of the blog and I really enjoy reporting on the games that really inspire me in this great hobby.

My usual list of shows featured this year, as with last, with the inclusion of a Continental expedition this year to Antwerp in November which allowed me to treat Carolyn to a birthday abroad and to allow me to check out a show that I had been very much looking forward to visiting, namely 'Crisis', hosted by the Tin Soldiers of Antwerp.

Shows have always formed a big part of my wargaming year and the inclusion of Crisis added yet more to the fun

I have to say that 2018 has been a fantastic year for me and I have achieved pretty much all I set out to do and more and have thoroughly enjoyed the hobby and the company of like-minded friends.

Not only that but the time has been well spent in preparing the ground for me to play some games with a growing collection of figures in some periods that I have long looked forward to getting stuck into and at a time which is often described as a 'Golden One' for the hobby, a theory, as one who has been involved in the hobby for over forty years, I have to entirely agree with.

The Plans for 2019
So what have I got in mind to achieve in the new year and what is it that causes me to look forward to 2019 with such anticipation.

I think the first thing that occurs to me is that whereas at the start of 2018 I was still producing a lot of work and games around the 18mm Napoleonic collection and looking forward to making the transition into the 28mm collections, that phase is complete and well behind me and now a significant amount of time, particularly given my new circumstances, is now earmarked for work to start to conclude the building of the Romano-Dacian collection and to turn my attention to some games that I am planning to put together with them.

In particular this will look to see the addition of the following units, with, as you will see, some already completed and a list of scenarios that this additional work will allow me to model:

JJ’s Scenario Plan – 2019
Next Phase – Battle of Tarpae, Fortress Assault, Relieve the Fort, Ambush (Scenarios adapted from the Warlord Games Dacian Campaign supplement to Hail Caesar).


Praetorian Cohort – 18 figs
Legionary Cohort – 18 figs
Legionary Cohort – 18 figs
Auxiliary Cohort – 18 figs
Auxiliary Archers – 8 figs
Auxiliary Archers – 8 figs
German Warband – 36 figs
German Warband – 36 figs
German Cavalry – 8 figs
German Cavalry – 8 figs
Aux Lt Cavalry (Numidian) – 6 figs
Auxiliary Med Cavalry – 10 figs
Roman Tents


Warband – 38 figs
Warband – 38 figs
Warband – 38 figs
Warband – 38 figs
Warband – 38 figs
Warband – 38 figs
Sarmatian Cataphracts x 6 figs
Sarmatian Cataphracts x 6 figs
Sarmatian Light Cavalry x 6 figs
Sarmatian Horse Archers x 6 figs
Sarmatian Horse Archers x 6 figs
Sarmatian Horse Archers x 6 figs
Sarmatian Baggage Wagons
Sarmatian Baggage Wagons

Alongside this core work will be further additions to the terrain collection with some extra river sections and improvements to the Roman city wall built earlier in the year plus some ideas about scratch building some damaged sections of wall.

Additionally I am keen to get a selection of modular hills constructed to add yet more variety to the tables I will be able to produce.

Oh and just in case you were thinking that I had forgotten my first real love, The Peninsular War, I will be embarking on a big driving trip to Spain next year that will see Carolyn and I taking the car over to Santander and driving from the north to the south of the country to our home in in Mercia.

This trip will see us stopping off along the way to visit Corunna, following the route of Sir John Moore's retreat to include Cacabelos, Benavente, Sahagun, then down to Salamanca, Cuidad Rodrigo where we will be staying in the castle which is a Parador hotel, before moving to the hotel fort at Fort Concepcion and taking in the various actions along the Coa frontier and the fortress at Almeida.

Cuidad Rodrigo

From there we will be going into Portugal to visit Busacco and the retreat route of Marshal Massena via Pombal, Sabugal and Redhina up to Fuentes de Onoro. Then it is off to Talavera, Badajoz, Albuera and a number of other sites close by before moving further south via Bailen and the famous Spanish victory.


Finally on the return journey north we will be checking out Burgos and Vitoria before catching the ferry back to 'Blighty'

The trip will give an opportunity to inform on some further planned scenarios for Over the Hills which will look to cover the middle and later years of the campaigns of the Duke of Wellington between 1810 to 1814.

These two major projects will form the core of next years focus for JJ's Wargames and will give me lots to write about here on the blog alongside the other posts regular followers have come to expect.

In addition to this activity I am keen to look at visiting different shows, particularly further north with shows that I have never visited but am keen to see and I have an invitation to report back on next year's Salute which I am hoping to include once I have confirmed some accommodation in my plans.

Mr Steve and I are also hoping to get some further ideas for future walking expeditions firmed up and Carolyn and I are working up plans to cover off some other interesting historical venues to visit.

So there we are, a busy new year ahead with work planned designed to consolidate that already done and with enough time allowed away from the painting desk to get in some fun games, interesting trips and informed reading and writing.

As always, I wish everyone an equally exciting and fulfilling 2019 in the hobby and every encouragement with your own projects

Onward and Upwards


Sunday 30 December 2018

Battle of Cimmaron, January 12th 1889 - Legends of the Old West

Cimmaron Court House the start place for our drama

As usual at this time of year with the holiday in between Xmas and New Year, as well as the opportunity to indulge oneself in the traditional festive over-indulgences, for wargamers, this can also include getting together with friends and getting the odd game or two in.

Traditionally I have got together with a regular bunch of the chaps that usually sees us travelling up to Chez Chas in North Devon for our annual festive fix of gaming and banter and last year saw us battling before the walls or Mordor.

The Battle of Mordor - Sauron's Revenge

This year saw a change of venue and corresponding change in theme as we gathered to experience the conviviality and good cheer at Chez Vince, closer to home in Exeter and moving the game theme from Middle Earth to Cimmaron in Gray County, Kansas in the year 1889 to play out our own version of the famous gunfight that occurred there between the citizens of Cimmaron and a group of 'lawmen' led by 'Temporary Gray County Sheriff' Bill Tilghman.

Tilghman together with some deputies or rather former Dodge City Peace Officers and other 'cowtown mercenaries' ready to earn a dollar or two for hire were directed by the new county clerk, based in the neighbouring town of Ingalls, to remove County Records from the Cimmaron Courthouse in a bid to undermine the former town's status as being the county seat, a position that could mean the survival of one town in favour of the other.

This operation was to be carried out using deadly force if necessary and not surprisingly resulted in the confrontation that resulted and so typified similar outbreaks of feud-style civilian bloodshed that became a rather familiar way of settling internecine rivalry in 19th century America as evidenced by several well other documented blood-feuds of the period, so beloved of Hollywood western film makers.

The rules we were using, 'Legends of the Old West', are a set that we have turned to before that offer the gamer a chance to easily regulate this style of game even with thirty plus figures on the table including characters and innocent bystanders and with four of us regulating the play between the various faction, but also offering the chrome and granularity that make these games the type we would want to play.

Clive and Chas make some final adjustments to our main street Cimmaron, ready for the fun to begin

Our game began, as with the historical battle, seeing Tilghman and his gang loading up their wagon with boxes of county records in front of Cimmaron Court House.

Tilghman and his 'gang' load up the wagon with crates of official county documents hoping to make a quick quiet escape

The street was quiet with life going on seemingly as normal until curiosity in the strangers loading boxes on to a large wagon drew the attention of local townsfolk whose gathering soon became noisy and angry once the realisation of who these men were and what they were doing became common knowledge.

All seemed relatively quiet, or was it?

For our game each player took command of a faction consisting of about an equal number of figures, about ten plus a couple or so of significant character figures often with special abilities that enabled them to shoot or resist being shot better than the average mortal.

Suddenly a large crowd of townsfolk gathered around the wagon first attracted out of curiosity, turning to anger once a realisation of what was going on sank in

Thus we had Clive running Tilghman and his gang of 'so called' lawmen trying to get the wagon and its contents off the table and down the road to Ingalls.

Vince played a supporting role in that his local Mexicans had no love for the good folk of Cimmaron and though not directly supporting Tilghman were happy to lend a hand whilst driving their own agenda of breaking a gang member out of jail whilst also raiding the town bank.

With the noise of the crowd other townsfolk were grabbing weapons and moving into the street or to window positions

Meanwhile Chaz lead the Cimmaron townsfolk, a mixture of well to do citizens, some particularly well armed with repeating rifles, mixed in with a bunch of 'town toughs' well able to mix it in a close and personal knife or fist fight.

I on the other hand lead the local 'sod-busters' union of farmworkers armed with the occasional shotgun, pitchfork and six shooter or a civil war vintage musket.

Suddenly gunshots rang out and all hell was let lose

As the first shots rang out, the gang riding the wagon began to be very grateful for the small cover offered by the stacked boxes protecting those members of the gang riding on it.

However those less fortunate to be walking alongside it soon began to fall wounded or worse as they progressed down the street and succumbed to the sniping from the towns folk and farm hands.

Tilghman and his men guarding the wagon started off towards the edge of town as quickly as they could

Any gang member unlucky enough to be left behind in the wake of the wagon soon found himself assaulted by a following gang of town toughs, one armed with a rather large axe, and in this way three or for four of the gang were dispatched before getting half way along the main street.

In addition, driving the wagon could not have been a popular job as drivers, each replacing a fallen gang member who had had the job previously, came in for close attention from the musket and shotgun wielding Cimmaronians in each passing window.

Gunfire started to ring out from both sides of the street as the wagon tried to make progress

As the battle in the street grew in intensity a gradual awareness took hold of a bunch of sombrero wearing, poncho clad dudes cautiously making their way up the street from the edge of town.

With an almighty bang and the collapsing of the town jail wall not to mention gunfire aimed at the Assay Office next to the town bank it became obvious that another force intent on mischief was operating within the town limits and so the fighting became spread to both ends of main street only adding to the confusion of innocent civilians trying to take cover intermingled with stampeding cattle released during earlier exchanges.

Suddenly a large explosion was heard at the town jail as the local Mexican gang decided to use the commotion to break out a family member and raid the bank

Tilghman and his gang continued to suffer losses in its progress along main street only gaining a little respite by being able to mount more members of the gang on the limited cover of the wagon as others fell to the fire around them.

The towns folk resorted to attempting to block the street and Tilghman's progress causing more of the gang to fall from shots from nearby buildings

With the battle progressing along the street as townsfolk and farm hands relocated in pursuit of the wagon, pressure grew on the Mexicans who having successfully released their comrade suddenly found themselves surrounded and coming under hand to hand attacks by multiple characters and seeing three of their number falling in rapid succession.

The Mexican gang were surprised by accurate fire from the Assay Office window as their plans for raiding the bank became obvious to townsfolk trying to resist Tilghman.

With the town limits in sight and entering the Mexican quarter Tilghman and his gang are surprised by rapid fire coming from one of the houses.

To make matters worse the gunfire delivered from the side window of the Assay Office proved particularly hot causing the Latin fighters to dance whilst avoiding the multiple shots and eventually seeing two of their number falling to the fire.

With the Mexican scheme fully revealed the townsfolk took devastating revenge on their former neighbours

As the wagon approached the town limits, it looked as if the worst of the battle was over for Tilghman and his five surviving gang members as they entered the quieter Mexican quarter of town.

It was quiet because most of its occupants were busy elsewhere in town and in their absence a group of sod-busters, two with muskets and one with a shot-gun had moved into one of the houses close to the street and prepared a final ambush for Tilghman's boys.

With civilians and cattle fleeing in all directions the street was no longer one of serene quiet

The Mexican gang now having lost nearly half their number admit defeat and withdraw from the bank 

As the wagon drew level with the occupied house all hell let lose killing the driver and bringing the wagon to a halt that saw Tilghman grab the reins in an effort to get the team moving whilst the remaining gang members poured rapid fire into the building wounding one of the musket carrying farmhands.

Meanwhile the townsfolk attempt to round up stray animals released during the battle

It took the gang two further moves to get the wagon clear of the building with one of the gang fighting an heroic rearguard fending off three citizens, but seeing another of the gang fall to fire from the building before getting clear.

At the same time the Mexican gang had had enough with up to half the gang dead or wounded and with discretion beckoning over valour.

Only Tilghman and two of his gang escaped, with one of them badly wounded, but with the county records intact

Thus ended our gunfight at Cimmaron, a much more bloody affair than historically, with only three of the gang including Tilghman getting away but achieving a game winning objective of getting the County Records back to Ingalls.

My Sod-Buster union were awarded the freedom of the town and a round of well earned drinks on the house for having helped round up the jail break out and successfully defended the bank.

More importantly much fun was had by all and Vince's new wargaming room has been well and truly christened with much to look forward to with future games.

Thank you very much to Vince and Joan for making us feel very welcome, well fed and looked after and to the boys for a very entertaining fun game of wild west mayhem.

Happy New Year All.

Lots more to come here on JJ's between now and New Year with a report on my next wargaming post Xmas game of Augustus to Aurelian as the new Romano-Dacian collection gets a run out on my new look table and my annual pre New Year look back at 2018 and the plans for 2019.