Monday, June 16, 2014

The Father's Day Battle of Hook's Farm

I thank my lucky stars every day that we don't celebrate Father's Day as extravagantly as we do Mother's Day.   Guys are truly simpler creatures.  At best we would like a gift about some interest we love, a simple but solid meal with the ingredients we love, and the possibility to be left the #$%# alone for a awhile.  Pretty much the same requests we have everyday.

This weekend had my wife working insane hours each day, so I got a whole weekend of "single daddy" mode and, outside the expected meltdowns, everyone had a total blast.  

The reason I can celebrate, Maja (5) and Millie (3) on their 'pirate ships'
First off, I got my big Father's Day gifts left weekend.  The two basic things to keep my new yard in tip top shape, a new manual push mower, and a small tarp to lug the five years of leaves and other debris that built up over to the compost pile.
I know, sexy, right?
Saturday was a manly start as I had to shuttle the girls around for dance recital pictures (Thank God a relative came in for hair and make-up).  A stop at the recycling center, then to our favorite "breakfast place," some time back at the old house still grabbing a few items and tidying up for my mother-in-law to move in, and a trip to the hardware store later and  I had two exhausted little ones who passed out around seven and slept through the night till ten the next morning.  It's true, I'm a slave driver.

Sunday's late start threw a list of errands off the table, so it turned out to be another breakfast out, some more time at the old house, and the most important chore:  clearing off the dining room floor of the new house for a tea party of grape juice, BBQ chips, and Tastycakes, and setting up the much anticipated Father's Day game.

I had planned on running The Battle of Hook's Farm from HG Wells' Little Wars last year to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the book, but life began the crazy climb to insanity which has just started to subside.  After finally getting a chance to start opening up "my" boxes at the house, it was only natural to play with everything I could find.

First off, the map of the battlefield.

Our floor looked similar, but with our own stylings..
Daddy?  Can we start playing yet?
We kept the same objectives as the book, but added in one vital wild card:  Queen Elizabeth II.     The Queen and her escort were scheduled to make an appearance at Firely Church.   Her entourage would move 12" straight ahead at the end of each turn, and only if they were unobstructed.
QE2 riding into a trap!
 Little did the Queen know, by news of her journey travelled fast, and an army of gnomes, organized by the pony revolutionary Fluttershy had been amassed to stop her appearance.

Fluttershy Rebels

  • 2 units Cavalry, one German, one Australian. No guns.
  • 2 unit Swiss gnomes,  The Redhats and the Rangers
  • 1 unit German gnomes, Puple uniforms.
  • 1 unit Sikh gnomes

Objective:  (1)  Capture the church to prevent the ceremony  (2) Capture the Queen!
Shutterfly leading her troops to victory!  
 Maja had also set up a cool HQ for the rebels, complete with Confederate flag bearer, a turtle, a combat, SCUBA team, and a shoebox building.  Little would I know the HQ would have game implications before we even moved the first figure.
Fluttershy's HQ
 In response to the supposed attack, the local nobility raised sufficient forces to protect the Queen, and hopefully the church.   Of course, the noble in the area in charge of such things was Sofia the First, of Disney Jr fame...

The Queen's journey coming to an end.
 Sofia the First's Defenders of English Royalty

  • 2 units of British Commandos (Green Berets and Red Berets)
  • 2 Beefeaters guarding an advance outpost near the church, they had a cannon with them, to dissuade others from getting near their guard shack, not the church.
  • 1 unit Human Union Infantry
  • 1 unit Gnome Union Infantry
  • 1 unit Gnome Union Calvary

Objective:  (1)  Hold the Church  (2) Protect the Queen
It's a long way for the Queen to go...
 Before we even starting moving troops, Millie added a third objective.  Sofia the First commandeered the Red Berets to go on a secret mission to capture Fluttershy's shoebox building "So the puppies had a dry place to stay when it rained."  We weren't using the Gnome Wars St. Bernards as medics, but Millie had put them on the board.  Oh well... more fun!
Sofia, and her posse.
The Rules
With nothing to throw at the other units, I used a stripped down version of Gnome Wars.  Infantry  moved one ruler (12"), Cav moved two rulers. Infantry that reached the plywood boards (a hill) would immediately stop, no matter what remaining movement was left.  Shooting units/figures had a range of two rulers. Shooting was resolved with a d6 per figure, high hits, less modifiers I calculated in my head..

The bunnies advance.

The Aussie Primer Brigade charges  forth with a Mousling companion.
 Turn 1:  
It a couple units to have Maja get used to the rulers, but soon the rebels were off the races.  It took a bit to get  Millie to move her figures, but she did a decent job for a middle aged wargamer, less a three year old. No firing, no charges.
The defenders find their position

The Beefeaters are unfazed.

Turn Two:
Millie bailed on us about halfway through turn 2, preferring to feed potato chips to our real puppy, Pokey. Maja was oddly selective about NOT moving the Swiss gnome infantry units, but rabidly wanted to get the Sikhs to get within range to fire,  and cav units close enough to charge.  The Sikhs whittled down the British Green Berets, and the British could not hit the broad side of a barn in return.  The German Cavalry was taken out by the Union forces, but their troops obstructed the advance of the Queen!
Preparing for the Kangaroos!

Union forces (and Zeke the Mouse) cripple the German Cav.

The View from the War Correspondent's Balloon
 Turn 3
The Union Cav met the Aussie Cav with a flanking charge, but the dice were not in their favor, as the Aussies survived a the charge and the Red Berets fire so that one lone kangaroo rider remained.  Maja's tactic of holding two units back seemed to work, as it stalled Sofia's advance and forced me to consolidate Union troops where it wasn't advantageous.  She's been playing with me for three years, something must have rubbed off.
Cavalry was decimated this day.
Turn Four:
The final turn was cut short due to the arrival of my wife and her cooking up a solid meal of chicken, potatoes, and cheese baked in the oven with Yuengling hot sauce and covered with bacon.

The lone Aussie Cav figure rushed to the Church.  Rebel Victory!   Next, we had the reason most five year old girls don't play hardcore Napoleonics.  Maja declared that Fluttershy the Pony and Zeke the Mouse met on the battlefield and instantly fell in love, stopping the fight.  If only the real world worked that way.

If a Mouse and Pony can't get married in this world, I don't want to be part of it.
Despite the late start, we got our annual game in, Maja had fun (little Millie for a bit, to) and I got to organize my stuff into new boxes before dinner.   I greatly enjoyed breaking out Britains that I haven't played with since I was 13 or so.  I understand the appeal of using them for 54mm ACW, so I may have to scout local hardware stores and hobby shops since that's where I last saw them.   I may have to break out the big pads of paper for some small scale roleplaying with Millie using the Mouslings and my always evolving TIARA rules.

Being a Dad is the best job in the world.

1 comment:

  1. I love your blog and it's irreverent take on gaming. It looks like you had a great Father's Day!