Battleshed Diaries

Tuesday 31 March 2015

Careful as a naked man climbin' a barbed wire fence

This weekend, I mostly participated, in a very relaxed and agreeable three-way game of Dead Man's Hand at my local club, Livingston Battleground. I'd planned to transport all four boards that make up my DMH town, Obsession, over to the club, but with the wind and rain forecast for a bit of a hoolie I decided - to the disappointment of some of my fellow gamers - not to risk damaging the terrain boards in transit on this occasion. However, one of the other club members did bring down a box of his 4Ground buildings and fences (thanks IC!). I contributed a barn and more fences and Arabianknight provided the crates, a key element of this game.

I set up a couple of the club's boards anticipating a two player scenario game with club regular, JM. Had I checked the Battleground Carnage Facebook group earlier, I would have known Arabianknight was also looking for a game. Is his tank mania starting to abate?! Anyways... we quickly set up the terrain and used a couple of crates to act as the objectives. Our three-way scenario went, um, something like this...
Two rival bands of Outlaws (Arabianknight) and Cowboys (JM) were camped on the outskirts of town, both gangs too cheap to waste drink'in coin on 'lodgings'. They'd both sent one of their compatriots to Rogan's Bar - which apparently had quite a successful and expanding franchise - to purchase a few bottles of local hooch. It was in Rogan's that inevitably resulted in a rumble between the two drunken emissaries with steely stairs, intimidating gurning contests and a long, boozy session of witless baiting, mostly consisting of derogatory colloquiums on the subject of moustache length, anatomical length and mules.
Whilst the two heavies continued 'physical 'diplomacy out in the street, they were interrupted by a supply wagon losing a wheel right in the centre of town. Although neither could write their names, both could just about recognised the stamp of a famous whiskey distiller on the spilled crates. The emissaries immediately broke off relations and made for their horses.
Of course, this was all observed by deputy Hogg, who, after refilling his own whiskey glass, eventually sprung into action and headed out of town to intercept the Sherriff and his men, (the Law, me), who he figured were also on their way back into town from sampling, um,...checking...the liquor license for Rogan's other 'excusive' establishment in Obsession.
So, back to the game. Being a three-way game, I suggested 15 Rep for each gang, a full deck and 3 in the Hand. We placed the two supply crates on opposite sides of the street in town and all gangs started within a 10cm deployment of their corner of the board.

Now, I'm not unfamiliar with playing three-player games - I usually become the 'sandwich' - which it proved to be. The Lawmen had lots of open ground straight from the off, with the Cowboy gang rapidly intercepting to their right. Meanwhile. Arabianknight's outlaws were cannily using the cover of the buildings and back alleys to converge on the nearest crate of whiskey.

The Sheriff, spotting the Cowboy threat first, sent one of his deputies and a militia citizen - well, more a fawning moron, but useful - to head them off. Both armed with shotguns and with only a couple of rickety fences between them and their tragets. The sheriff and his 'favourite' deputy, (now look, it's just rumours...), used the cover of a barn to head off the Outlaw gang, being backed up with his sharpooter, Bull McDowall, replete with his new European tailored long coat and deliberately clinky spurs. What could go wrong?

The Sheriff
The outlaws
Lots for the Lawmen. With so few men it was always going to be a tough ticket to disrupt two gangs of heavily armed reprobates. A couple of the cowboys spit off to meet the Lawmen heading their way, whist the remaining used the protection of nearby buildings and a back alley to take up positions covering the town centre. It must have been all those long hours or boredom watching cattle and interspersed with shooting contests that must have paid off because the Cowboys had no difficulty finding their mark on the Lawmen. A couple turns of shotgun and pistol exchanges, culminating in a desperate melee charge by the badly wounded deputised citizen saw a third of the Lawmen booked in at the local undertakers!

Not long after this, the rifle Lawman was also down after bravely trying to suppress both the advancing Cowboys and Outlaws. Meanwhile, the Sheriff and his deputy had finally taken up cover next to the barn, with the Sheriff taking a gamble of ambushing the Outlaws now closing on the town centre by leaping over a high fence, gun a 'blazing. I guess you can guess what happened? Indeed, a Big Nerve test swiftly followed for the Lawmen. They were effectively out of this engagement!

Whiskey crates in the town centre
It was then a match between the remainder of the two rival gangs, with an Outlaw snatching one of the crates and ducking back down an alley whilst his comrades exchanged fierce fire with the Cowboys. The final showdown came when the Outlaws got themselves in a shoot-out in the centre of town with some of the Outlaws using a cover of a stack of crates to their advantage. Nerves started to show for the Cowboys as their marksmanship started to wan with Outlaws' correctly sensing the advantage was now theirs...

This was a cracking game in the ever relaxed and enjoyable confines of the Livingston Battleground club. You can always tell when a game of DMH is in play by the level of hilarity, heavy sighs as initiative cards are revealed and poorly executed poker-faces whilst players ruminated over their Hand. Great fun!


  1. Excellent battle report. My copy of DMH and LoDMH arrived a few days ago and I've been enjoying reading them. Can't wait to have a go myself!

  2. This sounds so fun! I'm definitely going to have to take a gander at these rules. Thanks for the great battle report!

  3. Indeed, you can't go wrong with Dead Man's Hand. Always a delight, and most importantly, fun to play.