The second battle of our In Her Majesty's Name campaign.
After the proceedings in the Venetian Piazza, the two rival companies are next to encounter each other in a remote area of the south-western United States.
For the complete campaign back story and to find out the story between battles I recommend you visit my campaign page before continuing.
But if you wish to just get straight to the battle report then read on...
Landscape: The Badlands - Scorpion Hollow. A dry, rocky desert leading to a wide river set in the south-western USA. Benefits- plenty of cover from rocky ravines and outcrops. Hazards - the area is infested with mutated giant Scorpions
Game length: 2 hours maximum.
Victory Points: 2 VPs per enemy figure taken out of the game (5 VPs for a Leader), 20 VPs for the defending Company of no enemy models slip through, 5 VPs per figure the breakthrough Company manages to get onto the awaiting steam barge.
Scenario: Breakthrough (variation). Lord Curr's Company must get at least one member of his Company onto the steam barge by the end of the game to secure redelivery of the blueprints. The Victoria Palace Company must stop them.
Scenario Complication: Bad Jack (variation). There are eight mutated giant Scorpions infesting the area which moved randomly D3 x 1"each turn, attacking any miniature within 1". Pluck 5+, FV O, SV n/a, No Talents, Thick Hide (armour 10).
Campaign Complication: Lord Curr's Company captured and have now recruited the erstwhile courier, Elvira Syng, from the previous encounter in the Venetian Piazza. However, she may actually be a double agent in the employ of Queen Victoria!
Before the battle starts, my opponent blindly draws one of two tokens from a bag, one of which will activate Elvira as an agent. My opponent does not reveal what he has drawn. If she is an agent my opponent can choose to activate her at any point in the campaign.
The Story continues...
As the trail descended into Scorpion Hollow for the final league to the river and the planned rendezvous with the steam-barge, Lord Curr stopped to scan ahead using the Monocular Targeting Array attached to his rifle. "Damn and blast!" Lord Curr spat disgustedly. "Company halt!"
Through the scope, Lord Curr could see the tell-tale puffs of smoke from the paddle barge merging with the heat haze on the horizon. But that wasn't his concern. In between the boat and their position it appeared they had un-welcome visitors, for the unmistakable bright red uniforms of the British Red-Coats could clearly be seen deploying in the distance.
Lord Curr, taking no chances, had fortuitously arranged for ten copies of the recently acquired blueprints to be secreted amongst each of his small Company, including a copy cleverly attached to Dakota's collar. This was cunningly devised by the new recruit, Elvira Syng, hoping her budding surveillance and espionage skills would curry favour with her new employer.
Turn one - Victoria Palace Company (VPC) has Initiative
The VPC deployed in two loose groups, the Grenadier Guardsmen and Household Staff split between each . Queen Victoria needed to quickly advance to firing range to try and stop Curr's Company closing the distance to the incoming barge, but at this stage she couldn't know which route Curr's Company were going to take.
|Queen Victoria's Guardsmen deploy as the Steam barge anchors|
Lord Curr consulted with his officers; Colonel Burn, Mohan Singh and the medic, Angus Remington Newel. The Company then advanced, with the four Incorrigibles, new recruit Elvira Syng - after exchaning conspiratorial glances with Captain Smyth - and Newel, all marching towards the central ravine, with Newel and Elvira later peeling off on their left flank.
As they cautiously moved off there was a clattering of falling earth and rocks nearby followed by a strange soft clicking that appeared to be getting closer. Lord Curr's Company all stopped, raising their weapons, scanning their quarters for a target. Surely the Royalists haven't advanced that quickly?
Suddenly, what appeared to be a huge two-foot insect broke cover and charged towards Mohan Singh. Stunned by what he saw, it was only his combat muscle-memory that saved him whilst his brain tried to comprehend what he was seeing. He pulled the trigger of his machine gun and the creature was sprayed with lead, exploding in a shower of chitin and fleshy shards.
Another of the aberrant creatures broke from the central ravine in front of the Incorrigibles, who all managed to fired off an impulsive combined shot, but still reeling from this most astonishing attack, missed the insect. It was still heading their way!
Turn two - Lord Curr's Company (LCC) have the Initiative
It wasn't just Lord Curr's Company that were nonplussed by the sudden emergence of monstrous giant scorpions, as the creatures were popping up all over the place. Now they were appearing amongst and behind the Victoria Palace Company. The whole area was infested!
|Queen Victorian and her Household bodyguard|
Whilst the LCC's Incorrigibles desperately attempted to take aim again at the advancing scorpion, Elvira Syng broke off from the group and flanked left, tailed by Angus Newel.
Lord Curr released Dakota from a straining leash, the Wolf dog desperate with excitement upon seeing these overstuffed prey. The dog soon closed the distance and a frenzied, snarling fight ensued, Dakota trying to get a hold of the fast moving scorpion whilst dodging the deadly stinger.
|Dakota tackling a giant scorpion!|
With all the distractions, Colonel Burn engaged the off-road mode on his electro-chair and skilfully wove a fast course out towards the river in the distance, hoping to use his speed to outflank the advancing VPC.
Queen Victoria now had two problems -Lord Curr's Company had split into three sections and although currently slowed by the Scorpion infestation, they had the numbers. Her own Company was also threatened by the strange creatures, with one near Sergeant Paton and another attacking one of her Guardsmen!
The four LCC Incorrigibles open fire again, this time the scorpion is shredded by the combined fire. Sergeant Paton from the VPC triggers his Arc gun and another scorpion is culled, this time in a cloud of greasy smoke.
Lord Curr kneels, and confident in his sniping prowess, takes aim with the aid of his Monocular Targeting Array and snaps off a shot as the scorpion attacking Dakota is flicked away by the dog. "Bulls eye" mutters Lord Curr as the scorpion drops unmoving to the ground. But this doesn't stop Dakota from grabbing its legs and giving it a vicious shake to make sure.
Taking advantage of Dakota's insect entanglement, Sergeant Blake from the VPC - using the cover of nearby rocks - sneaks into position enabling him to take a bead at the dog. His Military Rifle kicks off a round, narrowly missing the mutt, kicking up a spray of dry earth.
Unfortunately, one of Sergeant Blake's Guardsmen isn't so lucky as he desperately tries to keep one of the agile scorpions at bay with his bayonet. But the creature is too fast for him and the evil stinger plunges into the soldiers calf. He screams and tries to run, the scorpion scuttling hard on his heels. But the deadly poison rapidly paralyses the Guardsman and he falls, still screaming to the ground.
|A Guardsman suffers a scorpion sting|
Turn three - The Victoria Palace Company have the Initiative
The VPC, now down one man, double time to close off the three obvious routes being attempted by LCC. The central route in front of the Incorrigibles funnelled down steep sided flood channel with some large boulders at the far end, from which some of Queen Victoria's staff were taking advantage of. She sends Groundskeeper William in support of Sergeant Blake, whilst Mr Bridges and a Guardsman climb to hard cover atop a large outcrop bordering the ravine.
Realising the danger from the VPC enfilading Dakota and the Colonel from the protection of the ravine outcrops Lord Curr and Mohan attempt to rush forward to get in line of sight. On the other side of the ravine, Elvira and Newel see the dark, bobbing bowler hat of Mr. Bridges flicking in and out of view as he climbs the outcrop. They both head towards it.
|Mohan Singh looking for targets|
Groundskeeper William, rests his rifle on a boulder and squints down the sights. He tracks just in front of Colonel Burn's Electro-chair, holds a half-breath and fires. The bullet drills into the rear motor and the chair loses power, quickly losing momentum on the rocky ground. The Colonel can be heard raging as he fumbles and hits the control panel. The Electro-chair had been disabled.
|Queen Victoria orders her staff to climb the out-crop. Mr. Bridges isn't too keen!|
Mohan Sing spots one of the Grenadier Guardsmen high up on another outcrop and although the target is mostly obscured by hard cover, nonetheless attempts a blast from his machine gun. But it's ineffective. Lord Curr, nearby, tries the same shot. With the same result.
Meanwhile, one of the Guardsmen with Queen Victoria's group takes a chance to take out one of the scorpions prowling to the rear, but misses as the creature scuttles between the rocks.
Three of the Incorrigibles, also realising the danger from the elevated position of Mr Bridges and the Guardsman on the outcrop, attempt another combined fire, but the their bullets twang off the boulders providing the Royalist servants plenty of cover.
Angus Newel had managed to scramble part way up the outcrop and attempts a speculative burst from his Lancaster Patent Machine pistol. Once again Mr. Bridges is safe on top his rocky bastion.
|Colonel Burn's electro-chair is immobilised (right)|
The last to fire for LCC was the fourth Incorrigible, who decided that continuing down the narrow central ravine would be a tight fit for four of them and with little cover pretty desperate too! So he peeled off towards Newel and Elvira, and following Newel's example snapped off a shot at the bobbing Mr. Bridges. The round singed his bowler but this just reminded the Royalist to keep his head down. However, unknown to him, Elvira Syng was stealthy climbing the outcrop looking to put her garrote to good use.
Turn four - Lord Curr's Company (LCC) have the Initiative
Lord Curr and Mohan Singh are now rounding the exit of the ravine outcrop on their left flank, discovering one of the Grenadier Guardsmen hugging the rocks. Lord Curr whistles a sharp command and points. Dakota immediately springs into action, attacking the Red Coat.
Angus Newel, still climbing the other outcrop towards Mr Bridges, spots yet another of the scorpions advancing below, and with Elvira rapidly climbing ahead he rattles off another burst from his machine pistol but misses.
One of the Grenadiers, behind cover, and with a good view down the central ravine sights in on one of the group of three reckless Incorrigibles advancing down it's centre. Much to his embarrassment, he fires wide, the round pinging off the rocks above the lead Incorrigible.
Sergeant Blake meanwhile, without any useful LCC targets, uses the opportunity to clear out yet another scorpion. He kills it with one shot.
By now another of the Grenadiers had reached the outcrop and shoots at the Incorrigibles. Another miss. They appear to be as good with their rifles as they were experimenting with grenades in previous encounters!
|Dakota attacks Groundskeeper Williams|
Lord Curr now at last has view of Victoria's troops behind the left flank outcrop. Seeing that blasted sharp-eyed Groundskeeper William readying to snipe from the cover of a large boulder he whistles another sharp command and roars "Dakota! Go! Dakota Go!" The wolf dog obediently responds and breaks off attacking the Red Coat and makes instead for the Groundskeeper.
With Dakota disengaging from the Guardsman and heading towards him, Groundskeeper William snaps off yet another shot, this time hitting Mohan Singh in the shoulder. The impact spins the muscled fighter around, Singh stumbling and hitting the ground with a bruising thud.
Colonel Burns can only sit impotently waving his Congreve Rocket Gun as the VPC are out of any effective range. All he could do is wildly gesticulate and berate Victoria's troops from afar with language that surely is not typical of a Gentleman!
Turn five - The Victoria Palace Company have the Initiative
Over on the other side of the ravine, almost simultaneously, Angus Newel attempts a second burst on the Guardsman but again the cover ricochets the shots whilst the Guardsman shoots at an advancing Incorrigible below, also missing.
With Newel distracted, Mr. Bridges takes advantage and blasts the medic with his shotgun. Newel goes down, his Brigantine shredded with lead shot. Elvira was very close by now to Mr. Bridges but whether she was distracted or simply overwhelmed by her first skirmish with the Royalist forces she didn't react fast enough to use her garrote.
|Angus Remington Newel approaches the left flank out-crop|
By now Dakota was troubling Groundskeeper William but the canny gillie broke off and headed towards Her Majesty. Lord Curr now spots an opportunity. With the Colonel immobile only Dakota had the range to make the Steam Barge, as it's departure was imminent. He quickly whistles again and shouts off a command pointing towards the nearby riverbank and the awaiting steamer. Once again the wolf-dog obediently obeys and sprints towards the ship.
Lord Curr then targets the back of the retreating Groundskeeper William and fires off a shot but lazily going wide. "Hmm. Not very sporting of me," mutters the Lord.
The Guardsman on the ravine outcrop exchanges more fire with the Incorrigibles advancing down the central ravine but the shots go amiss.
Queen Victoria, with good cover below the outcrop below, watches powerlessly as Dakota reaches the riverbank and lunges for the embarkation ramp. In a couple of bounds the animal is on deck, being ushered by some very nervous deck-hands. She suspects they are probably armed and can't risk a confrontation on two fronts. She also suspects that the cursed animal probably had something attached to its collar, as Groundskeeper William had suggested earlier. He knew about these things.
There was a very loud and sharp, piecing whistle from the steam barge as its engines powered up, sailors loosened lines and it slowly edged towards the centre of the river. "Is that ship going without them?" the Queen enquired, to no one in particular.
|The battle rages!|
"Is that bloody ship going without us!" Shouted Lord Curr. All the combatants simultaneously took stock of the situation. Lord Curr felt the anger bubbling up and seethed a string of uncharacteristic oaths under his breath. "Company Disengage! On me!" he boomed out.
His Company relayed the orders and his fighters cautiously started to back-track towards their leader. Queen Victoria issued a similar command to her Company, clearly similarly frustrated with the proceedings.
As his Incorrigibles and the medic approached, Lord Curr directs them to aid Mohan Singh. His contractors on the ship would no doubt recover the plans from the wolf-dog. If he let them.
The maverick Lord then looked forlornly back to the river and the retreating steamer.
Result: Win for Lord Curr's Company - Dakota made it to the steamer
LCC 4 VP/XP
£10 Company sponsorship
VPC 5 VP /XP
£15 Company sponsorship