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Flint and Feather playtest

Howard Whitehouse

A brief AAR for Friday night's three player game at Jon Davenport's house. The terrain was Jon's, the figures and rules mine, and the bad luck mostly Dennis Cunningham's, as the Huron leader.

The scenario involved Dennis, as village chief, waiting for the arrival of a French delegation brought to his humble abode by an escort of his own warriors. There were 9 Huron warriors, together with a Jesuit and two fairly dubious lay brothers. The French – not yet on the board – comprised a spoiled aristo with swishy moustache, two halberdiers and a bearer of a famous Shining Wood (matchlock musket).

I told Dennis he could deploy, one group at a time, anywhere within 12” of the village palisade. I'd rather assumed he'd use a sentry system, but as it was he placed one group on the hillside outside the village front gate and another inside the walls.

The Mohawks – one band of nine under Jon, another commanded by myself, deployed around the table edges at least 12” from any Hurons. Since the Hurons weren't really on the lookout, Jon placed almost all his forces by the corn fields facing the back door of the village. Yes, it was open. I laid my warband out to watch for the arrival of the French, and to face the main Huron group by the main gates. What I really mean is “I hid in several clumps of forest to see what would happen next.”

The Mohawks went first, and Jon simply rushed out of the cornfeild, rolling 12” on their first action. The Hurons sauntered about and failed to defend their palisaded village, or even close the back door. The Mohawks rushed in, taking on three Hurons; killing one and making the other two run away. However, it wasn't much of a 'run away' (rolling 4”). The Mohawks rolled 5” in pursuit –which isn't all that impressive either – being the highest two dice of three rolled – but was enough to bring on that discouraging combat, where men with clubs hit men with skulls.

The thing to know about close combat in Flint and Feather is that Key Characters (that's your leader types) get to choose which of six different combat maneuvers they use for attack or defense, while Basic Characters (the followers) roll randomly. It's a sort of Rock/Paper/Scissors system, but includes the 'Huh' option – where the figure fails to do anything helpful. This means that your heroes quite often win against larger numbers of lesser beings, because they choose well and their opponents roll 'Huh' and take a tomahawk to the forehead. The Mohawk leader fought well, alone, against several Huron.

Then Dennis rolled a '6', which caused a number of random events. The French arrived on the table, and immediately walked into a wasps' nest. The Jesuit rolled a '6' on the 'Crazy White Man' table and went fighting mad. However, he attacked the Mohawk Great Warrior who - first - failed to be terrified, and - second - got his blow in first. This resulted in a gory death for the Jesuit, and a disappointment for those planning a full weekend of torture.

A Frenchman fired a matchlock, once, and hit someone's cousin. Despite the +5 bonus of the bullet, the victim rolled only a '1' and was wounded rather than horridly murdered. And the Mohawks passed the test that might have terrified them. Damn. Both sides just looked at one another, the Mohawks shooting arrows in an ineffective way. It was clear that the Hurons weren't going to have a village for the French to visit. I attacked the Huron main band, in a slightly unconvincing “Oh, look, my charge is 2” short of your warriors” fashion. This was a bit embarrassing, but luckily Dennis decided that his main band ought to run away from a losing proposition.

And that was it. I foresee great things for the Mohawks. The Hurons; not so much.