Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Chaos at Chatham!

So having recovered to some extent from my hectic holiday in Florida, and having hauled my USA treasure trove from Hinterland ,Pulp, and Reaper miniatures through customs I thought it was time to get the waiting games played.

Unfortunately the chaps who had voiced an interest in taking on companies were not available due to work and holiday commitments and so I needed to work out how to play the games solo. The first of these was going to probably be the most complex. The scenario is that Childers is setting off on his journey to Ruritania, accompanied for the first part of his trip by H G Wells, and Hercule Poirot, as well as Chard, Bromhead and their batmen. Childers has been warned that agents of the mysterious and secretive Pantheon organisation may try to disrupt their trip.
Moran and the Praetorians
In an attempt to turn the tables on the enemy it was agreed that Watson would wait at the dockyard office with a team of armed police from the special taskforce CI5. The batmen and servants of the officers were also at the dockyard with the luggage. There were also the crew of the steam yacht "Lady Pamela "and the dockyard workers who depending on dice rolls may join in the fray.

Yacht and crew

The Pantheon indeed were planning to disrupt the travel plans, but their priority objective (decided on the roll of a dice) is the abduction of H G Wells. To achieve this they have the dastardly Sebastian Moran and four of the fearless Praetorians in their armoured coats. They have called for the help of local gangs, including The Sons of Erin an Irish Nationalist group, who also go under the name of The Navigators. These thugs are armed with a variety of weapons from knives, clubs and shotguns, to revolvers, axes and rifles. The Irish group are also helped by The Fair Colleens, fallen women who use their physical attractions to obtain information and funds for the Sons of Erin.

The dark alleys of Chatham

The table represents the crowded streets leading to the dockyard with terraced houses, a pub or two, and warehouses. As the locals know there is trouble brewing all doors are locked and bolted except those concealing armed groups. There are also a number of unarmed innocent civilians scattered about the table, their movement with be decided by throws of the dice once the shooting starts.
Childers survived the encounter and sent a report to Rassendyll as follows:-

My dear Rudy,
                         I am currently ensconced in a comfortable inn just outside Dunkirk, where I have been forced to rest having taken a couple of slight nicks around the noggin in a bit of a dust up outside Chatham Docks.
I was with Chard, Wells and that funny Belgian cove Poirot having posted down to Chatham to join Wells steam yacht for the hop over the Channel. Watson had informed us to be careful as the word was about that the other team would make an attempt to disrupt our plans. To be honest old bean I gave little credence to this warning, after all we were in England not some bandit ridden dago island! Still fore warned is fore armed they say and I made sure my rifle was within easy reach, and Hook Chard’s man carried his bondook slung over his shoulder with bayonet fixed. A hard drinker and troublesome character Hook, but no man better beside you in a fight said Chard, and he was right. 
The battleground

Our wagon had gone on ahead to the dock and after we had breakfasted at the Kings Head we set off to walk the short distance through the lousy and noisome streets of Chatham. Within minutes Poirot warned me to have my rifle ready. He may seem a pomaded martinet that Belgian, but he is as sharp a razor. He had spotted a couple of urchins shadowing our party, and one had run ahead, disappearing down a dark sidestreet lined with cheap whores.
Sharp eyed Poirot
Hook had already unslung his rifle as we walked spritely into the clock square, and glancing back I saw a working girl raise her fingers to her mouth and let rip a loud whistle. Hook shouted at us to run, and we double timed towards the dock gates. Chard, Hook and I turned at bay near the clock and backed away to a stack of trade goods that seemed to offer cover. Meanwhile Poirot herded Wells puffing and panting into the docks. To right and left a series of whistles and shouts  echoed from the dark shadows of the fetid slums.
Moving to cover
Just as we reached the stack of barrels and lumber shots rang out from the nearest
alley way.The rounds whistled away over head and return fire was not possible 
because of civvies running hither and thither, so we took cover and readied our arms.
A heavy gauge rifle opened up on us from somewhere, the round passing dangerously
 close to Chard.In a rush a group of thugs poured onto the street, opening up with 
pistols, rifles and shotguns while one sword wielding moron raced towards us. 
The enemy

Both Chard and I fired snap shots at a dapper looking fellow drawing a bead on us
 with a revolver, the rounds took him square in the chest and threw him to the ground, 
while the fellow with the cutlass ran screaming at Hook, who calmly potted him. As I 
turned to congratulate him however I blacked out. Later I found that a damned
 sharpshooter on the roof of a warehouse had caught me a glancing blow. If I had not 
turned to Hook, the round would have got me between the eyes!
 Snap shots!
Childers is down and more gangsters appear
I came round to find Watson by my side, having sprinted from the dockyard gate to
 my side leaving his constables guarding the entrance. He helped me to my feet and I
 recovered my senses just in time as a fresh band of assailants poured out into the 
square and closed on our position. It was clearly going to be desperate measure, and
 again we raised our weapons and opened fire. This time the constables added their 
firepower, along with covering fire from the dockyard wall from private Hitch, and a 
couple of the servants. The result was devastating to the armed mob who dropped like
 flies. For my own part I took a snap shot at some cove in a beaver hat who looked like a
 leader of some sort. Damn me if I did not see his fine hat fly off and his brains 
decorate the clock tower, more luck than skill I assure you.

We could also hear firing behind us where a third group of thugs had climbed into the
 dockyard and were attempting to turn our flanks. Wells told me later that the crew 
of  his yacht pinned down the scum, bringing down a grenadier as he sought to bomb
 the dock office. The stevedores did their bit as well to repel the attack supported by the
 police and directed by our friend Poirot.
Covering fire!
The result
Of course it was not all one way traffic. Hitch went down to a shot from the cursed 
sniper. Two police constables were shot  down closing with another band led by one of the top hatted  leaders that were closing up on the gates along the railway.
Sniper's nest

In the dockyard, Poirot rallied the dockers to take the enemy in the flank and 
overwhelmed the rabble. Three coves hit the dock office, the first was shot down by a 
docker with a sawn off, the second brought down by a detective with a revolver. The 
third, under fire from a rifleman on the yacht decided it was time to retire. While in 
the square, under cover from the sharpshooter the rabble pulled back into the slums 
they had crawled from.
Slaughter in the dockyard

So Rudy, our adventures have certainly begun, but in a far more suprising way
 than I could ever have imagined.  Wells seemed totally unphased by the attack and 
ordered the body of the fellow I potted taken away under guard. The police inspector 
told me that some of our attackers were local ruffians, but some were known  Fenians.
 Who the sharpshooter was is a mystery, but he is a cursed good shot and a damned 

Hitch is bandaged up and will be fit to travel in a few days, at least at a leisurely 
pace. The plan is that I will travel with Chard, Bromhead and Hook, and two or three of 
the servants, posthaste to Belgrade. Hitch and the others will follow on.


The game was played solo, but with the input from my non gaming partner, who turned out to be far more devious than I reckoned. For example she decided to send a group to infiltrate the dockyard rather than rush the dock gates. The reason she was not more successful with this was that on the throw of a dice the armed yacht crew decided to stay on the dock and protect the vessel and were a threat to the flank of the infiltrators that could not be ignored.

The bad guys were perhaps unlucky in that the original whistle signals had a 50/50 chance of being heard, and weren’t initially. It was the sound of gunfire that eventually drew one attacking group out of the pub. Numbers did not have the impact I thought against steady firepower, though I have to say there were some amazingly good dice thrown in the initial shooting phases.  That said there were also a run of ones thrown that sparked some bloody hand to hand fighting as well.
End of game at the gates

I introduced Pluck tests for gang members when a leader was downed, even so the groups were slow to withdraw.

The civilians did not prove much of a factor in the game as they simply ran out of the firezone.

Sebastian Moran, perched on the warehouse roof, out of range of most military rifles was deadly and in a more open environment may have turned the game. As it was, high buildings, the clock tower etc blocked line of sight too often for him to be decisive.

NB Apologies for the strange formatting of part of the report. It all looks fine when typed but goes weird when uploaded. Any advice gratefully received.

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