A few posts back I discussed our tentative steps of getting back into western gunfight as a period and after a couple of false starts we have settled on the rules – The Old West Skirmish Wargames and our scale of 28mm, well actually 32mm given the size of the Dead Mans Hand figures and the Black Scorpion figures!
We acquired a whole town from one of our gaming acquaintances who was looking to invest in a new bike and added some new buildings and some more figures. We then had a couple of scene setting games to make sure we were happy and just recently held our first proper Dardenell County multi player game.
The game was the film ‘The 3:10 To Yuma’ in reverse. Ours was the ‘3:10 From Tanglefoot’ whereby notorious land grabber and alleged murderer, Abe McQuown, was being transferred from Tanglefoot on the 3:10 train to the county seat of Mal Paso for incarceration, trial and possible hanging, but McQuown had a cadre of loyal followers who had drifted into town determined to prevent his incarceration.
Our game was centred around McQuown being escorted from the train station down main street to the county sheriffs office by two professional gunmen, Matt Morgan & Craig Blaisdell, sworn in as temporary marshals. Waiting in the upstairs office were Sheriff Will Rogers and Deputy Johnny Gannon plus old Ernie Jones downstairs guarding the cells. Three groups of McQuowns gang were randomly positioned around the town waiting for their chance to ambush the marshals – actually this randomisation didn’t work out as well as I expected as the groups ended up within a couple of buildings of each other – such is the nature of random I guess 😄
For the first few moves not very much happened; the marshals advanced up the street guns drawn – yes I know McQuown has got guns but I wasn’t about to break them off and then re-glue them, Charley Prince, Bob Nicholson & Buck Slavin took up positions in the ground floor of the Los Pecos Hotel while across the street, Rick Belden, Ben Nicholson & Fen Jiggs took up similar positions in the Bar and Bunk – both of these were conveniently at the T junction where the sheriffs office stood. The only group doing anything was that of Cherry Valance, Tom Morgan & Curley Burne who advanced up the street from the Western Union office and into the open space of the T to face down the marshals. Somewhere far off, a dog barked 😉
The action started with Valance and co drawing their weapons and Tom Morgan calling on the marshals to let the prisoner go to which Blaisdell responded with a, “get out of our way or face the consequences”. In this moment of calm before the storm confusion set in; behind Morgan a voice shouted “Tom, get off the street!” which was Belden from the batwing doors of the Bar and Bunk trying to draw a bead on Blaisedell, Morgan froze momentarily and Blaisedell shot him in the right arm, seriously wounding him and forcing him to drop his gun.
Then it all got a bit messy. Snapped out their lethargy Rogers and Gannon drew their guns and headed out of the upstairs office, Gannon leading. Out on the street Valance heard and saw the lawmen coming out and squeezed off a shot which hit Gannon squarely in the chest and dropped him seriously wounded and Rogers ducked back taking cover. Back with the marshals all hell let loose as Burne, Jiggs, Prince and Slavin opened up which saw Burne’s shot kill Blaisedell stone dead – there obviously were consequences 😢
In the brief moment of quiet following the roar of the guns as the consequences of what had just happened settled in, Morgan put his arm around the throat of McQuown and jammed his Smith & Wesson against the mans head as he snarled “back off boys or the boss gets it!” as he tried to back heel open the door of the bank – no joy. But clearly everyone’s blood was up and Prince fired again, taking the risk he wouldn’t hit his boss, but (fortunately) wildly missed. Morgan now realised he couldn’t hold onto the prisoner and stay alive so loosened his grip enough to fire into the Los Pecos and in quick succession knocked down Slavin with a head wound and then snuffed out Prince with a precision shot. From the upstairs window of the Sheriffs office Rogers joined the gunplay putting a bullet into Valance but in the confusion McQuown started making his escape turning down into an alley and eventually disappearing into the outskirts of town.
The gunfight however was far from over. Realising his exposed position Morgan ran back down the street to take cover behind a convenient barrel while Rogers fought a lone battle with the gunmen in the street – although it was a bit one sided as he was in cover and they weren’t 😉
Despite fire from the Bar and Bunk and the Los Pecos, Rogers downed both Burne and Morgan which was just as well because under the cover of the firing Ben Nicholson and Rick Belden had sprinted across the street and up the stairs to finish off the lawman so they could make good their escape. First through the door was Belden who levelled his Colt and……click. A dud! Rogers wasn’t so unlucky and his shot shattered Belden’s right arm giving the lawman enough time to knock the bleeding man to the floor and cuff him. Just as well because next in was Nicholson who shot wide as Rogers pulled his second gun and in the following exchange Rogers, and the now recovered Gannon, put a bullet each into Nicholson.
Back on the street the last shots were fired as Jiggs and Morgan exchanged shots, the lawman was a good shot but the range was long and Jiggs was good with a carbine so “when a man with a .45 meets a man with a rifle” and Morgan sprawled in the dust seriously wounded.
And that was it. One law officer dead and two seriously wounded plus a notorious criminal free to cause more trouble; serious questions would be asked! However McQuown was going to need to do some serious recruiting; Prince was dead and Morgan, Burne, Nicholson and Belden would stand trial once they had recovered from their wounds; Valance and Jiggs had made it to their horses out back of the Western Union office and the other Nicholson and Slavin had snuck out of the Los Pecos and disappeared.
All in all it was a good game and created several more possible follow on scenarios, we placed some 25 moves, had a laugh and rolled some amazing dice, good and bad. Perfect 😃