Dardenell County Reborn

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 πŸ˜„

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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ˜ƒ

July 2022 Update


A bit of a crap month for gaming, only two games done, one was the Bicocca re-fight and the other a pick up western gunfight. The reason? Well reasons really, car crash, relative hospitalised, covid, you name it Dave experienced it!

Dardenell County

I’ve already posted about Bicocca so our only other game was a pick up game set in our fictional western gunfight county. In this adventure one set of cowhands saw beef bearing their brand in the stockyards that had been rebranded and went seeking the culprits.

where are the varmints!

It was a pretty simple set up, 3 cowhands per side, average stats to start then random amendment by die rolling. The Van Hee boys started at the stockyards and the Burton boys were just coming out of the blacksmiths.

Burton boys

Although it should have been a simple shoot out at the stockyards Dave made it all complicated by going commando (no, not that commando!) and sneaking off round buildings in what became a bad interpretation of Open Range.

Van Hee hands

In what became ‘here we go round the mulberry bush’ the Van Hee trio were trailing around asking civilians where the other guys had gone. Eventually the Van Hee’s cornered ‘Two Gun’ Brookes at the stockyards and literally filled him with lead while the other two Burton hands fled across the street.

duly ‘filled with lead’

Out back of the Telegraph Office scores were settled with the Burton boys firing from the cover of an abandoned shack and a half built building; in the shoot out at the building Adolphous ‘the Gent’ Rogers was laid low with a serious wound but his assailant was then put down by Van Hee firing as he came out of the back door of the Telegraph Office, out back of the Office Billy Blue went down with a shotgun blast in the leg but when ‘Shotgun Bob’ walked over to finish him off with the other barrel at close range Billy recovered enough to put a bullet in Bob’s head – shouldn’t have gloated Bob!


In other news, three pike blocks and the Hypaspists were based up for the Successors project which has made a big difference; a couple more pike units to go and the commanders and this project will be done.


On the 10mm front got some APC’s done for the Iran Iraq project, might do a separate blog post on this.

Iraqi infantry deployed

Also went along to the Devizes show, Attack. This is one of those shows that has been around forever but I’ve never been, mainly because it’s a bit of a hack from Coventry. However, the stars aligned and I went down for the Sunday and it was a fine day out, very much in a late 70’s style (which is no bad thing) and if I hadn’t had other reasons to be there it might have been a bit ordinary but I did some shopping, did some chatting and came away pretty pleased with the day. Well done the organisers.

dried river bed from Attack

So that’s it, let’s hope August is a bit better!

April 2022 Roundup


A bit of a disappointing month gaming wise and in terms of projects done – I blame the distraction of helping decorate my sons new flat and Dave being a bit shook up after a car accident (all good now).

Our first game was the continuation and wrap up of our epic Carlist game; the scenario worked, the rules played well, and we got two afternoons out of it so less frequent packing away πŸ˜€. It also whetted our appetite for Partizan in May where we’ll be doing a Carlist refight.

Next up was an away game of Vietnam using the BOHICA rules; dear oh dear what a disappointment πŸ˜’, the rules were really rather bad, confused incoherent and definitely nothing to do with Vietnam. The day was fine, seeing guys we haven’t seen for a month, beer, food and a laugh, so not a complete write off.

“hey you in the jail”

Next home game was another gunfight game where we had another episode from our Dardenell County campaign and made a final decision on the rules we’ll use. After years away from the ‘western gunfight’ genre it’s been really nice to back into it and fun has been had painting figures and collecting buildings. What we need now is general clutter, wagons, civilians, horses, all the accoutrements of your average film set πŸ˜ƒ.

spear won land

Final game of the month was one from our, oh so slow, Successors project 🀨. Still bereft of pikes we put together an Achaean League v Middle Imperial Seleucid (pretty sure the Seleucids didn’t refer to themselves as that 🀣), mainly because the hoplites we do have could make up the bulk of the League while the many Xystophoroi cavalry we have plus the freshly painted Galatians could justifiably bulk out a Seleucid army.

who doesn’t love an elephant?

The game played well and the rules seem to be giving us what we want in terms of a reasonable representation of warfare of the period and understandable mechanisms. No major ‘oh my god!’ moments but a bit of tidying round the edges still needs to be done; the acid test will be when we have sufficient numbers of pikes done and can go classical pike v pike.

In terms of getting things done it’s all been a bit miserable; there are some more Timurids in progress but the only things that got done were a stage coach and building for the gunfight game – need to give myself a good talking to!

the irony of building a half finished building

That’s it I’m afraid, enjoy your gaming.

March 2022 Roundup

Well March didn’t start off too well as we were forced to cancel our attendance at Hammerhead due to my date for investigative surgery being scheduled for the Friday before the show and Dave wasn’t up to running a participation game on his lonesome. A shame but given the pressure the NHS is under currently I didn’t feel like messing them about just because of toy soldiers πŸ™‚

From a gaming perspective, we managed to get quite a few in, starting the month of with an Italian theatre War of the Austrian Succession game featuring a GalloSpan army taking on Austro Piedmontese. A hard fought game resulted in an Austro Piedmontese victory due in part to an outstanding performance by the Austrian cavalry.

Next up was a dark age game using our Arthurian rules tweaked ever so slightly to accommodate a Late Roman v Goths encounter. It was the first outing for the Goths and was quite a bloody affair resulting in the death of two of the Goth leaders and a narrow victory for the Romans.

We played two separate western gunfight games during the month as part of our rejuvenated interest in the period, trialling two more sets of rules and kicking off a loose campaign to knit games together.

Probably our best game was a refight of St Denys, the second in our project to refight all the battles of the French Wars of Religion. This is historically a very lop sided battle which the Huguenots simply should not win but did and so it was in our refight even down to killing the right commander!

Our final game was a Carlist War battle done in the style of a ‘table top teaser’ scenario whereby a retreating government column has to get from one end of the table to the other while random Carlist brigades are generated to either side of them. At the time of going to press the government has seen off three Carlist brigades but another two bar their way – to be finished in April πŸ˜€

Projects wise a couple of small gunfight buildings were completed, some modern vehicles for our Cartel and Syrian games were finished, a couple of Timurid bodyguard cavalry units were finished after lingering around for over a year, some random desert terrain items completed and a unit of Galatians was added to the Successors project.

In other news the 10mm Franco Prussian armies were sold off to a new (and probably more appreciative) owner and some of the money from that sale went toward the purchase of a 4Ground western town from a gaming acquaintance who was done with the period – now we really have got to get into it!

Till next time, happy gaming πŸ˜„