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  Bayonets & Tomahawks The French and Indian War by GMT Games  I believe it is time to sip some tea and watch 'The Last of the Mohic...

Bayonets & Tomahawks: The French and Indian War by GMT Games Bayonets & Tomahawks: The French and Indian War by GMT Games

Bayonets & Tomahawks: The French and Indian War by GMT Games

Bayonets & Tomahawks: The French and Indian War by GMT Games

 Bayonets & Tomahawks

The French and Indian War


GMT Games

 I believe it is time to sip some tea and watch 'The Last of the Mohicans' one more time. I will give 10 points to anyone who knows Hawkeye's real given name. I believe he is called more names in the book than many rap sheets have aliases. 

 The French & Indian War was not, strangely enough, a cut and dried English and Colonist victory from the start. As a matter of fact, the French were winning pretty much right up until 1759. This is pretty amazing when you look at the population figures:

French Colonists in North America - 50,000

English Colonists in only the 13 Colonies - 1,000,000

 If it had not been for the parsimoniousness of the Colonists it would have been a walkover. Oddly enough this ultimately led to the loss of the Colonies to England. The English government finally realized that to win in North America they would have to bring large amounts of troops and supplies. To do this meant spending an enormous amount of money. After the war, England tried to make the colonies pay for some, if not most, of the war which led directly to "Taxation, Without Representation". 

 This is really a great historical time to create a boardgame out of. You have the Colonists and the English on one side. Then you have the French and most of the Indians on the other one. You have Montcalm and Wolfe, let alone their famous death scene paintings, along with Amherst, whose own penny pinching leads to Pontiac's Rebellion. The only real assets the English have are their population and the Iroquois Confederacy. So let us see what comes with the game:

22" x 34" mounted map

54 cards

135 unit counters

8 Commanders

17 Vagaries of War tokens

1 small fabric bag

6 custom dice

1 sheet of markers

1 Player Aid sheet

5 Scenario Information sheets

Rulebook and Playbook

Complexity is listed as a '3'

Solitaire Suitability is listed as a '6'

Game Scale for Units is:

300 - 1,500 Men

16 Cannon

5 Ships of The Line

Each Round is approximately 3 Weeks

Playtime is listed as 2 hours per Year

 This is one of the new breed of games that are truly wargames, but are presented as Euro games as far as their components. It is a wonderful time to be a grognard, except of course, for most of our ages. As long as we still have our wits about us and our glasses handy, we will be fine. The map is mounted, and is extremely colorful. The way the territories are presented are a bit different, and it takes a bit of time to get used to. Canada is situated on the left, and the rest of the Eastern part of North America is on the right. There are no hexes, and it is a point to point movement system. In area, it goes from Louisbourg in the North to the Cherokee Nation (roughly South Carolina) in the South. It has all of the major, and some minor, of the points of interest in the French and Indian War such as Le Detroit, Ticonderoga, Montreal, Quebec etc. French forts and towns at the start are blue in color, and the English ones are red. All of the tracks, victory, turn etc., are on the map. The Rulebook is in full color, and is twenty-one pages long. The last two pages is a large two page Unit Reference Chart. The Playbook is forty-eight pages long. The last two pages are a Counter Manifest and one page called "Easily Forgotten Rules". The latter is a nice touch needed in a few other games as well. The Counters are very large and easy to read. They also have pre-clipped edges. Their shape is either triangular for light troops, square for normal troops, and round for artillery and fleets. Leaders are square shaped, and forts are circles. There are three decks of Cards. These are Indian, French, and English. Some have instructions on top, and all come with a combination of triangles, squares, or a combination of the two. There are six Die that were made especially for the game. There is a black pouch included to hold the Die. The game comes with two four page Player Aids. The lettering is large enough to read easily and they are set up in a sensible manner for checking rules etc. It also comes with two full page Scenario Setup cards for all four scenarios, double-sided, two for the English Player and two for the French Player. There is also a fifth setup card, one-sided, that is used for the Indian Nations setup in every scenario. The game also comes with a good amount of small baggies for the counters. As usual with GMT Games, the presentation of the game is excellent.

 The Scenarios in the game are:

Vaudreuil's Petite Guerre 1755

Loudon's Gamble 1757

Amherst's Juggernaut 1758-1759

French & Indian War Full Campaign 1755-1759

There are three Scenario Variants:

Early French & Indian War 1755-1756

An Ambitious British Offensive 1758

French & Indian War with historical reinforcements 1755-1759

Also included is an Optional 1760 Campaign Year 

 Do not let this game's look deceive you. Yes, it is manufactured in the EURO style, but it is a real wargame nonetheless. It forces the player to answer the same question wargames did fifty years ago. First, what is my plan of operations, and once my plan is shredded by my opponent's 'friction', what do I do now. The game is pretty much a two in one game. If you are playing the one year scenarios you do not have time to think about the long haul. In those scenarios it really just becomes a victory point grab free-for-all between players. With the longer scenarios you are able to build up your forces and really concentrate on winning a much longer war. France has the edge early on, but England is able to build up a much larger force given time. The Indian Nations are an invaluable asset to whomever swings the most of them to their side. This is the first game I have played that really gives the Indian Nations the credit they deserve in helping or hindering each side. Without the Indian Nations that were on the French side, the war would have been much shorter historically. One thing you have to remember is that your playing field is mostly wilderness. The contested ground between both sides was not what most of us probably imagine. Twenty years later Burgoyne was still hamstrung trying to go from lake George to Albany by the wilderness. As the French Player I would strike hard and often with raids. Remember, the English Player has to come to you to win the victory points he needs. Louisbourg is exactly what it was historically, the gateway to the St. Lawrence and Quebec and Montreal. The English Player, in the long game, can afford to wait and build up his juggernaut. He cannot run all over the map trying to stop French raids etc. It would be like playing whack-a-mole. He has to decide on a strategy and stick to it.

  The Designer states " I have more fun moving armies on the map than managing logistics". Then he goes onto explain that is why he designed the cards the way he did, and how much work went to get them to work the way he wanted. He was trying to get as many historical outcomes as he could, or at least match the history at different times. He goes on to write about how much work was put into the Die also. Then he shows how his system of using the Die does actually mimic historical outcomes. Every time a Player destroys an enemy  Metropolitan Brigade (French or British Army Regulars) the Player gets a WIE (War in Europe) chit. These can count as Victory Points at the end of your chosen scenario. The way the Designer writes he seems a bit proud of himself for this game and its system. I agree with him. He should be proud of what he has given us in Bayonets & Tomahawks. As someone who has read as much as possible about the conflict, I believe the game gives the Players much of the same goals, forces, and starting off point as in history. You can use/suffer these different strategies or events in the game:

Build Roads


Build a Fort

Lose Commanders in Battle

This is only a taste of what you can do.

This is actually a shot of the game on Vassal

 Thank you very much, GMT Games for letting me take a test drive with Bayonets and Tomahawks. I am very pleased with the historical accuracy and gameplay that is built into it. 


Bayonets & Tomahawks:

GMT Games - Bayonets & Tomahawks

GMT Games:

GMT Games

1 comment :

  1. To answer your question. His real name is Nathanial [Natty] Bumpo and he is also nicknamed the Deerslayer
    [residual knowledge from the Americans course as part of my English degree 52 years ago!].
    More important, this is a very good game which reminds me of Washington's War, but with a markedly different style and system, especially the cards for activation.