Bloody Mohawk

"When the Indians succeed in their silent approaches…a scene of horror, that exceeds description, ensues…. The figure of the combatants all besmeared with black and red paint, and covered with the blood of the slain, their horrid yells, and ungovernable fury, are not to be conceived by those who have never crossed the Atlantic."

And so, the end of the Battle for Fort William Henry begins the massacre at Fort William Henry.

Bloody Mohawk "The French and Indian War", Scenario Battle of Fort William Henry August 8, 1757, page 14-15

As I lost this scenario to the French and their Indian allies, I remember the above that Jonathon Carver had wrote in his book "Travels Through the Interior Parts of North America, in the Years 1766, 1767, and 1768."  (London: C. Dilly; H. Payne; J. Phillips, 1781, 313) and actually thought "this, is the end..."

Title: Bloody Mohawk, "The French and Indian War"

Price: $ 39.99 for box edition or zip lock bag, $24.99 for download PnP (print and play) On sale for $28.00 zip-lock bag plus shipping.  Please notice this "On Demand Series" game no longer comes in a box.  Outside of not wanting to mount and cut out counters, I opt to buy the zip lock.

Designer: Bill Molyneaux

Graphic Designer: Jose Ramon Faura

Publisher: Lock 'N Load - Battle on Demand series

Published Date: 2018 & 2020

Subject: French and Indian War

Scale: not mention, but probably 100 yards to the hex. How did I come up with this? Easy.  Muskets have a range between 50 to 100 yards, bows about the same, and the light artillery (1 to 3) during this time has a range of about 300 yards and the same for heavy artillery (1-5) of about 500 yards.

Game Area: various battle areas in North America during the time frame.

Player Supplied Components: None needed. Even the 10 sided die (DR) is included.

click to go to LnL
Components and Physical Quality:  Very nice.  Some of the nicest I have seen. The following is included:

1 x Zip-lock Bag
12 x 8.5” x 11.0” game maps
1 x Game Manual
1 x Counter Sheet of 88 Die Cut Counters
1 x Terrain Effects Chart (Player Aid) card
1 x d10 Die

Counters: Rounded corners, .6" in size, colourful. The counters for each side has a very well done drawing of a combatant with a background of their national flag. 

Game Map: Colourful, large white outline hexes against various shades of green and brown on heavy card stock 8.5" x 11" in size.  Double sided. 

Additional Components: Terrain Effects Chart (TEC) called a Player Aid.  Listing the various terrain, the movement costs, combat modifiers, and the effect on retreating. Also includes the turn track.  This one additional add to the TEC causes the non-ability to be able to pick up the TEC to read the information.  Should have been separate.  Easy enough to make a new one, but why? Two cents of paper and ink couldn't be spared?  

A special word needs to be said about the included D10.  Mine is Marine blue with white numbers.  It is a very well made die with good points, well balance, not cheap at all.  I have $5 D10 dice that this one, that is included with the game, puts to shame. 

Complexity: EASY, Introductory.  The game is also being sold at various National Parks.

Scenarios:  12 fast playing scenarios depicting various battles. 

Setup Time:  If sorted, 5 minutes.  If not sorted, probably 10 - 15 minutes.

Playing Time: Between 15 mins to 1 - 2 hours, depending on the scenario. 

Number of Players: Designed for two players. 

Solitaire Playability (Scale 1 to 10):  Not very good, a 7, but just about any game can be played solo.

Rules: These are very simple rules, they do need some help.  

Addenda: None has ever been published.  However, I found quite a few questions asked on several different forums and gathered the questions and answers into one place.  See below. (though, I understand questions, what I can't understand is not publishing an errata sheet and having it on LnL's web site, as they do have a forum) 

Play-Balance: Good. Some scenarios handicap one side or the other, to simulate what was going on at that battle, at that particular hour.  For example, to simulate wet weather, a scenario has the attackers adding +2 to their attack DR for wet powder.

Any additional to the rules?  Sure there are. Special rules are listed in the scenarios. 

Evaluation or Summary:  The game is good, as it does what it is suppose to do, being introductory. I would have to give it a 7.  The rules could use a touch up and be explain in a few areas better. 

click to go to WD
No, I did not pay much and the game was not sent to me for free for review.  Being a subscriber to War Diary (WD) magazine, one gets a coupon for one free game from Lock N Load. All one has to do is pay postage - I used my coupon for this game and it cost me aprx $15 for shipping.  Another bonus of subscribing to WD  included in the price are several 25% off coupons for games from Lock N Load and Revolution Games.   Besides the interesting articles (even for games I will never purchase) and some of the top writers in the field, Roy and Rob of WD has worked hard to give subscribers the best bang for the buck. For this, I thank them. Also, congrats for the 2019 Origins Award!!!  

There are several problem areas that need to be known - there is very little to no rules for line of sight of artillery (since they are ranged attacks) and the counters are hard to understand. For example the combat factor is shown as "1/6".  Think of the 1/6 as 1- 6. ( why?!?  The "-" shows a range of numbers, while "/" means "and/or" Sort of silly isn't it.)

The graphic to the left shows what the counters are like with explanations.

Using the example from above "1-6", on a DR of 1, an attack always succeeds.  A DR of 2 to 6 can hit, but terrain has to be added. For example, if a defending unit is in a defensive position (a stone bldg), +3 is added to the attackers DR. If a 6 is rolled, add +3 for the bldg, the final is attack number is 9, a miss. 

An errata sheet would have taken care of these questions instead of questions being asked on several forums on several different web sites.  To me, not making a errata sheet and making it available on the publishers site is sheer laziness. 

Here is a collection of questions and answers found on several forums on different gaming sites.  (note - I take no responsibility for the way these are written, I just copied and put into a doc file. Some of them don't make a lot of sense, and you are on your own.)

1) Counters: what does the "1/" in front of the combat factor signify?

A1. The 1/6 or 1/7 etc is the ‘to hit’ number based on the units Combat Roll number. Anything within this range is the die roll needed to make a successful attack.  

A2. note - Combat value of say “1-7” that is the number you must roll to achieve a hit. an example in play test with NON war gamers having the one number of a 7 confused them was it a number above a seven or below a seven. Once we changed it to a value of “1-7” as an example, it solved that issue.  (too bad this isn't listed as such on the counter)

2) Counters: why is light spelled "lite"?

 A. It was the designer’s choice of phrase as it is from the period. "Lite" was the type of gun class.  (Really?!? I have yet to find in the period diaries I have read or any historical books that the spelling of the word "light" spelled as "lite" is used.  Well, whatever trips your trigger.
😄)

3) Are road hexes that have woods in them treated as woods for combat purposes?

A. No, the Terrain Effects Chart shows no Combat or Retreat effects. The unit that is traveling along the road does not benefit from the surrounding terrain because the roads were built in light woods terrain.

4) (The) "R" spaces at the bottom of the Monongahela map are not referenced in the rulebook.

A. These denote the direction of retreat for this scenario.

5) Is the French leader considered a unit for purposes of victory conditions in the Braddock’s Defeat scenario?

A. No, the French leader is not considered a unit for victory point conditions. Historically, he was killed at the start of the actual battle.

6) What are the camp hexes referenced in the victory conditions for the Battle of Lake George, and when it says they are considered units for losses does that mean if the British enter the hexes?

A. Per the designer: All of the hexes, for camp are at the edge where the British start.

7) Battle of Sideling Hill: no hexes are marked B, F or R for unit placement.

A. Please open a support ticket to get this taken care of for you as it sounds like you don't have the correct map.  (1st edition. It was quickly fixed. Contact LnL)

8) Battle of Fort William Henry: no hexes are marked with an underlined F.  

A. Same as above, please open a support ticket to have that taken care of for you.
(
1st edition. It was quickly fixed. Contact LnL)

9) Does reference to optional retreat rules just means the last paragraph of the retreat rules?

A. Yes. If a unit takes a hit, flip the counter and then roll the morale number. If it fails this roll,  then retreat towards to direction of retreat.

10) Do friendly units block line of sight for artillery? Seems it would be blocked (as in most other games) but rules only reference terrain as blocking line of sight.  

A. Yes any unit blocks line of sight for the big guns.

11) Terrain chart says some units, those without a green F, cannot retreat into forest hex without first passing a morale test.   

A. Rules under 5.3 states that the unit forced to retreat into a forest hex is eliminated upon failing its retreat test.

12)  I am assuming a Morale Test and Retreat Roll are same thing, is that right?    

A. You test your moral if your unit has taken a loss, if it fails, it retreats

13) Are non Green MF units prohibited from retreating into a forest hex or may they retreat if they pass a Morale Test? It seems like the TEC contemplates a two step process - Retreat Roll then a second Morale Test to enter Forest hex? Or are non Green MF simply prohibited from retreating into a forest hex?    

A. Red F units may not retreat into a forest.

14) Can you retreat to a hex adjacent to a enemy unit? I assume “no,” but not sure. Rules say you must retreat away from attacker.     

A. Retreat away from the enemy and you canny (cannot) retreat into a enemy unit.

15) How do I trace LOS?  Should I use the traditional center-to-center method? If so, what happens if my LOS runs through a hex spine, where a hex is blocking terrain and the other is not?     

A. Line of site - if there  are trees, a house, or something blocking the path you can't see it. However you can shoot down a road.

16) Do intervening units block LOS?    

A. Yes units block line of site.

17) Road terrain and forests. A hex with a road passing through a forest, how is it considered for combat?  A road or a forest?    

 A. Road in the woods is still consider woods for combat as there is cover on both sides of the road but you may shoot a cannon ball down the road.

18) In the Battle of Lake George scenario instructions it is said that the British leader and the three "camp hexes" are to be considered as units for victory purposes. The issue is that I cannot find any "camp hex"!     

A. Lake George scenario, the three clear hexes are the camp hexes.

19) What is the (French) "CDB"?

A. The CDB (Coureurs d'Bois) represents French Trappers and locals who were not part of the militia.

Finale...  on to the soapbox!!!

How to remember to go to everyone's web site to get answers is beyond me.  And saying to make up house rules, is ridiculous. Every game should be the best it can be, rules explained and if a player doesn't like it, then they can make up their own rules.  But when one does this, the game changes from what the designer was thinking/making.  

Sorry, but this laissez-faire thinking towards game rules is a cop out.  For Snakes & Ladders, sure, but not a war game.  Yes, life is short (I should know with my health problems) but when one designs a game such as this, then there needs to be semi-concrete answers and errata, especially when intentionally sold at State and National parks (good idea though) to potently people who never played a game such as this. Since the publisher has their own forum area, this should have been the only place to find answers and an errata sheet, not all over the place. 

There is only one designer/developer I know and he has the smarts to listen to his play testers when they ask "what are you trying to do with this rule in this game?". He also explains the rational behind the rule and listens to possible better ways of rewriting that rule.  Not saying most good designers and developers don't do this, I only know of one personally.

What's strange is there are some really interesting ideas in the game.  The addition of special rules for the scenarios (though not new to games, just being used in a very introductory game), the use of colour coding on the counters to show those units that can go thru woods or not, among a few others.  Very interesting. Would I buy this game if I had known all of this before hand?  For the low cost I paid for the game, yeah.  But honestly, not for full price.  If you have money to burn, then by all means go for it.   

Off the soapbox...
Well, that is it for this review. It is a good, fun game, with some of the nicest counters and maps (and rules booklet) I have seen in a long time, aimed supposedly at a novice.  But honestly, it needs a veteran gamer to show the novice the ropes due to some of the problem areas in the rules.

There is a sister game to "Bloody Mohawks" called "Savage Wilderness" with different scenarios. Same counters, rule booklet (names changed of course), same look and feel to the game maps, same problem areas, but honestly, not worth the money.  These maps and scenarios should have been added to this game. And that would make Bloody Mohawk a great game buy at $39.99, even with the problem areas.  Or even offering Savage Wilderness as an add-on like LnL's Tank Vs Tank Eastern Front (or Western Tank) does. 

My suggestion, unless you are a collector and don't play the games, is to buy one or the other and grab the one you don't buy as a download and print out the scenarios and the game maps. You will save money in the long run as they are both the same rules booklet, same counters, same TEC (player's aid), though a different dedication.

Thank you for coming to the blog and reading...  

-ab

This blog is considered to be a living blog. Changes will be made to it as needed to clarify, correct errors or update with new information.  Also, this is my opinion, right or wrong.
 
[edited 02 Jul 2021 to clarify a couple of points and correct a word]