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"How could you refight Little Big Horn" Topic

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Lascaris31 Jan 2023 10:13 a.m. PST

So I had a thought to do a LBH refight but I'm really struggling with how to get it onto a table. The historical battle was fought over a large area, roughly 5.5 miles long, and it's not really feasible to have all that on a table. I've been thinking of either severely "bathtubbing" the battle (not my favorite choice) or in having all of the out-of-contact movement be on maps and then fighting whatever actions occur in sections. I'd probably use Fields of Honor or perhaps Yellow Ribbon (if I can find my copy) for rules.

Anyway, curious if others have some thoughts as how to game low density, large area battles. Even something like Rosebud, which is larger but still fairly small, took place on a battlefield roughly the size of Waterloo. :-/

cavcrazy31 Jan 2023 10:19 a.m. PST

I am doing it in 28mm. I should have gone 15mm. You could do it in sections, Reno attacking the village, Reno's retreat. Custer's advance. You already know how it is going to end, so whichever company lasts the longest,wins.

MajorB31 Jan 2023 10:47 a.m. PST

I've seen it done as a disguised scenario

Grattan54 Supporting Member of TMP31 Jan 2023 11:07 a.m. PST

You could do it in 6mm. That would scale things down. Or use two tables. One deals with the Reno fight and the other with Custer and his "last stand". Just state it takes so many moves to go from one table to the other.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP31 Jan 2023 11:49 a.m. PST

MajorB has a good point: people are just not going to reproduce Custer's decisions once they know they're fighting the LBH. If you want to replicate the decisions, do map and pins, don't tell everyone it's 1876, and only build a table when there was contact.

If you just want the familiar troops on the famous battlefields, you want at least two tables, and you might want three--Reno in the valley, Custer, and one going from Reno Hill to Weir Point. You could also posit Custer's decisions--at least until Reno is detached--But let Reno, Benteen and McDougall make their own.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP31 Jan 2023 4:13 p.m. PST

I probably wouldn't. What are the victory conditions for the US cavalry?

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP31 Jan 2023 5:25 p.m. PST

I have gamed the Alamo several times. It is an utter hoot. Just a great game. Basically, the Mexicans get 3 assaults. For each assault they start at full strength. The Texans just dwindle. If one Texan survives they win. Great fun.

Especially if you break for margaritas before each assault.

cavcrazy31 Jan 2023 7:13 p.m. PST

Well, knowing that as a cavalry player you are "dead" then how about, which ever warparty catches the most guidons wins. Extra points if it is Custer's personal Guidon. The question was about the Little Bighorn….you know the cavalry are not winning.

DJCoaltrain01 Feb 2023 12:27 a.m. PST

LBH is one of my favorite battles. Folks need to remember that both sides were making fateful decisions, which affected the events of the day. Both sides had needs, fears, objectives, and decisions to make during the day of battle. Neither side was operating in a vacuum. At the end of the day, each side wanted outcomes that were mutually exclusive.

Dragon Gunner01 Feb 2023 2:02 a.m. PST

I would give Custer his personal victory conditions as they were at Little Big Horn. You have political aspirations and would like to become President of the USA. You need a victory that is fresh in the public's memory to secure votes. If you wait for Crook's column, Gibbons column or Terry's column to join you as planned you will have no bragging rights or medals. You must defeat the Native Americans before the other columns arrive with the force you have.

Victory is defined as…

Decisive Victory: Not allowing the Native American women children and elderly to escape. You must also survive the battle so you can run for office.

Marginal Victory: Inflicting more casualties on the Native American warriors than you receive and personally surviving the battle.

Anything less is a defeat.

Pregame set up options…

1. Custer splits his force in an effort to prevent the Native encampment from escaping as he did historically. (Play two separate battles)

2. Custer keeps his force together allowing the Native encampment to escape but is planning to inflict numerous casualties on the Native American warriors. The Native player must ride out in force and meet Custer.

3. Custer keeps his force together and waits for his Gatling guns. The Native encampment automatically gets away. Native chiefs have enough time to come up with a battle plan. (Custer sets up first. Natives set up second after viewing Custers force on table and can set up on any table edge, hidden in gullies, woods or behind hills.)

Native player wins by avoiding any of Custer's victory conditions.

Legionarius01 Feb 2023 5:39 a.m. PST

Give Custer 1D6 and the natives "heap of die". :)

John Leahy Supporting Member of TMP01 Feb 2023 7:35 a.m. PST

There was a gent who recently ran it recently in 6mm. I want to say he ran it at the Joy of 6 show. I love Yellow Ribbon! I think you'd need a lot of players to run LBH. You maybe could run the Indians with a few umpires. I'd suggest using the Men Who would be Kings variant. You can find them on the Facebook group. Black Powder also has a pony wars scenario in the 2nd edition.



79thPA Supporting Member of TMP01 Feb 2023 8:37 a.m. PST

Thinking about it some more, I would learn towards a Science vs. Pluck game in which the cavalry was controlled by the umpire, and all of the participants controlled the Indians.

Zephyr101 Feb 2023 10:37 p.m. PST

"So I had a thought to do a LBH refight but I'm really struggling with how to get it onto a table. "

Deploy the cavalry in the center. Indian units appear at random places on the table edges (they can then move in to fight, and withdraw if they've decided they've "had enough". Note that they *can* return later at a different place on a table edge, they aren't eliminated from the battle for simply leaving.)
At the real LBH, the Indians would pop up from cover and fire, and also move around a lot when out of LOS of the cavalry, repeating those tactics before finally moving in.

p.s. Your cavalry player will hate you… ;-)

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP03 Feb 2023 11:59 p.m. PST

So many really astute approaches here! Kudos to the above posters who've thought thru some viable and entertaining scenarios!

Heedless Horseman Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2023 12:36 p.m. PST

You 'could' give cav a more plentiful ammo supply… maybe pack mules? Will still lose!

Normal Guy Supporting Member of TMP05 Mar 2023 5:42 a.m. PST

We did LBH many years ago in 15mm. Needed around a 15' table to do the entire battle. Reno, Benteen, and Custer all had their own victory conditions. Custer could control Reno and Benteen but had to be with them to do it. Used random movement generator for the Indians. Great fun.

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