Our second game had 8 players, too, and the British manned the homesteads just like their counterparts did in the previous game. The crafty French commander broke with tradition when he activated the Virginian Provincials in the southwest homestead with his first activation, presuming the Provincials would hunker down in their position (pass on activation) and thereby make it safer for the French to maneuver around the stockade. Instead the Virginians took the pack horses and stole a march on the surprised Frenchmen!
Both sides then mostly took turns activating each others' troops to get them onto the field, which stranded the poor Civilians in the southwest homestead alone without Provincial protection, and surrounded by Natives and French Regulars.
Also different from the previous game, only one Native unit entered on the eastern half of the field, arriving in the woods on the southeast corner. All the other French and Native units entered on the western half, mostly in the woods on the northern edge.
This effectively created an east-west axis between the British and French forces. . .
. . . except for the Natives in the southeast section of the woods, which the British screened with the Highlander Light Infantry. . .
and the Civilians in the southwest homestead, now surrounded, pinned down by musket fire and a newly-started blaze. . .
while the Provincials head eastward with the pack horses.
A volley of fire from the French Regulars and skirmish fire from the Coeur and Natives in the woods disrupt the Provincials, who seek safety in the woods south of the road, and nearly into sight of the Natives lurking there.
This forced the British to send the Highlander Light Infantry into the woods and after a brief firefight that caused no casualties, the Natives charged the Highlanders. The Highlanders won initiative and slaughtered the Native unit completely, losing two of their own soldiers in the melee (hand-to-hand combat in This Very Ground is a fight to the death in one turn). In another turn the Highlanders were in position to screen the Provincials while they rallied.
By this point the British were able to form a solid screening line. . .
. . . for the civilians in the northeast homestead to make a break with the pack horses.
The British were able to get all four pack horses off the field. The French tainted the British victory by burning the southwest homestead and killing and/or capturing the beleaguered Civilians left behind.
A well-played game that went right down to the wire.
Check back later this week for a look at Game Three featuring The Baron's Fistful of Lead.