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1/29/2010

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Weenie's Mexican Revolution
  To raucous acclaim The Bengal Club returns to the members' own rather eclectic interpretation of La Gran Revolucion. The Weenistas rejoice! Behold their recreation of the 1910 Battle of Ciudad Juarez. Sort of.

In the foreground can be seen the line of trenches constructed by the Federales along the hillside facing south. In the background, only moderately out of focus, can be seen the piece of felt (and jumble of barely appropriate buildings) representing the city. In the center of the photo can be seen the mounted Federale commander, and at the bottom left one of the mysterious automobiles that would play such an important part in the game.
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  A close up of the Federale trenches. Here represented by some sections of 15mm redoubts for 18th century sieges. The figures are converted Copplestone Chinese Warlord troops, with the puttees covered over using automobile glazing putty. The field gun actually is a French 75, the correct artillery for both Chinese Warlords and Mexican Federales (and Villistas!) It is one of two models used by the Federal troops to defend the city. Sadly, the club only possessed one French 75, so the second field gun was a half painted British screw gun.   g100129b.jpg
 
  The extreme left/East of the Federale's defensive line. The redoubt/trenches stop at the edge of the felt/town. Just like in real life! Fie on those who decry the historical accuracy of Bengal Club games. The troops at left are converted from Artizan W.W.I French Chasseurs. The troops at right are converted from Wargames Foundry Wild West Federales. A conversion that largely consists of ignoring the fact that they are not holding Mauser 98 bolt action rifles.   g100129c.jpg
 
  A close up of the Federale secret weapon. Behind the government defensive line were two automobiles. One a rather nondescript tan Model T Ford, and the other this more extrovert French limousine. The Federale player spent much of the game rolling dice, reviewing charts, conferring with the umpire, and sometimes moving the automobiles towards the attacking Villista troops. After several furtive conferences the Villista commanders decided that the autos must contain something bad, like machine guns, or rockets, or something. And it must have been very bad, or it wouldn't have been so difficult for the defenders to deploy it. But more about that later.   g100129d.jpg
 
  The Villistas begin their attack on the right flank of the Federale trench line. Here the assault is led by; a Wargames Foundry peon, an Old Glory Boer (2nd row), an Old Glory Villista, and a Eureka Mexican Bandito. At this point it might be appropriate to mention some of the scenario's hidden features. The attacking rebels had overwhelming numbers, so there was no way they could lose the battle. However, the umpire was rather coy in his instructions to 'move fast' and 'win as quick as you can,' because each turn the game lasted the Federales received 10 victory points. The Villistas, not quite catching the hint, spent many turns using their special off board movement to mass a huge attack on the town, but the turns and points kept clicking away as they made their preparations.   g100129e.jpg
 
  Historically accurate Federales (uniforms - yes, muskets - no) nervously guard the extreme right of the defense line. At the right can be seen the end of the trench line. In real life the failure to extend trenches all the way along the hill proved irrelevant, because General Francisco Villa attacked (with dynamite) through the town at the extreme left of the line.   g100129f.jpg
 
  A skirmish line of Villistas, part of a very effective diversion that completely fooled the Federales in the game, move to envelope the defenders' weak right flank. In hindsight the umpire realized that he was bestowing a shooting penalty on the Federales because the Villistas were moving (Napoleonic style penalty) instead of imposing the penalty if the Villistas stopped moving and took cover (as in the rules actually being used.)

The Federale infantry commanders kept looking meaningfully at the player moving their only unit of cavalry, a squadron of the dread Rurales.
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  The Rurales on the move to, well somewhere. In the face of vastly superior Villista infantry they abandoned their observation post in front of the Federale's main line of defense. Then they spent numerous turns maneuvering, and were very lucky in experiencing minimal casualties from the enormous rebel host. Finally they charged a pair of Villista field guns in order to prevent them from shelling the main trench line. Pancho smiled seraphically as this happened, for he had rolled very badly on the "Special Villista Artillery Ammunition Table" and both guns were using either American (half the range) or Mexican home made (half the explosive effect) ammunition. The Rurales diverted the rebel artillery from firing on the Federale infantry, which they wouldn't have been able to hurt any way.   g100129h.jpg
 
  The Villista tide moves toward Ciudad Juarez. The Federale commander deploys his one machine gun, but before it can fire its crew perishes under a hail of Villista rifle fire. Again, the umpires misinterpretation of the rules provides the Villistas with a little extra protection from defensive fire because 'they are moving and not standing still.' Over on the right the Federale infantry have collapsed under the sheer weight of the attackers' diversion. In a desperate gamble, Federal troops bring up the French limousine.   g100129i.jpg
 
  As the crippled Federal infantry withdraws from their out flanked trenches an exotic, and only partially painted, vehicle approaches to cover their retreat. Francisco Villa must now make a critical decision. Should he pursue the fleeing Federal infantry, or dispatch the mystery vehicle before it can deploy some sort of exotic antipersonnel weapon. Villa's men pounce on the limousine, peppering it with small arms fire, only to discover at the end of the turn that the seemingly harmless automobile is in fact, a harmless automobile. The Federale commander has been ACTING to deceive them as to the vehicle's value. Defensive fire from the retreating Federales cripples the fist wave of Villistas, and the defenders withdraw. But Pancho seizes the car. There was some talk of turning it into an ice cream truck.   g100129k.jpg
 
  The final assault on Ciudad Juarez. The Villistas surge forward. Large casualties are suffered, but not enough to defeat the assault. At this point the umpire no longer knew which figures were 'dead' and which were merely lying down to seek cover. The Federale commander threw in the sponge, and the umpire counted up Federale casualties, and the number of turns the game had lasted. He announced that the defenders had lost the battle, but squeaked out a game victory, because the Villistas had taken so many turns to surreptitiously develop the attack on the town. Then the membership berated the umpire on the topics of 'meaningless automobiles' and 'hidden victory conditions.'

So all in all a pretty typical TBC game.
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