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3/14/2008

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FFP: Dow's Mexican Revolution
  Recreating the Battle of Parral (March 5 - 7, 1913) in which 'Constitutionalist' commander Manuel Chao with 1,500 rebels attacked the 200 man Federale garrison, seized the town, but was eventually ejected when the Federales received around 1,000 reinforcements. The town of Parral. Each building is supposed to sit atop one of the movement hexes drawn on the dark green battlefield carpet. However, some are too large for one hex, and the town is perhaps too large for the rules set. Well, it seemed to the umpire that once the Constitutionalists made it into the town the game degenerated into a sort of World War I slugging match, without the benefit of graceful maneuver.   game0408.jpg
 
  The Federales secret weapon, a Hotchkiss machine gun mounted on the back of a Model T truck. A defensive weapon which the historical defenders did not in fact enjoy.   game0409.jpg
 
  The secret weapon of the Constitutionalists, 'Sonora' the famous Curtis biplane. Here portrayed by an RE-8 on loan from the RAF. Just as the government forces did not have a machine gun, the rebels did not have air support. However, these two units spent the entire game duking it out with each other. So it was almost as if they weren't in the game at all, making it all the more like the actual battle. On realizing this the umpire gleefully clapped his hands, then repaired to the bar for a celebratory libation.   game0410.jpg
 
  The rebel mob - not really a mob, but many, many units squeezed into a limited number of movement hexes - prepare to surge out of a dry gully, the edge of which is rather unconvincingly portrayed by a piece of masking tape, and into the town of Parral. The Federales, in uniforms which the painter now admits are slightly too green, atop the building are not on the roof, but inside the building. However, the naturally lazy club members have agreed to place defending units on top of buildings, rather than inside, because in the last W.W.II game several squads were 'mislaid' inside the buildings they were defending, only to be discovered long after the game during clean up.   game0411.jpg
 
  Several - seemingly interminable - turns later, the rebels break into the town. The building on the far right once bristled with Federales in the previous photo. The severely depleted, yet still numerous, rebels pour past and exceedingly decorative fountain (purchased at a local craft store as part of a large and expensive Christmas town hand painted in Asia) and towards the remaining members of the Federale garrison. Just when things couldn't seem to get any worse for the government defenders, the umpire makes just the right dice roll causing the downtrodden townsfolk to rise up against their Federale oppressors. Immediately there after two units of machete swinging peons appear immediately to the rear of this hapless Federale squad.   game0412.jpg
 
  The arrival of the expected, and much hoped for by the Federale players, government reinforcements. Across the town square comes; first a unit of Chinese 1920's infantry (converted into Federales), second a unit of French 1914 Chasseurs (converted into Federales), a mounted 1870 Prussian dragoon (converted into a Federale colonel), and finally 1900 German Marines (converted into Federales). The last, and greenest, of the Federale reinforcements is the recycled unit of roof top Federales from two photos back. At the bottom of the photo exuberant rebels, they do seem to be winning at this point, surge across the square to launch what would be a bayonet charge... If any of them had bayonets. One might then describe this as a 'Six Gun and Cigar Charge.' It really is a bit surprising how many 'Mexican' figures are sculpted gripping cigars in their teeth by today's manufacturers.   game0413.jpg
 
  Much later in the evening the Federales are still striving manfully to cross the town square from the previous photo. The fact that the 'Green Federales,' who were the third unit to enter the square, are now in the front rank of the government attack should indicate the high casualties experienced by the preceding two units. However, the mounted colonel is still alive. Shortly after this photo was taken the Federale commander pointed out that a ruling this turn by the umpire was exactly the opposite of a ruling the previous turn on the same subject. The umpire blinked twice, looked down at his drink, shuffled his papers, and spoke those immortal words, "Oh? So I made a mistake. Screw you!" Shortly thereafter the Federale commander admitted his inability to recapture the town and threw in the towel, meaning that the 'game rebels' did better than the historical ones.   game0414.jpg
 
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