Aztec Raid – Mass Pikemen Gaming Session June 5, 2021

The Mass Pikemen returned to tabletop wargaming with live face-to-face interactions on June 5th! We played a game of Feudal Patrol™ in Mesoamerica (using my Civilizations Collide supplement. The game scenario was as follows:

Surprise Raid on Outpost

A Tlaxcalan village is being raided by the Aztecs, seeking to take wealth, food, and prisoners.  The Aztecs know the majority of the Tlaxcalan troops are with the Conquistadores elsewhere, and expect an easy task.  Unbeknownst to the Aztecs, there are some Spanish troops at this town who will help to defend it.

The battlefield.

Objectives:

  • A: a maize storage structure – 10 points to either side for control
  • B: Cuezcomatl Granary Structure – 10 points to either side for control
  • C: Tlaxcalan Noble’s House – 10 points to either side for control, 5 more for securing the gold inside and having possession of it.
  • Additionally, the attacking Aztecs gain 5 points for each prisoner taken, 2 points for each enemy otherwise incapacitated, and 1 point for any enemy that runs off the tabletop.  The defenders gain 8 points for each prisoner taken by Tlaxcalans, and 3 points for each enemy otherwise incapacitated, and 2 points for any enemy that run off the tabletop.

Deployment and special rules:

Aztecs: 

  • All Aztecs troops deploy anywhere on the south side of the tabletop 6” from the long end of the mat.
  • The Aztec Warband Leader controls two Warrior Priests

Conquistadores and Tlaxcalans: 

  • The Conquistador leader (a Warband Leader) deploys from C.
  • Each of the three Spanish/Tlaxcalan elements deploy in 1,2, and 3 and are hidden from the Aztecs but predetermined before the game start.  This means that some will be out of command and cannot swap dice at the beginning of the game (24” command radius). At start, they can be outside of their huts.
  • Tlaxcalan element cannot swap dice, and cannot be considered out of command radius.

The map:

  • The fields are muddy and movement rate through them is at half-speed.

In this game, an element is 4-11 figures depending on type, and warbands are made up of 2-5 elements.

The Aztecs had an overall commander with his conch blower as a signaler. Under him was one warband leader commanding two “twinned” 11-figure veteran/novice elements, an elite 6 figure cuahchic (“Shorn Ones”) element, an elite 5-figure Eagle Warrior element, and two warrior priests.

The Spanish had an overall warband leader commanding an elite element of 5 figures and an elite element of 5 figures plus a war dog. The Tlaxcalans – who were separate but allied – had an elite warrior leader with 4 veteran bowmen.

The overall troop points were 54.75 for the Aztecs and 36.5 for the defending Spanish/Tlaxcalans. The fields were slightly moved for the actual game. Of note, the command radius for a warband leader is 24″ – so the Conquistadores have two command and control challenges. First, they start with one of their elements starting the game over 24″ away from the leader making them “pinned” – meaning they only get to activate half as much as normal until they can be made “unpinned” (not an easy task). Second, the Tlaxcalans are independent actors – meaning that the Spanish have limited command and control of them – but they are not limited by command radius restrictions either.

The Tlaxcalans ended up starting at 1, with the other two Conquistador elements at 2 and 3. The Conquistador leader was at C. The Aztecs deployed their elements (from the Aztec left to right) as follows: veteran/novice twinned element, cuahchic elite element, elite Eagle Warrior Element, and the other veteran/novice twinned element.

Scott looks over the tabletop. He would command the Tlaxcalans.
Glenn moves up his twinned veteran/novice element while his ally Chris watches…
…and promptly takes fire from a Spanish arquebus and
a crossbow! The blue glass beads indicate morale checks that the Aztecs had to take and did pass here.

On the Aztec left, Chris moved up his veteran/novice twinned element to take on Scott’s Tlaxcalan bowmen. Historically, the Tlaxcalans were superior bowmen. Chris had to cross a lot of open ground, and the Tlaxcalans dispatched two novices from long range (novices typically are without armor). He then tried on a subsequent activation to charge into melee with the Tlaxcalans – a good move – but the Tlaxcalans were able to react and loose even more deadly arrows into the Aztecs.

Scott grins after sending an initial hail of lucky arrows into Chris’ approaching Aztecs. The incapacitated Aztecs are lying off their bases. The blue beads each indicate a morale check that the Aztec element would need to pass – and more would come…
Only 4 out of 11 figures made it to the Tlaxcalan bowmen, and they had little effect as the Tlaxcalans repelled their assault.

In the middle of the tabletop, the two elite Aztec elements were making good progress forward. The Conquistadores were lucky enough to unpin their handicapped element, making their defense must stronger. That element had a wardog, and they challenged the advance of the cuahchic and the Eagle Warrior elements. That scrum left the Conquistadores with several dead – including the war dog. The cuahchicqueh (plural of cuahchic) advanced, but the Eagle Warriors lost heart and failed morale – running away from the fight.

Then Chris had even more morale checks to make. Luckily for him he endured them, but his unit was pretty decimated. Chris’ Aztecs had 14 morale checks to make. They passed, but were a spent force.

The Shorn Ones (cuahchicqueh) do a number on the Spanish and their war dog.
The Shorn Ones advance to the cuezcomatl granary storage structure (objective B), while their Eagle Warrior comrades run away.
Here you see Chris’ Aztecs – or what’s left of them – and their pile of morale check pips.

Glenn’s advance on the right of the elite elements was making good progress. They had a bowman, an atlatl user, and several slingers in their veteran/novice element. His non-missile weapon-armed Aztecs charged into Leif’s Conquistador element, hoping to take them down (especially as they had the arquebus and the crossbow). Glenn and Leif both did damage to each other in the ensuing melee.

Leif defends against Glenn’s Aztec assault. At this point, the Aztecs were threatening also to take out the Conquistador officer.
Scott and Leif appear confident in their defense.
Leif – commanding the Conquistador officer – takes out an Aztec – but quickly three more of Glenn’s Aztecs gang up on the leader, who kills another, and wounds one more but…
…the Conquistador officer is overwhelmed by the Aztecs, and is incapacitated and dragged off for sacrifice. This left both of the remaining Conquistador elements in a “pinned” status – meaning that they would only activate half as much as an unpinned element – a significant disadvantage.
And finally, an Aztec Warrior Priest showed up to make sure the granary remained in Aztec hands.

The Conquistadores were able to sprint one remaining unwounded trooper over to objective C (Noble’s House), gaining control of it, and its gold, for important end of the game points. The Tlaxcalans were also able to secure the maize storage structure (A). Meanwhile, the Aztecs gained control of the granary (B). The overall scoring led to a Spanish/Tlaxcalan victory with a score of 63-38. If the Spanish had not secured the Noble’s House and it’s gold, it would have been 48-38.

The final score – a Conquistador and Tlaxcalan victory.

The players all had a good time and really enjoyed the game. Some are already on the way to buying their own copy of Feudal Patrol™ !

I do like the scenario -and I thank Buck Surdu and David Wood for an earlier week Zoom playtest. When I update my supplement (which is coming by year’s end or sooner), it will be one of the scenarios I add. I do need to finish off my cityscape and THAT is in progress.

I do thank Saturday’s players as well. It was soooo nice to finally have a face-to-face game for the Mass Pikemen’s Gaming Club. On the next go-around, I will adjust the forces slightly – probably giving another element to the Aztecs and maybe a falconet or another element to the Spanish – depending on the number of players. I will also add points for incapacitating or even capturing warband or higher leaders.

So, when will that be? June 26th at 1 PM at the Great Stories Comics and Gaming Store in Uxbridge, MA! The Mass Pikemen are taking this (and other future games) to a great hobby store, Great Stories in Uxbridge, MA. We will be gaming there and at our home in East Brookfield going forward – hopefully alternating between sites for gaming.

I hope that you enjoyed this battler report – let me know your thoughts in the comments section!

For all of my previous posts on games, units, and other projects for my 16th Century Spanish Conquest supplement for Feudal Patrol™ – “Civilizations Collide” – please see this page.

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Author: Mark Morin

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