Home › Forums › Horse and Musket › Napoleonic › [Argad AAR] Strange skirmishes in Louisiana c. 1812-1815
- This topic has 7 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 2 weeks ago by Darkest Star Games.
21/05/2023 at 20:11 #186419
Pictures and the story of a game we played at Replika miniatures and models festival, near Périgueux (south-west France) on 15-16 April 2023.
The context was the War of 1812. French Louisiana was sold to the USA a few years before. The new Governor, William Claiborne, is not in good terms with the local population, and the privateer (or pirate) Jean Lafitte, who has many friends in the area, is his personal enemy.
The plantation of Biennofont de Toulvarère family.
The NPC or half-PC Toulvarère family was invented long ago for pirate games located in St-Domingue c.1700. In this game it’s their descendants and cousins, who moved to Louisiana when they thought that the political situation in the French colony of St-Domingue (Haiti) in the 1790s was no more attractive for private investors.
The town of New Orleans is in the background.
The plantation, and the inn on the other side or a river, seen from the NW.
Strange things happen in the bayous, south of New Orleans …Three unknown privateers have entered Barataria, the hidden village of Jean Lafitte but where nobody can be seen.
Three ugly privateers, almost pirates! Perhaps Spanish, or French.
Hard fighting on open sea between French and British frigates, and a few pirates too (but this AAR is about events on land).
We must mention however a very small ship trying to avoid the battle, the whaleboat La Graine-Pisse, of New Orleans, coming home with a few passengers who wish to travel in Louisiana. This small ship benefits for some time of the protection of a large French frigate; later it is at great risk of being captured by a British ship …which fortunately has suddenly others things to do.
The French passengers say they are members of the Toulvarère family going to visit their cousins in Louisiana. A Navy officier on leave is amongst them.
Far from there, another small ship follows the coast in direction of New Orleans. This one, La Bergère des Mers, belongs to the French Navy.
https://www.anargader.net/21/05/2023 at 20:13 #186420
There are many posters on the walls of the room. One of them is signed by Governor Claiborne and promises $ 5,000 reward for the capture of Lafitte.
As an answer, another poster signed by Lafitte promises $ 10,000 for capture of the Governor, and also suggest to attack the bank in New Orleans.
All this has been read by the players and could be the reason for the privateers movement to Barataria. Their crews come ashore between New Orleans and Barataria and walk to this village which seems empty.
A group of armed men gathers in a suburb of New Orleans, apparently a local militia (?) but too far from Barataria to interfere.
Governor Claiborne (on horseback, in civilian clothes) gathered his own soldiers (in light blue uniforms) and takes position south of town in case the privateers could come in this direction.
The privateers pillage Barataria. They find one woman, probably a friend of Lafitte, in a fortified house. The first sailor who climbs the ladder receives a bucket of piss on his head, then a pistol shot misses him. He shoots back and kills the woman. The privateers steal all they can find, then go back to their ships …and they discreetly capture the small French ship La Bergère des Mers who was sailing too near. They let the captured sailors go free but will sell the small ship. Amongst these French sailors they are surprised to find a French hussar officer, he asks them if they have seen another hussar called Armand d’Hubert de Toulvarère with whom he must fight a duel; they do not know this name.
The three privateers now hesitate about what to do next. They discuss with the chief of a civilian militia, who owns a plantation quite far away near the Spanish territories (farther than the Biennofont plantation). He tells them that a Spanish fort, not well defended, is there and they would be rewarded if they take it. The privateers sail in this direction …not having decided yet if it would bring more profit to attack the Spanish fort or the Biennofont plantation!
It looks very calm around the Biennofont de Toulvarère plantation…
…but if will not last! First, La Graine-Pisse sails in the small river and its passengers come ashore, happy to meet their cousins; then, almost at the same times, the privateers arrive; and, on the other bank of the river, first the civilian militia, then the soldiers of Governor Claiborne who have been watching the privateer ships and wish to protect the plantation if necessary …but would not go too far from town.
The chief of the militia, himself a neighbouring farmer, explains to the Biennofont family that the privateers have no bad intents. The Biennofont are not convinced and, with help of some friends, servants, and of their cousins who just arrived, prepare to defend the place; they tell the privateers (who heavily outnumber them) to take another path and not come between the buildings. After a very tense moment, the privateers and the militia walk around and continue towards the Spanish fort, to the other side of the hill.
https://www.anargader.net/21/05/2023 at 20:20 #186421
Only two of the privateers/pirate crews had been going towards the Spanish fort. The third crew had apparently gone back to his ship which was still anchored near the coast. And this player was not looking much at the gaming table, giving for a moment the impression that he was more interested to watch other activities on other tables – and in the rules the players must be present when the simultaneous moves are made, otherwise it’s assumed that their characters stand idle or do something else.
It was a diversion! The third privateer suddenly says that his crew, with a small hand-drawn cannon, now is in front of the bank in New Orleans and orders to open the doors! After examining this it can be accepted, there was a long narrow street near the table edge allowing to walk around the city centre without being noticed, the Governor’s troop and one of the local militia were far away; another militia (in uniforms but not very reactive) was in town but in a far suburb.
The privateers take a cart, load all that was in the bank, and go to their ship as fast as possible.
A moment later, the Governor hears what has happened and comes back to town with his own troop, furious.
The other privateer crews, the civilian militia, and Toulvarère cousins who do not want to miss the fun, arrive near the Spanish fort. They see that it’s almost abandoned, there is an officer having lunch with some other people, and some idle soldiers. A drunk soldier who was dancing on top of the fort is killed by a first shot, the defenders morale falls. The privateers attack the main door, the militia climb the walls with ladders borrowed from the plantation.
One of the Toulvarère, sitting on a ruined building not too close of the fight, makes drawings of the action:
Other family members, more daring and shouting their old motto “If you don’t come to Toulvarère, Toulvarère will come to you!“ join the attack. Amongst them, a French hussar officer on exceptional leave, a French Navy officer also on leave, and an old veteran.
The fort is invaded from the entrance and from the top, and taken with no difficulty. An American flag is hoisted.
…Then the hussar officer shouts: “Oh no! Not him, again!“
Another French hussar officier (who had travelled on the other small boat) climbs on the fort battery and tells him: “We have fought in Strasbourg, and in Germany, and in Russia. Here we meet again. You will duel with me again, now!“
A duel happens immediately, it only lasts a short moment and shows that both are very good swordsmen. The newcomer is wounded.
…Inspired by Joseph Conrad’s novel “The Duel“ (1908) as was Ridley Scott’s film “Duellists“ (1977)…
The Governor is back in New-Orleans and tells everyone that it’s Lafitte who attacked the bank.
The two privateers come back from the ex-Spanish fort and pretend not to know anything about the bank attack. They meet the Governor and tell him they have heard an information: Lafitte could be hidden in a house north of town. They say that they will help to find him, if they get a reward. The Governor surrounds a few houses with his soldiers and orders to search everywhere.
They do not find Lafitte. The privateers begin to search all neighbouring houses too, sometimes taking valuable things. The Governor sees he cannot stop them; inhabitants complain loudly that the Governor has given permission to unknown sailors to search private property…
And BOOOM! The powder house in the town center explodes, some people are killed.
The other militia, who had been parading in French style uniforms, decides to arrest the Governor. They tell him he will be judged by federal authorities.
With the only protection a lone (although very strong) bodyguard, the Governor must obey.
…and sees that one militia member is Lafitte in disguise!
It’s difficult to understand now who was tricked by whom.
After all these events, the Toulvarère family is happy to live a peaceful moment.
The view is magnificent from the top of the hill, near old indigo vats. The oldest member of Toulvarère family tells one more time his battles and wounds, the Chouannerie in the FRW, his other trips to America, the AWI following French general La Rouërie, the FIW when, young officer, he had a passionate affair with the last of the Mohicans. He also tells, once more, that he had hidden a treasure during one of these American wars, but he doesn’t remember where, and nobody had the time to listen carefully to his ramblings nor to search for it in this game.
https://www.anargader.net/21/05/2023 at 20:41 #186422kyoteblueParticipant
That is a very impressive game layout!!!!22/05/2023 at 11:24 #186432Andrew BeasleyParticipant
Some work gone into that – looks like you had a great time.22/05/2023 at 15:53 #186448Darkest Star GamesParticipant
That is a wild looking game. I love all the reuses, that had to have been a lot of fun.
"I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."23/05/2023 at 13:18 #186498
It was a very unusual game, even for us!
The event organiser wanted a pirates game as usual but this time he also wanted napoleonic: the answer was the War of 1812 in Louisiana! 😉 He had planned the overall context, the rivalry between Claiborne and Lafitte, he brought a large part of the town and figures, and distributed play money and jewels for trading and treasures.
Some participants (as myself) were coming from hundreds of kms away so there was no precise common scenario but he knew that we would adapt. I had proposed to bring my plantation buildings and figures and to act “half-GM, half-player“ as I sometimes do, moving my bunch of (some rather silly) NPCs that I had imagined to interact with other players and at the same time trying to defend the place and not really knowing what could happen; another guy had a similar role in town.
…in fact I was almost sure that my plantation would be burned to the ground by forces from the British fleet or from a British fort sitting threateningly on a nearby island, but it did not happen, some wanted to but they were too busy on sea to send soldiers ashore!
Um, but, round tables under the sea are not the best idea.
More sea pictures on this blog (text in French):
Other activities in the event:
I love all the reuses, that had to have been a lot of fun.
You mean reusing player characters and NPCs? Yes we often do that, it gives a campaign feeling.
https://www.anargader.net/23/05/2023 at 15:15 #186502Darkest Star GamesParticipant
You mean reusing player characters and NPCs? Yes we often do that, it gives a campaign feeling.
Typing error on my part. It should say “ruses”, as in ruse-de-guerre. I love the trickery involved. That raid on the bank was smooth criminal action.
"I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."
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