Ontario wargamer Howard Fielding tells a story of the 1980s rules, ‘Pony Wars’. These were essentially a ‘players against the rules’ system of mechanics, where the players were all White Eyes of one sort or another – cavalry, settlers, cowboys – while the rules took care of what the tribal warriors did, or didn’t do
“I played in a game of Pony Wars one time. Never played it since so I don’t know if we used house rules or “straight up”.
Anyway, at one point I was playing some settlers in a wagon train. The referee said 1) you always had to reserve ammo for the “last bullet” to save yourself and the women and children from a “Fate Worst than Death” and 2) you had to roll to see how bad your ammo supply was. (And it always seemed to be bad for the settlers.)
So I am running this wagon train in, trying to get to the fort and encounter a large band of Indians. I roll for ammo and it’s pretty bad. So I say: “I shoot the women and children and fire the rest off at the Injuns” (Preparing to go down fighting…)
The referee says make a percentile roll and I roll really really extreme – 01 or 99 or 00 (I can’t remember which). He looks it up and says you killed some, including the chief. Then he has me roll again for the Indians morale and again I roll an extreme number.