The Steel Bonnets – A Borders Adventure

Our Scottish correspondent John Ewing, has reported on a game he put on using the Blood & Faith genre pack that you can find on the Genre Packs page.

So, over to John:

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Our game and display in the centre left.

We had an excellent day out today at the first Scottish Battlefields Trust Wargames Show in Prestonpans. This inaugural small show was intended to illustrate various episodes from Scottish history. For our contribution the Falkirk District Wargames Club presented a Border Reivers game using the “Blood & Faith” genre pack for IHMN. It’s a credit to the flexibility of the core rules that the game worked perfectly even with a transposition of 300 years. I thoroughly recommend them.

For our contribution, the Falkirk District Wargames Club presented a Border Reivers game using the “Blood & Faith” genre pack for IHMN. It’s a credit to the flexibility of the core rules that the game worked perfectly even with a transposition of 300 years. I thoroughly recommend them.

The Steel Bonnets – A Borders Adventure – the player brief

“It is a dark and moonless night in the depth of winter 1586.
The bairns are hungry, the spur has been served and the Lairds have put out the call to arms.
“The Elliots and Hendersons will go a’reiving tonight.
Let the Robsons quake in their hovels. We ride!”

Dare you don your steel bonnet, take up your lance and ride with your family, neighbours and friends across the Border hills to lift the black cattle and sheep from the hidden valleys of Tynedale?

Can you face the fearsome Robsons in their lair or will you ride back empty handed to your family?

Life in the Borders was hard, the area devastated by repeated wars and large scale raids between the forces of the Scottish and English Crowns. Hardly surprising then that the people turned to cattle rustling, sheep stealing and extortion to make a living. Loyalty to family was all. Raiding and feuding are a way of life.

Our game today is a public participation event which gives you the chance to learn a little of what it was like to ride with the Border Reivers in the 16th Century. Take charge of a small group of mounted Reivers as they try to lift the cattle and other livestock from a homestead in northern England. However, the defenders have been alerted to your approach and stand ready to protect their homes.

Some photos of the game

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The village is very quiet, perhaps too quiet…

Only the sentries are on duty but other defenders wait in the shelter of the hovels. The Reivers make their appearance.

Only the sentries are on duty but other defenders wait in the shelter of the hovels. The Reivers make their appearance.

Some of the protagonists from the Elliot family. Not that there are mounted and dismounted versions of each figure.

Some of the protagonists from the Elliot family. Not that there are mounted and dismounted versions of each figure.

More Elliots - mounted and dismounted versions.

More Elliots – mounted and dismounted versions.

Some of the marauding Hendersons.

Some of the marauding Hendersons.

A final scene with the Robsons scattered in the north as the Hendersons lead off some cattle from the field. However, in the south the Robsons have driven off several Elliots and recaptured the sheep who are returning to the fold.

A final scene with the Robsons scattered in the north as the Hendersons lead off some cattle from the field. However, in the south the Robsons have driven off several Elliots and recaptured the sheep who are returning to the fold.

I meant to say for those interested in rule mechanics we made full use of the flexibility of the “Pluck roll” mechanic to require Reivers trying to cajole unwilling livestock to make a pluck roll. Failure meant they had to test again, at best the animals ignored them but if they failed a second time they were deemed to have been knocked over. A bad failure, i.e. rolling a 1, meant they were injured and out of the game.

In our games, there was much hilarity as various Reivers struggled to stay on their feet midst cow pats and pig dung. While in one game the pigs “took out” a veteran Reiver, in the other it was the donkey in the stable who did for one. Dangerous things these “domestic” animals!

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