A Barn Full of Lard

On Friday, Stella and I drove down to Bristol so I could spend Saturday running the Harpers Ferry What A Cowboy game at Lincombe Barn. This was the first of what will hopefully be a series of Lardy Days rejoicing in the name "A Barnful of Lard".

The day saw five Too Fat Lardies games set up in the Barn's main hall. As usual I was too busy running my game to get more than a few snatched photos of the games.

Lloyd Lewis ran "Bejabbers I Want That Cuckoo" a Peninsular War Sharp Practice game involving attempts to capture, recapture, and, on one occasion, re-re-recapture a French eagle.





Next we had another Sharp Practice game run by our host Carole Flint. This time it was a 15mm American Civil War action.




I'm not usually keen on smaller figures for Sharp Practice as they can end up too widely spaced. However I think for ACW, where firing lines were increasingly "loose" it's probably believable.




Brian Shipp ran a 15mm Chain of Command game with two US platoons, supported by Shermans, attacking against a single German platoon.


Brian and I had a good chat at lunchtime. Lardy Days can be a great opportunity to share ideas on scenario design.


The scenario was from the Pint Sized Campaign 29 Let's Go.


A very nice-looking Star Wars game was run by Kev using modified Chain of Command rules.






And finally there was my own Harpers Ferry game, seeing its third outing at a Lardy Day.


The players in both runs of the game were mostly new to What A Cowboy so things ran somewhat more slowly than they did at Posh Lard but all involved seemed to enjoy it. This was despite my forgetting to allow the victims of the first couple of hits to dodge!




A highlight of the day came in the second game. The player in charge of the townsfolk of Harpers Ferry had struggled to get his head around the use of the "Other Townsfolk" activation card. Eventually things clicked into place with this exchange:

Umpire: The Other Townsfolk card!
Player: What can I do with that?
Umpire: Lay down covering fire, remove opponents' covering fire, or perform a Task.
Player: What's a Task?
Umpire: Anything you like.
Player: Could we build a bomb to blow a hole in the wall of the engine house?
Umpire: Sure that'll have a Task Value of...

<grabs a couple of 12-sided dice and rolls them>

Umpire: ...seventeen! Roll me a D6 to get started.
Player: One!
Umpire: OK, the townsfolk are one-seventeenth of the way to building a bomb.

After three more trips though the game deck and three more d6 rolls by the player concerned (all of them ones) we got as far as:

Umpire: OK, the townsfolk are now four-seventeenths of the way to building a bomb!

Needless to say the bomb didn't get completed before the insurrectionists completed the job of moving their hostages into the engine house.​


Each time I run Harpers Ferry I come up with a couple of tweaks to improve the design. This time I gave Mayor Fontaine Beckham a musket rather than a handgun. The longer range made it more likely that his player might deploy him to the railroad trestle where, historically, he was shot dead by Edwin Coppock.

I also firmed up the rules for what happens when either side tries shooting near the hostages and misses! A table in the rules now allows for the death or wounding of named hostages or non-player insurrectionists including one of John Brown's sons.

Shotgun-armed Thomas Boerley (foreground)
heads towards the hostages...​

... who are escorted by "Emperor" Shields Green,
Oliver Brown and Jeremiah Anderson.​

In general I was pleased with how the games went. We didn't get to Act Two (the US Marines assault on the engine house) in either case but the What A Cowboy rules engine always gives a fun game. I think the players appreciated the research that went into providing the historical context of the events at Harpers Ferry.

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