Saturday, October 23, 2010

King Philip's War first session report

Finally had the chance to get KPW on the table with the help of long-time friend and all-around excellent player Carl N. That Carl is, indeed an excellent player is demonstrated b how close this game was, being decided by a single point on the last turn. While neither of us had played before, I owned the game so I had the opportunity to study the rules and fool around with it solitaire. Carl came in stone cold.

I took the Indians for the first go around because I figured it would give him a turn or two to get into the game system. I think the Indians can't survive a bad start.

My general plan was to spend the first few turns causing as much havoc as I could in Plymouth and Rhode Island and then ship Philip out west to rampage in the Connecticut River valley while using the powerful Narragansetts to form a buffer. And this was pretty nuch how the game played out, although with some twists and turns along the way.

The first twist was a really miserable initial turn by Philip. Between canceled battles and other bad die rolls only one English settlement was razed. This meant Philp wouldn't eb able to recruit any more tribes to his cause on Turn 2. Among the disappointing attacks was completely unsuccessful raid on Edgartown oN Marth's Vineyard. The English reacted by summoning help from Connecticut by sea to make Edgartown too tough to take. Meanwhile Massachusetts Bay sent substantial forces south into Plymouth as well.

Over the balance of the Summer and Fall it became clear that the English strategy was going to be classic force on force fighting to eliminate as many Indian units as possible. Aside from devastating the Pocassets the English generally battled Indian stacks rather than targeting villages. In contrast the Indians generally avoided troops when they could, concentrating on razing settlements. Rhode Island came under severe early pressure, lsoing 3 of its five settlements before winter and one of the remaining was raided. Only Pawtuxet was untouched, largely because that was where the Rhode Island Captain and his company were stacked. While the gentleman was good at defending his home town, his 1675 attempts at offesnsive action all came to naught for one reason or another.

The English also caught a break when Church entered the game on Turn 2, so they barely had to deal with all the pre-Church restrictions. About the only thing Church didn't do is bring many Allied Indians with him.The English policy of generally leaving villages alone meant the potential allies were unimpressed.

Just before Winter Philip moved out West to recruit the Nipmucks and open a new front. Western Massachusetts and Connecticut were vulnerable with most of both Connecticut and Massachusetts troops campaigning in Plymouth. The surviving Indians in the Plymoutha nd Rhode Island areas were finding themselves hemmed in by large numbers of colonists. The surviving Pocassets took refuge in Montaup Fort and Wampanoags and Sakonnets generally stood on the defensive. Taunton and Swansea were the only razed settlements in Plymouth at this point. The Indians were ahead on victory points but not by much. Winter attrition sent home 5 Colonial units and one Indian.

The year 1676 saw Philip pretty much running wild out West, recruiting the Niantics, the Pocumtucks, the Abenakis and finally the Narragansetts into the war. Trying to bring in the Mohawks didn't seem worthwhile as the Indians already had more than five active powerful warbands available. The Abenaki effort north of Boston wasn't all that successful, on;y managing to raze Gloucester while losing an Abenaki village and a warrior to the Connecticut Company and some Massachusetts troops.

With no captains out West the colonists were pretty much stuck on the defensive, but the Colonial companies in Rhode Island and Plymouth were closing in on substantial Inidan parties and racked up significant victory points when Montaup fell and during the Sakonnet's last stand at Edgartown (which was at least razed the second time the Sakonnets went for it.

By the end of Indian combat on Turn 9 there was hardly a structure lefts standing in New England west of Lancaster/Marlborough aside from Hartford and Middletown. The last few turns Philip and Cononchet concentrated on Connecticut hoping to make th New York-Connecticut border war a sure thing. They fell a tad short, but the 5/6 chance was enough with a die roll of 3 and the Indians had 3 very important victory points. A last stab at victory on the English final turn netted 4 victory points but it wasn't enough and the final score was 28 to 27.

The different approaches taken by the two sides were reflected in the breakdown of how the points were scored. Philip's side scored three points for the New York war and one point for an eliminated English unit. The other 24 points all cane from razed settlements! The English only scored 10 points for razed villages and the other 17 points came from eliminated warriors and Sachems. No Key Leaders on either side were lost. The only fort even attacked was Montaup and it took three turns of effort by large English forces to finally fall.

Overall it was a very enjoyable game and both of us were interested in another go sometime. It too a little under three hours to play, including reading the rules.


  1. Thank for this replay. Like many of the replays in the old "General", it convinced me to purchase a game I was interested in.

    While I've always found the topic an interesting one, even before the deliberate attempts by the BlowJo's "journalists" to create a controversy, it was informative to read some of the game play. Even the most interesting topic can be sunk by a poor design, look at AH's "1776" for example, or saved by a great one, look at AH's "We The People".

    Thanks again for the post and the blog. I visit often and should probably comment more but many of your recent posts have dealt with Hasbro's deliberately cynical collectible minis games and they leave me cold.

  2. Glad you liked it.I have wide-ranging tastes so things tend to get mixed a bit.

    The Axis & Allies seem a little less cynical than the typical collectible but I'd be the first to admit they're not everybody's cup of tea. Indeed. I'm pretty sre I will never start a NEW collectible game so when AAM and WAS reach the end of the line I'm done with the format, too.