Mohawk (Aulic Council)

2 playings; 1 French, 1 British win (3 hours)

Having looked up Mohawk when considering Nova Scotia in the French and Indian War I thought that I might as well give it a bash. The game might be classed as uncommon now but a copy could be made up if anyone is desperate to try it out.

Mohawk is very similar to A House Divided except that counters sit on points rather than boxes. The map is darníd fine but these points are considerably smaller than the counters, the whole would benefit from blowing up on a colour copier. The number of stacks that can move is decided by D6 with the British having an automatic +2 and the French a 2nd die for Courers and Indians. French Courers de Bois and their Indian pals can use any number of points other units can only use 2 pips per turn. A die point will move units between 1 point and the next in Indian country or to the next point along but one in civilised areas and along rivers. The net result is a limited number of acting stacks on each side and a maximum move of 4 points. The British have a naval move after land movement that can move stacks along the coast. 3 or more on a D6 is required to move a stack from 1 point to another by sea.

There are 2 turns to a year, at the end of the second all militia units go home. With the 4 point maximum move, probably slowed by Indian trails and the limited number of movement points to go around militia advances are never going to get very far. The going home is offset by allowing 3 French and 4 British militia to muster again at any point that was originally friendly at the start of each year. In effect all your militia go home every other turn but some of them can come back to the same point on the very next turn if they did not move outside the nationís home area. Things go rather wobbly with militia advances into hostile territory.

The game takes a more global or random view to the arrival of new units than End of Empire. New units arrive at the beginning of every year, every other turn but there is no way of telling who will get what. Both players have 4 ship counters rated for type and die bonus. The counters are matched up without knowing the oppositionís choice and a D6 rolled for each side. The owner of Louisberg gets a +1 for 1 stack, the die roll is then added to each stacks bonus rating and the winner gets through. Troop transports bring in 5 regulars with a +0, troop transports have 2 regulars with a +3. The other counters bring on militia or Indians with a +1 or +2. This die rolling can lead to 1 side having plenty of troops in a turn and the other none. Some sort of balance is more likely although the units must come on at ports and if the French run out of ports they are done for. This is likely to happen if Louisberg and Quebec have fallen, if they do not retake Quebec in their upcoming turn they will almost certainly lose.

The game zips along pretty well, the rules are no worse than XTRís in terms of woolly bits although a lot less wordy. I tried out the Louisberg and Halifax showdown that had cropped up in End of Empire. In Mohawk the French can take Halifax but run a risk of losing Louisberg to a British naval landing, they do not have enough troops to cover both ports. As some consolation if the British hop from Louisberg to Quebec but leave too few troops behind they may end up cut off out of supply in Louisberg. This can happen in End of Empire and is a good lesson in clearing out the French ports and units around Newfoundland before hopping off to Quebec even if it appears unguarded. Loiusberg is the key to French defence in both games but Halifax is only crucial in End of Empire.

There are oodles of Indians in Mohawk but these must be activated by Courers du Bois that only the French posses. As in End of Empire these local lads are good in the woods but poor in the open. They only have 1 step and cannot be rebuilt making Indians a limited weapon. The Iroquois Indians control the back door to New France, their lands cannot be entered until they join the war. The side that they support is judged by winning battles. There are 6 Iroquois counters that begin half French and half British side up. When a battle is won a counter can be flipped to the winnerís colour. The Iroquois will not enter the war until all the counters have been flipped to one side, which they will then support. The effect here is to cut off a part of the map from play until the Iroquois enter and more importantly force both players to fight a number of easy but unnecessary battles to impress the locals. The seems fair enough, without this rule some areas would lie dormant because the few available die points are better used elsewhere. As in End of Empire you can still march on Montreal form the South, again without a local supply network you will lose badly to supply in both games.

As a rough comparison Mohawk does the same job rather better than End of Empire. Much the same stuff happens more quickly. The level of detail is much the same because most of the Command effort is expended on the AWI side of the game. The real difference lies in End of Empire using a historical reinforcement plan and Mohawk relying on a random system.