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Battle Reports

Here are some Battle Reports from "War On The Plains" games I and my friends have played recently. I hope you enjoy them!


The Sioux warrior Wolf Talker had offered up his flesh at the sun gazing and now eight young warriors were ready to accompany him out on the war trail. They hoped to find Sioux enemies to count coup on or an enemy camp with horses to steal. Wolf Talker had big ambitions for himself. He hoped to become an admired and influential war-leader someday and this party, the first he leads as Pipe-Bearer, will be a good start.

As Wolf Talker peered out from the trees at the party of five men he could not believe how good his medicine was. They were Crow the most hated enemy of the Sioux. Four warriors and a Black White Man! Wolf Talker does not know what these enemies are doing in Sioux territory; maybe they come for Sioux horses. But he does not care; today, their scalps will hang from Sioux lances and the People will sing honoring songs about Wolf Talker in the Sioux camps.

Paints His Shirt Red (He Who Paints His Shirt Red With Enemy Blood) was an important man among the Crow. Or at least he had been an important man until leading two disastrous raids against the Arapaho; Crow enemies to the south. The Entrails People (Arapaho) twice had slaughtered all the warriors in Paints His Shirt’s war parties leaving the Crow Pipe-Bearer alive to go back to his people in disgrace.

After this, Paints His Shirt had lost his following among the young men. He was a great warrior; he took his name after the Blackfoot had killed his best friend and blood brother and taken the man’s scalp. Paints His Shirt had gone alone into Blackfoot country, north of the Judith. He had encountered a party of four Blackfoot braves. He had killed them with his knife, and with his teeth he had ripped their scalps from their heads until their blood had covered his shirt and painted it bright red. After this, he had been invited to join the Foxes; a prestigious Crow warrior society and had become their lance-bearer. It was three other Fox lodge brothers who accompanied him now (Bad Tempered Buffalo, Medicine Wolf, and He Who Smokes With The Hidatsas).

Also along is the Mountain Man Jim Beckwith. Beckwith is a mulatto, a black white man, and has married into the Crow tribe. He is a good friend of Paints His Shirt’s and will stand by his friend in these difficult times.

Paints His Shirt has led this war party out to renew his war medicine. The key to Paints His Shirt’s renewal of his war medicine power bundle lies east, in the country of the Sioux (They Who Cut Off Crow Heads) or Cutthroats the most hated and feared enemy of the Crow. The Crow medicine man Stone Hoop has seen a vision of enemy warriors falling dead all around the Crow. And so Paints His Shirt leads out a party of his three most loyal lodge-brothers in the Foxes and his friend Beckwith. This party schemes to enter enemy ground and renew the war medicine bundle of the Crow Pipe-Bearer Paints His Shirt.

Wolf Talker watches the Crow warriors riding on Sioux ground without fear. His lip curls in disdain, soon this enemy will learn to fear the Sioux! They are strung out in a long line, with the Crow wearing an eagle feather bonnet riding in front. Hoka-hey he, Wolf Talker, goes to strike the enemy! Breaking cover, the Sioux Pipe-Bearer rides down on the rear-most Crow, a warrior with long hair carrying a trade fusil. The four other Sioux braves under Wolf Talker’s immediate control hang back.

Bad Tempered Buffalo looks up at the sound of the war whoop. A Sioux with his upper face painted red and his lower face painted yellow, a club whirling in his hand, rides down on him. Bad Tempered Buffalo fires his fusil at this Sioux but the ball misses. So do the arrows thrown by the other Crow warriors and the ball thrown by Beckwith’s fusil. This Sioux has strong medicine! Bad Tempered Buffalo decides to count coup on him but the Sioux parries his blow and strikes home with his stone-headed war club wounding the Crow warrior.

Wolf Talker does not understand why the other Sioux hang back. Perhaps his bravery will inspire them! He rides for the rearmost Crow warrior dodging arrows and balls and whirling his stone club overhead. The Crow warrior will count coup but Wolf Talker feints to one side avoiding the blow and brings his club down on the Crow’s shoulder near his neck. If Wolf Talker had not lost so much blood during the sun vow, this Crow would lie lifeless on the ground, his scalp for Wolf Talker’s taking. But now the Sioux who follow him are emboldened and ride up in support, four braves behind him and four more under High Back Wolf, the party’s lance bearer, who scheme to ride laterally and cut off the Crow path to safety.

A large party of warriors of the Sioux has ambushed the Crow! Paints His Shirt, Medicine Wolf, and Smokes With Hidatsas ride back to save their lodge-brother’s scalp while Beckwith dismounts and takes up firing position in some scrub scheming to shoot down the Sioux racing to cut off the escape of the Crow warriors. A storm of arrows meets them and Smokes With Hidatsas takes a Sioux arrow! The melee between Bad Tempered Buffalo and the Sioux Warrior continues without result. Medicine Wolf, the Crow lance bearer, counts coup on a Sioux and then kills him with a lance thrust. Another Sioux falls to Paints His Shirts’ arrow but Beckwith’s rifle fire is ineffective.

Wolf Talker is proving to be an inspiring leader but the heroic Crow warriors may be too much for his party. Already two Sioux lie dead and the Crow enemy are taking their scalps! Wolf Talker is able to finish off Bad Tempered Buffalo but his remaining two braves are wavering and the other group of Sioux has still not entered the fight.

Medicine Wolf takes the scalp of the foolish Sioux who tried to kill him. Another Sioux, this one in a feathered bonnet and carrying a knife-stick with many blades embedded in it rides in to save his tribesman’s scalp. He dies on Medicine Wolf’s lance. The Sioux Pipe-Bearer now tries to stop Medicine Wolf from lifting this man’s scalp. In the ensuing melee Medicine Wolf is wounded a second time but kills Wolf Talker with his lance. He then scalps him; while Paints His Shirt lifts the scalp of the other dead Sioux. Only one Sioux out of the four with Wolf Talker is left alive and he seeks cover but takes Medicine Wolf’s arrow and dies.

High Back Wolf watches as the Black White Man shoots his rifle at the Sioux three, four times, never hitting anything. Truly his medicine is strong today. He calls out to the other braves to follow him and they charge on the Black White Man. High Back Wolf lances him to death and leans down to claim his scalp. Then he sees a large Crow, all in red, looming up on him.

Paints His Shirt rides down on the Sioux who have killed his friend Beckwith. Beckwith’s medicine had been bad that day and he had failed to hit any of the enemy braves. Paints His Shirt’s arrows impale one Sioux brave and he cuts down another with his tomahawk. He then prepares to lift the Sioux’s scalp. The two remaining Sioux ride in to save their tribesman’s scalp. Medicine Wolf rides up shooting his bow and one Sioux falls, the other is impaled on Medicine Wolf’s lance. Paints His Shirt claims another Sioux scalp!

Two Crow warriors and Beckwith dead. And Medicine Wolf is wounded twice. But all the Sioux have been rubbed out just like the medicine man Bird In Ground saw in his vision. The enemy warriors fell dead all around the Crow. And there are four Sioux scalps to take back to make the hearts of the dead braves’ wives, sisters, and mothers good again. Including that of the brave but unlucky Sioux Pipe Bearer. Maybe Paints his Shirts medicine is getting stronger already. And when the Mystery is located the Medicine Bundle renewed….


Bald Eagle was excited. Scouts had returned to camp reporting a party of Crow moving across Cheyenne hunting grounds. Bald Eagle hated the Crow who had killed his lodge brother and stolen many of his best ponies. Besides, most Crow warriors had more hair than he did.

The scouts brought back a young Crow Brave they had captured. Bald Eagle gave him to the Cheyenne women who killed him slowly. The young Crow Brave chanted his death song defiantly until he died. This was very bad medicine.

Still, Bald Eagle assembled a war party including some Arapaho under Man Who Likes Blankets who happened to be visitors in the Cheyenne camp. Both Bald Eagle and Likes Blankets were No-Flight Sash wearers, Bald Eagle was a member of the Dog Soldiers and Likes Blankets of the Lance Men Society. The Cheyenne and Arapaho hid themselves behind some hills waiting for the Crow to fall into their trap.

He Who Runs Far was not a happy man. He had decided to leave the mountains and visit his relatives the Hidatsa. The problem with this plan was that it involved crossing the hunting grounds of many enemies of the Crow. Still, it was better than sitting around when none of the young men would join the war parties he led. And now the young Brave, Badger’s Heart, had disappeared….

Likes Blankets saw the Crow war party moving across the river. They had a mountain man with them. Those cowards did not have the courage to trespass on the hunting grounds of the Arapaho without finding a white man’s whose skirts they could hide behind! He sent two braves, Morning Star and Screaming Panther, to lure the Crows into the trap. The Arapahos rode over the hill into plain sight and began taunting the enemy.

Runs Far saw the two braves ride into sight on his left flank. They were making signs at the Crows. They looked like Arapaho, which was strange because this was the country of the Cheyenne. Runs Far decided to lead his warriors over the river and away from the Arapahos who were gesturing frantically at the Crows challenging them to fight.

Bald Eagle saw the Crows ride into the waiting Cheyenne ambush. He led his warriors over the hill and in amongst the surprised Crows. A Crow arrow wounded him but he drove back the warrior who fired it in hand to hand combat. Another Cheyenne counted coup on a Crow in the ensuing melee.

Runs Far did not see the Cheyenne until they were almost upon him. The Arapahos had driven him into the Cheyenne who were lying in ambush! In the ensuing melee the Cheyenne pipe-bearer was wounded and a Cheyenne counted coup on a Crow.

The Arapaho Brave Screaming Panther had just traded for his fusil and was eager to use it. To show his contempt for the Crows and make the most of his shot, he jumped off his horse,rushed forward and discharged his fusil but hit nothing. His comrade, Mystery Shirt rode towards the Crows apparently not noticing the mountain man who was aiming his rifle….

After a bad experience on a Missouri riverboat, Billy Buggs had decided to go so far West that he would never have to see a woman again. Then he met Runs Far and they became like brothers. The Crow were a generous people so when Runs Far had decided to pay the Hidatsa an extended visit Billy Buggs had saddled up without hesitation. Then they had been attacked by these bloodthirsty murderous Cheyennes and Arapahoes. Buggs hated the Arapahos. They were treacherous, wrecked his traps, and had tried to take his scalp back on the Cache de la Poudre River. Now he saw an Arapaho brave wearing a blue shirt covered with celestial symbols riding down on him. Buggs raised his rifle, aimed it at the Brave, and blew him out of the saddle.

These Crow had recovered quickly from the surprise of the Cheyenne charging in among them. Something had to be done to bolster his warrior’s courage. Bald Eagle broke off and rode back away from the enemy. Dismounting he pinned his sash. A Crow Warrior charged in on the dismounted Cheyenne. Another Crow chased the Cheyenne Braves back up the hill they had ridden over.

Runs Far saw the Cheyenne leader pin his sash. He saw Black Mouth cut this Cheyenne down with his gunstock club. The Cheyennes wavered and retreated up the hill with Medicine Wolf in pursuit.

Likes Blankets saw the Cheyennes retreating and rode upon the nearest Crow, a lance bearer. As the Arapaho Lance Men Society man charged, one of the Cheyennes, on foot, turned and shot the Crow with an arrow. The Crow fell and Likes Blankets rode up and scalped the dying Crow Brave.

Buggs was trying to reload his rifle and his pistol, which he had fired into the Cheyenne without effect as they had swarmed down on his Crow friends. He saw the other Arapaho, who had fired his fusil, rush up and try to rescue the Brave he had shot down with his Hawken .50. This Arapaho mounted the pony of his fallen comrade and two Crows, including Runs Far, who counted coup on the Arapaho, attacked him but he fought them off. When the Arapaho Brave retreated towards his Cheyenne friends the body of the Brave Buggs had shot was not to be seen.

Likes Blankets saw the Crows kill Bald Eagle. The bravery of the captive Crow Brave had been bad medicine and Likes Blankets had tried to talk Bald Eagle out of going out against the Crows. But the Cheyenne, as always, were headstrong and determined to count coup upon their Crow enemies. The Arapahos had always been the friends of the Cheyenne ever since meeting them on the Plains. They had never failed to ride to the aid of the Cheyenne when the Cheyenne needed them. So now they were involved in this fight with the Crows, deadly fighters, and the crazy trapper; it was bad medicine. Now, Likes Blankets saw the crazy trapper shoot his tribesman Mystery Shirt. Having scalped the Crow Brave Likes Blankets now rode against the hated mountain man whose kind stole the beaver of the Arapaho. But, the mountain man was strong and fought off Likes Blankets’ attempt to count coup on him.

Buggs turned just in time to see another Arapaho riding down on him, the Warrior tried to count coup and Buggs swung his rifle stock to parry. The the Arapaho went down and a Crow brave raised his tomahawk covered in the Arapaho’s blood.

Screaming Panther raced forward to save the scalp of his tribesman. Between trying to rescue Mystery Shirt, who had apparently run off scared by the white man's rifle, and fighting off the Crows he had not had time to reload his fusil. But he fired off two arrows pinning the Crow Brave who had killed Likes Blankets and killing the mountain man. He rode up to take the white's scalp….

Just when the Cheyennes seemed to be on the run Runs Far’s medicine went bad. He saw the Cheyenne on the hill fire many arrows which impaled Black Mouth. Runs Far led his remaining warriors in a charge to save Black Mouth’s scalp and take the scalps of the fallen Arapaho and Cheyenne Warriors who were obviously men of importance from their sashes and regalia. Some of the Crow Braves fell back in confusion so Runs Far and his men were unable to save Black Mouth’s scalp but they secured the scalps of the fallen Cheyenne and Arapaho. Runs Far decided to outrun these Cheyenne and Arapaho before they killed more of his men.

Gray Wolf had been an undistinguished Brave before this battle. But his arrows had killed the Crow who had cut down Bald Eagle and his knife had scalped the Warrior and his hand now held the dead enemy’s gunstock club as a trophy. He now led the Cheyennes in a cautious pursuit of the retreating Crow.

Runs Far decided to live up to his name and outrun these enemies. His men withdrew rapidly and seemed to be outdistancing their pursuers. Then, he saw one of the Arapahos, the one with the musket, ride up the hill and dismounting, move towards the edge to take up a firing position…

Screaming Panther saw the Crow retreat. He had finally been able to reload his fusil and now he rode up the hill while his Cheyenne brothers moved to outflank the Crow. Panther's Scream dismounted from Mystery Shirt’s pony which he had borrowed, moved down the slope closer to the fleeing Crows, and aimed his fusil, of which he was very proud, at the rearmost Crow Brave, the one who had cut down Likes Blankets. He prayed to his medicine bundle to grant him revenge on the Crows. The fusil cracked sharply and when the smoke cleared the Crow lay dead upon the ground! The Cheyennes now joined him on the hill and the young Brave with a fusil, Gray Wolf dismounted and took aim while Screaming Panther reloaded.

Runs Far was certain his medicine spirits had abandoned him. First his power to attract followers among the Crow had deserted him and now this! He had been on the verge of escaping with most of his men when one of the Arapahos with a thunder-stick had killed Strikes Down with a shot at incredibly long range! There was nothing now but vengeance! Runs Far led his remaining Braves in a charge up the hill at the Cheyennes and Arapahos.

Screaming Panther dropped his musket and fired two arrows into the charging Crows who veered away when Cheyenne arrows joined his buzzing around their ears. He and the Cheyenne were content to remain on the hill as the Crows withdrew carrying off the body of their comrade whom he had shot. His medicine was truly great. He had scalped a white man, shot down a Crow at a great distance, and rescued a comrade. The Crows had been taught not to trespass upon the hunting grounds of the Arapaho or their allies. The Crow had lost three of their men and two scalps to the Arapaho and Cheyenne plus the Hair Mouth had been rubbed out. Maybe this would convince his kind not to come to steal the beaver belonging to the Arapaho. True, Likes Blankets and Bald Eagle had died in battle but they had died well counting coup on their enemies. The name of Mystery Shirt would never be spoken again. He would turn up in the Arapaho camp later that summer announcing he had had a vision in which the Spirits told him to put on the garb of a squaw and live as a woman.

Runs Far arrived in the Hidatsa villages just before winter. His medicine, and his men, had deserted him. The Hidatsa braves did not respond to the invitations he made. He began visiting the trader who lived among the Hidatsa and drinking much firewater. One day, an old woman found his body in the snow. He had been shot with many arrows and the enemy had not even bothered to scalp him.

This battle was fought between Kevan Thomas (running the Crow) and Tim Greene (Arapaho) and Dave Glick (Cheyenne). The Cheyenne-Arapaho got the following Victory Points: +13 Crow Warrior scalp +8 Crow Brave scalp +5 Mountain man scalp +10 pins sash +10 coup counted on a live enemy +10 dismounts, turns horse loose and fights on foot -15 dead Arapaho -15 dead Cheyenne +26 Victory Points The Crow got the following Victory Points: +13 Arapaho scalp +13 Cheyenne scalp +10 coup counted on a live enemy -15 dead mountain man -15 dead Crow -15 dead Crow -15 dead Crow -24 Victory Points


War Hawk’s vision told him to seek out the spotted horses of the Nez Perce and capture one of these animals as it would serve him as his war pony. The Crow pipe bearer led a war party of five Warriors (Running Fox, Medicine Wolf, Runs The Enemy, Plenty Coups, and Camps With Hidatsas) into the Shining Mountains to locate a camp of the Nez Perce and their spotted horses.

As the Crow crossed a wooded coulee they spotted a Nez Perce war party of one Warrior, five Braves and a mountain man. Running Fox, a member of the Crow Fox Society rode forward alone to taunt the enemy. Recently, Running Fox’s wife had run off with a member of the rival Lumpwood Society and Running Fox was eager to prove his bravery in order to earn the right to steal a Lumpwood’s wife. This institutionalized adultery kept the Crow warrior societies at their peak through constant competition. Running Fox had his eye on a woman too, the attractive wife of the Lumpwood Society’s whip man.

War Hawk, being a Contrary, acted as though he was terrified at the sight of the Nez Perce and rushed around frantically. The remaining Crow, with Plenty Coups out front, stealthily crossed the coulee to flank the Nez Perce.

Running Fox maneuvered to the edge of the open woods. He had a Shoshone sinew and horn bow he traded off a Shoshone brave for some dried squash traded from the Missouri River Hidatsa, relatives of the Crow. With this bow he fired an arrow at the Nez Perce leader wearing a stand-up bonnet. The Nez Perce went down! But then it proved that his fine Appaloosa horse had taken the arrow as the Warrior regained his feet and returned fire pinning Running Fox. Still, his mishap gave the Nez Perce pause and one group got a morale failure marker.

T.R. Davis was drunk. But then, he was always drunk. He had ridden out with his Nez Perce friends to clear his head and escape his tipi full of women back at the Nez Perce camp. Davis had been trapping, on the rare occasions when he was sober that is, in the Rocky Mountains for more years than he could remember and no tribe he had met was as downright hospitable as these here Nez Perce. Davis, a squaw man’s Squaw Man, had never been particular about the company he kept just as long as it was female! Still, it was good to escape the camp when his squaws got to bickering….Occupied with these thoughts Davis was startled when the Crows rode down on him.

Plenty Coups was about to live up to his name and count coup on the obviously drunk trapper in front of him. The man saw him coming and rode back into the woods and his rifle barked. A bullet whizzed by Plenty Coups head. Then, the foolish white man charged him! Plenty Coups sent an arrow pinning the trapper and driving him to cover.

Running Fox was not having a good day. First, he shot the Appaloosa horse he was trying to capture instead of the Nez Perce riding him. Then, his two shots at the Nez Perce Braves accompanying the unhorsed Warrior missed. Their arrows killed Running Fox’s horse and wounded Running Fox himself. As the Nez Perce prepared to charge him, Running Fox withdrew into the trees. Hearing a horse gallop up behind him Running Fox turned. War Hawk, the Contrary, took him up behind him on his horse and rode the wounded Fox Society Warrior to safety. No Crow would die this day!

Medicine Wolf and Runs The Enemy followed Camps With The Hidatsas against the Nez Perce facing them. Their arrows cut down the three Braves before they could react. Medicine Wolf lassoed one of the horses while Runs The Enemy scalped one of the dying Nez Perce Braves. Two Nez Perce rode down on Medicine Wolf as he tried to lasso the Appaloosa. One died on Camps With Hidatsas arrows and the other was killed by Medicine Wolf. The Nez Perce war leader, seeing his followers down or running, mounted one of the other Appaloosas and fled for his life. The Crow let him escape while they rounded up the two Appaloosas left.

War Hawk’s Medicine Quest had ended well! No Crow were lost! His party had a Nez Perce scalp and two Appaloosas. War Hawk gave one of the captured ponies to Running Fox to replace his dead mount. The Crows scored 20 Victory Points for achieving the object of their Medicine Quest and 5 Victory Points for a Brave’s scalp. The Nez Perce lost 45 Victory Points for losing three Braves. One Brave, seriously wounded, had escaped the battlefield and returned to the Nez Perce camp telling of being aided by the Bear people. Another Brave had cowered and run off. Shamed by his unsuitability for the War Trail he later became a transvestite. All in all a very successful foray for War Hawk’s Crow.

This game was played at Trow Davis’ house using “War On The Plains” and “A Good Day To Die” rules. Tim Greene and Charlie played the Crow. Kevan Thomas, Frank Arnold played the Nez Perce. And Trow played the mountain man.