Saturday, December 23, 2017

Battle of the Bears

Der Alte Fritz & Lady Emma Cuddleston-Smythe resume their Teddy Bear Wars.
(click on all pictures to enlarge the view)

Yesterday Lady Emma Cuddleston-Smythe and Der Alte Fritz met on the field of the kitchen table in a battle of wits and dice. I leave it to you to decide who had the advantage in those categories. Lady Emma issued a challenge to Der Alte Fritz to resume the Great Teddy Bear Wars, which were last fought in 2011, so we both decided that it was time to renew the table top tilt.

General Fritz went into the battle with an abominal record of zero wins and four losses, so he hoped that in the intervening years he might have improved his generalship, or at the least, have better luck with the dice.

Basic Game Rules
We created some simple rules off the top of my head to use in the game. Movement was 6-inches in line formation and 12-inches in column or skirmish order. Pop-gun range (this is the weapon that the bears were armed with) was 6-inches. To fire, take the number of bears firing in up to two ranks deep and roll one D6 for each figure. Hits are scored on a roll of a natural six (i.e. "box cars"). Any other number of pips on the D6 is a miss. It is important to note to any kiddies that the bears that are hit are not killed, but rather, they are going into hibernation when hit by a popgun cork.

We also rolled an initiative dice (D6) to see who moves first. All firing is done simultaneously.

Game Background
The quiet little village of Honey Hollow happens to be the home of the First National Bank of M&Ms, also known as The Gingerbread Bank. Knowing that the Bank is an attractive target for certain bears who have a sweet tooth, General Blackford (Blackie) Oakes has been given the assignment of defending and protecting the village and the Bank from maurading Brown Bears.

Black Bear Objectives
The Black Bears are defending the Bank and their objective is to stop the Brown Bears from either capturing the Gingerbread Bank or stealing a majority of the M&Ms candies that are laying on the ground all over the town. Since there are 40 M&Ms on the ground, the Brown Bears must not be allowed to capture any more than 20 of the M&M pieces.

Brown Bear Objectives
The Brown Bears, led by Lady Emma Cuddleston-Smythe, are hungry and need a little bit more of candy before they go into Winter hibernation. Scouts have informed Her Ladyship that the Gingerbread Bank has recently received a new stock of the precious (and highly edible) M&Ms. The Brown Bears must either capture the Gingerbread Bank or pick up a majority (21 pieces) of M&Ms that are scattered all around the village of Honey Hollow.

Game Objectives: The Brown Bears are attacking the village because they have heard that the First National M&M Bank is chock full of M&M candies. Their objective is to capture as many M&Ms as they can and haul them away to safety. 

Victory Points: 
Victory points will be determined by the number of M&Ms that each side has captured.

Lady Emma Cuddleston-Smythe (the "Good Guys") surveys the tabletop and holds a bag of the victory points (M&Ms)

The Game Report
The Brown Bears entered the village of Honey Hollow from the east end of the table and marched towards the Gingerbread Bank at the end of the Main Street.

A view of the tabletop along Main Street.
Lady Emma moves her Brown Bears on Turn One.

The Black Bears divided their forces into two companies of 12 figures. The first company deployed in the middle of Main Street and awaited the advance of the Brown Bears. The second company of Black Bears was distributed around town in penny-packets, with at least 6 bears defending the gates of the Gingerbread Bank.

Lady Emma orders her two columns of marching bears to redeploy into two companies in
line formation so as to have the maximum number of popguns to "bear" on the Black Bears.

Lady Emma orders her Brown Bears to change formation, from column to line, and they quickly maneuver to outflank the Black Bears and have more popguns to fire than the Black Bears have.

Blackie Oakes leads his advance guard of 15 Black Bears down Main Street to  delay the advance of the Brown Bears. However, Lady Emma turns the tables on Oakes by maneuvering to outflank the Black Bears.

The first firefight of the game ensues and 5 Black Bears are hit compared to only 2  Brown Bears.

The Brown Bears continue their attack down Main Street with the Gingerbread Bank in sight.

The first firefight ends with 5 Black Bears hit and only 2 Brown Bears hit. Meanwhile, small detachments of Brown Bears forage for M&Ms that are laying on the ground. When they reach an M&M they may carry two of them back to the supply wagon (the crystal glass). Once they reach the glass, it takes a full turn to put the M&Ms into the glass. Then they can return to action.

"Daddy, we are creaming your army." exclaimed Lady Emma.

The Black Bears fall back and call in their foragers in order to strengthen their firing line with more popguns.

The Black Bears, in blue coats, are still outnumbered by the Brown Bears in pink coats.

Lady Emma Cuddleston-Smythe is pleased with the results of the game so far.

The next phase of the game

Black Bears Advance, but are still outnumbered.

Another firefight, and three more Black Bears go down compared to two Brown Bears. Foragers can be seen in the upper righthand corner.

The final phase of the game finds General Blackie Oakes realizing that he is losing, so he calls in all of his remaining Black Bears and makes a forlorn hope charge up Main Street towards the Brown Bears.

The Black Bears' Forlorn Hope.

For the Black Bears, everything now rides on the roll of the dice. They have ten D6 to roll so they think that the odds are good that they will send some Brown Bears into hibernation. We need lots of Sixes!

Der Alte Fritz gathers up all of his dice for one final throw. Everything depends on him rolling lots of boxcars. He, he, he.

Gasp! Oh the horror and futility of DAF's dice roll. Only one hit.

Oh God, we need some Sixes!

Gahhh! Only one Six out of ten dice thrown. Sauve qui peu!!!!

Lady Emma appreciates the futility of her Daddy's dice rolling.

Der Alte Fritz sees that the jig is up and he offers to surrender.

Lady Emma gives the victory signal, indicating that the game is over.

And so once again, the Brown Bears won a victory over the hapless Brown Bear army. Some would say that Daddy let his little princess win the game, but I can assure you that no quarter was asked, nor any given by Lady Emma. Her superior tactic of outflanking the Black Bears and bringing more firepower to "bear", coupled with exceptionally good dice rolling, proved to be the difference.

Der Alte Fritz's record of wins and losses is now 0-5. He will be banished from the Premier League. However, he has asked for a rematch after Christmas Day so stay tuned for another round of the Great Teddy Bear Wars.


  1. Hurrah for Lady Emma! A battle well fought.

    Best Regards,


  2. Excellent stuff. Happy Christmas to all the family - and to the teddy bears!


  3. Love it! Those black bears should have just offered to share. ha ha

  4. Excellent great fun was had by all

  5. Magnificent!

    And those hats are rather special too. Where did you get them?

    Merry Christmas!

    1. I bought them from G. Gedney Godwin & Sons, a company in the USA that sells 18th Century reenactment goods.

  6. Glad you had a good game, enjoying it is a victory of sorts!

    1. It is always a victory when I have some fun "Daddy Time" with Lady Emma.

  7. A fun looking game... but as they say you can’t win them all.
    Except in your case(and mine). you can’t win any. ;-)

    Do you think If you were defending fine brandy your dice throwing would improve...

    All the best and a merry Christmas