Colonial wargaming


The Men Who Would Be Kings: The Khandahar Field Force Exercises

A couple of weeks back George managed to arrived at BIG sans his natives. Fortunately I have amassed over 48 points of Imperial troops for The Men Who Would Be Kings, so as a bit of fun we decided to try out the game with two 24 point forces just to see how Regulars would fare against Regulars (with half an eye on Rebels and Patriots). For onlookers the sight of Brits v Brits was passed off as the Khandahar Field Force undertaking exercises!First off we decided to run the Take The High Road scenario. We've played this previously with the defenders winning in two occasions and the attacker once. This time George was the attacker and I have to confess I had a wry smile as he found ordering his Regulars to move to be as much a chore as I have (especially those pesky Highlanders!).He took the cannon in his 24 points and proceeded to blast away at my defending force on the hill line. However as his troops advanced across the dusty Khandahar plain my troops proceeded to punch huge holes in his force, quickly destro

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The Men Who Would Be Kings: Isandhlwana - the Refight

So following our recreation of the heroic defence of Rorke's Drift on the 140th anniversary (plus one day) we rolled up at BIG the following Sunday for an all day refight of Isandhlwana!Using The Men Who Would Be Kings again, we upped the force levels to 48 points and decided to use the Zulu regeneration rules that had worked well enough during the Rorke's Drift battle.The 'Horns of the Buffalo' looked very intimidating to the thin red (and undercoat white) line...I decided to try and get into stabby hand-to-hand combat as quickly as possible and advance At The Double, but some of my units were not too keen, notably on the left flank...And those that advanced soon found themselves under fire by the 24th and George's Irregular Cavalry...The attack on the left flank had turned into a bit of a mess with units getting Pinned.Meanwhile the right flank was advancing more successfully......but the cannon fire and rifles of the 24th cut down many brave Zulu warriors!On the left one unit managed to get in stabby asseg

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The Men Who Would Be Kings: Rorke's Drift - the Refight

Apologies for the delay in posting our Rorke's Drift battle George, Steve and I fought at BIG to commemorate the 140th anniversary of the battle using The Men Who Would Be Kings, but better late than never...George and I are still in the process of building and painting our Anglo-Zulu War armies, but we were determined to get a game in as near as we could to the anniversary, and fortunately Steve had a large number of Zulus already painted. I'd managed to make the buildings but we had to use some generic stone walls in place of the melee backs and biscuit tins.We both started with 36 points but the Zulus could regenerate badly mauled or destroyed units on a D6 roll of 3+.My Zulus advanced through the long grass en masse... Whereas Steve spilt his force to attack both buildings...Steve managed to get one of his units into hand to hand combat against the 24th Foot in the hospital but was beaten back...Likewise my Zulus reached the melee bag wall.......only to be beaten bag with several casualties.Steve's Z

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The Men Who Would Be Kings: Rorke's Drift - the Buildings

As it is the 140th anniversary of the Anglo-Zulu War, George and I decided we would try and recognise that by attempting to recreate the two big famous battles of the war using The Men Who Would Be Kings.I also volunteered to scratchbuild the buildings for Rorke's Drift and after some Google-fu came across this excellent article on Matakishi's Tea House complete with some very useful measurements.So over the last couple of days I have been carving up cork tiles and soaking a brown towel in diluted PVA 'Tea House' style and tonight presented my efforts at the club...The Hospital:The Commissariat: A report of whether of not the Zulus were more successful than their historical counterparts follows in a day or so...

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The Men Who Would Be Kings: Undercoating the Spears

George and I have a cunning plan to refight Rorke's Drift on Wednesday evening (it being almost exactly the 140th anniversary etc) so I have been trying to get enough Zulus stuck together and at the very least undercoated in time for us to do so.In TMWWBK terms here are:4 units of Married Zulus (Tribal Infantry)4 units of Unmarried Zulus (Tribal Infantry)2 units of Zulu skirmishers (Irregular infantry)Mostly Warlord I have added a number of Perry plastic Zulus in the mix.I have another 64 Warlord Zulus on sprues but I may not have time to get them to this stage with other commitments...

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The Men Who Would Be Kings: Where Bugles Call and Rifles Gleam...

Apologies for the delay in reporting the latest action from the Sudan, despatches being delayed by the festive preparations and subsequent consumption of turkey and alcohol!George and I decided we would try another crack at the Take The High Road scenario from The Men Who Would Be Kings, battles of this particular scenario standing at 2-0 in favour of George and his stabby stick armed Mahdists.  George as attacker had 36 points, I had 27 deciding to invest solely in infantry this time around.Rather than a hill, the objective here was a building and this time the terrain generation rolls fell my way with a generally flat table with limited cover in front of the objective.George has now finished painting his 36 point army and jolly nice it looked advancing across the board...As he deployed most of his forces on my left flank (clearly perceiving the Bazingers as the weak link), I moved my right flank forward to engage his pesky Irregular Infantry rifles which had been a thorn in my side in more than one gam

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The Men Who Would Be Kings: Unfaltering On Its Dreadful Brink...

It's been a little while since I managed to get a game in, so it was good to meet up with George again at BIG for another game of The Men Who Would Be Kings. This time around we decided to have a crack at the To The Last Bullet scenario, which we had not tried, with 27 points of brave Brits standing firm against 36 points of howling Dervishes!The scenario starts with the defenders within one move of the centre, behind them a farmstead or similar within six inches of the defender's table edge and the attacker advancing up the board from the other side...As you can see the hordes of Madhists look a tad intimidating for the thin khaki line and starting first they quickly began bounding up the board...My cunning plan was to fall back as quickly as possible towards my table edge to give my troops clean lines of fire and if possible get them into Close Order to allow volley fire and put any hand to hand combats more on a level playing field.Whilst most of my Field Force played game the 1/66th decided falling back w

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The Men Who Would Be Kings: Far the Calling Bugles Hollo...

So as promised the refight of Take The High Road scenario from The Men Who Would Be Kings with George's stabby spear armed Mahdists taking the role of the attackers and my gallant sons of Empire the role of defenders.For my 27 points I took three units of Regular Infantry, a cannon and spent the remaining 3 points on some Irregular Infantry Bazingers downgraded to poor shots. Would this be enough to stop the advancing 36 point Mahdist horde?!We rolled up the terrain as previously and it was clear the wargaming gods were going to be against me as I ended up with a hill right in front of my position blocking lines of fire and some rough ground that would half the movement of any of my troops trying to advance onto the hill in front of them.Unlike previously when I was the Attacker, George's Tribal Infantry do not have to pass an Order to Move and quickly started to advance up the table in 8" chunks.This did quickly bring them into artillery range and I opened fire on one unit of Beja killing two at long range.

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The Men Who Would Be Kings: Blow The Bugle, Draw The Sword...

For our latest adventure with The Men Who Would Be Kings George brought along his new native army - Afghans! So now not just some fanatical guys with slashy swords (instead of stabby sticks) trying to kill the sons of Empire, but a whole load of ones with guns!His army is a mix of old Foundry, Perry, Artizan and Studio and whilst there is some size difference they mix together really well and even in their currently undercoated state look really nice en masse...We decided to play the 'A Sigh of Relief' scenario that we'd played previously in the Sudan. As we had found it be a tad unbalanced so we decided to play length ways (otherwise the central forces would be in rifle range immediately) and allow the Afghan relief forces to start rolling for arrival from turn one not two.Again we played 36 points, George starting with 16 points in the centre with the captured 66th Foot's mascot Bobby! We used the terrain rules from Principles of War and somehow managed to generate the flattest area of the North West Fronti

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The Men Who Would Be Kings: While Their Bayonets Shone Bright...

Apologies for the lateness of the report of this week's stramash in the Sudan against George and his Mahdists, real life and all that...We decided to try the Take The High Road scenario from The Men Who Would Be Kings, with my gallant British Field Force attacking and George's Beja stabby guys defending. The scenario is based on 24 points v 18, so we upped that to 36 v 27. Once again we used the Principles of War terrain rules which saw George place two oasis and hill in front of my deployment line and me some rough ground off to one side.The objective of the scenario was to seize a hill within 12 turns. As I had lots of guns and George not very many we both thought this would be a walk in the park for the British.Unfortunately it did not work out that way...As you can see, George decided to mitigate my firepower advantage by hiding the bulk of his force behind the hill. As Attacker I would be going first each turn so he had an advantage in the last moves would be by his force - if they were able to!The Briti

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The Men Who Would Be Kings: Play Up! And Play The Game!

Having been in France earlier in the week, my regular excursion into the Sudan with George was pushed back to last night. We decided to try the Seek and Destroy mission we played back in August again with the British tasked with destroying a Mahdist village in 12 turns, this time we would use 36 point Field Forces and I had a cannon! :-)The game started with my Field Force deployed to attack the lightly defended village with George's stabby spear armed guys rushing up to reinforce the village.My artillery opened up causing 3 points of damage to the first building, whilst the 92nd Highlanders 66th Foot and 15th Sikhs all advanced towards the village.  The Bazingers (out of shot to the left) decided to ignore orders to advance!On turn two my cannon failed their order to fire which was frustrating, as was the failed command rolls attempting to get the 1/66th and 15th Sikhs into Close Order. The Bazingers again refused to advance!To add insult to injury George's Irregular Infantry rifles in the village fired

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North-West Frontier: 92nd (Gordon Highlanders)

When ordering the Sikhs for my British Field Force from Perry Miniatures I decided to purchase a couple of packs of Highlanders from the Sudan range. These are lovely figures, the question was which Highland regiment to paint them as?I stuck with my initial idea of raising a North-West Frontier themed Field Force (with some flexibility to use elsewhere) and so went with the 92nd (Gordon Highlanders) who fought in the Second Afghan War and the First Boer (and as the Gordon Highlanders in the Anglo-Egyptian War and Sudan). Uniform wise they are not right for the Sudan, they should have grey jackets but perhaps in the desert the grey was covered in a light dust and looked like khaki! :-)The figures were painted using the same dip process I have used on all my British colonial figures, the only difference being the kilts painted subsequently. These are not 100% accurate, they should have three horizontal bars not two as I have painted, but my eye sight and painting skill isn't up to that level anymore and it look

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North-West Frontier: Royal Horse Artillery 9 Pounder

I managed to finish off my Perry Miniatures 9 pounder in time for tonight's game of The Men Who Would Be Kings. A nice model and fairly easy to construct, though I was initially baffled with the bits for the seats and it took some time to hunt down a picture showing them clearly.Jim at BIG was kind enough to donate a 60mm base to the cause, as the 50mm used for the Maxims was too small, and used this to mount the gun.

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The Men Who Would Be Kings: Till the Watchful Bugles Play...

A belated report from the Sudan and another The Men Who Would Be Kings battle fought against George and his Mahdists down at BIG on Wednesday. We decided to try the first scenario we played in August, 'It's Awfully Quiet Out There...', now we had a better grasp of the rules.As we both have bigger Field Forces we increased the scenario points values from 24 Native and 18 Imperial to 36 and 27, this allowed me to pick three units of British Regulars, one of Fierce Sikhs and  one of Unenthusiastic Bazingers. We also decided to use the terrain rules from Saga as TMWWBK is somewhat vague on this score and George placed a couple of hills on the table that broke line of sight. Wanting clear fields of fire I decided not to place any terrain.The scenario required me to deploy my Field Force out in column in the centre of the board first before George deploys his natives...The Mahdists then had the first move and used the cover provided by the hills to get close in...I decided my best course of action was to get m

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The Men Who Would Be Kings: Go To Your Gawd Like a Soldier...

Due to prior commitments George and I scheduled a Tuesday night game of The Men Who Would Be Kings at BIG and I suggested we play the Get Off My Land scenario in which the British have to temporarily occupy six sites on table. As we were playing with 36 point forces we increased the number of sites to eight.I had read on the The Men Who Would Be Kings Forum that this was a hard battle to win and so it proved...Initial set-up was as below, the British entering from one table edge and the Mahdists deploying any non-Tribal units, in this case George's two units of Irregular Infantry (the dreaded "snipers").My cunning plan was to have two units of Regulars fire at the Mahdist riflemen, Pin them and have the remaining units move swiftly on the objectives. Unfortunately my bad dice rolling returned and I only killed two natives in each unit and failed to Pin either.They returned fire killing two Bazingers and a Bengal Lancer. Both these units survived a Pin test.Turn two saw George deploy his hidden Beja Tribal uni

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