Colonial wargaming


The Men Who Would Be Kings: Wherever The Bugles Are Blown...

A bit of a delayed battle report for a The Men Who Would Be Kings game we played at BIG for which  I offered to come up with a scenario not drawn from the rulebook! Santa brought me a copy of Stuart Asquith's Warfare in Egypt and the Sudan for Xmas, so I loosely based the scenario on the Battle of Kirbekan from the Gordon Relief Expedition which is detailed in the book...I confess it was done a bit on the fly so some things worked better than others... The original battle saw the General Earle split his force, pinning the Mahdists on the Kirkbean heights whilst sending troops to outflank and attack the enemy from the rear. Trying to replicate this was not that easy with a gamer like George who identified the battle from the set up! :-)Opening attempts to distract the Mahdists with my Indian units and artillery did not start well with the Bengal Lancers getting shot up and Pinned......and the 15th Sikhs getting depleted by unerring Mahdist artillery fire!The bulk of the Imperial force made a forced m

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The Men Who Would Be Kings: When 'arf of your bullets fly wide in the ditch...

Apologies for the delay in recent reports from the North-West Frontier but news of defeat moves much slower than that of victory!A few weeks back we decided to try the Run to the Hills scenario from The Men Who Would Be Kings. George and I had played this twice previously in the Sudan with the Mahdists taking the role of attacker and defender - and losing on both occasions so I was reasonably confident the thin khaki line would be able to see off the hordes of white robed Pathans as they retreated from Maiwand...Things started somewhat poorly as the 1/66th and 2/66th, clearly exhausted after the main battle, refused to advance. The Tajik irregulars, 15th Sikh came under fire from a group of Afghan Irregular Infantry, George had managed to get into the cover of the hill, whilst the 3/66th and 92nd (Gordon Highlanders) engaged some Afghans to their front.Elsewhere on the battlefield the massed Ghazis were moving to take control of the main hill line.The British advance was pitifully slow, the 92nd Highland

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Rebels and Patriots: On Afghanistan's Plains...

Last week down BIG George came up with a cunning idea of playing a NWF colonial game using Rebels and Patriots rather than The Men Who Would Be Kings, partly, as we had both concluded the latter was more suited to the 1870's to '90's colonial form of warfare and we both have a hankering to do the Indian Mutiny and First Afghan War, and also just to see how differently they played given their common heritage.For the British I went with three units of Light Infantry, upgraded to Good Shooters and Aggressive and a unit of Light Cavalry upgraded to Veteran, Good Shooters and Aggressive. For his Afghans George split his force between Skirmishers and Natives beefed up into Large units (18 figures from 12).We picked the It's Awfully Quiet Out There... scenario from Kings but both had 36 point forces.As it was more a test of the rules than anything else I didn't take as many photos as normal. My battle plan was to try and get my force into the near right corner and then shoot the advancing Afghans down.The first

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The Men Who Would Be Kings: Nischay Kar Apni Jeet Karon...

After the previous debacle against the rebellious Afghans under the command of Amir George Khan, the Imperial forces of the Queen returned to give the natives a damned good thrashing.Unfortunately nobody told the natives, or my dice...We decided to play the Take the High Road scenario from The Men Who Would Be Kings, George having 36 points of Afghans, me 27 points of British regulars, Sikh regulars and Tajik Irregulars. I had to deploy in the centre of the table and stop the Afghans from capturing the objective (the building).My cunning plan was to fall back towards my table edge and put a couple of units in the hills to make use of the soft cover against the advancing horde.Unfortunately from turn one things started to unravel as the 3/66th and the Tajiks refused orders to fall back!The 3/66th soon found themselves taking casualties from the Afghan Irregular Infantry rifles but despite this refused once again to retire. The Tajiks woke up to the threat and retreated At The Double to the safety of the buildi

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The Men Who Would Be Kings: The Piper's Lament

Apologies for the tardiness of these reports from recent battles in Afghanistan but real world stuff keeps getting in the way, but some interesting battles have been fought and lost so I will do my best to report back over the next day or so...Having decided to decamp from the Sudan to Afghanistan for a few games of The Men Who Would Be Kings, I dug out some near twenty year old mountainous terrain (originally used at Salute for an Aeronef game in, IIRC, 2001) and decided to use it all to give the game a different feel to the games we'd been fighting in the deserts of the Sudan.I didn't really think the implications of giving the Afghans all that cover through did I? :-)We decided to try the It's Awfully Quiet Out Here scenario with 27 points of Brits and Tajik mercenary allies are ambushed by 36 points of gun totting Afghans.I decided the hill in front of the 1/66th was going to cause me a problem in restricting my field of fire and potentially providing cover for the Afghans so I quickly occupied it. Unfort

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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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