The Men Who Would be Kings


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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Afghanistan 1880.

Initially last week game should be Seven Years War game with freshly published Michael's rules, however due to his Christmas Party duties, this game had to be postponed. Instead of that we were going to play some Sudan game with Black Powder, but due to taxi duties of Campbell, that game had to be also postponed. Finally we finished with The Men Who Would Be Kings. Firstly it supposed to be Second Boer War, however Angus cannot find his figures and brought his Second Afghan War collection.Początkowo na zeszły tydzień mieliśmy zaplanowaną grę z okresu wojny siedmioletniej, ze świeżo wydanymi zasadami Michaela, jednak z powodu jego obowiązków podczas przyjęcia bożonarodzeniowego, ta gra musiała zostać odwołana. Zamiast tego padł pomysł rozegrania gry z okresu wojny w Sudanie z zasadami Black Powder, ale ta również musiała zostać odwołana z powodu obowiązków Campbella jako taksówki. Ostatecznie skończyliśmy z The Men Who Would Be Kings. Początkowo to miała być druga wojna burska, jednak Angus nie mógł znale

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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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Sudan Skirmish Plans

I've been re-reading the excellent Go Strong Into The Desert as some background research for a potential project next year, using 15mm Peter Pig figures and The Men Who Would Be Kings skirmish rules. I have all the figures in the lead pile and now also have my desert terrain board, so I just need to get the lead painted and I'm ready to go. The idea would be to do the Beja first then do either a naval landing party or a unit of infantry, probably Royal Marine Light Infantry or the 2nd Battalion Duke of Cornwalls Light Infantry, the former for the Suakin Field Force and the latter for the river column in the Gordon Relief Expedition. After that I could branch out and do other add on units and extras like heliograph teams, engineers or mounted infantry.It's all just an idea at the moment but could be good fun and would tie in nicely with my current post colonial Sandbox Skirmish project. I like the fact that the tribal contingent would be quick to paint, having painted some very similar figures for AK

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Colonial Conundrums

I dug out my old, half finished Patrols in the Sudan Mahdist army yesterday and set it up on my desert terrain board to see how it matched up. As you can see, the figures are half painted but wouldn't need more than a bit of blocking in, a wash and some colour patches to be ready to deploy. I'm not intending to use PITS again, although I did enjoy the games that I've played, but did think that I could use this army for The Men Who Would Be Kings instead or for Death in the Dark Continent?I would prefer to have individually based figures for TMWWBK and have already set aside some 15mm Peter Pig Beja and Egyptians for just the purpose, but as a fall back I could re-use these multiple based units as well, using counters or even individual wounded figures to track casualties. A quick check of the army lists (5.River Arabs) and it looks like I have more than enough bases for an army, although I would need to have five base units of fifteen not sixteen infantry, as they are based in threes not fours. It's wort

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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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Small Wars

I'm reading this at the moment, as it was only 99p and seemed to be just the sort of inspiration I need for making the most from my new desert terrain board, which I made for the 15mm post war Sandbox Skirmish project but which has all sorts of other applications. In particular, I've been thinking of ways to use it for other 15mm skirmish based projects, with a focus on the sort of Victorian colonial actions that this book was written about.https://jimswargamesworkbench.blogspot.com/2017/04/the-men-who-would-be-kings.htmlI have lots of 15mm Peter Pig figures left over from an abandoned Patrols in the Sudan project, for example, which could be used as a basis of two opposing armies for The Men Who Would Be Kings, to give just one possible option. I had this thought a while ago but, without a suitable terrain set up, it wasn't worth pursuing.  Now, however, it would be feasible and would require a minimum outlay in financial terms, even if I would need to invest some time and effort to make it happen. They

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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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